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                         L'CHAIM - ISSUE # 1109
                           Copyright (c) 2010
                 Lubavitch Youth Organization - L.Y.O.
                              Brooklyn, NY
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   Dedicated to the memory of Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka Schneerson N.E.
        February 19, 2010       Terumah             5 Adar, 5770

                              Broken Pipes

Winter brings with it many inconveniences: colds, delayed travel, the
need to bundle up, protecting plants and pets, keeping home and hearth
heated, shorter days and greater stress.

A "winter problem" in the coldest climates is broken pipes. Of course,
water lines can break any time of the year. But broken pipes occur most
often in the winter. That's why the advice to "let the water run" - a
tiny stream or steady drip, so that the water flows through the tubes
and doesn't freeze - works in all kinds of climates.

There's a spiritual analogy to the "broken pipes" problem. Our Sages
tell us that wisdom is compared to water. For one thing, water, like the
intellect, flows from above to below. But, as just mentioned, water must
flow through (and into) containers. Without the proper system, without
pipes and sealed joints, water leaks out and literally floods
everything. Instead of being available for cooking, cleansing, etc., as
water is when properly channeled, it ruins everything.

The analogy is clear: if we do not channel our knowledge properly, if we
do not use our minds for the proper things, we will "flood" ourselves
out - wallow in indulgence and excuses. Because water, in a spiritual
sense, is the source of growth, and therefore, if not properly
channeled, the source of excess; an unrestrained "flow of water" leads
to rot, mildew and decadence.

This is why we have to be careful when it comes to intellectual
pursuits. When exploring "new territory" it's important to lay the
groundwork, so to speak, to prepare the channels, secure the points of
transitions (the joints), so that the "water" flows properly.

Nowhere is this more evident than in the study of Torah, which the Sages
compare specifically to water. As we pursue our knowledge of Judaism,
it's often too easy to go "outside the channels," to follow the "path of
least resistance," which usually leads to a break in our system of

Unfortunately, that "break" won't become evident until there's a
"freeze" - an interruption in one's involvement, a slowing down or
cooling off of enthusiasm for things Jewish. And that happens, because
the "cold weather," the "winter times" of life - issues of a livelihood,
etc., - make movement of any kind hard. It's harder to "warm up" to
things Jewish.

At all times, but especially at such times, we need to keep the "water"
- the Torah study  - flowing. But it has to flow through the proper
channels - the teachings of Torah that has been passed down from
generation to generation.

There's a reason Jewish tradition has a "flow chart" - from the Torah
through the Prophets and Talmud and Commentators such as Rashi and
Codifiers and Philosophers such as Maimonides through the centuries of
accepted tradition, to our own day with Chasidut. Studying Torah through
the system established by our Sages keeps the "water" flowing and
prevents "broken pipes."

This week's Torah portion, Teruma, speaks about the traveling tabernacle
(Mishkan) and its vessels which the Children of Israel constructed while
in the Sinai desert. The portion contains the verse "They shall make for
Me a Mikdash (Sanctuary) and I will dwell in their midst." Our Sages
noted, "In their midst, not in its midst, meaning within each and every

Thus, G-d assured us that not only would His Presence rest within the
material walls of the Sanctuary (and Holy Temple in the future), but
within the heart of every Jew.

When does the Divine Presence rest within the Jew? When he transforms
even the physical aspects of his being into a Sanctuary for G-dliness.
When a Jew observes mitzvot (commandments), studies Torah, and imbues
even his most mundane affairs with holiness, G-d rests within him.

The Holy Temple in Jerusalem, G-d's "dwelling place," was built of
physical components and was situated in an actual physical location.
When the individual Jew erects a Sanctuary to G-d and causes the Divine
Presence to rest within him, even the lowest levels of existence are
transformed into a "dwelling place" for G-dliness. In this manner the
world becomes permeated with holiness, and G-d's true will is fulfilled.

The physical Holy Temple was built of various materials: wood, stone,
silver, gold, etc. Yet these physical components were not merely the
"vessels" for containing G-d's presence; the materials themselves were
transformed into holiness. The actual structure of the Holy Temple was

This must also be the case when we construct a spiritual Holy Temple in
our hearts. It isn't enough to bring holiness into the physical aspects
of our lives; all of our affairs and concerns, even the most mundane,
must be transformed into holiness!

With the giving of the Torah to the Jewish people, the connection
between the higher and lower worlds, between G-d and His creations, was
established. This connection was continued and strengthened when many of
the actual mitzvot were commanded, for the mitzvot are the means through
which the Jew connects himself to G-d. This week's portion, Teruma,
however, goes even further; it speaks of a connection between the Jew
and G-d that transcends even the performance of mitzvot, a bond we can
achieve in the realm of permissible action.

Everything a Jew does, even those actions which are not strictly
mitzvot, are a means by which he can attach himself to G-d and erect a
Sanctuary. In this way all his deeds are transformed into holiness, and
the Divine Presence will rest within.

                                Adapted from Likutei Sichot, vol. 3

                             SLICE OF LIFE
                              Going Kosher
                             by Jill Lerner

I remember it like it was yesterday: a team of strangers descending upon
my kitchen, looking at every dish, pot, knife, spoon...everything my
kitchen housed. The "team" leader, Rabbi Bentzion Chanowitz, efficiently
delegated each item in my kitchen to the "kashering" box or the discard
bag. I wasn't always sure of the reasons for the fate of particular
pieces, but I was sure I was making the right decision when I decided to
make my house kosher. I could also see that I was in for quite an
intense, life-altering event.

"Going kosher" can be a pretty tough decision. When one is accustomed to
doing anything in one particular way, change can be difficult,
especially when dealing with the very food one likes to eat! I really
knew little about keeping kosher when I made my decision, but I did it
anyway. After all, the Jewish people had been keeping kosher since
receiving the Torah, but knew little about it when they first accepted
the mitzva (commandment). Initially they had to agree to perform all of
the mitzvot before truly understanding all about them, and subsequently
they learned.

I, too, ended up embarking on this mitzva without any background and
began to learn from that time on. Indeed, this fact was to become part
of my own personal connection to the Jewish people, for I was privileged
to have a part of my journey parallel the history of our people! It was
really an extraordinary journey, and one for which I will always be

During the kashering process, I learned how to determine what could be
made kosher and what could not, how to make something kosher, how to
maintain a kosher home, and how and why dishes, cooking vessels, and
cutlery are immersed in a mikva for ritual purification. It was an
awesome experience that provoked innumerable questions. (Sometimes, it
still does!) The kosher "team" was amazingly helpful, conscientious, and
understanding. While it was difficult to discover that some of my
kitchen items couldn't be made kosher, the excellent explanations and
consideration I received on the spot genuinely elevated the occasion
from an ordinary discarding of useless merchandise to an advancement of
the level of observance that demonstrated progress, learning, and
adherence to the commandments for me.

I was particularly intrigued when my countertops were actually "ironed"
using an ordinary clothing iron to steam the water poured on them,
resulting in kosher counters! I learned about foods that weren't always
obviously meat, milk, or parve, and how and when to keep them separate,
both in the kitchen and in me! Most importantly, I learned of the
importance of keeping kosher and its tremendous benefits to the Jewish
soul. I was happy to finally be participating in this basic,
long-standing, identity-defining tenet of Judaism. Thankfully, there
were several people who offered me their phone numbers for any follow-up
questions that were certainly going to arise. Though there were
definitely a lot of changes that had to occur in my life to become and
maintain kosher, any difficulties that had to be overcome were met with
innumerable benefits that overshadowed the hardships.

So, when my dear friend Andrea called me last week to tell me she was
finally going to kosher her kitchen in honor of her youngest daughter's
Bat Mitzva, I was delighted. She had spoken to me over the years and on
many occasions about undertaking this venerable mitzva, but somehow kept
putting it off. Because she wished to make the Bat Mitzva a more
meaningful experience for both her daughter and herself, she sought
something that would have a spiritual and lasting effect. Taking on
another mitzva is always a terrific idea, but which one would have
significance and sustainability? She thus knew the time was right to
begin keeping a kosher home.

At last, after speaking at length and through various contacts, I was
fortunate to be able to assist her in getting the job done. I really
knew exactly what she was going through, what her feelings were, and
what steps she would have to take, as 14 years ago I, too, had been in
that very same situation. Now, though we are presently living a thousand
miles apart, it was as if we were sitting at her kitchen table
discussing kosher and all of its ramifications.

We spent a lot of time on the phone, sometimes until well after
midnight, discussing every aspect of kashrut (keeping kosher), from
practical advice to deep dissertations on kashrut's role in spiritual
fitness. We spoke of the link we have with those who first learned about
kashrut so long ago and our commitment to preserving the instruction
handed down from G-d to Moses all the way to us. We chatted about
customs and traditions related to kashrut as Andrea shared stories from
her youth about her grandmother's kosher kitchen and the delicious food
she prepared there.

Before long the discussions concluded with a plan of action to make the
kosher concept a reality. Without wavering, Andrea and her daughter
completed the steps necessary to kosher her kitchen.

Finally, Andrea has joined the ranks of Jewish households around the
world who keep kosher, and she couldn't be happier! I look forward to
remaining supportive of her choice and being part of the "cheering
squad," encouraging her along! Surely, becoming kosher is a major
decision that requires much education, patience, and practice, but the
end result is greater than the effort it takes to get there. Mazel tov,
Andrea, on your newly koshered kitchen. Let's exchange recipes sometime!

                               WHAT'S NEW
                          Russian Prayer Book

As part of the "Scribes" publishing project in the former Soviet Union,
a new book was released. The Tehillat HaShem prayer book, featuring the
original Hebrew text and a new Russian translation, was published. In
addition to the prayers in Hebrew and Russian there is also a
transliteration of the most important prayers as well as basic
instructions on how to pray. A second edition is currently being
prepared, that will feature an additional 200-page commentary on the

                            THE REBBE WRITES
                         7 Adar II, 5717 (1957)

I received your letter of the 5th of Adar I.

With regard to the inclination toward a feeling of sadness, a good
remedy for it is to have it firmly engraved on your mind that G-d, the
Creator of the world, watches over everyone individually and, being the
Essence of goodness, there is therefore no room for sadness or worry, as
has been explained at length in various parts of the Tanya (see Index).
It would especially be good for you to learn by heart from the beginning
of Chapter 41 (on page 56) until the next page second line; when ever
you feel sad or depressed you should review that section in your mind or
recite it orally to dispel the unwelcome feeling.

With regard to the question of a beard, since, as you write, you spend
most of the day in the yeshivah [Jewish school], it would be the right
thing to let it grow. In addition to all the reasons you mention in your
letter, there is one fundamental reason in accordance with the Tzemach
Tzedek [Rabbi Menachem Mendel, the third Rebbe of Chabad-Lubavitch] -
Yoreh De'ah, paragraph 93.

It should also be added that when a Jew does something beyond the call
of duty, G-d sends extra special blessings, as is explained in the Zohar
and also in the commentary of the Tzemach Tzedek on the verse in Psalms,
"And He is merciful" (see supplement to Tehillim Yosef Yitzchok
HaShalem). May G-d grant that your example will be emulated by your
friends at the yeshiva, and thus you will have the additional
satisfaction of having been a pioneer for a good cause.

As requested, I will remember you and all those mentioned in your letter
when visiting the holy resting place of my father-in-law, of saintly
memory, and may G-d grant that you will have good news to report in all
of the above and will be successful in your studies and in your conduct,
both of which are based on "serve G-d with joy."

                     14th of Cheshvan, 5736 [1976]

....Your question is surprising, inasmuch as you surely know that one of
the basics of our Torah - called Toras Emes because it tells the truth -
is that everything happens by Divine Providence. Hence you certainly
have your mission in this world, that is to say, you have also been
given the ability and capacity to carry it out. For it is logical that
G-d would not give one a task which is impossible to carry out.
Furthermore, it is possible and necessary to carry out one's mission
with joy, as it is written, "Serve G-d with joy"; also for this the
necessary capacity has been given.

One of the ways to stimulate such joy is to reflect, first of all, upon
the fact that G-d has chosen the Jewish people, and you in particular,
to carry out a mission for Him.

Imagine if a human king would come from his city and residence to visit
your home and entrust you with a special task how welcome this would be;
how much more so in regard to the King of Kings.

Our Sages state that "It is a pleasure, so to speak, for G-d that He has
given a commandment and His Will has been done." Surely it is most
gratifying to be able to please G-d, especially as G-d has also promised
a generous reward both in this world and in the World to Come.

Carrying the illustration a little further, one should consider that in
the case of a human king, one can never be certain that the task he
assigns is all for good, or that it can be carried out fully, or that he
can fully keep his promise of reward. All this, of course, does not
apply in the case of a mitzvah [commandment].

It is also clear that when a person goes about his tasks with joy and
confidence he is likely to have greater success, and also more likely to
overcome any discouragement or difficulty that might arise.

If you reflect on the above in some depth you will surely find a great
deal of strength and encouragement, and you will see how easy it is to
carry it out without any doubts in this regard.

                            WHAT'S IN A NAME

The name "Betzalel" is Hebrew and means, "in the shadow of G-d." The
first person mentioned by that name was Betzalel, son of Hur from the
tribe of Judah, the artisan of the Sanctuary in the desert (Exodus


The name "Bracha" is from the Hebrew word meaning "blessing."  The
masculine of Bracha is Baruch.

                        A WORD FROM THE DIRECTOR
                         Rabbi Shmuel M. Butman
This Sunday, the seventh of Adar, is the birthday and yahrzeit of Moshe
Rabbeinu (Moses).

Jewish teachings (Shmot Rabba) state that "Moshe is the first redeemer
and he is also the final redeemer." This does not mean that Moshe
himself will be the "final redeemer." For, Moshe belongs to the tribe of
Levi, while Moshiach is from the tribe of Judah.

However, many traditional sources view the redemption from Egypt as the
prototype of the Final Redemption, based on the verse in our Prophets:
"As in the days of your exodus from the land of Egypt, I will show you

In this way, Moshe - who was the leader of the Jewish people in his
generation - is the prototype of every Jewish leader and ultimately, of

Thus, for example, in Egypt, first G-d appointed the redeemer - Moshe.
He spoke to the Children of Israel, telling them that G-d had remembered
them and that the time had come for them to leave Egypt. Only afterward
did Moshe redeem the Children of Israel and take them out of Egypt.
Similarly, first Moshiach informs us that the time of the Redemption has
arrived, and only afterward does the actual Redemption take place. (Sfat

In one of his Kabbalistic works, Rabbi Chaim Vital describes Moshiach as
a Tzadik, a human being born of human parents, and writes that he will
receive the soul of Moshiach that has been stored in the Garden of Eden.
Rabbi Chaim Vital then explains how this may be compared to Moshe and
his progression to self-perfection.

The Chasam Sofer, as well, describes Moshe, the first redeemer, and then
compares him to the final redeemer, "And when the time comes, G-d will
reveal Himself to him, and the spirit of Moshiach, which has been hidden
in the higher worlds until his coming, will light upon him.

May we merit Moshiach's coming NOW!

                          THOUGHTS THAT COUNT
Speak to the Children of Israel, that they take for Me an offering (Ex.

Why does the Torah use the word "take" instead of "give"? Because in
reality, everything in the world already belongs to G-d without us
having to "give" it to Him, as it states, "For all things come from You,
and of Your own have we given You." However, when a person does a good
deed with his own money, he acquires it for himself in the true meaning
of the word. Only then can he offer it to G-d as something that is truly


                                *  *  *

And the cherubim shall stretch out their wings upward...and their faces
shall look one to another (Ex. 25:20)

Every talmid chacham (Torah scholar) should aspire to these very same
traits: On the one hand, his "wings should stretch out upward" - he must
be very careful to observe the mitzvot between man and G-d. At the same
time, his face must look toward his brethren - i.e., relate to his
fellow man with justice and righteousness.

                                                    (Olelot Efraim)

                                *  *  *

You shall also make a table ("shulchan") (Ex. 25:23)

The numerical equivalent of the Hebrew word "shulchan" is 388, the same
as the phrase "l'Moshiach," "for [the era of] Moshiach." In the
Messianic era, all of the Temple's vessels and implements that have been
plundered or hidden away will be restored for use in the Divine service.

                                                     (Chomat Anach)

                                *  *  *

You shall set the shew bread upon the table before Me always (Ex. 25:30)

Ever since the world was created out of nothingness, G-d's blessings can
only come down when there is a physical object or vessel to contain
them. As the function of the table in the Holy Temple was to influence
abundance among the Jewish people, physical loaves of bread were
necessary as a channel for G-d's blessings.


                            IT ONCE HAPPENED
During the time of Rebbe Shmuel of Lubavitch there lived a kind nobleman
in the area of Vitebsk who owned the entire village of Chekhov. Many
Jews lived on his vast estates and he was so well disposed toward them
that he lifted the burden of taxes from those who were poor. In addition
he permitted the religious functionaries, the rabbi, the shochet (ritual
slaughterer), and the teachers to pasture their livestock free of

This count was not in good health and the older he grew, the weaker and
sicker he became, having to visit Doctor Bertenson in Vitebsk more and
more frequently. The count's illness forced him to give the
administration of his properties over into the hands of his manager who
was a violent Jew-hater. This manager together with the local priest
conspired to change the count's administrative practices and thus
deprive the Jews of the favor they had enjoyed. They even went so far as
to deprive many families of their livelihood and to require taxes from
even the poorest families. This collusion between the two anti-Semites
continued for two years.

During all that time the local Jews, who were mainly chasidim of Rebbe
Shmuel of Lubavitch, visited their Rebbe on all the festivals and many
Sabbaths. The Chasidic discourses he gave enlivened their existence and
they went often to Lubavitch to receive the Rebbe's blessings for their
health, their children or their livelihood. Not one of the Jews thought
it proper to bring up the topic of the priest and the manager and how
they were changing the benevolent policies of the count.

There was one local Jew who did business for many years with the count.
He was called Reb Shmuel Isaacs and was respected throughout the region
as a reliable, honest merchant. He spent his all his free time studying
Torah, and was learned in its revealed and mystical aspects. Once he was
visiting Lubavitch for the holiday of Shavuot in the year 1880. In the
course of their conversation, the Rebbe asked Reb Shmuel about the state
of affairs vis-a-vis the livelihoods of the Jews in the town.

Reb Shmuel answered truthfully and in great detail describing the
illness of the count and the ensuing problems of his Jewish tenants
caused by the troublesome manager and priest. The Rebbe replied that he
was aware of the condition of the count, since Dr. Bertenson had
described the nobleman's fragile health. "But why," continued the Rebbe,
"didn't you tell me about the change in policy towards the Jews on the
count's estates?"

The Rebbe sat quietly in meditation for a few minutes and then said:
"Return home now, and when you have the opportunity, tell the count in
my name, that I know that his condition is dangerous and that his
doctors have all but given up. Nevertheless, I promise him that if he
helps the Jews of Chekhov and the neighboring villages, the Alm-ghty
will grant him one month's health for each family that he aids."

Reb Shmuel returned home at once and began frequenting the environs of
the count's home in the hope of meeting him, but the nobleman stayed
inside most of the time now, due to his ill health. One lovely day his
physicians advised him to ride out into the countryside to get some air,
and it was then that Reb Shmuel encountered him, weak and pale, being
escorted into his carriage.

The count recognized the merchant and invited him along for the ride.
Reb Shmuel related his conversation with the Rebbe, and the count lost
no time in commissioning the merchant to assemble extensive and exact
lists of all the Jews living on his properties. He was to visit each of
them and assess their needs, while not allowing the purpose of his visit
to be discovered.

In due time the count received a list of more than one hundred and sixty
families from the township and others from the surrounding villages. The
Jews were again aided in making a living, and the count was helped by
the Alm-ghty to regain his health.

Reb Shmuel enjoyed a close relationship with the count from that time
on, and each year the count was sure to sent a lulav from his own palm
trees and some myrtle sprigs from his gardens as a gift to the Rebbe
with which to honor the festival of Sukkot.

The count's good health continued for another fourteen years after which
he began to feel very weak. He sent at once for Reb Shmuel and asked him
to go to Lubavitch and visit the grave of the Rebbe, who had passed away
some years before. He was to tell the Rebbe that the count was feeling
weak. According to his calculations he was owed another year and seven
months of life, and he requested that the Rebbe fulfill his promise.

                            MOSHIACH MATTERS
Every Jew believes in the coming of Moshiach, and is in a state of "I
await his coming every day." But a Jew needs to know that it is not
enough to decide by himself that "I await him," meaning that he hopes
and wants that he will wake up tomorrow morning and see that Moshiach is
here. This is good, but it doesn't bring to action, and "the action is
the main thing." A Jew needs to know that when he goes to sleep tonight,
it should be in a way that when he wakes up in the morning and sees
Moshiach standing next to him in his room - he himself will be found in
a state which is fitting to greet Moshiach!

                      (The Lubavitcher Rebbe, 13 Nisan 5741 - 1981)

               END OF TEXT - L'CHAIM 1109 - Terumah 5770

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