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                         L'CHAIM - ISSUE # 1111
                           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.
        March 5, 2010           Ki Sisa            19 Adar, 5770

                              Sleep Tight

                       Lullaby and good night...

For most of us, feeling sleep-deprived is a regular habit. Whether we've
stayed up to balance the checkbook, or to catch up on the latest
developments in our field of expertise, or even because we just couldn't
put down that book, inevitably the alarm clock rings long before we've
gotten enough sleep to feel properly rested.

Even if we do get to sleep at a decent hour, there often seems to be a
conspiracy to make sure we don't get a good night's sleep: the telephone
("Sorry, wrong number); a crying baby; the garbage truck clanging at 3
a.m. (or is that only in Manhattan?); the teenager still out with the

Sleep researchers will rattle off the pros and cons of valerian,
melatonin, exercise, hot baths, warm milk or a solid meal. They'll also
tell you that the older you get (over 30!) the more you're likely to
complain about your sleeping. A good night's sleep truly seems to be

Though they don't necessarily offer advice on how to fall asleep or stay
asleep, Jewish teachings do have what to say about how to help make the
night's sleep as pleasant and sweet as possible.

The first step toward a good night's sleep is to do a mitzva
commandment). Actually, the last mitzva of the day is to say the "Shema
Before Retiring."

Many prayer books also contain a short but amazingly powerful paragraph
as part of the bedtime prayers in which we declare that we forgive
anyone who has angered us or sinned against us, and we ask for G-d's
assistance to not repeat our failings of the previous day. Said
sincerely, this prayer is sure to help you get a good night's sleep.

And, perhaps, this is why King David, the composer of the Psalms wrote
(4:9), "In peace, at one with all, I will lie down and sleep, for You O
L-rd will make me dwell alone and in security." When we are truly at one
with all, when we've not only let go of but buried the day's baggage, we
can not only lie down but actually fall asleep.

Studying Torah during the day and at night will also help you sleep
well. In Proverbs (3:24) we read of the benefit of Torah study: "When
you lie down, you shall not be afraid; indeed, you shall lie down, and
your sleep shall be sweet."

A few chapters later in Proverbs (6:20, 22) we are advised to "keep your
father's commandment, and forsake not the Torah of your mother" for
"when you sleep, it shall keep you." This alludes to the fact that doing
mitzvot and studying Torah guards us in our sleep. Knowing that we're
safe can surely help us get a better night's sleep.

When we take these Jewish teachings to heart, we will surely awaken
refreshed and ready to tackle another day. Ultimately, the increase in
Torah study and mitzvot will hasten the dawning of the great day and era
of the Messianic Redemption, when all of those who are asleep, including
those who "sleep in the dust" will awaken and be revived, may it happen

In this week's Torah portion, Ki Tisa, we read that when Moses came down
from Mount Sinai with the Tablets of the Law he saw the Jewish people
sinning with the Golden Calf. With everyone watching, he threw the holy
Tablets down and broke them. The Midrash relates that Moses later
regretted what he had done. G-d said to him, "Do not be aggrieved. The
first Tablets contained only the Ten Commandments, but the second
Tablets I will give you will have much more! For together with the
second Tablets the Jewish people will receive halachot (laws), midrashim
and agadot (homiletic interpretations), and the entire Oral Torah!"

Why didn't G-d include these things when He gave the first set of

To explain: In order to receive G-d's Torah, a person must be humble.
Only through humility does he become an appropriate vessel to contain

This is what we say in our prayers: "And may my soul be like dust to
all; open my heart to Your Torah." When we feel ourselves to be as lowly
and humble as the dust, our hearts are opened to accept the Torah.

At Mount Sinai, G-d chose the Jewish people from among all the nations
of the world, "lifting us up above all tongues." Thus the Jewish people
felt themselves exalted; they were filled with self-importance and
lacked the modesty and humility which is necessary to receive the Torah.

When Moses broke the Tablets before their eyes the spirit of the Jewish
people was also broken. Profoundly humiliated, their hearts became
filled with a sense of their own lowliness; they became "like the dust
of the earth."

At that moment the Jews became worthy of receiving the entire Torah -
not only the Ten Commandments, but all of the Torah's various aspects
and levels!

In fact, as Rashi, the foremost Torah commentator, notes, G-d praised
Moses for what he had done. "More power to you for having broken them!"
G-d declared. G-d thanked Moses for having broken the first Tablets. For
Moses' action caused the Jewish people to be humbled, and as a direct
result, worthy of receiving the entire Torah.

In this light we can better understand the Talmud's statement that the
fragments of the first Tablets were kept inside the Ark in the Holy
Temple together with the intact second set.

Why were the broken fragments included? To remind us that we cannot
receive G-d's Torah without humility. Arrogance and pride are emotions
that preclude a person from being a proper vessel. When Jews bear this
in mind, our hearts are opened, and we can receive G-d's Torah.

                Adapted from Likutei Sichot of the Rebbe, Volume 26

                             SLICE OF LIFE
                      A Staycation for the Spirit
                           by Linda Sugarman

So consider this (and I mean really take a minute and think this
through): No e-mails. No telephones (yes, that includes cells). No TV.
No iPods or laptops. No driving. No radio. No electronics whatsoever.
Period. For 25 hours. Imagine giving up everything with an on-off
switch. Could you do it? And why would you want to? Would it restrict or
release you?

Well, a few months ago I opened my big mouth and admitted to the entire
town of Marblehead that every once in awhile I fantasize about chucking
all the devices and gadgets in my life just so I could remember what
real life feels like. Not permanently, just sort of a reboot for the

Ever since I put it out there it's been on my mind. I wanted to make it
happen, but the timing never seemed to be right. Plus, I'd be lying if I
said I wasn't a little intimidated by the thought of giving everything
up. It sounded great in theory, but when you think about the actual
ramifications it ends up looking like a pretty outrageous idea,
especially considering how most of us live our lives day to day. We're
constantly either refreshing, updating or checking something, and if
we're not doing that we're chauffeuring someone somewhere or making a
call or using a gadget that's supposed to make the quality of our life

But does it?

So when the e-mail came in from my daughter's Hebrew school, Chabad, a
few weeks ago inviting people to take The Shabbat Challenge I knew
someone was sending me a sign that this was my shot. So I took it.

For anyone who doesn't know what's involved in "keeping Shabbat," it
means that every week, from sunset on Friday to nightfall on Saturday,
Jews all over the world unplug. Fifty-two weeks a year. And for those 25
hours, they stay unplugged. They eat, they rest, they reflect, many
pray, they spend time with family and friends, and they recover
physically and spiritually from their week.

Chabad picked the weekend in late January, and they spelled out the
rules: driving, not OK; board games, OK; power, not OK; walking, OK
(it's a long list). So for one, full day my family would flip the master
breaker and go completely dark. And we decided that if we were going to
do it we were going to go all in, which for a Reformed family who
practices the most liberal form of Judaism that was WAY in. The fact
that it was temporary definitely took the edge off. But it was still
intimidating no matter how you looked at it.

So we picked which lights would stay on for the full 25 hours; we
unscrewed the light bulb in the fridge so it didn't go on when we opened
the door; we cooked everything before sundown on Friday night; we
unplugged every device; we picked out all our board games and books. And
then it came.

And it was painless.

Without really even noticing, Shabbat settled in and the vibe of our
whole house shifted. It was a quietude that was defined by the fact that
we knew it would last, even for only a day. All the pressure was gone.
The anticipation of rushing or fussing or preparing had disappeared.
Once we committed to the challenge, everything was surprisingly easy.
And it became shockingly obvious that we all carry around a very
misplaced sense of urgency - when there's actually very little that we
can't do without.

My brother-in-law gave me the best analogy right before sunset. He said,
"There's a beauty created in the quietude of the Sabbath that's
difficult to describe or capture otherwise. You need to focus on that
quietude rather than on the things you might otherwise be doing."

Then he put it in terms that I could really understand. He said that my
sister-in-law made some amazing salsa the other night and also some
homemade tortilla chips with a hint of lime. He said he noticed the hint
of lime when he ate the chips without the salsa but then forgot all
about it once he started dipping into the fiery salsa. After the salsa
was gone, he started eating the chips dry again and realized how much he
liked that subtle hint of lime that was invisible with the salsa. He
said the same thing goes for the Sabbath. Enjoy removing the noise to
find the quietude that's always there waiting to be revealed.

OK, so we may have bent the rules a little and taught our girls how to
play Texas Hold'em to pass the time (gambling can't exactly be promoted
on Shabbat, but it's a game, and games are OK). But since flexibility is
the real root of Reformed Judaism we cut ourselves some slack.

We also stayed in our pajamas until 4 in the afternoon, getting dressed
only to walk down to Preston Beach to see the sunset. And by that point,
even the sound of the cars on the road seemed a little intrusive because
we were used to such a comfortable quiet. It was a little surreal, at
least for me, feeling so far away from home even though I was right
there - probably because everything felt so different.

In the end, the 25 hours flew by and we all ended up with much more than
we bargained for. It gave us a clarity and peace that would be tough to
duplicate any other way. And it changed each one of us somehow, too. My
girls said they were shocked at how fast the time went by and how "not
boring" the experience was. And my husband, who would sleep with an
earpiece in if he could, said he felt amazingly liberated to shut
everything down and just walk away. And for him that's big.

Now this doesn't mean we're going all in and making this a weekly thing,
but it definitely gave us all something to think about. It showed us
that there's a place we can always go to get away - far away, like a
"staycation" for the spirit. And those are in right now, aren't they?

So it's ironic: After all that, the real challenge was letting the
Sabbath go. Who knew?

                               WHAT'S NEW
                   Treasures from the Chabad Library

The collection of the Central Chabad Lubavitch Library and Archive
Center is one of the world`s leading repositories of Hebraica,
containing some 250,000 volumes, and is a crown Jewel of the
Chabad-Lubavitch movement. Treasures of the Chabad Library features 154
entries, focusing on some of the important and rare items housed in the
library. Each entry is accompanied by an explanation in English and
Hebrew. Kehot Publications.

                            THE REBBE WRITES
                        21 Adar II, 5738 [1978]

Sholom uBrocho [Peace and Blessing]:

I am in receipt of your letter, written on Purim, and in view of its
contents I hasten to reply to it ahead of turn and via Special Delivery.

Following the order in your letter, I will refer to your problem of
finding yourself and your wife in a depression "from the disappointment
of not following through with our dreams of going to Israel."

It is surely unnecessary to emphasize to you again that the only reason
for my opinion that you ought to continue in the USA is that American
Jewry, and especially the younger generation, have a priority claim on
your services to help permeate them with Yiddishkeit [Judaism],
especially after you have had such immeasurable Hatzlocho [success] in

To be sure, the Yishuv [settlement] in Eretz Yisroel [the Land of
Israel] would also benefit from your presence there, but it would not be
of the same scope and quality as here. Furthermore, making Aliyah
[moving to Israel] requires a certain period of adjustment and getting
the proper feel of the new situation, etc., and in the present "Jet-Age"
every minute is of the essence especially insofar as youth is concerned.

All the above is coupled with the consideration that doing the proper
thing is the channel for contentment and inner peace and G-d's blessings
also in all personal affairs.

Pursuant to the above, my advice was further predicated on the
assumption that the activities can be carried out with joy and gladness
of heart, which is essential if the objectives are to be attained in
fullest measure, and certainly not in a state of depression or a feeling
of imposition. There is no need to belabor the point to an experienced
communal worker like yourself.

In light of all that has been said above - if, for any reason, the
disappointment of your unfulfilled dreams of going to Eretz Yisroel
created a different situation from that I had envisaged, then, of
course, my advice to stay would be pointless and out of place. To put it
simply, if after several month of continuing with your work here, you
still find that you cannot "snap out" of the depression, and if the
reason behind it is none other than the unfulfilled dream, then, of
course, you have my blessing to go to Eretz Yisroel and do what you can

Should you, however, decide that the cause of the present depression is
after all not really the above and, hence can be eliminated, restoring
you back to your former state of good cheer and confidence to be able to
carry on your Hafotzo [outreach] activities with joy and gladness of
heart - then the second problem mentioned in your letter - the question
of a house - has to be tackled.

Inasmuch as our Sages declare that "a nice dwelling broadens a person's
mind" and is conducive to great achievements both in personal and
communal affairs, you should look for a suitable house in a suitable
section. As for selling all your assets, this is not advisable, nor
necessary. I have at my disposal a fund for such special situations and
a loan would be gladly made available to you for the full amount that
you may require to enable you to purchase a nice dwelling as above. You
may set your own terms of repayment at your convenience. As I do not
wish to be involved in a "hetter-iska," [arrangement that permits
interest to be charged on a loan] the loan would have to be
interest-free. It would create no hardship for anyone, and you need not
hesitate about it, at all.

Since your letter was written on Purim and the reply is erev Shabbos
Mevorchim Nissan [the eve of the Sabbath on which the month of Nissan is
blessed], both of which are occasions for Simchah [joy], may there
always be true joy in your home and, to quote the Megillah [Scroll of
Esther], "Light, joy, gladness and honor" in every sense of these terms.

With blessing,

P.S. I believe there has been some mention of a Shidduch [marriage
match] for your daughter in Eretz Yisroel. If there are further
developments, I would be glad to hear about it.

                            WHAT'S IN A NAME
GAVRIEL (Gabriel) is from the Hebrew, meaning "G-d is my strength." The
angel, Gavriel, is mentioned only once, in the book of Daniel (8:16).
The Midrash relates that he rescued Abraham from the fiery furnace and
saved Moses from certain death, as a child, by not allowing him to take
the glittering jewels in Pharaoh's test.

GILA The name Gila is from the Hebrew meaning "gladness." It is found,
among other places, in the last of the seven blessings for the bride and

                        A WORD FROM THE DIRECTOR
                         Rabbi Shmuel M. Butman
According to Jewish law, we begin studying the laws of an upcoming
holiday 30 days before that holiday begins. We recently celebrated the
holiday of Purim, which precedes Passover by 30 days. Thus, in a very
practical sense, Purim and Passover, and all of the days in between, are

In addition to Purim and Passover being connected, they also have
something very important in common. Jewish children had a great
influence on what happened to the entire Jewish people at both of those
times in Jewish history.

Concerning Purim, the Midrash tells us that Haman's wicked decree was
abolished in the merit of the Torah study and prayers of the Jewish
children. G-d accepted their pure and heartfelt prayers and brought
about the Purim redemption. Regarding Passover, the Talmud tells us that
despite the bitter slavery they endured, the Jewish people raised a very
special generation of children. This is best illustrated by what
happened at the splitting of the Sea. Our Sages teach that the children
recognized G-d first - even before the adults.

What significance does this have for us today? Since Passover is the
time of freedom and redemption, Jewish children and the Jewish child
within each one of us must use these days between Purim and Passover to
prepare for Passover in a manner that shows true "freedom." This can be
accomplished by freeing ourselves of our limitations (the Hebrew word
for "limitation" - "maytzarim," is etymologically related to "Mitzrayim"
- "Egypt"). We will then be able to fulfil mitzvot with joy and

The Talmud states that in the month of Nisan we were redeemed (from
Egypt) and in the month of Nisan we will be redeemed once again.

Let us not have to wait another 11 days until Nisan, but rather, may we
be redeemed immediately through Moshiach, NOW!

                          THOUGHTS THAT COUNT
See, I have called by name Betzalel the son of Uri (Ex. 31:2)

When Moses ascended on high to receive the Torah, G-d showed him all the
Sanctuary's vessels and explained how to make them. Moses thus assumed
that he would be the one to make them, until G-d took out the Book of
Adam and showed him the names of all the people who would live from
Creation until the Resurrection of the Dead, "each generation and its
kings, its generation and its leaders and prophets." Pointing to
Betzalel's name He declared, "See, I have called by name Betzalel,"
i.e., ever since the creation of the world, Betzalel was intended to be
the Sanctuary's artisan.

                                                    (Midrash Rabba)

                                *  *  *

And the Tablets were the work of G-d, and the writing was the writing of
G-d (Ex. 32:16)

What was so remarkable about the Tablets, considering that the Jewish
people had already heard the Ten Commandments? Rather, when the Ten
Commandments were inscribed in stone, they were simultaneously engraved
upon the heart of every Jew forever and ever, as it states, "Write them
on the tablet of your heart." This, indeed, was truly "a work of G-d."

                                                       (Sefat Emet)

                                *  *  *

And you shall see My back (literally "end"); but My face shall not be
seen (Ex. 33:23)

The significance of most events is not readily apparent when they first
occur; it is only with the passage of time that we are able to discern
the guiding hand of Divine Providence throughout history. That is what
is meant by "And you shall see My end" - only in the end will you
understand; "but My face shall not be seen" - whereas in the beginning,
a true understanding of the overall picture is impossible.

                                                      (Torat Moshe)

                            IT ONCE HAPPENED
In the Tunisia of old, it was customary for the "Bey," the supreme ruler
of the country, to personally appoint all nominees to public positions.
This included all posts within the Jewish community.

One time the Chief Rabbi of Tunisia passed away, and the vacancy needed
to be filled. The Chief Rabbi held an extremely crucial position, as
many important powers were invested in him. As the official head of the
Jewish community, he represented all of Tunisia's Jews in the secular
courts, and his word carried much weight.

At the time of the Chief Rabbi's passing, Rabbi Nehorai Germon was
serving as his assistant. In most cases it was only a matter of form for
the assistant to be promoted. This time, however, there were forces
within the Jewish community who opposed Rabbi Nehorai's promotion.

On the one hand, Rabbi Nehorai was easy to get along with, modest and
unassuming. Yet when it came to upholding the Torah's laws and Jewish
customs, he was absolutely rigid and fearlessly unbending. To some
people, this was untenable. What they sought was a Chief Rabbi who
wouldn't be a stickler for detail, someone who would know when to look

And so, a delegation of protesters went to the Bey. "He's much too
fanatical," they told him. "Under no circumstances should Rabbi Nehorai
become the next Chief Rabbi." The Bey was very receptive to their
message. Soon rumors were flying that Rabbi Nehorai was no longer in the

It was precisely then that Rabbi Nehorai's inner strength and fortitude
was revealed. As our Sages put it, "Wherever there is humility, there is
also greatness." Overcoming his natural aversion to self-promotion, the
Rabbi realized that he could not in good conscience simply withdraw from
the fray. The dignity and reputation of the Chief Rabbinate demanded
more of him.

Rabbi Nehorai went to the royal palace, where he was astounded by the
throngs of people milling about. He asked the palace guards to be
admitted but was informed that he would have to wait his turn.
Stubbornly, Rabbi Nehorai refused to budge, demanding an immediate
audience with the Bey. A commotion ensued, the angry sounds of which
reached the ears of the Bey himself.

The Bey sent an aide outside to see what was going on. Quickly sizing up
the situation, he returned to the Bey and explained that the assistant
to the former Chief Rabbi was insisting on speaking to him. The Bey was
surprised by the Jew's agressive behavior, but instructed that he be
brought in.

"Why was it so urgent to meet with me that you defied all social
conventions?" the Bey asked Rabbi Nehorai, an artificial smile on his

Rabbi Nehorai was not intimidated. "If all the conventions were being
adhered to," he replied seriously, "I would not have had to come here."

"What do you mean?" the Bey asked, his curiosity aroused.

"When affairs of state are attended to fairly, the assistant to the
Chief Rabbi is automatically promoted to the office upon his death..."

The Bey stopped smiling. "From all the information I have received about
you," he said, "it appears that you are too inflexible for the job,
wedded to what you perceive as inviolate principles. It is said that you
are unwilling to compromise for the sake of peace. In my opinion, a
successful Chief Rabbi must know when to keep his eyes open and when to
shut them..."

Rabbi Nehorai did not react, seemingly ignoring the Bey's words. "What a
beautiful garden you have," he said suddenly, looking out the window at
the magnificently manicured grounds. "I've never seen one more

"It is unparalleled in all of Tunisia," the Bey responded, unable to
resist the compliment.

"If I may be so bold," the Rabbi said, "it seems to me that if a lush
garden like this will grow only here, of all places in the entire
kingdom, surely it is a sign that G-d smiles favorably on your

The Bey almost laughed. "If everyone in the kingdom employed as many
skilled horticulturists as I do, their land would also yield the same
results. My gardeners are extremely vigilant, busy from dawn till dusk,
planting, digging, trimming and plucking out stray weeds. But tell me,
what does all this have to do with the subject we were discussing?"

"Well, I was wondering," Rabbi Nehorai replied. "Why do you insist on
employing such skilled horticulturists? Why don't you hire a gardener
who sometimes keep his eyes open, and other times keeps them closed..."

"Are you telling me that the Jewish community is the same as a garden?"
the Bey smiled.

"In certain respects, yes," the Rabbi explained. "Our holy Torah
contains 248 positive commandments, lovely seedlings in G-d's garden
that must be nurtured and cared for. Then there are the Torah's 365
negative commandments. Like weeds, they must be carefully plucked out
and uprooted. The Chief Rabbi is entrusted with caring for this garden,
and must carry out his responsibilities faithfully."

The Bey was convinced, and a few days later Rabbi Nehorai was officially
appointed Chief Rabbi of Tunisia.

                            MOSHIACH MATTERS
In time to come the Evil Inclination will cease to exist; as it is
written (Zecharia 13:2), "I shall remove the spirit of impurity from the
earth." Indeed, so manifest will the glory of G-d then be throughout the
entire world, that a mere fig will cry out in protest if it is about to
be picked on Shabbos.  It is thus clear that it will be impossible to
sin in such circumstances, even unwittingly - just as a small child
never puts his hand into the fire, nor does an animal jump into a fire.

                                (Likkutei Sichot, Vol. XXV, p. 263)

               END OF TEXT - L'CHAIM 1111 - Ki Sisa 5770

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