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                         L'CHAIM - ISSUE # 1117
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             THE WEEKLY PUBLICATION FOR EVERY JEWISH PERSON
   Dedicated to the memory of Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka Schneerson N.E.
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        April 23, 2010    Achrei Mos-Kedoshim      9 Iyyar, 5770
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                             Second Chances

When you've missed the boat there's nothing you can do but wave to the
passengers. If the train has already left the station, you might as well
sit down and wait for the next one to arrive. There are many things in
life that depend on being in the right place at the right time; if
you're late, you've missed that opportunity forever.

Likewise, the Torah tells us that there are specific times for doing
specific mitzvot. There is a proper time to put on tefilin, a proper
time to light Shabbat candles, a proper time to eat matza, and a proper
time to sit in the sukka.

The Torah's narrative about Pesach Sheni - the "Second Passover" (always
on 14 Iyar), thus expresses a very radical concept in Judaism.

Right before their Exodus from Egypt, G-d commanded the Jewish people to
offer the Passover sacrifice, on the 14th of Nisan. One of the
requirements, however, was that a Jew had to be in a state of ritual
purity. As a result, not everyone was permitted to bring an offering,
and the Jews who were excluded felt terrible. "Why should we be left
out?!" they demanded of Moses. They were so eager to observe the mitzva
(commandment) that G-d relented, granting them another opportunity to
bring an offering one month later, on the 14th of Iyar.

This story reveals the unfathomable depths of the Jewish soul and the
infinite power of teshuva, repentance. It teaches us that every Jew is
so intimately connected to G-d that when he makes a sincere and
heartfelt demand, it "forces" G-d, as it were, to open up new channels
through which to send us His abundant blessings.

The Previous Rebbe explained that the lesson of Pesach Sheni is that it
is never too late to correct the past and return to G-d. It also
emphasizes the power of a Jew's initiative. When a Jew cries out, from
the depths of his soul and with a genuine desire to fulfill G-d's will,
G-d listens to his plea and grants his request.

There is an additional message of Pesach Sheni. What, in fact, was the
cause of the ritual impurity which excluded some Jews from participating
in the sacrifice? The Torah states: "There were people who were defiled
by contact with the dead and were unable to offer the Passover sacrifice
on that day." According to one opinion in the Talmud, these Jews were
involved in the mitzva of burying a dead person found on the roadside
who had no known relatives to do so. Even a kohen (priest) and even a
High Priest - neither of whom is normally permitted to come in contact
with the dead - is obligated to defile himself by burying the dead
person.

This concept applies on a spiritual plane, as well. When we encounter
another person who is spiritually "lifeless" we are obligated to get
involved with him, even if it takes us away from our own spiritual
pursuits.

Ultimately, Pesach Sheni teaches us that we must never despair or give
up on ourselves, on others, and especially in bombarding G-d with our
demand that He send us Moshiach immediately.

*********************************************************************
           LIVING WITH THE REBBE  -  THE WEEKLY TORAH PORTION
*********************************************************************
This week we read two Torah portion, Acharei and Kedoshim. At the very
beginning of Kedoshim, there are three commandments: 1) "You shall be
holy"; 2) "Every person shall fear his mother and his father"; and 3)
"You shall keep My Sabbaths." The fact that these three mitzvot
(commandments) follow one another is significant and indicates that they
are interrelated.

The term "holy" in this instance means separation, as it says at the end
of our Torah portion, "You shall be holy to Me, for [I, G-d, am holy,
and] I have separated you from the nations...." The Jewish people must
be separate from the nations of the world. And they must be separate
specifically in those areas in which we are seemingly similar, such as
eating, drinking, conducting business and so forth.

The ultimate purpose of a Jew's holiness and spirituality, though, is
not egocentric - to be holy just for himself. Rather, as the Torah says
of our ancestor Abraham, "in order that he will command his children and
his household after him, and they shall keep the way of G-d..." So, one
of the reasons for our remaining separate from the other nations is to
be able to guide our children to walk in the ways of our ancestors. And
this is why the mitzva to be holy is followed by "every person shall
fear his mother and his father" - which alludes to the obligation of
Jewish education.

Parents are the first educators. The mother and father must instill in
their children the feeling that they are different from the rest of the
world, that they are part of a holy nation.

The sequence in that verse is "his mother and his father," mentioning
first the mother. For the mother is the foundation of the house, and the
major part of the actual education is in her hands.

How does a person imbue his children, and himself, with the
consciousness of being a holy nation? This is brought out by the third
commandment, "You shall keep My Sabbaths."

The Sabbath is a sign between the Alm-ghty and Israel. It signifies
belief in the creation of the universe. It strengthens and reinforces
the certainty that the Alm-ghty is the Creator of the universe and
continuously sustains and conducts it.

Shabbat was given only to the Jewish people, and not to the nations of
the world. Observing Shabbat thus means to keep and guard the sign and
covenant between Israel and G-d. This is done by strengthening our faith
in the fact that Jews are not subject to the forces of nature but are
under the specific and individual providence of G-d.

This, in turn, will bring us full circle. It will reinforce in ourselves
and our children the mitzva of "You shall be holy," to the point where
our everyday activities will be infused with holiness.

                   Adapted from the works of the Lubavitcher Rebbe.

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                             SLICE OF LIFE
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                                The Fire
                          by Rachel Flikshtein

Dr. Michael Sugarman was in a rush to leave with his two sons to be at
the synagogue on time for the beginning of the Yom Kippur services. He
reminded his wife, Connie, to lock the door on her way out. As the sun
set on the eve of Yom Kippur, Connie and her guests lit the Yom Tov
(holiday) candles on the buffet table by the dining room window, as she
always did. She stayed in the house for a few minutes and then left for
shul. Shortly after arriving in shul, she remembered that she hadn't
locked the door. Thank G-d, they lived in a safe area; she had forgotten
to lock the door in the past and she was not concerned.

Halfway through the evening service, a congregant approached Michael and
asked if he could step into the lobby. Since he was a neurosurgeon,
Michael figured there was a medical issue that needed attention. In the
lobby was a man and teenage boy who identified themselves as neighbors.
They told Michael that a small fire had started in the house but it had
been put out; the firemen were still there clearing the smoke out. The
neighbors offered Michael a ride home right away. After confirming that
the fire had been extinguished, Michael thanked the neighbors for their
report and politely refused their offer of a ride, explaining that he'd
be home shortly. Michael returned to the sanctuary and rapidly completed
the rest of the night's prayers. As soon as he was through, he ran home
to see what the situation was at his house, not knowing what to expect.

As he arrived home, he encountered two firemen leaving his house.

"You're one lucky fellow," one of them said. "A neighbor saw the fire
and was able to get into the house to put it out. If this fire had
continued for another minute or two, the whole house would have been in
flames and you would have lost your home. We would never have been able
to get here in time." Thanking them for their help, Michael entered the
house to see the extent of the damage done.

The first place he checked was where Connie had lit the candles. Most of
the items that had been on the buffet table had been moved to the front
yard, revealing the ashes and damage. He lifted his eyes, following the
direction that the flames must have traveled, and saw that one of the
windows had cracked and the frame had been burnt. However, except for
some splashes of wax, there was no other damage to the windows. He let
his eyes drift further up and saw that the curtains framing the windows
had been singed around the bottom edge. Michael understood more fully
the fireman's comment. Had the curtains caught fire, the house would
have been lost. Grateful that nothing worse had happened, Michael went
out the front door and sat on the steps to get some fresh air and to
wait for the rest of his family to return from shul.

After sitting for a few minutes, he looked up and saw a couple
approaching him. "We're the ones who put the fire out." The couple had
been driving down the road perpendicular to Michael's development, when
they saw some flames in the window as they passed. The woman turned to
her husband and said that the flames didn't look normal or controlled.
They decided to turn around and check out the situation. Pulling up in
front of the house, they realized that a small fire had, in fact, begun
right in the front window of the home. They called 911 and ran to the
door to try and help. They began knocking and ringing the doorbell.
Nobody answered. Desperate to do something, the man tried the doorknob
and was relieved to find that the door had been left unlocked. He
quickly ran to the kitchen and found a pot and managed to put out the
fire with some water. The smoke was already pretty thick in the house so
they went outside to wait for the firemen to arrive. To their surprise,
the fire trucks didn't show up until five minutes after the couple had
extinguished the fire.

Michael realized that if this couple hadn't taken the initiative to put
the fire out themselves, the whole house would have been destroyed
before the firemen got there! Feeling grateful and indebted to this
couple, he asked them for their names so that he could look them up
after Yom Kippur and somehow repay them for their deed.

"My name is K- and this is my husband T-," she responded. "What's your
name?"

"Michael Sugarman," he replied.

"Sugarman? Do you have any relation to the doctor? Dr. Sugarman?" She
asked inquisitively.

"Actually... I am Dr. Sugarman."

K- was in shock. "You're Dr. Sugarman?! You had my mother as your
patient about 12 years ago. Do you remember her?"

Michael recognized the name but didn't remember any of her circumstances
so he asked K- to refresh his memory. She described that her mother had
been very ill and had emergency surgery for a brain tumor. Following her
surgery she remained critically ill and was on life support. The family
was not sure what to do. K-'s brother had already given up and wanted to
just let their mother go, but K- wasn't ready to give up yet. They had
come to Michael for advice and he had told them to wait for a period of
time to see if she would take a turn for the better. They waited for
that time period and she did begin to get better. She went on to recover
fully and lived another 12 years. She had all her faculties about her
until this past June, when she died of natural causes.

Nothing is permanent without G-d's blessings. G-d is constantly watching
and creating, making everything fit into place perfectly. Every act a
person does is eternal and G-d does not forget, even if we do. Perhaps
in this instance, G-d was trying to show us that everything comes full
circle and that every act we do has a much greater effect than we
realize.

        Reprinted with permission from the N'Shei Chabad Newsletter

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                               WHAT'S NEW
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                             Tanyas Printed

In 1978, the Lubavitcher Rebbe initiated a campaign that Tanya, the
basic book of Chabad Chasidic philosophy by Rabbi Shneur Zalman, should
be printed in every country in the world. Later, the Rebbe encouraged
the printing of additional Tanya editions in every community. Since that
time over 5,000 editions of the Tanya have been printed in dozens of
countries and hundreds of cities on every continent. When Israeli forces
were stationed in Egypt, Lebanon and Syria at different times over the
period since then, Tanyas were printed in those countries too. The
5,525th edition of the Tanya was printed recently in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

*********************************************************************
                            THE REBBE WRITES
*********************************************************************
                           Freely translated

                          Erev Shabbos Kodesh
                     Rosh Chodesh Iyar, 5735 [1975]
                         20th Annual Convention
          National Council of Neshei U'Bnos Chabad (Lubavitch
                         Women's Organization)


On the occasion of the forthcoming convention, taking place on the
weekend of Pesach Sheni [the "second" Passover], I send greetings and
prayerful wishes that the Convention should, with G-d's help, be crowned
with hatzlocho [success] in the fullest measure.

One of the teachings of Pesach-Sheni - as my father-in-law of saintly
memory pointed out - is that in matters of Yiddishkeit [Judaism] one
should never give up, and it is never too late to rectify a past
failing.

This principle has also been one of the basic factors in the work of the
Rebbe's-Nesiim [leaders] since the beginning of Chabad, who dedicated
themselves with utmost mesiras-nefesh [self-sacrifice] to bring Jews
closer to Torah and mitzvoth [commandments], regardless of their level
of Yiddishkeit, and not to give up a single Jew.

The task of bringing Jews closer to Yiddishkeit is especially relevant
to women, for it obviously requires a special approach in terms of
compassion, loving-kindness, gentleness, and the like - qualities with
which women are generally endowed in a larger measure than men, although
all Jews without exception are characterized as rachmonim and
gomlei-chasodim, compassionate and practicing loving-kindness.

The theme of the Convention, "Bringing Light Into the World - The
Obligation and Privilege of Every Jewish Daughter," is especially
fitting in many ways, including this detail in light that it illuminate
its environs regardless of the state of things, all of which are equally
illuminated, and in a benign and friendly manner. This is the way
Torah-Or [Torah-Light] illuminates every Jew in every respect, as it is
written, "Its ways are ways of pleasantness, and all its paths are
peace."

May G-d grant that the convention be carried through with hatzlocho, and
should inspire each and all the participants to carry on their vital
work in a manner full of light and vitality, and in an ever- growing
measure...

                                *  *  *

                          16 Iyar 5711 [1951]


Blessing and Greeting:

I was pleased with the opportunity to exchange a few words with you. As
you connected your visit with the day of Pesach-sheni which we observed
on the day before yesterday, I want to make it the subject of this
letter.

One of the significant lessons of Pesach-sheni is never to despair even
when one has not attained the spiritual heights of others. Thus, while
all the people are celebrating the Passover at its proper time, and one
finds himself "far away," or otherwise unfit to enter the Sanctuary, he
is told: do not despair; begin your way towards the Sanctuary; come
closer and closer; for you have a special chance and opportunity to
celebrate the Second Passover, if you try hard enough. Please convey my
regards and best wishes to your circle.

Cordially,

*********************************************************************
                            WHAT'S IN A NAME
*********************************************************************
SHIMON [Simon] means "to hear."  Shimon was the second son of Jacob and
Leah (Genesis 29:33). Among the many great sages named Shimon, was
Shimon "the Righteous" who said, "The world stands on three things:
(study of) Torah, service (of G-d) and deeds of kindness." (Chapters of
the Fathers 1:2)

SHULAMIT means "peaceful."  In Song of Songs (7:1) it was a name
alluding to the most beautiful girl in Israel.

*********************************************************************
                        A WORD FROM THE DIRECTOR
                         Rabbi Shmuel M. Butman
*********************************************************************
This coming Wednesday is "Pesach Sheni." Pesach Sheni, the Second
Passover, was instituted the year after the Jews left Egypt while they
were still in the desert. On Passover of that year, G-d commanded our
ancestors to bring the special Passover offering. However, since some of
the Jews were ritually impure at that time, they were not permitted to
bring the offering. They protested and G-d told Moses that all those who
were unable to bring the offering on Passover could bring it one month
later. This date became known as the Second Passover.

The Previous Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok Schneersohn wrote: "The theme
of Pesach Sheni is that it is never too late. It is always possible to
put things right. Even if one was ritually impure, or far away, and even
in a case when this impurity or distance was deliberate--nonetheless it
can be corrected."

It's never too late. What an inspiring and optimistic thought! There's
always a chance to improve, to become better, to learn and do.

This is truly a motto worth memorizing (and hanging on the
refrigerator). Rather than muttering about yourself or another person,
"You can't teach an old dog new tricks," realize that it's never too
late.

You didn't put on tefilin yesterday? Today's a new day and it's never
too late.

You didn't light candles for Shabbat last Friday night? Do it this week,
it's never too late.

You never went to Hebrew school, so you can't read Hebrew? Enroll in an
adult education course; it's never too late.

You never knew that Judaism had so much to offer? Now that you know, do
something about it, because it's never too late.

*********************************************************************
                          THOUGHTS THAT COUNT
*********************************************************************
And you shall love your neighbor as yourself (Lev. 19:18)

The previous Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn, once
related: As a four year old, I asked my father (Rabbi Shalom Dov Ber),
"Why did G-d create two eyes and not one, as He did with the mouth and
nose?" My father began explaining by asking: "In the Hebrew alphabet
there are both the letter shin and the letter sin. What is the
difference between them?" I answered that one has a dot on the right
side, and one has a dot on the left side. My father explained: "There
are things in the world at which we must look with the right eye, with
love and affection, and things that we must see with the left eye, as if
from a distance. For instance, we must look at the letters in a prayer
book and at another Jew, with our right eye, and at candies and toys
with the left..." This implanted love for a fellow Jew firmly in my
heart. One must look favorably upon every single Jew, no matter who he
is..."

                                                 (Likutei Dibburim)

                                *  *  *


You shall be holy, for I am holy (Lev. 19:2)

"Holy, but not removed from the world," comments the Ktav Sofer. Man is
enjoined to imitate G-d, the source of all holiness, Who actively
involves Himself in all aspects of His creation. G-d wants us to live a
holy life within the physical world, not to be ascetic. A saying exists
that a wealthy man's son never has to worry about making a living.
Likewise, G-d reassures His children, the Jewish people, that holiness
and sanctity are well within their grasp. "For I am holy"-"I have enough
holiness to go around for everyone."

                                           (The Rebbe of Alexander)

                                *  *  *


And when you come into the land (Lev. 19:23)

Certain commandments only pertain to the land of Israel, and are not
applicable outside of its borders. Despite the admonition of the Tzemach
Tzedek - the third Lubavitcher Rebbe - to "make here the land of
Israel," we should not feel that it is acceptable to languish in exile
for even one minute more than necessary. Our goal remains the physical
land of Israel and the ushering in of the Messianic era through the
coming of Moshiach.

*********************************************************************
                            IT ONCE HAPPENED
*********************************************************************
Many years ago, in the city of Lemberg in Galicia, there lived a family
by the name of Brill. According to legend their name was derived from
the miraculous "brillen" (glasses in Yiddish) at the heart of this
story.

One time, a baby boy was born into a Jewish family. Their joy was
short-lived, however, when it was discovered that the child was blind.
As the doctors could do nothing to help, the parents accepted the Divine
decree and loved their child even more. The boy's first name is not
known, but for our purposes we will call him Michel.

When Michel was three years old he was given his first haircut and
brought to school. Although he obviously could not learn to read, the
teacher began to teach him the blessings and prayers by heart.

It soon became apparent that the child was unusually intelligent.
Whatever he heard was immediately remembered. Over the next few years he
memorized the entire prayer book, many books of the Bible and many
tractates of Mishna. The child acquired a vast amount of Torah knowledge
and was beloved by all.

Michel was especially drawn to sefarim, Jewish holy books. Even though
he couldn't read, he would remove them from their shelves and lovingly
caress their pages. Passing his fingers over the holy letters, he seemed
to absorb their sanctity. Each book received a kiss before being put
back.

One time Michel asked his brother to bring him to the main study hall in
Lemberg. As was his habit, he began to take the sefarim off the shelves
and straighten out their pages. He came across a very thick volume
covered with dust; it was obvious that no one had used it in a very long
time. He opened it and was surprised to feel something hard between the
pages. It was a glasses case that someone had forgotten. The boy opened
the case, took out the glasses, and playfully put them on. He thought he
would faint: unbelievably, he could see! The entire world suddenly came
into focus.

Michel thought he must be dreaming. He took off the glasses and again
was blind. Putting them back on, he could see his younger brother and
the square-shaped letters on the pages before him. It was a miracle.

Michel fought against the urge to cry out about what had happened. But
he was still in shock and needed a little more time to assimilate the
change. Instead, he put the glasses in his pocket and asked his brother
to take him home.

Michel's parents could see that something was wrong. The poor boy's
hands were trembling; he was deathly pale and could barely eat. But when
they asked him what was the matter, he insisted that everything was
fine.

That night he waited until everyone had gone to sleep to try on the
glasses. Again, he could see as if he had never been blind. A few days
later he could no longer keep the secret to himself, and told his
parents about the miraculous glasses. Needless to say, the entire
household was filled with gladness and light. The whole city of Lemberg
marveled at the miracle. Everyone agreed that there was no one more
deserving of such good fortune than he. Moreover, now Michel could begin
studying Torah in earnest.

Sometime later Michel went back to the study hall to take a good look at
the book in which he had discovered the glasses. It was an ancient
volume of Kabala (mysticism), and although he had made great strides in
his studies, he could not understand much of what was written. Michel
was determined to learn more about the book and the glasses, but no one
was able to answer his questions. Finally, he found a very old man who
remembered that as a young child, he had often seen the Rabbi of the
town poring over that particular volume and wearing similar glasses.
Further questioning revealed that the rabbi was none other than the
famous Torah scholar known as the "Pnei Yehoshua" for his commentary on
the Talmud [Rabbi Yaakov Yehoshua Falk, 1680-1756], who later headed a
community in Germany.

Astoundingly, Michel later learned that he had found the glasses on the
exact date of the rabbi's passing (yartzeit)! For the rest of his life
he observed the Pnei Yehoshua's yartzeit as a special day of
thanksgiving.

Michel Brill grew up to be not only a Torah scholar but also a
successful businessman who gave generously to charity. Years later, when
he passed away after a long and fruitful life, his descendants gathered
to divide up their inheritance. Everyone was willing to relinquish
everything their father had left them aside from his miraculous glasses.
In the course of their argument the glasses fell to the floor and
shattered, and so each of his children ended up with a small sliver of
glass...

*********************************************************************
                            MOSHIACH MATTERS
*********************************************************************
A Jew constantly yearns for and awaits Moshiach's coming, when the Holy
Temple will be rebuilt. Should the Holy Temple be rebuilt in the period
between Pesach and Pesach Sheni (the "second" Passover), the Jewish
people will be required to bring the Passover offering on Pesach Sheni.
The expectation of the imminent arrival of Moshiach obligates a Jew,
immediately after Pesach, to begin preparations for Pesach Sheni. And,
even if Moshiach has not come by Pesach Sheni, it is proper to at least
commemorate Pesach Sheni.

                                          (Likutei Sichot, vol. 12)

*********************************************************************
         END OF TEXT - L'CHAIM 1117 - Achrei Mos-Kedoshim 5770
*********************************************************************

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