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                         L'CHAIM - ISSUE # 1130
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                 Lubavitch Youth Organization - L.Y.O.
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   Dedicated to the memory of Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka Schneerson N.E.
        July 23, 2010          Vaeschanan            12 Av, 5770

                             Saying Goodbye

We've all seen or been part of a scenario repeated dozens of times. At a
family gathering, a synagogue event, a Jewish lecture, a simcha, someone
says, "I'm leaving," and moves to get his coat. Twenty minutes later
he's still there. Either in to an all-new conversation, still hugging
the Bubbies and Zeidies, or noticing an old friend/relative he didn't
have a chance to chat with yet. This phenomenon transcends gender, age,
and country of origin. But it does seem to be particularly prevalent
among Jews.

It's called a Jewish good-bye and it seems to go on forever. Because
Jews never really say "good-bye." We say "shalom - peace to you." Or we
say in Hebrew "Go in peace." One whose background is more Yiddish might
say, "fort gezunterheit - travel in health." But we never say

In fact, even were you to scour the modern Hebrew language, you wouldn't
find a word for "good-bye." All you'd come up with is "l'hitraot," which
means "see ya later." (Some Israelis do say, "bye- bye." But pronounced
with that decidedly Hebrew accent you know that it's been borrowed from

At a Jewish gathering, private or public, we take a long time to go
because, after all, who wants to leave the warm embrace of family - and
all Jews truly are one family. All Jews share in each others simchas and
each others sorrows.

Is there any basis, though, in Jewish tradition, for this seeming
inability to just say "good-bye"?

The Talmud enjoins us, "Whatever your host tells you, do, except leave."
One of the commentaries explains that a guest must immediately comply
with everything the host tells him to do except when the host tells him
it is time to leave. The guest should show the host his reluctance to
take leave of his company!

In addition, Jewish teachings encourage us that when we part from a
friend, we should share a d'var halacha, meaning a "word of Jewish law."
But d'var halacha can also be interpreted as a "word for the way."

So, it's not hard to understand why Jews don't say good-bye. Firstly, we
don't really want to leave. Secondly, even when we do realize that we
absolutely must leave, we should show our reluctance to leave. And
lastly, when we already have our coat on, we should share a thought for
the journey (however short) with our friend.

Ultimately, though, one might speculate that not saying "good-bye" has a
more eternal and confident message. For, deep within every Jew is the
fundamental belief in better times, the best times, the times of
Moshiach. In that era - the Era of the Redemption - we will see the
fulfillment of one of the principles of Jewish belief, the revival of
the dead. And at that time, we will all be reunited with our loved ones.
And when we rejoice in being together again with them, we will fully
understand why we never really said, "good-bye."

In this week's Torah portion, Va'etchanan, Moses addresses G-d: "O L-rd
G-d," Moses opens his prayer, "You have begun to show Your servant Your
greatness and Your strong hand..." With these words, Moses establishes
that it wasn't until his generation that G-d began to reveal His
greatness in the world.

The Zohar asks how this can be possible. Many years before, it points
out, there was a great tzadik (righteous person) named Jacob, who was
one of the three Jewish Patriarchs. In fact, Jacob is called "the
chosen" of the Forefathers, and he merited to see many G-dly miracles.
So how could G-d have first begun to show His greatness only in Moses'

The Zohar answers its own question: "That which Moses had, was had by no
other human being: many thousands and tens of thousands of Jews, etc."

In Jacob's time the Jewish people was very small in number, far fewer
than the several million who existed in Moses' generation. From the
"seventy souls" that went down to Egypt at the beginning of the exile,
by the time of the Exodus they had already multiplied to 600,000 men
between the ages of 20 and 60, not counting women and children and men
in other age groups, .

It was not until Moses' generation, when the Jewish people had become
"great" also in number, and stood together in unity and oneness, that
the true "greatness" of G-d was manifested.

This contains a practical lesson for the Divine service of every Jew:
Every individual, regardless of age, must do everything he can to
strengthen Jewish unity and make the Jewish people more cohesive. Every
person must strive to increase his love for his fellow Jew, and connect
himself to as many Jews as possible.

This is one of the reasons we preface our daily prayers with the words
"I hereby accept upon myself the positive commandment of 'You shall love
your fellow as yourself.'" Before we ask G-d to fulfill a personal
request, we identify and connect ourselves to the totality of the Jewish

Indeed, it is then that the "greatness" of the Jew is expressed. A
single Jew is not alone, nor is a single Jewish family or Jewish
community. Every Jew is connected to every other Jew, and to all Jews
throughout the generations.

As the Zohar explains, the process of showing G-d's "greatness,"
initiated by G-d in the generation of Moses, will reach its culmination
with the coming of Moshiach, who will redeem not only the Jewish people
but also the entire world. At that time we will experience wonders and
miracles far greater than those witnessed during the Exodus, and indeed,
incomparable to anything experienced in history.

Adapted from a talk of the Lubavitcher Rebbe on 7 Menachem Av 5740/1980

                             SLICE OF LIFE
                             Zlata's Impact

Zlata Geisinsky, wife, mother and emissary of the Lubavitcher Rebbe in
Bethesda and Chevy Chase, Maryland, recently passed away very suddenly.
Below are excerpts of posts on

About 13 years ago, my then-fiance Zvi Rome took me to the first of what
would become many Friday evening services, followed by dinner at Zlata
and Rabbi G's home in Potomac. Zvi had fallen in love with the couple
several years earlier, and was looking forward to introducing me to such
a special part of his life. By the way he spoke of them, with such honor
and respect, I expected to meet a couple in their sixties, at least. You
can imagine my surprise when the baby-faced rabbi and his gorgeous
rebbitzin received us with parental-type, unconditional affection.

Zlata, for me, was compelling; a paradox. Subtle and modest (needless to
say), but seductively self-confident. Her endlessly dark blue eyes
exuded a smoldering intensity for the life she was living; a life far
different from my own. Five fabulous children, a gifted teacher, a
home-maker that put Martha Stewart to shame; Zlata was truly a woman of
valor. This smart, multi-tasking, people-savvy lady could have been a
corporate executive or a high-powered K St. lobbyist. But Zlata embodied
a higher-calling. She radiated with a sense of purpose that 1,000
self-help books and seminars couldn't come close to matching. She
overwhelmed with quiet elegance. The ease and enthusiasm with which she
tackled any challenge was contagious. She made mitzvot (commandments),
acts of kindness and nurturing the family dynamic seem cool and far more
worthy than scoring points on the way up the corporate ladder.

Zlata gently eased me in - purely through personal example - to the
sanctity of Friday night at home, the more around the table the merrier.
This from a journalist for whom Friday evenings meant deadline stress,
followed by decompressing over dinner out.

In the years since, in our frequent visits back to the Washington area,
we were privileged to enjoy many Friday evenings with the Gs and their
wonderful family. The last time was just about a year ago. She was full
of youth, verve and purpose. And that's how we'll always remember her.
Young, gorgeous, and smoldering with a contagious sense of purpose.
Barbara Opall-Rome

Fourteen years ago I took a new career path that placed me in an
administrative role with a large Jewish agency. I was also the single
parent of a Bar Mitzva boy. Both my son and Sendy Geisinky studied with
Rabbi Bentzion Geisinsky; Sendy with the promise of a future scholar and
my son with one ear glued to his Game Boy and the other to the tape
recording that Rabbi G. had kindly provided.

On Shabbos Zlata assumed the uniquely selfless role of Rebbetzin. She
stood by the back door greeting the women, finding prayerbook for them
and pointing out the place in the service. Somehow while accomplishing
this she also coordinated the kitchen activities (anything from kiddush
to a banquet) and supervised the seemingly endless troops of children.

Zlata's welcome was warm and I felt encouraged to confide in her my
concerns about my son's Bar Mitzva. In an era of lavish catering and
entertainment, I was financially unable to compete. Zlata radiated calm
and self-assurance as she gently reminded me that the purpose of a Bar
Mitzva was to assume the mitzvot of manhood. Zlata made her kitchen
available for kosher preparations and encouraged me to include family,
friends and regular congregants by asking them to prepare their
specialties. Zlata helped me make a list of affordable groceries and
surprised me by tying bows on small packages of candy. The Bar Mitzva
was a huge success and I felt my spirit soar as my son was called to the
Torah. I had forgotten about the candy, but turned around at the close
of service to see my son pelted with Zlata's candy, "Mazel Tov!" She had
made it sweet indeed.

The very first time I met Zlata she made me feel as though we had known
each other a lifetime. She was one of the warmest, loveliest people I
have ever come across. At any Chabad event thereafter we sought one
another out. I always learned something brilliant from her.

When our family had the pleasure of joining Zlata and her wonderful
family for a Shabbat dinner the evening passed as though we had been
together only five minutes. My 21 year old and 19 year old didn't want
to leave.

Zlata has created the same warmth within her children that she carried
within herself, giving them the ability and awareness to make anyone
feel comfortable always. Cheri Friedman

Although we now live in Arizona, I never forgot Zlata and all she did
for me when I was a teacher at MJBHA. My son Sam was in the 2's and 3's
class. Under Zlata's leadership, Sam had the best education and the most
loving teachers. Although not religious myself, Zlata never judged me. I
always felt accepted and understood by her. When I was pregnant with my
second child, Zlata was the one I often went to for advice. I always
felt at home with Zlata. She was an amazing woman who seemed to know how
to do a million things at once, something I marveled at. Elana Hostetter

A couple of years ago I jokingly lamented to Rebbetzin Geisinsky about
how incredible her cholent was and how much I missed it after they had
moved away... and I sheepishly told her about my perhaps not so
admirable childhood practice of hoarding two or three bowls every week.
She laughed and smiled.... And then that Friday, to my complete
surprise, she personally delivered a cholent to my house. Brian Berman

Fifteen years ago, when I first became religious and was having a
particularly difficult time making the leap from my former way of life,
Zlata said to me, "I have incredible respect for you." I didn't know
Zlata well, but I admired her for so many attributes - she was always
pleasant, always real, always kind and aware of others. I couldn't
believe that someone like Zlata could respect me while I was struggling
so much with what came so easy to others. She told me her respect was
borne of the fact that she grew up in a religious home so it was all
natural to her, whereas I was choosing to take on Shabbat and kosher and
other mitzvot. Her words gave me the "boost" I needed to move forward in
my Judaism. I will always be appreciative of how Zlata inspired me. Iris

I didn't know Zlata well, but she dropped everything to be by my side
when my oldest was born. I remember how she walked a mile from the hotel
to the interim Chabad House one holiday in the pouring rain, her wig
drenched, with a smile. I remember how she always made me feel so at
home. Above all, the image of Zlata that stands out in my mind is her
sitting quietly on the couch in the living room with her arms around her
children, most of whom were well into their teens at the time. There was
so much love in her home.

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                            THE REBBE WRITES
                       5th of Nissan, 5735 [1975]

I am in receipt of your correspondence, and trust that you received my
regards through your brother R. Zalman who was here for the Yud Shevat

I must reiterate again what was said when you were here in regard to
bitachon [trust] in G-d that all that He does is for the good. It is not
easy to accept the passing of a near and dear one, but since our Torah,
which is called Toras Chesed and Toras Chayim [the Torah of Kindness and
Life], our guide in life, sets limits to mourning periods, it is clear
that when the period ends it is no good to extend it  not - good, not
only because it disturbs the life that must go on here on earth, but
also because it does not please the soul that is in the World of Truth.

A further point which, I believe, I mentioned during our conversation,
but apparently from your letter not emphatically enough, is this: It
would be contrary to plain common sense to assume that a sickness or
accident and the like could affect the soul, for such physical things
can affect only the physical body and its union with the soul, but
certainly not the soul itself. It is also self-evident that the
relationship between people, especially between parents and children, is
in essence and content a spiritual one, transcending time and space - of
qualities that are not subject to the influence of bodily accident,
disease, etc.

It follows that when a close person passes on, by the will of G-d, those
left here can no longer see him with their eyes or hear him with their
ears; but the soul, in the World of Truth, can see and hear. And when he
sees that his relatives are overly disturbed by his physical absence, it
is saddened, and conversely, when it sees that after the mourning period
prescribed by the Torah a normal and fully productive life is resumed,
it can happily rest in peace.

Needless to say, in order that the above be accepted not only
intellectually, but actually implemented in the everyday life, it is
necessary to be occupied, preferably involved in matters of "personal"
interest and gratification. As I also mentioned in our conversation,
every Jew has a most gratifying and edifying task of spreading light in
the world through promoting Yiddishkeit [Judaism]. Particularly, as in
your case, where one can be of so much help and inspiration to children
and grandchildren, who look up to you and your husband for
encouragement, wisdom, etc.

Here is also the answer to your question, what you can do for the soul
of the dear one. Spreading Yiddishkeit around you effectively,
displaying simple Yiddish faith in G-d and in His benevolent Providence,
doing all the good work that has to be done, with confidence and peace
of mind - this is what truly gratifies the soul in Olam haEmes [the
World of Truth], in addition to fulfilling your personal and most lofty
mission in life as a daughter of our Mothers Sarah, Rivkah, Rachel and
Leah, and thereby also serving as an inspiring example for others to

It is possible to enlarge upon the above, but knowing your family
background and tradition, I trust the above will suffice. I might add,
however, that one must beware of the yetzer-hara [evil inclination] who
is very crafty and knows that certain people cannot be approached openly
and without disguise. So he tries to trick them by disguising himself in
a mantle of piety and emotionalism, etc., saying: You know, G-d has
prescribed a period of mourning, which shows that it is the right thing
to do; so why not do more than that and extend the period? In this way
he may have a chance to succeed in distracting the person from the fact
that at the end of the said period, the Torah requires the Jew to serve
G-d with joy.

The yetzer-hara will even encourage a person to give tzedokah [charity]
in memory of the soul, learn Torah and do mitzvos [commandments] in
memory of the soul, except that in each case it be associated with
sadness and pain. But, as indicated, this is exactly contrary to the
objective, which is to cause pleasure and gratification to the soul.

May G-d grant that, inasmuch as we are approaching the Festival of Our
Freedom, including also freedom from everything that distracts a Jew
from serving G-d wholeheartedly and with joy, that this should be so
also with you, in the midst of all our people, and that you should be a
source of inspiration and strength to your husband, children and
grandchildren, and all around you...

                            WHAT'S IN A NAME
NACHUM means "comfort."  Nachum was a minor prophet who foretold the
fall of Nineveh (Nachum 1:1).  Nachum Ish Gamzu was a 2nd century
scholar and teacher of Rabbi Akiva.  He was named Ish Gamzu - the man of
"this too" - for no matter what the situation he always said, "This too
is for the good."

NECHAMA means "comfort."  A pet form is Neche.  It is the feminine of

                        A WORD FROM THE DIRECTOR
                         Rabbi Shmuel M. Butman
This coming Shabbat, the Shabbat after Tisha B'Av, is known as Shabbat
Nachamu for the Haftorah portion we read which begins, "Nachamu, Nachamu
Ami - Comfort, I will comfort My People."

Our Sages have pointed out that the word "Nachamu" is stated twice for
with the building of the Third Holy Temple, G-d will comfort us doubly
for the destruction of the first and second Temples.

Jewish teachings further explain that the repetition of words in the
Torah points to the unlimited quality of the matter being discussed.

Thus, the comfort that G-d offers us through his prophet in this week's
Haftorah does not point to just a limited consolation for the
destruction of the First and Second Temples; G-d is telling us that with
the building of the Third Holy Temple in the Messianic Era, we will be
comforted in a totally unlimited manner, when the revelation of
G-dliness and Divine Knowledge will likewise be totally unlimited.

This week we will also celebrate Tu B'Av, the 15th of the Hebrew month
of Av, a day when many positive things occurred throughout Jewish
history. The 15th of Av is also the day on which we are encouraged to
begin increasing in our Torah study, since, on the 15th of Av the nights
become longer - nights which can be used for Torah study.

In a talk on Shabbat Nachamu, the Rebbe once emphasized what form this
Torah study should take:

"In general, the study of Chasidut is associated with the Redemption...
in particular the function of this study as a catalyst for the
Redemption is more powerful when the subject studied concerns that
matter itself," i.e., matters concerning Moshiach and the Redemption.

May G-d comfort us not only doubly but in an infinite and unlimited
manner with the revelation of Moshiach and the building of the Third
Holy Temple, immediately.

                          THOUGHTS THAT COUNT
From there you will seek the L-rd your G-d and will find Him (Deut.

It is precisely when you seek the L-rd your G-d "from there" - from the
depths of your heart and with a sense of complete nullification before
the Creator, that "you shall find" - the sudden revelation of the
greatest G-dly light.

                                                (The Baal Shem Tov)

                                *  *  *

Hear, O Israel, the L-rd is our G-d, the L-rd is One (Deut. 6:4)

"My children," G-d declares to Israel, "everything I created in the
world I created in pairs: heaven and earth; sun and moon; Adam and Eve;
this world and the world to come. I alone am without counterpart."

                                                    (Devarim Rabba)

                                *  *  *

"In the heavens above and on the earth below" (Deut. 4:39).

When contemplating one's heavenly or spiritual condition one should look
"above" to those who have attained a higher level; one can never be
satisfied. However in "earthly" matters of wealth and so on, one should
look "below," to the less fortunate, and be thankful for the blessings
one has.

                                            (The Lubavitcher Rebbe)

                                *  *  *

I stand between your G-d and you (Deut. 5:5).

Early chasidim used to explain that the "I," the awareness of self, the
ego, stands between the person and his efforts to come closer to G-d.

                            IT ONCE HAPPENED
Once, when Rabbi Yehoshua encountered Elijah the Prophet, he asked
Elijah if he could accompany him so that he could learn from his
conduct. Elijah refused, explaining that Rabbi Yehoshua would not
understand what he would see. On the contrary, his mortal mind would
raise countless questions and there would be no time for explanations.

Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi begged and pleaded; he promised that he would
not ask any questions. Elijah finally agreed on the condition that if
Rabbi Yehoshua would begin to ask questions, they would part company.

And so they set out together. Toward evening, they reached an old hut.
An elderly couple was sitting outside. They were obviously poor, but
their poverty did not hamper their enthusiasm to welcome guests. As soon
as they saw the travelers, they jumped up and eagerly invited them into
their home, offering them a meal and a place to sleep.

The accommodations were somewhat lacking because the people did not have
very much. But whatever they had, they willingly shared, doing the best
they could to observe the mitzva (commandment) of hospitality to guests.

The following morning, the two travelers bade their hosts farewell and
set out again. Shortly after they had departed, Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi
saw that Elijah was praying. He listened closely. What was Elijah
praying for? The elderly couple who had hosted them owned a cow. The cow
was the most valuable possession they owned - indeed, the majority of
their income came from the cow's milk. Elijah was praying that this cow
should die.

When Rabbi Yehoshua heard this, he was shocked. The couple had been so
kind, so pleasant, so warm. Why did they deserve that their cow should
die? But he could not ask any questions; that was the agreement.

As they proceeded on their journey, they talked. Rabbi Yehoshua hoped
that Elijah would offer an explanation for what happened. But that was
not so. Toward evening, they came to a beautiful mansion. Although many
members of the household saw them, no one offered them hospitality.

They asked the owner of the house, a very wealthy man, for permission to
spend the night. Reluctantly, the man agreed. But he was very cold to
them; he did not offer them any food, and he hardly said a word to them.

After they set off on their way in the morning, Rabbi Yehoshua noticed
that Elijah was praying again. What was he praying for this time? One of
the walls in this rich man's house was cracked and weak. Elijah was
praying to G-d that this wall should be restored and should remain
strong and solid.

Rabbi Yehoshua could not understand. This person had not acted kindly
toward them. And yet Elijah was praying to G-d on his behalf! But once
more, he abided by the terms of his agreement: no questions allowed.

Eventually, the two travelers arrived in a beautiful city; everything
about the place reflected prosperity and opulence. They made their way
to the synagogue. It was a magnificent structure, designed with elegance
and taste. Everything, even the benches, was beautiful.

Rabbi Yehoshua thought that they would have no problem receiving
hospitality in such a town. But it did not work out that way. The people
were not very kind. When the prayers were over, nobody approached them
to ask where they planned to eat or where they planned to stay.
Ultimately, they had to spend the night in the synagogue without eating

In the morning, when they were ready to leave, Elijah blessed the
inhabitants of the city, wishing them that they should all become
leaders. Again, Rabbi Yehoshua was puzzled. Why did Elijah bless people
who had not shown them hospitality?

That evening, they came to another city. It was not as wealthy a
community as the first; the shul (synagogue) was nowhere near as
beautiful. But the people were very fine, warm and kind. They did
everything they could to make the two travelers comfortable. Before
leaving that city, Elijah told them, "May G-d help that only one of you
becomes a leader."

At this point, Rabbi Yehoshua could no longer contain his curiosity. He
told Elijah, "I know that by asking I will forfeit my right to accompany
you, but I cannot go on like this. Please, explain these four incidents
to me."

And so Elijah began to explain: "The elderly couple whom we met first
were wonderful people who always performed acts of kindness. It was
destined for the woman to pass away that day. By hosting us, she was
given the opportunity to perform a mitzva. And the merit of her
hospitality was great enough for the decree to be lifted, but not
entirely. So I prayed that their cow - which meant so much to them and
which was their source of income - should die. So the cow's death was
really a blessing for them.

"About the wealthy person's home. In that wall, a great treasure lay
buried. But the wall was weak and would soon break. Because he was a
miserly person and conducted himself so rudely, I prayed that the wall
should become strong so that he would not be able to benefit from the

"What about the people in the prosperous city?" Elijah continued. "My
prayer that they should all become leaders in the city is not a
blessing; if anything, it is the opposite. For the most destructive
thing that can happen in a city is that everybody becomes a leader.

"In the other city, where the people were kind, I gave them a genuine
blessing: that one, and only one, of them becomes a true leader."

          From The Chasidic Approach to Joy by Rabbi Shloma Majeski

                            MOSHIACH MATTERS
The Talmud compares the death of a Jew to the burning of a Torah scroll.
If so, how can G-d let such a thing happen? As the Midrash comments,
since G-d fulfills the commandments that He gives us, then, how can He
allow a situation comparable to the burning of a Torah scroll? However,
the answer is the same as the answer to how G-d could allow us to be in
exile: this descent is for the purpose of an ascent and there is no
other means for us to reach this high rung.

                               (The Lubavitcher Rebbe, 20 Av, 1985)

              END OF TEXT - L'CHAIM 1130 - Vaeschanan 5770

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