Holidays   Shabbat   Chabad-houses   Chassidism   Subscribe   Calendar   Links B"H
The Weekly Publication for Every Jewish Person
Archives Current Issues Home Current Issue
                         L'CHAIM - ISSUE # 1131
                           Copyright (c) 2010
                 Lubavitch Youth Organization - L.Y.O.
                              Brooklyn, NY
                  Electronic version provided free at:
                  Palm-Pilot version provided free at:
                    To receive the L'CHAIM by e-mail
                  write to:
                              Subscribe W1
   Dedicated to the memory of Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka Schneerson N.E.
        July 30, 2010            Eikev               19 Av, 5770

                            Tzedaka is FUN!

It'll never be one of the top ten songs of the year, but a ditty about
charity is a favorite in many Hebrew schools, Sunday schools, camps and
day schools. It was composed in the days when all pushkas (charity
boxes) were the metal genre - with a keyhole on the bottom - and is
accompanied by the shaking of the pushka as much or as little as the
child wishes who is currently giving tzedaka (charity). It goes like

    I'm a little hunk of tin

    Every day a penny goes in

    I go far and I go near

    To help a poor Jew in despair

    Clang, clang, jingle, jingle

    The mitzva is done

    Clang, clang jingle, jingle

    Tzedaka is fun

    Clang, clang, jingle, jingle

    The mitzva is done

    Clang, clang jingle, jingle

    Tzedaka is fun

We're not going to have an English "lit" class on paper to discuss the
song's timbre and rhythm, or the fact that "fun" is repeated and
emphasized the last time, imprinting in one's mind the concept that
tzedaka is fun. Nor will we bemoan the fact that most tzedaka boxes are
no longer "hunks of tin" lessening the simple joy a child gets from
shaking the pushka after putting in the tzedaka.

What we will consider, though, is the concept of a penny being able to

An organization called "Common Cents" created the idea of Penny Harvests
which to date take place in 150 schools throughout the United States. In
May they raised $27,518 and donated it to four organizations providing
disaster relief in Haiti.

We all know that $27,518 won't save Haiti or stop world hunger. Nor is
it enough to find the cure for even one cancer. And it won't pay the
yearly operating costs of a women's shelter.

But $27,518 is a start. In fact, Since its inception in 1991, children
between the ages of four and 14 have collected pennies and donated $7.7
million to community organizations through Penny Harvests! So, just as
$27,518 is a start, so is a penny or a nickel, a dime or a quarter, in
the pushka every day (except Shabbat and Jewish holidays).

Don't either belittle the actual deed of putting the coins in the
pushka. For, although the amount in the tzedaka box is definitive, the
ramifications and reward are unlimited.

Jewish teachings explain, "These are the precepts, the fruits of which
man enjoys in this world, while the principal reward remains in the
World to Come... performing deeds of kindness."

Knowing that there is a reward in the World to Come for deeds of
kindness such as charity doesn't do it for most of us.

But how about the "fruits" in this world? They are unlimited.

Each time you give even one single penny you are: connecting with G-d;
refining your character traits; becoming a kinder, more sensitive
person; creating positive energy; and bringing non-material spirituality
into our very material world.

Give tzedaka every day. Watch how the pennies grow and how you grow by
doing this mitzva.

About the commandment of mezuza, which is found in this week's Torah
portion, Eikev, the Talmud relates that Rabbi Yehuda Hanasi once sent a
mezuza as a gift to Artaban, king of Persia, explaining that the small
scroll would protect him from harm.

At first glance, Rabbi Yehuda Hanasi's gesture seems odd. The
commandment to affix a mezuza upon one's door posts was given only to
the Jewish nation. A non-Jewish king, therefore, would not be fulfilling
a religious precept by possessing a mezuza. As such, he would also be
ineligible for any reward resulting from the performance of a mitzva
(commandment). Why then did Rabbi Yehuda Hanasi promise the gentile king
that the mezuza would guard and protect him?

A similar question may also be asked about the common practice, dating
back to the time of the Mishna, of inserting a mezuza scroll into one's
walking stick, also done for the sake of the protection it afforded. A
walking stick is certainly not included in the commandment of mezuza. If
there is no commandment, there is certainly no reward. How then, did the
mezuza afford protection?

A distinction must be made between the reward a person receives for
performing a mitzva and the intrinsic attribute of the mitzva itself.
When a person obeys G-d's command by fulfilling a mitzva, the reward he
earns is a separate and distinct entity, additional to the essential
nature of the mitzva. For example, the Torah states that the reward for
the mitzva of mezuza is long life: "That your days be increased and the
days of your children."

Yet besides the reward promised by the Torah, each mitzva has its own
special attributes and characteristics that have nothing to do with
reward, but are integral parts of the mitzva itself. The mezuza's
attribute is protection. Our sages explained that when a kosher mezuza
is affixed to the door post, G-d Himself watches over the occupants of
the house, even when they are not at home. A mezuza is written solely
for the purpose of protection, and, by its nature, it protects.

With this in mind, it becomes clear that even when no fulfillment of a
religious precept is involved, a mezuza still possesses this attribute
of protection, at least to some degree. It was for this reason that
Rabbi Yehuda Hanasi sent the mezuza as a gift to the Persian king and
that Jews took mezuzot with them wherever they went inside their walking

In a similar vein, speaking about and studying the laws of mezuza afford
similar protection. The Talmud relates that in the house of one Jewish
king a special sign was made on those door posts which were exempt from
having a mezuza.

From this we learn the crucial importance of having kosher mezuzot.

The Jewish people, likened to "one sheep among 70 wolves," is always in
need of special defense. Every additional mezuza affixed to a Jewish
home extends G-d's Divine protection to the entire Jewish nation, for
all Jews are ultimately responsible for one another.

                    Adapted from the works of the Lubavitcher Rebbe

                             SLICE OF LIFE
                        Rejuvenating Jewish Life

Rabbi Shmuel and Chana Kaminetski are the Lubavitcher Rebbe's emissaries
to Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine. In the 20 years since they arrived in that
city, together with the other couples that they have brought to
Dnepropetrovsk, they have established an empire religious, social,
educational, cultural and humanitarian organizations that serve the
needs of the Jews of Dnepropetrovsk and its suburbs.

The Kaminetskis are part of a network of hundreds of Chabad-Lubavitch
emissaries in the former Soviet Union serving Jewish communities
throughout the 15 countries of the CIS.

On their website ( the Dnepropetrovsk Jewish Community
lists as their founder Rabbi Levi Yitzchak Schneerson, the father of the
Lubavitcher Rebbe, who was the Chief Rabbi of Dnepropetrovsk from 1907
to 1939. Rabbi Levi Yitzchak's outstanding scholarship, piety, and
tireless efforts on behalf of the Jewish community were so renown that
he was asked to be Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem. But Rabbi Levi Yitzchak and
his wife Rebbetzin Chana chose to remain in Dnepropetrovsk and lead the
Jewish community there.

In 1939, the USSR census population took place. By that time, Communism
had such a strong hold that Jews were afraid to state on the
questionnaire that they were Jewish and many listed "none" as their
religion. When Rabbi Levi Yitzchak learned about this he gave an
inspired speech at the synagogue and persuaded Jews not to conceal their
faith. The head of the Dnepropetrovsk NKVD heard about this and ordered
Rabbi Levi Yitzchak to come to him and confirm that there was no
discrimination in the city. The rabbi refused to lie after which it was
resolved to arrest Rabbi Levi Yitzchak for "disseminating active
anti-Soviet propaganda, and anti-Soviet agitation of slanderous and
defeatist nature."  Rabbi Levi Yitzchak was arrested the following day,
an act that so shocked the Jewish community that two members of the
synagogue board passed away suddenly.

Rabbi Levi Yitzchak was released but re-arrested eight months later. He
was sentenced by a special tribunal to five years of exile in
Kazakhstan. He lived in the impoverished village of Tzili, bereft of
community, family and even the most basic human needs. Two years later,
Rebbetzin Chana joined him.

In April of 1944 the Schneersons were given permission to move to
Almaty, a village with slightly better conditions than Tzili. But the
hard life of exile had taken its toll. Four months later, during the
night of 20 Av, 1944, Rabbi Levi Yitzchak awoke and asked for some water
to wash his hands. When the water was brought to him, he said: "It's
time to move to the other side..." These were his last words.

Fast forward five decades from Reb Levi Yitzchak's arrest and the
slow-down and eventually demise of Jewish life in Dnepropetrovsk. In
June 1990, Rabbi Shmuel and Chana Kaminetski were sent to the city by
the Lubavitcher Rebbe.

Starting from that moment, the renaissance of Jewish life in
Dnepropetrovsk took off at a remarkable rate. In 1991 the Ohr Avner Levi
Yitzchak Jewish day school, which quickly became the largest Jewish
school in Europe, was opened. Charitable foundations and cultural
organizations  were opened that year, as well. In 1992, over 5,000 Jews
took part in a grand Chanuka concert at the Meteor Ice Palace. A close
relationship  with the Jewish community of Boston was established,
allowing for the opening of a women's clinic and a children's clinic in
Dnepropetrovsk. The following years saw the establishment of: fund for
loans to Jewish businesswomen; Big Sister/Big Brother program for
children from single-parent families; a program for special needs
children; Beit Baruch Assisted Living Facility for Seniors; the
reconstruction of the Golden Rose Central Synagogue; the Beit Tzindlikht
Children's Educational Center; Boys and Girls Children's Homes for
orphans or children from dysfunctional homes; Soup kitchens and food
pantries regularly aiding 6,000 needy families and elderly; Beit Chana
Teacher's College... and this is a partial list! Today, construction is
underway on the Menorah Center which, at 40,000 square meters will be
the largest Jewish Community center in the world!

                               WHAT'S NEW
                             New Emissaries

Rabbi Yudi and Chaya Zarchi will be moving to Toronto, Ontario, Canada,
where they will establish Chabad at Laureleaf, serving the Jewish
community in the Bayview-Steeles vicinity.

Rabbi Chanoch and Leiky Gechtman will soon be heading to Mumbai, India,
as its first permanent Chabad-Lubavitch emissaries since the terrorist
attacks of November 2008 when Rabbi Gabi and Rivky Holtzberg, together
with four other Jews, were killed in the Chabad House. Rabbi Gechtman
spent time in Mumbai as a yeshiva student helping out the Holtzbergs at
Chabad of Mumbai.

                            THE REBBE WRITES
                    16th of Menachem Av, 5732 [1972]

I have just received a telephone report about the success of yesterday's
event, at which you were not only the main speaker, but also the moving
spirit. I was most gratified to be informed that the affair was a great

Although there is no need to express thanks for doing a mitzvah
[commandment], for, as our Sages of the Mishnah declare, "the reward of
a mitzvah is the mitzvah itself," I nevertheless want to express my
gratification at receiving the above mentioned good report about the
impact of your address on an audience which included Jews of
considerable potential. It is good for people of their position and
standing in the community to hear a presentation of Yiddishkeit
[Judaism] in its true form, undiluted and uncompromised, especially, as
I am told, that this was the first breakthrough into this circle.
Furthermore, I am told that your address was received not only with an
open mind and without prejudice, but also had an inspiring response.

There is the well known Talmudic parable about the person who enjoyed
the full benefits of a fruitful tree and said to it: "Tree, oh tree,
with what should I bless you?"

Similarly, the blessing that I wish to give you in connection with the
above is that in your endeavors and accomplishments you should see the
fulfillment of the saying of our Sages, "He who has 100, desires 200;
and having attained 200, desires 400." This is to say that your
hatzlochah [success] in inspiring Jewish souls and lighting them up with
the light of "Torah-Or" [the Light of the Torah] should not only go from
strength to strength, but should advance in geometrical progression, as
indicated in the above saying. I also trust that the contacts you make
in this way will be maintained and followed up, so that they may
continue to enjoy your good influence. The Zechus Harabim [merit of the
multitude] will surely stand you in good stead to receive G-d's
blessings in similar growing proportions, both materially and

The present days, especially now that we have passed the 15th of Av, are
particularly auspicious for the study of the Torah and for all efforts
to spread and strengthen Yiddishkeit in a growing measure. I trust this
will be so with you, and that the concerted efforts by all who are aware
of the significance of these days, will help to reverse the causes of
the Churban [destruction of the Holy Temples] and Golus [Exile]
("Because of our sins we were exiled from our land"), and hasten the
arrival of our righteous Moshiach, may he come speedily in our time.

                                *  *  *

                     13th of Cheshvan, 5734 [1983]

With further reference to our correspondence, I wish to emphasize here
another point about the urgency and speed that should propel every
activity for the strengthening of Yiddishkeit in general, and Torah
Chinuch [education] in particular.

In normal times, steady, albeit slow, progress might be satisfactory,
and sometimes steady progress and speed may not even be compatible.
However, we live in "abnormal" times, when things move with whirlwind
speed, and we must not lag behind the times in our method of tackling
problems in the vital area of Torah and Chinuch. Indeed, in light of the
Baal Shem Tov's teaching that a person must learn from everything around
him how better to fulfill his purpose in life, especially in fundamental
matters, the present jet age and supersonic speed should inspire the
idea of time-saving in the spiritual realm. A distance that not so very
long ago took days and weeks to cover, can now be spanned in a matter of
hours, and a message that took as long to communicate can now be
transmitted instantly. If this could be accomplished in the physical and
material world, surely the same should be true in the spiritual realm,
whether in the area of personal achievement, or in the area of effecting
a change in the environment. To be satisfied with less in the realm of
the spirit would be like arguing to return to the era of the horse and
buggy on the ground that this was satisfactory in olden days, all the
more so since spiritual matters have never been subject to the
limitations of time and space.

If anyone may entertain any doubt about his ability to meet a challenge
which Divine Providence has thrown into his lap, suffice it to remember
that G-d does not act despotically or capriciously, and most certainly
provides the necessary capacity to meet the challenge, and to do so
joyously, which is the way of all Divine service, as it is written,
"Serve G-d with joy," and which, incidentally, is a basic tenet of the
Chassidic approach to all matters.

With all good wishes, and

With blessing,

                            WHAT'S IN A NAME
ZECHARYA means "remembrance of the L-rd."  Zecharya was one of the
twelve Minor Prophets.  One of the kings of Israel was also named
Zecharya (Kings II 14:29).

ZEHAVA means "gold" or "golden."  Golda is the German-Yiddish variation
and Zlata is the Polish-Yiddish variation.

                        A WORD FROM THE DIRECTOR
                         Rabbi Shmuel M. Butman
The first and second paragraphs after the recitation of Shema Yisrael in
our daily prayers are from last week's and our present Torah portion
(Eikev), respectively. Both paragraphs enjoin us to serve G-d devotedly,
and command us to observe the mitzvot of tefilin, mezuza, and teaching
Torah to children.

Where do these paragraphs differ, then? The first paragraph is written
in the singular form, addressed to the individual. The second paragraph
is written in the plural and is addressed to the community. In addition,
the second paragraph also includes mention of the reward and punishment
for keeping the above-mentioned and other mitzvot.

Our Sages also explain that because of the wording of the commandment to
teach our children, we understand that one refers to a teacher's
obligation toward his students while the other refers to a parent's

Concerning the mitzva of giving our children a proper Jewish education ,
the lesson from this week's and last week's portion is clear. Both the
individual and the community are obligated to fulfill this mitzva.

Parents and teachers both share the responsibility. We can do it for
altruistic reasons or we can ensure a proper Jewish education for fear
of punishment or because of the reward - nachas from children, being
honored at a dinner, etc. Whatever the reason, whoever the person,
wherever the community, proper Jewish education for every Jewish child
must be our number-one priority.

Surely this dedication to Jewish education will prepare us in an even
greater manner for the imminent revelation of Moshiach.

                          THOUGHTS THAT COUNT
And you shall eat and be sated. (Deut. 8:10)

The Maggid of Mezritch once asked a wealthy man what he eats every day.
"Bread and salt, Rebbe, like a poor man," was his reply. The Maggid
rebuked him and told him to eat meat and drink wine every day as wealthy
men were accustomed to do. Later, when the Maggid's disciples asked for
an explanation, he said: "If a rich man eats meat and drinks wine every
day, then he will realize that a poor person needs at least bread and
salt. If, however, he eats bread and salt, he will think that his poor
neighbor can make do with stones!"

                                *  *  *

And to serve Him with all your heart (Deut. 11:13)

Rashi explains that this verse refers to the service of the heart,
namely prayer. Reb Yisrael of Ruzhin used to take a long time over his
prayers; Reb Shalom of Belz would recite his prayers hastily. On this,
one of their contemporaries commented that both of them cherished every
word of the prayers: the former loved them so much that he could not
bring himself to part with them, while the latter - for the same reason
- could not restrain his eagerness to make them his.

                                     (A Treasury of Chasidic Tales)

                                *  *  *

A land whose stones are iron (Deut: 8:9)

Rabbi Abba said: A Torah scholar who is not as tough as iron is no Torah
scholar, as it states, "whose stones are iron." Do not read "avaneha"
(stones), but "boneha" (her builders). This Talmudic homily teaches us
an important lesson in how to protect the land of Israel: Although it is
certainly necessary to possess "iron" weapons in the literal sense - an
army and ammunition to deter our enemies - we must always remember that
the true "iron" and strength of the Jewish people is their Torah
learning and observance of mitzvot (commandments).

                                            (The Lubavitcher Rebbe)

                            IT ONCE HAPPENED
There was once a Jew who devoted himself to the holy work of performing
brit milas (circumcisions) for Jewish infants, bringing them into the
covenant of their forefather, Abraham. His honesty and wisdom came to
the attention of the king and in addition to the Jew's sacred work, he
was engaged by His Majesty to counsel him in the highest financial
matters of the realm.

In his capacity of royal advisor, he was privy to the most secret
activities of the monarch, and his loyalty was unassailable. However,
one particular minister was devoured by his jealousy of the successful
Jewish minister who was so beloved by the king. He devised a clever plot
by which he would see his enemy's downfall.

The Jew had a loyal servant whom he trusted completely, even giving him
access to the keys to the king's safe. With a bribe of several hundred
pieces of gold, the vicious minister obtained the servant's complicity.
He took his employer's keys and regularly ransacked the king's most
private documents, bringing them to his new master.

One afternoon, when the minister had the ear of the king, he happened to
mention some information which he could not possibly have known. "How do
you know that!?" the king exclaimed in shock.

"Why, the Jew told me," the devious minister replied. The king's visage
noticeably altered, his fury apparent. The Jew had betrayed his trust
and he would pay dearly.

The very same day the Jew was summoned to the palace where the king
handed him a letter. "This letter must be delivered by my most trusted
servant to my general who is engaged in activities an eight-hour
carriage journey from here. Please, deliver the letter yourself."

The Jew obeyed at once, and, together with his servant, set off on the
long trip. Unknown to him, the letter contained these instructions to
the general: "The bearer of this letter must be executed at once. Do not
regard his protestations of innocence, but seize him and kill him
without delay."

At mid-journey, nightfall came upon them, and the two stopped at a small
village. A Jew recognized the renowned Jew and ran up to their coach.

"Shalom Aleichem, my master. It is only through the hand of G-d that you
have arrived in our village today, for this is the eighth day after the
birth of my son, and the day of his brit mila.

Unfortunately, the mohel has not yet arrived, and it seems he will not
come. I beg you to remain here long enough to allow us to fulfill this
precious mitzva on the proper day."

The Jew dismounted and walked to the man's home to examine the infant.
The mother also entreated him to stay and perform the brit, and he
agreed. The Jew summoned his servant and entrusted to him the king's
letter, exhorting him to take the greatest care in carrying out the
king's instructions. The servant continued on the garrison and presented
the letter to the general.

The Jew remained with the new parents and participated in the festive
meal, then he, too, continued on to the military headquarters. He was
greeted with great honor by the general who knew of the great affection
the king had for his Jewish ad visor.

"Why did your excellency trouble yourself to come all this way. I took
care of the king's bidding, and your servant was executed as soon as I
received the letter."

The Jew was speechless, realizing the great miracle that he had just
experienced. The general continued, "I have some interesting news for
you, for your servant confessed his crimes before he died. He was a
traitor against both the king and you, his master. Your servant admitted
accepting the bribes of Minister S. He was well-paid to steal the king's
confidential documents and bring them to his new master.

Suddenly, the Jew understood the whole situation. Of course, the king
considered him a traitor and a betrayer of his sacred trust. That is why
the king sentenced him to a terrible death.

The Jew returned to the capital and appeared before a very surprised
king. "How did you get here?" the king blurted out.

The Jew responded with a complete explanation. He told the king of his
conversation with the general and related the plot hatched by Minister
S., who had recruited his servant. And lastly, he told the king about
the stolen documents. The king summoned his guards at once and the
guilty minister was brought in chains to the royal palace. That very day
he was executed in the courtyard of his own home.

The Jewish advisor regained the trust of his king, and was awarded an
even greater position. The name of G-d was elevated before the king and
his courtiers and the Jew gave thanks for his salvation.

                            MOSHIACH MATTERS
A Jew's true inner nature stands above exile. Furthermore, the exile
itself does not create a separation between a Jew and G-d. Though exile
implies that we are not found in our natural place, we are "children who
were exiled from their father's table," nevertheless, it was G-d's will
that we were exiled. Thus, when a person realizes that the only reason
he is in exile is G-d's will, he understands that his life in exile is
also a fulfillment of G-d's will and by fulfilling G-d's will, he
becomes united with G-d.

                               (The Lubavitcher Rebbe, 20 Av, 1985)

                END OF TEXT - L'CHAIM 1131 - Eikev 5770

  • Daily Lessons
  • Weekly Texts & Audio
  • Candle-Lighting times

    613 Commandments
  • 248 Positive
  • 365 Negative

  • BlackBerry
  • iPhone / iPod Touch
  • Java Phones
  • Palm Pilot
  • Palm Pre
  • Pocket PC
  • P800/P900
  • Moshiach
  • Resurrection
  • For children - part 1
  • For children - part 2

  • Jewish Women
  • Holiday guides
  • About Holidays
  • The Hebrew Alphabet
  • Hebrew/English Calendar
  • Glossary

  • by SIE
  • About
  • Chabad
  • The Baal Shem Tov
  • The Alter Rebbe
  • The Rebbe Maharash
  • The Previous Rebbe
  • The Rebbe
  • Mitzvah Campaign

    Children's Corner
  • Rabbi Riddle
  • Rebbetzin Riddle
  • Tzivos Hashem

  • © Copyright 1988-2009
    All Rights Reserved
    L'Chaim Weekly