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                         L'CHAIM - ISSUE # 1134
                           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.
        August 20, 2010        Ki Seitzei          10 Elul, 5770


When you're in the middle of a discussion and trying to remember
something, what do you do? Imagine the situation. The person across from
you asks, "What was that song, the one about ...?" or "Remember that
person from ... we met at the conference? What was her name?" or "What
was the name of that book?"

What did you do? Did you look away? And if you still couldn't remember,
what did you do? Close your eyes.

Try it in other circumstances. You're focusing on some article on your
computer screen and a thought comes into your head, maybe relevant,
maybe tangential. You look away. If you can't capture the thought, you
close your eyes.

The reason is obvious: We rely on our eyesight for sensory input, for
information about our environment. What we see is what we get - the
world around us, data to absorb, analyze, and use for decisions and

But even when we're not concentrating on what we see, we have to pay
attention to to it. Subconsciously, so long as our eyes are focused, our
mind is receiving and processing the visual input. And that occupies a
good segment of our minds.

So when we want to really concentrate, we have to shut out the
distractions - literally. We have to break off our interaction with the
world. And we start with the most far-reaching sense: sight.

That's why closing our eyes helps us remember - even things we've seen.
We remove ourselves from the limited, external impressions of the moment
and enter the almost timeless realm of the mind.

The process, and effect, of closing out the external and superficial -
unaided, we can't see below the surface - helps us understand an
important aspect of prayer.

Most of us have not memorized the prayer book, and so have to look at
the words when we pray. But praying - if we're doing it right -
requires concentration, focus, and contemplation.

Of course, it's possible and often probable that when we pray, we gloss
over the words we are reading, so that they barely register in our
consciousness. Huh, did I just read that, or not? And when we're looking
at the words, we certainly can't contemplate very much. It's different
when we close our eyes and imagine - or see with our mind's eye. It just

Many of us already have memorized a most fundamental prayer. And when we
recite the words of this famous prayer, we are required to do so with
our eyes closed! Shema Yisrael Hashem Elokeinu Hashem Echad - Hear, O
Israel, the L-rd (Who) is Our G-d, the  L-rd is One. We cover our eyes
and close our eyes and focus on the words, pronouncing, understanding,
contemplating, connecting.

Practice makes perfect, or at least almost perfect. By practicing and
actually reciting the Shema twice daily as we are commanded  - "when you
lie down and when you rise up," we can learn to concentrate and focus in
a way that can positively impact on all areas of our lives.

Among the Torah's positive mitzvot (commandments) is the mitzva to
remember what Amalek did to the Jewish people. At the end of this week's
portion, Ki Teitzei, the Torah states, "Remember what Amalek did to you
on your way out of Egypt; how he met you on the way, when you were weary
and exhausted... You must therefore obliterate the memory of Amalek from
under the heavens. You must not forget."

Why is it so important to remember Amalek? Who were they and why are we
commanded to destroy them?

Amalek was not just a nation of evildoers; in the metaphorical sense,
Amalek is symbolic of a negative character trait that can manifest
itself within each one of us. Every person has his own inner "Amalek";
in order to destroy it, we need to be aware of its presence and ever
cognizant of the danger it represents.

Chasidut explains that Amalek was unique in that he truly recognized the
greatness of G-d, yet intentionally rebelled against Him. Amalek
understood that G-d loves the Jewish people and helps them. Nonetheless,
he deliberately set out to fight the Jews and cause them harm.

Amalek thus symbolizes a situation in which a person knows G-d, but
rebels against Him anyway. In such a case, the recognition of G-d's
greatness has no practical bearing on his behavior. The person is well
aware of the Master of the Universe, yet he deliberately acts in a
manner which is contrary to His will.

This negative character trait is the "Amalek" that lurks in our midst.
It manifests itself when we know, on an intellectual level, that G-d
expects us to conduct our lives in a certain way, yet this knowledge is
not reflected in our actions. We know that He is watching us, yet we
persist in acting like Amalek, whose rebellion was intentional.

Obliterating Amalek means connecting intellectual understanding and
actual deed. When we remember Amalek, who knew G-d yet deliberately
sought to rebel, it causes us to correct our conduct and not follow his

A Jew's intellectual knowledge of Torah and mitzvot must never be
separated from his day to day behavior. It isn't enough to know what is
expected of us; whatever Torah knowledge we accrue must always lead to
deeds, and a life lived in accordance with G-d's wishes.

In the merit of obliterating our inner "Amalek," may we very soon merit
the coming of Moshiach, who will destroy the remembrance of Amalek
forever and build the Third Holy Temple, speedily in our day.

               Adapted for Maayan Chai from Likutei Sichot, vol. 21

                             SLICE OF LIFE
                            Gan Izzy Spirit
                 From a speech at a camp farewell party

Hi! My name is Andrew Stein.  I am 9 years old. I have been going to
Camp Gan Israel of North Potomac, Maryland, since 2006. I would like to
tell you about some of my experiences as a Gan Izzy camper.

Gan Izzy is filled with ruach (spirit) and excitement each day.  Every
morning when my Mom drops me off, I quickly get out of the car and I run
to start my day with the wonderful Gan Izzy counselors.

I give each counselor a "High 5" as I enter camp. The camp day
officially begins with songs and cheers during Line Up.  After Line Up,
we have our morning davening (prayers). I learned how to say Modeh Ani
when I wake up in the morning and the Shema when I wake up and before I
go to bed. I will continue to say these prayers even after camp is over.

Next we have Share Time. During Share Time, the counselors teach us
about the Jewish holidays, doing mitzvot, like eating kosher food and
making our homes a Jewish home.

Every Friday, my brother, Adam, and I make Challah for Shabbat. My
parents and my Bubby and Zady say that it is our Challah that makes the
Shabbat so beautiful and so yummy.

Some of my favorite camp activities are: going to the pool, playing
games and going on field trips...especially the grand trip to Six Flags!

The best part about Gan Izzy is that through all these activities I
learn so much about being Jewish. I love Camp Gan Izzy.  It will always
have a special place in my heart!

                               WHAT'S NEW
The Lubavitch network of day and overnight summer camps, known as Camp
Gan Israel, or affectionately, "Gan Izzy," was established in 1956 by
the Lubavitcher Rebbe. Today, the largest camp network in the world
spans 40 countries. In the former Soviet Union alone there are 40 camps
attended by nearly 9,000 children. On this page is a small sampling of
some of the Chabad-Lubavitch affiliate summer camps world-wide.

                            THE REBBE WRITES
                       22nd of Elul, 5730 [1970]

Blessing and Greeting:

I received regards from you through your husband Dr..., who also told me
of your present frame of mind. And while this is quite understandable,
it is necessary to bear in mind that the ways of G-d are inscrutable,
but always good, since He is the Essence of Goodness, and it is in the
nature of the Good to do good - however difficult it may sometimes seem
to comprehend. Yet it is not at all surprising that a human being should
not be able to understand the ways of G-d; on the contrary, it is quite
easy to see why a human being should not be able to understand the ways
of G-d, for how can a created being understand the Creator?

We must, therefore, be strong in our trust in G-d and let nothing
discourage us or cause any depression, G-d forbid. As a matter of fact,
the stronger the Bitochon [trust] in G-d and in His benevolence, the
sooner comes the time when this becomes plain even to human eyes. You
should therefore be confident that G-d will eventually fulfill your
heart's desires for good, as well as that of your husband, to be blessed
with additional healthy offspring.

Your husband's activities and contribution to the strengthening and
spreading Yiddishkeit [Judaism], as well as your share in it, will stand
you in good stead to hasten that time.

Inasmuch as we are now in the auspicious month of Elul, I trust you
surely know the explanation by the Alter Rebbe [Rabbi Shneur Zalman,
founder of Chabad Chasidism], author of the Tanya and Shulchan Aruch, of
the significance of this month. He explains it by means of an
illustration of a king returning to his residence, when all the people
of the city turn out to welcome the king in the field. At such a time,
everyone may approach the king, even dressed in work clothes, etc., to
present a personal petition to the king, while the king accepts each
petition graciously and grants the request. Such is also the period of
the month of Elul - a time of special Divine grace and mercy.

May G-d grant that this be so also with you and all yours, in the midst
of all our people Israel.

Wishing you and yours a Ksivo vaChasimo Tovo  [may you be inscribed and
sealed for good],

With blessing,

                                *  *  *

                       20th of Elul, 5720 [1960]

Greeting and Blessing:

I received your letter of Rosh Chodesh Elul, and the previous two, which
you wrote in Eretz Yisroel [the Land of Israel] and where you mention
that about in the middle of Elul you expect to be back in -. I will be
glad to receive word from you of your arrival.

You write that you are putting on Chabad Tefillin and ask if you should
also pray Nusach [order and text of the prayers] Chabad. Perhaps you
know the tradition among Chassidim that the founder of Chabad compiled
his Siddur [prayer book] after carefully examining sixty different
Siddurim, until he ascertained and perfected the Nusach Chabad. It is
surely a good thing for you to use this Nusach. However, it should be
accompanied by a firm resolution to follow this Nusach consistently.
For, while it is possible to change from Nusach Ashkenaz to Sefard, and
from Sefard to Ari, which is the Chabad Nusach, it should not be changed
in the other direction. Therefore once you accept the Nusach Chabad, you
will have to abide by it, and it is certainly a good thing to do so.

You refer again to the old problem of self-control, etc. As I have
repeatedly written to you, one of the best ways to cope with the problem
is to completely dismiss from your mind the whole matter. This means
that you should not even dwell on it in an effort to combat it for
concentration on the problem and how to overcome it is the opposite of
dismissing it from your mind completely.

So whenever the thought occurs to you, you should at once turn your
attention to any other thing, preferably to a matter of Torah and
Mitzvoth. For, as you know, even a little light dispels a lot of
darkness, and certainly a lot of light dispels so much more darkness.

May you have good news to report about this, and about all your other

Wishing you a Ksivo vachasimo tovo,

With blessing,

                            WHAT'S IN A NAME
ALEXANDER is from the Greek, meaning "protector."  When "Alexander the
Great" was on his way to Persia he passed through Jerusalem. He showed
great respect for the High Priest, Shimon, and spared Jerusalem and the
Holy Temple, unlike other capitals he had conquered. Alexander became an
adopted Jewish name.

ARIELA is the feminine from of the Hebrew word "ariel," meaning "lion of

                        A WORD FROM THE DIRECTOR
                         Rabbi Shmuel M. Butman
This week's Torah portion begins with the words, "When you go out to war
upon your enemies." The words of the Torah are eternally relevant,
applying to us in all times. When the Torah was given, G-d was preparing
the Jewish people for an actual physical battle, but the lesson for us
in our day is about fighting the battle in the spiritual realm.

We, as Jews, have been charged with a unique responsibility: to make
this physical world a dwelling place for G-d, a place where G-dliness
and holiness are openly revealed. We carry out this responsibility by
fighting a battle, a battle in which we attempt to elevate the material
to the spiritual, to overcome the evil inclination that is inherent in
every person. In this way we make our world a dwelling place for G-d.

"Going out to war" can also mean to go beyond your normal routine and
activities. A person cannot stop and rest. He cannot decide that he has
reached as high as he'll ever go, that he is no longer obliged to go out
and fight the spiritual battles. This is especially relevant in the
month of Elul, when a person might think that since the year is coming
to a close, he can sit back and relax until the start of the new year;
there is no reason to go beyond his normal routine. From the Torah
portion we learn that this is never the case.

May we continue to increase in our efforts to serve G-d, to reach
higher, to exceed our boundaries until we have reached our ultimate
goal, the arrival of Moshiach.

                          THOUGHTS THAT COUNT
When you go forth to war against (literally "above") your enemies (Deut.

When you go forth into battle with complete trust in the G-d of Israel,
secure in the knowledge that G-d stands by your side to assist, you are
automatically "above" your enemies as soon as you embark on your

                                                   (Likutei Sichot)

                                *  *  *

When you go forth to war...

These words refer to the descent of the soul, "a veritable part of G-d
Above," into the physical world. Its mission, enclothed within a
physical body, is to wage war and conquer the material world by infusing
it with holiness, learning Torah and observing its commandments. This
conflict will reach its successful conclusion with the coming of
Moshiach, when G-dliness will reign triumphant.

                                                  (Peninei Hageula)

                                *  *  *

That which comes out of your lips shall you keep and perform (Deut.

The sentiment of the "Modeh Ani" prayer thanking G-d for restoring the
soul to the body and recited immediately upon awakening in the morning,
should carry through the rest of the day as well. One should always
conduct oneself with this fundamental fact in mind.

                                                   (Likutei Sichot)

                                *  *  *

And he may write her a bill of divorcement (Deut. 24:1)

Why is the Biblical "bill of divorcement" ("sefer k'ritut") called a
"get"? Because the letters of the word "get," gimel and tet, are never
found next to each other in any word of the entire Torah - the Five
Books of Moses, the Prophets, or the Writings!

                                *  *  *

Remember what Amalek did to you (Deut. 25:17)

Why does the Torah use the singular form of the word "you" instead of
the plural? The early chasidim explained: Amalek, or the Evil
Inclination, gains a stronghold only in an individual who is
stand-offish and reclusive from the rest of the Jewish People. He who
considers himself part of the larger whole and stands in unity with his
brethren cannot be harmed by Amalek.

                                              (Maayanei Hachasidut)

                            IT ONCE HAPPENED
Reb Berel and his wife had already eaten their dinner and the kitchen
was cleared away. Reb Berel had settled down to study Torah and his wife
was relaxing with some needlework when there was a  knock at the door.
Reb Berel opened the door a crack, but the visitor pushed it so
forcefully that Reb Berel was thrown backward. Several young hoodlums
quickly followed into the house and ordered the terrified couple to lie
on the floor. Although they offered no resistance, the couple was beaten
unconscious and then bound with strong ropes.

As this violence occurred inside the placid exterior of the home, a
group of yeshiva students arrived  at this same house. "It's completely
dark. Do you think we really should knock?" one of the students asked
the others.

"Reb Moshe specifically told us to make sure to bring Reb Berel to the
wedding. He's waiting there until we come," another replied.

"We have to wake them up," a third offered. And so they walked up to
door and knocked. Repeated knocking, however, brought no response.

"Maybe we should force the door; maybe something has happened to them
and they can't open the door." But forcing was not necessary, for the
door easily pushed open.

When the young men entered they saw a dark form on the floor which
turned out to be Reb Berel. They untied him and his wife who, by now,
had regained consciousness, and explained that they had been sent by Reb
Moshe to bring them to his daughter's wedding.

"Thank G-d you came when you did. The robbers would have ransacked the
entire house and who knows what else they might have done to my family.
This is truly a miracle that resulted from my mitzva (commandment) of
dowering a bride (hachnasat kalla)!"

"Please tell us what happened," the students insisted.

Reb Berel, who was just recovering his composure, explained, "One day I
was walking down the street, when I ran into Reb Moshe. He looked
worried and so I asked him, 'How is everything?'

"He answered me, saying that he had to marry off his daughter very soon,
and he didn't have the money. I asked him how much he needed, and he
replied, 'Two hundred gold coins,' which was quite a sizable sum. Thank
G-d, I have more than enough, and so I just took out my wallet and gave
him the money plus some extra. Then I added, 'Just don't forget to
invite me to the wedding!'

"I knew the wedding invitations had gone out, and I was surprised that
he had forgotten to invite me. Now, I understand the Divine Providence
behind that apparent oversight. If you hadn't come along when you had I
might have lost a great deal of my fortune and, who knows, we might have
even lost our very lives!"

"Do you feel well enough to come to the wedding?" they asked Reb Berel.
"For certainly, Reb Moshe is still waiting for you!"

"I wouldn't miss it for anything," Reb Berel exclaimed. "Thanks to the
money I gave Reb Moshe, my life, the lives of my family and my fortune
were saved."

Most of the wedding guests had already left, but Reb Moshe was there
waiting for the "guest of honor," the benefactor he had forgotten to
invite. Reb Moshe was about to apologize, when Reb Berel hugged him and
began recounting the tale of his rescue.

Then Reb Berel said he had an announcement to make. "For many years I
have thought of moving to the Holy Land. Tonight I have decided that I
will, in fact, move there as soon as I close up my business here. There,
I will build houses for the poor and for Torah scholars in Jerusalem. In
this way I hope to repay G-d for all the good He has done for me, and I
pray that through this deed, I will bring the arrival of Moshiach a bit

This announcement brought cheers from the remaining guests, "Amen,
Amen," they cried joyfully. And so, the section of Batei Orenstein arose
in the holy city of Jerusalem to be a blessing to the needy who were
furnished with housing due to the generosity of Reb Berel.

The large square, called "Batei Orenstein," stands to there to this day.

                            MOSHIACH MATTERS
According to Maimonides, one of the first things Moshiach will do is
"wage the wars of G-d and prevail." Everything that was wrongfully
stolen from the Jews during the exile will be returned to our hands.
Most significantly this includes the ultimate target of their hatred,
the Holy Temple, which was twice destroyed. When Moshiach comes and
rebuilds the Temple, it will finally be redeemed from the captivity of
the nations where it has been for almost two thousand years.

                 (The Lubavitcher Rebbe, Parshat Teitzei 5750-1990)

              END OF TEXT - L'CHAIM 1134 - Ki Seitzei 5770

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