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                         L'CHAIM - ISSUE # 1146
                           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.
        November 19, 2010      Vayishlach        12 Kislev, 5771

                         Breaking the Barriers

Chasidim are known for their joyful approach to life, whether the
mundane and material or the spiritual and inspirational. The Baal Shem
Tov, founder of Chasidism, established joy as one of the two "platforms"
of Chasidic teachings: love your fellow as yourself is one, serve G-d
with joy is the other.

At first this almost obsessive insistence on joy aroused the criticism
of the opponents. Life is serious. Prayer is serious. Torah study
requires gravity of mind. Etc.

There were other charges: By being so joyful, it was claimed, Chasidim
minimized the sinfulness of mankind and trivialized the tragic.

Of course, the charges were false. A cursory glance through the writings
of the Chasidic masters reveals they were fully aware of the trials and
tribulations of life. Dealing with transgression and repentance also has
a place in their teachings.

And while Chasidic prayer remains joyous, its intensity and importance
cannot be doubted. For, while Chasidim reintroduced singing and
vitality, they also emphasized why and to Whom we pray.

Still, the emphasis on joy can sometimes seem to be an over-emphasis, if
not just wishful thinking. Arguing that the sadness, or depression, that
follows a sin is in many ways worse than the sin itself, seems
exaggerated. And claiming that "joy breaks through all barriers" sounds
like a pep talk.

Except - modern science confirms what Chasidism has been saying for over
two centuries. It seems that physical pain and depression aren't just
connected, they actually travel together. And apparently, depression
leads the way.

Scientists studying depression and pain discovered that it can cause
"floating" pain - random and otherwise unexplainable pains in various
parts of the body. Someone who's depressed can experience back pain,
headaches, or just heightened sensitivity to pain - all of which may
seem to come out of nowhere.

The reason is "that pain and emotion travel down some of the same neural
pathways in your brain." So sometimes the neurotransmitters "carrying
news of gloom and doom ... jump the tracks" resulting in very real
physical pain. As the depression fades, so does the pain.

Of course, sometimes the depression is so serious and deep that the
individual must take antidepressants or go into therapy - and for many,
many people, such treatment is a life-saving necessity.

But for many of us, and most of the time, a little extra joy can go a
long way. We really can "smile away" those aches and pains.

Joy does more than negate the negative, though. It also increases the
positive. Joy energizes us. When the Baal Shem Tov said, "serve G-d with
joy," he was telling us, among other things, that joy intensifies and
gives significance to our actions. It's not just the difference between
doing what we have to and what we want to. Without joy not only can we
not truly appreciate the experience, we can't internalize it.

Joy breaks barriers: in a sense it travels the neural pathways opposed
to depression, with the opposite result. If depression "jumps the track"
into pain, joy helps us "jump the track" to pleasure - not just physical
pleasure, but to material and intellectual achievement, as well.

This week's Torah portion, Vayishlach, narrates Jacob's victorious
struggle with the angel and the subsequent changing of his name to
Israel. "Not Jacob shall your name any more be called, but Israel, for
you have striven with G-d and with men, and prevailed."

The names "Jacob" and "Israel" are used to refer to the entire Jewish
people; each of the two terms emphasizes a particular characteristic of
the Jewish nation. According to Chasidic philosophy, "Jacob" and
"Israel" symbolize two levels in the Jew's relationship with G-d.

Jews are referred to as both servants of G-d and as G-d's sons. As
"servants," they are called "Jacob" - "Hearken unto Me, Jacob my
servant." As "sons," they are called "Israel" - "My son, My firstborn,

The difference between a servant and a son is obvious. When a son
fulfills his father's wishes, he does so happily and out of love. A
servant, however, is not necessarily overjoyed at the opportunity to
carry out his master's command, quite frequently doing so only because
he has no choice in the matter.

Both situations apply to our own lives, in our own personal service of
G-d. A Jew can pray, learn Torah, observe the mitzvot and serve his
Father like a son, or he can perform the very same actions without joy,
like a servant serves his Master. When a Jew stands on the level of
"Israel," he willingly fulfills his Father's commands, experiencing no
inner conflict with the Evil Inclination. When, however, a Jew is on the
level of "Jacob," it means he is forced to grapple with the Evil
Inclination in order to properly fulfill his Master's command, quite
frequently doing so only out of a sense of obligation and submission.

Obviously, the level of "Israel" is the one toward which we all strive,
yet one cannot reach this level without first passing through the level
of "Jacob." If a Jew is not always enthusiastic in his service,
sometimes finding it difficult to serve G-d properly, he should know
that this is only natural when one embarks upon a new course. The Evil
Inclination is not vanquished all at once, and it takes time to
transform the will of G-d into one's own personal will. At first (and
this stage may last for years!), the Evil Inclination howls in protest,
attempting to divert the Jew. But when a Jew consistently stands up for
what is right and refuses to despair, the Evil Inclination is eventually

This is also one reason why, even after Jacob received the name Israel,
he is sometimes referred to in the Torah by his old name. For although
the level of "Israel" is superior, the level of "Jacob" is nonetheless a
necessary component in the spiritual life of the Jew.

                    Adapted from the works of the Lubavitcher Rebbe

                             SLICE OF LIFE
                      The Boy I Met on the B Train
                                 by CK

I got on the B train like I do every morning. Some mornings I get a
seat, other times I don't. Today was one of those days (that I didn't.)

I found an empty spot, took hold of the pole and waited for the train to
start moving. With a little jolt it took off, ricketing and racketing
its way down the tracks. My head hurt, my knee hurt, I could barely keep
my eyes open. There were funky smells drifting my way. I was nauseated
and hungry all at the same time.

I stood there, for the first four minutes of my train ride doing nothing
but complaining in my head. Next stop came and I got a seat, I sat down
and began to do my usual people watching. There was Ms. punk rock gothic
"I feel so cool cuz my tights have got more holes than a chunk of swiss
cheese." Next came Mr. I love donuts, pizza, Kentucky fried chicken, and
anything else with a minimum of 4,000 calories per serving.

I made my way around my area of the train when I met someone's eyes. He
must've been 7 or 8 years old. He had big brown curious eyes and the
most genuine, contagious smile. Most of his hair was missing but there
were some random spots of matted hair that had begun to grow back. Next
to him was who I assumed was his mother. He gleefully waved his raggedy
excuse of a doll in her face letting out a burst of giggles. She smiled
back at him, the creases by her mouth barely meeting her eyes. So much
pain was behind that smile.

Of all the concepts of life I don't understand, I think motherhood
definitely takes the cake. I love many people. I love my family. There
are friends I love deeply, but nothing even close to what I imagine
loving a child must feel like. Imagine creating something. Then imagine
carrying this creation around for nine months; feeding it and keeping it
warm. When this creation is born - how can you not be unconditionally,
madly in love with it? YOU made it! I get chills when I think about the
concept of having a baby. It is the most incredible miracle of life. The
love, the pride, and satisfaction your child brings you when he or she
does something good are colossal. Unfortunately though the same goes for
when bad things happen.

What can possibly be more painful than watching your angel suffer?

I remember clearly this incident after one of my surgeries. I was in a
lot of pain and just didn't seem to be making any progress. Day and
night my mother sat there by my side holding my hand and praying for the
pain to stop. The moment that sticks out was when the doctors came in
after me being there for almost two weeks and looked at me and my mother
and said, "We're really sorry, we're trying our best but we just can't
seem to figure out what is wrong."

I could barely move, barely even open my eyes from the blinding
headaches I was suffering from. But my mother... my mother on the other
hand got up, burst into tears, and walked out of the room. It was one of
the few times I ever saw my mother cry. Only later on did she explain to
me those tears. She said to me, "There is nothing in the world that is
more painful than watching your child suffer and being unable to do
anything about it."

When a mother watches her child suffer it isn't just watching another
person in pain. You're watching and feeling a little piece of you in

Looking at this mom next to her sick son you could see the love and pain
all twisted in one. I looked back at the giggling boy. I was so enamored
by the positive aura surrounding and enveloping him. Suddenly I realized
I was one stop away from work. I needed more time. I needed to try and
find out this boy's secret. How? How on earth could he be so happy? I
wanted to shake him and say "Are you crazy?? Do you think it's normal
that you look the way you do? That your face is all funny looking, that
you have no hair? Because it's not ok! No one should have to go through
what you go through!"

Maybe it was my imagination, maybe it was coincidence, or maybe he was
the messenger through whom G-d was sending me a message. As I stepped
off the train and took one look back, I could've sworn he winked at me.
With that wink came a whole message. A message of hope, and a message of

Yes, I'm suffering; we all suffer in some form or another. Physical
pain, emotional pain, no one goes through life without experiencing
pain. But why focus on the pain? Why focus on being angry at the pain
you're being caused? Guess what?! Not only does being angry and
frustrated not help your situation but it has in fact made it ten times
worse! Be happy. Embrace the pain for you know it's all part of a bigger
picture, one that with our limited understanding we unfortunately cannot
grasp. Embrace the challenges for you know it's making you into the
strong beautiful person you are.

I walked to work, my heart all warm and fuzzy. I can't believe how much
precious time of my precious life I waste complaining; time wasted being
upset with G-d, being frustrated with life.

Who knew that taking one simple train ride, the same train I take every
single morning, would hold the person that touched my life.

I don't know who you are, little boy with cancer. Chances are I'll never
see you again. But I want to thank you from the depth of my heart for
reminding me what an amazing gift of life I've been given and how it's
about time to start making the best of it. I pray that G-d be with you
and make you feel pain no more.

                         Reprinted with permission from

                               WHAT'S NEW
                             New Emissaries

Rabbi Yossi and Chaya Mushka Freedman have moved to Cleveland, Ohio,
where they will expand Chabad of Cleveland into downtown. Rabbi Zalman
and Mushky Loewenthal have moved to Manchester, England, to start Chabad
on Campus at the University of Manchester. Rabbi Yosef Chaim and Chaya
Sufrin are moving to Clarksville, Maryland, to open a new Chabad House.
Rabbi Shmuly and Shaina Feldman are moving to Clay County, Florida, to
open a new Chabad House. Rabbi Mendel and Chaya Goldberg have arrived in
Playa del Carmen, Mexico, to open a new Chabad House. Rabbi Akiva and
Taiby Camissar are moving to Amsterdam, the Netherlands, to start a
Chabad House for the 9,000 Israelis there.

                            THE REBBE WRITES
                      16th of Tammuz, 5720 [1960]

After the very long interval, I was pleased to receive your letter of
June 17th, in which you write about your wedding in a happy and
auspicious hour. I was also especially interested to read about your
having settled down to a family life based on the foundations of our
Torah, which is called the Law of Life. Judging from the description of
your experiences with a sense of humor, I trust that both you and your
wife are sincerely determined to live up to the Jewish way of life,
which will ensure a happy and harmonious life, both materially and
spiritually. The important thing is to start with a firm determination,
and then, as our Sages said, "One mitzvah [commandment]  brings another
in its train," and these are the channels and vessels to receive and
enjoy G-d's blessings.

You write about meeting a Jew in the course of your travels who comes to
the synagogue to help make up a minyan [prayer quorum], yet at the same
time reads the newspaper. Everyone, of course, reacts to an experience
in a way that is closest to him.

Thus, for my part, I make the following two extreme observations: First,
I see in it the extreme Jewish attachment which one finds in every Jew.
For here is a person who has wandered off to a remote part of the world,
and has become so far removed, not only geographically, but also
mentally and intellectually, as to have no concept of what prayer is or
what a house of G-d is, etc; yet one finds in him that Jewish spark, or
as the Alter Rebbe [Rabbi Shneur Zalman], the founder of Chabad,
expressed it in his Tanya - "The Divine soul which is truly a part of
G-d." This divine soul, which is the inheritance of every Jew, seeks
expression as best it can, and in the case of this particular Jew, it
seeks expression in at least enabling other Jews to pray
congregationally, and he therefore goes out of his way to help them and
at the same time to be counted with them.

My other observation, following from the above, is as follows: If, where
the odds are so great against Jewish observance, yet a Jew can remain
active and conscious of his Jewishness, it can easily be seen what great
things could have been accomplished with this particular Jew if, at the
proper time he should have received the right education in his early
life, or at least the proper spiritual guidance in his adult life. This
consideration surely emphasizes the mutual responsibility which rests
upon all Jews, and particularly on those who can help others.

I will not deny that the above is said not in a spirit of
philosophizing, but with a view to stimulate your thinking as to your
own possibilities in your particular environment, and what the proper
attitude should be.

We must never despair of any Jew, and at the same time we must do all we
can to take the fullest advantage of our capacities and abilities to
strengthen the Jewish consciousness among all Jews with whom we come in
contact. For one can never tell how far-reaching such influence can be.

To conclude this letter on the happy note of the beginning of your
letter relating to your marriage, may I again reiterate my prayerful
wishes that you establish and conduct your home on everlasting
foundations of the Torah and mitzvos, and thus enjoy a truly happy and
productive life, both materially and spiritually which go hand in hand

I trust both you and your wife will find the enclosed copies of my
recent message interesting and useful.

Hoping to hear good news from you always,

                            WHAT'S IN A NAME
ARIEL means "lion of G-d." Ariel was a leader who served under Ezra the
Scribe. The feminine form is Ariela.

ASNAT is from the Aramaic meaning "thornbush." She was the wife of
Joseph (Gen. 41:45) and mother of Menashe and Efrayim. According to the
Midrash, she was the daughter of Joseph's sister Dina.

                        A WORD FROM THE DIRECTOR
                         Rabbi Shmuel M. Butman
This coming Sunday, November 21, is the wedding anniversary of the
Lubavitcher Rebbe and his wife, Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka.

The Rebbe spoke many times about the sanctity of a Jewish marriage and
the importance of shalom bayit, which refers to a harmonious
relationship between husband and wife. There are hundreds of letters
from the Rebbe in response to questions about general or very particular
problems in the area of shalom bayit.

(The Rebbe's advice is beneficial not only in marriage but in other
interpersonal relationships as well.)

An excerpt from one such letter (freely translated) reads:

"It is certain that every person can approach and influence another
person in this matter, when proper thought is put into it and when one
searches for the appropriate method that suits this particular person...
If the occupation of the above-mentioned couple permits, it is sensible
to say that a trip for several weeks of vacation, spent together in a
manner of a second 'honeymoon' would rectify the entire situation."

In another response, the Rebbe advises:

"It is understood according to the ruling of our Rabbis of blessed
memory, how great is peace between a man and his wife; you must put as
much effort into this as possible... it is emphasized in the teachings
of Chasidut and specifically in the well-known talk of my father-in-law,
that a person is created with a right eye and a left eye. The right eye
teaches that one must always look at another Jew with a good eye, to see
what is best and most pleasant in him, etc. Being that we have been so
commanded in our Torah, a Torah of life, certainly we have been given
the capacity and the possibility to fulfill the command, and there is
nothing that stands in the way of the will."

May we imminently begin that era when there will only be peace, peace in
the world at large, peace in our communities, peace within our families,
with the revelation of Moshiach, NOW!

                          THOUGHTS THAT COUNT
Then Jacob was greatly afraid, and distressed (Gen. 32:8)

According to Rashi, Jacob was worried over the possibility that he would
be forced to kill "acheirim," literally "others." Our Sages, however,
relate that "Acheirim" was also the name of the famous Rabbi Meir, who
was descended from the Roman Emperor Nero, who converted to Judaism.
Jacob was thus afraid that if he killed Esau, he would thereby be
preventing the great sage from being born.

                                                  (Peninim Yekarim)

                                *  *  *

Deliver me, I pray thee, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of
Esau (Gen. 32:12)

The repetition of the word "hand" indicates that Jacob was afraid of two
separate dangers: the "hand of Esau," Esau's brute physical power, and
"the hand of my brother," Esau's brotherly love. Esau's sword posed a
threat to Jacob's physical well-being, but socializing with him would be
an even greater threat to his soul.

                                     (Rabbi Yosef Ber Soloveitchik)

                                *  *  *

And he commanded also (gam) the second, also (gam) the third, also (gam)
all that followed the droves (Gen. 32:20)

The Hebrew word "gam" (spelled gimmel-mem) is used three times to allude
to the three historical redemptions of the Jewish people through the
three tzadikim [righteous]: The first was "geulat Moshe," the redemption
from Egypt led by Moses. The second was "geulat Mordechai," the
redemption in the times of Mordechai which culminated in the holiday of
Purim. And the third will be "geulat Moshiach," who will usher in the
Final Redemption.

                                                      (Yosher Adam)

                            IT ONCE HAPPENED
In a village, not far from the town of Kovna, there lived a Jewish
innkeeper, a humble, G-d-fearing man. His daughter Sara had reached
marriageable age but the chances for finding her a worthy husband in
this distant village were scarce. However, the innkeeper trusted in G-d
and knew that she would find her destined mate.

Sara helped her parents at the inn. One day, the young son of the
country squire stopped at the inn. The moment he saw Sara, he wanted
her. He called on her to serve him one drink after another, and the more
he drank, the more he liked her. When he was well drunk, he said to her,
"Will you marry me?"

Sara ignored his marriage proposal. But when he kept on telling her that
he was serious, she told him, politely but firmly, that she was Jewish
and would never marry out of her faith. For his part, the young squire
said that he would return and insisted that he would definitely marry

When the young squire told his father that he intended to marry the
innkeeper's daughter, the old nobleman tried to dissuade his son but the
young man remained adamant. The squire, who had spoiled his son all his
life and catered to all his whims, gave in, but on condition the girl

The young squire raced back to the inn and told Sara that his father had
consented to the marriage. Of course, there was the small matter of
conver-sion, but once that was over, she would live a life of luxury and

Sara was horrified. She told him she would never marry him and ran from
the room. She decided not to say anything to her father in the hope that
this was a passing whim. But she was wrong.

The young squire was not used to being refused. As to the old squire,
his  pride was hurt to think that a poor Jewish girl was turning down
his marriage proposal! The squire sat down to write a letter to the

In the letter, the squire stated that his son had graciously consented
to marry the innkeeper's daughter. The innkeeper should set a date for
the wedding. If the innkeeper refused, the lease on his inn would be
revoked and his family would be driven off the nobleman's estates.

The young squire went to deliver the letter, taking a few of his friends
along. En-route, a storm broke out and they were soaked to the bone. The
group stopped along the way at the closest inn until the storm subsided.
The boisterous company began drinking until they became quite rowdy.

A round of toasts to the young squire were offered. "Drink," his friends
said, "once you marry the pretty Jewish girl, the innkeeper's daughter
Sara, you will have to behave yourself!" Toasts and laughter followed.

All this time, an older Jewish man was sitting in the corner. He was
Rabbi Yosef, the teacher of the two sons of the innkeeper from this
village. He listened as the young squire read the letter from his father
to Sara's father.

When the young squires fell into a drunken sleep, Rabbi Yosef closed his
book and traveled quickly to the next village where he immediately
alerted Sara's father as to the situation at hand.

"Rabbi Yosef," Sara's father cried, "You are wise. What is your advice?"

"Sara must get married immediately. There is no time to wait."

"But to whom? There are no Jewish man of marriageable age in this
village," the innkeeper lamented.

"Please understand, I would never have thought to make such a proposal.
I am not a young man and I am a widower, and Sara deserves someone
worthier. But, as a temporary arrangement, I am prepared to be the
groom. When the danger is over, we will arrange for a divorce," said
Rabbi Yosef.

The innkeeper was awed by Rabbi Yosef, who surely knew how dangerous
this could be. He asked Sara what she thought. "What can I say, father?
Rabbi Yosef is ready to risk his life for us. I do not know if I have a
right to accept such a sacrifice," she replied.

"Then, all is settled," said Rabbi Yosef. "We have no time to lose."

All of the Jews in the village were awakened and asked to prepare
something for the wedding feast. The following morning when the young
squire and his companions arrived at the inn, they were amazed to find
that they came right in the middle of the wedding feast.

"What welcome guests!" the innkeeper called to the new arrivals. The
young squire was flabbergasted. He had come too late; Sara was already
married. He and his friends quickly made their exit.

Rabbi Yosef stood up. "We must be truly grateful to the One Above for
this wonderful salvation. We celebrated this wedding in order to save
the good Sara from a calamity. Now that the danger has passed, I am
ready to arrange for a divorce so that Sara is free to marry the man of
her choice."

The innkeeper once again thanked Rabbi Yosef for his selflessness and
thanked the guests for their wonderful cooperation. "Well my daughter,
remove your bridal veil, for we are going to the rabbi," he said.

"G-d has brought us together, I am sure this marriage was made in
Heaven. I am quite sure that I could not have chosen a more devoted and
loyal partner, who risked his life for me!" Sara told her father.

Shouts of "Mazal Tov!" rang out in the room.

The following year, Rabbi Yosef and Sara were blessed with a son who
grew up to be a great tzadik. He was known as the famous Rabbi Leib
Sara's, so called in honor of his pious mother Sara.

                            MOSHIACH MATTERS
There are three reasons why we can be assured that Moshiach is coming:
G-d acts with kindness toward the Jewish people; If He would not (G-d
forbid) send Moshiach, it would create a Chilul Hashem (desecration of
G-d's name) for the nations of the world would say that G-d has forsaken
us or that He cannot help. Out of Kavod Hashem (honor to His Great Name)
He will surely send Moshiach;  Lastly, G-d has promised that  He will
send Moshiach.  A promise from G-d is 100% guaranteed.

               (Sefer HaIkarim by Rabbi Yosef Albo from

              END OF TEXT - L'CHAIM 1146 - Vayishlach 5771

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