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                         L'CHAIM - ISSUE # 1162
                           Copyright (c) 2011
                 Lubavitch Youth Organization - L.Y.O.
                              Brooklyn, NY
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   Dedicated to the memory of Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka Schneerson N.E.
        March 11, 2011          Vayikra          5 Adar II, 5771

                          How Much Do We See?

Perhaps you've heard the story or read the poem about the six blind men
and the elephant? Six blind men went to "see" an elephant in order to
determine what it was. They intended to compare it to other objects in
their experience, and so be able to define and explain it.

The first blind man touched the side of the elephant and, feeling how
solid and vertical it was, declared the elephant was like a wall.

The second one grabbed the tusk, and declared, as vociferously as the
first, that the elephant was like a spear.

The third one, standing nearby, reached out and took hold of the trunk.
"Ah ha!" he said. "The elephant is like a snake."

The fourth, impatient and eager to verify for himself what the elephant
was, leaned forward and grasped the knee. "It's clear the elephant is
like a tree."

The fifth with outstretched hands felt up and down the ear. "The
elephant is like a fan," he said.

The sixth one groped about until he caught the tail. "The elephant most
resembles a rope."

The poem ends with an observa-tion that "though each was partly in the
right, all were in the wrong."

The analogy to our attempts to explain spirituality, mitzvot
(commandments), religious experience, and the deep questions of theology
- Job's question, for instance - is obvious. Like the blind men in the
parable, we can only sense a part of the whole.

Erroneously, we project the part that we can "see"  - or touch - onto
the rest, assuming the whole is like the part. That's not only a logical
fallacy, it's a theological one.

We ourselves have a sense of identity, of wholeness - a one-ness to who
we are. And yet, we present many different facets to the world.
Sometimes we are like a spear, sometimes like a wall, sometimes like a
tree, etc. And each facet also reflects our experience, what we make of

And yet, in some ways, we hardly know ourselves. There's more to each of
us than meets the eye.

If in a spiritual (and emotional) sense we - finite and fallible - are
too big to get our hands around the whole thing, too deep to see all the
way through. How much more so the universe in all its complexity?

And yet, the universe too is finite.

Often when discussing "religious matters," we act like the blind men,
without knowing we're blind.

We try to explain the inexplicable - the suffering of the innocent, for
example - and conclude religion is a wall against which we can only bang
our heads. Or we encounter an indi-vidual who misuses religion, hiding
his misdeeds behind a mitzva, and decide religion is a snake, not to be
trusted. Or in a time of crisis, when we need a lifeline, we grab ahold
of religion like a rope, and decide it's only good for emergencies.

In each case, we have an insight, but by limiting the spiritual to our
perception, we are profoundly wrong.

G-dliness, Judaism, must be experienced. Of course we have to study and
question - intellectual inquiry is part of the experience - but it's the
doing that gives us a true knowledge, a true understanding, a true
relationship with G-d.

And a relationship defies description or categorization. After all, love
is blind.

Throughout history, G-d has revealed Himself to both Jewish and
non-Jewish prophets. The manner of revelation, however, is different in
each case, as underscored in this week's Torah portion, Vayikra.

Moses, the greatest Jewish prophet who ever lived, merited the highest
level of prophecy, as our Sages learned from the verse: "Vayikra - And
G-d called to Moses." The prophecy of Bilaam, on the other hand, the
greatest of the gentile prophets, was of an inferior nature: "And G-d
met Bilaam (Vayikar)."

At first glance the difference between the two Hebrew words appears
nominal: one word has the Hebrew letter "alef," the other does not. Yet
this tiny alef, in fact, contains a world of difference.

According to Rashi, the foremost Torah commentator, the word "vayikra"
implies affection, love and holiness; "vayikar" comes from the root word
meaning uncleanliness. Moreover, the alef alludes to "Alufo shel olam" -
"the Master of the world" - a fact which is further emphasized by alef
having the numerical value of one, representative of G-d's absolute

"Vayikra," with an alef, is symbolic of the Jew's connection with G-d, a
permanent uniting of two halves; "vayikar," without the alef, implies a
temporary, impure connection between two entities that do not share an
intrinsic bond.

In a broader sense, G-d's call to Moses is directed to every single Jew,
for all Jews are said to contain a spark of Moses within. In truth, G-d
reveals Himself to each individual Jew, in every generation - and
precisely with love and affection.

Rashi adds that "vayikra" alludes to the affectionate manner in which
the heavenly angels call to each other. Just as there is no competition
or jealousy among angels, so too does G-d's revelation to every
individual Jew have only positive consequences, fostering love and unity
between His children.

Moreover, G-d's overwhelming love for each and every Jew should inspire
us to emulate Him and thus strengthen our own sense of Jewish unity. If
G-d loves and reveals Himself in such a positive manner to every Jew,
surely we must follow His ways and relate to each of our brethren

Thus, completely united as one, the Jewish people will march toward the
Final Redemption with Moshiach, when we will merit to see the ultimate
fulfillment of the prophecy: "G-d will be King over the entire earth; on
that day G-d will be one and His name one."

                Adapted from Hitva'aduyot 5749 of the Rebbe, Vol. 2

                             SLICE OF LIFE
                          The Sky's the Limit
                           by Raphael Weizman

    From a speech at the Chabad Center of Northwest, New Jersey, 23rd
    Annual Founders Dinner.

In Morocco where I was born, our family of five lived in a 100 sq. ft.
room. Neither of my parents could read or write but when I brought home
my report card, my father was most interested in my mark in Jewish

When my family moved to Israel in 1962 our dream of "next year in
Jerusalem" was fulfilled. At the age of 13, I left the small town where
we had settled and moved into a boarding school to seek a better
education. I later continued to another boarding school where I received
a Staff Engineering degree in Agriculture.

After serving in the Israeli Army I came to the U.S. to attend an
intensive English course at Utah State University. That was September of
1973. Less than a month into the school year the Yom Kippur war broke
out and I returned to Israel along with my fellow Israeli students to
help our beloved State. Since my parents did not even own a telephone I
was not able to tell them that I was in Israel until the war was over.
After the war I returned to Utah State to complete my course.

When the course was finished I was broke. I looked for work but it was
impossible for an Israeli to find a job in Utah at that time. With the
help of a Jewish Iranian student friend I moved to Texas. This
experience of a fellow Jew helping another stayed with me until today.

Over the next few years I worked at various jobs as a bus boy, shipyard
guard and even selling flowers by the side of the highway. All the while
I was going to school full-time and served as the president of the
Israeli Student organization. During this time I started my first
business and even failed at it! I also met my first wife and we were
married in 1975. Together we hosted a steady stream of new Israeli
students in our apartment as they too began their educational journey.

In 1978, I earned a degree in business administration and accounting at
the University of Houston. I served as the treasurer of a medium size
company, and owned and managed businesses in Houston, Tel Aviv, New York
and New Jersey.

In 2000, I bought a small Hearing Aid business. From then until now,
that one office has grown into 19 offices with a revenue this year of $9
million. In 2000, I also met my wife, Susan, who had grown up in the
very same community where our Chabad stands today. Her parents Sig and
Judith became my parents and step-grandparents to my children, Jonathan
and Shelly. Susan helped me with her innovative graphics concepts as
well as putting up with me with tremendous love, dedication and

Sig and Judith also knew the value of an education, especially a Jewish
one. They settled here so they could send their children to Hebrew
school and be part of a Jewish community. In the past eight years they
never missed a Shabbat lunch with us (as long as we were not traveling)!
They were so happy when we were all together celebrating Passover, Rosh
Hashana, and Sukkot.

My message to all, and I know you have all heard it before but for me it
is real, is that if you set your mind to something and you believe in
it, the sky is the limit.

Chabad Center has been a tremendous source of inspiration to me and my
family. In life many different events can help shape you. I could have
never imagined that I would be standing here today, able to help
continue our Jewish Heritage.

We are especially proud to be honored by Chabad, an organization whose
generosity reaches across the globe. In our travels, we have seen the
devotion and dedication of young Chabad couples in many of the countries
we visited. Before we visit a country we always go on-line to make
contact with the local Chabad house. Here are few examples -

S. Petersburg, Russia: The rabbi and rebbetzin invited us to their house
Friday Night together with three Israeli scientists who were in Russia
on business.

Costa Rica: Chabad delivered kosher food to our hotel.

Vancouver, Canada: the rabbi and rebbetzin invited us to their home for
Shabbat lunch and honored us at the small synagogue

Chang Mai, Thailand: Friday night we were touched to see the room filled
with about 200 Israeli and Jewish travelers who showed up at the
synagogue for Kabalat Shabbat and Friday night dinner. We sang and
danced with them until late into the night.

Buenos Aires, Argentina: I was honored with an aliya to the Torah on
Shabbat and we were invited to the rabbi and rebbetzin's house for
Shabbat lunch.

South Beach, Miami: Every Friday night and Saturday morning that we are
there we are together with a group of Jews gathered in the synagogue for
a wonderful dinner and Kiddush lunch with words of Torah and songs

This past Sukkot we visited China. In Beijing the Chabad emissaries
brought to our hotel not only wine and challa but also a lulav and etrog
so that we could help our fellow Jewish travelers perform this important
mitzva. In Hong Kong we were greeted warmly at the local Chabad where we
spent a memorable Simchat Torah.

The philosophy of welcome to all is nowhere more evident than at our own
Chabad Center of Northwest NJ in Rockaway where everyone is accepted
with love and respect. Our Chabad is the place the community turns to
for educational, spiritual and personal guidance, whether a busy mother
of a preschooler, an adult child caring for an elderly parent or a
curious student looking for a lively discussion.

I would like to mention Rabbi Herson and Rabbi B, who have unlimited
energy, patience and a deep understanding of Judaism. Thank you for your
endless efforts in making this community a wonderful place to raise a
family, where children and adults are able to enrich their Jewish

                               WHAT'S NEW
                              New Centers

Chabad-Lubavitch of Delaware recently dedicated a new center. The Rohr
Chabad Center for Jewish Life in Wilmington, Delaware, is the new home
for Chabad, which was established in Wilmington in 1987.
Chabad-Lubavitch of North Orlando, Florida, established last year, has a
home. The Chamu Jewish Center will house all of Chabad's programming
including Shabbat services, holiday events, adult education classes,
Hebrew School to social events

                               New Torah

The Chabad Center of Bonita Springs, Florida, completed a new Torah
scroll. Jews from throughout Southwest Florida came to celebrate at the
Torah dedication.

                            THE REBBE WRITES
In reply to your letter, briefly:

 1. You ask how can we reconcile the attributes of G-d of
    mercifulness and kindness with cosmic catastrophes, such as,
    volcanic eruptions and the like, involving the loss of human life,

    There are many circumstances involved in each event, in addition to
    time and location. However, there is one general answer to such
    apparently inexplicable occurrences which will become clearer
    through the following illustration: Suppose one encounters an
    individual for a brief period of time, finding him asleep, or
    engaged in some arduous toil. Now, if the observer should want to
    conclude from what he sees during that brief period of time as to
    the nature of the individual he had observed, he would then conclude
    that the individual has an unproductive existence in the first
    instance; or leads a hard life in the second. Obviously, both
    conclusions are erroneous inasmuch as what he saw was only a
    fraction of the individual's life: and the state of sleep was only a
    period of rest and preparation for activity: and in the second
    instance, the toil was a means to remuneration or other satisfaction
    which by far outweighs the effort involved. The truth is that any
    shortsighted observation, covering only a fraction of time of the
    subject is bound to be erroneous: and what may appear as negative
    will assume quite a different appearance if the full truth of the
    matter before and after were known.

    Similarly in the case of any human observation of a world event. The
    subject of such an observation is thus taken out of its frame of
    eternity of a chain of events that occurred before and will occur
    afterwards. Obviously we cannot expect to judge about the nature of
    such an event with any degree of accuracy. A volcanic eruption or
    earthquake and the like are but one link in a long chain of events
    that began with the creation of the world and will continue to the
    end of time. We have no way of interpreting a single event by
    isolating it from the rest.

 2. The difference between "G-d is all" and "All is G-d" is in the
    approach and deduction. In the first instance, our starting point is
    G-d, and through study and research we can deduce that G-d's being
    is revealed even in material and natural things. Our study of the
    Unity of G-d and His other attributes will lead us to recognize the
    same attributes in nature and the world around us, the practical
    results of which find expression in unity among mankind and the
    practice of G-d's precepts as the proper application of G-dly
    attributes in our own life, etc. One who sets out in this path
    dedicates himself wholly to communion with G-d. He is averse to all
    material aspects of life, including even the bare necessities
    connected with his physical well-being, and tries to avoid them as
    much as possible. Being engaged in spiritual communion with G-d, he
    considers all material and physical necessities even those permitted
    by the Torah, as a hindrance in his consecrated life. However, his
    intelligence convinces him that the material and physical world is
    but an expression of Divine Being and that in them, too, G-d is to
    be found.

    In the second part of the statement, "All is G-d," the starting
    point is the outer shell of the universe and all material things in
    it. The study of this will lead to the conclusion that there is
    cosmic unity in the whole world and that there is a Divine "spark"
    engaged in the material aspects of life. The apprehension of this
    concept brings joy, inasmuch as it is in them and through them that
    man recog-nizes the greatness of the Creator and they help
    strengthen his unity with G-d.

    Thus we have two ways in the service of G-d, of which the first is
    the easier one, while the second leads to a better fulfillment of
    the objective of making this lowest physical world an abode for G-d.

 3. An observation of my own: It seems a novel way of trying to learn
    Chassidus by correspondence. Even when there is no other choice it
    is difficult to cover such a subject in the course of a letter. But
    in your case, you are within personal reach of receiving oral and
    fuller explanation. In the normal course of study under the teachers
    of Chassidus at Tomche Tmimim, and with the aid of the senior
    students of Chassidus who have been learning it for years. Why not
    use this better method?

                            WHAT'S IN A NAME
PESACH means "to pass over." It is the Hebrew name of the Passover
holiday when the houses of the Israelites were "passed over" by the
angel of death. It is also the name of the special offering brought on
the holiday. A similar name is PESACHYA, which means "the Pesach of

PIRCHIYA means blossom or flower.

                        A WORD FROM THE DIRECTOR
                         Rabbi Shmuel M. Butman
Seventy-one years ago this week, the Previous Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef
Yitzchak Schneersohn, arrived in America after a 12-day voyage from
Europe. His ship anchored in New York on a Monday at 6:00 p.m. (the 8th
of Adar II 5700/1940), but according to law, passengers on ships
arriving after 4:00 were not allowed to disembark until the next day.

That Tuesday (like this year) the Previous Rebbe was officially welcomed
by a huge crowd. Thousands of people cried out "Shalom Aleichem" when
they caught their first glimpse of the Rebbe, and many joyfully recited
the "Shehecheyanu" blessing. Delegations from all of the American Jewish
organizations were on hand, as was a special representative of the Mayor
of New York. After a short ceremony the Rebbe was driven to Manhattan's
Greystone Hotel, where he lived for several months before moving to 770
Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn.

"I thank Alm-ghty G-d for having saved us and brought us to freedom,"
the Rebbe declared at his reception. "But as much as it pains me to
infringe on the happiness of everyone present, the unmerciful torment of
our brothers and sisters will not allow me to rest. Their cries,
particularly those of the many yeshiva students in Poland, accompany me
wherever I go. I cannot allow myself any respite until G-d will save

That same day, the Rebbe announced the establishment of the American
branch of Yeshiva Tomchei-Temimim:

"We immigrants.have been brought here for the purpose of accomplishing a
task: to transform America into a place of Torah. I know very well how
much effort and self-sacrifice this requires, but I am sure that in the
merit of our holy ancestors, and with our own self-sacrifice, we will
succeed. Within time, Tomchei-Temimim will be the largest yeshiva in the
country, and its students will illuminate Jewish homes and encourage
other rabbis to devote themselves to disseminating Torah."

The first handful of students began studying in the new yeshiva the very
next day, and thank G-d, the Rebbe's promise has been completely

                          THOUGHTS THAT COUNT
He shall kill it on the side of the altar, northward, before G-d (1:11)

The person bringing the offering must be willing to sacrifice his own
wants and desires for a higher cause. The offering is only a symbol of
our willingness for self-sacrifice. This is alluded to in the Hebrew
word for "north," which is related to the word meaning "hidden." Even
our hidden thoughts and feelings must be dedicated to G-dliness.

                                                  (Chidushei Harim)

                                *  *  *

And he called out to Moses; and G-d spoke to him from the Tent of
Meeting, saying (Leviticus. 1:1)

As explained by Rashi, G-d prefaced each exchange with Moses by calling
out to him, indicative of His great love. This love between G-d and
Moses is symbolic of the open and loving relationship enjoyed by the
Jewish people when the Holy Temple still stood and the Divine Presence
rested in the Holy of Holies. This love has not diminished any during
the exile; it has only became less open and revealed. The way to restore
the relationship with G-d to its former glory is by expressing
unconditional love for our fellow Jew. If the Jewish people will be
united in brotherhood and unity, G-d's love for Moses will once again be
fully expressed when the dead are resurrected and the Third Holy Temple
is rebuilt.

                                        (Likutei Sichot, Volume 27)

                                *  *  *

If any one of you bring an offering (Leviticus 1:2)

The elevated spiritual standing of holy and righteous tzadikim is
ensured by the actions of the entire Jewish people. It is in their merit
that the leader of the generation draws closer and closer to G-d.

                                                 (The Holy Alshich)

                                *  *  *

If his offering be a burnt-sacrifice (Leviticus 1:3)

Because thought always precedes deed, the burnt-sacrifice, brought to
atone for evil intentions, is listed first in the order of offerings.
"That which was created last arose in the mind first."

                                                  (Rabbenu Bechaye)

                            IT ONCE HAPPENED
One day as his disciples were all gathered around him, the Baal Shem Tov
said to them, "I have decided that I will allow you to have a great
revelation - something which you have never merited to experience
before. The only thing I ask of you is not, under any circumstances to
laugh at what you are about to see.

They were very excited about the prospect and all gladly promised to
abide by their Rebbe's injunction.

The following Shabbat the Baal Shem Tov and his disciples were together
in the synagogue praying the service to welcome the Shabbat Queen. The
Besht made a special point of indicating one certain worshippers, by all
appearances a pauper, who was praying with an unusual intensity and

When the service had ended, the Baal Shem Tov and his Chasidim followed
the man to his tiny cottage and hid themselves outside the door where
they could peek into the window without being seen.

The man entered the room and addressed his wife with unbounded joy,
"Good Shabbat to you, my dear helpmate."

"Good Shabbat to you, my beloved husband," replied the wife.

Although she was dressed in tatters, she seemed to be in exceptionally
good spirits.

The Shabbat proceeded with the man singing a joyful version of Shalom
Aleichem, welcoming the two angels who accompany every Jewish man home
from the synagogue on Friday night.

The disciples of the Baal Shem Tov watched every movement carefully.

Next, the man turned to his smiling wife and said, "Please bring the
wine, so that I may fulfill the commandment of 'Remember the Sabbath to
keep it holy.'"

She placed before her husband two small rolls. "Tonight, perhaps you
will please recite the Kiddush blessing over these rolls instead of

And he replied in just as pleasant tones, "Of course, and I have no
doubt that these rolls will be just as pleasing as the special wine that
G-d is reserving for the righteous in the Garden of Eden to serve with
the feast of the Leviathan when we will celebrate with Moshiach."

And the man said Kiddush over the two small loaves.

After the loving pair had washed for the bread and eaten from it, the
husband again said to his wife, "Please serve the fish so that we can
experience the joy of the Shabbat."

She brought to the table a plate full of beans, and served her husband a
spoonful, taking the same amount for herself. "May it be G-d's will that
a spoonful of these beans be as pleasing to you as the most succulent of
pickled fish," said the woman as she placed the beans on her husband's

The man and his wife ate the beans with the greatest pleasure, as if
they were enjoying the finest salmon.

The man sat at the head of the table, singing with a deep and musical
voice, and in between tunes, he thanked the Creator of the Universe for
bestowing upon them all that they needed to honor the Shabbat Queen. And
the disciples looked on with growing wonder.

Next the man turned to his dutiful wife and said, "Now, please bring out
the soup. Ah, your soup has the flavor of the sweetest and most delicate
meats and greens." And with that remark he lifted another spoon of beans
to his lips and ate them as if in ecstasy.

The scenario repeated itself as the man requested the meat course and
the dessert. Each course was marked by the festive consumption of
another spoonful of beans, accompanied by fervent thanks to the
Al-mighty for having furnished the pair with all their needs for a
joyous Shabbat.

When they couple had finished eating, and all the Shabbat songs had been
sung, the husband rose and said to his wife, "Now, let us dance together
to celebrate the honor of the Shabbat Queen so that we will merit the
reward spoken of by our Sages for those who properly honor the Shabbat."

And the man began a little dance, while his wife devised a merry dance
of her own, in a pure and wordless expression of their great joy.

The disciples who had been watching this amazing scene burst into a
spontaneous, silent laughter. When he saw this the Baal Shem Tov cried
out, "Didn't I warn you not to laugh! Now you have forfeited the right
to the revelation, the marvelous gift I wanted to grant you!"

The disciples were crushed by disappointed. "Please," they begged,
"please tell us what it was that you would have revealed to us."

The Baal Shem Tov acceded to their request and told them: "I had wanted
to grant you the power of enjoying the Shabbat to the same level
experienced by this poor man and his wife.

For know that they did not taste the earthly delicacies; what they
tasted was the Divine Shabbat itself. But since you were unable to
restrain yourselves, you have lost the opportunity to attain this level
of holiness.

                            MOSHIACH MATTERS
Every person contains a spark of Moses. This represents the potential of
knowledge within the Jewish soul which grants the potential for unity
between man and G-d. We have the potential to bind our thoughts to Him
and experience an awareness of G-d that parallels the level of
connection that will be achieved by our entire people in the Era of

            (The Rebbe, Parashat Vayikra Rosh Chodesh Nissan, 5751)

               END OF TEXT - L'CHAIM 1162 - Vayikra 5771

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