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                         L'CHAIM - ISSUE # 1210
                           Copyright (c) 2012
                 Lubavitch Youth Organization - L.Y.O.
                              Brooklyn, NY
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   Dedicated to the memory of Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka Schneerson N.E.
        February 24, 2012       Terumah             1 Adar, 5772

                          Is Everybody Happy?

"Turn that frown upside down!"

"Don't get so upset."

"Put a smile on your face."

"Sha, sha. Don't cry. Everything will be okay."

It's hard to keep track of what the latest trend is in expressing or
suppressing one's feelings or how deep one should (or must) dig in order
to get to the essence of what one truly feels.

So what's a Jew to do when the Jewish month of Adar begins and we're
told that the standard "Serve G-d with joy" and "It is a great mitzva
(commandment) to be continually joyous" is supposed to be intensified?


Yes, you read correctly. Pretend as if you are really happy. You'll be
amazed at the results.

A Chasid wrote to the Tzemach Tzedak (the third Rebbe of Chabad) and
told him that it was difficult for him to attain a level of "joy."

The Rebbe answered: "Thought, speech and actions (the three 'garments'
of the soul-the way in which the soul expresses itself) are the three
main parts of a person's behavior. Each individual was given control
over what he thinks, speaks and does according to his desire.

"A person must guard what he thinks, thinking only thoughts that cause
joy; he must keep away from speaking about matters that are sad and
depressing; and he must act as if he has a full and joyous heart, to
show joyous mannerisms even if that is not how he feels at the moment.
Ultimately it will be this way in actuality."

In a similar vein, a Chasid came to the Alter Rebbe (Rabbi Shneur
Zalman, founder of Chabad Chasidism), asking how he could help a fellow
Jew who acted as if he were pious when in reality he was actually quite
a sinner.

The Alter Rebbe declared: "May what the Talmud says happens to a person
who pretends to be a pauper but is not really poor, happen to him!"

The Chasid was taken aback. He had hoped for some practical and pleasant
advice. Not what seemed to be a curse!

Then the Alter Rebbe explained: "The person who pretends to be a pauper
but is not will ultimately become a pauper. So, too, this man who
pretends to be pious but is not should ultimately become pious!"

As indicated in both of these stories, the initial step to being happy
is even to go so far as to pretend we are happy even if we are not.
Eventually, the play-acting will no longer be acting but real.

This "put on a happy face" attitude encompasses our religious duties but
extends to our interaction with others, as well. Judaism teaches
"Receive all people happily"and "Receive all people with a cheerful
countenance." Receiving people happily is an expression of one's
feelings. Even if we aren't inwardly, genuinely happy to see someone, at
least we should greet him with a cheerful countenance, an external
expression of joy. "Even if your heart does not rejoice when someone
visits you, pretend to be cheerful when he arrives," a great Sage once

So, be happy, it's Adar. And even if you don't feel happy, pretend until
you are!

The word teruma (offering) appears three times in the beginning of this
week's Torah portion, Teruma:

"And have them bring Me an offering." This refers to the half-shekel
that each Jew contributed toward the sockets of the Sanctuary.

"Take My offering from everyone whose heart impels him to give." This
refers to the half-shekel that was given for the communal sacrifices.

"The offering you take from them shall consist of the following: gold,
silver, copper...." This offering was for the Sanctuary proper and all
its vessels. Instead of a single, specified amount, every Jew
contributed what he wished.

The sockets of the Sanctuary, unlike the rest of the Sanctuary's
components toward which a Jew could donate as little or as much as he
wanted, were made from another offering in which all Jews participated
equally. What made the sockets different?

The sockets were the lowest part of the Sanctuary, yet they formed the
foundation of the entire edifice.

Within every Jew is a spiritual Sanctuary: "They shall make a Sanctuary
for Me and I will dwell in their midst" - within each Jew. This
spiritual Sanctuary likewise consists of correlating spiritual
components, including its "sockets."

In the spiritual sense, these "sockets" are the Jew's self-
nullification, his humility before G-d and acceptance of the yoke of

The concept of "kabalat ol," obedience to G-d's will, is the same for
every individual, the wise and the untutored, the rich and the poor.
Accordingly, each person was obligated to contribute the same
half-shekel towards the Sanctuary's sockets, for when it comes to
self-nullification before G-d, all Jews are equal.

Why was it necessary for everyone to make an identical contribution for
the communal sacrifices? Because this offering was made to atone for the
sin of the Golden Calf which affected every Jew, including those who did
not participate. Even Moses, who was not actually present, was harmed by
it. To correct this communal damage, a collective sacrifice in which all
took part equally was required. Thus every Jew was obligated to
contribute the same half-shekel.

By contrast, when it comes to the inner service of G-d, every Jew is
different. A person is obligated to utilize the unique faculties he has
to the best of his ability. Correspondingly, each Jew contributed a
different amount to the Sanctuary, in accordance with his individual

                              Adapted from Likutei Sichot, Volume 1

                             SLICE OF LIFE
                       The Long and Winding Road
                            by Alanna Berman

Each week day, 22 children living in Tijuana rise before the sun to
catch a shuttle that takes them to school. Why wake so early? School
isn't just around the corner, or even in the next town over. Rather,
these kids traverse 40 miles and one international border to arrive at
Chabad Hebrew Academy in Scripps Ranch [California]. The approximately
one-and-a-half hour trip from Mexico, depending on traffic and border
wait times, gets students in grades K-8 to CHA's campus just in time for
the start of 8 a.m. classes. After school, the students take the same
shuttle home to Mexico, often not arriving until 5 p.m.

"The commute definitely takes a toll on the students," says Rabbi Mendel
Polichenco, who runs the Chabad House in Tijuana. "It would even take a
toll on an adult to be in a car for that long, but these students
understand the importance of a Jewish education and being in a Jewish
environment, so the time that they spend getting to school [and back] is
worth it."

Although collaboration between Chabad centers is not unusual,
international collaboration, and to this is extent, is revolutionary.
Following the closure of Chabad Tijuana's Jewish day school, Rabbi
Polichenco and Rabbi Yosef Fradkin, head of school at CHA, decided to
forge their two communities, each accepting responsibility for ensuring
Jewish children living in Mexico did not go without a Jewish education.

The Jewish day school in Tijuana, Colegio Israelita de Tijuana, closed
its doors nearly five years ago following a decline in enrollment and in
the face of an international drug war, being played out on the streets
of Mexico's border towns.

"There weren't enough children to keep the school going," Rabbi
Polichenco says, "but I didn't want to leave the children without a
Jewish education. So before I closed the school, I spoke with Rabbi
Fradkin about bringing the children to CHA... The children get an
excellent education, and it works out well for everybody."

These days, two 15-passenger vans transport students to CHA every day.
Eighth grade student Fernando Sur, who has been attending CHA since
first grade, says on his first day there, the only English words he knew
were 'cat' and 'house' - a situation typical of many students coming
from Mexico to attend school in the U.S. for the first time. Now, he's
trilingual, speaking fluent English and Hebrew (as well as his native
Spanish), thanks to the programs at CHA.

"We have very strong systems in place with ELL, or English Language
Learners with remediation," Rabbi Fradkin says. "Our focus is to provide
as many resources as possible upon entry to the school for the first
year or two, and we focus a tremendous amount of resources at that time
to ensure the children can be mainstreamed within the regular program,
which is unique here since it is divided according to each child's

Because CHA groups children in classes by ability, ELL students might be
in an advanced math class while completing remedial courses in reading
comprehension until they can catch up. CHA accounts for this extra need,
adding extra staff to classes where younger kids new to English might
need extra assistance.

"We offer three specific staff for the students who come from Mexico. By
the time these students leave CHA, they are fluent in Spanish, English
and Hebrew, as well as being above grade level in all of their
subjects," Rabbi Fradkin says.

The flexibility in the curriculum at CHA has allowed many students to
achieve success over the years, and in the case of Sur and his fellow
Mexican Jewish students, it's made all the difference.

"We try and encourage all students to demonstrate leadership at the
school and care for each other, while demonstrating their own
initiatives," Rabbi Fradkin says. "In Fernando's case, I remember when
he was in fourth grade, he was offering to teach staff and faculty
Spanish during a lunch break. He really took ownership of his own
talents and what he was able to do, and I thought this was so sweet of a
fourth grader to do. When I think of him I think of that great energy,
and of what we're trying to accomplish by instilling confidence in our
students that they can use what they have to teach others and make
others' lives better. He exemplifies that."

Besides a bolstering of multilinguality on campus, the addition of
international students has brought an unexpected level of camaraderie
among CHA's entire student body.

"The kids coming from Tijuana are of course very friendly with the
American kids at the school, and there is no shortage of offerings for
the kids to stay the night," Rabbi Polichenco says. "If the kids have a
long trip for school where they stay late, they [always] have someone to
stay with, thankfully, because it would be exhausting for them to get up
the next day after such a long day at school and then commuting home."

Despite the occasional hiccup, Rabbis Polichenco and Fradkin say the
partnership works wonders for all involved.

"What we put into it, we get out of it ten-fold, so it's worth it,"
Rabbi Fradkin says. "You seldom see such an extreme impact on a child as
when you take them from another country, foster their English skills,
and bring them up to be above par in the U.S. It means a lot to us
because each year, we see students who've been affected by the program
graduate from CHA."

"They're kids, and they need to be reminded of that occasionally, but
that balance  is important - letting them still be kids in an
academically and high achieving environment, [and ensuring they]
recognize the importance and value of what they've undertaken. They
don't want to waste their time while they are here," Rabbi Fradkin says
of the dedication he sees in the students coming from Mexico. "The
children, no matter what, will remember the sacrifices they have made to
get a Jewish education, and a college preparatory education at that."

           Excerpted and reprinted from the S. Diego Jewish Journal

                               WHAT'S NEW
                             New Emissaries

Rabbi Shmuly and Sarah Stiefel will be moving to Lipetsk, Russia, where
they will serve the needs of the 4,000 local Jews of that city, located
300 miles south of Moscow. Rabbi Menachem and Adina Landa, are moving to
Novato, California, where they will establish  a new Chabad Center there
as well as direct the Gan Israel Day Camp of Marin County. Rabbi Aharon
and Chaya Kaganovsky recently moved to Mariupol, Ukraine, where they
will direct programs for the youth and the elderly. Newlyweds Rabbi
Aharon and Zelda Leotardi will be settling soon in Rome, Italy, where
they will be working with youth and teens.

                            THE REBBE WRITES
                          27 Elul 5717 (1957)

Blessing and Greeting:

I was pleased to receive your letter of September 17th, and was
particularly gratified with its contents, that you are well and happy,
and gradually taking over your routine activities.

There is a well-known saying to the effect that making a good start sets
off a good chain of reaction for continued success. This is especially
true in marriage, which begins a new life. Therefore it is important to
start it off well, to ensure continued happiness and contentment. May
G-d help that this be so in your case.

Most important of all is to start the new life in a way that corresponds
with the teachings of our Torah, the Law of Life, and then the going is
much easier than one anticipated.

This brings me to the next point. You write that you do not want to use
the expression of "promise to do," but would rather use the expression
"to try to do," as you are afraid to commit yourself, lest you would
find it difficult to live up to your promise. Experience has shown that
when a person makes a promise to do something, this very promise gives
him the strength to carry it out without hesitation, and with greater

Whereas, when one does not commit himself, promising only "to try," or
"to do one's best," then, when the matter comes up, and there is
temptation not to do it, he is more likely to fail, saying to himself
that, after all, he did not promise to do it, but only "to try," and
therefore he is not breaking his word, and his conscience doesn't bother
him. That is why I think that you should be determined to observe the
laws, etc., and, knowing that you have made a promise to do so, will
give you not only greater strength, but also peace of mind, as it would
eliminate all doubts and hesitations.

Needless to say, if the things in question were impossible to carry out,
there would be no room for making a promise. However, in this case,
where it concerns the practical observance of the Divine Commandments,
given by G-d, the Creator, Who knows also the abilities of the human
beings, it is certain that He would not have commanded to do anything
which is beyond one's power to do, for G-d is the Essence of Goodness,
and does not impose a greater obligation that one is capable to fulfill.

Moreover, the laws that He commanded are not for His sake, inasmuch as
G-d is not deficient of anything, but they are for the good of the

You will recall what I said to you when you were here that, in regard to
the practical precepts, the less one debates with himself, but, rather,
fulfills them with simple faith in G-d, the easier and the more natural
life is, and the more harmony and happiness it brings. For one of the
essential aspects of the Torah is to serve G-d with joy. Such service is
carried out, not only through the act of fulfillment of a certain
precept, such as putting on tefillin, or the lighting of candles, etc.,
but every action, word, and thought, which are dedicated to G-d with a
spirit of joy of being able to serve the Creator, brings additional
light in one's world, and in the world at large.

On the threshold of the New Year, may it bring blessings to us all, I
send you and yours my prayerful wishes for a good and pleasant year,
materially and spiritually, with the traditional, and all-embracing
blessing of kesivo vechasimo toivo [may you be written and sealed for

Although you do not mention it, I trust that you duly received my two
previous letters. As for your question with regard to using certain
expressions, you may, of course, use the expression that best describes
your thoughts and feelings, and also in any language you find most

                               WHO'S WHO

Esther (known in Hebrew as Hadassah), was orphaned and raised by her
relative, Mordechai. She became Queen of Persia after the execution of
Queen Vashti, and, because of her great self-sacrifice, became the
primary figure responsible for saving the Jews from annihilation during
the Purim plot. She wrote the Megilat Esther which was accepted by the
Sages to be included in the Jewish canon. Her son, Darius II, embarked
on the rebuilding of the Second Holy Temple following the death of

                        A WORD FROM THE DIRECTOR
                         Rabbi Shmuel M. Butman
We have begun the month of Adar, about which our Sages declared, "When
Adar enters, we increase in joy." Although we celebrate Purim on Adar
14, the theme of the entire month is joy.

Joy, of course, is not limited to a specific time of year, place or
circumstance. Rather, it is an underlying principle and integral
component of the Jew's service of G-d. The Torah enjoins us to "Serve
G-d with joy." Similarly, "You shall serve the L-rd your G-d with joy
and gladness of heart."

Nonetheless, there is a special obligation to be even more joyful during
Adar. The Talmud explains that Purim is the culmination of the Giving of
the Torah. At Mount Sinai the Jews accepted the Torah, but it was
somewhat coerced. On Purim, they accepted the Torah not out of fear, but
out of love. The festival of Purim thus emphasizes our commitment to
Torah and mitzvot, with a renewed sense of excitement and enthusiasm.

Joy is a tremendous force that is capable of transcending all
boundaries. On Purim, a Jew must rejoice until he transcends the
limitations of his intellect and elicits the deeper dimensions of the

Although every Jewish holiday is in the category of "festivals for
rejoicing" (as we say in our prayers), the joy of Purim is the greatest
of them all. This is reflected in the fact that one is encouraged to be
so joyful "that he cannot distinguish [between 'blessed is Mordechai'
and 'cursed is Haman'] - i.e., above and beyond all restrictions and

The joy of Adar is thus a preparation for the joy of Purim, which not
only breaks through boundaries but transcends them beyond measure. This
will lead to the ultimate joy in the Final Redemption, as it states,
"And the redeemed of the L-rd shall return, and come to Zion with songs
and everlasting joy upon their heads."

May the positive influence of Adar be expressed in the advent of the
true and complete Redemption with Moshiach in the immediate future.

                          THOUGHTS THAT COUNT
Speak to the Children of Israel, that they may bring Me a contribution
from every man whose heart prompts him (Ex. 25:2)

"The fool gives, and the clever man takes," states the popular
expression. What does this refer to? The giving of tzedaka (charity).
The fool thinks he is parting with something belonging to him; the
clever man realizes that whatever he gives, he actually receives [its

                                          (Rabbi Yisrael of Ruzhin)

                                *  *  *

A very wealthy but extremely stingy man once came to Rabbi Shlomo of
Radomsk for a blessing. As was customary, he enclosed a certain amount
of money for charity in his letter to the tzadik. When Rabbi Shlomo
refused to accept the money, his attendant was surprised. "Why wouldn't
you take his contribution?" he asked him. Replied the tzadik with a
smile, "Had you seen the look of joy on his face when I returned his
money, you wouldn't ask me why I was unwilling to take it..."

                                *  *  *

And you shall make a candlestick of pure gold...its cups, its knobs, and
its flowers (Ex. 25:31)

Symbolic of the entire Torah, each element of the menora represents a
different part of the Torah's teachings. The six branches of the menora
stand for the sixty tractates of the Talmud. The knobs and flowers
represent the teachings of the Sages outside the Mishna. The cups allude
to the esoteric teachings of the Torah, for cups are used to hold wine -
wine being the inner part of Torah, referred to as the "wine of Torah"
(also alluded to in the saying, "When wine enters, secrets emerge."

                                                      (Ohr HaTorah)

                            IT ONCE HAPPENED
It was Stalinist Russia. The sudden banging on the door made the
occupants' blood run cold. The knocking was getting louder. They were
about to sneak out the back exit when the older of the two suggested
that the younger one stay behind. It was better to wait a few minutes
before opening the door.

The banging continued even more vigorously. "Who's there?" the youngster
called out, but the stranger refused to identify himself. The youth
opened the door. Standing there was a high-ranking officer of the KGB.
"Is this where the shochet lives?" the officer demanded.

"Shochet?" he replied. "There's no one here by the name of Shochet."

The officer gave him a penetrating look and said, "Then perhaps there's
someone here who cuts children?"

"No," he said in the most confident tone he could muster.

For a moment the stranger said nothing. Then he whispered in the boy's
ear: "Don't deny it. I know that the man who cuts children lives here!"
The youth was shocked, for the man had uttered these words in Yiddish!

"I am a Jew. Seven days ago my wife gave birth to a baby boy, and I want
very much for him to be entered into the covenant of Abraham. My wife is
very much opposed to the idea. Tomorrow at exactly nine in the morning
she will be leaving the house. I am begging you to come to my house
tomorrow and bring the mohel. The baby will be in one of the front

The officer told the astounded youngster his address and hurried away.
"Remember," he said pleadingly, "Tomorrow is the eighth day of my son's
life. I implore you to do me this favor."

Reb Eizik, a Chasid, was the only shochet and mohel in the entire city,
and Yaakov, a boy with no living relatives, had been taken in to live
with the shochet and accompanied him on his holy and very dangerous

The officer left. Was it a trap? Yaakov was convinced that it was a
clever ruse cooked up to catch Reb Eizik red-handed. When Reb Eizik came
home, Yaakov filled him in on everything. Reb Eizik thought for several
minutes, the deep wrinkles that lined his forehead testifying to his
inner conflict and turmoil. He had reached a decision: "Tomorrow morning
we will go to the officer's house to enter his son into the covenant of

The following day, Reb Eizik and his ward arose at dawn, recited their
prayers and set out in the direction of the river. On the way, Reb Eizik
explained that he was almost certain that this was a trap. He therefore
wished to immerse himself in a mikva before they continued. "If this is
to be our last day on earth, at least we will die in a state of ritual
purity," he declared.

The officer's house was located on one of the finest streets in the
city, which only served to confirm their suspicions. The neighborhood
was inhabited by the highest ranking members of the KGB and their
families. But the two Jews stuck to their decision. Reb Eizik and Yaakov
secreted themselves in a hiding place across from the officer's house.
Seconds later they saw a woman dressed in the latest fashion exit the
building and proceed down the block. Together they strode across the

Reb Eizik knocked on the massive door. An older woman opened the door
and motioned for them to enter. In the corner of the room was a
beautiful crib, inside which a tiny baby was sleeping peacefully. They
ran over and picked up the child, whereupon a small white envelope fell

Inside the envelope was a letter from the baby's father, apologizing for
his not being able to be present at his son's brit and asking that they
give the baby a Jewish name. The rest of the letter was an emotional
statement of his thanks and appreciation for the great mitzva they were
doing, without their even knowing who he was.

Reb Eizik quickly and deftly performed the brit, while Yaakov acted as
sandek. They were about to leave when the woman who had opened the door
suddenly appeared and motioned for them to stay put.

Yaakov was terrified. Seconds later, however, the woman brought out a
brand new frying pan, and handed them a dozen eggs! A veritable fortune!
She invited them to make themselves omelets.

After they finished eating and were about to leave, the woman presented
them with a huge sack of bread, another gift from the Russian officer.
Such a quantity of bread was something the average citizen could only
dream of, but how could they walk down the street carrying the bag.
Surely they would attract the attention of the ever-watchful police.

The woman suddenly understood why the two Jews hesitated to accept the
priceless gift. She opened a drawer, ripped off a wad of coupons from a
booklet and handed them over.

Many months later Yaakov was walking down the street when the same
Russian officer stopped him. "I must thank you again, from the bottom of
my heart. I have one more request to make of you. Whenever you make a
brit, you should tell my story. Let everyone know that even in Soviet
Russia, there are still Jews who have a warm spot in their hearts for

This request led to a tradition in Yaakov's family. He is honored with
being the sandek, in commemoration of the role he played in that brit so
very long ago, and he relates the story of the Russian officer, from
beginning to end, with great enthusiasm and fervor.

                              Reprinted from Beis Moshiach Magazine

                            MOSHIACH MATTERS
When a Jew carries out his service in this world he reveals his essence.
In this manner, every Jew will illuminate the world and reveal how this
world is a dwelling for G-d. This, in turn, will lead to the
construction of the Third Holy Temple. And then we will see how Aaron
will kindle the menora. We will also merit to see Moses perform the
priestly service (for since he served as a priest in the dedication of
the Sanctuary, that positive quality was never taken from him). This
will also be reflected within the spark of Moses possessed by every Jew.

                       (The Lubavitcher Rebbe, 7 Adar I, 5752-1992)

               END OF TEXT - L'CHAIM 1210 - Terumah 5772

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