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                         L'CHAIM - ISSUE # 1245
                           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.
        November 9, 2012      Chayei Sara      24 Cheshvan, 5773

                           The Life Preserver

The story is told of a man who is on the verge of drowning in the middle
of the ocean. He prays, "G-d, I put my trust in You, save me."

Sooner than later a speed boat comes along and the crew throws the man a
life-preserver. "That's O.K.," he shouts to them, "G-d will save me."

Once again the man prays to G-d to save him. Within a few moments, a
raft floats by. But the man ignores it until it is beyond reach.

For a third time the man prays, "Master of the World, I await Your
deliverance." Just then he hears a helicopter overhead and watches as a
line is let down for him. Emphatically, the man shakes his head "No." He
is waiting for G-d to save him.

The man waits and waits and waits for G-d, Himself, to save him. But He
doesn't, and so the man drowns.

You can well imagine that at the first opportunity the man asks G-d why
He didn't save him. "Oh, but I tried to," G-d answers. "You just didn't
let Me."

What a schlemiel, we say about the star of this fictitious story. It was
so obvious that G-d was trying to save him. Did he really expect G-d,
Himself, to save him? A real blockhead he is!

But wait a minute, how do we react when similar, though less dramatic
things really do happen around us and in our own lives?

How many times do we attribute events to chance, coincidence, luck? How
many miracles take place unnoticed? Do we see G-d's saving hand in the
near-accident that could well have been disastrous? Do we acknowledge
that it is because of G-d's blessings that our next-door-neighbor, who
really isn't all that bright or motivated, landed an excellent job, even
in today's economy? Do we admit that Divine Providence is a big factor
in why we're doing what we're doing when we're doing it?

Each and every day G-d sends us - albeit through messengers - rafts,
life-preservers, and ropes. Sometimes we use them without even
acknowledging their source. Sometimes we don't use them, all the while
griping and grumbling that G-d has forgotten about us or doesn't care
about us or doesn't hear our requests.

Once in a long while something takes place which can only be defined as
a miracle. When that happens, we uncomfortably thank G-d. Uncomfortably
because we're so unused to acknowledging the Divine hand. It makes us

But we needn't wait for a miracle, nor persistently expect G-d Himself
to get us out of the fine mess we've gotten into. We can keep ourselves
from drowning by opening our eyes, by re-focusing ourselves and
fine-tuning our vision so that G-d doesn't have to tell us, "Oh, but I
tried to save you, you just didn't let Me!"

In this week's Torah portion, Chayei Sara, we read of Sara's passing,
Abraham's purchase of the Cave of the Machpela in Hebron for her burial
place, and Abraham's dispatching of his trusted servant Eliezer to find
a wife for Isaac. All of these events took place when Abraham was at a
well-advanced age. In fact, the Torah tells us, "And Abraham was old
(zakein), well endowed with days."

The Midrash comments: "Some people are old but not endowed with days;
others are endowed with days but not old. In this instance we find a
person possessing both qualities."

What does this tell us about our forefather Abraham's greatness?

A zakein, an elderly person, is defined as one who has acquired wisdom.
By studying Torah he has learned a great deal. The zakein has achieved a
high level of perfection of his soul.

"Endowed with days," however, refers to a person whose every day is
perfect and whole. Not only does he perform the mitzvot (commandments)
properly, but he does so every single day of his life. Through his
actions, the days themselves are elevated. He illuminates his
environment by the commandments he observes and he raises his
surroundings to a higher state of perfection.

The terms "old" and "endowed with days" refer to two types of people,
and specifically, to two types of tzadikim (righteous people). Some
righteous people are concerned only with themselves and their own
pursuit of excellence. By toiling greatly in the study of Torah they
attain the level of zakein, but the people around them and the world at
large are ignored. Time and effort are devoted solely to their own

Other tzadikim turn outward to disseminate their light upon their
surroundings, devoting themselves to each and every person with whom
they come in contact. These righteous people forget about themselves
entirely, selflessly ignoring personal considerations for the sake of

Abraham, however, simultaneously embodied both of these qualities. "And
Abraham was old, well endowed with days." While managing to achieve the
highest level of personal perfection, Abraham sought to perfect his
surroundings as well, thereby illuminating the entire world with

               Adapted by Maayan Chai from Likutei Sichot, Volume 3

                             SLICE OF LIFE
                        Thank You Gabi and Rivky
                           by Mordechai Kaler

We are coming up to the yartzeit of my brother-in-law and sister-in-law
- Rabbi Gabi and Rivky Holtzberg. It has taken me a long time to write
the following story, but I feel that now is not only the right time, but
the perfect time to do so.

Many have heard amazing stories of Gabi's and Rivky's work in Mumbai and
the complete and utter self-sacrifice they lived with daily until their
tragic murders. The story I am about to share though, is a very personal
and miraculous story about how Gabi and Rivky continue to affect our
lives and inspire us even after their passing.

My wife and I were married in the spring of 2005 and we were extremely
excited to begin our life together. We eagerly anticipated, as most
young Chasidic couples do, that fairly soon after our wedding we would
be expecting a child.

It soon became apparent that our path to parenthood was not going to be
as smooth as we had innocently imagined. After over a year of trying to
conceive we were diagnosed with "unexplained infertility." To a young
couple these words were incredibly scary. We were healthy and active
people, how could this happen to us?

We went from doctor to doctor and were told the same exact thing after
every visit. "We know there is a problem preventing you from conceiving,
but we don't know why..."

A few years passed and the pain of being childless became deeper and
stronger. We decided after going through emotionally, physically and
financially draining unsuccessful fertility treatments, that we would
take some time to recuperate before attempting anything else. A part of
us, as difficult as it is to even write this, started to come to terms
with the very brutal reality that we might never become parents.

Throughout this entire process there were always two people who knew
exactly what and when to say something comforting to us. After each
Jewish or Chasidic holiday, we would speak with Gabi or Rivky to hear
what happened at their Chabad House in Mumbai. We always found it
inspirational and uplifting to hear their stories.

Two weeks before Rosh Hashana in 2008,  we had one of these uplifting
conversations. Gabi recapped the events of the previous night's
gathering in honor of the Chasidic holiday of "Chai Elul." After we told
him we planned to take time off from the fertility treatments, he spent
an hour convincing us to do the opposite. "Now is the time to dive in
without limitations," he said.

Gabi insisted we call Bonei Olam, an unbelievable organization in New
York whose mission is to assist every Jewish couple overcome infertility
and realize the dream of parenthood. We agreed to call them and Gabi
ended by wishing us a good year, and telling us that this coming year we
will be blessed with a child!

As promised we made the phone call to Bonei Olam and they quickly took
us under their wing. I will never forget the compassion with which they
handled every aspect of our situation. Not just from a financial
perspective, although they were beyond generous in that regard as well,
but we received random calls from our case manager just to see how we
were feeling on a given day! Day or night, they were there for us.
Throughout the entire process, Gabi and Rivky were cheering us on and
continuously encouraging us to never give up.

Bonei Olam set us up with an incredible doctor and we immediately began
treatments again. The first couple of treatments were unsuccessful. Our
doctor sensed our despondency and reassured us. He recommended we take a
more invasive approach. After a phone call with Gabi and Rivky, we
advised our doctor we were ready to proceed with the next steps.

Our treatment was scheduled for November 26, 2008 - a date we will never
forget. As we were driving to the appointment, we received a call -
something was happening in Mumbai and no one could get in touch with
Gabi or Rivky. We debated whether to continue to the appointment or head
to New York. After much deliberation we decided to go to the

After we left and headed home we were in constant communication with
members of our family who kept us updated on the situation. Needless to
say the stress on my wife, not knowing if her brother was alive, was
unbearable. We were forced to travel to Israel on Thursday, and later
heard the devastating news that they had been murdered literally minutes
before Shabbat.

The turmoil and sadness that ensued is beyond description and I will not
attempt to put it into words. In addition, when we returned home we were
notified that the most recent treatment as well was unsuccessful. My
wife and I couldn't find it in us to continue anymore. We spoke with our
case manager from Bonei Olam and he made us realize that it was Gabi and
Rivky who pushed us this far, we couldn't give up now on account of what
happened to them. They would want us to continue! As unimaginably
difficult as it was, we made our appointment for the next treatments. It
took every ounce of faith and determination in my incredible wife to go
to this appointment.

I can't help but cry as I write this... but I will never forget the
phone call I received from our doctor's office a couple of weeks later.
The nurse told me she had to pull herself together before calling to
say, "Congratulations! Your test came back positive! Your wife is
pregnant!" I was driving when she called and had to pull off to the
side, trying very hard to control my emotions but I couldn't help myself
from crying and smiling all at the same time. I immediately got in touch
with my wife and we just couldn't believe the news!

Our daughter Rivky was born on Chai (18) Elul, exactly one year after
Gabi blessed us. A year and a half ago, we were blessed again with our
second daughter Malkah Raizel.

My hope in sharing this story is that if there is anyone who finds
him/herself in a difficult situation, whatever it may be, never lose
hope and never give up. Gabi and Rivky ingrained this life lesson into
me and I am reminded each day of how powerful and rewarding it is when I
see my beautiful children. Thank you, G-d for giving us the blessing of
our children and for allowing us to be touched by these amazing people.
Thank you Gabi and Rivky for everything.

                               WHAT'S NEW
                     Dnepropetrovsk Menorah Center

The largest Jewish Center in the world opened on October 21 in
Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine. The seven-tower, 20-story center and museum
multiplex, is 538,000 square ft. The center will help fill the spiritual
and physical needs of Dnepropetrovsk's 50,000 Jews and the broader
Jewish community, while the Holocaust museum - the largest in Europe -
will serve as an important educational medium, teaching visitors about
the region's Jewish history.

                            THE REBBE WRITES
        Continued from the previous issue from a letter in which
            the Rebbe explains why he established the Jewish
             children's organization "Tzivos HaShem," 1982.

As with every health problem, physical, mental or spiritual, the cure
lies not in treating the symptoms, but in attacking the cause, although
the former may sometimes be necessary for relief in acute cases.

Since, as I mentioned, the root of the problem is the lack of Kabolas Ol
[accepting the yoke (of Heaven)], I thought long and hard about finding
a way of inducing an American boy to get used to the idea of
subordination to a higher authority, despite all the influence to the
contrary - in the school, in the street, and even at home, where parents
- not wishing to be bothered by their children - have all too often
abdicated their authority, and left it to others to deal with truancy,
juvenile delinquency, etc.

I came to the conclusion that there was no other way than trying to
effect a basic change in the boy's nature, through a system of
discipline and obedience to rules which he can be induced to get
accustomed to. Moreover, for this method to be effective, it would be
necessary that it should be freely and readily accepted, without

The idea itself is, of course, not a novel one. It has already been
emphasized by the Rambam [Maimonides] in the intro-duction to his
Commentary on Mishnayos, where he points out that although ideally good
things should be done for their own sake (Lishmoh), it is necessary to
use inducements with young children until they are old enough to know

Thus, a "Pilot" Tzivos HaShem was instituted. It immediately proved a
great success in getting the children to do good things in keeping with
the motto V'Ohavto L'Reacho Komocho [love your neighbor as yourself],
coupled with love and obedience to the "Commander-in-chief" of Tzivos
HaShem, namely HaShem Eloikei Tzivo'os [G-d, the L-rd of Hosts].

The Tzivos HaShem Campaign has a further reward, though not widely
applicable to Jewish children attending Hebrew schools. This, too, has
already been alluded to by our Sages, in their customary succinct way,
by saying that a person born with a violent nature should become a
(blood-letting) physician, or a Shochet [ritual slaughterer], or a Mohel
[ritual circumcisor], in order to give a positive outlet to their strong
natural propensity (T. B. Shabbos 156a). Thus, children that might be
inclined to aggressiveness, and hence easy candidates for street gangs,
and the like, would have a positive outlet by diverting their energy in
the right direction.

This brings us to the point that although the ideal of peace is so
prominent in the Torah, as mentioned, the fact is that G-d designed and
created the world in a way that leaves man subject to an almost constant
inner strife, having to wage relentless battle with the Yetzer Hora
[evil inclination]. Indeed, the Zohar points out that the Hebrew term
for bread - lechem - is derived from the same root that denotes "war,"
symbolizing the concept of the continuous struggle between the base and
sublime nature of man, whether he eats his bread as a glutton, in a way
an animal eats its food, or on a higher level - to keep the body healthy
in order to be able to do what is good and right in accordance with the
Will of the Creator.

This is the only kind of "battle" the Tzivos HaShem are called upon to
wage. By the same token, the only "secret weapon" they are encouraged to
use is strict Shabbos observance and other Mitzvoth [commandments] which
have been the secrets of Jewish strength throughout the ages.

Our experience with Tzivos HaShem - wherever the idea has been
implemented, in the U.S.A. and Canada, Eretz Yisroel [the Land of
Israel], and in many parts of the world - has completely convinced us of
its most successful positive results, with no negative side-effects
whatever. I can only hope that it would be adopted in other sectors,
outside of Lubavitch, in growing numbers.

I trust that the above lines will not only put to rest all your
apprehensions concerning Tzivos HaShem, but will also place you in the
company of the many prominent educators and spiritual leaders who have
enthusiastically acclaimed the Tzivos HaShem operation as uniquely
successful in attaining its desirable goal.

With esteem and blessing,

                               WHO'S WHO
Rivka (Rebecca) was the daughter of Betuel and sister of Laban. Rivka
was born at the exact moment that Yitzchak was brought by Avraham as a
sacrifice. She was renown as a person of sterling character traits from
a young age. She married her cousin Yitzchak (Isaac) and they had twin
sons, Esau and Yaakov (Jacob). Rivka, like the other matriarchs, was a
prophetess. She is buried in Hebron in Maarat HaMachpela.

                        A WORD FROM THE DIRECTOR
                         Rabbi Shmuel M. Butman
In this week's Torah portion we read about the mission on which Abraham
sent his servant, Eliezer, to choose a wife for Isaac. The Rebbe draws a
parallel between the mission (shlichut) of Eliezer and the mission that
every Jew is charged with. Each one of us is an emissary of G-d, and our
mission is to make this world a dwelling place for Him. We accomplish
this by elevating the material of our world to a spiritual level through
utilizing the world for the fulfillment of mitzvot. How do we accomplish
this? By always having in mind that it is not our individual talents and
strengths enabling us to succeed, but the power of the One who sent us.

At a convention of the Rebbe's emissaries, the Rebbe discussed the
essence of an emissary. He quoted the teaching that one who is
specifically sent on a particular mission by another person is
considered as if he is the person who appointed him. The Rebbe pointed
out two seemingly opposite characteristics that are required of such an
emissary. Firstly, he must be aware of his talents and strong points and
use them to his fullest potential. At the same time, the emissary must
always be to totally devoted to whoever sent him, remembering that he is
representing the one who sent him.

Eliezer, the servant of Abraham, used all of his talents and skills to
find a wife for Isaac, but he never forgot that he was representing
Abraham, and must fulfill his task according to Abraham's wishes.

The Rebbe's emissaries, the thousands of dedicated and enthusiastic
individuals in over 2,500 Chabad Centers and institutions around the
globe, have unique and personal talents which they use to fulfill their
missions. But they always keep the Rebbe before them, garnering strength
from his words and blessings.

In truth, each one of us is an emissary of G-d and each one of us
possesses unique abilities that can be used to make this world a
dwelling place for G-d. But we must always bear in mind that the
strength we utilize is from G-d.

May we all find within ourselves these G-d-given powers that will
imminently enable us to make this world a dwelling place for G-d with
the coming of Moshiach.

                          THOUGHTS THAT COUNT
And Sara lived...And Sara died. (Gen. 23:1-2)

Our Torah portion starts with the passing of Sara and her burial. Why
then is the portion called "Chayei Sara," "the life of Sara," and not
"the death of Sara?" "Chayei Sara," "the life of Sara," was focused on
one goal and ideal: that her son, Isaac, should reach spiritual
greatness. Our portion discusses the life of Isaac, who was the
realization of Sara's spiritual dream. Though in this portion we read of
her demise and burial, through Isaac her ideals were fulfilled - through
him, she continued to live on. In actuality, "the life of Sara" was the
righteous life of Isaac.

                                            (The Lubavitcher Rebbe)

                                *  *  *

And Abraham was old, well on in days (Gen. 24:1)

In Hebrew, the phrase "well on in days" is "ba bayamim" - literally, "he
had come with his days." Abraham's life was full, and he utilized every
day to the fullest; he did not waste even one day. A hint as to how we
can achieve this ourselves is found in the letters of the word "bayamim"
- "ba" and "yamim." "Ba" is simply the Hebrew letter beit which has the
numerical value of two; "yamim" means "days." Abraham always had the
image of two days in his mind - the day of birth and the day of death.
To utilize every day to its fullest we must keep in mind why we are born
and the fact that we will ultimately be accountable for our deeds after
we die.

                                                  (Divrei Tzadikim)

                                *  *  *

Abraham married another woman whose name was Ketura. She bore him
Zimran, Yakashan, Medan, Midian, Yishbak and Shuach. (Gen. 25:1)

Abraham married Ketura after Sara's passing and they had six sons, all
of whom grew up to be idol worshippers. How could Abraham have had such
wicked children? Before the Redemption it can happen that righteous
people have some children who grow up to be righteous and others who
grow up to be evil. But in the Days of Moshiach, all will be righteous
as it says in Isaiah, "They shall inherit the land forever; they are the
branch of My planting and the work of My hands in which I take pride."

                                             (Bereishit Rabba 61:4)

                            IT ONCE HAPPENED
Once the Rav of Brisk, Rabbi Yosef Dov Soloveichik, was traveling and
stopped at a Jewish-run inn in Benowitz. It was the Rav's custom to
travel incognito, so when he knocked on the door of the inn he received
no special treatment. The weather was frigid and when Rav Yosef Dov saw
the lights of an inn he was relieved. Finally, he anticipated a warm
fire and a bed on which to stretch out his very weary body.

He knocked expectantly on the heavy wooden door, but to his surprise,
the Rav received an altogether different kind of greeting. When he
opened the door, instead of welcoming the frozen man inside, the
innkeeper brusquely said, "I am expecting a party of travelers to arrive
any time now, and I have no room for you." Despite the bitter, biting
cold, the innkeeper was about to slam the door in the face of the frozen
Jew. Rav Yosef Dov began to plead with him. "Please, let me come in. I
don't even need a bed. Just a warm spot on the floor will do. Please,
don't turn me out on this terrible night. Why, it's possible I could
even die in this cold." After a few moments of this kind of pleading the
innkeeper couldn't refuse, and so, he admitted the Jew into his
premises. He led the man through the brightly lit central room with its
blazing fire and showed him to a cold, dark corner of the hallway. There
the poor Jew was permitted to curl up on the floor and rest.

Once he was settled on that spot, the Rav Yosef Dov removed a candle
from his pocket and began to study Torah by its light. It wasn't more
than a few moments before the innkeeper came raging into the hall,
crying, "You can't light a candle here! You are keeping the other guests
awake! Put it out immediately!"

Without a word, Yosef Dov obliged and put out the candle. Then he
continued learning by heart. He was quickly immersed in his thoughts and
the cold, hard floor ceased to bother him. Many hours went by and very
late into the night the sound of horses and carriages could be heard
approaching. The rumble stopped outside the inn door and the innkeeper
ran out to greet his guests.

In came a group of Chasidim accompanying their Rebbe, Reb Aharon of
Koidenov. Removing their coats, the men sat around the blazing fire,
rubbing their hands together and warming themselves. Reb Aharon prepared
to pray the evening service. As he stepped across the room to wash his
hands he noticed a huddled figure lying in the dark hall. He studied the
form for a moment and then cried out, "Reb Yosef Ber, is that you? What
is the Rav of Brisk doing lying on the floor?!"

When the innkeeper heard Reb Aharon's exclamation of horror, he began to
tremble all over. His knees felt weak and he saw black before his eyes.
Overcome with shame and remorse, he thought back to how he had treated
this great man. After he recovered from his shock, he slowly approached
the Rav. With downcast eyes, he said in a very small voice, "Rebbe,
please forgive me. I didn't know it was you or I would never have
treated you in such a disgraceful manner."

Reb Yosef Dov replied with a smile, "Of course, I forgive you. You
needn't worry about that. However, I am making one stipulation." The
innkeeper nodded his head vigorously. "Of course, Rebbe, anything you
wish." He was ready to do any penance, give any sum to charity, anything
to receive the forgiveness of the renowned Rav.

"I will forgive you on the condition that you travel to Brisk and spend
two weeks as a guest in my home."

The innkeeper agreed at once. Within several weeks he arrived in Brisk
and was warmly welcomed into the Rav's home. For two weeks the innkeeper
observed the Rav's every movement. He watched the great care with which
the Rav cared for each Jew who entered his study, burdened with
questions and problems great and small. He took note of how gently the
Rav treated the poor and despondent and he learned many a lesson about
the art of hospitality.

When, after two weeks, the innkeeper returned to Benowitz, he had
learned his lessons well. It wasn't long before his inn earned a well-
deserved reputation. It became known far and wide as the place where
every guest was treated with the greatest kindness and hospitality. The
innkeeper never forgot the two weeks he spent as a guest of the Brisker
Rav, Rabbi Yosef Dov Soloveichik.

                            MOSHIACH MATTERS
When Isaac took Rebecca as his wife, the Torah writes that he took her
"ha'ohela - into the tent." "Ha'ohela" is written eight times in the
Torah. These eight times allude to the eight places where the Divine
Presence was destined to rest among the Jewish people. The seven places
where the Divine Presence already rested were: the sanctuary in the
desert; Gilgal; Shilo; Nov; Givon; the First Holy Temple; and the Second
Holy Temple. The eighth place will be the Third Holy Temple which will
be built in the Messianic Era.

                      (Baal HaTurim as quoted in Discover Moshiach)

             END OF TEXT - L'CHAIM 1245 - Chayei Sara 5773

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