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                         L'CHAIM - ISSUE # 1247
                           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 23, 2012       Vayetzei          9 Kislev, 5773


Is your refrigerator covered with notes being held on by magnets of
various shapes and sizes? Perhaps your fridge is the home of shiny,
plastic ABCs with little magnets wedged into the grooves? Or do you have
an eclectic collection of colorful magnetic advertisements from your
local stores?

Magnets are utilized by the medical profession for MRIs (Magnetic
Resonance Imaging) and for magnetic therapy.

Magnets enable maglev (magnetic levitation) trains to travel as fast as
275-300 mph/435-475 kph along specially designed guide-ways.

And, of course, kids of all ages find magnets fun, especially the latest
rage - buckyballs!

Magnetism, by definition, is the force of attraction or repulsion
between various substances. Any object that exhibits magnetic properties
is called a magnet.

A very wise person currently involved in Jewish communal work said,
"Judaism is like a magnetic force in our lives - we can either be pulled
to it or repelled from it. And like magnets, all that's needed to turn
from being repelled to being pulled, is to be turned around."

Today, some Jews are pulled to Judaism while others are no attracted to
it. These two opposite sentiments exist across the board: At times, even
the most committed Jew may feel a resistance and an estranged Jew will
have yearnings toward Judaism.

In magnetism there are two poles where the magnetic forces are the
strongest (a north-seeking pole and a south-seeking pole).

What does an object need to turn? It must have space. It must be free,
at least temporarily, from limits and obstacles in order to move. And
there must be a force that powers its movement.

A person must also go beyond his boundaries and remove restraints,
giving himself space and even a momentary void, to allow himself to be
pulled to Judaism. But he needn't wait for a force outside of himself to
motivate him to move. For within every Jew there is a soul, an actual
part of G-d (as Chasidism describes it) which has the power to propel
the person.

This means that we don't need to wait for someone or something to help
attract us to Judaism. It is within every Jew's power, if we only make
space, to turn ourselves around and become interested and drawn to
living more Jewishly.

One considerable difference exists, however, between conventional
magnetism and Jewish magnetism. In Judaism, there is only one pole.
Jewish teachings explain that the Jewish people, the Torah and G-d are
totally one. By definition of our very existence, all Jews are connected
to G-d, the Torah and each other.

Thus, in terms of absolutes, there is no polarity amongst the Jewish
people, we are intrinsically and eternally one. And even though when we
look with our corporeal eyes at the state of the Jewish nation it would
seem like nothing could be further from the truth, this doesn't change
the fact of the essential unity of the Jewish people.

In the Messianic Era, when the entire world will be attracted to the
powerful magnets of G-dliness, truth, morality, this essential unity of
the Jewish people, and our connection to G-d, the Torah and each other
will be easily discernable.

In this week's Torah portion, Vayeitzei, we read about Jacob's departure
from the Land of Israel for Charan and his subsequent dealings with

The first thing the Torah tells us is that "he reached a certain place,"
i.e., Jacob prayed. We then learn that Jacob worked for Laban for 20
years, married, and fathered the Twelve Tribes. Then, on his way back to
Israel, Jacob was met by "angels of G-d."

The Torah is not a book of stories. The word Torah is derived from
hora'a, Hebrew for teaching, as the events that the Torah relates are a
guide for us to apply in our daily lives.

Just as Jacob left the sanctity of the Land of Israel and his Torah
studies to go to Charan at G-d's command, so too is every Jew enjoined
to go out into the world and involve himself with "Laban the Aramaean."

A Jew must never isolate himself within the "four cubits of Torah
study," but must leave "the Land of Israel" - his preoccupation with
G-dliness and holiness - to travel to even the lowest places on earth in
order to draw his fellow Jews closer to G-d and to mitzvot
(commandments). And, like Jacob, the Jew must always conduct himself
like a tzadik (righteous person), even in "Charan," the most trying and
difficult of circumstances.

The first thing Jacob did upon leaving the Holy Land was "vayifga
bamakom - and he reached a certain place." Jacob actively sought out
Hamakom (referring to G-d), and was indeed rewarded with a revelation of
G-dliness that came to him in a dream.

Years later, however, when Jacob left Charan to return to Israel, there
was no need for him to seek G-d out, for "he was met there by angels of
G-d." After 20 years of G-dly service in Charan Jacob did not have to
initiate the search; the angels and G-d Himself came to him! Indeed,
Jacob merited an even higher revelation of G-dliness, one that occurred
while he was awake and not while dreaming.

When a Jew goes out toward "Charan," spreading Judaism and drawing his
fellow Jews nearer to G-d, his departure from the rarefied world of
G-dliness and holiness is not a descent, but in actuality, constitutes a
very great ascent. In Charan, Jacob merited both physical and spiritual
success, as it states, "And the man increased exceedingly."

When a Jew is "in the Land of Israel" - involved in his own spiritual
perfection to the exclusion of others, no matter how great his
achievements he can never attain the level that is reached through the
service in "Charan." For it is only when he goes out into the world to
draw his fellow Jews closer to G-d that he merits a much higher degree
of both material and spiritual success.

               Adapted by Maayan Chai from Likutei Sichot, Volume 3

                             SLICE OF LIFE
                             The Big Freeze
                      by Dovid Shmuel ben Michoel

I am a managing attorney at a small boutique law firm of nine lawyers.
While the firm has a good group of clients, close to 90% of my income is
from one large Fortune 100 corporate client. As the relationship with
this client grew, and as they started giving the firm more work, we
moved from a traditional hourly fee to an alternative fee. This
arrangement provided the client with steep discounted rates, but also
encouraged the client to give us more and more work. With the increase
in work, my income also increased.

When I started working with this client, my family and I were living in
a very small three-bedroom apartment. As my income grew, we decided to
move to a larger house in a Jewish neighborhood outside the city. In
order to check out the neighborhood, we began by renting the main floor
of a large ranch house.

There was a single young man already renting the basement of this house,
which was as large as the main floor. When we moved in, I was very
careful about the mitzva (commandment) of mezuza. In the part of the
house that we were renting, I made sure to affix mezuzas on all doorways
that required mezuzas. I did not touch the mezuzas that were in the
basement nor the side entrance of the house. We all used the side
entrance, but technically, it was really an entrance into the basement

After some time, my family agreed that we liked the neighborhood and the
synagogues close by, so we purchased the house. While our legal
relationship to the house changed, nothing else did. The single guy
continued to live downstairs, and we lived upstairs.

A few months after we bought the house, the tenant moved out and left
many belongings in the basement, saying that he would come back for
them. Since we never used the basement anyway, we allowed him to do so.

About nine months later, in early Autumn, there was a heavy snowstorm.
Since the leaves were still on the trees, the weight of the snow pulled
down thousands of branches onto the area's power lines. We lost
electricity for about six days. During these days it was also freezing
cold. While the temperature in the main floor of the house dropped into
the thirties and forties, the basement remained a "toasty" 63 degrees.

We decided to move into the basement to sleep, and also to keep warm
there during the day, until the power came back on. In order to do this,
I moved the previous tenant's belongings into an alcove. We carried down
some of our bedding, arranged a table and chairs, and soon made the
space our own. Thankfully, the power came back on just before Shabbat,
so we quickly moved our stuff back upstairs and put the ordeal out of
our minds. The kids continued to use the basement as a playroom from
time to time.

Shortly after these events, my main client called me into a meeting. As
a response to recessionary pressures in 2011, they were cutting their
legal budget. They especially wanted to cut their cost with respect to
local legal services - 50% of those being my services. They proposed to
bring me in-house. Generally, a move in-house is a good thing, and I was
happy that they wanted me. However, I was stunned that the salary they
were offering me was about half of what I was making.

I have always been careful about the mitzva of calculating and giving
10% of my earnings to charity. I had just had my tefilin checked during
the month of Elul. What did G-d want from me in this situation?

I called several rabbis with whom I am close. I also began to discuss
the situation with my contacts in the client's office, quietly lobbying
for a higher salary. In the meantime, one of my rabbis suggested that I
check my mezuzas.

"But how could that be the problem?" I thought. "I have always been
careful with my mezuzas. When we moved into our house, we put up only
the best!" It was then that I realized I had never checked the mezuzas
in the basement.

I took down all of the mezuzas from the basement and arranged for them
to be checked by a certified scribe. Several were completely not kosher,
the rest were questionable, and some of them had not been affixed

"Oy!" I cried, "How could I have been so foolish?" As soon as I could
arrange it, a scribe wrote several new mezuzas and corrected the ones
that could be corrected. I affixed the new ones in the basement and then
had the ones on the main floor checked, as well as reviewing their
proper positioning on the doorposts.

Up until this time, my negotiations for a higher salary had been failing
- the client had been unwilling to raise his offer. I had considered
turning him down and turning my efforts toward getting other clients. A
short time later, however, I heard in a roundabout way that the company
had instituted a hiring freeze. Unexpectedly, the arrangement with my
law firm would stay the same, at least until they had another round of
budget cuts. I was able to stay at the income that had enabled us to
purchase the house.

In retrospect, it's not surprising that they wanted to cut my income by
50%, when the special blessing that mezuzas bring was missing from half
my house. What's really amazing, though, is that the absence of proper
mezuzas in the basement didn't have any effect on the blessing in the
home when we bought the house, or even when the tenant moved out. It
only was felt when we began using the basement in a manner that
effectuates "taking possession" according to Jewish law.

Halachic Note: It is a tenant's, and not the owner's, obligation to
affix his or her mezuzas and to regularly check them. Also, if one moves
out, and he knows that another Jewish tenant is moving in, he may not
remove his mezuzas.

             From an upcoming book edited by Rabbi Aaron L. Raskin,
        Guardian of Israel: Miracle Stories of Tefillin and Mezuzah

                               WHAT'S NEW
                    First Mivka Dedicated in Vietnam

An historic first for Vietnam was the recent dedication of the country's
first mikva in Ho Chi Minh City. The mikva is in the Chabad House, a
three-story, 3,800 square foot building on a busy street in the most
populous section of the city. The Chabad House also contains a kosher
restaurant, classrooms, synagogue, library and offices. Chabad opened in
Vietnam in 2006.

                            THE REBBE WRITES
                            Free Translation

                Tuesday, Parshas Lech Lecha, 5704 [1943]

In response to the invitation to your wedding: I send my blessing, a
blessing of mazal tov, mazal tov. May you build a house in Israel on the
foundations of the Torah and its mitzvos (commandments).

It is possible to explain that the terms chasunah (wedding) and chasan
(groom) are associated with the concept of descent as our Sages say
nachus darga, "go down a step." It is explained in several sources
(including the HaYom Yom, p. 78) that the phrase "as you go on your way"
refers to the soul's descent from above and its journeys in this world
until old age.

These journeys involve two factors: a) proceeding on one's way, and b)
knowing where to proceed.

The actual progress is undertaken by the body. It is, however, the soul
which determines the straight path on which to proceed. This concept can
be understood in terms of the example our Sages (Sanhedrin 91a,b) give
for the body and the soul, that of a blind man and a lame man. The soul
compensates for the impediments of the blind man, the body, and the body
compensates for the impediments of the lame man, the soul. It is through
joining them together that a person gains the ability to proceed. This
union can be described with the analogy of the marriage of a man and a
woman. For this reason, our material world is called a Hilula (Eruvin
54a), a term which means "wedding feast," as reflected in the Zohar
(Chayei Sarah, I:181b). The purpose of this journey is to achieve love
and fear of G-d (which are "wings") for the Torah and its mitzvos.

On the surface, a difficulty can be raised: Based on our Sages'
statements (Bereishis Rabbah), it would appear that "a journey" would
not serve the above purposes, because a journey minimizes three things:

one's reputation - this refers to a reduction in one's involvement in
the mitzvos, as Rashi and the Matnos Kehunah comment on the Midrash;

one's wealth - this refers to a reduction in one's love and fear of G-d
which are called gold and silver. For even if a person will be a perfect
tzaddik (righteous), he will not attain the level of close connection to
G-d his soul enjoyed before it descended to this material world as
stated in Tanya, ch. 37;

one's capacity to reproduce - this refers to a reduction in one's
occupation in Torah study as indicated by our Sages' statement (Bechoros
44b): "You will not have a barren one among the Torah scholars."

For in this material world, there are several impediments to the
observance of the Torah and its mitzvos.

This difficulty is explained by the Midrash, which states that the Holy
One, blessed be He, blesses Abraham (the soul, as stated in the Zohar,
Chayei Sarah, loc. cit.) so that, on the contrary, the journey will lead
to "I will bless you," bringing an increase in financial resources,
reputation, and the conception of offspring.

In general, the concept parallels the idea that "Every day, a person's
natural inclination offers him a powerful challenge, and were G-d not to
help him, he could not overcome it" (Sukkah 52b). The "blessing" granted
for the journey is the assistance mentioned in the above quote. See the
root of this matter as discussed in Kuntres U'Mayon, 13:22 and 14:1.

When this assistance is granted, through the descent of the soul into
the body, a person attains the love of G-d with all his might (money).
Similarly, the mitzvos (reputation) were given only on this material
plane. And with regard to Torah study, our Sages said (Pesachim 50a):
"Happy is he who comes here with the Torah (the conception of offspring)
which he studied in this world in his hand."

Of these three elements which represent the ultimate of progress on the
path of life, the fundamental unity achieved in the sublime realm is
through the Torah and its mitzvos. For love and fear are merely wings
for the Torah and its mitzvos as stated in Tanya, ch. 40.

Within the Torah and its mitzvos themselves, the mitzvos are referred to
as eirusin, consecration, while Torah represents nisuin, the
consummation of the marriage bond (Likkutei Torah, Bamidbar). This is
the ultimate purpose of this world, for it was not created for the sake
of chaos, but was formed to be settled.

In addition to the concept of journeying that relates to our physical
world in general, there is also the concept of exile.... Therefore
before any other matter, attention must be paid to the ascent from
exile, which involves teshuvah [repentance]. Just as the descent into
exile is not at all gradual; so, too, the ascent, through teshuvah,
should be a spring forward that knows no gradation. (The parallel in our
Divine service can be comprehended.)

With the blessings of mazal tov, and with the blessing, "Immediately to
teshuvah, immediately to Redemption,"

From I Will Write It In Their Hearts published by Sichos in English

                               WHO'S WHO
Rabbi Dov Ber Schneuri (1773-1827) was the son of Rabbi Shneur Zalman,
the founder of Chabad, and Rebbetzin Sterna. Rabbi Dov Ber, the oldest
of three sons, succeeded his father. He was born in Liozna but moved to
Lubavitch, in White Russia. Lubavitch remained the center of Chabad for
over 100 years and Chabad Chasidim became known as Lubavitchers. He
considered it his sacred task to help all Jews in worldly and spiritual
matters. He urged Jews to learn trades and to establish agricultural
settlements. He was a brilliant thinker and prolific writer.

                        A WORD FROM THE DIRECTOR
                         Rabbi Shmuel M. Butman
The 14th of the month of Kislev (this year Wednesday, November 28) is
the wedding anniversary of the Rebbe and the Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka.
Their wedding took place in Warsaw, Poland. However, the Rebbe's
parents, Rabbi Levi Yitzchak and Rebbetzin Chana Schneerson were not in
attendance, as the Russian government did not permit them to travel to
Poland for their eldest son's wedding. They, however, prepared a
celebration and wedding feast in their town of Dnepropetrovsk, which was
attended by many in the Jewish community.

Before the chupa, the Previous Rebbe delivered an intricate Chasidic
discourse. He began the discourse by explaining why he had woven
teachings of all the previous Rebbes into his discourse. He said: "It is
well-known that at the time of a wedding celebration, the souls of
ancestors of the couple from three generations back come from the World
of Truth to attend the simcha. There are times, however, when ancestors
from generations even further back come. As a way of inviting the souls
of the righteous ancestors of our holy Rebbes, so that they should come
to the chupa to bless the young couple, we will say a Chasidic discourse
which contains a Torah thought from the Alter Rebbe [Rabbi Shneur
Zalman, the first Chabad Rebbe]; from the Mitteler Rebbe [Rabbi Dov
Ber]; from my great-grandfather, the Tzemach Tzedek; from my grandfather
- the great-grandfather of the bride - the Rebbe Maharash; from the
great-great-grandfather of the groom; from the great-grandfather of the
bride; and my father [the Rebbe Rashab]..."

The Rebbe proceeded to deliver the Chasidic discourse entitled, "Come my
Beloved to greet the bride."

May we very soon merit the ultimate wedding of G-d and the Jewish
people, with the revelation of Moshiach. At that time, we will hear the
Torah thoughts of our ancestors and great Sages of previous generations
not through others, but they themselves will teach us!

                          THOUGHTS THAT COUNT
And he dreamed, and there was a ladder set up on the earth, and the top
of it reached to heaven (Gen. 28:12)

Jacob's ladder is symbolic of prayer, the purpose of which is to connect
the upper and lower realms (the higher celestial spheres with the lower
material plane). Moreover, prayer is a two-way street, elevating a
person's corporeal nature while at the same time drawing spirituality
down to earth.

                                                  (Likutei Diburim)

                                *  *  *

It is said that, metaphorically, the angels "polish up" our prayers,
removing dust and washing off any dirt that sullies them. What does this
mean? "Removing dust" means that they inject vitality and life into
words that were uttered by rote; "washing the dirt off" means cleansing
them from extraneous thoughts.

                                            (Sefer HaMaamarim 5708)

                                *  *  *

And Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, Surely the L-rd is present in
this place (Gen. 28:16)

Pharaoh, too, had a dream, about which the Torah states, "And Pharaoh
awoke. And he slept and dreamed a second time." This expresses the
essential difference between Jacob and Pharaoh: The first thing Jacob
did when he woke up was direct his attention to G-dly service, studying
Torah and praying. Pharaoh, by contrast, just turned over and went back
to sleep...

                                         (Rabbi Meir of Premishlan)

                                *  *  *

And of all that You will give me I will surely give a tenth (Gen. 28:22)

The Hebrew for "I will surely give a tenth" is "aser a'asrenu," which
repeats the word for tenth and means literally "a tenth I will tithe."
This repetition contains an allusion: Giving a tenth of one's income to
charity is certainly fulfilling the mitzva (commandment), but giving a
fifth - two tenths - is even better.

                                              (Rabbi Moshe Alshich)

                            IT ONCE HAPPENED
The journey of Rabbi Dov Ber, the second Rebbe of Chabad-Lubavitch
(known as the Mitteler Rebbe), to Haditch was unusually somber. On his
way to pray at the grave of his father, Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi,
the Rebbe was not merely meditative, but reclusive. He not only
refrained from delivering the accustomed Chasidic discourses for which
his disciples thirsted, but he showed no desire to converse at all with
those who formed his entourage. When he wished to commit some of his
Torah thoughts to paper he was unable to do so, and he indicated to his
close followers that he felt the approach of some impending harsh
judgement from Above.

He even intimated that he felt his own end approaching. He related to
his chasidim that at the time of the arrest and imprisonment of his
father, Rabbi Shneur Zalman, two alternatives had been offered from
Above: suffering or death. Rabbi Shneur Zalman had chosen suffering. "It
seems that he left the other for me," concluded the somber Rabbi Dov

When the entourage arrived at Haditch the Rebbe prayed at great length
at his father's grave. He also delivered a number of Chasidic discourses
in the study hall which had been erected at the site. One day, after
having prayed for many hours, the Rebbe appeared to his followers, his
face beaming with happiness. "My father has given me his promise that
they will release me from my position as Rebbe," he told them.

The Chasidim had long been aware of the Rebbe's desire to journey to the
Land of Israel, and they understood his words to mean that he had
finally decided to make the journey. "Rebbe," they cried out, "how can
you leave us like that, like sheep without a shepherd?" But the Rebbe
just turned to them and said, "Don't worry, you will have my son-in-law,
Rabbi Menachem Mendel, and he will be a faithful leader for you."

When the visit ended, the party began the homeward journey, passing
through the town of Niezhin. But upon his arrival, the Rebbe fell ill
and was unable to continue travelling. The most experienced physicians
that could be found were called in, but none could cure the Rebbe.

They ordered complete bed-rest, and even proscribed the Rebbe from
delivering his customary talks to his chasidim. This advice was the most
bitter for the Rebbe. For the very essence of a Rebbe is to give of
himself to his Chasidim. The relationship between Rebbe and chasid is a
symbiotic one in which both benefit physically as well as spiritually.

His condition deteriorated steadily, until he finally lapsed into
unconsciousness, evincing no apparent life force. The doctors were at a
loss, when one of them said to another, "Do you want to see something
very strange? If we permit the Rebbe to deliver a discourse to his
followers, you will see him regain his vitality."

The scene which followed was truly amazing, as the Rebbe, fully vibrant,
sat in his bed and spoke to the Chasidim who crowded the house to hear
his words. In the course of the talk, the Rebbe said, "Now I will tell
you secrets of the Torah which have never been revealed." But just as he
was about to continue, a chasid leaning forward on a bench behind the
Rebbe fell. The tumult interrupted the Rebbe's thoughts and he remarked,
"It seems that Heaven doesn't wish these things to be revealed."

The Rebbe's condition worsened on the night of the ninth of Kislev to
the point that he could not be revived. People flocked to the house to
be near the Rebbe. Suddenly the Rebbe sat up in bed, smiling and said,
"I heard a voice saying, 'What need has a soul like this for this

The Rebbe requested that he be dressed in white garments. And then, for
the first time since he had been so ill, he delivered a discourse in
which he praised the Jewish people for doing mitzvot (commandments) with
such devotion. He bade his family and Chasidim to be joyful, for joy
breaks through all boundaries and bitterness. Then he continued
revealing deep Chasidic philosophy. All those present were overjoyed to
see that their Rebbe appeared to have recovered his strength.

The Rebbe then turned to one of his disciples and told him, "While I am
speaking, watch out that I don't fall asleep. If I do, just touch me
with your hand and I will wake up."

He continued delivering his discourse in a greatly heightened mental
state, asking several times whether it was yet dawn. He expounded upon
the words, "For with You is the source of life," and when he had
finished saying the word "life" his soul left his body.

                            MOSHIACH MATTERS
Mystical teachings compare the relationship between G-d and Israel to
that of a husband and wife. In the time of exile, the "wife" suffers
from spiritual poverty and deprivation. The love between the Jewish
people and G-d is not fully expressed in the open. But, when G-d sees
that Jews continue to keep the commandments in spite of affliction, His
love for them is fully restored, a love that will ultimately be
manifested through the full and speedy Redemption.

                                         (Likutei Sichot Vol. XXII)

               END OF TEXT - L'CHAIM 1247 - Vayetzei 5773

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