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                         L'CHAIM - ISSUE # 1248
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             THE WEEKLY PUBLICATION FOR EVERY JEWISH PERSON
   Dedicated to the memory of Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka Schneerson N.E.
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        November 30, 2012      Vayishlach        16 Kislev, 5773
*********************************************************************

                          Where Do You Stand?

                         by Rabbi Shlomo Ezagui

The Rebbe, Rabbi Shneur Zalman,  was whisked away in the "Black Mary," a
black carriage reserved for the most serious crimes of the time. It was
Friday, and the Rebbe asked the officer to stop their journey until the
end of the Sabbath. The officer refused, and the axle of the carriage
broke. The carriage was repaired and then, one of the horses collapsed.
A new horse was brought, but strangely enough the horses where not able
to move the carriage. This was sufficient for the officer to understand
that he was transporting an unusual prisoner. The officer requested from
the Rebbe that they travel to the next village, but the Rebbe refused
and they spent the Sabbath in an adjacent field.

The Rebbe was incarcerated in one of the secret cells of the Fortress of
Petropavlovsk. One of the high officials, a learned man, was very
impressed by the Rebbe's personality and said to him, "I have a question
on the Bible, and would be most grateful for an answer."

"Ask whatever you like," said the Rebbe, "and with G-ds help, I hope to
be able to solve your problem."

The official asked, "What is the meaning of the verse, 'G-d called to
Adam and said: Where are you?' How is it possible that the Omniscient
G-d did not know where Adam was?"

"Do you believe," the Rebbe questioned the officer, "that the Bible is
timeless, and forever relevant to every individual?"

"I sincerely believe that," he replied.

"I will give you an explanation," said the Rebbe. "G-d called to
'Ha-Adam,' to 'the man.' This means, that at all times G-d calls every
individual and asks him, 'Where do you stand in this world.' G-d
allotted to each, a certain amount of days, each of which is to be
utilized for the doing of good in relation to G-d, and in relation to
mankind. Therefore contemplate: How many years have you lived already,
and how much good have you done and accomplished during that time. You,
for instance, have lived already...years (and  the Rebbe mentioned the
exact age of the official). How are you using your time?" The official
was amazed by the fact that the Rebbe 'guessed his age" that he
exclaimed "Bravo!"

Czar Paul I had heard so much about this "prisoner" that he disguised
himself as a clerk of the courts and went to see the Rebbe. As soon as
he entered, the Rebbe rose and honored him.

"You must be the Czar," said the Rebbe. "Our Sages teach us, that
'sovereignty on earth is similar to the sovereignty in heaven.' As the
fear before G-d is great, so too did I feel an unusual awe when you
entered. Such a feeling I never experienced with any of the officials
that have come here. Therefore I concluded that you must be the Czar."
The Czar left convinced that surely this man must be a saint.

A saint indeed. The Bible tells us, that "this world conceals and hides
G-d." Truly righteous and spiritual giants are the windows through which
we are reminded that there is more to this world than what meets the
eye. There is a G-d who hears our prayers and there are miracles we can
experience.

                                *  *  *


False and libelous charges had led to accusations that Rabbi Shneur
Zalman of Liadi, founder of Chabad Chasidism, had committed treason
against the Russian Empire. His arrest imperiled not only his own life,
but also the future of the Chasidic movement. Consequently, the day of
his release on 19 Kislev (this year on December 3) has become a day of
great celebration and is considered the "New Year" of Chasidut.

Chasidism offers everyone personal, spiritual fulfillment, by means of
attachment to G-d, spontaneous enthusiasm in Divine worship, and a
sanctified life imbued in joy.

Chasidism reveals that it is possible to live a spiritual life while
being in the corporeal world. Chasidut clarifies the essence and
ultimate goal of all existence,  to live a meaningful and illuminated
life, deeply and profoundly based on the Torah.

                   With permission from koshercaffeine.blogspot.com

*********************************************************************
           LIVING WITH THE REBBE  -  THE WEEKLY TORAH PORTION
*********************************************************************
The 19th of the month of Kislev, which occurs this coming week on
Monday, is the date on which Rabbi Shneur Zalman, the founder of Chabad
Chasidut, was liberated from prison.

Known among Chasidim as the Festival of Liberation, it always occurs in
close proximity to the week when the Torah portion of Vayishlach is
read. As "nothing happens by chance," we must conclude that the Festival
of Liberation is alluded to in Vayishlach.

The main idea of the 19th of Kislev is spreading the wellsprings of
Chasidut outward. The "wellsprings," the innermost part of Torah, must
not remain at their source, but must flow "outward" and inundate even
the lowest parts of the earth. Furthermore, not only must the waters of
Chasidut be carried everywhere, but the wellsprings themselves must be
conveyed to every single Jew, no matter where he/she is.

The 19th of Kislev teaches us the necessity of bringing the life-giving
waters of Torah, and particularly the inner-part of Torah as expounded
in Chasidut, to every Jew.

The name of this week's portion, "Vayishlach," means "And he sent."

A shaliach, an emissary (from the same root as vayishlach), is a person
who is dispatched in the sender's stead; moreover, "a person's emissary
is just like him." In other words, when an emissary is sent to a certain
place to carry out his mission, it is the same as if the sender himself
has made the journey.

This concept of "spreading the wellsprings outward" is expressed in the
word "vayishlach," the name of our portion. The wellsprings must not
stay at their source, but must be sent ever outward to reach as many
people as possible.

The concept of Vayishlach exists in every age and in every generation.

G-d "sends" the soul down from the celestial spheres to be enclothed
within a corporeal body, to enable the person to serve G-d within the
context of the physical world. This shlichut (mission) began with Adam
and Chava (Eve), and is continued by their descendants.

The phenomenon of sending emissaries has existed throughout the
generations. We find that many Torah giants sent shluchim to carry out
various holy missions.

The concept of shlichut was further emphasized by the Baal Shem Tov,
founder of Chasidut and his spiritual "descendants," especially Rabbi
Shneur Zalman and his successors; they, in turn, entrusted every Jew
with the holy mission of "spreading the wellsprings outward."

In fact, the Previous Rebbe declared that shlichut is the unique mitzva
(commandment) of our generation. Every Jew must be a shaliach to spread
the wellsprings of Torah and Judaism wherever he or she goes.

              Adapted by Maayan Chai from Likutei Sichot, Volume 25

*********************************************************************
                             SLICE OF LIFE
*********************************************************************
                   A Butterfly and Divine Providence

In the fall of this year, Rabbi Yehoshua and Gitty Appell, directors of
the Malchus Center at Ohr Chaya in Jerusalem, Israel, were returning to
Israel after a visit to New York. When they landed in Ben Gurion
Airport, they approached the dispatcher for a company that provides
shared rides from the airport to Jerusalem. The airport was quiet at the
early hour and the dispatcher directed them to a mini-van that was
slowly filling with passengers. The driver told them that he would not
be going to the area of Jerusalem where they lived. Not wishing to
create a scene, the Appells returned to the dispatcher but he insisted
that they should go in the van and the driver would have no choice but
to take them where they wanted to go.

The very next passenger to board was a young Israeli by the name of Yoav
who had just arrived from Barcelona. He was now returning for  four days
to visit his parents, since his father had fallen ill.

Before the young man even sat down he turned eagerly to Rabbi Appell and
said, "Rabbi, tell me a Torah thought."

A rabbi can never refuse such a request, and since they had both just
landed in Israel, the first topic that came to mind was to explain the
higher level of Divine Providence that G-d exercises with regard to the
Holy Land. The Torah describes Israel as "the land over which the eyes
of G-d are watching from the beginning of the year until its end." This
meant, said Rabbi Appell, that G-d watches over Israel  far more
directly than over the city and country from which he had now come.

The young man listened carefully but hastened to express his
disagreement. "Statistically at least as many people are hurt in attacks
in Israel as in other lands, probably many times more," he protested.
"In fact my best friend was killed in a terrorist attack. Where was the
Divine Providence there?"

The rabbi explained patiently that not every time can we see the
reasoning behind G-d's ways, but we could be sure that it was all part
of G-d's plan. Rabbi Appell then quickly thought of  a story that would
illustrate his point and related the following story to Yoav. "Ten years
ago  two of my wife's friends,  Mrs. Wishnefsky and Mrs. Kaplan went to
visit a family that had at that time lost a son in a terror attack on
the Number 14 bus in Jerusalem. During their visit they met the younger
brother of the victim, Guy, and had heard from him an amazing account.

Guy told them that on the day his brother had been killed, he had been
on a bus on a school trip in the north of Israel. He had dozed off in
his seat and had a dream. In his dream he saw his brother Roi clothed in
white. Roi told him that he was leaving this world now and that he
wanted Guy to be a support to their mother and grandmother who would
take the news very badly. Roi told his sibling where to find some
valuable items that he had hidden away and then he said he would be
visiting his family home during shiva (the week of mourning) in the form
of a butterfly.

Guy awoke from his dream in a state of confusion. Just then one of his
friends on the bus asked the driver to turn on the radio to listen to
music and exactly at that moment regular programming was interrupted to
report a terrorist attack in Jerusalem. By the time Guy reached his
mother, she was already on her way to the hospital after the police had
called her.

At the beginning of the week of shiva, a butterfly flew into the house
and rested on a family portrait. The butterfly stayed in that spot the
entire week. When the shiva ended, the butterly flew up to the third
floor of the house and rested for a moment on Roi's bed before leaving
the house, never to be seen again.

A little while later, the family went to a kabbalist to ask him to help
them understand what had happened. The kabbalist told the family who are
descendents of the Chida, Rabbi Yosef David Azulai (1724-1806), that Roi
was a reincarnation of the Chida's father. Roi's life had been short
because the soul of the Chida's father only had a few corrections it
needed to make in this incarnation.

The kabalist also showed the family how each family member was mentioned
by name in Psalm 23. (Roi was 22 years old when he died, i.e. in his
twenty-third year. It is cusomtary to recite daily the chapter of Psalms
corresponding to the years of one's life.)

Rabbi Appell concluded the story to his travelling companion by
highlighting that often we can see the hand of Divine Providence at work
even at a time of devastating loss which we cannot begin to fathom.
Yoav, who had originally doubted the possibility that G-d could be
active at a time of loss, suddenly seemed overcome and shaken by the
story he just heard. He kept saying again and again "I'm in shock!"
Rabbi Appell thought perhaps Yoav  just needed a few minutes to digest
what he had heard. Now it was Yoav's turn to speak, haltingly.

"The victim of that attack, Roi, was my good friend," he said. "It was
his loss I had referred to when I challenged your belief earlier. This
is the first time I am hearing all the details."

Now the two had much more Divine Providence to reflect upon: The choice
of the reluctant driver for their trip; Yoav's request for a Torah
thought, Rabbi Appell's choice of topic, and the choice of that one
story from many to illustrate his point - in the land that G-d's eyes
are upon constantly!

                 Translated and adapted from Beis Moshiach Magazine

*********************************************************************
                               WHAT'S NEW
*********************************************************************
                           Chanuka Guess Who?

Chanukah Guess Who? A Lift the Flap Book, is cleverly designed so the
very young will learn as they go... all about the menora, the special
holiday foods and customs, the heroic figures in the Chanuka story, and
more! Bright colorful illustrations of a family celebration bring the
holiday to life, and as an added bonus, there's a page of Chanuka
activities for the whole family to share. This sturdy, hard bound book
makes a great gift for boys and girls ages 3 and up. Published by Hachai
Publishing, written by Ariella Stern, illustrated by Patti Argoff.

*********************************************************************
                            THE REBBE WRITES
*********************************************************************
                           Freely translated

                         19 Kislev, 5711 [1950]

On the occasion of Yud-Tes (19th) Kislev, the anniversary of the
liberation of Rabbi Shneur Zalman, the founder of Chabad Chassidism, I
take this opportunity to send you greetings and good wishes.

This day, as you are surely aware, does not commemorate a personal
triumph of a great teacher and leader, for with its founder the entire
movement and teachings of Chassidism received a new lease on life.

The Chabad movement experienced birthpangs by far more acute than any
movement would normally expect. To the same degree its triumph showed
all the more clearly that it was the victory of Truth brought about by
Divine Providence.

If in those days, some 150 years ago, the full impact of Chassidism upon
Jewish life could not be envisaged by all, it is now quite evident that
Chassidism has been a vital necessity for our entire people.

My father-in-law, our late Lubavitcher Rabbi of sainted memory, wrote in
one of his latest circulated letters dated 10th of Kislev (the
anniversary of the liberation of Rabbi Dov Ber, the son of the founder,
who, like his father, was persecuted for his leadership and
dissemination of Chabad Chassidism) that Chassidism is not an exclusive
philosophy for any particular group, but a way of life for all our
people, young and old.

The custom, practiced by many, of observing the anniversary of an
important event in their life, has a deeper explanation in our sacred
books. It is based on the idea that the same spiritual forces which were
operative at the time of the original event reassert themselves at the
time of the anniversary. It is therefore an opportune time to benefit
from those forces and revelations.

In this light we observe Yud-Tes Kislev. And although all of us - and I
feel sure that I can include you among us - are still grief-stricken*
for our revered Rabbi of sainted memory, we know that the dissemination
of the teachings of the founder of Chabad, the hero of the occasion,
must not be relaxed. Now, more than ever, we must appreciate our
responsibility to spread the light of Chabad far and wide so that it
permeates every aspect of Jewish life. Whoever knew my father-in-law of
sainted memory, even slightly, can have no doubts that this is his will
and testament to us.

* This letter was written within the year of passing of the Previous
  Lubavitcher Rebbe

                                *  *  *

                     19th of Cheshvan, 5733 [1972]


Greeting and Blessing:

I was pleased to be informed of your forthcoming Dinner celebration on
the 20th of Kislev. It is significant that the event will take place one
day following Yud-Tes Kislev, the historic anniversary of the release
and vindication of the Alter Rebbe [the "Elder" Rebbe, Rabbi Shneur
Zalman], founder of Chabad. Moreover, the 19th of Kislev will this year
also mark the 200th Yartzeit anniversary of the illustrious Maggid of
Miezricz, whose disciple and successor the Alter Rebbe was.

Anniversaries in Jewish life are observed for the purpose of their
instructive significance, so that each and every one of us can learn
from and be inspired by the life and work of our great leaders of the
past, and translate this inspiration into actual deeds in our daily life
and conduct.

The two great luminaries, the master and his disciple and successor, led
consecrated lives, dedicated to the material and spiritual betterment of
Jews and Judaism. Their selfless dedication knew no bounds. Furthermore,
they set out from the beginning to involve the masses, for their love of
a fellow Jew embraced all Jews. They laid particular stress on the
education of the young, both the young in years as well as the young in
Jewish knowledge and experience, and instilled this spirit in all their
numerous followers.

The same spirit of love, responsibility, and dedication animates all
those who are associated with the Chabad-Lubavitch educational
activities in the present day, reaching out to our fellow Jews
everywhere.

*********************************************************************
                               WHO'S WHO
*********************************************************************
Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi, also known as the "Alter Rebbe" and the
"Baal HaTanya,"  was born in Liozna, White Russia on Elul 18, 1745. In
1764 he traveled to Mezritch to study under Rabbi DovBer, the Maggid of
Mezritch. For 20 years he labored on his magnum opus, Tanya, in which he
outlined the Chabad philosophy. First published in 1796, Tanya is the
book upon which the writings and oral teachings by seven generations of
Chabad Rebbes are based. He passed away on 24 Tevet, 1812 and is buried
in Haditch, Ukraine.

*********************************************************************
                        A WORD FROM THE DIRECTOR
                         Rabbi Shmuel M. Butman
*********************************************************************
This Sunday we will celebrate the 19th of Kislev (known as "Yud Tes
Kislev"), the Festival of Redemption of the founder of Chabad Chasidism,
Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi. Imprisoned on false charges of
anti-government activity, Rabbi Shneur Zalman was released after 52 days
of incarceration and interrogation, in the year 1798. His liberation
vindicated Chasidic teachings, and established Chasidut as the primary
way to prepare the world for Moshiach.

Lesser publicized is that the Alter Rebbe, as he was called, was
subjected to a second confinement two years later, when he was summoned
to Peterburg to appear before a government commission. This second
imprisonment, which took the form of house arrest, was also the result
of slander against the Chasidic movement. Again the Rebbe was found
innocent of all charges, and was freed by the decree of Czar Alexander
I.

The first public observance of Yud Tes Kislev was held in 1801, when
thousands of Chasidim came to celebrate with the Alter Rebbe in Liadi.
On that occasion, the Rebbe delivered a Chasidic discourse on the verse
in Psalms, "G-d has redeemed my soul in peace." (By Divine Providence,
this was the verse the Rebbe had been reading in prison at the exact
moment he was informed of his release.) Before delivering the discourse,
the Alter Rebbe sang a famous Chasidic melody to the words "You are my
G-d and I will praise You; My L-rd, I will exalt You."

Yud Tes Kislev has ever since been celebrated as the Chasidic "New
Year," with festive gatherings of family, friends and acquaintances. It
is a particularly auspicious day to rededicate ourselves to Torah, deeds
of kindness, and prayer.

As the Rebbe wrote in a telegram to Chasidim a few years ago: "May you
be inscribed - and may that inscription be sealed - for a good year in
the study of Chasidut and in Chasidic ways of conduct."

*********************************************************************
                          THOUGHTS THAT COUNT
*********************************************************************
Jacob came in peace to the city of Shechem... (Gen. 33:18)

The great sage Rashi explains that "in peace"- shalem - is to be
interpreted as whole. Jacob came to Shechem whole: in body because he
was healed of his limp; in wealth since, though he gave a large gift to
appease Esau, he lacked nothing; and in his Torah [knowledge] because he
did not forget any of his learning during his stay in Laban's house.
Rashi explains this to mean that Jacob was sound in body, his wealth was
intact, and his Torah-observance was uncompromised. We learn from Jacob
to always strive for excellence in all areas of our lives. Even a person
whose primary path in the worship of G-d is through practical mitzvot -
charity and good deeds - should also strive to be perfect in study.

                                                   (Likutei Sichot)

                                *  *  *


Now, let my master go ahead before his servant, and I will move at my
own slow pace, according to the pace of the work that is before me and
according to the pace of the children, until I come to my master, to
Seir. (Gen. 33:14)

Jacob promised to visit Esau at his home in Seir. However, he never went
to Seir. Did Jacob lie? No. For he will go in the days of Moshiach, as
it is says (Obadiah 1:21): "And saviors shall ascend Mt. Zion to judge
the mountain of Esau."

                                                            (Rashi)

                                *  *  *


And You said, "I will surely do good with you" (Gen. 32:13)

Rabbi Moshe Leib of Sassov used to say: "Master of the Universe!
Everything You do is most assuredly good, but there is a good which is
immediately apparent, and a good which does not seem to be so at first.
May it be Your will to bestow upon us only that type of good which is
immediately revealed!"

*********************************************************************
                            IT ONCE HAPPENED
*********************************************************************
When the Alter Rebbe (Rabbi Shneur Zalman, founder of Chabad Chasidism)
remained in Russia after Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Vitebsk went to
Israel, the Rebbe began to spread his teachings over the vastness of
Russia, sending rays of the light of Chasidic philosophy to every city
and town. At first he had very few Chasidim, and the Chasidic movement
was quite limited in scope, but day by day its light was revealed and
people came to Liozna to investigate for themselves.

The Volper had shabby clothes and a persistent smell of vodka about him.
He was tall and skinny, and had prominent cheekbones, but his most
distinguished feature was the sparkle in his eyes. He was known simply
as the Volper; nobody knew his first name. The few who did know him also
knew that the Volper was a prodigious Torah scholar who used to be a
student of the Maggid of Mezritch. He had shared a bench with the great
Chasidic luminaries, such as Rabbi Levi Yitzchok of Berditchev, Rabbi
Zushe of Anipol and his brother Rabbi Elimelech of Lizhensk, and even
with the youngest of the group, Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi. Together
they had absorbed Torah and Chasidic teachings from the great Maggid.

The Volper however, had unique qualities which set him apart from the
others. After the Maggid finished speaking, the other students would go
over to the Volper to hear him repeat the Maggid's teachings. When he
spoke, everything was clear and his audience would be completely
overcome.

Nobody knew what led to the Volper's downfall. At some point, he began
drinking excessively. He even began to frequent bars. He did not speak
about himself. Wherever he went on his wanderings, his mouth would spew
forth pearls of Torah and wisdom, even the deepest secrets of Torah. The
more he drank, the more the "secret came out," the secrets of Torah.
People who did not understand him mocked him.

One day the Volper arrived in Liozna in White Russia, where he went to
the local study hall. The Alter Rebbe was there with his Chasidim and
outstanding students, and he was saying a deep Chasidic discourse. The
Volper sat in a corner, and in a rare moment of seriousness and
lucidity, he rested his head on his hands and listened closely to the
Rebbe's teachings. Nobody paid him any attention at all.

When the Alter Rebbe had concluded, he left the study hall and went
home. The Volper also left the study hall, backpack on his shoulders, to
continue his wanderings. Before leaving though, he hiccuped loudly and
proclaimed with a peculiar smile, maybe one of pain or longing, "Ah, we
all ate from one bowl, but he got all the gedichte (the thick portion of
the soup)."

Word got around, until the Alter Rebbe was told what had been said.
"That was the Volper," the Rebbe said. "If I knew he was here, I would
have tried to get him to stay with us so that he wouldn't wander any
more."

The Volper continued his wanderings. The Volper arrived in Vilna, a
large city full of Torah scholars. Nobody paid him any attention. He
entered a hostel where he got a warm meal. Then he removed a bottle of
vodka from his worn satchel and poured himself a big glass.

The poor drunkard settled down in his place and went to sleep by the
warm oven, while mumbling secrets of Torah. He quoted from works of
Kabala and concepts from the innermost teachings of Torah, and every so
often he burst into drunken laughter.

Reb Yudel stood nearby and listened closely to the drunk. Reb Yudel was
a highly esteemed Torah scholar. He was a close student of the Vilna
Gaon, and merited a seat of honor in the study hall. At first he thought
his ears were deceiving him, but then his amazement continued to grow.
He realized that the drunkard was an outstanding scholar, conversant in
all aspects of the Torah.

Reb Yudel stood there and listened until the drunkard let forth a snore
and nearly fell asleep. Reb Yudel shook him by the shoulder. "Tell me
dear brother," he said in his ear, "where did you get all this from?"

The Volper cocked an eye at him, and Yudel suddenly saw the mysterious
sparkle in his eyes. It scared him a bit and he edged away. "Ah, ah...
You want to know where I got this from?"

Reb Yudel nodded his head silently. He was too shocked to utter a word.

"N-n-no!" whispered the drunk. "I can't tell you now. But if you want
Torah such as this, go to Liozna where you will find peace for your
soul."

Reb Yudel reeled backward in dismay. He knew good and well who was in
Liozna, for he was one of the greatest opponents of Chasidism and its
proponents. Yet the drunkard's words entered his heart, and a fierce
battle was waged therein. "If this drunk knows so much, what does the
Rebbe himself know?!" he wondered. A few days passed until he resolved
to travel to Liozna to learn from the Alter Rebbe. He knew he had a lot
to learn.

Like other great scholars, Reb Yudel finally arrived in Liozna, where he
became an outstanding Chasid of the Alter Rebbe, and a great scholar in
Chasidic teachings. The Rebbe eventually sent him to Liepelei to serve
as rabbi of the city and to bring the light of Chasidut to the people
living there.

      By Menachem Ziegelboim. Reprinted from Beis Moshiach Magazine

*********************************************************************
                            MOSHIACH MATTERS
*********************************************************************
The theme of Yud Tes Kislev is closely connected with the future
redemption by Moshiach, for the redemption of Yud Tes Kislev resulted in
the "bursting forth of the wellsprings, to the outside," which is a
prerequisite to the final redemption. This "bursting of the
wellsprings...," the widespread study of the inner core of Torah, must
be assimilated by the intellect, and must be made comprehensible, even
to the simplest Jew, for the simplest Jew will be redeemed from exile as
well. With the final redemption, all Jews will be redeemed and will take
with them all of the "holy sparks"that are now in exile.

                                       (The Rebbe, 19 Kislev, 1977)

*********************************************************************
              END OF TEXT - L'CHAIM 1248 - Vayishlach 5773
*********************************************************************

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