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                         L'CHAIM - ISSUE # 1253
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                 Lubavitch Youth Organization - L.Y.O.
                              Brooklyn, NY
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   Dedicated to the memory of Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka Schneerson N.E.
        January 4, 2013          Shemos           22 Tevet, 5773


When NASA began to consider the possibilities of extended space travel,
they decided to experiment with the effects of weightlessness on plants.

Seedlings were sent in one of the first satellites. When the satellite
returned, the biologists were amazed; roots were growing out of every
side, a stem had started to grow, only to have its growth aborted,
leaves had sprouted at random. Researchers came to an obvious
conclusion: plants without up and down clearly defined don't grow

Topsy-turvy has become the rule and not the exception in our society.
Today, in all areas - politics, science, econo-mics, and health - things
look uncertain.

In previous generations, sweeping change took time. In recent decades,
advances in science, travel, and communications increased the rate of
change. Moreover, it is not only the rate of change that is unique, it
is the nature of the changes occurring.

Most of us grew up with a Newtonian concept of the universe - that
readily discernible causes produce predictable effects. Einstein's
"Theory of Relativity" hinted at the existence of a higher degree of

People began thinking of non-linear systems whose organization is not
predictable in terms of the information within our grasp at any given

This type of thinking has spawned a new theoretical approach referred to
as the mathematics of chaos. Generally, we conceive of chaos as
confusion or disorder. This new approach understands that what may be
chaos to us is, nonetheless, the reflection of a hidden order motivated
by a deeper and more abstract reality. Complex behavior appears random,
yet conforms to a pattern.

In previous generations, our lives followed more clearly mapped-out
routines, and so we had less difficulty charting our future. But now,
these maps are continually being redrawn.

In this environment, how does a person prevent himself from becoming
disoriented as our weightless plants? By having a sense of direction and

When the leader of a desert caravan needed direction he would look into
the night sky and find the North Star. As civilization advanced, the
compass was invented. A person with an inner sense of purpose has a
needle constantly pointing him true-north.

What is meant by inner purpose? A person once complained of depression.
Nothing in particular was wrong; both at home and at work, he was
moderately successful. But he was haunted by feelings of futility. A
friend told the Rebbe of the problem and the Rebbe advised: "Share this
insight of our Sages with your friend: 'I was created solely to serve my
Maker.' "

It made a difference. The person's attitude changed. After he saw the
direction, he knew where to put his feet.

Our Sages describe every person as an entire world, and the world as a
person in macrocosm. Conceiving of ourselves as a world - multifaceted
and multidimensional - enables us to develop harmony between and within
the different aspects of our beings. Conversely, viewing the world as a
macrocosm of man also provides us with constructive insights.

Just as an inner sense of spiritual purpose is the key to an
individual's success and happiness, so, too, the world at large will
thrive from gaining awareness of its spiritual purpose.

What is the purpose of the world? Our Sages state: "The world was
created solely for Moshiach" - for the Era Redemption. The first step in
facilitating this sense of direction in the world is a revolution in our
own thinking.

To speak in metaphoric terms: Ships have long been guided by rudders. As
ships got larger, rudders did, too. But moving the larger rudders was
difficult, so a small rudder (trim-tab) was attached to the larger
rudder. The trim-tab moves the large rudder, which in turn changes the
course of the entire ship. Today, each of us can be a trim-tab. The
direction in which we point our lives can affect the direction of the
vessel of humanity.

Learning about the ideals that G-d envisions for our world, and
integrating these principles in our lives can serve as a trim-tab for
each person, channeling the direction of global change.

   From As a New Day Breaks by Rabbi E. Touger - Sichos in English.

As we read in this week's Torah portion, Shemot, when G-d told Moses of
his mission to redeem the Jewish people from Egypt, Moses replied,
"Behold, I will come to the Children of Israel and say, "The G-d of your
fathers has sent me to you.' And they will say to me, 'What is His
Name?' What shall I tell them?"

Why did Moses think that they would ask him this? Surely the Jews were
familiar with the "G-d of Abraham"; certainly their forefathers had told
them. And why wouldn't Moses know what to answer?

Our Sages explain that G-d has many Names. G-d is referred to according
to His actions. Each of G-d's Names symbolizes a different way in which
He interacts with creation. "Elokim" connotes G-d's attribute of
justice; the Name "Havaya" connotes His attribute of mercy.

Thus the question "What is His Name?" really asks "How will the
redemption from Egypt come about?" Will it be through G-d's attribute of
justice or through His attribute of mercy?

But what difference would it make how the redemption happened? Isn't the
main thing that their suffering would be coming to an end? Besides,
isn't it self-evident that the redemption would be derived from G-d's
attribute of mercy?

In truth, the question "What is His Name" is a very difficult one to
answer. The Jewish people wanted to know how it was possible for G-d to
have allowed them to suffer so terribly in Egypt. They wanted to know
with which "Name" G-d had chosen to act, i.e., how it was possible for
the redemption to come only after such a lengthy period of exile.

"What shall I tell them?" Moses asked. Even Moses was perplexed and did
not know how to answer.

Replied G-d: "I Will Be What I Will Be...say to the people of Israel, 'I
Will Be has sent me to you.' ...This is My Name forever, and this is My
remembrance unto all generations."

What was G-d's answer to the question "What is His Name?" "I Will Be
What I Will Be." Rashi explains that this means "I will be with them
throughout their travail." G-d was telling Moses that He would accompany
the Jews into exile and suffer together with them, as it were. The Jews
would not be abandoned in Egypt, G-d forbid, nor would He ignore their
pain. Not only would G-d be with them in Egypt, but He would share in
their anguish and distress.

G-d said, "This is My Name forever - le'olam." In this verse, le'olam is
spelled without the letter vav, alluding to the word helem -
concealment. In exile, G-d's attribute of mercy is hidden. Surely G-d
accompanies the Jewish people into exile, but His attribute of mercy is
in a state of concealment, only to be revealed when the time for
redemption has arrived.

                             Adapted from Likutei Sichot, Volume 26

                             SLICE OF LIFE
                           Tanya in Lebanon?!

In honor of the 200th yartzeit (anniversary of passing) of Rabbi Shneur
Zalman, founder of Chabad Chasidism and author of Tanya, we present this
story about printing the Tanya in Lebanon. From a talk by Rabbi Aaron
Eliezer Ceitlin

In 1978, the Lubavitcher Rebbe initiated a campaign to print an edition
of Tanya in every country in the world. When the Lebanon War broke out,
the Rebbe directed Rabbi Leibel Kaplan (o.b.m.), the head emissary of
Tzfat, Israel, to print the Tanya in Lebanon. It was to be printed in at
least three Lebanese cities that once had thriving Jewish populations
that were currently occupied by the IDF.

It was relatively easy for us to procure the printing equipment needed
and Rabbi Kaplan worked on obtaining permit to enter Lebanon. We began
receiving nightly calls from the Rebbe's secretariat, requesting
updates. We had received numerous assurances that we would get a permit,
but the fact remained that we didn't.

Rabbi Kaplan suggested that we drive to the border without a permit and
try to get into Lebanon. We set out on a Thursday and when we got to the
border they wouldn't let us enter.

Each of us started focusing on a different mission; putting tefilin on
with the soldiers and signing them up for their own letter in a Torah
scroll begin written for Jewish unity. I was given the task of trying to
get the permit. However, after six hours of efforts, we still did not
have it.

We set out to the headquarters of the IDF Northern Command. We presented
our case before one of the officers. He told us that he knew all about
the Rebbe. He advised us to return the next day when the Chief Military
Rabbi of the IDF would be visiting the base. Perhaps he could help.

That night, I was unable to fall asleep. It bothered me terribly that we
had spent many days trying to fulfill the Rebbe's directive, and we had
still not succeeded.

I immediately got dressed. I rushed over to the house of one of my
colleagues. He eventually opened the door. "Hurry, get dressed! We're
returning to the headquarters of the Northern Command to meet the
commanding general and demand a permit!" He responded, "It's past
midnight. Go get some sleep!"

"I am going to the army base whether you join me or not. If you wish to
have a share in our success, then come with me. If not, I will go
myself," I told him.

I drove quickly to the army base. When I got there I screeched to an
abrupt stop and jumped out of the car. I yelled to the guard, "Where is
the general?" The guard must have thought this was a real emergency, and
he immediately opened the gate for me. A miracle.

I headed to the general's building. I entered and told the secretary
that I needed to speak to the general immediately. I pleaded with her,
"Please tell him that someone from Chabad is here to see him urgently on
an extremely important matter." However, my words fell on deaf ears.

Out of sheer desperation, I told the secretary, "Just remember that I
came to tell the general something extremely important and urgent -
something relevant to the outcome of the war. And, it was you who did
not allow me entry." When the secretary heard this, she agreed to relay
my message to the general.

The secretary returned and told me to wait; the general would see me
shortly. When I came face to face with the general, I could see that he
was not in a very good mood, to say the least.

At that point, the secretary asked whether she could remain at the
meeting. I jokingly replied that my message was classified as a military
secret. When the general heard this, he burst into an uncontrollable fit
of laughter. He laughed and laughed, and it took him a moment or two to
compose himself. When he did, he seemed a lot calmer and friendlier.

I turned to the general and said, "I would like to present a matter
which I feel affects the whole outcome of the war. The Lubavitcher
Rebbe, the leader of the generation, has requested that the Tanya be
printed in Lebanon. Why? Don't ask me; I am not the Rebbe. However, I
can say that Tanya is the seminal work of Chabad, and that the Rebbe has
arranged for it to be printed all over the world. If he wants it done in
Lebanon, it is obviously of upmost importance."

When I finished my 15 minute speech, the general asked, "Nu, so what do
you want from me?" I explained that we needed a permit to get into
Lebanon. He said, "No problem, you have my permission to enter Lebanon."
He picked up the phone and instructed the officer at the other end to
write out a permit for us to enter Lebanon. Over the phone, I could hear
the officer respond, "To where in Lebanon? Based on the Rebbe's
directives, we had decided to print in the cities of Tzor, Tzidon
(Sidon) and Beirut. To my great relief and amazement, the general said,
"You know what? Allow them to travel until Tzor."

I thanked the general and asked for his and his mother's names to send
to the Rebbe. He said that I should just tell the Rebbe that the IDF
Commander of the North provided the permit.

I headed to a nearby building to obtain the permit. A young officer
opened the door. The officer said we could only enter after 4:00 a.m.
This suited me quite well; it left me with just enough time to round up
my colleagues for the hour-long drive to the border. The officer then
asked if we had weapons. Of course, we were without weapons "Not to
worry. I will have an army escort prepared for you; four soldiers on an
armored jeep." Then he handed the permit to me.

I quickly drove back to Tzfat to round up all the members of our group.
When I woke them with the news, they thought I was out of my mind. But
there was no denying that I had the permit in my hand, and we quickly
set out to the border.

Our group entered Lebanon, and our success-ful mission served as the
catalyst for many more missions into the war-zone of Lebanon.

        Reprinted from, the website of the
                    Rabbinical College of Australia and New Zealand

                               WHAT'S NEW
                      New Torah Scrolls Dedicated

The Chabad House in Taipei, Taiwan, welcomed their second Torah scroll
in just six months. The Kazaiof family of Israel sponsored this latest
scroll. Chabad of Cebu City, Philippines, completed their first Torah
scroll. The Torah, written in memory of Shayna Borevitz, was completed
in New York and will be brought to the Philippines after a month at
Lubavitch World Headquarters. Chabad of Bonita Springs, Florida,
welcomed a new Torah scroll, written in memory of Rochel Pinson. Chabad
of Dumbo, Brooklyn, New York, welcomed their first Torah scroll. The
Kamhin families of Mexico and Hong Kong dedicated the Torah.

                            THE REBBE WRITES
                       24th of Teves, 5721 [1961]
                       Yahrtzeit of the Old Rebbe
                 Author of the Tanya and Shulchan Aruch

Greetings and Blessings:

On this day, the Yahrzeit [anniversary of the passing] of the saintly
Old Rebbe (the founder of Chabad) [Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi], I
recall a story related by my father-in-law of saintly memory, an episode
in the life of the Old Rebbe which has a timely message for all of us.

When the "Tzemach Tzedek" [the third Rebbe of Chabad-Lubavitch, Rabbi
Menachem Mendel] was a little boy learning Chumash [the Five Books of
Moses - Torah], and he reached the first verse of the [Torah portion]
sedra Vayechi - "And Jacob lived in the land of Egypt seventeen years" -
his teacher explained to him (in accordance with the commentary of the
Baal HaTurim) that the Torah indicated thereby that these were Jacob's
best years of his life. Returning home, the boy asked his grandfather,
the Old Rebbe: "How is it possible that the best years of our father
Jacob, the chosen among the Patriarchs, should have been experienced in
exile in Egypt?"

The Old Rebbe replied: "The Torah tells us that before going to Egypt,
Jacob had sent his son Judah ahead of him to Joseph, to lead the way to
Goshen. Here the Torah indicated - as explained in the Medrash, and
quoted by Rashi - that Jacob had sent Judah to establish a place of
learning, a Yeshivah where Jacob's children would study the Torah. By
studying the Torah one becomes closer to G-d and he lives truly and
fully, even in a place like Egypt."

The message for each and every one of us is: When Jews are about to
settle in a new place, at any country at any time, the first and
foremost step is to establish there a place for learning Torah, where
the Torah would be studied and observed not only by the older generation
(Jacob, the father) but also and especially by the children. When Jews
realize that the very foundation of Jewish life, and of a Jewish
Settlement, is the Torah, and acting on this conviction they maintain
and cultivate a flourishing Torah center, then they ensure that the new
era would be the best years of their lives, irrespective what the
external conditions may be.

Furthermore, by becoming closer to G-d, the Master of the Universe, one
creates the channel through which G-d's blessing flows in a growing
measure not only to those occupied with the study of Torah, the teachers
and students, but to all those who support and expand the Torah
institutions and thus actively participate in the spreading of the Torah
and Mitzvoth [commandments] in a growing measure.

                                *  *  *

                         24 Teves, 5729 [1969]

One of the basic principles of the Chabad philosophy and way of life, is
that the head and the heart (the intellect and emotions) should govern
and inspire the daily life of the individual in complete mutual harmony,
and in a way that the mind should rule the heart. Where this inner
harmony between the intellect and emotions prevails, then all the varied
activities of the person, in all details of the daily life, both the
mundane and the sacred, the material and the spiritual, are carried out
properly, without conflicts, without contradictions, and without

There can be no doubt that the fearful confusion and insecurity
besetting the young generation of today, in this country and elsewhere,
frequently erupting in defiance and open revolt against the very
elementary laws of human society, is the result of the inner split and
disharmony between reason and emotions, often giving way to unrestrained
misconduct. It is also a sad fact that these symptoms have affected some
segments of our Jewish youth.

In these critical times there is especially a vital need to strengthen
among our Jewish youth their spiritual equilibrium, and the only way to
attain this is through Torah and Mitzvos [commandments], with unity and
harmony between the intellect and emotions, and the mastery of the mind
over the heart.

For us Jews, the said inner unity is more than the secret and foundation
of a satisfactory personal life. This subject is treated in depth and
breadth in the teachings of Chabad.

The said unity is the key to unity in the world at large, and is
intimately correlated with the concept of G-d's Unity (monotheism), the
realization of which in actual life is the special task of every Jew and
the Jewish people as a whole. This is alluded to in the words, "A people
One on earth," which the Alter Rebbe explains (Iggeres Hakodesh, 9):
"The Jewish people which is one brings into reality the Oneness of G-d,
to achieve oneness (in life) on earth."

                               WHO'S WHO
Rabbi Shneur Zalman, known as the Alter Rebbe, was the founder and first
Rebbe of Chabad-Lubavitch. He was born in 1745 to Rabbi Baruch and his
wife Rivka. He became one of the greatest students of Rabbi Dov Ber, the
Maggid of Mezritch and was asked by him to compile a code of law, which
became known as the Rav's Shulchan Aruch. In 1770, after the Maggid's
passing, he was recognized as the leader of the chasidim of Lithuania
and the surrounding areas. In 1797 he published the seminal work of
Chabad Chasidut,  Tanya, after having spent 20 years perfecting the
text. He was imprisoned by the czarist government on false charges
twice. A staunch opponent of Napoleon, he and his household were fleeing
the French troops when he passed away on 24 Tevet, 1813.

                        A WORD FROM THE DIRECTOR
                         Rabbi Shmuel M. Butman
For a person to make a statement that we must "live with the times,"
seems rather ordinary. At first glance one would think the person is
saying that we have to stay up-to-date with the news using the latest
technology or social media. However, if that statement is coming from a
Chasidic Rebbe, it becomes rather extraordinary.

Such were the words of Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi, the first Rebbe of
Chabad-Lubavitch, known as the Alter Rebbe. He enjoined us to "live with
the times."

The Alter Rebbe's intent was that one should live with the Torah portion
that was being studied and read that particular week. For Torah, which
comes from the word "hora'ah," or teaching, is pertinent and valid in
all times and at all stages in one's life.

This coming Sunday is the 24th of Tevet (coinciding with January 6). The
24th of Tevet is the 200th yahrzeit of the Alter Rebbe.

Once, the Alter Rebbe's grandson, Rabbi Menachem Mendel, known as the
Tzemach Tzedek, explained to his own son that the Alter Rebbe's intent
for Chasidut is that it should vitalize everything. "Chasidut itself is
vitality," he explained to his son. "Chasidut is to bring life and
illumination into everything, to shed light even on the undesirable - to
enable one to become aware of one's own failings, exactly as they are,
in order to correct them."

On this 200th yartzeit anniversary of the Alter Rebbe, may we all be
imbued with the ability to correct our undesirable traits and to bring
light and illumination into everything until the revelation of the
ultimate light of Moshiach NOW!

                          THOUGHTS THAT COUNT
My son, my firstborn is Israel (Ex. 4:22)

A firstborn son receives a double portion of his father's inheritance,
as he is the one responsible for "making" him a father in the first
place. Similarly, the Jewish people is G-d's "firstborn," having "made"
Him the Father of all mankind by being the first to recognize G-dliness
and Divine Providence in the world.

                                                  (Meshech Chochma)

                                *  *  *

And these are the names of the Children of Israel (Ex. 1:1)

One of the merits the Jewish people had to be redeemed from Egypt was
that they did not change their Jewish names: Jews named Reuven and
Shimon went down to Egypt, and Jews named Reuven and Shimon went up from
there. They did not call Yehuda "Royfa"; Reuven "Loyliani"; Yosef
"Loystus" or Binyamin "Alexandri."

                                                     (Midrash Raba)

                                *  *  *

Send, I beseech You, by the hand of him whom You will send (Ex. 4:13)

There are some commandments in the Torah that cannot be done
intentionally, such as the mitzva of the forgotten sheaf (which must be
left for the poor). Being a leader is in this category, for "Whoever
pursues honor, honor flees from him." Only a person who does not wish to
lead is worthy of doing so. Thus it was not until Moses declined being
the leader of the Jews that he merited the position.

                         (Prayer Book with Chasidic Interpretation)

                                *  *  *

And Pharaoh said...I do not know G-d [the Tetragrammaton], nor will I
let Israel go (Ex. 5:2)

The Tetragrammaton, or four-letter, ineffable Name of G-d, refers to the
level of G-dliness that transcends nature, whereas "Elokim" refers to
G-dliness as it is enclothed in nature. (The numerical equivalent of the
word "Elokim" is the same as "hateva" - nature.) When Pharaoh said he
did not know G-d, he meant that G-d's transcendental aspect has no
connection to the physical world. In truth, however, G-d's ineffable
Name illuminates equally in all worlds, which Pharaoh only came to
realize after a series of miracles: "And the Egyptians shall know that I
am G-d."

                                                        (Torah Ohr)

                            IT ONCE HAPPENED
The events of this story took place in Poland before the establishment
of the great universities there. In those times, various aristocrats
supported private schools of science called academies.

In the province of Lithuania there were three such academies, each
supported by different princes. One, located near Vilna, was owned by
Prince Radziwill, another, near Vitebsk, was owned by Prince Sheksinski,
and the third, located on the shores of the Dnieper, between Dobrovna
and Liadi, was owned by Prince Decrit. In those days, the Polish people
were not very accomplished in the sciences, and the actual instructors
at these academies were brought in from France.

On the property of Prince Sheksinski there was a big palace, and in its
courtyard was a sundial. For two years the sundial had not functioned
properly, and would not tell the correct time between the hours of two
and five in the afternoon. The prince had already consulted many leading
experts, scientists, and professors about this problem, but no one could
figure it out. When the prince learned that there was a very wise Jew
who was well known for his problem-solving, he sent for the Alter Rebbe
(Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi, founder of Chabad Chasidut) to come to
his property and help him discover the cause of the sundial's

At first, the Alter Rebbe refused to go, heeding the advice of our Sages
not to get involved in political matters, but after he was reassured
that no precious time devoted to Torah learning would be wasted, he
agreed, and traveled to the palace.

Although the Alter Rebbe spoke Polish well, he preferred to speak
Yiddish, and so, his father-in-law served as translator. After examining
the sundial several times during the problematic hours, he said, "It is
brought down in the Talmud that the sun is directly overhead in the
middle of the day, and that nothing can intercede between the sun and
the earth during this time except for clouds. However, after noon, when
the sun starts to go down, it is possible for various objects to
interfere with the sun's rays. It is my opinion that there is a mountain
to the south of us, at a distance of 12 to 15 parasangs.

It seems as if the trees growing on its peak have grown too tall and are
obstructing the sun's rays between the hours of 2 and 5, preventing them
from reaching the sundial. When the sun sinks a little further, the
trees are no longer in the way, and the sundial works properly after
this time."

The prince was amazed at the Alter Rebbe's reasoning, and sent a special
emissary to find the area described to see if indeed it was so.

Upon hearing this, the head of the prince's academy, a leading engineer
by the name of Professor Marseilles, ridiculed the opinion of the Alter
Rebbe. He laughingly said, "The Jews imagine that all wisdom is
contained in their Talmud. Zelig the doctor learns his medicine from it,
Boruch the gardener learns how to prepare the soil for planting, and
Zanvil the merchant learns how to cheat the landowners from this
Talmud... Now, this character imagines that the sun's rays only reach
the earth according to the Talmud!"

The Alter Rebbe replied to his criticism, saying: "Empirical evidence is
the axe which fells those who are arrogant in their belief in science."

"Is that also a saying found in your Talmud?" asked the professor.

"No," answered the Alter Rebbe, "it is attributed to the great Galinus,
who also had to suffer with those who were arrogant."

Word leaked out about the Alter Rebbe's diagnosis of the problem, and
before the prince could find the exact spot, a group of troublemakers
found the trees which were obstructing the light and chopped them down
without telling anyone. In this way they hoped to discredit the Alter

A few days later, when the grounds-keeper on the prince's estate
reported that the sundial was in perfect working order, the prince was
very surprised, but it was simply thought that the clock had
spontaneously fixed itself.

Eventually, the Alter Rebbe's father-in-law heard the rumor that the
trees had been chopped down in secret, and he found those responsible
and brought them before the prince, demanding that they tell him what
they had done. Admitting their guilt, the truth of the Alter Rebbe's
wisdom was confirmed, and his fame soon spread among the ranks of the
scientific community in Poland.

                END OF TEXT - L'CHAIM 1253 - Shemos 5773

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