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                         L'CHAIM - ISSUE # 1263
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                           Copyright (c) 2013
                 Lubavitch Youth Organization - L.Y.O.
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             THE WEEKLY PUBLICATION FOR EVERY JEWISH PERSON
   Dedicated to the memory of Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka Schneerson N.E.
*********************************************************************
        March 15, 2013          Vayikra            4 Nisan, 5773
*********************************************************************

                         Mr. Clean Here I Come!

The sounds of birds chirping in the morning and children playing outside
in the afternoon sun is a sure sign that spring has arrived. This
pleasant season brings with it the inevitable chore of spring cleaning.

Some Jews associate spring cleaning with cleaning for Passover. While
others, concerning Passover cleaning, take to heart the teaching of
Rabbi Sholom Ber of Lubavitch: "Dust is not chametz and your children
are not the Passover sacrifice."

Cleaning for Passover doesn't have to include major spring cleaning.
Though for some of us, the smells of Murphy's Oil Soap or Lestoil are
just as bound up with Passover as say, charoset and horseradish.

But, whichever way you do it, the cleaning itself - getting down on
hands and knees or climbing up on top of ladders - is closely tied to
the theme of the Passover holiday itself.

According to Chasidic philosophy, bread and chametz (products made of
grain that are not specially prepared for Passover) symbolize the
egotism and haughtiness within each of us. Chametz puffs up like a
haughty person's chest, swells like an egotistical person's head. Matza,
on the other hand, is flat, low, humble. Even the fact that its flavor
is bland, nearly tasteless, attests to its modesty.

Before Passover, when we are checking cracks and corners, looking behind
breakfronts and inside briefcases for chametz, we are laboring at a job
that doesn't require much thought. That gives us plenty of time to be
introspective about whether we've been behaving like chametz or matza
for the past year. And if we find that we are full of chametz, then
pre-Passover cleaning time is the perfect opportunity to check the
cracks and crevices of our own personalities and dig out these dreadful
traits.

There are probably some people who can manage to do all the
introspection necessary while doing just Passover cleaning and not
spring cleaning. But, more likely than not, most of us need to do a bit
of spring cleaning in order to make sure that our homes, and we, are
truly clean and ready for Passover.

One final thought on Passover cleaning! Throughout the year, we somehow
get by without this all-encompassing super-thorough cleaning. If guests
are coming there's always a closet or junk drawer to throw everything
into at the last minute.

But that's not good enough for Passover. For Passover we have to really
get down to the nitty-gritty. There's no hiding when it comes to
Passover.

Passover is the holiday when we celebrate and relive the Redemption of
the Jewish people from our first exile in Egypt. That first Redemption
is the prototype of all future Redemptions, including the final
Redemption that we all await so eagerly.

As we clean for Passover this year, ridding our homes and ourselves of
chametz/ego, let's get ready for the greatest guest of all, Moshiach.
We've had lots of time to prepare for him and plenty of advance notice,
so let's make sure we don't get stuck throwing things in junk drawers or
clearing off the table at the last moment.

*********************************************************************
           LIVING WITH THE REBBE  -  THE WEEKLY TORAH PORTION
*********************************************************************
This week's Torah portion, Vayikra, focuses on the korbanot, the
offerings brought by the Jewish people in the Sanctuary in the desert
and afterwards, in the Temple in Jerusalem. It introduces this subject
with the verse (translated literally): "When a man will offer of you a
sacrifice to G-d of the animal." Now proper grammar would have the verse
read: "When a man from among you offers...." But the verse is structured
in this manner to teach that the offering is "of you," dependent on each
person and no one else.

The word "korban" has its root in the word "karov," meaning "close."
Bringing an offering means coming close to G-d. And the Torah teaches us
that coming close to G-d is dependent on each individual. No external
factors can stand in his way. Every person can come close to G-d. If he
truly desires, he can reach the highest peaks.

Also implied is that the offering comes "of you," of the animal within
the person himself. For each one of us has an animalistic side. This
isn't necessarily something bad, for not all animals possess negative
qualities such as cruelty or parasitism. On the contrary, most animals
are pleasant creatures that are not harmful to humans or other beasts.

Even so, an animal is not considered a positive model for our Divine
service. For an animal acts only to fulfill its own instinctual drives.
It thinks of nothing more than satisfying its own needs and achieving
gratification. Its selfishness lies not in the desire to take advantage
of others; it just doesn't think of others. It is concerned with one
thing: how to get what it wants and needs.

We each have a certain animal dimension to our personalities. There are
times when we think only of ourselves and what we want. This is not
necessarily bad, but it can lead to conflict when two people want the
same thing, and it does not represent a developed state. One of the
unique dimensions of a human being is that he can think and his brain
can control his feelings and desires. But when a person allows the
animal in him to control his conduct, he does nothing with this human
potential. He will leave the world the same way he came in without
having developed himself.

That is not why G-d brought us into being. He created us to make a
change in the world and to begin by making a change in ourselves.
Instead of just acting because we feel like doing something, our actions
should be motivated by thought. We should act because what we're doing
is right, because it follows G-d's intent in the world. Instead of
always taking we should think of looking outward and giving. And this
involves changing the animal in ourselves, bringing it closer to G-d.
That's the spiritual service associated with bringing a sacrifice.

How is this done? Through thought. The animal in us is also intelligent.
What does it want? To feel good. When it appreciates that giving can be
more satisfying than receiving and that the greatest happiness comes
from attuning oneself to G-d's will, it will also act in that manner.
That's why we must continually expose ourselves to inspiring ideas and
uplifting concepts. In this way, we will be motivated to look beyond our
self-interest and seek goals that benefit mankind as a whole.

             From Keeping in Touch, vol. 2 by Rabbi Eliyahu Touger,
                                     published by Sichos in English


*********************************************************************
                             SLICE OF LIFE
*********************************************************************
                               Thank You
                             by Ben Goldman

The last time I saw Rabbi Shaya Gansbourg was on the second night of
Chanuka, a few months ago. I had just completed my army service in the
IDF, and my wife and I were on our last night in New York City after
traveling abroad for several weeks. The next morning, we would be
returning to our home in Israel.

It was a bitterly cold and quiet night in New York, but when I opened
the door to the Chabad of Harlem, I was greeted with the warmth and
jubilant laughter of several dozen children, all of whom had shown up
with their parents for a Chanuka party being held by the rabbi and his
family. The children excitedly busied themselves decorating donuts,
building lego menorahs, and playing "spin the dreidel." Some kids
danced, others chased each other through the legs of adults, and several
posed for pictures with "Yehuda the Maccabee" - an orthodox Jew and U.S.
army officer who has served multiple tours in Afghanistan.

At a certain point the menorahs were lit, and I joined hands with the
rabbi as we danced in a circle while singing "L'shana haba'a
b'Yerushalayim" - "Next Year in Jerusalem."

It is somewhat fitting that my last memory of Rabbi Shaya Gansbourg is
from Chanuka, the holiday where we celebrate light being found in the
most unlikely of places. For me, Chabad of Harlem was the epitome of
this idea. But it wasn't just remarkable for its unlikely location, but
also for the absolute potency of the light produced by Rabbi Gansbourg
as a leader of the community. He was, in all senses, the candle that
burned miraculously, despite all odds, and whose light reached corners
both dark and distant.

In his eight years dedicated to the revival of the Jewish community in
Harlem, Rabbi Gansbourg and his wife Goldie managed to open Chabad of
Harlem, organize a chabad club on the campus of City College of New
York, start a Jewish daycare, and punctuate all of Judaism's numerous
holidays with an event. Chanukah parties like the one above were not the
exception, but the rule.

And in the whirlwind of Rabbi Gansbourg's ceaseless activity, he changed
lives forever.

When I first moved to Harlem four years ago, I was in many ways awash in
the sea of impending adulthood without a life raft. I was in my final
year of university and preoccupied with the development of my career; my
interest in God was minimal, my observance nonexistent, and I was
prepared, as so many other young Jewish Americans are, to abandon most
of my heritage.

Rabbi Gansbourg changed this, not through indoctrination, but through
example. Through his unassuming, modest one-room synagogue in Harlem,
converted from a ground-floor apartment, he created a community that
provided so much of what I found missing in the secular world -
meditation, human bonding, unconditional acceptance, and a connection to
something beyond oneself. Though I did not know it initially, what the
rabbi had created was Jewish life.

What began for me as the occasional attendance at Friday night services
developed rapidly into regular, almost perfunctory ritual, and within a
matter of months, Shabbat evening and morning services were beating out
bars, clubs and parties for my attention - even before I had adopted
observance. I perceived something wholesome to the environment,
something healthy and soul-enriching. I perceived something invaluable.

The world that Chabad of Harlem opened up to me was a beautiful one, but
it was also a revolutionary one. Rabbi Gansbourg exposed me to a world
where friendly faces, home cooking, and a little wine could produce an
exponentially greater happiness than an American Express Black Card at
the finest club in Manhattan. He created a world where job title could
be checked at the door, and one could be appreciated for who they are,
rather than what they do. It was a world where a person could reflect on
himself, on life, and on G-d, and in the process learn more about the
universe than any textbook could provide.

It was an alien world, and a fantastic one, and it was incredible enough
to change the course of my life.

I am happy and unbelievably privileged to say that I knew Rabbi
Gansbourg, who recently passed away, and I thank G-d everyday for having
introduced the two of us - and for showing me this new world. I thank
him for inspiring me to move to Israel, where I could pursue both career
and spirituality, and where I later met my wife, who I love with all of
my being, and with whom I have now started my own Jewish life.

And I thank Rabbi Gansbourg for what he taught me both in life and now
in death; that the material world is fleeting, that ultimately the
universe unknowable and the ways of G-d are mysterious, and that the
only thing we can do is to live a good life, do what's right, be kind to
others and walk as closely along the path that G-d set out for us as
possible, because life is too precious to live in any other way.

Rabbi Gansbourg, thank you for everything. I will always miss you.

    Ben Goldman is a writer, TV producer and filmmaker. Before moving to
    Israel, he worked for MTV and Comedy Central, and co-founded the
    community service organization Superheroes Anonymous. While in
    Israel, he has worked as a freelance reporter for the IBA English
    News, the Israel Now News, and served as Director of Video
    Operations for the IDF Spokesperson's New Media Unit.

*********************************************************************
                               WHAT'S NEW
*********************************************************************
                                 Books


                             On This Night


In this inspired picture book, all the steps of the Passover Seder are
described in lovely rhyming verses. The evocative, full color
illustrations in On This Night truly capture the childhood joy of this
meaningful family gathering... and the feeling that, on this night, we
are the ones coming out of Egypt all over again! Journey through the
Seder, step by step, and even the youngest boys and girls will be
prepared for this special night. Written by N. Steiner, illustrated by
Wendy Edelson and published by HaChai Publishing.

                    I Will Write it in their Hearts


This is the seventh volume of the 38 volume set of letters of the
Lubavitcher Rebbe ("Igrot Kodesh") that has been masterfully translated
from Yiddish and Hebrew into English. The book is comprised of
correspondence of the Lubavitcher Rebbe from the year 1951. Translated
by Rabbi Eliyahu Touger, published by Sichos in English.

*********************************************************************
                            THE REBBE WRITES
*********************************************************************
        Freely translated and adapted from a letter of the Rebbe
                         addressed to all Jews


                    Rosh Chodesh Nissan, 5740 (1980)

Greeting and Blessing:

The central point of the redemption from Egypt - (as G-d indicated to
Moses) "When you will lead the people out of Egypt..." is, of course,
"...you will serve G-d on this mountain": to receive the Torah from
Sinai, study it and observe its Mitzvos (commandments) in actual
practice, for "the essential thing is the deed," and to do all this in
complete freedom.

At the same time, each Torah-related action has an impact on the mental
and emotional faculties of the person learning Torah and doing Mitzvos,
refining him or her both in intellect and character, as Maimonides
emphasizes in many places.

Since each and all of the Mitzvos have been given by G-d, who is
Infinite, so are the teachings and effects of every Mitzva infinite in
scope and dimension. And the more comprehensive and all-embracing is the
Mitzva, the deeper, wider, and more variegated are the aspects stemming
from it.

In addition to what can be learned from the Mitzva itself, there is also
the lesson that can be derived from the day of the week that a Mitzva is
done, which varies from year to year. While the general message always
remains in force, the particular occurrence of the Mitzva in point of
time underscores specific aspects of the Mitzva even more.

This is certainly true of the an all-embracing event as the Exodus from
Egypt, which we are obligated to remember and to mention every day,
twice daily, in our prayers, and in a particularly pronounced way during
the days of Passover so as to permeate thereafter every day of the year.

                                *  *  *


In light of the above it is appropriate to note that this year the first
day of Passover, as well as of Rosh Chodesh, the first day of the Month
of Nissan (the "month of Redemption"), is on Tuesday, the third day of
the week, the day which the Creator blessed twice with "good" - "Good to
Heaven and good to the creatures." Hence, this year's Festival of Our
Freedom, in addition to all its other teachings, prominently conveys the
instruction that we ought to put in an extra measure of vitality and
effort in both areas of Divine service, namely, "between man and G-d"
and "between man and man" in our everyday life throughout the year.

One of the inner aspects of being "good to Heaven and good to the
creatures" is that it is the most effective medium of unity between two
extreme opposites: the Creator ("Heaven") and the created ("creatures"),
as well as between the creatures themselves, where each individual has
his own will and his own interests; but being good to each other brings
about peace and unity between them, both sides gain a measure of
completeness.

It follows from the above that what has been said about being "good to
Heaven and good to creatures" means that these do not remain two
distinct concepts, but they become (like) one and the same - as Rabbi
Shneur Zalman taught that "love your fellow like yourself" is a "vessel"
to "love G-d, your G-d."

Even where it appears at first glance that it is merely a matter of
"good to Heaven," yet since it stems from "love G-d,"it must express
itself in the fulfillment of His Mitzvos with true enthusiasm,
including, especially, the "Great Principle" of the Torah, "love your
fellow like yourself" - "good to creatures."

And conversely, inasmuch as the Mitzvos refine the person, his
character, intellect and dispositions, as mentioned above, they are the
instruments whereby to achieve the highest degree of loving G-d "with
all your heart, and will all your soul, and with all your might,"
because the refined soul-powers become attuned and drawn to spirituality
and G-dliness.

                                *  *  *


This is also one of the basic teachings of the Exodus, the purpose of
which was to "serve G-d on this mountain," receiving the Torah, as also
indicated in the first of the Ten Commandments: "I am G-d, your G-d, who
brought you out of the land of Egypt."

Simply stated: After the Jewish people languished in Egypt for
generations, slaves to Pharaoh not only physically but also spiritually
- they changed themselves completely and attained true freedom; so much
so that not only did they reject the "idols" of Egypt and the whole
Egyptian ideology, but moreover they consecrated all their powers and
the "great wealth" that they brought out of Egypt to the construction of
the Sanctuary for the Divine Presence in their midst, which made peace
between the whole of Creation and the Creator, making this material
world a fitting abode for G-d, blessed be He.

                                *  *  *


May G-d grant that every one of us should have a "kosher and joyous
Passover." In order that the joy of the holiday be complete, it is
necessary to care for and bring joy to "everyone who is hungry" and
"everyone who is needy."

Practicing love of one's fellow in the fullest measure will nullify the
cause of the present Exile and will hasten the realization of the Divine
promise "As in the days of your going out of the land of Egypt." It will
be an eternal Redemption through Moshiach, and very soon indeed.

With esteem and blessing for a Kosher and joyous Yom Tov, and good
tidings in all above,

*********************************************************************
                               WHO'S WHO
*********************************************************************
Rabbi Moshe ben Nachman (1196-1270), known as Nachmanides, was the
foremost Jewish legal expert of his time. He was from Gerona, Spain, and
was both a physician and a great Torah scholar. His biblical
commentaries are the first ones to incorporate the mystical teachings of
kabbalah. He was well-known for his aggressive refutations of
Christianity. He declared that it is a mitzva (commandment) to take
possession of the Holy Land and to live in it. He fulfilled this
commandment, moving to the Holy Land during the Crusades after he was
expelled from Spain.

*********************************************************************
                        A WORD FROM THE DIRECTOR
                         Rabbi Shmuel M. Butman
*********************************************************************
It is a Jewish custom that, when bringing a young child to school for
the first time, we begin his Torah studies with the third book of the
Torah, Vayikra - Leviticus. The book of Vayikra, the first portion of
which we read this Shabbat, is also known as Torat Kohanim, for it
mainly deals with the responsibilities of the Priests.

One might think that it would be more proper to begin a child's formal
Jewish education "in the beginning," with the book of Genesis. Or, at
least, to start out with the history of our people and thus, commence
with the portion that discusses Abraham.

This, however, is not the case. The Midrash states that children are
"pure" and the sacrifices (which the priests offered) are 'pure.' "Let
the pure occupy themselves with the pure," says the Midrash.

It is interesting to note here at what age the child is considered
"pure." For, in truth, there are three stages in the spiritual life of
every Jew: 1) after the age of Bar/Bat Mitzva when the person is
obligated to perform mitzvot (commandments); 2) when one is educated in
the ways of Torah and mitzvot and begins observing them. (Though under
no obligation, this prepares and trains the chid for the time when he
will be obligated to perform them); and 3) when the child is still so
young that, though learning about Torah and mitzvot, he cannot be
expected to conduct himself in accordance with them.

It is at this last and youngest stage, particularly, that the child is
referred to as "pure." And, it is at precisely at this early, precious
and pure stage that one needs begin a child's Jewish education. Though
he cannot fully comprehend what he is learning, and isn't even required
to put his studies into action, his/her pure neshama (soul) should be
involved in the "pure" Torah.

*********************************************************************
                          THOUGHTS THAT COUNT
*********************************************************************
And G-d called to Moses; and G-d spoke to him from the Tent of Meeting,
saying (Lev. 1:1)

As explained by Rashi, G-d prefaced each exchange with Moses by calling
out to him, indicative of His great love.

This love between G-d and Moses is symbolic of the open and loving
relationship enjoyed by the Jewish people when the Holy Temple still
stood and the Divine Presence rested in the Holy of Holies. This love
has not diminished any during the exile; it has only became less open
and revealed. The way to restore the relationship with G-d to its former
glory is by expressing unconditional love for our fellow Jew. If the
Jewish people will be united in brotherhood and unity, G-d's love for
Moses will once again be fully expressed when the dead are resurrected
and the Third Holy Temple is rebuilt.

                                        (Likutei Sichot, Volume 27)

                                *  *  *


And G-d called to Moses (Lev. 1:1)

We learn about the various offerings and sacrifices to teach us that we
must be willing to make sacrifices, both monetary and otherwise, to
afford our children a proper Jewish education. Furthermore, a child's
earliest and most precious years must be devoted to Torah study, without
regard for later professional choices. For this reason, young children
just beginning their Torah studies start with the book of Leviticus.

                                                       (Avnei Ezel)

                                *  *  *


If any one of you bring an offering to G-d (Lev. 1:2)

Chasidic philosophy interprets this verse to mean that the personal
offering each one of us brings to G-d must truly be "of us," from our
innermost part. Yet a person might hesitate, thinking that a mere mortal
can never bridge the gap between the finite and infinite. We must
therefore remember that our relationship with G-d is, in actuality,
dependent only on our initiative. Once that initiative is taken, nothing
can stand in the way of communion between man and G-d.

                                   (The Previous Lubavitcher Rebbe)

                                *  *  *


With all your sacrifices you should offer salt (Lev. 2:13)

The sacrifices are symbolic of the revealed part of Torah, which is
likened to meat; the salt alludes to the esoteric part of Torah that
deals with more abstract and spiritual matters. Just as salt preserves
meat in the literal sense, so too does learning the innermost aspects of
Torah ensure that the revealed part will remain preserved.

                                                    (Likutei Torah)

*********************************************************************
                            IT ONCE HAPPENED
*********************************************************************
Getzel Shlomo was his name. He was a pauper, one of those beggars who
roamed the town of Harki, going from door to door, asking for alms. If
anyone pitied him and handed him a coin, and even if they didn't, his
only response was "Shma Yisrael," and the townspeople were sure he was
incapable of uttering any other words. He was regarded as an imbecile, a
half-wit, who occasionally passed through their lives like a shadow and
then was thought about no more.

The begger's young son, Chaim Shmuel grew up, it seemed, with little
help from his parents. When it was time for his Bar Mitzva, a local,
kindhearted teacher taught him how to read and don tefilin with the
blessings. When the boy reached the age of fourteen, he left Harki to
strike out on his own to try to make his fortune in another town where
he wouldn't be known as "The begger Getzel Shlomo's son."

Life was not easy for him, but he was honest and hardworking, and he
eked out a living doing handy-work. After ten years, he married the
daughter of a local villager and settled down.

During that time, Getzel Shlomo continued his daily rounds of the
householders of Harki. And throughout all the years no one ever heard
him say anything more than the two words, "Shma Yisrael."

Now, Getzel Shlomo was very old, and he sensed that he was about to die.
He called the members of the Chevra Kadisha (the Jewish burial society)
to come to him and hear his last request. The men entered the bare room
where Getzel Shlomo lay on a wooden pallet.

"My friends, I would like to ask you the favor that you carry out my
final wish and bury me in the poorest section of the cemetery at the
beginning of a new row. I am very sorry to say that I have no money to
pay for the burial, but at least I have saved you the trouble of
bringing water to wash my body," and he pointed to the corner of the
room where a barrel of water stood.

The Chevra Kadisha members were astounded. Getzel Shlomo could actually
speak! They had obviously been wrong about him. He was not the imbecile
they all had taken him for. Then, Getzel Shlomo handed one of the
gravediggers a basket and said, "Please be sure to bury this with me."

The gravediggers gathered around the basket, curious to discover what it
might contain. Looking inside, they saw a pile of papers. "Maybe it's
Getzel Shlomo's literary works," one joked, and loud chuckles broke out
from the others in the crowd.

When, a short while later, they returned to Getzel Shlomo's room, they
found him lying with closed eyes, reciting his last prayers. He then
arranged himself and drew his last breath.

The Rabbi of Harki, who always made it a point to attend all funerals,
whether of the great or the small, asked that he be notified of the time
of Getzel Shlomo's funeral. When the Rabbi arrived, the sexton showed
him the basket of papers and told the Rabbi that the deceased had wished
to be buried with them. Was it allowed? The Rabbi's astonishment could
be seen on his face as he flipped through the papers. They contained a
meticulous accounting of every penny Getzel Shlomo had collected over
all the years. The tiny figures told how he had collected money and then
distributed it to the poor of Harki. Getzel Shlomo had performed the
demeaning work of begging to spare others from suffering the shame of
begging.

The Rabbi looked up at the crowd and declared, "Getzel Shlomo is a
hidden Tzadik and he must be accorded the honor which is his due." The
Rabbi himself undertook to recite the Kaddish until the dead man's son
could be located.

It was only after two years that Chaim Shmuel heard of his father's
death and discovered that his father had been a hidden Tzadik. It was
then that he returned to Harki together with his family. He continued
working very hard to earn his daily bread, but he never complained of
his difficult lot. And he never thought of capitalizing on the growing
reputation of his saintly father.

One person, though, took a particular interest in Chaim Shmuel, and that
was the Baal Shem Tov. Soon after Chaim Shmuel returned to Harki, the
Baal Shem Tov instructed his followers there to take him under their
wing. He informed them that the son of the Tzadik possessed a very lofty
soul and was destined for great spiritual and material riches.

Under the loving tutelage of the Chasidim, Chaim Shmuel began to advance
in his study of Torah. He also became very successful in business and it
wasn't long before he became one of the greatest philanthropists in
Harki, as well as a well-respected scholar.

*********************************************************************
                            MOSHIACH MATTERS
*********************************************************************
The reward of the souls and their existence in the World of Souls is
called the Garden of Eden by our Sages. After the World of Souls will
come the era of Moshiach, which is part of this world. At the conclusion
thereof, the great judgment and the resurrection of the dead will occur.
This is the recompense that includes the body and the soul... This is
the great principle that is the hope of all who look longingly to the
Holy One, blessed be He. The people of the resurrection will exist
forever, from the time of the resurrection of the dead, to the
world-to-come, which is an everlasting world.

                                 (Nachmanides - The Gate of Reward)

*********************************************************************
               END OF TEXT - L'CHAIM 1263 - Vayikra 5773
*********************************************************************

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