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                         L'CHAIM - ISSUE # 1279
                           Copyright (c) 2013
                 Lubavitch Youth Organization - L.Y.O.
                              Brooklyn, NY
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   Dedicated to the memory of Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka Schneerson N.E.
        July 12, 2013           Devarim               5 Av, 5773

                          Seeing the Building

When is a building finished being built? That seems like a simple
question, maybe even a foolish one. A building is finished when it's
built - when the last brick, stone, girder or whatever is put in place.
But still, how do they know where to put that brick - or any other
brick, for that matter? It's a process: The architect tells the
contractor who tells the construction crew. So as far as the architect
is concerned, the building was already built long before the

In fact, from the architect's point-of-view, the building not only began
when the previous structure was destroyed, but in a sense was completed.
In the architect's mind, the building already existed, complete,
finished, ready to use.

But it had not yet come into being. There was no physical evidence that
the building existed. Ironically, though, once the construction crew
began to tear down whatever had been on the spot of his building, the
architect already had all the evidence he needed. Since the building
existed in his mind and the process for making it real had already begun
- with the removal of what had been - then it was as if the building
already stood and it was just a matter of time.

The Talmud relates that Rabban Gamliel, Rabbi Elazar ben Azaryah, Rabbi
Yehoshua and Rabbi Akiva once went to Jerusalem. Reaching the Temple
Mount, they saw a fox run out of the Holy of Holies. Three of them
started to cry and Rabbi Akiva laughed. They questioned each other's
actions. The three rabbis replied, "Should we not cry when foxes walk in
the place about which it is written that the stranger who approaches
will die." Akiva said, "Thus I laugh, for the prophecy of Zecharyah
depends on the prophecy of Uriah (see Isaiah 8:2). Now that I see the
prophecy of Uriah - that Zion will be a plowed field - has been
fulfilled, I know the prophecy of Zecharyah - that old men and old women
will again dwell in the streets of Jerusalem - will also be fulfilled."
His three colleagues responded, "Akiva you have comforted us, Akiva you
have comforted us."

But why? The Third Temple did not yet exist, the Jewish people were
still in exile and the fast of Tisha B'Av was still in force.

To answer, we have to understand the inner purpose and concept of a
fast. A fast day is described as "a desirable day for G-d." The
spiritual content of such a day is inherently good. In fact, it contains
such great goodness that all that stood on it before must be removed, so
that the innate goodness can be revealed.

Rabbi Akiva saw not the surface situation but the inner reality. He saw
like an architect - or perceived the plan of The Architect. Knowing that
external appearances change, shift and thus have no lasting substance,
Rabbi Akiva showed his colleagues how to look at a day like Tisha B'Av.

Of course one must fast and observe all the laws connected with the
temporarily negative nature of the day. But primarily one must see - and
thus work for - the inner purpose, the positive reality of the day. The
vision of the inner truth leads through the fast to the realization of
the prophecy that Moshiach is coming imminently and that Tisha B'Av will
be a day of gladness and rejoicing - speedily in our days.

The Book of Deuteronomy (Devarim), which we begin reading this Shabbat,
presents a fundamental question. It begins: "These are the words that
Moses spoke," i.e., it collects Moses' farewell addresses to the Jewish
people, statements which he made on his own initiative. On the other
hand, one of the fundamental principles of Jewish faith is that every
word in the Torah, including Deuteronomy is "the word of G-d," endowed
to us by Divine revelation.

One of the resolutions offered points to the utter identification of
Moses with G-d. For this reason, in these addresses Moses occasionally
uses the pronoun "I" when speaking of G-d. For example, in the second
portion of the Shema, it says: "I will grant your rains in their
season." The "I" refers to G-d, but was spoken by Moses. As our Sages
commented: "The Divine presence spoke from Moses' throat."

This motif is not only limited to Moses. Our Sages comment: "Every new
Torah insight developed by an experienced scholar was given to Moses on
Mount Sinai." Although the person labored to bring out these new ideas,
they are not his own, but G-d's. Every person has the ability to
transcend the human realm and reveal Divine truth.

What is the key to discovering such insights? Identifying one's "I" with
G-d and not with one's own self. When a person is preoccupied with
self-concern - what I want, and what I think is right - that is what he
will think and speak about. When, by contrast, he is able to step beyond
his individual concerns, he is able to appreciate - and share with
others - G-d's wisdom.

The Torah portion of Devarim is always read before the fast of Tisha
B'Av, the day on which we commemorate the destruction of both Holy
Temples. More importantly, it is a day when we focus on building from
those ruins, seeing that exile is not in itself an end, but rather a
phase in the progress of mankind to its ultimate goal - the Future

Our Sages describe exile with the analogy of sowing seeds. Before a seed
can grow into a flowering plant, its exterior husk must utterly
decompose. Similarly, for the G-dly core of the Jewish people to
flourish, all the external dimensions of their personality must be
stripped away.

In the analogue, the descent that characterizes the exile wears away at
our connection with G-d. Without gentleness or mercy, exile tears apart
the husky shells of our personalities. Layer after layer of who we think
we are, and what we've been trained to be, what we would like to be, is
peeled away.

Ultimately, what is left? The very essence of the soul, the point within
our being that is an actual part of G-d. And when that essence is
tapped, true growth begins. When this pattern spreads, the Jewish people
blossom. In doing so, they spread the awareness of G-dliness throughout
the world, precipitating the dawning of the era of the Redemption.

      From Keeping In Touch by Rabbi E. Touger, published by Sichos
                                                         in English

                             SLICE OF LIFE
                    Grandma Rachel, What is Taharah?
                            by Shirley Coles

The time was two years after my father died; the place, Grandma Rachel's
kitchen. I was now about 12 years old. My mother was still at work on
that September afternoon. After a lifetime of being a housewife, she had
had to learn to work outside of home. She would return a little after
five, tired, and likely wanting to be silent. I could not ask her the
question I had in mind for so long.

Recently, Grandma Rachel's older sister passed away. During the family
planning for Aunt Rose's funeral, my antennae picked up bits and pieces
of conversation, one of which was the word "tahara.*" No sooner had I
heard it, I remembered having heard it before, when the family was
mourning my father. A very, very young child will ask questions without
hesitation; a ten year old may sense when it is appropriate or not. I
did not ask then....but now at twelve, I wanted to know.

From four to five in the afternoons, after milk and cookies, on those
days when I didn't go out to play or have lots of homework to do, we
would sit across from each other at the long family kitchen table. We
would play gin rummy, or talk. She was my friend; she was the only adult
in the crowded household who would listen and understand and answer my
questions and, if I wanted something to be a secret, she never told

"Grandma, what is tahara? I asked. "I heard you and Momma and Aunt Molly
talking about it when Aunt Rose died, and I also heard it long ago." She
moved her body deeper into her chair, took a long look at me, heaved a
sigh and I knew she was about to tell me something important. "Tsureleh,
I'm so sorry all of us forget sometimes to explain things. This is good,
very good that you ask me this." This is what she told me.

"Jewish people believe that each of us is made up of body and soul. We
can see body, but we cannot see soul. But the soul is really who we are.
When someone dies, the two parts are separated and, after the burial of
the body, the soul goes to Heaven with G-d forever." I struggled to
understand and learn, and I kept very quiet. "So, because the body is
the home of the precious soul, we treat it with great respect. Now comes
tahara, the holy washing and preparation for the burial. It is very

"To be one of the people who do this is a great honor. They do G-d's
work, guarding, washing and dressing the body, and offering prayers for
the soul. The body is never left alone until burial. The neshama (soul)
is at peace."

Now I must tell you that Grandma Rachel's English was halting; it was
mixed with Yiddish. Since I understood both, her teaching was clear and
tender; it's etched in my memory as I have told it. When she leaned back
and heaved yet another sigh, I asked the question that had been dormant
but troubling for so long. "Grandma, is that what happened with my
father? Did holy people keep his body and soul company and guarded like
you said? Did they wash and dress him and say prayers for him? Did his
neshama go to G-d and Heaven at peace so he would not be afraid?"

Grandma Rachel held out her arms to me. "Come over here, Tsureleh.
Come." I moved around the table and she cradled me in her soft lap while
I shed tears that had been held back for far too long. Now I could be at
peace as well.

Mrs. Coles, of blessed memory, passed away last fall. Reprinted with
permission of her daughter.

* One of the most important elements of a proper Jewish burial is the
  Tahara, preparing the body by the Chevra Kaddisha for its final rest,
  until the Resurrection of the Dead in the era of Moshiach. There is no
  mystery to the Tahara. It is a simple, yet dignified ritual that allows
  the person to meet his Maker with the utmost respect and dignity.

  A proper Tahara includes cleansing, ritually washing, and dressing the
  deceased's body. Those who perform this Chesed Shel Emet (true act of
  kindness) recite special prayers, beseeching G-d to lift the soul into
  the Heavens and eternal rest.

  It is a pity that the observance of this simple, meaningful, and vital
  mitzva is neither strictly observed, nor readily offered by some Jewish
  funeral homes unless asked for (and sometimes insisted upon) by the

  If people only knew the merit and solace it brings to the soul of the
  deceased, no one would deny their loved one a kosher Tahara.

     (From The Jewish Mourners Companion by Rabbi Zalman Goldstein,
                Jewish Learning Group,

                               WHAT'S NEW
                              New Facility

Chabad in Florida recently acquired a magnificent 20-acre picturesque
facility in the very heart of South Florida, near the Florida
Everglades. It will be home to  Florida's Camp Gan Israel overnight
camp, The Tzirei Hashluchim winter camp for boys and girls, The
Friendship Circle of North Broward & South Palm Beach, student
Shabbatons from colleges and universities throughout the state of
Florida, Shabbatons for Florida's 15 chapters of CTEEN, Chabad's teen
program, Florida's more than 110 Chabad Centers will host Jewish
retreats, educational seminars and leadership training events for their

                      Let's Meet Community Helpers

Join a brother and sister as they meet police officers, firefighters and
other community helpers. Hakoras Hatov means seeing the good these
workers do in our neighborhood! The Toddler Experience Series, with its
rhymes, gentle illustrations, and laminated pages, helps toddlers
prepare for some of the most basic everyday events in their lives. A new
release from Hachai Publishing, written and illustrated by Rikki

                            THE REBBE WRITES
                            Free Translation

                      15th of Tammuz, 5733 [1973]
                    To Each and All of the Campers,
             Boys and Girls, of pre-Bar (Bas)-Mitzvah Age,
                   In All Summer Camps, Everywhere -
                           G-d Bless You All

Greeting and Blessing:

I hope and pray that you are making the fullest use of the present
summer days to gain new strength and strengthen your health - both the
health of the body and the health of the soul, which are closely linked
together. And since the health of the soul is bound up with the Torah,
which is "our very life and the length of our days," and with its
Mitzvoth [commandments], "by which the Jew lives," you are surely doing
your utmost in regard to Torah study and the observance of the Mitzvoth;
in which case you may be certain of the fulfillment of the promise -
"Try hard, and you will succeed."

I wish to emphasize, particularly, one point in connection with the
forth-coming "Three Weeks"  [between 17 Tammuz and 9 Av, when we mourn
the destruction of the Holy Temples] -

And you are, no doubt, familiar with the events and significance of
these days.

The point is this: I want you to consider carefully the special Zechus
(privilege) which Jewish children have, a Zechus which affects our
entire Jewish people, to which King David refers in the following words:
"Out of the mouth of babes and infants You have ordained strength
(oz)... to still the enemy and avenger" - including also the enemy that
has caused the "Three Weeks" and still seeks vengeance to this day. In
other words, the way to vanquish and silence the enemy is through the
study of the Torah, called "strength" (oz), by the mouths of young
children. Indeed, so great is their power that our Sages of blessed
memory declare: "The whole world exists only by virtue of the (Torah)
breath of little Jewish school children, whose breath is pure and free
of sin," referring to children who have not yet reached the age of
responsibility for wrongdoing, that is, boys and girls of pre-Bar (Bas)
- Mitzvah age.

In this connection it is necessary to bear in mind the words of our
Prophet Isaiah (in the first chapter) "Zion will be redeemed through
Justice (Mishpot) and her returnees through righteousness (Tzedoko)."
"Mishpot," here according to one interpretation, refers to the Torah.
This means that through the study of the Torah and the observance of its
Mitzvoth, especially the Mitzvah of Tzedoko, the Redemption (Geulo) is
brought closer.

And Tzedoko - in the light of what has been said in the beginning of
this letter - includes both Tzedoko for the body and Tzedoko for the
soul: Tzedoko for the body is, simply, giving Tzedoko to a poor man, or
putting money in a Tzedoko box; Tzedoko for the soul is to help one's
classmates and friends spiritually - that is, to encourage them in
matters of Torah and Mitzvoth, through showing them a living example of
how a Jewish boy and girl should conduct themselves, and also by talking
to them about these things.

Since it is my strong wish, and also great pleasure, to be your partner
in this Tzedoko activity, I have sent out instructions to give each and
everyone of you a token amount of money in the currency of your country,
which is to be my participation in the said Tzedoko campaign.

May G-d bless each and everyone of you and grant you Hatzlocho [success]
in all above, especially in your Torah learning and practice of Tzedoko,
in a steadily growing measure, so that also when you return home from
summer camp and throughout the next school-year (may it be a good one
for all of us) you will - with renewed vigor and in good health, in body
as well as in soul - go from strength to strength in your study of the
Torah with diligence and devotion, and that your studies should be
translated into deeds - in the practice of the Mitzvoth with Hiddur
[beauty]; and all this should be carried out with joy and gladness of

And may we all very soon, together with all our Jewish brethren, merit
the fulfillment of the prophecy that these days of the Three Weeks will
be transformed from sadness into gladness and joy,

With the true and complete Geulo through our righteous Moshiach,

"Who shall reign from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the

"And all the earth will be filled with G-d's Glory."

With blessing for Hatzlocho and good tidings in all above,

                               WHO'S WHO
King Solomon [Shlomo] was the son of King David and Bat Sheva. He was
anointed king at the end of David's life with the full acceptance of the
people, who called out, "Yechi HaMelech - Long Live the King." He
ascended the throne at the age of 12 and reigned for 40 years. His reign
was marked by peace and prosperity. In the fourth year of his reign, he
constructed the Holy Temple with the materials that had been gathered by
his father. Solomon was known for his wisdom and piety, and kings and
queens of other realms were drawn to his wisdom and to see the
magnificence of his court. Solomon composed the books of Proverbs, Song
of Songs and Ecclesiastics.

                        A WORD FROM THE DIRECTOR
                         Rabbi Shmuel M. Butman
This Shabbat, the Sabbath before Tisha B'Av, is called Shabbat Chazon.
Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev used to note that the name comes from
the word machaze, meaning "vision," for "on that day everyone is shown
the future Holy Temple."

The purpose of this vision is to inspire and encourage a Jew: having
caught a glimpse of the Third Holy Temple in its heavenly perfection,
all that is left for him to do is to bring it down to this world.

Although not everyone actually sees the Third Holy Temple, everyone is
intrinsically affected by it. This is similar to the following episode
from the Book of Daniel: "And I Daniel alone saw the vision; the men who
were with me did not see the vis ion, but a great trembling fell upon

Our Sages ask why a dread fell upon the men with Daniel if they had not
actually witnessed the vision.

They answer: "Though they did not see it, their heavenly soul saw it."

In the same way, on Shabbat Chazon, the soul sees the future Sanctuary;
moreover, this perception leaves an impression on the individual, even
on his body.

Tuesday, Tisha B'Av, is a fast day. On that day we mourn the destruction
of the First and Second Holy Temples and other devastating events that
took place on that date.

The Rebbe spoke about the comment of our Sages that Tisha B'Av is the
birthday of Moshiach. The Rebbe explained that this is true because the
moment the destruction began, the potential for the Redemption also
began. And, since Moshiach was "born" on Tisha B'Av, his mazal is
stronger and shines brighter on that day.

May we celebrate in actuality the birthday of Moshiach this Tisha B'Av
with the revelation of Moshiach and the Complete and Final Redemption.

                          THOUGHTS THAT COUNT
And the cause that is too hard for you (literally "from you"), bring to
me and I will hear it (Deut. 1:17)

"Know," Nachmanides once told his son, "that whenever a person derives
pleasure from something, he will go to great lengths to find it
permissible, even if it is clearly forbidden. My advice, if you are ever
faced with such a decision, is to remove the element of enjoyment from
the equation. Only then should you examine both alternatives, and G-d
will surely illuminate your path." Added the Baal Shem Tov: "If you ever
have trouble deciding whether something is a mitzva (commandment) or
not, know that the difficulty emanates 'from you.' Remove the element of
personal pleasure, ask your question purely for the sake of heaven, and
G-d will give you the wisdom to know what to do."

                                                   (Keter Shem Tov)

                                *  *  *

These are the words that Moses spoke to all Israel (Deut. 1:1)

Comments Rashi: "Since these are words of reproof...he mentions them
[only] in allusion out of respect for Israel." However, we find that the
very same sins Moses only hints at here are explicitly detailed later on
in the Torah. This apparent conflict is resolved by the Midrash: As soon
as the Jews heard Moses' words of rebuke they sincerely repented; when a
person repents out of love, "his deliberate sins are transformed into
mitzvot." Thus after the Jews repented Moses was free to enumerate their
sins, as by doing so he was adding to their merits.

                                                  (Imrei Elimelech)

                                *  *  *

Beyond the Jordan, in the land of Moab, Moses began to expound this law
(Deut. 1:5)

According to our Sages, Moses explained the Torah in all 70 languages
spoken by mankind. Why was this necessary? Every gentile nation has its
own particular power that opposes the Torah. By translating the Torah
into every language, Moses enabled the Jews to preserve the Torah
regardless of where they would go in their future exile.

                                                  (Chidushei HaRim)

                            IT ONCE HAPPENED
In the year 361 of the Common Era, 293 years after the destruction of
the Second Holy Temple, a new leader of the Roman Empire ascended the
throne. Julian would be Caesar for only two years, but his short reign
would be distinguished by an unusually friendly relationship with the
Jewish people. In fact, Julian was responsible for initiating an
abortive attempt to rebuild the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. We are aware
of these events thanks to a Greek historian who recorded them for
posterity some 80 years after they occurred.

Julian was a nephew of Constantine the Great, who established
Christianity as the official religion of the Roman Empire. He also moved
its capital from Rome to Byzantium (Turkey), and changed its name to

When Constantine died, his three sons fought over who would take his
place. Almost all the members of the royal family were murdered, with
the exception of Julian. After traveling to Athens and studying
philosophy, he became disaffected with Christianity and reverted to the
ancient idolatry of the Romans.

Julian went on to become a celebrated military leader, enjoying many
victories over the warring Germanic tribes. When the then-reigning
Emperor decided to exile him to the Far East, his troops rebelled and
established him as the new Caesar. One year later, he declared full
religious freedom for all citizens of the Empire. In truth, he was far
more benevolent toward his Jewish subjects than to his Christian ones.
In an official letter addressed to the "Jewish communities" of the
realm, he wrote that he was henceforth exempting the Jews from the
special tax that had been levied against them, and declared himself a
long-time defender of the Jewish people.

In the same letter he blamed his uncle, the late Emperor Constantine,
and his uncle's cohorts, whom he termed "barbarians," for the
state-sponsored and institutionalized discrimination against the Jews.
At the end of the letter he reassured everyone that he had personally
had them killed, and advised the Jews to forget about them and relegate
their nefarious deeds to history. Julian also promised that after the
war with the Persians ended he would rebuild the holy city of Jerusalem,
"which for so many years you have longed to see inhabited; indeed, I
will help you inhabit it."

In general, however, the Jews were unimpressed by Julian's professions
of fellowship. They knew that they were not sincere, and were actually
motivated by selfish political ambitions. Nor did they consider him a
new "Cyrus," who had been sent by Divine Providence to bring their exile
to an end and rebuild the Holy Temple in Jerusalem.

In fact, the Greek historian who chronicled this episode wrote that
Julian's "friendship" with the Jews was largely the result of his hatred
for the Christians. Moreover, he hoped that they would ultimately follow
his example and assimilate into the dominant Roman culture.

At one point, Julian summoned the Jewish elders and asked them why they
were not keeping the Torah's laws with regard to the sacrifices. The
elders explained that after the Holy Temple was destroyed bringing
sacrifices was forbidden, as doing so depends on having a standing
Temple with priests to serve in it.

To demonstrate his serious intentions, Julian then ordered that the Jews
be given a considerable stipend from the royal treasury, so they could
begin to take the first steps toward reconstruction. According to the
historian, the Jews actually started recruiting artisans and laborers.
Their first task, however, was to clear the Temple area from the filth
and debris that had accumulated over the centuries. Women, too, joined
in the work, while others contributed their jewelry. After the ground
was cleared they were ready to lay the foundation stone, but an
extremely powerful earthquake intervened. Huge boulders flew in all
directions, and the earth split in many places. A number of Jewish
workers were injured, houses came tumbling down, and many residents of
the city lost their lives in the disaster.

When the dust settled, the laborers returned to their tasks. Some
assumed they were still obligated to carry out the Emperor's orders,
while other truly wished to continue. In any event, they refused to
recognize the Divine Providence that was obviously against rebuilding
the Temple at that time.

And then, as if to further indicate G-d's displeasure, a huge fire broke
out at the construction site and many more workers were killed. At that
point everyone agreed that the time had not yet arrived to build the
Temple, and the project was halted.

Although there is no way to verify all the details in the Greek
historian's account, it is undisputed that the Emperor Julian fell in
battle against the Persians in 363, effectively putting an end to his

The Rebbe stated that the time for the Final Redemption has arrived! May
we merit to see the third and eternal Holy Temple rebuilt immediately.

                            MOSHIACH MATTERS
Although the future Holy Temple is built and stands ready, nevertheless,
the Biblical command, "Make Me a sanctuary," still applies and the
Jewish people must actually do something in its construction. How? When
we create mini-Sanctuaries, synagogues and houses of study, houses
devoted to Torah, prayer and charity, including also the sanctuary which
every Jew, young and old, can make in his/her heart, home, room, action
etc. These mini-Sanctuaries serve as a preparation and harbinger of the
future Temple.

                 (The Lubavitcher Rebbe, Shabbat Chazon, 5747-1987)

               END OF TEXT - L'CHAIM 1279 - Devarim 5773

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