Holidays   Shabbat   Chabad-houses   Chassidism   Subscribe   Calendar   Links B"H
The Weekly Publication for Every Jewish Person
Archives Current Issues Home Current Issue
                         L'CHAIM - ISSUE # 1312
                           Copyright (c) 2014
                 Lubavitch Youth Organization - L.Y.O.
                              Brooklyn, NY
                  Electronic version provided free at:
                  Palm-Pilot version provided free at:
                    To receive the L'CHAIM by e-mail
                  write to:
                              Subscribe W1
   Dedicated to the memory of Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka Schneerson N.E.
        March 7, 2014           Vayikra          5 Adar II, 5774

                            Happiness Is...

Who can repress a smile when seeing the joy of a small child shrieking
in delight as he glides down a slide in a park? Whose gait isn't
emboldened as he passes a newsstand and the headlines report good news?
Or what about when you're at a wedding and the stomp of the foot on the
breaking glass elicits resounding cries of "mazel tov"; the surge of
simcha, or joy, is electric.

"Serve G-d with joy," King David demands. And since we are in the employ
of our Boss 24-7 we must be in a continual state of joyousness.

"That's easier said than done," you might be thinking. Perhaps in the
above-mentioned scenarios joy is intrinsic, but what of other times,
those regular, run-of-the-mill days when there's no particular reason to
rejoice? Or worse yet, those gray periods when we see everything around
us through cheerless lenses? How can we sustain an upbeat feeling, an
optimistic outlook?

By not thinking too much about ourselves. When a person focuses on
himself, it's natural that he should start thinking about what he lacks
materially or his failings in regard to self-growth and actualization.
Obviously, these thoughts aren't conducive to inspiring a cheerful

Also, by not thinking too much of ourselves. When a person has an
inflated sense of self, he is often hurt or angered by slights real and

If a person really wants to be in a joyous frame of mind, he has to rise
above self-concern. He needs to spend time reflecting on the idea that
there is something deeper and great beyond him, G-d. And when a person
thinks more about G-d and less about/of himself (especially if those
reflections are based on the Jewish mystical teachings found in
Chasidism), he will find it easier to maintain a positive and even
joyous attitude in life.

And there's something in it for us, as well. When a person is joyous, he
generates a new-found energy that he would not otherwise be able to
muster. This doesn't mean that real problems miraculously cease to exist
(though sometimes they do disappear), but rather that we are able to
view them and even solve them from our new, energized positive

When we're so happy that we're "bursting" with joy, it's natural to want
to share it with others. An instinctive part of being happy is wanting
those around us to be happy as well. And share it we should, especially
now that we are in the Jewish month of Adar II and so close to Purim!
The Talmud teaches, "From the beginning of Adar we increase in
joyousness." Take advantage of the fact that this Jewish year is a leap
year and contains two months of Adar. That means we get double the
opportunities to practice being happy! And as the old saying goes,
"Practice makes good enough!"

One more thought about simcha: In Hebrew it shares the same root letters
as the word "Moshiach." This teaches us that by actually working on
ourselves to be happy, we actually hasten the time when the whole world
will be happy - the time of Moshiach.

This week's Torah portion, Vayikra, discusses the various types of
sacrifices the Jewish people were commanded to offer during the times of
the Tabernacle and later the Holy Temple. In the description of the
first few types of sacrifices, the wood used for the fire on the altar
is mentioned numerous times.

The Talmud relates that when the Jews returned to Israel from the
Babylonian Exile, after the destruction of the First Holy Temple, they
found no wood for the altar in the Temple's storehouses. Several
families banded together and donated wood. Later, these families were
given the permanent honor of supplying the wood for the altar. The Sages
decreed that the days when the wood was donated should be celebrated as
a minor festival by the families.

Interestingly, there is another instance in which celebrations are
connected to wood. The states: "There were no other holidays as great to
all of Israel as 15 Av and Yom Kippur." One of the reasons for the joy
on 15 Av was that this day marked the end of the harvest of trees whose
wood would be used to burn the sacrifices.

What is so significant about the wood for the altar that its donation
mandated an actual holiday, and its harvest brought such joy to the
entire Jewish nation?

The wood was not merely fuel for the fire on the altar; it played a far
deeper role in the spiritual function of the Holy Temple, and was an
essential element of the sacrifices themselves.

But to grasp the importance of wood, we must first understand the
significance of the sacrifices. According to Nachmanides, an individual
bringing an offering was to have in mind that the animal being
slaughtered was in his place. Only through G-d's good will did He accept
an animal in exchange.

There were many different types of offerings, and the thoughts
accompanying each of them varied. For example, when a person brought a
sin offering, he was required to dwell on thoughts of repentance and
make amends for his wrongdoing, whereas the thanks-offerings aroused a
deep love for G-d. Each offering was to be brought with its appropriate
reflections and meditations.

But the most fundamental thought of all, regardless of the offering, was
that of giving oneself totally over to G-d. This absolute self-sacrifice
transcended any personal emotions or motivations. Only after this
requirement was met could the individual go on to express the emotions
demanded by the specific offering.

This self-sacrifice was expressed by the burning of the wood on the
altar. The Torah likens man to a tree. The burning of the wood
symbolized the willingness to sacrifice oneself without personal
considerations. For, when bringing an offering, the donor might derive
some degree of satisfaction, personal glory or benefit from the act.
However, the burning wood reminded him that there should be no such
ulterior motives. The celebrations surrounding the provision of wood for
the altar therefore epitomized the purest and most lofty aim of the
sacrifices themselves.

                   Adapted from the works of the Lubavitcher Rebbe.

                             SLICE OF LIFE
                        The Sword and Holy Torah
                             by Ziv Shilon

Translated from a speech of Captain Ziv Shilon at an event in Israel
saluting the Rebbe's emissaries in Israel.

I'm proud and happy to take part in this wonderful evening in honor of
the Chabad Shluchim (emissaries). My story represents those of many
other wounded soldiers, all of whom have given their all in defense of
the State of Israel.

In the spirit of the month of Adar, which will bring us good, I want to
tell you about one small miracle which occurred from heaven, followed by
a long path, paved with good deeds in Heaven's name.

On October 23, 2012, a year and four months ago, when I was laying
profusely bleeding near the Maarechet Fence in Gaza, with both my arms
almost completely disconnected from my body, I felt my strength ebbing.

Human strength with which I was familiar until then, left me. Today,
when I look back, it is clear to me that only heavenly intervention
helped me to get up, holding my amputated left arm with the remnants of
my right arm, and to run about 250 meters towards my men behind me. It
was a seemingly unending journey, with my mind engulfed in thoughts,
including thoughts of the world to come...

In truth, I can say that I hadn't anticipated such strength. This power
came to me with much aid from heaven, strength that has accompanied me,
so I believe, till today!

I was first acquainted with Chabad when Rabbi Menachem Kutner, a Chabad
emissary and Director of Chabad Terror Victims Project (CTVP), came to
visit me in the hospital after I was wounded. He came to encourage me
and my family in those most difficult moments.

Before the injury, I hadn't even known that Chabad Shluchim take part in
the treatment and care in such situations. I thought they spread their
ideas and cared for those connected to them. I was so happy to find out
that there is more to their work.

Menachem was with me and my family, and with many more wounded soldiers,
during our most difficult and complex times as we fought our way back to
life. Without these good people, it would have been hard, or nearly
impossible, to climb back.

After I had recovered a little, I went on a trip to New York with a
delegation organized by Chabad Shluchim especially for us - for wounded
soldiers and those injured in terror attacks. It was there that I
discovered the wonderful world of Chabad and the extraordinary
leadership of the Rebbe. It was then that I realized where Chabad
Shluchim receive their instructions to help all Jews!

The Rebbe was a "quiet leader," as we would call it in the military. A
leader with a lot of charisma so that people saw him as the leader that
he was. But also a leader with humility and modesty who paid individual
attention to each person. And that's what captured my heart.

The Rebbe called the IDF disabled - "the excellent of the IDF." He knew
they had the responsibility for taking on the defense of Jewish citizens
of Israel and how incredibly important that was. He did not call them
disabled, but rather excellent!

My personal experience with the Rebbe was at the Ohel, his resting
place. I asked the Rebbe from the bottom of my heart to send me a sign
that my right hand will be healthy and that my mother will live.

I did receive from the Rebbe an answer and blessing in the following
awesome sign: In the Psalm that I said at the Ohel, the word "hand"
appeared three times. This gave me a lot of strength.

On Chanuka, Menachem visited me again at Tel Hashomer rehabilitation
center after I had a very complex operation. I know and am certain that
because of the Rebbe's blessings, I was able to light a Chanuka candle
using my wounded hand!

As a believer, but not defined as religious, I was enthralled by the
ability of Chabad Shluchim to provide "a moment of rest" during the
constant struggle of rehabilitation and healing. The amazing experiences
we have are products of the hard work of the Shluchim, which, without
question, lift the atmosphere and spirits of wounded soldiers!

Everyone knows that the Shluchim are everywhere around the world. They
give every Jew a place to go during times of joy as well as in times of
trouble. They provide small moments of "Jewish magic" for Jews in places
far from home.

But I learned that here in Israel, close to home, the Chabad Shluchim
like Menachem provide so much warmth and light, and such helping hands

I find much similarity in the life of a Chabad Shaliach with the life of
an army person in Israel. They both dedicate their time and their family
life to the most important things - the benefit of our Jewish family
wherever they are.

The soldier does so with the strength of the sword, and the Shaliach
with the strength of the Holy Torah. And it is known that the sword is
likened to the Torah. Our strength as a Jewish nation will never be
whole if we give up on either one of them!

Even during the densest fighting, our soldiers find the time to don
Tefilin and strengthen their arms for the next battle.

Tonight I can state that I will do all in my power to return and fight
to preserve Israel's boundaries. I'll do so with the help of prayers and
the support along the way, from Jews like you, the Chabad Shluchim.

I'll be able, with G-d's help, to rehabilitate my right arm and return
to the front with my dear soldiers, to watch and secure, so that
absolutely no one will be able to threaten the existence of the Jewish

The Chabad Shluchim are already planning to flood the country with
Mishloach Manot (holiday food gifts) and the joy of Purim. They will go
to hospitals, to the elderly and the weak, to victims of terror, to
widows and orphans of IDF soldiers, and to the soldiers defending the
nation and Land of Israel.

Even the most difficult of our foes, upon seeing the nation of Israel
united, won't be able to stand against us! The unity of the nation is
our greatest goal, as the Rebbe also discussed.

I salute you, the Chabad Shluchim, for your activities that you carry
out with your whole heart and I bless all the wonderful friends of
Chabad, for this marvelous partnership. Thank you all very much.

                               WHAT'S NEW
                             New Emissaries

Rabbi Shlomy and Chaya Levertov have opened a new Chabad Center - Chabad
of Paradise Valley, Arizona. Their first community-wide event will be a
Shabbat dinner on March 14.

Rabbi Moshe and Aidela Pape are opening a new Chabad Center in New
Rochelle, New York. They will be focusing on building an adult education
network and other programs.

Rabbi Shmuli and Malky Zejger arrived from Israel in Kiev, Ukraine,
where Rabbi Zejger will work with youth, and Mrs. Zejger will serve as
principal in Chabad's Or Avner Jewish Day School.


In "It Happened Once" in issue 1308, the rabbi in the story was
incorrectly identified as Rabbi Yeshayahu Halevi Horowitz (the Shaloh).

                            THE REBBE WRITES
                     Freely translated and adapted

                 Erev Rosh Chodesh Adar 1, 5733 (1973)

To All Participants in the Annual Mid-Winter Convention of N'Shei Ubnos

Blessing and Greeting:

The Annual Mid-Winter convention is taking place in this Leap Year
between the two Purims. This lends added significance to the role of the
Jewish woman in Jewish life as it is reflected in the festival of Purim;
while the Leap Year factor presents the conference with a special

It has been pointed out before that the Leap Year offers a basic general
lesson to all of us. The additional month which characterizes our Leap
Year makes up for the accumulated deficiency between the Lunar Year -
the basis of our Hebrew Calendar - and the Solar Year, which determines
the four seasons. For the Torah requires that our festivals occur in
their due season (Pesach [Passover] in the spring, etc.). Herein also
lies the meaningful lesson that it is never too late to make up for a
deficiency in the past. Moreover, as in the case of the added month of
the Leap Year, which not only fully makes up for the past deficiency,
but also makes an "advance" for the future, so it is not enough to
merely make up for the past deficiency in terms of achievement for Torah
and Yiddishkeit [Judaism], but an extra effort is called for as an
"advance" on future achievement.

As for Purim, one of its well-known and oft substantiated is that of the
Jewish people, by virtue of being a people of the Torah, is not subject
to the conditions and laws of Nature which govern the fate and destiny
of other peoples. For, while the elements which gave rise to the Purim
festival seem to have followed a "natural" course, the truth is that
Purim came about in a supernatural way, by Divine intervention. This is
why it is described as Ness-Purim, the miracle of Purim. And what
brought about the Miracle of Purim was the fact that not a single Jew
attempted to save his life, under Haman's threat of annihilation, by
compromising Yiddishkeit [Judaism]. This could have been an easy way
out, as our Sages tell us, since Haman's decree only applied to Jews as
Jews. It is because of this extraordinary Mesiras Nefesh
[self-sacrifice], reversing a previous attitude, that the miraculous
reversal of events took place.

The woman's role in the miracle of Purim is pointedly emphasized by the
fact that the Megilah [scroll] of Purim is named after Esther alone. It
is an eternal credit to Jewish womanhood, for it is inconceivable that
the whole Jewish people at that time could have maintained such a high
level of Mesiras Nefesh for such a long time without the women's
encouragement and inspiration.

I trust that the above points, which are so relevant and timely for this
year's conference, will receive full expression at the convention in
general, and in each and every participant in particular, to be carried
further by each to her group and circle.

May this year's conference, and each participant in it, produce a real
"advance" in terms of achievement, and may it be carried out in the
spirit of Purim, with real and abundant joy, to help bring about for all
Jews-in the words of Megilas Esther -  "light, joy, gladness, and
honor." With blessing for hatzlacha [success] and happy tidings

                              TODAY IS ...
                               7 Adar II

Walking in the street one must think words of Torah. Whether to actually
pronounce the words depends on the place, if one is permitted -
according to Torah law - to utter words of Torah there. But when someone
goes about not occupied with Torah words,then the stone he treads on
exclaims: "Bulach! ('clod', in Russian) How dare you trample me! How are
you any higher than I am?"

                        A WORD FROM THE DIRECTOR
                         Rabbi Shmuel M. Butman
This week contains within it a special date for the American
Chabad-Lubavitch community, yet possibly even more so for the American
Jewish community at large.

The date is the Ninth of Adar (this year Tuesday, March 11). On this
day, in 5700 (1940), the previous Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef
Yitzchok Schneersohn, arrived in the United States.

Though weakened in body - as he was confined to a wheelchair - he was
not weakened in spirit.

After his arrival in the United States, the previous Rebbe successfully
devoted himself to establishing a strong Jewish educational system here.
Within two years, yeshivot in New York, Montreal, Newark, Worcester and
Pittsburgh were founded. This flurry of activity, however, did not at
all affect the manner in which he continued to work toward the
establishment of educational organizations in other parts of the world.
For, within ten years, programs were started in Paris, Safaria (Israel)
and North Africa.

Before his arrival in the United States, the previous Rebbe was told
that "America is different." The customs and ways from the "old country"
just wouldn't do here. The Rebbe replied in his usual indomitable
manner, "America is not different!" and proceeded, throughout the rest
of his life, to prove that he was right.

The Jewish community here is greatly indebted to this prophetic and
visionary giant.

The Rebbe explains that the arrival of the Previous Rebbe on our shores
marked the beginning of the primary efforts to spread Chassidus and
Judaism to the outer reaches of the world at large.

We should intensify our efforts to carry out the service begun on the
9th of Adar, namely, to spread the light of Torah to the entire world,
until the Redemption comes and this world is revealed as G-d's dwelling.

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

The Hebrew word for "called," "vayikra," is written with a tiny alef,
alluding to Moses' exceptional humility. As Reb Simcha Bunim of Pshischa
explained, Moses was unimpressed by his own greatness. True, he had
attained an extraordinary level of spirituality, but he saw himself as
if standing on top of a high roof: G-d had given him his outstanding
qualities, and thus his achievements were not the result of his own
efforts. For that reason Moses waited until he was called to enter the
Tent of Meeting.

                                *  *  *

If his offering be from cattle (Lev. 1:3)

Three types of burnt-offerings may be brought upon the altar: cattle,
sheep, and fowl. A wealthy person is self-assured and prideful, and
therefore most likely to sin. For this reason he must bring the largest
and most expensive offering, "from the cattle." A less affluent person,
less likely to sin, fulfills his obligation by offering a sheep. But the
poor man, who is already humbled by his poverty, need only bring "of the
fowl," the least costly type of offering.


                                *  *  *

The sons of Aaron the priest shall put fire on the altar (Lev. 1:7)

Even though a heavenly fire descended from on High to consume the
offerings, the priests were still required to bring ordinary fire as
well, to the altar. We learn from this that one may not rely solely on
the "fire that descends from on high"--the natural, innate love of G-d
which is present in the soul of every Jew. Each of us must also bring an
"ordinary fire," kindle that innate love of G-d by taking the initiative
and contemplating His greatness, to further nurture that inner spark.

                                *  *  *

He shall remove its gizzard with its feathers, and throw it beside the the place of the ashes (Lev. 1:16)

The gizzard is disqualified from being offered because it receives its
sustenance from "stolen" food (that the bird picks at indiscriminately).
This teaches us that even the poorest person (who can only afford to
bring a bird as a sacrifice) must refrain from helping himself to other
people's money...


                            IT ONCE HAPPENED
The city of Brod was renowned for its Torah scholars, the most famous of
whom was the sage Rabbi Moshe Leib. Like many of his colleagues at the
time, he was wary of the new Chasidic movement that was then making

The sexton of Rabbi Moshe Leib's synagogue had a daughter who had been
suffering for some time from a mysterious digestive disorder. When the
sexton heard about the Chasidic Rebbe Elimelech of Lizhensk, he decided
to go to him to ask for a blessing for his daughter. The Rebbe gave him
some food his wife had prepared, and instructed him to feed it to the
girl. As soon as she tasted it her pains went away.

The sexton was filled with wonder and appreciation. He was so impressed
by what had happened that he decided to share the good news with Rabbi
Moshe Leib. He urged him to go to Rabbi Elimelech to see for himself.

At first Rabbi Moshe Leib was adamantly opposed to the plan, considering
it a waste of time that could be better utilized studying Torah. "And
besides," he countered, "you know I don't really believe in these
newfangled wonder workers..."

But the sexton was persistent. "On the contrary," he said. "You, as a
rabbi, have an obligation to check him out for yourself. If you
determine that Rabbi Elimelech isn't a true tzadik (righteous person),
you can persuade people not to go to him. But if you find that he really
is a holy man, you will have succeeded in dispelling a lot of false

In the end Rabbi Moshe Leib consented and traveled to Lizhensk. The
whole way there he thought about what he would say to the Chasidic
master, and composed various questions to test his scholarship and

Rabbi Moshe Leib arrived in Lizhensk on a Friday afternoon. He was
surprised when he saw that Rabbi Elimelech lived in a tiny little house
- not the grand mansion that he had imagined. His surprise grew when he
realized that Rabbi Elimelech himself was standing on the threshold,
waiting for him. The tzadik extended his hand in greeting.

"Come in, come in," he said to him warmly. "I've heard so much about
you. They say that you're one of the most distinguished Torah scholars
in all of Brod." Rabbi Moshe Leib felt a surge of pride.

"Therefore," Rabbi Elimelech continued, "I'd like to tell you an
interesting story." Rabbi Moshe Leib's face fell, but the tzadik didn't
seem to notice.

"There was once a brave warrior who did battle with a ferocious lion and
succeeded in slaying it. To commemorate his heroic deed, he skinned the
animal and filled its hide with straw. He then placed the stuffed lion
in front of his house so that everyone would know how strong and
courageous he was.

"When the rumor spread that there was a lion guarding his door, all the
animals of the forest came to see for themselves. They stood at a
distance, too fearful to approach. But there was once clever fox who
quickly perceived that the lion wasn't moving. He crept closer, and with
one paw swiped at the beast. When he saw that it wasn't alive, he tore
the skin apart and the straw fell out. All the animals laughed and
returned to the forest."

Rabbi Moshe Leib looked at the tzadik, not comprehending his meaning.
Why had he made the long trip from Brod to Lizhensk? To hear animal
stories? He couldn't believe that Rabbi Elimelech had nothing more
important to do on a Friday afternoon than tell tales. He was about to
say good-bye and return to his inn when the tzadik continued. "No, don't
leave just yet. I have another story to tell you.

"There was once a very poor man who had never in his life owned a new
set of clothes. One day his luck changed, and he came into a large
inheritance. The first thing he did was to summon a tailor and
commission a fine new garment as befits a nobleman. The tailor measured
the man from head to toe, and a few days later returned for the first

"The man put on the half-completed suit as the tailor rearranged the
pins and basting stitches and made little markings with chalk. Ignorant
of the way a custom garment is made, the man assumed the tailor was
mocking him and threw him out of the house, despite his protestations."

That was the end of the story. Rabbi Moshe Leib, completely confused,
went back to the inn to prepare for Shabbat.

Then it hit him: Perhaps the tzadik was talking about him with his
strange tales? Maybe he was trying to tell him that he was only a
"stuffed lion"? And like the poor man with the new set of clothes, could
it be that he was only posturing as a nobleman? His whole life would
have to be reconsidered...

That evening in the synagogue Rabbi Moshe Leib studied the tzadik in an
entirely different way. He became an ardent disciple of Rabbi Elimelech
of Lizhensk, and later a Chasidic master himself in the city of Sasov.

                            MOSHIACH MATTERS
Our Sages interpret the verse, "Do not touch My anointed ones
(meshichai)," as referring to Jewish children. Why are children given
this title? Because their only genuine concern is Moshiach. A child
truly wants to live in a world of peace, harmony, knowledge and joy, the
very qualities that will characterize the Era of Redemption. Adults
often find it difficult to think beyond the mundane details of their
daily existence. Children, by contrast, do not have to grapple with such
concerns, and thus their true inner desire can express itself. Although
their feelings and thoughts may lack sophistication, the simple genuine
power of their desires is greater than that of adults. And this
fundamental desire is focused on the coming of Moshiach.

                                            (The Lubavitcher Rebbe)

               END OF TEXT - L'CHAIM 1312 - Vayikra 5774

  • Daily Lessons
  • Weekly Texts & Audio
  • Candle-Lighting times

    613 Commandments
  • 248 Positive
  • 365 Negative

  • BlackBerry
  • iPhone / iPod Touch
  • Java Phones
  • Palm Pilot
  • Palm Pre
  • Pocket PC
  • P800/P900
  • Moshiach
  • Resurrection
  • For children - part 1
  • For children - part 2

  • Jewish Women
  • Holiday guides
  • About Holidays
  • The Hebrew Alphabet
  • Hebrew/English Calendar
  • Glossary

  • by SIE
  • About
  • Chabad
  • The Baal Shem Tov
  • The Alter Rebbe
  • The Rebbe Maharash
  • The Previous Rebbe
  • The Rebbe
  • Mitzvah Campaign

    Children's Corner
  • Rabbi Riddle
  • Rebbetzin Riddle
  • Tzivos Hashem

  • © Copyright 1988-2009
    All Rights Reserved
    L'Chaim Weekly