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                         L'CHAIM - ISSUE # 1325
                           Copyright (c) 2014
                 Lubavitch Youth Organization - L.Y.O.
                              Brooklyn, NY
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   Dedicated to the memory of Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka Schneerson N.E.
        June 13, 2014           Sh'lach           15 Sivan, 5774

                             Coherent Light

There is an interesting phenomenon that effects us almost every single
day, though most of us don't even realize it, and it's called "Coherent

We benefit from the "coherent light" of lasers when we make use of
supermarket check-out scanners, CD-ROMS, surgery, light shows and more.

Basically, it works like this: Light particles, known as photons,
generally move in orbits. By using laser technology, individual photons
can be directed into a specific orbit. These individual photons
influence other nearby photons to assume similar orbits. They, in turn,
influence other photons which influence others photons, until
eventually, huge numbers of photons are traveling in a similar, highly
organized fashion.

In layman's terms, there is a snowball effect.

This example from the sub-atomic world illustrates well the concept
taught by our Sages in the Ethics of the Fathers (Pirkei Avot) that we
study this Shabbat: "Rabbi Tarfun said, 'It is not incumbent upon you to
complete the work, but neither are you free to desist from it.' "

Far from being a call to leave work undone or incomplete, Rabbi Tarfun
is giving us good advice to help us get out of a slump or reorient our
thought processes.

Don't become overwhelmed by the tremendous amount of work that needs to
be done before the goal is achieved. Focus, rather, on beginning the
job. Just worry about getting one "photon" in the right orbit.
Influenced by the first photon of activity, the rest will fall in line.

Sometimes the hardest part of the job is simply beginning it. Don't
procrastinate, Rabbi Tarfun urges us.

Instead of getting bogged down with how much needs to be changed, do one
small thing to change the world (or yourself) and eventually, like all
those teeny, tiny, photons, the whole world will fall in line.

The Talmud tells us that a person is never required to do more than he
is able. G-d gives each person a mission which that person (and only
that person) can fulfill. Together with the mission might come
challenges, but they are challenges that that person is able to

Therefore, even if a person feels intimidated sometimes by the task at
hand, he must know that, "He is not free to desist from it" - he must
persevere. Even when he does not feel particularly motivated, or he does
not derive pleasure and enjoyment from the work, he should persist.
Full-hearted dedication will lead to personal fulfillment.

And, through such efforts, a person will reap tremendous benefits. For
the culmination of conducting our lives in the manner described is also
discussed by Rabbi Tarfun: "Know that the giving of the reward to the
righteous (and the Jewish people are all righteous, according to the
opening statement of Pirkei Avot) will be in the World to Come - in the
Days of Moshiach."

This week's Torah portion, Shelach, tells the episode of the spies whom
Moses sent to gather intelligence about the land of Canaan. Ten of the
12 spies returned with disparaging reports; that although the land was
fertile, its inhabitants were too strong and their cities too well
guarded to be defeated by the Israelites. This report broke the morale
of the Jewish Nation.

These spies were no ordinary men. They were the leaders of their tribes,
especially selected by Moses for this mission. Their report was not
animated by fear of physical defeat; instead they feared a spiritual

In the wilderness, each of the Israelites' needs was met by a direct
gift from G-d. Their bread was the Manna which fell from the heavens;
their water came from Miriam's Well; their clothes never needed repair.

The possession of the land of Israel meant a new kind of responsibility.
The Manna was to cease. Bread would come only through toil. The miracles
would be replaced by labor; and with labor came the danger of a new

The spies feared that the concern to work the land and make a living
might eventually leave the Israelites with less time and energy for the
service of G-d. When the spies said, "It is a land which eats up its
inhabitants," they meant that the land and its labor, and the resulting
preoccupation with the materialistic world, would "swallow up" and
consume all their energies. They thought that spirituality flourishes
best in seclusion, in the protected peace of the wilderness where even
the food was "from the heavens."

And yet, the spies were wrong. The purpose of life is not the elevation
of the soul: it is the sanctification of the world.

The end to which every mitzva aims is to make a dwelling place for G-d
in the world-to bring G-d within the world, not above it.

Every Jew may feel the doubts that plagued the spies. While involved
with Jewish activities, he feels wholly given over to the spiritual
demands of Judaism. But in his work he can see little or no religious
significance. he is making the spies' mistake, of placing G-d outside
the world, of failing to respond to G-d's presence in every human
transaction, forgetting the imperative to "Know Him in all your ways."

The essence of spirituality lies in a Jew reaching out beyond himself to
his fellow Jew, to the world of his work, extending holiness to
everything he touches, without the thought that this or any situation
lies outside the domain of G-d.

                             SLICE OF LIFE
                      Divine Providence Vignettes
                       by Rabbi Refoel Jaworowski

Recently, a Chicago mother took a very unusual approach to purchasing
tefilin for her son's Bar Mitzva. The mother called Rabbi Aron Wolf of
the Chicago Mitzva Campaigns and explained that she wanted to pay double
the regular price for tefilin. Actually, she wanted to celebrate her
son's ascent to the ranks of Jewish adulthood with a special act of
kindness. She wanted to sponsor a free set of tefilin for another boy
whose family could not afford to buy him his own pair of tefilin.
Touched by the mother's earnestness, generosity, and caring spirit,
Rabbi Wolf assured her that he would keep the matter in mind.

Less than an hour later, a teacher from a totally different part of the
county called the CMC office. One of his students came to school every
day with his father's tefilin as the family were not able to buy him his
own pair for financial reasons. The teacher had a strong sense that
being the only one in his class not to have his own set of tefillin was
making this student quite uncomfortable. The teacher, explained, that he
was calling the CMC to see if they could help in any way.

With the previous phone call still fresh in his mind, Rabbi Wolf
marveled at this opportunity for the CMC to act as the "match-maker" for
this revealed example of Divine Providence. Needless to say, the
providential circumstances surrounding this very special tefillin
sponsorship engendered much happiness from all those who merited to be

                                *  *  *

An elderly woman, "Mrs. C," had long anticipated the time when she would
finally emigrate to Israel. She had been a long-term customer of the
"lifeline" emergency alert button offered by the CMC, so she called the
CMC office to schedule the removal of the machine for the day before her
flight. For unknown reasons (later to be recognized as Divine
Providence) the machine was not picked up at the appointed time. Mrs. C.
called Rabbi Wolf, who assured her that he would be over shortly to take
care of the matter himself. However, the rabbi's attention was quickly
diverted to a number of more urgent matters and by the time he had a
free moment, it was already 9 p.m. "It may be too late in the evening
for her now," Rabbi Wolf thought to himself. "I'll go and pick up the
machine first thing in the morning instead."

Later that same evening, Rabbi Wolf received an email through the
emergency alert system that Mrs. C. had pushed her emergency button to
call for a paramedic. As it turned out, on the one and only night that
she had scheduled to be without her emergency alert machine, Mrs. C. had
felt faint and weak enough to know that her life depended on being
admitted immediately for treatment in the hospital emergency room!

Upon recovering somewhat the next day, Mrs. C. expressed her thanks for
the clear Divine Providence that had ensured that her multiple efforts
to give back the emergency alert machine the day before had failed. And
she was equally grateful that Divine Providence allowed for the events
to transpire in such a way that enabled her dream of moving to Israel
come to fruition.

                                *  *  *

Recently, one of the receptionists at a hospital served by the CMC
called Rabbi Wolf to describe the following story: Her mother, who lived
alone, fulfilled the mitzva (commandment) of lighting Shabbat candles
each Friday evening before sunset. She considered this beautiful mitzva
especially precious because she lit candles every Friday in the
candelabra that she had inherited as a family heirloom from her own

Not too long ago however, the receptionist's elderly mother had
accidentally set her hair on fire after kindling the Shabbat candles.
Thankfully, her mother had been able to extinguish the fire immediately,
but to the daughter, the incident nevertheless signified that something
in her mother's regular routine needed to change, and fast. She had
already tried to encourage her mother to use an electric candelabra
instead of a real flame, but her mother would not even consider it; she
insisted instead on continuing the tradition of using the "family
heirloom" candelabra.

Recognizing the importance of this mitzva, but also understanding the
need for safety, the daughter felt as though she was at her wits' end.
It was then that she happened to read one of the CMC's Mitzvah Gram
newsletters, and learned about the CMC's program to provide patients
with battery-operated "Shabbat candle" tea lights. Divine Providence
strikes again! Now the receptionist and her mother had the perfect
solution. The CMC provided them with their flame less (battery operated)
tea lights that are specially packaged and presented for use as Shabbat
lights. The tea lights nestled perfectly on top of the mother's family
heirloom candelabra, and both she and her daughter were now able to
breathe easily while continuing to (safely) fulfill this important

                                *  *  *

The CMC recently received a request to teach a young deaf man how to put
on tefilin. The only way Rabbi Wolf would be able to teach him was via
writing. Anticipating that this method of instruction might take a great
deal of time, Rabbi Wolf proposed that the young man come in to the CMC
office early in the morning. The young man, however, was only able to
come at the end of the workday. As he prepared for the young man's
lesson, Rabbi Wolf expected the learning process to be slow and
cumbersome due to the fact that he would have to write everything down
in order to communicate. But what the rabbi forgot was that Janice, the
CMC's afternoon office receptionist, is proficient in sign language!
Thus, when Rabbi Wolf arrived at the CMC office in time for the
appointment, he was  momentarily speechless when he saw the young man
engaged in rapid and fluent sign communication with Janice.

By the end of the session, all agreed that it was clearly providential
that the young man's appointment had been scheduled for the afternoon
instead of the morning. Thanks to Janice's sign language skills, the
lesson was  impressively smooth, easy, and lightning-fast.

                 For more info visit

                               WHAT'S NEW
                             New Facilities

Chabad at the University of Colorado in Boulder, has begun work on a
four-story building that they plan to have ready for the upcoming school
year. When completed, the building will include a student lounge, a
kosher kitchen, a synagogue, a library and student housing for 30 Jewish

The Jewish Youth Network of Thornhill in Ontario, Canada, has broken
ground for a new campus. When completed, the new center will include a
sports lounge, youth cafe, classrooms, social space, basketball court
and playground. The JYN already serves 500 teens each week.

The Chabad Student Centre of Kingston, in Ontario, Canada, recently
moved into their new home. The 6,200-square-foot, 13 bedroom historic
house, known as the Elizabeth Cottage, was a retirement residence for
elderly women for 6 decades. Today, it is a place where students feel at
home. It will eventually house  a student lounge, a library, classrooms
as well as a kosher restaurant.

                            THE REBBE WRITES
                          28 Iyar, 5734 (1974)

                       To the Students of Grade 2
                        Oholei Torah Day School
                              Miami, Fla.

Your teacher sent me your notebooks in connection with your assignment,
"My Plans for the Summer," which I looked through with much interest.

I wish you a happy and healthy summer, and since every person has a body
and a soul, a healthy person is one who is healthy both in body and in

As a matter of fact, the soul is the more important part of a person,
and when the soul is healthy it helps the body to keep in good shape.

Since you are fortunate to be students of the Oholei Torah Day School,
you surely know that the soul, like the body, needs constant
nourishment, and the nourishment of the soul is the Torah and Mitzvoth

During the school year you spend time partly in the study of Torah and
partly in the study of other things, such as English and arithmetic,
etc. However useful these other things are, they do not make the soul
healthier, for, as mentioned above, the soul receives health and
strength only from Torah and Mitzvoth.

But during the summer vacation, when you are free from other things, you
have an opportunity to learn more Torah and do more Mitzvoth, and in
this way to give your soul a chance to become really strong and healthy,
and to also gather strength for the coming school year.

I have written more on this important subject in a special message to
all students, which your teacher will surely read and explain to you.

So I will conclude with the prayerful wish that you should, with G-d's
help, make the most of your summer vacation along the above lines, and
G-d will surely bless you with a truly healthy summer, healthy both in
soul and in body.

                                *  *  *

                       10th of Sivan, 5725 [1965]

I am in receipt of your letter, in which you ask why the second
benediction of the Shemone Esrei [the Silent Prayer] begins with the
Divine Name connoting Adnuth ("Lordship"), while it concludes with the
Tetragramaton [the four-letter name of G-d ].

In general, this question belongs primarily in the realm of the
Kabbalah, where the various Divine Names and their significance are
explained. However, all matters of Torah are reflected in all four
levels of Torah interpretation (Pshat, Remez, Drush, Sod - Pardes), and
the same is true of the subject matter in question.

The benediction of Gevuroth, which begins with Atoh Gibor ("You are
mighty"), and subsequently - "Who is like unto You, Baal Gevuroth,"
etc., emphasizes G-d's attribute of might rather than that of mercy. For
the same reason the resurrection of the dead is included in this
benediction, because the resurrection has to be preceded by death, which
is an act of G-d's might rather than of mercy (though one attribute
contains the other in a latent form).

Even the section of the benediction which begins with the words "You
sustain the living in mercy" also belongs in the realm of Adnut, since
G-d in His attribute of Lordship is "responsible" for His subjects,
while the word "mercy" is mentioned here because G-d sustains also the
undeserving. But the act of sustaining the world is, generally, an act
of Gevuroth.

So much for the contents of the benedictions. However, when it comes to
the conclusion of it, as indeed is the case with every other of the
eighteen benedictions, the Tetragramaton is invariably used, because
regardless of the content of the benediction, where it is characterized
by the attribute of "might," or "mercy," or it is a prayer for
knowledge, etc., we pray that G-d in His mercy grant us our request that
the content of the benediction be materialized in us, in a practical
way, in our daily life. For the world as a whole was created primarily
in the attribute of mercy.

Seeing your interest in the inner meaning of prayers, which is one of
the three pillars on which the world at large (macrocosm) and the small
world of the individual (microcosm) rest, I am confident that the
devotional aspect of your Divine service is on the proper level.

And in order that it be on the proper level, it is necessary to bear in
mind "Know before Whom thou art standing," which in turn requires
preparatory study of the Torah and of the inner aspects of the Torah,
which discuss G-d's greatness and majesty and wonders, etc. Such study
must, of course, be in the proper spirit, namely with a view to
translating it into actions and deeds in the daily life.

May G-d accept your prayers for the fulfillment of your heart's desires
for good.

                              TODAY IS ...
                                18 Sivan

This is the actual time of the "footsteps of Moshiach" (the final era
before the advent of Moshiach). It is therefore imperative for every Jew
to seek his fellow's welfare - whether old or young - to inspire the
other to teshuva (return), so that he will not fall out - G-d forbid -
of the community of Israel who will shortly be privileged, with G-d's
help, to experience complete redemption.

                        A WORD FROM THE DIRECTOR
                         Rabbi Shmuel M. Butman
This Shabbat we read the Torah portion of Shelach, in which we learn
about the spies who Moses sent to explore the land of Israel before the
Jews would enter it. This was not a commandment from G-d, but a choice
left to Moses' s discretion. We learn this from the words of the Torah
portion, "shelach lecha - send for you," according to your own

The Rebbe explains that the spies' mission described in the Torah
portion can be compared to the soul's descent into the material world.

The mission of a Jewish soul is to descend into this world enclothed in
a physical body in order to make this world a dwelling place for G-d. In
order for the soul to fulfill its mission, it must "explore the land,"
to figure out the nature of the service that must be carried out and
which conflicts and difficulties will arise, and what is the best way to
transform the land into a dwelling for G-d.

This mission, like the sending of the spies, is left up to man's
discretion. Indeed, G-d allows for the possibility of an error in both
cases, because in order to make this world into a dwelling place for
G-d, a person must act upon his or her own initiative, based on his or
her own decision.

The act of the spiritual soul coming down to this physical world and
elevating it to a higher spiritual plane by making it a dwelling place
for G-d is the perfect synthesis of material and spiritual. We have
recently celebrated the holiday of Shavuot, in which we commemorate the
giving of the Torah. The act of bringing the very holy Torah into this
world made it possible to fuse together the spiritual and the physical.
May we imminently experience the ultimate fusion of the two in the
Messianic Era.

                          THOUGHTS THAT COUNT
Hillel used to say, "...nor can an ignorant person be pious" (Ethics

Just as a fire will not burn unless it has the proper channel - wick and
oil - so, too, will love of G-d not take hold unless it is contained in
the proper vessel. The mitzvot (commandments) a Jew observes and the
Torah he learns define his capacity to love and fear G-d and form the
vessel with which this is accomplished. An ignorant person has not spent
sufficient time creating that vessel and, thus, cannot be truly pious.

                                      (Torah Ohr; Sefer Hamaamarim)

                                *  *  *

Rebbi would say, "..Be as careful in [the performance of a seemingly]
minor mitzva as of a major one, for you do not know the reward given for
the mitzvot. (Ethics 2:1)

The Hebrew word zahir, translated as "careful" also means "shine." All
the mitzvot share a fundamental quality; each of them enables one's soul
to shine forth.

                                                   (Likutei Sichot)

                                *  *  *

Reflect upon three things and you will never come to sin: Know what is
above you... (Ethics 2:1)

The Maggid of Mezritch would say: "Know that everything above" - all
that transpires in the spiritual realms - is "from you" - dependent on
your conduct. Each of us has the potential to influence the most
elevated spiritual realms.

                                     (Or HaTorah al Aggados Chazal)

                                *  *  *

Rabban Gamliel, son of Rabbi Yehudah Hanasi, said..., "Be wary of those
in power, for they befriend a person only for their own benefit...
(Ethics 2:2)

While the literal meaning is surely sound advice, there is also a
non-literal interpretation. The Rebbe explains that "those in power"
refers to our egos, thoughts, and feelings. Although we rely on these in
order to function, we must be aware of their fundamental self- interest,
and that they are only concerned with their own benefit. However, the
soul - the essential self - is concerned only with being closer to G-d
and observing His Torah and mitzvot.

                                  (The Rebbe, Tazria-Metzora, 5739)

                            IT ONCE HAPPENED
"The time has come for me to depart this world," the father whispered to
his son, Matzliach. "But before I die, I wish to impart to you something
I was told by own father before he passed away: Choose one mitzva
(commandment) to observe with self-sacrifice and devotion, even if it
means spending all your money. In the merit of this mitzva, G-d will
protect you from all harm."

With tears in his eyes Matzliach promised his father to carry out his
final wishes, and resolved to be particularly scrupulous about washing
his hands in the ritual manner upon awakening. Indeed, Matzliach lived
up to his promise, and was always very careful to observe this mitzva.

In the meantime Matzliach had become successful, with business dealings
in many foreign countries. One time it became necessary for him to go on
a business trip to a distant land. Aside from his talit and tefilin and
a supply of kosher food, he made sure to take along a giant-sized water
skin, so he could wash his hands wherever he went without difficulty.

As was common in those days, Matzliach joined a caravan of other
merchants to cross the desert. The camels had only made it halfway
through, however, when a terrible storm erupted. Blinding winds whipped
up the sand and made it impossible to see where they were going. After a
few days of wandering they realized that they had been going in the
wrong direction. The wasted time meant that much of their precious water
had already been used, and they would now have to pool their supply. As
the head of the caravan explained, everyone would receive the same daily
portion for the remainder of the journey.

This was not good news for Matzliach, who was forced to relinquish his
water skin. And although he resolved to drink very little and use the
rest for washing, the daily portion turned out to be a scant few ounces.

Matzliach went to the head of the caravan and explained his predicament.
"I need more water to wash my hands," he said, but the camel driver only
burst out laughing. "It is entirely out of the question," he told him.
"In the middle of the desert washing is a luxury, not a necessity."

But Matzliach could still hear his father's words echoing in his head.
"I will give you all my money for an extra allotment of water," he
offered. The head of the caravan immediately agreed, and the money was
divided among all the travelers. Everyone thought that Matzliach must
have lost his mind when he handed over his knapsack filled with golden
coins, but the Jew seemed happy with the arrangement.

Towards the end of the journey Matzliach decided there was no longer any
reason for him to stay with the group. Without any money with which to
conduct business, he left the caravan and set out on his own. That
evening he found himself in a forest, and started looking for a spot to
spend the night.

Matzliach was deep within the forest when he came across the remains of
a campfire. The coals were still warm, indicating that it had only
recently been abandoned. A short distance away he found a stream. He
quickly bathed, drank to his heart's content and refilled his water bag.

At that moment Matzliach heard the sound of approaching footsteps and
scrambled up the nearest tree to hide. When he looked down he saw a band
of armed robbers, their arms filled with stolen booty and leading a
prisoner along in chains. Matzliach could hardly believe his eyes: Their
captive was none other than the head of the caravan, to whom he'd said
good-bye that morning.

Matzliach watched as the robbers pushed aside a rock to reveal the mouth
of a cave; one by one they entered and disappeared. Matzliach stayed
awake the entire night. Towards morning he heard the robbers leave. When
the last robber had disappeared over the horizon Matzliach climbed down,
pushed the rock aside as he had seen them do, and stepped in.

His eyes were almost blinded by the treasure they encountered. Room upon
room was filled with gems, precious stones and coins. Wandering about
the cave, Matzliach found two prisoners in irons in a side chamber. One
was the head of the caravan, who told Matzliach that their convoy had
been attacked just moments after his departure. The other was the only
son of the local sheik, who had led a group of soldiers on a failed
mission to eliminate the band of robbers. All of the other soldiers had
been killed, and the robbers were demanding a huge ransom for his

Matzliach immediately freed the captives and they escaped. The sheik was
overjoyed to see his son, and on Matzliach's advice, dispatched another
group of soldiers who this time captured the robbers and put an end to
their terror.

Matzliach, of course, was amply rewarded by the sheik. But as Matzliach
knew, everything had happened in the merit of his devotion to observing
a mitzva scrupulously.

                            MOSHIACH MATTERS
Have mercy, L-rd our G-d, upon Israel Your people, upon Jeruselam Your
city, upon Zion the abode of Your glory, upon the kingship of the house
of David Your anointed, and upon the great and holy House over which
Your Name was proclaimed... And rebuild Jerusalem the holy city speedily
in our days. Blessed are You L-rd, who in His mercy rebuilds Jerusalem.

      (From the Grace after Meals recited after partaking of bread)

               END OF TEXT - L'CHAIM 1325 - Sh'lach 5774

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