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                         L'CHAIM - ISSUE # 1367
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             THE WEEKLY PUBLICATION FOR EVERY JEWISH PERSON
   Dedicated to the memory of Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka Schneerson N.E.
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        April 17, 2015           Shmini           28 Nisan, 5775
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                            Harnessing Chaos

            From a talk by Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburg inner.org

In his famous talk of 28 Nissan, 1991, the Rebbe explained that the way
to bring Moshiach is by harnessing the great lights of the world of
chaos, and channeling them into the perfected vessels of the world of
rectification. On a practical level this means that when we invest our
energies into bringing the Moshiach, our plan of action must stem from
new and creative thinking, from a place outside the framework of
conventional wisdom. Our actions, as well, must follow this pattern. The
Rebbe urged us to probe the yet "uncharted" areas of our minds, of the
Land of Israel and of the world, and to channel the immense energies in
those places into compelling, rectified action to bring the Moshiach.

The pinnacle of Moshiach's work is when he will unite all of humanity to
serve G-d "with one shoulder." When working toward the final redemption,
we must also turn our energies into lovingly bringing all the nations of
the world to rectified service of G-d.

The prophets and sages describe Moshiach as a leper. When discussing
leprosy, (tzara'at), the Torah says (Leviticus 13:2): "When a person has
on his flesh...." The word used for "person" is adam. The Kabbalist
Rabbi Yitzchak Luria (known as the "Arizal") explains that adam is the
most lofty synonym for "person," and refers to an all-inclusive soul.
Even Moses is generally referred to in the Torah as "ish" ("man"), which
has a more individual connotation. If Moses himself is considered ish,
the Arizal concludes, then the only possible candidate for the higher
title "adam" is Moshiach, the quintessential all-inclusive soul. But why
is the Moshiach a leper?

Tzara'at ("leprosy") is a disease of the skin in which the affected area
of the skin turns pure white. The numerical value of the Hebrew word
Moshiach is 358, equal to the value of or "lavan," "white skin." Just as
the color white includes all the colors of the spectrum, the Moshiach
with his white, leprous skin includes all the skin colors of the world.

There are four basic colors of skin; white, red, yellow and black. These
skin colors correspond in turn to the four letters of God's Name,
Havayah and to their corresponding powers of the soul.

White Skin: Service of G-d with the Faculty of wisdom. The inner essence
of wisdom is self-nullification; negating one's "self" in total
nullification to God. When one's mind is not preoccupied with ego, it is
clear and open to become a conduit of Divine wisdom. Thus, the special
talent of people with white skin is to serve God by nullifying their ego
and connecting to the Divine.

Red Skin: Service of G-d with the Faculty of understanding.
Understanding is the cognitive force that absorbs wisdom and articulates
it into fine detail. Once having attained this mature understanding, the
soul swells with delight at its achievement. Thus, the inner essence of
understanding is joy. The special talent of people with red skin is to
serve G-d with joy; particularly joy that stems from having nurtured the
insights of widsom into full and mature understanding.

Yellow Skin: Service of G-d with the attributes of the heart. The inner
powers of these attributes are love, awe, beauty, confidence, sincerity
and truth. The special talent of people with yellow skin is to serve G-d
with the full array of their emotions and actions in a perfected and
rectified manner.

Black Skin: Service of G-d with the Faculty of royalty. Corresponding to
the world of Action, the inner essence of royalty is humbleness. This
quality guarantees that one's actions in life are motivated by the
highest standards of justice and righteousness, unconcerned with
personal gain or advantage. The special talent of people with black skin
is their exceptional sense of holy service of G-d, with no thought of
personal benefit.

The purpose of the Moshiach is to unite the Jewish People as one loving
family whose every action is inspired by the Torah. The Jewish People
will then have the tools with which to unite the entire world to serve
G-d as one family, all the peoples of the world - each with their unique
talents and qualities.

*********************************************************************
           LIVING WITH THE REBBE  -  THE WEEKLY TORAH PORTION
*********************************************************************
"And it came to pass on the eighth day...and Moses and Aaron went into
the Tent of Meeting, and then went out and blessed the people. And the
glory of G-d appeared before all the people," we read in this week's
Torah portion, Shemini.

The seven days of consecration had passed; it was already the eighth
day, and the Divine Presence had not yet come down to rest upon the
Sanctuary.

The Jewish people were getting nervous. Had all their hard work been in
vain? G-d's Presence in the Sanctuary would indicate that the sin of the
Golden Calf had been forgiven. What was wrong? Maybe they hadn't
followed G-d's instructions properly...

As they were to find out, the only thing missing was Aaron's
participation. For there is an essential difference between the service
of Moshe and the service of Aaron the priest, and both were necessary in
order for G-d's Presence to descend.

Moses' Divine service flowed from above to below; his function was to
draw G-d's holiness down into this world. This is reflected in the fact
that the Torah was given precisely through Moses, who brought it down
from heaven and presented it to the Jewish people.

The direction of Aaron's Divine service, on the other hand, flowed
"upward," as reflected in his kindling of the Sanctuary's menora.

His function was to elevate and raise the Jewish people towards G-d, by
offering the sacrifices and performing the other services in the
Sanctuary. Both thrusts - upward and downward - are required in order to
effect G-d's plan of establishing a "dwelling place down in this world."

G-d imbues the world with holiness so that we, His creations, may be
refined and elevated. Once the Torah was brought down by Moses, the
second step was necessary, that of actually performing the service in
the Sanctuary and meeting Him half way, as it were. For it is only when
both thrusts are present that the dynamic process is complete, and the
maximum level of holiness is attained.

The practical lesson to be derived from this is that a Jew must emulate
Aaron if he sincerely wants the Divine Presence to permeate his being.

Aaron, we are told, "loved peace and pursued peace, loved [G-d's]
creatures and brought them closer to Torah." Dealing in such a manner
with our fellow man not only brings benefit to others but to ourselves
as well, for, as noted before, it is the "upward" thrust that causes
G-d's Presence to descend and rest on the works of our hands.

                   Adapted from Likutei Sichot, Vol. 7 of the Rebbe

*********************************************************************
                             SLICE OF LIFE
*********************************************************************
                             Rabbi Inspires
                         by Rabbi Hershel Hartz

A Chabad emissary wears many hats. He must be able to connect with all
the different types of people who come in his path. He jumps into the
shoes of every person he meets and sees things from their perspective.

Dealing with Jews means dealing with different types of people. You have
to be loving, caring and understanding of all types: the intellectual
type, the cool guy, the feminist, the atheist, the student who comes
from a broken family, the person who hates Chabad, and the enthusiastic
religious Jew.

Rabbi Peretz Chein of Chabad at Brandeis is one of the most inspiring
rabbis I know - he is able to maneuver successfully amongst all these
different types of Jewish people and give each one the Jewish experience
they need.

Satisfying these needs is a challenge, and one that Rabbi Chein succeeds
tremendously at. From him, I have learned the importance of working with
each person according to the path that is best for him or her. It may be
something you would never do yourself or something that you may even
sharply disagree with. But it is the greatest fulfillment of ahavat
Yisrael, loving another Jew.

I started my Jewish growth at Brandeis (and hopefully continue it every
day of my life) and Rabbi Chein has been there anytime I called. He has
broad shoulders and the ability to look at things from a whole slew of
perspectives. He is a deeply thoughtful person who adds wisdom to the
most obvious of situations.

One story really sticks out for me. During my sophomore year at
Brandeis, I became very interested in Jewish growth and learning. As
with most people who become suddenly excited about Judaism, my desire to
change overshadowed a healthy transition.

In the Chabad house, I shared my excitement over my new Jewish learning
with Rabbi Chein. I also shared that I wanted to leave the Jewish
fraternity that I had joined just six months before.

He immediately asked me: And what about your fraternity? How would this
impact them?

I thought the guy was out of his mind. We were talking about my
spiritual growth here, not theirs. I thought: Who cares?

In my complete selfishness, I could not think about them and the impact
my decision would have on their feelings about Judaism or religion.

At that meeting, Rabbi Chein encouraged me to stay in the fraternity and
serve as a good role model of Judaism. I didn't listen. I couldn't
imagine staying in a place that seemed to me then the antithesis of
Judaism. My zealousness drove me away.

Today, with a healthier pair of eyes, I have completely taken his lesson
to heart.

Judaism is, sometimes, not about you. It is about the other.

When we make Judaism solely about ourselves, our own thoughts and our
own spiritual pursuits, we are not serving G-d. We are serving
ourselves.

Rabbi Chein has always been a phone call away, giving me a new
perspective on how to approach every challenge.

When I called, literally crying about a yeshiva I was in, he gave me
comfort and stability.

When I called about a new venture I was embarking on, he gave me a good
dose of reality.

And he knows I am not rich. Money has never been the issue - he is
legitimately interested.

I know for a fact that there are many more like me. All different
perspectives, all unique people, all levels of growth and observance.
And all of them, when they meet Rabbi Chein, feel like they belong to a
larger Jewish family.

That is the most important part of his work: he lets every Jew he meets
feel that they are part of something greater than themselves and that
they matter.

              Reprinted with permission of the author. This article
                                originally appeared in the Forward.


*********************************************************************
                               WHAT'S NEW
*********************************************************************
                             New Emissaries

Rabbi Mordy and Rochel Nemtzov are founding Chabad of Ojai, California,
to serve the Jewish residents in this city surrounded by hills and
mountains in Ventura County. Ojai is known as a haven for artists,
musicians and health enthusiasts.

Rabbi Mendel and Chaya Friedman are moving to Winter Haven, Florida, to
direct the recently opened Jewish Learning Center in that city.


                              New Centers


A new Chabad Center was recently dedicated in Carmel, Indiana, a suburg
just north of Indianapolis. The 13,000-square-foot building, situated on
a 4 acre property, features a synagogue, classrooms, a social hall and a
kosher kitchen.

The Rohr Chabad House at CU-Boulder, in Boulder, Colorado, recently
opened the Schaeffer Family Student Center. A few blocks west of the
main CU campus, the new center is four stories and includes two floors
of rooms for resident students, a social hall with commercial kosher
kitchen, a coffee bar/living room area, a synagogue and a library.

*********************************************************************
                            THE REBBE WRITES
*********************************************************************
                    21st of Menachem Av, 5728 [1968]

I am in receipt of your (undated) letter.

The first observation I must make is that whenever a question is to be
discussed, there can be a meaningful discussion only if both sides
accept certain premises as a basis for the discussion.

From your letter I see that we both recognize the Written and Oral Torah
as undisputable authority.

Now it is clearly explained both in the Written Torah, as well as in the
Oral Torah, that insofar as Jews are concerned, Golus [exile] comes not
as a result of military circumstances, namely an outnumbered army, nor
as a result of economic pressures necessitating submission to a stronger
power, etc. Rather it has amply been explained again and again in the
Chumash [Five Books of Moses] (including whole Sidras [portions], such
as Bechukosai, Ki Sovo, etc.) and in the books of the Prophets, and even
more so in the Talmud and Rabbinic literature, that if Jews had always
adhered to the Torah and Mitzvos [commandments], they would have never
been banished into Exile, regardless of the fact that "You are the
smallest among the nations." For, Jews have always been outnumbered and
outweighed in terms of military and physical strength, as King David
puts it succinctly in one sentence, "These (come) in chariots, and those
on horses, but we call upon the Name of G-d."

Conversely, when Jews forsake the Torah and Mitzvos, G-d forbid, no
power nor military might, nor political alliances, etc., are of any
avail, as the Torah clearly states, "If you will walk contrary unto me,
then will I also walk contrary unto you" etc., with the inevitable
consequence of Golus.

In the light of the above, the true test of events, to see if they
herald the Geulo [Redemption] or not, is to see whether there has been
an essential change in the causes which have brought about the Golus in
the first place, namely, a new tendency in the direction of stronger
adherence to the Torah and Mitzvos.

A further point is this: After the Churban [destruction (of the Holy
Temple)], when there could have been no question about the observance of
the 17th of Tammuz [when the wall of Jerusalem were breached], Tisha
B'Av [the Hebrew date on which the Holy Temple was destroyed], etc.,
there were still a number of Jews who remained in Eretz Yisroel [Land of
Israel], and it was incumbent upon them too to observe all the matters
connected with the Golus. As a matter of fact, those who remained in
Eretz Yisroel and saw with their own eyes the destruction, would have
felt the Churban and Golus even more. Let us remember also that the
observance of Tisha B'Av, etc., was in effect even during the time of
Gedalia ben Achikom, the Jewish Governor of the Jewish community in
Eretz Yisroel, before he was assassinated by Ishmael (II Kings, 25:25)

As in the case of many other Torah matters, there are sources where they
are explained at great length. However, inasmuch as not every person has
the ability or patience to study these things at length in their
original sources, they come also in a short and concentrated form.

Thus we find also the subject under discussion formulated in succinct
terms by the Great Teacher, the Rambam [Maimonides], who was not only
the Guide for the Perplexed of his generation, but for the perplexed of
all generations. In his Code Yad Hachazakah, he describes in brief but
highly meaningful terms the state of the last era of the Golus as it
would be, and how the beginning of the Geulo would follow.

I will quote what he states, but in English translation, with
interpolations to clarify the text, with some prefatory remarks, namely,
that it has been amply explained in the Written and Oral Torah that the
Geulo will come through the Melech Hamoshiach [King Moshiach], and as
the Rambam also declares, simply as a matter of course, in the section
which is the last of his entire Code, so that it is in a sense the very
seal of his Code - the section of Hilchos Melochim [the Laws of Kings].

There, at the beginning of chapter 11, he states that the Melech
Hamoshiach will bring the Geulo, and at the end of this chapter he
describes carefully the order how this will come about. And since this
is not a book on philosophy, but a code of laws, the terms used are
carefully chosen and strictly to the point, without polemics or
homiletics.

                        Continued in next issue


*********************************************************************
                               TEACHINGS
*********************************************************************
"Moses received the Torah at Sinai, and passed it on to Joshua, Joshua
to the Elders..." (Ethics of the Fathers 1:1)

When Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi compiled all the Mishnaic teachings, he placed
the Mishna describing the transmission of Torah from one generation to
the other as the opening Mishna of the Ethics. The wise men of the
nations of the world also wrote works providing their disciples with
moral instruction. However, they formulated their teachings based on
their own human understanding. Therefore, Rabbi Yehuda began the Ethics
specifically with the words, "Moses received the Torah at Sinai" to
inform us that the moral instruction and the qualities of character
mentioned here are not a product of human invention. They were given to
us by G-d via Moses at Sinai. (Bartenura)

*********************************************************************
                        A WORD FROM THE DIRECTOR
                         Rabbi Shmuel M. Butman
*********************************************************************
This Shabbat afternoon, we begin the cycle of study of Ethics of the
Fathers that will customarily continue until Rosh Hashana. The opening
lines of Chapter One express a fundamental and axiomatic concept in
Judaism:

"Moses received the Torah from Sinai and passed it on to Joshua; Joshua
to the Elders; the Elders to the Prophets; and the Prophets passed it on
to the Men of the Great Assembly."

Why is it important for us to know this chain of transmission? To teach
us that the Torah we have in our possession today is the very same Torah
that was revealed to Moses thousands of years ago. And, as links in the
ongoing chain of tradition, it is our duty as Jewish parents to transmit
the Torah to our children.

The Torah has an infinite number of facets. Some parts are narrative,
others are legal codes, while other sections are allegorical. The Five
Books of Moses, Talmud, Midrashim, Shulchan Aruch, Chasidut - all are
part and parcel of the G-dly body of knowledge we call Torah.

Some parts of the Torah were meant to be written down; others were
transmitted orally until the proper time came to put them into writing.
(This is one reason why the non-Jewish "Bible" bears little resemblance
to the Torah; ignorance of the Oral Tradition has led to many false
interpretations and absurdities over the millennia!)

At Sinai, Moses received the entirety of Torah with all its potential
for extrapolation, "even that which the scholar would innovate in the
future." An halachic decision rendered today is Torah, revealed to man
according to a Divinely-inspired "timetable" of revelation. This process
will reach its culmination in the Messianic era, when Moshiach will
teach the world a new and deeper dimension of Torah, as it states in
Isaiah 51:4: "For Torah shall proceed from Me, and I will make My
judgment suddenly for a light of the people."

May it happen at once.

*********************************************************************
                          THOUGHTS THAT COUNT
*********************************************************************
He brought close the meal-offering, and he filled his hand of it, and
burnt it upon the altar, beside (milvad) the burnt-sacrifice of the
morning (Lev. 9:17)

The Hebrew word "milvad" is an acronym for "melaveh le'ani be'shat
dochko - he who lends to a poor person in his hour of need." Lending
money to the poor is so noble a deed it is considered as if one brought
an offering before G-d.

                                                  (Da'at Chachamim)

                                *  *  *


Every earthen vessel... whatever is in it shall be unclean (Lev. 11:33)

An earthen vessel becomes unclean by virtue of its contents, not because
of anything its exterior may come into contact with. For pottery itself
has no intrinsic value, serving only as a container for whatever it
holds. A metallic vessel, how ever, becomes unclean from the outside, as
the metal itself is valuable. A human being is likened to an earthen
vessel; he too is composed of "dust of the earth." He himself has no
intrinsic worth; his value comes from that which is within.

                                                (The Kotzker Rebbe)

                                *  *  *


You shall not make yourselves unclean with them, that you should be
thereby defiled... you shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and you
shall be holy (Lev. 11:43-44)

Our Sages said: He who defiles himself a little, is defiled a lot from
Above; he who defiles himself in this world is defiled in the World to
Come. Similarly, one who sanctifies himself a little is assisted and
sanctified from Above; he who sanctifies himself in this world will be
sanctified in the World to Come.

                                                     (Talmud, Yoma)

                                *  *  *


The root of the Hebrew word "olah" means "height" or "elevation,"
teaching us that if a person truly desires to lift himself up and draw
near to G-d, he must sacrifice "his own voluntary will," as our Sages
said, "Nullify your will before His."

                                           (The Magid of Mezeritch)

*********************************************************************
                            IT ONCE HAPPENED
*********************************************************************
There was once a woman named Rachel who had no children. Her husband,
Nosan, considered himself to be modern and disdained rabbis and their
"antiquated" teachings. Rachel, however, believed differently, and
whenever her husband was away on business she would visit the great
tzadik Rabbi Meir of Premishlan to beg him to bless her with children.

For poor Rachel each visit was the same. She would wait for her turn and
then make her request. Each time Rabbi Meir's reply was the same: "I
cannot bless you unless you come together with your husband." And each
time Rachel would return home sad, but not hopeless, for she believed
that somehow salvation would come to her.

On one visit her faith was rewarded when Rabbi Meir replied, "Return
home. When your husband returns from his business trip, tell him, 'Rabbi
Meir of Premishlan commands you to come at once.' Of course, he will
refuse, but when he does, tell him, 'On the day before yesterday, which
was Lag B'Omer, you attended a gathering where you spoke disrespectfully
of Rabbi Meir.' When your husband hears this he will certainly come, and
then you will be blessed."

Rachel was at home when Nosan returned, and she immediately repeated
Rabbi Meir's words. His response was the expected one, but when Rachel
countered, telling him about his untoward comments about Rabbi Meir, his
face flushed. How could the rabbi know such a thing, he wondered, and he
at one resolved to visit Premishlan to find out.

Nosan was not, however, ready to endure the ridicule of his friends. He
decided that instead of traveling straight to Premishlan he would make a
detour through Lemberg, thus cloaking his true intentions in a bogus
business trip. When he finally arrived in Premishlan and was admitted to
Rabbi Meir's room, he announced his name and his request. Rabbi Meir
responded, "Don't think I don't know that you came here via Lemberg. If
you want my blessing, you must return home and then come here directly."

Nosan was completely amazed. How could Rabbi Meir have possibly known
that? If he had such wondrous powers, he would do as Rabbi Meir said. To
his wife's utter joy, Nosan returned home and announced his plans to
spend Shabbat in Premishlan. When the couple arrived in Premishlan,
Rabbi Meir was pleased to see them. On Shabbat, Nosan was honored with
an aliya to the Torah for the passage which read, "There shall not be a
sterile or barren one amongst you." He was so moved, that he was about
to offer a large donation. Rabbi Meir interrupted him with the words,
"Because he has promised to help a Yisrael [lit. Israelite]." Nosan was
confused. What could Rabbi Meir's words mean?

When the prayers ended, Rabbi Meir explained his cryptic words. "One day
you will have the opportunity to save a very holy Jew, at great personal
risk. If you promise to help him, you will have a son." Without giving
the matter a moment's thought, Nosan said, "I promise!" In due time, the
tzadik's blessing was fulfilled, and Nosan and his wife were the parents
of a baby boy.

A year or more passed and Nosan was on a business trip near the
Austrian-Romanian border when he heard that the illustrious Rabbi
Yisrael of Ruzhin was also there. He was fleeing the Russian authorities
and had to somehow get across the border. This was obviously what Rabbi
Meir had alluded to when he had made the promise.

True to his word, Nosan presented himself to Rabbi Yisrael and disclosed
to him a plan to carry him across the border over a small, frozen river.
Rabbi Yisrael agreed and they set off at midnight. Nosan knew the
crossing well, but he was unaccustomed to heavy physical labor. Despite
the bitter cold, sweat poured down Nosan's face. Carrying a grown man
was harder than he had thought, and at each step he prayed that the thin
ice would hold the weight of the two men and not crack, plunging them to
a frozen death. Suddenly Nosan stopped walking. "Is anything wrong?" Reb
Yisrael asked.

"Nothing is wrong. I just realized that we have reached the middle of
the river. If I am to make my request, this is the time. Rebbe, I have
committed many sins. I have scoffed and disregarded the teachings and
precepts of the Torah. But before I continue, I want your promise that I
will have a place in the World to Come. If you give me your promise, I
will continue; if not, I won't go on."

Rabbi Yisrael replied at once, "Of course, I will give you my word. I am
happy that at such a time you can have such thoughts!"

With that assurance, Nosan continued his dangerous progress across the
icy darkness. It wasn't until many hours later that they arrived safely
in the small, Austrian border town. It was Nosan's good fortune to have
spread the news that through his efforts, the holy Ruzhiner was finally
safe.

*********************************************************************
                            MOSHIACH MATTERS
*********************************************************************
On the verse, "I have surely seen the afflication of My people...," (Ex.
3:7) our Sages interpret the phrase ra'o ra'isi, literally, "Seen, I
have seen," as indicating that G-d envisioned the Jews accepting the
Torah and He also envisioned them sinning with the golden calf. In other
words, G-d did not make the exodus conditional on our righteousness. He
knew we would eventually sin, and redeemed us nonetheless. The same is
true of the final redemption. When the time of the redemption arrives,
our sins will not prevent it from occuring. For G-d chose the essense of
a Jew, and the essense of a Jew is beyond sin.

                                                   (Gevurot Hash-m)

*********************************************************************
                END OF TEXT - L'CHAIM 1367 - Shmini 5775
*********************************************************************

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