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 # 1395
                           Copyright (c) 2015
                 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.
        November 6, 2015      Chayei Sara      24 Cheshvan, 5776

                         The Best Windows Ever

                         by Rabbi Levi Liberow

Like millions of Windows users around the world, I too saw a message
from Microsoft popping up on my desktop: "Get Windows 10." The message
remained on my screen until I clicked "upgrade" and reserved the new
operation system.

Reportedly, within four weeks since its launch, over 75 million devices
were upgraded to Windows 10. What's behind Microsoft's aggressive
campaign to get everyone on Windows 10? Why is it being offered free of
charge and easy to install?

No one suspects that Bill Gates and Microsoft just woke up one day with
an ambition to make life easier for all the many Windows users with a
brand new, bug free, easy to operate system.

Offering Windows 10 - "the best Windows ever" - free of charge is hardly
an act of entrepreneurship as much as it is a shrewd business venture
which, Microsoft hopes, will make back every penny invested in
developing the new system.

Microsoft is cutting out expensive tech support for old systems by
aggressively promoting Windows 10. They are attempting to manipulate the
natural evolution process from older to newer technology that would
usually take three or four years, to just a few short months.

What's the Divine message we're getting through the Windows 10 promotion

Since the principles of Judaism were initially "invented" at Sinai, they
haven't changed and they never will, much as the principles of computing
have remained the same since they were first introduced. Only the
operating systems have changed and adapted over time due to faster and
better technology.

There are two major "operating systems" in Judaism, and they both help
us out of our spiritual "exile":

The "old school" system turns to a Jew who is struggling to choose right
from wrong. The Torah reaches out to him and offers support to make
proper decisions, either by portraying the abundant reward or the bitter
punishment - in this world and in the next - that his decisions will
lead to.

The "new" operating system reaches out to a Jew who appreciates doing
what's right because it's right. While he still feels the "old'
struggle, it's easier for him to win the battle when he knows that his
actions are part of a master plan to make the world a place where Divine
meaning prevails.

Our world in the past was one in which the 'old' operation system worked
better. This was because the reality of the world was such that evil
usually prevailed. But ultimately good must prevail and the transition
to that reality is happening now.

Signs predicted by the sages to signal the turning point in history from
exile to redemption have begun to unfold before our eyes.  To us they
signal a new phase in how we should serve G-d.

The world we live in today requires of us to quickly upgrade from the
old frame of mind in which the world was viewed as an adversary to G-d,
to a frame of mind in which the world is gradually becoming what it was
meant to be from its inception: a place G-d can call home.

Moshiach will come soon and the old system will be officially outdated
and unsupported. And good for you: the vista we see through the old
windows - a struggle between good and evil - will change and portray an
everlasting struggle between good and better.

Maybe it's hard; changes are never easy, but we've got to live with the
times. There is an amazing new world emerging: one in which we can see,
smell and touch G-dliness with no passwords to remember.

G-d is launching an aggressive campaign: start living with your head in
the future; look through "the best windows ever!" And one more important
message: if you get it now, it's free!

    Reprinted with permission from Principles Magazine,

As we read in this week's Torah portion, Chayei Sara, after Sara passed
away and Abraham wanted to bury her in the Cave of Machpelah, the sons
of Chet offered to give Abraham the land for free. "A mighty prince you
are among us," they said, "in the choice of our tombs bury your dead."
However, Abraham refused their offer, and insisted on paying "the full

Rashi, the foremost Torah commentator explains: "The full price" means
"its full value." Abraham was adamant about paying the full value of the
field in order to completely dissociate it from its former owner, Efron.
Had Abraham received it as a gift, Efron would have still retained a
certain claim on the land, even though it now officially belonged to
Abraham. By paying "the full price" for the Cave of Machpelah, Abraham
severed any connection it might have had to its previous owner.

King David did the same thing many years later after he conquered
Jerusalem. Jerusalem had been already captured and was under his
control, yet David did not wish to receive it as a gift from Aravna.
Like Abraham, David insisted on paying "the full price" for the site, in
order to possess it in the absolute sense.

The spiritual service of every Jew is to refine and elevate his
surroundings, through learning Torah and observing mitzvot, to the point
that he becomes the true "owner" of his particular corner of the world.
Just as Abraham paid "the full price" for the field he bought from
Efron, so too is it necessary for every Jew to pay "the full price" - to
expend real effort and exertion - in his service of G-d.

A Jew must never say to himself, "I have been blessed with a good head
and many talents. Why should I have to work hard if everything comes to
me easily? Even my Evil Inclination isn't so powerful that it has to be
fought all that vigilantly."

In the same way that Abraham and David refused to accept what was easy,
rejected "gifts" and insisted on paying "the full price," so too must we
invest real effort on the spiritual "labor" of Torah study and
observance of mitzvot (commandments). For it only through hard work and
a little "elbow grease" that we will truly succeed in refining our
surroundings and by extension, the entire world.

                                Adapted from Likutei Sichot vol. 10

                             SLICE OF LIFE
     How a Chabad Chasid Became a South Bronx Middle School Legend
                            by Deena Yellin

It's noontime at Jordan L. Mott Middle School in the South Bronx, and in
the playground the tempers are flaring. A seventh-grade girl has
discovered that a classmate had posted something about her on Facebook.
The expletives are flying, and friends are taking sides. As the crowd
grows, the tension thickens.

Enter Tuvia Tatik, dean of the seventh grade. He is dressed in a crisp
white shirt, along with khakis and with tzitzit that sway as he walks.
He listens carefully to both girls before speaking. "Is it worth
fighting over?" he asks softly of the tall 13-year-old girl, who
sullenly folds her arms over her bright-pink shirt and holds her
oversized purse in her hands. Then he turns his attention to the other
girl, whose thick black hair is pulled back with a white hair band: "I
know you're mad. But is this worth fighting over?" He invites both girls
to his office, where they can talk it out. "Is that good by you?" he
asks each girl, who nods in turn. "If you beat her up, it's not going to
make it better," he reminds each of them, as such an act could bring
suspension and a phone call to parents.

His role as dean is to handle behavior and disciplinary issues in the
seventh grade. "I'm not a policeman," Tatik said, asserting that he
doles out discipline rather than strict punishment. "I'm here to help
them become good citizens and train them for a good life."

Enforcing the rules does not dampen his popularity. As he monitors the
hallways and lunchroom for trouble, teens shake his hand and high-five
him, "Yo, Tatik." He grins back, slapping their shoulders. "Hey, this is
my favorite student," he says of each and every one. Some kids want to
gab with him about sports, others about their problems. "He can get on
your nerves and stuff, but he's trying to push us to do good," said
13-year-old Raven, who sided with her friend in the brawl. "He breaks up
fights all the time. And he explains math when we don't understand what
the teacher is saying."

Tatik stands out in the three-story, red brick middle school in the
South Bronx, which is dominated by students of color from the
surrounding neighborhood. The bearded, yarmulke-clad psychologist is a
father of six from Brooklyn's Crown Heights.

For the past nine years that Tatik has worked at the school, his day has
begun at 5 a.m. with a bicycle ride to the mikveh, followed by morning
prayers at a synagogue and then a rumbling 80-minute subway ride in
which he thumbs his way through the Book of Psalms. He shrugs his
shoulders at the arduous grind. "You get used to it," he said,
explaining that he peruses the Torah, and occasionally naps on his way

For Chabad Chasidim like Tatik, there are no religious restrictions that
prevent them from working in the public school system - even though they
typically don't send their own children there.

"They get degrees in education or psychology, and it turns into a good
job for them," said Alan Brill, a professor of Jewish-Christian studies
at Seton Hall University. There are no statistics on how many Chabad
Chasidim work in the public school system, but Brill estimated there are
a few dozen.

Tatik never envisioned his current career. He grew up in a Conservative
household in the Bronx, and attended public school. (His cousins even
went to Jordan L. Mott.) His Jewish education consisted of once-a-week
Hebrew school attendance in the afternoon. At age 27 he encountered
several Chabad rabbis whose "message and vision," he said, inspired him
as he was "searching for the truth." He became Orthodox.

Tatik worked as the warehouse manager of a furniture company for several
years. After the business went bankrupt, he sought a new line of work. A
close friend advised him that he'd make a great school psychologist. He
liked the idea, since he had always been interested in psychology, so he
completed two master's degrees, one in school psychology and a second in
mental health counseling from Touro College. "I was 36, with two young
kids and terrified," he recalled. "Working with kids was a different
mindset than managing a business with grown men." But he soon discovered
that he connected easily with young people.

He was working as a school psychologist at a yeshiva in Brooklyn when
someone introduced him to the former principal of Jordan L. Mott, Shimon
Waronker, who was also a Chabad Chasid. When the school's dean got sick,
he was hired in his place.

"I used to come home with stories about kids with anger problems.
Fights. Kids breaking windows. Punching fences. Pretty strong things,"
he said. Those stories are gone. "Now it's so much happier that we've
moved it to a different level. Now we can talk about what their
education is about."

In 2004 Jordan L. Mott was among the most violent schools in New York
City, according to a list compiled by the New York City Department of
Education along with the police department and the teachers union. The
school was removed from the list in 2006, but remains among the city's
so-called Renewal Schools, which are entitled to special funding because
they are considered troubled.

"They are really great kids," Tatik said with genuine warmth about the
students. "They come from difficult circumstances, from the poorest
neighborhoods per capita."

Roughly 94% of the students are entitled to free lunches because of
their poor economic background. As a group, they are underachievers:
According to a recent quality assessment by the Department of Education,
only 2% of the students met state standards in math, and 6% in English,
as measured by test results. In 2011, a review by the Department of
Education deemed the school at priority status because the students were
not meeting the benchmarks for New York State testing, a status that
remains in effect today.

What all the students have in common is the need for a relationship with
an adult who understands and believes in them, he says. For many kids,
Tatik is that adult. "Who's to say one of them can't cure cancer?" he
said, noting that he often tells them, "You're just as smart as the kids
on the Upper East Side, Long Island and Manhattan."

His faith has not gone unnoticed by colleagues and students. "They see
he wears his yarmulke and his little strings. He prays. He eats certain
food. He's strictly by his religion," said Edith Holloway, an assistant
teacher. At a teachers conference earlier this year, Tatik drew
attention by ordering in from a kosher Chinese restaurant. "I didn't
even know they have a Chinese restaurant for kosher people," Holloway
said. "Now other staff members like it, too. He turned them on to
something new."

But far from serving as a barrier that makes him a cultural mismatch
dividing him from his subjects, Tatik says his faith helps him connect:
"There is a feeling that we are all together as one in the world."

    Deena Yellin is a newspaper reporter in New Jersey whose work has
    appeared in The New York Times, Newsday, The Jerusalem Post and
    other publications. Reprinted from the Forward

                               WHAT'S NEW
                           Restored Synagogue

The historical building of the Grand synagogue in Kaluga, Russia, was
opened this past month. The opening marks almost 90 years since the last
time the synagogue welcomed Jewish worshippers at its doors. The Grand
synagogue of Kaluga was built by the community in 1913 and operated for
a dozen years until it was appropriated by the Communist government. Two
years ago, the regional government  returned the building to its
historical owners.

In another part of Russia, the oldest synagogue in S. Petersburg, known
as the "Small Synagogue," (in comparison to the Grand Choral Synagogue)
re-opened its doors after four years of renovations. The synagogue was
the hub of Jewish life in S. Petersburg even under the most grueling
conditions in the past century.

                            THE REBBE WRITES
                       6th of Shevat, 5728 (1968)

Blessing and Greeting:

I duly received your letter with the enclosed copy of a proposed will.

First of all, I wish to refer to the first part of your letter in which
you write about the birthdays of yourself, husband and children. I wish
each and every one of you hatzlocho [success] materially and
spiritually. These generally go hand in hand together, and insofar as a
Jew is concerned they not only go together, but with the supremacy of
the spiritual over the material. Such supremacy does not mean the
negation of the material but, on the contrary, to make the material a
means and a vehicle for all things good and holy. I particularly send
you my prayerful wishes that you and your husband should bring up your
children to a life of Torah, chupah [wedding canopy] and good deeds, in
good health and happiness with much hatzlacha for your husband in his
field and for you in yours.

...May G-d grant that you should have good news to report in all the

With blessing,

P.S. Inasmuch as you invite my suggestions in regard to your proposed
will, a matter which in this country is an accepted practice to make it
early in life, and it is a segula for long life - I will offer the
following suggestions, although I do not, of course, touch upon any of
the aspects relating to investments and the commercial handling of the
estate, etc.

Firstly, there is in my opinion an omission of an essential point,
namely the matter of tzedakah [charity]. To be sure, those who will,
after one hundred and twenty years, inherit their share of the estate
will, please  G-d, make provisions for the distribution of tzedakah of
their own good will. Nevertheless it is a personal mitzvah [commandment]
to provide for tzedakah rather than to leave it for others to do so,
even the closest members of the family. Moreover, the provision for
tzedakah should be one of the first clauses for a Jewish will.

Needless to say, the amount of tzedakah provided for in the will should
be according to the generosity of the testator. But if you wish my
opinion in this matter, I would suggest that the amount so provided
should be chomesh/one fifth of the net estate, with the proviso that the
distribution of the tzedakah should not be delayed until the whole
estate is properly and fully evaluated, but that a proportionate amount
of any and all distributions under the will should automatically be
deducted for tzedakah.

A further point which is also essential and indeed, should perhaps even
precede the tzedakah clause, as customary among Jews, is the matter of
arranging for the various expenses connected with funeral, including
tombstone, etc., in accordance with strict orthodox Jewish observance,
so that these expenses should again not be left to the discretion of
even the closest surviving members of the family.

In addition to the above, there are several other observations which I
would like to make to make sure that everything be done in fullest
accord with the Torah and yiddishkeit, especially in the matter of a
Will. Consequently, unless there are compelling reasons to the contrary,
I would suggest that the distinction which the Will makes (end of page
four) between surviving and predeceased children, namely that those who
are alive receive a full share individually, while the children of the
predeceased receive one share collectively - if this is the meaning of
the closure - be reconsidered, since it does not accord with the Torah.
For according to the Torah, the children of each predeceased heir
receive their parents' full share. Of course, the children of a
predeceased child all receive no more than the share their deceased
parent would have received were he alive, but no distinction is made
between living and deceased children insofar as their share is

A further observation from the Torah  viewpoint, and I trust you will
not mind my mentioning it, is that according to the Torah, when there
are sons and daughters, the daughters may receive any bequest which a
parent wishes to make for them in the form of a gift, but not in the
form of inheritance. Therefore it would be right, in my opinion, that a
Jewish Will should make a distinction between the sons and daughters,
such symbolic compliance being even if there is no more than on dollar
difference. The important thing in this case is that the Will should
bear evidence that it is made by a Jew whose life is based on the
eternal truths of our Torah.

Finally, a technical point, in reference to page eleven, line four: the
words "as then in effect" are usually added according to legal usage.

I am returning the copy of the Will herewith.

I have addressed the above letter to you, since it is in reply to the
letter which you wrote and signed. But, of course, my good wishes and
cordial regards extend equally to your husband.

The unique mission that is incumbent upon each and every person this
year is to actively seek opportunities to gather people together. Each
and every person wields influence on a certain number of people -
perhaps adults, perhaps children, and is able to influence them to
increase in all matters of Judaism. The foremost tool of influence is to
serve as a living example. Those who involve  themselves in this effort
will certainly see success - great and resounding success, far beyond
their own estimation.

                                            (26 Tishrei, 5748-1987)

                        A WORD FROM THE DIRECTOR
                         Rabbi Shmuel M. Butman
This Shabbat is the annual Kinus HaShluchim, the International
Convention of Emissaries of the Lubavitcher Rebbe. Over 3,000 emissaries
of the Rebbe from every continent in the world are arriving at Lubavitch
World Headquarters, 770 Eastern Parkway, for the annual conference.
After five days packed with Torah study, prayer, workshops, round table
discussions, and farbrengens, hey will go back to their communities with
renewed energy to continue carrying our their mission to prepare the
world for Moshiach!

This Shabbat is also the Shabbat on which we bless the new month of
Kislev, the third month of the Jewish calendar.

The name Kislev represents a fusion of opposites. "Kis" refers to a
state of concealment or covering over, whereas "lev" (lamed-vav) is
symbolic of the ultimate in revelation. (Lamed-vav, numerically
equivalent to 36, six times six, represents the highest level of
revelation of our six emotional powers.)

Kislev, in Chasidic tradition, is also called "the month of redemption."
The 10th of Kislev is the anniversary of release from Russian
imprisonment of Rabbi Dov Ber, the second Rebbe of Chabad-Lubavitch and
th 19th of Kislev is the release and anniversary of redemption of Rabbi
Shneur Zalman, founder of Chabad Chasidism. And, of course, we have the
victory and redemption of the Jewish people at the time of Chanuka that
we celebrate on the 25th of the month of Kislev.

May the coming month truly be a time of thanksgiving and redemption for
the entire Jewish people, with the coming of Moshiach and the Final

                          THOUGHTS THAT COUNT
The status of the field and the cave rose (Gen 23:17)

From Abraham's example we learn that we can elevate objects by acquiring
them for a holy purpose. In fact, the mere intention of using an object
for spiritual purposes sanctifies and uplifts it, even before we
actually use it, just as the Machpeila field was lifted out of its
former status even before Abramam buried Sara there.

                                           (Likutei Sichot vol. 35)

                                *  *  *

Isaac went out to pray in the field toward evening (Gen 24:63)

We recite the morning prayer before beginning our workday and the
evening prayer after completing our day's activities. In contrast, the
afternoon prayer requires us to stop in the midst of our mundane affairs
and focus on G-d. Our daily mundane affairs are symbolized by "the
field" the area outside the city limits, which is untamed and
uncultivated. Though instituting the afternoon prayer, Isaac transformed
"the field" into a place of prayer to God.The morning prayer undeniably
serves as our principal daily renewal of divine consciousness.
Nonetheless, afterwards, it remains to be seen how we will fare when we
go out in "the field.' Will the secular and materiel influence of "the
field' cause us to loose the spiritual awareness and closeness to G-d
that we achieved during the morning prayer? By stopping in the middle of
our mundane affairs in order to recite the afternoon prayer, we
demonstrate that our involvement in material affairs does not separate
us from G-d.

                                               (Sichot Kodesh 5715)

        Reprinted from the Synagogue Edition of the Kehot Chumash -
               Chabad House Publications, Kehot Publication Society

                            IT ONCE HAPPENED
It was a typical autumn day in 1906 when Rabbi Yedidya Horodner walked
into the "Tiferet Yisrael" synagogue in the Old City of Jerusalem with a
big smile on his face. With a grand flourish he placed a bottle of
whiskey and some cake on the table, and invited everyone to make a

The congregants wondered what the cause for celebration might be. A
rumor had been circulating that the day before, Rabbi Horodner had gone
to all the local yeshivot and distributed candy to the children.
Something good had obviously occurred, and they waited expectantly to
hear what it was.

Indeed, after everyone had made a blessing on the cake and lifted a few
glasses, the Rabbi filled them in:

The whole story revolved around the Rabbi's nephew, a 15-year-old boy
named Shmuel Rosen who was originally from Riga. His father, Rabbi Ozer
Rosen, had sent the lad to his uncle when he was only eight years old,
in the belief that there was no better place in the world to develop the
boy's intellectual talents than the holy city.

Rabbi Horodner raised little Shmuel as if he was his own son, and the
boy flourished. He was a delightful child, and exceptionally devoted to
his studies.

A few weeks ago, however, disaster had struck. After experiencing
deteriorating vision for several months, Shmuel was now completely
blind. The total darkness had set in as he was sitting and poring over a
volume of the Talmud.

The boy's spirit was completely broken. For days and nights he wept over
his fate, most bitterly over his inability to study Torah by himself.
Suffering from a profound sadness, he withdrew and rarely ventured from
his room.

His uncle felt helpless, until it occurred to him that a change of place
might do the boy good. He contacted his friend, Reb Shimon Hoizman of
Hebron, who agreed to let the boy stay in his house. Shmuel felt a
little better in Hebron, but remained very depressed.

At that time the Jewish community of Hebron was headed by two Torah
giants: the Sefardic Rabbi Chizkiyahu Medini (author of Sdei Chemed),
and the Chasidic Rabbi Shimon Menashe Chaikin, the chief Ashkenazic
authority in the city. Every evening at midnight, the two Rabbis would
go to the Cave of Machpeila, the resting place of the Jewish Patriarchs
and Matriarchs, to recite Tikun Chatzot (a special prayer lamenting the
destruction of the Holy Temple).

Reb Shimon Hoizman was very affected by the boy's suffering. But what
could he do to help? Then one evening, he came up with a plan...

About a half hour before midnight Reb Shimon went into Shmuel's room.
"Wake up, son," he whispered to him softly. "Get dressed and follow me."
The two went off into the night, in the direction of Rabbi Chaikin's

A few minutes later the two Rabbis could be seen approaching, on their
way to the Cave of Machpeila. As soon as they reached the spot where Reb
Shimon and Shmuel were standing, Reb Shimon disappeared and left Shmuel
by himself. The two Rabbis quickly realized that Shmuel was blind. With
gentleness they asked him how he had become sightless.

When the young man got up to the part about how he had become totally
blind while studying, Rabbi Medini asked if he remembered the last words
he had been able to see. "Of course I remember!" Shmuel responded. "They
were in Tractate Chulin, on the first side of page 36: 'On whom can we
count? Come, let us rely on the words of Rabbi Shimon [Bar Yochai]' "

The two Rabbis became very excited. "If that is the case," they said
almost simultaneously, "then you can certainly rely on the holy Rabbi
Shimon Bar Yochai to help you. Go to his grave in Meron, ask for his
blessing, and G-d will surely heal you."

The next morning Shmuel returned to Jerusalem, and the very same day he
and his uncle set off for Meron. It was a difficult journey, but after
several days they arrived safely. Even before they approached the holy
gravesite they were filled with a feeling of confidence. For days they
remained at the grave of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, praying steadily to
G-d for a miraculous recovery.

The miracle occurred exactly one week later. Rabbi Horodner was reading
aloud from the Gemara when all of sudden Shmuel let out a yelp. "Uncle!
I can see your shadow!"

Over the course of the next few days Shmuel's vision improved steadily,
until 13 days later it was restored completely. Still camped out at the
holy gravesite, uncle and nephew broke out into a spontaneous dance, as
they sang the verses that are traditionally sung on the anniversary of
Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai's passing:

"His teachings are our protection; they are the light of our eyes. He is
our advocate for good, Rabban Shimon Bar Yochai..."

                            MOSHIACH MATTERS
The Torah portion of Chayei Sara discusses Abraham's efforts to purchase
a kever in which to bury Sara. The word "kever" has dual meanings: A
tomb and a womb. The final redemption is likened to childbirth. At the
time of redemption, the Jewish people will emerge from both forms of
kever - from the womb of exile that gives birth to redemption and from
the tombs that G-d will personally open for the resurrection.

                                                      (Ohr Hatorah)

             END OF TEXT - L'CHAIM 1395 - Chayei Sara 5776

  • 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