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                         L'CHAIM - ISSUE # 1398
                           Copyright (c) 2015
                 Lubavitch Youth Organization - L.Y.O.
                              Brooklyn, NY
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   Dedicated to the memory of Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka Schneerson N.E.
        November 27, 2015      Vayishlach        15 Kislev, 5776

                              Light Bulbs

The light bulb is an important invention, one that illuminates our lives
and improves our standard of living.

Although history attributes the invention of the incandescent light bulb
to Thomas Edison, historians list 22 inventors of incandescent lamps
prior Edison. And, of course these scientists did not create the
properties of electricity and vacuum physics. They merely harnessed some
of the natural resources that G-d put into his world for the benefit of

But Edison is given credit because he was able to develop a suitable
material for the filament and a means of creating a vacuum in which the
light could burn.

We can find multiple similarities between the development of the
light-bulb and the way in which Chasidic teaching and the deeper
dimension of the Torah was revealed to us laymen.

The inner dimension of the Torah too, stems from properties dating back
to Sinai. Yet it took many centuries for it to become a vital component
of Jewish life.

This phenomenon was "observed" by Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai but remained
hidden even from the sages for centuries long. Then it was
"rediscovered" by the Kabbalists of the medieval age, and finally
clarified and refined by the Arizal to be released to the community of
sages to use this wisdom - like light-bulbs - to illuminate their own
lives and study halls, though not yet to the masses.

Only in 1698 the Baal Shem Tov came to this world with the mission of
finally inventing the "light-bulb" of Chasidut. He developed a model
which was now being manufactured by his many students, who became
lighthouses in their respective regions, and attracted thousands of
followers who could benefit from its light and warmth.

Subsequently, in 1745, came Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi, the leader who
made that "light bulb" available to every single Jew regardless of his
or her prior knowledge or affiliation. He provided an easy-to-follow
manual of how to use the "light-bulb" to illuminate our thought, speech
and actions and bring warmth and joy to every Jewish experience.

As with the light bulb, the factors that transformed the new invention
to become more useful to all were an effective incandescent material and
a higher vacuum. The Baal Shem recognized the G-dly soul that is latent
in every Jew, especially the simple ones, the material that allows them
to realize their potential as burning flames and luminaries. The vacuum
which allows the light of Chasidic teachings to shine and be more
effective than ever is the generations that come right before the coming
of Moshiach, that are so spiritually numb - the intense darkness before
the dawn.

This model is "economically viable," because G-d has given every Jew a
mission, and Chasidut teaches us how to direct our G-d given energy and
talents towards that mission.

Until the light-bulb was invented, people managed to get through life.
Now, modern-day life relies on it so heavily that it is no longer a
luxury but an inseparable part of everyone's life. Chasidut too, was a
luxury when it was revealed, but now we are required to deal with
spiritual challenges and opportunities that are indeed unmanageable if
not for Chasidut.

One more point of light: the incandescent light-bulb is in the process
of being replaced with brighter, stronger and longer-lasting sources of
light like LED lamps; Chasidut too, is just a "taste" of the "Torah of
Moshiach" which we will soon be able to enjoy in its entirety. And the
good news is that it's real close, and we could make it happen sooner.

  Condensed from an article by  Rabbi Levi Liberow from

The Torah portion of Vayishlach begins with the meeting between Esau
(interpreted by our Rabbis as the progenitor of Rome) and Jacob (the
ancestor of the Jewish people) and the Haftorah develops that theme,
focusing on the ultimate confrontation between these nations when:
"Saviors will ascend Mount Zion to judge the Mountain of Edom and the
sovereignty will be Gd's."

In truth, the conflict between the two is cosmic in nature. Esau is
identified with the body; its drives and its cravings. He is a hunter
and a man of violence. Jacob is identified with the soul. He is "a
simple man, dwelling in tents," "the tents of study," devoting his life
to the study of the Torah and straightforward, honest business dealings.

One might think: Well, that's perfect! There is no need for conflict.
Let Esau have the material realm and Jacob take the spiritual.

But from the very beginning of their conception, this compromise was not
accepted by either. In her womb, the Matriarch Rebecca felt an awesome
battle between the two. They were, in the words of our Sages, "fighting
over the inheritance of two worlds." For Jacob understands that the
purpose of creation is not for spirituality and physicality to remain
skew lines, but for the physical to become subsumed to the spiritual.
And Esau knows about the spiritual and desires to corrupt it.

And so there is a conflict between the two. This conflict is reflected
on an individual level, as the Esau and Jacob within each of us seek
dominion. And it is reflected on a national level in the struggles of
our people within the sphere of nations.

As stated above, the ultimate resolution of this struggle will be in the
era of Mashiach. That, however, is dependent on the service of each
individual. As each one of us defeats his individual Esau, achieving a
personal experience of redemption, the path is paved for an experience
of redemption in the world at large.

                                *  *  *

Our portion relates that, at their encounter, Jacob promised to visit
Esau at his home in Seir. In fact, however, he never made that journey.
Our Sages ask: Would Jacob, the embodiment of the attribute of truth,

They explain that Jacob's words were future-oriented. When would he keep
his promise? In the era of the Redemption, when "saviors will ascend
Mount Zion to judge the mountain of Esau."

The intent is that the interaction between Jacob and Esau is of cosmic
significance. For the ultimate of existence is not for the spiritual and
the physical to remain as separate realms, but for the two to be
intertwined and for spiritual awareness to encompass the worldly realm.
So while Esau - material reality - is dominant, Jacob will not visit
Seir. But ultimately, after the world will be refined and its spiritual
content brought to the surface, he will also go to Seir. For every
element of our existence must be brought into contact with essential

From Keeping in Touch, adapted by Rabbi E. Touger, published by

                             SLICE OF LIFE
                       From Teresopolis with Love
                             by Sara Gutman

          Adapted from a talk at Machon Chana Women's Yeshiva.

As I was preparing my words to share with you this evening, I began
thinking about where I am today and how far I have come.

I am from the small city of Teresopolis near Rio De Janiero, Brazil. I
did not grow up religiously observant in any way, nor did I know what it
means to be a Jew. My journey has been one step at a time. And looking
back I realize that G-d has  always made everything happen at the
perfect moment.

To make my long story short, I came to Machon Chana thanks to Rabbi
Yehoshua Goldman, the Rebbe's emissary in Rio. Rabbi Goldman has always
been there for me and my family, supporting us in every way possible.
After our family went through a number of challenges - my grandmother
had passed away and we had a devastating house fire - Rabbi Goldman felt
that it was a good time for me to learn about Judaism and to grow
spiritually. So he contacted Rabbi Shloma Majeski, principal of Machon
Chana to help smooth my application process.

As I said before, I was clueless before I came to Machon Chana and so I
came having no idea what to expect in regard to most Jewish observances,
Torah study, being part of a Jewish community, or even just life in the
United States!

Although I knew some English thanks to my studies in law school, I was
not fluent in the language. In addition, city life was the opposite of
the rural lifestyle that I had grown up with.

Initially, I was not able to understand many things that were taught in
the classes, not only because of the language barrier, but also because
I had never been exposed to some of even the basic Jewish concepts we
were studying.

I arrived right before Rosh Hashana. I had never kept kosher or
celebrated Shabbat. I had never seen a shofar or a Sukka. I had also
never seen so many beards and black hats!

It took time, but I soon came to  learn and understand that there is a
reason for all of the unusual things I was seeing, learning and
experiencing. And the most important reason of all is to make a stronger
connection with G-d.

The teachers were always so helpful and understanding, and in the dorm
every little detail was taken care of for us. This made me feel very
much at home and gave me the ability to adjust to my new environment.

When my mother came to visit me, she fell in love with Machon Chana. She
wanted so much to be part of the experience for herself and also so that
she could share it with my siblings. And thank G-d, arrangements were
made for my mother to be able to study here as well.

Machon Chana has had an impact not just on me but on my entire family.
All of the  opportunities that Machon Chana has given to me and now also
to my mother is unbelievable and I'm very grateful for all this.

I  can't begin to tell you how much I have learned at Machon Chana. But
if need to narrow it down to one thing specifically, it is love for
one's fellow Jew. Now I know the real meaning of this all-important
Jewish concept; all the people who helped us and everything they did and
keep doing' are real life examples of love of a fellow Jew. At Machon
Chana we learn by example.

No matter what level you are, Machon Chana makes you feel that you are
always growing and becoming a better person than the way you came in.

                                *  *  *

            by Malka Gutman (from a letter to Rabbi Majeski)

For a long time I knew nothing of my religion, or knew very little. For
some reason, despite my lack of knowledge, I would read King David's
Psalms whenever I had a chance, though I did not know the value of
reciting Psalms at the time. Now that I have had a chance to study some
Torah, I understand that these holy words written by King David as he
went through his various experiences of life are what kept me up. But at
the time, it was just something from deep inside me that I knew I needed
to read and that I was always happy to read

It has been such a privilege that my daughter, my friend, my great
companion, came to be with you in Machon Chana, and through her I was
able to begin to explore a life of Torah as well.

Never before in my life have I felt so happy and been so at peace!

Although it might seem as if I do not understand anything as I sit in
class, I am absorbing everything slowly. True, I am not starting in my
20s like most of the other students but my journey is different...

    To find out more about Machon Chana Women's Yeshiva or their ten day
    Winter Program call (718)552-2422 or email

                               WHAT'S NEW
                 Winter Study for College/Post-College

Study opportunities for college students and recent grads are offered by
Chabad-Lubavitch. Short-term programs in men's and women's yeshivas  for
beginners take place over winter break. The Winter Program of Machon
Chana Women's Yeshiva runs from December 24 - January 3 and takes place
in Brooklyn, New York. It includes classes, workshops, tours, and Jewish
cultural activities. For more info email or
call (718) 552-2422. To find out about other winter study programs for
college students visit or call (718) 510-8181.

                          Maimonides Completed

The 34th completion of the study of Maimonides' Mishne Torah took place
recently in locations around the world. The "Siyum HaRambam"  marked the
conclusion of the learning cycle and beginning of the new cycle
instituted by the Rebbe to unite the entire Jewish nation around
learning Torah.

                            THE REBBE WRITES
                      12th of Tammuz, 5720 [1960]

Greeting and Blessing:

This is to acknowledge receipt of your letter of the 8th of Sivan, in
which you touch upon the influence of Chabad and various other loyalties
and obligations, etc.

There is, of course, the general principle that the larger sum already
includes the smaller one, or, as our Sages expressed it, "In the sum of
200, 100 is included." I refer to the teachings and way of life of
Chassidus [Chasidic teachings]. For Chassidus did not come to minimize
in any way, Gd forbid, but to add to and strengthen all matters of Torah
and Mitzvoth by instilling a spirit of vivacity and enthusiasm into all
aspects of Jewish life. The Baal Shem Tov, whose 200th anniversary of
the completion of his life's work we have just observed on the 1st day
of Shovuoth, placed the emphasis on serving Gd with joy and on the
awareness of Gd's Providence which extends to everyone and in every
detail, in particular - two basic principles which go hand in hand
together. For, when one reflects on Gd's benevolent providence and His
constant watchfulness and care, etc., there is no room for anxiety, and
the Jew can indeed serve Gd with joy and gladness of heart.

Although you will suspect me of being favorably inclined to the
Chassidic point of view, and I will not deny it, and in any case it
would be futile to deny it, nevertheless the fact is that Chassidus, far
from creating a conflict in the matter of allegiance to the Torah and
Mitzvoth [commandments], is the ingredient which gives the necessary
flavor and zest to all matters of Torah and Mitzvoth, and can only
strengthen and vitalize all positive forces in Jewish life.

I say this in all sincerity and with the fullest conviction, and I hope
that you will accept these words in the spirit that they are given,
especially as I am writing this letter on the auspicious Day of
Liberation of my father-in-law of saintly memory, whose life and work
fully reflect the above. You are surely familiar with the conditions of
Jewish life in Soviet Russia in those days when, under the pressure of
extreme religious persecution, many spiritual Jewish leaders fled from
that country, and my father-in-law remained to carry the banner of the
Torah and Mitzvoth almost singlehanded. His work was not confined to the
Chassidic community, as you know, but to all sections of Jewry,
including, what you call "the other camp," supporting, materially and
spiritually, rabbis, yeshivoth and religious institutions also of the
other camp, and with the same selflessness and peril to his personal
safety, as he worked for the Chassidic community. This he did from the
profound conviction that there are no two camps in the Jewish people;
that the Jewish people is one people, united by one Torah, under one Gd.
This is a tradition that goes back to the founder of Chabad and the
founder of Chassidus in general who emphasized that the Chassidic
movement is not the property of one Chassidic group, but the heritage of
all our people, and that there will come a day when this will be
realized in the fullest measure.

It is remarkable that when one reads the letters and bans by the early
opponents to the Baal Shem Tov and his teachings, and if one does so
without prejudice and with an open mind, it should make everyone a
Chosid. In fact, the greater the attachment to, and veneration of, the
Gaon of Wilno, the chief opponent of Chassidim in those days, the
greater and more loyal a Chosid one should become. The reason is plain,
for those letters also state the reasons for opposing the Chassidim,
namely, the fear that they may weaken the foundations of the Torah, and
Mitzvoth. How wrong those apprehensions were is obvious. Stop any Jew in
the street, even one of the most stalwart adherents to "the other camp,"
and ask him, "What is a Chosid and what is his way of life?" he will
unhesitatingly reply something like this: "A Chosid is a bearded Jew
with long sidelocks, dressed in an old-fashioned way, who puts on two
pairs of Tefillin, prays much longer, boycotts the movies, careful to
eat only Shemura on Pesach [Passover], etc., etc." Further commentary is

I trust this will suffice on the subject matter, since this is the first
time we have directly touched upon this question.

With best wishes of the Day, the Day of Liberation of my father-in-law
of saintly memory, may his merits stand us all in good stead, and

With blessing

The essence of Hakhel (the gathering together of the Jewish people in
the Holy Temple once every seven years on the holiday of Sukkot) is
existent even while we still linger in galut (exile) without the Holy
Temple standing and without our own king. Hakhel is about strengthening
our commitment to Torah, a theme relevant whether or not we have a king,
whether or not we have a Holy Temple, and whether or not we can observe
the Shemita - Sabbatical year that precedes Hakhel.

                        A WORD FROM THE DIRECTOR
                         Rabbi Shmuel M. Butman

    On Tuesday (December 1 this year) we will celebrate the auspicious
    day of Yud Tes Kislev (the 19th of Kislev).
This is the day on which the first Chabad Rebbe, Rabbi Shneur Zalman of
Liadi, was released from his imprisonment in the infamous Spalerno

Rabbi Shneur Zalman was informed of his release from prison while he was
reading Psalms, at the precise moment that he was reading the verse, "He
redeemed my soul in peace..." (Psalms 55:19).

Our Sages have interpreted the word "peace" in this verse to mean one
who is occupied with Torah study, in deeds of kindness, and in prayer.
Thus, one's soul is "redeemed in peace" by being involved with these
"three pillars" upon which the world stands.

This year we have double the energy to expand and enhance our
involvement in these mitzvot:

The 19th of Kislev falls this year on the third day of the week,
Tuesday, the day on which, during Creation, the expression "And G-d saw
that it was good" (Genesis 1:10, 1:12) was repeated. Thus, we should do
it with twice as much enthusiasm and vigor.

The 19th of Kislev is known amongst Chasidim as Rosh HaShana of
Chasidut. As the purpose for the dissemination of Chasidut in the world
is to bring the revelation of Moshiach, it is appropriate, especially at
this time of year, to re-dedicate ourselves to assuring that all of our
actions help hasten Moshiach's revelation and the long-awaited

We will end with the traditional greeting on the 19th of Kislev: May you
be inscribed and may you be sealed for a good year in the study of
Chasidut and in the Chasidic ways of conduct.

                          THOUGHTS THAT COUNT
I lived - garti - with Laban (Gen. 22:5)

The letters of "garti" have the numerical value of 613. Jacob was
explaining that though he lived with the wicked Laban, he observed all
613 of the commandments of the Torah.


                                *  *  *

The remaining camp which is left may escape (Gen. 32:9)

This episode of Jacob and Esau in the Torah hints to the future
wanderings of the Jewish people in exile. "The remaining camp which is
left may escape" - G-d will never allow Esau to destroy the entire
Jewish nation. When one king issues a harsh decree against the Jews,
another king, in a different part of the world, will open his country's
doors and allow the Jews refuge.


                                *  *  *

Save me from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau (Gen. 32:12)

Jacob feared two things: The "hand of Esau" - Esau's sword, and "the
hand of my brother" - the hand of friendship Esau would extend toward
him. Fraternizing with Esau more than necessary worried Jacob even more
than the physical threat he posed. Esau's might threatened Jacob's body,
but the other put Jacob's soul in danger.

                                         (Rabbi Yosef-Ber of Brisk)

                                *  *  *

And Jacob came whole to the city of Shechem (Gen. 33:18)

Rashi explains this to mean that Jacob was sound in body, his wealth was
intact, and his Torah-observance was uncompromised. We learn from Jacob
to always strive for excellence in all areas of our lives. Even a person
whose primary path in the worship of G-d is through practical mitzvot
(commandments)  such as charity and good deeds - should also strive to
be perfect in study.

                                                   (Likutei Sichot)

                            IT ONCE HAPPENED
When the government authorities came to the house of Rabbi Shneur Zalman
(the Alter Rebbe), founder of Chabad Chasidut, to arrest him for the
first time, he slipped out the back door and went deep in the fields,
thus temporarily avoiding arrest. When the police did not find him at
home, they left. A short while later, the Alter Rebbe returned home.

Reb Shmuel Munkes considered the situation and decided that he must
speak with the Alter Rebbe. He knocked on the door of the Alter Rebbe's
room and identified himself. The Alter Rebbe allowed him in and he asked
Reb Shmuel if he was aware of the seriousness of the situation. Reb
Shmuel began relating the following story:

Rebbe Menachem Mendel of Horodok had a Jewish wagon-driver whom he
frequently employed. At one point, however, Rebbe Menachem Mendel did
not travel for many months. The wagon-driver and his family suffered
from this lack of income. Finally, the wagon driver sold his horse and
carriage and bought a dairy cow with the money. With the proceeds from
the sale of the milk, the former wagon-driver was able to eke out a

Time passed and Rebbe Menachem Mendel suddenly called the man. "I would
like you to take me on a journey," he requested.

"I'm truly sorry, Rebbe," the man explained, "but I sold my horse and
carriage and have bought a milking cow in order to provide for my

"Sell your cow and purchase a horse and carriage," Rebbe Menachem Mendel
instructed him. "I need to set out as soon as possible."

Without any hesitation, the man did as the Rebbe requested. As they
traveled, the Rebbe pressed the driver, "I am in a hurry, let us go

The driver whipped the horses and the carriage sped onwards. Soon, they
were going downhill very quickly, with the driver barely able to control
the galloping horses. To his horror, he saw they were heading straight
toward a palatial house at the bottom of the hill. His efforts to slow
the horses were unsuccessful and the carriage went right through the
yard and stopped only after it broke a window of the house.

The poritz who owned the mansion was enraged and stormed out toward the
carriage, pointing his rifle at the driver. "You did this!" he shouted.

"No, no! Not me!" cried the terrified man. "It's not my fault, but his!"
he said, pointing to Rebbe Menachem Mendel who was sitting behind him
meditating, oblivious to the entire incident.

The poritz aimed his rifle at the Rebbe. As he was about to fire, he
suddenly froze, unable to move a limb in his body. The other members of
the household had also come running outside. When they saw the poritz
paralyzed, they begged the Rebbe for forgiveness and asked him to remove
his curse.

"If he will promise never to harm a Jew, he will be cured," answered the

The poritz indicated his consent by nodding his head slightly, and his
ability to move was restored. Later, as they continued their journey,
Rebbe Menachem Mendel turned to the driver and asked, "How could you do
this! Why did you put the blame on me? The poritz almost killed me!"

"Rebbe," replied the driver in all sincerity and with utmost respect,
"when you didn't travel for months, I accepted it. Then, when you
instructed me to sell my cow, I immediately did so. Though my family was
left without an income, I trusted that you were a Rebbe and had reasons
for making the request. When you told me to go more quickly I did so,
though no wagon-driver allows his horses to run downhill.

"So, when the poritz came out, I figured, if you are truly a Rebbe, he
will not be able to harm you. And if you are not, then you would have
deserved everything you would have gotten. For, how could you have left
an entire family going hungry for bread?"

Concluding his story, Reb Shmuel said to the Alter Rebbe, "If you are a
Rebbe, you have nothing to fear by being arrested. If you are not, what
right did you have to deprive thousands of Chassidim from enjoying the
pleasures of this world?!"

Reprinted from Early Chasidic Personalities by Rabbi Sholom Ber Avtzon

                            MOSHIACH MATTERS
Just as now we grasp physical reality as something natural, in the time
of Moshiach we will grasp Gdliness as something natural. Not like the
revelation of Torah secrets now, which comes only to select individuals
like the Rashbi (Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai) and his colleagues, as
something astounding like an amazing wonder which stirs the heart of the
one who sees it...but in the time of Moshiach there won't be in an
astounding way at all, and the secrets of the Torah will not be called
by the name "secrets" nor by the name "wonders."

       (Rabbi Shalom Ber of Lubavitch, From Yalkut Moshiah U'Geulah
                          al Hatorah complied by Rabbi Dovid Dubov)

              END OF TEXT - L'CHAIM 1398 - Vayishlach 5776

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