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                         L'CHAIM - ISSUE # 1404
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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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        January 8, 2016          Vaera            27 Tevet, 5776
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                            True Leadership

As the Presidential Primaries are kicking off in the United States, it's
a chance to reflect on how beneficial it can be for a community, nation,
or the world, to have true leaders.

A great Sage, Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi, once asked Elijah the Prophet if
he could accompany him on some of his G-dly missions. Elijah agreed on
the condition that Rabbi Yehoshua not ask the reason for any of his
actions. Rabbi Yehoshua agreed and off they went.

Many unusual occurrences took place over the course of their days
together, but the final and most curious, was the following: Elijah and
Rabbi Yehoshua, dressed as two wanderers, arrived at a wealthy village
late one evening. Though any of the village's inhabitants could have
comfortably and easily housed and fed the wanderers, no offers were
forthcoming. No one even offered them a glass of water!

They spent the evening in the synagogue, sleeping on the hard benches
there. When they awoke in the morning, before they began their day's
journey, Elijah intoned, "May the people of this village all be
leaders."

Toward evening, Elijah and Rabbi Yehoshua arrived at another village.
Unlike the first village, as soon as the townsfolk saw new faces they
gathered around and joyfully vied for the mitzva (commandment) of
housing and feeding the two wanderers. The guests were accorded much
honor and were graciously offered places to sleep, refresh themselves,
eat, etc.

In the morning, with much appreciation and thanks, the two wanderers
parted from the villagers. But before leaving, Elijah stopped and
intoned, "May this village only have one leader."

This last statement by Elijah was too much for Rabbi Yehoshua and,
though he had agreed he would not ask the prophet any questions, he
could hold back no longer.

"Why did you bless the village that scorned us by praying that all the
people be leaders, and curse the village that helped us by praying that
they have only one leader?"

Elijah replied, "You do not understand the ways of heaven. I did not
bless the first village; it was the second village I blessed."

He then explained, "If a town has many leaders, there will be no peace.
There will be strife, conflicts, politics. However, if a village has one
leader, a leader who cares about every individual and worries about the
welfare of all those under his protection, then that village is truly
blessed.

If the leader is a true leader, then he will be humble and wise,
G-d-fearing and compassionate. He will know that he is an extension of
G-d - the Ultimate Leader - in this world, and his every action will be
ruled by this knowledge. Such a village will know peace, harmony,
prosperity, good fortune, and spiritual growth."

Today, more than ever before, we see that the whole world is really a
"global village." May we very soon hear from Elijah himself, the prophet
who will herald the Redemption, of the revelation of the one true leader
that this global village so desperately needs and essentially wants,
Moshiach.

*********************************************************************
           LIVING WITH THE REBBE  -  THE WEEKLY TORAH PORTION
*********************************************************************
This week's Torah reading opens with the verse: "And I appeared to
Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob as the A-lmighty Sha-dai, but My name
Y-H-V-H I did not make known to them." Why are there different names for
G-d? And what is the significance in using one name over the other?

The Midrash asks these questions and, in resolution, quotes G-d as
saying: "I am called according to My deeds," i.e., each of the different
names of G-d is associated with a particular quality or attribute.
Kabbalah expands further on this concept, deriving different insights
from the letters of the names and their vocalizations. The name Sha-dai
contains the Hebrew world dai which means "enough." Indeed, in
explanation of the significance of that name, our Sages quote G-d as
saying: "It was I who told the world 'enough.'" In other words, Sha-dai
refers to the aspect of Gdliness that establishes the limitations of the
world's existence, concentrating G-d's infinite light in a measured
manner that will enable the creation of a world in which Gdliness is
hidden.

G-d's name Y-H-V-H, by contrast, represents the revelation of Gdliness
in all its infinity. For that reason, the name Y-H-V-H is not
pronounced. Its light is too powerful and all-encompassing to be
expressed in speech.

On this basis, we can understand the interchange between Moses and G-d.
At the conclusion of last week's Torah reading, Moses had complained
that after he had communicated G-d's demand that Pharaoh release the
Jews, the Egyptians' oppression had become more intense.

G-d answered by saying that the world was about to experience a
fundamental change in the nature of Divine revelation. Until this time,
even spiritual giants like the Patriarchs and Matriarchs received only a
limited revelation of Gdliness, for Gdliness was within the context of
the name Sha-dai, i.e., according to the limitations that prevailed in
the world.

In the future, Jews and the world at large would receive a revelation of
the name Y-H-V-H, revealing G-d's infinity. In order to receive that
revelation, they and the world had to be purified and the means of
purification G-d ordained was the hardship and oppression in Egypt. From
that time on, things changed radically. First, there were overt and
apparent miracles. The plagues showed how the natural order could be
bent and broken at will.

Beyond that, the Jews left Egypt. The Hebrew term for Egypt, Mitzrayim,
relates to the word meitzarim, meaning "boundaries" or "limitations."
The exodus represented a departure from the boundaries and limitations
or ordinary material existence.

But the ultimate revelation of G-d's name Y-H-V-H came at the time of
the Giving of the Torah. From that point onward, every time a Jew
performs a mitzva (commandment), he or she establishes an essential bond
with G-d, relating to a higher rung of Gdliness than the Patriarchs
could access.

            From Keeping in Touch, Vol. 4, adapted by Rabbi Eliyahu
                             Touger, published by Sichos in English

*********************************************************************
                             SLICE OF LIFE
*********************************************************************
                            Return to Roots
                           by Nosson Avrohom

"All my life I searched for meaning and depth," says Rabbi Noam Wolpin,
the Rebbe's emissary to kibbutzim in the upper Galilee of Israel. Noam
was born and raised on the secular Kibbutz Maayan Baruch in northern
Israel.

Despite his search for a meaningful life, Noam never delved into
Judaism, being certain that it would not have the answers. In addition
to being very athletic and involved in sports, Noam would spend hours in
the kibbutz library, reading books on psychology and Eastern religions.

When Noam reached draft age, he was attached to an intelligence unit.
His search for meaning intensified during his army service and
immediately following it he threw himself into the study of law. He
began his studies at Tel Hai College, but soon after he decided to take
a break and travel abroad.

Noam travelled to India to study Buddhism. His quick grasp of concepts
and his dynamic personality led him from being a student to becoming a
guru in his own right. A large group of disciples clung to him.

Every now and then he would wander through India, visiting various towns
and villages. His followers pursued him. Among them were many young
Israelis as well as non-Jews from Europe and local Indians who called
him "Enlightened One."

For nearly ten years this was Noam's life. Until a number of occurrences
happened one after the other that he could not ignore. "I felt for the
first time in my life that there is a Creator. I understood that in this
world there are hidden forces that we do not understand, but they run
everything in this world, plant life, animal and human life, and even
the inanimate. This reality that I sensed contradicted the atheistic
education I received on the kibbutz."

"A war began within me. On the one hand, everyone said I was enlightened
and influencing their lives; on the other hand, I felt I was living a
life far from what my soul sought. I was surrounded by admirers but
inside I felt lacking, I felt this was not it, there was something
greater."

"One time, one of my followers went for a visit home to Israel. When he
returned, he brought with him a CD of songs in Hebrew with some words
from Psalms. In the meditations that we did, we began including these
songs instead of Indian mantras. Everyone felt that their connection to
the spiritual side of things was far more powerful than when they
chanted the Indian mantras."

A short while later Noam met the woman who would become his wife.
Although she came from an non-religious home, she had decided before
leaving Israel that throughout her travels she would light Shabbat
candles every week.

"It is not something I can explain, but the candles moved me. I looked
at them flickering and felt they infused me with peace. I felt that this
was an elevated G-dly light. In the midst of a billion non-Jews, stood a
Jewish woman who clung to her ancestors' traditions and was proud of her
Judaism. The feeling this gave me was greater than all of the best
meditative experiences I had in my life."

Noam left India with his wife, to the surprise of his followers, and
returned to Israel.

"One day, I visited an old acquaintance and he said to me, 'Noam,
someone left a bunch of books with me. I haven't looked at them. If you
want, you can have them.' There were prayer books and other Torah books.
I decided to take them. I put them in my study at home.

"Every morning I would get up at sunrise and meditate for hours. One
morning, I felt compelled to take out a prayer book from the study."

From then on, daily, Noam would take the prayer book and read. Each
morning he would read at whatever random page he opened to. The words of
the prayer book moved him. He felt, for the first time in his life, that
he was in contact with something true. He felt the powerful feeling of
longing he had felt all his life begin to calm. But, he was far from
satisfied.

"One night, we were sitting and discussing our lives and what is the
most correct way to live. When I got up the next day, I told my wife
that I was going to fast for three days. 'What happened?' she asked in a
fright, thinking I had lost my mind. I told her that I had a dream in
which I saw a Jew with a noble face who said to me that in order to be
cleansed of the negative energy in which I had been immersed, I needed
to fast for three days."

When Noam eventually became involved with Chabad, he was astounded to
discover that the person he had seen in his dream was the Rebbe.

Slowly the Wolpins took upon themselves the observance of various
mitzvot (commandments) such as  keeping kosher, praying regularly and
Sabbath observance.

When they moved further north, to Rosh Pina, they became close with the
Chabad emissaries there. "For the first time, I was exposed to people
with a genuine sense of giving. It was the 'final straw' for me. I felt
that this was precisely what my soul sought all along. It was a
fantastic feeling of real inner joy like a lost son who seeks the father
he never knew and finally finds him. The Chabad Chassidim in Rosh Pina
were role models for me of authentic, humble Jews, people of
self-sacrifice suffused with Jewish pride. The Wolpins became an
integral part of the community.

Over the next few years, the Wolpins moved around. Though successful in
the field of Jewish education, they still felt they had not find their
niche.

When the opportunity to become emissaries of the Rebbe at Tel Hai
College, the university where Noam had started his law degree, opened
up, they decided to take it. For Noam, the "return to roots" was
complete when they  settled on the very same kibbutz where he had grown
up.

"Many of the students have traveled a lot in the Far East, so we 'speak
their language.' We know how to interact with them." Noam has also
renewed contact with Israelis who were with him in India, but this time
he is sharing with them the eternal teachings of Torah and Chasidut.

                              Reprinted from Beis Moshiach Magazine

*********************************************************************
                               WHAT'S NEW
*********************************************************************
                            New Torah Scroll

Chabad of Hanoi, Vietnam made history as they welcomed a new Torah
Scroll. The Torah is one of seven newly written Torah scrolls donated by
Chilean businessman and philanthropist, Leonardo Farkas, to Chabad
Houses around the world.

                             New Emissaries


Rabbi Yaakov Yosef and Chaya Raskin recently moved to Huntington
Village, Long Island, to open a new Chabad Center on the north shore of
Long Island. They will be focusing on Shabbat and holiday programs,
Friendship Circle, weekly classes and individualized study sessions and
hospital visitation.

                            Newly Renovated


The synagogue in Vladivostok, Russia, was built in 1916 and confiscated
by communist authorities in 1932 who  turned it into a candy factory.
Returned to the Jewish community a decade ago, it has recently reopened
after a total refurbishment. The synagogue is under the FJC.

*********************************************************************
                            THE REBBE WRITES
*********************************************************************
                       28th of Teves 5721 [1961]

I received your recent letter and the previous one. Needless to say, I
was somewhat taken aback by the tone of your letter. It is a good
illustration of how it is possible for a person to read and to learn and
to receive instruction from books and teachers, and yet when it comes to
actual experience all this instruction goes by the wayside.

I refer to the things which you have surely learned in the books of
mussar [ethics] and especially Chassidus about the tactics of the Yetzer
Hora (evil inclination) to instill a spirit of depression,
discouragement and despondency in order to prevent the Jewish person
from fulfilling his Divine mission. This is the most effective approach.
If the Yetzer Hora would attempt to dissuade a person directly from
fulfilling his mission, he would not be easily misled. However, instead,
the Yetzer tries to discourage the person in all sorts of ways, using
"pious" arguments which unfortunately often prove effective at least in
some degree.

This is exactly what has happened in your case and I am surprised that
you do not realize it. The proof is that from the information I have
received I can see that you have accomplished a great deal more than you
imagine...

Let me also add another important and essential consideration. You
surely know of the saying of the Baal Shem Tov that a soul comes down to
live on this earth for a period of 70 to 80 years for the sole purpose
to do another Jew a single favor, materially or spiritually. In other
words, it is worthwhile for a Jewish soul to make that tremendous
journey and descent from heaven to earth in order to do something once
for a fellow Jew. In your case the journey was only from the U.S.A.
to..., and can in no way be compared to the journey of the soul from
heaven to earth; and however pessimistic you may feel, even the Yetzer
Hora would have to agree that you have done not only a single favor but
numerous good deeds, and even only your work with the children of the
Gan [kindergarten] would have justified it.

Considering further that every beginning is difficult especially where
there is a change of place and environment, language, etc., and yet the
beginning has proved so successful, so one is surely justified in
expecting that as time goes on and the initial difficulties are
minimized and overcome, there will be a more than corresponding
improvement in the good accomplishments.

As for your mentioning the fact that no one seems interested in your
work, etc., surely you will admit that G-d, whose knowledge and
providence extends to everyone individually, knows and is interested in
what you are doing, especially as you are working in the field of
education of Jewish children, boys and girls, which is so much
emphasized in the Torah. After all, to teach children to make a beracha
[blessing] and to say the prayers, etc., this is living Yiddishkeit
[Judaism]. (I need hardly add too that I am interested in your work). If
it seems to you that it has been left to you to "carry the ball"
yourself, it is surely only because there is confidence in you and that
since you have been sent to . . . you undoubtedly have the ability,
qualifications, and initiative to do your job without outside prompting,
etc.

Since one is only human, it is not unusual to relapse occasionally into
a mood of discouragement. But as has been explained in the [book of]
Tanya and in other sources, such a relapse should only serve as a
challenge to bring forth additional inner reserves and energy to
overcome the tactics of the Yetzer Hora and to do ever better than
before.

I trust that since you wrote your letter, your mood and outlook have
considerably improved and that this letter will find you in a completely
different frame of mind. Nevertheless, I am sending you this letter
since one is only human and subject to changes of mind as mentioned
above.

Finally I want to say that the above should not be understood to mean
that if you do find yourself in such a frame of mind you should try to
conceal it and not write about it, for our Sages say that "when someone
has an anxiety he should relate it to others" for getting something off
one's chest is a relief in itself. One should also bear in mind, as the
Old Rebbe has stated most emphatically in the laws of learning and
teaching Torah, that a person who is engaged in teaching children should
especially take care of his health since it directly affects the success
of his work. I trust therefore that you are looking after yourself in
matters of diet and rest, etc., and that you will always be in a state
of cheerfulness and gladness.

*********************************************************************
                               TEACHINGS
*********************************************************************
The source of the commandment of Hakhel is that the essence of the
Jewish people is the Torah and it is incumbent upon each and every Jew
to gather together - men, women and children - to hear it read. The talk
of all the nation would then be: "Why have we assembled for this large
gathering?" And the answer would be: "To hear the words of the Torah -
our essence, glory and pride!" This would lead them to praise the Torah
and speak of its glorious worth, and implant within their hearts a
desire and motivation to study and know G-d.

                                              (Sefer Hachinuch 612)

*********************************************************************
                        A WORD FROM THE DIRECTOR
                         Rabbi Shmuel M. Butman
*********************************************************************
This coming Shabbat is the birthday of Rebbetzin Chana, the illustrious
mother of the Rebbe.

Two stories recounted by the Rebbe at gatherings in honor of his
mother's yahrzeit illustrate a fundamental concept.

The first anecdote took place when the Rebbe's father, Rabbi Levi
Yitzchak, was in exile. Rebbetzin Chana ingeniously managed to produce
different color inks from wild plants for Rabbi Levi Yitzchak to use in
writing his Torah innovations, as he was not even afforded ink with
which to write.

The second incident took place after Rabbi Levi Yitzchak's passing.
Rebbetzin Chana miraculously succeeded in smuggling Rabbi Levi
Yitzchak's writings out of Communist Russia.

The Rebbe explained that these two incidents teach us that when, by
Divine Providence, a mission is given to an individual - even if that
mission seems utterly futile or impossible - one's efforts will
ultimately be crowned with success.

Though one must work within the confines of nature, one must not be
constricted by nature, for it is the infinite and supranatural G-d who
has presented one with this mission.

As our Divinely appointed mission in these last moments of exile is to
hasten the Redemption's arrival and prepare ourselves for the
long-awaited Messianic Era, we can look to Rebbetzin Chana, for
inspiration.

*********************************************************************
                          THOUGHTS THAT COUNT
*********************************************************************
Behold, the Children of Israel have not hearkened to me; how then shall
Pharaoh hear me? (Ex. 6:12)

Why was Moses comparing the Children of Israel to Pharaoh? The Jews had
a legitimate reason for not listening to Moses--they were too
preoccupied with their own suffering. But why would Moses think that
Pharaoh would refuse to heed his words? Rather, Moses was afraid that
Pharaoh would listen to G-d's warning--thereby making the Children of
Israel look bad by comparison. He therefore refused to appear before
Pharaoh to carry the message.

                                         (Rabbi Yonatan Eibeschutz)

                                *  *  *


You shall speak (tedaber) all that I command you (Ex.7:2)

The word "tedaber" is related to "tadber" -- "and you shall rule over."
The defeat of Pharaoh, the epitome of arrogance and pride, could only be
brought about by an individual such as Moses, the epitome of humility
and nullification before G-d.

                                                      (Torat Chaim)

                                *  *  *


And I will harden the heart of Pharaoh (Ex. 7:3)

If Pharaoh deserved to be punished, why didn't G-d merely punish him
without taking away his free will? Rather, Pharaoh's punishment was
meted out by G-d measure for measure. Pharaoh rebelled against G-d,
saying, "Who is G-d that I should obey His voice?" Anyone who insolently
refuses to recognize G-d, and thinks he can do as he pleases, deserves
that G-d show him he is not his own boss.

                                            (The Lubavitcher Rebbe)

                                *  *  *


But Aaron's staff swallowed up their staffs (Ex. 7:12)

From Aaron's staff we learn about the resurrection of the dead that will
take place in Messianic times: If a lifeless staff, a dry piece of wood,
can be transformed into a living entity, how much more so can a human
being, consisting of a physical body and soul, be restored to life!

                                                            (Zohar)

*********************************************************************
                            IT ONCE HAPPENED
*********************************************************************
When the stranger entered the little shul, the regulars were curious --
who was he and why had he come to their town. But he was in a great
hurry and so, he was relieved to see a quorum of men already assembled,
ready to begin the morning prayers. There was no rabbi there, and not
wanting to wait, the stranger ascended the bima. The "regulars" were
surprised and offended that this unknown man presumed to lead the
prayers. After all, who was this fellow, who didn't even have the
courtesy to wait a few minutes for the rabbi or the president of the
congregation?

The stranger had already begun the morning service when the president
arrived. Seeing a stranger at the bima, he rushed up to him and said,
"What a chutzpa! Who do you think you are to begin the prayers before
the rabbi or I have arrived!" And he continued berating the man in this
fashion.

The stranger, however, just kept silent. But his refusal to respond
infuriated the president even more and he blurted out, "Don't you see
who's speaking to you?"

Finally the stranger replied in a quiet voice, "You also do not see to
whom you are speaking."

No sooner had those words been uttered than everything went dark before
the president's eyes. He rushed to a doctor, then to a specialist - to
several specialists - but no one could find a cause for his sudden
blindness. He tried every treatment that was suggested to him, but
nothing proved a cure.

Then, it dawned upon him: when had his blindness begun? After he had
angry words with the stranger in the shul. Undoubtedly he had offended a
hidden tzadik with his words, and this was the consequence of his anger.

In despair, he decided to travel to the Baal Shem Tov. He had heard
about this great tzadik; maybe he could help.

"Rebbe, I have heard that you can perform miracles. I have been blind
since I angered a certain hidden tzadik. My problem is that I don't know
who he is or where I can find him."

The Baal Shem Tov replied, "The man is my disciple, Reb Yaakov Koppel,
and you sinned against him with your angry speech. Go to him and beg his
forgiveness. If he forgives you, your blindness will be cured."

The man indeed traveled to Reb Yaakov, who accepted his apology. His
sight returned as quickly as it had vanished.

                                *  *  *


The morning prayers had just ended. The Baal Shem Tov, who was an
esteemed visitor in the town, was about to wash his hands before
partaking of a meal, when a distraught woman approached him. She had
waited throughout the whole service and could contain herself no longer.

"Rebbe! My husband has been missing for a very long time. I have done
everything I can think of to try to find him, but I have no idea where
he went. What will happen to me? Please, Rebbe, help me find him," the
woman wept.

The Baal Shem Tov stood there, his washing cup poised to pour water on
his hands in preparation for the blessing on bread, but instead of
continuing, he stopped and responded to the woman.

"You will find your husband in the city of M."

Infused with new hope, the woman departed. But the rabbi of the city,
who had heard a great deal about the Baal Shem Tov, had been watching
the exchange. Now he had what seemed to him to be a serious question of
Jewish law.

"I beg your pardon," began the rabbi, "I was watching your exchange with
the woman, and it seems to me that you were saying words of prophecy to
her. If that was true, I think you were required to have washed your
hands before speaking."

The Baal Shem Tov responded to the rabbi with a question: "If you saw
chickens suddenly fluttering about your table set with expensive
glassware, what would your reaction be? I think you would automatically
reach out to chase them away."

The rabbi acquiesced, but he clearly was not following the Baal Shem
Tov's logic.

"I did what came naturally to me," the Baal Shem Tov continued. "I saw
standing before me a woman who was in utter despair almost to the
breaking point. I knew where her husband was. Do you imagine that I
should have continued washing my hands while she stood suffering before
my eyes?"

*********************************************************************
                            MOSHIACH MATTERS
*********************************************************************
After the resurrection all will rise...the Patriarchs and Matriarchs,
Moses and Aaron, all the righteous ones and the prophets, tens of
thousands beyond number. Is it possible that Moshiach will teach them
the same Torah that is revealed to us today?... Will all who knew the
whole Torah be required to learn new laws from Moshiach? We must
therefore say that Moshiach will instruct them in the "good of
discernment and knowledge of the secrets of the esoteric teachings of
Torah," that the "eyes will not have seen." Moses and the Patriarchs not
having been privileged to that knowledge, for only to Moshiach will it
be revealed as it is written of him, "and be very high."

                                      (Likkutei Torah, Tzav 17aff.)

*********************************************************************
                END OF TEXT - L'CHAIM 1404 - Vaera 5776
*********************************************************************

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