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 # 1409
                           Copyright (c) 2016
                 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.
        February 12, 2016       Terumah           3 Adar I, 5776

                             Routine or Rut

                      by Rabbi David Y.B. Kaufmann

What's the difference between a routine and a rut? We don't say about a
car, for example, that it needs a rut maintenance. It needs a routine
maintenance. The same thing applies to things we do on a daily basis,
like brushing our teeth or eating breakfast. It's a routine, not a rut.

But if we ask for a definition, we'll get something similar. A rut is
being stuck and not going anywhere. A routine is doing the same thing
over and over again. But being in a rut can involve 'going through the
motions' - doing something over and over again.

Of course, we recognize the difference. A routine has a purpose. We
don't take the car in for routine maintenance just because. We do it
because we want the car to function properly. The same is true for daily
activities. We brush our teeth so they will be healthy. We eat breakfast
so we can have energy to do what we need to during the day.

We have routines at work to maintain efficiency and to make sure things
get done properly. Athletes have routines - certain things they do when
practicing - so that they can perform during the game.

Routines also have what we can call intention. Even if we're going
through a routine automatically, we do it with intention. There's a
conscious effort, a will, behind a routine. We gear ourselves up: now I
am going to do this, now I am going to do that.

The intention that drives a routine may be only semi-conscious at some
points. But there is an awareness that we're doing this repetitive
activity for a purpose. We have a goal in mind.

When dealing with a bureaucracy or a company that has to go through its
process, its routine, we can get annoyed at the length of time and the
layers we have to go through, but sometimes (not always) that routine is
a safeguard, not just for them, but for us. And we go through the
process because, again, we have a purpose.

Routines can be annoying and it often takes an effort to get into one,
to get started. But they're important for organizing our lives.

A rut, on the other hand, is a repetitive process without intention. We
do it because we have to. There's a sense of purposelessness, of why
bother. This occurs not only before we start doing the activity, but
continues while we're doing it.  When we're in a rut, we don't act with
intention. We have a feeling of helplessness, even despair.

The thing is, the same activity can be a routine or a rut. When we pray,
for example, it can be an important part of our daily routine. Or it can
be a 'going through the motions,' an activity we do but without any
sense of purpose, any real intention behind the words.

It's easy to slip from routine into rut. It's hard to go from rut to
routine. Both are repetitive activities, so maintaining a sense of
purpose, maintaining intention, becomes the difference maker. And that's
hard to do, because it requires a conscious effort.

But to accomplish something, to create significance, we need routines.
Routines help build dedication. Ruts, on the other hand, keep us from

However, since the same activity can be a routine or a rut, clearly the
difference is in our minds. Because routines have a purpose, because
they exist to take us elsewhere, they let us perform. Therefore,
routines lead us outward, towards others, and a significance greater
than ourselves. Ruts lead us inward, to self-absorption and an inability
to get beyond the ego. How we think about something, how we approach it,
can make all the difference in the world.


This week's Torah portion, Teruma, communicates the command to build a
Sanctuary. G-d told the Jewish people: "Make Me a Sanctuary and I will
dwell within...." The Sanctuary, and later the Holy Temple in Jerusalem
was "the place which G-d... chose... to place His name there." This was
His home on earth, as it were. Just like a person can relax and express
himself without inhibitions in his own home, so too, the Temple was -
and will be - the place where G-dliness was revealed without

In every person's individual world, his soul rests in his mind, and that
makes his entire body human. Similarly, in the world at large, G-d's
presence rested in the Temple, and that made it possible for us to
appreciate G-dliness in every element of existence. The existence of the
Temple makes the entire world His home.

Our Rabbis teach us that the Hebrew word for "within" b'tocham,
literally means "within them," not "within it." Building a Sanctuary for
G-d did not mean merely erecting a structure where His presence would be
manifest. Instead, the intent was that every single person would become
"a sanctuary in microcosm," for G-d would dwell "within them," within
each and every individual.

All the details about which the Torah portion speaks have parallels in
our relationship to G-d. They are not just particulars that existed in
the Sanctuary long ago, but are instead ongoing motifs relevant to our
bond with G-d. The ark in the Holy of Holies where the Divine Presence
rested refers to the inner reaches that exist within our heart. For in
each of us, there is a resting place for the Divine.

Similarly, the Sanctuary and the Temple contained:

the Menora, the golden candelabra; this points to the potential we all
possess to shine forth G-dly light and illuminate our surroundings;

the table, on which the showbread was placed; this points to our
potential to earn a livelihood; this is also a holy endeavor deserving
of a place in the Sanctuary; and

the altar, where sacrifices were brought. Korban, Hebrew for sacrifice,
relates to the word karov, meaning "close"; through the sacrifices, we
draw close to G-d.

Although we no longer have the Sanctuary built by Moses, nor the Temple
in Jerusalem, the sanctuary in every Jewish heart remains. The home for
G-d within us is an inseparable element of our existence.

                      From Keeping In Touch by Rabbi Eliyahu Touger

                             SLICE OF LIFE
                         Western Wall Vignettes
                            by Gutman Locks

Sometimes you have to work hard to convince people to have a good time.
I met an American tourist who is a retired anesthesiologist. He had put
on tefillin only once before; it was for his son's bar mitzva at the
Kotel (Western Wall) 39 years earlier.

When I first tried to help him put on tefillin he strongly refused. I
tried a number of different approaches and he finally let me help him.

After he read the Shema, I urged him to go closer to the Kotel to pray
for his family and the Jews in danger due to this recent wave of
terrorism. He stayed close to the Kotel for a long time. Then, when he
finished praying he walked around, back and forth smiling for another
ten or fifteen minutes while still wearing the tefillin. You could see
from his face that he was enjoying himself.

He left the Kotel, and ten minutes later he returned, smiling. He walked
around the Kotel area for some ten or fifteen minutes. Then he left
again, and ten minutes later he returned. He walked back and forth all
around the Kotel area smiling. He said, "I love it here."

                                *  *  *

I met a father and son at the Kotel. I put tefillin on the father and he
read the "Shema." When he finished I placed his hand on his son's head
and urged him to say the traditional blessing that fathers say when
blessing their children but he couldn't do it.

As soon as I had put his hand on the boy's head he had to struggle to
hold back the tears. His voice quivered. The boy picked up on the
emotion right away and quickly put his head on his father's chest. That
did it. The father broke down crying.

He cried and he cried and the boy cried, too. I waited but he couldn't
stop. Every time he tried to say a word he broke down crying again.
Finally, still crying, I helped him to take off the tefillin. They
walked away with the father's arm tightly hugging the boy. Okay, so he
didn't get to say the words, but the son definitely got the blessing.

                                *  *  *

Late Shabbat afternoon, a father sat his seven-year-old son next to me
at the Kotel and said, "Okay, ask him your question."

The boy had a tiny voice, "If G-d renews the world every day, then what
about Shabbat when He stops creating?"

I love it. Here is a question that most adults never dreamed of asking
and a seven-year-old really wanted to know, "Then, what about Shabbat?"

Do you understand his question? In one place we are told that G-d ceased
creating at the end of the sixth day, and rested from creating on
Shabbat, and in another place we are told that G-d renews the world
everyday! How do we reconcile these two apparently contradictory
statements? Does G-d renew His creation on Shabbat, or does He "rest"?

Before answering his question I told the boy how wonderful it is that he
asks questions like this. "Always ask questions. It is the best way to
learn. On everything that you do not understand, ask."

Then I explained, actually, G-d renews the world every second. He holds
everything in its form all the time, because if He didn't, everything
would disappear. It would just stop being. G-d is forming everything
right now out of nothing!

Then, what about Shabbat when G-d rests from creating? What this really
means is that from that first Shabbat on G-d rested from creating any
new things, and from then on everything new that comes in the world
comes from something else that was already here."

I explained that this means that during the first week everything was
first created solely from G-d's "words." But now, things come from other
things. For instance, a baby is made from the mother and father, and the
table is made from the tree, and on and on, but during the first week
everything was brought into being without there having been any
preexisting matter for it to come from. It was from this type of
creating that G-d rested, (ceased).

The boy seemed to understand. His father asked me to give the boy a
blessing. I said, "When you grow up, may G-d make you even better than
your Mommy and Daddy." The boy beamed at his father, and smiled at the

I asked him his name. He said, "Ezra Yehudah". I told him that before a
baby is born G-d whispers to the baby's mother and father what name the
new baby should have, and that name shows what that child is coming into
the world to do. I told him to learn all about the great deeds of the
first men to be called Ezra and Yehudah and those were the things that
he should try to do in his life.

They walked away very happy. I was surprised that I had never heard that
question before, and amazed that it came from such a young boy.

          Reprinted with permission from Gutman
          Locks is well-known at the Western Wall's Chabad Tefillin
       Booth for two decades. With humor, warmth and love, he helps
     thousands of Jews try this mitzva. He is the author of several
                                           books and musical tapes.

                               WHAT'S NEW
                   Curiosity and the Desire for Truth

In Curiosity and the Desire for Truth, Dr. Velvl Greene, a Nasa
scientist recounts his search for higher meaning and deeper
understanding of purpose. Presented as a series of flashbacks, and
written as if Dr Greene was speaking directly to you, one is left with
the feeling as though they'd just enjoyed a highly stimulating and
entertaining conversation with this unique individual. Dr. Greene
manages to derive profound life lessons from the world around him; a
world that reached from the laboratories of NASA, to the study of the
most sought after spiritual leader in recent history; from the front
line of the civil rights movement, to smuggling contraband into
Communist Russia. While his ability to find depth in seemingly simple
ideas might rightly encourage you to slow down to focus on the little
things, the man you meet in these pages is quick witted, sharp tongued,
with a generous dose of chutzpah. The wise and heart-warming stories are
sugar coated with gentle humour, drawing a smile that stays until the
last page.  Arthur Kurzweil Publishers

                            THE REBBE WRITES
                    Rosh Chodesh Adar 1, 5730 (1970)

This year's conference, taking place in the month of Adar I, brings to
mind the significance of our leap year, and its relevance to our daily
life. For, although our Jewish calendar year has a basic logic of its
own, it, too, like everything else in Jewish life, must be related in a
practical and tangible way to our personal lives and responsibilities.

The fundamental reason for adding an extra month in our leap year is, of
course, the fact that the Torah requires our calendar to be based on the
lunar year, which is shorter than the solar year by approximately eleven
days. At the same time it requires that our festivals take place in
their due season (Passover in the spring, Sukkoth in the autumn, etc.).
This necessitates an adjustment once in two or three years, in order to
make up the deficiency of the lunar year in relation to the solar year*.

The lesson contained in this calendar arrangement is that a person can
in one year make up for deficiencies in past years.

Furthermore, just as the leap year not only makes up the deficiency, but
also provides an "advance" on the future, so must the individual from
time to time not only make up what he has failed to accomplish, in the
past, but also make a special and extra effort to go a step forward as a
reserve for the future*.

In addition, the Jewish leap year has a special relevance to Jewish
women, mothers and daughters. The sun and the moon were created as "the
two great luminaries," but each has been given its own place and
function. The moon acts as a reflector and transmitter of the sun's
light. In this way it has a special quality in that it transmits the
solar light and energy to those areas in nature where direct sunlight
would be too intense to be beneficial.

Similarly, the Jewish wife, in many respects, must reflect and transmit
the Torah way of life to the entire household, and it is in this way
that she fulfills her great responsibility and privilege of being the
Akeres HaBayis - foundation of the home.

In taking stock of your accomplishments in the past, you will find much
to be gratified with, but these very accomplishments will also reveal
that with a little more effort, a great deal more could have been
accomplished. It is, therefore, to be hoped that you will resolve not
only to make up the "deficiency," but in keeping with the spirit of the
leap year, also make an advance on the future. After all, true progress
cannot be limited to making up deficiencies. It is necessary to forge
ahead steadily, and from time to time, to also advance by leaps and

It is necessary to forge ahead steadily, and from time to time, to also
advance by leaps and bounds.

In accordance with the teaching of the Baal Shem Tov, to the effect that
every experience should serve as a lesson toward better service of G-d,
the leap year serves to remind us that everyone has an opportunity to
make up for any deficiency in the past, and sometimes even to accumulate
a little reserve for the future, as in the case of our leap year.

Chabad Chassidus emphasizes this point in a very basic manner, since by
very definition Chassidus is a way of life that demands a little more
effort than called for in the line of duty - a little more dedication, a
little more depth, a little more enthusiasm; and enthusiasm itself
provides a breakthrough in overcoming limitations.

* The lunar month is 29 or 30 days. One lunar cycle is 354 days, while
one solar cycle is 365 days. An extra month is inserted seven times in
19 years in order to make the holidays in their correct seasons.

* At times the additional month actually makes the year longer than 354
days thereby giving an "advance" toward the upcoming year.

Rav Avrohom Gurwitz, head of the Gateshead Yeshiva, points out that the
mitzva (commandment) of Hakhel involves the confluence of three mitzvot
(commandments): the end of the Shemitta (Sabbatical) year, the festival
of Sukkot, and Aliya L'regel (ascending to the Temple thrice annually
for the festival pilgrimage). He suggests that all three of these
mitzvot have a common theme: strengthening our emuna and bitachon (faith
and trust) in G-d.

                           (Parsha Potpourri by Rabbi Oizer Alport)

                        A WORD FROM THE DIRECTOR
                         Rabbi Shmuel M. Butman
This Tuesday is the 7th of Adar I, the birthday and yartzeit of Moses.
(In a leap year, such as our current year, there is a difference of
opinion as to whether we commemorate this date in the first or second
month of Adar. Since both opinions are "the words of the Living G-d" it
is appropriate to commemorate the date in both months.)

Our Sages compare the conduct of three righteous men: Noah, Abraham and
Moses. Noah was completely righteous, yet did little to influence the
behavior of the people around him. Abraham, by contrast, was focused
outward and spread the knowledge of G-d wherever he went. But Moses
embodied the true paradigm of Jewish leadership, going beyond all others
in his commitment and bond with the Jewish people.

As Rashi notes, "Moses is Israel, and Israel is Moses." Moses was so
thoroughly identified with the Jewish people that however deep his
connection was with the Torah, his connection to the Jewish people was
deeper. When G-d told Moses He wanted to destroy the Jews because of the
sin of the Golden Calf, Moses was willing to sacrifice his very soul.
"If you would, forgive their sin," he replied to G-d. "And if not,
please obliterate me from the book You have written." Moses' connection
to all Jews, regardless of their conduct, stemmed from the essence of
his being, and connected with the innermost being of every single
individual. By serving as a "shepherd of faith," Moses sustained and
nurtured the Jewish people's faith in G-d, prompting the expression of
the essential bond all Jews share with the Infinite.

In the thousands of years since, every generation has had its own
"Moses," whose role is to act as an "extension of Moshe Rabbeinu" by
infusing the Jewish people with a yearning for the Redemption and a
sincere longing for Moshiach. When the essential connection we share
with G-d and with each other is aroused, Redemption is the natural
result. May each and every one of us live up to our potential, and
together reach that ultimate goal immediately.

                          THOUGHTS THAT COUNT
From the cover (itself) shall you make the cherubim (Ex. 25:19)

The cherubim were made with the faces of small children, one a boy and
one a girl. From this we learn that providing the proper Jewish
education for even our tiny children is a basic principle necessary for
our keeping the Torah.

                                         (Rabbi Yosef Ber of Brisk)

                                *  *  *

Within and without shall you overlay it (Ex. 25:11)

A true Torah scholar is one whose "inside" matches his "outside." Merely
learning the lofty principles contained in the Torah is not enough - its
lessons must also be internalized. That is why we say in Psalms (45:14),
"All the glory of the king's daughter is within." The splendor and glory
of the Torah is the internal purity it leads to.

                                              (Kiflayyim L'Toshiya)

                                *  *  *

The menora shall be made (Ex. 25:31)

Rashi explains that the words "shall be made" are passive, indicating
that the menora would be made by itself, and not by Moses, who was in
the midst of receiving instructions from G-d how to fashion all the
other utensils to be used in the Sanctuary. Rashi states that Moses did
not fully understand how the menora was to be formed, so G-d told him to
throw the gold into the fire, and He would make the menora Himself. Why
was Moses so perplexed by the menora, but not by any other command even
more complex? Our Sages said that the purpose of the menora was to serve
as a testimony to all who saw it that the Divine Presence rested among
the Jewish People. Moses, for his part, had difficulty understanding how
it was possible for one small menorah to light up the entire physical
world. G-d answered him: You are right--this is beyond the power of mere
flesh and blood. Therefore, throw the gold into the fire and I Myself
will make the menora.

                                            (The Lubavitcher Rebbe)

                            IT ONCE HAPPENED
One day there was excitement in the study hall of Zaslov: two emissaries
of the Baal Shem Tov - the tzadikim (righteous) Reb Nachman Horodenker
and Reb David Furkas - arrived on a mission from the Baal Shem Tov. The
Baal Shem Tov had instructed them to raise the sum of sixty gold florins
that very day. This money was needed for pidyon sh'vuyim (redemption of
captives); the entire sixty florins had to be delivered immediately by
special messenger, for time was short.

The emissaries arrived just as the people were finishing the recitation
of Psalms. As soon as the emissaries finished speaking, a list was drawn
up of all residents of the town who were the Baal Shem Tov's Chasidim. A
Rabbinical Court was constituted to assess how much each citizen could
afford to contribute. This court appointed collectors to go to peoples'
homes immediately and collect the imposed tax. If there was anyone who
did not have sufficient cash on hand, they could take from him some
article of value as collateral until the sum was paid in cash.

Within less than three hours, the collectors returned to the study hall
with the full amount of sixty gold florins. They had also drawn up a
ledger in which they had recorded the names of those who had paid their
assessment in cash, those who had made pledges and given collateral, and
those who had given loans guaranteed by the collateral taken from those
who had not yet paid.

Just then, wailing was heard in the antechamber of the study hall.
Several women whose husbands were not at home had arrived: one was a
tailor who worked somewhere in the country; one was a peddler who went
from place to place with a pack full of merchandise; one was a teacher
at an inn.

These women had heard that the Besht had sent emissaries to collect
contributions for a great mitzva (commandment). Since no one had
approached them to ask for a contribution, they had come themselves,
bringing pledges (for they had not cash on hand). One had brought her
candlesticks, one had brought a wine  goblet, another had brought a
down-stuffed pillow.

The collectors, in turn, declared that their mission was to demand cash
or pledges from those whose names appeared on the assessment list given
to them by the court. From people whose names did not appear on the
list, they had no authority to accept cash or pledges. Upon hearing that
their husbands' names were not even mentioned on the list, the women
raised such a cry that even Reb Nachman and Reb David heard it, and
became very frightened.

When the members of the Rabbinical court learned that the collectors had
returned with their mission accomplished, they hurried through the rest
of their prayers. Against their better judgment (for the husbands were
very impoverished Chasidim), they accepted the pledges from the women.
The special messenger was dispatched to bring the sixty gold florins to
the Baal Shem Tov.

When the Baal Shem Tov's emissaries finished praying, a feast was
prepared in honor of the great privilege the Baal Shem Tov had bestowed
upon them. For the Baal Shem Tov loved them so much that he had given
them the privilege of participating in the mitzva of pidyon sh'vuyim; he
was so devoted to the Chasidim in Zaslov that the had sent to them the
two famous tzadikim. All the Chasidim were in such a joyful mood: you
can't imagine how great their delight was.

When the feast was finished, Reb Nachman spoke about the women who had
wept while begging the collectors to accept their contributions toward
the sum the Baal Shem Tov had assessed the Chasidim of Zaslov. "The
Rebbe," said Reb Nachman, "is very fond of simple Jews. He says that a
simple Jew who recites a chapter of Psalms with his whole heart and
sincerely loves his fellow Jew is favored by the Supreme King more than
great tzadikim.

"How profoundly genuine those women's tears were! Their sole desire was
for their husband's names to be included in the list of those assessed
to contribute money for the great mitzva of pidyon sh'vuyim. A mitzva is
so precious, and the Baal Shem Tov so sacred to them, that when their
husbands' names were omitted from the list their poor hearts broke and
they burst out weeping. How precious such tears are to the Master of the
World; how sweet and delightful they are to the Angel Michael and his
180 thousands legions of defending angels! Such genuine heartfelt tears
can annul all evil decrees."

Reb Nachman then related an awe-inspiring story about an evil decree
against an entire Jewish community. When a certain woman uttered a few
truly sincere words that came from the depth of her heart while she wept
profusely, the decree was annulled. "If only we would weep on the holy
Yom Kippur with the same sort of tears with which our own women wept!"
he concluded.

       Translated by Shimon Neubort, published by Sichos In English
                                         in The Making of Chasidim.

                            MOSHIACH MATTERS
This week's Torah portion states, "You shall also make a table
("shulchan") (Ex. 25:23) The numerical equivalent of the Hebrew word
"shulchan" is 388, the same as the phrase "l'Moshiach," "for [the era
of] Moshiach." In the Messianic era, all of the Temple's vessels and
implements that have been plundered or hidden away will be restored for
use in the Divine service.

                                                     (Chomat Anach)

               END OF TEXT - L'CHAIM 1409 - Terumah 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