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                         L'CHAIM - ISSUE # 1422
                           Copyright (c) 2016
                 Lubavitch Youth Organization - L.Y.O.
                              Brooklyn, NY
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   Dedicated to the memory of Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka Schneerson N.E.
        May 20, 2016              Emor            12 Iyyar, 5776


                         by Rabbi Israel Rubin

Service providers and merchandisers take pride in advertising that they
are 24/7/365. This impressive array of numbers demonstrating reliability
and availability consistency and continuity also reflects our society's
round the clock addiction to technology an endless vicious cycle that
keeps us going round and round without any respite stop or pause as our
hours days weeks and years turn into one long run-on-sentence so that
when it actually comes down to it this amazing combination of numbers
may all add up to one big zero.

Obviously, we need a break! We can't go on and on like this much longer,
so let's slow down a bit.

Modern man is so wired up with all kinds of gizmos and contraptions,
constantly walking and talking into thin air. Wirelessly tethered to a
constant barrage of data streaming in from the office, news, "social"
media, and whatever makes him virtual prisoners (no wonder they're
called "cell phones").

We need Shabbat (the Sabbath)! Once a week, that 25-hour rest period
from Friday evening sunset to Saturday nightfall is an oasis in time.
Shabbat tunes out the cacophony of chimes, incoming and outgoing pingles
and jingles, dial tones, busy signals and the static of computers.
Instead, Shabbat tunes us in to the sweetest heavenly melodies.

Technological advances have certainly alleviated many of the menial
chores and burdens of our ancestors who labored and toiled back in the
shtetls or in the sweatshops. But ironically, we suffer today more from
anxiety and hyperten-sion than did our predecessors. Shabbat prevents
technology's cutting edge from ripping us to shreds, from enslaving and
dominating our spiritual freedom.

People rush to the ends of the earth to find exotic vacation getaways,
while Shabbat gets us away from it all without the hassles of airline
tickets, airports and security clearance. Instead of seeking elusive
peace elsewhere, Shabbat comes to us right in the comfort of our own
home, at a fraction of the cost!

We already have our personal days, sick days, and vacation days.
Shabbat, however, is not just a break from the daily grind and routine;
it offers much more than leisure time to hang around and do nothing. The
etymological root of "vacation," from the Latin vactus, means emptiness,
a blank. Indeed, empty vacations can become so tiring that one needs a
vacation from vacation!

Rather than being a day off, Shabbat is actually a day up! The soul of
the week, Shabbat infuses spirituality into every part of our being,
also illuminating the materialism of the rest of the week. Without
Shabbat, we are a body without a soul. Shabbat is our date with G-d, so
let's concentrate on our date!

Shabbat gives us quality time with ourselves, our families and our
friends. Shabbat is an uplifting and inspirational day of Light, when we
can see our soul and purpose. The liberating Shabbat experience returns
us to the next week more inspired, newly refreshed, and above all,
feeling free!

Shabbat not only transforms our here and now, it also goes above and
beyond. The flickering Shabbat candlelights reflect the greater vision
and promise of Moshiach, for Shabbat is a foretaste and preview of the
world to come, which will be "the full and everlasting Shabbat." Shabbat

    Rabbi Rubin is director of Chabad of the Capital District, Albany,

In this week's Torah portion, Emor, we read about the care of newborn
animals. "When an ox, a sheep, or a goat are born, for seven days it
should remain under its mother's care, from the eighth day and on it
will be acceptable as a sacrifice to G-d."

Later, in the same paragraph, the Torah commands us, "And you should not
desecrate My Holy Name, that I may be sanctified amongst the children of

What could possibly be the connection that brings these two laws

On a deeper level the newborn animals are symbolic of our emotions that
our intellect, the mother, gives birth to. Rather than allow your
emotions free reign, "Seven days it should remain under its mother's
care."  Allow your mind time to develop the emotion before expressing

This is especially important to remember in situations that are out of
our control, meaning that they are clearly and directly from G-d.
Especially when it is impossible to make sense of. Here we need to let
our thought process the notion that G-d knows what and why He does these
things. Our job is to find a way to sanctify G-d through these events,
so that it changes us in a positive way.

                                *  *  *

This Sunday is Pesach Sheini (the "second" Passover). If one was impure
or far away when the Passover sacrifice was to be brought, he was
supposed to bring it on Pesach Sheini, a month later.

A unique aspect of this mitzva (commandment) is that the Torah tells us
how it came to be. "There were people that were impure... They came
before Moses... Why should we lose out?... " Another unique thing is
that the Jews only asked for this dispensation if they were impure,
which was through no fault of their own. However, G-d added that if the
individual is far, which is understood to mean a minimal distance, this
too can be made up on Pesach Sheini.

What is the lesson from these two oddities, the story behind the mitzva
and the addition of being far which is not really far at all?

There is the possibility to be close and far at the same time - near in
distance yet detached and distant in attitude. Being here in body and
elsewhere in mind, for example when praying, you are saying the words
but your mind is wandering. G-d wants us to be close to Him, to love Him
and yet, it is possible to be so close and totally ignore Him. To this
G-d is saying, "I still want you to be close to Me, try again, do it
better." Only like the people in the story of Pesach Sheini, you need to
really want it. If you do, it will always be possible to get close to

At home too, our family yearns for our love and closeness. While we
might be with them physically, they often feel ignored because our
attention is not focused on them. How do we observe Pesach Sheini today?
By realizing what you are missing out on and truly wanting to change.
When it comes to family,  know that they yearn for connection and will
welcome your love. Don't give up on the best thing you have.

                  by Rabbi Yitzi Hurwitz,

                             SLICE OF LIFE
                              First Steps
                           by Noah Dinerstein

When I took my first step I was 10 months old. My dad was there holding
me up. At six years old, he put his hands on mine as I gripped the
handle bars of my two-wheeler, and guided me up and down the street for
hours until he finally let go and I rode that Huffy on my own.

A few years later I was big enough that he trusted me to shift when he
dramatically announced "2nd!" VROOM "3rd!" At 16 he trained me for my
driving test that I passed. And when I was 18 he helped me pack and
walked me to my dorm, hugged me in the parking lot, squeezing as tight
as I had squeezed the handlebars on my Huffy, and we cried. He was there
for every first that ever mattered in my life.

Every first except one: My first steps onto the path of Torah Judaism.

Neither my dad nor my mom were there for my first dive into the Orthodox
Jewish pool. It was a phase to them. Like Pogs. When I came back from my
Israel trip I talked about the trip. Whoa did I talk about the trip.
"Mom did you know about all the laws of kosher? And Passover? We've
never cleaned the house before! Whoa SHABBOS! We should do
Shabbos! this week! Why not? on Friday nights we eat dinner
anyway... all we have to do is turn off the TV and phone and music and
it's actually pretty sweet and feels great. SHAVUOT! I never learned
about Shavuot in Hebrew School! We studied Gemara all night - wait! - I
didn't tell you about Gemara. Its like Jewish Law School! Dad you would
love it! I feel smarter!

At first, sitting at the kitchen counter, my mom's face was one of pride
and astonishment. She called her best friend Lisa and put the phone on
speaker and said to me "C'mon say all those things about what you
learned on your trip again!" I didn't think anything of it. OF COURSE
she was excited. She had always been upset that Zack and I would choose
basketball over Bar Mitzva practice. Or the epic fight we had (which she
won) over going to my Hebrew school confirmation or to my school dance.
So, yeah, she was pumped. My dad too. Until.....Well...Until I started
actually doing it.

It had been two years since that homecoming. Two years of working in
Boston and being a pretty successful young hotelier. Two years of slow
learning, Shabbat meals from time to time, flexing my "Kosher-style"
muscle, and so on. But none of it was in your face. I could party on a
Friday night if I wanted. MacDonald was still cool. My parents still
found ways to uncomfortably deny the tropical storm headed towards the
east coast. Until it was upgraded to a hurricane. Hurricane Tzitzit.

I stuffed those tzitzit into my pants like tuna into a can. I didn't
want them to fall out. That sunny day in spring it took one string to
break loose and then so did all hell. One string showed out of the back
of my Levi's and we were off. It was as if our family was in a
competitive breath holding competition for two years and someone came
along and smacked them all on the back at the same time.

Things were said. It's not a nice memory. It was brought to a climactic
movie-worthy halt when I exclaimed with a shaking, stuttering, yelp,
"I've decided. I'm going to yeshiva!" Silence. Crying. Silence.
Explaining. Crying. Silence.

They tried to talk me out of it. I went anyway. They didn't pay for
anything relating to yeshiva. They wrote letters to the rabbis about
brainwashing. They called me. I called them. We talked. But not really.
We entered a tough world of never saying enough and always saying too
much. Never knowing when to swing or take a pitch. Never hitting or
folding. Never giving in or giving up. Stalemate.

This is not about any of that though. It is about how my parents were at
my Orthodox Jewish wedding. How my mom planned half of it with my wife's
mom. How my parents met this young, beautiful, authentic girl who grew
up observant and came from a family of bearded rabbis and they loved
her. And her family.

It's about when my dad looked me in the eye this past Friday evening and
said he was thankful to me for bringing Shabbat into the house he built.
This is about my father taking pride in taping up the refrigerator
lights before Shabbat so I wouldn't come to accidentally break rules he
didn't even abide by.

Its about my mom calling one of the rabbis she had previously,
aggressively questioned, but now was calling on to explain exactly what
it would take to make her entire kitchen kosher in a town that hadn't
seen a kosher kitchen since Nana's time. About checking labels looking
for a semblance of a kosher symbol so they could just give their baby
boy some balsamic vinegar dressing that he loves so much! Its about how
my parents go to the Chabad House that opened in their town on their own
volition! My mom offers to get the Rebbetzin's Sheitel (wig) styled!
What is a SHEITAL?! How my dad learns new concepts from the Chabad rabbi
and calls me to discuss. About the prominent moment my brother and I
shared when he took a day off of work to accompany me to a 12-hour
Jewish meditation seminar and hashtag emotional things went down!

This is really about how instead of thinking of all the ways my
lifestyle limits our relationship, my parents and brother adapted to
make sure it expanded our relationship. This is about the letter I found
in my dressing room at the wedding hall where my mom, pen probably
shaking in hand, dug down to the deepest most delicate place in her
heart, and confessed that I was always destined for this life and she
couldn't be more proud. My parents and I have never been closer and my
mom tells me that she can't wait until we host them at our table for

My father wasn't there for my first steps of return to our beautiful,
rich heritage but he was there for my most important. He walked me to my
bride. When the sea of bodies parted and I saw her, I was like a laser
beam of Divine connection eliciting the most powerful and spiritual
experience of my life. I broke down. The arm around mine was my
father's, who picked me up and was giddy with so much joy for his son.
He taught me how to walk all over again.

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                      Inner World of Jewish Prayer

At times prayer is as primitive and raw as a cry for help, and at times,
a formulaic intended to effect change - but always - flowing from a
place deep within, and forever with a hope for a better future. While
author Rabbi Dovber Pinson pays attention to the poetry, history,
theology and contextual meaning of the prayers, the intention of this
work is to provide a guide to finding meaning and effecting
transformation through our prayer experience. Iyyun Publishing.

                            THE REBBE WRITES
                    This letter was written in 1964

Greeting and Blessing:

I am in receipt of your letter, and of the preceding one. For certain
reasons, I am replying in English, though your letters were written in

With your indulgence, I must begin with some prefatory remarks which run
the risk of being a little repetitious, as I believe I touched on the
subject during our meeting. However, there are words which must be said
even at the risk of repetition, rather than be left unsaid altogether.

I am referring to the concluding lines of your letter, where you mention
various schools of thought in Judaism, and speak of philosophy,
psychology and various conceptual approaches in general....

The essential purpose of my writing to you is the attempt to clear up
what is, to me, a puzzling thing: It is many months since we had our
personal encounter, yet it seems that the discussion we had at that
time, and my subsequent effort to help you find yourself, so to speak,
have so far been fruitless. However, inasmuch as the reasons that
impelled me to take up our discussion in the first place still obtain,
and have perhaps grown even stronger than before, I must restate my
views even at the risk of some repetition:

1) There may be valid differences of opinion among men as to what
activity or interest in the daily life should have primacy over others.
But this may be justified only in normal circumstances. When an
emergency arises, however, all theoretical differences must be put aside
in order to deal with the emergency. To illustrate my point: It is one
thing to debate what type of house - if it caught fire - is worth
saving, or by what method, and by whom. It is quite another thing when
one is actually facing a burning house with people trapped within - the
elderly, the young, and children. At such a time there can be no
difference of opinion as to the imperative need to fight the blaze and
save those who are trapped. This is the duty of everyone who is nearby,
even if he is not a trained firefighter, and even if those trapped
inside the burning house are strangers. The obligation is immeasurably
greater, of course, if those inside are one's own relatives, and
especially if one has had experience and become proficient in
firefighting activities.

2) Where a doubt exists as to what is good for an individual, or a
group, or a nation, it is sometimes quite illuminating to consider what
the enemy would desire; especially if the enemy has made persistent
efforts to attain his end. For then it would be clear what precisely the
opposite of what the enemy desires must be good for that individual,
group, or nation.

In our generation, we have seen with our very eyes what the archenemies
of our people - Hitler and his followers - desired, plotted, and
unfortunately succeeded to a considerable degree in achieving, in regard
to our people. He made no secret of his fiendish plan. His avowed
intention was to exterminate the Jewish people and, above all, to
eradicate the Jewish spirit. Therefore, his first victims were the
Jewish books and synagogues, spiritual leaders, and rabbis.

There are several methods by means of which our enemies hope to attain
our annihilation, G-d forbid. To Hitler's twisted mind the obvious
method was simply to send Jewish men, women, and children to the gas
chambers and crematoria. But the method of spiritual cremation,
involving not the Jewish body, but the Jewish soul - through
assimilation intermarriage, etc. - is no less devastating.

The crematoria where Jewish bodies were incinerated are a thing of the
unforgettable, horrible past. By the grace of the A-mighty, these
butchers were stopped before their work of destruction reached its
ultimate goal. But the spiritual crematoria where Jewish souls are being
consumed are, to our great distress, still ablaze, and burning more
fiercely than ever. The House of Israel is on fire, and the younger
generation, as things now stand, is largely trapped. You are surely not
unaware of the "dry" statistics of intermarriage and assimilation in
this country, and of the fact that the situation is similar in other
countries. The subject is too painful to contemplate, and much more so
to write about at length.

In a sense, the danger of "spiritual crematoria" is graver than that of
actual physical genocide; for the heinousness of the latter can be
understood without too much philosophical inquiry, while in regard to
spiritual extermination, there are certain groups which do not recognize
this as a calamity, and some of these groups even welcome it in the name
of "freedom," "equality," "integration," and other misconceived

                        continued in next issue

                              ALL TOGETHER
Hakhel - gathering together with others in this post-Sabbatical year -
is something everyone can get involved in. If one has already gathered
his relatives, friends and neighbors, there are more acquaintances to
affect. One such acquaintance can even be himself. Hakhel is also
introspective, as he "gathers" lessons learned from others, in
consonance with the famous Mishna, "Who is wise? He who learns from

                            (Sichat Simchat Torah 5748,

                        A WORD FROM THE DIRECTOR
                         Rabbi Shmuel M. Butman
Lag B'Omer, the 33rd day of the Omer (coinciding with May 26 this year),
is a festive holiday marking the passing of the famed Sage Rabbi Shimon
bar Yochai, known as the Rashbi.

During the time of Roman persecution, Rashbi and his son Rabbi Elazar,
were forced to spend 13 years in hiding. During that time, he and his
son lived in a cave under extremely dire conditions.

When it was safe for Rashbi to emerge from the cave, one of the first
things he discussed with the local people he encountered was whether or
not there was something he could do to help them.

This anecdote provides a lesson for us in our daily lives. Rashbi
suffered physically during his 13 years in hiding. But, rather than
concern himself with his own needs or at least take some time to rest
and recuperate after his ordeal, he immediately set about helping his
fellow Jew.

That Rashbi had reached a certain level of self-perfection during his
years of solitude was not enough for him. For the ultimate goal had not
been reached-the coming of Moshiach and the revelation of G-dliness
throughout the world. And because this had not been accomplished, there
was still more to do and to achieve. Thus, Rashbi was determined to
continue with selfless dedication to helping the entire Jewish people.

    Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai authored the Zohar, the basic book of the
    mystical Jewish teachings. It states in the Zohar that with the
    revelation if its teachings "the Jewish people will go out of exile
    with mercy." May we all learn well and live by Rabbi Shimon Bar
    Yochai's example, thereby hastening the coming of Moshiach, now.

                          THOUGHTS THAT COUNT
You shall count for yourselves, from the morrow of the Shabbat, from the
day on which you bring the raised omer - seven complete weeks shall
there be. Until the morrow of the seventh week, you shall count fifty
days. (Lev. 23:15-16)

One of the Chasidic masters explained the significance of Sefirat HaOmer
- the daily counting of the days and weeks from Passover to Shavuot
commanded by the Torah - with the following parable: A person finds a
chest full of gold coins, takes it home, and then proceeds to count
them. His counting has no effect on the actual number of coins in his
possession: he now has no more and no less than he had before he counted
them. But counting them makes them real to him; he can now digest the
significance of his find and deliberate how to make use of it. On the
first day of Passover, we were granted the entire "treasure chest." The
moment of the Exodus - the moment of our birth as a people -
encapsulated within it our entire history. Then, on the following day,
began the count: the process of examining our gifts, quantifying and
itemizing them, translating them into the resources of our daily lives.


                                *  *  *

That I may be sanctified among the Israelites (Lev. 22:32) The most
flagrant desecration of God's Name is the exile, during which the world
is bereaved of the Holy Temple and its spiritual radiance. The
existential nature of exile is the concealment of Godliness in the
straightjacket of natural cause and effect; exile thus gives the world
the impression that God is powerless to overcome the forces of nature
and history. In this context, the grandest sanctification of God's Name
will occur in the messianic era.

                             (Likutei Sichot Vol. 27/Kehot Chumash)

                                *  *  *

In booths you shall dwell seven days (Lev. 23:42)

Why does the Torah use the plural booths instead of booth? Because the
verse contains a double meaning: A person who observes the commandment
of suka in this world merits to observe it in the World to Come - in the
suka that will be made from the skin of the Leviathan.

                                                    (Nachalat Tzvi)

                            IT ONCE HAPPENED
In the last years of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, there lived a woman
named Ima Shalom "the Wise." She was born into a family of scholars
descended from Hillel and was related both by marriage and birth to the
greatest Sages of her time.

Once, a Roman nobleman visited Ima Sholom and began to ridicule the
Jewish religion. He said to her: "I have read the account of your G-d's
creation of Eve. I really wonder how you Jews can believe in a G-d who
is no more than a thief."

Feigning anger, Ima Shalom replied: "I am going to the Roman consul to
seek justice. Do you know, last night a thief entered my house and stole
all my silver cups and bowls and left vessels of gold in their place!"

The Roman laughed, "You certainly can't call him a thief - he is a

"That's true, " replied Ima Shalom. "And it is the same with G-d, who
took a single rib from Adam's body and left in its place a wonderful and
valuable gift. Adam received a good, beautiful wife to be a comfort and
helpmate and to save him from loneliness."

But the Roman still objected to her argument. "Why, then," he countered,
"did your G-d first put Adam to sleep and then steal from him like a
thief in the night?"

Ima Shalom called her servant and instructed him to fetch a piece of raw
meat from the butcher shop in the market place. She then took the meat,
seasoned it and cooked it while the Roman looked on. When it was
well-cooked, she served him a portion and invited him to eat. He
refused, saying, "I have no appetite for the food you have prepared,
since I recall how disgusting it looked just a little while ago when it
was raw."

Said Ima Shalom, "Do you think Adam would have been pleased to receive
Eve if he had been able to see her being created from his own rib?" The
Roman had to agree that Ima Shalom had bested him in the dispute.

                                *  *  *

Long ago in the Land of Israel  in the city of Sichon, lived a wealthy
Jew and his wife. They lived together in perfect happiness, loving each
other with a rare perfect love. The only sadness in their life was that
they had not been blessed with children, and their great house was empty
of the ringing laughter of little ones.

One day, a dark shadow eclipsed their happiness. Their tenth year of
marriage passed and yet they had no children. In those days the practice
followed was that such a couple divorced and remained in order that they
might be fortunate and have children to perpetuate their name. But the
husband had no desire to send his wife away, although he felt obligated
to do so. He could never love a second wife no matter how many children
she might bare him.

One of the greatest rabbis of the day, Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, was
visiting the town of Sidon during that year, and the unhappy couple went
to him to ask his advice. In his wisdom, he knew that this couple
shouldn't be divorced, but instead of telling them this directly, he
presented them with an unusual plan.

"Your marriage was celebrated with wonderful feast. Now, although you
must part, why don't you give another banquet in honor of the happiness
you shared all these years."

The couple found his advice strange, but they returned home and set
about preparing an elaborate feast.

They invited their many friends and acquaintances, who marvelled at this
strange paradoxical celebration. The tables were laid with great
splendor, glittering with sparkling crystal and vessels of precious
metals. The guests were regaled with the first meats, rarest wine and
the most exquisite entertainment. At their parting each guest received a
precious gift as a moments of the occasion.

                            MOSHIACH MATTERS
If G-d commands us to do something, it is because spiritually, He has
"obligated" Himself to do the same thing. This principle applies to all
commandments and it surely applies to the fundamental commandment of
Kiddush Hashem - sanctifying G-d's Name. Thus, commencing the Messianic
Era is obligatory, so to speak, on His part. We must constantly "remind"
G-d of His obligation, both by demanding tthat He redeem us immediately
and by reorienting our own consciousness away from the mentality of
exile and toward the mentality of redemption.

                                      (The Rebbe, Hitvatduyot 5745)

                 END OF TEXT - L'CHAIM 1422 - Emor 5776

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