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                         L'CHAIM - ISSUE # 1426
                           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.
        June 17, 2016            Nasso            11 Sivan, 5776

                              Feeling Free

Father's Day cards fall into a few categories. There are the sweet and
sentimental ones with the soft-touch drawing on the front and then there
are the humorous or tongue-in-cheek cards that seem to be written
especially for your dad. Some cards talk about Dad always being there,
making things right, listening and caring. Others extoll Dad's virtues
and then ask for the car keys, or a few extra dollars.

G-d is often referred to in our prayers as Our Father. Just like your
dad, G-d is interested and even involved in the most mundane and
seemingly insignificant parts of your life. He can be approached by
every Jew, no matter where, no matter when. And He can and should be
approached for any of the things you might ask your flesh-and-blood
father for: some money for a new car, extra assistance on the final
exam, a listening ear, or forgiveness, to name a few.

"I can get by with a little help from my friends," some people say. "I
don't believe in asking G-d for what I need." That sounds nice. Sort of
like you don't want to bother G-d with your "trivialities." But did you
know that it is a mitzva to ask G-d for our needs? To pray that the
refrigerator doesn't break down because you can't afford a new one right
now. To ask G-d to heal a sick friend. To request success on that
presentation you have to make next week.

Asking your dad for something you need - and his being able to help out
- gives him pleasure. Similarly, asking G-d for what we need - and His
giving it to us - gives Him "pleasure."

There are times, too, that in order to get our dad's attention we have
to respectfully demand that he put down the newspaper or turn off the
T.V. and LISTEN. "Listen to our voice, merciful Father, have compassion
on us, accept our prayers; do not turn us away empty-handed for You hear
everyone's prayers."*

G-d hears our prayers, He listens to our requests, He registers our
complaints. But does that mean that things always go the way we want
them to? Not necessarily! Did your father always give you the car keys,
or let you go to every party you were invited to, or always lend you the
money you asked him for? Sometimes yes, and sometimes no.

When you got a yes, you probably never asked him why. But the no always
needed an explanation.

Why a no? Sometimes, what you were asking for wasn't right. You knew it
and he knew it, but you had to ask anyway. Sometimes it wasn't right,
but just Dad knew it; and later, looking back, you realized Dad had made
the correct decision. And sometimes, for some inexplicable reason, Dad
said no without explaining himself, and you just had to accept it. This
is true, too, of our Heavenly Father. Sometimes, He accedes to our
requests and at other times He denies them, for He truly knows what is
best for us.

There is one request, however, which we know is correct and which we
have a right to demand G-d listen to. It is the plea for Moshiach, who
will help the world achieve the purpose for which it was created, an era
of peace, prosperity and the pursuit of G-dliness.

Father, hear our prayer, we want Moshiach NOW!

* Paraphrase of one of the 19 blessings that we say in the Amida prayer
  recited three times each weekday.

"It came to pass on the day that Moses had finished setting up the
Sanctuary..." As we read in this week's Torah portion, Nasso, after the
Jewish people had finished constructing all of the Sanctuary's different
components, they brought them to Moses so that he could erect it. For
the massive wooden planks were just too heavy; even working together,
the Jews were unable to build the Sanctuary by themselves.

Recognizing the dilemma, Moses asked G-d how human beings could be
expected to perform such a difficult task. G-d told him to put his hand
on the enormous boards; they rose by themselves, and the Sanctuary was
erected in a miraculous manner. But why was it necessary for G-d to
perform a miracle?

According to historians it was the Jewish slaves who built the pyramids
in Egypt. Indeed, the Torah tells us, "And they built treasure cities
for Pharaoh, Pitom and Raamses." Each individual stone of the pyramids
weighed several tons, yet, as depicted in ancient hieroglyphics and
paintings, the slaves nonetheless managed to drag these tremendous
weights and build the colossal edifices that continue to exist till this
very day.

The wooden planks of the Sanctuary weighed far less than these stones.
Why then did the Jewish people find it impossible to lift them? Why was
it necessary for the Sanctuary to be erected by means of a miracle?

The answer lies in the fact that the pyramids were built by slave labor,
by "avodat perach" (back-breaking, rigorous work). The only reason the
Jewish slaves were able to move the stones was because Pharaoh compelled
them to.

The Jewish people had no choice; they obeyed Pharaoh's commands out of
fear. This fear motivated them to tie themselves together with rope (as
seen in the paintings) and perform the seemingly superhuman feat.

Building the Sanctuary involved a different type of work entirely. The
Sanctuary was to be built willingly, with joy in being able to execute
G-d's command. But the wooden planks proved to be too heavy for the Jews
to lift.

G-d didn't want the Sanctuary to be built out of a sense of compulsion.
Its building was a happy event, not a sorrowful one. He therefore made a
miracle to express this concept, and the Sanctuary was erected with a
feeling of true freedom and liberation.

So it is in the creating of our own individual "Sanctuaries" - the
performance of G-d's commandments. Observing G-d's commandments should
never be considered "back-breaking labor"; rather, we carry out G-d's
command willingly, joyfully, and with the full assistance of the Holy
One, blessed be He.

                             Adapted from a talk of the Rebbe, 5745

                             SLICE OF LIFE
                           Yeshiva Spotlights
                         by Rabbi Tzvi Lipchik

Daniel Rockowitz grew up happily in a typical secular Jewish family in
Miami, Florida. The expectations of where his life would head were the
norm: College. Graduate School. Advanced degree in Philosophy. But
everything changed  when Daniel went on a Birthright trip to Israel
after graduating college. What was intended to be simply an enjoyable
venture to Israel ended up being a life-changing experience. "I became
exposed to a kind of Judaism that was completely foreign to me.
Experiencing Jewish orthodoxy was amazing." Learning first-hand about
the depth of Judaism created in him a thirst to find out more.

Daniel returned to Miami and studied in Yeshiva Torah Ohr before
visiting Crown Heights and being introduced to Hadar Hatorah Yeshiva.
Daniel enjoyed the classes he attended there and decided to transfer to
Hadar Hatorah last summer.

Today, the highlights of Daniel's day are the Talmud class with Hadar
HaTorah dean Rabbi Yaakov Goldberg, his one-on-one study sessions of
Chasidic texts with Rabbi Yirmi Mehlman, Wednesday afternoons teaching
Jewish public school kids as part of the Released Time Program and
helping Jewish boys and men put on Tefilin during his Friday afternoon
free-time. Eventually, Daniel sees himself pursuing a career in
teaching, perhaps Jewish Medieval philosophy.

Recently, Daniel's father came for the annual Hadar HaTorah Parents
Weekend, an opportunity for his father to learn more about Chabad and
for both father and son to come to a deeper understanding of each other.
"It was a wonderful experience," says Daniel. "Hadar Hatorah is a
special place, the Rebbe's place."

                                *  *  *

Yosef Niezhnov attended a Jewish school in Dnieper, Ukraine. He went to
University and graduated with a degree in Biology. Jewish practice was
limited to one or two trips a year to synagogue where someone would help
him put on tefillin.

When some of the young men his age who he met in the synagogue kept
calling him, inviting him to visit the synagogue more often, he stopped
to think. "The guys seem like very intelligent, normal guys. Maybe they
are on to something." He began to grow in his observance and eventually
decided to attend yeshiva. It was recommended for him to attend Hadar

Yosef was planning anyway to lead a group of children from Ukraine to
spend the High Holidays with the Chabad-Lubavtich community in Crown
Heights, Brooklyn. After the group returned to Ukraine, Yosef entered

In addition to enjoying his studies of Jewish law, Talmud and Chumash,
Yosef is involved in reaching out to his fellow Jews in Brighton Beach.
Brighton Beach is a predominantly Jewish Russian neighborhood in
Brooklyn. Yosef feels that his Russian language skills and common
culture help him to connect with the Jews he meets.

Recently, he met an elderly Jewish man who complained to him that all
religious Jews are uneducated and lazy.  When Yosef explained that he
has a degree in biology from one the finest schools in Ukraine, the man
declared that if such a well-educated person believes in G-d, then he
would surely put on tefillin, and he did!

Yosef explains that, "Different people come through yeshiva, each having
their own background and story how they got here. Some only arrive here
after a lifetime of struggles. The rabbis are genuinely welcoming and
happy to see everyone.  The atmosphere in class is that everyone is

                                *  *  *

Dovid Chaim Hoffman had, in his words, "a secular Zionist upbringing."
Although he grew up in a home where his family proudly supported Israel,
he did not receive a strong Jewish education. His lack of Jewish
education led him to explore other faiths. He read Christian texts, the
Koran and even went to India to study Hinduism under a guru. But It
wasn't until last year when he traveled to Stockholm, Sweden on a
business trip and attended a lecture on the rise of anti-semitism in
Europe, that he decided to re-examine his own religion.

"I felt ashamed," said Hoffman. "It seemed that to not acknowledge my
Jewish identity was to neglect my people, my family."

Soon after the business trip Hoffman had a dream he was putting on
tefillin. He awoke from the dream in a panic, searching his whole house
for his tefillin. After finding the tefillin, he decided to have them
checked to make sure they were kosher, since he hadn't worn them in
years. This search led him to the nearest Chabad emissary, Rabbi
Yitzchak Hecht, of Kingston, New York.

He got his tefillin checked and then began learning with Rabbi Hecht.
But it wasn't until he discovered Hadar Hatorah, which had spent part of
the summer program in the Catskill Mountains, that Hoffman's life took
an amazing turn.

Hoffman studied with the yeshiva, prayed with them and then joined the
yeshiva for a ten-day Taste of Yeshiva program back at their year-round
home this past winter. Since then, he comes to study at Hadar Hatorah
whenever he can, working and living now in Crown Heights.  "It's been
incredible," said Hoffman.

    Yosef Geller contributed to this article. For more info about Hadar
    HaTorah call  718-735-0250 or visit

                               WHAT'S NEW
                            Good Deed Awards

At a time when the headlines focus on the sadness and cruelty of the
world, business, government and community leaders come together each
year in Long Island to honor and thank outstanding teenagers for their
good deeds, kindness and generous demeanor as positive role models. The
Annual Good Deed Awards for Long Island Teenagers was founded in 1992 by
Rabbi Anchelle Perl, director Chabad of Mineola, New York. This year 32
Long Island teens were honored.

                         New Mikva in Rhinebeck

The Jewish communities of Rhinebeck and the surrounding towns in Duchess
County, New York, celebrated the historic opening of a new Mikva. The
new Mei Rechel Mikva will service the growing group of families
committed to this fundamental mitzva.

                            THE REBBE WRITES
                       25th of Iyar, 5735 (1975)

Greeting and Blessing:

I am in receipt of your letter. I must confess that I hesitated whether
or not to reply to the letter, not being certain whether the question
was prompted by genuine desire to ascertain the truth, or, as it
unfortunately happens too often, it might be a case where the inquirer
hopes that his query will remain unanswered and thus lend support to his

As you see, I decided to place you b'chezkas kashrus [an assumption of
propriety], especially in view of your references to primary sources,
which attest to a positive link with our Torah. Furthermore, the
name......   is in most cases identified with the Chasam Sofer.

I was also influenced by the fact that you are, as you write, a
Professor of Law, which is a further indication of being a person who
upholds the truth in accordance with the tenets of the Law.

Now for the question itself, quoting your letter, "How can a human
civilized person today accept the Biblical commandment to wipe out the
entire nation of Amalek," etc., including infants, etc.?

It is surely unnecessary to point out to you that in any kind of
dialogue there must be some common ground, i.e. some mutually accepted
premises, upon which the discussion can be based. In the present
instance I assume that we both accept the said commandment as being part
of Torah min haShomayim (Torah from Heaven). In other words, the
Commander of this commandment is not a human being like you and me, but
a Divine Being with all that it implies in terms of omniscience, etc.
Actually, this precaution is superfluous, for the question itself rests
on its Divine origin and validity for all posterity; if it were limited
in time and circumstances the question would have no place ex nihilo.

A second point, which is implicit in your question, is that the original
war with Amalek which gave rise to the said commandment, in itself
presents no problem. It was clearly a defensive war in response to an
unprovoked attack, as the Torah states: "And Amalek came and made war on
Israel in Refidim," etc. (Exod. 17:8) and, again, "...who surprised you
on the way," etc. (Deut. 25:18). Here was an obvious case of
self-defense, or, to quote the Talmudic rule, "Whoever comes to kill
you, kill him first."

Assuming, as we did, that we are speaking of a Divine commandment, we
must also assume that G-d is no less clairvoyant than any human being -
if there is such a human being. To put it more boldly: if we should
accept, as some scientists have asserted, that were it possible to feed
into a computer all the data of the universe, it could accurately
predict the state of the world at any given moment in the future - we
would surely have to credit the Creator with no less competence.

Now, if such a legendary computer were possible, it could correctly
foresee how a newborn child would behave in adulthood, and whether that
child would grow up to be harmless, useful or destructive to the

In light of the above, the reason behind the said commandment becomes
apparent. G-d, Who is all knowing (more than any computer could be),
foresaw what the seed of Amalek would develop into. Hence He commanded
that on seeing an Amalekite, even an Amalekite infant, we must "remember
what Amalek did onto you," remembering also, as it is immediately
emphasized in the Biblical text, why: Amalek had not been threatened in
any way, had not been provoked, stood to gain little from a nomad people
in the desert in the way of booty. Yet he viciously attacked this
peaceful people, pouncing on them suddenly, without warning, giving them
no chance to defend themselves, taking advantage of their being "tired
and weary." Such a barbaric people, and this kind of inhuman behavior,
has no place in human society, the Torah tells us, and must therefore be
exterminated without a trace. Let me emphasize again: We are not dealing
here with a suspicion or apprehension, however well founded, but with an
absolute certainty, for we have established that G-d's prescience
infinitely surpasses the most perfect computer imaginable.
                        continued in next issue

   From, The Letter and the Spirit

                              ALL TOGETHER
Hakhel is "gather the people, the men and the women and the children."
If each category was said separately, it would indicate a state of
division and argument; and such a state cannot produce anything that is
"good." But when it states "gather the people, the men and the women and
the children," it indicates that there is no division or argument, for
they are all one congregation. Of course, this gathering must be done
according to Torah, as in the time of the Holy Temple, when men and
women were in seperate areas. Only then is it a true "gathering," and
only then will there truly be no divisions. (Not as some people
mistakenly believe that such an arrangement divides the people.)

                                       (The Rebbe, 10 Kislev, 1980)

                        A WORD FROM THE DIRECTOR
                         Rabbi Shmuel M. Butman
In the Torah portion of Naso, we read that "all teruma (elevated gifts)
that the Jewish people present as sacred offerings to the priest shall
become his property." Some commentators define these gifts as acts of

In the Talmud, our Sages tell us that by giving charity - tzedaka - we
bring the Redemption closer. In addition, it also states, "Israel [the
Jewish People] will not be redeemed except through tzedaka."

Chasidic philosophy gives us some insight into why tzedaka is of such
importance in relation to the Redemption.

Rabbi Shneur Zalman, in his basic book of Chabad Chasidic philosophy,
explains that tzedaka elevates the world more than any other mitzva.

Charity liberates the innermost forces of the soul and releases us from
our personal exile, thereby effecting the release from our national

Jewish teachings explain that in our daily lives -- our interaction with
others, our performance of mitzvot, etc. -- we strive to imitate G-d.

The revelation of Moshiach, the Messianic Era, and the Resurrection of
the Dead at the time of the Redemption, are the greatest forms of
tzedaka, whereby the G-dly light will be revealed.

Tzedaka, according to Chasidut, is the vessel to contain these
revelations. Metaphorically speaking, tzedaka is the wick which captures
the flame of this G-dly light.

In addition to helping others through our giving of charity, thereby
ultimately helping ourselves, we also help the Divine Presence, which
accompanies us throughout this long, dark exile.

Jewish mystical teachings explain that tzedaka uplifts and "lessens the
pain" of the Divine Presence which also suffers in exile.

May we have the ultimate act of charity by G-d, the commencement of the
Redemption NOW!

                          THOUGHTS THAT COUNT
You shall take a count (lit. "Lift the heads") of the sons of Gershon
(Num. 4:22)

The "head symbolizes the brain and our higher faculties, which we use to
learn and understand G-d's wisdom. The Torah tells us to "lift our
heads" - to constantly strive to learn more and more, for by doing so we
will simultaneously "lift up" the rest of the "body," those commandments
we perform with our other limbs.

                                            (The Lubavitcher Rebbe)

                                *  *  *

And every man's holy things shall be his. Whatever he gives the priest
shall belong to him (Num. 5:10)

Someone once asked the fabulously wealthy Rothschild from Frankfurt
exactly how much he was worth. Rothschild responded by quoting the
verse, "And every man's holy things shall be his." "The only riches a
person can count as truly belonging to him," he said, "are those he has
used for good and holy purposes, such as giving charity and supporting
Torah institutions. No one can take these away. The same cannot be said,
however, for the rest of one's fortune..."

                                            (Fun Unzer Alten Otzar)

                                *  *  *

They shall confess their sin... and he shall made restitution (Num. 5:7)

The commandment of confessing the sin is in the plural, but making
restitution is in the singular form. This, unfortunately, is the way of
the world. To confess with our lips, to enumerate our sins, everyone is
willing to do. But, when it actually comes to doing something concrete
about our sins - to make restitution - not everyone jumps at the
opportunity. The plural becomes singular.

                                                     (Rishpei Aish)

                                *  *  *

The L-rd bless you and keep you (Num. 6:24)

The Priestly blessing is said in the singular because it is primarily
the blessing of unity that the Jews need.

                                                     (O'lot Efraim)

                                *  *  *

Because the service of the Sanctuary belonged to them; they were to bear
it upon their shoulders (Num. 7:9)

Worshipping G-d properly is hard work, requiring much effort and "elbow
grease." The perfection of G-dly service does not just happen by itself.
"If one says, 'I have not toiled, yet I have succeeded' - do not believe

                                   (Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Kotzk)

                            IT ONCE HAPPENED
Rebbetzin Freida, the daughter of the Rabbi Shneur Zalman, founder of
Chabad Chasidism, was an erudite and pious woman. She was especially
dear to her father and he would frequently deliver Chasidic discourses
just for her. Chasidim attribute a certain unsigned letter that
contained the deepest, most profound thoughts to Rebbetzin Freida. So
great was her knowledge and so close was she to her father that when her
brother, Reb Dov Ber (later to become the successor of his father, Rabbi
Shneur Zalman), had a question he would often ask her for an explanation
or to approach their father for the answer. On numerous occasions, the
Rebbetzin would ask her father questions and receive these answers while
her brother hid under the bed in the room to hear the explanations, as

On one such occasion, Reb Dov Ber asked Rebbetzin Freida to inquire of
their father as to the spiritual significance of the special garments
that the Kohanim (priests) wore while they served in the Holy Temple.
Rebbetzin Freida acquiesced to her brother's request. As Reb Dov Ber was
accustomed to do, he hid under the bed in the room where Rabbi Shneur
Zalman was explaining to his daughter the deepest and most esoteric
ramifications of each garment. For some reason, Rabbi Shneur Zalman did
not describe or even mention the belt that the Kohanim wore.

Reb Dov Ber, hiding under the bed, managed to attract his sister's
attention by waving his own belt slightly, thereby hinting that she
should ask her father the significance of the belt. When Rebbetzin
Freida asked her father to expound on the belt, Rabbi Shneur Zalman
called out, "This question is surely from my son who is hiding here and
he must leave the room immediately." Reb Dov Ber came out of his hiding
place and left the room.

What took place here? Obviously Reb Dov Ber knew that he was not able to
fool his father, nor did he intend to do so. Why, then, did he have to
receive these particular Chasidic teachings in this unusual manner? The
answer lies in the concept that certain teachings are intended for souls
from the "feminine world" and therefore had to be delivered to or
through a woman, while other teachings are intended for souls from the
"masculine world" and must be delivered to or through a man. If a man
has an unquenchable desire to study Torah that is intended for a soul
from the feminine world, or a woman has an unquenchable desire to study
Torah from the masculine world, through persistence, the person creates
within his or her soul the capability of connecting with this type of

Rebbetzin Freida was not a healthy woman physically, and after her
father passed away she became even weaker. When she felt that her
strength was ebbing and her final day on this earth was approaching, she
called a few Chasidim together and asked that after her passing they
bring her to Haditch and bury her to the right of her father.

The Chasidim did not know what to do as Jewish custom dictates that men
and women are not buried next to each other.

A few days later Rebbetzin Freida called the Chasidim once again. They
found her lying on her bed fully dressed. She asked that they encircle
her bed. She then began to say the prayer, "My G-d, the soul which You
have given within me is pure. You have created it, You have formed it,
You have breathed it into me, and You preserve it within me." When she
came to the words "And you will eventually take it from me..." she
raised her hands into the air and cried out, "Father, wait! I am
coming!" And she passed on.

The Chasidim understood that the request of a person who passed away in
this manner must be upheld. But still, they were uncomfortable.

On their way to the cemetery, they reached a fork in the road, one way
leading to Krementzug and the other way to Haditch. They decided to let
go of the horses' reins and bury her where they would lead. The horses
went to Haditch.

Rebbetzin Freida was buried, as she had requested, immediately next to
her father, Rabbi Shneur Zalman.

                            MOSHIACH MATTERS
"I set up prophets from your sons and Nazirites from your young men"
(Amos 2:11). This verse relates to the time of the redemption. At that
time, there will be Nazirites who will attain the ultimate holiness,
above and beyond that of earlier times. With the coming of Moshiach,
Naziriteship will not be for the sake of simply separating from worldly
matters, because these will then no longer impact negatively upon us.
For in the Messianic era, "good things will be abundant and all
delightful things accessible like dust, and the singular preoccupation
of the entire world will be to know G-d."

                (Living with Moshiach, Rabbi Dr. Immanuel Schochet)

                END OF TEXT - L'CHAIM 1426 - Nasso 5776

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