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Devarim Deutronomy

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Devarim Deutronomy

   1434: Devarim

1435: Vaeschanan

1436: Eikev

1437: Re'eh

1438: Shoftim

1439: Ki Seitzei

1440: Ki Savo

1441: Nitzavim

L'Chaim
August 12, 2016 - 8 Av, 5776

1434: Devarim

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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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  1433: Matos-Masei1435: Vaeschanan  

Coming Home  |  Living with the Rebbe  |  A Slice of Life  |  What's New
The Rebbe Writes  |  All Together  |  A Word from the Director  |  Thoughts that Count
It Once Happened  |  Moshiach Matters

Coming Home

The business trip is over - finally. Successful? Oh, yes. In fact, the most successful business trip you've ever taken. But grueling. It was cross-country and even took you overseas. There were delays, lousy accommoda-tions, scheduling conflicts, missed appointments, and a few good deals gone sour at the last moment.

It was all worth it, though. You made invaluable contacts - lifetime commitments. Some excellent sales. Even on the rare occasion when you didn't close the deal, you succeeded in changing the other guy's mind a little. The most hostile contact had in the end to acknowledge the truth of your presentation, whether or not he accepted your offer. And changing that mind set from negative to positive, might bring more in the future. So really, every minute of the trip paid off somehow.

But you've been gone from home a long time. Way too long. It seems you've lost track of time. Sometimes it's hard to remember what the house looks like. And the family - oh, sure, you talk to them on the phone, keep in touch by long distance, but of course it's not the same. You want to be with them. Only now do you realize how much you miss them.

And then, it happens. Your flight is delayed. Bad weather. An engine malfunction. You're stuck, so close, so very close, but with no way to get out of the airport, no way to get home. You're tired, frustrated, angry and not a little worried. Will they cancel your flight? Will you ever get home?

When at last the announcement comes to board the plane, your relief and joy know no bounds.

We the Jewish people have been on a "business trip" for over two thousand years. It's taken us across countries and over all the seas. We've been "selling" G-dliness, changing how the world views itself and how it acts, even though sometimes that change seems imperceptible. But the goodness in the world, a goodness that stems from the holiness in the Torah, has been growing. And it's grown because wherever we've gone we've established holiness, revealing the truth of Torah and inculcating the value of mitzvos.

Of course there have been obstacles, delays, hostilities, hardships, etc. But when we look back on our accomplishments, on the sparks of holiness we've gathered, on the transformation of the world into a dwelling place for G-d, we must feel that ultimately, it was all worth it.

Yet now, now when it's time to go home there are delays, disappointments and diversions. It's been so long since we've been home, home living in peace and security. It's been so long since we've been home in Israel, an Israel unthreatened, whole, without internal strife. It's been so long since we've been home in a Jerusalem, united, with the Holy Temple standing, and all the people visibly experiencing the Divine Presence. We're so close to Moshiach, to the final Redemption, that any postponement, hindrance or impediment makes us tired, frustrated, angry and not a little worried.

We don't want to wait any more. We want to go home.


Living with the Rebbe

This week's Torah portion, Devarim, is always read on the Shabbat before Tisha B'Av - the ninth day of the Hebrew month of Av. This year, Tisha B'Av occurs on Shabbat, and so the Fast of Tisha B'Av, commemorating the destruction of the Holy Temples, is pushed off until Sunday. When this occurs we celebrate Shabbat with even more joy than usual. But isn't Tisha B'Av the saddest day in the Jewish calendar? Why the extra joy?

Both the Torah portion and Haftora - the vision ("chazon") of Isaiah, seem to rebuke the Jewish people. Both contain the dreaded word "Eicha." This reminds us of the Book of Lamentations, read on Tisha B'Av, in which the prophet Jeremiah laments the destruction of Jerusalem.

Moses, Isaiah and Jeremiah represent different stages of Jewish nationhood.

Moses, just before entering the Land of Israel, warns the Jewish nation not to forget the great purpose for which they were chosen, and to always remember our connection with G-d whose Torah is our guide. Isaiah, during the First Temple Era, chastises the Jewish people for being superficial. Jeremiah, during and after the destruction of the First Temple, laments how low we as a people have fallen.

Each of the speeches of these three great prophets of the Jewish people ends with words of hope and promise. And in each case The Jewish people come back stronger and greater than before.

Sometimes, in order to build, you first need to demolish. It is a necessary loss to achieve something greater. When you focus on the past, the destruction is devastating. However, when you focus on the future, even something as difficult as destruction can be seen in a positive light.

How do we focus on the future? We know that when Moshiach comes, our Holy Temple will be rebuilt more beautiful than the previous two Temples. We will see how the Jewish people have achieved unimagined levels of greatness and holiness. And this will be due to our prolonged suffering in this exile.

Even more, we will finally achieve our ultimate purpose, making this world a dwelling for G-d. This is why He created existence and this is why He created us. What could be greater than that?

So is Tisha B'Av happy or sad? It was sad but soon it will be happy. This year we get a taste of our future, a taste of Moshiach as the Fast is pushed off. The happy essence of the day is revealed, therefore we celebrate Shabbat with more joy than usual.

In these last moments of exile, it is our Jewish presence and essence that makes the difference. So express your Jewishness a little more. Find ways to add to your mitzvot and to do them with joy, knowing that you are changing the world for good.

May this year's Tisha B'Av fast be pushed off ever.

Adapted by Rabbi Yitzi Hurwitz from the teachings of the Rebbe, yitzihurwitz.blogspot.com. Rabbi Hurwitz, who is battling ALS, and his wife Dina, are emissaries of the Rebbe in Temecula, Ca.


A Slice of Life

Happy Campers

Photos: Above Miami, Florida; Clockwise from top left, Nice, France; Milan, Italy; Plano, Texas; Ottawa, Canada; Novgorod, Russia; Mad, Budapest.

There are hundreds of them around the world, with tens of thousands of campers. When the sun is at its zenith in every major city and on every continent, the Chabad-Lubavitch Gan Israel summer camps shine their light on yet another generation of Jewish children.

The Gan Israel camps span a diversity of cultures, languages and regions, extending from Alaska to Florida and from Australia to Zaire. But no matter how disparate, they are - like some spiritual Starbucks - all alike in their trademark spirit, joy and Jewish pride that permeate the Gan Israel camp experience.

In 1956, the Rebbe launched Gan Israel, an international network of summer camps, where children of all ages and walks of life learn to love their heritage while enjoying the best experience that camping offers.

In those days, enjoying a summer camp complete with sports, arts, crafts, and entertaining activities was a novelty reserved for children of families with means. When Gan Israel summer camps were founded, the guiding principle was that every child deserves to gain from the integration of education and camp activities and that no child should be left out.

Gan Israel has grown into the world's largest network of Jewish summer camps. Today, Gan Israel offers much more than the traditional swimming and camping. Many camps now offer creative drama, science workshops, tennis, karate, and dance. Special needs are accomodated in many of the camps such as blending in children from "Friendship Circle" into existing Gan Israel camps as well as a new camp that opened last year for the Jewish deaf. Trips to theme parks, bowling and beaches complement the spiritual programs that are the hallmark of Gan Israel: Jewish songs and creative Shabbat parties, ritual arts and crafts, and a wide variety of activities designed to generate interest and excitement in Jewish history, observance and the performance of good deeds.


What's New

New Emissaries

Rabbi Yaakov and Libby Nechimovsky have arrived in Crete, Greece, the largest of the Greek islands and the fifth largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. Chabad-Lubavitch of Crete will serve both visitors and the local Jewish. Rabbi Yossi and Freidy Kaplan are moving to Thessaloniki, Greece, to bolster the activities of Chabad-Lubavitch that take place there.

What Will the World Be Like

The HaChai favorite, "What Will The World Be Like?" is back in print, now with laminated pages. Did you ever wonder what the future holds in store? Most people have, including young children who ask their parents probing questions. Jewish tradition has much to say about the era of Moshiach, and this beautifully illustrated picture book provides these important answers for the very young.


The Rebbe Writes

5th of Menachem Av, 5735 [1975]
To All Participants in the
Bais Chana Scholarship Dinner and
Dedication of Boschwitz Hall at Lubavitch House
Minneapolis, Minn.

Greeting and Blessing:

In these days deprived of joy in commemoration of the Destruction of the Bais Hamikdosh [Holy Temple], it is particularly gratifying to receive the good news of your constructive efforts and accomplishments for Torah Judaism in general and Torah education of our youths in particular.

The sacred activities of Torah and Tefiloh (Prayer) give the Lubavitch House the status of a Bais Knesses [synagogue] and Bais Medrash [House of Study], hence of a Mikdosh Me'at ("Small Sanctuary" - a replica of the Bais Hamikdosh), and according to the Zohar (III, 126a) of a Mikdosh.

This is most significant in these days, for it is through such activities as you are gathered to celebrate that the cause of the Destruction is gradually eliminated, and with it the effect, or, in the words of the familiar prayer, umipnai chatoeinu golinu me'artzeinu - "because of our sins we have been exiled from our land," etc. Thus every effort to strengthen Torah and Mitzvos hastens the coming of Moshiach Tzidkeinu [our righteous redeemer] and the Geuloh shleimo [complete Redemption].

The most desirable wish and blessing that can be offered on such an occasion is that the present beautiful facilities should soon prove inadequate for the expanded Torah activities of Lubavitch in Minnesota and bring about even greater and more extensive facilities of this kind.

May we all soon see the fulfillment of the prophecy that these days of sadness shall be transformed into days of rejoicing, gladness and festivity - especially as your celebration is taking place on the auspicious day of the 15th of Av.

With blessing for Hatzlocho [success] and good tidings,


15th of Menachem Av, 5730 [1970]
The Campers and Counselors
Camp Emunah
Greenfield Park, N.Y.

Greeting and Blessing:

I was pleased to receive a report about your life and activities in the camp through Rabbi J. J. Hecht. He also turned in your Tzedoko [charity] collection of Tisha b'Av [the ninth day of the Hebrew month of Av].

Every effort to strengthen Torah and Mitzvos hastens the coming of Moshiach and the complete Redemption.

As I mentioned on the Shabbos before Tisha b'Av, which no doubt was conveyed also to you, Tzedoko is particularly important in connection with the day of Tisha b'Av to hasten the Geulo [Redemption] in accordance with the prophecy, "Zion will be redeemed through justice, and all that return to her - through Tzedoko." Especially significant is the Tzedoko before Mincha [the afternoon prayer], when the prayer "Nacheim" is said.

May G-d grant that in the Zechus [merit] of your Tzedoko in connection with the above, and the Tzedoko of all Jews, together with the Zechus of the Torah, which is indicated in the beginning of the verse mentioned above (in the word Mishpot - "justice"), that is to say, the daily life in accordance with the Torah and Mitzvos - should speedily bring the Nechama [consolation]. Then you, with all other Jewish children as well as adults, will come out to meet our righteous Moshiach, and the days of sadness will be turned into days of gladness, as promised by our holy Prophets in the holy Torah.

With blessing,


All Together

At the time when the Holy Temple was in existence the Jewish people were actually able to fulfill the commandment of Hakhel. It is possible that it would be enough for them to just be involved in the mitzva (commandment) of Hakhel and not be concerned with the spiritual aspects that also are involved. This is not true now when the Holy Temple is no longer in existence. The only thing left now is a remembrance of its existence. In our times the spiritual aspects of Hakhel are much more evident. This being the transcendence of one's being through the awe and reverance of G-d.

(The Rebbe, 25 Elul, 1987)


A Word from the Director

Rabbi Shmuel M. Butman

Tisha B'Av commemorates the destruction of Jerusalem and the Holy Temple. In the future, Jewish teachings explain, these days will be transformed into festivals and days of rejoicing.

One year, shortly before the conclusion of the fast of Tisha B'Av - which was actually observed on the tenth of Av (just as with this year, as the actual date of 9 Av is on Shabbat) - the Rebbe unexpectedly delivered a short, inspiring talk about the imminence of the Redemption.

The Rebbe completed his talk with the following words: Had we merited, the complete and ultimate Redemption would have come even before Tisha B'Av. And then the tenth of Menachem Av would have been marked in a completely different manner. For whatever reason, a reason that cannot be understood, G-d decided to hold back the Redemption, and thus the tenth of Av was associated with fasting, "And the tenth will be holy." This will, however, be quickly followed by the singing of the tenth song of the Jewish people, the song of the Redemption. May this be in the immediate future.

After the conclusion of the fast and the evening prayers, as the Rebbe was leaving "770," he began singing a melody his father would sing on Simchat Torah. This generated singing and then dancing by the thousands of chasidim and visitors in the shul.

May we merit that this year, Tisha B'Av be celebrated as a festival and day of rejoicing, with the coming of Moshiach, NOW!


Thoughts that Count

The Book of Deuteronomy

What is the difference between the Book of Deuteronomy and the other four Books of the Torah? In transmitting the first four Books, Moses acted strictly as G-d's emissary, repeating the message word for word without involving his own intellect in the process. Deuteronomy, however, was transmitted precisely through the intellect and understanding of the leader of the generation, in response to the exact needs of the people and its particular spiritual level. Accordingly, Deuteronomy - given to the Jewish people just prior to their entry into the land of Israel, and the new lifestyle it would entail - contains many explanations of concepts that were only alluded to in the first four Books.

(The Lubavitcher Rebbe)


Moses began (ho'il) to explain this law (Deut. 1:5)

The Hebrew word "ho'il" contains the same letters as "Eliyahu" - an allusion to the time to come when Elijah the Prophet will answer all our difficult questions. Also, the questions posed by the last few generations before Moshiach will be complicated and troublesome; their answer will only be found through the same self-sacrifice that was shown by Pinchas, whom our Sages explain was reincarnated as Elijah the Prophet.

(Yalkut Moshe)


How can I alone bear your weight, your burden and your strife? (Deut. 1:12)

As Rashi explains, the "burden" referred to by Moses was the heretics among the Jewish people. Commented Rabbi Nachman of Breslov: "The heaviest burden a person can bear is apostasy. The heart of a Jew who believes in G-d is calm and tranquil, while the heretic must constantly contend with the weight of his doubts and troubling thoughts."


It Once Happened

In general, the study hall of Rabbi Boruch was a joyous place. During the Nine Days before Tisha B'Av, however, the atmosphere was rather somber, as if a dark cloud hovered above.

The tzadik himself had disappeared; no one knew where he was. Rumor had it that Rabbi Boruch had disguised himself as a beggar and was wandering from town to town, the better to experience the exile of the Divine Presence.

In the village square stood a wagon driver next to his horses. To all outward appearances he looked like any other wagon driver, but it was really Rabbi Boruch in a new disguise. It didn't take long until a Polish nobleman asked to engage his services.

The tzadik made a quick calculation: If everything went well, he would make it back to town on the day before Tisha B'Av. He agreed to take the nobleman to his destination, and the two set off.

Now, the horses that Rabbi Boruch had procured were not exactly in their prime; the poor specimens could barely pull the wagon and stopped often to rest. The most tranquil of passengers would have found it irritating; how much more so did the Polish nobleman, who was in a hurry to reach his destination. The tzadik was subjected to a steady stream of curses and insults. But he remained silent, feeling acutely the pain and affront to the Divine Presence in exile.

The journey would take several days, and each evening the two travelers sought refuge in an inn. The nobleman obtained the finest accommodations, while Rabbi Boruch slept in the barn with his horses. The tzadik made sure to don his tefilin and pray several hours before the nobleman woke up. Only afterwards would he rouse him to resume their travels.

One morning, however, when Rabbi Boruch knocked on the nobleman's door he received no answer. The nobleman, he soon realized, was in a drunken stupor, having spent the night before carousing with some local peasants. With great difficulty the tzadik managed to haul him over to the wagon and dump him in. Throughout it all, the nobleman remained unconscious.

The next stage of the journey took them through a dense forest. The horses plodded along at their usual sluggish pace, keeping time with the nobleman's loud snores. Rabbi Boruch was lost in thought.

Suddenly, a terrible pain ripped through the tzadik's head. When he woke up he found himself tied to a tree, with the Polish nobleman in similar circumstances. The horses and wagon were gone, but Rabbi Boruch noticed that his prayer book, talit and tefilin had been tossed aside. Immediately he thanked G-d for having saved his life.

Moving his arms and legs the tzadik was able to gradually loosen his bonds. The first thing he did was to pick up his prayer book, talit and tefilin and kiss them. Next he turned his attention to the Polish nobleman, who was still unconscious but appeared to be breathing.

Rabbi Boruch found a stream and splashed some water on the man's face. Nonetheless, it took a few hours until his eyelids fluttered. "What happened?" the nobleman stammered. "Why am I lying on the ground?"

The tzadik told him what had happened, but as soon as he heard the word "robbers" he began to scream. "My money! My money!" Rabbi Boruch tried to calm him down and told him that he should be grateful for being alive, but the nobleman remained extremely agitated and kept looking at the tzadik with barely concealed suspicion.

With no other choice the two set out on foot. After wandering for several days they came upon an encampment of hunters, some of whom were the nobleman's friends. Out of earshot of the wagon driver, the nobleman told them that he suspected his companion of having stolen his money. His suspicion was based on the simple fact that the driver was the only person who had known of its existence.

One hunter suggested that they shoot him immediately, but the oldest member of the party demurred. "Let's tie him to a tree," he proposed. "If he's guilty, he will die. If not, then G-d help him." The tzadik was immediately seized and bound.

Night fell, and Rabbi Boruch's tears flowed freely as he prayed the evening service. From the depths of his heart he implored G-d to save him, his voice echoing back in the eerie silence.

The sound of approaching footsteps suddenly cut off his words. It was the old hunter who had returned, the very one who had objected to killing him. "I wanted to see how you were," he said. "I never thought you were guilty in the first place. The real robbers have just been apprehended and have admitted to everything. It seems that when our foolish friend got drunk the other night, he boasted to everyone about all the money he was carrying."

It was the night of Tisha B'Av when Rabbi Boruch arrived back at the study hall, where his disciples were waiting for him expectantly. And everyone noticed that the tzadik's reading of the Book of Lamentations was especially emotional that year.


Moshiach Matters

In this week's Torah portion we read the promise from G-d, "Behold, I have set the land before you: go in and possess the land which the L-rd swore unto your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give to them and to their seed after them.' (Deut. 1:8) This verse does not say that the land will be given "to you," but "to them" - Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. This is an allusion to the resurrection of the dead in the times of Moshiach.

(Sanhedrin)


  1433: Matos-Masei1435: Vaeschanan  
   
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