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                         L'CHAIM - ISSUE # 1436
                           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.
        August 26, 2016          Eikev               22 Av, 5776

                               Pokemon Go

                         by Rabbi Uriel Vigler

At this point, most of us have at least heard all about the new game,
Pokémon Go, which has taken the world by storm. It was downloaded more
than 10 million times in just its first week!

The game is based on augmented reality, but unlike other games which are
usually played while sedentary, Pokémon Go requires the player to
physically move around, exploring different locations in an attempt to
find and capture virtual creatures called Pokémon. The hunt is on!

To me, the game is nothing new. As Jews, we have been playing a version
of Pokémon Go for thousands of years.

According to Kabbalah, the world that we live in is "augmented." The
world that we see is not the real world. There is a deeper spiritual
reality hidden in the world, which will only be revealed with the coming
of Moshiach.

For example, we see a delicious steak sitting on a plate, just waiting
for us to bite into and enjoy. But in that steak is a spark of G-dliness
for us to "capture". How can we do that? By making a blessing before we
eat it, and then using the energy the steak gives us to do something

Likewise, when we see a $100 bill, what we don't see is the powerful
spark of G-dliness hidden within that will be "captured" as soon as we
give 10% to charity.

The same way virtual Pokémon are all around you, so are these Divine
sparks. And just like Pokémon Go requires the player to go outside and
visit different locations, our job is to go outside, find and capture
these Divine sparks wherever they may be.

Pokémon Go brings people together - it directs people to communal
"Pokéstops" and makes strangers team up and talk to each other. So does
Torah. Our "Pokéstops" are shuls, Chabad houses, and learning centers
where we gather to study and better ourselves.

In Pokémon Go, players can climb the ranks and become trainers by
catching more Pokémons. Likewise, we are all trainers. The Lubavitcher
Rebbe taught, "If you know an aleph, teach an aleph." It's our job to
teach others any Torah we study, or mitzvos we know, even if we don't
feel like experts.

Pokémon Go continues to play as long as your battery is running. It's
constant. Likewise, from the moment a girl turns 12 and a boy turns 13,
we are on the go, searching out Divine sparks to capture and elevate.
And like the game's slogan, our goal is to "Catch 'em all!"

The game only ends when the player "dies" and that's when the score card
is revealed. When we die, and our souls return to Heaven, we will
finally be able to see how many Divine sparks we caught during our
lifetime. As long as we're here, in the physical world, our job is to go
out and accumulate as many as possible.

A large part of the Pokémon Go thrill is the social media sharing and
competitiveness. It's something to post about, tweet about, share and
compare with others. Players feed off one another, trying to outdo each

While we are not in competition with each other, by posting and sharing
when we do a mitzvah, perhaps we can inspire and motivate others to
spread Torah, do more mitzvos and help one another. By working together,
we can collect more sparks and hasten the coming of Moshiach.

    Rabbi Vigler and his wife Shevy direct Chabad Israel Center of the
    Upper East Side in New York. From Rabbi Vigler's blog at

In this week's Torah portion Eikev, the word eikev is used atypically to
mean "because." Foremost Torah commentator Rashi explains that the
choice of this word is to emphasize the seemingly less important mitzvot
(commandments) that would get trampled under the eikev - heel.

Thus, "because" we will listen and do those mitzvot that might be
considered unimportant, we will be blessed with multifold blessings,
including miraculous victories over those whom we fear.

Regarding mitzvot, the ones we see as important we typically focus our
energy on.  Our yetzer hara, evil inclination, convinces us that it
makes sense to focus on the "important" ones, while pushing off the
others, thereby trampling them under our "heel."

Eikev encourages us to take a a different approach to mitzvot. To defy
our yetzer hara and simply do the mitzva because it is G-d's will. Then
all mitzvot are seen as equal. We do the mitzvot in a manner that is
beyond our mind's understanding.

When we take this approach toward G-d and His commandments,  going
beyond our understanding and doing His will, He in turn goes beyond the
natural order and shows us miracles.

                                *  *  *

Our portion also contains the verse, "And now Israel, what is Hashem
your G-d asking of you? Only to revere Him, to walk in His ways, to love

What is G-d asking of us? How does one revere and love Him? When G-d
created this world, He hid His presence. Had His presence not been
hidden, it would have been so imposing, that we would only be able to do
His will; we would not have a choice. So G-d's "hiddenness" enables
freedom of choice.

Being that G-d can't be seen, it is possible to forget for moments, that
He is here. But G-d wants us to make Him a real part of our lives. He
wants us to  develop such a close relationship with Him that His
presence feels as if we could see Him.

Like in any close, meaningful relationship, it requires a strong
commitment to get ot know G-d. We do that through the study of His Torah
and prayer. When we freely refer to G-d in our casual conversation:
"thank G-d" "with G-d's help" "G-d willing," we develop our relationship
with Him. If, when making an important decision, we ask, "What does G-d
want?" we strengthen that relationship.

When we feel G-d in our homes and in our lives, we can't help but follow
in His ways. Make G-d's presence important in our homes is true
reverence. The more we develop our relationship with G-d, the the more
our lives becomes an expression of our love for Him.

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

                             SLICE OF LIFE
                            Jewish Ferndale
                       By Shelli Liebman Dorfman

Ask Rabbi Herschel Finman why bringing Jewish programming to Ferndale is
a top priority, and he'll offer a simple, two-part response.

"There are no other Jewish 'anythings' in Ferndale," he said. "But there
are Jews."

After a year and a half of arranging events within the city under the
name Jewish Ferndale, it became time to establish a physical base.

"We have held classes and lectures, public Chanukah menorah lightings,
Megillah readings and Purim parties, Lag b'Omer barbecues and a host of
other programs," Finman said.

In May, Jewish Ferndale - welcoming Jews of all denominations - found a
home in a former dentist office on the western edge of the city's

With a grand opening set for the fall, the 3,700-square-foot building is
currently undergoing renovations. An industrial kitchen and
ADA-compliant bathrooms will be installed.

"The upstairs of the residence consists of four bedrooms and two full
baths, which will be used for offices and rabbi's living quarters,"
Finman said of the project being funded by private donors. "The basement
is ideal for a game room featuring a ping-pong or pool table and

A living room with a fireplace will remain, and a cabana behind the
garage may be made into a mikvah [ritual bath]."

The building's two-car garage will become the Art Studio of Ferndale,
for art to be created and artists' work to be displayed.

Finman's wife, Chana, co-director of Jewish Ferndale, looks for it to be
a continuation of the Oak Park-based art studio she has run for many

"I also hope other instructors will be attracted to teach what they are
passionate about," she said. "I hope we can infuse a Jewishness in all
these projects. Perhaps we will have trips to local studios, museums and
even plein air [in the open air] painting. Commitment to Judaism,
artistic development, friendship, support to artists and a safe place to
learn is the goal."

According to Rabbi Finman, "The city of Ferndale is doing everything in
its power to facilitate our being there. They recognize a Jewish
presence as being a great anchor for the neighborhood and a tremendous

Finman was awarded the Citizens for a Fair Ferndale 2016 Good Neighbor
Award for his efforts in making Ferndale a welcoming and inclusive
community and a better place to live.

"We already have a slew of programs ready to go once the building is
finished, including being the site of 12-step program meetings," said
Finman, who is on-air facilitator and founder of the Jewish Hour,
Michigan's only Jewish radio show on WLQV 1500 AM and,
for which Chana Finman is the arts and culture representative.

The rabbi is also an adult education Judaic teacher and provides
Jewish-based learning - on video and in written word - through an email

Upcoming uses of the facility include game/adult coloring book night, a
pop-up kosher restaurant night, classes and lectures, a welcome center,
a library and Jewish movie and popcorn night.

For Samm Wunderlich, the more the better. "I've attended menorah
lightings and classes as well as helped plan last year's Sukkah in the
'Dale' event at a local bar," said Wunderlich, 28, who lives in
Ferndale. "The Lag b'Omer event this year was wonderful, and I loved
that the crowd was very diverse, not just young professionals and not
just older community members. Different ages and different religious
levels. Very welcoming and accepting."

Plans have begun for the care of the three-quarters of an acre of land
surrounding the building, with some classes meeting outside this summer.

"We have planted fruit trees along the property line in an area we will
call "chakal tapuchin kadishin," the holy apple orchard, that will
provide a meditative reflection space," Rabbi Finman said.

"We have also been in contact with the Detroit Chapter of Hazon: Jewish
Movement for Sustainable Communities. Its members are on board to
provide volunteers to maintain the grounds by turning it into an urban
farm. Jewish Ferndale would also provide an avenue for schoolchildren
and concerned adults to learn about sustainable food and nutrition."

An enclosed porch area will be used as a green house. "We are also
investigating wind power and vertical gardens on the walls of the
building," he added.

"In addition, Solar Cascade, a nonprofit organization dedicated to
supplying solar energy, has pledged to donate solar panels to help with
energy costs. A well is in the plans to help lower the water bill for
the farm and mikvah.

"Jewish Ferndale will act as a centralized clearinghouse for all things
Jewish in Ferndale, including being a liaison with the community at
large, city government, nursing homes and public safety," said Finman,
who is the official chaplain of the police and fire department and
volunteer chaplain at both the city's only nursing home and Kingswood
Psychiatric Hospital.

"I also provide education and dialogue to assist in an understanding
among the communities in Ferndale," he said.

"Ferndale welcomes diversity. It's a cool city with a vibrant downtown,
and its central location makes it easily accessible to almost anywhere."

For Wunderlich, "Having a Jewish presence in Ferndale is wonderful.
Growing up here, the city has a strong sense of community and
camaraderie, things I've also grown to love now with my increased
involvement in the Jewish community," she said. "I am also excited to
see Jews living in Ferndale who may not be active in the community
currently get more involved now that there is something here. I am just
very excited to see this grow."

         Reprinted from the Detroit Jewish News. Rabbi Herschel and
     Chana Finman have been emissaries of the Rebbe in Michigan for
                                                          30 years.

                               WHAT'S NEW
                             From 35 to 500

When Chabad of Greater South Bay in Palo Alto, California started their
Gan Israel Day Camp 35 years ago, they had 35  campers enrolled. This
summer, Gan Israel Day Camp campers from throughout the Bay Area
gathered for a day of Hakhel Unity at the Palo Alto Gan Israel Camp Site
and they were 500 strong!

                               Kids Torah

Since the writing of the first Childrens Torah Scroll in 1981, five
Torahs have been completed. The sixth Children's Torah Scroll will be
concluded this Fall at the Tzemach Tzedek Shul in Jerusalem and at the
Wall. Over 1.5 million children under the age of Bar and Bat Mitzva
world-wide have acquired a letter in these special Torahs for Jewish
unity. To acquire a letter in the Sixth Children's Torah visit, or write to Children's Sefer Torah, P.O.Box 8, Kfar
Chabad, 60840 Israel or call 972-3-9607-358

                            THE REBBE WRITES
                           20th of Elul, 5735

Blessing and Greeting:

...You write that you find it difficult to fully understand why the
Jewish people seem to feel so strongly that the Gentiles are not well
disposed toward them, especially since you personally do not feel this
way about the Jews.

May I say, first of all, that I am gratified to hear about your good
feelings and I do hope that you avail yourself of every suitable
opportunity to let people know how you feel in this matter, so they
emulate you.

As for your question, what basis, if any, there may be for Jews to feel
suspicion - or even frightened, as it seems to you - about the Gentiles'
feelings towards them - surely there is an obvious explanation of that
in what happened in our time, and before our own eyes, obvious at any
rate, to those who survived the holocaust in Europe and found a haven in
this country.

Considering that one third of the Jewish people was callously decimated
by a Gentile nation and its collaborators, while the rest of the Gentile
world looked (and sometimes not even as indifferent observers) - a
subject too painful to dwell on, particularly in this letter, in view of
your personal feelings. I mention it only by way of reply to your
question - the explanation is fairly obvious, and it is surprising that
it had eluded you. Moreover, seeing the attitude of the vast majority of
the members of the United Nations toward the remnants of the Jewish
people, it clearly reinforces the suspicion that the attitude of the
Gentiles - generally speaking, for there have always been exceptions -
has not changed radically.

By way of contrast, it is noteworthy that Jews on their part have a duty
to encourage and help every Gentile to abide by the Divine commandments
which have been given to all mankind, namely, the so-called Seven
Precepts given to the Children of Noah, which are the minimum standards
of universal ethics and morality, law and order, without which no human
society can long survive. This is expected of the Jew regardless of the
Gentiles' attitude toward Jews. Similarly Jews are commanded to practice
charity and benevolence towards Gentiles along with Jews.

No doubt you also know the Jewish contributions to the concepts of
liberty and humanitarianism and others. Even the motto of the United
Nations, "Nation shall not lift up a sword against nation," is an ideal
Divinely inspired to a Jewish prophet for Jews and, through them, for
Gentiles. This too, incidentally, pointedly underscores the contrast
between the said ideal displayed there on the wall with what is going on
there between the walls. Again, there is no need to dwell on this, as
noted earlier.

With blessing,

                                *  *  *

                          25th of Shevat, 5732

Greeting and Blessing,

I was sorry to hear that you were not feeling too well, but I trust that
by the time this letter reaches you, your health will have improved
satisfactorily. In as much as there is always room for improvement in
all things, I wish you further improvement and a refuo shlemo [complete

Not knowing what sort of a patient you are, I take the liberty of
expressing my confident hope that you follow your doctors' instructions.
Even if this may entail an enforced period of rest and interruption in
your work, which no doubt you would be inclined to militate against,
nevertheless I am confident that you will overcome this, so as to
expedite your complete recuperation.

...Significantly, we read in this week's Sedra [portion] (rapo ye'rape),
which our sages explain to be the mandate of physicians to heal and
cure. Moreover, our illustrious teacher the Rambam, who was a famous
physician in the plain sense, as well as a great spiritual healer, made
it a point in his great Code....

To paraphrase the Rambam, and apply it in the area which we had occasion
to discuss, we may say that what the Rambam is expressing here is that
in order that the physical body be fit to serve G-d, that is to say to
elevate and sublimate the physical into the spiritual, or to bring out
the spirituality of the material, which is the key to the all-embracing
Divine Unity - it is necessary that the physical body be in a good state
and healthy. I might add that in your own sphere of sculpture, this is
also self evident. For, in order to create an idea out of a piece of
inert matter, whether metal, wood or stone, it is of course necessary
that the material be in a good state.

I trust you will not consider me presumptuous in trespassing upon your
domain. However, I only wish to impress upon you the essential thing,
namely the need to follow your doctors' instructions.

Wishing you a refuo shlemo, and with kindest regards to you and your

With blessing,


                              ALL TOGETHER
Experience has borne out that people are enthusiastic and excited when
they are told the history of Hakhel, that in the time of the temple this
year would be a Hakhel year when the people and the king would gather in
the temple. Furthermore, in the spiritual sense the mitzva (commandment)
may be fulfilled now, too, by attending a Hakhel gathering which will
effect more fear of G-d and greater Jewish unity.

(From a letter of the Rebbe to Lubavitch Yeshiva of Manchester, 5748)

                        A WORD FROM THE DIRECTOR
                         Rabbi Shmuel M. Butman
In this week's Torah portion we read: "...And He fed you the Manna which
you did not know, neither did your fathers know, etc..."

What was the difference between the "bread from heaven" - the manna that
fell from above for the Jews during their 40 years in the desert - and
ordinary bread "from the earth"? To produce bread, great effort and hard
labor is required - ploughing, sowing, reaping, grinding, kneading,
baking, etc. And the finished product, in common with all other physical
foods, cannot be totally absorbed and utilized by the human body; part
of it is rejected by the body as waste. But manna, the "bread from
heaven," did not require any labor for preparation and contained no
waste whatsoever.

Who was able to eat this noble, almost spiritual food? All Israel - the
righteous, the average and even the wicked. Moreover, the manna did not
become debased and lose its special qualities when digested by an evil
person; even within their bodies it had no waste. On the contrary, it
had a refining, elevating effect on them.

Torah is called "bread," and within Torah wisdom we may also discern two
kinds of "bread." The revealed parts of Torah - the Oral Law, the Bible,
Mishna, Talmud, etc - is called "bread from the earth" because of the
toil and labor associated with the question-answer, challenge-refutation
method of study. The inner aspect of Torah - Kabbala, chasidic
philosophy, the mystical teaching, etc.- is called "bread from heaven."

Who may partake of this noble food? Who may study this refined and
esoteric wisdom of Torah? The inner aspect of Torah, the "bread from
heaven," is for all and may be ingested, like the manna, by every Jew no
matter what level he or she finds himself. Like the manna, it has a
refining effect and brings us all closer to returning to our Source.

                          THOUGHTS THAT COUNT
And you shall eat and be sated. (Deut. 8:10)

The Maggid of Mezritch once asked a wealthy man what he eats every day.
"Bread and salt, Rebbe, like a poor man," was his reply. The Maggid
rebuked him and told him to eat meat and drink wine every day as wealthy
men were accustomed to do. Later, when the Maggid's disciples asked for
an explanation, he said: "If a rich man eats meat and drinks wine every
day, then he will realize that a poor person needs at least bread and
salt. If, however, he eats bread and salt, he will think that his poor
neighbor can make do with stones!"

                                *  *  *

Now Israel, what does the L-rd your G-d ask of you except to revere G-d
(Deut. 10:12)

"People are strange," Rabbi Chanoch of Alexander used to say. "They beg
and plead that G-d should give them 'fear of heaven,' when this is
something that is entirely in the individual's control. Yet when it
comes to livelihood, they imagine that they are in charge."

                                *  *  *

There are many mitzvot (commandments) that require physical "objects" in
order to observe them. For example, a person cannot fulfill the mitzva
of tzitzit without a garment to put them on, nor can one affix a mezuza
without a dwelling place and door post. An incarcerated person is also
severely limited as to what he can do. "Revering G-d," however, is
dependent on nothing. A Jew can fulfill this mitzva anywhere, and at any

                                                   (Ginzano HeAtik)

                                *  *  *

And to serve Him with all your heart (Deut. 11:13)

Rashi explains that this verse refers to the service of the heart,
namely prayer. Reb Yisroel of Ruzhin used to take a long time over his
prayers; Reb Shalom of Belz would recite his prayers hastily. On this,
one of their contemporaries commented that both of them cherished every
word of the prayers: the former loved them so much that he could not
bring himself to part with them, while the latter--for the same reason -
could not restrain his eagerness to make them his.

                                     (A Treasury of Chasidic Tales)

                            IT ONCE HAPPENED
Once, two young men traveled to visit Rabbi Shmuel of Lubavitch, the
Rebbe Maharash. They both wished to speak with him on the subject of how
better to serve G-d. One young man was very learned, and the other,
while not a very learned man, possessed a simple, yet pure faith in G-d.

The first man entered the study of the Rebbe for a private audience. He
approached the Rebbe and asked him how he could improve his G-dly
service, especially in the area of prayer. The Rebbe Maharash told the
man to always hold a prayer book when he prayed, and that he should look
at every word while praying. The young man told the Rebbe that he felt
he could concentrate better when he pulled his tallit over his head,
closed his eyes and prayed.

The Rebbe exclaimed, "Fool! Are you going to say 'Haleluka' (a portion
of the morning prayers) on a beam?" The young man left the Rebbe
thoroughly confused. What could the Rebbe have meant by suggestion that
he prayed "on a beam?"

The young man asked some of the elder chasidim if they could decipher
the meaning of the words, but they were unable to help him. After
pondering the matter for a few hours, the young man suddenly realized to
what the Rebbe had been referring. He remembered that once, while
praying, he noticed a beam that ran the entire length of the synagogue.
The young man decided to walk the entire length of the beam while saying
the "Haleluka" prayer. He wanted to see if he could begin the prayer at
the beginning of the beam, and reach the end of the beam at the
conclusion of the prayer. Now he understood what the Rebbe meant; his
concentration during prayer would be greatly improved by using a prayer
book for every word.

Then the second man came to the Rebbe, and the Rebbe told him that at
every opportunity he should learn the complete Tanach (the books of the
Torah, Prophets, and Writings). He should study it in Yiddish
translation, in order that he should be able to comprehend fully what he
was reading. The Rebbe emphasized that he should utilize as much free
time as possible in learning Tanach, while journeying on business trips
and even between customers. The man took this upon himself, and devoted
as much free time as possible learning Tanach in Yiddish.

During one winter, the man went away on a business trip, and as usual,
spent every free moment studying the Tanach. He returned home a few days
later after his business had been completed. After greeting his wife, he
looked in on his child peacefully sleeping in his bed. Begin that it was
a freezing, cold night, the father placed his heavy cloak which he had
just removed on the sleeping form of his child, in order to keep the
child warm. He then proceeded to discuss the various details of his trip
with his wife. After they finished their conversation, they went to
check on the baby. Upon doing so, they realized that the child was not
breathing. He had suffocated under the heavy cloak!

The father shook the child back and forth, hoping to start the child
breathing again, but to no avail. The wife ran to get a doctor. When she
returned home, an amazing sight met her eyes. There was her husband
sitting and playing with their child, as if nothing had happened. How
could her husband, who was by no means a doctor, revive their child?
When she inquired as to how he had done this, he told her about a
portion of Tanach that he had learned while on his trip. The portion
dealt with the prophet Elisha, and it documents how Elisha revived a
dead child by laying atop the child and breathing into his mouth. So
this man, with his pure and complete faith, figured that if this worked
for Elisha it would work for him, too.

All those who knew the man and knew of his conversation with the Rebbe
Maharash, realized the meaning of the Rebbe's instructions. It became
clear that this miracle came about in the merit of his following the
Rebbe's directive to constantly study Tanach, and also in the merit of
his unwavering faith in G-d.

                            MOSHIACH MATTERS
This week's Torah portion begins, "And it shall come to pass - eikev -
because you will listen to these ordinances, and keep, and do them
(Deut. 7:12) Eikev, literally means "heel." The time immediately
preceding the Final Redemption is often referred to as "the heel of
Moshiach." That is to say, at the end of time, "you will listen" - in
the end we will have no choice but to obey G-d.

                                   (Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Kotsk)

                END OF TEXT - L'CHAIM 1436 - Eikev 5776

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