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                         L'CHAIM - ISSUE # 1465
                           Copyright (c) 2017
                 Lubavitch Youth Organization - L.Y.O.
                              Brooklyn, NY
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   Dedicated to the memory of Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka Schneerson N.E.
        March 24, 2017      Vayakhel-Pekudei       26 Adar, 5777

                      by Dr. David YB Kaufmann obm

Ah, family reunions! Those gala gathering of the clan events. They can
be held for special reasons - a mother's 75th birthday, the parents'
50th wedding anniversary, a Bar Mitzva. They can be held for no reason
at all other than a celebration of the generations.

They can extend across a wide range of cousins - go back three or four
generations. Some families have a yearly event. It starts with parents,
children and spouses, and grandchildren. The reunions can have a theme,
have special commemorative sweatshirts, occur around a holiday. Grandma
can make some special recipes (a thousand chocolate chip cookies,
anyone?), cousins play games (all night sessions of Chess, Monopoly or
Risk), and the siblings catch up with each others' lives (how's the new
job working out? you got a new car? which team's going to win?).

Around the dinner table, a recounting of family history. Stories of old
frictions now produce laughs and a sense of togetherness, of battling
through together rather than against each other.

Stepping back for a moment, though, or looking on as an outsider, we
must be struck by two observations, apparent contradictions. We see an
intensity of affection that, in many ways, has no parallel for breadth
and depth. Oh, sure, there will sometimes be tense moments (fewer the
older we get, the more reunions we have), conflicts, a flaring up here
and there, on rare occasions, of unsettled issues. But over all, by and
large - overwhelmingly so - consider the months of planning! - everyone
focuses outward from themselves and inward to the family - the family as
a whole, as an indivisible unit. One sees a clear and present pride, an
exclusionary pride, that extends to and includes all - those born into
and those adopted in.

And the second thing we see is the diversity. This one barely speaks
English, that one can barely read Hebrew. This one wears a kipa, studied
in a yeshiva and his wife covers her hair; that one is always on the go,
hasn't settled down yet, has a high profile job; the other one is
strictly "middle class" - two cars in the garage, suburbs, soccer and
piano. They look different, they live differently and yet - they're
family. Here, we don't measure lifestyles and we don't count mitzvot
(commandment). Rather, we count souls to make sure everyone's here. At
reunions, we measure the limitless responsibility and love we have for
each other. Each guarantees the other. Each is bound to, part of, every
member of the family.

The family reunion - a microcosm of the Jewish people. For all our
diversity, we "camp at Sinai" as one people. Near or far, does not our
family - our extended family, our fellow Jews - remain always in our
minds and hearts? Do we not rejoice at the reunion, even with a
"distant" cousin?

And of a certainty we look forward to the ultimate family reunion, when
all Jews, living and dead, will be reunited in our ancestral home, in
Israel, as we gather for the family feast, so to speak, at the rebuilt
Temple, with the coming of Moshiach.

    This article is one of over 400 article that Dr. Kaufmann wrote for
    this column in L'Chaim over the course of eight years. Read more
    about Dr. Kaufmann in the Slice of Life

This week we read two Torah portion, Vayakhel and Pekudei. In the first
portion we learn about the donations that created the Kiyor, the Laver,
a large copper receptacle that held water. The Kohanim, the priests,
would wash their hands and feet using the water from the Kiyor before
doing the Temple service.

Where was the copper for the Kiyor from? The women gathered at Moses's
tent with the copper mirrors they had used to beautify themselves while
they were still in Egyptian exile. They intended to donate these mirrors
to be used for the holy Tabernacle.

Moses was disgusted by the mirrors, because he did not relate to the
holy purpose for which they had been used. G-d told Moses to accept
them, "for they are most precious to Me of all." Because of these
mirrors, the women established great numbers in Egypt. When their
husbands would be exhausted, laboring under Egyptian bondage, they would
go out and greet them with food and drink. They would feed them, and
entice them with words, they would hold the mirror in a way that both
her and her husband could be seen together, she would say "I am prettier
than you."  In this manner she would awaken his desire for her.

It is with these mirrors that the Kiyor was made, for the Kiyor is to
bring peace between husband and wife. How important is the relationship
of a couple to G-d?

In Song of Songs, King Solomon compares our relationship with G-d, to
the relationship of a husband and wife. This relationship with G-d is
the foundation on which our purpose and mission as the Jewish people is
established. Every mitzva, every prayer and every part of Torah we
learn, comes down to this relationship. Being one with G-d.

The microcosm of this relationship is that of a husband and wife. This
relationship is so central to Judaism, that the mirrors that brought
husband and wife together as one, are not only special, but most
precious of all. It is so important that no service could be done in the
Temple before washing hands from the Kiyor, which was made from these
mirrors. The Kiyor was placed between the altar and the Holies, the
center of all of the action in the Temple. It was seen and served as a
reminder of the importance of the husband and wife relationship.

This shows us how important it is to work on our personal relationship.
If you are not growing closer together, there is a problem. If you feel
that your relationship is on the rocks, you are not alone, don't be
ashamed to get professional help. Most good marriages are that way
because the couple was willing to go to a professional and sort out
their issues. If you think your relationship is just fine, then you must
take it to the next level, there is always room to grow. The Kiyor, made
of these mirrors and placed centrally in the Temple, is a reminder, that
your relationship is central to Judaism, it is the foundation of Jewish
life, and it is not just special, to G-d, it is most precious of all.

           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
                           Scotch and Herring
                         by Rabbi Mendel Rivkin

It is with a heavy heart and profound sadness that I share the news of
the passing of community leader, my fellow (senior) Shliach, family
friend and longtime neighbor, Dr. David Kaufmann.

Dr. Kaufmann was one of the first (if not the first) people to get
involved with Chabad in 1975 when my parents, Rabbi Zelig and Bluma
Rivkin, arrived in New Orleans. While pursuing graduate studies at the
University of New Orleans (UNO) and later Tulane, he also pursued his
other passion, Jewish learning. David was a regular at our home and
entertained us kids with songs and stories. He always had a pipe and a
chess board handy.

After marrying Nechama and starting their family, David completed  his
PHD in English at Tulane. Then David and Nechama joined the staff of
Chabad as the Rebbe's emissaries in New Orleans. For years they directed
Camp Gan Israel day camp and then also became the directors of Chabad's
activities on Tulane's campus. David also spearheaded the highly popular
"Chanukah @ Riverwalk" program and continued to coordinate it until
recent years.

His true love was Torah study, especially Chasidic philosophy and the
teachings of the Rebbe, which he shared at every opportunity.

David had a profound influence on many people as an emissary, teaching
and inspiring in his unique manner, and also as a professor of English
and Jewish studies at Tulane. For years he led a Tanya study class with
a diverse group in attendance. His classes on the Rebbe's Sichot (talks)
were much anticipated.

David was influential in the growth of Torah Academy Day School, serving
in many capacities over the years, not the least of which was Chess Club
instructor, once leading the club all the way through the tournaments,
nearly to the top of the city rankings.

David was an author of many books spanning several genres. He was also a
translator and an editor. He was a pioneer in using the internet and
email for Jewish outreach, through which he developed a relationship
with the legendary online Jewish figure, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Kazen. For
years, Dr. Kaufmann authored the lead front page article in  this
L'Chaim Newsletter.

All of the above aside, most central to David's life was his family, and
being a chasid and emissary of the Rebbe. He deeply regarded the mitzva
(commandment) of honoring parents. His pride and joy were his wife,
children and grandchildren.

This past summer, Dr. Kaufmann stood before us at Project Talmud, and
bravely spoke about Faith in Times of Crisis. It was - at times - an
emotional presentation that strongly impacted the listeners. We all had
hoped that it would be strictly a rear-view mirror perspective. Alas, it
was not meant to be and this morning our community suffered the loss of
one of our best.

Our hearts are broken for the loss but even more so for his wife Nechama
and their children. May G-d comfort you among the mourners of Zion and
Jerusalem and may we very soon experience the Redemption, the time when
"death will cease forever and G-d will wipe the tears off every face."

From Dr. Kaufmann's website ( that features his

David Y. B. Kaufmann has triangulated the country, having been born in
Seattle, grown up in the suburbs of Philadelphia and finally settling in
New Orleans. He and his wife Nechama have seven children. He has taught
for over 35 years and has a Ph.D. in English. He is an eclectic author,
having written scholarly articles on Mark Twain, Jane Austen and
Narrative Closure as well as hundreds of essays on a variety of topics.
He has edited several chess books (having been an active player and
teacher), as well medical texts and legal briefs. He has translated
works of Jewish thought and co-authored the email-written memoir,
Judaism Online: Confronting Spirituality on the Internet, with Shoshana
Zakar. His fiction includes, Trees and Forest: A Mystery and The Silent
Witness (YA), both set in New Orleans, as well as  the Scotch and
Herring Mystery series, set in 1950s Brooklyn.

                                *  *  *

      A Poem that Dr. Kaufmann wrote on turning 65 six months ago:

So I made it. One year past do you need me.
I have been through the war, you and I,
And bear the scar of more than life -
There is a limping of the soul I would not trade,
Though I have spent a lifetime, and would have spent
Another to avoid the gaining of that gain,
Irredeemable, a value prized beyond
The infinite price. I nearly didn't make it
Twice, you and I, but seven returns
Manifold, and prayers breach the sky.
The world is hollow and we twirl within -
So many futures I have been,
So many futures I have yet to be,
And I see the prologue in the days to come -
Walk with me, cane or no,
And turn a sunset into dawn,
The night is dark and full of light,
The stars like dust, sand on the shore,
We shall walk the numbering ever
And forevermore. When half and yet half
Again I did not think that I would be
Where I am - if I could see that far
(Glasses as a toddler, you know, the eyes
Inward more than distance searched) - and who I am,
Nor that I'd be, or how the becoming
Came to be - all that, and more, in haze -
And yet, so I moved, you and I -
In children and their children years come by.
And so the time to come, the time that's past,
A fog submerged, a path, a light surpassed.

                               WHAT'S NEW
                             New Emissaries

Rabbi Chanan and Tuba Chernitsky are opening a new Chabad Center in
Newfoundland, a remote Canadian island. They will be serving the Jewish
population of 500 with all their needs for Jewish life.  Before moving
permanentl to the island, the Chernitsky's came regularly for various
holidays and even organized a Passover Seder last year. They will be
holding one again this year, but now in their permanent positions as
emissaries of the Rebbe.

Rabbi Zalmi and Patsonia Lipinski  recently settled in Mar del Plata,
Argentina, in the Buenos Aires Province, to open a new Chabad Center
there. Mar del Plata is the seventh-largest city in Argentina and home
to an estimated 5,000 Jews. Mar del Plata is the 37th branch of Chabad
in Argentina. Since being established, Chabad in Mar del Plata has had
classes, classes, Shabbat dinners, and holiday programs..

                            THE REBBE WRITES
                         20 Kislev, 5732 (1972)

I was pleased to receive regards from you through our mutual and
esteemed friend Rabbi..., who has written to me about his visit with you
and your participation in the worthy cause, in which you also took in
your children as partners.

In the light of what Rabbi... has written to me about his acquaintance
with you, I am confident that you will utilize your distinguished
position, which brings you into personal contact with Jewish youth, to
strengthen their Jewish identity. To be sure, the courses which you
teach are undoubtedly far removed from the religious and spiritual
aspects of Jewish identity. However, it is surely unnecessary to
emphasize to you that students generally look up to their professors,
not only as experts in their particular fields, but also as persons and
individuals who have accomplished a great deal in their lives and have
attained high status. Consequently the views and ideas that a professor
expresses, and especially his personal way of life and world outlook,
directly and indirectly influence his students and create in them a
desire to emulate their professors. And even those who for one reason or
another are rebellious, inwardly recognize that the achievements of
their professors should be emulated.

In the light of this, a professor in college or university has an
extraordinary opportunity to benefit his students by word, and even more
so, by example. Even if an extra effort in this direction may entail
certain difficulties which are sometimes not imaginary nor magnified,
but real - the thought of how much good a little extra effort might do,
and how much it can be reflected and multiplied in the lives of the
young people who so need guidance and inspiration, should make all such
difficulties worthwhile.

Although the above has been written in general terms, with a view to
disseminating Jewish values, etc., it is important to bear in mind the
dictum of our Sages that the "essential thing is the deed," namely, the
actual Jewish experience in daily life.

I am confident that you will utilize your distinguished position, which
brings you into personal contact with Jewish youth, to strengthen their
Jewish identity.

For, Judaism is a way of life that is not relegated to several days in
the year, specific holy days, or even Shabbos, but embraces all of
Jewish life each and every day. It is for this reason that the Torah and
Mitzvoth are referred to as "our life," indicating that their
fulfillment must be continuous and uninterrupted, just as life must be
continuous and uninterrupted. Herein the Jewish religion differs
radically from any other religion, in that it is not something
additional to the person, but is intimately the person himself, for a
Jew and Torah and Mitzvoth are inseparable.

Much more could be said on this subject, but I trust the above will
suffice. I will only conclude that inasmuch as we are about to celebrate
the festival of Chanukah, when we will be lighting the Chanukah candles
in growing numbers from day to day, indicating the need to spread the
light of the Torah and Mitzvoth in a growing measure, since it is
written, "A Mitzvo is a lamp and the Torah is light," thereby
illuminating the Jewish soul of which it is said, "A lamp of G-d is the
soul of man" - may this be so with you and me and all our people.

With esteem and blessing,

                              ALL TOGETHER
If we have a question in Jewish law, how many rabbis can we consult?

If we have consulted a rabbi and he has forbidden a certain matter in
question, we are not permitted to consult another rabbi about the same
question, unless we first advise him of the decision of the previous
rabbi. (Kitzur Shulchan Aruch)

                        A WORD FROM THE DIRECTOR
                         Rabbi Shmuel M. Butman
This Shabbat we read a special Torah portion, Parshat HaChodesh, that
speaks about the month of Nisan (which begins on Tuesday).

Our Sages argued over when the Final Redemption with Moshiach will
occur. Some held that "In Nisan [our ancestors] were redeemed [from
Egypt]; in Nisan [the Jewish people] will be redeemed in the future."
Others insisted that the Final Redemption will take place in the month
of Tishrei.

There are two reasons why Moshiach has to come. One is by virtue of the
Jewish people's cumulative service of G-d over the last few thousand
years. The other is simply G-d's promise to bring Moshiach.

According to Chasidic philosophy, the month of Nisan symbolizes the
level of G-dliness that transcends our service. G-d took our forefathers
out of Egypt on Passover despite the fact that they were spiritually
degraded and unworthy. By contrast, Tishrei (Rosh Hashana and Yom
Kippur), is a time for returning to G-d in repentance and prayer.

The Rabbis' disagreement over the most appropriate month for Redemption
was based on whichever factor each considered more decisive. Those who
believed that spiritual status is more important held that it will occur
in Tishrei, insisting that the Jewish people must be aroused to
increased observance of Torah and mitzvot in order for Moshiach to come.
Those who believed that G-d's promise is the determining factor held it
will occur in Nisan.

So how was it resolved? Actual halacha (Jewish law) rules that "in Nisan
they will be redeemed" - that the overriding consideration is simply
G-d's promise. But both sides had a valid point, for by the time
Moshiach comes, the world will have already been transformed by our
service into an appropriate vessel for G-dliness. Yet the revelation of
holiness that will occur will far surpass any level man could have
attained by his own efforts.

May it happen immediately.

                          THOUGHTS THAT COUNT
Moses assembled the entire Israelite community and said to them, "These
are words that G-d has commanded you to do..." (Ex. 35:1)

When it came time to erect the Sanctuary, the first prerequisite was
"Moses assembled" - unity and peace!

                                                  (Ohr P'nei Moshe)

                                *  *  *

The use of the word "assembled" over the word "gathered" has deep
significance. "Assembled" implies that those who gathered became not
merely a collection of individuals - separate beings gathered in the
same space - but rather a new entity, a congregation. This was a
prerequisite for the construction of the Sanctuary, whose purpose was to
provide a dwelling place for G-d. For G-d chooses only to rest in a
setting of absolute unity.

                                            (The Lubavitcher Rebbe)

                                *  *  *

He made the copper washbasin and its copper base out of the mirrors of
the dedicated women ... (Ex. 38:8)

Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi, the first Chabad Rebbe, said: The
offerings for the Sanctuary included gold, silver and copper, but
nothing sparkled except for the mirrors presented by the women. From
these mirrors were fashioned the washbasin and its base. These were the
last of the Sanctuary articles to be made, but were used at the start of
every Sanctuary service when the Kohanim washed their hands.

                                                        (Hayom Yom)

                                *  *  *

These are the accounts. (Ex. 38:21)

Mose gave a full accounting of all the gold and silver given, to show
that there was no reason to suspect him of stealing any of the precious
metals brought for the Sanctuary. It says in Proverbs (15:16): Better a
little, with the fear of G-d, than a great treasure, with confusion.
Rabeinu Bechaye comments that it is better to have just a little money,
obtained properly with the fear of G-d than an entire treasure obtained
through foul means such as thievery or usury. In the Talmud (Sota) it
says: "G-d despises a sacrifice brought with stolen money." The Talmud
(Bava Kama) states that to steal from a non-Jew is a greater sin than to
steal from a Jew, for then the sin also desecrates G-d's name.

                            IT ONCE HAPPENED
There was once a Chasid who travelled to his Rebbe, Reb Yisrael of
Koznitz, every month to take in the atmosphere of holiness which filled
the very air of the Rebbe's court. Although in general he was happy with
his lot in life, he knew he would only be completely content if he had a

Several times his wife had encouraged that he ask the Rebbe for a
blessing to cure their childlessness, but to no avail. His wife wouldn't
desist from her pleas. "This time," she insisted, "you must not leave
the holy Rebbe until he answers our request."

The next time when the Chasid came to Koznitz and was admitted into the
Rebbe's chambers, he told the Rebbe of their longing for a child. The
Rebbe listened and offered him the solution his spiritual vision
afforded him: "If you are willing to become a pauper you will be granted
the blessing you seek." The man agreed to discuss the condition with his
wife and return with her answer.

The woman didn't think for a moment. "Of course it's worth everything to
me." The man returned to Koznitz and accepted the harsh prescription.
But poverty was not the end of the Rebbe's advice; the man was sent on a
long arduous journey to visit the famous tzadik, the Chozeh (Seer) of

The Chozeh was known for his power to discern the state and provenance
of a person's soul, and when he met the Chasid he studied his visitor
long and hard before he spoke.

"I will tell you the source of your childlessness and what you must do
to correct the problem. Once, when you were very young, you promised to
wed a certain maiden. When you matured, she didn't interest you any
longer and you broke your promise. Because you hurt her feelings, you
have not been able to have children since. You must find her and beg her
forgiveness. Go to the city of Balta (which was very distant); there
you'll find the woman."

The Chasid wasted no time in embarking on the journey. But when he
arrived in Balta no one knew anything about the woman. He rented a room
and waited to see the words of the tzadik materialize.

One day, he was walking down the street when he was caught in a sudden
downpour. He ran to a nearby shop to escape from the rain and found
himself standing near two women who were also seeking shelter. Suddenly,
he was shocked to hear one say to the other, "Do you see that man? He
was once betrothed to me in my youth and deserted me!" He turned to see
a woman dressed in the richest fabrics and wearing beautiful jewels.

He approached her and she said, "Don't you remember me? I am the one you
were engaged to so many years ago. Have you any children?"

He immediately poured out the entire story, telling her that he had come
only to find her and beseech her to forgive him. He begged her to ask of
him anything to atone for the terrible pain he had caused her.

"I lack nothing, for G-d has provided me with everything, but I have a
brother who is in desperate need. Go to him and give him 200 gold coins
with which he can marry off his daughter, and I will forgive you. In the
merit of marrying off a poor bride you will be blessed with children, as
the tzadik told you."

"Please, you give your brother this money. I have travelled many months
and I'm very anxious to return home."

"No," the woman adamantly refused. "I am not able to travel now, and it
is not feasible to send such a sum of money. No, you must go yourself."
With that, she turned and proceeded down the street.

The Chasid ventured on yet another journey to a distant city where he
was able to locate the woman's brother. The man was in a terrible state
of agitation which he readily explained: "My daughter is betrothed to a
wealthy young man, but I have suddenly become penniless and unless I can
find the dowry money, the marriage is off."

The Chasid listened to the heart-rending tale and then said: "I will
give you 200 gold coins which will be more than enough for all your
expenses." The man couldn't believe his ears. "What, you don't even know
me - why would you do such a thing for a total stranger?"

"I have been sent by your sister whom I met a few weeks ago in Balta.
Many years ago I was once betrothed to her and I abandoned her, and the
help I'm offering to you is my promise to her."

"What are you saying?" the man turned pale. "What kind of crazy tale are
you spinning and why? My sister has been dead for 15 years. I should
know - I buried her myself!" Now it was time for the Chasid to be

The Chasid pondered the miracles G-d had wrought on his behalf so that
he would be able to make amends to his former fiance and merit to have a
child of his own. He handed the man the golden coins and the man blessed
him to be granted many sons and daughters and a long and happy life of
joy from them.

                            MOSHIACH MATTERS
Our Sages highlight the connection between children and redemption by
interpreting the verse, "Do not touch My anointed ones (meshichai)," as
referring to Jewish children. Why are children given this title? Because
a child truly wants to live in a world of peace, harmony, knowledge and
joy, and these are the very qualities that will characterize the Era of
the Redemption.

                                            (The Lubavitcher Rebbe)

           END OF TEXT - L'CHAIM 1465 - Vayakhel-Pekudei 5777

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