Holidays   Shabbat   Chabad-houses   Chassidism   Subscribe   Calendar   Links B"H
The Weekly Publication for Every Jewish Person
Archives Current Issues Home Current Issue
                         L'CHAIM - ISSUE # 1466
                           Copyright (c) 2017
                 Lubavitch Youth Organization - L.Y.O.
                              Brooklyn, NY
                  Electronic version provided free at:
                  Palm-Pilot version provided free at:
                    To receive the L'CHAIM by e-mail
                  write to:
                              Subscribe W1
   Dedicated to the memory of Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka Schneerson N.E.
        March 31, 2017          Vayikra            4 Nisan, 5777

                           Bringing Into Line
                         by Rabbi Mendy Herson

Emotions are a funny thing.

When something triggers emotion in me, I know that it matters. Emotions
also form a bridge - or a barrier - between people. So emotions are a
critically important part of the personality.

But emotions can also get away from you. Like when you 'fly off the
handle.' Emotions are your psyche's fire. And, like fire, we need to
treat them carefully and keep them under control.

Emotion even impacts our understanding. Unless I'm
'emotionally-available' to internalize and accept hear your words, I
probably won't be able to appreciate their logic (i.e. if I don't like
you, your opinion is probably wrong).

Sometimes, it can feel like our emotions control the joystick of our
lives. But they don't have to. Because we also have intellect.

Intellect is the more sedate and controlled side of the human psyche.
Logic is cool, calm and somewhat detached. It's soothing water to help
you control your emotional fire.

I remember reading how a man sat on a subway in New York city, while a
father with three young children sat next to him. The kids were unruly
and really got under this fellow's skin. As his anger-quotient rose, the
father noticed his discomfort. Apologizing for his children's behavior,
he explained that they were on the way home from the hospital. The
children's mother had just passed away and they were a bit overwhelmed
with the confusion in their lives.

This subway traveler was totally transformed. Ashamed of his snap to
judgment, his anger was immediately replaced by empathy and concern.

Why do you think his anger disappeared?

It's because his perspective changed. With new information, a new
understanding, he revised his mental 'framing' of the situation, and his
emotions immediately followed suit.

Too often we feel that our emotions 'run away with us.' They don't have
to. When we reframe how we see the world, our emotions can come into
line with our reasonable selves.

Much of Torah life, the mitzvot (commandments) and their mindset, guides
us toward this goal of corralling human nature and bringing it into line
with a purposeful life. Each Mitzvah is its own exercise, bringing us
closer to our better selves.

G-d wants us to become optimally-functioning human beings, so G-d gave
us a user's manual for life - the Torah - to help us achieve that goal.

Check out the program.

It works.

    Rabbi Mendy Herson, together with his wife Malki, director Chabad of
    Somerset, Hunterdon & Union Counties in New Jersey.   This is from
    Rabbi Herson's blog. To read more

In this week's Torah portion, Vayikra, we read about a person who
transgressed against G-d, by being dishonest to another person. "When he
realizes that he sinned and that he is guilty," first he must correct
the wrong and only after can he go through the process to receive

Why does the Torah call it a transgression against G-d when a person is
dishonest? What does "when he realizes that he sinned" mean; doesn't he
know that he was dishonest?

When two people make a business deal without a contract and without
witnesses, and one is dishonest and swindles his partner, he feels
confident doing so because no one else was there. But in truth, G-d was
there! His dishonesty is not only against his friend, but even more, it
is a denial of G-d's existence.

There is a deeper level of dishonesty, being dishonest with yourself.
This is when you knowingly underestimate your potential. Are you using
all of your strengths? Are you maximizing your potential? You have the
ability to make a difference, to change the world for the better. G-d
has given you these gifts just for this purpose. Not using them is an
affront to G-d.

Dishonesty finds its roots in selfishness - not being able to see anyone
but yourself. When everything is about "me," it is impossible to use
your potential for G-d, because your abilities are busy satisfying your
selfishness. Whether your dishonesty is against a friend or yourself, it
is very difficult to correct the situation. Being selfish means I am
right,  I deserve it, everyone owes me. Me me me.

The only way out of this situation is for the person to realize on his
own, to acknowledge that he sinned, and to admit his guilt. Only then
can he begin to make amends, first to his friends, and then to G-d.

For many of us, it is so difficult to admit that "I was wrong." On the
other hand doing so and apologizing is freeing and endearing. When one
partner is selfish there is no relationship. When you make room for the
other to exist, the relationship begins, first with the other, and then
with G-d.

We are now at the end of this dark exile That was brought on because of
senseless hatred for one another. This hatred is also rooted in
selfishness. We can find a way to overcome selfishness, make room for
another and recognize G-d. Then we will be well on our way to healthy
relationships, closeness to G-d, fulfilling our potential and bringing

           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
                       The Unconventional Family
                          by Rabbi Chaim Bruk

Sitting in the car outside the hospital, immediately after the medical
procedure that determined our infertility and still somewhat
anesthetized, a well-meaning and truly loving relative, sitting at our
side, said to my wife Chavie and me: "What do the doctors know anyhow?
You must have faith and G-d will help."

He was right that G-d would help, though not in the miraculous
biological sense that he wished for. A few minutes later, we received a
phone call from Chavie's dad, a respected Texas rabbi and a thoughtful
soul, in which he said "I have no doubt that there are children in the
world that G-d intends for you and Chavie to care for."

His words were a blur, but it undoubtedly planted a fruitful seed.

"G-dsent" is a commonly used term in the American vernacular, and it
seems to me, that it's normally expressed when something goes the way we
envisioned. It seems unanimously accepted that if G-d, in His infinite
wisdom, agrees with our, finite, assessment of life and its layers of
depth, then it's a "G-dsent." It's not often that people scream it's a
"G-dsent" when experiencing intolerable challenges. In my last blog
post, "G-d's infertility," I wrote about the hardship and pain of
infertility, of being unable to experience the gift of biological
children. Today, I'd like to focus on the gift of adoption:

At first, the idea of adoption seemed crazy. Growing up, Chavie and I
knew of a handful of fellow Orthodox Jews who'd adopted, but the concept
as a whole was unfamiliar. Many who suffered with biological
childlessness, did so in silence and without alternative options. We
asked ourselves a thousand questions: Do we even want to raise someone
else's biological child? Would it really be a family or just a
make-believe mechanism for us to play house and look like the rest of
society? How does one even start to go about the process of adopting?
How could we afford the small fortune it costs to adopt? The questions
and doubts buzzed in our heads, while still trying to come to terms with
the infertility diagnoses itself.

For 15 agonizing months, our minds churned and our hearts ached, giving
us the much needed time to solidify our yearning to create a family. If
it's a "G-dsent" indeed and He chooses to bless us through a different
manner, who are we to challenge Him? If we believe, as Judaism teaches,
that G-d is Omnipresent, Omniscient and Omnipotent, then it became
obvious to us that He knows how painful it is for us and that He's
guiding us to the proper result for us. We are students of the Torah,
the Jewish testament, in which we read of Moses, the biological child of
Amram and Yocheved, being raised by The Pharaohs' daughter, princess
Bitya, who, in the Book of Chronicles, is recorded as Moses' mother. In
the Scroll of Esther, we read about Esther's adoption by her cousin
Mordechai and in Genesis, we read about Asher's daughter Serach. Serach
was not Asher's biological daughter, but rather Asher adopted her as his
daughter after marrying her mom. The Midrash teaches that Joseph, while
exiled in Egypt, married Osnat who although is mentioned as daughter of
Potifar and his wife, was actually the daughter of Dina and
granddaughter of our patriarch Jacob, who was adopted by the royal
Egyptian couple.

Biblical stories were coming alive in Montana.

One bright Tuesday morning, sitting in a New Jersey gas station, the
long awaited call finally came: "Rabbi, you and your lovely wife can now
come to the agency and pick up your beautiful baby." Our emotions at
that moment are hard to articulate and the positive change that our
baby, Chaya, had on our life is one we live with every moment. The pain,
the brokenness, the hopelessness, the loneliness, all ended the moment
G-d showed us, in the words of Paul Harvey, "Now you know the rest of
the story." Now you know, Chaim and Chavie, that I always intended for
you to be a "Mommy" and "Aba," but on my terms, not yours. We think we
know it all, but G-d decides our life experiences and we'd live
healthier lives if we surrendered ourselves to Him and allowed Him to
guide us to our destiny.

So what's Chaya's story?

On August 28, 2009, 3.5 years after our marriage, in a third world
country thousands of miles from Montana, a Yiddishe Mame (Jewish mother)
gave birth to a baby 9 weeks prematurely. The baby weighed three pounds
and her tiny life was hanging in the balance. Hospitalized with
substandard medical care for over a month, hooked to a respirator and
undergoing several preemie surgeries, she managed to survive and make it
to the United States where she underwent further medical evaluation.
Throughout the entire ordeal, the mom was scared and shocked, as this
pregnancy was unexpected and was looking to give her baby a life she
couldn't offer at the time. She called her Rabbi who called on us and a
match decided in heaven was made on earth: the woman's deep desire for
her child to have a physically and spiritually good life, and our
longing for a family, met at the corner of faith and happiness.

The adoption process is full of mysteries. Minds change, emotions run
high, confusion reigns, States and Countries differ in their laws and
after overcoming so many challenges, you're bringing a child into your
life that has a different genetic makeup and history than his/her
parents. It's truly unconventional, but, as Chavie and I see it,
"unconventional" and "exceptional" are interchangeable.

In Bozeman, where we reside, there are many adoptive families, and I
think it reflects the healthy attitude to life that Bozemanites share.
Living life while expecting G-d to follow our plans, instead of us
following His, is foolish and, quite frankly, arrogant. G-d directs us
to where He wants us and when He calls, it's our duty to answer. We
still hope to one day experience the gift of a biological child, because
it does seem kinda cool, but in the meantime, we celebrate every day
with the gift of our family, one that G-d Himself created for us.

It's my family!

    Rabbi Chaim and Chavie Bruk direct Chabad-Lubavitch of Montana in
    Bozeman. This article originally appeared in the Huffington Post.

                               WHAT'S NEW
                             New Emissaries

Rabbi Israel and Estie Arnauve have moved to Tel Aviv, Israel, to open a
new Chabad Center that will serve French speaking residents and tourists
frequenting the Tel Aviv Port, the commercial and entertainment district
along the Mediterranean Sea also known as Namal Tel Aviv.

                             Centers Expand

Chabad of Clearwater, Florida, recently purchased a 1.25 acre property
to facilitate the expansion of its headquarters at the Tabacinic Chabad
Center. The new 2.5 acre campus, when completed, will include a
synagogue with seating for 200, a mikvah, kosher restaurant, library,
commercial kitchen, social hall, classrooms, offices, outdoor Sukkah and
kiddush pavilion with seating for 150, and a playground.

Chabad Lubavitch of Northwest Bergen County, New Jersey, is adding
another 15,000 square feet to its current center. The construction will
add an education wing, administrative offices, a library, multi-purpose
room, mikva and  two apartments.

                            THE REBBE WRITES
                           Freely translatied

                    Rosh Chodesh Nissan, 5737 (1977)

Rosh Chodesh Nissan, the first day of the month of redemption, occurs on
the same day of the week as the first day of Passover, two weeks later.
It is the day when the Jews in Egypt were informed of the imminent
departure and redemption from Egypt (on the 15th of the month), and
thereupon received the mitzvos (commandments)  of the Passover
Sacrifice, the matza and maror, and all other directives and details
pertaining to the redemption from Egypt.

Torah designated the day of Rosh Chodesh Nissan as the "New Year for
Kings and Festivals."

This designation also suggests a connection with the fact that in this
month the Jews were reborn as a nation and were ordained and promised by
G-d to be a "Kingdom of Priests and a holy nation." Thus, royalty and
holiness were linked together: Every Jew would be both a "priest" and a
"royal servant" in the service of the Supreme King, by carrying out His
commandments, (and "a royal servant is also royalty"), and infusing
holiness into the secular world.

The Prophet Ezekiel compares the redemption of the Jewish people from
Egypt to the birth of a child, in that the bodily and spiritual
liberation from Egypt, and their development thereafter, parallels the
birth of a child, whereupon it immediately begins its physical
development, which lays the foundation for its entire life.

The birth of the Jewish nation was accompanied by extraordinary
difficulties, inasmuch as Egypt was at that time the mightiest and most
advanced country in terms of power, science, etc., yet, also the most
depraved in terms of morality and religion.

After centuries of physical and spiritual enslavement in Egypt, the Jews
had to undergo a complete transformation - and in quite a short period
of time - and to move to the other extreme, in order to be ready and
worthy to receive the Torah at Sinai.

There they would attain the highest level both in the realm of religion
- the belief in One G-d (pure Monotheism) - as well as in relation to
man, as expressed in the Ten Commandments, and all this to be
implemented in the actual everyday life and conduct.

Yet, despite the extraordinary difficulties, the Jewish people succeeded
in making the radical transition from abject slavery to sublime freedom.
This they achieved by virtue of the fact that, while still in Egypt,
they took a stance of "an upraised arm" in their resolute determination
to carry out all the Divine imperatives pertaining to the Passover

This sacrifice called for public renunciation - at grave peril to their
lives - of the idolatry of Egypt, which they did, after renewing their
Eternal Covenant with G-d through circumcision, sealed in the flesh,
thus sanctifying also the body to the service of G-d.

Thus, the birth of the Jewish nation was coupled with the highest degree
of liberation and independence - while still in Egypt - both spiritually
and physically.

One of the basic teachings and instructions that follow from the above
is that what is true of the birth of the Jewish nation as a whole is
also true of the birth of every Jewish child.

Jewish parents should realize that the upbringing of a Jewish child
begins from the moment that the child is born. They must immediately
begin preparing the child to be a rightful member of the "Kingdom of
Priests and a holy nation."

Notwithstanding the fact that life in this world is replete with
difficulties - though many of them are only imaginary - it is certain
that when parents take the stance of "an upraised arm" in providing a
Torah-true education for their children, they are bound to succeed, just
as our ancestors in Egypt succeeded; all the more so since the road has
already been paved.

Moreover: it is stated, "Every day a Jew should see himself as if he was
liberated from Egypt."

Every Jewish man and woman, including parents and adults in general,
must devote themselves also to their own education in Torah and mitzvos
- and here, too, there is the assurance, "Make the effort, and you will

May G-d grant that every Jew exert himself (or herself) in all the
above, in a manner of "an upraised arm," and this should bring closer
the fulfillment of the promise, "Exalted will be the glory of the
righteous (tzadik)," referring to all Jews, as it is written, "Your
people are all tzadikim."

And also the fulfillment of the promise, "As in the days of your going
out of Egypt, I will show you wonders" - with the true and complete
Redemption through our righteous Moshiach.

                              ALL TOGETHER
              What is the reason for dancing at a wedding?

Part of the mitzva (commandment) of "making the groom and bride happy"
is to entertain them with dancing. By dancing around the bride and
groom, the community expresses its support for the couple. The Talmud
relates many instances when the greatest of our Sages set aside their
uninterrupted study of Torah for the sake of entertaining the couple. In
accordance with Jewish law, men and women dance separately with a
mechitza (divider) separating them.

                        A WORD FROM THE DIRECTOR
                         Rabbi Shmuel M. Butman
This past Wednesday, the second of the Jewish month of Nissan, we
commemorated the anniversary of the passing in 1920 of the fifth Chabad
Rebbe, Rabbi Shalom Dovber, known as the Rebbe Rashab.

Before his passing, the Rebbe Rashab told his son and successor, Rabbi
Yosef Yitzchok (the sixth and previous Rebbe), "I am going up to heaven;
my writings I am leaving for you."

A collection of the Rebbe Rashab's writings brings to light the
following gems:

"A single act is better than a thousand groans. Our G-d lives, and Torah
and its commandments are eternal; quit the groaning and work hard in
actual spiritual work, and G-d will be gracious to you."

"Cherish criticism, for it will place you on the true heights."

"When Moshiach will come, then we will really long for the days of
exile. Then we will truly feel distress at our having neglected our
avoda (spiritual work); then will we indeed feel the deep pain caused by
our lack of avoda. These days of exile are the days to prepare ourselves
for the coming of Moshiach, speedily in our time, amen."

"And this is the main thing in these last moments before Moshiach, that
we don't go according to our intellect and our reasoning. Rather, we
should study Torah and perform mitzvot (commandments) above and beyond
what reason dictates."

May we immediately merit the Final Redemption, when all righteous Jews
(and all Jews are considered righteous!) will be resurrected with the
Revival of the Dead.

                          THOUGHTS THAT COUNT
If any one of you bring an offering (literally, an offering of himself)
to G-d (Lev. 1:2)

In the times of the Holy Temple, a Jew who committed a sin brought an
animal, an offering of his flock, in order to seek atonement. Nowadays,
however, the sacrifices we offer G-d come from our very selves, i.e.,
minimizing the pleasures of the body, fasting, etc.

                                                (Rabbi Chaim Vital)

                                *  *  *

And the sons of Aaron the priest shall put fire on the altar (Lev. 1:7)

Even though a heavenly fire descended from on High to consume the
offerings, the priests were still required to bring ordinary fire as
well, to the altar. We learn from this that one may not rely solely on
the "fire that descends from on high"- the natural, innate love of G-d
which is present in the soul of every Jew. Each of us must also bring an
"ordinary fire," kindle that innate love of G-d by taking the initiative
and contemplating His greatness, to further nurture that inner spark.

                                            (The Lubavitcher Rebbe)

                                *  *  *

A burnt-sacrifice, an offering made by fire, of a sweet savor to G-d
(Lev. 1:9)

Obviously, explains Rashi, the foremost Torah commentator, the pleasure
G-d derives from our sacrifices is not because of their smell. Rather,
His pleasure ("nachat ruach," a play on the words "rei'ach nicho'ach" --
"sweet savor") is simply because His will is being fulfilled -- without
question and without regard for personal benefit. In fact, there is no
greater example of pure "acceptance of the yoke of heaven" than bringing
a burnt-sacrifice that is entirely consumed by fire. For there is no
rational reason to do so other than its being G-d's command.

                                           (Likutei Sichot Vol. 32)

                                *  *  *

Whatever is leaven, and of any honey, you shall not sacrifice [it as] an
offering made by fire (Lev.2:11)

"Leaven" and "honey" are opposite and contradictory tastes. All
extremes, the Torah teaches, are dangerous and harmful; a person should
always strive to walk the middle road, the "golden mean."

                                      (Rabbi Yosef Shaul Nathanson)

                                *  *  *

Every one of your offerings you shall season with salt (Lev. 2:13)

Just as food which is not salted is tasteless and unpalatable, so too
must the Jew's service of G-d and performance of the Torah's
commandments be "well-seasoned" and filled with enthusiasm.

                                                      (Otzar Chaim)

                            IT ONCE HAPPENED
The disciples of the Baal Shem Tov stood in the field. They had just
ended their devotions and they were watching as their master approached
a gentile shepherd who was guarding his sheep. He stood amid a stand of
trees playing a wooden flute.

"Here, my good man," said the Baal Shem Tov, as he handed the shepherd a
coin. "Please, be so good as to play that tune once again." The shepherd
raised the flute to his lips and the melody he played was the most
beautiful, haunting tune the disciples had ever heard. The shepherd was
about to continue his concert when he suddenly lowered his hand and
said, "I don't know what happened. I just completely forgot the melody."

As the Baal Shem Tov and his students left the meadow, the Baal Shem Tov
said, "It's a good thing that the shepherd forgot the tune. This melody
which you just heard was one of the tunes played by the Levites in the
Holy Temple. When the Holy Temple was destroyed that melody went into
captivity amongst the nations, where it remained until it came to this
shepherd. Just now, when the shepherd played it for us I was able to
release it from its foreign exile and allow it return to its spiritual

                                *  *  *

Reb Zisel was down on his luck. It was not only one misfortune that had
befallen him, but an entire legion which had attacked him with gusto.
And so, he traveled to the famed rebbe, the Baal Shem Tov to beg for a
blessing. But when he finally arrived, the Baal Shem Tov looked at the
sad man and said, "I am very sorry. I would like to help you, but I
can't for it seems that Heaven itself is preventing me."

The man was shocked. He begged and implored, but his importuning was of
no avail. The tzadik had no power to intervene on his behalf. Suddenly,
as if on impulse, the Baal Shem Tov rose and took a book from the shelf
and opened it at random. It happened to be a volume of the Talmud, and
he spotted the line "He who takes a penny from Iyov will be blessed."

Turning to Reb Zisel, the Baal Shem Tov said, "These words must be
significant for you. The Talmud is teaching us that when a person is
worthy, a blessing rests on the charity his gives, so that the recipient
gains an added benefit from it." And the Baal Shem Tov began to think
who he might know of that had this special ability to infuse his charity
with blessing.

After some thought, the Baal Shem Tov recalled Reb Shabsai Meir of Brod.
He was now quite wealthy, but he had not always been so. However, even
when he had little money, he gave charity with an open hand, one might
even say lavishly. His other distinguishing feature was the depth and
earnestness of his prayer. And what did he ask for, but continuing and
increasing wealth -- and not for himself, for he needed very little. No,
he wanted wealth to be able to continue distributing charity to the
needy. G-d heeded his prayers. Not only did he grow steadily wealthier,
but the money he gave out had in it the blessing that it truly
benefitted its recipients.

"Reb Zisel," said the Baal Shem Tov, "You must go to Reb Shabsai Meir in
Brod and spend a Shabbat with him. When you leave, be sure that he gives
you some charity money; this money has a special blessing in it."

Reb Zisel followed the advice he was given and went to Brod where Reb
Shabsai Meir happily hosted him for a Shabbat. At the conclusion of the
Shabbat Reb Zisel received money from the tzadik, and the unique
blessing was indeed transferred to him. From that time forth, good
fortune become a familiar companion, and his sorrows were only a memory.

                            MOSHIACH MATTERS
Moshiach is called "Melech" - King. The word Melech can be an acronym
for mo'ach (brain), lev (heart) and ca'ved (liver). These three parts of
the body parallel the three areas that we must tackle to bring about our
total return to G-d - the function of Moshiach.  First, Moshiach masters
the mind. He possesses the most spiritually sophisticated approach to
life. He sees things with open eyes. Second, Moshiach has the greatest
passion for and sensitivity to G-d and for His people. Third, Moshiach
is one who has conquered his material desires (represented by the liver
which is filled with blood, symbolizing physical pleasure). He has
transformed his desire for the physical and for pleasure into the joy
and bliss of spiritual delight.

                                          (Rabbi Heschel Greenberg)

               END OF TEXT - L'CHAIM 1466 - Vayikra 5777

  • Daily Lessons
  • Weekly Texts & Audio
  • Candle-Lighting times

    613 Commandments
  • 248 Positive
  • 365 Negative

  • BlackBerry
  • iPhone / iPod Touch
  • Java Phones
  • Palm Pilot
  • Palm Pre
  • Pocket PC
  • P800/P900
  • Moshiach
  • Resurrection
  • For children - part 1
  • For children - part 2

  • Jewish Women
  • Holiday guides
  • About Holidays
  • The Hebrew Alphabet
  • Hebrew/English Calendar
  • Glossary

  • by SIE
  • About
  • Chabad
  • The Baal Shem Tov
  • The Alter Rebbe
  • The Rebbe Maharash
  • The Previous Rebbe
  • The Rebbe
  • Mitzvah Campaign

    Children's Corner
  • Rabbi Riddle
  • Rebbetzin Riddle
  • Tzivos Hashem

  • © Copyright 1988-2009
    All Rights Reserved
    L'Chaim Weekly