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                         L'CHAIM - ISSUE # 1475
                           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.
        June 9, 2017          Beha'aloscha        15 Sivan, 5777

                            Right and Right

Someone tells you emphatically, "You're right. You're absolutely right!"

Ahhh, it feels so good to hear those words: "They see it my way," you
sigh, relieved that the battle is over even before it has begun.

At other times, though, being told that you're right is not what you
want to hear: "I don't need you to tell me I'm right; I know I'm right.
I didn't want to have to deal with this stuff to begin with!"

Whether or not we're interested in hearing that we're right, we always
want to be right.

Most of the time, it is clear and straight-forward what is right and
what is wrong is. Still, there are those times when we think "the right
thing" is so obvious, but it really isn't.

A story is told of a great rabbi whose student had been a highly
successful businessman. The student had given up his worldly and mundane
pursuits in order to dedicate himself to Torah study. What could be

Then one day, the rabbi warned the student, "You are in great danger."

"Why?" asked the student.

"Surely you know," explained the rabbi, "that an army is composed of
many units - regiments, platoons, and so forth. If a person decides on
his own to move from one unit to another, he is liable to be punished as
a deserter. You were blessed by G-d with wealth and you were supposed to
belong to the brigade of philanthropists. But you have deserted your
brigade and on your own initiative have joined the brigade of Torah

Jewish wisdom teaches that a person can be doing something that is
right, but it might not be the right thing for that person or for that
particular time in that person's life.

The great Chasidic master, Rabbi Zushe of Anipoli, was wont to say, "If
they will ask me in the World of Truth, 'Why weren't you like Moses?' I
will know what to answer. But if they will ask me, 'Why weren't you
Zushe,' I will not have an answer."

Each one of us is "only" expected to be exactly who we are. And, we are
expected to be all of what we can be.

In order to be everything we can be we need to know who we are. The path
to self-discovery begins with Torah study. For, we cannot possibly know
who we are and where we are going unless we know where we are coming

But we don't have to, nor should we, go it alone. Along the path to
actualizing our potential, the Torah urges us to search for and find a
mentor, a teacher, a guide - someone who can direct us on the journey to
fulfilling our divinely ordained purpose.

With a mentor's help, we can work on doing the right thing, without
worrying that we're not like Moses or Zushe.

In this week's Torah portion, Behaalotcha, we read about the Menora.
First we read about how Aaron the Kohen (priest) was to light the
Menora. "When you kindle (literally "raise") the lamps, the seven lights
should be made to shine towards the center branch of the Menora." Then
the Torah explains that the Menorah needed to be hammered out of one
solid piece of gold.

The Torah previously told us how the Menora was to be made, why the
repetition here? It seems that this section of the Torah is coming to
teach us about the lighting of the Menora, so how does its construction
fit in?

Though the Menora was complicated to make, the artisan was not permitted
to weld it together from separate pieces, rather it had to be hammered
from one piece of gold. Why? Because the Menora symbolized the Jewish
people. The seven branches symbolized seven different spiritual pathways
of our souls. It had to be hammered from one piece, because though we
have different pathways, our souls are one at its source.

When the Kohen lit the lamps of the Menora, he was igniting the souls of
the Jewish people. The Torah uses the word "raise" and not "kindle," to
tell the Kohen that he is to kindle it until the flame rises on its own.

The problem is that while the Menora is made of one piece, the different
branches gives the opposite impression. It seems divided which is the
opposite of its purpose.

The job of the Kohen was to complete the Menora, by setting the wicks in
a way that the flames faced the center branch, which tied the whole
thing together. Now the Menora, once again, gave the impression of unity
and oneness. So it is the kindling of the Menora that completed its

G-d tells us that we will be a kingdom of priests and a holy nation to
Him. Each of us has the ability to ignite the souls of the Jewish
people. Here we are taught the right way to do it.

First, you have to know that we are essentially one. Then, you have to
recognize that every Jew has a unique pathway, and you're not to force
him down your path. Your job is to ignite the others soul, with light
and love, until the soul is burning bright on its own. Last but not
least, it should be done in a way of unity, that he feels that he is one
with his people and that his people are one.

Each of us is in need of uplifting, of our souls being ignited. This
dark exile has gone on long enough. We need to be Kohanim for each other
and lift each other up.

I have found that there is nothing more important than lifting the
spirit of another. Even from my bed, with only the use of my eyes, my
heart and my smile, I try my best to lift the spirits of people. Every
person has good and positive, and if you pay attention, you will see it.
When you point out those qualities, you bring out who they are, and
their spirit is lifted.  Make a positive difference in a person's life
and you will change the world.

           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
                         Western Wall Vignettes
                          by Reb Gutman Locks

There was a small group standing together near the Western Wall. I asked
the younger boy who was the man standing next to him.

"That's my father."

I told the father to put his right hand on his son's head. Then I had
him say out loud what he wanted G-d to give the boy. When he finished I
asked the father who the other boy was.

"They're twins. He is 15 minutes older than his brother."

You surely couldn't tell it by looking at them. I encouraged the father
bless the "older" son too. Then I asked who the other man was.

"That's my father."

I urged the grandfather to bless his son and say out loud what he wanted
G-d to give his son.

When people bless their children it is a wonderful thing. It is not only
a mitzva (commandment) but it opens the heart and engenders the feeling
of love for their children at the Kotel (Western Wall). It can get quite
emotional at times.

Then I urged the grandfather to put on tefilin but he refused,

"No, I haven't put them on for 70 years and I am not going to do it now

"It's a mitzva! Come on, I'll help you."

I asked the grandfather where he was when he last put on tefillin.

"Shanghai. I was born in Austria and we fled to Shanghai. I had my Bar
Mitzva in Shanghai and I put on tefilin for a while but then I told my
Grandmother that I would never put on tefilin again and I haven't."

"It's a mitzva. You are at the Kotel with your family. Show your
grandchildren the right thing to do." He acquiesced. I rolled up his
sleeve and had him repeat the blessing.

He remembered some of the blessing from somewhere. Then I put tefilin on
the boys and their father and had them all read the Shema.

The wives and daughters were standing on the women's side. I could see
them smiling, and their cameras flashing. They loved it.

I explained how doing a mitzva anywhere in the world opens the door to
heaven. This means that a spiritual opportunity comes, and all the more
so does it open when you do a mitzva at the Kotel.

"Close your eyes and picture everyone you love one at a time with light
on their faces and smiling, and ask G-d to bless them. Then thank Him
for all the good that He has given you... ask Him to protect the Jews in
danger.... Take a couple of minutes and talk to G-d in your heart."

That's what they did. When they were finished we took pictures and the
grandfather didn't want to take the tefilin off. He walked around and
waved at the women of his family; he was having a great time.

When they were leaving I said, "You did great."

The grandfather yelled back, "You did great," and they walked away with
warm memories and great pictures of their visit to the Kotel.

Maybe I will never see them again, but they certainly are in the family
photo album now.

                                *  *  *

One good deed leads to another. There was an IDF (Israel Defense Force)
ceremony at the Kotel Plaza. Before the ceremony started an officer came
into the prayer area carrying his small daughter close to his heart with
one arm and holding the hand of his young son with his other hand. An
older man walked with them.

"Did you put on tefilin today?" I asked

The officer nodded that he had already put them on. The older man
ignored me. I asked him directly, "Did you put on tefillin today?"

He gave me a negative look as if telling me to leave him alone.

"Is this your son?" I pointed to the officer.

He nodded that he was.

"Give him a bracha (blessing). Put your right hand on his head."

I handed him a card that I keep in my pocket with the traditional
wording of the blessing a parent gives to a child. He blessed his son
with complete sincerity. The father held his eyes fast onto the words on
the card while he read them out loud. The officer looked at his father's
face with utmost respect. The two small children stared with wonder.

The father read the blessing saying each word carefully. When he
finished he looked up from the card at his son. He was obviously very
proud of him. You could see the love and prayers he was feeling for him.
His son looked into his father's eyes with the small children watching
in awe.

"Now add to that your own personal prayers of what you want G-d to give

"G-d protect you and give you and your family peace, health, and a
livelihood all the days of your lives...."

"Now you can come put on tefilin," I urged

He was still reluctant but I brought him over ot the tefilin stand. He
read the Shema quickly and started to take the tefilin off.

"No, not yet. This mitzva opened the door to Heaven. Talk to G-d. Ask
Him to protect our soldiers and the Jews in danger...pray for your
family...and say thank you."

He looked me in the eye as if he didn't know what to do. Should he
listen to me or should he be his normal tough self? He closed his eyes
and put his hand over them. He stayed like that intently talking inside
his heart to G-d.

I continued putting tefilin on other men and more or less forgot about

After five minutes, while I was putting tefilin on someone, I felt a
hand go into my coat pocket. It was him putting some tzedaka (charity)
in my pocket which I later gave to the tefilin stand. It was his way of
saying thank you.

I ignored his normal tough-guy refusal and his inner heart opened for a
long time and he appreciated it.

Gutman Locks  has been a fixture in the Old City of Jerusalem for three
decades. He is the author of several books, has produced  musical tapes
and short videos, and writes regularly on

                               WHAT'S NEW
                             Plans Approved

Site plans for a 25,000 square foot state-of-the-art Jewish Youth
Network campus in Toronto, Canada, have been approved and work is
beginning soon. The facility will include classrooms, offices,
full-sized basketball court, sports lounge, cafe, rooftop lounge, and
resource room. There's something for everyone - as long as you're under
25. There are currently 500 students who earn high school credits
through after-school Torah classes. Other teens volunteer at a variety
of teen-directed initiatives, participate in trips and retreats, and
hang out in a fun and safe environment. Over 3,000 youth are engaged in
JYN's programs annually.

                            Positively Sixth

Positively Sixth Street is the newest center for Chabad of S. Francisco,
California. Located in the part of downtown known as SoMa, the
4,500-square-foot Chabad Center recently completed a major remodel, but
more work is on the way. Presently, there is a space for services, which
doubles as an event space; a kosher kitchen; and a lounge.

                            THE REBBE WRITES
                       21st of Sivan, 5725 [1965]

You have undoubtedly received my regards through Rabbi -, who had also
brought me your regards...

I acknowledge with thanks receipt of your letter of May 9th, also your
works on your scientific research. I appreciate your thoughtfulness and
trouble in sending me this material. Although the subject matter is
entirely beyond my province, I trust that I will be able to glean some
general ideas from your writings, and perhaps also some specific ones.

At the risk of not sounding very "scientific" to you, I nevertheless
wish to express my hope that you will also apply your research work to
good advantage in the service of G-d, in accordance with the principle,
"Know Him in all thy ways." Indeed, the discoveries in the natural
sciences have thrown new light on the wonders of Creation, and the
modern trend has consequently been towards the recognition of the unity
pervading Nature. In fact, with every advancement in science, the
underlying unity in the physical world has become more clearly
discernible; so much so, that science is now searching for the ideal
formula which would comprise all the phenomena of the physical world in
one comprehensive equation. With a little further insight it can be seen
that the unity in Nature is the reflection of true monotheism in its
Jewish concept. For, as we Jews conceive of monotheism, it is not merely
the belief that there is only One G-d, but that G-d's unity transcends
also the physical world, so that there is only one reality, namely G-d.
However, inasmuch as Creation included all the souls, etc., there has
been created a multiplicity and diversity in Nature - insofar as the
created beings themselves are concerned, without, however, effecting any
change in the Creator, as explained at length in Chasidus.

You ask me about my reference to the Rambam and where it contains in
substance, though in different terms, the concept of the conscious and
subconscious of modern psychology. I had in mind a passage in Hilchos
Gerushin [Laws of Divorce] (end of chapter 2), in the Rambam's magnum
opus, Yad Hachazakah. The gist of that passage is as follows: There are
certain matters in Jewish Law, the performance of which requires free
volition, not coercion. However, where the Jewish Law requires specific
performance, it is permitted to use coercive measures until the
reluctant party declares "I am willing," and his performance is valid
and considered voluntary. There seems here an obvious contradiction: If
it is permitted to compel performance, why is it necessary that the
person should declare himself "willing"? And if compulsory performance
is not valid, what good is it if the person declares himself "willing"
under compulsion?

And here comes the essential point of the Rambam's explanation:

Every Jew, regardless of his status and station, is essentially willing
to do all that he is commanded to do by our Torah. However, sometimes
the yetzer (hara) [evil inclination] prevails over his better judgment
and prevents him from doing what he has to do in accordance with the
Torah. When, therefore, beis din [Rabbinical court] compels a Jew to do
something, it is not with a view to creating in him a new desire, but
rather to release him from the compulsion which had paralyzed his
desire, thus enabling him to express his true self. Under these
circumstances, when he declares "I am willing," it is an authentic

To put the above in contemporary terminology: The conscious state of a
Jew can be affected by external pressures that induce states of mind and
even behavior which are contrary to his subconscious, which is the Jew's
essential nature. When the external pressures are removed, it does not
constitute a change or transformation of his essential nature, but, on
the contrary, is merely the reassertion of his innate and true

To a person of your background it is unnecessary to point out that
nothing in the above can be construed as a confirmation of other aspects
of the Freudian theory to the effect that man's psyche is primarily
governed by libido, etc. For these ideas are contrary to those of the
Torah, whose view is that the human being is essentially good (as the
Rambam, above). The only similarity is in the general idea that human
nature is a composite of a substratum and various layers, especially
insofar as the Jew is concerned, as above.

I will conclude with the traditional blessing which I have already
conveyed to you through Rabbi-: to receive the Torah with joy and
inwardness, as a daily experience through the year.

                              ALL TOGETHER
                            What is kabala?

Kabala is from the word meaning "receive." Kabala is the Jewish mystical
teachings received by Moses from G-d, passed on from teacher to student
throughout the ages. The basic book of kabala is the Zohar (meaning
"brightness"), written by Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai. A famous 16th century
Kabalist was Rabbi Yitzchak Luria (known as the Arizal), whose teachings
were written down by Rabbi Chaim Vital. Chabad Chasidic philosophy is
based in large part on the teachings of the Arizal.

                        A WORD FROM THE DIRECTOR
                         Rabbi Shmuel M. Butman
We find the following difference of opinion between the Babylonian
Talmud and the Jerusalem Talmud concerning Shabbat.

The Babylonian Talmud states that if the Jews keep two Sabbaths, we will
be immediately redeemed. In the Jerusalem Talmud it states that if the
Jewish people keeps one Sabbath we will immediately be redeemed.

Which one is it? How can these two opinions be reconciled?

The Messianic Era is likened to the Sabbath, and is, in fact, called,
"The day which is entirely Shabbat and rest for eternity."

There are various forms of rest.

We can refrain from heavy physical labor, thereby giving our bodies
their much needed rest.

We can also have a less physical, but more spiritual type of rest which
also rejuvenates the body, a rest which includes the cessation of the
worries and cares of the mundane world and the intensified immersion
into spiritual matters.

Thus, when we observe Shabbat, we are actually observing both physical
and spiritual rest.

With this in mind, we can reconcile the seeming difference of opinion
between the Jerusalem Talmud and the Babylonian Talmud. If the entire
Jewish nation keeps both aspects of Shabbat on one Sabbath, we will
immediately be redeemed.

Let us all join together with one common goal - to bring the Redemption
for all humankind.

We can hasten the attainment of this goal by experiencing Shabbat this
very week.

Indulge yourself this Shabbat in a truly restful and rejuvenating (and
re-Jewvenating) experience. Observe and celebrate Shabbat in all its
beauty and simplicity.

                          THOUGHTS THAT COUNT
Rebbi would say, "..Be as careful in [the performance of a seemingly]
minor mitzva as of a major one, for you do not know the reward given for
the mitzvot. (Ethics 2:1)

The Hebrew word "zahir," translated as "careful" also means "shine." All
the mitzvot (commandments) share a fundamental quality; each of them
enables one's soul to shine forth.

                                                   (Likutei Sichot)

                                *  *  *

Reflect upon three things and you will never come to sin: Know what is
above you... (Ethics 2:1)

The Maggid of Mezritch would say: "Know that everything above" - all
that transpires in the spiritual realms - is "from you" - dependent on
your conduct. Each of us has the potential to influence the most
elevated spiritual realms.

                                     (Or HaTorah al Aggadot Chazal)

                                *  *  *

Rabban Gamliel, son of Rabbi Yehudah Hanasi, said..., "Be wary of those
in power, for they befriend a person only for their own benefit...
(Ethics 2:2)

Non-literally, "those in power" refers to our egos, thoughts, and
feelings. Although we rely on these in order to function, we must be
aware of their fundamental self-interest, and that they are only
concerned with their own benefit. However, the soul - the essential self
- is concerned only with being closer to G-d and observing His Torah and

                                  (The Rebbe, Tazria-Metzora, 5739)

                                *  *  *

Hillel used to say, "...nor can an ignorant person be pious" (Ethics

Just as a fire will not burn unless it has the proper channel - wick and
oil - so, too, will love of G-d not take hold unless it is contained in
the proper vessel. The mitzvot (commandments) a Jew observes and the
Torah he learns define his capacity to love and fear G-d and form the
vessel with which this is accomplished. An ignorant person has not spent
sufficient time creating that vessel and, thus, cannot be truly pious.

                                      (Torah Ohr; Sefer Hamaamarim)

                            IT ONCE HAPPENED
It was Friday afternoon and Reb Yossele was on his way home after a long
day's work. He was a peddler who made his living selling new pots and
repairing old ones throughout the little villages of White Russia.

Some days business was good. Other times he had barely enough to live
on. Today had been a good day, but Shabbat was approaching and he was
anxious to get home.

The sun shone brilliantly and the wind shuffled the leaves just enough
to feel pleasant against the skin. Suddenly, the wagon stopped and
tilted to one side.

Yossele couldn't believe it, but a glimpse confirmed his worst
suspicion: the axle had broken With the tools he kept in his wagon he
set about fixing it, but the sun had risen high by the time the repair
was completed. Reb Yossele was nervous. He had unexpectedly lost a lot
of time, and his village was still quite a distance. What could he do
but continue on and hope for the best?

The sun had set when Reb Yossele slunk into the back road of the little
village. All the Jewish men were in the shul praying the evening
service, but Reb Yossele didn't go; he was too ashamed and horrified at
what he had done. For Yossele had never violated Shabbat before in his

His shame and guilt plagued him all through Shabbat, and when the first
few stars lit the evening sky he made his way to the home of his rebbe
in the hopes of receiving advice on how to purify his soul of the
transgression. He reluctantly and with great difficulty told the whole
story to the tzadik.

"Indeed, this is a difficult thing," the rebbe said.

"Your atonement must fit the seriousness of the transgression. You must
afflict your body by lying in the snow and immersing in the frozen
river. This will cleanse your soul and bring you to complete

Reb Yossele listened with wide eyes to this prescription for teshuva. He
sighed and a tremor ran through him. He thanked the tzadik for his help;
he was willing to do anything to erase this miserable blot from his

One early frigid morning, after an attempt at immersing in the river, he
sat in his cottage despondently wondering what he should do. How he
longed to repent in a way that would cleanse his soul from the
transgression which overcame him accidentally, and yet was devastating
him. Reb Yossele roused himself and walked to shul for the morning
prayers. This morning the room buzzed with news of the impending visit
to a neighboring town of the famous tzadik, Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov.
Reb Yossele suddenly felt less tired. He even smiled. The Baal Shem Tov
would surely help.

Two days later, Yossele set off to visit the Baal Shem Tov.

He related the entire episode of the Shabbat desecration and the penance
prescribed by his rebbe. The Baal Shem Tov listened and then said, "Buy
candles and set them in the study hall this Friday."

Yossele could hardly believe his ears. Could it be so simple? But, the
Baal Shem Tov was unquestionably a great tzadik, and Reb Yossele trusted
his words completely. He went straight to the store and purchased the

That Friday Reb Yossele joyfully brought the candles to the study hall,
set them in the candlestick holders and lit them.

But suddenly, to his shock and horror, a large dog ran into the room,
grabbed the candles in his terrifying jaws and ground them into crumbs.
Reb Yossele's eyes brimmed with tears. G-d did not want his repentance!

Reb Yossele sadly returned to the Baal Shem Tov and told him about the
dog. "It seems that your rebbe isn't pleased with my advice, but it will
be all right. Go and buy more candles and place them in the study hall
just as before. You have my promise that this time it will be just fine.
And when you return home, please tell your rebbe that I would like him
to be my guest next Shabbat."

Reb Yossele relayed the message to his rebbe who was very happy to
receive an invitation from the Baal Shem Tov.

On Friday morning the rebbe harnessed his horses and set out for the
town where the Besht was staying, a short distance away. But things
didn't go right. He made a right turn at the junction, but it brought
him down the wrong road. Then he turned back, but got lost in a thicket.

Each wrong turn led to another, and he became hopelessly lost. As the
sun began to set, he had no choice but to walk toward his destination.
With each step he berated himself. How could he have been so careless?
How did he lose his way?

When the rebbe arrived at the door of the Baal Shem Tov his host was
standing with kiddush cup in hand, waiting to recite kiddush over the

"Now you know exactly how Reb Yossele felt when he desecrated the
Shabbat. Before this evening you had never transgressed, and therefore,
you couldn't understand the pain that a person feels when he sins. You
thought that penance must be painful and difficult, but really, all that
a person needs to atone is a truly broken heart."

Two joyous Shabbat meals occurred simultaneously -- one in the home of a
sinless Reb Yossele, and the other at the table of the two tzadikim.

                            MOSHIACH MATTERS
Since int he times of Moshiach, all Jews will be as prophets, now, in
the days preceding Redemption, we must prepare ourselves by learning
what Torah has to say about prophecy.  May our study of and preparation
for the state of prophecy lead us immediately to the final Redemption,
and the day when "the earth will be full of knoweldge of G-d as the
wateres cover the ocean bed.

      (Based on Likutei Sicht 23, From Reflections of Redemption by
          Dovid Yisroel Ber Kaufmann o.b.m., to whom this column is

             END OF TEXT - L'CHAIM 1475 - Beha'aloscha 5777

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