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                         L'CHAIM - ISSUE # 1483
                           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.
        August 4, 2017         Vaeschanan            12 Av, 5777

                              Quality Time

When it comes to quality time, most of us think about specific blocks of
time - however limited they might be - that we set aside to be with our
immediate family.

If someone started speaking to you about "Jewish quality time," you'd
probably think they were going to launch into a lecture about setting
aside specific time for such Jewish pursuits as doing mitzvot, praying,
and studying Torah.

Yes and no.

Even over a thousand years ago, in Talmudic times, there lived people
known as chasidim. Their performance of mitzvot was typified by going
above and beyond the letter of the law. They used to spend tremendous
amounts of time in prayer and only a few hours a day in Torah study.
But, the amount of Torah knowledge they gained in those few hours of
study was inordinately greater than what the average person would have
gained. The reward for their intensive prayer schedule was that the time
spent studying Torah became "quality time" and their studies were

The mitzva of Torah study is incumbent upon us at all times. In fact,
according to the Talmud, if a person wastes even one minute that he
could have spent studying, it's as if he belittled the entire Torah.
Yet, the Talmud also states that someone who is involved in helping the
community has fulfilled the commandment to study Torah by simply saying
one verse from the Shema in the morning and in the evening. Quality

In the Mishna Ethics of the Fathers, customarily studied in these summer
months, we read that Rabbi Yaakov said that one hour of repentance and
good deeds in this world is greater than the entire time one will live
in the World to Come. What does this mean?

On the simplest level, Rabbi Yaakov is telling us that quality time
counts. Through spending even just one hour in teshuva - turning away
from one's transgressions - and good deeds, we will merit the various
levels of revelations of G-dliness in the Messianic Era. In fact, all
the G-dliness we will experience during the World to Come can be
acquired just through a one-hour spiritual workout here and now.

But how do we accomplish this? The Hebrew word for hour, "sha-ah," also
means bending or lowering. By bending ourselves in this world, and
setting aside specific times - an hour a month, or a week, or even a
day, for teshuva and good deeds, we are assuring ourselves a portion in
the World to Come.

Jewish quality time, it's amazing, isn't it?

This week's Haftora is the first of seven special readings consoling the
Jewish people. After The Three Weeks of darkness and destruction, G-d
consoles us through his prophet Isaiah. Each week, the consolation gets
more and more powerful.

This Shabbat is called Shabbat Nachamu, because the Haftora starts with
G-d's words to Isaiah, "Nachamu nachamu ami - "Console console my

Being that this is the first Haftora of consolation, should  it not have
begun with just one reference to Nachamu - console, a basic level of
consoling? Then, in the upcoming weeks the expression could be doubled?

A double expression such as Nachamu Nachamu, means more than two,
however. Rather, it is an expression of multiple in quality and
quantity. Not only is this consoling of greater intensity, but it is
ongoing. And being that this is the first Nachamu of the seven Haftoras
of consoling, it is this one that sets the standard for all subsequent
expressions of consoling.

In a few weeks, we will read in the Haftora another double expression.
In this week's Haftora, G-d is asking his prophet to console us. But in
the upcoming Haftora, consolation is taken to a new level: "It is I, I
Who consoles you." This double "I," is G-d saying, that it is coming
from the deepest level of His essence. Even deeper than the giving of
the Ten Commandments, which begins with only one "I," "I Am the Lord
your G-d..." This is because when Moshiach comes and we will experience
G-d's consolation, the revelation will be even greater than the one at
Mount Sinai, it will be G-d's deepest essence.

It is true, with the devastation that befell our people during the Three
Weeks, one might think, "Take it slow, first console a little, how can
we handle so much?" But we know, that we are always close to G-d, and
even in times of exile and darkness, He is one with us. G-d is saying,
"Nachamu Nachamu," you can handle the double Nachamu, with all its

This is especially relevant now, when we are so close to the coming of
Moshiach, and the darkness of the exile is doubled. We must realize that
only our physical existence is in exile, however our spiritual essence
is always free and one with G-d. Soon we will see the fruit of our
labor, a double Nachamu, as the physical will also be free, and it will
experience G-d's essence as well, as our Haftora says, "And G-d's glory
will be revealed, and all flesh together will see, that the mouth of G-d

G-d chose us to accomplish His deepest desire. He put us here, in this
dark exile, to accomplish this mission, because it is only here where it
can be accomplished. Very soon, because of our efforts, the mission will
be completed and we will reap the rewards. This exile will end and we
will truly be consoled, forever, like the Haftora says, "Nachamu
Nachamu. " May it happen soon.

    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
                          Rural American Rabbi
                          by Rabbi Chaim Bruk

In 2013, while anticipating the adoption of our third child, we learned
that he would be biracial. I was convinced that G-d sent this beautiful
soul to us; yet, I had a few moments of doubt. I was questioning the
Almighty, whether he was the right fit for our family; I couldn't help
but wonder how his life experience would play out as a biracial Orthodox
Jew growing up in Big Sky Country. My beloved wife Chavie, firm and
inspirational as ever, encouraged me to remain focused, "let us shower
our baby with love and warmth," she said, "and let G-d worry about his
future challenges."

Growing up in my Brooklyn "hood," I was living in a bubble. Ohio seemed
remote, Texas like another country and the Mountain West states were, in
our mind, like another planet. Our family traveled upstate to Catskill
Game Farm, to Pennsylvania's Sesame Place and even enjoyed a memorable
trip to Orlando, but west of the Mississippi was a like a foreign land
to me. Yet, while rural America seemed far, far-away from the life I
knew in America's "five boroughs", I have been blessed to learn, it's
the perfect place to live and raise my family.

In 2007, Chavie and I moved to Bozeman, opening the state's first branch
of Chabad Lubavitch, to offer exciting spiritual experiences to Wild
West Jewry. We were welcomed warmly by Jews and gentiles alike and, over
the years, have garnered hundreds of friendships with human-beings of
all flavors. Living in Montana, for a decade now, I've developed a real
appreciation, and admiration, for "fly over country" and its people.

I have found Montanans to be friendly, thoughtful and intrigued by my
Jewish observance. Whether interacting with a bellman in the "big city"
of Billings, a rancher from Kila or a state trooper in Butte, Montanans
are genuinely caring and refreshingly authentic. They care more about
their family than what car they drive, feed their animals before
themselves and, no matter how busy they are, would pull over to help you
on the side of the road, even if was -22 outside.

While I miss the kosher restaurants, the Sabbath atmosphere in the
street and the opportunity to speak in my mother tongue, Yiddish,
Bozeman has become home and I'm a proud Montanan. "Love thy neighbor as
thyself" is not merely a bumper sticker or a campaign slogan out here;
it's a way of life.

Raising my son Menny, for almost four years now, has been an
extraordinary blessing and incredible experience. He's adorable with a
one-of-a-kind personality; it's hard to keep up with his super fun
energy. From his dance moves that could put any hip-hop artist to shame
to his one-liners that are so precious; from his care-free attitude
while painting the beige carpet in his sister's room red to his midnight
longing for seltzer, he's a ball of life.

He's black, wears his Yarmulke proudly and loves praying with me in
Shul, and our Jewish community  along with our fellow Montanans
embraces him unconditionally. He's not seen as that "black boy," and I'm
not seen as that "adoptive father." They just see us as a family.

Personally, I am not color blind. I do see peoples' visible differences,
but that doesn't  G-d forbid  make me think less of them or contemplate
treating them differently. Seeing diversity allows me to appreciate
their individuality, their personal story, even more than if I would've
ignored their uniqueness. Not to recognize people's exceptionality is to
deny them a part of their experience, a part of their core self.

While Montana, like the rest of the world, surely has a few people who
are ignorant and judgmental, I am grateful to be raising my family in a
rural America, where people are welcoming, loving and open-minded. No,
there isn't much diversity in our backyard, but it's a place where
people take to heart the timeless words of our Declaration of
Independence "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are
created equal."

G-d Bless America.

    Rabbi Chaim Bruk, together with his wife Chavie, is the executive
    director of Chabad Lubavitch of Montana and spiritual leader of The
    Shul of Bozeman.

                               WHAT'S NEW
                             New Emissaries

Rabbi and Mrs. Yoni Atiya have been appointed the new Shluchim
(emissaries of the Rebbe) to the Me'arat Hamachpelah (Machpelah Cave) in
Hebron. Chabad of Me'arat Hamachpelah will serve the tens thousands of
Jews and non-Jews visiting the second holiest Jewish site in the Land of
Israel. Rabbi Atiya was born and raised in Hebron, is the son of Chabad
emissary to Rabbi Victor Atiya and grandson of the illustrious Dovid and
Sarah Nachshon, amongst the first Jewish families to move back to Hebron
in 1968 after the massacre of the Jewish community of Hebron by Arabs in

                            Saying Mazel Tov

For centuries, it has been customary for Jewish women to adorn the
birthing room and the cradle with Psalm 121. The Psalm states our
dependence on G-d for our safety and well-being, and His commitment to
guard us at all times. For a color print of the Psalm call LEFJME at
(718) 756-5700, e-mail, or visit, or

                            THE REBBE WRITES
                        15th of Av, 5745 [1985]

Shalom u'Brocho [Peace and Blessing]:

Your letter reached me with considerable delay. Thus, by hashgocho
protis [Divine Providence], your letter, dated on the day of the Chag
haGeula [Festival of Liberation] of my father-in-law the Rebbe, of
saintly memory, is fittingly acknowledged on the auspicious day of the
15th of Av. Both these dates are connected with the dissemination of
Torah. It was the cause of the arrest and eventual liberation of my
saintly father-in-law under the Stalin regime (1927); while increased
Torah study is the main feature of the 15th of Av, as explained at some
length at the end of Mesachta Taanis.

This brings me to the paragraph in your letter wherein you refer to
"very modest acts" on your part in the field of Torah education. I must
challenge this self-assessment on the ground that the record speaks for
itself. Moreover, in wide segments of Jewry, especially among American
Jews, the impact of your "modest acts" strikes deeper and wider than
similar acts of a Rabbi or Rebbe (myself included) could attain, for
obvious reasons.

Incidentally, it is well to remember an admonition by my father-in-law
to the effect that a person should not underestimate one's achievements,
since only then will one generate the inner incentive and drive to
achieve the fullest utilization of one's total capacities.

For the sake of a mutual consensus, I am prepared to accept your claim
of "very modest acts" - in a relative sense, in terms of your potential
and future acts, which will dwarf your past accomplishments by
comparison. Indeed, this is a natural human aspiration, as our Sages
assure us in the well-known adage: "Whoever has 100 desires 200; and,
(attaining) 200 (will not be satisfied with the increment of another
100, but desires double) - 400. And so forth in geometric-progression.

Me'inyan l'inyan [From one matter to another]. Some time ago I noticed
in the JTA Bulletin an item about another "modest act" of yours, namely
your involvement in a project to publish the Chumash [Five Books of
Moses] in Braille. I do not have it on hand, so I am relying on memory.
Needless to say, it's a great zechus [privilege].

In light of the famous teaching of the Baal Shem Tov that anything that
comes to the eyes or ears of an individual contains some personal
message to the beholder or listener, I take the liberty - though I do
not usually take such liberties - of volunteering a suggestion. I feel
certain that whether you take it or leave it, you will surely accept it
in the proper spirit.

My suggestion - that is all it is - is that you consider including in
the said project the publication in Braille of the section of the Kitzur
Shulchan Aruch [Code of Jewish Law] in English that deals with the month
of Tishrei, with the preparations for it in the latter part of Elul. The
need for it requires no elaboration to you, and if it is to be
implemented without undue delay, there is time, I believe to have it
done in good time before Rosh Hashanah".

Should this suggestion be approved and acted upon, then - in keeping
with Ps. 119:63 - I would like to participate in it with a financial
contribution which I leave to your assessment, since I am not familiar
with the actual costs involved in the publication and distribution of
such an item in Braille. I will look forward to your response on this

To conclude on the auspicious note of the 15th of Av, may Hashem grant
the fulfillment, for you and all of us in the midst of Klal Yisrael, of
the assurance of our Sages z'l    . ["all who add, G-d adds to him"]

With esteem and blessing,

                              ALL TOGETHER
              What is the significance of the 15th of Av?

The Talmud shares that many years ago the "daughters of Jerusalem would
go dance in the vineyards" on the 15th of Av, and "whoever did not have
a wife would go there" to find a bride. It also states that 15 Av is the
greatest festival, greater even than Yom Kippur. According to the Code
of Jewish Law we omit  penitential prayers due to the day's festive
nature. The Code of Jewish Law also says we should increase our study of
Torah from the 15th of Av onward, since the nights are begining to grow
longer, and "the night was created for study."

                        A WORD FROM THE DIRECTOR
                         Rabbi Shmuel M. Butman
This Shabbat,  the Shabbat after Tisha B'Av, is known as Shabbat Nachamu
for the Haftorah portion we read which begins, "Nachamu, Nachamu Ami -
Comfort, I will comfort My People."

Our Sages state that the word "Nachamu" is stated twice, for with the
building of the Third Holy Temple, G-d will comfort us doubly for the
destruction of the first and second Temples.

Jewish teachings further explain that the repetition of words in the
Torah points to the unlimited quality of the matter being discussed.

Thus, the comfort that G-d offers us through his prophet in this week's
Haftorah does not point a limited consolation for the destruction of the
First and Second Temples; G-d is telling us that with the building of
the Third Holy Temple in the Messianic Era, we will be comforted in a
totally unlimited manner, when the revelation of G-dliness and Divine
Knowledge will likewise be totally unlimited.

Monday will be the 15th of Av, a special date in the Jewish calendar.
Among other things, it is the day on which we are encouraged to begin
increasing our Torah study, since, on the 15th of Av the nights become
longer - nights which can be used for Torah study. The Rebbe, in a talk
on this Shabbat, emphasized what form this Torah study should take:

"In general, the study of Chasidut is associated with the Redemption...
in particular the function of this study as a catalyst for the
Redemption is more powerful when the subject studied concerns that
matter itself," i.e., matters concerning Moshiach and the Redemption.

May G-d comfort us not only doubly but in an infinite and unlimited
manner with the revelation of Moshiach and the building of the Third
Holy Temple, immediately.

                          THOUGHTS THAT COUNT
Ben Zoma said... "Who is rich? He who is happy wit his lot, as it is
said: (Psalm 128:2) 'When you eat of the labor of your hands, happy are
you, and it shall be well with you' " (Ethics 4:1)

A person's wealth is not measured by the amount of money he has stashed
away in boxes and treasure chests. For no person is wealthy other than
in knowledge (See Talmud Nedarim 41a). One who is happy with his lot is
a truly wealthy person.

                                                (Maharal of Prague)

                                *  *  *

Rabbi Meir Said,... "If you neglect the Torah, many causes for
neglecting it - b'teilim - will present themselves to you." (Ethics

The word "b'teilim" can equally mean worthless matters, of no value.
This, then, is what our text would signify: If you are invited to join a
study group on some aspect of our faith, perhaps your answer is, "I
would love to, but I don't have the time, I am too busy, and really, I
have not even a moment to myself." In short, you decide to neglect the
Torah. If you do that, says Rabbi Meir, "many other valueless, worthless
things can be held up against you." For what were you doing last night
and the night before? If you are indeed so busy, how can you account for
that theater performance, or the hours upon hours before the television
set? For that, apparently, you had the time. For that, it would seem,
you were not busy.

                              (Rabbi I. Bunim in Ethics from Sinai)

                                *  *  *

For the reward of a mitzva is a mitzva, and the reward of a
transgression is a transgression (Ethics 4:2)

The reward one receives for obeying G-d's word is qualitatively
different from the payment a laborer is rewarded for his exertions. A
worker who plows and sows receives his salary from the owner of the
field, yet the actual money was not created by him; it is not the direct
result of his labors. This is not so, however, in the case of mitzvot.
According to Chasidic philosophy, the mitzva itself creates the reward.

                                                        (The Rebbe)

                            IT ONCE HAPPENED
A Jew came to the rabbi of his town with a problem. "I don't know what
to do. I really hate my wife. It seems like she is always doing things
to aggravate me." In shame, the man continued, "Sometimes I even think
of killing her!"

The wise rabbi looked at the man pensively. "How long have you felt this

"Almost since the time we married," replied the man. "It wasn't so bad
at first. But when she irritated me, I found it impossible to behave
nicely or civilly toward her. And now, I dream of being rid of her

The rabbi stroked his beard and then said, "You know, there is a way you
can kill her without even being held responsible!"

The man's eyes opened wide. Never had he expected the rabbi to be an
accomplice, but he needed all the help he could get. "Tell me, rabbi,
what can I do?"

"Well," explained the rabbi to the simple man, "the Midrash tells us
that if a man pledges a large sum of money to charity and doesn't pay
it, his punishment will be that his wife will die. All you need to do is
pledge a large sum of money to the shul and not pay it! Within a year, I
assure you, your wife will be dead."

The man was overjoyed with his good fortune of having such an
understanding and wise rabbi.

"But," added the rabbi, "You wouldn't want anyone to think that you are
not paying the pledge intentionally to kill your wife. You wouldn't want
G-d to think that either, would you?"

The man nodded his head. "What should I do, rabbi?"

"Well," began the rabbi. "For starters, you must treat your wife
exceptionally well for the next few months."

The man was horrified. "Rabbi, I don't even treat my wife a little bit
nicely because, as I told you, I can't stand her. And now, you want me
to behave exceptionally kindly toward her?"

"It's the least you can do so that people don't think you're killing her
intentionally, isn't it?"

The man nodded and the rabbi continued. "First, buy her a new dress. How
long has it been since she's gotten a new dress?"

The man acknowledged that his wife hadn't gotten a new dress since they
were married seven years previously. "And also," the rabbi continued,
"make sure to give her a little spending money."

The man rolled his eyes. "She always complains that she doesn't have
enough money to make good meals. But I know it's just an excuse to upset

The rabbi smiled and added, "Say something nice to her once in a while.
Even compliment her in public, just so that people will think you really
like her, of course," the rabbi added conspiratorially.

The man left the rabbi's study beaming. He immediately made a large
pledge to a charitable organization and began counting the hours until
he'd be rid of his wife. He did follow the rabbi's advice, though, and
went out to buy his wife a new dress. She, of course, could not
understand her husband's change of heart. When he also gave her some
"pocket money," she went to the market and purchased some nice fruits
and vegetables, even a bit of meat. She prepared a delicious meal to
show her appreciation.

Weeks passed, with the man marking off the days on his calendar and
simultaneously behaving decently, for once, toward his wife.

At the end of two months, the man stopped marking his calendar. He and
his wife were happier than they had ever been during their entire
marriage. The more pleasant the husband was, the more he complimented
his wife and tried to help her, the more she tried to please him in
every way.

After a half year had passed, the husband had totally forgotten about
his little conversation and "arrangement" with the rabbi. It wasn't
until the year was nearly up, when he remembered about the pledge and
the repercussions if it wasn't paid. He immediately ran to the rabbi.

"Rabbi, the year is nearly up and I still haven't paid the pledge," the
man said frantically.

"Nu," said the rabbi. "Soon you will have peace and quiet. What are you
worried about?"

"You don't understand, rabbi. I love my wife. She is the most wonderful
person in the world. She can never do enough to please me and I get such
pleasure from doing things that make her happy. I don't want her to

"Oh my, that is a problem," replied the rabbi. "Your only choice then,
is to pay the pledge."

"But Rabbi, I pledged an huge sum, something I could never possibly

"You must borrow the money then, and pay it out little by little. I will
even give you a note of recommendation to some free-loan funds," offered
the rabbi. "After all, it is a matter of life and death!"

"I don't know how I can ever thank you," the relieved husband told the
rabbi. "Certainly that my wife should remain alive is worth all the
money in the world!"

The man borrowed the money to pay the pledge. Every month he paid back a
little of the money and they lived happily ever after.

                            MOSHIACH MATTERS
The portion of Va'etchanan begins, "I beseeched G-d at that time,
saying...let me go over, I pray, that I may see the good land." (Deut.
3:23-25) The Midrash relates that Moses beseeched G-d with 515 prayers
(the numerical equivalent of the word "va'etchanan - and I beseeched")
to be allowed to enter the Holy Land. Even after G-d explicitly told
him, "Do not continue to speak to Me any more of this matter," Moses
persisted. We learn from this that we must never give up imploring G-d
to bring us back to the complete Land of Israel with Moshiach, for we
have been promised we are the last generation of exile and the first
generation of Redemption.

                                                        (The Rebbe)

              END OF TEXT - L'CHAIM 1483 - Vaeschanan 5777

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