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                         L'CHAIM - ISSUE # 1486
                           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 25, 2017         Shoftim             3 Elul, 5777

                          What's On Your Mind?

"Ask the Mayor." "Ask the Governor."

Many major cities throughout the world have call-in shows when you can
tell your government official what's on your mind and possibly expedite
matters if you're having a problem with some bureaucratic red-tape.

And if it's an election year, well we all know that elected officials
make sure to go out of their way to visit neighborhoods, cities small
and large, to hear what's on people's minds.

This special time when our leaders are more accessible gives us insight
into a Chasidic analogy for the time of the Jewish calendar we find
ourselves in. Chasidic thought describes the Hebrew month of Elul, which
began this week, as a time when the "King is in the field."

According to the analogy, the king goes into the field, ready and
willing to listen to the requests of his people. He didn't go into the
city, where it might be necessary to greet him with pomp and
circumstance, splendor and glory. He's out in the field, with the
workers, the commoners, the simple folk,right there in the nitty gritty
of it all.

The King is G-d. "In the field" means that G-d is more accessible to us
during this month - the days and weeks that precede Rosh Hashana and Yom
Kippur - days of reflection, introspection and Divine Judgment.

G-d makes Himself available to us. And He does it out of His great love
for us, a love to that can be likened to that of a husband and wife.

The analogy of a husband and wife is especially appropriate during these
days, for Jewish teaching explains that Elul is an acronym for the
Hebrew words, "Ani L'Dodi V'Dodi Li - I am my Beloved's and my Beloved
is mine."

There is a give and take in every kind of relationship. This is
certainly true of the relationship between the G-d and the Jewish

G-d gives of Himself by coming out "into the field" at this special time
of year. We take advantage of the opportunity, show our appreciation and
give of ourselves by greeting G-d in the field and also by doing things
that will give pleasure to our Beloved. G-d responds to our overtures by
becoming our Beloved in a more revealed sense.

So don't worry if you're in a suit, overalls, wearing shirts with white
colors or blue collars. Go out into the field and greet the King! Tell
Him what's on your mind. He's waiting for you!

This week's Torah portion, Shoftim, begins with Moses' instruction to
the Jewish people to appoint judges and law enforcement officers in
every city. In this context, Moses enjoins the people with the famous
words, "Justice, justice shall you pursue, that you may live and possess
the land the L-rd, your G-d, is giving you.

The portion contains many mitzvot (commandments), among them the laws
governing the appointment and behavior of a king.

One of the laws a king must follow is that he have two copies of the
Torah scroll made for him. One of the scrolls is to be placed in his
treasury, and the other should accompany him constantly. The reason for
the scroll accompanying him is "and he shall read it all the days of his
life, so that he may learn to fear the L-rd his G-d, to keep all the
words of this Torah..."

Isn't one Torah enough, why did a king need two? What point is there in
having one Torah kept in his treasury?

To be a king means to wield great power. Whereas every Jew is obligated
to write a Torah, a king must write two. This act is an extra measure
and different from other laws pertaining to kings, as it doesn't make
sense. The king goes through this experience merely for its humbling
effect. This Torah is put in his treasury or lit. beit gnazav, his
hidden place, a place the king goes to when important decisions need to
made. Going to war, taxes, major projects, etc. Seeing his Torah there
(and possibly the Torahs of the kings before him) is a strong reminder,
that while the great power to make these decisions are in his hands, he
should be humbled and bend to G-d's will when making them.

We are all consider kings and queens, as G-d empowers us to make
decisions that effect our "kinG-doms" big or small. Yourself, your
family, your wealth, your treatment of others, etc. You May be learning
from the outside Torah, yet you must write it in the deepest recesses of
your being. So that when making important decisions you will bend to
G-d's will.

Royalty fails in arrogance and succeeds in humility. A Jew is royalty,
in dress, in speech, in thoughts and action.

Now in month of Elul, the King of kings, is open to all of us. Get close
to G-d now, go out to greet Him. He, in turn, will grant you a happy and
sweet New Year.

    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
                             Happy Campers

Photos: Above  Israel: Clockwise from top left, Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine
Girls Division; Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine Boys Division; Seattle,
Washington; Ottawa, Canada; Winter Camp in Johannesburg, South Africa;
Siberia, Russia; Beit Shean, Israel; Lyon, France.

There are hundreds of them around the world, with tens of thousands of
campers. When the sun is at its zenith in every major city and on every
continent, the Chabad-Lubavitch Gan Israel summer camps shine their
light on yet another generation of Jewish children.

The Gan Israel camps span a diversity of cultures, languages and
regions, extending from Alaska to Florida and from Australia to Zaire.
But no matter how disparate, they are - like some spiritual Starbucks -
all alike in their trademark spirit, joy and Jewish pride that permeate
the Gan Israel camp experience.

In 1956, the Rebbe launched Gan Israel, an international network of
summer camps, where children of all ages and walks of life learn to love
their heritage while enjoying the best experience that camping offers.

In those days, enjoying a summer camp complete with sports, arts,
crafts, and entertaining activities was a novelty reserved for children
of families with means. When Gan Israel summer day and overnight camps
were founded, the guiding principle was that every child deserves to
gain from the integration of education and camp activities and that no
child should be left out.

Gan Israel has grown into the world's largest network of Jewish summer
camps. Typical activities such as swimming and sport, as well more
specialized activities like science workshops, tennis, karate, and
dance, all complement the spiritual programs that are the hallmark of
Gan Israel: Jewish songs and creative Shabbat parties, ritual arts and
crafts, and a variety of programs designed to generate interest and
excitement in Jewish life and mitzva observance.

                               WHAT'S NEW
                          Kosher in Copenhagen

The newly opened restaurant Taim ("tasty" in Hebrew) inside the Chabad
House in Copenhagen is enabling local residents and tourists to eat out
kosher. The restaurant, located in the main hall of the Chabad House, is
open six evenings a week. Taim also offers catering and delivery to area
hotels and conference centers.

                         It Only Takes a Minute

In this lively picture book, the adorable main character happily shares
his biggest discovery: One little minute can make a big difference! How
wonderful to realize that it only takes a minute to help, to smile, to
notice, to practice, and to listen. After reading this book, boys and
girls can think of their own ideas, as well! by Bracha Goetz,
illustrated by Bill Bolton, published by Hachai.

                            THE REBBE WRITES
                       25th of Elul, 5738 [1978]

In these days of Selichos [penitential prayers] and Rachamim [mercy],
which bring the outgoing year to its end and prepare for the new year, I
am addressing these lines to you, hoping they will bring you some

To begin with, there are many matters and occurrences that are hard for
the human mind to understand. Among them also such that even if they can
be understood intellectually, they are hard to accept intellectually.
Specifically in the case of bereavement.

Nevertheless, every Jew has been instructed by the Creator and Master of
the world that the matters connected with avelus/mourning must be
limited in time. Though during the proper time it is natural and proper
to give vent to one's pain and sorrow at the sad loss, in keeping with
the nature which G-d implanted in man.

However, when the various periods of mourning pass - the first three
days of profound pain and tears, the seven days of shiva, shloshim [30
days of mourning], etc. - then it is not permitted to extend these
periods beyond their allotted days. And since this is the instruction of
the Creator and Master of the world, it is clear that carrying out these
Divine instructions is within the capability of every Jew, for G-d does
not expect the impossible of His creatures and provides everyone with
the necessary capacity and strength to carry out His instructions as set
forth in His Torah, called Toras Emes, because it is true and realistic
in all its teachings and imperatives.

It follows also, that those who think that the gradual lessening of
mourning, as above, may cause the soul of the departed that is now in
the World of Truth to feel slighted, are totally wrong, for the opposite
is true. Indeed, excessive mourning by relatives is not good for the
soul in the World of Truth, seeing that it is instrumental in this
improper conduct on the part of the relatives here on earth; improper -
because it is not in keeping with the spirit and letter of  the Torah.

Undoubtedly, there is also a rational explanation for the above. One
explanation, as mentioned at length on another occasion is that the soul
is, of course, eternal as is universally recognized. It would be
contrary to logic and common sense to think that a physical disorder in
the body could affect the vitality and existence of the soul, which is a
purely spiritual being. The only thing that a sickness or fatal accident
can do is to cause a weakening or termination of the bond that holds the
body and soul together, whereupon the soul departs from its temporary
abode in this world and returns to its original world of pure spirit, in
the eternal world.

Needless to say, insofar as the soul is concerned, death is a release
from its "imprisonment" in the body. For, so long as it is bound up with
the body, it suffers from physical limitations of the body, which
necessarily constrain the soul and involve it in physical activities
which essentially are alien to its purely spiritual nature.
Nevertheless, the departure and ascent of the soul to its Heavenly abode
is mourned fro a time by the surviving relatives and friend, because the
person is no longer physically  here on earth and can no longer be seen
and heard and felt by the physical senses and is therefore sadly missed.
However, the soul retains all its faculties and, as explained in our
holy sources, reacts to the conduct and feelings of its relatives left
behind, sharing in their joys and in their sorrows and benefitting from
their good deeds, especially those done on behalf of the soul, and it
prays and intercedes in behalf of its relatives here on earth.

In other words, the departure of the soul from the body is a great
advantage and ascent for the soul, and the loss is only for the
bereaved, and to that extent it is also painful for the soul, of course.

There is yet another point that causes pain to the soul after departing
from the body. While the soul is "clothed" in the body, it can actively
participate with the body in all matters of Torah and mitzvos
[commandments] and good deeds practiced in the daily life here on earth.
But since all this involves physical action and tangible objects, the
soul can no longer engage in these activities when it returns to its
Heavenly abode, where it can only enjoy the fruits of the Torah and
mitzvos and good deeds performed by it in its sojourn on earth.
Henceforth, the soul must depend on its relatives and friends to do
mitzvos and good deeds also on its behalf, and this is a source of true
gratification for the soul, and helps it ascend to even greater heights.

                        continued in next issue

From The Letter and the Spirit, vol. 4, by Nissan Mindel Publications

                              ALL TOGETHER
                   When do we send "New Year" cards?

It is appropriate during the entire month of Elul to send wishes to
friends and family that they be "inscribed and sealed for a good, sweet
year." In fact, these are the words with which one greets a friend from
the 15th of the (previous) month of Av until Yom Kippur. From Yom Kippur
until Hoshana Rabba (the last day of Sukkot) when the Heavenly books
have already been inscribed but not yet sealed, we say, "May you be
sealed for a good year" or "gmar chatima tova," in Hebrew.

                        A WORD FROM THE DIRECTOR
                         Rabbi Shmuel M. Butman
This Shabbat is the first in the month of Elul, the month that precedes
the "Days of Awe" - Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur.

Our Sages have noted that the word "Elul" is an acronym for a number of
verses in the Tanach (Bible). One such verse is "Ina leyado vesamti
lecha - it chanced to happen and I set aside a place for you." This
verse refers to the cities of refuge the Jews were commanded to

Who fled to the cities of refuge? A person who had killed someone
unintentionally. There he was protected from the relatives of the
victim, who could not exact retribution. An accidental killer had to
uproot himself and leave his home and family. His exile atoned for the
great sin he had committed.

An intentional murderer was also offered temporary sanctuary in the city
of refuge. No one was allowed to touch him until his sentence was
determined by the court.

A person who commits a sin damages his G-dly soul, extracts its vitality
and "spills its blood." Symbolically, a sinner is a "murderer."

What does a murderer do? He flees to the cities of refuge.

The month of Elul is the year's "city of refuge." In Elul we assess our
conduct, identify misdeeds and get rid of bad habits. Returning to G-d
in teshuva atones for our sins in the same way exile in a city of refuge
atoned for murder.

When a person does teshuva he is protected from the "blood avenger" -
the Evil Inclination. It simply becomes stripped of its power to entice.

Even a person who sinned intentionally can find refuge in the month of
Elul. Just as the city of refuge protected an intentional killer until
his trial, so too does Elul provide sanctuary to an intentional sinner
until Rosh Hashana. Of course, if he repents before then, he is

Let us therefore take advantage of this special month to correct our
undesirable behavior, for our actions have the power to make amends. And
surely we will all be inscribed in the Book of the Righteous for a good
and sweet year to come.

                          THOUGHTS THAT COUNT
Shimon Ben Shatach said: "Examine the witnesses thoroughly" (Ethics 1:9)

There is a homiletic dimension to this teaching. Our Sages say: "The
walls of a person's house testify regarding his [character]." On the
most simple level, it is possible to "examine the witnesses" and
determine a person's character by studying the walls of his house -
which books, whose pictures, and which art do they feature.

                                                        (The Rebbe)

                                *  *  *

Shemayah said... "Do not seek intimacy with the ruling power" (Ethics

Since Shemayah was the Nasi - the Torah leader of the Jewish people - he
knew the importance of humility. For a leader's prominence comes as a
result of his selflessness. Because he has no concern for himself, he is
fit to serve as a medium to lead his people to an awareness of G-d's

                                     (Sichot Kodesh, Shemini, 5728)

                                *  *  *

Be of the disciples of Aaron... loving the created beings, and bringing
them near to the Torah (Ethics 1:12)

The use of the term "created beings" instead of "people" implies that
Aaron would reach out to individuals whose only redeeming virtue was the
fact that they were G-d's creations. Aaron's concern for his fellow man
was all the more impressive because of his exalted position as High
Priest. Leaving the Sanctuary where G-d's Presence was openly revealed,
he would reach out to people who had no virtue other than their having
been created by G-d. The order used in the Mishna is also significant.
It implies that Aaron first concerned himself with establishing a
relationship of love and trust, confidant that this would in turn enable
him to draw them near to the Torah. Also significant is the phrase,
"bringing them near to the Torah." Although Aaron reached out to these
individuals and tried to accommodate them to the fullest degree
possible, his efforts were centered on "bringing them near to the
Torah," and not bringing the Torah near to them. His willingness to
extend himself on behalf of others did not involve any compromise of
Torah law.

                                                    (Sichot Kodesh)

                            IT ONCE HAPPENED
Wolfe the Cobbler and his wife wandered from town to town supporting
themselves by cobbling, a job Wolfe carried on with great keenness, for
it meant for him much more than a means of earning a modest living, it
was a shield behind which to hide his righteousness and learning.

Wolfe's wandering went on for some time until he reached a village in
Wohlyn, not far from Lukatsh, where he settled and made his permanent
home, "permanent" until he had to leave.

In this village Wolfe had at first found the contentment he had been
looking for. He was able to lead a quiet, unassuming life without it
occurring to anyone that he was a great man, a scholar and mystic. Wolfe
had won a good name for himself among Jews and non-Jews alike on account
of his honesty and conscientiousness in his work. He was liked for his
quiet manner, and for never gossiping about people. In truth, Wolfe
spoke very little altogether, and was considered a silent fellow. People
ascribed this to his simplicity as well as to his goodness.

Now something occurred which compelled Wolfe and his wife again to pack
and depart. In this village there lived a priest who was trying to
convert the Jews. At first the priest began with soft words and a
friendly manner. Every time there was a public holiday he called
together all the inhabitants, Jews as well as non-Jews, and addressed
the assembly from a platform in the market place.

It did not take very long, however, before the Jews saw that the
priest's fine words were but a preparation. It soon became clear that
all this talk of "friendship" led to his open request that the Jews
submit to conversion. Soon, the priest began openly to rant against the
Jewish faith.

Learned Jews knew how to answer such arguments. Jewish leaders
throughout the ages have had to deal with so-called proofs submitted by
missionaries, and frustrated them completely. In this village in Wohlyn,
however, there seemed to be no Jew capable of replying convincingly to
the priest.

Once, just before a Christian festival in the summer, the priest
assembled all Jews and non-Jews in the market place again and addressed
them from the platform in his usual manner. But this time the priest
spoke more sharply against the Jewish religion and demanded that the
Jews should embrace Christianity. He made fun of their customs and of
their faith.

"Can anyone reply to my arguments?" asked the priest, looking around,
confident that there was no Jew present who could reply. But suddenly
someone stepped forward from among the gathered Jews, saying in a clear
voice that he was ready to answer the priest. Everybody in the crowd
turned round to see who this man could possibly be. And, to their great
astonishment, it was Wolfe the Cobbler.

"What is the idea of his coming forward?" the people asked each other,
in wonder. The priest was intrigued.

"Good Wolfe," he called out, "do you wish to say something? Come up here
onto the platform and let us all hear what you have to say!" The priest
was obviously certain that this Wolfe could help pin the Jews down.

With assured steps Wolfe walked onto the platform and began to speak. To
the amazement of all present, they heard language which they had never
believed could come from him. He spoke in a fluent clear Polish, unusual
for a Jew in those days. The biggest surprise he gave the listeners,
however, was what he said. He started refuting the priest's arguments
one after another, and brought counter-arguments which made the priest
appear ridiculous. The cobbler quoted passage after passage from the
Bible in Hebrew, quickly and fluently translating them into Polish.
Surprisingly, everyone understood him clearly and easily, and could see
that he was right.

Thus was Wolfe discovered to be a mystic. His own actions had brought
this about, but the urgent need of upholding the sanctity of G-d's name,
had left him no alternative. After that, however, he did not feel like
remaining in Wohlyn. He had fulfilled his mission in this place; he
could leave now.

         Adapted from the Memoirs of the Previous Lubavitcher Rebbe

                            MOSHIACH MATTERS
The Torah emphaizes the importance of appointing a king. Various
commentators explain why. Among them, Maimonides says that: "The king's
heart is the heart of the entire Jewish people." Since the main function
of a king is to lead, the analogy should have been to the brain. But
there are two types of rulers of the Jewish people: a melech and a nasi,
a king and a leader. A king may be compared to the heart and the nasi to
the brain. In many periods of Jewish history one person was king and
another was nasi. But Moses, the first Redeemer, was both king and nasi,
combining within himself the qualities of both. Moshiach, the last
Redeemer, will also be both king and nasi.

      (From Reflections of Redemption by Dovid Yisroel Ber Kaufmann
                          o.b.m., to whom this column is dedicated)

               END OF TEXT - L'CHAIM 1486 - Shoftim 5777

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