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Devarim Deutronomy

November 16, 2018 - 8 Kislev, 5779

1547: Vayetzei

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The Weekly Publication For Every Jewish Person
Dedicated to the memory of Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka Schneerson N.E.

  1546: Toldos1548: Vayishlach  

Better than the Stock Market  |  Living with the Rebbe  |  A Slice of Life  |  What's New
The Rebbe Writes  |  All Together  |  A Word from the Director  |  Thoughts that Count
It Once Happened  |  Moshiach Matters

Better than the Stock Market

Here's a hot tip, some insider information. If you like to invest in futures, Torah study and mitzvot participation are the way to go. They have a great growth potential that is literally out of this world. That's why they are your greatest bargain, if you have the foresight. Those who invest wisely in Torah when its value is not fully appreciated will be richly rewarded with bonafide high-yield shares in the world-to-come.

Torah is a secure, long-term investment that isn't subject to the uncertainties of market fluctuations. It has a consistently excellent track record over a very long time, providing solid security and benefits year after year, throughout the ups and downs. And Torah is your hedge when everything seems about to come crashing down.

How does it compare to other securities? Well, money isn't everything, and how real is real estate, really? You can't take it with you, and as the old Yiddish saying goes, "shrouds have no pockets." And here's a quote: "When a person departs this world, he isn't accompanied by gold, silver or precious stones, but by the Torah and good deeds he performed." (Ethics of our Fathers)

I am not suggesting that we divest ourselves of all our earthly holdings. Just as Judaism believes in the future, it also cares for the here and now. Asceticism is alien to us, and is regarded as a sinful extreme. On the contrary, Judaism encourages us to engage in world activity, to have the necessary means to enjoy life, for "without flour to eat there is no Torah." One must pursue a livelihood and career and be involved in our world and society. But at the same time, we must not allow the means to become an end in itself. Torah is your best deal, as they say in Yiddish - "Torah iz di beste Sechoira!"

To get the best of both worlds, it is highly recommended that we invest wisely and diversify into Judaism, so that our portfolio also includes a good share of Torah and mitzvot (commandments).

And while on the subject of capital and dividends and futures, let me give you another quote from mishna: "A person enjoys the fruits and dividends of these mitzvot in this world, while the principal remains intact for the world to come; honoring one's father and mother, granting free loans without interest, rising early to services in shul, welcoming the stranger, visiting the sick, assisting the bride to get married, respect for the dead, thoughtful prayer, promoting peace among people and between husband and wife, and Torah study surpasses all." (Part of the morning prayers, quoted from the Mishna)

By Rabbi Yisrael Rubin-director Chabad of the Capital District, Albany, New York.

Living with the Rebbe

This week's Torah portion Vayeitzei, begins, "Jacob went out of Be'er Sheva, and he went to Haran." The Midrash tells us that he left Be'er Sheva, meaning, "be'era shel shavua, the well of the oath," to avoid Avimelech. Avimelech was king of the Philistines and Jacob did not want to be asked to take the same oath his ancestors took.

Both Abraham and Isaac made peace agreements with Avimelech, in the form of an oath. The consequence of those oaths was that the Jewish people's entry into the land of Israel was pushed off for seven generations.

It seems that Abraham and Isaac weren't afraid to take an oath and make a peace agreement with Avimelech, even though it would push off the entry into the land. We see no effort on their part to avoid Avimelech as did Jacob. Why was only Jacob afraid to take an oath of peace with Avimelech?

On the other hand, if our ancestors knew that taking this oath it would push off the entry into the land for seven generations, why weren't Abraham and Isaac wary of taking it?

In order to understand this, we need to take a look at the difference between the style of G-dly service of Abraham and Isaac as opposed to that of Isaac.

The G-dly service of our ancestors Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, was on the highest level possible. They were so in sync with G-d, that their will was totally His, and they did what He wanted automatically. But there were differences in the way they affected the world around them.

Abraham's and Isaac's approach to the evil around them was to avoid it, or to arrange that it wouldn't bother them, so they could serve G-d in peace. That is why they made a treaty with Avimelech.

When you make a peace agreement with another, it doesn't change who they are or what they stand for. All it does is put a temporary halt to negative actions against each other. In other words, for the time being, I won't bother you and you won't bother me. But Avimelech remained the same immoral Philistine that he always was. Because of this style of service, Abraham and Isaac didn't change the nations they lived in. True, the Canaanite and Hittites didn't bother Abraham and Isaac, and they even respected them, but they weren't changed. Because of this style of service, Abraham was able to father an Ishmael and Isaac was able to father an Esau. They didn't have the influence to change them to good, because their way was to negate bad and evil, and not to transform it to good.

Jacob, on the other hand, worked on transforming the bad around him into good, he didn't make peace with it, he refined it until it was good on its

Adapted by Rabbi Yitzi Hurwitz from the Rebbe's teachings, Rabbi Hurwitz, who is battling ALS, and his wife Dina, are emissaries of the Rebbe in Temecula, Ca.

A Slice of Life

From Strength to Strength
by Ken Olivenbaum

I am 62 years of age, and happily married to Bonnie, my "Beshert," for almost 40 years. We reside in Margate, New Jersey, a seaside community just a few miles south of Atlantic City. I work for the Atlantic County government at the Atlantic County One Stop Career Center in Pleasantville, New Jersey. I have been with the government for over 17 years in the capacity of Chief Examiner for literacy and adult academic examinations. I also teach meteorology and weather forecasting to young people working towards their high school diploma.

I was brought up in a very Jewish-oriented, conservative household, in North Jersey. My father, Binyamin ben Yosef, (of blessed memory), and my mother Florence, instilled a love of Torah and Judaism which became deeply rooted in my soul from a very young age. My father was the Torah reader in every synagogue that we attended, and was often the one who lead the services, so going to shul and having great love, honor and respect for my father's vast Torah knowledge was, and is, an integral part of my heart and soul.

I always had a love and respect for Orthodox Judaism. Many years ago, I changed my life and became Torah and mitzva observant. Coming from the New York Metropolitan area, I was aware of the many Orthodox and Chassidic populations, but clearly, Chabad really made a deep impression on me.

I was very involved in several Jewish political movements, and many years ago, I was in Washington, D.C. on the first night of Chanukah. Frantically realizing that a menorah and candles were not in my suitcase, I set out to join the throngs of Jews gathered at the National Mall to watch Chabad rabbis light the National Menorah. Suddenly, I became aware of young yeshiva students, going through the crowd shouting, "Free menorahs and candles to whomever needs!" Divine Providence? I tearfully accepted a young student's kind offer, and insisted he take my donation for his yeshiva in appreciation for this unbelievably kind gesture. I was so moved by this kindness, I knew immediately that I had to turn to Torah, Tanya, and the teachings and inspiration of the Rebbe through immersion in Chabad Chassidus.

I engaged in cursory learning on my own about Chabad. I realized that I needed more learning in my life, especially as the void I was trying to address seemed inherently spiritual. As my life's journey led me to keep Shabbat and kosher, I began to deeply yearn for learning Chumash, Talmud and Shulchan Aruch (Code of Jewish Law), but I also realized I had a deeply embedded drive to learn Chabad Chassidus.

Rabbi Avrohom Rapaport, Spiritual Leader of the Chabad Ventnor Shul and Chai Center in New Jersey, was kind enough to make a shidduch between JNet and me.

Shortly thereafter, I received a phone call from Rabbi Eytan Waxman, JNet's Head of Recruitment. Rabbi Waxman was very kind in taking the time to skillfully and carefully query me as to my Jewish background and learning interests. I shared with him my intense desire to learn Chabad Lubavitch philosophy, specifically Tanya. I was seeking a patient and genuinely caring teacher skilled in imparting his knowledge thereof, and who would be comfortable fielding follow-up questions.

My concerns were immediately allayed when Rabbi Waxman introduced me to Rabbi Avrohom Meir Shuman. For over a year, Rabbi Shuman and I have utilized the video technology of whatsapp to learn Tanya from The Practical Tanya, authored by Rabbi Chaim Miller. Rabbi Shuman expertly and patiently imparts his vast knowledge of Tanya, Torah, and Chassidus, accompanied by a gentle sense of humor. He sometimes shares some of his personal experiences growing up in the environment of a Chabad yeshiva, which I find fascinating!

I am, indeed, very fortunate, to have such a fine teacher and wonderful friend! I wish Rabbi Shuman and his mishpacha one hundred and twenty years of excellent health, happiness, prosperity, nachas from kinder, and shalom!

I wish everyone involved with JNet much hatzlacha in your personal, educational and professional endeavors. I wish to thank Rabbi Avrohom Rapaport for going out of his way to introduce me to JNet, and Rabbi Waxman. With great respect and much love, I thank Rabbi Shuman for being my teacher, my chavrusa and my friend.

I am very fond of, and deeply appreciative of JNet. This wonderful organization offers a virtually boundless Jewish educational resource. JNet is for everyone who wants to learn in a warm, caring, friendly, comfortable, and relaxed atmosphere. Toda raba! Akiva Shlomo

To become a part of this exciting learning opportunity, directed by Rabbi Yehuda Dukes and a project of Merkos, call 347-770-5638, email or visit

What's New

New Emissaries

Rabbi Daniel and Raizel Huebner will move to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, to open a new Chabad center there. Their goal is to strengthen Jewish awareness and observance for the Jewish residents and the thousands of visitors, regardless of background or affiliation. Rabbi Mayer and Chanie Gurkov have moved to Wayne, New Jersey, to join the Chabad Center of Passaic County, based in Wayne N.J. They will be expanding Chabad's activities in all areas, focusing on youth and young family development. A pre-school is also in the works for the near future. Rabbi Yaron and Chana Chadorov have moved to Petach Tikva, Israel, to open a new Chabad House in the Shaariya/Tzameret Ganim neighborhood. Rabbi Mendy and Chaya Cohen are opening a new Chabad Center in S. George, Utah. In addition to the usual Chabad programs and activities, the Cohens will run Project H.E.A.R.T. (Hebrew Education for At Risk Teens) serving youngsters who are facilities near S. George with visitations, classes, kosher food, spiritual guidance and simple love.

The Rebbe Writes

Free Translation

10th of Kislev, 5714 [1953]
To my brethren, everywhere
G-d bless you all!

Peace and Blessing:

In connection with the Day of Liberation (19th of Kislev) of the Founder of Chabad, Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi, author of the Tanya, whose release from imprisonment for the dissemination of Chabad established freedom of though and practice of the ideology and way of life of Chabad Chassidism in particular, and of General Chassidism as a whole,

I wish to express herewith my inner wish, that every one of us be liberated, with G-d's help and by determined personal effort, from all handicaps which arrest the good and noble in everyone's nature, so that this part of one's nature reign supreme, giving fullest expression of the three-fold love: love of our people Israel, love of our Torah, and love of G-d, which are all one.

Our Sages said that "Each and every soul was in the presence of His Divine Majesty before coming down to this earth," and that "The souls are hewn from under the Seat of Glory."

These sayings emphasize the essential nature of the soul, its holiness and purity, and its being completely divorced from anything material and physical; the soul itself, by its very nature, is not subject to any material desires or temptations, which arise only from the physical body and "animal soul."

Nevertheless, it was the Creator's Will that the soul - which is "truly a 'part' of the Divine Above," should descend into the physical and coarse world and be confined within, and united with, a physical body for scores of years, in a state which is absolutely abhorrent of its very nature. All this, for the purpose of a Divine mission which the soul has to fulfill: to purify and "spiritualize" the physical body and the related physical environment by permeating them with the Light of G-d, so as to make this world an abode for the Shechina [the Divine Presence]. This can be done only through a life of Torah and Mitsvoth [commandments].

When the soul fulfills this mission, all the transient pain and suffering connected with the soul's descent and life on this earth are not only justified, but infinitely outweighed by the great reward and everlasting bliss which the soul enjoys thereafter.

From the above one can easily appreciate the extent of the tragedy of disregarding the soul's mission on earth. For in doing so one condemns the soul to a term of useless suffering not compensated for, nor nullified by that everlasting happiness which G-d had intended for it. Even when there are moments of religious activity in the study of the Torah and the practice of the Mitsvoth, it is sad to contemplate how often such activity is tinted by the lack of real enthusiasm and inner joy, not realizing that these are the activities which justify existence.

Aside from missing the vital point through failure of taking advantage of the opportunity to fulfill G-d's Will, thus forfeiting the everlasting benefits to be derived therefrom, it is contrary to sound reason to choose that side of life which accentuates the enslavement and degradation of the soul, while rejecting the good that is inherent in it, namely, the great ascent that is to come from the soul's descent.

It will now become eminently clear what our Sages meant when they said, "No man commits a sin unless he was stricken with temporary insanity." No profound thinking is required to realize that since " life is compulsory," and since the soul which is a "part" of the Divine Above is compelled to descend into "a frame of dust and ashes," the proper thing to do is to make the most of the soul's sojourn on earth; only a life, in which every aspect is permeated by the Torah and Mitsvoth, makes this possible.

Continued in next issue

All Together

NOA means "tremble, shake." Noa was one of the five righteous daughters of Tzelafchad (Num. 26:33) who petitioned that women without brothers could inherit their deceased father's portion in the land of Israel.

NAFTALI, son of Jacob by Rachel's handmaid Bilha, was named by Rachel. In the Torah (Gen. 30:8) the name is translated as "wrestled" because of the effort Rachel exerted to have a child born in her merit. It also has a connection to a Hebrew word for "prayer" or "bound" - to G-d.

A Word from the Director

Rabbi Shmuel M. Butman

Next Thursday of this upcoming week (November 22 this year) will be 14 Kislev. It is the 90th wedding anniversary of the Rebbe and the Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka.

The Rebbe has spoken many times about the sanctity of a Jewish marriage and the importance of shalom bayit, which refers to a harmonious relationship between husband and wife. In our morning prayers, we say that there are certain things of which one reaps the benefits in this world and the remainder is left for him in the world to come.

One of those mitzvot is bringing peace between a husband and wife. There are hundreds of letters from the Rebbe in response to questions about general or very particular problems in the area of shalom bayit.

(The Rebbe's advice will be beneficial not only in marriage but in other relationships as well.)

An excerpt from one such letter (freely translated) reads:"It is certain that every person can approach and influence another person in this matter, when proper thought is put into it and when one searches for the appropriate method that suits this particular person... If the occupation of the above-mentioned couple permits, it is sensible to say that a trip for several weeks of vacation, spent together like a second 'honeymoon' would rectify the entire situation."

In another response, the Rebbe advises:

"Peace between a husband and wife is a tremendous thing; you must put as much effort into this as possible... a person is created with a right eye and a left eye. The right eye teaches that one must always look at another Jew with a good eye, to see what is best and most pleasant in him, etc. Being that we have been so commanded in our Torah, a Torah of life, certainly we have been given the capacity and the possibility to fulfill the command, and there is nothing that stands in the way of the will."

May we imminently begin that era when there will only be peace, peace in the world at large, peace in our communities, peace within our families, with the revelation of Moshiach, NOW!

Thoughts that Count

A ladder was standing on the ground and the top of it reached to heaven (Gen. 28:12)

Prayer is the ladder that connects our souls with G-d. Although it stands "on the ground," beginning with no more than acknowledgment of G-d's greatness, its top (the Amida, or silent prayer) reaches this level through the prior attainment of understanding inherent in the Shema itself.

(The Previous Lubavitcher Rebbe)

The numerical equivalent of "sulam" - ladder, is the same as "mamon" - money. From this we learn that money is like a ladder; we can use it to ascend and draw nearer to heaven or we can degrade ourselves with it. It is only dependent on how we use it and for what purpose it is employed.

(The Baal Shem Tov)

"How fearful this place is!" he exclaimed. "It must be G-d's house..." (Gen. 28:17)

A synagogue in a small city in Galicia was in a terrible, abandoned state of disrepair. One time, Reb Meir of Premishlan came into the shul. When he opened the door and saw its ruined state, he called out "How fearful this place is...It must be G-d's house." The people inside thought that Reb Meir was referring to very holy, esoteric matters of philosophy and they became quiet. Reb Meir saw that they did not understand his intent, so he explained: "'How fearful this place is' - one risks one's life to enter here; 'It must be G-d's house' - since there is no one else taking responsibility for fixing it. Strange, isn't it," he continued, "that all the private homes are perfectly maintained..."

It Once Happened

Reb Mordechai Liepler's son fell seriously ill and the doctors were not encouraging. "A virus appears to have infected his bone marrow and his bones are withering away," they diagnosed. "We know of no cure."

Reb Mordechai immediately dispatched a letter to the Mittler Rebbe explaining the desperate situation. He calculated that it would take five days for the letter to get to Lubavitch, and five days for the Rebbe's answer to return. Thus, he expected to receive an answer in ten days.

Ten days were up and Reb Mordechai stood outside waiting impatiently for the postman. "Sorry, nothing for you today," called the postman as he passed by, shaking his head. Reb Mordechai met with the same disappointment on the following day as well.

However, on the third day, the postman had some news. "Yes, I have a letter for you, but I am in a terrible rush today and don't have time to look for it," he called hurrying on.

Reb Mordechai ran after him, asked for his bag and searched frantically for the long-awaited letter.

"What's your rush today?" he asked the postman as he fumbled through the envelopes.

"One of the Czar's relatives living in our district fell ill and a royal physician was summoned all the way from Austria. Today, he is scheduled to return to Vienna and it is my duty to arrange a carriage for his journey," explained the postman.

Just then, Reb Mordechai found the letter and opened it quickly as the postman busied himself straightening out his bag. "I received your letter," the note from the Mittler Rebbe stated. "I see that help will come to you from far and near." Added on the bottom of the letter was a note of advice. "Do not stint on money."

The information I just received from the postman may be that very assistance the Rebbe foresaw, thought Reb Mordechai. "Where is that doctor now?" he asked the postman.

Upon receiving the address, Reb Mordechai set out immediately towards the house. Evidently, he was not the only one who had heard of the doctor's arrival. Many people were standing on line in the courtyard hoping to be allowed a consultation.

Being a prominent and well-respected figure, Reb Mordechai was pushed through the crowd and managed to gain access to the doctor. Describing his son's severe condition, Reb Mordechai begged the doctor to treat him.

"I'm sorry, my time is very limited and I must be on my way back to Vienna," came the curt reply.

Reb Mordechai recalled the Rebbe's advice. "I will pay you one thousand rubles for your trouble," he offered. This sum of money persuaded the doctor to delay his departure, and he accompanied Reb Mordechai to his home.

"Your son has an infection which has spread to his bone marrow. Though this disease is considered incurable here in Russia, a new medicine has recently been developed in Austria. I may by chance have a sample in the case of medication I brought along with me. If I do, summon a local doctor and I will instruct him regarding its application."

Sure enough, the medicine was found and in due time, Reb Mordechai's son recovered. Thus, the Rebbe's words proved exact. Help came "from near and from afar." The doctor arrived "from afar." The appropriate medication was found in his case, "from near," and were it not for the advice not to spare money, the doctor would not have come.

The second Chabad Rebbe, Rabbi Dov Ber, had a group of chasidim who were musicians and who would perform together on festive occasions. There were also a number of chasidim who were horsemen, and they entertained onlookers by performing on their steeds to the rhythm of the music. The Rebbe would stand by the window listening to the music and observing the performance. His son, Reb Nachum, was one of the riders.

Once, the Rebbe unexpectedly called for a performance and stood by the window to watch. Suddenly, Reb Nachum was flung from his horse and seemed to be badly hurt. Rushing to notify the Rebbe, the chasidim were surprised when he motioned to carry on with the performance.

A short while later the Rebbe signaled for them to stop. In the interim, a doctor checked Reb Nachum. "It is not as bad as it looks," the doctor said calmly. "He has only broken his leg." After treating the leg, the doctor left, assuring them that it would heal properly.

Later, some of the chasidim asked the Rebbe why he had ordered the performance to continue despite the accident. "Why don't you ask why the performance was called for an ordinary weekday?" responded the Rebbe.

He explained, "I became aware of harsh judgements regarding my son in the spiritual realms. Since 'happiness mitigates judgement,' I called for the musicians and the horsemen. The festivities did help, for his injury was far less serious than predestined. To assure complete recovery, I ordered the festivities to carry on, despite the fall. Indeed, with G-d's help, he will recover and no lasting impression of the original judgement will remain."

Reprinted from My Father's Shabbos Table by Rabbi Y. Chitrick

Moshiach Matters

Jacob's stay with Laban foretold our own sojourn in exile. Just as Jacob was far from his home and in an environment that opposed spirituality, our exile comprises both a physical Diaspora and - more importantly - the spiritual darkness of the unredeemed world. And just as Jacob was never comfortable in his place of exile and constantly yearned to return to his father's home, so must we constantly yearn to return to our Father's "home." No matter how successful we are in fulfilling our Divine mission in exile, we must never feel "at home" in it. The more we realize the significance of our spiritual exile, the more intense is our longing for the Redemption, thereby hastening the Redemption.

(Daily Wisdom Translated and Adapted by Moshe Wisnefsky)

  1546: Toldos1548: Vayishlach  
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