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It Once Happened | Moshiach Matters
It's an old story.
A poor beggar goes from house to house collecting alms for his impoverished family. Knocking on the door of one glorious home, he is greeted graciously, given some money, and encouraged to join the family for supper.
At dinner, other beggars and wayfarers sup at the wealthy family's table.
For each course, from appetizers to dessert, the host rings a crystal bell and waiters appear with delectable delights. Our beggar is totally amazed that simply by jingling a small bell, such lavish results can be achieved.
At the end of the meal the host offers the guests anything they want from amongst all of his many possessions. Our poor beggar asks for the wonderful crystal bell.
Arriving home, the beggar asks his wife to set their tiny table. "But we have no food to eat. I was waiting for you to return before I went to the market to buy some beets and potatoes."
"Just set the table, my dear. And leave all the rest to me," said the beggar confidently. "I have a surprise for you."
So the wife dutifully set the table and seated herself and all of the children around it.
Our beggar sat down and carefully unwrapped the crystal bell which had been secreted in a rag in his pocket. Boldly, he rang the bell and waited. Nothing happened.
He rang the bell again and waited. Again nothing happened.
He continued ringing until he was afraid that the crystal bell would break.
"What are you doing?" his wife asked.
The husband proceeded to describe what had happened in the wealthy man's house and how each time the bell was rung luscious food was served.
"My dear husband," the woman said patiently, "the bell works only for those who have labored in advance so that they have something to serve. Your wealthy host worked hard to earn the money to hire workers who purchase and prepare the food. It is only after a tremendous amount of energy is invested that there such an amazing result is achieved. Nothing comes without toil."
It's comparable to young children who, accustomed to seeing their parents write out checks, or withdraw money from a cash machine are told by their parents, "We don't have any money right now."
"Well, just take money out of the bank," is the inevitable and childishly logical retort of the naive youngster.
The parent patiently explains, "You can't take money out unless you first put money in. You can't withdraw money unless there is money in the bank."
Nothing comes without toil; you can't take something out unless you put it in first.
What is true for a lavish meal or money is certainly true of Judaism.
If we want our children to appreciate and value their Jewish traditions, we have to work assiduously at developing that appreciation by surrounding them with Jewish traditions.
If we want to feel close to our Creator, we have to enhance our relationship with G-d through prayer and mitzvot.
If we want to better understand our purpose in life as individuals and as a people, we have to study Torah and Jewish philosophy.
We have to put effort in if we want to get something back. As the Talmud teaches, "According to the labor is the reward."
In this week's Torah portion, Kedoshim, there are many mitzvot (commandments), but one is a central pillar of Judaism. This is the mitzva of Ahavat Yisrael, love of your fellow Jew. In the Torah's words "And you should love your fellow as yourself." Rabbi Akiva says "This is a great principle in the Torah."
How does one love every Jew, even those he never met? It's hard enough to "like" the ones you know. Why does the Torah have to add the words "as yourself"? The commandment could have been "and you should love your fellow." What can we learn from the words "as yourself"?
From the words "as yourself" it is clear that to "love your fellow," first you need to learn to love yourself. How does loving yourself help you love somebody else?
In order to love yourself, you need to understand what you are. Being a Jew means that at your essence there is a soul, which is truly a part of G-d. When you think about this you realize how amazing you are and that you are one with G-d. You realize that you must be capable of doing great things. You start to love yourself.
Now, if you realize that your soul and "your fellow's" soul are one, then loving him is loving yourself. The more in tune you are with your soul the more your love for other Jews grows. Regardless of their differences you love them because you are tuned to their essence.
This is why every Jew felt loved when he came to the Rebbe, because he was truly in tune with his soul and therefore with yours as well.
It was due to the lack of this love that the Holy Temple was destroyed and it will take this love to have it rebuilt. This is a key aspect to bring Moshiach.
We desperately need Moshiach, we are all suffering in one way or another in this exile, it's time for it to end.
It's time to get past our petty differences and show love to our "fellow". It is unbelievable how small and petty differences drive us apart. You will also be surprised how a show of love will be reciprocated.
It seems that the ones closest to us pose the greatest challenge of all. This one doesn't talk to her mother, that one doesn't talk to his brother, etc.
When I was diagnosed with ALS, it was sobering. What is important became clear. It is clear that family is more important than the stupid arguments. It is clear that differences such as religious level, dress, etc., are petty. It is clear that we need to unite. It is clear that united we will bring Moshiach.
Adapted by Rabbi Yitzi Hurwitz from the Rebbe's teachings, yitzihurwitz.blogspot.com. Rabbi Hurwitz, who is battling ALS, and his wife Dina, are emissaries of the Rebbe in Temecula, Ca.
A Surreal Sight
by Yisroel Lapidot
Yoram Ginsberg is an architect par excellence. His current big project has been seven years in the making. Yoram and a team of professionals have undertaken to prepare a practical outline plan of Jerusalem of the future and the Third Temple.
The project is called "Rebuilt Jerusalem." And they are creating an executable plan for Jerusalem post-redemption which responds to questions such as how Jerusalem can accommodate millions of people, how public transportation will be conducted within the city and beyond, and how to allow the vast multitudes to witness the Temple's proceedings.
As a child, Yoram Ginsberg was educated in typical Israeli school, but through Bible studies, his love for G-d and the Torah was awakened. "Ever since, I live with a sense of global responsibility." Therefore, when approached with an offer to serve as the architect in charge of the re-planning of his hometown Jerusalem, he says, "I felt that my whole life I have been waiting for this phone call."
Although Ginsberg would be labeled "secular" by friends and colleagues, he describes himself as a believing Jew. Yoram studied and specialized in architecture in Florence, Italy, and currently serves as a senior lecturer at the Ariel University.
"The fact that Jerusalem itself is built and designed today without any urban hierarchy, without a focal point and center around which the city evolves, is an indication that the city has no identity.
"People need direction, purpose, centrality, aspirations for the future. When I speak of the Temple being that focal point, I refer not only to the physical and architectural dimension, but the mirror image of the Jewish idea. We need to create a consciousness around the concept of the future Jerusalem and the third Temple.
"This can happen when people see clear designs of how Jerusalem will look with the magnificent, sophisticated Temple at its center. They will begin to ask themselves: 'What if this really happens?' And when people start talking about it, it penetrates the mind and becomes a real thing that can happen. This is the best and most effective way to create a collective mind shift."
Ginsberg sees future Jerusalem larger than New York City, with a population 5 million strong, like present-day Moscow. The most attention is given to the core of the program: "The Butterfly Avenue" - named for its shape in the drawings.
When studying Ginsberg's topographic maps, the Temple is located slightly lower than the adjacent peaks, forming the outline of the butterfly shape. The Temple will be surrounded by sort of a park area that includes pedestrian walks, beautiful gardens, a boardwalk, and a cable car transportation system all within the boundaries of the "Butterfly Avenue." But above all, "Butterfly Avenue" will serve in and of itself as the central point from which all the traffic to the Temple, by foot or any other means, departs.
"In the whole world, it is rare to find a tall mountain peak surrounded by taller mountains, both with equal distance from the top of the lower middle peak. This creates a sort of natural and immense amphitheater.
"The avenue itself and the large area within its boundaries has room for ten million people who can, at any given moment, stand and watch what is going on in the Temple yards, the sacrifices by the priests and the musical performances of the Levites. This area will serve as the largest natural theater of its kind in the world, especially during the three pilgrimage festivals: Passover, Shavuot, and Sukkot.
"I look at the maps of Jerusalem and the Temple and am convinced beyond any doubt that this place was planned in advance to contain the occurrence of such a tremendous event; basically we are just recreating what already lies here in potential. It is clear to me that the potential has been here all along."
On all the main streets skyscrapers up to a hundred floors tall will be built using the "multi-function use" system to include homes, hotels, stores, and offices.
The program also shows that all entrances into the city as well as all the city streets are designed to be connected to three enormous intersections all directed towards "Butterfly Avenue" and from there, straight to the Temple. For example, all the pilgrims on Route 1 will connect to Jaffa Street - the left branch of the intersection that leads into "Butterfly Avenue." This traffic system is meant to centralize Jerusalem and all who come through the gates around the epicenter of the city: the Temple.
To make Jerusalem the city that will host all people, Ginsberg envisions her as a perfect blend between nature and technology, between architectural perfection and spiritual inspiration. "The goal of the project is that Jerusalem will be paradise on Earth. Jerusalem will not only be the most beautiful city in the world, or the most technologically advanced city, or even the city that functions best, but above all, Jerusalem will be a city of kindness and justice, a hospitable center in the spirit of the Torah. An icon of everything good that exists in this world.
"Any person who will come to the city will feel the abundance and the holiness of it already at its outskirts. The abundance alone will produce within each individual an instinctive drive to contribute and assist others. The feeling lingering in the streets of the future Jerusalem will be like that in a co-op, whose members all feel responsible for its continued success. A half-shekel like tax will assure the welfare and maintenance of the city.
"This material goodness and bounty will ensure an aura of holiness and spirituality. The economic situation of a person is what sets his social perceptions. Reality creates consciousness, and vice versa, consciousness generates reality."
Ginsberg acknowledges that according to the prophecies in the Torah, the Jerusalem of the Messianic era will be much larger than his plans. "I'm an entrepreneur, and to guarantee a successful delivery of these plans, we need to limit it at its first phase.
"Our heads may be in the clouds regarding this project, but our feet are deeply grounded. On the one hand, we need to train people to think big, and on the other hand, our idea must be feasible, so we deliberately limit ourselves.
"When an architect builds a street, he must allow it to advance independently. With our project as well, we are just beginning. The development of the city is not in our hands. We are not deluding ourselves, but by introducing the idea into the public consciousness, we are determining the future. This is our mission for the benefit of the Jewish nation and for humanity as a whole."
Reprinted from Beis Moshiach Magazine
New Torah for Hawaii
A unity Torah Scroll had its last letters completed in Hawaii recently. The Torah was sponsored in honor of the two Torah scrolls that were stolen last year from Chabad of Hawaii. One of the Torahs dated back to the 1850s in Lithuania, where it survived the war and the Holocaust. Prior to its completion, the Torah visited the city of Kauai and the islands of Maui.
Ground-breaking for Youth
The Jewish Youth Network ground-breaking ceremony took place recently in Toronto. The Jewish Youth Network Robbins Family Centre in the Richmond Hill neighborhood will be an all-inclusive center specifically designated for the youth. When completed, the center will include classrooms, basketball court, offices, youth cafe, rooftop lounge, kitchen, resource room, sports lounge, social space, gazebo, BBQ and a state-of-the-art outdoor playground.
20th of Iyar, 5726 
Greeting and Blessing:
...In your letter you ask my opinion as to whether a religious or charitable group may properly receive donations from a company which is conducting its business in an unethical way, at usurious rates of interest, etc.
Generally speaking, it is not my function to answer Shaalos [questions of Jewish law], for which there are special Rabbinical bodies in each city. Moreover, it would be impossible for me to give you a definitive answer to your particular question, in view of the fact that many important points of information are missing. For example, one essential factor is whether the acceptance of a donation from that company would be tantamount to an expression of approval of its methods, either explicitly or implied; or whether it can in no way be so mistaken by anyone, not even by the company itself, in which case it would be a question of in no way encouraging the policy of the company, but only giving it the Mitzva of Tzedoko [charity], or withholding it. It is only after you have all these facts available and ready to be presented to a Rov [Rabbinic authority], that he would be able to give you his decision.
You do not mention anything about yourself and your affairs, from which I gather that all is in good order. And "in good order," insofar as a Jew is concerned, means that it is not stationary, but is progressing and advancing.
This brings me to the timely message of the present days of Sefira, the Counting of the Omer. It has been noted that in counting the Omer we use the cardinal numbers rather than the ordinal numbers. In other words, we say, for example, "Today is thirty-five days of the Omer, etc." rather than "Today is the thirty-fifth day of the Omer." This means that it is not a case where each day constitutes merely a single additional day, but each day constitutes a part of the whole and, in fact, complements the previous days. Considering that the counting of the Omer symbolizes the counting of the days of preparation for Shovuoth, the Festival of the Giving of the Torah, the lesson of the Counting of the Omer, and the significance of each day of this period, are obvious.
"In good order," insofar as a Jew is concerned, means that it is not stationary, but is progressing and advancing.
7th of Iyar, 5737 
This is to acknowledge receipt of your correspondence, including your latest of April 20th.
I will again remember you in prayer in the matter about which you write, and may G-d grant that you should have good news to report. Enclosed is a copy of a message, which I trust you will find interesting and useful.
P.S. Since writing the above letter, your letter of April 26th was received, in which you write about an "ayin hara":
It is explained in our Torah, called Toras Chayim [Torah of Life] and Toras Emes [Torah of Truth], because it is our guide in life and all its teachings are true, that when a Jew conducts his daily life in accordance with G-d's Will, as set forth in the Shulchan Aruch, [Code of Jewish Law] he is thereby keeping the channels needed to receive G-d's blessings wide open. There is then no room for fear or anxiety.
For as frequently stated in our Holy Scriptures, "G-d is with me, I shall not fear"; "He sends His angels to guide you in all your ways," and many other verses in this vein.
If you have not had your mezuzos checked recently, it would be well to have them checked to make sure they are kosher and properly affixed.
GAD is from the Hebrew meaning "good fortune." According to one commentator it could also be from the Hebrew word for a small group. Gad was one of the sons of Jacob from his wife Zilpa (Genesis 30:11) and is one of the 12 tribes of the Jewish people.
GA'ALYA means "G-d has redeemed." A similar name with a totally different meaning is GALYA, which means "hill of G-d."
Rabbi Shmuel M. Butman
This past week we started the new month of Iyar. We will consider just two of the numerous points about the unique quality of this month.
Iyar, as spelled in Hebrew is an acronym for the verse, "I, G-d, am your Healer." Thus, this month is an auspicious time for personal and communal healing.
In addition, the Rebbe stressed many times the special quality of every single day of the month of Iyar as each day has its own special mitzva of Sefira, or "Counting."
The first time the Jewish people counted during this period between Passover and Shavuot was when they left Egypt and were preparing themselves to receive the great gift of G-d's Torah at Mount Sinai.
At the time they were on a journey not only toward Mount Sinai and ultimately the Holy Land, but they were also on their own personal journeys of self-refinement and purification.
In future years Sefira was connected to the counting of the omer, a measure of barley that the Jews brought as an offering in the Holy Temple on the second day of Passover. Even as we await the rebuilding of the Third and eternal Holy Temple, we recite the blessing and fulfill the mitzva of counting the omer each evening from the second night of Passover until the eve of Shavuot. And as we do so, we, too, travel on our own personal journeys of self-refinement and purification.
This, then, is the essence of part of the uniqueness of the month of Iyar. Each day in this month has the mitzva of counting (as compared to the previous month and the next month which only have a few days with this mitzva). And each day is filled with the longing and preparation for the giving of the Torah. Similarly, each day brings with it renewed introspection and the desire for character refinement and purification.
May we complete our personal and national counting in the Holy Temple with Moshiach, immediately.
And you shall love your neighbor as yourself; I am G-d (Lev. 19:18)
This verse may also be read: "And you shall love your neighbor" - "as you are yourself." G-d holds us to the same standards by which we judge other people. If we show love for our fellow Jews, G-d will show the same love for us.
Speak to all the congregation of the Children of Israel and say: You shall be holy (Lev. 19:2)
Rashi, the great Torah commentator, notes that this portion was said at a time when all the Jews were assembled together. During the last century, the proponents of the Enlightenment originated the phrase, "Be a Jew at home and a person in the street." Rashi's comment, however, teaches that a Jew must never be ashamed of his Jewishness nor try to conceal it, for at all times we are proud members of the holy Jewish nation and must conduct ourselves according to G-d's instructions.
And when you come into the land (Lev. 19:23)
Certain commandments only pertain to the land of Israel, and are not applicable outside of its borders. Despite the admonition of the Tzemach Tzedek - the third Lubavitcher Rebbe - to "make here the land of Israel," we should not feel that it is acceptable to languish in exile for even one minute more than necessary. Our goal remains the physical land of Israel and the ushering in of the Messianic era through the coming of Moshiach.
Reb Leib Sarah's, one of the greatest of the Baal Shem Tov's disciples, had long desired to live in the Holy Land. After years of struggle, of wandering, of perfecting himself to the utmost of his ability, his deepest desire was to settle in the Holy Land, to be able to attain spiritual achievements unreachable elsewhere.
Although he was himself a person of renown, he was also a chasid, and so, he went to his rebbe, the Baal Shem Tov, to ask his permission and blessing for the trip. "Rebbe," he asked, "I request your permission to settle in the Holy Land, which is my heart's desire." But, to his surprise, the Baal Shem Tov's reply was negative. The next year Leib Sarah's again went to his rebbe with the same petition. But, again, the Baal Shem Tov denied his request, without even an explanation. This scenario repeated itself year after year for several years, and Leib Sarah's was deeply disappointed.
One year he decided that he wouldn't go to his rebbe at all; he just wouldn't ask. The desire to travel and settle in the Holy Land had become so strong within him, that he could no longer deny it. So, Leib Sarah's sat down with his wife and then with his children and discussed the question of moving to the Holy Land, there to perfect his soul in the service of his Maker. His wife and children were all agreeable, and so it was decided to go. Wasting no time, he sold all of his worldly goods save the barest necessities, and gathering all of his money, he bought tickets for himself, his wife and children for the long journey to the Land of Israel.
When everything was in order, Reb Leib Sarah's packed up his belongings and set off with his family through Russia toward Turkey, whence he would travel to Israel. It was a slow and arduous journey overland with many stops in the small towns and villages through which they had to travel. One day they came to a small town and noticed some sort of excitement in the town. Leib Sarah's inquired of the villagers, and was shocked when he heard their reply. For none other than the famous Baal Shem Tov was unexpectedly visiting the town, and the people were overwhelmed by the great honor of receiving such a personage.
Leib Sarah's was even more overwhelmed by his own dilemma. He thought of the possibility of not going to greet his rebbe, thereby avoiding any embarrassment because of his disobedience, but how could he not acknowledge the presence of his great rebbe and teacher? He sat in his wagon deliberating, when suddenly he had no choice, for the Baal Shem Tov's carriage pulled up next to his own. Reb Leib Sarah's dismounted and approached the rebbe. The Baal Shem Tov appeared to be surprised and asked, "What are you doing here?"
"Rebbe, please forgive me for not heeding your words, but I am now on my way to settle in the Holy Land."
The Baal Shem Tov replied, "Well, if your wish to go is so strong, then go. But now, where are you going to spend the Shabbat?"
"I am just now searching for a place, but it's difficult since I spent all of my money on the tickets for the journey," replied Reb Leib. The Baal Shem Tov offered to host Reb Leib and his family for the whole Shabbat. When they were in their rooms preparing for the arrival of the holy day, the Baal Shem Tov knocked on Reb Leib's door, asking if he had immersed in the mikva yet. "No," he replied, "I have no money remaining, so I will forego the mikva this week." To this, the Baal Shem Tov replied that he would pay the entrance fee for him, and they should go together to the mikva. Reb Leib Sarah's joy was unbounded, for he understood the profound meaning of the immersion and was relieved not to miss his usual ritual.
Upon arriving at the mikva the Baal Shem Tov said, "Reb Leib, you go first." But, he refused, saying, "Please, Rebbe, you go; you are my teacher, after all."
The Baal Shem Tov was adamant, and Reb Leib immersed first. After the prescribed immersions were completed, he rose from the water, turned to his rebbe and said, "I have changed my mind. I will not go to the Holy Land. I will return to Medzibozh, to you. Let me tell you what I saw in the mikva during my immersions. As I entered the water I saw a continent. As I looked closely I saw the Land of Israel, and as I looked even more closely I saw Jerusalem. As I narrowed my focus still more, I could see all the parts of the Temple Mount, even the Holy Temple itself.
"Then I looked inside and saw the Holy of Holies, but though I strained my eyes as hard as I could, I couldn't see the Holy Ark, the Tablets of the Law, or the Divine Presence. In my anguish I cried out, 'Where are the Tablets? Where is the Divine Presence?' But a Heavenly Voice answered me, saying, 'They are found in Medzibozh.' Therefore, I am following you back to Medzibozh to fulfill my Divine Service. I now see that during the exile, the Divine Presence dwells with the leader of the generation."
Because the Jewish people were exiled from their land on account of their causeless hatred for one another, the antidote which will bring the Redemption is an overabundance of brotherly love and harmony. As we find ourselves on the very threshold of the Messianic Era, when the greatest love between all Jews will be felt, the time has come for a new phase in our relations with one another: We must strive to "taste" beforehand, while still in exile, the wonderful atmosphere which will reign then. This, in itself, will hasten Moshiach's arrival.