Celebration Magazine - Summer 5783

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3 TAMMUZ, 5783 • JUNE 22, 2023


17 TAMMUZ - 9 AV, 5783 • JULY 6 - JULY 27, 2023


The history and soulful meaning of the temple in Jerusalem, its unbreakable Jewish connection and the hope for Moshiach.


My Dear Friends Queens Jewry,

The story of Jewish history is a story of unexpected, miraculous survival and perseverance.

Early on in our history, we, the Jewish people, lived in and flourished in the land of Israel. We established Jerusalem as our capital, and in its center was the holy temple, our spiritual capital. However, for almost two millennia, the Jewish people have been exiled from our homeland, living and moving from one country to another, without the norms of a nation, without a government, without an economy, without an army, dispersed in all corners of the world.

Yet, while other nations and empires came and went, relegated to ancient history, we are still here as one people; we endured unimaginable trials and tribulations, yet we stand strong, firm, and vibrant.

Sustaining us throughout the ages was the faith in the prophetic promise that one day we would be redeemed from exile and returned to our land, the land of Israel – through Moshiach.

Our sages state that the cause for our present galut - exilewas the baseless hatred that existed among the Jewish people. Accordingly, the remedy, said the Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, is wanton love; love toward one’s fellow not for any benefit, nor because of a liking of one’s character, but rather to love one’s fellow just as they are.

The Rebbe - whose Yahrzeit (day of passing) is on the third day of the Hebrew month of Tammuz (this year June 22nd) - exercised and personified ahavat yisrael – wanton love. He served all Jews, the ordinary and unknown just as the famous and prominent. Through private meetings, personal letters, the famous dollar distributions for charity, the Rebbe connected directly and profoundly with hundreds of thousands of men, women and children. Always with personal love and care. He was there for them at all times and in all circumstances.

Throughout his leadership, the Rebbe stated that the mission of our generation is to affect the long-awaited promise of the coming of Moshiach.

From the start, the Rebbe invited us all, his students, followers, as well as anyone who would adhere to his call, to join this mission through increasing good deeds, love of one’s fellow, and reaching out to elevate others - each in accordance to his or her ability.

Particularly before his passing - as if his last wish - the Rebbe, in his clarion call, invited everyone to tune-in to the idea of Moshiach and arouse a genuine desire for his coming. He raised our consciousness to see beyond ourselves; to connect to the inner meaning of Torah and Mitzvot; to elevate the world towards the ultimate goal of tikkun olam - with the coming of Moshiach.

The subject of this publication, the idea of Moshiach and the future redemption, are particularly timely as we approach the “Three Weeks” - the historical period in which we, the Jewish people, have been exiled from our homeland and dispersed the world over. Ever since, the Three Weeks have been a time when our consciousness is raised towards our ultimate redemption and the coming of Moshiach.

Let us all join the Rebbe’s call to affect the anticipated arrival of Moshiach, when the entire world will connect to the essence of goodness, faith, and higher order. Most importantly, as the Rebbe would always emphasize, let us incorporate these ideas into our practical, everyday lives. Let us each adopt an additional practice in the observance of Mitzvot, let us commit to increased and enhanced study of Torah, and let us do it with unconditional love to others.

Best wishes for good health, good spirits, tranquility, joy and happiness,

Chabad Lubavitch of Queens• vaadhashluchimqueens@gmail.com

Designed by Rivky Laufer • www.DesignSpotNY.com • info@designspotny.com

source of inspiration and
Dedicated to the Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, OBM, whose boundless love and teachings are

The Talmud states “…The second Temple - when Jews were involved in the study of Torah, performance of Mitzvot and acts of kindness - why was it destroyed? Because they harbored baseless hatred towards each other!” This, the Talmud states, “is an unknown sin”.

Now, wanton hatred is very noticeable. How can it be regarded as an “unknown sin”? Because the unique nature of hatred and fighting is an unknown sin.

On average, an idolater, adulterer, or murderer is keenly aware of his sin. People fall victim to temptation, but repentance is eminently achievable because the person himself is conscious of and troubled by the sins which defile his soul.

However, the person who is guilty of participating in quarrels and hatemongering rarely believes that he is at fault. In his estimation, the other party rightly deserves all the abuse being heaped on him! Thus, while baseless hatred is perhaps the most overt of sins, so few actually recognize their own guilt.

This is true both in our interpersonal relations as well as our nation’s regrettable tendency to be heavily preoccupied with inter-faction squabbles. Left, Right, and Center. Conservative, Orthodox, and Reform. Chassidic, Zionist and anti-Zionist. And the list goes on…

It is easy to blame “them” for factionalism and divisiveness; it is much harder to find the faults within ourselves. But the Redemption will hasten when we finally recognize that even if in fact “I am right and he’s wrong” there is never a valid reason to hate one’s fellow.

Furthermore, since the cause of the destruction and exile is due to unwarranted hatred, and even during the siege of Jerusalem the people remained fractionalized and divided, the way to remedy it is by wanton love and acting upon

unrestrained love. By reaching out to another person - any other person - and showing care, consideration and concern. By doing a favor for another, not for any benefit or because there is a reason to do so, but for no reason.

One Deed is Better than a Thousand Words

Instead of looking for reasons why and whether one should help another person, take that same time to think about how you can help another.

Be an initiator. Don’t wait for others to start. The others will respond. It’s impossible that they won’t. Some will react sooner; for others the process will take more time. Ultimately, a heart opens to a heart. There is no one who will see another person continue to shower good upon him and others without being moved.

What is the motivating principle for this motif? It is the fact that at the core of every person there lies a soul which is a G-dly spark, and that every element of existence is being maintained by G-d at each moment, and every being has a purpose in G-d’s ultimate plan. Knowing this inspires a person to reach out.

Every entity seeks to express its inner nature. By conducting ourselves in a manner that attests to and reflects these truths, we nudge them closer to revelation. Reaching out with love and kindness inspires and encourages the good and generosity that lie at the core of all others to come to the surface.

Such deeds affect the macrocosm as well as the microcosm, bringing closer the Era of the Redemption, when these concepts will be concrete realities, not merely abstract truths.

Based on the Teachings of the Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson OBM

“ One Deed is Better than a Thousand Words ”


Like all Jewish holidays that shaped and continues to shape the character of the Jewish people and its traditions – on Passover we celebrate our freedom and nationhood, on Shavuot we received the Torah, the very soul of the Jewish people, etc. – the “Three Weeks” represent our past, present and future.

The three weeks between the 17th of the Hebrew month of Tammuz and the 9th of Av, are the days in which the focus is on our glorious past, our being in a land not ours, and our quest for a returning to our homeland and a splendid future.

Upon leaving Egypt and traveling 40 years in the desert, the Jewish people settled the promised land, Israel. After being there for more than approximately 1500 years they were exiled until today – being outside their homeland.

Throughout their travels, exiles, enslavements, Inquisition, crusades, pogroms amd tje Holocaust, the Jewish people remained steadfast with their belief in and their yearning to return to the land which Al-mighty G-d assigned for them.

In our daily prayers, in Grace After Meals and otherwise, we ask G-d for our return to Jerusalem, and the rebuilding of the Temple, with the coming of Moshiach.

Our hopes and yearning are particularly heightened during this period in which we commemorate the destruction of the Temple. A time when our thoughts are directed and our hearts aroused towards the rebuilding of the Temple and our return to our homeland.


Both Temples, the first and second, were destroyed on the ninth day of the Hebrew month of Av.

Prior to that, in the last days of the second Temple, on the 17th of the Jewish month of Tammuz, 69 CE, the walls of Jerusalem were breached. Three weeks later, on the 9th of Av, the Holy Temple was razed.


• Forty days after the revelation at Mount Sinai, the Jewish people worshipped a golden calf. Upon his descent from being on the mountain for 40 days and witnessing what happened, Moses broke the tablets of the Ten Commandments.

• The wall of Jerusalem was breached and the city captured, in the time of the first Temple.

• More national tragedies occurred on this day (e.g., an idol was placed in the Temple; Apostomos, a Roman general, burned the holy Torah in public. Exact dates unknown).

Thus, these three weeks are the days associated with the destruction of the two Temples in Jerusalem and the Jewish people exiled from their homeland and loss of sovereignty. This period is called Bain Hamaitzarim (literally: between the straits).


• We increase in the study of Torah in general (see “Torah Passages,” page 12) and in the laws of building of the Temple in particular (see page 12)

• We increase in the daily giving of tzedakah (charity) (see “Three Weeks Special,” page 14)

• Ahavat Yisrael – love of one’s fellow (see “Wanton Love,” page 3)

• During the nine days, we attempt to join in a siyum - conclusion of a tractate of Talmud, (to minimize the sadness) (see page 12) To join a siyum, go to www.chabad.org/siyum

• No weddings or festivals are scheduled

• No new clothing is purchased or worn for the first time

• We refrain from listening to music and visiting places of amusement and entertainment


• All men from the age of 13, and women from the age of 12, fast on the 17th day of Tammuz and on the 9th of Av. (In cases of illness, consult a rabbi.)

• The fast of the 17th of Tammuz is during the day.

• The fast of the 9th of Av, like Yom Kippur, begins at sunset on the preceding evening and ends the next day at nightfall.

• On the eve of the 9th of Av, (July 26) the book of “Eicha –Lamentations” is read.


• The first event happened after being freed from Egyptian slavery, when out of fear, the Jewish people rebelled and refused to go to the Promised Land; in turn, it was decreed that this generation will perish in the desert and only their children will enter the land

• The first Bais Hamikdosh (Temple) was destroyed.

• The second Bais Hamikdosh was destroyed.

• The fortress of Betar was destroyed, and Bar Kochba’s revolt for liberation was crushed.

• The city of Jerusalem was razed to the ground and plowed over.


A Little History


Matriarchs: Sarah, Rebeccah, Rachel and Leah.

As recorded in the Torah (Genesis 15:13, 18) G-d made a covenant with Abraham that after being “strangers in a land not theirs” for 400 years and being enslaved, his descendants will return and inherit the land in which he lived, i.e. the land of Israel. G-d reiterated and promised Abraham’s son Isaac and his son Jacob the same.

Jacob, who is also named Israel, fathered twelve sons, from whom the Jewish people have descended. Hence, the name “Children of Israel” or “Israelites.”

Jacob and his family immigrated to Egypt. For decades they kept their names and their distinct identity. Beginning in the year 2332 (1429 BCE) they were enslaved and forced into hard labor of bricks and mortar. Jacob and his descendants lived in Egypt for a total of 210 years.

At the point of 400 years since Abraham’s vision, of “living in a land not theirs”, the Jewish people miraculously exited Egypt in the year 2448 (1313 BCE). Fifty days later they received the Torah at Mount Sinai.

Forty years after departing from Egypt, led by Joshua, Moses’ successor, the Jewish people arrived into the Promised Land, in the year 2488 (1273 BCE).

After Joshua’s passing, for four decades the Jewish people were led by the Judges. Eventually Saul was appointed king in the year 2882 (879 BCE); soon to be followed by King David who reigned in Jerusalem, “The City of David,” followed by his son, King Solomon. Since then Jerusalem was the capital of Israel.

Five hundred and eighty years after the Jewish people entered the land of Israel in the year 2935 (827 BCE) King Solomon completed the building of the permanent Temple in Jerusalem. The Temple (in Hebrew - Bais Hamikdosh) stood for 410 years.

On the ninth of Av in the year 3338 (423 BCE), the First Temple was destroyed by the Babylonians who conquered Jerusalem and the Land of Israel; the Jewish people were exiled to

built the second Temple which stood for 420 years. This Temple too was destroyed, by the Romans, on the ninth of Av, in the year 3829 (69 CE) and the Jewish people were again driven out of their land.

This entire period – from the days of Moses and up until the building of the Second Temple - is recorded in the biblical account of when the Jewish judges, prophets and kings reigned.

After the destruction of the Second Temple, the Jewish people established themselves in numerous countries, only to be exiled to other countries again and again, to be dispersed to “all corners of the world”.

Throughout its history, without a government, army or economy, the Jewish people kept their Jewish identity –holding on to the study of Torah and living a life of observance of Mitzvot - the essence of the Jewish people and which held them together as “one nation on earth”.

The Jewish people never gave up hope of returning to our land - as promised by G-d in His Torah and later through his prophets; Ezekiel, Isaiah, Jeremiah and others, that He will never forsake the Jewish people and He will redeem and return them to their homeland.

This longing and hope, to return one day, has impelled individuals and groups of Jews throughout the ages to move to and live in the land of Israel.

In 1948 the State of Israel was established, giving Jews a safe haven and military protection from their enemies. In the context of the ultimate promise of the Jewish people having their own true independent reign, living in everlasting peace and a life governed by the Torah - it is yet a stage, part of the long journey, until the expected arrival of Moshiach, speedily in our days.

To read more about this, read “Are We Really Independent” on page 11.



One of the principles of Judaism is the faith in the fulfillment of G-d’s promise for a peaceful and perfect world that will be ushered in with the arrival of Moshiach - Messiah.

Moshiach, according to Torah and the prophets, is a righteous person - a human being - whose personality and teaching will inspire the world to serve one G-d and to act in a peaceful and harmonious manner.

Faith in the imminent coming of Moshiach is a constant - it has kept the Jewish spirit and hope alive in good times and in bad, ever since we were exiled from our land some 2,000 years ago.

Maimonides, in his book Mishneh Torah, describes the state of the time of Moshiach. “At that time delicacies will be commonplace like dirt.” All the nations will “beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation shall not lift a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore” (Micah 4:3). Humankind will be preoccupied with only one pursuit: the study of G-dly wisdom. “The earth shall be filled with knowledge of G-d as water covers the seabed” (Isaiah 11:9).

So it’s going to happen - that’s what we believe and hope. But why is this important today? Why is awaiting the coming of Moshiach so central to the Jewish belief system?

There are those who maintain that this crass physical world is merely a strategic challenge; one that the soul must battle and transcend en route to a heavenly paradise. According to this line of thinking, the physical and mundane in and of itself has no intrinsic worth; it retains no value once its function has been fully served - it is a means to a spiritual end - in a “world to come.”

While Jewish belief also speaks of the soul’s reward in the hereafter, earned through its toil during the course of life’s journey, the Torah teaches us that there is purpose to our world, the Messianic Era being the actualization of that purpose. It

sees the refinement of the physical and the infusion of holiness and purpose into the mundane as the paramount objective! It is the sanctification of the human body and the physical world at large that constitutes the very purpose of its creation.

From the dawn of time, G-d envisioned for Himself a “dwelling place” right here on Planet Earth (Midrash). And He put us here to fashion this home, to elevate the mundane, to infuse holiness into the physical. To transform darkness into light.

The day will soon come when G-d’s presence will be revealed in this nether-realm, and we will enjoy the fruits of our millennial-long work, the end-product of our labor of love. The curtain will be ripped aside. All flesh will perceive G-d. It will be the culmination of the master plan.

Today, we finally stand at the threshold of redemption. One more good deed by one more person may be all that’s needed to seal the deal.

Adapted from Chabad.org


The fastest growing Jewish organization servicing individuals with special needs. Call the Chabad Center in Queens near you for more information.


the Importance Temple of the


On the fast of Tisha b’Av, in addition to the destruction of the Temple, we also commemorate the many other tragic events throughout our nation’s tear-soaked galut (exile – i.e., the Jewish people’s expulsion from the land of Israel to be dispersed the world over).

It is, nonetheless, specifically observed on the date when the two Holy Temples in Jerusalem were destroyed, and the Temple is the principal focus of this day’s mourning. It is clear that our suffering is intimately associated with the absence of the Temple.

What is the connection? And why the obsession over an ancient Jerusalemite structure? Does the lack of a Holy Temple leave any of us feeling a gaping hole in our lives?

The Talmud declares: “When Jews enter their prayer and study halls and proclaim, ‘May His great name be blessed,’ the Holy One, blessed be He, nods and says, ‘Fortunate is the king who is thus praised in his home. Woe for a father who has exiled his son. And woe to children who have been exiled from their father’s table!’”

This brief statement captures the very essence of our galut, our state of being in exile.

Parent-child relationships share many of the qualities which typify all relationships - though perhaps to a greater degree: love, respect, care, etc. There is, however, an essential difference. Other relationships are predicated on these feelings: because I like you and care for you, therefore we are friends. In the parent-child relationship the opposite is true; these feelings are predicated on the relationship: because I am your parent/ child, therefore I love you, I care for you, and I respect you.

Thus, the parent-child relationship possesses two aspects: its essence and its manifestations. Its core is the essential relationship which is immutable and not subject to fluctuations. No matter what, a parent always remains a parent, and one’s child remains one’s child. In a normal and healthy parent-child relationship, this core soul-connection expresses itself in the

form of love, care and mutual respect.

G-d is our father, and we are His children; and during galut we constitute a dysfunctional family. We have been expelled from our Father’s home. Our relationship has been reduced to its very core. All the perceptible traces of the relationship have vanished. We don’t feel or see G-d’s love for us, and we don’t really feel like His children. Even when we study His Torah and follow His commandments, and we are told that by doing so we connect with Him, nevertheless we don’t feel like we are in a relationship.

This is certainly not the way the relationship was meant to be, and this wasn’t always the case. There was a time when we were coddled by our Father’s embrace. His love for us manifested itself in many forms: miracles, prophets, abundant blessings and a land flowing with milk and honey.

At the crux of this relationship was the Holy Temple; G-d’s home where His presence was tangible and where He dwelt amongst His people. Thrice yearly Jews would visit G d’s home and feel His presence, feel the relationship. They would then return home invigorated by the experience, their hearts and souls afire with love for G-d.

All the suffering which has been our lot since the day that the Temple was destroyed is a result of our exiled state. When the king’s child resides in the palace, when the king’s love for the prince is on open display, the child is insulated against the designs of all his enemies. But when the child is expelled, the enemies pounce.

This is why we mourn the destruction of the Temples – the absence of G-d’s revealed presence. This is why we yearn for the rebuilding of the Temple.

We believe with perfect faith that the day is near when we will be returned to our Father’s home, and once again be smothered by His love.

Adapted from an Article by Naftali Silberberg on www.chabad. org



We are all conditioned by our upbringing to be receptive to certain words and catchphrases, and to be resistant towards another set of words and catchphrases. In the environment in which we grew up, “Moshiach” was an alien word, or even negative term. But these is only a word. If you go beyond the word, and think about what it really means, you will find that their meaning is shared by every community and every family. You will find that you are in fact most receptive to it.

Do you believe that we can do better? That every human being, deep down, wants to, and can, be better, kinder, more noble, than he/she is? Let’s think about our own behavior: how many times, in the wake of doing an unkind or otherwise negative thing, have we consoled ourselves by saying “That’s not the real me”? Well, if you think so, then it stands to reason that other people - perhaps even all people - also think so, doesn’t it?

Are you outraged by the cruelty and evil in our world? Does not this outrage reflect a deep-seated belief that things don’t have to and shouldn’t be this way? That we - all of us - are capable of better? Because if not, then there’s really nothing to get upset about. If the world is evil, then that’s just the way things are. But we all know that this is not so. We all know that the world is intrinsically good. Hence our frustration and anguish when it doesn’t act that way.


There’s a beautiful song called “Ani Maamin - I believe,” that is sung at Holocaust memorials. It was composed by Azriel David Fastag, a chassidic Jew from Warsaw, on the last train ride of his life.

Crammed into a cattle car with dozens of his brethren, they knew well the fate that would befall him in the Treblinka death camp. They had little hope, but they had faith. And as the wheels turned, bringing another trainload of Jews to their slaughter, Azriel David did not weep. He sang.

He sang a song to the words of one of Maimonides’ Thirteen Principles of Jewish Faith: “I believe with perfect faith in the coming of the Moshiach; and even though he may tarry,

Do you think that your life is purposeful? Do you think that there’s a reason why you’re here? Of course you do! If you didn’t, why do you bother getting out of bed in the morning? Why do you bother grappling with all the obstacles, great and small, that life sends your way? And are you the only one who gets out of bed in the morning? Billions of people do it every day! Obviously, they all believe something: they believe that all this is going somewhere, and someday we’re going to get there!

For thousands of years Jews have had a word for all this. They called it “Moshiach.” Unfortunately, two things happened that made it an alien word for many of us. One thing that happened was that we drifted away from the knowledge and wisdom that our grandparents have been carrying with them for 4000 years, so that we forgot what many of the words really meant. And second, the word “Moshiach” or “Messiah” was wielded by a faith which sprang from ours, and then decided to slaughter us and persecute us so as to convince us to join them. So the word lost its meaning, on the one hand, and gained a negative meaning, on the other.

So don’t think about the word. Think about what you believe, what you know deep down to be true.

Adapted from an article by Yanki Tauber (Chabad.org)

nevertheless, I wait each day for his coming.”

The coming of Moshiach - the messiah - is a cornerstone of Jewish faith. It means that we believe that the world will one day enter an awaited era of world peace, prosperity and wisdom, when pain and suffering will cease to exist and nations will live in harmony.

And in that cattle car somewhere in Europe, as impossible as it may seem, the promise of the ultimate redemption filled their hearts on their final journey, as they sang “Ani Maamin.”



It’s always nice to receive a compliment from a friend or a loved one. But praise that we truly savor is praise that comes from an adversary.

Little wonder, then, that we Jews have such a warm place in our heart reserved for Balaam’s blessings. As the Torah tells it (Numbers 22-24), when the nonJewish prophet and sorcerer Balaam, an archenemy of the people of Israel, opened his mouth to curse, blessings came out instead. He tried three times, each time with the same result. And then he finished off with a prophecy describing the triumph of Israel in the “end of days.”

And what beautiful blessings they are! The verses uttered by Balaam are amongst the most delicious poetry in the bible. Balaam’s blessings include the Mah Tovu (“How goodly are your tents O Jacob, your dwellings, O Israel...”)

- a verse we love so much that, three hundred sixty-five days a year we start our morning prayers with it. They include the most explicit reference in the Five Books of Moses to Moshiach, the Jewish leader who will bring about the full and ultimate redemption. And they include the verse (cited above):

“He crouches and lies like a lion, like a lioness; who will dare rouse him?” a most powerful and meaningful description of the Jewish people in the state of galut (exile) - a state in which we’ve found ourselves for much of our history.

Every once in a while an item makes

an appearance in the newspapers. The details differ somewhat (a tiger raised in a Brooklyn apartment, a trained circus lion “losing it” in the ring), but the basic story is the same: a large cat, of the sort that rightly belongs in the savannah or the steppe, raised and supposedly “trained” as a pet or performer, “suddenly” sheds its domesticated persona and... well, you don’t want to be in its way when that happens.

Interestingly, the Talmud and the Shulchan Aruch (Code of Jewish Law) include a law that all would-be lion “trainers” should take to heart: according to Torah law, there’s no such thing as a “domesticated” lion. Other animals can be “owned”, and be legally classified as such. No such qualifiers have any legal standing in the case of a wild cat. A lion remains, by nature, a free creature, and never accepts the yoke of ownership or “domestication” -no matter how many years these states have been imposed upon it.

This is the deeper significance of Balaam’s metaphor of the crouching lion applied to the people of Israel.

For much of our history we have been in a state of galut -- exiled from our homeland, enslaved by other nations, subjected to alien cultures, “trained” to perform in accordance with the dictates of what “the world” expects and desires from us. At times, the subjugation may seem quite real, at least to the cursory perception of the circus audience. But it is never real. The lion may crouch or lie in seeming docility, but it has not been conquered. It remains free. If it is docile, it is docile by choice, not by nature. It

remains free, and is never more than an instant removed from the seemingly “sudden” assertion of its innate freedom.

In the words of the fifth Rebbe, Rabbi Sholom DovBer (words quoted by his son, the sixth Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak, as the latter stood on the platform of the Leningrad train station on a summer day in 1927, moments before boarding the train that would take him into the exile decreed upon him by the Communist rulers of the land for his work to preserve and strengthen Jewish faith):

“Not by our will did we depart from the Land of Israel, nor will we return there by virtue of our own capabilities. G-d, our Father and King, has sent us into exile, and it is He who will redeem us and gather in the dispersed of Israel from the four corners of the earth, and cause us to be led back firmly and proudly by Moshiach, our righteous redeemer -- may this occur speedily, in our times.

“This, however, all the nations of the world must know: Only our bodies were sent into exile and subjugated to alien rule; our souls, however, were not given over into captivity and foreign rule. We must therefore proclaim openly and before all, that any matter affecting the Jewish religion, Torah, and its mitzvot and customs is not subject to the coercion of others. No one can impose his belief upon us, nor coerce us to conduct ourselves contrary to our beliefs...”

Adapted from an Article by Rabbi Yanki Tauber chabad.org


Like Dreamers

Why is it that in the space of one hour we can be full of faith and then skeptical, kind to one stranger and abrupt with another, deeply inspired to seek holiness and then be drawn to the basest desires?

We are so accustomed to this phenomenon that we don’t even question it. Who are we? If our commitment to “do the right thing” is not superficial, why does the opposite draw us in so easily on a moment’s notice? Do our negative inclinations and deeds prove that our convictions and commitments are only a sham?


There is a powerful metaphor in Psalm 126 that can help us understand - and more importantly, do - something about this state of being. It begins,“When G-d will return the exiles of Zion, we will [see our experiences in exile] as having been in a dream.” The nature of sleep and its unique attendant experience – dreaming holds the key to understanding galut - exile.

The Talmud says that “Sleep is onesixtieth of death.” Death is the complete withdrawal of the soul from the body, permanently disconnecting them. In sleep, the soul remains within the body, giving it life - but kind of from a distance. The primary life-force of the soul that vitalizes the mind and the higher faculties withdraws, leaving behind only a trace of vitality - just enough to keep the body and basic brain functions going.

In the absence of a regulated thought, various memories fill the mind at random, and the confluence of these

memories create most of our dreams. Since the rational powers are not there to “police” what we see, we conflate different and contradictory ideas to create visions of the impossible. In a dream, we can be simultaneously old and young, in two different places at the same time, or in the presence of two people, one of whom passed away before the other was born. All contradictions “fit” in a dream. It is only when we wake up that we realize that what we saw could never be or have been.


This is the essence of the galut experience. The withdrawal of G-d’s revealed presence from our world, leading to the capacity of self-delusion and self-contradiction. Galut is the cause of all the subsequent physical and spiritual disasters. Exile is being out of one’s place. Galut is a state of alienation from a tangible sense of the presence of the G dly around us, which we enjoyed when the Holy Temple was in existence.

Because the soul of the universe (the vivifying force of G-d) is not engaged with its “body” (our world) in a revealed manner, we are able to do things that contradict and deny G-d’s will and presence. Just as in a dream contradiction is rampant, so too in galut we can reject G-d without perceiving how this contradicts the most fundamental fact of our beingthe reality that our very existence is an expression of G-d’s power and will.

This is the cause of the contradictions within our own lives. The deepest part of us remains attuned to the truth of who we are and what we truly desire, but our

deep-seated convictions coexist with an alienated and confused self that is ignorant or in denial of them. It’s not that we deny or abandon our source and innermost self. We do something that is, in a certain sense, even more destructive: we simultaneously know and ignore, commit and shrug off, believe and deny.


What happens after we have a bad dream? We make ourselves wake up, and all the impossible predicaments and disturbing contradictions of the night disappear as if they never were. Once the soul is re-engaged, we see that the dream could not have been real.

This will be our collective experience when galut ends and redemption comes about.

However, this collective redemption is the sum of many individual redemptions. For the cosmos to awaken, we each need to wake ourselves up.

We awake when the pain and contradiction of our dreams becomes too intense to bear. If we accept and internalize that we are G-dly beings, if we understand our lofty potential and what a prison for our souls galut therefore is, if we understand that G-d is everywhere, and that He is available to us in accordance to His will by doing another mitzvah - we can wake up.

Every time we insist that each moment of our life can, and should, reflect our essential potential rather than the force of habit and social convention - we are


Are we really Independent?

Each year thousands of Jews converge on the Western Wall in Jerusalem to mark Tisha b’Av, our National Day of Mourning. On this day in history, both our Holy Temples were destroyed, we were exiled from our land, and a host of other calamities occurred throughout the centuries.

Some may wonder: why do we still mourn? Don’t we have a sovereign state of Israel? Isn’t Jerusalem united under Jewish rule today? Why are we still mourning?

The fact is that we still practice the custom of breaking a glass under the Chuppah (wedding canopy). This tradition has always reminded us that our personal joy is incomplete until our nation’s joy is re-established. And that requires the total restoration of our national life, including Jerusalem rebuilt.

Thank G-d, since 1967 we are again able to visit the Western Wall. But as important as that sacred shrine may be, it is only a pitiful remnant of a glorious temple that once stood inside those walls.

So the reality is that although we are in our eternal homeland, the national state of exile is more than just geographical. Exile, galut, is a state of being and not a place on the map. It does not mean the Diaspora, as if to suggest that only Jews living outside the borders of Israel are in

exile. Whether we live in Jerusalem or Johannesburg, we are all in exile. Until the era of Redemption arrives and the Temple is rebuilt the exile isn’t over. One might live in an apartment in the old city of Jerusalem overlooking the Western Wall - but he too, is in exile, because the entire Jewish People is still in a state of exile.

It is not only a question of place; it is a question of time. At this time in our history, the redemption has not yet arrived. We still pray three times a day that the Temple be rebuilt speedily in our time. And until those prayers are answered - we are all still in galut.


Sure, it would have been wonderful if the 1948 Israeli declaration of independence was not only an announcement but also real, practical and total independence. The truth, however, is that we are far from independent. We can proclaim our sovereign rights from today till tomorrow but we are still very dependent on America, on Europe, on public opinion, on the media and even, to a degree, on the United Nations. We are certainly not yet independent of Israel’s surrounding enemies (with whom we are waging a real war as these lines are written.)

When Jewish lives are being lost daily to terrorist armies, when our neighbors


still dream of driving us into the sea, when they still deny us our basic legitimacy, when the international media challenges our right to defend our citizens, can we claim that we are really and truly independent?

Thank G-d we have an army, navy and air force. Thank G-d; they are fighting valiantly to thwart our mortal enemies’ murderous machinations. But true independence means that our national security is no longer dependent on this or that whim, and when peace and justice prevail.

No wonder Moshiach is called the Messenger of Peace. Who else can we turn to for that long-awaited dream? Political schemes certainly do not seem very promising.

And so we still observe Tisha b’Av. And unless Moshiach comes before that day we will fast and sit on low chairs as Jews do on Tisha b’Av, in the manner of mourners. We will mourn the destruction of our temple and the state of exile it created. And we will pray for the full return to Jewish sovereignty and total independence. A time when our cities and towns will be free of enemy rockets and our children will feel safe and secure. That, in addition to inner redemption as pointed out throughout this brochure.

waking ourselves up.

When we dream, irrelevant facts can loom large, because we lack the needle of reason to deflate them. The fact that “no one else I know is living this way” has no bearing on our capacity to live “this way.” When we break through this delusion of imagining that the behavior

of others has a veto on ours - we are waking ourselves up.

This is the world awoken from the nightmare of human suffering, emptiness and petty hatreds. This is the world envisaged by all our prophets: a world free of hunger, disease and jealousy; a world in which

all humankind will focus together on the ever-exhilarating experience of knowing G-d and living accordingly.

This wonderful world is not a utopian dream. Our world is the nightmare. All we have to do is wake up.

Adapted from an article by Rabbi Shlomo Yaffe, Chabad.org


As We Get Closer

As we get closer and closer to the messianic era, when these days of mourning the destruction of the temple and the exile of the Jewish people will be transformed from days of sadness to days of joy, we start to focus on the inner purpose of the exile in which we are in and on the destruction of the Temple, which is in order to bring us to a higher level of sensitivity and spirituality, and ultimately to the rebuilding—with even greater grandeur and glory—of all that was destroyed. We therefore try to moderate the sadness through participating in permissible celebrations.

The law provides that one may participate in a joyous happening associated with a Mitzvah, such as the conclusion

of a tractate of Talmud; in Hebrew: A Siyum. Accordingly, it is the Chabad custom to have someone complete a tractate of the Talmud each day of the Nine Days and to share it with others, in order to infuse these days with permissible joy. To join a Siyum go to www.chabadwi.org/siyum.

Furthermore, as we are called upon to shoulder the responsibility of bringing about the redemption and the coming of Moshiach, special attention is given to these Mitzvot, Torah study and customs that pertain to the redemption, the coming of Moshiach and the building of the Temple; in particular, the study of Maimonides’ laws of the building of the Temple, as well as these laws that are recorded in other parts of the Torah.


And they shall make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them.

- Exodus 25:8

This is the law of the house; upon the top of the mountain the whole limit thereof round about shall be most holy. Behold, this is the laws of the house.

- Ezekiel 43:12

When building the Bais Hamikdosh – Holy Temple, it is preferred to strengthen and beautify it in accordance to the utmost of the capabilities of the public, as it says: “And to raise the house of our L-rd, to glorify.” We beautify it according to our ability and, if possible, we should even try to coat the walls of the Temple with gold.

- Maimonides

The altar has a distinct place and can never be changed. It is a tradition that the place where King David and Solomon built the altar of the Holy temple was the same place that Abraham (when G-d tested and commanded him to sacrifice his son) built an altar and bound his son, Isaac. It is also the place where Noah built

his altar upon departing from the ark, and where Cain and Abel brought their offerings, and where Adam brought his sacrifice when he was created. From that place, too, he was create, as our Sages said, “From the place that he was atoned he was created.”

- Maimonides

It is a positive commandment to revere the Holy temple, as it said, “And my Temple you shall revere.” It is not the Temple itself that is revered, but rather the commander.

- Maimonides

One should not go about in a light headed way in front of the eastern gate of the Temple court, because it is directed towards the “Holy of Holies.” He who enters the Temple court should walk in a well-mannered fashion and should be aware of the presence of G-d, as it is said, “My eyes and heart shall be there all the days…”

- Maimonides

Moshiach will rise and restore the kingship of David to its ancient glory and original reign. He will rebuild the Bais Hamikdosh –Holy Temple and gather the dispersed of Israel.

- Maimonides

* *



The time of exile has been likened to a dream. For so it is written, “When G-d will return the exiles of Zion, we will have been like dreamers.” (Psalms, 126:1)

A dream can fuse two opposites. In the present time of exile likewise, a man can be a paradox. While he is at prayer he is aroused to a love of G-d; when his prayers are over this love has vanished: he is preoccupied all day with his business affairs, and gives priority to his bodily needs.


“One of you is exiled to Barbary, one of you to Samatria; to me it is as if you were all exiled.” (Midrash Shir Hashirim 2:8) What can this mean? How can the exile of a solitary Jew scour the entire House of Israel of its sins?

The main function of the exile is not to serve as a punishment for the Jewish people’s misdeeds, but to make possible the divine service of sifting and refining the physicality of this world, and elevating the divine sparks concealed within it. Therefore, when even a single Jew finds himself in a particular country, and G-d prospers his efforts at elevating all of its divine sparks, he is fulfilling the function of the exile: he is preparing that land for the coming of Moshiach.


The teaching of my father-in-law the [previous] Rebbe is well-known, that when Moshiach comes people will regret that the best days, the last days of the period of exile have passed. For those were times when one was able to engage in Torah and Mitzvos despite all the obstacles and all obscurity; times when one’s divine service was more gratifying and more loveable, both for the mortal who did it and for his Maker who commanded that it be done; times unlike the future time, when “I shall remove the spirit of impurity from the earth,” and when there are no antagonists to contend with.


The Redemption will unify all of Israel, from the greatest to the smallest. For not a single Jew will remain in exile: “You, the Children of Israel, will be gathered in one by one.” Moreover, the multitudes who will then be gathered in are described collectively, in the singular: “A great congregation will return here.”

In preparation for this state, therefore, one should make every endeavor to unify all the different kinds of Jews, in a spirit of ahavas Yisrael, the love of a fellow Jew, and of achdus Yisrael, the unity of all Israel.

- From a talk of the Rebbe - Sukkos, 5745


Moshiach will be distinguished by extreme humility. Though he will be exceedingly exalted, and though he will study Torah together with the patriarchs and with Moshe Rabbeinu, he will be utterly humble and self-effacing and will teach simple folk, too.

This explains why Moshiach is known by the name of King David, as in the prophesy concerning the End of Days, “And My servant David will be king over them.” For David was so exceedingly humble and self-effacing, that though he was a king he referred to himself as “poor and needy.”

- Sefer HaMaamarim 5699


In future time, when the world is refined to the point that it becomes an actual vessel for the Divine light, it will serve G-d as a home, a real dwelling place. During this revelation at the Giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai, by contrast, since the world had not yet been refined it was merely called “a lodging place for the Al-mighty,” just as an inn is not a traveler’s real home.

- Or HaTorah,


“For a small moment have I forsaken you, but with great compassion shall I gather you in.” (Isaiah 54:7)

When Moshiach comes, and G-d’s great compassion will become manifest, everyone will see how this entire lengthy exile was in fact “a small moment.”

- Sefer



The Sages and prophets did not yearn for the Messianic Era in order that (the Jewish people) rule over the entire world, nor in order that they have dominion over the gentiles, nor that they be exalted by them, nor in order that they eat drink and celebrate. Rather, their aspiration was that [the Jewish people] be free [to involve themselves] in the Torah and its wisdom, without anyone to oppress or disturb them, and thus be found worthy of life in the World to Come, as we explained in Hilchos Teshuvah.

In that Era there will be neither famine nor war, neither envy nor competition, for good things will flow in abundance and all the delicacies will be as freely available as dust. The occupation of the entire world will be solely to know G-d. The Jews will therefore be great sages and know the hidden matters, and will attain an understanding of their Creator to the [full] extent of mortal potential; as it is written, “For the world will be filled with the knowledge of G-d as the waters cove the ocean bed.”

- Maimonides


Three Weeks Specials



“Zion will be redeemed with mishpot and her captives with Tzedakah – charity.” (Isaiah 1:27) Mishpot, which means “justice” or “law”, also refers to Torah study. Thus the meaning of this biblical verse is that the Jewish people and Zion will be redeemed and rebuilt by the merit of our study of Torah and by our act of giving Tzedakah – charity.

It is therefore of great importance that, during the ”Three Weeks” and the “Nine Days,” we intensify our Torah study and give additional Tzedakah.

The mitzvah of Tzedakah can easily be done by putting some coins into a pushka (a charity box). The study of Torah can be accomplished by learning a few passages of the bible, a Mishnah, or a passage from the Code of Jewish Law, etc.

You may go online to take advantage of the many courses via text, video, and audio at www.chabad.org

Since the study of Torah and the giving of Tzedakah during these days are related to the rebuilding of Zion – the Temple, it is suggested that this Tzedakah be given to a shul – synagogue, or to a house of Torah study (such as a day school, or yeshiva), each of which is called a “miniature Bais Hamikdosh (Temple).” The study of Torah should also be in those chapters of Torah which refer to the subject of the temple and the redemption of the Jewish people.

It is also advisable that the giving of Tzedakah and the study of Torah be accompanied by Tfilah (prayer), so that the “three pillars of which the world rests” stand in our stead to bring about the blessing of the Al-mighty, the end of exile, and the coming of Moshiach and rebuilding of the Temple speedily in our days.


“V’haishiv laiv ovos al bonim” – and (as a preparation to the true redemption through Moshiach) the Al-mighty will return (to Him) the hearts of parents through their children.

Children are earnest, natural and receptive to what they are told and to what they feel is the truth. They are ready to act immediately upon sensing that what is presented to them is, indeed, good.

We, the parents, are obligated to provide our children with a full and active Jewish education so that they adapt and incorporate Torah into their lives. Through them, we too, are moved to learn and adapt ourselves to a total Jewish life, in preparation and setting the ground for the coming of Moshiach speedily in our days.


In addition to the above mentioned special mitzvot, there are other special mitzvot particularly relevant to these days.

Every mitzvah, in addition to being a G-dly commandment, has its own special significance and effect. There are those mitzvot which have the effect of protecting the Jewish people. There are also those mitzvot which are related to the home –to make it a Jewish home – a sanctuary for G-d.

AHAVAS YISROEL - The Talmud says that cause for the destruction of the temple was “Sinas Chinam” – hatred toward one another without reason. “Ahvas Yisroel,” - love to your fellow and the reawakening of the unity of the Jewish people, is a counteraction to the cause of the destruction.

CHINUCH – Jewish education of children and their memorization of passages of Torah. Based on the verse (Psalm 8:3) “From the mouths of babes and sucklings have you established strength to destroy the enemy and avenger.” This helps us in our struggle against our enemies.

TEFILLIN – The effect of Tefillin – the Talmud says - is that it brings on a fear on the enemies of the Jewish people.

MEZUZAH – A mezuzah identifies the home as being Jewish and, as the Talmud says, helps protect its residents inside and outside the home.

HADLOKAS NAIROS – Lighting Shabbos candles every Friday before Shabbos (by women and girls from approximately the age of 3) helps illuminate the Jewish home and usher in the brightness of Shabbos.

LETTERS IN TORAH – It is a cherished Mitzvah to participate in the writing of a Torah scroll by “Buying a letter in the Torah”. The mitzvah has the effect of protecting the one who buys a letter. For more information and buying a letter go to www.kidstorah.org

SFORIM – Torah books identifies the home with Judaism and reminds its residents of the study of Torah. A Jewish home should have at least a Chumash (the five books of Moses) a Tehillim (Psalms), and a Siddur (prayer book).

KASHRUT – Kosher food and kitchen help make the home a Jewish home.

TAHARAS HAMISHPACHA – To keep family purity in accordance with Jewish law, thereby creating a refined and sanctified atmosphere at home.




When the Rebbe came to America in 1941, he was very fond of the American boys in the Yeshiva. These young boys were raised, not in the Torah environments of Russia or Poland, but in modern day America which was a very different Jewish community than that of Europe. They were fortunate to be Torah observant Jews, and to be Chasidim, even before the previous Rebbe settled in America.

In those days, the Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson’s regular routine was, that every day he would go up to the 2nd floor of 770, to meet with the the previous Rebbe. When he would come back to the main floor, the yeshiva students would make sure to be near the elevator door because the Rebbe loved to share with them what he called “fresh goods” from “The Rebbe, the Shver”, my saintly father in law, the Rebbe. These “goods” included directives, wisdom of Torah or stories which would be a source of inspiration to everyone.

One day, my father, Rabbi Dovid Edelman and his friend, Rabbi Hershel Fogelman, OBM, were standing at the elevator door when the Rebbe came down from the previous Rebbe’s study. The Rebbe related to them the “fresh goods” of that day: Some of the elder Chassidim criticized me, the Rebbe said. Many Jews who come to my office in 770, were brought up in a Torah observant environment, but sadly changed once they came to America. They became so deeply involved in business and embracing the modern American lifestyle that they had little time for any religious practice. Such people, the elder Chasidim told the Rebbe, must be soundly criticized for their behavior and be turned away. On the other hand, said the Rebbe, he would warmly welcome everyone and treat them all respectfully.

The Rebbe continued:

I went to ask my father in law, the Rebbe, if I was acting correctly. After all, if it’s wrong, I must stop.

My father in law said: It is in the nature that Al-mighty G-d created in a father and mother, that no matter how many children they have, they have enough love for all of them. How much love? It is unlimited! Each and every child is the recipient of unlimited love.

But if one of the children is missing something - a hand or a leg; for that child, the parent has a special unique love.

The same is true with G-d, who loves every single Jew completely. But if a Jew is missing something – He loves them even more!

Therefore if a Jew comes into your office who observes all of the 365 Prohibition and 248 Positive Mitzvos you must accept them wholeheartedly – this is a precious Jew! But when you greet someone who is missing a hand - he does not put on Tefillin; or he is missing a leg – he does not go to Shul; for such a Jew, you must have a deeper love, because the more he is lacking the greater your love must be.

The previous Rebbe concluded telling the following to the Rebbe:

“Du Feer Zich Vee Der Eibershter!!” – You should conduct yourself like G-d does!!

As told by Rabbi Yisroel Edelman, of Boca Raton


Three Eicha Lamentations


The Midrash Rabba Eicha (Lamentations) says; “There are three who prophesied with the word of “eicha” (lit. ‘how’, but the word appears only three times in the Scriptures). Three Jewish prophets opened their hearts to their beloved nation using this mysterious word, “eicha”.

The first was Moshe Rabbenu (Moses). Moses declares to the Jewish nation (Deut. 1:12): “Eicha esa levadi …” (How can I alone bear your problems, and your burdens, and your quarrels?).

The second to use the term ‘eicha’ is the great prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 1:21) who foresaw the horrible moral decay of the Jewish population in Eretz Israel a full generation prior to the destruction of the first temple. “Eicha hayta le-zonah kiriah ne’emanah,…” (How has the faithful city become a harlot?! It was full of judgment, righteousness dwelled there, and now murderers.”) Isaiah cannot comprehend how such a dedicated city like Jerusalem could evolve into a harlot; how a city that was the very seat of righteousness could become one of bloody murderers.

The third prophet who uses the word ‘eicha’ is, of course, Jeremiah who opens the book of Eicha (Lamentations 1:1) with “Eicha yashva badad, ha’ir rabati am” (How does the city that was full of people sit desolate?). Jeremiah, the prophet of tragedy, cannot reconcile himself to his vision of a Jerusalem destroyed in Nebuchadnezzar’s flames. How can it be that a city populated by such lively people can become so bereft?

The Midrash Rabbah notes that “Moses saw Jerusalem in its peaceful state, and said “How can I bear it alone”; Isaiah saw it in its decadence, and said “How has it become a harlot”; Jeremiah saw it in its destruction and said “How did it become desolate”.

Moses saw the bride, the Jewish nation, at peace. Isaiah saw the Jewish nation in its period of anarchy. And, finally, Jeremiah

saw the Jewish nation in its terrible defeat.

Yet the question remains; why did all three choose to use the same unusual term, “eicha”? Clearly the Midrash is trying to tell us that this is no coincidence. Indeed the words of all three prophets are interconnected.


First we must understand the basis of Moses’ complaint when he says “Eicha esa levadi” (How shall I bear it alone). Moses was not bemoaning the fact that he had to work hard and couldn’t make time for a vacation. Rather, what troubles Moses above all is the tragic fact that he alone (levadi) must bear the burden of the Jewish nation; “Why am I the only one who bothers with what is going on in Israel? Why is no one else troubled by what is happening with each individual member of our nation? Why am I the only one who loses sleep because of the troubles of our People!?”

There may indeed be many righteous people, Torah scholars, Jewish luminaries, community leaders, etc. And, yet, Moses laments, the burden of ‘Klal Israel’ falls on my shoulders alone! Everyone is preoccupied day and night with their own circumstances and with what goes on in their own four cubits, with their own intimate surrounding and students. Why am I alone in worrying about what goes on in the heart of a fallen Jew who finds himself on a dark street in an alien setting? Why are you indifferent to the troubles of even a solitary member of G-d’s people?

And so, when there comes a time of “levadi - alone”, when there is but one person who cannot sleep because of what is going on in the surrounding world - that is the incipient stage of total moral collapse. When Jews are indifferent to what is going on in their own community, it is only a matter of time before the “faithful city” Jerusalem deteriorates and becomes “a harlot”. And a city that once overflowed with “tzedakah” –


righteousness – becomes the playground of murderers. And, finally, the inevitable dénouement, the third “eicha”; “How does the city that was full of people sit desolate”.


As I reflect on this Midrash, my mind recalls the personage of the Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, OBM. The Rebbe cared about what happened to Jews in every corner of the world – communities of Jews, and individual Jews: man, woman and child. Since the destruction of the Second Temple 1900 years ago, it would be hard to find a Jewish leader who had a tangible and dramatic impact on virtually every Jewish community on the globe, a leader who was so intimately involved with the circumstances of every Jewish community across the globe. The Rebbe cared and worked so hard so that Jews in India should have a rabbi, and that Jews in Afghanistan should have a mikveh. It mattered greatly to him that Jews in Greenland have matzot for Passover and that Jewish children in Peru should have a day school.

The Rebbe spearheaded the rescue of Iranian Jewry in 1979 and made sure indigent Jews would have what to eat. He would not rest until he was certain that Jews in Odessa have a mohel, and that soldiers in the IDF are served kosher food. It made no difference to him if the Jew was Hasidic or not, Ashekanazi or Sefardi, religiously observant or non-observant. To the Rebbe every Jew was a gem; a diamond to be cherished and polished, protected and treasured.

To the Rebbe it was vitally important that the world-renowned scholar, Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveichik should publish his greatgrandfather Rabbi Chaim Brisker’s writings. It mattered to him that Rabbi Shlomo Yosef Zevin should complete his monumental Encyclopedia of the Talmud. It mattered to him that the Boyaner Rebbe assume the mantle of leadership. It mattered to him that Jews’ College in London should not shut its doors, and that the Jews should have their own Chapel at West Point in the ‘50s.

The Rebbe influenced Israel’s Ministry of Religious Affairs to subsidize schools for religious children with learning disabilities, as well as Jewish psychologists to develop meditation techniques free of the idolatrous elements that are integral to Far Eastern mediation practices. He rescued Yorah Umesorah’s youth journal Olamanu, so that it continued to be published without interruption.

The Rebbe would not cease to fight for the safety of the Jewish people in the Holy Land, working tirelessly to influence Israeli leaders to end the terrible mistakes that they were making in their appeasement of their enemies which, he predicted, would

cause more violence and bloodshed.

Above all, the Rebbe could not sleep because the Jewish People still wander in a dark and confusing exile, and Moshiach has yet to come.

There is a wonderful modern Hebrew word “ichpatiyut” (a profound, abiding concern). The Rebbe personified “ichpatiyut” par excellence. No circumstance concerning an individual Jew, let alone Judaism, was outside the Rebbe’s purview and personal involvement. He was committed to there never being a repeat of “How has the faithful city become a harlot!” His greatest ambition was to exchange Jeremiah’s “How does the city that was full of people sit desolate?” for the same prophet’s prediction “There will yet be heard in the cities of Judah and the street of Jerusalem the sound of merriment and the sound of joy, the voice of the groom and the voice of the bride.”

It would be no exaggeration to state that the Rebbe taught every Jew what it means to care. For the Rebbe could not accept the condition of “Levadi,” of “being alone”. His message was: Each of us is a leader. Each of us must care. All of us are empowered to bring healing to an aching world.


No less noteworthy than his concern for and worrying about the Jewish People, was the Rebbe’s faith in the Jewish People! The Rebbe’s absolute faith in the G-dly creativity of Jews, as a People and as individuals, was remarkable. He believed, body and soul, in the ‘neshama’, the soul of each Jew. He would never tire of declaring that the “the Jewish soul of Israel is alive and awake, all it needs is a tickle.”

The Rebbe once asked Rabbi David Hollander (a prominent Orthodox Rabbi and prolific writer), how Elijah the Prophet could tell the Jewish People (I Kings 41:18); “How long will you continue lurching between two options: If the L-rd is G-d, follow Him, and if it’s Baal then follow him?” Indeed, how can a prophet offer his people the option of serving the idol Baal? Wasn’t Elijah afraid the Jews would respond by saying, “You’re right, we will start serving Baal”?

Explained the Rebbe, Elijah knew very well that when push comes to shove a Jew will declare “Hashem Hu haElokim” (Hashem is the G-d)!

It was with this ironclad emunah (faith) in the Jewish People that the Rebbe took an entire generation of Jews who were lurching between conflicting paths and gave them the pride and readiness to shout in the streets ”Hashem Hu haElokim”.

May each of us do his/her part in reversing the three Eichas.




As the Rebbe’s 29th Yahrzeit will soon arrive, let us reflect for a moment: What have we received from the Rebbe?


Five years after the murder of six million Jews, the Rebbe began his tenure and announced that we were a unique generation, poised to bring heaven down to earth. The Rebbe cried along with his fellow Jews over the pain of the Holocaust but gently reminded us we survived for a reason; we are here for a reason; we have a job to do; doing the job will generate more comfort than anything else.


Speaking to crowds of ordinary, “working class” people, the Rebbe slowly persuaded them that their potential and their mandate greatly outsizes them. “You might feel small, but your mission is giant.” He reminded us time and again: don’t let your efforts to change yourself blind you to your ability, and therefore obligation, to change the world.


If you follow the Rebbe’s instruction and challenge for every Chasid, (and for that matter, everyone that wishes to join), here’s what your study schedule looks like: a daily study of that day’s portion of the Parshah with Rashi’s commentary, covering the entire Torah every year; a daily study of that day’s portion of Tanya, covering the entire book every year; daily study of three chapters of Rambam, covering the entire 14-volume Rambam every year; weekly study of the Alter Rebbe’s Parshah teachings; annual study of one book of the Talmud, of your choosing; and then add your own personal studies in addition to all the above.


The Rebbe was emphatic about his intense dislike for pessimism and negative thinking. He begged,

encouraged and commanded people to think positive. “Tracht Gut Vet Zain Gut.” Think good, and it will be good. G-d is good, life is good, why would you expect the worst? Expect miracles, expect blessings, expect the best!


Surely one of the Rebbe’s most revolutionary and enjoyable ideas was his “Mitzvah Operations.” Modeled after military operations, the Rebbe chose one Mitzvah at a time, and with precision and planning, turned the individual Mitzvah into a vast and high-profile campaign. Without a question, the most famous and successful of them was “Operation Tefillin” which single-handedly (pardon the pun) caused millions of Jewish men and boys to actually wrap Tefillin, some for the first or only time in their lives.

Similarly, the Rebbe encouraged women and girls, beginning at the age of three, to light Shabbat and holiday candles. In the words of one great Jewish leader, “The Rebbe, in just this simple candle lighting campaign, has illuminated the Jewish home and altered the course of Klal Yisrael.


No one before or after the Rebbe did more to help people truly grasp and feel how loved and cherished they are by G-d. The Rebbe did this through beautiful explanations of Torah, Midrash or Talmud, passionate defenses of the simple Jew in the face of religious condemnation, stories told with enormous emotion, highlighting G-d’s endless and bottomless love and need for each of us and our Mitzvahs, and letters written to individuals, pleading with them to recognize and accept the special place they hold in the Divine heart, and to live up to it.


As important as it is for Jews to be close to G-d, the Rebbe taught that it is equally (and perhaps a slightly higher priority) that Jews be close to each other. To accomplish this, the Rebbe continuously stressed the spiritual truths and elements that


A Letter to the Rebbe


I miss you. We all miss you.

It’s been 29 long, dark years since we last saw you. Twenty-nine years is a long time. Too long.

More than two decades have passed since we had the privilege of hearing you bless, inspire and teach us.

Rebbe, the world has changed tremendously over the last 29 years.

In 1994 we were using VHS, cassette tape recorders, transistor radios, walkmans, calculator watches, dial-up modems, floppy discs and VCRs.

Now our children don’t even know what any of those technologies are. Instead we use email, smartphones, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, tablets and Wi-Fi.

Not only has the world changed, but at times it seems that humanity itself is deteriorating rapidly. Terrorism is growing, the stability of long-time Western super-powers is in question, and the world seems ever more dangerous. Concerning, too, are people’s reactions to terror.

After 29 years of darkness, it’s hard to stay optimistic, Rebbe. I struggle to convey to my children the fire you lit within us and how connected we were to you. I struggle with my own cynicism and doubt. I struggle to keep your vision and mission in the forefront of my mind.

There was once another child torn away from his father for 22 tortuous years. Joseph. He was separated from his beloved

father Jacob, sold into slavery, and exiled to Egypt with absolutely no glimmer of pending salvation.

What kept Joseph strong during those 22 years? The Torah that his father had conveyed to him when he last studied with him.

Like Joseph, we have not forgotten what you taught us. Although the world has changed drastically, one thing that has not changed since 1994 are your words of hope and inspiration which we continue to cherish.

Rebbe, you taught us to believe in humanity. You taught us to believe in the power of goodness, hope, and the ultimate triumph of light over dark. You promised that we will ultimately prevail and that we will see the arrival of Moshiach in our generation. And that has not changed. That promise is what has kept us going for the last painful 29 years.

Elie Wiesel, who’s yahrtzeit is a week before yours, came to see you after the Holocaust. The victim of unfathomable suffering and atrocities, he expressed his refusal to bring children into this dark and bitter world. But you taught him to believe. You taught him to continue, to have children, and that doing so would be the best revenge against those who had tried to obliterate the Jewish people.

Rebbe, you promised us that the darkness will end soon. We’re still waiting.

We believe and we hope.

unite us, and chipped away relentlessly at the man-made partitions and divisions that drive us apart. The Rebbe taught us to stop using artificial labels and classifications, fake IDs (like Reform, Conservative, Orthodox, religious, secular, Zionist, Charedi, chiloni, etc.) invented only recently for political or sensational reasons, but with no source in Jewish wisdom. If G-d is One, and we are His, then we too must be one. Millions of people love the Rebbe for millions of reasons. But this one thing we all owe him, and it’s not clear how we’ll ever be able to repay the gigantic debt of gratitude: the Rebbe

brought us together.

For that alone he deserves our attention and our greatest efforts to make his vision our reality.

May we be reunited with the Rebbe and all our loved ones who’ve passed, right here on G-d’s green earth, with the coming of Moshiach right now!


Life Life after

One of the principles of the Jewish faith delineated by Maimonides, is the belief in “life after life” – i.e., that even after a person’s passing, the soul continues to live on in a spiritual world.

Not only does the soul live on in a world apart from our own, but it is actually forever connected to the world in which it once lived.

This idea is, in essence, at the core of the common Jewish practice of saying Kaddish and the observance of Yahrzeit for the deceased.

The degree of the continued connection of the departed soul to our world is dependent on the positive spiritual effect it has had during its lifetime. For only the good and G-dly deeds –study of Torah and performance of mitzvahs, G-dly acts – are eternal.

Furthermore, the Zohar (the fundamental book of Kabbalah) states that truly righteous people, whose entire life was devoted completely to the service of G-d, are not only connected but actually share in the experience of life in this world. They are aware of what’s going on here, they feel our pain and pray for us.

This principle is to be found in Rashi’s commentary, in the verse (Numbers 21:15) “and the Egyptians mistreated us and our patriarchs.” Rashi comments, [although our patriarchs were never physically mistreated in Egypt], “this teaches us that the forefathers feel the pain when tragedy befalls the Jewish people.” Similarly, our patriarchs join in the happiness that we experience.

During our long journey throughout history, the holy resting places of our righteous forebearers have served as spiritual oases in times both joyous and sad. The gravesites of our patriarchs and matriarchs, as well as that of Mother Rachel and King David, are referred to in the Bible and Talmud and Torah’s esoteric works as places of prayer, reflection and introspection, and have provided solace to millions throughout the generations.


Today, thousands of people from all around the world from all walks of life and all shades of the spectrum come to the Ohel, the Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson’s, of blessed memory, resting place, at all hours of the day and night, to pray

to G-d, to ask for intervention, to receive inspiration, blessing and guidance.

“The righteous are greater in death than during their lifetime,” say our Sages. Commentaries explain that while freed from their physical limitations, they are even more unconstrained in their concern for and impact on those of us left down below.


Throughout the years, the Rebbe received hundreds of letters every day from people of every conceivable background, occupation and faith. Similarly, people continue to send letters to be placed at his resting place, for the Rebbe’s intervention On High, in the ageold tradition of leaving written prayer petitions at our holiest sites.

Whether referring to one’s own self or mentioning someone else’s name in a letter, one should always include the person’s name and mother’s name (e.g. Isaac, the son of Sarah) of both the one(s) who are in need of a blessing and the signer/ petitioner. It is preferable to use one’s Jewish name. Letters can be written in any language.

As in the Rebbe’s lifetime, so it is today that stories abound of miraculous reprieve resulting from a visit to the Ohel. This should come as no surprise when we recognize the Rebbe’s lifespan as a continuum of spirituality and holiness. According to our Sages, after the tzaddik (a righteous person) leaves his physical constraints, this only intensifies.

Many who remember the Rebbe visit the Rebbe’s resting place not only to pray, but to re-experience the moments of spiritual elevation they had in the Rebbe’s presence in his lifetime.


The day of passing of a holy tzadik is an auspicious day to reflect and bond with the tzadik’s soul and to ask the tzadik to intercede on High on our behalf. The day of the Rebbe’s passing is an opportune time to pray at the Ohel, the Rebbe’s resting place.

On June 22nd hundreds of communities throughout the world will mark the 29th Yahrtzeit of the Rebbe. The phenomenon of the Rebbe’s life, remarkably continues to grow, and indeed is demonstrated 29 years later.

To send a letter to be forwarded to the Ohel – ohel@ohelchabad.org



…It is self-understood that the soul is eternal. Obviously, an illness of the flesh or blood cannot terminate or diminish the life of the soul; it can only damage the flesh and the blood themselves and the bond between them and the soul. That is to say, it can bring to the cessation of this bond - death, G-d forbid - and with the severing of what binds the soul to the flesh, the soul ascends and frees herself of the shackles of the body, of its limitations and restrictions. Through the good deeds she has performed during the period she was upon earth and within the body, she is elevated to a higher, much higher, level than her status prior to her descent into the body. As our sages expressed it: The descent of the soul is a descent for the sake of an ascent, an ascent above and beyond her prior state.

From this it is understood that anyone close to this soul, anyone to whom she was dear, must appreciate that the soul has ascended, higher, even, than the level she was at previously; it is only that in our lives, in our world, it is a loss. And just as the closer one is to the soul, all the more precious to them is the soul’s elevation, so it is with the second aspect - the intensity of the pain. For they, all the more so, feel the loss of her departure from the body and from life in this world.

Also, it is a loss in the sense that - it seems - the soul could have ascended even higher by remaining in this world, as our

sages taught in the Ethics of our Fathers: “One moment of repentance and good deeds in this world is preferable to the entire world to come.”

…The bond between the living and the soul who has ascended endures. For the soul is enduring and eternal, and sees and observes what is taking place with those connected with her and close to her. Every good deed they do causes her spiritual pleasure, specifically, the accomplishments of those she has educated and raised with the education that bring the said good deeds; that is to say, she has a part in those deeds resulting of the education she provided her children and the ones she influenced.

Since all of the above constitute directives of our Torah, the wisdom and will of G-d, the fulfillment of these directives is part and parcel of our service of G-d of which it is said “Serve G-d with joy.” A directive of Torah also serves as the source of strength which provides the abilities to carry it out. Consequently, since the Torah addresses these instructions to each and every individual, it is within the capacity of each individual to carry it out -- and more so, to carry it out in a manner of “Serve G-d with joy.”

Excerpts from a translated letter by the Rebbe

For more information on how to enhance your Jewish education call the Chabad Center near you.



Iwas invited to speak at a Shabbat gathering in Boro Park, Brooklyn, for a group of young men and women from various Jewish communities.

I was there as the guest speaker. Except that as I was being introduced, I am still unsure of what I am going to say; I had just come straight from the cemetery in Queens where I was one of hundreds paying their final respects to our beloved Henya.

I was vacillating – should I speak about Henya or not. On the one hand, it’s so sad, it’s so tragic – why talk about it on Shabbos? It’ll inevitably bring everyone down. The crowd doesn’t even know her. On the other hand, how could I NOT talk about her? After coming straight from the funeral?!

As I was silently going back and forth, the host introducing me shared with the group the idea of “Mitzvah Goreret Mitzvah - one mitzvah leads to another.”

Hearing this famous Talmudic axiom, I began by sharing the story that Henya shared how one menorah that was handed to a ‘random’ tourist on the boardwalk of S. Thomas, led to an entire dining room on a cruise ship being illuminated by 70 other menorahs, and in turn igniting the soul of a young passenger, who went on to study in Yeshiva and is today living a rich Jewish life with his family.

I concluded: Here is a contemporary story that more aptly illustrates the ripple effect that one good deed has.

As I was wrapping up, a young man in his mid-20’s, of Bukharan background, stood up and said, “I must say something. My name is David and my wife Aviva; Henya has been following us around everywhere.

“My wife and I were pretty newly married, and we were on a three-week cruise. We realized that we hadn’t taken into account that my wife would be needing to go to the Mikveh while we were traveling. We panicked a little - we looked at our itinerary and realized that the Mikveh date would occur during our stop in the US Virgin Islands. So, of course, our first question is - Is there a Chabad in the VI. There is! We call. The Rebbetzin answers – and she arranges all the details, all the

logistics – so my wife could have a kosher immersion in the most beautiful, smooth way possible.

“Henya lovingly guided us every step of the way – to the point that we didn’t even realize that she wasn’t on the island at the time. She was arranging everything from the ‘mainland’ where she was with her family, as her daughter was undergoing treatment. She figuratively held my wife’s hand through the entire experience, and we returned to the cruise, rejuvenated and uplifted.

Weeks pass and we’re back home when my wife discovers she’s pregnant. We are overjoyed. We know exactly who we’ll be calling as soon as we’re at the point that we can share the news.

But when that time came, and we looked for a way to reach Henya, we learned of the tragic accident. Since then, we’ve been trying to find a way to get in touch with Henya’s family. And here you are tonight, talking about your relative Henya!”

After Shabbos when I visited the family for Shivah, per David and Aviva’s request, I shared this story. I relayed how they consider this baby “Henya’s baby.”

Fast forward, some time ago I called David. I reintroduced myself and give him the shpiel – my daughter is going to speak at a Mikvah event in Milwaukee, an evening dedicated to Henya, and she would like to share your story, so I was just calling to check in and see….

David interjects “Oh my goodness, this is crazy. Henya and her family have been connected with us every single step of this journey. As we speak, my wife is on her phone with her Doctor, asking him when she needs to go to the hospital because she’s just gone into labor.”

Thank G-d, they were blessed with a beautiful, healthy baby boy. So many stars needed to align for us to learn this story of the indelible impact Henya had on this couple’s life. Can you imagine all the stories we don’t yet know. The hundreds of women whom Henya lovingly took to the Mikveh in the Caribbean waters, offering them the gift of Mikveh, linking us to the golden chain of Jewish women throughout the ages!

As told by Rabbi Yacov Barber




Over the past year, aspiring scientists and engineers from 3,000 high schools across 60 countries have been preparing for the FIRST Robotics Championship in Houston, on May 2, 2023. The annual event, which began in 1992, attracts college recruiters, scientists and hightech entrepreneurs from around the world.

Among the few teams advancing to the final playoffs at this year’s FIRST Robotics was an Israeli high school robotics team from Modi’in, Israel, who previously won Israel’s national competition. However, they withdrew from the competition the day before the finals.

The finals were scheduled for Saturday, the last day of the four-day event. To the Modi’in team, their choice was clear: They would not compete on Shabbat, the Jewish day of rest, and their decision was met with respect, cheers and even admiration, for living by their values. Their letter, explaining their decision, read over the loudspeakers, garnered a standing ovation from the crowd.

In their letter sent on Friday, the Israeli team explained their decision: “As Jews our faith is an integral part of who we are. Saturdays, Shabbat, have a special significance in the Jewish faith. It is a time when we disconnect and focus on our spiritual well-being, our families, G-d and our communities. Because of

Trigon, for giving us a very important reminder about the importance of things outside of robotics.”

Parents of team members expressed pride in their children’s values.

“My son Rafi … is part of Trigon 5990. Super proud of the whole team,” wrote Suzanne Yantin on Facebook. “They had a brilliant week and an amazing experience and won an engineering design award.”

this, our team will not be present and competing during the remainder of the competition. We encourage you to visit our pit to learn more. … We wish all teams the very best of luck in the competition.”

After reading the letter, the announcer concluded with, “Thank you, Trigon 5590!” prompting a massive round of applause, and adding, “Thank you,

“This week has been an incredible lifetime experience for them,” she concluded. “It served to underscore their commitment to faith and to give them the skills they will need to navigate life.”

The Israel contingent at the competition, comprising hundreds of students from 16 teams, had their Jewish needs catered to during the week by Rabbi Chaim Lazaroff, director of Chabad of Uptown Houston, and Rabbi Meni Raichik, director of Chabad of Houston’s Israeli Center.

The team left this notice in their area on the Friday of the championships, wishing well to their competitors.


Linda, a close friend of my wife, Sharonne, who is married to a non-Jew, was about to give birth. Their first son was circumcised by his pediatrician, but by the time Linda was expecting her second son, she and Sharonne were already close friends. She asked us to help organize her new baby’s bris, and also to make sure her older son was ritually circumcised. Linda was popular in the community. Everyone was excited for her new baby and bris!

Thank G-d, Linda delivered a healthy baby boy, and preparations for the bris began in earnest. But then, on Gimmel (the third of) Tamuz (June 12th) 1994, just two days before the bris, we received the terrible news of the Rebbe’s passing. Time seemed to stop.

I called the mohel’s (ritual circumciser) home in Los Angeles.

“He’s getting into a taxi right now, taking off for New York,” his wife told me. “He told me to call and tell you not to count on him.”

“He’s supposed to do two brissim (circumcision) here in two days!” I answered.

“Sorry, he going to the Rebbe’s levaya (funeral). Try to find someone else.”

I called Delta and tried to book a flight to New York for myself. That evenings last flight had just left, but they had another, leaving early the next morning. I took advantage of my stopover to try and make some emergency arrangements.

From the airport payphone (cellphone was scarce then,) I dialed a non-Chabad mohel and asked him to do both brissim the next day, apologizing for the lastminute notice. Yes, he was available and willing to fly to Salt Lake City.

Great! Next, I called my wife and asked

her to update Linda about the change of plans. “I’m actually on the other line with her right now,” she said. “Hold on one minute.”

When Sharonne got back on the phone, she sounded downcast. “Linda said that if you and the original mohel cannot prioritize her sons’ brissim, she’ll cancel the entire thing!”

I had no choice. Despite the lifealtering news we’d just received; despite the fact that the entire Chabad world was rocking; despite the fact that I myself barely had time to process the loss, nevertheless, two Jewish neshamos (souls) were waiting to be ushered into the “covenant of Avraham.”

My flight landed in New York late Sunday afternoon. I headed for 770 (Lubavitch headquaters,) where thousands of chassidim were preparing for the Rebbe’s levaya. While I prepared, I kept my eyes peeled for my friend.

When we returned from the levaya, it was late. Everyone’s spirits were shattered, and with heavy hearts they sat ond low benches and floors, reciting Tehillim (Psalm). I longed to join them, but instead, I was searching the streets for my elusive mohel.

Someone told me they thought they’d seen him on Montgomery Street, so I immediately headed there. I knocked on door after door, disregarding the incredibly late hour. I finally ran him to earth at 1:00 AM.

“Benny?” He looked at me in shock.

“What are you doing here, at this time of night?”

“What do you mean? In a few hours, you’re supposed to do two brissim in Salt Lake City!”

“Benny, our whole world just turned over! Nothing is normal anymore. Didn’t

you get my wife’s message? She told you not to rely on me; to find someone else.”

“Yes, I got that message,” I retorted. “And I found someone else! But the baby’s mother said that if it’s not important enough to us, she won’t give her son a bris at all. It’s either you or no one! There’s a flight at 7:00 AM. We both need to be on that plane. I promise you, after you do these brissim, I’ll fly you back to New York so you can continue sitting shiva.”

The mohel looked at me worriedly. “Benny, are you feeling alright? I’m afraid you’re not all there.”

“I’m not!” I shoved my way into his room, packed his stuff into his bag, and pushed him towards the door. “We’re getting a taxi to JFK. Now.”

He capitulated, clearly concerned that I was on the verge of a mental breakdown. We paid an exorbitant amount of money for two last-minute, one-way tickets to Salt Lake City, landing at 10:00 AM.

By 10:30, the mohel was beginning the procedure for the elder son. We then drove to the hall for the newborn’s bris, where I was sandek (holding the baby during the bris). It was a teary affair. Not only was the baby crying, his mohel and sandek were too!

We returned to my home after the bris, and I turned to my friend. “A deal’s a deal. Let’s fly back to New York.”

“And spend another fortune?” he retorted. “We’ll sit shiva right here.”

So we sat in my basement, crying and mourning our inconceivable loss together. I am certain that this is what our Rebbe was expecting of us.




In 2007, while on a visit to New York I was invited to the gathering of the Satmar Rebbe in the Williamsburg district of Brooklyn. While there, I was invited to speak.

Following is a story I told.

As you know many people from all backgrounds visit our Chabad House. One Shabbat evening not long ago, an older man, maybe about eighty years old - who didn’t look very religiousappeared in the company of a younger man in his forties.

They found seats, and just minutes after we began the prayers the old man covered his face in his hands and began crying. He kept it up for almost an hour; he would calm down for a few minutes, dry his eyes and and then begin crying again.

I approached him and asked if I can offer help, to which responded, not to worry. After the prayers he and his friend joined us for the Friday night Shabbat evening meal.

There were about fifty people there. I sat him next to me, and after calming down he asked if he could speak. He wanted to explain the reason for his weeping.

“My name is Sam Katz (pseudonym), and I want to share with you why I became very emotional this evening.

“The last time I was in a Synagogue was in Poland over sixty years ago. I was a young man when the Germans came and took us, the entire Jewish population of my town to Buchenwald concentration camp. I was there for four years. During that time I lost everyone, my father and mother, my brothers and sisters, my friends; all killed, some of them before my eyes. I survived.

When the war ended I spent a few years searching for family or friends with no results. Finally, I moved to Australia.

“I was totally alone and angry with G-d. I managed to succeed in business, made a lot of money, I married and have children. But my wounds and anger were so deep that I swore that I will never go into a Synagogue, or have anything to do with Judaism again. Nothing!

“Yesterday my friend and I came to Beijing and he suggested we should visit the Chabad House. At first, I objected, but he said that he’d been here before and the food is good. As there was no better alternative, I shrugged and agreed.

“But as soon as the prayers began, suddenly everything came back to me. I remembered how good it is to be a Jew; how proud and happy my father and mother were. It was as if a wall of ice just melted. That’s why I cried. I thought I’ll never forgive G-d again, but now I feel like a small child that just wants to be home. All thanks to this Chabad House.” The crowd clapped, wiped off tears and congratulated him for the beautiful story.

Then, a woman stood up and asked, “Tell me Mr. Katz, you were in Buchenwald until the end, maybe you knew my father; His name is Naftali Kogen (pseudonym); he was also in Buchenwald?”

Mr. Katz’s jaw dropped, his eyes bolted open and he held his head in wonder “Naftali Kogen!? What? Naftali is still alive?! Why, we were the only two Kohanim in the camp and we were always together. We risked our lives for each other, and not just once. We were like brothers! Oy! Naftali!”

He continued, “There was such total

confusion in those days; everything was upside down. We were separated and put in different recovery camps. I searched for him for a long time after the war, but finally I gave up. I thought he was not alive anymore. Now, he is alive and you are his daughter! It’s a miracle!!”

After Shabbat a meeting was arranged between the two old friends.

This, I concluded, is one example of the many miracles that happening in the Rebbe’s Chabad house – Beijing. After finishing telling the story, much to everyone’s surprise, Rabbi Yaakov Kaplan (pseudonym) the head of a Yeshiva in the Satmar community, who had listened intently to the story, rose from his seat, stood up to his full height, his face pale as chalk and his eyes staring wildly at the ceiling, he called out and yelled aloud to all those present, “Tell them that Yaakov is also alive!”

In the midst of an emotional hurricane, he continued to call out: “There weren’t just two Kohanim in Buchenwald, there were three! Sam Katz, Naftali Kogan and me too!”

“There weren’t just two Kohanim in Buchenwald.” He continued, “There were three; Sam Katz, Naftali and …. Me! We stuck together like brothers more than brothers. But just a few days before the end of the war I was moved to another camp. They probably thought I was dead, and I almost was, and I was sure that they were. I never considered it possible that they could still be alive even now!”

What a joyous reunion! A light out of darkness - orchestrated by divine providence.

As told by Rabbi Shimon Freundlich Chabad Shliach in Beijing, China





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B"H ה“ב ג ב ח ל א מ
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join a Chabad Hebrew school near you.


















82-52 Abingdon Road

Kew Gardens, NY 11415




140-06 Rockaway Beach Blvd

Rockaway Park, 11694 NY




139-21 Coolidge Ave

Briarwood, NY 11435




211-05 Union Turnpike

Hollis Hills, NY 11364


917-613-0223 | 917-613-9962


1055 Neilson Street

Far Rockaway, NY 11691




77-03 Main Street

Flushing NY, 11367




11040 70th Road

Forest Hills, NY 11375





162-05 90th Street

Howard Beach NY 11414




8512 125th Street

Kew Gardens, NY 11415




254-05 Cullman Avenue

Little Neck, NY 11362




65-10 99 Street, LL1

Rego Park NY, 11374




55-39 Myrtle Ave

Ridgewood, NY 11385




144-03 69th Avenue

Kew Gardens Hills, NY 11367




212-12 26th Avenue

Bayside, NY 11360




10-29 48th Avenue

Long Island City, NY 11101



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