Friday, January 1, 2010

PARSHA - Vayechi - Yakov's best years in Mitzrayim

When the third Chabad Rebbe, the Tzemach Tzedek, was a young boy he learned the verse in this week's Torah portion, Vayechi, "And Jacob lived in the land of Egypt seventeen years." His teacher explained that these years were the best of Jacob's entire life.

The Tzemach Tzedek then asked his grandfather, Rabbi Shneur Zalman, [the founder of Chabad], how could those years be the best of Jacob's life? Wasn't
Egypt the most corrupt and immoral place on earth?

The Midrash relates that before Jacob went down to Egypt he sent Judah to establish a yeshiva there. Throughout the time they spent in Egypt the Tribes devoted themselves to the study of Torah. By learning Torah, a Jew draws near to G-d; it was therefore possible, explained R' Shneur Zalman, for Jacob to live his best years even in Egypt.

When Jacob saw that his son was alive, and had continued to conduct himself in a manner befitting the son of a Patriarch, it brought him great joy.

This joy was even more pronounced as it came after many years during which Jacob did not know if Joseph was still a tzadik, a righteous person. This joy is likened to a light that follows the darkness. The more intense the darkness, the brighter the light.

Egypt was a place of darkness, to which Jacob and his sons brought light. And through their devotion to Torah, they actually caused Egypt to become a source of light.

Thus the years Jacob spent in Egypt were the best of his life. For a light that follows the most intense darkness is the very brightest light of all. Like the light of Moshiach, may it soon illuminate the entire world! Amen!

Candle lighting time for L.A. is 4:36 pm.

Shabbat Shalom!

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Mitzvos when Moshiach is here.

Hashem wanted to make us righteous therefore he gave us an abundance of torah and mitzvos, to keep us busy from morning to night. Righteousness is a by-product of the mitzvos we do because we have freedom of choice. When we choose to do the right thing we are able to be righteous.
Freedom of choice is a necessary requisite for the concept of a mitzva being fulfilled.

Will we have the ability to make a choice when moshiach comes?

When Moshiach comes there will be no challenges, there will be no difficulties, and we will not have the opportunity to make a choice. We will not have the ability or the challenge to decide to do the mitzvah or not to.
We will all be doing exactly what we are supposed to do, we will all be in perfect sync with Hashem's Will, doing the mitzvos, almost robotic. But with that of course comes the loss of thrill when we DO overcome a challenge.
That thrill and accomplishment can only be achieved NOW, in galus.
Not only is it a physical thrill and joy, but a spiritual reward as well, which we will merit to collect when Moshiach comes. The more difficult it is to do the Mitzva now the greater the reward will be then. More of G-dliness will be revealed.
That is why we need to utilize every moment NOW - till Moshiach comes - to gather and to collect as many mitzvohs as possible -
For once Moshiach comes the opportunities of galus will be gone.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Fear, Awe & Wonder Of G-d.

Fear of G-d is a very liberating Mitzvah.

Two forces set the stage for our act upon this earth: Love and fear. With love, we set our goals. With fear, we set our boundaries. One who fears failure is bound to take no risks. One who fears others is banished from his own self. One who fears life has no room to breathe.

The Torah liberates us by declaring there is only one thing to fear—not failure, not others, not even death itself. The only thing to fear is the One who stands beyond and within all things, the one we call G-d.

It may be a simple fear that, "If I do those things He does not like, the consequences will not be good." Or—fear is the fear of separation from G-d, as a small child who is afraid to be separated from his parents. Or for those who ponder G-d's infinite greatness and the wonders of His creation, fear is a sense of awe and amazement, taking life up to a whole new level.

Sometimes it's "awe", sometimes "wonder." In all these forms of fear, however, there is one common thread: The awareness of a reality beyond our own that defines and determines all we do. Love is a commentary on the nature of the one who loves, whereas fear, awe and wonder are exclusively about the One who is feared.

And if we don't have that sense of wonder, awe, or fear. We can make time each day to ponder our relationship with G-d, to become acutely aware of His awesome and loving presence. Once that awareness finds a fixed place in our heart, all we do will fall in place, with joy and pleasure. We will be free!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Story King lost in Forest. Serve Hashem with His Mitzvos

There is a story of a king that went hunting and got trapped in the forest. He was lost and badly hurt. As night set in, he pathetically kept crying out for help and miraculously a peasant living in the forest heard his desperate cries.
The peasant lifted the now unrecognizable king and gently brought him back to his hut and tended to his wounds till he regained enough of his own strength to continue on his way. The peasant had no idea that it was the king that he had revived.

The peasant then received a gift of beautiful silverware with a note from the king who was thanking him for his hospitality in the forest and for nursing him back to his health.

The simple man was shocked. The king?? He had hosted the king in his dilapidated hut?? And the gift, looking totally out of place in his poor home was put on a corner shelf and forgotten about.

One day, the King sent a message to his rescuer that he would like to visit him in his home and thank him personally.

When the simple man heard that the king was coming, he was overcome with anxiety. How can he welcome His Majesty into his impoverished shack?? This was no place for a royal king!! He looked around for something that would be presentable for someone of such stature. He then remembered the gift that he had received from the king earlier. Realizing that this grand gift was something the king can surely appreciate, he happily placed it on the table and awaited the king's arrival.

This time, when the king came, he was royally dressed as is fit for a king. Feeling ashamed at the sorry welcome he was offering the king. "My deepest apologies, Your Highness" He said. " My home is but the simplest of homes. My food? Your dogs surely have tasted better. With what can I serve the king? I have nothing that can impress His Majesty. The ONLY thing I thought appropriately honorable was something that His Majesty himself sent to me."

And the king was impressed.

With what can we honor G-d? ONLY with what HE Himself gave to us - His Mitzvos.

Monday, December 28, 2009


A Mitzvah, is a Hebrew word which means "commandment" and "connection."
The Mitzvot are, 613 of, G-d's commandments to the Jewish people. They are the ultimate expression of our relationship with G-d. When we do a Mitzvah we are expressing that connection to G-d.

Nearly all of the mitzvot involve material objects: Tzitizit are made of wool, tefillin of leather, and so on. G-d's Will and wisdom, which is basically His essence, are clothed in His Mitzvot. And so Now G-d is made accessible to us thru His mitzvot which are in enclothed in these physical objects.

We may think that when we are doing a Mitzva we are only connected to the lower level of G-d and not His essence. Yet it is not so. It is like one who embraces a king. There is no difference in the degree of the closeness and attachment to the king whether we embrace him when the king is wearing one robe or many robes, since the king's body is in them.

Our reward in the world to come consists of our soul enjoying the radiance of the Divine Presence, meaning - the pleasure in comprehending G-dliness. But it is ONLY a glimmer, a ray of the Divine light. In THIS world though, through our performing Torah and Mitzvot we are united with G-d Himself.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

10th of Teves

Today is the tenth day of the Hebrew month of Tevet.

It is the day on which the evil king Nevuchadnetzar laid siege upon Jerusalem, which eventually led to the destruction of the first Holy Temple and the Babylonian Exile.
The tenth of Tevet is considered an especially solemn day, because it is the first in a series of events which led to this present exile. Therefore, it is a day to reflect upon all of those events and the actions that led to them, and to reflect upon, which of our OWN actions need improving in order to hasten the end of this exile and to prepare for the imminent Redemption.

TEVET - is related to the Hebrew word "tov", which means "good".
And so even though that we commemorate a sad event; our Sages named this month "Tevet" to inspire the positive good energy, that is within each and everyone of us, that we have the power to transform, bad into good. Sorrow into joy. Darkness into light.

And exile into redemption!