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Parshas Beshalach – Shabbos Shira Yud Shevat - Tu b’Shevat | 10-17 Shevat, 5778

EREV SHABBOS  FRI JAN 26th 
Shacharis 7 am
Candles/Mincha/Maariv 4:43 pm

SHABBOS SAT JAN 27th 
Shacharis: 9 am /Sof Zman Krias Shema 10:02 am/
Mincha 4:43 pm /Seuda Slishit Lite/Maariv/Havdalah 5:45 pm

KIDDUSH AND SEUDA SLISHIT
This week’s Kiddush is being sponsored by Chabad of the Pacific Northwest, in honor of the 68thYartrzeit of the previous Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzak Shneersohn, and the 67th Anniversary of the day when Rabbi Menachem Mendel Shneerson accepted the nasiyas as Lubavitcher Rebbe. We will also have a delicious meat cholent, made by Rabbi Mendy Levitin. Seuda Slishit Lite.

Weekday Services
Sun Shacharis: 9 am
Mon - Fri Shacharis 7 am /NO TACHANUN WED. Tu b’SHEVAT/
Sun -Wed Mincha 4:55 pm, followed by Maariv  /Repeat Shema after 5:44 pm/

MAZEL TOV MAZEL TOV
Mazel Tov to Rabbi Abraham and Shprintze Kavka  on the bris of their new Grandson Dovid Zev, ben Shaina and Zaimy Kavka.  May they merit to raise him to Torah, Chupa, and Ma’asim Tovim. .

SUNDAY BRUNCH – SUNDAY 18th FEBRUARY 10 AM
Featuring Holocaust survivor, Mr Steve Adler. We’re hoping particularly to educate about the Holocaust and we encourage children to come too (provided they’re supervised by a parent and able to show appropriate behavior during the talk). We greatly appreciate the assistance of the Holocaust Center for Humanity of Seattle, and particularly Julia Thompson in facilitating this. Vernon Neppe, Chair of Education at CSTL.

THE NORTH SEATTLE ERUV STATUS: -PENDING
For current status of the North Seattle Eruv, please check the flag on the NE 65th Street side of CSTL, (green flag means the Eruv is up, red flag the Eruv is down), CSTL eNews, or the Vaad eNews. Visit our web site 
www.twitter.com/cstleruv for current status.

FARBRENGEN ALERT – YUD SHEVAT FRI JAN 26th    3PM
Please join us on for an Erev-Shabbos Farbrengen in front of the CSTL Men’s Mikvah, in honor of the Yud Shevat, one of the most important dates on the Chabad Calendar. 
www.chabad.org/calendar

TORAH OHR WITH RABBI MENDY LEVITIN – 8:15 AM SHABBOS MORNING
All are welcome to this inspiring class.

PAINT AND SIP – SUN FEB 11th 7:30PM
Hosted by Myriam Caro. A ChabadofSeattle.org project.  Info:  
MHerbstman@gmail.com

CSTL TOT PROGRAM 10:30 am - Noon
There is no Tot Shabbat program this week (upstairs room, ages 0-5)
This program is now volunteer-led. If you are interested in volunteering from time to time, please emailelizabeth.roth08@gmail.com

CSTL JUNIOR CONGREGATION  10 am – Noon
RabbiHerbstman@gmail.com

PLEASE HELP US PAY FOR CSTL SECURITY
From the CSTL Board:  The membership of CSTL has spoken, and the consensus is that we wish to maintain a security presence at CSTL on Shabbat and chaggim. A four-hour shift (the minimum available) costs us $160, a total of around $10,000/year.  We are asking all families and member units to donate $100 to this fund.  To Donate:  
www.CSTLSeattle.org.

AVOS U’BONIM MELEVAH MALKA SAT NIGHT JAN 27th 
Father and son/daughter learning. Inspirational Living Torah video.  Melavah Malka!  Grand Raffle.  Prizes.  Info:  
RabbiHerbstman@gmail.com Generously sponsored by Ploni Almoni. 

WOMEN’S SUNDAY TEHILLIM AT CSTL – 10 AM
In the library.  Come say a prayer for those in need. 

Weekly Talmud Class with Rabbi Levitin – Every Sunday following 9am Shacharis
Gemora Baba Basra with Rabbi Levitin after 9 am Shacharis

Weekly History Class for Women with Chanie Levitin Tue 7:30 pm
At Rebbetzin Levitin’s home, 6519 49th Ave NE.  For more info, chanielevitin@gmail.com

KIDDUSH SPONSORSHIPS AVAILABLE
If you would like to sponsor Kiddush at CSTL, please contact Marion Kitz Gabbai Kiddush,
miriamkitz@hotmail.com . Contact Marion to sponsor a Kiddush for a BIRTHDAY, ANNIVERSARY or YAHRZEIT. Please inform Marion by the preceding Sunday evening so that we have time to prepare properly.  Prices: Sponsor $350, co-Sponsor $175, Contributor: $50-$149.


 COMMUNITY NEWS

Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle "Connections 2018" Sun Jan 28th 11 am
At the Westin Hotel, Seattle.Guest speaker Susan Stamberg. To register or more info:
www.jewishinseattle.org

Camp Yavneh 2018, June 25th - August 17th 
Registration now open for Camp Yavneh. Staff applications now available at 
www.campyavnehseattle.com    

Weekly Mishmar Parsha Learning Thu 9 PM – 11 PM
With Rabbi Avi Rosenfeld - 5240 38th Ave. NE. Snacks and Good Conversation. Bring your questions on the parsha for discussion.

EZRA BESSAROTH BRUNCH – SUN JAN 28th 10 AM
Join NY Times Bestselling author Bruce Henderson for a delicious brunch @ EB accompanied by a fascinating discussion of his new book,  "Sons and Soldiers" Cost: $5/person.  
www.EzraBessaroth.net

FRUTICAS (TU b’SHEVAT) AT EZRA BESSAROTH – TUE JAN 30th 6 PM
Info: 
www.EzraBessaroth.net

BCMH Sisterhood Tu B'Shevat Event for Women, Jan. 28th  7:00-9:00 pm.
Cost: $20, limit of 20 participants, first come, first serve. Register at 
www.bcmhseattle.org

REBBITZIN SEIGELBAUM FROM BAT AYIN RETURNS TO SEATTLE FEB 10th & 11th 
Info: 
www.EzraBessaroth.net

Mercaz Shabbaton Feb 10-11th 
With Rav Natan Greenberg, Rosh Yeshiva of Bat Ayin Yeshiva. Sponsorship available. Email:
info@mercazseattle.org

Community Trip to Israel. April 29th -May 8th , 2018, 
"Creative Israel: Exploring Israeli Innovation through Technology, Ecology, and the Arts". An optional 3-day pre-trip is available. More info: www.jewishinseattle.org/israel-trip, taryno@jewishinseattle.org or (206) 774-2217.


REBBE’S SICHO FOR BESHALACH
http://www.sie.org/templates/sie/article_cdo/aid/2507782/jewish/Shabbos-Parshas-Bo-4th-Day-of-Shvat-5751-1991.htm © SichosInEnglish.org

This week’s parshah describes several miracles of a general nature which occurred to the Jewish people after they left Egypt including the splitting of the sea and the slaughter of the Egyptians, the sweetening of the waters of Marah, the manna, the slav [the fowl with which G‑d provided the Jews], the well of water which accompanied the Jews through the desert, and the defeat of Amalek in battle.

The fact that the Torah groups all of these miracles in a single Torah portion appears to indicate that they share a connection. Nevertheless, that connection is difficult to understand. On the surface, they appear to be separate and different matters.

Another question can be asked based on Rashi’s commentary in the beginning of Parshas Yisro. There Rashiasks: What motivated Yisro to come to the Jews? And answers: The splitting of the Red Sea and the war with Amalek. Similarly, on another verse, Rashi explains that he was motivated by the miracles of the manna and the well. On the surface, why did these miracles motivate Yisro more than the Ten Plagues or the other miracles G‑d which performed in Egypt.

Also, the word Torah means “instruction.” Thus, every story the Torah relates is told to provide us with an “instruction” in our service of G‑d. What instruction can we derive from the narrative of these miracles?

The resolution to these questions depends on the understanding that the three miracles, the splitting of the Red Sea, the manna, and the war with Amalek, were of a general nature, whose significance continues for all time.

In regard to the splitting of the Red Sea: It is explained that the splitting of the Red Sea was one of the preparations necessary for the giving of the Torah, and thus continues to have ongoing relevance. For this reason, we recall the splitting of the sea in our prayers each day.

The continuous relevance of the manna is obvious from G‑d’s command to set aside one measure as “a keepsake for your [future] generations,” so that we will constantly be aware that G‑d is providing our livelihood. For this reason, the Shulchan Aruch recommends reciting the passage concerning the mannaeach day.1

Similarly, the war with Amalek is described as continuing, “from generation to generation.”2 Many authorities consider the mitzvah of remembering Amalek as obligatory upon us at all time and for this reason, it is customary to recall Amalek each day in the Six Remembrances.

The connection between these three miracles can be explained within the context of the song sang after the crossing of the Red Sea which expresses our praise of G‑d and our thanks for His saving us from the Egyptians. Nevertheless, the song also mentions the retribution visited upon the Egyptians and the death they suffered.3 On the surface, the question arises: Why is it necessary to mention the gentiles at all? Why doesn’t the song focus on the Jews alone?

The mention of the gentiles is necessary, however, because the purpose of this song is not to praise the greatness of G‑d in the spiritual realms or His love for the souls of Jewish people. Rather, the intent is to praise His power and greatness within this material world and to acknowledge His bond with the Jews as they exist, one nation among many gentile foes. Although they are “a lamb among seventy wolves,” G‑d protects them from harm and works miracles for them.

This is the setting for the revelation of how, as the song concludes, “G‑d will reign forever and ever,” how His sovereignty will be expressed throughout the world. Commenting on the above verse, the Midrashrelates: “Although You have existed for all time, Your throne was not established, nor were You made known in Your world until Your children uttered the song.” At the splitting of the Red Sea, the Divine power invested and enclothed within the world was openly revealed,4 and the potential was granted to see G‑dliness in every entity in the world. Through the Jews’ recitation of the song,5 they brought about the recognition of G‑d’s sovereignty in the world.

In order to bring about the revelation of “And G‑d will reign forever and ever” in the world at large, a person must first internalize the awareness of G‑d’s sovereignty within his own consciousness. He must realize that G‑d’s Kingship encompasses the totality of his existence, even his mundane physical realities.

This is the message of the manna, that one’s livelihood comes directly from G‑d, and from G‑d alone.6 Even when a Jew must work to earn his livelihood and other intermediaries are involved, he is being sustained by G‑d. Thus, the Rebbe Maharash would say that earning a livelihood today, in the time of exile, is “mannafrom heaven.”

A Jew is essentially above the natural limitations of the world. Even when he descends and is involved with those realities and the gentiles in his environment, he remains essentially above nature and is sustained by“manna from heaven.” [This lesson is further reinforced by the miracles of the slav and the well of water which accompanied the Jews in the desert. They are also examples of how G‑d provided for the Jews material needs in a supernatural manner.]

The realization that G‑d controls his material existence makes it possible for a Jew to internalize his awareness of G‑d’s sovereignty. Since “He placed the world within their hearts,” this awareness makes it possible for G‑d’s sovereignty to be expressed in the world at large. There are, however, impediments to the revelation of His sovereignty which must be nullified in order for that revelation to be complete. This is the purpose of the war against Amalek.

Our Sages comment, “G‑d swore that His name, nor His throne will be complete until the name of Amalek is wiped out entirely.” Thus, Amalek represents the antithesis of G‑d’s sovereignty. Since the expression of G‑d’s sovereignty is an eternally relevant concept, the negation of Amalek, who prevent that expression, is also of constant relevance.

On a personal level, the quality of Amalek refers to coldness in the service of G‑d. On the verse, “Remember what Amalek did to you...as you came forth from Egypt, how he met you on the way...,” the Midrash explains that the Hebrew korcha translated as “he met you,” could also be interpreted as “he cooled you off.” Similarly, the Rabbis have noted the numerical equivalence between Amalek (עמלק) and the word safek(ספק) meaning “doubt.”

Amalek represents the potential which raises doubts in our minds and cools off our excitement after witnessing the miracles that accompany our personal exodus from Egypt. It deadens a Jew’s sensitivity to the providence with which G‑d controls our lives.7 Therefore, for G‑d’s sovereignty to be revealed, Amalek must be nullified.

On the basis of the above, we can understand why it was the news of the miracles of the splitting of the sea and the war with Amalek that motivated Yisro to join the Jewish people and declare, “Now I know that the L‑rd is greater than all the gods.” It is, however, necessary to resolve several difficulties in regard to that quote: a) How is calling G‑d greater than other divinities praise for Him? b) Why does the Torah mention that Yisro had been an idolater? Why should it mention such an uncomplimentary piece of personal history? The Torah refrains from making uncomplimentary statements even when a non-kosher animal is concerned. Surely, this would be appropriate in regard to Yisro.

These questions can be resolved within the Rambam’s explanation of how people came to worship other divinities. The Rambam states that initially, the people conceived of these divinities as intermediaries. They understood that G‑d was the ultimate source of influence, but felt that because He was so lofty, it was not fitting that He control the mundane realities of worldly experience, and these matters, He entrusted to the sun, the stars, and other intermediaries.

Thus, their mistake was ascribing willful power to these intermediaries, believing that they had a certain measure of independent control over our experience when in truth, they are merely, “an axe in the hands of the chopper,” i.e., just as an axe is an inanimate object with no will of its own, so too, these intermediaries are controlled by G‑d alone and they have no independent power of determination.

Thus, in essence, the negation of idol worship involves, not only the nullification of the belief in idols, but a rejection of all intermediaries, an awareness that even within the context of our material existence, our fate is controlled by G‑d alone. Thus, after Yisro heard about the miracles of the splitting of the Red Sea, themanna, the well, and the war with Amalek, he came to the awareness that G‑d’s sovereignty was manifest in every element of existence, including even our mundane realities. He understood the true nature of all the forces which appear as powers in this world, that they are merely like “an axe in the hands of the chopper” and therefore, he renounced idol worship entirely.8

* * *

2. There is a connection between the above concepts and Yud Shvat, the yahrzeit of the Previous Rebbe, which was commemorated this week.9 The Previous Rebbe’s service was expressed in spreading Yiddishkeitand Chassidus throughout the world, preparing the world for the revelation of G‑d’s sovereignty.

[There is also a connection between the miracles mentioned above and the teachings of Chassidus. Torah is described as “bread” and within Torah itself, the teachings of Pnimiyus HaTorah as “bread from Heaven,”manna. Similarly, oil is used as a metaphor for Chassidus and the slav were distinguished as a uniquely succulent fowl.10 ]

The relation of the teachings of Chassidus to the revelation of G‑d’s sovereignty within the world was reflected in the Previous Rebbe’s efforts to translate the teachings of Chassidus into secular languages and his efforts to spread justice and righteousness (as expressed through the seven universal laws commanded to Noach and his descendants) among the gentiles.

The nature of the Previous Rebbe’s service is reflected in his name, Yosef Yitzchok. Yosef is associated with the concept of “increase” and Yitzchok with “laughter” and “joy.”

More particularly, Yosef refers to the service of “May G‑d add on to me another son,” i.e., transforming one who is “another,” estranged from his Jewish roots, to a “son.”11 Yitzchok is associated with the service of “Whoever hears will laugh with me,” spreading happiness and joy in a manner that “whoever hears,” i.e., even someone who does not consciously intend to hear, “will laugh with me.”

An added dimension of the Previous Rebbe’s yahrzeit is reflected by the fact that this year, it is commemorated on a Friday. Friday is set aside for the preparations for Shabbos. Similarly, this points to the fact that ours, the sixth millennia (and more particularly, the latter portion of the sixth millennia, more than three quarters of it having passed), is a preparatory stage for the seventh millennia, “the day which is all Shabbos and rest for eternity.” Indeed, it is already “Friday afternoon” and we are waiting with anticipation for “Shabbos.”

This must be associated with an increase in the study of Pnimiyus HaTorah as a foretaste and preparation for the revelation of Pnimiyus HaTorah in the Era of Redemption.

3. The above concepts also share a connection with Tu BeShvat, the Rosh HaShanah of the Trees. The trees are part of the plant kingdom called tzomeach in Hebrew. Literally, the word tzomeach means “growth,” thus also pointing to the concept of increase, continually progressing further.

On Tu BeShvat, it is customary to partake generously of fruits and in particular, the species of fruit for whichEretz Yisrael is blessed. The Torah praises Eretz Yisrael for seven species of produce. Two, wheat and barley, are grains. The other five, grapes, pomegranates, figs, olives, and dates, are fruits. The difference between grain and fruit is that grain is a staple food, necessary for the maintenance of our well-being. Fruits are delicacies, eaten for pleasure. Tu BeShvat gives us the potential to carry out our service, not only according to the very minimum necessary to maintain our existence, but rather in a manner that leads to pleasure.

Similarly, it is customary to eat carobs on Tu BeShvat. The mention of carobs relates to Rabbi Chaninah ben Dosa who would eat only “one measure of carobs” a week. Our Sages describe Rabbi Chaninah as being “trained in miracles,” i.e., miracles were an ordinary aspect of his everyday life.

The same applies for every Jew. Although we are living in a material world, in an environment with gentiles that is apparently controlled by the forces of nature, a Jew is connected with G‑d who controls nature. “The Guardian of Israel does not sleep or slumber” and protects him in a manner which transcends nature. Indeed, miracles are an ordinary element of a Jew’s life. If there is a person who does not recognize these miracles, it is only because he has his eyes closed. There can be no other explanation. If a person opens his eyes and thinks about what has happened to him, he will realize the open miracles that are shaping his life.

If this is true regarding a Jew in the world at large, how much more so does it apply to a Jew living in Eretz Yisrael, G‑d’s chosen land, of which it is written, “the eyes of G‑d are always upon it, from the beginning of the year to its end.” It is not necessary for him to open a newspaper and read how one non-Jew shot a missile at the Jews and another non-Jew — one of the pious of the nations of the world — shot another missile which intercepted it. All he has to do is look at the world around him and appreciate the miracles, miracles of a good and positive nature, which are occurring to him and to those around him.

A Jew must act maturely within the world and employ all the natural means at his disposal. His activities must, however, be suffused with bitachon, trust in G‑d that He will provide him with open and abundant good. Similarly, in regard to the Jewish people as a whole, we must proceed with confidence that G‑d will bring the ultimate and complete redemption. And thus, thankful for the miracles that He has wrought for us already and trusting that He will perform other miracles in the future, we must — particularly on Shabbos Shirah, the Shabbos of Song — recite songs of praise to Him.

The above concepts will be enhanced by the study of the maamar, Baruch Sh’Osoh Nissim (“Blessed be He who performed miracles”) which was distributed on Yud Shvat.12 The distribution of the maamar should lead to an increase in the study of Pnimiyus HaTorah. Similarly, together with the maamar, two dollars were given to be distributed to tzedakah. Our Sages relate that tzedakah is equivalent to all the mitzvos. The word mitzvah is related to the word tzavsa meaning “connection.” Thus, these gifts to tzedakah will increase the connection and bond, the Jews share with G‑d. This will lead to an increase in Torah and mitzvos in general which in turn will lead to an increase in G‑d’s blessings, including blessings of peace and prosperity.

In that vein, it is worthy to mention the custom of eating the fruits associated with Eretz Yisrael on Tu BeShvat. May the observance of this custom strengthen our connection with Eretz Yisrael and may we witness in the imminent future the fulfillment of the prophecy, “As in the days of your exodus from Egypt, I will show you wonders.

Shabbos Bo | 3 – 10 Shevat, 5778

EREV SHABBOS  FRI JAN 19th 
Shacharis 7 am
Candles/Mincha/Maariv 4:32 pm

SHABBOS SAT JAN 20th 
Shacharis: 9 am /Sof Zman Krias Shema 10:04 am/
Mincha 4:32 pm
Maariv/Havdalah 5:36 pm

KIDDUSH AND SEUDA SLISHIT
This week’s Kiddush is being sponsored by Rabbi Sholom Ber and Mrs. Chanie Levitin, in honor of the 7th Yahrtzeit of Rebbetzin Levitin's mother, Miriam bas Alter Mordechai ZT”L.  We will also have a delicious meat cholent, made by Rabbi Mendy Levitin. Seuda Slishit Lite.

Weekday Services
Sun Shacharis: 9 am
Mon - Fri Shacharis 7 am 
Sun -Wed Mincha 4:45 pm, followed by Maariv  /Repeat Shema after 5:34 pm/

MAZEL TOV MAZEL TOV
Mazel Tov to Rabbi Shimon and Meira Emlen on the birth of their daughter Devorah Leah!  May they merit to raise her to Torah, Chupa, and Ma’asim Tovim!

THE NORTH SEATTLE ERUV STATUS: -PENDING
For current status of the North Seattle Eruv, please check the flag on the NE 65th Street side of CSTL, (green flag means the Eruv is up, red flag the Eruv is down), CSTL eNews, or the Vaad eNews. Visit our web site 
www.twitter.com/cstleruv for current status.

FARBRENGEN ALERT - YAHRZEIT OF THE BABA SALI- FRI JAN 19th    3PM
Please join us on for an Erev-Shabbos Farbrengen in front of the CSTL Men’s Mikvah, in honor of the yahrzeit of Rabbi Israel Abuchatzera (1890-1984), known as "Baba Sali."  From a young age he was renowned as a sage, miracle maker and master kabbalist. In 1964 he moved to the Holy Land, eventually settling in the southern development town he made famous, Netivot. He passed away in 1984 on the 4thof Shevat. His graveside in Netivot has become a holy site visited by thousands annually.
www.chabad.org/calendar

TORAH OHR WITH RABBI MENDY LEVITIN – 8:15 AM SHABBOS MORNING
All are welcome to this inspiring class.

PAINT AND SIP – SUN FEB 11th 7:30PM
Hosted by Myriam Caro. A ChabadofSeattle.org project.  Info:  
MHerbstman@gmail.com

CSTL TOT PROGRAM 10:30 am - Noon
This program is now volunteer-led. If you are interested in volunteering from time to time, please email
elizabeth.roth08@gmail.com

CSTL JUNIOR CONGREGATION  10 am – Noon 
RabbiHerbstman@gmail.com

PLEASE HELP US PAY FOR CSTL SECURITY
From the CSTL Board:  The membership of CSTL has spoken, and the consensus is that we wish to maintain a security presence at CSTL on Shabbat and chaggim. A four-hour shift (the minimum available) costs us $160, a total of around $10,000/year.  We are asking all families and member units to donate $100 to this fund.  To Donate:  
www.CSTLSeattle.org.

AVOS U’BONIM SAT NIGHT
Father and son/daughter learning. Inspirational Living Torah video.  Ice Cream!  Grand Raffle.  Prizes.  Info:  
RabbiHerbstman@gmail.com Generously sponsored by Chavi and Avremi Gitler. 

WOMEN’S SUNDAY TEHILLIM AT CSTL – 10 AM
In the library.  Come say a prayer for those in need. 

Weekly Talmud Class with Rabbi Levitin – Every Sunday following 9am Shacharis
Gemora Baba Basra with Rabbi Levitin after 9 am Shacharis

Weekly History Class for Women with Chanie Levitin Tue 7:30 pm
At Rebbetzin Levitin’s home, 6519 49th Ave NE.  For more info, chanielevitin@gmail.com

KIDDUSH SPONSORSHIPS AVAILABLE
If you would like to sponsor Kiddush at CSTL, please contact Marion Kitz Gabbai Kiddush,
miriamkitz@hotmail.com . Contact Marion to sponsor a Kiddush for a BIRTHDAY, ANNIVERSARY or YAHRZEIT. Please inform Marion by the preceding Sunday evening so that we have time to prepare properly.  Prices: Sponsor $350, co-Sponsor $175, Contributor: $50-$149.


COMMUNITY NEWS

Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle "Connections 2018" Sun Jan 28th 11 am
At the Westin Hotel, Seattle.Guest speaker Susan Stamberg. To register or more info:
www.jewishinseattle.org

Camp Yavneh 2018, June 25th - August 17th 
Registration now open for Camp Yavneh. Staff applications now available at 
www.campyavnehseattle.com    

Weekly Mishmar Parsha Learning Thu 9 PM – 11 PM
With Rabbi Avi Rosenfeld - 5240 38th Ave. NE. Snacks and Good Conversation. Bring your questions on the parsha for discussion.

EZRA BESSAROTH BRUNCH – SUN JAN 28th 10 AM
Join NY Times Bestselling author Bruce Henderson for a delicious brunch @ EB accompanied by a fascinating discussion of his new book,  "Sons and Soldiers" Cost: $5/person.  
www.EzraBessaroth.net

FRUTICAS (TU b’SHEVAT) AT EZRA BESSAROTH – TUE JAN 30th 6 PM
Info: 
www.EzraBessaroth.net

BCMH Sisterhood Tu B'Shevat Event for Women, Jan. 28th  7:00-9:00 pm.
Cost: $20, limit of 20 participants, first come, first serve. Register at 
www.bcmhseattle.org

REBBITZIN SEIGELBAUM FROM BAT AYIN RETURNS TO SEATTLE FEB 10th & 11th Info: www.EzraBessaroth.net

Mercaz Shabbaton Feb 10-11th 
With Rav Natan Greenberg, Rosh Yeshiva of Bat Ayin Yeshiva. Sponsorship available. Email:
info@mercazseattle.org

Limmud Seattle – Motzei Shabbos Jan 13th to Sun Jan 14th 
A unique experience of engaging, hands-on Torah learning in a community that celebrates Jewish diversity.
http://www.limmudseattle.org/  at the Shoreline Conference Center:18560 1st Ave NE, Shoreline, WA

Community Trip to Israel. April 29th -May 8th , 2018, 
"Creative Israel: Exploring Israeli Innovation through Technology, Ecology, and the Arts". An optional 3-day pre-trip is available. More info: www.jewishinseattle.org/israel-trip, taryno@jewishinseattle.org or (206) 774-2217.


 REBBE’S SICHO FOR BO
http://www.sie.org/templates/sie/article_cdo/aid/2507782/jewish/Shabbos-Parshas-Bo-4th-Day-of-Shvat-5751-1991.htm © SichosInEnglish.org

Parshas Bo possesses a unique dimension. The parshiyos which precede it, Shmos and Vaeira, describe the preparations for the exodus from Egypt. Parshas Beshallach which comes afterwards describes the aftermath of the exodus. The redemption itself, however, is discussed in only one parshah, Parshas Bo.

Indeed, the entire parshah revolves around the redemption. Even the beginning of the parshah (which describes the final phase of preparation for the exodus, the last three plagues) shares a direct connection to the exodus as evidenced by the demand voiced by Pharaoh’s servants that he allow the Jews to leave Egypt.

Similarly, the conclusion of the parshah is connected with the redemption as reflected in the mitzvah oftefillin which states, “And it will be a sign on your hand and a remembrance between your eyes... that G‑d took you out of Egypt with a strong hand.”

There is, however, a problematic dimension to this point. Although the entire parshah is connected with the redemption, the very name of the parshah, Bo and the verse with which it is connected, “And G‑d said to Moshe, come to Pharaoh,” point to the fact that Pharaoh still maintained his power and therefore, Moshe had to approach him. Despite the seven plagues which were inflicted upon him, Pharaoh remained unbroken. The question arises: Why is the parshah which centers on the redemption given a name which indicates Pharaoh’s power?

There is also a question regarding the mention of the mitzvah of tefillin at the conclusion of thisparshah: The passage describing the mitzvah of tefillin states, “And when it will come to pass that G‑d will bring you into the land of the Canaanites.” Based on this verse, there are some authorities who maintain that the Jews were not obligated to wear tefillin during the forty years that they journeyed through the desert. Even according to the opinions which maintain that the Jews did wear tefillinthroughout their journey, there is still a connection between tefillin and Eretz Yisrael as our Sages declared, “Fulfill this mitzvah so that you will enter the land.” Thus, tefillin are related to the ultimate and final phase in the exodus from Egypt, the entry into Eretz Yisrael.1

Since tefillin are associated with the ultimate and final phase of the redemption, the question arises: Why is this mitzvah mentioned in a parshah which describes only the preliminary stages of the redemption? Indeed, as related in Parshas Beshallach, until the miracle of the Red Sea, the Jews still considered returning to Egypt and for that reason, “G‑d did not lead them through the land of the Philistines... lest the people change their minds when they see war and return to Egypt.” Furthermore, it is difficult to understand why tefillin are mentioned in a parshah which begins with an indication of Pharaoh’s power.

These questions can be resolved within the context of the Zohar’s statements at the beginning ofParshas Bo. The Zohar states:

Why is it written, “Come to Pharaoh”? It should say, “Go to Pharaoh.” The word “come” indicates that since G‑d caused Moshe to enter room after room until he confronted a sublime and powerful crocodile [the symbol of Pharaoh].... Moshe was afraid of it.... When the Holy One, blessed be He, saw that Moshe was afraid... He declared, “Behold, I will confront you Pharaoh King of Egypt....” G‑d, Himself, was forced to combat him. He and no one else.

The Zohar implies that Pharaoh is the source of the forces of evil and therefore, Moshe feared him. Accordingly, G‑d did not tell him to go to Pharaoh (i.e., to go by himself). Rather, He told him “Come,” i.e., come with Me, for G‑d Himself had to negate Pharaoh’s power.2

Moshe was sent to confront Pharaoh “so that I will be able to demonstrate these miraculous signs in his midst.” The intent of the confrontation was the nullification of Pharaoh and the negation of his power. In this context, we can understand why Moshe was forced to proceed room after room inside Pharaoh’s palace. Since the intent was to break Pharaoh’s power entirely, this had to be done in the inner rooms of his palace, the place where his power was manifest in the most open manner. When his power was broken there, its expression throughout his kingdom was also nullified.3

Thus, the command to Moshe to “Come to Pharaoh” was not intended only as an intermediary phase in bringing the Jews out of Egypt. Instead, it had a purpose of its own, to break and nullify Pharaoh’s power.

The importance of the destruction of Pharaoh’s power can be understood within the context of the connection between the exile and redemption from Egypt and the acquisition of Eretz Yisrael. In the covenant Bein HaBesarim, G‑d promised Avraham that his descendants would inherit Eretz Yisrael. At the same time, however, He also told him that the Jews would undergo exile and slavery.

The rationale for the association between the two is that G‑d desires the Jewish people to earn Eretz Yisrael through their own efforts, so that it will not be given to them as “bread of shame.” The Jews are charged with the task of transforming a material land into Eretz Yisrael, making it “a land which desires to fulfill the will of its Creator,” and which shares a unique connection to the Jewish people, who are “the pupil of G‑d’s eye,” as it were.4 Therefore, “the eyes5 of G‑d are always upon it from the beginning of the year until its end.”

This generates the potential for Eretz Yisrael to “spread throughout the entire world,” and for there to be an open revelation of G‑dliness, “the glory of G‑d will be revealed and all flesh will see.” In the Era of Redemption when these prophecies will be fulfilled, it will be openly manifest how our material existence is one with G‑d’s true existence.

This was made possible by the fulfillment of the decree, “Your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not their own;” i.e., forcing the Jews to confront a material existence that has no connection with them. Furthermore, this land, the land of Egypt, will oppose the Jewish people and cause them difficulty,6 for it is “the nakedness of the land,” “the most depraved of all lands,” the lowest possible level.

This descent, however, brought out the potential for: a) the Jewish people themselves to reach an elevated level. On the verse, “And Yaakov lived in the land of Egypt,” it is explained that it was in the land of Egypt that Yaakov — and his descendants, the Jewish people — experienced true life. b) The Jews to elevate the Divine sparks enclothed in the material substance of the world. This is reflected in the Jews spoiling the Egyptians, taking from them, “golden and silver utensils and garments,” and similarly, in the eruv rav, the multitude of gentiles who left Egypt with them. c) The destruction and nullification of those aspects of worldliness which cannot be elevated. Concerning these elements of existence, it is said, “their destruction represents their purification.” Furthermore, their destruction adds power to the realm of holiness. This is reflected in our Sages’ statement, “Tzur was built only through the destruction of Jerusalem.” Conversely, the destruction of Tzur, and similarly, other centers which stand in opposition to holiness, lead to the strengthening and rebuilding of Jerusalem. This reveals the power of holiness in a manner where no opposition is possible for all opposing forces have been totally negated.7

Only after these negative factors were nullified did the Jews leave Egypt. Indeed, the destruction of these forces which opposed to holiness made it possible — had not other factors interfered — for them to proceed directly to Eretz Yisrael, the land in which the service of establishing a dwelling for G‑d in this lowly world is carried out.

Based on the above it is possible to explained why Bo was chosen as the name for the parshah which deals with the exodus from Egypt, including the ultimate stage of that exodus, the entry into Eretz Yisrael as explained in regard to the mitzvah of tefillin.

The most prominent dimension of the exodus from Egypt is, as the very name “exodus” implies, the departure from a situation that opposes holiness. This is reflected, in the most complete sense, not in the elevation of the sparks of holiness enclothed within Egypt, but in the nullification of Egypt’s power. The elevation of the sparks of holiness reveals the good which was hidden within Egypt; it does not, however, effect the very nature of Egypt itself, that dimension which stands in opposition to holiness and “causes difficulty to Israel.” For the exodus from Egypt to be complete, this negative dimension must be nullified and destroyed.

This is the intent of “Coming to Pharaoh,” to enter the innermost rooms of his palace, to confront the source of evil at its very root and to nullify it utterly. As explained above, the nullification of these negative factors grants the potential to proceed into Eretz Yisrael. Furthermore, this leads to the possibility of a positive conception of Pharaoh, the source for “the revelation of all lights,” an unbounded revelation which transcends even the limitations of holiness.

The exile in Egypt is the source of all exiles and the redemption from Egypt, the source of all redemptions. In particular, the exodus is related to the future redemption as reflected in the verse, “As in the days of your exodus from Egypt, I will show you wonders.”

Indeed, the parallel between the two is further emphasized by our Sages’ explanation that, ideally, the redemption from Egypt should have been the ultimate redemption. Directly after leaving Egypt and receiving the Torah, the Jews should have entered Eretz Yisrael, never to be exiled again. For certain reasons, however, G‑d brought about a series of events that led to further exiles beginning with the exile in Babylon and concluding with the fourth and present exile, the exile of Edom, so that the Jews’ inheritance of Eretz Yisrael will come about as a result of their own efforts.8

As explained above, the emergence from exile is associated with two factors: a) the elevation of the sparks of holiness that have fallen into exile. This is accomplished through our observance of Torah andmitzvos and our service of “May all your deeds be for the sake of heaven” in which we use the material substance of the world for a spiritual intent. b) The destruction and nullification of those negative factors which cannot be elevated to holiness. For this reason, we find many prophecies describing the fall of the nations which ruled over the Jews, e.g., “Babylon has fallen and she will be broken,” “There will be a slaughter for G‑d in Batzra,” “And saviors will ascend on Mount Zion to judge the Mount of Eisav.” The only nations which will remain will be those which help and support the Jewish people, as it is written, “I will send refugees from them... and they shall bring their brethren from among the nations an offering to G‑d... upon My holy mountain Jerusalem.” At that time, “I will transform all the nations to a pure tongue, so that they will all call upon the name of G‑d, to form a single block.”9

Then, after the ultimate redemption, the service of the Jewish people will be fulfilled in a complete manner, “as the mitzvos of Your will.” Indeed, the observance of the mitzvos will be on such a high level that our present observance will be considered merely as “signs” for those mitzvos.

For this reason, the Torah associates the mitzvah of tefillin with the entry into Eretz Yisrael. Here, the intent is on the ultimate fulfillment of the mitzvah, its fulfillment in the Era of Redemption, therefore, it is associated with the entry into Eretz Yisrael, i.e., the ultimate entry into Eretz Yisrael. There, in “the palace of the king,” the Jews will establish a complete connection with G‑d through the observance of the mitzvos.10

* * *

2. It is written, “He placed the world in their hearts;” i.e., everything that transpires in the world at large depends on, and has its source, in the service performed by a Jew in his heart. A person is called “a world in microcosm” and is instructed by our Sages to realize that the world at large was created “for him.”

Thus, the above concepts relating to the redemption from exile, the destruction of the forces of exile, and the entry into Eretz Yisrael, all have parallels within our personal service of G‑d. Eretz Yisraelrefers to the realm of holiness, the observance of Torah and mitzvos where G‑dliness is openly revealed. In contrast, the Diaspora refers to mundane affairs, activities which share no intrinsic connection to holiness. On the contrary, they cause difficulty (maitzirim in Hebrew which relates to Mitzrayim, Egypt)and confusion (bilbul in Hebrew which relates to Bavel, Babylon).

Ultimately, “Eretz Yisrael will spread out to all other lands;” i.e., our service of holiness will permeate even our mundane activities and they will be performed in a manner of “May all your deeds be for the sake of Heaven” and “Know Him in all your ways.”

For this to be possible, however, there are certain aspects regarding our involvement in the world at large, e.g. the aspects of Egypt and Babylon mentioned above, that cannot be elevated and which must be broken and destroyed.

In Chassidic thought, a similar concept is described in regard to our power of desire and the selfish and materialistic orientation which characterizes it. The power of desire itself is positive and can be directed toward holiness. In contrast, its selfish and materialistic orientation is bad and must be destroyed entirely.11

We can learn how to carry out the service of nullifying evil from the command, “Come to Pharaoh.” It is necessary to confront and break the evil in its place of power. Once this process is completed, it is possible to nullify all its peripheral expressions.

Since confronting evil in its place of power may cause a Jew to become afraid, G‑d tells the spark of Moshe that exists within every Jew, not to be afraid, to come with Him to Pharaoh, that He Himself will wage war against him and negate the power of evil.

Each person has a different conception of Egypt and Babylon, i.e., the aspects of material existence which cause him difficulty and confuse him. There are some who are disturbed and confused because of a deficiency in their service of G‑d, while others are disturbed and confused because of a lack in their material affairs.12

We can be assured that these hindrances will also be nullified. The Jews are considered as G‑d’s children as it is written, “My son, My firstborn, Israel.” Parents eagerly try to fulfill their children’s desires although they recognize that what their children want is really unimportant and the child desires it only because of his limited understanding. Although he knows this to be true, a parent does not make such calculations. As soon as he sees that his child wants something, he does not try to teach him that it is not worth wanting, he tries to obtain it for his child.

Similarly, when G‑d sees that a Jew — His small child, as it were — wants something, even though the matter is of petty concern, merely a material lack, He tries to provide His child with it. Before the Jew feels a real need, G‑d “satisfies the desire of every living being.”13

Furthermore, if the above applies when a child wants something of no real consequence, surely it holds true when the child, the Jews, want something of genuine worth, indeed, of the most ultimate importance, that the Jews and the Divine Presence14 leave exile. Even if the Jews are still lacking in their service, G‑d “will redeem Israel from all his afflictions,” including the greatest affliction, the exile, and only afterwards, will “He redeem Israel from all His sins.”15

3. The above concepts are particularly relevant in our generation because Parshas Bo, is always read in connection with the Previous Rebbe’s yahrzeit.16 The Previous Rebbe’s service was, as his name Yosef implies, associated with the verse, “May G‑d add on to me another son;” transforming one who is “another,” estranged from his Jewish roots, into a “son.” Thus, the Previous Rebbe was involved in spreading Yiddishkeit and Chassidus to those Jews who (through no fault of their own, merely because they were tinokos shenishbu) were distant from Jewish practice. These efforts included the translation of Jewish texts (including works of Pnimiyus HaTorah) into other languages for those who could not understand Lashon HaKodesh (“the holy tongue”).17

Furthermore, the Previous Rebbe was also involved with gentiles — those who are “another” in a real sense — and sought to spread justice and righteousness in the world at large, strengthening people’s faith in the Creator, and thus motivating them to fulfill the seven universal commandments given to Noach and his descendants.

These efforts — both among the Jews and among the gentiles — were enhanced when the Previous Rebbe came to America.18 This gave a greater potential to elevate even the lowest aspects of existence and for these efforts to spread.

Significantly, the Previous Rebbe’s activities were carried out with the emphasis that they were preparations for the ultimate redemption. His drawing close those Jews far from Jewish practice was a preparation for the fulfillment of the prophecy, “And the L‑rd will stretch forth His hand... to His people.. [in] the islands of the sea... and gather the dispersed of Israel.” Similarly, his efforts with the gentiles were a preparation for the fulfillment of the prophecy, “Then I will transform the nations to a clear speech...”

Thus, it is appropriate to prepare for the commemoration of the Previous Rebbe’s yahrzeit by: a) increasing the study of his teachings; b) giving tzedakah to those institutions which carry out his directives and those which are named after him; c) holding farbrengens at which resolutions will be made to continue following in the path of service he outlined.

In particular, an emphasis should be made on the closeness of the ultimate redemption. To quote the Previous Rebbe, “All of you, stand prepared to greet Mashiach.” This is particularly in the present year, a year when “I will show you wonders,” and indeed, in the last weeks, we have seen open signs of the coming of the redemption.

The Yalkut Shimoni states that in the year when Mashiach will come:

Nations will challenge each other.... The King of Persia19 will challenge an Arab king.... All the nations of the world will panic and be seized by consternation.... [G‑d will tell the Jews:] “My children. Do not fear. Everything which I have wrought, I have performed only for your sake. The time for your redemption has come.”

Surely, these events will bring no harm to the Jewish people, particularly those living in Eretz Yisrael,“the land where the eyes of G‑d, your L‑rd, are always upon it, from the beginning of the year until its end.” On the contrary, Eretz Yisrael is the safest place in the world.

The gentiles will not be able to harm the Jews. Those who have suffered harm will surely be healed immediately.20 And even before the imminent coming of the redemption, “All the children of Israel will enjoy light in their dwellings.”

The knowledge of the imminence of Mashiach’s coming should inspire an increase in our observance of the Torah and its mitzvos for, as the Rambam writes, “one mitzvah can tip one’s individual balance... and that of the world at large and bring deliverance and salvation.”

May we soon no longer need any signs for Mashiach’s coming because, in the closest and most immediate future — he will come

Shabbos Vaeira – Mevarchim Shevat | 25 Teves – 3 Shevat, 5778

EREV SHABBOS  FRI JAN 12th 
Shacharis 7 am
Candles/Mincha/Maariv 4:21 pm

SHABBOS SAT JAN 13th 
Tehilim for Mevarchim Shevat – 8 am
Shacharis: 9 am /Sof Zman Krias Shema 10:06 am/
Mincha 4:21 pm
Maariv/Havdalah 5:25 pm

KIDDUSH AND SEUDA SLISHIT
This week’s Kiddush is sponsored by Arkadiy and Tatyana Gertsen in honor of their granddaughter, Sarah Greenberg's Bat Mitzvah!  Sarah is the daughter of Mariana and Netanial Greenberg; granddaughter of Arkadiy and Tatyana Gertsen and Leah and Andy Hartman.  Great-granddaughter of Sofiya Gertsen, mother of Arkadiy Gertsen. Seuda Slishit Lite.

Weekday Services
Sun Shacharis: 9 am
Mon,Tue,Thu, Fri Shacharis 7 am 
Wed Shacharis 6:50 am /ROSH CHODESH SHEVAT/
Sun -Wed Mincha 4:35 pm, followed by Maariv  /Repeat Shema after 5:24 pm/

MAZEL TOV MAZEL TOV
Mazel Tov to Sarah Greenberg on her Bas Mitzvah!  Mazel Tov to Sarah’s parents Mariana and Netanial Greenberg , grandparents Arkadiy and Tatyana Gertsen and Leah and Andy Hartman, and great grandmother Sofiya Gertsen

BARUCH DAYAN EMETH
We regret to inform you of the passing of Mrs. Nechama (bas Shimon) Strauss , wife of Shmuel Leib ob”m. She is survived by her children, Shloime, Mark and Shimon and grandchildren. Shiva will be in Brooklyn, NY.
http://www.collive.com/show_news.rtx?id=48986

THE NORTH SEATTLE ERUV STATUS: -PENDING
For current status of the North Seattle Eruv, please check the flag on the NE 65th Street side of CSTL, (green flag means the Eruv is up, red flag the Eruv is down), CSTL eNews, or the Vaad eNews. Visit our web site 
www.twitter.com/cstleruv for current status.

FARBRENGEN ALERT IN HONOR OF CHOVAT haLEVAVOT- FRI JAN 12th    3PM
Please join us on for an Erev-Shabbos Farbrengen in front of the CSTL Men’s Mikvah, in honor of the publication of Chovat Halevavot (“Duties of the Heart”) , the classical work on Jewish ethics, authored by Rabbi Bachya ben Yosef ibn Paquda (the first "Rabbeinu Bechayei") on or before 1161, and translated into Hebrew from the original Arabic by the famed translator R. Judah ibn Tibbon in 1167. It was first published on the 25th of Tevet of the year 5319 from creation (1559).

TORAH OHR WITH RABBI MENDY LEVITIN – 8:15 AM SHABBOS MORNING
All are welcome to this inspiring class.

PAINT AND SIP – SUN FEB 11th 7:30PM
Hosted by Myriam Caro. A ChabadofSeattle.org project.  Info:  
MHerbstman@gmail.com

CSTL TOT PROGRAM 10:30 am - Noon
This program is now volunteer-led. If you are interested in volunteering from time to time, please email 
elizabeth.roth08@gmail.com

CSTL JUNIOR CONGREGATION  10 am – Noon /NOT THIS WEEK/
RabbiHerbstman@gmail.com

PLEASE HELP US PAY FOR CSTL SECURITY
From the CSTL Board:  The membership of CSTL has spoken, and the consensus is that we wish to maintain a security presence at CSTL on Shabbat and chaggim. A four-hour shift (the minimum available) costs us $160, a total of around $10,000/year.  We are asking all families and member units to donate $100 to this fund.  To Donate:  
www.CSTLSeattle.org.

AVOS U’BONIM SAT NIGHT /NOT THIS WEEK/
Father and son/daughter learning. Inspirational Living Torah video.  Refreshments.  Grand Raffle.  Prizes.  Info:  
RabbiHerbstman@gmail.com Generously sponsored by James Packman,in loving memory of his father Howard Packman, Chaim ben Avigdor Tzvi Z"L whose birthday is this coming week (January 11th)

WOMEN’S SUNDAY TEHILLIM AT CSTL – 10 AM
In the library.  Come say a prayer for those in need. 

Weekly Talmud Class with Rabbi Levitin – Every Sunday following 9am Shacharis
Gemora Baba Basra with Rabbi Levitin after 9 am Shacharis

Weekly History Class for Women with Chanie Levitin Tue 7:30 pm
At Rebbetzin Levitin’s home, 6519 49th Ave NE.  For more info, chanielevitin@gmail.com

KIDDUSH SPONSORSHIPS AVAILABLE
If you would like to sponsor Kiddush at CSTL, please contact Marion Kitz Gabbai Kiddush,
miriamkitz@hotmail.com . Contact Marion to sponsor a Kiddush for a BIRTHDAY, ANNIVERSARY or YAHRZEIT. Please inform Marion by the preceding Sunday evening so that we have time to prepare properly.  Prices: Sponsor $350, co-Sponsor $175, Contributor: $50-$149.


 COMMUNITY NEWS

Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle "Connections 2018" Sun Jan 28th 11 am
At the Westin Hotel, Seattle.Guest speaker Susan Stamberg. To register or more info:
www.jewishinseattle.org

Camp Yavneh 2018, June 25th - August 17th 
Registration now open for Camp Yavneh. Staff applications now available at
www.campyavnehseattle.com    

Weekly Mishmar Parsha Learning Thu 9 PM – 11 PM
With Rabbi Avi Rosenfeld - 5240 38th Ave. NE. Snacks and Good Conversation. Bring your questions on the parsha for discussion.

EZRA BESSAROTH BRUNCH – SUN JAN 28th 10 AM
Join NY Times Bestselling author Bruce Henderson for a delicious brunch @ EB accompanied by a fascinating discussion of his new book,  "Sons and Soldiers" Cost: $5/person.  
www.EzraBessaroth.net

FRUTICAS (TU b’SHEVAT) AT EZRA BESSAROTH – TUE JAN 30th 6 PM
Info: 
www.EzraBessaroth.net

BCMH Sisterhood Tu B'Shevat Event for Women, Jan. 28 7:00-9:00 pm.
Cost: $20, limit of 20 participants, first come, first serve. Register at 
www.bcmhseattle.org

REBBITZIN SEIGELBAUM FROM BAT AYIN RETURNS TO SEATTLE FEB 10th & 11th 
Info: 
www.EzraBessaroth.net

Mercaz Shabbaton Feb 10-11th 
With Rav Natan Greenberg, Rosh Yeshiva of Bat Ayin Yeshiva. Sponsorship available. Email:
info@mercazseattle.org

Limmud Seattle – Motzei Shabbos Jan 13th to Sun Jan 14th 
A unique experience of engaging, hands-on Torah learning in a community that celebrates Jewish diversity. 
http://www.limmudseattle.org/  at the Shoreline Conference Center:18560 1st Ave NE, Shoreline, WA

Community Trip to Israel. April 29th -May 8th , 2018, 
"Creative Israel: Exploring Israeli Innovation through Technology, Ecology, and the Arts". An optional 3-day pre-trip is available. More info: www.jewishinseattle.org/israel-trip, taryno@jewishinseattle.org or (206) 774-2217.


REBBE’S SICHO FOR VAEIRA
http://www.sie.org/templates/sie/article_cdo/aid/2507781/jewish/Shabbos-Parshas-Vaeira-26th-Day-of-Teves-5751-1991.htm  © SichosInEnglish.org

1. The 24th of Teves, the Alter Rebbe’s yahrzeit, generally falls in the week of Parshas Vaeira.Based on the principle that the festivals have a connection to the Torah portions read at that time, we can assume that there is a connection between the Alter Rebbe’s yahrzeit and Parshas Vaeira.

That connection can be seen in the second verse of the Torah reading which states, “And I revealed Myself to Avraham, to Yitzchok, and to Yaakov [the Patriarchs (Rashi)] as the Almighty G‑d.” The Hebrew word for Almighty, ש-די, is an acronym for the names Shneur שניאור, the Alter Rebbe’s name; DovBer דובער, the Maggid of Mezritch’s name; and Yisrael ישראל, the Baal Shem Tov’s name. These three Rebbeim represent the “Patriarchs” of the Chassidic movement.

The service of the Patriarchs was a preparatory stage for the giving of the Torah and the entrance intoEretz Yisrael. Indeed, G‑d redeemed the Jews because of the covenant that He had made with the Patriarchs. Similarly, the service of the “Patriarchs” of Chassidus prepares us for the Future Redemption and the revelation of Pnimiyus HaTorah which comes at that time.

To explain the above in greater depth: The Torah is eternal and its narratives are not merely accounts of past history, but rather directives which apply at all times. In particular, this applies in regard to the Patriarchs for, “the deeds of the Patriarchs are a sign to their descendants” and the Patriarchs endow their descendants, the Jews in every generation, with their immense spiritual legacy.

In this context, the relevance of the beginning of the Torah portion, “And I revealed Myself to Avraham, to Yitzchok, and to Yaakov as the Almighty G‑d, but I did not reveal My name Havayahto them,” raises a question. Since the name Havayah has been revealed — the fullest dimension of this revelation coming at the giving of the Torah — of what significance is it that the Patriarchs were not granted such a revelation?

Furthermore, it is necessary to understand: The name ש-די is associated with creation as the Talmud states, “I am He who said די (“enough”) to the world.” If so, what is unique about the revelation of the name ש-די to the Patriarchs?

This narrative raises another question. On the phrase, “but I did not reveal My name Havayah to them,” Rashi comments, “I did not let My attribute (מדה) of truth become known to them.” The use of the word middah is problematic because it also has the connotation “measure.” How can the nameHavayah which reflects an infinite dimension of G‑dliness be associated with any particularmiddah?

The concept can be explained as follows. There are two interpretations to the name ש-די: “I am He who said די (‘enough’) to the world,” and “There is די (‘enough’) within My Divine potential for every creation.”

According to the first interpretation, די refers to the world and indicates that the world will be confined within certain limits. According to the second interpretation, די refers to G‑d and points to His potential to provide His creations with all their needs.

Thus, the revelation of the name ש-די to the Patriarchs refers to the second dimension. At the time of creation, the revelation of the first dimension of ש-די established the limits of our worldly existence. By revealing Himself to the Patriarchs, G‑d brought about an influx of Divine beneficence that satisfied “every creation.”

Implied by the above is that the Patriarchs were able to reveal G‑dliness within the context of the world’s limits. The revelation they brought about, however, was also limited, only that dimension of G‑dliness which could be enclothed within the creations themselves, for until the giving of the Torah there was “a decree” separating the spiritual from the physical. “My name Havayah,” the potential to drawn down the dimension of G‑dliness which transcends the world, was not revealed to them.

At the giving of the Torah, however, G‑d nullified this decree and granted the potential for the G‑dliness which transcends creation to be revealed within the context of our limited existence. This does not mean that the revelation would nullify those limits. Instead, the intent was that the world itself would become a vessel for G‑dliness, that the infinite revelations would be internalized within it, and in this manner, the world would become “a dwelling for G‑d.”

For this to be accomplished, it was necessary that there be preparatory stages for this revelation. First the dimension of ש-די that established the world’s limitations had to be revealed and afterwards, the dimension of ש-די which brought about the revelation of G‑dliness that was able to be enclothed within the limits of creation. This refined the world and prepared it for the revelation of the giving of the Torah. Thus, even after the Torah was given, the revelation to the Patriarchs is significant for it grants the potential for our limited world to internalize the revelation of the name Havayah. This allows us to appreciate that, from an inner dimension, the revelation of the name ש-די to the Patriarchs is not an independent revelation, but rather a phase in the revelation of Havayah.

In this context, we can appreciate Rashi’s statement, “I did not let My attribute (מדה) of truth become known to them.” The intent is that the name Havayah be revealed with the context of middah(“measure”). The measure in which it is revealed, however, is “My middah,” G‑d’s infinite measure, and not the limited measure of the world itself.

To explain the above from a deeper perspective: The difference between the two sources of revelation, Havayah and ש-די, as they exist after the giving of the Torah, reflect the difference between the Torah (which is above limitation) and the world (which is limited). In particular, this contrast can be seen as a reflection of the difference between the Torah and the mitzvos. Mitzvos are also related to the limits of the world and thus have certain limitations regarding the times and places where they are to be fulfilled. In contrast, the Torah is above the limitations of the world. Therefore, the obligation for Torah study is constant, applying in all times and in all places.

Furthermore, this contrast between the Torah and its mitzvos applies only with regard to the actual performance of the mitzvos. As the mitzvos exist within the Torah itself, they like the Torah, are above the limitations of time and space. Accordingly, even though the Beis HaMikdash is destroyed, when a Jew in the Diaspora studies the laws of the sacrifices even during the night, his study is considered equivalent to the actual offering of the sacrifices.1

Similarly, as the mitzvos exist within the Torah, there is no difference between the positive commandments and the negative commandments. As they exist within the world, the positive commandments represent the performance of an activity and the negative commandments, an act of restraint. As they exist within the Torah, however, they both represent positive forces.

The manner in which the mitzvos exist within the Torah is exemplified in our Sages’ statement that when the Jews received the Torah, they answered “yes” when they were instructed to fulfill both the positive commandments and the negative commandments. This implies that one makes a commitment to the essence of the mitzvos, the connection (tzavsa) with G‑d established by themitzvos. Furthermore, the negative commandments are also appreciated as mediums to draw down holiness.

These concepts should be reflected in the existence of a Jew within this material world. He must see his 248 limbs and 365 sinews as extensions of the 248 positive commandments and the 365 negative commandments.

Based on the above, we can understand the change brought about by the giving of the Torah from a deeper perspective. The intent of the giving of the Torah was that the G‑dliness which transcends the creation should not remain above the limitations of the world, but rather should permeate those limitations as explained above. This is accomplished through the mitzvos which are, on one hand, associated with the limitations of worldly existence — for as explained above, the mitzvos are dependent on the limits of time and place — and yet are connected with the infinite potential of the Torah. This allows the spiritual source of each entity to be revealed and even those entities which appear negative to become positive forces which reveal G‑d’s will.

This is brought about by the Torah, the revelation of the name Havayah. Before the giving of the Torah, when there was a decree separating the spiritual and the physical, the world was only able to receive a revelation of G‑dliness that did not negate the limits of the world (ש-די). Thus, it was possible to say that the revelation of this level is separate from the revelation of the name Havayah.Through the revelation of the giving of the Torah which allowed the infinite G‑dliness of Havayahto permeate all aspects of existence, it was revealed that the revelation of G‑dliness within creation is also a dimension of this infinite revelation.

This relates to our Sages’ statement that the Patriarchs observed the entire Torah before it was given. In this manner, they revealed the level of ש-די within the world. The inner dimension of this revelation is the name Havayah.

Of the Patriarchs, the one most closely associated with the Torah is Yaakov.2 Thus the Torah describes him as “a simple person, a dweller of tents,” i.e., “the tents of Shem and Ever.” Similarly, we find the verse, “they will instruct Your judgments to Yaakov and Your Torah to Israel.” Thus, although more than the other Patriarchs, Yaakov was forced to confront difficulties and troubles in the world at large — the difficulties of Lavan, Eisav, Dinah, and Yosef — the Torah emphasizes how he remained on a level of completeness as it is written, “And Yaakov came to the city of Shechemcomplete.” Our Sages comment, “complete in his body, that his limp was healed; complete in his finances, that he was not lacking anything from the large present [sent Eisav], complete in his Torah, that he had not forgotten his studies in the house of Lavan.”

Yaakov remained complete even though “a man wrestled with him.” On the contrary, “he strove with an angel and with men and prevailed.” He was able to force the angel to bless him and, furthermore, the wound he suffered when wrestling with the angel healed.

This is a reflection of the connection between Yaakov and the Torah. Since the Torah is the source for all perfection, even the aspects of perfection connected with worldly matters, Yaakov who is associated with Torah confronts worldliness and remains “complete.”3

Based on the above, we can appreciate the connection between the 24th of Teves, the yahrzeit of the Alter Rebbe, and Parshas Vaeira. Of the three “Patriarchs” of the Chassidic movement, the Alter Rebbe, like the Patriarch Yaakov is associated with Torah study. This is reflected in the fact that the Alter Rebbe is referred to as “the author of the Tanya and the Shulchan Aruch.” These two texts are of fundamental importance, the Tanya being “the Written Law of Pnimiyus HaTorah” and theShulchan Aruch, a basic text of Nigleh, the revealed dimensions of Torah law.4

It can be explained that just as the revelation of G‑dliness by the Patriarchs was a preparation for the revelation of the Torah, the revelation of Pnimiyus HaTorah by the “Patriarchs of Chassidus” serves as a preparatory stage for the revelation of Pnimiyus HaTorah in the world at large in the Era of Redemption. This will be the complete revelation of the name Havayah. This revelation will permeate even the lowest dimension of worldly existence.

Just as among the Patriarchs, the fullest expression of their service was exemplified by Yaakov, similarly, among the “Patriarchs of Chassidus,” the Alter Rebbe epitomized the spreading ofPnimiyus HaTorah, revealing its teachings within a structured intellectual pattern. This transition into the realm of intellect reflects how Pnimiyus HaTorah is drawn down into the limits of the world at large.

These two concepts — the emphasis on the Torah and the efforts to draw down that Torah into the limits of the world at large — are reflected in the Alter Rebbe’s name, Shneur Zalman. Shneur relates to the words Shnei Or (“two lights”), the light of Nigleh and the light of Pnimiyus HaTorah. Zalman shares the same letters as the word l’zman (“to time”), reflecting how these lights of Torah will permeate the limits of time (and thus space) which define our material world.5 Since the Alter Rebbe fused the two dimensions of Torah, Nigleh and Pnimiyus HaTorah, together, he also had the potential to reveal Torah, the G‑dliness that transcends creation, within the creation itself.

Just as Yaakov our Patriarch was forced to confront many difficulties and tribulations, so, too, the Alter Rebbe was subjected to the difficulties of imprisonment. Nevertheless, these difficulties did not hinder his service. On the contrary, he was redeemed and his redemption increased the spreading of the wellsprings of Chassidus outward. This service was continued by the Rebbeim who followed him, each one spreading Chassidus further and thus preparing the world at large for the revelation ofPnimiyus HaTorah in the Era of Redemption.

2. The Hebrew word Avos translated as “Patriarchs” literally means “fathers.” By referring to Avraham, Yitzchok, and Yaakov as the fathers of the Jewish people, we imply that just as a father’s estate becomes the property of his children, each Jew a descendant of the Patriarchs, inherits their great spiritual legacy.

Thus, we must look at every Jew as an heir to the Patriarchs and realize how, “His nation are a part of G‑d; Yaakov is the cord of His inheritance.” Similarly, every Jew is called Yisrael, one who “strove with an angel and with men and prevailed.” Because of a Jew’s essence, each Jew, regardless of his present situation, even as he exists in the darkness of exile in this material world, can “strive with an angel and with men and prevail.”

Furthermore, every Jew, regardless of his present situation, inherits the entire Torah as it is written, “The Torah which Moshe commanded us is the inheritance of the congregation of Yaakov.” Since each Jew is a member of “the congregation of Yaakov,” he is an heir to the Torah. An heir receives his inheritance regardless of his personal standing. Similarly, each Jew receives the entire Torah as his inheritance.6

This is what we must perceive when we look at another Jew. If these positive qualities are not perceived, we must understand that they are being obscured by the darkness of exile, and it is necessary to search further. If one sees undesirable qualities, one must realize that the other person is, to quote the Baal Shem Tov, only a mirror and those undesirable qualities are in fact one’s own. The appreciation of the positive qualities of each Jew are emphasized by the teachings of the “Patriarchs of Chassidus.” Thus, the Baal Shem Tov taught that G‑d loves each Jew as dearly as parents love an only son.

The awareness of these concepts should inspire greater ahavas Yisrael. In this context, we see a unique emphasis in the teachings of the Alter Rebbe who devoted an entire chapter, Chapter 32,7 to the subject of ahavas Yisrael. Furthermore, in the first draft of the Tanya, the Alter Rebbe did not include Chapter 32. This implies that the content of the chapters 31 and 33 themselves could be understood without such an addition. Thus, the fact that such an addition was made highlights its importance and reflects that the lesson of Chapter 32 is of fundamental significance.8

In this context, we can appreciate the significance of the fact that Rosh Chodesh Shvat is celebrated on Wednesday, “the day on which the luminaries were suspended in the heavens.” The word “luminaries” is plural, referring to both the sun, “the great luminary,” and the moon, “the small luminary.”

This provides every Jew with a twofold lesson in his service of G‑d. Firstly, he must appreciate that he is a “luminary,” that he can and he must, shine forth and provide others with light. Secondly, the mention of the two luminaries, the sun and the moon, teaches one that he must be both a great luminary and a small luminary.

Being a “great luminary” implies that a person realizes that he possesses important potentials which he wants to use in a contributory fashion. (Needless to say, for his contributions to be received, it is necessary for him to give in a generous and positive manner.)

Being a “small luminary” implies that a person must appreciate and radiate to others that other individuals can contribute to him as our Sages comment, “Who is a wise man? One who learns from every person.” As a small luminary, one reflects the positive virtues that others possess.

A person must know how to express both these dimensions in his life and must have the sensitivity to appreciate which quality is demanded at each particular time.

The above statements concerning the positive qualities of each Jew are particularly appropriate regarding the present generation, the heirs to the legacy of holiness left by the martyrs of the previous generation. We are “a brand saved from the fire,” a clear example of how, despite awesome challenges, “Yaakov came to the city of Shechem complete.”9

One must realize how much G‑d loves the Jewish people as a whole and each individual Jew in particular as we recite in our prayers, “With eternal love, You have loved us.” In particular, the present era, is a time when this love is expressed. It resembles the month of Elul, a time when “the King is in the field” and receives everyone with a pleasant countenance and shows everyone a smiling countenance. Now is a time when we can approach G‑d with our requests and He will grant them.

Particularly, after the Holocaust, G‑d owes the Jewish people, as it were, to make up for the horrors which the Jewish people suffered10 and to bring them blessing, including leading them to teshuvahwhich will speed the coming of the Future Redemption. The Jews — each individual and the people as a whole — will be blessed with open and apparent good and only with good.

If this is true at all times and particularly in our generation, it has special relevance at present when, “nations are challenging each other.” G‑d gives the Jews a special promise that “all that I have performed I have performed for your sake.” Throughout the world, we are promised, “The Guardian of Israel does not slumber or sleep.” In particular, this applies in Eretz Yisrael, where “the eyes of G‑d, your L‑rd are always upon it from the beginning of the year until its end.”

3. The verse “And Yaakov came to the city of Shechem complete,” provides us with a practically applicable lesson. At first, Yaakov feared a war over Shechem. Nevertheless, when all the nations around him massed to attack him, he put on armor and conquered Shechem “with his sword and bow.”

To apply this in present terms, all the nations around Eretz Yisrael attacked her and the Jews were forced to “put on armor” and they conquered Shechem and the areas of Judah and Samaria with “a sword and a bow.” After G‑d has given these lands back to the Jewish people, it is absolutely forbidden to return them; doing so would endanger the lives of millions of Jews. Rather they should be settled by the Jewish people.

With unique Hashgachah Protis, at this time, hundreds of thousands of Jews are arriving in Eretz Yisrael from Russia. They should be given the opportunity to settle in these lands in peace and security. In this manner, through teshuvah, these Jews will be able to correct and make up for the seventy years they were prevented from observing Torah and mitzvos.11

* * *

4. In connection with the yahrzeit of the Alter Rebbe, it is proper to increase our study of his works, establishing fixed times to study the Tanya and his Shulchan Aruch, together with the explanation of these works in the texts of the Rebbeim who followed him. This applies to everyone, both men and women, for women are also required to study the laws governing those mitzvos in which they are obligated and also the teachings of Chassidus, for they enable us to fulfill the mitzvos of the love and fear of G‑d which women are also obligated to fulfill.

(In this context, it is worthy to mention the efforts of my mother who was known for her ability to copy carefully Chassidic texts to enable them to be circulated throughout the Chassidic community.)

The study of the works of the Rebbeim is facilitated by the fact that at present, there are a multitude of texts of Chassidus and the explanations of the Rebbeim in Nigleh which are being printed. Furthermore, even many of the texts which were previously printed using the characters of Rashiscript, are now being reprinted using square letters.

May the printing of these Chassidic texts hasten the coming of the era when no single Jew will remain in exile and rather, we will proceed “with our youth and with our elders, with our sons and with our daughters,” to the ultimate redemption.12 May it be in the immediate future.

Shabbos Shemos | 18-25 Teves, 5778

EREV SHABBOS  FRI JAN 5th 
Shacharis 7 am
Candles/Mincha/Maariv 4:14 pm

SHABBOS SAT JAN 6th 
Shacharis: 9 am /Sof Zman Krias Shema 10:06 am/
Mincha 4:14 pm
Maariv/Havdalah 5:19 pm

KIDDUSH AND SEUDA SLISHIT
Kiddush  Lite – No sponsor.  Meat cholent sponsored by Ploni Almoni.  The delicious cholent will be made by Rabbi Mendy Levitin.  Seuda Slishit Lite.

Weekday Services
Sun Shacharis: 9 am
Mon- Fri Shacharis 7 am 
Sun -Wed Mincha 4:25 pm, followed by Maariv  /Repeat Shema after 5:14 pm/

THE NORTH SEATTLE ERUV STATUS: -PENDING
For current status of the North Seattle Eruv, please check the flag on the NE 65th Street side of CSTL, (green flag means the Eruv is up, red flag the Eruv is down), CSTL eNews, or the Vaad eNews. Visit our web site 
www.twitter.com/cstleruv for current status.

FARBRENGEN ALERT IN HONOR OF RAMBAM’S YAHRZEIT - FRI JAN 5th    3PM
Please join us on for an Erev-Shabbos Farbrengen in front of the CSTL Men’s Mikvah, in honor of the Yahrzeit of Rabbi Moses Maimonides, the Rambam, 20 Tevet.

FARBRENGEN ALERT CHOF DALED TEVES - THU JAN 11th    YAHRZEIT OF THE ALTER REBBE
Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Laidi ZT”L, the first Rebbe of Chabad.   Venue to be announced.

TORAH OHR WITH RABBI MENDY LEVITIN – 8:15 AM SHABBOS MORNING
All are welcome to this inspiring class.

CSTL TOT PROGRAM 10:30 am - Noon
This program is now volunteer-led. If you are interested in volunteering from time to time, please email 
elizabeth.roth08@gmail.com

CSTL JUNIOR CONGREGATION  10 am – Noon
RabbiHerbstman@gmail.com

PLEASE HELP US PAY FOR CSTL SECURITY
From the CSTL Board:  The membership of CSTL has spoken, and the consensus is that we wish to maintain a security presence at CSTL on Shabbat and chaggim. A four-hour shift (the minimum available) costs us $160, a total of around $10,000/year.  We are asking all families and member units to donate $100 to this fund.  To Donate:  
www.CSTLSeattle.org.

AVOS U’BONIM SAT NIGHT JAN 6th 6:30pm at CSTL
Father and son/daughter learning. Inspirational Living Torah video. Refreshments.  Grand Raffle. Prizes. Info: 
RabbiHerbstman@gmail.com Generously sponsored by James Packman, in loving memory of his father Howard Packman, Chaim ben Avigdor Tzvi Z"L whose birthday is this coming week (January 11th)

WOMEN’S SUNDAY TEHILLIM AT CSTL – 10 AM
In the library.  Come say a prayer for those in need. 

Weekly Talmud Class with Rabbi Levitin – Every Sunday following 9am Shacharis
Gemora Baba Basra with Rabbi Levitin after 9 am Shacharis

Weekly History Class for Women with Chanie Levitin Tue 7:30 pm
At Rebbetzin Levitin’s home, 6519 49th Ave NE.  For more info, chanielevitin@gmail.com

KIDDUSH SPONSORSHIPS AVAILABLE
If you would like to sponsor Kiddush at CSTL, please contact Marion Kitz Gabbai Kiddush,
miriamkitz@hotmail.com . Contact Marion to sponsor a Kiddush for a BIRTHDAY, ANNIVERSARY or YAHRZEIT. Please inform Marion by the preceding Sunday evening so that we have time to prepare properly.  Prices: Sponsor $350, co-Sponsor $175, Contributor: $50-$149.


COMMUNITY NEWS

Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle "Connections 2018" Sun Jan 28th 11 am
At the Westin Hotel, Seattle.Guest speaker Susan Stamberg. To register or more info:
www.jewishinseattle.org

NYHS is offering the ISEE Sun Jan 7th 
Independent School Entrance Exam for prospective students who are applying to NYHS, a required exam. More info: 
admissions@nyhs.org  or (206) 232-5272 ext. 515.

Weekly Mishmar Parsha Learning Thu 9 PM – 11 PM
With Rabbi Avi Rosenfeld - 5240 38th Ave. NE. Snacks and Good Conversation. Bring your questions on the parsha for discussion.

EZRA BESSAROTH BRUNCH – SUN JAN 28th 10 AM
Join NY Times Bestselling author Bruce Henderson for a delicious brunch @ EB accompanied by a fascinating discussion of his new book,  "Sons and Soldiers" Cost: $5/person. 
www.EzraBessaroth.net

FRUTICAS (TU b’SHEVAT) AT EZRA BESSAROTH – TUE JAN 30th 6 PM
Info: 
www.EzraBessaroth.net

REBBITZIN SEIGELBAUM FROM BAT AYIN RETURNS TO SEATTLE FEB 10th & 11th 
Info: 
www.EzraBessaroth.net

Mercaz Shabbaton Feb 10-11th 
With Rav Natan Greenberg, Rosh Yeshiva of Bat Ayin Yeshiva. Sponsorship available. Email:
info@mercazseattle.org

Limmud Seattle – Motzei Shabbos Jan 13th to Sun Jan 14th 
A unique experience of engaging, hands-on Torah learning in a community that celebrates Jewish diversity. 
http://www.limmudseattle.org/  at the Shoreline Conference Center:18560 1st Ave NE, Shoreline, WA

Community Trip to Israel. April 29th -May 8th , 2018, 
"Creative Israel: Exploring Israeli Innovation through Technology, Ecology, and the Arts". An optional 3-day pre-trip is available. More info: www.jewishinseattle.org/israel-trip, taryno@jewishinseattle.org or (206) 774-2217.


 REBBE’S SICHO FOR SHEMOS
http://www.sie.org/templates/sie/article_cdo/aid/2507780/jewish/Shabbos-Parshas-Shmos-19th-Day-of-Teves-5751-1991.htm  © SichosInEnglish.org

This week’s Torah reading begins, “These are the names of the children of Yisrael coming into Egypt with Yaakov. They came with their households.” This verse raises several questions: a) Why does the verse use the present tense, “coming”? The descent of the Jews had taken place hundreds of years beforehand and seemingly, the past tense would be more appropriate. Indeed, in Parshas Vayigash,where the Jews’ descent into Egypt is first described, the verse states, “And Yaakov and all his descendants came into Egypt.” b) What is the significance of the mention of both names, Yaakov and Yisrael, in our verse? c) Parshas Vayigash mentions “Yaakov and his sons coming into Egypt.” In contrast, our Torah portion mentions “the children of Yisrael coming into Egypt with Yaakov.”

These questions can be resolved within the context of the Midrash’s interpretation of this verse. TheMidrash states:

Did they enter [Egypt] that day? Behold many days passed from the time they had entered Egypt. Nevertheless, as long as Yosef was alive, they were not burdened by the Egyptians. When Yosef died, the Egyptians imposed burdens upon them. Therefore, the verse describes them as “coming into Egypt.” It was as if they first entered Egypt that day.

Since “the Torah is eternal,” this teaching must also contain a lesson relevant to the present. It is, however, difficult to appreciate that lesson. On the contrary, we are in the last days of the exile. “All the appointed times for Mashiach’s coming have passed and the matter depends on teshuvah alone.” Furthermore, we have already carried out the service of teshuvah and have, to quote the Previous Rebbe, “polished the buttons,” and are prepared to greet Mashiach. What relevance therefore, does the concept of coming into exile today have for us?

To explain: There is a difference between the Book of Shmos and the Book of Bereishis. The Book ofBereishis is described as “the Book of the Just,” i.e., it relates the stories of the Patriarchs who were just. In contrast, Shmos begins the chronicles of their descendants, the narrative of the Jewish people as a communal entity. Bereishis is a necessary preliminary to such a narrative for the lives of the Patriarchs grant us the potential to carry out all the mitzvos mentioned in the later books.

This concept is based on the transition brought about by the giving of the Torah. The Midrash relates that before the giving of the Torah, spirituality was totally separate from our material existence. When the Torah was given, however, the potential was granted to infuse holiness into the material substance of the world (revelation from above) and also elevate that material substance, transforming it into a sacred object.

The service of the Patriarchs, however, was necessary to bring about such a transition. This was accomplished by their complete self-nullification to G‑dliness to the extent that they are described as G‑d’s “chariot.” This implies that even as they existed within this material world, they were a “chariot,” [i.e., an intermediary which transfers an entity from one place to another,] for G‑d as He is manifest in the spiritual realms,1 to be revealed within this material world. This granted the potential for their descendants, the Jewish people, to draw down G‑dliness through the observance of the Torah and its mitzvos.2

There is, however, an advantage to our observance of the Torah and its mitzvos over the service of the Patriarchs. The Patriarch’s service was preparatory in nature, granting the potential for drawing holiness into this material world. The actual service of drawing down holiness, the establishment of a dwelling for G‑d in this material world, is accomplished through the observance of the Torah and itsmitzvos. This observance brings G‑dliness into this world in an open and manifest manner.

The beginning of the service of the Jewish people in actually drawing G‑dliness into this world is reflected in the verse, “These are the names of the children of Yisrael coming into Egypt with Yaakov. They came with their households.”

The Jewish people descended to Egypt to draw G‑dliness into the lowest levels of material existence. To emphasize their potential to carry out this service, they are described as “the children of Yisrael.” Yisrael was “the chosen of the Patriarchs,” and his spiritual qualities were passed on to his descendants.

To explain: Yaakov was given the name Yisrael because he “strove with angels and men and prevailed.” Similarly the name Yisrael (ישראל) contains the letters of the words li rosh (לי ראש) “a head for Me,” i.e., the Jews are a head for G‑d, as it were. Indeed, the Jews are above the level of G‑d’s “head,” for a Jewish soul is “an actual part of G‑d from above,” one with G‑d’s very essence.

Thus, the level of Yisrael stands above all connection to Egypt (מצרים), the boundaries and limitations (מיצרים) of worldly existence. Surely, it is above the concept of exile, in which the ruling authorities causes difficulty (מצירות) to the Jews. Since Yisrael has the power to “strive with angels and men and prevail” and is “a head for Me” as it were, this level cannot be contained within any limits and surely, is not subject to exile.

Who can descend to Egypt? “The descendants (i.e., the extension) of Yisrael.” Similarly, Yaakov which refers to a lower level than Yisrael, the aspect in the Jewish soul which descends to and permeates the heel (עקב)3 can enter Egypt.

Based on the above, we can explain the difference between the Torah’s expressions in our Torah portion and in Parshas VayigashParshas Vayigash describes the Jews’ descent to Egypt, the boundaries and limitations of worldly existence. They were not, however, enslaved or in exile per se.Therefore, the Torah relates that Yaakov went down to Egypt. Our Torah portion, in contrast, describes “the children of Yisrael... coming... with Yaakov,” this implies a lower level.

Although the children of Yisrael are on a lower level than Yisrael himself and thus can descend into exile, nevertheless, because they are the “children of Yisrael,” they are full heirs to the legacy left them by the Patriarchs. Therefore, the descent into Egypt cannot affect them in a negative way. On the contrary, they have the potential to refine and elevate Egypt, taking from it all the sparks of G‑dliness invested in it, leaving it like “a silo without any grain.”

Based on the above, we can understand why the Jews are described as “coming into Egypt,” in the present tense. Despite the many years which they had been in Egypt, on any — every — given day, it could be considered as if they had entered Egypt that very day. Since the Jews inherit all the qualities of the Patriarchs, including those of Yaakov, i.e., the potential to “strive with angels and men and prevail,” they are, in essence, above the exile. Thus, their existence within the exile is a new development, a present happening.

This infinite potential bequeathed by the Patriarchs to their descendants gives them the opportunity to accomplish the purpose of the exile, to draw G‑dliness into the world and establish a dwelling for G‑d. When a Jew is aware of the infinite potential that he possesses and thus feels that his existence within the exile is a new development, he becomes aware of the purpose of the exile and this enables him to accomplish this purpose. Thus each moment the Jews are in exile is not a continuation of the previous years of exile, but a new moment, in which our service should be fulfilled with new energy, with the hope of redemption in the near future.

This is reflected in each person’s individual service each day for “in each and every generation (and as the Alter Rebbe adds, in each and every day), a person is obligated to see himself as if he is leaving Egypt (that day).” This is reflected in the service of,

redeeming the G‑dly soul from the imprisonment of the body to be included in union with the light of the Ein Sof through the service of Torah and mitzvos... and in particular through the yoke of G‑d’s kingdom in Kerias Shema.... This is [comparable to] the exodus from Egypt. For this reason, it was ordained to mention the exodus from Egypt in the recitation of the Shema.

The potential to experience an exodus from Egypt every day also includes the awareness that each moment, the entry into exile is a new and present happening. Since yesterday, a Jew left Egypt, i.e., went beyond his personal limitations, the fact that today he also finds himself within limitations — even though those limitations could be considered as transcendent when compared to his situation of the previous day — is a new entry into exile.

Each morning, when a person wakes up, he is “a new creation,” and G‑d has returned his soul, “an actual part of G‑d,” to him. Thus, his nature is above all connection to the limitations of the body. It is as if “today he entered into Egypt.” And the awareness of this concept will inspire him to carry out his service of refining the body with new and increased power. Since, in essence, he is above the exile, even when he is found within the exile, it does not limit him. Although he has spent years in Egypt, i.e., in the personal sense, years confined by the body and the animal soul, since his soul is “an actual part of G‑d,” he is fundamentally above the exile.4

The concept that, at every moment, the Jews are entering exile anew because essentially, they are above the exile, is also reflected in the events described subsequently in our Torah portion. When G‑d told Moshe to collect the elders of the Jewish people, Moshe protested that they would not believe him. Our Sages explained that Moshe:

spoke improperly at that time. The Holy One, blessed be He, told him, “They will listen to your voice,” and he protested, “They will not believe me.” [G‑d told Moshe:] “They are believers and the descendants of believers.”

The Maharsha explains that Moshe’s error came from his underestimation of the impact of the sign which G‑d had given him to convey to the Jewish people. Since both Yaakov and Yosef had told the Jewish people that a repetition of the word Pakod would be a sign of the redemption, as soon as Moshe would give them this sign, they would respond to him.

It is easy to understand the source for Moshe’s error. Moshe knew that the Jews had been in exile for many years and felt that even when they heard the sign which they had been promised, they would not respond quickly. It would be difficult for them to actually feel that the time for their redemption had come. G‑d told Moshe that he did not appreciate the nature of the Jews; they are “believers and the descendants of believers.” This is their essential nature and therefore, they will never consider exile as the norm. On the contrary, it is as if “today they entered Egypt.” Therefore, as soon as Moshe would communicate the sign, they would believe that their redemption was imminent.

This concept is also reflected in the conclusion of the Torah reading which relates that, after Moshe delivered G‑d’s message to Pharaoh, Pharaoh responded by increasing the severity of his oppression. When this transpired, Moshe protested to G‑d, “O L‑rd, why have You harmed Your people.... From the time, I came to speak to Pharaoh in Your name... You have not saved Your people.”

G‑d responded by telling Moshe, “Now you will see what I will do to Pharaoh...,” promising Moshe that the redemption would come immediately. From the very opposite extreme, the most severe moments of slavery, G‑d redeemed the Jews. Why did this come about? Because the Jews are the children of Avraham, Yitzchok, and Yaakov. Since they are the descendants of the Patriarchs, they are totally above exile and, therefore, G‑d will redeem them immediately.

The unique nature of the Jews is further emphasized by the conclusion of the Haftorah: “Yaakov will no longer be ashamed... when he sees his children, the work of My hands in his midst, that they sanctify My name.” Even though the Jews are in exile, Yaakov has no reason to be ashamed with his descendants. G‑d testifies that each one of them is “the work of My hands” and that they “sanctify My name.”

* * *

2. The above concepts provide us with a lesson relevant to our present situation. Although the Jews have been in exile for 2000 years, a Jew is, in essence, above exile. On the contrary, each moment in which a Jew finds himself in exile is a totally new development, against his nature. At every moment, he is filled with trust and faith that G‑d’s promise of the Future Redemption will be fulfilled in the near future. This is particularly true since the Previous Rebbe told us to prepare ourselves to greet Mashiach and now, forty years after his passing, we have been granted the “knowing heart, eyes to see, and ears to hear” to appreciate his teachings. Furthermore, this is a year when “I will show you wonders.”

Therefore, now is a time when we must encourage the Jewish people by telling them how near we are to Mashiach’s coming, how “he is standing behind our wall, peeking through the lattice.” We must prepare ourselves to greet Mashiach by increasing our observance of the Torah and its mitzvos and then, as the Rambam states,5 “With one mitzvah, one can tip his personal balance and that of the entire world to the side of merit and bring deliverance and salvation.” Surely, a contrary approach is out of the question, to break the Jews’ spirit by threatening them with Divine retribution, heaven forbid.

We must learn from the example of Moshe. When Moshe described the Jews as lacking in virtues,6G‑d asked him, “ ’What is that in your hand?’ And he answered, ‘A staff.’ ” Rashi explains that G‑d was intimating to Moshe, “You are worthy to have been beaten for speaking unfavorably about My children.” Similarly, the signs Moshe was given, his staff turning into a snake7 and his hand turning leprous are interpreted as reflecting G‑d’s displeasure with Moshe’s statements about the Jews.

Why does the Torah relate these matters to us? As a lesson; to teach us how careful we must be not to speak unfavorably about our fellow Jews.8 The above occurred before the giving of the Torah. Even then, G‑d punished Moshe for speaking unfavorably about the Jews and told him that they are all “believers and the descendants of believers.” Surely, this applies after the giving of the Torah when the Jews were selected as G‑d’s chosen people, “a nation of priests and a holy people.” How much more so does it apply since in the thousands of years after the giving of the Torah, the Jews have sanctified G‑d’s name through their observance of the Torah and its mitzvos, including their recitation of theShema.9

Since the Jewish people today are heirs to this great legacy of holiness — for the positive effects of themitzvos our people have performed are eternal, while, in contrast, the negative effects of undesirable conduct are temporary and will be erased — it is impossible to appreciate the great merit possessed by the Jewish people today. Heaven forbid that someone should speak unfavorably about a fellow Jew, one of G‑d’s children.

The fact that a Jew’s conduct does not reflect these positive qualities does not detract from their existence. Thus the Rambam rules that every Jew, even one who protests the contrary, “wants to be part of the Jewish people and desires to fulfill all the mitzvos and separate himself from sin, and it is only his Evil Inclination which forces him [to do otherwise].” Particularly, in our days, a Jew whose performance of the commandments of the Torah is imperfect must be judged leniently according to the principle of tinok shenishba, (meaning one who was deprived of a childhood environment conducive to Torah observance). Conversely, if despite the pressures of his environment, he fulfills any mitzvah — and, “even the least worthy member of our people possesses as many mitzvos as a pomegranate possesses seeds” — he and his deeds will surely be cherished in the Heavenly Court. Indeed, G‑d takes pride in every Jew as it is written, “Your people are all righteous..., They are the branch of My planting, the work of My hands, in which I take pride.”

If anything, our complaints and demands should be directed toward G‑d, demanding as Moshe did, “O L‑rd, why have You harmed Your people.... You have not saved Your people.” Similarly, we find that Gideon demanded of G‑d, “If G‑d is with us, why has all this befallen us? Where are all His miracles of which our fathers have told us?” G‑d responded to his demand positively, telling him, “Go in this your strength [— in the strength of your positive statements about the Jews —] and you will deliver Israel.” Surely, after all the suffering which our people have endured in exile, particularly, after the suffering of the last generation, it is proper that we cry out to G‑d over the length of the exile, and our demands will hasten the coming of the redemption.

There are those who maintain that the approach of chastising harshly and threatening with Divine retribution has a source, that it reflects the approach of mussar and that of the preachers of the previous generations. Furthermore, they explain, we find the Books of the Prophets full with harsh rebuke and threats of retribution.

There are several replies to such attempts at self-justification: Firstly, during the last several generations, the approach of Chassidus has spread throughout the entire Jewish community. This approach which stresses the fundamental positive qualities which each Jew possesses has been demonstrated to be more effective in drawing Jews closer to G‑dliness and particularly, in drawing close the tinokos shenishba of the present generation.

Furthermore, even according to the approach of mussar itself, there are several faults with such an approach. Mussar requires several prerequisites; among them:

Ahavas Yisrael

It is written, “Listen my son to the mussar of your father,” and “The one who loves [his son] gives himmussar early.” These quotes imply that mussar depends on a father-son relationship. Because a father loves his son with an essential love, he reproves him [and punishes him from time to time]. Nevertheless, the manner in which he does clearly indicates that he loves him with an all-encompassing love.

Similarly, in regard to the mitzvah of rebuking a colleague, the rebukes must be filled with ahavas Yisrael, for loving a fellow Jew is “a great general principle within the Torah,” and indeed, “the entire Torah.”10 This love must be felt by the person receiving the reprove. He must sense that it is being given because the other person loves him.

Humility

A person who gives mussar to others should not try to lift himself above them. Instead, he must try to establish a commonalty with the people he is reproving. It must be obvious that he is making his statements only because he feels pain for the low level of the people and not as a way of raising himself up. Furthermore, he must include himself in the reproof, finding at least in a refined way, similar faults in his own conduct and attempting to correct them. When his listeners see that he is reproving himself as well, his words will evoke a far greater response.

Furthermore, one should have in mind the Baal Shem Tov’s teaching that when a person sees a fault in a colleague, he must realize that his colleague is merely a mirror for him to recognize failings in his own conduct. Therefore, before he criticizes a colleague, he should correct his own faults as our Sages commented, “Correct yourself, and then correct others.”

Thus, when a person reproves others without mentioning any faults in his own conduct or in that of the people surrounding him, and threatens them with severe retribution, without at all indicating that their transgressions cause him pain, and without doing anything to reach out to them in a loving manner and encourage them to observe the Torah and its mitzvos, he cannot say that he is perpetuating the tradition of mussar.

In regard to the reproofs found in the works of prophets: a) The prophets’ words were not their own personal statements, but rather, “the word of G‑d.” When, however, a person makes his own statements, he must speak with mercy and kindness. b) Even in regard to the prophets, we find the prophets being rebuked for making unfavorable statements about the Jews. Although their statements were made with Ruach HaKodesh (Divine inspiration), since they were unfavorable to the Jews, G‑d did not desire them. How much more so is it improper for a person to choose11 to make such statements on his own.12

What is required of us at present is to emphasize the virtues of every Jew and to spread love and unity among the Jewish people. This will nullify the reason for the exile, unwonted hatred. And when the cause is nullified the result will also disappear and we will merit the coming of the redemption when, as it is stated in the Haftorah, “Those lost in the land of Ashur and those dispersed in the land of Egypt will come and bow to G‑d in [His] holy mountain in Jerusalem.”

 

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