2017-10-02, 10:43:59 AM: Ariella: I received this message in Hebrew and had to share it with others. Sometimes we just don't know how influential we are...
A story sent by Chani Dunin, sister of Rivki Holtzberg,
I'll tell you something I've just heard from my husband:
Our Mendi studied in a yeshiva in Netanya, which was located in Hadera, and the structure there is one of the worst you've ever seen, that includes children making traps to catch mice and rats. This resulted in the municipality closing the Yeshiva due to faulty kitchen, etc., and the entire building had already been issued a demolition order.
Then the yeshiva moved to Netanya into the building of another Hassidic group. There, too, there were not good conditions.
From the start, we heard that his Yeshiva was moving to a new building and there was a casting / skeleton, etc.
A few years went by
But no money.
Rabbi Orenstein, Rosh Yeshiva, saved every penny for the new building, and in the middle of last year they entered the new building, even though it was not finished.
In recent days, Rabbi Orenstein has approached three professionals who gave him quotes for the construction of an institutional kitchen. Of course he had chosen the cheapest offer of all.
A person comes full of tattoos and for three days worked non-stop.
When he finished, he said to Rabbi Orenstein: I see that there are many unfinished things in the structure. Ornstein said to him: Yes, when we have money we will get to that, too.
The builder says: What do you care? Let me do this. You saw that I was significantly cheaper than the others.
Good. Rabbi Orenstein gave in.
He worked for a few more days.
Afterwards he presents to Rabbi Orenstein an invoice with NIS 200,000.
Rabbi Orenstein asks:
How many payments can I spread it out?
The young man looks at Rabbi Orenstein for a few minutes in silence, then takes the pen and writes on the invoice:
Rabbi Orenstein does not understand ???
The guy says to him: This is my old debt to Chabad.
And so he says:
As you see me many years ago I lived in India. I was dealing with drugs. I was a successful trader. And I took. One day they caught me. I was condemned to be in prison for very, very long years.
One night I sat in despair in the cell, suddenly the jailer opens the cell and whispers to me you have 2 minutes to get out.
I asked him: What? Why?
Pointed at a man at the end of the corridor and said get out!
I come out and saw a young rabbi whom I do not know, gave me a plane ticket, and told me to get in the taxi. Your flight will soon be flying to Israel and you will not come back here.
I told him: How much to pay you?
He said to me: You do not owe me anything, when the day comes you will return to the Chabad.
Then I knew it was Rabbi Gabi Holtzberg.
And now I am repaying the debt.
In response to a letter from a group of students asking for proofs of the existence of the Creator, the Rebbe replied with a long letter,1 giving 3 different proofs. Historically, the first two proofs are well known and have been given in the past. But, the third is an innovation from the Rebbe.
Former Times reporter looks back on coverage of the event, and what went wrong.
Ari L. Goldman
Special To The Jewish Week
Twenty years ago next week, on the night of Aug. 19, 1991 — the night that Gavin Cato and Yankel Rosenbaum were killed — my editor called me at home to tell me that riots had broken out on the streets of Crown Heights. “We’re covered for tonight but I want you to start your day there tomorrow,” he said.
Over the next three days, working 12 hours shifts and only going home to sleep, I saw and heard many terrible things. I saw police cars set on fire, stores being looted and people bloodied by Billy clubs, rocks and bottles. One woman told me that she barricaded herself into her apartment and put the mattresses on the windows so her children would not be hurt by flying glass.
Over those three days I also saw journalism go terribly wrong. The city’s newspapers, so dedicated to telling both sides of the story in the name of objectivity and balance, often missed what was really going on. Journalists initially framed the story as a “racial” conflict and failed to see the anti-Semitism inherent in the riots. As the 20th anniversary of the riots approaches, I find myself re-examining my own role in the coverage and trying to extract some lessons for myself and my profession.
At the time, I was a religion writer at The New York Times and was well connected in the Lubavitch community, the predominant Jewish group in Crown Heights. I was one of probably a dozen Times reporters and photographers on the streets over the course of the riots. We were a diverse group, representing many religions and racial backgrounds.
My job was to file memos to the main “rewrite” reporters back in the Times office in Manhattan about what I saw and heard. We had no laptops or cellphones in those days so the other reporters and I went to payphones and dictated our memos to a waiting band of stenographers in the home office. The photographers handed their film off to couriers on motorcycles who took the film to the Times.
Yet, when I picked up the paper, the article I read was not the story I had reported. I saw headlines that described the riots in terms solely of race. “Two Deaths Ignite Racial Clash in Tense Brooklyn Neighborhood,” the Times headline said. And, worse, I read an opening paragraph, what journalists call a “lead,” that was simply untrue:
“Hasidim and blacks clashed in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn through the day and into the night yesterday.”
In all my reporting during the riots I never saw — or heard of — any violence by Jews against blacks. But the Times was dedicated to this version of events: blacks and Jews clashing amid racial tensions. To show Jewish culpability in the riots, the paper even ran a picture — laughable even at the time — of a chasidic man brandishing an open umbrella before a police officer in riot gear. The caption read: “A police officer scuffling with a Hasidic man yesterday on President Street.”
I was outraged but I held my tongue. I was a loyal Times employee and deferred to my editors. I figured that other reporters on the streets were witnessing parts of the story I was not seeing.
But then I reached my breaking point. On Aug. 21, as I stood in a group of chasidic men in front of the Lubavitch headquarters, a group of demonstrators were coming down Eastern Parkway. “Heil Hitler,” they chanted. “Death to the Jews.”
Police in riot gear stood nearby but did nothing.
Suddenly rocks and bottles started to fly toward us and a chasidic man just a few feet away from me was hit in the throat and fell to the ground. Some ran to help the injured man but most of us ran for cover. I ran for a payphone and, my hands shaking with rage, dialed my editor. I spoke in a way that I never had before or since when talking to a boss.
“You don’t know what’s happening here!” I yelled. “I am on the streets getting attacked. Someone next to me just got hit. I am writing memos and what comes out in the paper? ‘Hasidim and blacks clashed’? That’s not what is happening here. Jews are being attacked! You’ve got this story all wrong. All wrong.”
I didn’t blame the “rewrite” reporter. I blamed the editors. It was clear that they had settled on a “frame” for the story. The way they saw it, there were two narratives here: the white narrative and the black narrative. And both had equal weight.
After my outburst things got a little better. The next day’s report began like this: “Black youths hurling rocks and bottles scuffled with the police in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn last night, even as Mayor David N. Dinkins tried to personally calm the racially troubled neighborhood after two nights of violence.”
But the Times still had trouble changing its frame. Perhaps most troubling was an article written in the midst of the rioting under this headline: “Amid Distrust in Brooklyn: Boy and Scholar Fall Victim.” The article compared the life of Gavin Cato, the 7-year-old boy killed in the car accident that spurred the riots, and the life of Yankel Rosenbaum, 29, who was stabbed to death later that night. It recycled every newspaper cliché and was an insult to the memory of both victims, but, again, it fit the frame.
“They did not know each other,” the article said. “They had no reason to know… They died unaware….” In the eyes of the Times, the deaths were morally equivalent and had equal weight.
The Times editorial page followed suit. “The violence following an auto accident in Crown Heights reminds all New Yorkers that the city’s race relations remains dangerously strained,” the editorial said. It concluded by praising Mayor Dinkins, giving him credit “for a hard night’s work” and doing “the job that New Yorkers elected him to do.”
The one who first broke the frame and spoke the truth was the fearless poet of the New York newspaper business in those days, Jimmy Breslin, then a columnist for Newsday. He was one of numerous reporters, photographers and television journalists who were beaten or otherwise injured during the riots. In Breslin’s case, he was dragged from a taxi by a group of rampaging young men, pummeled and stripped of his clothes. That night, he vowed to tell the truth of his humiliation, although he anticipated the resistance. “And someone up in the higher echelons of journalism, some moron starts talking about balanced coverage,” he said.
The other person who spoke the truth was the brilliant former executive editor of the Times, A.M. Rosenthal, who by 1991 had become a columnist for the paper. Rosenthal was one of the first journalists at the Times to call the riots what they were. “Pogrom in Brooklyn,” was the headline of his column on Sept. 3, 1991, just two weeks after the riots ended.
“The press,” Rosenthal wrote, “treats it all as some kind of cultural clash between a poverty-ridden people fed up with life and a powerful, prosperous and unfortunately peculiar bunch of stuck-up neighbors — very sad of course, but certainly understandable. No — it is an anti-Semitic pogrom and the words should not be left unsaid.”
It pains me to recall that not many people at the Times took Rosenthal seriously at the time. He had gone from being the editor of a great “liberal” newspaper to being a “conservative” columnist who seemed to return to the same issues over and over again: the security of Israel, anti-Semitism, the persecution of Christians in China and the war on drugs.
But Rosenthal was right about Crown Heights. In 1993, two years after the Crown Heights riots, an exhaustive state investigation sharply criticized Mayor Dinkins for not understanding the severity of the crisis. It also faulted his police commissioner, Lee Brown, for mismanaging the police during the riots.
The critical state report was widely covered in the press. “For the Mayor,” the Times headline said, “A Harsh Light.”
But another report, this one on how the press covered Crown Heights, got little publicity. It was written in 1999 by Carol B. Conaway, then an assistant professor at the College of Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass., and published in an academic journal called Polity. Her article is called “Crown Heights: Politics and Press Coverage of the Race War That Wasn’t.”
“Journalists and their audience alike rely on ‘frames’ when writing about and understanding newsworthy events because they provide cues for understanding others’ experiences,” Conaway wrote. But, she added, sometimes the frames are wrong.
She continued: “The New York Post, a tabloid, shifted away from the race frame to focus on black anti-Semitism within a few days of the initial rampages, while the New York Times persisted with the racial frame for at least two years.
“Yet,” she added, “one cannot understand the events [that unfolded in Crown Heights] without getting beyond the binaries of black versus white encouraged by the use of the race frame, and understanding the more complex dynamics of the conflict.”
As someone who saw the conflict unfold I can attest to this first-hand. I am telling my story in print for the first time because it is important that we journalists examine our mistakes and learn from them. Fitting stories into frames — whether about blacks and Jews, liberals or conservatives, Arabs and Israelis, Catholics and Protestants or Muslims and Jews — is wrong and even dangerous. Life is more complicated than that. And so is journalism.
Read more at http://www.thejewishweek.com/news/new-york-news/telling-it-it-wasnt#f8LIbXZlWju4Vflk.99
President Hassan Rouhani said the last year’s nuclear deal “was the cheapest way to achieve Iran’s goals and interests.”
Speaking in Tehran on Saturday at an iftar meal breaking the Ramadan fast, Rouhani said the pre-Iran nuclear-deal era is past and Iran now needs to take advantage of the new atmosphere to pursue its “national interests more than before,” Iran’s Islamic Republic News Agency reported.
The country’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Saturday called for student associations to establish a “unified anti-US and anti-Zionist front” among the Muslim world’s students, Tasnim News Agency reported.
“By using advanced means of communication and in cyberspace, general campaigns can be formed by Muslim students based on the opposition to the policies of the US and the Zionist regime of Israel so that when needed, millions of young Muslim students create a big movement in the Islamic world,” he said.
When faced with a gruesome enemy, there are two approaches: Retreat in fear, or go on the offensive.
But what if the enemy will pursue you wherever you are, so that retreat is ineffective? The only option then, it would seem, would be to take on your enemy and crush it; you’ve got no choice.
However, what if that goes against your entire way of thinking? If it runs contrary to everything you told yourself about the world around you? Then there is only one option left—and it is the most dangerous of all: deny the reality of the enemy; make believe he does not exist.
Two centuries ago, the French tyrant Napoleon Bonaparte was master of Europe. In Spain, an embattled English army under the Duke of Wellington was resisting his advance. One day a young lieutenant came into the British general's tent clutching a map in his trembling hands:
"Look, General the enemy is almost upon us!"
"Young man," the general replied coolly, "Get larger maps, the enemy won't seem so close."
This sums up the current mind set of many of our leaders.
1. To explain a concept which needs an explanation for yidin, for chassidishe yidin, יראים ושלמים which want to understand the proper thing. Not only to do the right thing, but to understand this right thing.
If we would understand it, then we may also be able to explain it to other yidin also.
2. Many yungerlait ask: they are going away to this or that place for Shabbos, over there exists an eruv, may he carry there? Or may he not carry? Does lubavitch hold of an eruv or does not use an eruv? And if I may not, may my wife or kids carry within it? May I ask a goy to use it for me?
3. An eruv was made by the chazal. Someone who does not hold of an eruv is an apikores. There is no such a thing, that one does not hold of an eruv. Rather one says: that he does not hold of this or that specific eruv.
4.Only very few people know how to make an eruv properly in a city. One has to be a very very big expert. It is harder than making a heart surgery. To make a heart surgery, one needs to be a special expert, a regular doctor cannot make it.
There singular individuals in this generation that know how to make an eruv in a city. Singular people. Yechidim. (eruvin is one of the hardest mesechtes). One has to be a very very big expert to make an eruv.
5.One has to know who made the eruv
“men hot gemacht” “IT WAS MADE”
The first thing I answer to a yungerman who is traveling to a place:
First you have to know if there is even an Eruv. Before you ask if you may carry, you have to know who made it: a name and an address.
This is not enough (If one made an Eruv ten years ago): who is MAshgiach today, every shabbos on the eruv?
An eruv breaks: one builds a road, a goy can break it, or the eruv rips on its own. There has to be the same type of expert who is responsible and achro’I on the eruv every week.
So we need to know two things: who built the eruv, and who is the responsible for the eruv.
6.The same thing is in regards to a mikvo.
In order to build a mikvo, one has to be able to be a בעל הוראה.
And it is not enough, that this or that person built the mikvo ten years ago, one has to know who is responsible for the mikvo today.
7.Someone told me a story:
He went to a mikvo in a city in Italy, and saw that there was no rainwater. So he asks the rabbis of the city: what is going on here?
So the rabbi answers: what do you mean the great rabbi, reb avrohom sofer (the one who printed the Mei’iri) built this mikvo.
Very nice, then there was rainwater, today there is no rainwater, the rainwater was let out.
One has to know who is mashgiach on the mikvo as of today.
8.Afterwards one has to ask the person who is a בר סמכא who made the eruv, and is responsible for the eruv: tell me, what type of eruv did you make? Did you make an eruv which is kosher lemehadrin min hamehadrin, without any questions?
Did you make an eruv which is only good in extraneous cases (sha’as hadechak)? Is this eruv, kosher be’sha;as hadechak, bhefsad meruba l’tzorech orchim For erev Shabbos ?
One type of eruv was made here?
9.In Toronto there is an eruv. It was made by a godol betorah a yid by the name of shlomo miller.
I (,yself asked R. Sholomo Miller about an eruv he made and he told me it is one of the most best (sheinste) Eruvin in America, but Bnei Tora hshouldn’t use it. Bnei Torah means those who are Mehadare B’mitzvos.
He made the eruv, and by him it is poshut, that a mehader should not use the eruv.
10.After one knows who made it, and who is responsible, and that it is an eruv that is kosher for mehadrin according to all shitois and specifically according to the alter rebbe, then in such a case one may carry.
There is also a personal chumra that some individual chasidim have not to use an eruv if it was made with strings (it depends how it is made: there are those that are made with metal. However if it was made with strings), they were חושש that maybe the ruv might rip on Shabbos.
even if it was mehadrim min hamehadrim, because if it is made with strings it may have broken etc.
But this is just a chumra of individuals.
(This wouldn’t apply in a bungalow where you can always see the whole time if it broke or not, however in a big city.).
This was a personal chumro for those that were choishesh.
Part 2: The Eruv in Crown Heights
1.They say that an eruv was made here (in crown heights).
To explain the idea, I want to be makpid:
One time someone had a kid and didn’t make a pidyon haben. When he was asked why he didn’t make a pidyon haben he answered that there are 3 reasons why he didn’t. 1) My wife is a bas levi. 2) There was a miscarriage before and 3) the baby is a girl.
It’s understood that the first two factors are moot when the third factor is present.
2. So too about the Eruv here in Crown Heights. There are 3 problems with it.
1) No one knows who made it.
People speak, yungelait made it, people made it….
If someone (mister …) came from new jersey, and opened up a butcher shop and we had no idea who the schochtim, mashgiach, rav hamachshir, menakrim, bodkim etc. are no one would think of eating from the meat.
So too the Eruv in crown heights, not one person knows who actually made the Eruv and who is responsible for its building
2) Even if we would know who built the eruv, however There is no one taking responsibility for the continued kashrus of the Eruv after it was built. It could be that by the next shabbos it was broken, by bochurim, by…, by weather etc. maybe they built something there, maybe a big truck had to go through, and they took down the eruv?
This is the second reason:
The third reason is:
3) You can’t make an Eruv in crown Heights. You can’t period.
It is a Reshus harabim de’oiraiso.
Eastern Parkway and Empire Blvd is mufulash and open.
Over here, one cannot make an eruv.
3. It is not like Borugh Park. Over there big Rabbonim made the eruv, and there is a makhlokes if you can make an Eruv or not. Big Rabonim say you could make an Eruv there and other . there was always a machlokes.
One knows who are the rabbonim for every side. We knows names of big rabbonim who made, and we know of those who argue with it.
However, there is not one reliable Rov who says that is possible to make an Eruv in Crown Heights. There is not one rov, who has עפעס וואס א שייכות to הוראה who says that it is even possible in metzius to make an eruv here.
4. Therefore there is bichlal no eruv here.
One should explain to the people, that there is no eruv.
The Eruv is not posul, there is no eruv. The same way A Mikve without rain water is not a posule Mikve, it is not a Mikve in the first place. It may be a beautiful mikvo, a boir with a shower, and all good things, but it is missing rain water. It is not posul, rather it is not even a mikvo. The eruv is not posul, rather it is “gornishit mit gornisht”. this has to be explained to people.
5. And even if one will teach himself how to make an eruv: he will take lessons, learn how to make an eruv and his parnosso is: that he is travelling all over America making eruvin: it does not work.
A heart surgeon can’t just start and learn about making a surgery on the heart. he has to first be a general doctor, and he first has to learn about all the limbs and how the body works, and only then when he knows it well, can he become a specialist in this field.
An am ho’oretz gomur who taught hiself how to make an eruv or mikvo? It can’t be, it can’t be such a thing.
A mikvo has to be made by a בעל הוראה, not by a choshuve askan who taught himself how to make a mikvo. We have to give him kovoid, because he is a choshuve askan, and all such things.
However if he is not a בעל הוראה and he does not learn גמ' מיט תוס' מיט מלחמות און בעל המאור , and this is not his inyan, which he learns his whole life, then he has no שייכות to making a mikvo. And one cant ask him sha’alois, or rely on his to be responsible for a mikvo.
6. Even if he was in Yeshiva the best bochur, but hasn’t learned anything in 30 years, he cannot be relied upon. Having learned once upon a time is not enough.
With regards to the defense policy in Eretz Yisroel the Rebbe said that you have to ask those in the army. The Rebbe was answered that the politicians were once in the Army. The Rebbe said that those politicians are not currently in the army, but are in politics and therefore mix politics into to everything so you can’t rely on their opinion about defense.
If he is someone who learnt once upon a time, but today he sits and involves himself only in building eruvin, is gornisht and is not שייך to this.
7. Even if one would say he learns. But here we are talking about a case: where a guy without a name made it, and a guy without a name is responsible for it, and everybody admits that one can’t make an eruv here.
Not one reliable person (Bar Samcha) has said that you are able to make an eruv in Crown Heights.
Even if there would be a machlookes, and one reliable person who said it is possible and another reliable person who said you may not, it would still be a sofek dorisa of chilul Shabbos.
In actuality there isn’t even one reliable person who said it is doable. (ed. Note :And this was repeated).
But even if there was, and another disagreed (it was half and half and not a רוב and מיעוט), even in such a case it is a sofeik de;oiraiso.
So how can one carry? How can one carry?
This is aside from the fact, that this is going against the alter rebbe, and this is going against the rebbe. All this together.
This is a very very dangerous thing.
8.I think, that if one explains this to people who … I think that good amount will accept this.
It depends how this is explained.
Part 3: Our obligation in the current situation:
1. If one goes in the street and sees someone carrying one Shabbos, and one does not say anything, is he giving them his hoskoma. one must say something. One must not let it go, that is called giving it a haskomo.
It should be bdarchei noam uvdarchei sholom, but you must say something. One has to make it clear to the עולם.
2. Someone who was educated here, someone grew up here and was educated here …
If someone who grew up somewhere else and yesterday he came here from the ,ערי חושך, and doesn’t know anything about rabonim etc. he is a poshite person and hears there is an eruv here and carries, he is considered a Mechale Shabbos Bshogeg.
However, If someone who grew up in our Mosdos, he knows everything, he knows what all the Rabonim say and still uses the Eruv, he is considered a Mechale Shabbos Bmeizid.
( He probably carried before there was an Eruv also when no one was looking).
He is a mechalel Shabbos be’meizid.
I do not want to say, but it is a רחמנות גדול
Of course there is a mitzvo of ahavas yisroel, and one has to be bring him closer and be mekarev him, but it is a רחמנות גדול א גרויסע רחמות מיט אלע גדרים.
We have to to explain to the oilam what this all is:
The Eruv is non-existent (gor nit mit gor nit).
3. When a bochur gets married, he has to make sure there are no questions on the ed kidushin, if he is called a mechalel Shabbos or he is not called a mechalel shabbos.
When someone goes to eat in a restaurant or from another’s house he has to make sure the bread is considered pas yisroel, and the wine isn’t considered yayin nesach.
He has to make sure to be mevarer this, so there is no shaalo, it should not be that the guy is cholilo a meizid.
4. I hope there aren’t such people, one has to be very much carefull in such things. This is a very serious matter. Cholilo if one plays with the Shabbos!
There are enough other things that have been played with, but now are we going to play with the Shabbos?
This is a great danger if one plays with the Shabbos.
To play with the Alter Rebbe and the Rebbe in his daled amos is a gread pachad, a great pachad.
We have to see that one person makes it clear to the other, and explain this to the people bdarchei noam vdarchei sholom.
Hashem should help that there should be Sholom Al Yisroel.
*** (from someone elses account as posted in a comment on collive.com.)
it's hard to believe the confusion of the country. the zoo does the moral thing and kills a monkey to ensure the safety of a little boy and there are those who doubt that this was the right and moral choice.
this is what happens when morality is relative and subject to the fad of the hour.
the monkey in fact is a creation of the Almighty. he may be a majestic, wondrous creature but he's an animal. he will always remain an animal. a human on the other hand was created in the image of G-d Almighty. With a soul and the freedom to make moral choices.
non believers are making a big noise recently about the their belief system. but what belief system do they have already. they just deny the beliefs of others and offer no purpose or reason for being of their own. their beliefs can only exist as they feed of the beliefs of others but they are totally empty of any meaning on to themselves.
now we see clearly what it leads to, those who are so happy to put a human child's life into mortal danger to save the life of a monkey.
Another defining aspect of Jewish kingship is that he has
fear of G-d and does not fear any man. In this aspect the Lubavitcher Rebbe also
excelled, as he was never afraid to announce the uncompromising stance that
Torah demanded no matter how unpopular it may have been.
For instance, when the Rebbe first arose to leadership of
Chabad in 5711, he immediately declared that it was time for the people “to go
to the nations and bring people close to their father in heaven”
And so began the Chabad Jewish outreach movement to reawaken Jews around the
world to the Torah and its commandments. Many within the Orthodox community
questioned the Rebbe at the time and even ridiculed his idealism. Upon the
success of this international effort which has resulted in over 3,000 Chabad
institutions in 70 countries,
outreach among non-religious Jews become a staple of the very same groups which
ridiculed it, who now even claim credit for the concept.
The Rebbe spoke out vociferously and persistently often
when he was the lone dissenter, against those who proposed to relinquish parts
of the Land of Israel for promises of peace. He expressed his views in the most
uncertain terms to members of the Israeli government to the highest levels of
the military and officers. For an index of the Rebbe’s public statements and
talks on this issue see: http://www.truepeace.org/thecry/talks_index.htm.
We will speak more of the Rebbe’s battles on this issue
in the later section about “fighting the wars of G-d”. Such apolitically
correct statements such as this: Shabbos Noach, Second Day of Rosh Chodesh
MarCheshvan, 5731: 11th Shevat, 5731: “People are hushing up the fact that
there was an agreement to give away Hebron — and there is an obligation to
protest against this agreement.”
In other unpopular moves, the Rebbe persistently appealed
to religious members of the Knesset to preserve the character of who is a
Jew-in demanding that only Orthodox conversion be recognized.
THE KING IS THE HEART OF THE JEWISH PEOPLE
We are told that another sign of a Jewish king is that he
is the “heart of the entire congregation of Israel”(SOURCE). Since the Rebbe began giving out dollars for Tzodoka
over a million men women and children had crossed his path and accepted his
blessings on problems ranging from health to business to education to military
strategy. Whether observant or not, Ashkenazi or Sephardic, Hasidic or not,
learned or unlearned, Kabblaists, Rabbis, Roshei
Yeshivos, Army Generals, Members of the Knesset, members of the American
and Israeli army and children of all ranks would flock often waiting hours each
Sunday to enjoy even a brief moment in the Rebbe’s presence, receive a
blessing, a word of comfort and advice.
Bearing all the above in mind it is no wonder that talks
from the years 1991-1992 were entitled
“Dvar Malchus” (lit. “The word of the King”).
the house of David”
It is known that the members of the Chabad
dynasty of Hasidic masters are descendents of the House of David. The first of
this dynasty, the Alter Rebbe is
the seventh generation son after son from the Maharal of Prague, Rabbi Judah Loew
who traces his own lineage back to King David by way of Yochanan HaSandler is
an accepted member of the Davidic dynasty (as recorded on his headstone).
The Rebbe is the seventh generation
descendent of the Alter Rebbe through the Alter Rebbe’s daughter as well as the
fifth generation in a direct line from father to son from Tzemach Tzedek
(his namesake). Chabad Chassidim maintain a tradition that the Tzemach Tzedek
was a direct father-son descendant from the Maharal through his father Rabbi
Shalom Shachna. These are facts which the Rebbe himself
confirmed when he stated: “…the Rebbes of Chabad, who trace their lineage back to the House of
King David of the tribe of Judah...” In addition, he [the Rebbe’s father Rabbi
Levi Yitzhak Schneerson] actually descends from the offspring of David”
“who involves himself deeply in Torah…like
David his ancestor”
“involves himself deeply in Torah” (Hebrew Hogeh BaTorah) is a term used by the
sages of the Talmud to refer to one who is fluent in the entire Talmud and its
commentaries and then is able to compare different ideas in the Torah and
create novel conclusions of his own.
Therefore, what the Rambam demands of a Messianic candidate here is a rare
blend of breadth combined with depth of Torah knowledge.
How do the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s accomplishments match up to this standard?
The Rebbe’s father the noted Kabbalist, scholar and the Rav of
testified that “upon the Rebbe’s Bar Mitzva (when the Rebbe was 13 years old)
he was already a Gaon Olam”.
“This Hebrew phrase is used to refer to a Torah giant that is among the
greatest of a particular generation.”
Torah giant Rabbi Yaakov Landau
testified that when the Rebbe was 17 years old, he was already expert in Shas
(the entire Talmud) with all the commentaries of the Rishonim.While still a
young unmarried man, the Rebbe exchanged ideas in written correspondance with
some of the greatest minds in his generation such as the breathtakingly
scholarly correspondence between the Rebbe and the RogatchoverGaon.,A perusal of the Rebbe’s letters to his father, also written while the
Rebbe was young demonstrate his comfort with all aspects of Jewish law and
mysticism as can be seen in the published work entitled Likueite Levi Yitzchak.
Torah genius Rabbi Meir of
Lublin, after having an extended Torah discussion with the Rebbe before the Rebbe’s wedding
told the Previous Rebbe (the Rebbe’s father-in-law) “Lubavitcher Rebbe, you are
taking (for your self) a Gaon Olam (Torah giant) for a groom”.
In a well-known story among
Lubavitcher Chassidim, we are told that when the Rebbe came to the shores of
America while his father-in-law was still in charge of Chabad, the previous
Rebbe sent four individuals to greet him. They asked how they would recognize
the young Rabbi Schneerson. The previous Rebbe responded that they should be
looking for someone who does tikkun chatzos every night, knows the entire Bavli
by heart, with the Ran the Rosh and the Rif and the Yerushalmi with its
commentaries and also Rambam and Likueti Torah with all of the glosses)
but wears his hat brim down in the front
(an uncharacteristic style for a Torah scholar at that time) thereby fooling
half the world (as to his genius and piety). All
the above accomplishments speak only to the Rebbe’s scholarship before taking on the mantle of
leadership of Chabad when the Rebbe was only 48 years old.
While the head of the Chabad
movement, he went on to publish 39 volumes of Likutei Sichos, and over 30 in
depth discourses on hasidic philosophy, and today there are over 100 different published works, English
translations and adaptations of his Torah insights. He also published 25 volumes of Igros Kodesh
which are a collection of the Rebbe’s letters to people seeking the Torah view
on an unlimited range of topics, written to everyone from the simplest Jew
until great Righteous scholars and Kabbalaists, such as the Baba Sali.
As of this writing there over
200 volumes of his teachings have been published in which one can find insight
into every page of the Talmud, Rambam, legal rules on Jewish law and custom,
explanations of Kabbalah and Chassidus. The Rebbe’s depth of knowledge is most
notable, spanning all four levels of Torah known as Pshat (the plain meaning)
Remez (the hinted meaning) Drush (moral lessons) and Sod (mystical secrets).
A glance at the Rebbe’s
published informal talks demonstrates his breadth of knowledge as he wound
every part of the Torah in his informal talks as if the entire written and oral
Torah and all of they mystical works were at his fingertips. One can hardly
read his informal talks for more than a sentence without a source in Torah
being quoted or alluded to.
Each Shabbat the Rebbe would
sit and would give over these formal and informal discourses before a
congregation of thousands of learned scholars in Torah, Rabbis and Rosh
yeshivas for hours straight. Each address was worthy to be memorized and
published after Sabbath or Yom Tov and distributed throughout the world to
Chassidim who waited anxiously for their arrival. One would be hard-pressed to
find a Torah scholar who has attempted, let alone succeeded in such a feat in
our recent history.
The unique scholarship of the
Rebbe is best appreciated when one understands that Torah scholars generally
fall into the categories of one who excels in practical halacha, others who expound the theoretical aspects of the Talmud
and those who are mystics. Rarely do we find such a person whose greatness in
study of Talmud and its commentaries is only surpassed by his knowledge of
Jewish law and mysticism, which is only surpassed by his knowledge of Tanach
and Jewish history and philosophy and is able to weave all these aspects
together in his talks on a weekly basis.
Noteworthy was the Rebbe’s groundbreaking
new ways to learn Rashi. He published books that teach the basic axioms
necessary to learn Rashi properly. His philosophy was to connect the simple
meaning of Rashi, which even a five year old can understand, with the
understanding of one who has delved deeply in halacha and Jewish mysticism. The Rebbe accomplished this feat on a
regular basis, a feat with which the Rebbe eventually became known in the
Rebbe’s signature “Rashi Sichos”. (Rashi speeches).
The Rebbe’s style of learning
was characterized with the great care for the details of the Torah, which
others may not find important. For instance, the Rebbe spoke publicly and
vociferously to clarify the unpopular but proper shapes of the Original Tablets
(Luchos) given on Sinai (which were perfectly square) and the branches of the
Menorah (whose branches spread out diagonally, not in a rounded manner-See
Rambam Laws of Kings). For generations people were mistaken in this matter. To
the Rebbe it was extremely important while it may not have seemed so important
The reach of the Rebbe’s
scholarship was broad. To give a glimpse of the wide reach of the Rebbe’s
knowledge, consider that his published works include new insights into several
sections of Talmud (Gittin, Kesubos, Shabbos and others), insights in to the
works of Maimonides, Ethics of our Fathers, the Laws of the Holy Temple, how to
learn Rashi, Glosses on the Code of Jewish law written by Schner Zalman of
Liadi, the laws of the Holy Temple, customs and reasons for procedure in the
Passover Hagada, explanation on the Tanya, insight into the commandment to give
charity, deeper understanding of the Messiah and Redemption, Lessons in the
service of G-d, Science and technology in light of Chasidic philosophy,
marriage and the dating process, on having trust in G-d and the list goes on
and on. To this day, more and more of
his teachings are being published with no end in sight to the process.
“Like David his ancestor”
It is interesting to note that
that Rambam says that the presumed Moshiach will study Torah “Like David
his ancestor”. King David was noted that his dedication to learning was so
strong that midnight never passed him without him waking at that time to study
through the night..
Similarly, the Rebbe rarely slept. In his later years he would accept private
audiences only until midnight because the rest of his time was dedicated to
The Rebbe’s speech and actions
revealed his personality as a Torah scholar in every sense of the words. In the
spirit of the Torah’s advice to not waste one’s speech, the Rebbe would talk
for hours upon hours at the regularly held Hasidic gatherings and each word he
spoke was necessary, uplifting and instructive. See Rambam Hilchos yesodie
hatorah (SOURCE) “say little and speak
much”. So careful with speech, was the Rebbe that he would always correct one
who said they were involved in doing outreach to people who are “distant” from
Judaism. The Rebbe would explain to them that a “Jew” is really what they are
in essence and therefore they can never be distant from their Judaism.
Also following the lead of the
Torah, the Rebbe used euphamisms to avoid articulating negative concepts, it is
difficult to find the Rebbe using the words death or an evil person, because he
would say, the opposite of good (hepech ha tov) and one who is not righteous.
The Rebbe was careful himself and instructed others not call hospitals “Beis
Cholim”-houses of the sick but rather “Beis Refuah”-”Houses of Healing”-as
hospitals should never be considered a place
in which disease is prolonged.
Even mundane activities such as the way he
dated his letters or stroked his mustache before beginning as speech were later
found to have sources in obscure Torah sources (SOURCE
IN WOLPO’s BOOK) (See the introduction to Igros Meleach). Before
reciting his formal discourse he would stroke his mustache with his fingers so
that it would go to each side. Rav Walpo
found the source for this in the Zohar Idra Rabba Pashas Naso 134:A
These are just a few examples
of how the Rebbe “occupied himself in Torah “like David his ancestor” this was
true to such an extent that Torah was expressed in every aspect of his being.
“and occupied in the observance of
the Mitzvos as prescribed by the written and oral Torah like David his
“occupied” (Hebrew Osek) in the Mitzvos is another technical Torah term used in
the Talmud to refer to one who not only
does the Mitzvos when they are convenient, but is willing to extenuate himself
in order to do the Mitzvos.
While the Rebbe was a very private person and it is difficult to know the
details of his observance, from the little that we are privy to we could hardly
find a better example of someone who sacrificed his own needs for the
performance of the mitzvos.
The book Yemei
Melech records shocking tales of self-sacrifice for even a hiddur Mitzva of the
Rebbe when he was in Europe before World War II and during the war. For instance how he and his wife worked
tirelessly in those difficult time for hiddur in Pas Yisroal and Chalav Yisroel-not
only for themselves but also for other Jews around them.
See there the
special hidurim the Rebbe took for Kashrus and baking Matzos under conditions
that were dangerous to life. And
acquiring a beautiful Esrog with self sacrifice at the time of the war and
unbelievable effort at risk of his own life to acquire Karpas for the Seder
plate. All this at time when darkness covered the earth and according to the
letter of the law there was no need for such beatifications for actions of that
sort at all.
When we see the
Rebbe’s self-sacrifice for even beatifications of a Mitzvah it is obvious how
careful he was with what Jewish law did
The book speaks
of when he heard that the Nazis …(get story from Wolpo’s book) that visited his
house in Paris, they put him in line for “Orthodoxy” which can be even for not
Jews. The Rebbe ran to the office of the murderers and asked them to change it
to say that he was a Jew. And this was long after he knew why they were writing
We know from the statement of
his father-in-law that the Rebbe practiced Tikkun Chatzos.
At a young age his father Rabbi
Levi Schneerson in his letters urged the Rebbe not to do to fast too much.
-His behavior with regard to
sleeping and eating seemed to almost defy the laws of nature. Over his ninety
years he appeared to have trained his body in holiness that allowed him to do
much more than is normally accepted under the laws of nature.
-Most of the days of the week
food didn’t pass his lips until the late hours of the day.
-This was especially so when he
would pray by his father in law’s gravesite, because on those days he would
fast. Some weeks the Rebbe went to the gravesite as many as four times.
- His nights were dedicated to
learning Torah and prayer, unless he was having private audiences with guests
which he accepted regularly for decades three times a week.
It was not an uncommon
occurance that after meeting with visitors throughout Saturday night and Sunday
morning, the Rebbe would be found on Sunday standing on his feet, to greet
thousands of Jews who would pass by him to get a blessing or advice for six to
seven hours straight. The Rebbe continued to give out dollars in that fashion
into his nineties.
Incidentally, when asked how he
did not tire from standing for so many hours without a break he responded,
“When one is counting diamonds (referring to each visitor) you don’t get
interesting to note explanation of the word Osek BeMitzvos is that Osek which
means occupied is a word used in Hebrew to refer to doing business. A business
man is unique in that he is not involved in enjoying his own merchandise but
making sure that it is available to others. That is to say that a business man
is Osek with his merchandise which means he busies himself with making sure it
is available to others (Source Yechi Hamelech Hamoshiach pg. 202)
definition, the Rebbe also fits the bill like no other. One of the most notable
characteristics of the Rebbe is his relentless commitment to ensure the
fulfillment of the Mitzvos by every boy and girl Jewish in the entire world.
This goal took a central role in his thought and his speech throughout his
When examining the Rebbe’s accomplishments one
should ponder: What other leader do we know of for whom a man putting on tefillin in new Zealand or a girl
lighting Shabbos candles in Hong Kong or the learning of a small boy in Alaska
or of a Jew eating Maztah or lighting
Hanukah candles or giving Sheloach Manos of Jewish soldiers in Israel was
relevant to his very being, to the point where he worked in this with all his
strength, not even thinking about the
trouble or the money that this costs him
(as we will explain later in greater detail in the section about
“Compelling all the Jewish people…).
wonder how one who was so accomplished in learning, as explained above, could
also be so involved in outreach. It is true, that in the natural way of the
world, when someone dedicates himself to public matters, it causes a weakness
in his learning and in making new Torah
insights. But here we see that the more that his Esek in Mitzvos increased to
greater and greater levels the more he continued with more and more insights
and discourses and books, while at the same time sending off tens more new shluchim to bring thousands of more
sparks of the light of Torah and Mitzvos in the entire world. While the
wellsprings of his Torah teachings in speech and in writing grew in ever
 Shneur Zalman of
Liadi (Hebrew: שניאור זלמן מליאדי) (September 4, 1745 – December 15, 1812 O.S.), was an Orthodox
Rabbi, and the founder and first Rebbe of Chabad, a branch of Hasidic Judaism,
then based in Liadi, Imperial Russia. He was the author of many works, and is
best known for Shulchan Aruch HaRav, Tanya and his Siddur Torah Or compiled
according to Nusach Ari. He is also known as Shneur Zalman Baruchovitch, Reb
Schneur Zalman, RaZaSh, Baal HaTanya vehaShulchan Aruch, the Alter Rebbe
("Old Rebbe" in Yiddish), the GRaZ or The Rav.
 Judah Lew ben
Bezalel ("Judah Loew son of Bezalel", also written as Yehudah ben
Bezalel Levai [or Loew], 1525 – 17 September 1609 or 18 Elul 5369 according to
the Hebrew calendar)
was an important Talmudic scholar, Jewish mystic, and philosopher who served as
a leading rabbi in Prague (now in the Czech Republic) for most of his life. He
is widely known to scholars of Judaism as the Maharal of Prague, or simply as
the Maharal (מהר"ל- MaHaRaL is the Hebrew acronym of
Moreinu ha-Rav Loew, "Our Teacher the Rabbi Loew"). His descendants'
surnames include Loewy and Lowy.
 Menachem Mendel
Schneersohn (1789-1866) also known as the Tzemach Tzedek was the third Rebbe
(spiritual leader) of the Chabad Hasidic movement. The Tzemach Tzedek was born in
Liozna, on 29 Elul 5549. His mother Devorah Leah died just three years later,
and her father Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi raised him as his own son. He
married his first cousin Chaya Mushka, daughter of Rabbi Dovber Schneuri. After
his father-in-law/uncle's death, and a three-year interregnum during which he
tried to persuade the hasidim to accept his brother-in-law Menachem-Nachum
Schneuri or his uncle Chaim-Avraham Boruchovitch as their leade, he assumed the
leadership of Lubavitch on the eve of Shavuot 5591 (1831).
NOTE: See the extensive discussion
of the genealogy in Yechi Hamelech HaMoshiach by Rabbi Shalom Dov Wolpo pg.
 Levi Yitzchak
Schneerson, (1878-1944), was a Chabad Hasidic rabbi in Yekatrinoslav, Ukraine.
Born in 1878 in the town of Podrovnah (near Gomel) to his parents, Rabbi Baruch
Schneur and Zelda Rachel Schneerson.
Schneerson lived in Nikolaiev until 1909, when he was appointed to serve
as the Rabbi of Yekatrinoslav. In 1939 he was arrested by the communist regime
for his fearless stance against the Party's efforts to eradicate Jewish
learning and practice in the Soviet Union. After more than a year of torture and
interrogations in Stalin's prisons, he was sentenced to exile to the interior
of Russia. There he died in 1944. Schneerson was a distinguished Kabbalist.
Some of his writings have been published under the name Likutei Levi Yitschok.
Most of it, however, was burned or confiscated by the Soviet authorities, and
have yet to be returned to the Chabad movement.
 Rabbi Yaakov
Landau, who served as the chief rabbi of Bnei Brak for 40 years (1936-1986).
Yemei Melech pg. 155. Rishonim literally "the
first," or "the former," is a term referring to the leading Rabbis and Poskim who lived approximately from 1250 to
1500, that is in the era before the writing of the Shulchan Aruch and following
 The Rogatchover
Gaon, Yosef Rosen (1858 - 1936), also known by the name of his main work
Tzafnath Paneach, was a Rabbi and one of the prominent Talmudic scholars of the
early 20th century, known as a "Gaon" (genius) because of his
photographic memory and razor-sharp mind.
was born in Rogachev, now in Belarus, in a Hasidic family of Kapuster Hasidim
and was educated in the local cheder (Torah school for small children). His
unusual capabilities were noticed at age thirteen, when he was sent to study
with Rabbi Chaim Soloveitchik, five years his senior, then in Slutzk. He
subsequently studied under Rabbi Moshe Yehoshua Leib Diskin (Maharil Diskin) in
Shklov. He then assumed the rabbinate of the Hasidic community in Dvinsk, where
his non-Hasidic counterpart was Rabbi Meir Simcha of Dvinsk; and they served in
parallel until the late 1920's.
Rebbe received his Rabbinical ordination from the Rogatzover Gaon.
the book Yechi HaMelech HaMoshiach Rabbi Sholom Dov Wolpo 1992 Kiryat Gat pg.
Tzemach Tedek which run throughout that sefer)
LOOK IN YEMEI MELECH pg. 536 for the
 Rabbi Yisrael
Abuhatzeira was the scion of a family of great Talmudical scholars and Ba’alei
Mofet (individuals who have the ability through prayer of performing miracles).
The name Abuchatzeira comes to the fore in the person of Rabbi Shmuel
Abuhatzeira, who was described by Rabbi Chaim Joseph David Azulai (the Chida)
as an Ish Elokim Kadosh - "a holy man of God". Shmuel’s son, Masud
(Moshe in Hebrew), became the Rabbi in the Moroccan city of Tafilalt, and was
followed in this position by his son, Yaakov, known as the Abir Yaakov,
("Prince of Yaakov"). His eldest son, named Masud after his
grandfather, was the father of Rabbi Yisrael, the Baba Sali, who soon
distinguished himself by his devotion to Torah study and service of God. His
potential for greatness was recognized by his father, who encourged
Sali settled in Netivot, adjacent to the Yeshivat HaNegev. Because of his great
influence, the Negev began to blossom spiritually, and thousands of Jews
returned to their religious roots in Torah Judaism. The influence of this great
Tzadik ("righteous person") extended far beyond Netivot, the Moroccan
Jewish community and Israel and he became a cherished leader of the world