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Shabbos Parshas Ha'azinu, Shabbos Teshuvah

Tzom Gedaliah

   4th Day of Tishrei, 5751

The Blessing to the Shluchim

Yom Kippur, 5751

The Blessing Delivered at the Distribution of Esrogim

First Night of Sukkos, 5751

Second Night of Sukkos, 5751

Third Night of Sukkos, 5751

Fourth Night of Sukkos, 5751

Fifth Night of Sukkos, 5751

Tzivos Hashem

Sixth Night of Sukkos, 5751

Hosha'ana Rabbah, 5751

Night of Simchas Torah, 5751

Shabbos Parshas Bereishis

Yechidus

Shabbos Parshas Noach

Shabbos Parshas, Lech Lecha

Shabbos Parshas Vayeira

Shabbos Parshas Chayei Sarah

Shabbos Parshas Toldos

Shabbos Parshas Vayeitze

Shabbos Parshas Vayishlach

Shabbos Parshas Vayeishev

Kollel Tiferes Zkeinim Levi Yitzchok & Chochmas Nashim

Yechidus

Shabbos Parshas Mikeitz, Shabbos Chanukah

Shabbos Parshas Vayigash

Sichos In English
Volume 46

Tzom Gedaliah
4th Day of Tishrei, 5751
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  3rd Day of Tishrei, 57517th of Tishrei, 5751  

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1

We are presently in the midst of the Ten Days of Repentance. Concerning them, the Rambam writes: "Although repentance and calling out to G-d are always desirable, this is particularly true in the Ten Days between Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur."

The expression, "the Ten Days between Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur," is somewhat problematic since in actuality, there are only seven days between the two holidays. This indicates that there are two dimensions to Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur, an essential quality which they possess and also a dimension shared by the other Ten Days of Repentance.

The essential aspects of Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur are complementary. Indeed, Yom Kippur is also referred to as Rosh HaShanah. As explained in Likkutei Torah, the external dimensions of the service they share are revealed on Rosh HaShanah and the internal dimensions are revealed on Yom Kippur. Nevertheless, the manner of expression of this service differs. On Rosh HaShanah, we are commanded to "eat succulent foods and drink sweet beverages because this day is holy unto your G-d." In contrast, Yom Kippur is a day of fasting.

Indeed, the only fast which is a positive commandment of the Torah, is the fast of Yom Kippur. All the other fasts are Rabbinic in origin. Nevertheless, as explained in Chassidus, the Rabbinic commandments are not additions to the mitzvos of the Torah -- for it is forbidden to add or detract from the Torah's commands -- but rather, extensions of them. Thus, the Rabbinic commandment of fasting is an extension of the mitzvah of Yom Kippur for it is the only mitzvah of the Torah which focuses on this activity.

[There are differences between the fast of Yom Kippur and most of the Rabbinic fasts. For example, on Yom Kippur, there are "five afflictions," while on most of the Rabbinic fasts, only eating and drinking are forbidden. On Yom Kippur, the fast begins at nightfall, while on most of the Rabbinic fasts, the fast does not begin until daybreak. These, however, are particular elements. Although the Rabbinic mitzvos have their source in the mitzvos of the Torah, they are not totally analogous to them. On the contrary, the Rabbis considered the difficulty which might be caused to the people when instituting their commandments and, therefore, showed leniencies.]

Since the Rabbinic fasts have their source in Yom Kippur, hence they are all, like Yom Kippur, considered "days of will."[24] In Talmudic times, there were more fasts as recorded in Megillas Ta'anis. Subsequently, most of those fasts were nullified and only five Rabbinic fasts remained. According to the annual cycle -- although chronologically, the tragic event it commemorates occurred after the other fasts connected with the destruction of the Beis HaMikdash -- the first of these fasts is the Fast of Gedaliah.

There is a unique dimension to the Fast of Gedaliah. It is the only one of these fasts which is never held on the day of the tragedy which it commemorates. Gedaliah's murder took place on the second day of Rosh HaShanah and since, as mentioned above, that holiday should be celebrated by "eating succulent foods and drinking sweet beverages," the fast is postponed to the following day.

This year, there is an added postponement and, because of Shabbos, the fast is not held on the day when it is usually held. In the Talmud, there is an opinion that once a fast is postponed, it should be nullified entirely. Although, in practice, this opinion is not accepted, the postponement of a fast does strengthen our hope in the coming of the Messianic era during which all fasts will be nullified entirely, and indeed, transformed into festivals and days of rejoicing.[25]

2

There is another dimension in which the Fast of Gedaliah is unique. The Haftorah recited on fast days begins with the verse, "Seek the L-rd when He is to be found, call upon Him when He is near." Our Sages explain that this refers to "the Ten Days between Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur." Then, G-d is "near" and accessible to each and every Jew. For this reason, the prayers of an individual recited at this time have the same potential as communal prayer throughout the year. [Needless to say, during this period, communal prayer itself is lifted to an even higher level.]

The importance of every individual Jew is also reflected in the concluding verse of the Haftorah, "I will yet gather others to him besides those already gathered." G-d, Himself, "the Gatherer of the dispersed of Israel," forsakes all other matters and gathers each individual Jew to Eretz Yisrael. Not only does He gather "those already gathered," i.e., the Jews who join in communal activities, He also seeks out each individual Jew.

May we see the fulfillment of these prophecies in the near future with the coming of the Messianic redemption when these days will be transformed into festivals. The Messianic redemption is intrinsically related to the Fast of Gedaliah, since both Gedaliah and Mashiach, stem from the House of David. Thus, the murder of Gedaliah must be transformed and we will see the true "greatness of G-d" (the meaning of the name Gedaliah), as it is written, "The L-rd is great... in the city of our G-d," i.e., G-dliness will be revealed in Jerusalem, in the Third Beis HaMikdash.[26]

There is a unique connection to the above this year because it is connected with a threefold repetition of a threefold pattern.[27] Furthermore, this year, we read the portion, Zos HaBerachah, "This is the blessing...", for three successive weeks. These three weeks compensate for and bring about the transformation of the Three Weeks of Retribution. Thus, together with the Seven Weeks of Comfort, there is a full ten week period which is positive in nature.

{The Rebbe Shlita concluded the gathering by distributing three dollars to each individual to be given to tzedakah.}

Address by the Lubavitcher Rebbe

Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, Shlita to the Members of the Machne Israel Development Fund, Wednesday, Tishrei 7, 5751

Excerpts from an Address to the Members of the Machne Israel Development Fund

Wednesday, Tishrei 7, 5751

Each day provides us with a unique lesson from the Torah. The weekly Torah portion is divided into seven sections and thus, there is a particular reading which gives direction for each day of the week.

Today's Torah reading begins, "Rejoice Zevulun in your [business] excursions and Yissachar in your homes."[28] This message is particularly appropriate to our present gathering. Zevulun represents a person occupied in business,[29] an individual who, like each of you who have gathered here today, sees his personal mission in commercial enterprise. The Torah tells such a person to "Rejoice," assuring him of happiness and satisfaction in his/her efforts.

Zevulun's activity is associated with "going out." From Biblical times onward, successful commerce has required travel. Indeed, even today, a businessman generally does not sit at home, but rather spends a substantial amount of time at his office. Nevertheless, this activity brings about satisfaction and happiness.

Why does Zevulun rejoice? Firstly, because he develops and exercises his individual potential to its fullest extent. He constantly challenges himself and strives to perfection, utilizing the gifts which G-d has granted him to their ultimate capacity.

Moreover, Zevulun's happiness stems mainly from his connection to Yissachar, i.e., to Torah, its study and its scholars. Our Sages explain that the verse alludes to a partnership established between the two. Zevulun would support Yissachar's Torah study and Yissachar would share his Torah merit with Zevulun. This connection is multi-dimensional, affecting Zevulun's life in many ways and granting him fulfillment, purpose, and peace of mind. At the outset, it ensures that his business dealings are just and moral, both in the eyes of G-d and in the eyes of man.

His partnership with Yissachar also encourages him to study Torah himself. A businessman should devote a fixed amount of time to Torah study. During the week these sessions may be somewhat limited, to allow for one's business activity. On Shabbat and festivals, when he is free of this activity, they should be expanded.

Preferably, one should study in a place of Torah, a synagogue or a yeshivah. This allows for greater concentration and thus facilitates the comprehension of the subject matter one has set out to learn in less time.

A businessman need not fear that his business will suffer because of this study and the time it takes. On the contrary, the more a person studies, the more will he be successful because he will be able to grasp the nature of a situation and make decisions much faster than one who has not studied Torah. Furthermore, he will not feel hindered by personal problems or worries and will be able to function with true peace of mind. In simple terms, the more minutes he invests in Torah study, the more hours of commercial success is he assured of.

Zevulun's connection with Yissachar also implies that he supports Yissachar's endeavors, providing synagogues and houses of study for children and adults. Ya'akov, our Patriarch, made a vow which provides a fundamental lesson for every businessman: "Of all that You give me, I will set aside a tenth for You."[30] A person should realize that his livelihood and that of all the others around him is granted by G-d. Thus, when G-d grants a person success, he should dedicate a tenth of his profits -- and preferably, add at least slightly to this figure -- to "G-d's business," and happily accept the role of serving as G-d's agent to distribute beneficence to the needy.

This approach will undoubtedly bring abundant blessings in this new year. As we say in the Avinu Malkeinu prayer: "Inscribe us in the book of parnassah v'chalkalah (livelihood and sustenance)."[31] This implies success in earning a livelihood and a promise that the money that one earns will be used for "sustenance," for the prosperity -- both material and spiritual -- of one's family and others and not, G-d forbid, to counter undesirable occurrences.

In that prayer, we also request that G-d, "Inscribe us in the book of pardon and forgiveness," that He write off all the "debts" we owe. This reflects an accepted business procedure. We see that even governments are willing to nullify debts owed to them by other countries, because they realize that it is to their own benefit to allow others to begin a new slate.

May the coming year be a year of ever-increasing success, allowing you to maximize your profits with the minimum of effort. You should use your success to enlarge your offices, placing a Tzedakah pushka in every room. This will involve G-d as an active partner in your business, and enhance your potential to distribute G-d's blessings to others.

In this manner, one's office -- and, of course, one's home -- will become a dwelling for the Divine Presence, the source of all sorts of blessing and herald the coming of the ultimate blessing -- the redemption when the Beis HaMikdash, G-d's dwelling, will be rebuilt. May this take place in the immediate future.

   

Notes:

  1. (Back to text) In this context, Yom Kippur can be seen as the conclusion of the forty day period of "I am my Beloved's and my Beloved is mine" which begins on Rosh Chodesh Elul. Although this phase of service is primarily associated with Elul, it also shares a connection to the Ten Days of Repentance. This is reflected in the fact that the four Hebrew words of this verse all end in a yud. Yud is numerically equivalent to ten and thus, the four yuddim allude to a forty day period beginning Rosh Chodesh Elul and ending on Yom Kippur.

  2. (Back to text) We hope that Mashiach will come everyday, including the present day, the Fast of Gedaliah. This raises a question: There is an opinion that if a fast is instituted for a specific reason (e.g., a drought) and in the midst of the fast, that reason is no longer relevant (it begins to rain), the fast should not be completed. Since the Fast of Gedaliah is connected with the exile, one might ask: If Mashiach were to come in the midst of the Fast of Gedaliah, should the fast be completed or not?

  3. (Back to text) The Third Beis HaMikdash will contain the ark which will emerge from the place where it is presently hidden. It, in turn, will contain both the first and second tablets and also -- within it or at its side -- a Torah scroll.

  4. (Back to text) I.e., Shabbos follows directly after the festivals of Rosh HaShanah, Sukkos, and Shemini Atzeres and Simchas Torah. See the sichos of Shabbos Nitzavim-Vayeilech, 5750.

  5. (Back to text) Devarim 33:18.

  6. (Back to text) Rashi's commentary to the above verse.

  7. (Back to text) Bereishit 28:22

  8. (Back to text) Siddur Tehillat Hashem p. 278.


  3rd Day of Tishrei, 57517th of Tishrei, 5751  
  
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