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Publishers Foreword

Shabbos Parshas Pinchus
14th Day of Tammuz, 5744

16th Day of Tammuz, 5744

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16th Day of Tammuz, 5744

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16th Day of Tammuz, 5744

17th Day of Tammuz, 5744
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6th Day of Menachem-Av, 5744

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16th Day of Menachem-Av, 5744

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20th Day of Menachem-Av, 5744

21st Day of Menachem-Av, 5744

Kollel Tiferes Zekainim Levi Yitzchok
23rd Day of Menachem-Av, 5744

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27th Day of Menachem-Av, 5744

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1st Day of Rosh Chodesh Elul, 5744

The Letter sent out by the Lubavitcher Rebbe
18th Day of Elul, 5744

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18th Day of Elul, 5744

Tzivos Hashem
21st Day of Elul, 5744

The Letter Sent Out by the Lubavitcher Rebbe
25th Day of Elul, 5744

Shabbos Parshas Nitzavim-Vayeilech
25th Day of Elul, 5744

Nshei Ubnos Chabad
27th Day of Elul, 5744

Erev Rosh Hashanah, 5745

Sichos In English
Excerpts of Sichos delivered by The Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson
Vol. 22 Tammuz-Elul, 5744

Erev Rosh Hashanah, 5745

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  Nshei Ubnos Chabad
27th Day of Elul, 5744

1. In the same manner as the Alter Rebbe begins the Iggeres HaKodesh We begin with a benediction, it is proper to begin everything with a blessing. The source for this principle is found in the Torah. It is explained that G-d looked into the Torah and created the world. Thus, it follows that this practice, as well as everything else in the world, has its source in Torah.

The Torah begins with the letter, Beis, which stands for the word, Berachah (blessing). Indeed, Beis is the head of the word berachah. In regards to Rosh Hashanah, the head of the year, it is explained that just as a head contains the life force of the entire body, Rosh Hashanah contains the life-force of the entire year. Similarly, the letter Beis contains the life-force of the entire word berachah.

One might ask: If the concept of begin with blessing is so important, why was it not followed in regard to the Ten Commandments, the essence and source of the Torah? That question can be answered as follows: There is a need to begin with blessing and thus, emphasize and ensure that blessing alone, and not its opposite will result, in regard to those aspects of Torah which are related to the world. On that level, there is a possibility for the opposite of blessing and, hence, it is necessary to emphasize the aspect of blessing. However, the Ten Commandments relate to an aspect of Torah which is above relation to the world. Hence, there is no necessity to begin with blessing.

On the basis of the above, a further question is aroused: Iggeres HaKodesh is as all the texts of Chassidus, related to the tree of life. There is no question from the side of evil and no disagreement from the aspect of impurity. It is above the material aspects of the world. If so, why was there a need to begin with blessing? However, the intent of the Iggeres HaKodesh was to effect and change the world and, hence, because of this involvement in worldliness, it must also begin with blessing.

On the basis of this, we can understand a fundamental concept regarding the Iggeres HaKodesh. The word, Iggeres, means letters; i.e. they were intended to effect a change in the world, as explained above. Furthermore, there is a difference between the letters as they were written by the Alter Rebbe himself and the forum in which they were printed in the Tanya (as an addition to the basic text made by the Rabbis, the sons of the Gaon, the author.) A book is eternal, constant, and can never be nullified ... a letter is written only for the moment, without the intent to b lasting. Thus, the Alter Rebbes sons [accomplished the following] in printing the Iggeres HaKodesh;

    1) The made from a collection of letters a text, giving them a measure of eternity;

    2) That collection was made and eventually printed in connection with the Tanya.

(Thus, we can see how the power of the son is greater than the father, i.e. the sons power comes from his father, but supersede that of the father. Similarly, the Alter Rebbes sons made a contribution, based on that of their fathers, which possessed a greater quality. Through their efforts, the Alter Rebbes inner intent in composing the Iggeres HaKodesh was revealed.)

In preparing the Iggeres HaKodesh for publication, the Alter Rebbes sons themselves chose the order in which the letters were printed, even though chronologically, the letters were written in a different order. They chose to begin with the letter. Begin with blessing, for in printing an aspect of Pnimiyus HaTorah and particular, letters which were intended to effect a change in the world, as explained above, a unique aspect of blessing was necessary.

The above is related to the 2000th printing of the Tanya which took place today, Erev Rosh Hashanah, the birthday of the Tzemach Tzedek. (It is significant to note that the first three chapters of the Tanya were recited by the Alter Rebbe in connection with the Tzemach Tzedeks birth.) By printing the Tanya in every place throughout the world, we bring to expression the concept of spreading the wellsprings of Chassidus outwards, making the place in which the Tanya was printed a source for the teachings of Chassidus.

There is a unique aspect connected with the number two thousand. Eur Sages taught, the Torah preceded the world by 2000 years. By the very fact that a limit is given to the extent in which the Torah preceded the world, it is obvious that this statement is referring to Torah as it is related, at least in some degree, to the world. Thus, the 2000th printing of Tanya emphasizes the connection and the effect of Pnimiyus HaTorah on the world. Furthermore, it will surely add to all aspects of blessing, for by increasing the light, one naturally brings about an increase in the vessels and mediums which facilitate the reception of that light. The latter concept is also expressed in regard to Eretz Yisrael. Eretz Yisrael is called, the land of the deer, because its size is relative to the amount of its inhabitants. Just as a deers skin expands to contain the deers flesh, so, too, Eretz Yisrael actually and physically expands to allow more inhabitants to dwell within.

The above is particularly related to the date of this Farbrengen, Erev Rosh Hashanah, the day which commemorates the creation of man. The creation of man is related to the birth of each individual Jew; as our Sages taught, why was man created alone (in contrast to other animals which were created in pairs)? To teach that every ... soul of Israel ... is an entire world.

Rosh Hashanah (and the preparation for its celebration on its eve) emphasizes the purpose and intent of mans creation to serve his Creator. In doing so, he becomes G-ds partner in creation, becoming one with Him and, furthermore, complementing Him, and contributing to His perfection.

The above is effected through the service of Rosh Hashanah the acceptance of G-d as King, with the intent to reveal that quality within the world at large. After G-d is accepted as King of Israel, it must be revealed how He is King of the world, to the point where everything that has been made will know that You have made it. Furthermore, that knowledge must be, as explained in Tanya, a firm connection, binding his mind with a very strong bond and, thus, will evoke an emotion of response: love, fear, and the other emotions that are derived from them.

The above is brought about through the service of spreading forth the wellsprings of Torah and, in particular, of Chassidus, outward, in each and every place. Wherever a Jew goes, he must realize that the intent in his journey is that he make the place to which he travels Eretz Yisrael, a place where G-dliness is revealed. This is the essential aspect of Rosh Hashanah, and of a Jews service in general, to draw down the revelation of G-dliness to the world, by spreading Torah, and in particular Pnimiyus HaTorah, in each and every place.

Thus, on Erev Rosh Hashanah, the conclusion of the year, all the successes and blessings of the year are felt. Jews dress in white as a sign of rejoicing, and in their spirit of happiness proceed to crown G-d as their King. This service in turn will bring about the fulfillment of the prophecy, And G-d will reign forever, with the coming of Mashiach, may it be speedily in our days.

2. As explained earlier, man was created in order to serve his Creator. In fact, we find that on the very first Rosh Hashanah, directly after his creation, G-d placed him (man) in Gan Eden to till it and to guard it. It is explained that this need to work is to mans own benefit, for he will derive greater pleasure knowing that it was his work which contributed to the worlds perfection. G-d is the essence of good. It is nature of the good to benefit others. Thus, He created the world in order to express and reveal His Goodness and Kindness to the world at large and, in particular, to His people, Israel. Even if G-d were to grant good and kindness without it being earned through mans endeavors, it would be genuine and true good. However, it would not be appreciated properly. Since the recipients would sense that it was given from Above, as a gift, they would regard it as bread of shame. In order for good and kindness to be received in the most complete manner, as befits G-d, the ultimate of perfection, it is necessary that man work to earn this good (or at least work to the point where he grants G-d satisfaction in which case G-d will grant him a present, as the Talmud declares: Unless one caused his colleague satisfaction, he would not give him a present.) After having earned this good himself, man will feel a greater sense of satisfaction. Therefore, G-d created the Garden of Eden in a manner which would require mans effort to till it and guard it. Surely, He could have done so in a manner which would not require effort on mans part. However, in order to give man he opportunity to receive the ultimate and complete good, the creation required mans effort.

To summarize in simple terms: G-d desired to give each and every Jew all manner of good in children, health, and sustenance in abundance. However, He desired to do so in a manner which would be appreciated to the fullest extent. Hence, He gave man the opportunity to earn that good through his own efforts. For these reasons, the Torah declares, If you will walk in My statutes,... I will grant your rains in their seasons. Though all the blessings emanate from G-ds nature to express His Kindness, nevertheless, a Jews service is required in order that he appreciate the ultimate good of these blessings.

The above is relevant to the present occasion, Erev Rosh Hashanah. From the beginning of the month of Elul, it is customary to wish ones colleagues that they be inscribed for a good and sweet year. Furthermore, as mentioned above, on Erev Rosh Hashanah, it is customary for the Jews to don white garments as a sign that they know they will emerge victorious in judgment. Nevertheless, in order for these blessings to be expressed in the full_________________ _\_d_l_iate that the few hours remaining until Rosh Hashanah be used to make further contributions in the service of Torah and mitzvos. In particular, further efforts should be made in the Ten Mivtzoyim and the campaign to ensure every Jew a letter in one of the communal Torah scrolls. Of unique importance are the further efforts in the Mitzvah of Tzedakah, a service related to Rosh Hashanah itself, as the verse declares, Eat succulent foods, drink sweet beverages, and send portions to those who are lacking. Thus, efforts must be made to make sure that every Jew has the means to celebrate Rosh Hashanah and all the holidays of Tishrei with succulent foods and sweet beverages. Furthermore, these gifts should be given in a manner which will not embarrass the recipients, neither the donor or the recipients being aware of the others identity. May these efforts evoke Tzedakah on G-ds part and may He bless each and every Jew with a good and sweet year, a year blessed with children, health, and sustenance in abundance, a year which includes the ultimate blessing, the coming of Mashiach, may it be speedily in our days.

* * *
3. During the past year, the custom of studying The Rambams text, Mishnah Torah, in a daily and fixed pattern has been renewed. Initially, it was customary within the Sephardic community, and even among sectors of the Ashkenazic community, to study the Rambams work according to a fixed pattern. Though that custom as not been followed for a certain time, it is appropriate to renew it at present. We are approaching the time when we will complete the service necessary to leave the exile. Hence, it is appropriate to study the entire Torah as it is expressed as Halachah, final decisions, and not theoretical suppositions, even those laws which are not applicable at present. With G-ds help the suggestion to study three chapters of Mishnah Torah daily, so as to complete the entire text within a year, has spread throughout the international Jewish community. Hence, it is appropriate to focus on one aspect of todays portion in detail

The first chapter of todays portion of study deals with the service of the tribe of Levi. As the Rambam writes, It is a positive command for the tribe of Levi to be free and prepared for the service of the Sanctuary. The second chapter deals with the sanctity of the priests who were separated from the Jewish people and endowed with an additional aspect of holiness. (The priests were granted greater holiness than the Levites and, thus, further removed from worldly matters. Hence, though the Levites as a tribe were not given an inheritance in Eretz Yisrael, they were given cities and fields by the other tribes; while the priests were not given even such an inheritance.) The third chapter deals with the High Priest. He represented the ultimate aspect of holiness. Therefore, he could only live in Jerusalem. Furthermore, he was advised to remain the entire day (or at least the greater portion of the day) in the Temple itself. Thus, we can see the relation to Erev Rosh Hashanah.

Rosh Hashanah marks the creation of Adam, the choice of the creation. We see that the creation in general followed a pattern of elevation: First, inanimate objects were created; then, plants; then, animals; and, finally, man. Man, as well, is required to elevate himself, the latter being accomplished through the service of G-d, in which he elevates the entire creation. Indeed, our Sages explain that immediately upon his creation, Adam called to the entire creation: Come, let us prostrate ourselves, and bow down; let us bend the knee before the L-rd, our Master. He cause G-d to be accepted as King of the entire world, as it was written: The L-rd is King; He has garbed Himself with grandeur. (Indeed, the psalm beginning with that verse is recited every Friday as a commemoration of the completion of creation.) Thus, we see the relation between the need to proceed from one rung of holiness to a higher one, the obvious lesson resulting from an overview of the daily portion of Rambam to be studied, and the service of Rosh Hashanah, in which that pattern of elevation was expressed in regard to the entire creation.

* * *
4. A number of questions have been raised in regard to subjects mentioned in previous Farbrengens. I have mentioned a number of times that once a question regarding a Farbrengen is aroused, the initial response should be to look for an answer, particularly, since often the answer is simple and can easily be discovered. Nevertheless, I have not been able to influence others to adapt this approach.

Often in the process of a Farbrengen, while speaking, new ideas are raised. In Chassidic texts, it is explained at length that though, on the surface, speech is merely a tool to express the ideas previously conceived, we see that there is a greater potential in the power of speech and, hence, in the process of talking, new ideas are grasped. It is natural to desire to share these concepts with others as well. Nevertheless, it can be easily understood, that if a concept has first been appreciated while in the process of speaking, there is not necessarily enough time to explain it in full depth and breadth. Indeed, in general, it is difficult within the context of a Farbrengen to explain a concept in full detail. Hence, as a result of these factors, questions are often raised.

On the other hand, questions are often raised because of a superficial conception of the idea. Rather than try to understand the subject, there are those who grasp a few words and, rather than consider them in the context of the entire subject, hurry to ask a question.

A question of the latter type was raised in relation to a point mentioned in the last Farbrengen. There the following statement was quoted from the Rambam:

The Altars place is extremely exact.... It is a tradition accepted by all that the place where Dovid and Shlomo built the Altar ... was the place on which Avraham built the Altar on which he bound Yitzchok ... and there Adam, the first man, offered a sacrifice when he was created. And he was created from that place, as our Sages said: He was created from the place where he attained forgiveness.

In the Farbrengen, the question was raised: On the surface, Adam was created in the Garden of n (which according to a simple understanding of the verses must be somewhere within the vicinity of the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers, over 15 days journey from Jerusalem). If so, how can the Rashbam write that Adam was created on Mt. Moriah?

There were those who objected to this question, explaining that it is specifically written in the Torah, And the L-rd, G-d, took the man and placed him in Gan Eden. Furthermore, in his commentary on that verse, Rashi writes, [G-d] took him with pleasant words and convinced him to enter. Thus, it is possible to explain that as the Rambam writes, G-d created Adam on Mt. Moriah and brought him to Gan Eden.

In response, it must be noted that although the Rambams statements are quoted from the Midrash, nevertheless, the Talmud in its account of the events of the first Rosh Hashanah does not mention bringing Adam from Mt. Moriah. On the contrary. it is difficult to conceive that such a step would have been possible, without an outright miracle. Hence, the question originally asked stands: Why did the Rambam choose to decide the Halachah (for every statement in Mishneh Torah is a Halachah) according to the Midrash and not according to the Talmud, when generally Halachic decisions are made on the basis of the Talmud.

Also, the very basis of the Rambams and the Midrashs statement is difficult to understand. How can one state that Mt. Moriah was the place where Adam attained forgiveness. Forgiveness can only be granted after a sin, and it appears that just as Adams sin was committed in the Garden of Eden, his repentance and also the sacrifice he offered, was performed there.

Furthermore, the quote from Rashi can be interpreted differently The very fact that Rashi explains that G-d took him with pleasant words implies that He did not have to transport Adam to the Garden of Eden. It can be assumed that Adam was in the Garden and G-d convinced him as the verse continues (248 positive commandments) to till it and to watch it (365 negative commandments). Thus, the question originally asked in the previous Farbrengen stands.

An example of the first type of question was asked in regard to the statement made in the previous Farbrengen that in the court of R. Yitzchok Alfassi the Shofar was sounded on Rosh Hashanah even when that holiday fell on Shabbos. The main subject of the discussion at that time was the sanctification of the new month based on the testimony of witnesses who saw the new moon. The question was raised: What is the connection between the two subjects?

The subject of the sanctification of the new moon was raised in the context of the discussion of how exile has brought both a deficiency but also a positive aspect which allows us to overcome that deficiency. On one hand, due to the darkness of exile, we can no longer sanctify the new moon according to the testimony of witnesses and must rely upon a fixed calendar. Nevertheless, there is a positive aspect; because we have a fixed calendar, it was possible to introduce the custom of blessing the new moon on the preceding Shabbos.

Within the elaboration of this concept, the question arouse: Were the months sanctified according to the testimony of witnesses in the court of R. Yitzchok Alfassi? Since we see that the Shofar was sounded in his court on the Shabbos, it is possible to think that the months were sanctified according to witnesses, as will be explained.

The sanctification of the new month according to the testimony of witnesses could only be carried out by a court whose judges were given Semichah by sages who themselves received Semichah in a direct chain extending back to Moshe, our teacher. Thus, at present, since we have no judges who have such Semichah, we must rely upon the fixed calendar. However, the question arises: When was the chain of Semichah broken? A sage who possesses Semichah is obligated to convey that authority to all students who are worthy. Thus, it is logical to assume that Semichah continued throughout the period of the Talmud and even into the later periods of Jewish history. Indeed, we see that Semichah is so important that the practice was renewed in the court of R. Yosef Caro. Hence, the question may be asked: Since we see that the court of R. Yitzchok Alfassi in Fez exercised sufficient authority to blow the Shofar on Shabbos, perhaps, they also possessed Semichah. If so, then it is possible that they would sanctify the new moon on the basis of the testimony of witnesses, since that mitzvah is not necessarily dependent upon living in Eretz Yisrael. Indeed, we see that R. Akiva sanctified the new moon while in the Diaspora.

5. The Rebbe Shlita mentioned the importance of contributing to three different funds: Keren HaShanah, the Magbis of Chai Elul, and the Magbis of Chof Av, and thus enter Rosh Hashanah with these three merits. Afterwards, he also distributed dollars to be given to Tzedakah through the tankists. Also, the Rebbe Shlita mentioned three different publications:

    1) The 2000th printing of the Tanya;

    2) The supplement including all the title pages of the Tanyas printed after Yud-Aleph and those that were not included in the printed on Yud-Aleph Nissan.

    3) A text containing supplements and corrections to the Collection of Sources for the Rambams Mishneh Torah previously published.

  Nshei Ubnos Chabad
27th Day of Elul, 5744
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