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Publishers Foreword

15th Day of Shevat, 5745
Rosh Hashanah for Trees

Eve of 17th of Shevat, 5745

Shabbos Parshas Yisro
18th Day of Shevat, 5745

A Coin of Fire

Shabbos Parshas Mishpotim
Parshas Shekalim
25th Day of Shevat, 5745

Eve of the 7th of Adar, 5745

Shabbos Parshas Tetzaveh
Parshas Zachor
9th Day of Adar, 5745

Mesiras Nefesh / Russian Jewry

Study of Rambam One Chapter Daily

Tzivos Hashem
12th Day of Adar, 5745

Taanis Esther
13th Day of Adar, 5745

Purim, 5745

Shabbos Parshas Ki Sissa
16th Day of Adar, 5745

Eve of l9th of Adar, 5745

Shabbos Parshas Vayakhel-Pikudei
Parshas Parah
23rd Day of Adar, 5745

The Letter sent out by the Lubavitcher Rebbe
Rosh Chodesh Nissan, 5745

Shabbos Parshas Vayikra
Parshas HaChodesh
Rosh Chodesh Nissan, 5745

Shabbos Parshas Tzav
Shabbos HaGadol
8th Day of Nissan, 5745

The Letter sent out by the Lubavitcher Rebbe
11th Day of Nissan, 5745

Sichos In English
Excerpts of Sichos delivered by The Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson
Vol. 25 Shevat-Nissan, 5745

Eve of l9th of Adar, 5745

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  Shabbos Parshas Ki Sissa
16th Day of Adar, 5745
Shabbos Parshas Vayakhel-Pikudei
Parshas Parah
23rd Day of Adar, 5745

1. In these days between Purim and Pesach we find a connection between the two holidays in practice: as the halachah prescribes, that from Purim we begin to study the laws of Pesach.

Many of the guests who have come to spend the days of Purim here, and to be at the farbrengens of Purim intend to return to their homes and families for Pesach. Thus we see an additional connection between Purim and Pesach. How does this relate to a persons Divine service to his Maker?

Our sages tell us: All that the Holy One, Blessed be He, created in His world, He created solely for His glory.... (Avos 6:11)

While mans role was made even more clear: I was created to serve my Master (Kiddushin 82a).

Thus, a persons Divine service is paramount in his life, and just as in all good things we must seek improvement and growth at all times, how much more so, in our service of G-d, must we constantly seek ways of increasing and rising for this is the reason of our existence.

From time to time by paying attention to the phenomena that surrounded us we learn new lessons in our G-dly service. Similarly from these days between Purim and Pesach there is a lesson to be garnered.

What does Purim teach us?

Even Haman recognized that our greatest strength lay in our being One Nation. Having admitted as much, he tried to capitalize on the phenomenon that we were spread out among all the lands of Achashverosh.

He then passed a decree that all nationalities should bend and bow to Haman.

What is our situation today? You are among the smallest of all the nations (Devarim 7:7), and we are surely spread far and wide across the globe, to the point that we come under the influence of many different laws and customs. So much so, that if and when we want to come together, it involves effort, difficulties and expenses, which epitomizes our separateness.

And yet, being so separated, we are still One Nation even our enemies must admit this! We Jews know this in a most intrinsic way, for it penetrates our essence and infuses all our activities. We are One Nation, through One Torah, for One G-d, Who chose us from among all the nations and Rave us His Torah.

So the days of Purim show us that despite being spread out among the nations we must always remember that essentially we are one and we must act with Ahavas Yisrael the love of fellow Jew and the unity of the Jewish people.

Even the mitzvos of Purim express this point. Sending gifts of food to our friends and charity to the Door enhances the bond of unity among Jews.

What do we learn from Pesach?

The holiday of Pesach is the Season of Our Freedom which we proclaim in our prayers even as we stand in the diaspora. In whatever condition we find ourselves, we must experience the freedom from restrictions and slavery.

The Maharal explained this to mean that since the Exodus from Egypt, when our slavery was obliterated, the condition of servitude and slavery does not apply to us. For we have G-ds contract: Because the Israelites are [actually] My slaves (Vayikra 25:55). And this supersedes all other claims even those imposed later by G-d, like the decree: Your children shall be foreigners.

This means that exile does not create a situation of true servitude, G-d forbid, for at every moment the Jew himself knows that no one actually has control over him. It cannot be! G-d said: Israel is My son, My firstborn, and: You are children of G-d your L-rd as the Megillah states: ...young and old, children and women.

The Baal Shem Tov illustrated this with the exemplum (mashal) of the preciousness of an only child born to elderly parents. G-ds true love and preciousness is even greater.

This being the case, no matter where a Jew finds himself, our Heavenly Father is with him. Consequently, only G-d has control over a Jew and if we are in galus (exile), it is not real and a Jew can really consider himself free.

The connection between Purim and Pesach is that Purim constitutes a preparation for Pesach. To make our freedom obvious to everyone we must endeavor and strive to reveal our bond with the Holy One, Blessed be He! The power for this we take from Purim. Being One Nation ... whose religion is different from all nations. Each step we take shows that our observance makes us different. For we are bound with One G-d One Torah through which we become One Nation not only during special times: Shabbos, Purim, Pesach, etc., but even on weekdays all year round.

Thus, Purim serves as a preparation for Pesach. When a Jew is openly bound with the Holy One, Blessed be He, he can then feel himself in a q; tnsti an frve of a11 servitude.

And from Pesach you draw strength for the entire year. Pesach of course, lasts for a full week, including each day of the week so that each Sunday and Monday through the year should be permeated with the season of freedom.

What special lesson can we take from today? Let us look to the Torah portion, as the Alter Rebbe taught, that we must live with the times the Torah reading of the day.

We are in the week of Vayakhel-Pekudei, in which the details of the Mishkan are repeated. It is therefore important to compare todays portion to Terumah and note the differences in Vayakhel-Pekudei this will give us the special lesson for today.

At the start of the third reading portion of Vayakhel-Pekudei we learn of the Menorah, which is also discussed in the third reading section of Terumah. But whereas in Terumah after speaking of the Menorah, the Torah goes on to speak of the curtains which covered the Mishkan, in Vayakhel-Pekudei after speaking of the Menorah, Scripture speaks of the Golden Incense Altar. Clearly if we are seeking the unique lesson of this day we must 1 ank to tho Co1 den Altar.

When the Torah told us, They shall make Me a Sanctuary, and I will dwell among them (Shmos 25:8), the reference was clearly to the inner Sanctuary of every individual Jew. It does not say I will dwell in it, but in them. Now, every item in the physical Sanctuary has a symbolic counterpart in the inner Sanctuary, in the heart of every Jew.

Take for example the Menorah. Its theme is to illuminate, as the verse says: For the commandment is a lamp and Torah is light (Mishlei 6:23), which is also understood in the Divine service of man. The heart must shine with the light of a Golden Menorah, like the one in the Mishkan which was like the Menorah Moshe was shown on the mountain (it must be truly G-dly).

The tapestries which covered the Mishkan protected it from rain, wind etc. In our Divine service these are the external powers we have, at~protect us from harmful influence.

And finally, the altar is symbolic of the personal sacrifice everyone must make by overcoming his evil inclination, nullifying his lusts and unwanted desires and by sacrificing his sweat and blood, his pleasure-seeking and passionate nature, so that it is converted to desire only G-dliness. In that way the sacrifice is accepted as an appeasing fragrance for G-d, as Rashi explains:

It is pleasing (gratifying) for Me because I have spoken and My will was done. (Rashi, Vayikra 1:9)

When speaking of the symbolism of the Altar, there are two approaches a person can take. One is to approach G-d during prayer, and dedicate himself to serve G-d. He requests of the Holy One, Blessed be He, all his needs, and during prayer he rises above all his mundane affairs. His ultimate inner intention is to be dedicated to G-dliness always; nevertheless, after prayer, during his h11siness hours. he is involved in his occupation.

The loftier approach is when one is infused and permeated with the spirit of holiness all the time. Just as the word ketores means connected he is bound up and tied to G-dliness all day. At every moment it is evident that this Jew is employed in the mission of the Holy One, Blessed be He.

In connecting the two sections of this week and the week of Terumah we have first the Menorah, then the altar and then the curtains, or tapestries.

This would indicate that first there is the Divine service of illuminating the Mishkan with, The commandment is a lamp and Torah is light. Then this influences the next stages of the curtains (external powers) and the altar (inner sacrifice).

The heart of a Jew must be illuminated with the light of holiness and Yiddishkeit. When the Jew lights the Golden Menorah in his heart, all the tapestries covering the Mishkan are illuminated so that they offer complete protection from any harmful influences. This of course is in relation to the surrounding, transcendental forces. The Menorah, however must do more, it must bring the light to the inner forces, to the sacrifice of the Altar, not only the outer altar but also the inner Golden Altar of the incense, so that his entire being is permeated by the radiance and perfume of holiness, and all day he stands bound and glued to G-dliness; this is the lesson of todays Torah portion.

2. This theme may also be connected to the Rambam section of today.

In the last chapter of todays section the Rambam writes:

It is a Scriptural decree that the court shall not put a man to death or flog him on his own admission (of guilt); this is done only on the evidence of two wit (Laws of Sanhedrin 18:6)

This raises a paradox. We know the general rule that, ... the admission of a legal contestant is as valid as the testimony of a hundred witnesses (Laws of Slaves 6:3), which means that in a monetary case his admission would convict him guilt and indemnify him to pay the fine. Why then, if a Jew admits that the evil inclination got the better of him, should he not be believed?

The explanation has been propounded that because ones soul belongs to the Holy One, Blessed be He, he cannot make a confession about something that is not his, relating to the punishment of death or flagellation. Money however, does belong to him, so he can admit that he owes money, and he will be charred and convicted as such.

Which brings us to the point mentioned earlier, that a persons dveikus (intense connection) to G-d. must permeate his entire being.

This Jew says that even at the moment of sin his soul was still faithful to G-d, it was only his body that succumbed to the entreaties of the evil inclination, and he transgressed. Here the Torah says, his self-incriminating words are not accepted, even if they only indict his body! For it too. is not his. but belongs to the Holy One, Blessed be He.

Being a son, firstborn to G-d, the Jew by nature desires to fulfill the will of the Creator. In the unlikely event that for a moment he slipped and sinned, there must be two witnesses to make us believe that this unnatural occurrence happened.

So we see how profound is the penetration of dveikus with G-dliness, all his existence is affected, even the physical body. To the point that the body must be cared for by proper diet and care as a prized possession of G-d, as the Alter Rebbe writes in Shulchan Aruch that we do not have the right to cause suffering to the body by withholding food or drink.

And in truth it-is through physical victuals that the neshamah is nurtured, as the Baal Shem Tov taught on the verse: Both hungry and thirsty, their soul languished within them (Tehillim 107:5). Why does the body experience hunger pangs? because the soul is hungry and thirsty for the G-dly spark enclothed and encoded in the physical food and drink. The soul can only filter out this G-dly spark when the physical body imbibes food and drink (after first saying a blessing), and it is converted to flesh and blood. So then G-d increases all the blessing of children, life, sustenance, and all in abundance.

When many Jews gather these forces are intensified, for we add the strength and quality of a community great assemblage and in such an instance G-d surely adds blessing and success in all aspects of our Divine service.

And when everyone returns home to fulfill the missions of making an abode for G-dliness in his or her place we see that our separation is only external (superficial), for in thought and intention, in matters of Yiddishkeit, Torah and mitzvos, we remain One Nation all as one. This unity will also speed the true and ultimate unity of the Jewish people. We have just celebrated Purim when they confirmed what they had accepted long before (Shabbos 88a), which brought perfection in Torah and mitzvos. In this manner they will return to a land constantly under G-d your L-rds scrutiny; the eyes of G-d your L-rd are on it at all times, from the beginning of the year until the end of the year (Devarim 11:12).

Great is charity in that it brings the redemption nearer (B. Basra 10a). So it is important to increase tzedakah and I will give each of you a dollar bill and make each of you messengers eFF a mitzvah, to contribute it to charity when you return home, preferably to be donated for Mivtzah Pesach or Maos Chittim. May G-d grant that this act will speed the fulfillment of the promise: As in the days of the coming out of the land of Egypt, I will show marvelous things (Micha 7:15). May we see those miracles before this coming Pesach wonders that will be marvelous even when compared to the miracles of the Exodus. And then we will celebrate the forthcoming Pesach and offer the Korban Pesach on the Altar in the Third Beis HaMikdash on the Temple Mount in the Holy City Yerushalayim in this year 5745, of which the Hebrew letters spell out It should be the year of the King Mashiach.

3. May G-d bless every one of the bar-mitzvah celebrants with their parents, brothers and sisters, grandparents and relatives, in addition to all the blessings mentioned earlier.

This is an auspicious day as the Zohar says: the day of bar-mitzvah is like the day of birth; certainly there is good fortune and virtue in this day.

Being an auspicious day it draws down more of G-ds blessing, especially those connected with bar-mitzvah. For the responsibility to do mitzvos is also a privilege, for it provides the framework for a connection to G-d.

A person at birth is given the soul which has ~e ~quality of being truly a part of G-d above (Tanya 2). When is this revealed? When the age of bar-mitzvah or bas-mitzvah is reached. For then, by fulfilling G-ds will in worldly matters, G-dliness is revealed and strengthened in the world.

The special blessing for the bar-mitzvah is that he should succeed in Torah study and observance of mitzvos with inner enthusiasm and Chassidic zeal. This will add true nachas to the parents, grandparents, relatives. When another Jew becomes responsible for mitzvos it increases the importance of the entire people and speeds the true redemption through our righteous Mashiach.

It is customary that on their birthday the bar-mitzvah and bas-mitzvah celebrants should increase their donation to charity. When the birthday falls on Shabbos or Yom Tov, the additional donations should be given on Friday and more importantly as soon as Shabbos is over for then having passed the birthday he has already been commanded. It is also propitious that the parents should increase their charity in merit of the bar-mitzvah.

This tzedakah will provide a vessel for the charitable blessings of the Holy One, Blessed be He, and may they merit to see him advance to Torah, chuppah, and good deeds in comfort and health, materially and spiritually.

It is also customary to recite the fourteenth chapter in Tehillim during this year until his fourteenth birthday. When these good resolutions are accepted, together with the most basic of all good resolutions, to live according to the will of G-d in everything and to utilize all the G-d-given-powers and talents to fulfill his mission, certainly the blessing will pervade all their actions.

To join in your simchah I will give each of you a dollar bill as messengers of mitzvah.

Charity is great in that it brings the redemption nearer (B. Basra 10a). May we go from the redemption of Purim to the true and complete redemption through our righteous Mashiach with joy and glad hearts.

4. The Torah tells us that the joy of a soon to be married couple is the greatest joy, beyond measure, for it will bring an everlasting edifice, and children involved in Torah and mitzvos.

The blessing for the couples surpasses all the previous blessings and extends to all family members. Likewise the blessing includes the proper preparations, study, enthusiastic practice and good resolutions relating to increasing Torah, mitzvos, joy and illumination.

May G-d grant that all the preparations shall be in a good and auspicious time, and may the wedding and festive week be with great joy: The sound of joy and the sound of gladness, the sound of the groom and the sound of the bride (Yermiyahu-33:11).

It is customary to increase tzedakah on the day of the wedding this applies to the bride and groom as well the parents and relatives. This will bring success in the preparations for the wedding, the wedding, and the seven festive days and all the rest of their life; happiness materially and spiritually. By blessing with the power of the Holy One, Blessed be He, we are assured that the blessing will come.

This will quicken the fulfillment of the essential and all encompassing blessing:

L-rd our G-d, let there speedily be heard in the cities of Yehudah and the streets of Yerushalayim ... the sound of happiness, the sound of a groom and the sound (loc. cit.)

Together with all further blessings, with the true and complete redemption through our righteous Mashiach. To join in your simchah I will give each of you a dollar bill.

  Shabbos Parshas Ki Sissa
16th Day of Adar, 5745
Shabbos Parshas Vayakhel-Pikudei
Parshas Parah
23rd Day of Adar, 5745
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