Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Link from Dixie Yid


More Lubavitch stories...

There is a couple I know personally who were childless and non-observant, they went to the Dollars day on line for a Bracha.

The Rebbe blessed them and then unusually he handed them 3 dollars. They had triplets! They have the photo hanging up in their living room. They are frum, observant chassidim today.


My wife met the woman who told her this story at my Rebbe's home. She had a near death experience where she was diagnosed as dead yet she came back to life. As time passed she had recurring visions of how her soul, was in judgement in the heavenly court. As the neshama stood before the Beis Din shel Ma'alah, the judgement was harsh, the court felt that since she wasnt religously observant her soul should remain above rather than her continuing to lead a sinful life. One advocate angel interceded on her behalf and "promised" th court that he would be her guarantor.

Some time later she entered the home of a friend and in shock almost fainted. Where did you get that picture she exclaimed pointing to the wall. Thats the Lubavitcher Rebbe her friend explained. Thats the angel who was my guarantor! She said. Today she is a frum Lubavitcher. Marrried with children B"H.


There is a well known story how a man met the Rebbe before his leadership and every time they met over the years he told him cryptically how great miracles can happen on the 7th night of Channuka. When this man chanced to be in England many years later he was searching for his friend's daughter who on the verge of marrying a non-Jew was assimilated and lost. He called the local Chabad Rabbi described the daughter and to his astonishment was told how there was a girl there matching that very description. When he arrived she had broken down and decided to return, when he looked up he saw the 7th Channuka candle burning on the Menora.

Zechuso Yagen Aleynu Amen

Gimmel Tammuz 3rd of Tammuz Lubavitcher Rebbe's Yorzeit

The Rebbe was born on Nissan 11, 5662 (April 18, 1902), in Nikolaev, Russia. When Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak died in 1950, Rabbi Menachem reluctantly - a year later - assumed the leadership of the Lubavitch movement, headquartered at the famous 770 Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn, New York.The Rebbe suffered a stroke in 1992, leaving him partially paralyzed and unable to speak, and on Tammuz 3, 5754 (June 12, 1994), he passed away.

Many stories have been told about the Rebbe. A small sampling from Arutz 7 news:

*** A young girl in an observant Jewish family began to experiment and become involved with other religions. Her wealthy father consulted an emissary of the Rebbe, and in response to their plea, the Rebbe advised the man to check the kashrut of this mezuzot (Torah passages written precisely on a parchment and placed on doorposts in accordance with Biblical law). After checking his many mezuzot, and doing so yet again several weeks later, no improvement was noted. Finally, one day, the father and the emissary were strolling on the father's seven-acre property when the rabbi noticed a small, nearly-forgotten hut at the edge of a field. After recalling that even this hut was adorned with a mezuzah that had been placed there many years before, the two removed and checked it - only to find that the word "One," referring to G-d in the cardinal Shma Yisrael prayer, had been slightly rubbed out and now read "Other." They immediately replaced the mezuzah with a kosher one, and the following morning the daughter woke up crying, saying, “Daddy, I’m sorry. I don’t know what happened to me. I don’t know what got into me. But I want to return. I want to come home to Judaism.” (Rabbi Aaron L. Raskin)

*** In 1959, the Rebbe prophetically wrote to then-Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion as follows: "...It was once fashionable in certain circles to suggest that Jewish religion and religious observances were necessary for those living in the Diaspora as a shield against assimilation - but that for those who can find another 'antidote' in place of religion, particularly for those living in the Land of Israel among Jews, where the atmosphere, language, etc. (apparently) serve as ample assurances of national preservation, the Jewish religion was superfluous... But the [recent] trend of developments in the Land of Israel has increasingly emphasized the opposite view - that religion is needed even more for the Jews in the Land of Israel. One of the basic reasons for this is that it is precisely in the Land of Israel that there exists the danger that a new generation will grow up, a new type bearing the name of Israel but completely divorced from our people's past and its eternal and essential values - and even hostile to it in its world outlook, its culture, and content of its daily life..." (Letters from the Rebbe, Vol. 1, New York, 1998)

**** Prof. Herman Branover of Ben Gurion University of the Negev and head of the Center for Magneto-Hydrodynamic Studies, met up with Chabad emissaries in Russia, became observant, and made Aliyah to Israel in 1972. He recounts: "During a lecture tour in the U.S. in 1973, I was on my way to the University of Pennsylvania when I was able to have a private visit with the Rebbe. He took interest in my plans, and commented, 'While you're in Philadelphia, don't forget to introduce yourself to a local professor who is interested in your field of study.' I was very surprised, as I knew the American professors involved in magneto-hydrodynamics and I knew none who lived in Philadelphia... After a long search, I finally met up with Prof. Hsuan Yeh, and we enjoyed a sophisticated discussion with a person who was clearly knowledgeable in the field. He then told me that six weeks from then, a Magneto-Hydrodynamics Energy Convention would be held at Stanford University in California, and that though the program was already finalized, he would insist that my name be added to the list of lecturers. When I expressed puzzlement as to how he could manage that, he smiled and said, 'You see, I am on the program committee.'

"Though I appreciated the professor's offer, I graciously declined, explaining that my wife and I were anxious to return home to Israel. I returned to New York, and before leaving for Israel, I wrote the Rebbe about my encounter with Professor Yeh. Once again, the Rebbe made an unexpected statement. He advised me to reschedule my plans and to accept the invitation, as the convention presented an important opportunity. Taken by surprise but acquainted enough with the Rebbe to value his advice, I called Professor Yeh, who was happy to arrange for me to deliver a lecture.
"The significance of my participation at the convention became clear very rapidly. I met two representatives of the Office of Naval Research in Virginia who had read about my work, and who were prepared to finance further research. They added, 'We understand that you want to establish your laboratory in Israel, and we are willing to provide you with funds for your work there.' As a result, I set up a laboratory in Be'er Sheva, which has gained worldwide recognition for its magneto-hydrodynamics research. My contract with the Office of Naval Research has been renewed six times since that original grant. I could not have imagined at that point how valuable and far-reaching the Rebbe's advice had been... This year, 1993, marks twenty years since the Stanford convention. My project has just been awarded a $15 million grant by the United States government to further research and development of this energy technology."

**** Yisachar Weiss, a wealthy businessman from the West Coast of the U.S., relates: "In 1976, a group of Belgian diamond dealers offered me a million-dollar investment that appeared to be a golden opportunity. But, to their astonishment, I reminded them that I make no investments without the Rebbe's blessing. In my next meeting with the Rebbe, I explained to him the offer. 'Don't invest,' he told me. 'A military coup is going to happen in Liberia.' I was very surprised, since Liberia was known as the 'Switzerland of Africa.' But the Rebbe was firm, saying, 'The political situation there is not stable. Don't make any long-term investments there. Only an immediate-return deal should be entertained.' ... A short time later, I invested $50,000 in a deal in which I instructed my broker to buy Liberian diamonds very quickly and to quickly leave the country... But soon afterwards, the coup that the Rebbe had foreseen broke out, and I was able to recover only part of my money. But of course I was comforted that I had not been enticed to invest a million dollars..."

The Bostoner on Fish & Ba'al Teshuva

(Bostoner Rebbe Shlit"a of RBSA)

I was also zoche and merited to hear the Bostoner Rebbe Shlit"a explain the Midrash Aggadata that Sefer Bamidbar is divided into three chumashim, because VeYehi Bnso HaAron is its own Chumash, which is preceded and followed bwo Nun Hafucha - a flipped upside down letter Nun.

What is a Nun Hafucha? Asked the Rebbe. The Bostoner answered that in Aramiac Nun also means fish. Fish usually swim together in groups as a school, a Nun hafucha is a fish that swims against the currents and against the tides.

Swimming in a scholl teaches us the importance of unity and the power of community.

The Ba'al Teshuva is a fish who swims against the tide. The whole world he has known and grown up in swims together and he must be the one to do the about face and swim against the groups. This requires strength and resilience. He is a Nun hafucha.


I really enjoyed this edition and I wanted to share it with you:

June 2007

The new vice president looked around at his brand-new office with the same look a new mother bestows on her newborn baby. He scrutinized each detail with a mixture of love and anxiety: the paneled walls, the parquet floors, the Anderson windows with their 22nd-story view, the genuine copies of Impressionistic art. This is what he had dreamed of during his slow climb up the corporate ladder.

As he sat down on the soft leather of the executive chair, he thought to himself, "This is me."

Suddenly he heard a knock on his oak door. Not the right kind of knock. Not reflecting the kind of awe and trepidation the knocker should feel for the executive occupant of this office. As he said, "Come in," he picked up his state-of-the-art telephone. He nodded perfunctorily to the fortyish man dressed in noncorporate attire standing at the door and, looking out at his view, spoke into the phone with quiet authority. "I appreciate the trust that you have demonstrated in buying Magnum. As vice president of sales, I am authorized, of course, to speak for the entire Magnum board. No, it's not necessary to speak to Mr. Norton. I will see him at golf later. Have a good day," he concluded the conversation.

Looking up at his visitor with that tinge of impatience, reserved for the important-and-too-busy, he asked, "What can I do for you?"The visitor's eyes twinkled with scarcely concealed amusement. "I'm here to install the telephone," he replied.

* * *

Self-discovery is the key to facing all of life's challenges, because until we recognize who we are, we cannot possibly know how to properly respond to the challenges life presents.According to the Torah view, each human being is essentially a soul -- that is, an eternal, spiritual entity created in the image of God. The soul descends to this physical plane in order to actualize its potentials through the process of facing and overcoming challenges. The first step in this process is self-definition. The new vice-president in the above story looked at his executive office and felt "this is me." Not "these are the surroundings which I prefer," but rather "I am defined by these status symbols."

To the extent that one's self-definition is external, one's life goals will be external, and only external challenges will be recognized and engaged. The most common result of such external definition is some version of the pathetic vice president, who had achieved his external goals but still had such a woeful sense of his true inner worth that he had to impress everyone who knocked on his door. An eternal soul cannot be satisfied by temporary accomplishments. That is why the lives of even the most successful icons of contemporary society often end with bitterness, disappointment, and a sense of futility.

Although their external accomplishments were real and impressive, decades later who really cares who recorded the bestselling hit of 1939 or who was the Most Valuable Player of 1951? On the other hand, public figures who distinguished themselves through inner feats, such as extraordinary giving or concern for others, usually end their days with a sense of accomplishment and contentment.

* * *

How does this process take place? Where does Torah in its broadest and most universal sense fit into the picture?All souls come to this world to ascend spiritually, not just to climb the corporate ladder or to achieve any other form of material success. Of course, external goals are also important and are usually an integral part of one's life's mission, but whether one defines oneself in terms of developing inner traits (such as kindness) or in terms of external accomplishments (such as making a million dollars) will make all the difference in how one approaches every aspect of life. Begin with an honest assessment of your character traits. Do you need to work on becoming more generous, more truthful, more patient, more self-assertive, or more forgiving?

Although we could all stand to improve in all of the above areas and twenty others besides, each of us has a unique profile. Even a couple decades on this planet should make it obvious to you which traits you most need to focus on. Because it is God's will for each of us that we grow spiritually in a particular area, He provides us with repeated tests in that area. So if you find that homeless beggars are always accosting you (though they seem to leave your best friend alone), you might question if you have an issue with generosity. If every day provides a stream of anger provoking incidents, you might question if you need to work on developing patience. Once you admit to yourself where your character flaws lie, you will begin to perceive challenges where you had previously seen only bothersome events.

A friend told me that as an overweight teenager she hated walking up the zillion steps to the Philadelphia Art Museum. When she finally decided to go on a diet, she realized that they were the world's best place for step aerobics.

* * *

After confronting our own identity, the second step in facing challenge is to recognize which events and situations are sent as challenges to us. Most of us fail our challenges because we do not recognize them. They are camouflaged by the veil of the mundane. We think of challenges as the stuff theatrical dramas are made of: parents faced with an autistic child, a journalist having to choose between truth and a Pulitzer Prize, a teenager deciding to give up drugs. In truth, every one of us, every day, is faced with challenges which will determine whether we make ourselves into spiritual heroes or failures. In fact, by the time the grandiose, dramatic choices face us, our response will already be determined by the aggregate of our seemingly trivial, daily choices. That is why gentiles who risked their lives to save Jews during the Holocaust invariably answer the question of why they did it with a plain-as-the-nose-on-your-face response. The great choice was not made the night they opened the door to their neighbor's trembling children. It was made throughout the course of their whole lives, every time they chose to put themselves out for the benefit of a stranger.

A person who never bothered to stand up and give up her seat in a waiting room to an elderly person will simply not become the quiet hero who can stand up to the Third Reich. Another reason that challenges often go unrecognized is that we do not realize that there is no such thing as an objective challenge. All challenges are totally subjective and individual. This accounts for the disproportion between objective reality and human beings' responses to events. One person may see her six-year-old child accidentally spill a glass of water on the kitchen floor and fly into a tempestuous rage. Another (albeit rare) person might miss a plane because of an inept cab driver and respond by grimacing and asking when the next plane leaves. For the latter paragon of equanimity, missing the plane was not even a test. For the former, the spilled water, which would take less time to clean up than to calm down from the rage, was a major challenge.

Each character trait can be viewed as a continuum, from the highest perfection to the lowest. The point of challenge for every human being is the point on that continuum where possibility and inner struggle meet.For example, imagine the continuum of altruism, where murder (not giving someone the space to live) is the lowest point and Rabbi Aryeh Levine, the well-known "tzaddik of Jerusalem," is the highest point. The choice box, or the area on the continuum where genuine choice is possible, for any one person is relatively small. I venture to say that none of you reading this book has ever seriously entertained the possibility of killing another driver on the freeway because he cut you off. Given who you are and how you were raised, murder is not in your choice box. At the other end of the spectrum, probably none of you reading this book has seriously considered rising every morning before dawn and spending the rest of your day helping prisoners, lepers, and anyone who needs anything that you can give, without salary. Since neither of those options are in your choice box, they are not your challenges. You do not deserve to pat yourself on the back for all the people you didn't murder today, nor should you feel guilty for not devoting your life to charity work. Where there is no possibility of accomplishment, there is no challenge.

* * *

For challenge to be real, it also has to be difficult. Where there is no inner struggle, there is no challenge, and therefore no growth.So, although we tend to acclaim donations to charity according to their objective size, the real measure of people's tests in generosity must take into account how much they have and how difficult it is for them to part with it. Thus, for a billionaire to donate $500,000 to the Cancer Society may be no test of generosity for him at all. On the other hand, a person who is worried about how she will pay her electric bill pulling the last $20 bill out of her wallet and giving it to someone collecting for the poor may be achieving a tremendous spiritual victory...

For a deeper sense of this crucial point, imagine someone, let's call him Ted, who has been laid off his job as a computer programmer. The bank has threatened to foreclose on Ted's house. Ted's best friend Bob feels terrible about Ted's predicament. It occurs to Bob that he could take the money he had been saving for a vacation in Hawaii and give it to Ted to cover his delinquent mortgage payments. Because Bob had been looking forward to this vacation all year, it is a difficult choice for him. Therefore, it constitutes a genuine challenge. His choosing to give the money to Ted would be a heroic response to his challenge. Ted may have a dozen other friends who never even considered paying his mortgage payments for him, either because they are not as close to him, or because they don't have the money, or because they are nowhere near that level of altruism. For these individuals, Ted's mortgage problems present no challenge. Conversely, Ted may have wealthy parents for whom it is also not a challenge; of course they will bail their son out without blinking an eye. Bob's inner struggle is what defines the test. Therefore, if you are unclear about which of your daily experiences are challenges, be alert to what is difficult for you. If you balk whenever anyone asks to borrow any of your possessions, you may have a generosity problem which bears working on. If you would rather swallow the loss than return a faulty purchase to the store and have to face the person behind the customer service desk, you might look at your lack of self-assertion. If it is hard for you to accept gifts and favors, that may be your precise area of test. Not only does difficulty define the test, but your areas of test highlight which character traits you should be working on in this lifetime.

Excerpted with permission from "LET'S FACE IT!" -- the 8 essential challenges of living. Published by Targum Press, Inc. -- http://www.targum.com .

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Tammuz the month of the Ba'al Teshuva

(Bostoner Rebbe Shlit"a of RBSA)

I was zoche to merit hearing the Bostoner Rebbe Shlit"a of Bet Shemesh yesterday say Torah in honor of Shabbos Rosh Chodesh Tammuz during Shalosh Seudos.

The Rebbe said that the tziruf the letter combination of Tammuz is Hashem's 4 letter name Hava"ya is backwards. Hay then Vav, then Hay then Yud. This exact backwards combination beginning with Hay is perfect as the month for a Ba'al Teshuva. The Rebbe explained that the Midrash teaches why does Hay have two openings the large one on the bottom is where thw wicked fall through to Gehinom but its open on the side allowing a penitent returnee - a Ba'al Teshuva to come in through there.

Thus Tammuz begins with Hay, then leads up to the Divine name this is the path of the Ba'al Teshuva who begins at the end searching for the right way to reach Kedusha.