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Wednesday
May202015

LEARNING TO LIVE

“Meeeendy, Shmuuuely, Yoooossi, Chaaaaim, Doooovid, hey, is anyone here? Why aren’t you opening up?” Shloimy knocked on the door of the basement as he called his friends’ names one by one. Nobody responded.

It was Rosh Chodesh and learning ended at twelve noon. Shloimy remembered that Yossi had told him they were meeting that day at 1:00. Now it was 1:05. It wasn’t like Yossi and the other guys to be late, so why weren’t they opening the door?

After a long wait, Shloimy decided to knock at Yossi’s house. He lived in the next building.

“Hello Shloimy,” said Yossi’s father with a smile. “You are, no doubt, looking for Yossi. He said to tell you that they went to live.”

“What? They went to the library? How will I get there, it takes at least half an hour…”

“No, not the library,” clarified Yossi’s father. “He said they were going to live. I didn’t understand him either, but he said it’s your code or something secret like that.”

Shloimy realized that Yossi’s father could not explain the cryptic message Yossi tried to convey, so he just smiled and said, “Uh, okay, thank you.”

Yossi’s father closed the door as he said quietly to himself, “I’ve been keeping track and he’s the fourth; there is one friend left.”

Shloimy’s thoughts raced: “What happened to them? Where could they have gone? We arranged to meet at the basement! They changed the plan and didn’t inform me; is that how friends behave?”

He was disappointed and even a little hurt.

“Never mind, I don’t need them. I’ll manage on my own.”

When he arrived home, he was greeted by a happy faced Dovy, his younger brother by one year.

“Shloimy, it’s good you came. I have a plan for this afternoon!”

“Yes, what is it this time?” asked Shloimy in an inimical way.

“Hey, what happened? If you don’t want to, you don’t have to come, but I got two tickets to the space museum.”

“Really?” Shloimy jumped up excitedly. “What a terrific brother you are! Of course I’m going.”

Shloimy cheered up. For a long time he had planned on visiting the space museum and now he could finally go.

“Why did you come back home?” asked Dovy on their way to the museum. “And why were you so grumpy when you walked in?”

“Never mind,” said Shloimy, “but maybe you know what it means to “go to live?”

“I like riddles,” said Dovy as he rubbed his forehead, “but I think this was an attempt to convey a message.”

“Hey, take a look at that exhibit on the right,” said Dovy as they strolled through the museum. “Those are the clothes an astronaut wears in space. They look heavy.”

“Don’t you know that in space, unlike on earth, there is hardly any gravity? The weight of the astronaut including the special spacesuit is not even the weight of an average sized person here on earth!” said Shloimy sagely.

“And there certainly isn’t oxygen like we have here and who knows what else. Over there the living conditions are completely different,” exclaimed Dovy. “How do they manage?”

“It’s really interesting. Maybe we can try and ask one of the guides here,” suggested Shloimy. He turned to a young, smiling person who had a tag which said “guide” clipped to his pocket and asked his questions.


“Astronauts spend a long time training; it’s very difficult,” said the guide. “They use special devices which mimic conditions in space and get used to the new life they will lead while in space. Look, in that exhibit over there, you will be able to see part of their training equipment.”

Shloimy and Dovy walked over to what the guide had pointed at. The apparatus fascinated them so that they did not notice what was going on around them. There were various machines and devices in all different colors and they looked like spaceships.

“I’m imagining the astronaut getting used to life in space,” said Dovy. “He probably already forgot normal life and feels as though he is already in space.”

“But it’s really hard,” said Shloimy. “The training isn’t easy. But the more training he gets, the sooner the people at the space center can set a date for take-off. The astronauts can’t wait to go!” Shloimy read this off a sign on the wall.

Dovy was thoughtful. “What did you ask me on the way to the museum?” He asked suddenly.

“Uh, what does it mean ‘to go to live,’ but what reminded you of that now?” asked Shloimy disinterestedly.

“What don’t you understand?” asked Dovy excitedly. “I think I solved the riddle!”


“Really? What?”

“For the astronaut whose entire life is devoted to living off of earth, real life is over there, in outer space. What does he do in order to live there? He studies and gets used to conditions in space with the help of training on machines that give him an opportunity to simulate life there.

“And we?” continued Dovy. “Our real life is in the Geula. That’s why the Rebbe says that now, in the final moments of galus, we need to feel that the Geula is about to occur and we have to start living a Geula life. What do we need to do to get used to it? Just like the astronauts, we need to study about Geula.

“The Torah gives us the ability to live by learning it. The same is true for learning inyanei Moshiach and Geula. It gives us the strength to escape the limitations of galus already now, to live a life of Geula and to feel that it’s really imminent. This is what will make it actually occur.”

“That’s it,” mumbled Shloimy in amazement. “That’s the answer. They ‘went to live,’ means they went to a shiur in inyanei Moshiach and Geula. Dovy, you are a genius!”

Applause could suddenly be heard and Shloimy was taken aback, but he quickly recovered when he saw the happy faces of his friends who were standing around with their brothers. Then Yossi’s loud voice was heard saying, “My dear friends, I am happy that my father’s original plan succeeded beyond all expectations and we all got to understand the importance of learning inyanei Moshiach and Geula in this original way. Don’t think it was easy. It was hard convincing your brothers to tell you about the tickets they got. Now that they ‘managed to solve the riddle,’ the answer to which I told them ahead of time, of course, I am pleased to announce the founding of a shiur on Moshiach and Geula for the children of our neighborhood in our beautiful basement!”

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