Entries in #1017 (9)
At the height of the High Holiday season, the venerable Chassid Rabbi Gershon Dovber Schiff returned his soul to its Maker at the age of seventy-six. Rabbi Schiff, descendant from a long line of Chabad Chassidim, had tremendous self-sacrifice as he dedicated his whole life to the education of Jewish children and the Rebbe MH”M’s institutions, from the Chassidic underground in the U.S.S.R. to the impressive educational empire he established in the heart of Kfar Chabad
This Shabbos – Shabbos Metzora – is “Shabbos HaGadol – the Big Shabbos.” While the apparent reason for this name comes from the fact that this is the Shabbos before Pesach – and to commemorate the tremendous miracles that occurred before the Jewish people left Egypt – as Chassidim it takes on a whole new meaning: It is the Shabbos before 11 Nissan, the birthday of the Rebbe MH”M.
Shortly after the Arizal, Rabbi Yitzchok Luria, became famous in the Jewish world, he sent two of his illustrious students on a journey. They later became famous too as master kabbalists – Rabbi Chaim Vital and Rabbi Yisroel Srug. He wanted them to dispel negative rumors about him issuing from the beis midrash of the Maharshal who lived in Lublin. Defamers had made serious accusations to the Maharshal about the kabbalist of Tzfas and he had nearly decided to excommunicate him.
One of the most bizarre phenomena recorded in the Torah is “lesions of the house,” described in this week’s parsha. In addition to the skin and garment lesions discussed earlier in the Torah, the Torah here addresses the ritual impurity of house lesions. These lesions, as our Sages taught, were intended to signal us that all was not well morally and spiritually.
Along with having to contend with forces from the “outside” and money matters, R’ Zalman had to deal with criticism from within, from Anash who thought he was rushing to open new mosdos before getting the previous mosdos on solid footing
Did you ever hear of the “Non-Partisan Committee for the Spiritual Survival of Eastern European Jewry”? * This committee held annual meetings in New York and in Montreal in which they reaffirmed their commitment to help the Chabad activities in Europe, North Africa and Israel and their deep gratitude to the Joint for their support
In an earlier issue of Ateres Chaya, Moran Kors wrote a brief article about how a small loving gesture done with warmth and a smile, of giving Shabbos candles to a typically free spirited Israeli teenage girl, started the process that took a few years until she became a baalas t’shuva. As a shlucha herself today, her message was that small actions to increase light have far reaching ripple effects beyond what the person doing the deed can ever realize or imagine.