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CONTENTS

14
FEATURED ARTICLES

WEEKLY COLUMNS

3 Dvar Malchus
5 Moshiach & Geula
13 Shlichus
23 Feature
30 Parsha Thought
34 Tzivos Hashem

A CHASSIDIC
BEN NOACH?
By R Yaron Tzvi

NOBLE CONCESSION
14 ATHAT
BROUGHT
LONG LIFE

Nosson Avraham

24

WORD COUNTS
18 EVERY
Menachem Ziegelboim
MAN WHO
24 THE
COLLECTED DIAMONDS
Shneur Zalman Berger

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2014-12-30 9:11:02 AM

DVAR MALCHUS

BASI LGANI
5715
Beis Moshiach presents the maamer the Rebbe
MHM delivered on Yud Shvat 5715, in accordance
with the custom established by the Rebbe to review
each year a section of the Rebbe Rayatzs maamer
Basi LGani of 5710. This year we focus on the fifth
section of the profound and foundational chassidic discourse. Part 2
Translated by Boruch Merkur

HOW DANCING AT A WEDDING IS SHTUS


The Rebbe goes on to explain the significance of
dancing at a wedding. For at first glance, although
in order to fight and transform shtus dlumas
zeh, evil folly, there must be the avoda of shtus
dkdusha, what connection does this avoda have to
dancing at a wedding?
When Rav Shmuel Bar Rav Yitzchok would
dance at a wedding it was not something
spontaneous, spurred on my by the festive occasion
or setting. Rather, it was his approach and his
custom that at a wedding he would conduct himself
with shtus dkdusha. [Thus, his dancing at a
wedding is not something that can be dismissed as
trivial. Given its relevance then] it is, therefore, even
more significant to determine its connection to the
avoda of shtus dkdusha.
The Rebbe explains in the maamer that since
the concept of marriage is so lofty, it is therefore
celebrated with dancing. That is, the Alter
Rebbe discusses in Likkutei Torah how dancing
is distinguished from the more typical form of
movement, walking, as follows. Although the
avoda of walking, the spiritual sense of walking,
entails ascending from level to level and from
world to world, nevertheless, the ascent is gradual
and incremental. Dancing, however, refers to
a radical departure from the previous level and
taking a quantum leap to an entirely new height,
as it is written, They danced like rams rams
[being animals] which do not have the power of
reason (as the Alter Rebbe writes in Likkutei Torah

Parshas Tzav). The source for this level of avoda


transcends reason. Dancing and the approach of
shtus represents a quantum leap, beyond reason.
In light of the above we can understand the
connection between shtus, which transcends reason,
and dancing at a wedding, in terms of the sublimity
of the concept of marriage. As the Rebbe continues
in the maamer, citing the saying of our Sages: If
a husband and wife are meritorious, the Divine
presence dwells among them. For the husband,
ish, is the fire of Yud, eish Yud, and the wife. isha,
is the fire of Hei, eish Hei. When they merit, they
form [G-ds name] Yud-Hei. That is, there is an
extremely lofty manifestation of the Divine presence
among a meritorious couple, a lofty degree of G-dly
revelation, represented by the letters Yud-Hei, the
higher part of G-ds name Havaya.
Moreover, beyond the revelation of the letters
Yud-Hei that extends to the couple, the root and
source of this revelation is far loftier still (as will
be discussed). In virtue of this sublime source,
marriage is eternal, an everlasting edifice, as my
revered father in-law, the Rebbe, adds in the
maamer, the words, and it comes to be openly
revealed: an everlasting edifice, etc. Here the
Rebbe invokes the concept of infinity and eternality,
transcending time and space.
The Mitteler Rebbe develops this concept in his
Siddur Im Dach, elaborating on the words of the
blessings said at a wedding, Be joyful, rejoice,
friends, beloveds, as the joy bestowed unto you
in Gan Eden by the One Who Formed you, from
primordial times: from primordial times refers to
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Dvar Malchus
the level of Adam Kadmon, Primordial Man, which
precedes the natural order, the Seider Hishtalshlus.
On account of the lofty source of the wedding
blessings, the joy of a wedding not only entails, He
bestows joy upon the groom and the bride, where
the bride is secondary to the groom, but more than
that, as stated at the end of the blessing: He brings
the groom to rejoice with the bride. Here we see
that the main joy shall be from the bride, etc., and
from the bride it shall extend to the groom, as it
will be in the Future Era, when the female will
surround the male. (In anticipation of that future
reality, also nowadays there is the concept of the
bride encircling the groom under the chuppa, the
wedding canopy.)

AN EVERLASTING EDIFICE
OF FUTURE GENERATIONS

Thus, the Rebbe adds in the maamer: and


it comes to be openly revealed: an everlasting
edifice, etc. Since marriage stems from a
dimension that transcends Creation, beyond the
Seider Hishtalshlus, therefore, a manifestation
that transcends Creation and Hishtalshlus takes
place even within Hishtalshlus. In marriage, this
G-dliness is expressed as an everlasting edifice,
ongoing reproduction throughout the generations,
a revelation of the infinite within the [finite] worlds.
The ultimate purpose of marriage is for there to be
an everlasting edifice, a generation of upstanding
people will be blessed.
The main joy shall be from the bride, and from
According to what has been
the bride it will extend to the groom, as it will said that a wedding draws
down from a level that transcends
be in the Future Era, when the female will surround the Seider Hishtalshlus it is
understood that this requires a
male.
conduct that transcends reason.
Thus, the approach of Rebbi
Yehuda
bRebbi
Ilai and Rav Shmuel bar Rav
This joy of a wedding is drawn down from a
Yitzchok
was
to
dance
at the wedding celebration,
level that transcends the entire Seider Hishtalshlus
an
activity
that
transcends
reason. By going beyond
(from primordial times). Within Seider
reason,
they
were
able
to
draw
down to the physical
Hishtalshlus, male is above and female is below.
world
a
dimension
of
G-dliness
that transcends
The joy of a wedding, however, is drawn down
Hishtalshlus.
in such a way that not only is the bride on equal
Thus, it was said of Rav Shmuel that his
footing with the groom (the voice of the groom
and the voice of the bride equally), but the bride is approach was to his credit, to the extent that
higher than the groom. The groom actually draws a pillar of fire distinguished Rav Shmuel bar
down G-dliness from the bride; the groom here is Rav Yitzchok from the entire world. Since his
the recipient. This reversal is only possible through conduct transcended the regular order of the world
reaching primordial times, drawing down from a [reason, structure, concern for outward signs of
honor], there was an overt revelation indicating his
dimension that transcends Seider Hishtalshlus.
distinction above the entire world.

[To be continued be"H]

Continued from page 5


Moshiach? They will probably
say,
Comes
from
Dovid
HaMelech, he is a King etc. You
read for them or have a printout
to distribute (Rambam Tshuva
9:2) These changes will come
about because the king who will
arise fromDavids descendants
will be a greater master of
knowledge
thanSolomonand
a great prophet, close to the
level of
Moses, our teacher.
Therefore, he will teach the

entire nation and instruct them


in the path of G-d. Also, Hilchos
Melachim (11:4): If a king will
arise from the House of David
who diligently contemplates the
Torah and observes itsmitzvosas
prescribed by the Written Law
and the Oral Law as David his
ancestor, will compel all of Israel
to walk in (the way of the Torah)
and rectify the breaches in its
observance, and fight the wars
of God, we may, with assurance,
consider him Moshiach. If he
succeeds in the above, builds the

Temple in its place, and gathers


the dispersed of Israel, he is
definitely the Moshiach.
From the above, the greatness
of Moshiach will be very clear to
them and the fact that it is the
biggest compliment to be called
Moshiach will be obvious.
[To be continued be"H]
Rabbi Avtzon is the Rosh Yeshiva
of Yeshivas Lubavitch Cincinnati and a
well sought after speaker and lecturer.
Recordings of his in-depth shiurim
on Inyanei Geula uMoshiach can be
accessed at http://www.ylcrecording.com.

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MOSHIACH & GEULA

MOSHIACH
& CHINUCH
By Rabbi Gershon Avtzon

Dear Reader shyichyeh,


Thank you for your responses
to my articles. I have received many
comments and questions about the
current series on Moshiach and
Chinuch and I would like to take
the opportunity to address some of
them. I will start with a very basic
question that I was asked by many
people:
If I had to give a class about
Moshiach to a group of teenage
(Lubavitcher) students, how would
you advise I structure the class?
I once heard a story from Rabbi
Moshe Feller (shliach of the Rebbe
to Minnesota) who was invited
to a public school to speak to the
students about being a Jew. He
began his lecture by asking the
following question: When I say
the word Jew, what is the first
thing that comes to your mind?
Only after receiving a wide-range
of answers, including money,
Moses, horns, and bible, and
getting the students interested and
involved, did he start explaining the
Chassidishe perspective about what
a Yid is.
This is an excellent way to start
the conversation about Moshiach
too. In todays politically charged
climate, you would be shocked to
hear what some of the answers
may be. While you are expecting
to hear words like Rebbe, Tchiyas
HaMeisim and Beis HaMikdash,
do not be surprised to hear the
words machlokes, Tzfatim and
Flags

It is our obligation as educators,


shluchim and parents to remove all
negative stereotypes and to instill in
our students and children from the
very beginning the following two
very basic points:
1) Believing in Moshiach is
a major foundation in Judaism
and that if one does not believe in
Moshiach, it puts his general belief
in Judaism into question.
2) Referring to someone as
Moshiach is the ultimate compliment
that one can give him, as Moshiachs
qualities are the greatest any human
has ever had. (At this point in the
conversation, it is not important
to discuss who Moshiach is or the
correctness of calling someone
Moshiach, rather the main thing is
to instill the foundation that calling
someone Moshiach is the ultimate
compliment that can be given.)
I am sure that many are
wondering: How would I introduce
these
two
above-mentioned
concepts?
I always introduce the first
concept with two things:
A) Asking the students the
following question: If you had to
make a list of the 13 principles of
the Jewish faith, what would you
include? You will receive answers
like Shabbos, Kashrus, Mikva,
Tfillin etc. You then surprise them
by saying that the Rambam made
such a list and none of the above are
on the list, yet the belief in Moshiach
and Tchiyas HaMeisim is on the
list!

You continue by quoting the


Rambam (Hilchos Melachim 11:1):
Anyone who does not believe in
him or does not await his coming
denies not only the statements of
the other prophets, but those of the
Moses, our teacher.
Torah and
After giving them a moment to let
it settle, ask them to ask themselves
after they just heard to what
extent it is important to believe in
Moshiach Why do you think it is
so important?
B) Telling them the history
of Yalkut Moshiach UGeula Al
HaTorah (where the Rebbe said that
if you look in the commentaries, you
will find how every pasuk in Torah
speaks about Moshiach (Acharei
5751)) and show them a picture
of literally bookshelves of Sfarim
(basically one for each Parsha)
showing that Moshiach is connected
to every part of Torah. All this leads
to another concept: Our Sages say
(Zohar, Part 2, p. 161), Hashem
looked into the Torah and created
the world. If every verse in Torah
is connected with Moshiach, then
every part of creation is connected
with Moshiach!
Now that you really have their
attention, you explain why believing
in Moshiach is so important (for
another article).
You then address the second
of the above-mentioned points
by asking them, What do you
know about the characteristics of
Continued on page 4
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PROFILE
He looks like a Chassidic
young man but the
absence of a yarmulke
lets you know he is not
Jewish. Meet 34 year
old James Gosnell of
Chicago, who is active
in spreading the Seven
Noachide Laws.* In a
fascinating talk with
Beis Moshiach, Gosnell
tells about his religious
search. * A righteous
gentile with a mission.
By R Yaron Tzvi

A CHASSIDIC
BEN NOACH?
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hile doing mivtzaim,


it happens sometimes
that in my outreach
to Jews, I encounter
non-Jews. I usually just give them
a sheva mitzvos card with a picture
of the Rebbe. Once in a while, a
non-Jew will enter into a discussion
about faith, the seven mitzvos,
Moshiach, etc. I have met smart
non-Jews who have despaired of
what their religion has to offer and
are looking for an alternative. I
have also met those who choose to
eat kosher and observe Shabbos
even though they are not Jewish. I
respond to each one according to
the circumstances and the question
they pose. I usually explain that
in Judaism we are not interested
in enlisting new candidates and
that in their current status they
are obligated to observe the Seven
Noachide Laws.
When the idea came up of
interviewing
James
Gosnell,
a ben Noach who works in
the computer field for Tekno
Telecom, a telecommunications
company, and uses his free
time to spread the message of
the Noachide Laws, I jumped
at the opportunity. I assumed
I would learn more about how
to approach mivtzaim like these
which I wasnt used to as an
Israeli.

RELIGIOUS (SELF)
EDUCATION
James was raised as a
Catholic in Terre Haute, Indiana
in a moderately religious home
by typical American parents. He
went to church every Sunday
where he learned Christianity
and read the Bible. When he got
up to the Ten Commandments
and learned about the prohibition
of idol worship, he asked what
an idol is. He suddenly realized
that in Christianity (Catholicism)
there are lots of idols and this

revelation resulted in an inner


conflict for it contradicted what
it said in the Bible. When he was
older, his trust in the Christian
faith was broken and he decided
he had to do more research.
In college, James met some
Christians who tried living
according to the Bible, but
this did not prove satisfying
to him. He felt there was
something deeper. After studying
Christianity more deeply, he
realized that it all came from and
started with Judaism. When he
saw in Judaism the principle that
what is hateful to you, dont do
to others, he remembered that
he learned this in Christianity.
Thats when he realized it is all
taken from Judaism.
At a later stage, when he
learned the Laws of Kings in
the Rambam about Moshiach,
he began to understand what
Moshiach is supposed to do
from the Jewish perspective
as opposed to the erroneous
Christian notion. He learned
about Hashems relationship with
the world and about Har Sinai
where Moshe received the Torah
directly from Hashem. The Jews
had a direct connection to the
G-dly source and this proved to
him that Jewish history is correct.

TO REMAIN A BEN
NOACH OR CONVERT
I understood that I am not
a Christian but a Ben Noach. I
studied basic Hebrew and began
doing more research on Judaism
and at a certain point also on
Chabad, mainly through the
Internet. I was living at home in
Indiana and the changes I made
generated negative feedback. I
was in my mid-twenties and had
almost completed a degree in
the sciences at the University of
Southern Indiana when I began
to look into the conversion

process. I thought of finishing my


studies, moving, and converting.
The inner change was
expressed in his speech and
actions. At a certain point, he
even decided to wear tzitzis, to
keep kosher, and to light Shabbos
candles, which interfered with
his relationships with his parents
and friends. At the same time,
he studied the sheva mitzvos and
what it means to be a Ben Noach.
He slowly came to the awareness
that G-d wants something other
than conversion from him.
Around 2007, when was I
at the university, I realized that
if I converted that would be to
my personal benefit, but if I got
involved in sheva mitzvos as
a non-Jew, I could make a far
greater impact on the world.
He began researching the
topic in depth with the knowledge
that he could always decide to
convert. He ultimately decided
to focus on his obligations as
a Ben Noach. He committed
to disseminating the topic and
talking to people about observing
the Sheva Mitzvos.
James met his wife while in
college and convinced her to
commit to the Sheva Mitzvos too.
After finishing his degree, the
couple moved to Chicago where
he has an ongoing relationship
with Rabbi Eliezer Turen and the
Moshiach Center.
I had finally found someone
who could answer my questions
about Judaism and faith. We
became close, and now every
Thursday we have a shiur for
Bnei Noach at the Moshiach
Center whom I bring from work
or mivtzaim.
When you look at James,
you can easily mistake him for a
yeshiva bachur. His appearance,
with the beard, makes you think
hes Jewish. I asked R Turen
about the beard and he told me:
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Profile
James worked at a gas
station and when he began
growing a beard, his boss told
him to get rid of it. He asked me
and I told him that if he would be
Jewish, I would know what to tell
him (that a beard not only does
not harm your parnasa, it helps)
but since he is not Jewish, he has
no obligation to have a beard.
Afterward, he asked someone
who is not Chassidic who told
him to take off the beard. James
figured that since the nonChassid told him to take it off
and I told him that I would tell a
Jew to keep it, he was better off
keeping it. As for the boss, in the
end he stopped bothering him.

woman. You cant talk spiritual


talk at her and convince her to
make a major change, but after
they were our guests and they
saw a Chassidic family, she was
impressed by the meaning and
warmth in Jewish-Chassidic life.
This made her want to strengthen
the spiritual side of herself as a
Bas Noach.
R Turen:
The wedding took place
in 5770 and James flew me
to Indiana to officiate at the
ceremony for them. There are
no rules for a ceremony of this
kind, but James saw it as a
mivtzaim opportunity and asked
me to come up with a wedding

Afterward, he asked someone who is not


Chassidic who told him to take off the beard.
James figured that since the non-Chassid told him to
take it off and I told him that I would tell a Jew to keep
it, he was better off keeping it.

A BNEI NOACH WEDDING


When the Gosnells decided
to marry, the question arose as
to how to go about it. As Bnei
Noach they could not have a
Christian wedding, of course,
and a Jewish wedding was not
relevant. R Turen relates:
When James met his future
wife, it was after he had decided
to remain a Ben Noach and to live
as one and not a Christian. His
wife respected him and his views
about being a Ben Noach but it
was still strange to her. In order
to strengthen her connection to
it, he brought her to us so we
could explain things beyond what
he had already told her.
Mrs. Tsyrl Turen relates:
Danielle is a very grounded

document that would express


their obligations according to the
mitzvos bnei Noach. I spoke with
R Emanuel Shochet of Toronto,
an expert on this subject.
We finally came up with a
Document of Commitment
under the heading lasheves
yetzara, for even a non-Jew is
obligated in settling the world.
We also wrote something that
includes the sheva mitzvos.
The commitment was then
produced as a beautifully
designed document. They had a
sort of chuppa where I took the
opportunity to give a talk about
the sheva mitzvos. Sheva mitzvos
cards with the Rebbes picture
were put on the tables for the
guests. People were impressed
and it was a big Kiddush
Hashem.

HOW DO YOU GET A


CHRISTIAN TO REALIZE HE
IS A BEN NOACH?
James work in explaining
the Noachide laws to gentiles is
challenging:
It is hard to convince bnei
Noach to learn about this in
depth but they do more or less
keep the seven mitzvos. When
you tell them that they are okay if
they observe them, even without
changing their religion, they are
relieved and feel validated.
There are bnei Noach like
myself who through a deep
search arrived at the awareness
of their identities as bnei Noach.
For those who did not go through
this process, there are usually
two reactions: 1) considering
the seven mitzvos as moral laws
that are proper to observe, and
2) considering them as part of
Toras Moshe. Of course, the
second approach is preferable.
Otherwise, if it is only a moral
code, tomorrow he can decide to
be less moral.
My goal is to provide them
with a foundation and to educate
them about Judaism, to counter
the lies they heard in church. I
give them a background for the
Mishna Torah of the Rambam
and explain that there is a Written
Torah and an Oral Torah. This
leads to talking to them about the
Sheva Mitzvos which is part of
the Oral Torah. I quote to them
from the Torah where Moshe
gives authority to the Elders to
teach Torah, and how this went
from generation to generation,
and how we must observe it.
It is hard for people to
understand this. Sometimes I
need to use the knowledge that
I have in order to explain it to
them. I give them examples
from circumcision, kashrus,
etc. and show them that Jews

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have laws that were transmitted


over the generations about how
to observe the Written Torah.
Christians believe in the Torah
and in Moshe and the goal is
to help them acquire the belief
that the Rambam is also part of
Toras Moshe; otherwise, they
think you are making things up.
When the Oral Torahs authority
is established, you can talk with
them further and explain that
a Jew must observe all the laws
while a Ben Noach is obligated
only in seven.

SHATTERING THE CHRISTIAN


MESSIANIC MYTH
I asked James how he deals
with the mistaken messianic ideas
of the people he encounters and
he said:
The mistaken Christian
belief about the Messiah has both
an advantage and a disadvantage.
The advantage is that they are
open to discussing faith and
connecting to G-d. The problem
begins when they associate
this with their messiah. They
translate what I say and my good
feelings about Judaism into their
terms and Christian mindset
and it is very hard to break this
association.
The strategy is to provide
them with an alternative, to
explain that they will still have
a warm relationship with G-d
but in a more correct manner.
The problem is we dont have a
substitute to offer them for the
social framework and emotional
support that the Christian
community provides them.
I saw we had touched on a
sore point and I asked James to
expand on this:
They have emotional support
from their community, from their
family, and from friends who
share their faith and it is hard to

R Turen with James signing his marriage commitment


The unique marriage document which starts with the words, With the help of G-d,
Creator of the world and then underneath that, lasheves yetzara (He created it to
be settled-civilized)

go against all this; it is emotional


suicide for them. I want to move
them away from Christianity to
the awareness that they are Bnei
Noach and they have a role as a
Ben Noach, but a Ben Noach has
no community and its very hard.
This is really the question, what
can be done to establish Bnei
Noach communities so that it will
be possible to draw them in, as an
alternative to the support systems

that they have in Christianity.


Generally, those who really
connect to their identities as Bnei
Noach are those who studied and
researched it as part of a journey
of self-knowledge. There are
those who are agreeable to going
along with the ideas but when it
comes to discarding the mistaken
messianic idea and leaving the
church, they feel its beyond
them.

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Profile

WHAT THE REBBE SAID ABOUT SPREADING THE SHEVA MITZVOS BNEI NOACH
In previous generations, any attempt to influence the nations of the
world in matters of faith entailed danger to ones life and therefore it was not
possible to fulfill this command. In our generation, however, not only is there
no danger involved, on the contrary, this increases the honor of the Jewish
people in the eyes of all the nations when they see that the Jewish people care
not only about themselves but also about the civilization of the entire world
by people behaving according to righteous and just ways.
As proof, the Rebbe referred to the enthusiastic endorsement of the
President of the United States at the time, Ronald Reagan, to announce to
all citizens of the US to unite around the fulfillment of the Seven Noachide
Laws, as well as the declaration of both the Congress and the Senate that
the seven laws should be upheld.
From this, the Rebbe concludes, The very fact that the President
publicly made an announcement about the fulfillment of the Sheva Mitzvos
Bnei Noach ought to greatly increase the efforts of Jews in this regard on all
people of the world.

REACHING OUT TO JEWS


As someone connected with
Beis Moshiach of Chicago, who
has a bearded-Jewish appearance
and speaks about Judaism and
the seven mitzvos with non-Jews,
James also encounters Jews who
are not yet observant and he tries
to influence them as well.
There is a Jewish man
who works with me and we
never spoke much. He is not
religiously observant. When did
he start talking to me? When,
one day, he heard me talking
with non-Jews about Judaism
and he get involved in the
conversation. When he heard
things against Judaism from the
Christians I spoke to, and how I
defended Judaism, he suddenly
displayed Jewish pride and began
defending Judaism too. This
definitely brought him closer to
his traditions and strengthened
his faith. Perhaps one day a
Lubavitcher will ask him to
put on tfillin and he will agree
because I warmed him up to it
with the conversations he heard
from me. I notice that when I
talk about galus and Geula in the

proximity of Jews, this also wakes


them up.

KNOWLEDGEABLE
IN THE RAMBAM
A gentile once asked James
how the world will look in
the time of Moshiach. James
quoted to him the description
at the end of Hilchos Melachim
in the Rambams last section,
Seifer Shoftim. On another
occasion, a gentile asked him to
define Moshiach and wanted to
know why he did not believe in
Yoshka. James explained that the
Rambam sets forth criteria by
which to identify Moshiach and
not only does Yoshka not meet
them, but he acted contrary to
what is expected of Moshiach (as
Rambam states in 11:10 in the
uncensored edition).
James also quotes to gentiles
from the verses that deal directly
with the seven mitzvos to show
them how authentic it is.
Another topic that James tells
non-Jews from the Rambam
is the introduction to the Yad
HaChazaka where the Rambam

lists the chain of the Oral Torah


transmission from generation to
generation, starting with Moshe
Rabbeinu. With this, James
emphasizes the Oral Torahs
veracity to gentiles and proves
that it is also part of Toras
Moshe.
I asked him about his
knowledge of Rambam:
Its a fundamental work
which contains all the relevant
information for a Ben Noach.
You need to be knowledgeable
when you speak to them. Its
hard to argue with the Rambam
because he is factual and very
logical. I think every Jew needs
to know by heart the laws in the
Rambam regarding the Seven
Noachide Laws, the criteria for
establishing Moshiachs identity
and, of course, to be able to
quote the end of the Rambam
about what will happen in the
Days of Moshiach, no jealousy,
no competition, etc. The topic
of how the world will look in
messianic times often comes
up on mivtzaim and we need
to be able to quote the end of
Maimonides about no jealousy,
no competition, etc.

FEMININE SUPPORT
In order to examine the
subject from all angles, we spoke
with Mrs. Turen for the feminine
perspective and then with James
wife, Danielle.
Mrs. Turen, beyond her family
responsibilities and the running
of Bnos Rabbeinu high school,
gives three weekly shiurim.
On Mondays, the shiur
is for beginners and we learn
Tanya in a way of avoda. James
wife, Danielle, attends this class.
On Tuesdays, there is a shiur in
Tanya for those who are more
advanced. This shiur began
in Sivan 5750 because of the

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Rebbes request/horaa to start


shiurim. There is also a phone
shiur on inyanei Moshiach and
Geula every Thursday which is
a conference call listened to by
women all over the world.
I asked whether the Monday
shiur is for Bnos Noach or
Jewish women and how Danielle
fits in. Mrs. Turen said:
Its a shiur for intellectual
women who are just beginning to
learn about Judaism. The shiur is
focused on avoda so if Tanya is
talking about iskafia or the mind
ruling the heart, they will have
homework on this and at the next
shiur they will report how they
did with the assignment. Danielle
takes this very seriously. She is
always one of the first to do the
homework I assigned and to
internalize what we learned. She
takes home what we learned and
implements it in her life and also
davens with it and I see a special
seriousness in her and significant
progress.
I asked Danielle to elaborate
a bit, from her perspective, about
her background and what she
thinks of all this. She said:
I was raised in a modern
Christian home without any
religious trappings in a small
town with no Jews. I believed
there is a G-d but did not think
about it much. When I went to
college and met James, he told
me his thoughts about conversion
and his connection to Judaism
and his status as a Ben Noach.
Now too, he teaches me
something new every day. I dont
know whether I want to convert,
but Judaism seems logical and
more correct than Christianity. I
learned about being a Bas Noach
and about the seven mitzvos that
I am obligated in, and I began
taking an interest in this because
of my husband.
When we were living in

R Turen and James at the entrance to the Moshiach Center in Chicago

Chicago and I met the Turens,


my connection became much
stronger because of being hosted
in a Jewish home. I was amazed
by it. It is one of the nicest, most
incredible homes Ive ever seen.
Everyone is focused on educating
their children and on religion and
this is so different from the way I
grew up. I hope my home will be
like that.
I asked her about learning
Tanya with Mrs. Turen and she
said:
I cannot explain in words
how much I learn from and
appreciate the book of Tanya
and the special studying we
do with Mrs. Turen. It is a very
spiritual and practical path for
me to connect with G-dliness. I
learn Tanya and pray with it. The
topic of the mind ruling the heart
helps me a lot in life and with
my relationship with G-d. Now
I know that you cannot allow
emotions to rule because then its
a life of chaos. Also, the topic that
everything is actually G-dliness
(the unity of G-d), is something
I hadnt thought of until I began
learning Tanya and it changed my
way of thinking. Lots of people, I
think, observe the seven mitzvos

without being aware of it, but


with us it is coming from a place
of awareness combined with love
and fear in the service of G-d.
James tells how he does
mivtzaim, giving out sheva
mitzvos cards and starting
conversations about faith and
religion at work or wherever he
is. He is in the planning stages
of starting a website on the
subject and wants to generate
awareness about the great need
for a community of likeminded
Noachides. He also tells of
Christians who dont like him
and who think he is damned or
confused.
He concludes:
Its really important for Jews
to spread the information and to
be knowledgeable in Rambam.
People listen to you. I can tell you
that if you commit to observing
the seven mitzvos, you become
a better person, more calm, and
you live more in harmony with
your environment, especially
if its with the awareness that
this is the teaching of Moshe as
commanded by Hashem. Its
very important to give people this
foundation.

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Profile

BEIS MOSHIACH IN CHICAGO A SOURCE OF LIGHT


Beis Moshiach of Chicago, which is run by R Eliezer Turen, has
minyanim every day, shiurim on Moshiach and Geula, and does widespread
hafatza in the area. There is also a morning kollel for the study of Chassidus
led by R Dovid Feldman. The Moshiach Center is located in a religious
neighborhood and in the window there is a picture of the Rebbe with the
psak din about his being Moshiach. There is also work done with Israelis
which is called Ohr HaGeula, led by one of the shluchim, R Yossi Kleiman.
There are also activities for women run by Mrs. Turen. She regularly
gives shiurim for women including a Tanya class for beginners, as related
in the article. Every Thursday night there is a shiur for Bnei Noach at the
center given by R Turen.
We are really lacking a
community; Noachides have a
hard time finding one another.
I have a friend, a Noachide like
me, who due to the research he
did on Christian symbolism,
came to the conclusion that
the spiritual foundation of
Christianity is shaky. He did
research on Chabad websites
and realized he is a Noachide.
Today he is estranged from
the Christian community and
their displacement theology,
but in general, I dont have
many friends who can be called
Continued from page 13
You
come
to
a
new
neighborhood, new neighbors, how
did you begin?
My wife is the one who led and
always leads the way. She began
giving shiurim and soon became
an influential spiritual figure in the
neighborhood. Many women started
calling and consulting with her about
all kinds of things. She explained to
them about hiskashrus to the Rebbe
through the Igros Kodesh. This
became widely known and many
women began turning to us for help
in this.
Then we started organizing
Rosh Chodesh gatherings for
women which were attended by

Noachides.
The
Rebbe
made
a
significant step forward by asking
his Chassidim to spread the
subject. Otherwise, we wouldnt
have anything and we would all
be lost on the subject.
Danielle also talks about the
lack of a community:
My husband and I talk a lot
about starting a community for
Noachides. There are blogs and
websites but we dont have an
actual community and its hard.
I dont have a single friend who

dozens of ladies. At the same time


we began developing programs for
men, shiurim, Mesibos Shabbos for
children with over 100 children every
Shabbos, and holiday activities like
the Lag BOmer parade, childrens
rallies on holidays and more. We
are particular that every activity
be permeated with and directly
connected to the only remaining
shlichus, Kabbalas Pnei Moshiach
Tzidkeinu.
You are not the first Lubavitcher
to live outside of a Chabad
community.
What
motivates
a Lubavitcher family to take
responsibility and to do as you do
in your place of residence?
(Chemdi chuckles): First, its

considers herself a Bas Noach.


We are open to ideas about this
and are willing to help in building
a community of Noachides.
As for Geula, she adds:
You first have to explain what
Judaism is, because there is a lot
of ignorance in the non-Jewish
world about this. I believe that
the Messiah is on his way and we
need to prepare for his coming
by Jews doing their mitzvos and
we doing ours. We have a picture
of the Rebbe at home and the
Turens tell us more and more
about him; we also write to him
through the Rebbes letters. Mrs.
Turen recently gave us a video in
which the Rebbe talks about the
seven mitzvos and its amazing
to hear how much the Rebbe
pushed this issue.
I thank Mrs. Turen for the
education she is giving me. I
would not have a connection with
G-d if not for her, and I thank
the Rebbe who urged you to
spread this message; otherwise,
I would not know anything and I
certainly wouldnt be where I am
today.

thanks to my wife. On second


thought, youre asking a tough
question. I dont know. I never
thought about it. I think it comes
naturally. I never stopped to think
about what motivates me. I think
that every Chassid in my position
would do the same thing. We know
that shlichus is good for the shliach;
more than the calf wants to suckle,
the mother cow wants to give it milk.
Being involved in shlichus is first
and foremost good for the shliach.
It has a tremendous spiritual effect,
it obligates you, and it contributes
tremendously to the chinuch of the
children. When they are part of the
giving and influence, it has a great
effect on them.

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SHLICHUS

ANASH-SHLICHUS
Name:
Chemdat Avner (Chemdi) Gantz
Age: 36
Location:
The Kfar Avrohom
neighborhood in Petach Tikva
Occupation:
Director of The Jewish
Workshop
By Zalman Tzarfati

SOME BACKGROUND
I was born and raised in
Rechovot. I learned in Chabad
yeshivos in Kfar Chabad (Rishon
LTziyon), in Tzfas and in 770. I
got married after a stint on shlichus
at the Chabad house in New Delhi,
India.
After a year in kollel in Tzfas,
I worked as a teacher for a few
years in the yishuv of Eli in Mateh
Binyamin and then we moved to
Petach Tikva.
What is the Jewish workshop?
I run a series of experiential
Jewish workshops for preschools,
schools and cultural centers,
like shofar and olive oil making
workshops. Our main activity is the
Lego workshop for children.
I work mainly with preschools,
cultural centers and youth clubs.
Most of my customers are not yet
religious and I come in contact
with dozens of children and staff
members every day. As you know,
building with Lego is very popular
with young kids. Being involved with
building and little pieces contributes
to
developing
motor
skills.
Awareness of this is growing along
with a demand for Lego workshops.

I also work with Chabad Houses


and Chabad camps to provide
appropriate programs for them.

SHLICHUS AT WORK
As I said, most of the people I
encounter are not yet religious. I
come to run a professional Lego
activity, but all the preschool
teachers and staff members know
that all my programs start with a
story. It could be a Chassidic tale
or a story from Chazal, with an
emphasis on stories with a lesson
that strengthens emuna.
On holidays or other special

occasions, I try to construct Legos


with Jewish themes like a menorah
or a Beis HaMikdash.
Your flagship project is the Lego
Beis HaMikdash. Tell us about it.
I built a huge model of the Beis
HaMikdash out of Lego, and mainly
during the Three Weeks I come
with Lego and build the model
with the children. Its a hands-on
activity through which the children
learn about the Beis HaMikdash, its
structure, the side rooms, the azaros,
and mainly about the Geula.
I do the workshops with all kinds
of audiences, all over the country,
starting with Lubavitcher children
and Chabad House camps, the
national-religious public and the
exclusive neighborhoods of Tel Aviv
or the Sharon, and the feedback
is very favorable. I work hard to
adjust the messages to the target
audience and they are absorbed in an
experiential and pleasant way.

SHLICHUS IN LIFE
We moved to Kfar Avrohom
in Petach Tikva after a few years
in Yishuv Eli and we began doing
things in our new surroundings.
Continued on page 12
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MIRACLE STORY

A NOBLE
CONCESSION

THAT BROUGHT LONG LIFE


Together with his fervent desire for the position of rav of Yekatrinoslav,
Rabbi Bunin was a man with a very refined and exemplary character who
recognized the greatness of Rabbi Schneersohn. He knew that he himself
was more of an orator, while Rabbi Schneersohn was more outstanding
for his deeds. Thus, he felt that if the community would choose their
rav based on the sermon he gave, they would likely choose him and not
the one who was better suited for the job. Rabbi Bunin was faced with
a difficult internal struggle, and he eventually decided to withdraw his
consideration of this lofty post, choosing instead to use his connections
on behalf of Rabbi Schneersohns election. His decision was made with a
heavy heart, but also with absolute determination...
By Nosson Avraham
Translated by Michoel Leib Dobry

ast month, we publicized


in this column an amazing
miracle of how the Rebbe
hinted through a pasuk in
Thillim to a Belzer Chassid from
Bnei Brak, Rabbi Elimelech Fried,
how many more years he would live
in this world. The story aroused
many enthusiastic responses. One
of them was from the mashpia,
Rabbi Bentzion Grossman of

Migdal HaEmek, who asked if


he could share another amazing
miracle story with our readers that
he heard about forty years ago.
While he had kept the story to
himself since then, he now knew
by Divine Providence that the time
had come to publicize it on a wide
scale.
He personally heard the story
from Rabbi Michel Piekarski of

Crown Heights, who regularly


sat in the first row behind the
Rebbe in Beis Chayeinu. Rabbi
Grossman, who was still a
young bachur/avreich at the
time, maintained good friendly
relations with Rabbi Piekarski.
This eventually introduced him
to Rabbi Piekarskis uncle, the
famed Rabbi Yitzchak Bunin, an
outstanding rabbinical figure of

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The holy Rabbi Levi Yitzchak Schneersohn and Rabbi Yitzchak Bunin with a map of Yekatrinoslav in the background

the previous generation in the


Soviet Union and the United
States, and a tremendous scholar
in Torah and Halacha. While
he didnt identify himself as a
Chabad Chassid, he had great
love and affection for the Rebbe
and Chabad Chassidus.
Rabbi Yitzchak Bunin, of
blessed memory, returned his
soul to its Maker in 5742 at
the age of one hundred and ten
in Yerushalayim, where he was
living at the time. When he was
one hundred and seven years old,
he was the oldest living American
citizen, earning him a visit from
the American ambassador and
a delegation from the State
Department in Eretz Yisroel.

They presented him with a


special letter from the President
of the United States.
In whose merit did he live so
many good, long, and healthy
years? It was exactly this story
that Rabbi Bunin told one year
to his nephew, Rabbi Michel
Piekarski, who shared it with his
friend and acquaintance, Rabbi
Bentzion Grossman.

AN AMAZING CONCESSION
Rabbi Yitzchak Bunin was
already friendly with Lubavitch
back in the early Yudim (fifties),
said Rabbi Grossman. Anyone
who reads the diaries written
by those present at the Rebbe

Rayatzs levaya can see an entry


on a distinguished looking Jew
who read together with the Rebbe
Melech HaMoshiach from the
same Seifer Thillim. This was
none other than Rabbi Yitzchak
Bunin, who was already seventyfive years old by Yud Shvat 5710.
Before
Rabbi
Bunin
immigrated to the United States,
he was already renowned as a
giant in Talmud study, a Halachic
authority
who
maintained
correspondence with all the
leading Torah scholars of the
previous generation. He was born
in 5632 in the city of Molev, near
Haditch, to a family of Trisker
Chassidim, a branch of the
illustrious Chernobyl Chassidim.
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MIRACLE STORY
When he was still a young
boy, he had already achieved
much distinction in his Torah
study. His diligence became
known far and wide, and scholars
everywhere spoke highly of the
pearls of wisdom that emerged
from his Torah classes and
discourses. His greatness was
a combination of his amazing
knowledge alongside his ability to
explain profound Torah subjects
to common people.
Even before his wedding,
he received his ordination from
leading rabbinical figures in
Russia of over a century ago,
and he served with tremendous
brilliance as a rav in prominent

to serve as the rav of this city


would be a great honor. In those
days, a rabbi who wanted to be
accepted for a rabbinical post
had to give a sermon, and there
would be others rabbanim like
him competing for the position.
Community members would then
vote for their preferred candidate.
From the very outset of the
race, it seemed clear that those
in power in Yekatrinoslavs
Jewish community preferred
Rabbi Yitzchak Bunin. During
the preceding years, people
had been made aware of the
reputation of Rabbi Levi Yitzchak
Schneersohn as an outstanding
and fearless Jewish leader who

Rabbi Bunin retained his strength, and to the


amazement of everyone, he regularly lifted the
Torah scroll up until a few years before his passing at the
age of one hundred and five.
Jewish communities. A recently
sold archive included hundreds of
letters he received from leading
Torah giants of that generation,
including the Chafetz Chaim. He
also received a siddur from the
Rebbe Rayatz with a personal
dedication and correspondences
with very unique titles not often
bestowed upon men of Torah and
Yiras Shamayim.
The following story relates
to an offer he received to serve
in the rabbinate of the city of
Yekatrinoslav.
There were two candidates
for this coveted post: Rabbi
Yitzchak Bunin and the father of
the Rebbe, Melech HaMoshiach,
Rabbi
Levi
Yitzchak
Schneersohn. Yekatrinoslav was
a prestigious city with numerous
synagogues and a large and
respected Jewish community. For
Rabbi Bunin, an appointment

would
scrupulously
follow
the path of Torah and mitzvos
without compromise. However,
there were many community
leaders who were deeply troubled
by this. In those days, the Zionist
movement was taking root in
Yekatrinoslav, and this generated
much concern over the candidacy
of Rabbi Schneersohn.
Together with his fervent
desire for the position, Rabbi
Bunin was a man with a very
refined and exemplary character
who recognized the greatness
of Rabbi Schneersohn. He
knew that he was more of an
orator, while Rabbi Schneersohn
was more outstanding for his
deeds. Thus, he felt that if the
community would choose their
rav based on the sermon he
gave, they would likely choose
him and not the one who was
better suited for the job. Rabbi
Bunin was faced with a difficult

internal
struggle,
and
he
eventually decided to withdraw
his consideration of this lofty
post, choosing instead to use his
connections on behalf of Rabbi
Schneersohns election. His
decision was made with a heavy
heart, but also with absolute
determination.
Eventually,
after
much
consideration,
Rabbi
Levi
Yitzchak
Schneersohn
was
chosen as rav of the Jewish
community of Yekatrinoslav.
Rabbi Yitzchak Bunin continued
on his own path and he was
privileged to serve as the rav of
Jewish communities in other
cities. After the Holocaust, he
managed to reach the Western
Hemisphere, and he stayed in
continuous touch with the Rebbe
Rayatz and his successor, the
Rebbe, Melech HaMoshiach. In
addition, he had close contact
with the Sanz-Klausenberger
Rebbe, Rabbi Yekusiel Yehuda
Halberstam, known as the Shefa
Chaim, who was then living
in
Brooklyns
Williamsburg
section.

IN YECHIDUS
WITH THE REBBE
During one of the early
years after the Rebbe Melech
HaMoshiach
assumed
the
Chabad-Lubavitch
leadership,
Rabbi Bunin casually mentioned
to his nephew, Rabbi Michel
Piekarski, about his decision
to give up the rabbinate in
Yekatrinoslav in favor of the
Rebbes father. As is known, the
Rebbe MHM always wanted
to hear about his father from
people who knew him, and Rabbi
Piekarski urged Rabbi Bunin to
go in for yechidus with the Rebbe
and tell about his acquaintance
with the Rebbes father, including
this story. Rabbi Bunin agreed.
Rabbi Bunin, who had

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already passed the age of eighty


by this time, told the Rebbe in
yechidus about the events of those
times. According to Rabbi Bunin,
the Rebbes face shone with great
pleasure and satisfaction, and the
Rebbe blessed him with a long
and happy life. This is exactly
what happened.
At the age of ninety, Rabbi
Bunin moved to Yerushalayim,
establishing his residence in
Yerushalayims Shikun Sanz
neighborhood.
To illustrate how fully
the Rebbe MHMs bracha
to Rabbi Bunin was realized,
there are those who live long
lives yet they become a heavy
burden upon their families
shoulders.
However,
Rabbi
Bunin retained his strength, and
to the amazement of everyone, he
regularly lifted the Torah scroll
up until a few years before his
passing at the age of one hundred
and five.
Although he had already
passed the age of one hundred,
he would go regularly to the
Mea Sharim neighborhood to
deal with his banking matters.
Afterward, he would go into the

local battei midrash and study


Torah in great depth.

THE AMERICAN
AUTHORITIES TAKE AN
INTEREST
In conclusion, heres an
interesting
addendum:
One
day, the telephone rang in the
home of the Spitzer family in
Yerushalayim,
where
Rabbi
Yitzchak Bunin was living. On
the line were representatives
of the United States Embassy
in Tel Aviv. A clerk in the
Treasury
Department
had
recently discovered that there
was someone listed as a pension
recipient, aged one hundred
and seven. Concerned that this
might a swindle, the matter
was investigated to determine if
someone was possibly using the
persons name for fraudulent
purposes.
When officials called his
sons in the United States, they
were surprised to hear that their
father was indeed still alive. They
eventually came to the Spitzers
house in Yerushalayim to see for
themselves. When Rabbi Bunin

In Crown Heights area: 1640/1700AM

heard that the embassy officials


wished to see him, he happily
agreed. One day, a delegation
arrived carrying a flower wreath
and a decorative tray of fruit.
They sat with him for a while,
totally amazed that his intellectual
acumen and clarity at his age
remained fully intact.
This is the great value
of a bracha from the Rebbe,
Melech HaMoshiach, who was
most grateful to Rabbi Bunin
for the kindness he showed
towards his father, Rabbi
Bentzion Grossman said as
he concluded his story. In his
words, Rabbi Bunin had been
a well-known personality in
Chassidic communities outside
of Lubavitch, and for some
reason, this episode had never
been made public before. I was
privileged that when Rabbi Bunin
was ninety-four years old and
already living in the Holy City
of Yerushalayim, he honored me
with his presence at the bris of
my first-born son. He even gave
a very deep Dvar Torah, and as
always, he knew how to captivate
an audience.

worldwide, online: www.RadioMoshiach.org

In Israel (Nechayeg Venishmah): 08-9493-770 (press 1 # / 9 # / 3 #)

ADD IN ACTS OF GOODNESS & KINDNESS

TO BRING MOSHIACH NOW!


Issue 955

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INTERVIEW

EVERY WORD

COUNTS

To commemorate twenty years since the


founding of the Beis Moshiach Magazine,
editorial board member R Menachem
Ziegelboim sat down with R Elchanan
Nir, editor of the Makor Rishon Shabbos
supplement, and discussed their work in
writing and editing, revealing a few secrets
of the trade. They deliberated over a variety
of journalistic possibilities, and they agreed
on the tremendous responsibility attached to
every written and printed word.
Translated by Michoel Leib Dobry
Photos by Itai Ben-Ezra

Elchanan Nir

uring the recent High


Holiday season, in
commemoration
of
twenty years since the
founding of the Beis Moshiach
Magazine,
I
conducted
an
interview in the home of Rabbi
Elchanan Nir, editor of the Makor
Rishon Shabbos supplement, a
forum for discussions on Torah,
Jewish thought, literature, and art.
First of all, I would like to
present him to our readers:
Rabbi Elchanan Nir (34), a
pleasant and warmhearted Jew
and an exciting conversationalist,
is a rosh mesivta with the hesder

yeshiva Siach Yitzchak in


Efrat, a highly regarded writer,
and as mentioned, the editor
of the Makor Rishon Shabbos
supplement.
He
has
won
numerous literary prizes, among
them the 2010 Ramat Gan Prize
for Literature and the 2011
Prime Ministers Art Award.
Rabbi Nir is a descendant of
national Torah nobility. He is the
son of Rabbi Chagai Nir, who
served for two decades as the
rav of the Binyamin settlement
of Maale Michmas, and he is the
son-in-law of Rabbi Binyamin
Elon, the former head of Yeshivas
Beit Orot on Har HaTzofim,

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who also served three terms as a


Knesset Member, including a stint as
minister of tourism.
Rabbi Elchanan Nir has written
a seifer on Chassidic philosophy,
Im Ratz Libcha, dealing with the
Chassidic concept of ratzo vshuv
in a manner that crosses all sectorial
boundaries. He even produced
three successful and well-received
songbooks, and the Yediot Acharanot
literary critic dubbed him one of the
most prominent and boldest writers
of our generation. In his insightful
Torah
classes,
he
integrates
Chassidus, Kabbalah, art, literature,
and psychology.
About ten years ago, he founded
the book section in the Makor
Rishon Shabbos supplement, where
he also publicizes literary and Torah
articles. Nearly three years ago, he
was appointed the supplements
editor, a role he fills to this day. It is
in connection with this role (among
other things...) that I chose to meet
with him for a discussion, to get
acquainted and exchange different
views and approaches, not to
mention a few points of agreement.
Rabbi Z.: I want to thank you
for agreeing to have a discussion
on the subjects of writing and
editing, which we each deal with in
our daily lives.
I would like to open our
discussion with the thoughts that
accompany me as I sit in front
of the computer screen and edit
weekly articles and columns for
the Beis Moshiach Magazine. I am
aware that you regularly read our
publication and critique my work.
Sometimes, I sit alone and
write in a quiet atmosphere in
the front of the computer, with
no one else around. Suddenly, I
get a hold of myself and think: At
this very moment, I am essentially
speaking to a crowd of thousands,
perhaps tens of thousands, of
people who turn from their daily
affairs and listen to the messages I

try to convey. This is done through


Chassidic stories and a variety of
interesting articles that appear
in the magazine. When a Chassid
reads, he doesnt do so merely to
pass the time chv, rather in order
to receive greater vigor, power,
and intensity to find something
that will strengthen him. Were
not talking about just one or two
people, but many thousands. We
hold influence over whole worlds,
and therefore, the weight of
responsibility falling upon me is
great indeed.
Lets consider when someone
goes to the doctor. The doctor
examines him, makes a diagnosis,
and prescribes the necessary
medications for his ailment.
The person goes home, takes
his medicine, and recovers. To a
certain degree, we find that writing
is a much loftier form of cure, as
there is a very large cross-section
of people for whom the same text
relates to their inner soul.
From
the
feedback
and
responses I receive, I often learn
about the sheer revolutions that
writing creates in peoples lives.
Not long ago, I heard about
two Jews who called their sons
Menachem
Mendel
after
reading my seifer Stories
From The Rebbes Room,
a collection of thrilling
stories
about
the
Rebbe from inside
his holy chamber.
These Jews were not
Chabad Chassidim;
nevertheless
the
seifer led them
to
make
this
important decision.
And this is just one
example
among
many.

STANDING IN THE MIDDLE


Rabbi Nir, I would like to know
a little more about you, if I may.
You wear a large knitted
yarmulke on your head and serve
as editor of a vitally important
newspaper supplement that is
considered religious Zionist in
nature. However, as I look at your
library shelves, I see numerous
Chabad sfarim, all of which are on
our Rebbeim. I also know that you
teach Chassidus in your yeshiva,
and even as editor of the Makor
Rishon Shabbos supplement, you
write with a spirit of Chassidus.
Rabbi Nir: In
fact, I was
raised in
a home

Menachem Ziegelboim

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INTERVIEW
steeped in the teachings of
Merkaz HaRav. However, a
little in-depth information on
the essence of Merkaz HaRav is
first necessary. I will give a brief
introduction. In practical terms,
the national religious community
consists of two sectors: a)
Mizrachi, and b) Merkaz HaRav,
founded by Rabbi Kook. While
the Mizrachi faction came into
existence first, it was the latter
group that provided its ideological
voice. The religious Zionists
work created the link between
religious Jews and Zionism, the
army, and a secular state headed
by non-religious Jews. It received
a far more inner meaning in the
merit of the teachings of Rabbi
Kook, reverberating with even
greater potency since the Six
Day War, when they moved from
the beis midrash into practical
application.
Rabbi
Tzvi
Yehuda
emphasized the general national
outlook, and this was transmitted
to his students, who were my
teachers at Yeshivas Merkaz
HaRav. However, in recent years,
a more personal and individual
question has been raised within
religious Zionist circles: Where
am I in this whole story? Where
is my Avodas Hashem, my
holiness? What is the answer for
my distress, my solitude, and my
downfalls? Within the realm of
ideology, Jewish souls today are
looking for what I would call
dialogue. They want intimacy,
mysticism, substance, creativity,
and freedom. Yes, a lot of
freedom to reveal the holiness
of freedom and independence.
I first became exposed to
Chassidus when I was sixteen
years old. This treasure of
knowledge had not been in
my parents and grandparents
homes,
although
they
all
had
prominent
Chassidic
backgrounds my fathers family

was from Bobov, and my mothers


was from Belz. Chassidic
teachings there endured their
own form of exile, and this is
the worst possible thing from
the outlook of Merkaz HaRav.
My discovery of Chassidus
didnt just come out of nowhere.
There were numerous figures
working then to formulate this
bond. Among them I recall Rabbi
Adin Even-Yisroel (Steinsaltz). I
heard him in my youth on many
occasions, and afterward I was
even privileged to teach for about
ten years in his spiritual center
with Rabbi Menachem Froman
and my teacher, Rabbi Shimon
Gershon
Rosenberg-Shagar,
the rosh yeshiva who essentially
created the spiritual theology I
live by and teach to others.
In many ways, what we have
here is a new sub-movement
that we can call neo-Chassidic
or ChaBaKook an acronym for
Chabad, Breslov, and Kook. This
sector wants to restore vitality
to religious observance, to the
claim for inner authenticity and
the holy intensity within Torah,
as revealed mainly in Chassidic
teachings. It has no single widely
accepted spiritual leader or
official institutions, although it
does have its own style of avoda
and intellectual approach. In
fact, there are already a number
of yeshivos identified with this
branch and its methodology
toward life, prayer, and Avodas
Hashem. They have their own
brand of Chassidic humor
and mischief, combined with
seriousness and depth, and as
the Alter Rebbe brings in Tanya
(Igeres HaTshuva, Chapter 11):
Weeping is lodged in one side of
my heart and joy is lodged in the
other.
Since discovering Chassidus,
Im practically standing in the
middle. My fathers house is
based on the traditions of Rabbi

Kook, while I live and breathe


the profound teachings of
Chassidus. I even feel that the air
and the teachings of Eretz Yisroel
enhance and enrich Chassidic
philosophy, giving it a new and
influential platform. It requires
that I also express this through
the Shabbos supplement I edit
and the Torah classes I give over.

EDITORS AND
THEIR SECRETS
Rabbi Z.: I dont have to
tell you my secret (Nu, one of
my secrets), one that you
certainly know yourself. We
often get material sent to our
offices or receive suggestions on
possible articles. First, we give
them consideration according
to our personal standards, and
we either approve them or reject
them.
Sometimes
I
make
a
special effort and manage to
put my own opinions on the
side in order to look at things
objectively. But what can we
do? We are absolutely in a
position to judge and critique.
This apparently is another
reason why we earn our salary...
The idea that someone
suggests a certain article or
interview and I dont find
it appropriate is a distinct
possibility which will have an
effect upon many others and
this sometimes troubles me.
Suddenly, I say to myself: Just a
minute, this magazine isnt just
you
Rabbi Nir: Its quite true.
Each week, we receive dozens
of articles written by our readers
to share with the general public.
Were talking about a wide range
of subjects, angles, approaches
on life, Torah, and troubling
questions on the connection
between them.

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Rabbi Z.: As an editor, are


there things that you wouldnt
put in your paper? I dont mean
things that are clearly improper,
rather things that are fitting and
kosher, yet you decide that they
have no place in the newspaper
you edit...
Rabbi Nir: Yes. If I read
an article, and I feel that the
writer wrote it as someone on
the outside, speaking about the
matter albeit not from within,
I wont be in such a rush to
publicize it. I want the inside
stuff, the cry rising from the
heart, the plea of deep personal
feeling. In short, the thing itself.
Rabbi Z.: How do you
identify this in the writers
work?
Rabbi Nir: Thats an excellent
question. I try to pay attention
and I often seek advice. I have a
marvelous staff and organization.
Writing must be in a manner of
Anochi as is explained in
Gemara in the acronym I Myself
wrote [these words and] gave
[them to you]. The person has
to put himself and his soul into
what he writes.
Look, once a week a person
sits and reads the Shabbos
supplement. The week has
been very intense work,
family, personal troubles, daily
runaround and then he has a
moment to relax. Perhaps he even
looks to Heaven, asking himself
what he really wants to do here
in this world. However, in most
cases, it happens when he reads
the paper. He wants something
that will move him, uplift him,
and give him that extra neshama
a little Atzilus in the whole
world of Asiya, the lowest level
of Asiya for all the days of the
week. I want that when he reads
the Shabbos supplement; I want
him to find something in it that
will challenge him and shake him

up a bit.
Rabbi Z.: To tell you the
truth, R Elchanan, I also sit the
whole week behind my editors
desk. The only difference is that
you can write about a long list
of people and subjects, develop
public debates, open discussions
on rather sensitive matters, and
bring positions from numerous
schools of thought. I edit for
a weekly magazine that by its
very nature is quite restricted
in scope. Our publication
has a very clear agenda:
strengthening
the
readers
overall Chassidic experience,
connecting him more to the
Rebbe, and arousing constant
interest in the magazines everpresent headline: Moshiach and
the Redemption.
As a Chabad editor, I pass up
straightaway on the chance to
interview exciting world figures,
unless they are affiliated in
some way with a Chabad
program. This essentially is the
declared purpose of Chabad
media: bringing out the inner
content. As a result, the work
of the editor of a Chabad
magazine is far more difficult
and complex than for any other
publication due to its limited
mandate.
Yet, I must say here openly

and enthusiastically that despite


all the limitations and although
theres no news from 770,
we manage to put out new,
absorbing, varied, and enriching
articles each week, together
with traditional and historical
material from generations past.
The wealth of information is
incredible and astounding.
With your permission, Id
like to tell our readers a secret:
You are a subscriber to the Beis
Moshiach Magazine. What
exactly do you find in it?
Rabbi Nir: Its the Rebbes
shofar, a platform for Chassidic
thought and connecting with
the great Chabad personalities
throughout the generations.
It arrives in my mailbox each
Thursday morning, and theres
nothing like that moment when I
take it out of its wrapper, eager
to start examining its valued
content.

SPREADING THE
WELLSPRINGS IN THE
LAND OF THE RISING SUN
Rabbi
Nir:
Menachem,
Chabad
Chassidim
often
quote the saying Spread
your
wellsprings
outward.
What does this mean to you
in connection with the level of

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INTERVIEW
your commitment in editing and
writing in Beis Moshiach and
your sfarim?
Rabbi Z.: Look, writing
down words is quite easy. In
these times, anyone can sit in
front of a computer and put
in writing whatever enters
his mind and his heart; thats
easy enough. From my vantage
point, writing must be used to
positively influence others, and
as you said previously, to uplift
and strengthen them even if
its just an inch, its something.
A good and qualified writer is
someone who can influence
through his writing, capable of
reaching peoples hearts and
minds, striking an emotional
nerve.
Theres a story that the
Rebbe Rayatz used to tell: Once
he brought a book of stories to
his father, the Rebbe Rashab,
on the Chabad dynasty, Beis
Rebbe. His father was very
pleased and he told his son:
I appreciate this more than
if you would have brought me
the Rebbes own handwriting.
Now, just imagine to yourself
how precious such handwriting
was to the Rebbe Rashab, who
worked with great self-sacrifice
to obtain it. Nevertheless, a
book of stories on Beis Rebbe
was even more precious to him.
There are many Chassidic
suspense stories (naturally, their
heroes have beards), and there
are many stories on thought and
meditation. However, Chassidic
writing for a targeted Chassidic
audience is in another league
entirely. When a person reads
a book, he turns away from his
other pursuits and directs his
attention to the books content
and the messages it conveys. Its
no wonder that they say how
Chassidic stories illuminate
and bring warmth to the

Chassidic household, and its


influence is considerable. The
Rebbe Rashab even says that
Chassidic stories are for the
benefit of all, giving a person
good middos and making him
into a servant of G-d. If thats
the way it is with adults, then
it surely applies to children,
who receive and internalize
all reading material with great
gusto. The influence goes very
far, right to the heart and soul.
Id like to ask you the very
same question that you asked
me: What does Spread your
wellsprings outward say to
you?
Rabbi Nir: It means getting
a real good look at the operating
system of Torah, life, holiness,
and physical existence. It creates
a working Torah platform on
what it means to be a Jew today
within all sectors of modern-day
culture: What is Jewish culture,
or to put it simply, how can we
truly reveal in everything so that
there is nothing else besides Him
and there is no place void of
Him?
Rabbi Z.: I heard a rumor
that you are also involved with
the Noachide community, which
is naturally connected with the
Rebbes universal vision for
all humanity. Can you tell us
something about these activities
in your life?
Rabbi
Nir:
You
heard
correctly. For more than seven
years, I have been in touch with
the members of the Japanese
Makoya Movement. This is a
spiritual pro-Jewish association
founded after the Second World
War, identified with the causes of
postwar Japanese renewal, belief
in the Tanach, and the Land of
Israel for the People of Israel.
They assist us as much as they
can, and their help has included
supporting us during the Yom

Kippur War, donating thousands


of trees after the giant Carmel
forest fire, and a solidarity march
in the streets of Tokyo during
Operation Protective Edge.
My wife and I also stay in close
touch with them through my
wifes wonderful parents and
grandparents, including through
classes, lectures, and joint holiday
celebrations in our home.
We traveled to Japan following
the recent tsunami disaster, and
we conducted three seminars
there. Each one was attended
by about two thousand Japanese
Gentiles, seeking to learn how
to rehabilitate themselves and
achieve spiritual growth after
such a crisis.
Once when we were on our
way to one of the seminars, they
suddenly made a most unusual
request. They asked me not to
speak about post-crisis growth
in the spirit of the Tanach, as
I had planned. Instead, they
wanted me to bring them the
message of Chassidus It was
simply marvelous. Thousands of
Japanese whose homes had been
destroyed and whose lives had
been washed away, literally and
figuratively, sat glued to their
seats as they thirstily listened to
the holy teachings that the Baal
Shem Tov had introduced to the
world. At the conclusion of my
talk, they began to dance with
great joy. This was an actual
demonstration of Recount in the
nations His glory.
Rabbi Z.: A few words in
conclusion, R Elchanan, if you
please.
Rabbi Nir: I bless the readers
of the Beis Moshiach Magazine
that we should all merit the
ultimate holiness of the Beis
HaMikdash in our own daily
lives, filled only with goodness,
peace, and tranquility.

22 11 Tevet 5775
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FEATURE

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MIRACLES
FROM UP
CLOSE
9
One of the people
familiar
to those working for Zaka in
.indd 9
Beer Sheva is Shimon Zaguri.
Zaguri is a volunteer in the Zaka
organization for over fifteen years
now. In recent years he has been
driving an ambulance for them.
The Zaka organization is
holy work and I wanted a part
of it, he explains. The war this
summer made his daily routine
much busier than usual. He
shared with us some of the
miracles he experienced during
Tzuk Eitan as a volunteer for
Zaka.
Before we talk about the
war, tell us about your work for
Zaka.
Zaka is a holy organization.
It consists of work 24/7. There
is no break, no time to rest.
Whenever something happens,
we immediately go there. It
makes no difference what time
it happens or what we are busy
with at the time.
What was your job during
Operation Tzuk Eitan?
Aside
from
my
usual
volunteering, I ran from place to
place. A typical incident would
be, for example, a person heard
the siren and rushed to the shelter
and on the way he tripped and
hurt himself. Boruch Hashem, he
wasnt hurt by the rocket but we
arrived and treated him.
What miracles did you

experience during the war?


(Emotionally):
There
were dozens, even hundreds.
Whenever they reported a siren
in Beer Sheva, we waited tensely
for the explosion. Time after
time, when we ran to the site,
we saw big miracles. Dozens of
rockets landed in open areas, but
some did fall in built-up places
and even between buildings.
I remember, for example, one
incident in which a rocket fell at
the entrance to a house. There
were dozens of frightened people
and crushed cars, but nobody
was hurt. Boruch Hashem!
There were some who were
shell-shocked but nobody was
physically hurt.
What people are afraid of,
in these instances, is that a
gas balloon will explode. Time
and again we saw plenty of
destruction without anybody
injured, boruch Hashem.
One miracle that I remember,
took place in Beer Sheva in the
Ramot neighborhood. It was a
direct hit on a house that was fully
occupied and nobody was hurt.
All these instances lack a rational
explanation. If it happened once
or twice, maybe someone could
say its a coincidence, but when
the same thing keeps happening,
you cant deny it. These are open
miracles that we merited on a
daily basis.
Heres a miracle that I

personally experienced. As a
person who works for Zaka, Im
a bit of a cynic. At the beginning
of the war I got a phone call from
someone who asked me what was
going on. I told him I was on
the connecting highway between
Urim and Zikim and there was
a siren. We exchanged some
jokes about sirens since these are
places where there is nowhere
to run. There is no shelter, no
protected area, and we are on
the way somewhere and just
continue going. With a smile
still on my face, I suddenly saw
a huge explosion twenty meters
away on my right. Two minutes
later there was another mighty
explosion, this time on the left
side of the road. As I said, there
is nowhere to run to. Your heart
starts beating. Every mortar like
that could wreak destruction and
cause loss of life, G-d forbid.
Even with all the cynicism, you
cant remain indifferent. Every
mortar that we saw that did not
cause damage, just strengthened
the feelings of gratitude to
Hashem, along with the pain
over the terrible incidents and the
many dead.
I hope and wish that we wont
need these miracles anymore,
that there will be peace and quiet
for all of Am Yisroel wherever
they may be, amen.

9/16/2014 2:36:01 AM

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OBITUARY

THE MAN WHO

COLLECTED
DIAMONDS
Forty years ago, R Yosef Ladaiov had yechidus
and asked the Rebbe for permission to stop his
work in registering children in Chabad schools
and to go into the diamond business. The Rebbe
negated his plan and told him to continue with
his holy work. R Yosef, as a faithful Chassid, did
just that. For the rest of his life, he located small
diamonds covered with dirt and brought them to
the diamond polisher in Chabad schools.
By Shneur Zalman Berger

n 4 Cheshvan, we
heard the sad news of
the passing of R Yosef
Ladaiov, ah, after
he went through much suffering.
At his funeral, the Mara DAsra,
R Yitzchok Yehuda Yaroslavksy,
spoke of R Yosefs great merit
in having brought thousands of
children to Jewish schools, both in
Samarkand and in Eretz Yisroel.

COLLECTING SOULS
I knew R Yosef over the last
twenty years, since I came to
live in Nachalat Har Chabad.
From time to time he told me
stories about the work he did in
Samarkand that entailed mesirus
nefesh.
One of our conversations
that remains with me more than
all the others was a farbrengen

that took place one Sukkos in


Crown Heights two years ago.
It was a farbrengen hosted by
Eshel-Hachnasas Orchim and
it took place in the Strasbourg
sukka. There were young
bachurim present as well as older
Chassidim.
After drinking mashke and
singing soulful niggunim, I asked
R Yosef to tell us about one of his
private meetings with the Rebbe.

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2014-12-30 9:11:18 AM

and then in Rishon LTziyon, until


the Yeshivas HaBukharim was
founded in Kfar Chabad. As a young
man but someone with experience,
I was asked to bring talmidim to
this yeshiva. Boruch Hashem, I was
successful.
The thing is, I had to support
my family and the salary that I got
was nowhere near enough. Together
with my wife, we concluded that I
had to find work that paid. At the
time, I had offers in the diamond
field.
I went to the Rebbe for the first
time and when I had yechidus I
described our situation. On the one
hand, I wanted to continue saving
children by providing them with a
proper chinuch. On the other hand, I
knew I could not manage financially
under the present work conditions.
The Rebbe did not hesitate
for a moment. He firmly told me
to continue doing what I had been
doing, the work that I had done in
Samarkand.
Despite what the Rebbe said, I
did not think I would continue doing
this much longer, but I ended up
working decades longer for various
Chabad organizations. Thousands
of children attended Chabad schools
and because of that, they began
observing Torah and mitzvos.
Many of them now have religiousChassidic homes.

TORAH IN THE
SHADOW OF THE KGB
After a fair amount of nudging, he
related the following:
A few years after I arrived in
Eretz Yisroel, I went to the Rebbe
for the first time. At that time, I was
busy locating children of immigrants
for the purpose of putting them into
proper schools, mainly the Yeshivas
HaBukharim in Kfar Chabad. I had
done work like this before when
I was a teenager in Samarkand.
Back then, I helped the Chabad

young men who had started secret


schools. Since I knew the Bukharin
community well, I was successful,
with Hashems help, in convincing
many parents to send their children
to these schools.
I continued this work in Eretz
Yisroel under the auspices of Chamah
(Chaburas Mezakei HaRabbim) led
by R Moshe Nisselevitz. I registered
the children of new immigrants in
proper schools, at first in Ashdod

R Yosef Ladaiov was born in


5709/1949 in Samarkand. His
father was R Yitzchok. He gained a
lot from his grandfather, R Avrohom
Chai Ladaiov, who was a close
student of R Simcha Gorodetzky,
the shliach of the Rebbe Rayatz to
Samarkand.
A few years ago, R Yosef
described his undercover work
to Beis Moshiach. Here are some
excerpts from his memoirs:

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Obituary

R Yosef Ladaiov (on the right with the megaphone)


leading the last Lag BOmer parade in Yamit

At age 16 I began learning


with children who had nobody to
learn with them. At first I secretly
taught them alef-beis, psukim,
and tfilla. Even in those difficult
times I wasnt afraid. I always
wore a kippa and tzitzis and
those who were there know that
this was no simple matter.
Over time I developed a
relationship with R Moshe
Nisselevitz. R Moshe asked me to
open secret yeshivos and shiurim
and I enthusiastically agreed.
That is how the great outreach
work in Samarkand began with
R Moshe financing the work and
my making it happen.
The work was extremely
difficult. Every boy, out of the
thousand and more who learned
in the secret schools we started,
is a story in himself. We had to
instruct each child in what to say
and how to say it in the event that
he would be questioned. There
were situations in which even the
parents did not know where their
sons learned. I remember that
one time I took a boy to one of

our chadarim and his father was


furious about the kidnapping of
his son. He threatened to inform
the authorities and we had to give
him a lot of money so he would
leave us alone.
In addition to bringing
talmidim and instructing them,
we had to get teachers to come
and teach the children. That
wasnt easy, since a teacher who
taught Judaism was putting his
life in danger. I remember for
example R Yochai Yaakobov
who taught in Tomchei Tmimim
in the early years and sat in jail
for seven years. At first he was
reluctant to teach and only later
agreed, though not before we
got him a house within a house.
Then there was R Menachem
Malaiov who sat in jail for many
years who nevertheless agreed to
teach 25 bachurim every day!
The tycoon and philanthropist
Lev Leviev who lived in Tashkent
also learned in Samarkand
thanks to R Yosef Ladaiov:
I would go to other cities
and towns to bring talmidim to

the schools we started. On one


of my visits to Tashkent I met R
Avner Leviev ah who knew that
his brother [R Yaakov] taught
Judaism in my house. He asked
me to take his son Levi for half a
year, which we did.
What gave you the strength
to carry on?
The
Chassidishe
farbrengens, that was the
adrenaline that fueled me with the
strength to carry on the difficult
work. Every Shabbos Mevarchim
and on special days we would
bring about fifty bachurim to a
farbrengen. The bachurim would
come one by one to the house
where the farbrengen was taking
place, despite the fear of an evil
eye.
The
farbrengens
took
place in a different house each
time, once by R Tzvi Hirsch
(Herschel) Lerner ah, once by
R Eliezer Mishulovin ah and
once in the home of one of the
two brothers R Berel or R Hillel
Zaltzman. If you attended these
farbrengens you got so much.
How were you able to do
everything you did under the
close surveillance of the KGB?
The Rebbe watched over
us, that is the only way I can
explain how we managed to
bring more than a thousand
boys to learn Torah every day
for years and under the watchful
eyes of the police. We changed
locations every few weeks. We
got intelligence warnings about
their plans to conduct searches
in certain homes and we were
saved, but definitely, without the
feeling and the reality that the
Rebbe was with us, even in that
darkness, we would not have
done what we did.

THIS IS YOUR SHLICHUS


In 5731 the Ladaiov family

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made aliya and R Yosef, then


22, began working in diamonds.
The Chamah organization, that
had begun its work in the USSR,
reopened in Eretz Yisroel and
members of the organization
told Yosef that the Rebbe said he
should join them.
First a learning program
was started in Ashdod where
he gathered immigrant children
from Bukhara and they learned
in the local shul. After a short
time, the talmidim moved to
Yeshivas Achei Tmimim in
Rishon LTziyon and from there
to Kfar Chabad where Yeshivas
HaBukharim was founded for
them. In every phase, R Yosef
worked hard to register students.
This entailed talking to the
parents and convincing them
to leave their sons in Chabad
schools so they would go in the
path of Torah and mitzvos.
R Yosef married his wife
Leah and the work in registering
students continued. In those
days, R Yosef worked very
intensively, going to peoples
homes and talking to parents
at length about the necessity of
preserving tradition. Once they
were convinced and agreed, he
would take the children in his
car and bring them directly to
the Yeshivas HaBukharim in
Kfar Chabad and the girls to
Beis Rivka or Chabad schools in
Tzfas.
As mentioned earlier, after
a few years, when the meager
salary was not enough to support
his family, he wanted to work in
diamonds. In 5735, he and his
wife went to Beis Chayeinu and
in yechidus the Rebbe told him to
continue doing his holy work of
registering children.
His wife found this hard to
accept and after the yechidus
she wrote to the Rebbe in French
(her native language) that due to

parnasa difficulties she wanted to


stay in New York in order to find
work. The Rebbe responded with
a note in which he rejected this
idea:
Since 1) your husband has
been very successful in saving
quite a few of the Jewish people
spiritual pikuach nefesh,

R Yosef Ladaiov with the


former menahel of the Yeshivas
HaBukharim, R Berke Schiff, with
Bukharin children

literally for a life of Torah


and mitzvos (especially when
through his influence they
went to schools with a proper
chinuch al taharas hakodesh)
2) the necessity of these
activities in Eretz Yisroel still
exists obviously he needs to
continue in Eretz Yisroel and
joyously and Hashem will
bless you with success, also in
your personal matters.
Since, for the success of
the work, it must be done with
serenity of body and soul, I hope
that when your husband speaks
with the hanhala of Chamah in
Eretz Yisroel once again, that
according to Chamahs finances
they will add to his salary
and try, as much as possible,
regarding a car Enclosed is
my participation in the expenses
of your visit here.
This clear answer from the
Rebbe left no room for doubt.
He needed to continue the work
of spreading the wellsprings in
Eretz Yisroel under the auspices
of Chamah.
One year later, in 5736, R
Yosef won a raffle for a ticket

At a Chol HaMoed Sukkos farbrengen in Crown Heights. From left to right: R Yosef
Ladaiov, Shneur Zalman Berger (author of this article), mashpia R Yosef Yitzchok
Friedman, R Gil Orion

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Obituary

The Ladaiov brothers with shluchim in Kazakhstan.


R Yosef Ladaiov is first on the right

BACK TO SAMARKAND
In recent years, R Yosef Ladaiov and his brother wanted to work among
the Jews of the CIS to be mekarev them to Torah and mitzvos after the
religious disconnect of decades. After much deliberation they went on
a special trip and each place they went they worked on mivtza tfillin and
mezuza. They put tfillin on many and gave pairs of tfillin as gifts and put
up mezuzos.
It was moving to see the Ladaiov brothers who had worked in their youth
with mesirus nefesh in Samarkand, returning there decades later in order to
put tfillin on with people and put up mezuzos.
The brothers did this a number of years in a row. Each time they invested
a lot of money and tremendous effort in order to connect once again with
lost souls who remain in distant towns and villages and reignite their faith.
to the Rebbe. We both went
again, said Mrs. Ladaiov, and
once again, I wrote before the
yechidus about our financial
situation. When we entered for
yechidus and submitted the letter
to the Rebbe, the Rebbe did not
open it but moved it aside. Then
he looked at my husband and
said, Last year when you were
here, I did not allow you and now
too, I do not allow you
R Yosef and his wife finally
realized that this was their
mission in life and there was
nothing further to ask. From
then on, for decades, he worked
tirelessly to register children in

Chabad schools.

SAVING LIVES
About a year ago, R Yosef
began having pain and it was
discovered that he was suffering
from the dreaded disease lo
aleinu. It was a year of suffering
and pain but there were also
moments of satisfaction and
nachas when, a few months ago,
there was a celebration in honor
of his 65th birthday in which he
was recognized for his work for
the Bukharin community.
There were dozens of guests,
family
members,
students

and friends, who gathered to


express their appreciation to R
Ladaiov who saved many of their
community and led them to the
path of Torah and mitzvos. It
was a moving evening with his
talmidim, some of whom are
distinguished members of the
Bukharin community. Lev Leviev,
president of the Bukharin Jewish
Congress was there as were R
Hillel Chaimov who emceed the
event, Knesset member Amnon
Cohen, and others.
R
Hillel
Chaimov,
a
distinguished rav in the Bukharin
community, began the event with
his personal story. This moved
everyone and demonstrated how
vital R Ladaiovs work was and
how it affected generations.
I was in eighth grade in
Yeshivas HaBukharim in Kfar
Chabad. It was toward the end of
the year when my father told me
that the following year I would
be attending the government
religious high school so I could
get an education and eventually
become a doctor so that I could
support my family. I was very
shocked by this and did not know
what to do. I loved the learning in
yeshiva but my father wanted me
to study a profession.
R Yosef heard about this.
Where did he hear this from?
Nobody knows. But a few days
later, he knocked at the door
of my home together with R
Boris Yitzchakov. My father, R
Menachem Chaimov, welcomed
them graciously. R Ladaiov
explained to my parents how
important it was that I, young
Hillel, continue learning Torah
in yeshiva. Listen, if he studies
medicine, he can save some
lives, but if he studies Torah,
his Torah study will protect the
entire world. Is there anything
greater than that? R Ladaiov
sat there for a while until he got

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a commitment from my parents


that I could continue learning in
yeshiva. A few days later, before
the start of yeshiva in Elul, R
Ladaiov called our neighbors
(there still werent telephones in
all homes) and through them he
conveyed the message: In two
days I will come and take Hillel
to yeshiva.
R Ladaiov and R Yitzchakov
werent wrong. I continued
learning Torah in Yeshivas Achei
Tmimim Chabad in Rishon
LTziyon. Since then, I have had
the privilege of giving shiurim
and lectures that bring merit to
the public. If I had not remained
in yeshiva, where would I be
today? I, and those like me, the
multitudes of his students, work
among the Bukharin community
in Eretz Yisroel and the world.
What is mine and what is theirs,
is his.
Mrs. Rina Leibov, member of
the presidium of the Congress,
also spoke in honor of R
Ladaiov:
It was a few days after we
made aliya in 5734. We heard
knocks at the door. Who could it
be? The door opened and in the
doorway was R Yosef Ladaiov
in his usual dynamic manner.
My father knew him from
Samarkand. I dont know how he
managed to convince him to send
his four sons, my brothers, to
yeshiva. He did not suffice with
that but told my father, Your
daughter also needs to learn in
the right place. My father was
taken aback. How could he part
from his only daughter? R Yosef
promised him that it would be
alright and we all went to Beis
Rivka to see where I would be
learning.
During the evening more and
more moving and unusual stories
were told about mesirus nefesh
for Torah and R Ladaiovs effect

The Ladaiov brothers in Samarkand. R Yosef is on the left

on the spiritual futures of Jewish


children in Russia and later, in
Eretz Yisroel.

UNTIL HIS FINAL DAY


R Ladaiov underwent surgery
during the Days of Awe of a year
ago which was followed by harsh
treatments, but he remained
strong as a rock. Despite his
suffering he would go to shul
and daven together with everyone
even when it sometimes seemed
as though he would collapse from
weakness. During this period,
his youngest son was with him
and helped him tremendously,
but after a year, it was the sons
turn to go on Kvutza. Although
his condition was precarious, R
Yosef insisted on his son going
on Kvutza because that is what
the Rebbe wants.
Until his final days he exerted
himself to attend shul even
though it cost him, physically and
emotionally. Shabbos BReishis
was the last time he appeared in
shul.
The doctors told him he had a
few days left. Every day, a doctor
went to his house to see how to
make things easier for him, if
only a bit. Each time the doctor
came, R Yosef insisted that he

R Yosef giving a shiur in the shul in


Nachalat Har Chabad

put on tfillin before he examined


him. One of the doctors said he
doesnt do that and there was
no reason for him to do so now,
but R Yosef said, You wont
examine me until you do. This
was said in a whisper but firmly
and the doctor gave in and put
on tfillin.
That was R Yosef, stubborn
for holy matters.
He is survived by his wife
Leah and his children: Shneur
Zalman of Crown Heights,
Daniel of Crown Heights,
Yehudis Lifshitz of Nachalat
Har Chabad, Devora Ben Abu
of Crown Heights, Chana
Kozlovsky of Crown Heights,
Avrohom Meir of Kiryat Gat,
Penina Saadi of Nachalat Har
Chabad and Eliyahu.
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PARSHA THOUGHT

THE
ULTIMATE
BLESSING
By Rabbi Herschel Greenberg

A BLESSING TO ALL
JEWISH CHILDREN
Before departing from this
world, Jacob blessed Joseph
and his two sons, Ephraim and
Menasheh. When Jacob placed
his right hand on the head of
the younger son, Ephraim, and
his left hand on the head of the
older son, Menasheh, Joseph
tried to correct his father. Jacob
explained that Ephraim, though
the younger brother, would be
greater than his older sibling,
Menasheh.
The Torah then concludes
with Jacobs final blessing to
them:
He blessed them on that day
saying, Israel will bless [their
children] with you, saying, May
G-d make you like Ephraim and
Menasheh. He placed Ephraim
before Menasheh.
Since that day, the traditional
blessing fathers give their
children has been May G-d
make you like Ephraim and
Menasheh.
This provokes a question:
Since the time of Ephraim and
Menasheh, there have been
thousands of righteous people,
many of whom are regarded as
spiritually superior to Ephraim

and Menasheh, such as Moses


and Aaron. What is it about these
two brothers that Jacob wanted
all our children to emulate?

CONTINUING
PREFERENTIAL
TREATMENT?
To answer this question,
we must first answer another
pressing question. After seeing
how preferential treatment of
Joseph led to such negative
results, why did Jacob do it again
with Ephraim and Menasheh
by showing favoritism to the
younger brother?
Moreover,
his
elevation
of Ephraim and Menasheh,
Josephs sons, to a status equal
to that of their uncles, Josephs
other brothers, Jacob conferred
a privilege on them that he did
not accord to their cousins.
This step seemed a repetition of
his original mistake of showing
preferential treatment to Joseph.
Didnt Jacob learn a hard lesson
about showing favoritism when
he suffered so much precisely
from showing preference for
Joseph?
In response to this question,
we must conclude that Jacobs
open display of his greater love

for Joseph coupled with sending


him to seek out his hostile
brothers, was not, G-d forbid, an
act of reckless neglect or a lack
of common sense. The Patriarchs
are regarded by our Sages as
chariots, meaning that every
action of theirs was a natural
response to G-ds will, in the way
a chariot responds to the will of
its driver. Even their errors
were not examples of human
frailty and moral lapses but were
well-intentioned and, moreover,
orchestrated from Above to teach
us important lessons.

SEEING THE PRESENT


THROUGH THE EYES OF
THE FUTURE
Jacob prophetically saw into
the future and knew that the
secret of Jewish survival, and
what will ultimately end exile, is
unity. Indeed, our Sages inform
us that the Second Temple
was destroyed because of the
senseless hatred that prevailed
amongst the Jewish people at
that time. The way to correct
that destructive force, restore the
Beis HaMikdash and usher in the
Messianic Age is by reversing that
jealousy and enmity that brought
about the exile in the first place.
Jacob, therefore, may have
reasoned that if he could cultivate
a lack of jealousy amongst his

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diverse children, themselves the


progenitors of diverse approaches
to serving G-d, he would have
empowered the future Jewish
nation to overcome its harmful
divisions.
Jacob wanted to inculcate
in them the unconditional love
for one another that would be
crucial for the future of the
Jewish nation. The real test of
that love is demonstrated when
another brotherespecially if he
is younger is given preference
without arousing jealousy. When
all are left equal, there is no stress
test of their unconditional loyalty
and love for one another.
If Jacob erred, it was
that this test of his sons was
premature; they were not
ready to absorb the lesson. He
miscalculated the extent to which
his preferential treatment of
Joseph would lead to disastrous
results. Jacob viewed his sons
from his own spiritual vantage
point and saw their underlying
potential for unity before they
were ready for it to be actualized.
In other words, Jacob saw them
through the eyes of the future and
saw how they would ultimately
unite.
However, our Sages tell us
that when truly righteous people
pursue a certain goal, it will
inevitably be reached. Jacobs
efforts to instill true brotherly
love in the DNA of the souls
of his children finally paid off
in the next generation with
Ephraim and Menasheh. These
two symbolize the ideal of King
Davids statement in his Psalms:
How good and pleasant when
brothers dwell together. There
was not a tinge of jealousy or
bad feelings toward Ephraim
on Menashehs part; neither
did Josephs brothers harbor
any resentment against Joseph
for his sons getting an extra

tribal portion. This was a new


generation and a new dynamic
was established.
After all of the travail that
Jacob, Joseph and his brothers
had experienced, Jacob felt that
they had been purged of their
jealousy and were ready for the
Messianic Age.

REVEALING
THE END OF TIME
We therefore find later in this
parsha, that Jacob tried to reveal
the future arrival of Moshiach.
Jacob called for his sons and
said, Gather around and I will

was based on how he saw his sons


outgrow their rivalry and jealousy
and enter into an unprecedented
unified state. He had successfully
planted the seeds for the final
Redemption. More specifically,
when Jacob saw Menasheh totally
accept his secondary status
without any trace of jealousy or
malice he knew that the potential
for correcting jealousy amongst
his descendants did in fact exist
and he saw the Redemption on
the horizon.
But, alas, our Sages continue,
the Divine presence departed
from him and he did not
reveal the time for the Final

What distinguished Ephraim and Menasheh


from all others was their total reversal of the
dynamic of division and rivalry that plagued their elders.
Moreover, the reversal was as dramatic as it gets. They
went from the extreme rivalry of their uncles, which lead
them to plot Josephs murder, to the opposite extreme
of harboring not a trifle of envy.

tell you what will happen to you


in the End of Days.
The Midrash, cited by Rashi,
comments:
He wanted to reveal the End
[of days, when Moshiach would
come] but the Divine presence
departed from him, so he began
to speak about other things.
This raises a question. If
Jacob knew that Moshiachs
coming would be in the distant
future, why would he want to
burden his sons with the sad
news that it would not happen
for quite an extended period of
time? And why did the Divine
presence depart from him at that
very moment?
The answer is that his desire
to reveal the future Redemption

Redemption. What went wrong?


The answer is that, once
again, Jacob had viewed the
world through his prism of being
able to see the future in the
present. He saw a rehabilitated
and united family, devoid of petty
jealousy; the ingredients for the
Final Redemption. He saw the
Redemption unfolding before his
very eyes.
However, the process of
forging unity had to be more than
a one generation phenomenon.
For the Final Redemption
to become a reality, future
generations would need to
recreate the dynamic that existed
in Jacobs final days. The seeds
of unity needed to be nurtured.
As we know, it turned out to be

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Parsha Thought
a long, arduous and rocky road
until Jacobs vision could be seen
by everyone.
As we stand now, poised on
the threshold of the Redemption,
we ask ourselves where did this
process begin? Where did we
derive the power to break out of
exile? The answer is that it all
began with the lack of jealousy
and brotherly love displayed by
Ephraim and Menasheh.

THE VESSEL
FOR ALL BLESSINGS
We can now appreciate why
the ultimate blessing for our
children is to be like Ephraim and
Menasheh.
It is true that there are many
other Jewish historical figures
who rate more prominently than
Menasheh and Ephraim, such as
Moses and Aaron. Nevertheless,
what distinguished Ephraim and
Menasheh from all others was
their total reversal of the dynamic
of division and rivalry that
plagued their elders. Moreover,
the reversal was as dramatic
as it gets. They went from the
extreme rivalry of their uncles,
which lead them to plot Josephs
murder, to the opposite extreme
of harboring not a trifle of envy.

Their ability to reverse course


like this made them unique,
even in comparison to Moses
and Aaron. When G-d chose the
younger Moses as the liberator
of the Jewish nation, Aaron did
not feel envy. On the contrary,
G-d told Moses that when Aaron
heard that Moses was the chosen
one, he will rejoice in his heart.
Even so, Menasheh and
Ephraim stood out for their
lack of rivalry immediately after
events that represented the zenith
of brotherly division and strife.
Their unique contribution is
their ability to reverse a negative
dynamic.
Jacob,
having
seen
the
way
Menasheh
and
Ephraim responded
to his preferential
treatment of the
younger of the two
brothers, knew that
this would be the
ultimate
blessing
for the future of the
entire Jewish nation.
He believed that he
had finally succeeded
in cultivating the
unconditional
brotherly relationship
that would prove

crucial for our future. No other


blessing could match that of
brotherly love, because it is
the ultimate vessel for all other
blessings.
Peace is the ultimate blessing
that makes all the other blessings
real and accessible to us,
particularly when it follows a
time of dissent and discord.
In the eternal words of our
Sages, with which they conclude
the Mishna:
G-d could not find any vessel
that contains blessing other than
peace.

32 11 Tevet 5775
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955_bm_eng.indd 33

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TZIVOS HASHEM

THANKS TO THE

CHOSEN PEOPLE
By Nechama Bar

The wheels of the plane


lifted off the runway. The earth
slowly became smaller and
smaller and only the blue skies
and white fluffy clouds could be
seen out of the planes windows.

R Chaim waited for liftoff


to be completed so he could get
out of his seat. He was holding
his tfillin bag and he wanted to
walk around and enable Jews
to put on tfillin.
As soon as the passengers
were allowed to stand up, R
Chaim got out of his seat and
began walking around looking
for Jewish faces. Many Jews
were happy to say yes to the
Chassids offer and put on
tfillin, but there was one who
did not like the idea. He made
a face and motioned to him to
move on. Next to this Jew sat a
gentile who watched the scene.
When R Chaim finished going
around the gentile asked him,
What about me?
The Chassid smiled and said,
Putting on tfillin is something
only Jews do, which is why I
only offered it to Jews.
Yes, yes, the man nodded,
but I want to tell you a story
connected with Jews.
R Chaim was willing to
listen and the gentile began his
story:
I worked as a janitor in the
Twin Towers. Very wealthy

people used to work in the


offices I cleaned and we, the
cleaning crew, benefited many
times. These rich people wanted
only the best and they rushed
to buy any new gadget. They
threw the old ones out, available
to whomever wanted them. We
often went home with good
clothes and quality items that
the rich employees discarded.
One day, as I was cleaning,
I noticed a small suitcase.
Another bargain, I figured
and I took it without thinking
twice. When I opened it I was
shocked to see that it was full
of money!
I was quite familiar with the
office building and I knew that
there were video cameras that
recorded everything that took
place, but in the spot where I
found the suitcase, there was
no camera. I knew that nobody
would know I had found it.
I hid the suitcase in a
garbage bag so as not to arouse
suspicion and walked home,
trying to look as I always did.
As soon as I walked into the
house, I told my wife excitedly
about my find. She jumped
from excitement when she saw
the piles of bills lying in the
suitcase. Wow! You wont have
to work anymore as a janitor.
Our days of scrimping are over!
We are RICH! Millionaires! Let

us open a business, buy buildings


I will buy diamond jewelry
and beautiful clothes
I got caught up in her
enthusiasm. In our imagination,
we pictured the nice life we
were about to have with a
mansion, a magnificent garden
and a pool, nice cars But
the very next day my thoughts
changed.
As expected, the huge loss
made a commotion in the
office building. Policemen and
detectives came in and out,
questioning many employees,
trying to get some information
that would lead them to the
thief.
I was a lowly janitor and
they did not suspect or question
me. I acted as though I had no
idea what was going on and
worked extra hard.
After a while I found out
that the lost suitcase belonged
to a Jew. At once, memories of
my childhood came back to me.
I remembered a grandfather
whom I loved so much. My
always
would
grandfather
seat me on his lap as he sat
in his red armchair and tell
me stories. One thing he kept
on repeating was, You should
know that Jews are the chosen
people and one cannot do them
any harm.
This sentence echoed in

34 11 Tevet 5775
955_bm_eng.indd 34

2014-12-30 9:11:24 AM

my brain and I felt dizzy. I


decided that I would return
the money to the Jew. You can
well imagine my wifes reaction
when I told her my decision.
She screamed and cursed me
for my foolishness and tried, in
every way possible, to stop me
from doing this. But her efforts
were futile. The next morning
I put the suitcase in a black
plastic bag. I quietly entered the
Jewish employees office and
told him that I had the suitcase.
I want just one thing, I
told him. Dont turn me into
the police and make sure they
dont question me.
Of course, just tell me
please, when do you finish
work?
At 4:30, I
said.
Come back to
me please, when
you finish work.
When I entered
he
room,
his
an
me
handed
with
envelope
nice
a
,
$3000
money
of
t
amoun
for a janitor.
happily
I
home
returned
and showed my
wife the envelope.

me. What is $3000 compared


to the tens of thousands of
dollars that were there? We
could have been rich!
She kept ranting and raving
for hours until I became sick
from it all. Painkillers did not
help and I could not go to work
the next day.
See? The chosen people,
you said. You helped them and
what did you get? You became
sick. Now you see what a fool
you were? This is what you get
for returning the money! Let
us see now if the Jews will help
you ... she continued yelling
while my headache got worse.
When I felt that the pain
wasnt going away, I went to
the hospital. The doctors did

You fool, was


all she could say.
She didnt even
want to look at




not find any source for the


pain but decided to hospitalize
me for a few days so they could
keep an eye on me.
You wont believe what
happened. A few days later,
as I lay in the hospital, the
television and radio stations did
not stop broadcasting about the
terrible tragedy that had just
taken place. The Twin Towers
had been attacked and had
collapsed. Thousands of people
had died.
I
moment
that
At
saved
had
G-d
that
tood
unders
me because of what I did and
my caring for His chosen people.
***
R
exclaimed
Wow!
hadnt
gentile
the
but
Chaim,
finished. He patted
the shoulder of the
Jew sitting next to
him who had heard
every word of his
story.
I, the gentile
worker, am alive
thanks
today
to Jews, so how
could you, a Jew,
a member of the
chosen people, not
want to put on
tfillin?
felt
Jew
The
and
uncomfortable
rolled
immediately
up his sleeve and put
on tfillin.

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