Toldot - Chose Light!
NY City Candle lighting 4:16, Shabbat ends 5:17. The Molad is this Shabbat morning, 9:46 and 17 Chalakim . Rosh Chodesh Kislev is Sunday . For candle lighting times anywhere in the world you can go to my website www.chabadgn.com/Candles
TOLDOT: CHOSE LIGHT!
By Rabbi Yonassan Biggs
Shalom and Bracha!
May Hashem comfort the widows and orphans of those murdered in Yerushalayim and the entire Jewish people who grieve and mourn this gruesome evil tragedy. The only fitting comfort will be the coming of Moshiach when their pure souls will rejoin them with their beloved families and the Jewish people.
May Hashem protect every Jew in Yerushalayim, the land of of Israel and throughout the world and may there be no future tragedies until Moshiach’s coming.
Before the weekly Dvar Torah I must address the tragedy in Jerusalem.
My first responses to the vicious murders this week were shock, anger and despair. Thereafter I reflected on the Rebbe’s response to a similar massacre. In 1956 a rabbi and four students were murdered by terrorists during evening prayers in Kfar Chabad. The Rebbe consoled the grieving community and taught that the tragedy must be transformed into new growth, that the darkness of evil can only be dispelled by increasing in light.
I reflected on dispelling despair. There are so many truly evil people. Seemingly, how can we survive their schemes? The answer lies in this week’s portion. Rivkah (Rebecca) was barren. So was Sarah. So was Rachel. Why? In order to teach us that the birth and survival of the Jewish nation are miraculous, not natural.
According to nature, Isaac would never have been born and we wouldn’t be here. Jacob wouldn’t have been born and we wouldn’t be here. Joseph and Benjamin wouldn’t have been born and no one would have sustained us during the great famine. Through prayer and miracles we are here.
How do we respond to this tragedy? Light dispels darkness. Every Mitzvah is a candle that lights the world. Teshuvah, prayer and charity reverse evil decrees. A void has been created. Lets fill the void millions of times.
The four Rabbis were murdered in Synagogue. The terrorists defiled the synagogue and want to chase us from our synagogue. The response? Every Jew in the world should increase their going to synagogue. If you haven’t gone to synagogue for years go this Shabbat. Fill the void and defeat the evil intent. If you go once a year, go this Shabbat and go more often. If you go every Shabbat at least once go on a weekday and go more often. Everyone can fill the void of these four victims who can no longer go to Shul. Help build new Shuls and thwart the intent of the murderers.
The victims were devoted Torah scholars. Four lights of Torah were extinguished. Thousands of torah classes must be established in their memory. Darkness can dispel light and can even be transformed into light with dedication. Everyone must learn something and support Torah study in their memory. Every Mitzvah is a candle. Certain Mitzvot are noteworthy for protecting the Jewish people. The Mezuzah represents Hashem’s protection of our homes. Every Kosher Mezuzah on a Jewish home protects the Jewish people. If you don’t have a Mezuzah on every door get ne. If you have, make sure it’s Kosher. If you are well taken care of, find a Jew who needs a Mezuzah. Hundreds of Mezuzahs going up over the world will bring tremendous blessings and protection to the Jewish people. Tefillin are a tremendous protection for the Jewish people. The Rebbe introduced the Tefillin campaign shortly before the six day war and the victory was nothing short of miraculous. Everyone should put on Tefillin and encourage others to put on Tefillin. Evil is darkness. Every Jewish woman can illuminate the world by lighting Shabbat and holiday candles before sunset. The Talmud deduces from this week’s portion that when there is sufficient Torah study, our enemies hands are weakened.
It is in our hands. We can submit to the despair that our enemies want to create or we can transform tragedy to a beacon of light and hope. When we do, we respect the departed and continue their missions of life. Let us all chose light over darkness.
Toldot – Living Waters - Mevarchim Kislev
This Shabbat we bless the month of Kislev and read the portion of Toldot. The portion begins with the birth of Yaakov and Esav and concludes with Yitzchak blessing Yaakov and sending him to his uncle Lavan, Rivkah’s brother, in order to find a wife.
One subject that is frequently mentioned in this week’s portion is the digging of wells. First the Torah mentions that Yitzchak redug the wells that his father had dug but had been filled with earth by the Philistines. Thereafter the Torah relates that his servants dug three new wells brimming with living waters. Local shepherds contested two of the wells that the servants dug, but the third was uncontested, which served as a sign of Hashem’s blessing for prosperity and security. Whatever the Torah tells us is a lesson in our service of Hashem. We must therefore seek to understand the significance of digging wells.
The Ramban explains that the three wells represent the three Temples in Yerushalayim: the Temples of Solomon, of Ezra, and of Moshiach. The contesting of the first two wells represents the destruction of the first two Temples, and the third well being uncontested represents the eternity of the third Temple. We must seek to understand the significance of the parable of wells to represent the Holy Temple.
Dry ground and rocks appear to be barren, lacking any sign of life. By digging deep, we can reveal a well, a source of life. The deeper one digs, the more and purer water one reveals. Once uncovered, the source doesn’t need to be replenished. Unlike rainwater, which must come from the sky, spring water needs only to be revealed. In service of Hashem, this parallels revealing the G-dly nature that is within each person and within every aspect of the world. Interestingly, according to Jewish law spring water can purify in cases when rain water cannot. Our hidden good is more powerful than our revealed goodness. Often wells rise on their own once revealed. This represents the deep desire of the goodness hidden in each person and object to be reveled.
Everything in the world was created by Hashem for a purpose and therefore is essentially G-dly. Every person possesses a soul and therefore is essentially good. Sometimes, the goodness and the G-dliness are hidden beneath a thick and coarse exterior. Our purpose in the world is to reveal that goodness and that G-dliness. The deeper we dig, the more good and G-dliness we reveal. By doing so, we make each individual and the world as a whole a dwelling place for G-d. This is the central concept of the construction of the Temple, creating a dwelling place for Hashem as the Torah says, “Make for Me a Holy place and I will dwell amongst you.”
When we have begun to reveal the goodness and G-dliness in the world, but not finished the job, there is contention. When we have finished the job, on the contrary, there will be perfect consent and peace.
In Jewish law, well water is considered purer than rainwater and has a greater power to purify people and objects that have been defiled. Spring water is also generally considered better in quality. The special qualities of spring water are because the water penetrates and passes through the crevices, rocks and dirt. This symbolizes overcoming adversity. When one overcomes adversity, it not only purifies the person, it gives them strength to affect the world and bring purity to others.
Isaac’s blessing at the end of the portion beings with the words “And G-d will give you.” Rashi notes that the word “and” is superfluous and implies that G-d will give and give again. Isaac blessed Jacob and his offspring that they will be blessed with revealed good and the power to reveal and enjoy the hidden good.
The Baal Shem Tov ascended to the Heavenly chamber of Moshiach and asked him when he will arrive. Moshiach answered him “when your wellsprings (The Baal Shem Tov’s teachings) will spread outward.” The month of Kislev is the month of the revelation of Chassidut. May it be Hashem’s will that we will immediately merit the coming of Moshiach.
In reverent memory of the Kedoshim Rabbi Moshe Twersky, Rabbi Kalman Levine, Rabbi Avraham Shmuel Goldberg and Rabbi Aryeh Kupinsky HY”D
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This weekend thousands of Chabad Rabbis from across the globe will convene to fortify their work in strengthening Torah and Judaism throughout the world. May Hashem grant each of them and all of them success and may their work illuminate the depths of darkness and bring the revelation of Moshiach!