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                         L'CHAIM - ISSUE # 1495
                           Copyright (c) 2017
                 Lubavitch Youth Organization - L.Y.O.
                              Brooklyn, NY
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   Dedicated to the memory of Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka Schneerson N.E.
        November 3, 2017         Vayera        14 Cheshvan, 5778

                        The Uncomfortable Guest
                        by Dovid YB Kaufmann obm

Being a guest can be awkward. Of course it's fun not having to wash the
dishes. Or cook. Or clean up. Or do laundry or take out the garbage or
pay the bills or put the kids to bed or answer the phone or do any of
the things or take any of the responsibilities that come with being in
charge of the house.

Being a guest in someone's home differs from being a guest in a hotel.
There, we pay for the gratuities and amenities. The kindness may not be
forced or artificial, but it's bought and contingent. Staying at a
hotel, we feel neither guilt or gratitude. Nor do we have to temper our
demands. (We have to be polite because people need to be
well-mannered.) At a hotel, we pay for what we get.

Being a guest, we're on our best behavior. We don't spread the newspaper
out over the whole table; even when the host gives us permission and
says 'help yourself,' we still ask beforehand or inform afterwards.

As a guest, we're dependent on others. We're dependent on them
materially - for a bed, for amenities and utilities. We're also
dependent in an emotional or spiritual sense. We can be a guest, but
unwelcome. The host can provide food, a room, all the appropriate
accommodations, but make us feel like an intruder, almost like a thief.
Someone else creates an atmosphere of security, of inclusion, of
belonging - we feel almost like a part of the family.

But no matter how pleasantly we lodge, we live tentatively. A guest has
a temporary lease, his stay always contingent. There's nothing
unconditional about life as a guest; guests stay with restrictions,
provisions, conditions.

Being a guest in someone else's home is sort of like, well, being a soul
in a body. The soul's lodging is temporary. It has a metaphoric room and
board, but in a sense the body isn't home. The soul can't be completely
comfortable in the body. After all, it has to share the body with the
animalistic. The selfish, material side has first claim on the body's
resources. It belongs to the animal in us and is subject to the urges of
the physical.

In fact, we might even say that G-d is a guest in this world. Those who
live here don't always act according to His Will. His Presence isn't
always felt; even when It is, It finds Itself in the background. The
Divine Presence in this world too often resembles a guest at the dinner
table - invited to eat, allowed to participate in the conversation, but
not the center of attention.

But everything changes when Moshiach comes. Then we'll have transformed
ourselves into a home for the soul and the world into a dwelling place
for G-d. The guest room ceases to resemble a hotel suite and looks like
part of the house. The soul becomes content within the body and G-d
becomes comfortable in His world.

Maybe that's why the Sages say that hachnasat orchim - welcoming guests
- is greater than greeting the Divine Presence. True hospitality - a
trait inherited from Abraham - does more than make the guest feel at
home. It transforms our house into His home.

In the Torah portion of Vayeira, G-d tells Abraham, that he is going to
destroy Sodom and Gomora. Then it says, "... And Abraham was still
standing before G-d. Abraham came forward and said, 'Would You blot out
the righteous along with the wicked?!'"

If Abraham was still standing before G-d, what does it mean, that he
came forward?

Rashi explains that Abraham didn't come forward in a physical sense, but
rather, he prepared himself emotionally, to defend Sodom and Gomora from
annihilation. Abraham intended to plead the case before G-d in three
ways: to argue sternly with Him; to appease Him; and to pray to Him.

We see that he did all three, first speaking sternly, he said "Would You
blot out the righteous along with the wicked?!" In appeasement he said,
"It would be sacrilegious for You to do such a thing, to bring death
upon the righteous along with the wicked, so that the righteous and the
wicked are alike, that would be sacrilegious of you! Shall the Judge of
the whole world not judge fairly?!" Then in prayer he said, "Behold I
have begun to speak to my L-rd, and I am dust and ashes."

We are taught regarding Abraham that he manifested the attribute of
kindness and love. In last week's Haftora, G-d even called him, "Abraham
who loved Me." So it seems strange and out of character that Abraham
opens his argument with stern words. "Would you blot out the righteous
along with the wicked?!" Why doesn't he begin with words of appeasement
or prayer, and if that doesn't work, try stern words? That would be more
in character with the Abraham we know.

When it speaks of Abraham's kindness and love, it is referring to the
way he served G-d, in line with his nature. However, here lives were on
the line, and the angel tasked with destroying Sodom and Gomora, were
already on the way there. Abraham went against his nature and spoke
sternly first, not making diplomatic calculations, because lives were in
the balance.

The stories of our ancestors are a lesson to us, his children. Even
more, just as we inherit from Abraham the kindness and the love that he
had, we must be ready to take action when it is called for, just as he

The lesson here is that when the well-being of another is on the line -
whether it is his spiritual - or physical well-being, it is not a time
for calculations, it is a time for action, throwing yourself into the
task with strong and effective action, even if it means going against
your nature. To save a life, we go the extra mile.

May the merits of the kindness and love all of the Jewish people give be
the mitzvat that tips the scale and sets in motion the coming of
Moshiach! May he come soon.

           Adapted by Rabbi Yitzi Hurwitz from the teachings of the
            Rebbe, Rabbi Hurwitz, who is
       battling ALS, and his wife Dina, are emissaries of the Rebbe
                                                   in Temecula, Ca.

                             SLICE OF LIFE
                     Body Challenged, Soul Redeemed
                         with Sarah Riva Spiro

In connection with this week's Torah portion, which teaches about the
importance of visiting the sick, we share a few stories from the Chicago
Mitzvah Campaign's newsletter to inspire all of us to be more actively
involved in this important mitzva.

What are the odds that an empty bottle of ibuprofen might actually help
save someone's life? Yet, that is exactly the circumstance that recently
contributed importantly to saving the life of KM, together with the very
crucial help of the Chicago Mitzvah Campaign.

The story began when Rabbi Aron Wolf, founder and director of CMC,
received a phone call from KM, who asked if CMC could please bring a
bottle of ibuprofen to his house. Surprised by the unusual request,
Rabbi Wolf inquired as to KM's health, and KM replied that he had a
headache and felt like he needed an ibuprofen before going to sleep, but
he had just recently finished the last remaining tablets in his bottle.

Concerned about the possibility of a serious health issue, Rabbi Wolf
did not simply send someone to KM with a new bottle of ibuprofen.
Instead, he dropped everything and quickly made his way over to KM's
residence, in order to see him in person. And sure enough, upon seeing
Rabbi Wolf in person, KM admitted experiencing much more than just a
regular headache. He was also feeling dizzy, nauseated, and unusually
weak and faint.

Losing no time, Rabbi Wolf immediately called Hatzalah (emergency
medical service). KM was rushed to the hospital, where he was found to
have a brain hemorrhage. Thankfully, the doctors were able to intervene
and operate on KM, thus stabilizing his condition and saving his life.

Upon awakening and understanding what had occurred, KM expressed his
gratitude to Rabbi Wolf for helping to save his life. "CMC could have
just accepted my request for ibuprofen at face value," he said. "But
instead, you were concerned enough to realize that something much worse
may be going on, and your caring was responsible for saving my life."

"Yes," replied Rabbi Wolf. "CMC's caring definitely helped to save your
life - along with an empty bottle of ibuprofen!"

                                *  *  *

Seven years ago, CMC received a request for assistance from the owner of
a local nursing home. The owner was in the process of selling the
nursing home, and he was very concerned about Harold, an extremely ill
and isolated Jewish resident. Seeing that Harold had been abandoned by
his family and did not have any friends, the owner had always made sure
to take a very personal interest in his care. Now however, the nursing
home was changing hands; consequently, the owner asked CMC to step in
and effectively fill the role of Harold's family.

So, for the last seven years, CMC visited Harold, making every effort to
uplift his spirits and rekindle his interest in life. Throughout scores
of hospital admissions and whenever a medical decision needed to be
made, CMC always acted as Harold's family, visiting him, advocating for
him, and taking the responsibility of being his power-of-attorney for
health care.

About a year ago, Harold's health took an even further significant turn
for the worse, to the extent that his doctor almost decided to transfer
him to hospice care. Over the last year of Harold's life, CMC
intensified their efforts on his behalf, including dozens of hospital
visits, and countless meetings and phone calls with doctors and nurses.
As Harold's POA, CMC left no stone un-turned in seeking the best
possible outcome for him.

Sadly, Harold passed away. Although the legal responsibility as POA
terminated with his passing, CMC continued to care for Harold as family.
CMC organized and paid for all the necessary arrangements (with the help
of Chicago Jewish Funerals for their professionalism and assistance in
providing special considerations for indigent burials) for Harold to
receive a dignified traditional Jewish burial. The only attendees at the
funeral were the individuals whom CMC arranged and transported in order
to make a minyan so that kaddish could be recited for Harold at the

Who can measure the impact of befriending a lonely and infirm
individual? Thanks to CMC's visits and caring, Harold was not left alone
during his final years, but felt valued and cared for. May his soul be
bound up in the bond of eternal life.

                                *  *  *

As a man with an appreciation for milestones, Seymour E. was very
excited about the prospect of celebrating his 90th birthday in style,
together with his nearest and dearest family and friends. Indeed, long
before the big day began approaching in earnest, Seymour was already
eagerly looking forward over the horizon toward his 90th birthday.

Unfortunately however, as the months ticked by, Seymour's health took
several turns for the worse. He became further inhibited from walking
and independent movement, and required an increased level of care in the
home. Although throughout his life Seymour was distinguished by his
brilliant intellect, friendly approach, and engaging conversational
style, he would now spend more and more of his time either disengaged or

Seymour missed his former activities. He was frustrated by the
limitations of his poor health, and by the burden that these limitations
imposed upon him and his dear wife, Bella. And as these limitations only
increased over time, Seymour's big dream of having a grand 90th birthday
celebration seemed to become ever more distant from reality.

CMC, however, refused to allow any limitations to get in the way of
celebrating Seymour's important milestone. Weeks in advance of the big
day, CMC got together with Seymour's family, and made all the necessary
plans and arrangements to ensure that his 90th birthday party would
truly be one to remember.

Thus, as a result of CMC's encouragement and manifold assistance,
Seymour proudly sat at the head of a glorious 90th birthday party table,
surrounded by family and friends. The table was beautifully set and
decorated, and was adorned with a delicious buffet of tantalizing
dishes, cakes and fruit. But the true joy of the party was the palpable
love and closeness of Seymour and Bella's nearest and dearest who came
to participate and rejoice in the celebration. It was truly an uplifting
occasion, which will remain in the hearts of many for years to come.

                               WHAT'S NEW
                       Jewish Heritage in Ukraine

A tour organized by the Federation of Jewish Communities of Ukraine
visited 20 southern Ukrainian cities. A "Mitzvah Tank" mobile home,
while a common site in New York City or Israel, is unusual in Ukraine.
the goal of the weeks long tour was to reach Jews who haven't been
reached through the local synagogues and Jewish community programs.

                         Torah Scrolls Welcomed

A new Torah scroll was welcomed to the Chabad Jewish Center of
Camarillo, California. The Torah was dedicated by Moshe and Ruth Daniels
in memory of the senior Daniels.  Chabad of Clinton, New York, serving
Jewish students at Hamilton College and the Jewish community of Utica
and its environs, welcomed a newly refurbished Torah Scroll, sponsored
by Daniel and Diana Sragowicz and organized by the Beis Yisroel Torah

                            THE REBBE WRITES
                 From letters of the Lubavitcher Rebbe

The Week of the Torah portion Vayeira, 5730 (1969)

It was a Jewish custom to relate the events of the week to the weekly
portion of the Torah, and thereby to derive true instruction from the

This week's Torah portion tells us of the birth and upbringing of the
first Jewish child, born of Jewish parents, namely, Yitzchak, the son of
Abraham and Sara, the first ancestors of our Jewish people.

The circumstances surrounding Yitzchak's birth were supernatural and
miraculous. His circumcision took place when he was eight days old, and
his upbringing was fraught with difficulties and trials.

Quite different was the case of Abraham's son Ishmael, whose birth was
quite normal, and who was circumcised when he was 13 years old, i.e, at
a mature age.

Yet is was Yitzchak whom G-d chose to be Abraham's true heir, from whom
the Jewish people would descend.

Thus, the Torah teaches us that when new generations are to be born who
are to ensure the Jewish future and continuity, the approach must not be
based on natural considerations and human calculations. For Jewish
existence is not dependent upon natural forces, but upon G-d's direct
intervention and providence.

Similarly, the education and upbringing of Jewish children is not to be
determined by the same considerations and criteria as in the non-Jewish
world. Jewish parents do not wait until the child becomes mature enough
to determine his behavior and find his own way to Judaism. He is given
the strongest and fullest possible measure of Jewish training from
infancy. Only in this way is it possible to ensure the "everlasting
covenant" with G-d, to come through all difficulties and trials with
strength, and endowed with G-d's blessings materially and spiritually.

                                *  *  *

          Fifth day of the Torah portion Vayeira, 5731 (1970)

...This significant event, taking place on the day after the reading of
the weekly Torah portion of Vayeira, is indeed related to the concluding
highlights of the Torah portion, namely, the birth and upbringing of the
first Jewish child, Yitzchak, born of the first Jewish parents, Abraham
and Sara.

Some of those present thought the celebration unrealistic, seeing no
future for a single Jewish child surrounded by a hostile world.

The Torah tells us that Abraham made a "great feast" (When Yitzchak was
two years old), at which the leading dignitaries of the age were present
(Rashi, quoting the Midrash). Some of those present thought the
celebration unrealistic, seeing no future for a single Jewish child
surrounded by a hostile world. Yet, G-d promised that this child would
be the father of a great and holy nation; a nation which, though
overwhelmingly outnumbered, would not only outlive its enemies, but
would be a leader and a guiding light to the rest of mankind.

The cue to the fulfillment of the Divine promise is to be found in the
passage immediately following the above narrative, where the Torah tells
us of Sara's heartfelt concern for Yitzchak's upbringing and appropriate
atmosphere even at that early age.

Thus the Torah sets the pattern for Jewish education. it teaches us that
regardless of the odds, the future of the Jewish child, as of the Jewish
people as a whole, is assured by Divine promises, provided the parents
fulfill their responsibilities, even to the point of mesirat nefesh
[self-sacrifice] if necessary. Not least, it teaches us that in matters
of Torah and holiness, even "a small beginning flourishes exceedingly in
the end."

                              ALL TOGETHER
               Are there Jewish customs during pregnancy?

There are numerous prayers for various stages of pregnancy and
labor/delivery, some said by the mother-to-be and others by the future
father. In addition, the Rebbe encouraged pregnant women to give charity
every weekday, and on the eve of Shabbat to give charity specifically to
a Rabbi Meir Baal Haness charity fund, as well as to have one's mezuzot
checked at some point during the pregnancy. Visit for more

                        A WORD FROM THE DIRECTOR
                         Rabbi Shmuel M. Butman
Next Thursday (November 9), is the 20th of Cheshvan, the birthday of
Rabbi Shalom Dovber, the fifth Chabad leader known by his initials as
the Rebbe Rashab.

In the summer of 1960 the Lubavitcher Rebbe visited Camp Gan Israel in
upstate New York, during which he related a little-known story about the
Rebbe Rashab. It seems that one time the Rebbe Rashab had left Lubavitch
in Russia and traveled to Vienna, to be treated by doctors. While in
Vienna, the Rebbe had suddenly announced that he wished to visit a
certain village 100 kilometers away. Before he left, he went to a store
and purchased several articles of clothing, and various other items.

When the Rebbe Rashab arrived in the town he sought out the home of a
widow and her two daughters. He gave her the things he had bought and
some money, and told her it was to help her marry off her daughters. In
fact, the widow had been too poor to do so.

In the Rebbe's words: "Just think about it: In a far-off town 100
kilometers from Vienna, the Rebbe found an opportunity to bring G-d
nachas. In truth, the Rebbe had made the lengthy trip solely for that
purpose. And he himself went to the store to make the purchases, just so
a poor bride could get married.

"This, then, is the lesson to be learned: Regardless of where we are, we
must always look for a good deed to perform. For we will certainly find
one, and thereby bring pleasure to G-d."

May we merit this year to celebrate the Rebbe Rashab's birthday together
with him and with all the great tzadikim of all generations, led by our
Righteous Moshiach.

                          THOUGHTS THAT COUNT
For I know him, that he will command his children and his household
after him. (Gen. 18:19)

Rashi comments that the phrase "For I know him" implies love and
affection for Abraham. G-d loved Abraham because He knew that Abraham
would teach his children to follow in his footsteps. As great and
impressive as Abraham's worship of G-d was, more worthy of merit was the
fact that he could be counted on to instruct others.

                                                        (Hayom Yom)

                                *  *  *

To do righteousness and justice (Gen. 18:19)

When G-d bestows wealth and abundance on a Jew, he must honestly judge
himself and ask: "Am I really worthy of all this goodness? What have I
done to deserve these blessings?" When a person is thus honest with
himself, it will cause him to realize that the sharing of his wealth
with those less fortunate is truly tzedaka - righteousness.

                                                 (Sefer HaMaamarim)

                                *  *  *

In all that Sara may say to you - hearken unto her voice (Gen. 21:12)

The Talmud states: Three tzadikim (righteous people) were given a taste
of the World to Come in this world - Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. In the
World to Come, the prophecy - "the female will surround and encompass
the male," and "a woman of valor is the crown of her husband" (Proverbs)
will be fulfilled. Abraham was given a glimpse of this when G-d told him
to heed the words of Sara, who was an even greater prophet than he.

                                                    (Likutei Torah)

                                *  *  *

G-d appeared to him (Gen. 18:1)

Rashi explains that the entire reason for G-d's appearing to Avraham was
for the purpose of "visiting the sick." From here we learn the greatness
of the mitzva of visiting the sick.

                            IT ONCE HAPPENED
When Reb Aryeh Leib, who was known as the Shpoler Zeide, had been rebbe
for three years, there was terrible famine in the area. The tzadik
(righteous person), whose love for the poor, the needy, the widowed was
unbounded, felt compelled to provide for the thousands affected by the
disaster. He could neither eat nor sleep, and his heartache was so great
that for weeks he couldn't bring himself to eat anything more than bread
and tea.

As the famine spread to the furthest provinces of Russia, rebbes from
the starving communities wrote to Shpola, begging Reb Aryeh Leib to
raise a storm in the Heavens, and beg that the deadly decree be

Who, if not he, a tzadik, known to work wonders, could accomplish this?

The Shpoler Zeide, on his part, wrote to ten of the greatest tzadikim of
the day - Reb Zusya of Hanipoli, Reb Yaakov Shimshon of Shipitovka, Reb
Ze'ev of Zhitomir, and others - requesting that they come to Shpola

They soon arrived and were seated at the long table of the Shpoler
Zeide, and heard his awesome words: "My masters, I am taking the
Alm-ghty to a din Torah, a lawsuit, and you are to serve as the judges.
It is true that, according to the law of the Torah, the plaintiff must
take his case to the place where the defendant is, but since in this
unique case, 'there is no place devoid of His presence,' and since, more
particularly, 'wherever ten are assembled the Divine Presence rests,' we
will hold the court case here."

The holy congregation agreed, and joined in prayer, their fervent
supplications battering the Gates of Heaven.

The Shpoler Zeide then instructed his aide to announce: "By the order of
those gathered here, I hereby proclaim that Reb Aryeh Leib, the son of
Rachel, summons the Alm-ghty to a court-case which will be duly
conducted here in three days."

The holy rebbes spent the next three days together, in fasting and
prayer, and no one was permitted to interrupt their devotions. On the
fourth day, after they had concluded the morning prayers and they were
still wrapped in their prayer shawls and adorned by their tefilin, the
Shpoler Zeide solemnly signalled his aide to announce that the court
case was about to begin.

"In the name of all the women and children of the Jews of Russia," the
tzadik declared, "I hereby state my claim against the Defendant. Why
does the Creator of the Universe not provide them with food, thereby
preventing their death (G-d forbid) of hunger? Doesn't the Torah itself
say, 'For unto Me are the Children of Israel bondsmen; they are My
bondsmen'? Do we not have His promise, recorded by the Prophet Ezekiel,
that even if His children should someday desire to go in the ways of the
nations of the world, that this will never happen? One can draw the
conclusion that the Children of Israel are the Alm-ghty's servants for
all eternity.

"In that case, they should, at least, be in the category of Jewish
bondsmen. Jewish law teaches that a master is required to provide for
the wife and children of his bondsman. Can the Al-mighty violate his own
Torah so blatantly?

"Now I'm well aware that some clever prosecuting angel will argue in
defense of the Creator, saying that these servants are remiss in their
service; that they don't serve their Master as well as they should. But
to this bogus argument I have two replies: Firstly, where is it written
that if a bondsman is lazy and doesn't work properly, his wife and
children are to deprived of their sustenance? Secondly, if these
servants are lacks in their performance, their Master can fault no one,
but Himself. For who else gave each servant an evil inclination whose
whole job and purpose it is to drive them to abandon their loyalty and
to destroy their desire to serve? Why, I can swear that if this evil
inclination, which the Master Himself created, would cease to exist,
they would become the most perfect servants possible!"

Ten judge-tzadikim consulted their tomes of Torah to search the law for
the correct verdict. After the passage of some time they stood to
deliver the unanimous ruling:

"This court finds in favor of Reb Aryeh Leib, the son of Rachel. The
Alm-ghty is accordingly required, by whatever means at His disposal (and
the whole world is His) to provide for the women and children of His
People. And may the Heavenly Court above agree and support the verdict
of this court in the World Below." The court pronounced its verdict
three times.

Then the Shpoler Zeide asked to have vodka and refreshments served. The
tzadikim said "l'chaim" and ate together in a joyous mood before
departing for home. Five days after the momentous verdict had been
reached, the government announced a shipment of thousands of tons of
grain. Immediately, the grain prices fell and before long, there were
ample fresh supplies. For the entire following year, bread was bountiful
for all.

                            MOSHIACH MATTERS
Of the many events in the Torah that have a clear connection to
Moshiach, surely the Akeida, the binding of Isaac that we read about in
this week's Torah portion, is one of the most powerful. Indeed, the
Sages mention several aspects of the Akeida that foreshadow the
Redemption. For example. the Great Shofar that signals the coming of
Moshich will be from the ram that was sacrificed in Isaac's stead.

       (From Reflections of Redemption, based on Likutei Sichot 20,
       by Dovid Yisroel Ber Kaufmann o.b.m., to whom this column is

                END OF TEXT - L'CHAIM 1495 - Vayera 5778

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