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Tzedaka-Charity | Practically Speaking...
There has always been one central theme in all of the Rebbe's talks: the Redemption. Throughout the years, the Rebbe suggested various projects to hasten the coming of Moshiach and to prepare for that eternal era of peace, prosperity and knowledge of G-d. But, upon declaring that "the time of the Redemption has arrived" in 5751 (1991), the Rebbe repeatedly stressed a number of practical and, of course, positive activities to further prepare ourselves and the world for Moshiach. We offer three of these suggestions in the hope that we will all increase our activities in at least one of these areas in honor of the Rebbe.
Torah Study About Moshiach and the Redemption
"Since Moshiach is about to come a final effort is required that will bring Moshiach. Every individual-man, woman and child-should increase his Torah study in subjects that concern the Redemption. This applies to the Written Torah and the Oral Torah-in the Talmud, Midrashim as well as (and especially) in the mystical dimension of the Torah, beginning with the Zohar and particularly in Chasidut, especially as these topics are developed in the discourses and the Likutei Sichot [collected talks]of the leader of our generation... This study is a foretaste and preparation for the study of the Torah of Moshiach... An increase in Torah study in these areas is the "direct way" to bring about the revelation and coming of Moshiach in reality."
(The Rebbe, Shabbat Tazria-Metzora, 5751-1991)
"The above-described study is not only a spiritual means of securing the speedy advent of Moshiach. Apart from this, and more importantly, it is a way of beginning to live one's life in the spirit of Moshiach and the Redemption-to 'live with the times' of the Days of Moshiach-by having one's mind permeated with an understanding of the concepts of Moshiach and Redemption... Ultimately, the concepts will find expression in one's actual conduct-in thought, words and deed-in a way that befits this unique era in which we stand on the threshold of the Redemption."
(The Rebbe, Shabbat Balak, 5751-1991)
Sound The Great Shofar
The essays in the book Sound the Great Shofar are adapted from talks of the Rebbe from 5751-5752 (1991-1992). The wealth of concepts about Moshiach and the Redemption covered in this book include: Helping to Bring Moshiach; Living with the Redemption; Bringing Moshiach Now; Moshiach in Every Generation; Open Your Eyes. After reading Sound the Great Shofar, you will have a clear understanding of the main concepts expounded upon by the Rebbe in those years. Published by Sichos in English (718) 778-5436, firstname.lastname@example.org
From Exile To Redemption
Compiled by Rabbi A.E. Friedman and translated by Rabbi Uri Kaploun, the two volumes of From Exile to Redemption contain pithy excerpts from the teachings of the Chabad Rebbes on Moshiach and the Redemption. Read a short excerpt from this book before going to bed or over your morning coffee; you'll be surprised at how much you will learn. Published by Sichos in English.
Moshiach: The Principle Of Moshiach And The Messianic Era
This slim volume by Rabbi J. Immanuel Schochet contains a tremendous wealth of the actual sources in the Bible, Talmud and Kabalah that deal with Moshiach and the Redemption. Published by Sichos in English.
The Days Of Moshiach
The Days of Moshiach takes the wealth of information on Moshiach and the Redemption that is scattered throughout Jewish teachings and presents it in an orderly fashion and in layman's terms. The short essays that comprise the book answer all of the basic questions that people have about Moshiach and the Redemption. A "must read" by Rabbi Menachem Brod. Available at Tzivos Hashem (718) 467-6630.
As A New Day Breaks
As A New Day Breaks, by Rabbi Eliyahu Touger, addresses itself to the trends affecting contemporary society as a setting for the ultimate Redemption. With chapters on topics such as "Chosen for What?" and "Kingship in Contemporary Society," the book helps the reader grapple with many commonly discussed concepts concerning Moshiach and the Redemption. Published by Sichos in English.
Countdown To Moshiach
Countdown to Moshiach, by Rabbi Shmuel Butman, answers 18 of the questions most frequently asked of Lubavitcher Chasidim on the subject of Moshiach. The answers, based on the teachings of the Rebbe as well as quotes from Biblical sources, are sure to aid the sincere inquirerer. Published by The International Campaign to Bring Moshiach, (718) 778-7000.
To Live And Live Again
To Live and Live Again gives an overview of the Revival of the Dead based on the teachings of Chabad Chasidism. Compiled by Rabbi N.D. Dubov, the book is an eye-opener into the funda-mental Jewish principle of belief in the Resurrection of the Dead. Published by Sichos in English.
The Chofetz Chaim On Awaiting Moshiach
This book is a priceless collection of the writings of Rabbi Yisroel Meir Kagan, known as the Chofetz Chaim, on the importance of awaiting and preparing for the Redemption. It contains essays and letters about the Redemption as well as the entire text of the Chofetz Chaim's famous Tzipita LeYeshua. Translated by Rabbi Moshe Miller and published by Targum Press/Feldheim Publishers.
Anticipating The Redemption
The seven Chasidic discourses in the book Anticipating the Redemption, represent classic treatments of Moshiach and the Redemption by the Rebbe including the dynamics of exile and Redemption, the spiritual transcendance which will characterize the Era of the Redemption, and the Resurrection of the Dead. Translated by Rabbi Eliyahu Touger and published by Sichos in English.
And He Will Redeem Us
This book is for anyone who is interested in what the Rebbe said about Moshiach, including the identity of Moshiach, and what the Chasidim continue to say about the Rebbe and Moshiach. Included in this over 200-page book is also a 48-page photo essay of the Rebbe throughout the years. Published by Mendelsohn Press, available through Otsar Sifrei Lubavitch (718) 756-9000.
The Wolf Shall Lie With The Lamb
The Wolf Shall Lie with the Lamb: The Messiah in Chasidic Thought is largely based on the teachings of the Rebbe. Written for an educated audience with minimal Jewish education, this book clarifies many misconceptions about Moshiach, the Resurrection of the Dead, and more. Published by Jason Aronson, Inc.
Moses Maimonides' Treatise on Resurrection
One of Maimonides' classic works, this book explains the mysteries of the Messianic Age, resurrection, the immortality of the soul, and the World-to-Come. Translated and annotated by Dr. Fred Rosner, this work validates the coming of Moshiach as a cardinal Jewish principle and illustrates Maimonides' view on the subject. Published by Jason Aronson, Inc.
Waiting For The Messiah
Subtitled "Stories to Inspire Jews with Hope," this book brings together a wide array of colorful narratives, legends and myths relating to Moshiach. Author Mordechai Staiman also provides a brief explanation of Messianic theology in Judaism and a record of important figures who have played a role in the on-going story of Moshiach throughout the ages. Published by Jason Aronson, Inc.
When Moshiach Comes
In this book, Rabbi Yehudah Chayoun skillfully outlines the Days of Moshiach. This carefully researched book culls from diverse sources, illuminating a host of issues, including the war of Gog and Magog, the Third Temple, and daily life in the Messianic era. Targum Press/Feldheim Publishers
What Will The World Be Like?
What Will the World Be Like is a beautifully illustrated picture book that offers children an insight into what Jewish teachings, especially Midrashim, say about the Days of Moshiach. Written in rhyme by Adel Lebovics and illustrated by Norman Nodel, this book is fun to read again and again. Published by Hachai Publishing.
Let's Get Ready
In a clear style and through numerous examples and analogies, Let's Get Ready helps teach children about Moshiach and the Redemption and answers their basic questions. Written by Malka Touger, this book will also aid adults in better understanding basic concepts about Moshiach. Published by Sichos in English.
When Moshiach Comes
A delightfully illustrated book for young children that will help them imagine what mitzva they might be in the middle of doing when Moshiach comes. Artscroll Publishing
The Best Call Of All
The Best Call of All, written in rhyme and colorfully illustrated, brings to life the idea that has inspired the Jewish people for centuries-the coming of Moshiach and the imminent Redemption. Written by Leiba Rudolph, illustrated by Pesach Gerber and published by Merkos L'Inyonei Chinuch, (718) 778-0226
MOSHIACH series by Hadar HaTorah.
A five-part series by noted Chasidic scholars and educators dealing with the topics of The Coming of Moshiach, Revelations of Moshiach, Signs of the Messianic Period, and Who is Moshiach? Hadar HaTorah Tapes (718) 735-0250
This series of tapes, by Rabbi Heschel Greenberg, is divided into three sets discussing Moshiach and the Redemption in-depth. Some of the topics presented are "Moshiach: A Prophecy, a Torah Concept and a Mitzva"; "The Challenge in the Messianic Era," and "Living with Moshiach." To order contact Sichos in English.
Moshiach... It's good to know!
A two-part lecture series by Rabbi Manis Friedman. "It ain't over 'til the Cannibal loses his appetite," and "When the light goes on where will the darkness go?" To order call Beis Chana Tapes (718) 778-4270.
Judaism teaches that everything in this world has a divine purpose; everything including Cyberspace. Dedicated to bringing our rich, Jewish heritage to the information superhighways, Chabad Lubavitch in Cyberspace is one of the most exciting and innovative ways to learn about Judaism. Appropriate for all ages and all levels of Jewish education. Contact them at: www.chabad.org
The study programs available on Torah-on-the-Line include Chasidic philosophy, the Torah portion, stories of the Rebbe, insights into Moshiach, and Maimonides' Sefer HaMitzvot. A project of Sichos in English call (718) 953-6100 to access the center.
Tzivos Hashem Superphone
This service especially for children can con-nect your child to inspiring Jewish stories, thoughts on Moshiach, the weekly Torah portion, even a computerized system that allow them to figure out when their "Jewish" birthday is. Dial (718) 467-7800 to hook onto the superphone. Many Chabad-Lubavitch Centers have their own superphone systems, so call yours to find out.
"One should likewise upgrade one's meticulous observance of the mitzvot, particularly the mitzva of tzedaka which 'brings the Redemption near.' It would be well to make one's in-creased contributions with the intent that it hasten the Redemption. This intention in itself becomes part of one's study of subjects connected with the Redemption-for this is a tangible study of the teaching of our Sages, 'Great is tzedaka, for it brings the Redemption near.' "
(The Rebbe, Shabbat Tazria-Metora, 5751-1991)
When it comes to doing a practical mitzva, there are none more practical than tzedaka. Here are a few suggestions on how to make tzedaka a part of your life.
Getting tzedaka boxes
You can call charitable organizations and ask them to send you a tzedaka box. "Generic" tzedaka boxes can be purchased in many Judaica stores for just a few dollars. Of course, you can also purchase beautiful handcrafted, wood, ceramic, stone or metal tzedaka boxes. Or you can take a jar, can or plastic container and designate it as a tzedaka box.
How many and where?
The Rebbe called for every child to have his or her own tzedaka box with his name written on it together with the words, "The earth and all its bounty is G-d's," abbreviated with the Hebrew letters u"vk. The child can keep his tzedaka box in his room and should be encouraged to give of his own money (allowance, birthday money, Chanuka gelt) to tzedaka.
The Rebbe also suggested that a tzedaka box be placed in the kitchen where a few coins can be dropped in before preparing meals. This act will help us remember those who have less even as we are taking care of our own needs.
In addition, the Rebbe strongly encouraged that in at least one place in the home a tzedaka box actually be affixed to a wall for the home to literally become a charitable home.
Suggestions for giving tzedaka
Tzedaka is a good habit. Give even just a few coins to tzedaka every day except Shabbat and holidays. It is a Jewish custom for women and girls to give extra tzedaka before lighting Shabbat and holiday candles.
Some people have a "quarter" or "dime" tzedaka box. Every time they get change, they put all of the quarters or dimes in the box. Before you know it, there is a sizable amount that can be donated to a worthy cause.
The Rebbe also suggested that employers give their employees money to be given to charity. Even if you don't own a business, you probably have household help or perhaps a babysitter. Give them an extra dollar and tell them that the money is for poor people, or they can put it in one of the tzedaka boxes in your home before they leave.
Some families have "meetings" to decide on a cause or organization for which they want to collect money. Everyone who visits their home is then asked to make a donation to that particular charity. Jewish law actually teaches that one who encourages others to give tzedaka has a greater reward than one who gives it!
Sharing This Message
"Simply put, it must be proclaimed and publicized everywhere, using words from the heart, that G-d tells every single Jew (through His servants the prophets) 'Look! I am placing before you a blessing!' and that literally today we will see the blessing of the true and complete Redemption with our physical eyes... Even a person who has not fully internalized the concept of the Redemption in his own mind should make efforts to spread this concept to others, beginning with his own family and circle of acquaintances."
(The Rebbe, Shabbat Re'ei, 5751-1991)
"And now here's something for you," you can tell the cashier as he gives you the receipt for your purchases. Present him with a "Good Card" designed for "all 6 billions of us." The Good Card, the size of a credit card, contains a message encouraging people to perform acts of goodness and kindness to make the world a better place and prepare for Moshiach. To order yours call Chabad House in Montreal at (514) 288-3130
Power Lunches Moshiach Style
Get your local Chabad Rabbi or Rebbetzin to lead a class about Moshiach in your place of business or your home. Or lead it yourself by studying on your own and sharing what you've learned with your colleagues.
"I JUST read a great book"
Everyone's in the habit of sharing their book-finds with friends. After you've read one of the books in the "Study" section share it with a friend whom you think will enjoy it.
"Every Jew-man, woman and even child-should augment his divine service in order to bring about the actual coming of our righteous Moshiach. One should not rely on others, nor should one pass on this responsibility to others; this is the task of every individual man and woman, and every individual has to fulfill it himself."
(Shabbat Shemini, 5751)