Holidays   Shabbat   Chabad-houses   Chassidism   Subscribe   Calendar   Links B"H
The Weekly Publication for Every Jewish Person
Archives Current Issues Home Current Issue
                         L'CHAIM - ISSUE # 775
                           Copyright (c) 2003
                 Lubavitch Youth Organization - L.Y.O.
                              Brooklyn, NY
                  Electronic version provided free at:
                    To receive the L'CHAIM by e-mail
                  write to:
                              Subscribe W1
   Dedicated to the memory of Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka Schneerson N.E.
        June 27, 2003           Sh'lach           27 Sivan, 5763

                         A Project in the Works

Once a simple Jew went to his rebbe and cried, "My son is about to be
drafted to serve in the Czar's army! Few Jews survive amidst the
anti-Semites who make up most of the army. I have been informed that the
draft board this time will be comprised of people from a different town.

"If a father brings a note from a doctor that his son is ill, the boy
receives a three month reprieve. I will bring a note saying my son is
ill. In three months, when he has to appear before the board again, it
will be comprised of local people with whom I am close and they will
easily exempt him."

The rebbe listened and then said, "I understand your plan, but I think
your son should appear at this hearing."

The father left the rebbe's room bewildered, for his plan was completely
logical. He went home and decided to continue as planned. He procured a
doctor's note and appeared at the scheduled hearing. Upon entering the
room he nearly fainted: it was the local board! He had no choice but to
hand them the note and receive the three month grace period. But he knew
that when he appeared in three months time before the board of
strangers, his son would surely be taken.

The distraught father came to the rebbe again and pleaded with the rebbe
for help. "Have pity on a poor fool. Should my innocent son suffer
because he has a father such as me?" he wailed. The rebbe thought for
some time and then said, "Get your son a false passport and send him far

The father nodded. "But that leaves me with another big problem," he
related. "When a draftee runs away, the father is fined three hundred
rubles, which I don't have! They will take my small children as
hostages, until I pay."

The rebbe fell deep into thought again, then answered: "Don't worry.
There is a project in the works."

The father was relieved. He bought a passport on the black market and
sent his son off to safety. But what of the fine, he wondered. He tried
to put his questions and doubts out of his mind.

Three months passed. A soldier came to his store, and handed him many
official-looking papers, announcing: "Sign these and appear at the
bureau in twenty-four hours."

The father was shaking as he entered the lawyer's office. He could not
read Russian, and so he been unable to peruse the documents. The lawyer,
a local Jew, studied the pages closely. Then he looked up with a smile.
"Do you know that they have given you their entire file on your son?
Were you to throw them into the fire, nothing would be left; it would be

With that, he tossed the papers into the fire, and the father suddenly
understood his rebbe's words which had been so unintelligible at the
time: "There is a project in the works."

                                *  *  *

The Lubavitcher Rebbe has told the world that "There is a project in the
works" - the time of the Redemption has arrived. Though at times, it
might appear that things are going in a different direction, there
really is "a project in the works."

We needn't accept on blind faith that there is a "project." The Rebbe
has shown us how the world is changing and moving toward the Redemption.
He has pointed out examples of the fulfillment of ancient prophecies.

Nor should we be discouraged by temporary setbacks, for these, too, have
their precedents: Even after we had gone out of Egypt amidst great
wonders, some wanted to turn back when faced with adversity. Later,
though the journey to the Holy Land had already commenced, Moses
departed to study the most sublime aspects of G-d's Wisdom, in order to
ultimately share it with the Jewish nation.

The Rebbe has encouraged us to recognize the miracles, small and large,
personal and global, that are taking place around us. This heightened
awareness of G-d's Hand directing everything, together with adding on in
mitzva observance, Torah study, and good deeds, will help us prepare for
and hasten the arrival of Moshiach, may it happen NOW!

This week's Torah portion, Shelach, tells the episode of the spies whom
Moses sent to gather intelligence about the land of Canaan. Ten of the
twelve spies returned with disparaging reports; that although the land
was fertile, its inhabitants were too strong and their cities too well
guarded to be defeated by the Israelites. This report broke the morale
of the Jewish Nation.

These spies were no ordinary men. They were the leaders of their tribes,
especially selected by Moses for this mission. Their report was not
animated by fear of physical defeat; instead they feared a spiritual

In the wilderness, each of the Israelites' needs was met by a direct
gift from G-d. Their bread was the Manna which fell from the heavens;
their water came from Miriam's Well; their clothes never needed repair.

The possession of the land of Israel meant a new kind of responsibility.
The Manna was to cease. Bread would come only through toil. The miracles
would be replaced by labor; and with labor came the danger of a new

The spies feared that the concern to work the land and make a living
might eventually leave the Israelites with less time and energy for the
service of G-d. When the spies said, "It is a land which eats up its
inhabitants," they meant that the land and its labor, and the resulting
preoccupation with the materialistic world, would "swallow up" and
consume all their energies. They thought that spirituality flourishes
best in seclusion, in the protected peace of the wilderness where even
the food was "from the heavens."

And yet, the spies were wrong. The purpose of life is not the elevation
of the soul: it is the sanctification of the world.

The end to which every mitzva aims is to make a dwelling place for G-d
in the world-to bring G-d within the world, not above it.

Every Jew may feel the doubts that plagued the spies. While involved
with Jewish activities, he feels wholly given over to the spiritual
demands of Judaism. But in his work he can see little or no religious

But he is making the spies' mistake, of placing G-d outside the world,
of failing to respond to G-d's presence in every human transaction,
forgetting the imperative to "Know Him in all your ways."

The essence of spirituality lies in a Jew reaching out beyond himself to
his fellow Jew, to the world of his work, extending holiness to
everything he touches, without the thought that this or any situation
lies outside the domain of G-d.

       Excerpted from Torah Studies by Jonathan Sacks. Based on the
                                    works of the Lubavitcher Rebbe.

                             SLICE OF LIFE

                   Tofutti: An Almost Divine Dessert
                            by Yehudis Cohen

Speak to Mr. David Mintz, CEO and founder of Tofutti Brands, Inc. and
you know that you are talking to one who is connected to the Lubavitcher
Rebbe, heart and soul.

When asked about the Rebbe's involvement and guidance during the early
years of creating Tofutti, Mr. Mintz takes the question very seriously.
He closes his office door so as not to be interrupted. This is very
important to him. The Rebbe is very important to him.

"My brother Isaac, of blessed memory, was a Lubavitcher chasid and a
shaliach (emissary) of the Rebbe. I was religious, but much more
secular-minded than Isaac. Isaac continuously encouraged and nudged me
to meet the Rebbe. Just to get him off my back, I agreed. From the
moment of my first yechidus (private audience) with the Rebbe, my life
was changed forever."

Recalling that first yechidus, Mr. Mintz begins, "I was all of 23 years
old then, but I was already successful as a furrier. I was making good
money and giving a lot of tzedaka (charity). During that first yechidus,
the Rebbe told me things about my life that no one else in the whole
world knew.

"I couldn't look at the Rebbe's face. His eyes were like looking
directly into the sun. The way the Rebbe spoke to me, I was mesmerized.
When I left the Rebbe's room, I was transformed. I waited anxiously to
be able to meet with the Rebbe gain.

"My second yechidus came a few months later. This time, too, I was
captivated by the Rebbe, but the feeling was even stronger than the
first time. I began to correspond with the Rebbe and ask his advice
regarding business and personal matters."

The bottom dropped out of the fur business and Mr. Mintz got involved in
the food industry. He bought a small grocery store in the Catskill
Mountains and decided to serve fresh Jewish delicacies. His immediate
success encouraged him to branch out. Eventually, his success brought
him to Manhattan where he operated a restaurant called "Mintz's Buffet."

The people who dined in the restaurant liked good food and excellent
desserts. When Mr. Mintz heard about tofu in the early 1970s he began
experimenting with it and incorporating it into his dishes as a dairy
substitute, causing some of his patrons to accuse him of foregoing the
kosher laws by mixing milk and meat in his kosher restaurant. Eventually
he began making desserts with tofu as well, but he just couldn't lick
the non-dairy frozen dessert problem as it did not have a pleasant
consistency once frozen.

"Whenever I asked the Rebbe for advice, he always answered me and I
always did what he said. Everything the Rebbe advised me about was
always so right and I became very successful. The Rebbe gave me the
'blueprint' of how to run my business and I followed it meticulously."

For nearly a decade, Mr. Mintz experimented with tofu. At the end of the
day, he would tell everyone at work, "It's tofu time." Workers would
join him in the kitchen, trying different ingredients mixed with tofu to
make non-dairy recipes.

"A pivotal moment in my business career came when the building housing
our restaurant was purchased. I found a new, ideal location. I wrote to
the Rebbe and immediately received the answer, 'Absolutely not.' I was
shocked. The Rebbe continued, 'What you should do instead is to continue
doing your experiments with your tofu projects.' I can't deny that I
enjoyed experimenting with tofu, sometimes until 1-2-3 o'clock in the
morning. But to make that my emphasis?

"The Rebbe warned me that the beginning would be difficult but that
eventually I would overcome the difficulties. 'You will be successful
and your products will be sold all over, even abroad.' I was amazed at
what the Rebbe said to me but I listened. I rented a place in Brooklyn
and started working day and night. My family and business associates
thought I was crazy. When months passed and I was still no closer to my
goal, they told me to go back to what I know, restaurants. I ignored
them because this is what the Rebbe said I should do.

"I began to draw on my savings in order to continue my experiments. I
continued to write to the Rebbe asking for brachos (blessings) for
success. The Rebbe would answer me, 'You must have faith. With faith you
can accomplish miracles.' The Rebbe gave me the energy and the mental
capacity to go on even though I was continuously failing. The Rebbe also
told me many time to give tzedaka generously.

"I rented space in an ice cream plant. After a few months they told me,
'Even though you are paying rent, we can't let you continue. You are
wasting your time and money.' I begged them to give me one last chance.
I wrote to the Rebbe again. 'You will be successful,' the Rebbe blessed
me. And I was! We went into production and finally marketed it. Tofutti
was big news. It was picked up by major TV networks and newspapers.
People wanted to know more about this religious Jew who had invented a
new kind of healthy, reduced calorie, low-cholesterol frozen dessert."

In the midst of all of the excitement, one incident from about 10 years
ago stands out in Mr. Mintz's mind. "When the company that was
distributing Tofutti saw how popular it was, they were afraid it would
affect sales of their own product. So they started to play around with
orders for Tofutti. I decided to leave them and they made things
difficult. Things were very rough. I wrote to the Rebbe, 'I need a
blessing, a miracle, all the help the Rebbe can give me.' The Rebbe
answered that by supporting my local Chabad House I would be making a
channel for all the blessings I needed. By giving charity you create a
receptacle and G-d can send a blessing into your receptacle. The more
you help the local Chabad House, the more you will succeed."

Mr. Mintz immediately increased his donations to Lubavitch of the
Palisades. "As soon as I started helping more, I got an order from
Brazil and then Mexico. The Rebbe's secret to success is to give charity
above and beyond what you think you should, with your whole heart."

Rabbi Mordechai Shain, director of Lubavitch of the Palisades, speaks
warmly about David Mintz, the president of the congregation. "Mr. Mintz
has been actively involved with our work since its inception. The Rebbe
had told Mr. Mintz one Sunday when he went to receive a dollar and
blessings that a Chabad House would soon be opening in his neighborhood
and that Mr. Mintz should help out. I knew nothing of this conversation
when I approached Mr. Mintz some time later to move to Tenafly, New
Jersey and open Lubavitch of the Palisades. The Rebbe told him many
times that he is a partner with the Rebbe in the Rebbe's work; he is a
partner with Chabad."

Mr. Mintz takes his partnership with the Chabad House as seriously as he
takes his business. Says Rabbi Shain, "We make decisions together. He
has a heart of gold but he's not a pushover. He has strong business
acumen. He has been at the forefront of our growth, our beautiful center
and our recently completed million dollar mikva."

Says Mr. Mintz, "Once, when I thanked the Rebbe for all of his
blessings, he told me, 'You don't have to thank me because we are
partners.' The Rebbe gave me a special blessing, 'You should never have
any daigas, worries. It could be that once in a while you may have a
question or a doubt. If that happen, study a portion of the Torah and
then you won't have any more doubts. You will be very successful and
sell products to the point that you will have difficulty keeping records
of all the products you sell.' Thank G-d the company keeps growing;
thank G-d I don't have any daigas.

"When people who are having a hard time in business because of the
economy or have lost their jobs ask me for advice, I tell them the
following: Here is my business strategy. It's very simple and it's
guaranteed if you follow it. Give charity with your whole heart and more
than you can afford. Nowhere in the Torah except concerning the mitzva
(commandment) of tzedaka does G-d tell us we can test Him. I told that
to a man in our shul who was down on his luck. A little while later he
came into shul and started hugging and kissing me. 'I started giving
charity even before I could afford to, with my whole heart, until it
hurt. I got a call from a big company and it was my break,' he told me.

G-d willing and with the Rebbe's brachos, Mr. Mintz will continue to
delight people with his non-dairy tofu products and inspire them with
his faith in G-d and the Rebbe until the coming of Moshiach, and even

                               WHAT'S NEW
                         L'CHAIM SUBSCRIPTIONS

For a one year subscription send $36, payable to LYO ($40 Canada, $50
elsewhere) to L'CHAIM, 1408 President St., Bklyn, NY 11213

                        L'CHAIM ON THE INTERNET

           Current issues and archives:

                          LEARN ABOUT MOSHIACH

For an insight about Moshiach call 718-MOSHIACH/692-3406 or (718)
953-6100, or visit

                            THE REBBE WRITES
              Freely translated from a letter of the Rebbe

                   Continued from the previous issue

                          10 Elul, 5704 (1944)

According to the scheme that, at the outset, simple entities develop
individually and afterwards, they join together, their coming together
and uniting as a single (complex) entity is considered an ascent to a
higher level of fulfillment for each of them.

Here a question arises: What or who is the grand coordinator who from
the outset leads each of the entities on its path of development in a
manner that it will complement another entity? With regard to the
development of the entity itself, it is possible to say that everything
is included in the seed, the germinal state from which the development
begins. What connection, however, can it and its essence have with
another entity? Therefore we must say that there is a coordinator
outside of both entities and above them. It rules over both entities and
leads them on the appropriate path to a common purpose that also
surpasses these two entities.

Some basic concepts relevant to the above have their foundations in the
teachings of Chasidus:

The Holy One, blessed be He, created the world and all it contains. In
every entity, there is a Divine spark that brings it into being and
grants it life at every moment. This spark is hidden, and not revealed.
And yet, were it not for it, the entity would return to utter
nothingness and void. (To cite an example, a person's soul is not seen.
Its existence can be appreciated only by the mind.)

Whenever this G-dly spark is more apparent and active in a particular
entity, that entity is - in a revealed manner - closer to its true
existence. Accordingly, it ascends, develops more, and reaches greater

G-d is the source and the essence of life. Therefore the more this
life-energy is revealed, [the greater] the ascent on the ladder of
development. Therefore plant life is higher than inanimate existence.
Animals are higher than plant life. And humans are higher than animals.

The Creator enjoys absolute liberty. For He created, not only all
existence, but also the laws of nature. The only thing comparable to
this - freedom and free choice - we find in man. This is one of the
proofs that man is higher - in development - than the other created

If a person, acting with his free choice does the opposite of what is
desired and appropriate, through his deeds (acting in a "gluttonous and
indulgent"[ Devarim 21:19.] manner), he increases the concealment of the
G-dly spark in himself and in other entities.

Not only does he not ascend on the ladder of development, he descends
and brings down with him (the food, the drink, and the Divine spark
enclothed within them), adding to the havoc of the world.

The opposite is true when, however, through his free choice, he chooses
good deeds. Not only does he personally ascend the ladder of development
- such ascents are also common to other created beings who fulfill their
purpose in creation - but he - due to his own initiative and will, for
he had free choice - contributes a new dimension to the creation. In
this he becomes a creator as it were. It is as if the Creator endows man
with His creative power. As our Sages comment (Bereishis Rabbah, ch.
98): "Yisrael (Yaakov) creates worlds."

If you have any feedback with regard to the above, I would be happy to
hear from you at any time.

          From I Will Write it in their Hearts, published by S.I.E.

                            RAMBAM THIS WEEK
27 Sivan, 5763 - June 27, 2003

Positive Mitzva 97: Impurity of Creeping Animals

This mitzva is based on the verse (Lev. 11:29 "These also shall be
unclean to you among the creatures that creep upon the earth"

There are eight types of creeping animals listed in the Torah. Contact
with their dead bodies makes one impure.

                        A WORD FROM THE DIRECTOR
                         Rabbi Shmuel M. Butman
As we approach the date of Gimmel Tammuz, it is hard to realize that it
has been nine years since the Rebbe's physical presence was obscured
from the world.

Gimmel Tammuz is an appropriate date to reflect on the Rebbe's first and
only mission statement for his leadership of Chabad-Lubavitch: To
actually bring into reality the coming of Moshiach.

From the time he was a young child, and throughout the Rebbe's years of
leadership, the concept of Moshiach and the long-awaited Redemption have
been uppermost in the Rebbe's talks, teachings, and mitzva campaigns.
The Rebbe's actions and guidance have always been permeated with the
belief in Moshiach and the desire to hasten the Redemption.

In a public address a little over two years before the Rebbe's passing,
the Rebbe enjoined everyone to "Do everything you can to bring Moshiach
here and now." In honor of Gimmel Tammuz it is fitting that every man,
woman and child do something to bring the era of peace, prosperity,
health, harmony and knowledge and we all truly crave.

The Rebbe made a number of suggestions to this end, including:
increasing in acts of goodness and kindness; giving extra charity with
the awareness that, as our Sages stated, "Charity brings closer the
Redemption"; enhancing one's mitzva observance; studying about Moshiach
and the Redemption (as the Rebbe put it, the straight path to hasten the
Redemption); praying for the Redemption and demanding of G-d that He
bring the Redemption.

Maimonides teaches that each person should view the world as if it
perfectly balanced between good and evil; each individual's good deed
can tip the scale, bringing salvation not only to himself but Redemption
to the entire world. Together, we will make it happen, NOW!

                          THOUGHTS THAT COUNT
You shall take courage and take away some of the fruit of the land.
(Num. 13:20)

When Moses sent the twelve leaders into Israel to spy out the land which
had been given by G-d to the Jewish people, he told them to bring back
some of the land's fruit with them. Rabbi Nachman of Breslov (1772-1811)
used to say: The nations of the world have stolen the Land of Israel
from us. Therefore, it is our duty to stand up and unceasingly shout
that it is indeed our land. We must protest to the whole world, that
even though other nations have lived in the Land of Israel for many
generations, it has not become theirs, and their claim upon it is no
claim at all. We are obligated to cry out, as is indeed the law, that if
one protests against someone's occupying land, his claim upon it is

                                *  *  *

You must separate the first portion of your kneading - arisa - as a
dough offering. (Num. 15:20)

There are two meanings to the word "arisa." The first is the kneading
trough in which dough is made, and the second is a child's cradle. This
verse teaches us that one should pay particular attention to a child's
education while he is still in the cradle. For even when they are so
tiny it is our duty to educate them as Jews, and not to postpone it
until a later time.

                                                     (Chatam Sofer)

                                *  *  *

"The first portion of your kneading" means that the first part of the
day must be dedicated to G-d. It should be "an elevated gift" (15:19) -
one should say Psalms, learn Torah, pray in the synagogue and the like.

             (Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok, the Previous Lubavitcher Rebbe)

                            IT ONCE HAPPENED
Pinny Young will remember one Friday night this past winter for a very
long time. "We were walking home after Friday night services from the
Jewish Discovery Center in Buffalo. The sidewalks had not been plowed
from the snow so we were walking in the street near the curb. I was
walking in the front with Rabbi Heschel Greenberg, the rabbi of the
Center, and about a dozen people were walking behind us in groups of two
and threes.

"Suddenly a car hit me from behind, and from what I'm told, I went up in
the air, did a couple of flips and came down landing on my head. One of
the men walking with us ran into the nearest house and asked them to
call 911. The ambulance came and whisked me to a nearby hospital."

                                *  *  *

Sonya Young opened her front door expecting to greet her husband with a
warm, "Good Shabbos." What she saw, instead, was a policeman. "Your
husband has been in an accident. He was taken by ambulance to the
nearest hospital. We wanted to let you know," the police officer her.

                                *  *  *

"Along the way I regained consciousness; I had been out for about 18
minutes," Pinny continues. "The paramedics asked me if anything hurt and
my only complaint was the strong pain in my left leg and that I couldn't
move it. They examined my leg and, based on what they saw, they wrote in
their notes that it seemed I had broken it. When I got to the hospital,
they wanted to x-ray me from head to toe even though aside from the
strong pain in my leg, I felt fine.

                                *  *  *

Rabbi Greenberg arrived home shaken. The thud of the impact of the car
hitting Pinny's body reverberated in his ears. He gazed at a picture of
the Lubavitcher Rebbe and solemnly asked the Rebbe for a blessing for
Pinny. He took a volume of Igros Kodesh, letters of the Rebbe, off the
shelf and randomly opened volume 13 to page 185. His eyes focused on the
following words:

"Concerning that which he wrote about a damage that he had a week ago,
he can be sure it is only a temporary suffering and it will be
straightened out. Even more so, after the suffering, there will be
revealed to him the attribute of mercy that is even more expansive than
the kindness that came before it. The whole situation will be changed
from one extreme to the other."

                                *  *  *

Pinny continues, "After a few minutes in the x-ray room, the pain
suddenly disappeared and I felt fine, really fine. They took the x-rays
and nothing was broken. I told the people at the hospital that I was
going home.

"One of the doctors with whom I am friendly - I am doing an internship
at that hospital - offered me a ride home. I explained to him that it
was Shabbat and there was absolutely no legitimate reason for me to
accept a ride so I was going to walk the mile and a half to my house.

"On my way home I stopped at the Greenbergs to let them know that I was
alright. When I walked into their home, Rabbi Greenberg greeted me with
the words, 'Blessed is He who revives the dead.' Rabbi Greenberg told me
about the answer he had gotten from the Rebbe on my behalf. It came as
no surprise that at pretty much the time Rabbi Greenberg was asking the
Rebbe for a blessing for me in his home, the pain in my leg disappeared
in the hospital.

"My wife, thank G-d, had already been informed that I was fine. But, of
course, seeing is believing so I hurried home.

"The Torah portion we read the next morning tells of the miraculous
splitting of the Red Sea. Many of the people in shul had seen the
accident. (One of the men had even told me that he had not been able to
sleep the entire night. The accident kept replaying itself in his mind,
and he and his wife stayed up all night saying Psalms for my recovery.)
Rabbi Greenberg pointed out that some people say that miracles don't
happen today. 'But everyone here can attest to the fact that we
witnessed a big miracle last night.'

"Truly," concludes Pinny, "the situation was changed from one extreme to
the other."

                            MOSHIACH MATTERS
In response to a reporter from CNN who asked the Lubavitcher Rebbe what
is his message to the world: "Moshiach is ready to come, now. It is only
on our part to increase in acts of goodness and kindness."

                END OF TEXT - L'CHAIM 775 - Sh'lach 5763

  • Daily Lessons
  • Weekly Texts & Audio
  • Candle-Lighting times

    613 Commandments
  • 248 Positive
  • 365 Negative

  • BlackBerry
  • iPhone / iPod Touch
  • Java Phones
  • Palm Pilot
  • Palm Pre
  • Pocket PC
  • P800/P900
  • Moshiach
  • Resurrection
  • For children - part 1
  • For children - part 2

  • Jewish Women
  • Holiday guides
  • About Holidays
  • The Hebrew Alphabet
  • Hebrew/English Calendar
  • Glossary

  • by SIE
  • About
  • Chabad
  • The Baal Shem Tov
  • The Alter Rebbe
  • The Rebbe Maharash
  • The Previous Rebbe
  • The Rebbe
  • Mitzvah Campaign

    Children's Corner
  • Rabbi Riddle
  • Rebbetzin Riddle
  • Tzivos Hashem

  • © Copyright 1988-2009
    All Rights Reserved
    L'Chaim Weekly