Torah Fax 

Thursday, August 7, 2008 - 6 Menachem Av, 5768


Torah Reading: Devarim (Deuteronomy 1:1 - 3:22)
Candle Lighting: 7:44 PM
Shabbat ends: 8:47 PM 

Shabbat Chazzon


Fast begins a few minutes before 8:01 PM (while it is still Shabbat)
Shabbat Ends 8:47 PM

Ma'ariv & Eichah 9:15 PM

Sunday, August 10

Shacharit (without Talit & Tefillin) 9:00 AM

followed by learning about Tisha B'Av
Midday 1:01 PM


Mincha (with Talit and Tefillin) 7:20 PM
Fast ends 8:40 PM
Ma'ariv & Havdallah 8:40 PM


 And Justice For All

The level of equality and fairness that the Torah requires in the execution of justice is legendary. One example of this is from our Parshah: “Hear out your fellow man and judge fairly...” from which the Rabbis derive that a judge is not allowed to hear one side of a case without both litigants being present. The reason for this is that a litigant - without the second party being present - might be tempted to present his argument in a less than objective light, leaving an indelible impression on the heart of the judge.


A story is told of the 18th century sage, Rabbi Yonasan Eibeshitz, known - among other qualities - for his razor sharp wit, that helps us apply this principle to our lives.


Rabbi Yonasan was once asked how he was able to prevail over his evil impulse even before he turned Bar Mitzvah. According to tradition, the good impulse does not enter one’s body until his Bar Mitzvah, how then did he mange to combat his evil inclination before his good inclination was present to assist him?


Rabbi Yonasan answered that he applied the principle of fairness from our Parshah. :”Whenever the evil inclination would try to entice me to sin,” he explained, “I would dismiss him by saying that it is not fair to listen to one side of the issue without the benefit of hearing the other side. The evil impulse has no right to present his arguments without the good impulse being present...”


Mysticism explains that these two impulses are really two distinct souls. The first, known as the Animal Soul, is responsible for all of our natural drives and impulses. To be sure, some of these desires are necessary and even positive, but the defining aspect of this soul is that it is self-centered and is driven by its emotional needs.


The second soul, called the G‑dly Soul, and is actually a “part of G‑d.” This soul is driven by its desire to connect with G‑d and make G‑d felt as a reality in the world.


Clearly these two souls do not see eye to eye, so how is one to decide which soul to follow? Chassidic thought teaches that there is a third entity to help us decide which of these two “litigants,” vying for our compliance, we should follow. This is the third soul, known as the “Intellectual Soul.”  This soul mediates and helps us see things objectively, se we can follow the correct path.


Of course, our “judge,” the Intellectual Soul, must never listen to the arguments of the first litigant, the Animal Soul, without the second, G‑dly soul being present. The import of this is that the Intellectual Soul can easily be swayed by the Animal Soul's talent to rationalize even the most negative and selfish behavior. Just as a judge cannot hear one litigant's side of view without the other litigant present because of an absence of counterbalance, so too will the Intellectual Soul lose its ability to reach an objective decision without carefully hearing the arguments of both souls - on an even playing field.


On a practical level, we must never jump to the conclusion that the desires of the Animal Soul are correct and should be fulfilled without question. All too often we buy into the shallow, self-centered arguments with the flimsiest of “righteous rationalizations.” We must always ask ourselves if this behavior will really enhance our G‑dly existence, or make the world a bit more holy. Will this act actually help fulfill our G‑dly mission on Earth?


(It goes without saying that the opposite does not hold true. If our G‑dly Soul suggests something holy to do, we have no need to wait and see what the counter-arguments will be from the Animal soul. Since, as mentioned in the story above, the negative impulse has a thirteen year “head start,” it is always considered as if he - the evil inclination - was there first, and the G‑dly Soul merely appears to balance things out...)


On a more global scale, the battle which happens between our two souls - is represented by the historic battle between the Jewish people and the forces of darkness, symbolized by the galut, the Exile. This ongoing conflict is reflected in the famous struggle between Jacob and the guardian angel of Esau. Their fight, which lasted all night, represents the ongoing battle between holiness and darkness which has continued on throughout the years of exile. Esau’s guardian angel struck Jacob in the thigh, giving him a temporary victory. This, our sages say, represents Tisha B’Av, when the forces of evil temporarily gained the upper hand. But just as Jacob’s struggle ended with the sun rising and healing his injured thigh, so too will evil be vanquished with the dawn of a new day - the coming of Moshiach.


When we prepare for Moshiach by making sure our G‑dly Soul sets the agenda in our lives, we help bring the healing light of Redemption to the world. At that time, the sorrows of the past will be turned into joy and Tisha B’Av will become the greatest day of celebration.

Moshiach Matters 

During the Three Weeks, we should bring our study of matters relating to Moshiach and the Third Temple to an entirely new level. It goes without saying that our study of these subjects should not be out of a feeling of sorrow and mourning over the destruction, but rather we should learn with an upbeat spirit - with the realization that studying about Moshiach puts us in the proper frame of mind for the immediate revelation of Moshiach.
(The Rebbe, Parshas Balak, 1991)
Moshiach - It’s a Jewish issue. For more info, visit  

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