Torah Fax 

Friday - December 5, 2008 - 8 Kislev, 5769

Torah Reading: Vayetzei (Genesis 28:10 - 32:3)
Candle Lighting: 4:10 PM
Shabbat ends: 5:14 PM


Torah Fax

With a heavy heart filled with pain and sorrow, I am writing this week's E-Light Torah message. The entire Jewish people grieve the massacre of our fellow Jews and non-Jews in India. The pain is magnified when we consider that among the victims were the Rabbi Gabi and Rivki Holtzberg, angels of love, kindness and devotion to the Jewish people and humanity. A pall of darkness has enveloped the Jewish nation. It is futile to ask why it happened. There is no way of making sense of what happened. We have no explanation for it. If we have to ask questions they should be:


What was really going on?


What should be our response to it?


The answer to the first question is that we've been exposed to unspeakable and unmitigated evil pitted against unprecedented and adulterated goodness and holiness. 


And this leads us to the next question, what should be our response? If the forces of darkness enjoyed a temporary victory over light, we must redouble our efforts energies to introduce more light into the world by adding to the study of Torah and the observance of the Mitzvot.


We are living on the verge of the dawn of the Messianic Era. And we've been given a spectacle of the last remnants of evil. With Moshiach's coming imminent, the forces of evil as they were incarnated in these despicable, evil, G‑dless individuals were making their last stand. It is our responsibility now to do that one extra act of goodness and kindness, one more candle lit before Shabbat this week or/and any and every other Mitzvah, to overwhelm the world with unprecedented light. Our response will surely change the world for the good, permanently!

There is one more question we should ask from the depths of our souls. It is a question that only G‑d can answer and it should be directed to G‑d, in the spirit of the Patriarch Abraham, and in the spirit of all our prayers:  "G‑d, Almighty, Ad Masai, how much longer?! 


How much longer will Your people have to suffer?


When will you keep Your promise to bring Moshiach who will usher in an age of goodness and peace?  


When will we see the fulfillment of the very purpose for which You created the world—to have a "dwelling place for Yourself in our world?" When will this be a world that You and all of us feel comfortable living in?


When O G‑d? When? 


When will You take us into Your embrace and sooth our pain? We will try to do our part, but G‑d You must do Your part!"


And Jacob left B'er Sheva and went to Charan. These are the opening words of this week's parsha that describe Jacob leaving a city in the Land of Israel, where his father and mother Isaac and Rebecca resided, to go to a distant place called Charan.


Contrast the two names: B'er Sheva and Charan. The former literally means the "Well of the Oath," or the "Well of Seven." The latter means "anger." Jacob is journeying from a place that was a fountain from which life emerges. An oath is a medium that invokes G‑d's name and prestige. This was a city that expressed G‑d's affirmation that the well's Isaac dug were his. The reference to seven alludes to the seven Divine Attributes that were concentrated in that city where the Patriarchs resided. In short, B'er Sheva was a source of holiness and positive energy. 


Charan, on the other hand, was a place that aroused anger. It was the place where the wily and devious Laban lived. It was a place where idolatry was rampant. There was no respect for G‑d or for others. No wonder our Sages state that Charan was a place where G‑d's wrath was aroused. It was a tough place, one fraught with danger. 


And yet it was in Charan that Jacob married Rachel and Leah; and it was there that he fathered eleven of the twelve tribes, the nucleus of the Jewish nation. It was there that Jacob flourished and accomplished so much.


Our own Rabbi Gabi and Rebetzin Rivky Holtzberg, the martyrs from Mumbai, May G‑d avenge their blood, went from the modern day B'er Sheva, the spiritual center of Chabad in Crown Heights to a remote corner of the world to spread the message of the Rebbe—goodness, kindness, Jewish knowledge and most importantly the knowledge that Moshiach is on his way and that we must prepare ourselves and the entire world for this age. How ironic and painful that this was the place where the hatred and anger of the evil elements of this world struck them down in the mist of their holy work.


But, there is no question that what they did was not in vain. Their self-sacrificing efforts will yet yield the intended results. The light that they generated was so intense that it will ultimately blind the agents of evil and bring about the realization of their goal-our goal of bringing Moshiach.


May we no longer know of sorrow and may the families of all the martyrs and victims of the senseless and brutal massacre be comforted and may we see the coming of Mosiach, now! 


Moshiach Matters 
There is a connection between the conclusion of Mishneh Torah and its opening sentence: "The foundation of all foundations... is to know that there exists a Prime Being, and He brings into existence everything that exists." The conclusion of Mishneh Torah speaks of the perfection of the world in the era of Mashiach: the world becomes re-created afresh, in a more elevated manner, as transformed as the lives of those of whom the Midrash says, "He beheld a new world." In the era of Mashiach, man's knowledge and understanding of the Creator - the "Prime Being [Who] brings into existence everything that exists" - is loftier.

From a talk of the Rebbe on the Tenth of Teves, 5749 [1988]

Moshiach - It’s a Jewish issue. For more info, visit  

© 2001- 2008 Chabad of the West Side