Apple Dipped in Honey: For a Sweet New Year! - Jews in Green

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Apple Dipped in Honey: For a Sweet New Year! - Jews in Green

B”HThe Magazine of Life for JewsIsolated from their CommunitiesVOL. XII NO. 1 - ELUL 5767-TISHREI 5768 - FALL 2007TISHREI 5768THE HOLIEST MONTH OF THE YEARHoliday Guide (6)Apple Dippedin Honey:ForaSweetNew Year!Letting Go of the Roof (16)Soduku Puzzle (19)Cocktails with Molotov (20)New Release-ReentryProgram (32)NEW! Military Section (41)


NATIONALLiberator.IFAST DAYS: Please make sure to request a “sack dinner” from your chaplain to breakthe fast (Fast of Gedaliah, Sept. 16 & Yom Kippur, Sept. 22) one hour after sundown. If youencounter any difficulties securing your order, please contact us immediately.DATE HOLIDAY WORK ACTIVITYSeptember 12 Eve of Rosh Hashanah Until Light Candles***; Blessings 2&7at18minutes before sunset.Sunset Eat special Rosh Hashanah foodsSeptember 13Rosh Hashanah IHIGH HOLIDAY CALENDAR 5768September 14 Rosh Hashanah II No Sounding of ShofarSounding of Shofar and Tashlich PrayersLight Candles**; Blessings 2&7after nightfallSeptember 14 Shabbat Shuvah (Evening) No Light Candles*** 18 minutes BEFORE sunset from pre-existing flame.*; Blessing 3September 16 Fast of Gedaliah Yes Fast ends after nightfall.NoSeptember 21 Eve of Yom Kippur Until Kapparot Service, Festive Meal. Light Candles*; Blessings 4&7at18minutes before sunset.Sunset Fast begins several minutes before sunset.September 22 Yom Kippur No Yizkor Memorial PrayersYom Kippur ends at night-fall.September 261st Eve of SukkotUntilSunsetLight Candles***; Blessings 6&7at18minutes before sunset.Begin eating in Sukkah; blessing 8. At the first meal in Sukkah this year, also blessing 7.September 271st Day of SukkotNoBegin shaking the Lulav & Etrog set every day after saying blessing 9.At the first shaking (should be this day) say also blessing 7.Light Candles**; Blessings 6&7after nightfall.September 282 nd Day of SukkotNoLight Candles*** 18 minutes BEFORE sunset from pre-existing flame.*; Blessing 3October 3 Eve of Shemini Atzeret Until Sunset Light Candles***; Blessings 6&7at18minutes before sunset.October 4October 5Shemini AtzeretEve of Simchat TorahSimchat Torah/Shabbat eveNoNoYizkor memorial prayers in Morning Prayers. Hakafot.Light candles**; Blessings 6&7after nightfall. Hakafot.Light Candles*** 18 minutes BEFORE sunset from pre-existing flame.*; Blessing 3Recognized by the Federal BOP as a day when work is not required.Note that each holy day (except for the Fast of Gedaliah) begins approximately 18 minutes before sundown of the previous evening and endsapproximately one hour after sunset of the holy day.CANDLE-LIGHTING BLESSINGSAll Blessings:Bo-ruch A-toh Ado-noi E-lo-hei-nu Me-lech Ha-olam ...1: ...A-sher Ki-de-sha-nu Be-mitz-vo-sov Vi-tzi-vo-nu Le-had-lik Ner Shel Shabbos V’shel Yom Ha-zi-ka-ron2. ...A-sher Ki-de-sha-nu Be-mitz-vo-sov Vi-tzi-vo-nu Le-had-lik Ner Shel Yom Ha -zi-ka-ron3. ...A-sher Ki-de-sha-nu Be-mitz-vo-sov Vi-tzi-vo-nu Le-had-lik Ner Shel Shabbos Ko-desh4. ...A-sher Ki-de-sha-nu Be-mitz-vo-sov Vi-tzi-vo-nu Le-had-lik Ner Shel Shabbos V’shel Yom Ha-kee -purim5. ...A-sher Ki-de-sha-nu Be-mitz-vo-sov Vi-tzi-vo-nu Le-had-lik Ner Shel Shabbos V’shel Yom Tov6. ...A-sher Ki-de-sha-nu Be-mitz-vo-sov Vi-tzi-vo-nu Le-had-lik Ner Shel Yom Tov7. ...She-heh-che-yoh-nu Vi-ki-ye-mo-nu Ve -he-ge-o-nu Liz-man Ha-zeh8. ...A-sher Ki-de-sha-nu Be-mitz-vo-sov Vi-tzi-vo-nu Lay-shev Ba-su-kah9. ...A-sher Ki-de-sha-nu Be-mitz-vo-sov Vi-tzi-vo-nu Al Ne-tee-las Lu-lav* Do not light after sunset.** Do not light before the time indicated. Light only from pre-existing flame.*** If lighting after sunset, light only from pre -existing flame. Note: On Friday night, one may not light after sunset.A pre- existing flame is a flame burning continuously since the onset of the festival, such as a pilot light, gas or 24-hour . candle flame.If there is NO existing flame available, one may ask a non-Jew to light a candle and then you may take from that flame.Please alwayscheck yourAleph calendarto verifycorrect datesand times of allholidays andfast days.2VOL. XII NO. 1ELUL 5767-TISHREI 5768 / FALL 20072


B”HThe Magazine of Life for JewsIsolated from their CommunitiesThe NationalLiberatoris published byThe Aleph Institute9540 Collins Avenue,Surfside, Florida 33154Tel: (305) 864-5553Fax: (305) 864-5675Internet: http://www.alephinstitute.orgCopyright © 2007/5767,The Aleph Institute.All rights reserved.Opinions expressed in theNational Liberator do notnecessarily reflect opinionsor policies of The AlephInstitute. Please direct allsubscription inquiries andaddress changes to ourDirector of Prison Programs.The Aleph Institute,founded in 1981/5741 at theexpress direction of RabbiMenachem M. Schneerson,the Lubavitcher RebbeO.B.M., is a not-for-profiteducational, humanitarianand advocacy organizationserving the unique needs ofJews in institutionalenvironments and anywhereelse they and their familiesmay become isolated fromtheir heritage.LiberatorVOL. XII NO. 1 - ELUL 5767-TISHREI 5768 - FALL 2007NATIONAL .IFree Will...G-d'sWill ... Rolling The DiceA Message from Our President, Lloyd S. RubinWe are living in an age of scientific enlightenment. Albert Einstein was able to formulate that Relativitywas real. Stephen Hawkins can speculate with authority whether what we perceive of the world, and especiallytime duration, is not an illusion, while the underlying reality is hidden from us. Niels Bohr, who is credited withleading the development of a unified theory, claimed that quantum mechanics (QM) is "shocking" to anybody whotries to understand it. So a progression of great modern scientists try to get a picture, or at least an “image " totest whether G-d plays dice. They strive to get a closer look at this matter of human potential and humanlimitations, and how these are connected to Torah, chance of the dice roll and quantum mechanics.Does G-d's will conflict with free will? Not really. The answer may lie in the words of Rabbi Dessler, whopostulated, "Nature has no objective existence; it is merely an illusion which gives man a choice to exercise hisfree will . . .What is real is the will of G-d and nothing else." Why then do we have a natural order with predictablecause and effect? So that people will have a stable environment in which to exercise their free will. The Torahspecifically gives us a choice. Thus, "I have put before you life and death, the blessing and the curse; choose life .. ." (Deuteronomy 30:19). The conditions in which we find ourselves are not chosen by us - "I have put before you. . ."-- but how we react is up to us - "choose."The Torah absolutely insists that we have free will. The Torah also insists that God knows all, foreseesall and can do or cause any result whatever. The resolution to the paradox is a world of apparent causality whichwe can apparently control by exercise of our free will, while at the same time the underlying reality is a world thatwe cannot fully predict or control. Both the apparent causality and resulting free will and the underlying reality,which is not under our control, are real and necessary. The gift of free will, to choose and to act, was given to us.However the “gift " of free will is a gift with consequences. The choices may be ours, but the result ofthose choices, both good and bad, often can have a lasting effect on ourselves and others. As you know choicesbecome more limited in environments that are controlled by others; in prisons, the military and nursing homes forexample. On the other hand free will still is an option that is retained and can be used wisely or unwisely.Everyday we have choices that are G-d's gift.Therefore thanking G-d is appropriate. Blaming G-d is not, because as we begin to understand thecreation and the universal laws that we can comprehend, we can also realize that our individual actions are notdirected by G-d in His master plan. We, with the gift of free will make the choices. Therefore our preciousfreedom of free will still exists in a controlled environment. Your uses of the gift remains in your hands, and goodchoices will help you through troubled times.Although we have found that there are certain aspects of world order that likely will be forever closed tous, we still have tremendous potential, but ultimately it is only a likeness and an image of "What is real is the willof God." All we have is but a shadow of the real thing. This is one of the lessons that comes to us from therevelations in quantum mechanics. We, on the other hand, are free to make choices that are apparently notcodified...and are not meant to be G-d directed.One may conlude that it is man that "rolls the dice ", and not G-d.Special Thanks toChabad.org for ArticlesWith best wishes for a happy and healthy new year.Lloyd S. Rubin3VOL. XII NO. 1ELUL 5767-TISHREI 5768 / FALL 20073


A Holiday Messagefrom the Lubavitcher RebbeRabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, O.B.M.NATIONALLiberator.IBy the Grace of G-dIn the days of Selichot,5717To my Brethren EverywhereG-d Bless you all,Greeting and Blessing:WITH THE APPROACHof Rosh Hashanah, and theintrospection that it callsforth, both in terms of one'sown world and in relation tothe world at large, a goodstarting point would besome reflection on thephysical organism, “theworld in miniature”(microcosm).In the human organism there arecommon functions, in which allorgans of the body participate in acommon effort; and there arespecific individual functionspertaining to individual organs. Inthe latter case, the individual organmust make a special effort to fulfillits particular function, while thecommon functions are carried outmore easily.What would happen when aparticular organ surrenders itsindividuality and particularfunction, applying its energy solelytowards the common function?At first glance, it would seem tobenefit thereby in saving mucheffort and in the ability to increaseits share in the fulfillment of thecommon functions of the body,together with the rest of the organs.Yet, needless to say, the resultswould be disastrous both for theindividual organ and for theorganism as a whole. For theindividual organ would lose itsidentity and essence which arepredicated precisely on its ability toperform a particular function.Failure to exercise this particularfunction would,moreover,lead to itsatrophy and, eventually, completeuselessness also in the fulfillment ofthe common functions. As for theorganism as a whole, its deprivationof the particular function and theeventual loss of the limb, would beinjurious to the whole body, andeven fatal – if the organ in questionis a vital one.This analogy can truly be applied tothe individual in society, and to aminority group within a state,and toa nation with the community ofnations. It is certainly true in ourcase, both on the national level, andin regard to every Jew individually.The Jewish people, of whom it hasbeen said long ago,“for you are thefewest of all peoples (Deut. 7:7), is asmall minority among the nations ofthe world,and the individual Jew is aminority in his environment; evenliving in the midst of his own people,there are places, sad to say, wherethe Jew living Jewishly, i.e. in accordwith our holy Torah and theobservance of its precepts in hisdaily life,is in the minority.What is the specific function of ourpeople, and of the Jew as anindividual?It is, of course, easier to ascertain theindividual function of any particularorgan in the body than the functionof a people in the community ofnations. However, in the case of theJewish people, which is unique in itsextremely varied experiences andlong history, the answer is notdifficult to find. By a process ofsimple elimination, we can easilyascertain what factors have beenessential to its existence andsurvival, and thus determine theessential character and function ofour people.An objective, unprejudiced surveyof the long history of our people willat once bring to light the fact that itwas not material wealth, norphysical strength, that helped us tosurvive. Even during the mostprosperous times under the unitedmonarchy of King Solomon, theJewish people and state werematerially insignificant bycomparison with suchcontemporary world empires asEgypt,Assyria and Babylonia. That itwas not statehood or homeland – isclear from the fact that most of thetime,by far,our people possessed no4VOL. XII NO. 1ELUL 5767-TISHREI 5768 / FALL 20074


A Holiday Message from the Lubavitcher Rebbe“independent state and has lived inthe diaspora. That it was not thelanguage, is likewise clear from thefact that even in Biblical times,Aramaic began to supplant the HolyTongue as the spoken language;parts of the Scripture and almost allof our Babylonian Talmud,the Zohar,etc., are written in that language. Inthe days of Saadia and Maimonides,Arabic was the spoken language ofmost Jews, while, later, Yiddish andother languages. Nor was itcommon secular culture thatpreserved our people, since thatchanged radically from one era toanother.The one and only common factorwhich has been present with Jewsthroughout the ages,in all lands,andunder all circumstances, is the Torahand Mitzvot, which Jews haveobserved tenaciously in their dailylife.To be sure, there arose occasionallydissident groups that attempted tobreak away from true Judaism, suchas the idolatry movements duringthe first Beis Hamikdash (HolyTemple), the Hellenists during thesecond, Alexandrianassimilationists, Karaites, etc., butthey have disappeared. Consideredwithout prejudice, the Torah andMitzvot must be recognized as theessential thing and essentialfunction of our people, whether forthe individual Jew, or in relation ofthe Jewish people to humanity as awhole.Hence the logical conclusion: thepolicy of imitating the other nations,far from helping to preserve theJewish people, rather endangers itsvery existence, and instead ofgaining their favor will only intensifytheir antagonism. In like manner,those Jews who court the favor ofthe non-religious groups byconcessions and compromise inmatters of Torah and Mitzvot, notonly undermine their own existenceand that of our people as a whole –for the Torah and Mitzvot are ourvery life – but they defeat even theirimmediate aim,for such a policy canevoke only derision and contempt;and justifiably so, for a minorconcession today, leads to a majorone tomorrow, and an evasion ofduty towards G-d leads to anevasion of duty towards man, andwho is to say where this downslidingis to stop?At this time, standing as we are onthe threshold of the New Year,a timepropitious for earnest introspectionand stock-taking, I earnestly hopethat my brethren everywhere, bothas individuals and as groups willrecognize the Reality and theTruth:The essential factor of our existenceand survival is our adherence to theTorah and the practice of itsprecepts in our every day life. Let noone delude himself by taking theeasier way out, nor be bribed by anytemporary advantages and illusorygains.The secret of our existence is in ourbeing, “a people that dwell alone”(Num. 23:9), every one of us, man orwoman, believing in the One G-d,leading a life according to the oneTorah, which is eternal andunchangeable. Our 'otherness' andindependence of thought andconduct are not our weakness butour strength. Only in this way canwe fulfill our function imposed on usby the Creator, to be unto G-d a“kingdom of priests and a holynation,” thereby being also a“segulah”for all humanity.NATIONALLiberator.IAt this time,standing as we are onthe threshold of theNew Year, a timepropitious for earnestintrospection andstock-taking, Iearnestly hope thatmy brethreneverywhere, both asindividuals and asgroups will recognizethe Reality and theTruth:The essential factorof our existence andsurvival is ouradherence to theTorah and thepractice of itsprecepts in our everyday life. Let no onedelude himself bytaking the easier wayout, nor be bribed byanytemporaryadvantages”andillusory gains.With prayerful wishes for a Kesivovachasimo toivo, for a good andpleasant year, 'good' as defined byour Torah, which is truly good, bothmaterially and spiritually. Withblessings, Rabbi M.M.Schneerson5VOL. XII NO. 1ELUL 5767-TISHREI 5768 / FALL 20075


NATIONALLiberator.IHoliday Guide, Laws & CustomsEach Biblically-mandated festival issanctified by the lighting of twocandles before sunset on the eve ofeach Holy day. See Code ofJewish Law (“C.J.L.”) chs. 75; 103 4. On each holy day (except fastdays), two festive meals must beeaten, one on the eve and oneduring the day. C.J.L. ch. 103. Ason the Sabbath, blessings are madeover wine (or grape juice) and twoloaves of bread at each of the twomeals. Id. At each meal, bread,fish and meat should be consumedas means permit. Id.Rosh Hashanah ObservancesRosh Hashanah, the Jewishspiritual new year (Sept 13-14) ischaracterized by prayer,repentanceand theblowing ofseries ofblasts on theshofar (seebelow)throughoutt h emorning/afternoon prayerservice. All labor is prohibited ason the Sabbath.If you or any of your familymembers are in need of amachzor (prayer book) forRosh Hashanah and/or YomKippur, please send names andaddresses to Aleph.At the evening meal, it is a customto perform certain rituals for agood year, such as dipping challahbread and apples in honey, for a“sweet year,” etc.Rosh Hashanah - the first day ofTishrei - is referred to in scripture as"the day of concealment," as theverse states (Tehillim 81:4): Soundthe shofar to mark the new month,the time of concealment of ourfestival day.All that transpires on RoshHashanah has an element ofconcealment. The Talmud (Beitzah16b) states: Sound the shofar tomark the new month, the time ofconcealment - which festival fallswhen the new moon is stillconcealed? Rosh Hashanah. Allother festivals fall either on ornearer the time of the full moon,whereas Rosh Hashanah falls whenthe moon is concealed.Israel is compared to the moon andshe is radiant on the festivals. OnRosh Hashanah, however, shediminishes herself and conceals hergreatness in trepidation of the Dayof Judgment. In the same manner,G-d conceals her sins and accordsher forgiveness (Pesikta Rabbati40).The very character of the first ofTishrei as a Day of Judgment issimilarly concealed and is notexpressly mentioned in the Torah.The reason is that man shouldconcern himself with his sins allyear and not delay his repentanceuntil Rosh Hashanah.This element of concealment alsofinds expression in our custom notto recite the blessing over the newmonth on the Shabbat before thefirst of Tishrei. The reason is that wethereby conceal the approachingDay of Judgment from Satan, so thathe might not come and prosecuteIsrael for her sins.Since Rosh Hashanah is the head ofthe year, it sets the pattern for eachof the days to come. For this reasonwe should be extra careful ineverything we do, think, and say onthis all-important day. Whetherpraying or serving food, makingblessings, eating or conversing at thetable, we keep in mind at all timesthat this is Rosh Hashanah, and asthis day goes, so will the rest of theyear.After the service on the first eveningof Rosh Hashanah, we all greet oneanother with the good wishes of“L'shona Tova TikosaivuV'saichosaimu” “May you beinscribed and sealed for a goodyear.”Eruv TavshillinWhen Shabbat follows immediatelyafter a festival, it is necessary tomake an eruv tavshillin which allowsone to cook food on the festival foruse on Shabbat. An eruv tavshillin isa halachic (legal) device that6VOL. XII NO. 1ELUL 5767-TISHREI 5768 / FALL 20076


Holiday Guide, Laws & CustomsNATIONALLiberator.Isymbolically serves as thebeginning of the preparation offood for Shabbat. Thus, anysubsequent cooking done on thefestival is considered to be acontinuation of the preparationbegun before the festival.This eruv consists of a matzah andsomething cooked, for example, aboiled egg or a piece of fish, and isprepared before the onset of thefestival.Sounding of theShofarWe are bidden by the Torah tosound a shofar on Rosh Hashanah,as the verse (Bamidbar 29:1)states: And in the seventh month,on the first of the month, it shall bedeclared a holiday for you, a dayof sounding a teruah for you. Theshofar is sounded every weekdaymorning of the month of Elul (Aug15 - Sept 11), except on the Sabbathand the day before RoshHashanah. Directions for theblowing of the shofar can befound in most prayer books.The sounding of the shofar is a callto look into one's soul andimprove one's ways. In the wordsof Maimonides, the shofar says,“Awake you sleepers from yoursleep, and you slumberers, arisefrom your slumber. Examine yourdeeds, repent and remember yourCreator.”Rav Sa'adyah Gaon writes that thesounding of the shofar on RoshHashanah contains ten symbolicelements:1. Rosh Hashanah marks thebeginning of the creation, the daywhen G-d created the world andbecame its sovereign. As it iscustomary to sound trumpets toglorify a king and proclaim one'ssubservience to him, similarly dowe show our acceptance of G-d'sdominion by sounding the shofar.2. Rosh Hashanah marks the firstday of the ten days of repentance.We therefore sound the shofar as ameans of announcing and warningthat this period has begun. It is as ifwe announce: Those who chooseto repent should do so now, and ifthey choose not to do so, let themnot come later and complain abouttheir fate. This too is the manner inwhich kings exercise theirdominion, announcing theirdecrees to the accompaniment oftrumpet blasts.The sounding of the shofar:…is a reminder of the revelation atMount Sinai, which was alsoaccompanied by shofar blasts.Thus, by listening to the shofar andremembering that event, we onceagain accept upon ourselves thatwhich our fathers accepted uponthemselves.… reminds us of theremonstrations of our Prophetswhich are compared to thesounding of the shofar, as the verses(Yechezkel 33:4-5) state: And if thelistener shall hear the sound of theshofar and not be careful, then thesword shall come and take him.And if he shall be careful, then hissoul has escaped.… reminds us of the destruction ofthe Beis Hamikdash and the trumpetcalls of the armies of our enemies.Thus when we hear the shofar, weshould pray for the rebuilding of ourHoly Temple.… reminds us of the shofar of theram at the binding of Yitzchak, whooffered his life to G-d but in whoseplace the ram was sacrificed instead.We too should stand ready to makeour lives a sanctification of HisName and we pray that this serve asa source of merit for us.… instills a sense of trepidation andfear that leads us to humbleourselves before G-d, as the verse(Amos 3:8) states: If the shofar issounded in the city, will people nottremble?… reminds us of the forthcominggreat Day of judgment, as the verses(Tzefanyah 1:14,16) state: The greatday of G-d is near, close and quick[to come].. . is the day of [thesounding of] the shofar and theteruah.… awakens our yearning for thefuture ingathering of the dispersedexiles of Israel, of which the verse(Yeshayahu 27:13) states: And it shallbe on that day, the great shofar shallbe sounded and those who havebeen lost among Ashur shall come[back].… reminds us of the resurrection ofthe dead, as the verse (ibid. 18:3)states: All those inhabitants of theworld and those who dwell in theearth, when a sign is lifted upon themountains you shall see and whenthe shofar is sounded you shall hear.7VOL. XII NO. 1ELUL 5767-TISHREI 5768 / FALL 20077


Holiday Guide, Laws & CustomsNATIONALLiberator.ITashlichOn the first day of Rosh Hashanah,after the afternoon services, wecustomarily "throw” our sins into abody of fresh water that has livefish in it. This custom is known as“Tashlich,” from the statement,“And you shall cast away (Tashlich)all your sins” (Micha7:19). If this isnot done on Rosh Hashanah, itmay be done until Hoshanah Raba(the last days of Sukkot). TheKabbalah teaches that watersymbolizes kindness, and fishremind us of the ever-watchful eyeof G-d's providence. Fish have noeyelids, so their eyes are alwaysopen.Tzom Gedaliah –The Fast of GedaliahThis year Tishrei 4 (Sept 16)because fasting does not take placeon Shabbat.After the First Temple wasdestroyed, a remnant of theJewish people remained in Israelunder the leadership of Gedaliahben Achikam, theg o v e r n o rappointed by theBabylonians aftertheir conquest ofthe land of Israel.All hope ofimminent redemption was lostwhen Gedaliah was murdered,and a fast day was decreed tocommemorate his death.Observant Jews do not eat ordrink from daybreak until onehour after sunset. The Hebrewletters of Gedaliah form the wordsGadol Yud-Kai, “G-d is great.” It isduring the era of the redemptionthat G-d's greatness will bemanifest throughout the world.Ten Days of Repentance1st – 10th Tishrei (13 – 22 Sept)Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur andthe days in between are known asthe Ten Days of Teshuvah(repentance, or return).“Teshuvah redeems the Source ofthe soul from its exile and returnsthe flow of the Divinemanifestation to its proper place.”(Zohar). Although oftentranslated as repentance, teshuvahreally means 'return' – a return tothe true inner self that is alwaysconnected to its Source. The pathof teshuvah begins with sincereregret for our transgressions andthe resolve to abandon those ways.It is also the desire to come closer toG-d through prayer, and increasedperformance of mitzvoth,particularly the giving of charity tothe poor, which 'redeem' the soulfrom spiritual captivity. In thewords of the Zohar, teshuvahreturns the Divine presence, theSource of the soul, from the exile towhich it was banished bytransgression.During these days, we areespecially careful in all the mitzvot(commandments) we perform. Asin the month of Elul, attention isgiven to the three mitzvot ofteshuvah, tefillah and tzedakah.The seven days between RoshHashanah and Yom Kippur arehighly significant and should befilled with Torah and mitzvot to thefullest measure. Not only is this thelast week before Yom Kippur, it isalso the first complete weekly cycleof the new year and serves as anatonement for all the Sundays,Mondays, etc., of the past year.Shabbat Shuva3 Tishrei (15 Sept)The Shabbat between RoshHashanah and Yom Kippur is knownas Shabbat Shuva, (Shabbat ofReturn) because of the beginningwords of the Haftorah of thisShabbat: “Return Israel unto Godyour God” (Hosea 4).KapparotKapparot is an ancient Jewishcustom performed the day beforeYom Kippur. Men and women eachtake a rooster or hen, respectively,and say a short prayer while holdingand circling it above their heads.The chicken is then rituallyslaughtered, koshered and donatedto a soup kitchen or similar charity.The ritual is performed as a symbolicexpiation that the chicken's life betaken in our stead whereas our sinswould make us deserving of such afate. Since money or a promissorynote can be used as a substitute forthe chicken, all Jewish inmates canand should doKapparot. Themoney iswaved overone's head andthe words,“This moneywill go to charity,” are said in placeof, “This fowl shall go to itsdeath…” (see prayer book for entireprayer). Afterwards the moneymust be donated to charity to fulfillthe mitzvah (to Aleph or otherJewish charities).8VOL. XII NO. 1ELUL 5767-TISHREI 5768 / FALL 20078


Holiday Guide, Laws & CustomsNATIONALLiberator.IYom Kippur10 Tishrei (begins evening of 21Sept through nightfall 22 Sept)Yom Kippur isthe Day ofAtonementand theholiest andmost solemn day of the Jewishyear. It is the only Biblicallymandatedfast day. Its centralthemes are repentance,atonement and reconciliation.The day is customarily fullyoccupied with prayer. Eating,drinking, smoking, wearingperfumes, bathing, shaving, thewearing of leather shoes, maritalrelations and any labor, as definedfor Shabbat, are all prohibited. AYom Kippur “machzor” is used inplace of the regular prayer book.Yom Kippur and all the lawspertaining to it start before sunset,as do all the holidays, with candlelighting.Fasting begins beforesundown on the eve of 21 Sept andends after nightfall on 22 Sept.Please make sure that sufficientmeals are provided for you bothbefore and after the fast. It is areligious requirement to eat'heartily' before the fast. Partakingof a festival meal at this timedemonstrates our faith in G-d'sabundant mercy and ourconfidence in being forgiven andsealed for a good year.Among the many preparations forthe awesome day of Yom Kippur,and perhaps one of the mostimportant, is the seeking offorgiveness from friends, relativesand acquaintances — for actualwrongs done or to soothe badfeelings that may have arisenduring the year. This is one aspectof our behavior that is not forgivenby God, unless forgiveness is firstsought from those we havewronged.Kol Nidrei“Let our vows not be consideredvows; let our oaths not beconsidered oaths.” – Kol NidreiThe first prayer of Yom Kippur, asthe sun is setting, is Kol Nidrei, thecancellation of vows. Thesignificance of this prayer datesback to the persecution of Jewsduring the Spanish inquisition ofthe 15th century, when Jews wereforced to convert to Catholicismunder the threat of death.Outwardly, the Jews behaved liketheir Spanish neighbors, but inprivate they remained devout.Once a year they would gather insecret, declaring Kol Nidrei to vowtheir commitment to Judaism,despite their seemingly Catholiclives. Kol Nidrei was theirproclamation that their externalbehavior was not who they were.Yom Kippur comes to an end withthe blowing of a single blast of theshofar, which marks the conclusionof the fast.Sukkot15-22 Tishrei (begins evening of 26Sept through October 3)The Torah commandment torejoice is mentioned more often inconnection with the holiday ofSukkot than for any other holiday.For forty years, as our ancestorstraversed the Sinai desert prior totheir entry into the Holy Land,miraculous "clouds of glory"surrounded and hovered over them,shielding them from the dangers anddiscomforts of the desert. Ever since,we remember G-d's kindness andreaffirm our trust in His providenceby dwelling in a sukkah, a hut oftemporary construction with a roofcovering of branches, for theduration of the Sukkot festival. Forseven days and nights, we eat all ourmeals in the sukkah and otherwiseregard it as our home. As we sit inthe Sukkah, we, too, are aware andgrateful for God's protection.The Four KindsA most important and meaningfulMitzvah of Sukkot is the “taking ofthe four kinds.” The four plantsenumerated in the Torah are theetrog (citron), lulav (palm branch),hadassim (myrtles) and aravos(willows).The mitzvah recitingthe appropriateblessing on these fourplants is performedevery day of Sukkotexcept Shabbat. Thelulav, haddassim andaravos, all bandedtogether, should betaken in the right hand and the etrogtaken in the left. All are shaken andswayed in accordance with variouscustoms.This mitzvah has extraordinaryrelevance to our lives today. In ouroral tradition, it is explained thateach of these four kinds correspondsto a different type of person. From9VOL. XII NO. 1ELUL 5767-TISHREI 5768 / FALL 20079


Holiday Guide, Laws & CustomsNATIONALLiberator.Ithe etrog (which has both arefreshing taste and smell,corresponding to the Jew who isfull of Torah and mitzvot), to thearava (which has no smell or taste,corresponding to the Jew who isdevoid of both Torah or mitzvot),and every one in between. All aretaken together in this mitzvah, andthe omission of any of the speciesinvalidates the mitzvah. Similarly,all Jews are important in ourservice to God, all are counted andintegral to the group.Competent rabbinic authoritymust be consulted whenpurchasing these four items, all ofwhich are available from Jewishbook stores, synagogues and TheAleph Institute.Hoshanah Rabbah21 Tishrei (Oct. 3)Hoshanah Rabbah is the name ofthe seventh day of Sukkot, and isthe last day onwhich we canmake the blessingon the shaking ofthe Four Kinds.HoshanahRabbah is the final day on whichGod might change our inscriptionfor a good year. Although thegates of heaven have beenofficially closed at the conclusionof the Yom Kippur service, it is stillpossible for God to open them thisone last time on HoshanahRabbah, as we ask Him to do inour prayers on this day. It is acustom to beat a separatelywrapped bunch of 5 individualHoshannos (willow branches) onthe floor during our prayers,driving away any harshjudgments. It is also customary tostay awake the night beforeHoshanah Rabbah to learnportions of the Torah and recitePsalms.Shemini Atzeret, A Day ofCelebration 22 Tishrei (Oct 4)Shemini Atzeret corresponds to theeighth day of the holiday ofSukkot, but is a separate andcomplete festival in itsown right. Rashi, oneof our greatestcommentators on theTorah, likened SheminiAtzeret to the feast of aking presented for hisbeloved son. For a fullweek the king celebrated with hisentire kingdom. After this week offestivities, the king said to his son,“It is difficult for me to part withyou. Please stay another day tocelebrate.” For seven days ofSukkot we brought 70 sacrifices inthe Holy Temple on behalf of allthe nations. (“If the nations of theworld would have known thevalue of the Temple for them, theywould have surrounded it withfortresses in order to protect it” —Midrash Raba.) God set aside aneighth day of celebration, onwhich only one holiday sacrificewas offered — the one on behalf ofthe Jewish nation — and it becamea day of unique celebrationbetween God and His loyalchildren, the Jews.Shemini Atzeret and the followingday, Simchat Torah (see below), areBiblically-mandated holidays andwork proscriptions apply. On theeves of both Shemini Atzeret andSimchat Torah at the conclusion ofevening services, it is religiouslymandated that Jewish men andwomen celebrate the completion ofthe Torah by dancing and Hakafotafter dark.Simchat Torah23 Tishrei (Oct 5)Outside the Land of Israel, SimchatTorah is celebrated the day afterShemini Atzeret, totaling nineconsecutive days of festivities.Simcha denotes joy and greatrejoicing; Simchat Torahliterally means“Rejoicing with theTorah.” All of the Torahscrolls are brought outfrom the ark (when aTorah is not available aprinted version of the five books ofMoses may be used instead), andeveryone, scholars and laymenalike, dance around the shul,proudly taking turns clutching theholy Torah scrolls to their hearts.Everyone present becomespassionately involved in the sevenHakafot, as these dances are called,as every Jew's inheritance includes alove for the holy Torah that Godgave us.The last portion of the Torahscroll is read and immediatelyafterwards the Torah begins againfrom the beginning of Bereshit(Genesis). The joy of Simchat Torahis far greater than any delight wemay derive from intellectualunderstanding. Here again, weemphasize the sublime level of theJewish soul where we are all one. Intruth, one never finishes the learningof Torah. Its wisdom is infinite, and itis the eternal force that hasconnected the Jews to G-d for morethan 3,000 years.10VOL. XII NO. 1ELUL 5767-TISHREI 5768 / FALL 200710


NATIONALLiberator.IOFFICIALSSupportObservanceof HighHoly DaysThe following is partial text of a memorandumwhich was sent to all wardens by the FederalBureau of Prisons in past years.We have included this information in the NationalLiberator in order to clarify to Jewish inmates inState and County facilities that the Federal prisonsystem makes all the appropriate accommodationsfor the Jewish High Holy Days. This informationshould help encourage state and county officials todo the same.This memorandum is intended to provideguidelines for planning an appropriatelevel of High Holyday observances for theJewish inmates in your institution. Theincrease in the number of Orthodox Jewishinmates and their designations throughoutthe system indicate the need for widercirculation of the guidelines so that allconcerned can make informed decisions usingthe same guidelines and procedures.Rosh HashanahThe Rosh Hashanah Observance begins atsundown, local time, on Elul 29. Tishrei 1-2 are days on which all work is prohibitedby Jewish law. Weekend days free from workare not transferred to week days. Jewishinmates making a written request for thesedays off work should be accommodated.Opportunities for congregational worshipand fellowship should be provided on bothdays. Arrangements should be made for thesounding of the Shofar on both days or RoshHashanah. This needs to be planned andannounced in advance, so that all Jewishinmates have the opportunity to hear thesounding of the Shofar.Yom Kippur is observed by a total fast forapproximately 25 hours. The fast begins atsundown on Tishrei 9 and concludes an hourafter sundown on Tishrei 10. Because of theseverity of the fast, a substantial pre-fastmeal should be provided and a meal equal innutrition to the missed meals should beprovided at the close of the fast.Work is prohibited. In addition to abstainingfrom food and drink, it is forbidden to batheor wear leather shoes. Inmates who make therequest in writing may be provided canvasshoes and white uniforms to wear on that day.This festival is based on the commandment todwell in a sukkah, or temporary dwelling, foreight days. In the community, Jews eat, visitand sometimes sleep in a specially built hutmade of wood and leaves. The festival beginsat sundown on Tishrei 14 and concludes an hourafter sundown on Tishrei 23. Work isprohibited on Tishrei 15 and 16, 22 and 23. Itis appropriate to accommodate inmate requeststo construct a sukkah and to allow inmates touse the sukkah for personal or group prayer,fellowship and study during the daylighthours. Inmates should also be authorized toeat a small morsel of matzo or bread in thesukkah, or to consume some of their mealsthere unless security concerns dictateotherwise. For security reasons, no inmatesshould be authorized to sleep in the sukkah.During the holyday season, some inmatesrequest furloughs in order to observe theholydays with loved ones. These are notspecifically religious furloughs, but socialfurloughs affording inmates the opportunityto be at home to celebrate with theirfamilies.#Yom KippurSukkotFurloughs11VOL. XII NO. 1ELUL 5767-TISHREI 5768 / FALL 200711


NATIONALLiberator.IChana’s Prayer / SelichotThe haftarah (reading fromthe Prophets) for the firstday of Rosh Hashanah tellsthe story of Chana, the mother ofthe prophet Samuel: Chana, thechildless wife of Elkanah, came toShiloh (where the Sanctuarystood before King Solomon builtthe Holy Temple in Jerusalem) topray for a child.She prayed to G-d, weepingprofusely. And she vowed a vow, andsaid: "O L-rd of hosts... If You will giveYour maidservant a man child, I shalldedicate him to G-d all the days of hislife..."Eli, the High Priest at Shiloh, watchedas she prayed profusely before G-d...Only her lips moved; her voice wasnot heard.Eli thought her a drunkard. And hesaid to her: "How long shall you bedrunken! Put away your wine!"Chana replied: "No, my lord... I havedrunk neither wine nor strong drink.Ihave poured out my soul before theface of G-d..."Eli blessed her that G-d should granther request. That year, Chana gavebirth to a son, whom she namedSamuel ("asked from G-d"). Afterweaning him, she fulfilled her vow todedicate him to the service of G-d bybringing him to Shiloh,where he wasraised by Eli and the priests. Samuelgrew up to become one of thegreatest prophets of Israel.The "Prayer of Chana," as this readingis called, is one of the fundamentalbiblical sources for the concept ofprayer, and many of the laws ofprayer are derived from it.Indeed,thedialogue between Eli and Chanatouches on the very essence ofprayer, and of prayer on RoshHashanah in particular.Eli's accusation of "drunkenness" canalso be understood as a critique ofwhat he saw as an excessiveindulgence in the wants and desiresof the material self on Chana's part.You are standing in the most holyplace on earth, Eli was implying, inthe place where the Divine presencehas chosen to dwell. Is this the placeto ask for your personal needs? And ifyou must ask for them, is this theplace to "pray profusely," with suchtenacity and passion?You misunderstand me, answeredChana. "I have poured out my soulbefore the face of G-d." I am notmerely asking for a son; I am askingfor a son that I might "dedicate himto G-d all the days of his life."Our sages tell us that Samuel wasconceived on Rosh Hashanah. G-d'sfulfillment of Chana's prayer on thisday encourages us to indeed availourselves of the awesome momentof G-d's coronation to approach Himwith requests for our everydayneeds. For on this day, our "personal"needs and our desire to serve ourMaster are one and the same.SelichotWith the approach of anew year, ourpreparations for thehigh holidays move intohighest gear. Several daysbefore Rosh Hashanah webegin to recite the Selichot, aseries of penitential prayersand liturgy.According to Ashkenazi custom, thefirst Selichot are recited on Saturdaynight after midnight,and a minimumof four days of Selichot must beobserved. This year, the first day ofRosh Hashanah is on Thursday(beginning Wednesday eve) so theSelichot start on Saturday night,September 8th. Selichot is reciteddaily before the Shacharit (morning)prayers until Rosh Hashanah (asidefor the Sunday morning immediatelyafter the first Selichot, which iscovered by the midnight Selichot ofthe night beforehand). Sephardimrecite Selichot throughout the entiremonth of Elul.When beginning the Selichot onSaturday night, the first Selichot arerecited shortly after midnight. Onsubsequent days, the custom is torecite the Selichot in the earlymorning hours, before the morningprayers.Selichot prayers begin Saturday night,Sept.8th.12VOL. XII NO. 1ELUL 5767-TISHREI 5768 / FALL 200712


NATIONALLiberator.IIn the Land of O bmahByYaakov PaleyOnce there was a glorious landknown as Obmah, which wasestablished by the good KingAvmal. This King Avmal had builtmany fabulous cities throughout theland of Obmah, and had establishedministries to maintain the cities andto ensure they functioned,flourishedand grew.A devious person, the evil Mezouks,then rose like a dark cloud to challengeand overthrow King Avmal. Mezoukspromised great and marvelous rewardsto all who would support his designs onthe throne.Mezouks slandered the goodKing Avmal and convinced most of theinhabitants of Obmah to support hiscampaign. It was not long beforeMezouks was able to call himself theKing of Obmah.The coronation and festivities hadbarely concluded, and King Avmal'sformer subjects already began to feelthe oppressive hand of King Mezouks.Over the following months his grip onthe kingdom tightened. The peoplebegan to realize that the goldenpromises were nothing more than ironfetters that enslaved them to Mezouks'tyrannical rule. Celebrations for theirnew sovereign were replaced by regretand remorse.And so it was that the Elders ofObmah gathered in secret andconspired to reinstate their founder,protector and former ruler, the goodKing Avmal. Under the blanket of apretext, they traveled to the last bastionof loyalty to Avmal remaining in thekingdom, the deep caves of the IgsirousDistrict. For it was in those deep cavesthat King Avmal sat and mourned theloss of his kingdom, whilst dreaming ofhis eventual return.The Elders of Obmah arrived in theDistrict after a full month of determinedjourneying. With trepidation and hopethey approached the Igsirousstronghold. They were immediatelyaccosted by wary guards, whodemanded to know their intentions.With great emotion, the Eldersasked for an audience with the goodKing Avmal. The guards informed themthat the wise Avmal had given them asign by which to know whether anydelegation is sincere or whether theyshould drive them away. Should thedelegates approach with tears andobviously true emotion, they are to betrusted.Thus, the Elders were escortedbefore the presence of the good KingAvmal. The Elders then pleaded in thename of the entire land of Obmah thatthe king forgive them and return to rulethem with wisdom and kindness. Theking then addressed them, asking: If youtraded my rule for the false promises ofthat wretched Mazouks, and if you werehis loyal subjects up until now, then whydo you address me as 'King'? Is notMezouks your king...?Weeping and ashamed, the Elderscried out: No, no! Mezouks is not ourking! He tricked us and we foolishly fellinto his trap. You are our only king, andwe will never accept any other!Avmal accepted their apology andrepentant request.He emerged from thedeep caverns of Igsirous to retake hisland. The entire Obmah rejoiced andswore allegiance to their true king. Thesound of the coronation trumpetsreached the ears of the wicked Mazouks.Terrified, he fled the land of Obmah. Hefound refuge in the Becho Mountains,where he settled to his dreams ofrevolution and revenge.* * *Each one of us is a miniaturekingdom, our limbs and organs like somany cities formed with intricatewisdom by our Father and King (AvinuMalkeinu).We are all approached by the evilinclination (referred to by our Sages asmelech zakein uk'sil, "an old and foolishking"), who wishes to snatch control ofour minds and hearts and ultimately ruleover our entire body: that our mindsshould think the errant thoughts hesupplies for us,our mouths should speakthe script he writes for us, and our handsshould act by his command. He makeslavish promises of the life of pleasureand satisfaction we will enjoy when wesubmit to his reign.Thus a perpetual battle rages in theland of Obmah (our bodies, minds andhearts), for the two kings each wish towin the loyalty of their subjects andreign unchallenged over the land.You cannot fool everyone all thetime, they say. There is a time on ourcalendar for soul-searching. During themonth of Elul we review the past year;our achievements and failures. Beinghuman, we inevitably find that slowlybut surely a part of our conduct hasfallen under the control of our bad kingwithin. We have a month to travel to theexiled King, to re-crown him as sole rulerover our body,mind,and heart.Even the most entrapped amongstus has the ability to reach "the Igsirousstronghold"-- the Indestructible G-dlySpark In the Recesses of Our Soul, thatunpollutable core to which our Fatherand King allows Himself to be exiled inthe name of free choice.In the caverns ofour heart He sits and mourns the loss ofHis kingdom, yet is comforted by Hisfaith in our ultimate return to loyalty.Our journey culminates on RoshHashanah. Then we face our King. Hisheavenly guards allow our prayersaccess to His presence,provided they aresincere. Ah, we are asked, but if we haveallowed ourselves to fall into the trap ofour evil inclination, willingly appointinghim as ruler,then why do we now call G-d"King"?Our response is to fling open the arkduring the Rosh Hashanah prayers, andloudly proclaim: Aveinu, Malkeinu, einlanu melech ela ata--"Our Father, ourKing, we have no king but You!" We askHis forgiveness and beg for His return.Heaccepts our petitions, and at the soundof the Shofar, our faithful annualcoronation trumpet,the evil king flees. 13VOL. XII NO. 1ELUL 5767-TISHREI 5768 / FALL 200713


NATIONALLiberator.ITheTen Days ofTeshuvahTeshuvah - Return NotRepentanceThe ten-day periodbeginning with RoshHashanah andclimaxing on Yom Kippur isreferred to as “the Ten Daysof Teshuvah.” At this time ofyear, our service of G-d isprimarily directed towardteshuvah.The conventional translation ofteshuvah as “repentance” restrictsits conception to one shared bywestern society as a whole. Theliteral translation of teshuvah — andthe conception expressed in ourdivine service — is “return.” Acomparison of the meaning of thesetwo terms through the eyes of theJewish tradition reflects a radicalcontrast that sheds light on manyaspects of our relationship with G-d.Repentance implies a reversal ofone's conduct — a recognition of pastshortcomings, and a firm resolutionto change in the future. The two areinterrelated; the awareness of ourweaknesses impels us to reorient.The concept of teshuvah as “return”emphasizes the fundamentalspiritual potential of every person.Chassidic thought teaches thatwithin each of us resides a Divinesoul, a spark of G-d. This infinite G-dlypotential represents the core of oursouls, our genuine “I.”From this perspective, sin and evilare superficial elements that cannever affect our fundamental nature.Teshuvah means rediscovering ourtrue selves, establishing contact withthis G-dly inner potential and makingit the dominant influence in our lives.Seen in this light, our motivation to doteshuvah is not an awareness of ourinadequacies, but rather a sensitivityto this infinite potential within oursouls.Returning With JoyThese two different understandingsof teshuvah evoke divergentemotions. Repentance is generallyassociated with sadness, becausefeelings of regret and remorse play aleading role in prompting a person tochange his conduct. Teshuvah, bycontrast, is characterized by joy.A baal teshuvah, one who actualizeshis striving for teshuvah, naturallyfeels sorrow and remorse over hispast mistakes. His dominantemotion, however, should be joy. Forthrough teshuvah, he renews hisconnection to G-d and establishes abond with his own spiritual potential.This, of necessity, gives rise tohappiness. In fact, the absence ofhappiness indicates that aconsummate connection has notbeen established and that moreeffort is necessary before one'steshuvah is complete.Of Universal RelevanceRepentance appears to apply only toa limited range of people. Trulyrighteous individuals would appearto be beyond the need forrepentance, while others might beconsidered too completely estrangedfrom G-d to be capable of thisreligious experience.“Teshuvah meansrediscovering our trueselves, establishingcontact with this G-dlyinner potential andmaking it thedominant influence inour lives. Seen in thislight, our motivationto do teshuvah is notan awareness of ourinadequacies, butrather a sensitivity tothis infinite potentialwithin our souls.”Defining teshuvah as “return,”however, broadens the scope of itsapplication. For if teshuvah involvesgaining access to one's true spiritualpotential, it applies to all Jewswithout exception. The same G-dlyspark exists within the soul of everyJew from the most alienated to themost righteous. This Divine potentialis infinite; no force or power canprevent its emergence andexpression. Every Jew, regardless ofhis level, can therefore do teshuvah.No matter how low he hasdescended, there is nothing that canprevent him from reversing hisconduct and establishing a bond withG-d.By the same token, no one, not eventhe most righteous, is aboveteshuvah. Each of us, even the most14VOL. XII NO. 1ELUL 5767-TISHREI 5768 / FALL 200714


TheTen Days ofTeshuvahNATIONALLiberator.IDawn onYom Kippur at theWesternWallspiritually developed, is limited by thevery fact of his humanity. Ourthoughts and our feelings, as well asour bodies and physical desires,reflect the limitations inherent increation. Teshuvah allows us to riseabove these limitations and establishcontact with the unbounded potentialof our G-dly essence. This, in turn, liftsthe totality of our experience to ahigher rung. Whatever our previouslevel of divine service, teshuvah canintroduce us to a new and higherplane of spiritual awareness andcapacity.For this reason, our Sages teach that“perfect tzaddikim (righteous men)cannot stand in the place of a baalteshuvah.” For teshuvah reveals theinfinite G-dly spark within our soulsand connects us to G-d at a levelabove even the most sublime levels ofdivine service.Recalculating Our MeritsDefining teshuvah as “return” ratherthan “repentance” also sheds light onthe meaning of a problematicTalmudic passage. Our Sages statethat through teshuvah, all our pasttransgressions, even thosecommitted intentionally, aretransformed into merits.We canappreciatet h a trepentanceerases alltraces of thepast, and thatG-d forgivesour sins andallows us tostart anew. Buthow canrepentancetransform thesin itself, anact performedin defiance ofG-d's will, into a positive deed? Sinseparates a Jew from G-d. How can itbecome part of a process ofconnection?These questions are valid if we viewteshuvah as repentance, anopportunity for a new beginning.When we conceive of teshuvah as areturn to our true selves, however,these difficulties are resolved.A Jew is never separate from G-d, evenwhen he sins, because thefundamental spiritual bond whichlinks us to G-d is so strong that evenwhen a conscious relationshipappears to have been severedthrough sin, the inner connection isunaffected and continues to propel ustoward teshuvah.Distance Arouses DesireBecause our connection with G-d isalways intact, sin, as an act ofseparation, may itself provide theimpetus for our fundamental G-dlynature to surface. The feeling of beingoutwardly cut off from G-d may arousea thirst for a more intense bond withHim.Though every sinful act is a directrebellion against G-d's desires, whenconsidered as a phase in aprogression leading to teshuvah, sincan be seen as a motivating force,directing a person to establish adeeper and more powerfulrelationship with G-d. In fact, theconnection with G-d establishedthrough teshuvah is more profoundand more intense than thatexperienced beforehand.All-Encompassing OnenessEvery element of our world exists forthe fundamental purpose of revealingG-dliness. Certain elements ofcreation reveal G-dliness overtly;other elements reveal G-d'sOmnipresence indirectly. Forexample, the observance of mitzvosstraightforwardly demonstrates thatthe material can be joined in a bond ofoneness with G-d. The cycle of sin andteshuvah unfolds the ultimate truth ofG-dliness, but in a different manner.When a person first sins and thenfeels motivated to reject this behavior,these two steps, taken together, serveas a powerful affirmation of G-dliness,demonstrating that nothing, not evensin, can stand in the way of man'sconnection to G-d. The sinner's act ofreturn shows the infinite power of hisG-dly soul, and reveals how it willovercome all obstacles in its naturaldrive for self-expression.The unique bond with G-d establishedthrough teshuvah has repercussionsfar beyond an individual's personalsphere. As the Rambam states,“Israel will be redeemed only throughteshuvah. The Torah has promisedthat ultimately Israel will returntowards the end of her exile, andimmediately she will be redeemed.”May this take place in the immediatefuture.Adapted from Likkutei Sichos,Vol. II, ShabbosShuvah;Vol. V, Parshas Lech Lecha15VOL. XII NO. 1ELUL 5767-TISHREI 5768 / FALL 200715


NATIONALLiberator.ILetting Goof theThe Kabbalah of SukkotBy Shifra Hendrie"You shall dwell in sukkot(huts) for seven days… sothat you will know, for allgenerations, that I had theChildren of Israel dwell insukkot,when I took them outof the Land of Egypt;I am G-dyour G-d" (Leviticus 23:42-43)We live in a world of timeand space, a world madeof countless, everchangingand often conflicting details.However, this endless diversity hidesthe truth--that in essence, everythingis one.Kabbalah explains that there isabsolutely nothing outside of G-d. But,in order to allow us the experience ofpersonal existence, G-d conceals thisfundamental truth. He contracts andRoofhides His infinite presence, and indoing so allows us to be.Like Alice in Wonderland, welive our lives in a "through the lookingglass" world, trapped within theillusion that we are the true reality andthat G-d, if He exists at all, issomewhere outside of us, separateand not entirely real.But on Sukkot this illusionbegins to break down. As we sit insidethe sukkah we experience anexistential joy. This joy stems from asoul awareness of the truth--that weexist not separate from G-d, but withinHim.As we sit within the sukkah we aresitting inside G-d.The Illusion of CertaintyOne evening,a couple of years ago,I had an oddly powerful experience. Iwas in my room getting ready for bed.Iwas going through the usual routine,brushing my teeth,washing my face,allthe while looking forward to gettinginto my snug safe bed and reallyrelaxing.But suddenly, for a moment, myperspective shifted. I realized that thefeeling of security I was experiencingwasn't about simply being releasedfrom the pressures and demands ofthe day. It was the repetitiveness andpredictability of my regular nighttimeroutine that was making me feel safe.At that moment my four wallsdidn't seem so solid anymore. I sawthat my safety, my invulnerability, wasan illusion. That in reality, the solidstructure that allowed me to feel safeand secure was anything but solid.What I saw then was this:Althoughpreparing for sleep felt like being in asafe, protective space, safety doesn'tcome from routine.No matter what wepretend, life is never entirely certain.Rather than being solid, defined andpredictable, it is actually fluid,unpredictable and always new.Continuous CreationAccording to Kabbalah, this is acore principle of Creation. Ouruniverse is actually not a solid,immutable reality at all. It exists in afluid and dynamic state known ascontinuous creation.The world exists at this momentonly because G-d is consciously anddeliberately choosing to bring it intoexistence. In fact, Kabbalah explainsthat the natural state of the universe isnon-existence. If G-d were to stop"speaking" the words of Creation foreven an instant, the whole universewould disappear as if it had neverbeen. This makes it, despite theevidence of our senses, as far from asolid reality as anything could be.However, in concealing His infinitepresence, G-d allows us to exist aslimited and defined personalities in aphysical world. Without thisconcealment we would exist--but onlylike light within the body of the sun.There, but not as a defined or separatereality at all.16VOL. XII NO. 1ELUL 5767-TISHREI 5768 / FALL 200716


Letting Go of the RoofNATIONALLiberator.IHowever, this concealment is onlya starting point. It is not meant toremain in force forever. Our task,especially in these unprecedented,transformational times, is to seek outand perceive the truth--to remainhuman, yes, but in a way that allows usto relate to reality as it really is.Living on MiraclesAfter the Exodus from Egypt, theJews wandered for forty years in thedesert, an arid an inhospitableenvironment that did not support life.Nevertheless, they survived.They livedthrough continuous miracles--themanna that fell from heaven each dayand the "clouds of glory" thatprotected them from the blazing sunand heat.Their survival, on a momentto-momentbasis, was so clearlydependent on G-d that it wasimpossible to sustain the illusion that itwas natural in any wayOver those forty years, theawareness of G-d's real, constant andprotective presence was implanteddeep within the Jewish psyche.Although this tangible awareness hassince been challenged by thousandsof years of exile,it remains imprinted inour spiritual DNA. It awaits only theright circumstances to rise to thesurface once again.TheWar at the End of DaysThe prophets describe a final war--the war of Gog and Magog--that willtake place immediately before themessianic redemption. After this warthe world will forever recognize andembrace the truth of G-d and theTorah.The Hebrew word Gog means roof.It alludes to the sense of protectionand security we get from physicalthings. As the world approaches itsultimate destiny, humankind mustundergo a transformation in itsconsciousness. Part of thistransformation involves the awarenessthat our security and protection comenot from physical possessions, butfrom G-d.Expressing Infinity within theFiniteEach of us is a walking paradox, anunlikely marriage of a finite, physicalbody and an infinite soul. Our bodies,and the perceptions that go with them,are subject to the limiting parametersof time and space, including our pastbasedfailures and fears. But the soul isfree of these constrictions. From thesoul's perspective there are no limits atall.The soul enters the confines of thebody with a mission--to transform thelimitations of the physical universe, tochange the very nature of what itmeans to be physical. Ultimately,instead of concealing its infinite Divinesource, this finite, physical world isdestined to become a full and openexpression of it.Since the physical world is beingcreated anew at every single moment,at each present moment there isinfinite Divine potential. Although it isconcealed, it is accessible. As part ofour mission we are empowered to useit to create a transformed reality,unfettered by the limitations of thepast.The SukkahTells theTruthUnlike our everyday environment,the sukkah doesn't tell us any lies. Itreflects reality as it actually is.Its roof isa simple canopy of leaves andbranches, open to the sky.Insubstantial in its physical structure,the sukkah invites us to abandon theillusion that physical things--a "roof"--can either protect or limit us.In addition to being insubstantial,the sukkah is temporary. This factencourages us to step out of thelimiting boundaries of a past- andfuture-based perspective andembrace the truly unlimited potentialthat is only available in the present.The sukkah calls us to the truth.And as we listen to G-d's command,remember the miracles with which weleft Egypt, and enter the insubstantial,impermanent and intensely powerfulembrace of the sukkah, weacknowledge this truth. Weacknowledge it not only with ourminds, but with our bodies as well. Welet go of the illusions with which wesurround ourselves and embrace theessence of what life is.The sukkah makes us vulnerable.But, paradoxically, this vulnerability isour greatest power. We werevulnerable when we began ourjourney out of exile, and we will bevulnerable when we conclude it. Butfar from making us weak, thisvulnerability allows to embrace ourunlimited source and unique destiny.In letting go of our dependence on thephysical,on the "roof," we embrace ourown true nature. We are partners inCreation, Divine beings made in theimage of G-d.The FinalTransformationThe prophets tell us that at the endof days the Jewish nation will bethreatened by powerful hostile forces.This threat will be so great that ourhuman strength will not be enough toovercome it.At that point, the prophets say, wewill at long last abandon the coreillusions of Creation. The elusivesecurity of physical things will lose itspower to deceive us.We will rememberthe truth. We will turn to G-dwholeheartedly, and in doing so willallow the Divinity concealed withinCreation and within ourselves to shineforth in its full brightness.We will elicitthe Divine revelation and protectionthat is our destiny.As we move our lives into thesukkah, we are doing far more thanfulfilling a commandment orcommemorating the past. On someessential level we are living the future.We are embracing reality. We areembracing our destiny.We are embracing G-d.17VOL. XII NO. 1ELUL 5767-TISHREI 5768 / FALL 200717


NATIONALLiberator.IDancing With the TorahBy Jay LitvinI was first called for an aliyah tothe Torah at the age of thirty-six. I wasin a Chabad house in Milwaukee,Wisconsin and a stranger to the groupof regulars filling the room, save forRabbi Yosef Samuels, who had invitedme. It was a short walk from my seatto the reading table. But in that briefperiod of time I became very anxiousabout what would be expected of me.I recalled the synagogue that Iattended infrequently as a boy, wherethe Ark stood in front of a large, sterileroom, and only the richest, mostinfluential members were called torecite the blessings before the Torah.In my boyhood, Judaism was veryformal and distant, surrounded byceremony void to me of meaning orsubstance. The Torah in thesynagogue of my youth was a thingremoved, without relevance to my andto my family's daily life. Never before,in my 36 years of life, had I seen theinside of a Torah scroll.I was not expecting to be called tothe Torah this Shabbat morning inMilwaukee's Chabad House. Ihesitatingly approached the group ofmen surrounding the reading table. Icould see only their backs draped inwhite tallitot (prayer shawls). Iexpected grim, serious faces to bepeering out from beneath the whitecloth pulled up over theirforeheads. But when Iapproached the Torah, theyturned to greet me with warmsmiles. One of them, a personwith whom I had briefly spokenbefore the prayers began, gaveme a gentle nudge of greetingwith his shoulder. The otherswere chatting while the readerfound the place to begin. I wastold to touch the Torah with mytallit and and then bring the cloth tomy lips and kiss the spot that hadtouched the parchment and letters. Istumbled through the Englishtransliteration of the blessings, andthen stood nervously while the Torahwas read. I recited the secondblessing and was gently moved to theside of the reading table while a mishebeirach was said in my honor. Theman I had met briefly put his armaround me while this was happeningand joked with me a bit while we stoodwaiting for the next reading to begin.There was an atmosphere ofinformality and intimacy with theTorah that astonished me."The Torah is no stranger," RabbiSamuels explained. "We live with itevery day."In the following months and years,I learned just how intimate the Torahcould become, both in the lives of theLubavitchers I came to know so well,and in my own life. I went throughseveral Jewish yearly cycles,experiencing times of awe andveneration for the Torah, and times offamiliarity bordering on irreverence.To drunkenly hug and dance with theholy scrolls on Simchat Torah! Whocould have ever imagined!But just as I was to becomeintimate with the Torah, so it was tobecome intimate with me. As I beganto study, I discovered the Torah'srelevance in every area of my life. Asits deeper meanings were laid open tome through the study of Chassidicteaching, I found that I could turn tothe Torah for guidance in everycircumstance. Regardless of mymood or frame of mind, I couldapproach the Torah and find it waitingfor me. Even in times of anger orrebellion, the Torah showedforgiveness and guidance. In times ofsadness and depression, I would findhope and encouragement. In times ofjoy and celebration, I would find wordsof thanksgiving and praise for the Onewho provides all goodness. There wasnot an aspect of my life that the Torahdid not enter. Slowly it penetrated myinner life, my career, my relationshipwith my children and parents, mymarriageWhen first introduced to theTorah, I felt I was coming to know adistant relative of whom I was awarebut had never before met; with thepassing of years I began to feel thatmy learning and observance revealedthat the Torah had always existedwithin me. The Torah became deeplyembedded into my life, part of theweave and warp of my being.Now, when I rushed forward in thesynagogue to kiss the Torah, it waswith much affection and familiarity.When on Simchat Torah I danced withthe holy scrolls, my inhibitions andemotions loosened from l'chaims, Iwould close my eyes and hug theTorah close, spinning in circles,enjoying a physical intimacy with thesoft velvet cloth and the sacredwritings it covered.Without losing its place as myrevered teacher and guide, the Torahhad become my familiar companion.Today, I continue to marvel that themost holy of G-d's creations allowsitself to be embraced by me.18VOL. XII NO. 1ELUL 5767-TISHREI 5768 / FALL 200718


NATIONALLiberator.IChai Elul (18th of Elul)by Rabbi Naftali SilberbergOn the 18th of Elul, we celebrate thebirthdays of Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tovand Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi. TheBaal Shem Tov, founder of the Chassidicmovement, was born in 1698 in Okup, asmall town in the Carpathian Mountainsof Poland. In the early 1700s heformulated the approach of Chassidut,stressing the importance of serving G-dwith joy and warmth, and the necessityof having a Rebbe – a holy person whoguides his followers in their spiritualjourneys. After his passing in 1760,many of his disciples established theirown Chassidic courts. They all followedthe Chassidic tradition, but each Rebbedeveloped a unique approach toChassidut, emphasizing a differentaspect of the Baal Shem Tov's teachings.Rabbi Schneur Zalman(affectionately known as the “AlterRebbe”), creator of the Chabad branchof Chassidut, was born in Liozna,Belarus, in 1745. He was a student ofRabbi DovBer of Mezritch, the primarysuccessor of the Baal Shem Tov, andafter Rabbi DovBer's death in 1773,Rabbi Schneur Zalman established theChabad movement. Chabad is anacronym for three Hebrew words(Chochmoh, Binah, and Daat) whichmean intellect, understanding, andknowledge. Chabad Chassidutemphasizes the importance of studyingand understanding the esoteric parts ofTorah –which include concepts such asG-d, the purpose of Torah, and theuniqueness of the Jewish soul.Rabbi Schneur Zalman's magnumopus, the Tanya, serves as the basic textof Chabad Chassidut. He also authoredthe Shulchan Aruch HaRav, a universallyaccepted codification of Jewish Law.These two luminaries were bothborn on the same date, the 18th of Elul.Elul is a month of Teshuvah, a month of“renewing our marriage vows,”as anation with G-d. It is a time to reignitethe spark in our relationship with G-d.The number 18, has the numerical valueof “Chai,” the Hebrew word for life.Studying Chassidut, and living a life ofChassidut, breathes new “life” into Elul,and into our relationship with G-d.Soduku Puzzles(Answers on Page 28)1. 973 944 83 13 14 6 311 3 97 57 88 9 545 432.א‎1‎ב‎2‎ג‎3‎‏ִד‎4‎ה‎5‎ו‎6‎ז‎7‎ח‎8‎ט‎9‎‏ִדב‏ִדהגחאגהבאוהג‏ִדאטח‏ִדגזטגאזחזט‏ִדטגSubmitted by:Chaim Dovid GoldsteinClinton Correctional, NYA) The Soduku ‘grid’ is made up of 9 smaller 3x3‘grids’ in a squareB)Each3x3grid must use the letters Aleph ( ) through Tet ( ) once each.C) Each horizontal and vertical row (9 digits) must use the letters Aleph throughTet only once.טא19VOL. XII NO. 1ELUL 5767-TISHREI 5768 / FALL 200719


NATIONALLiberator.ICocktailsCertainly one of the most dramatic andincontrovertible miracles of the twentiethcentury has been the Soviet Jewishemigration. In the early 1970's,permission toemigrate was granted, albeit begrudgingly,to hundreds and then thousands of SovietJews, most of whom eventually settled inIsrael or the United States. This historymakingemigration was eclipsed only by themuch larger wave of hundreds of thousandsof Soviet Jews who were allowed to leavebarely fifteen years later.A few years before his passing on erevRosh Chodesh Adar, 5746 (1986), RabbiYaakov Kamenetzky, zt”l commented on thefirst wave of emigration of Soviet Jews:Our hopes and dreams for the coming ofMoshiach are being put to the test. We cryWithMolotovout to Hashem – end the Golus! Bring backKlalYisroel from the four corners of the earth!Hashem asks us,“Do you really desire it withall your heart? Let Me see how you react to aminiature ingathering of just one small tribeof KlalYisroel.”In response to this challenge, asinterpreted by the Rosh Yeshiva, theOrthodox Jewish community in America andIsrael has tried to pass this test. Completelynew Torah schools and social services havebeen created to meet the spiritual,educational and material needs of theRussian Jewish immigrants. On anindividual, neighbor-to-neighbor basis, aswell as on a communal level, an army ofassistance has been drafted for these newestJewish refugees.One of the recentenlistees in theAmerican regimentof this army is Mrs. Sarah Fultonof Brooklyn.In no way an officer,she serves in the low-ranking,low-profile position as registrarof a local assistance programfor Russian Jewish immigrants,under the auspices of BaisYaakov Academy. She isresponsible for filling outfinancial aid forms for thedozens of Jewish applicants shemeets every day.Every month, therefore,Sarah meets literally hundredsof Russian Jews who file in andout of her office seeking variousforms of assistance. Becauseher contact with each applicantis brief, Sarah gets to know onlya few of them on a personalbasis.But Boris Strogoff* was different. Aman in his sixties, wearing a loosefitting,drab suit and fur hat, he did notlook very different from the rest. Butthere was something about his joie devivre which made Sarah suddenly wantto invite him and his wife, Natasha*, forShabbos.Am I crazy? Sarah thought toherself as she picked up her pen andasked Boris for his birth date. We'rehaving that engaged couple forShabbos lunch, and we have a shevaberachos in shul for seudas shelishis(third meal of Shabbos). On Shabbos Ineed time to relax and be with myfamily.“Such a wonderful country,” Borisannounced to Chanie in Yiddish,as if hewere taping a commercial to be airedon Russian television. “Not only do20VOL. XII NO. 1ELUL 5767-TISHREI 5768 / FALL 200720


Cocktails With MolotovNATIONALLiberator.IAmericans give us English classes, butyou give us such helpful people to fillout the forms for us…”Sarah had to smile at hisenthusiasm. She wondered what herhusband's reaction would be if sheinvited Boris and Natasha for Shabbos.Sarah reviewed her husband's schedulefor the week. Sunday he was in Boston;Tuesday he'd be in Washington. Maybethis Shabbos he'd want a break fromhaving guests at his meal. With all thetraveling he's doing this week, he'll beexhausted by Shabbos.Boris continued his impromptuspeech. “We have so much to bethankful for here in America. Every dayNatasha and I find another reason tothank G-d for the privilege of beinghere in this country. You just don'tknow how happy we are.”The registration card and brochure,printed in Russian, were finallycompleted.I really must be crazy,Sarahthought, but I'm going to do it anyway.“Excuse me, Mr. Strogoff, but would youand Mrs. Strogoff like to come to myhouse this Friday night for the Shabbosmeal?”Instantly, Boris's face lit up. Hetranslated Sarah's invitation intoRussian for Natasha. They buzzedquietly in Russian, and then Boristurned back to Sarah and graciouslyaccepted. Sarah gave the Strogoffs heraddress and told them when to come.“Zeit gezunt,”she said, smiling,“see youon Shabbos.”I hope I'm doing the rightthing, Sarah thought, as the Strogoffsshuffled out of her office.Already on Friday afternoon, theFultons could see that Boris andNatasha were unusually special people.Instead of showing up just in time forthe meal, they arrived beforecandlelighting time. Boris explained,“Natasha would like to light candleswith your wife, and I would like to go toshul with you.”Shmuel was both pleased andpleasantly surprised. The walk to shulwould give him a chance to getacquainted with Boris. “Have you beento shul before?” Shmuel asked as theywere leaving the house.“Yes, thank G-d. It is wonderful thathere in the United States I can pray withmy fellow Jews without fear. As I'm sureyou know, in the Soviet Union, we didnot have such opportunities.”Shmuel'stwo sons,14-year old Dovid and 12-yearold Mendel, had fallen behind. The twomen waited on the corner for them tocatch up.“Tell me, Boris, can you readHebrew? Do you know how to followthe davening (prayers)?”“I do the best I can. But whatever Isay, I know G-d hears my prayers. Healways has.”“I can’t really read Hebrew.You see, I have taught myselfthe sounds of all of theletters of the alef-bais(Hebrew alphabet), but Ihave not learned the vowelsyet. So I can’t pronounce thewords correctly.”Once in shul, Shmuel introducedBoris to everyone. The other mengreeted the newcomer warmly andmoved over to allow him to sit next toShmuel. Throughout the service,Shmuel tried to conduct himself asusual, but he found himself continuallyglancing at Boris. Boris's manner waspuzzling. He appeared to be daveningtogether with everyone else, but animperceptible something was wrong.On the way home, Shmuel gentlyprobed further. “Boris, how long haveyou known how to read Hebrew?”Boris held his head up proudly. “Ican't really read Hebrew. You see,I havetaught myself the sounds of all of theletters of the alef-bais (Hebrewalphabet), but I have not learned thevowels yet. So I can't pronounce thewords correctly.”Shmuel stopped walking, to waitfor Dovid and Mendel to catch up again.The pause also allowed Shmuel toabsorb the impact of Boris's words.You've really got to be highlymotivated, he thought, to try to davenby reading the letters alone!After coming home, Shmuelblessed his two sons and his threedaughters. Then the family sangShalom Aleichem and Shmuel madeKiddush, while everyone looked on.Boris and Natasha were clearlyunfamiliar with all of the berachos(blessings) which were recited beforethe meal, but they eagerly welcomedtheir hosts' explanations. Once themeal was under way, Natasha got upfrom her seat to assist Sarah and 15-year old Pnina in the kitchen.Sarah and Natasha served the soup.By this time, the Strogoffs were feelingvery much at ease. Although they bothspoke little English, they easily graspedthe international language of children,and they enjoyed three-year-oldChana's antics together with the rest ofthe family.A few zemiros (Shabbos songs) andone course later, the Fulton childrenwere quietly chatting amongstthemselves. Little Chana had fallenasleep on the couch, and Pnina got upto clear the table. As only the fourYiddish-speaking adults wereconversing out loud, Shmuel felt it wastime to ask the Strogoffs about theirexperiences in Russian and theircoming to America. As always, Borisspoke up first. He took a deep breathand looked straight into his host's eyes.“Do you want to hear the whole story?”Shmuel was, quite honestly, a bithesitant. He was enjoying his newfriends' company, but he had beenlooking forward to an early bedtime.He wasn't sure what he was lettinghimself in for, but still he encouragedBoris to continue.“Please, go ahead,” he told Boris,fighting his heavy eyelids.“I really have to begin before WorldWar II. Natasha's parents were active inthe Communist Party during the late20's and 30's.“As I'm sure you know, that was21VOL. XII NO. 1ELUL 5767-TISHREI 5768 / FALL 200721


Cocktails With MolotovNATIONALLiberator.Iwhen Stalin was in power. So as anactive member of the party, Natasha'sfather used to go around to variousJewish groups and try to rally supportfor Stalin. He made speeches and hadprivate meetings with other Jews inwhich he would extol Stalin's virtues.“It was during this time that, onenight, the police came and arrestedboth of Natasha's parents. That's howit was under Stalin. Without anyfurther explanation, her father wastaken out into the street and shot. Hermother's life was spared and she wassent to Siberia.“Natasha was about five years oldat the time. She not only witnessedthe brutal murder of her father,but shealso suffered the wrenching pain ofbeing separated from her mother justa few days later. Thanks to the“mercy”of one police officer, who had to bebribed,Natasha was allowed to go andlive with her maternal aunt.“This aunt was Natasha's onlyrelative,besides her mother. She was atotally assimilated Jewess, who had, infact,successfully hidden the fact of herJewishness for many years. You canunderstand just how assimilated shewas when I tell you who her husbandwas. She was married to none otherthan Vyacheslav MikhailovichMolotov, the number two man underStalin.”Sarah gasped. She exchanged aknowing glance with her husband, asif to say, “I knew this couple wasspecial.”“For four years,” Boris continued,unaware of the silent interchange,“Natasha was raised in this house.Although outside, Molotov was aheartless murderer, at home heconducted himself like a countrygentleman. His home was decoratedwith the finest art. He had plenty ofservants, and he always treated hisniece with a benign tolerance.“When Natasha was nine, hermother was released from Siberia. Shereturned home immediately andasked for Natasha. This may soundnatural to you, but you mustunderstand the risk involved. IfMolotov wanted to,he could have sentNatasha's mother back to Siberia oreven had her executed. Or, his wifemight not have enjoyed this reminderof her Jewishness, and could haverefused to release the child. But,thankG-d, this was not the case and Natashawas reunited with her mother.I tell youall of this, just so you will understandwho we are.”Shmuel just shook his head andwhispered softly to himself. “Fouryears with Molotov?” Then, to breakthe mood of sorrow that haddescended on the table, he asked,“This aunt was Natasha’s onlyrelative, besides her mother. Shewas a totally assimilated Jewess,who had, in fact, successfullyhidden the fact of herJewishness for many years. Shewas married to none other thanVyacheslav MikhailovichMolotov, the number two manunder Stalin.”“Excuse me, Natasha – I must know.While you were living with Molotov,did he ever serve cocktails?”Sarah smiled, but Shmuel drewonly blank stares from Boris andNatasha. He tried to explain the jokebut finally acknowledged that a lotgets lost in the translation. By nowShmuel was fully awake andgenuinely wanted Boris to continue.Boris cleared his throat. “At thestart of World War II, I was drafted intothe Russian army, together with a fewmillion others. We were given a brief,accelerated training of only threeweeks and then sent to the front.“Four months later, already wornand weary from the fighting,my entiredivision was captured by the Germans.We were immediately taken to aprisoner-of-war camp. Normally,prisoners of war are identified andseparated by rank.But even before theGermans looked for the officers, theysought out the Jews. Of my entiredivision,I was the only one they found.From that day until the liberation,I wassingled out for“special”treatment.“I will not disturb the peace ofShabbos by describing the treatment Ireceived from the Germans. One smallexample will give you an idea of theconditions I endured.“One day at lineup, the Germansannounced that an execution wouldbe held the next morning after sunrise.In order to rid the camp ofundesirables, the Jew - meaning me –would be shot by a firing squad. Since Iwas a prisoner-of-war,the entire campwould have to be present to witnessthe execution.“For the rest of the day, the fewfriends I had in the camp tried to offerme whatever comfort they could.Some even apologized for not makingany efforts to save me. But we all knewthat they would surely be killed on thespot if they tried.“The next morning, the entirecamp was assembled. The Germansbrought out the camp band to playsomber music before the execution.With my hands tied behind my back, Iwas slowly led to a brick wall on the farside of the yard. Once I was in place,facing a perfectly straight line ofGerman soldiers holding rifles, I wasblindfolded.“I knew I was about to die.”Boris paused and leaned forward,trying desperately to make thesecomfortable American Jewsunderstand the incomprehensible.He let out his breath slowly, and22VOL. XII NO. 1ELUL 5767-TISHREI 5768 / FALL 200722


Cocktails With MolotovNATIONALLiberator.Ileaned back.“I knew no prayers except thetwo Hebrew words, 'Shema Yisrael.' SoI repeated these two words over andover to myself: 'Shema Yisrael. ShemaYisrael!'“The officer in charge gave thecommands. I could hear the soldiersraise their rifles. My knees were weakand I thought I would collapse. But Idid not want to give them thesatisfaction of seeing that, so I tried toremain standing. Then I heard thecommand to fire and I winced. But all Iheard were clicks, and then a burst oflaughter.“When the laughter subsided, myblindfold was removed. It was thenthat I understood that my “execution”was being staged only for theamusement of the German soldiers.”The Fultons were now riveted intheir seats. Sarah suddenly felt adryness in her mouth. She reached forher glass and nervously sipped someginger ale.Boris paused to brush away somecrumbs on the table. His face wasunreadable. As if he were telling ofanother man's horrors, not his own, hecontinued his tale.“After the war, I metNatasha and we were married. G-dblessed us with two children – Ivanand Helena. When Ivan was twenty,hetold us that he would like to go toAmerica. This was in the early '70's.You must understand that this wasmore preposterous at that time than ifyour Dovid were to tell you today thathe would like to go to Siberia!“By then there were some Jewswho succeeded in emigrating fromthe Soviet Union, but the risk of thefamily was enormous. Both Natashaand I were biology teachers in whatyou call here “high school.” In theSoviet Union, this is only taught in thehighest class. Although we did notmake good salaries, by Sovietstandards we were quite comfortable.For Ivan to go to America would meanthe loss of our jobs and certainhardships for all of us.But he could notapply for a visa without the writtenpermission of both parents.“Ivan applied for, and eventually,he was granted an exit visa.Natasha and I held our breathand waited for the inevitable.Four months after, we receivedthe official notice from thegovernment. We were brandedas ‘traitors’ to the country,although our crime was neveridentified.”“Once Ivan made up his mind, hewould not let go of the idea. Henagged us for weeks about it. Finally,Natasha and I agreed. After all, nomatter what might happen to us, we'dknow that our son had a chance for abetter life.“So Ivan applied for, andeventually,he was granted an exit visa.Natasha and I held our breath andwaited for the inevitable. Four monthsafter, we received the official noticefrom the government. We werebranded as 'traitors' to the country,although our crime was neveridentified. As a result, the letterexplained, we were beingimmediately stripped of our jobs.“Since we had each worked forover twenty-five years, we were stillentitled to a pension. For the two of ustogether, the pension came to fortytworubles a month! Do you have anyidea how little money that is? It wasnot even enough to buy food for oneweek, let alone for the whole month.Now, I am not trying to brag, but bothNatasha and I have publishedscholarly articles in Russianprofessional journals, and we hadcontributed to the field in many ways.To grant us a pension of forty-tworubles was not only starvation wages,it was degrading and humiliating.“At that point, we had no choiceexcept to travel to Minsk and move inwith our daughter, Helena. Not thather situation was any better. Helena'shusband got drunk often andsometimes beat her. Eventually,thankG-d, he left her. But at least she had anapartment and was entitled to a smallbenefit as an abandoned wife.“For over fifteen years, we livedwith Helena and her children in athree-room apartment. Because of mystatus as a 'traitor,' I was ineligible forany employment in my profession. Iwent down to the docks every day tosee if I could make a few rubles as aschlepper. Look at me, Shmuel. Doyou think I could carry 100 kilogramson my back? I didn't think so either.But when your family is hungry, G-dgives you strength.“Under Gorbachev, the prisondoor of the Soviet Union began toopen. So in 1990, Helena applied foran exit visa with her two children, andshe also applied to the United Statesfor refugee status. Thank G-d, she wasaccepted and began preparations toleave.“For us it was more complicated.We were not granted exit visas by theSoviet government because we werestill considered 'traitors.' But there wasone window left open for us. If wecould get an American family tosponsor us, the government wouldagree to grant us an exit visa.“Naturally, we immediately calledIvan. He was already married andliving in Cincinnati,Ohio.”“Cincinnati?”Shmuel cut in. “Why,I'm going to Cincinnati next week onbusiness! Would you like me to23VOL. XII NO. 1ELUL 5767-TISHREI 5768 / FALL 200723


Cocktails With MolotovNATIONALLiberator.Icontact your family and give themyour regards?”“We have no family in Cincinnati,”Boris said flatly. “Our son did not marrya Jewish girl. And maybe that's why,when we called Ivan to ask him tosponsor us, he said … he'd have to'think about it.'“You must try to imagine theconditions. Anti-Semitism in theSoviet Union was on the rise. EveryJew was afraid for his life. Thegovernment looked as if it wouldtopple any day. And Ivan could onlysay he'd 'think about it.'“Finally, we could wait no longer.So we called Ivan and asked him again.He told me he could not sponsor us. Ishouted into the phone, 'Ivan, do yourealize that we have starved for fifteenyears so that you could go toAmerica?!”“Ivan simply repeated his refusal.So Helena and her children leftwithout us. Once she had been inAmerica for four months, she was ableto officially sponsor us. Then we werefinally able to receive our exit visasfrom the Soviet Union and come to theUnited States. And here we are.”Shmuel and Sarah werespeechless. They both stared in deeprespect at the Boris and Natasha asthey gently shook their heads inwonder.After a brief pause, Boris reachedfor the water pitcher. He took a sip andcontinued. “Your children obviouslydo not understand my Yiddish,” heacknowledged as he gestured towardthe inattentive children.”“They don't understand mine,either,” Shmuel quipped, trying tolighten the mood.“I would greatly appreciate it ifyou would translate what I am aboutto say in English, Shmuel. I want yourchildren to understand this.”Shmuel called over to Pnina,Dovid and Mendel (the others wereasleep by this time), and told them topay attention to their Shabbos guestwho had something to say toeveryone.Boris took a deep breath, as hiseyes began to well up with tears. “Youmust thank Hashem each and everyday because you can see His Hand ineverything that happens! Hashemgives you everything. I have come tothis country, and I see peaches here.Peaches in the fruit stores! Do youknow why there are peaches here?”The Fulton children shook theirheads slowly, not really knowingwhether or not the question wasrhetorical.“Sarah thought back toher first meeting withBoris and Natashaearlier in the week. Shehad sensed there wassomething special aboutthis couple. Now sherealized that theStrogoff’s gratitude andcloseness to Hashemhad impressed her fromthe start.”“Well, I will tell you. You havepeaches here because in this countrypeople open up their homes tostrangers like Natasha and myself. Butlet me tell you,there are no peaches inthe stores in Russia. Hashem is kindand generous to you because you arekind and generous to others.”Boris waited for his words to sinkin. “I say 'you have everything.' But Ihave everything, too. Look at me. Ihave a suit. I am here with my wife,mydaughter,my grandchildren. And I caneat peaches here, too! So I thankHashem every day for His greatkindness to me.”The Fulton children seemed tounderstand what Boris was sayingeven before they heard thetranslation. Boris's words were trulyfrom the heart and penetrated deeply.A tear ran down Sarah's cheek, andYerachamiel was choked withemotion.Sarah thought back to her firstmeeting with Boris and Natashaearlier in the week. She had sensedthere was something special aboutthis couple. But at the same time, shecould not quite put her finger on it.Now she realized that the Strogoff'sgratitude and closeness to Hashemhad impressed her from the start. I'mso glad I invited them after all,she saidto herself.Shmuel, too, was overcome withemotion. Here is a man, Shmuelthought to himself, who never evenheard of Mount Sinai, most of theBible, the Mishnah, or the Gemara.Nevertheless, he still managed to findHashem, with no formal training orreligious education. Look at hisappreciation! Look at his gratitude inspite of such unbelievable hardshipsand disappointments! To beabandoned by your only son!Unbelievable! And if he could reachsuch a level of closeness to Hashem,then where should I be? Shmuelasked himself. How much moreshould I be grateful for what I have!When Shabbos was over, Shmuelreflected on the impact their Shabbosguests had on his family. His childrenabsorbed a message he had beenpreaching for years. This time they notonly understood it, but they acceptedit, even though it had been deliveredin a language they did not fullyunderstand. Shmuel and Sarah Fultonrededicated themselves to theircommunal activities on all fronts,especially their “aggressivehospitality.”Overall, the Fulton family receiveda spiritual recharging. The inspirationis still felt today. As Shmuel sums it up,“While I was sitting with the Strogoffs,Ifelt like a prospector who had beenpanning for gold his whole life, andthen finally discovered the motherlode.”24VOL. XII NO. 1ELUL 5767-TISHREI 5768 / FALL 200724


NATIONALLiberator.IModeh ANIBy Leah Sherman“I offer thanks to You, livingand eternal King, for Youhave restored my soulwithin me; Your faithfulnessis great.”There are things thatwe do because wehave an inherentsense of what is right. Thenthere are things that we dobecause of what others havetaught us. Only after wehave integrated them intoour lives can we appreciatetheir value.Simchat Torah had concluded thehigh holidays with joyfulcelebration and dancing, heraldingthe dawn of a new year. Whatwould this year require of me, Iwondered as the day drew to aclose.Early the next morning, the phonestarted to ring. I began to recite theModeh Ani prayer. Initially, after Ifirst learned about this morningprayer, it took some time to makethe recitation of it a habit.Gradually, with time, it becameautomatic to wake up with thewords issuing from my lips.The phone’s persistent sound jarredme further toward wakefulness.Before even the rooster wouldcrow, my humanity received itsdaily reminder, its morning wakeupcall, through the words of theModeh Ani prayer: Remember inwhose presence this phone rings.One more peal and the phone shutoff as I leaned out of the side of mybed to wash my hands. The“unknown number,” on the CallerID hinted of an overseas call. Nomessage. Within minutes, it rangagain. I answered it. My father’sauthoritative voice, measured withcare: “You are booked out of Miamion tonight’s flight to London.” Mymother had passed away.An ordinary day, transformed likeno other. As the impact penetratedmy consciousness, I steadied myself,grateful for the knowledge that G-dwas with me in that moment; notbecause of my innate sense of Him,nor because it offered something tocling to, but through my lips, andwith my voice, I had justacknowledged Him. The words, ifwe could see them, might still havelingered in the air, “I offer thanks toYou, living and eternal King, for Youhave restored my soul within me;Your faithfulness is great.” The onlydaughter, 5,000 miles from mymother when she passed on, I wascarried in those pre-dawn wordsthat acknowledged my life, andwith them her passing. I thank G-d,for He had seen fit for me to liveand pray for the soul of my belovedmother as she transitioned to thenext world.In the immediate moments after Ireplaced the telephone in thehandset, I bade my muscles to holdthe stillness. My heart throbbed. Iexamined the sensations. “How amI going to move forward?” Iwondered. “Will one foot reallystep out in front of the other? Howam I going to move out of thisspace?”With each inhale of my breath, Iimagined a rope reaching up to theheavens. It climbed higher andhigher as I held on below. In theexhale, I made room for feeling, fora response. To this day, I am stillable to recall the outpouring of lovethat washed over me; it wasunfiltered; it was pure.Later, at the airport, I handed thereservation agent my passport.Meticulously, my father had25VOL. XII NO. 1ELUL 5767-TISHREI 5768 / FALL 200725


Modeh AniNATIONALLiberator.Iattended to each minute detail toensure that I would be in Englandthe next day for my mother’sburial. A pre-paid one-way ticketawaited me at the airline counter,alleviating any pressure that Ishould have to decide when Iwould return.For 40-plus years, I was theirdaughter Lesley. In histhoughtfulness, my father hadregistered the ticket in my Hebrewname, Leah that I had“legally changed just threeyears earlier. In the moststringent moments of hispersonal loss, my fatherhad thought ofeverything, and attendedto each aspect of thearrangements with greatcare.I saw the reservationagent avert her eyes backand forth, from hercomputer screen to thename on my passport.Dread hovered at theedges of my senses. She couldn’tmatch the reservation to the nameLesley on my passport, which Ihad yet to change. My eyesimplored the agent. Don’t makeme say it. Let’s not acknowledgethis just yet; the reason I’mstanding here.“My mother passed away,” I toldher.“I’m so sorry,” she said, “but yourpassport identification mustmatch the name on the ticket.”This was a post 9/11 securitygridlock; computerincompatibility. She couldn’t doanything, she said. Briefly, Iglanced around the airport andassimilated the images that cameto mind. My heart full to breakingpoint, I took a step closer to thecounter. My Modeh Ani prayercontinued to root me to theground with its insistence that amerciful G-d is in every moment.The flight was full. The supervisorLeah is my Hebrewname,” I said. “I amJewish, and I mustarrive in Englandtomorrowmorning to be atmy mother’sburial.”wouldn’t let me buy another ticketin the name of Lesley, to match mypassport. Please let this be smooth,I beseeched G-d. Maybe there wasanother airline going out thatevening, or maybe not. Did I reallywant to start traipsing around theairport, with my emotionstrapped, detained from where Iought to be?Calling on the name of my mother,Yocheved, mother of Moses whobrought our great nation theTorah, I proffered a smile. “Leah ismy Hebrew name,” I said. “I amJewish, and I must arrive inEngland tomorrow morning to beat my mother’s burial.” Anotherexchange or two with thesupervisor, and then a few minuteslater I headed for the gate.In class, I learned to say Modeh Anito kick-start the day. I learned thewords, how to punctuate them, andwhat they mean. “Your faithfulnessis great.” Faith in me, that is. G-d hasfaith enough in me that today I willmake my life worth His while, that Iwill cleave to Him today, that I willdo His will, that I will keepHis laws, and that I will bewhere I need to be. G-d hasfaith enough in me to giveme life today. Just as theDivine order in naturecauses the sun to rise andset, so does His will give melife. My teacher taught it sothoroughly that a day doesnot begin without this shortrecitation.G-d’s presence was visibleto me in every instant, atthe most heart-wrenching,devastating time. ModehAni brought G-d into the moment inwhich I woke to the news of mymother’s passing; it stayed with mein each part of the journey thatlanded me on English soil, and inevery moment since. Modeh Anichanged the way I live and the way Isee life. It is the bridge betweenliving and being alive.Written in memory of Joyce Foster,Yocheved bas R’Yaakov, of blessedmemory, who passed away on October11, 2004, the 26th of Tishrei 5765. Mymother leaned out of her bedroomwindow at 6:00 am on a cold Englishwinter morning in 1984, and waved as Iset off for America. She told me what todo, where to go, what to look for.26VOL. XII NO. 1ELUL 5767-TISHREI 5768 / FALL 200726


NATIONALLiberator.IUpon AwakeningWhen one awakens inthe morning, one mustimmediatelyrecognize and appreciate thekindness G-d has done with them.Not only has G-d returned the soulwhich had been entrusted to Him thenight before, He has returned the soulrefreshed and rejuvenated, unlike thetired and weary soul which had beengiven over the previous night. Hence,while still in bed, even before hewashes his hands, he should sayModeh Ani - "I offer thanks to you..."Since the Modeh Ani does notcontain G-d's name, one is permittedto say it before washing their hands.By saying Modeh Ani immediatelyupon awakening, he will realize thatG-d is in his midst and willimmediately get out of bed andprepare himself for the service of G-d.The Modeh Ani prayer:Transliteration: Modeh AniLefonecha Melech Chai Vikayom,Shehechezarta Bi NishmasiBechemlah. Rabah Emunashecho.Translation: I offer thanks to You,living and eternal King, for You havemercifully restored my soul withinme; Your faithfulness is greatWhen saying the Modeh Ani in themorning, one must make sure tomake a slight pause between thewords "bechemlah" - "...within me"and "rabah" - "Your faithfulness."Washing the HandsOne should not walk more then fourcubits from his bed before washing hishands upon arising in the morning(Netilat Yadayim or Negel Vasser).Many have the custom not to touchtheir clothes or walk even the fourcubits from their bed. To be able to dothis, many prepare on the side of theirbeds water in a cup and basin prior toretiring at night. The Alter Rebbewrites that one who is G-d fearingshould follow the directives of theZohar.Prior to washing one's hands in themorning one should not touch thefollowing with his hands: His mouth,eyes, nose, ears or any other part ofthe body which has openings.Neither should one touch food ordrink and clothing. Women inparticular must be careful in regard totouching food prior to washing theirhands, since they handle most of thefood at home. Likewise, one must bevery cautious not to dip his fingersinadvertently into the water he willbe using for the washing of theirhands, because by dipping theunwashed finger into the water hehas made the water unclean and unfitfor washing.Generally, nowadays, one is lenientin regard to using foods which havebeen handled by people beforewashing their hands in the morning,since there are so many people whoare not careful with washing theirhands properly, and much of thecommercially sold products have thisproblem.Saying G-d's NameOne should not say any blessings orpronounce G-d's name without firstwashing out one's mouth, since oneaccumulates saliva in his mouthduring sleeping.In the morning, after one washesones hands upon arising, one doesnot say the blessing of "Al NetilatYedayim" immediately. Rather, sinceit is normal for one to have to relieveoneself upon awakening, one shouldfirst use the bathroom and uponleaving the bathroom, wash his handsa second time and then say theblessing.The Blessing:Transliteration: Boruch A-toh AdonoiE-lo-hei-nu Me-lech Ho-olom A-sher Ki-de-sha-nu Be-mitz-vo-sov Vitzi-vo-nuAl Ne-Ti-Lat Ya-Dayim.Translation: Blessed are You, L-rd ourG-d, King of the universe, who hassanctified us with Hiscommandments, and commanded usconcerning the washing of the hands.If he does not need to relieve himself,then he should try to say the blessingas close in time to the washing of hishands the first time.27VOL. XII NO. 1ELUL 5767-TISHREI 5768 / FALL 200727


NATIONALLiberator.IRAMBANA LETTER FROM THEN A C H M A N I D E SIggeres HaRamban - The Ramban's Letter(Written to his elder son, Nachman, with the instruction to read it weekly.)Hear, my son, the instruction of your father and don't forsake the teaching of your mother (Mishlei 1:8).Get into the habit of always speaking calmly to everyone. This will prevent you from anger, a serious character flaw which causes people to sin.As our Rabbis said (Nedarim 22a): Whoever flares up in anger is subject to the discipline of Gehinnom as it says in (Koheles 12:10), "Cast outanger from your heart, and [by doing this] remove evil from your flesh." "Evil" here means Gehinnom, as we read (Mishlei 16:4): "...and thewicked are destined for the day of evil." Once you have distanced yourself from anger, the quality of humility will enter your heart. This radiantquality is the finest of all admirable traits (see Avodah Zarah 20b), (Mishlei 22:4), "Following humility comes the fear of Hashem."Through humility you will also come to fear Hashem. It will cause you to always think about (see Avos 3:1) where you came from and whereyou are going, and that while alive you are only like a maggot and a worm, and the same after death. It will also remind you before Whom youwill be judged, the King of Glory, as it is stated (I Melachim 8:27; Mishlei 15:11), "Even the heaven and the heavens of heaven can't containYou" -- "How much less the hearts of people!" It is also written (Yirmeyahu 23:24), "Do I not fill heaven and earth? says Hashem."When you think about all these things, you will come to fear Hashem who created you, and you will protect yourself from sinning and thereforebe happy with whatever happens to you. Also, when you act humbly and modestly before everyone, and are afraid of Hashem and of sin, theradiance of His glory and the spirit of the Shechina will rest upon you, and you will live the life of the World-to-Come!And now, my son, understand and observe that whoever feels that he is greater than others is rebelling against the Kingship of Hashem, becausehe is adorning himself with His garments, as it is written (Tehillim 93:1), "Hashem reigns, He wears clothes of pride." Why should one feelproud? Is it because of wealth? Hashem makes one poor or rich (I Shmuel 2:7). Is it because of honor? It belongs to Hashem, as we read (IDivrei Hayamim 29:12), "Wealth and honor come from You." So how could one adorn himself with Hashem's honor? And one who is proud ofhis wisdom surely knows that Hashem "takes away the speech of assured men and reasoning from the sages" (Iyov 12:20)!? So we see thateveryone is the same before Hashem, since with His anger He lowers the proud and when He wishes He raises the low. So lower yourself andHashem will lift you up!Therefore, I will now explain to you how to always behave humbly. Speak gently at all times, with your head bowed, your eyes looking down tothe ground and your heart focusing on Hashem. Don't look at the face of the person to whom you are speaking. Consider everyone as greater thanyourself. If he is wise or rich, you should give him respect. If he is poor and you are richer -- or wiser -- than he, consider yourself to be moreguilty than he, and that he is more worthy than you, since when he sins it is through error, while yours is deliberate and you should know better!In all your actions, words and thoughts, always regard yourself as standing before Hashem, with His Shechinah above you, for His glory fills thewhole world. Speak with fear and awe, as a slave standing before his master. Act with restraint in front of everyone. When someone calls you,don't answer loudly, but gently and softly, as one who stands before his master.Torah should always be learned diligently, so you will be able to fulfill its commands. When you arise from your learning reflect carefully onwhat you have studied, in order to see what is in it that you can put into practice. Examine your actions every morning and evening, and in thisway every one of your days will be spent in teshuvah (repentance).Concentrate on your prayers by removing all worldly concerns from your heart. Prepare your heart before Hashem, purify your thoughts and thinkabout what you are going to say. If you follow this in all your daily actions, you will not come to sin. This way everything you do will be proper,and your prayer will be pure, clear, clean, devout and acceptable to Hashem, as it is written (Tehillim 10:17), "When their heart is directed toYou, listen to them."Read this letter at least once a week and neglect none of it. Fulfill it, and in so doing, walk with it forever in the ways of Hashem, may He beblessed, so that you will succeed in all your ways. Thus you will succeed and merit the World to Come which lies hidden away for the righteous.Every day that you shall read this letter, heaven shall answer your heart's desires. Amen, Sela! VOL. XII NO. 128 ELUL 5767-TISHREI 5768 / FALL 200728


NATIONALLiberator.I“Me and mydaddy have aspecialconnectionthat can't bebroken bynobody ornothing thathappens, nomatterwhat!!!”By daughterShelbyJewish HumorThe OptimistA group of elderly, retired men gathers each morning at a cafe in Tel Aviv. They drink coffee and sitfor hours discussing the world situation. Given the state of the world, their talks usually are depressing.One day, one of the men startles the others by announcing, "You know what? I am an optimist.”The others are shocked, but then one of them smells something fishy. "Wait a minute!" he says.“If you are an optimist, why do you look so worried?""You think it is easy to be an optimist?”SodukuAnswers(from page 19)9 1 5 4 7 2 8 6 38 7 4 6 3 9 1 2 52 6 3 8 5 1 9 4 77 8 2 5 4 6 3 9 13 9 6 2 1 8 7 5 44 5 1 3 9 7 2 8 66 4 9 7 2 3 5 1 85 2 7 1 8 4 6 3 91 3 8 9 6 5 4 7 2גהזא‏ִדוחטבוב‏ִדטהחאגזחאטגזבהו‏ִדבטאוחזג‏ִדהזגה‏ִדאטבחו‏ִדוחהבגזאטה‏ִדגבואטזחאזוחטה‏ִדבגטחבזג‏ִדוהאVOL. XII NO. 129 ELUL 5767-TISHREI 5768 / FALL 200729


Correspondence CoursesNATIONALLiberator.IEver wish you could spend yourtime involved in meaningfulintellectual pursuits? Would youlike to broaden your educationalsphere and understanding ofJudaism in a low-stressenvironment, and correspond witha Rabbi or student to answer yourquestions? Well,there’s good news!Aleph is offering several new andpreviously offered correspondencecourses. Notonlywillyoufindthesecourses to be intellectuallystimulating, but you will learnthings about Jewish customs andyour heritage that will inspire andeven surprise you! Please reviewthe list of courses on offer and sendin your application on the nextpage.New from the Jewish LearningInstitute!The Kabbalah of CharacterThis course is designed tohelp you understand theunique mix of qualities thatdefine your individuality.Drawing on theorganizational structure of theKabbalah, this course examines thenature of the human soul created in theimage of G-d. The student will learnstrategies for making character changesthat are lasting and real.This course requires access to a cassette orCDplayer.NewfromAleph!The Bible for theClueless but CuriousDesigned to teach and entertain boththe beginning bible student as well asthe advanced one, this class explains theTorah’s stories and lessons in a new, easyto read,and exiting approach. This classchronicles the events in all 5 books of theTorah, while also explaining theirrelevance to today’s day and age.NewfromAleph!TanyaFinally,a class in Chassidicphilosophy! This coursedraws material fromespecially relevantchapters ofTanya. TheTanya was writtenin the 17th century by Rabbi ShneurZalman of Liadi, also known as The AlterRebbe. Chapters of the Tanya, on whichChassidic philosophy is based, arestudied. This course focuses specificallyon the common brotherhood of all Jews,highlighting the importance of caringfor one another. The student will alsolearn Chasidic perspectives ofdepression and the tools to overcome itin their own lives.JLI:Beyond Never AgainBeing offered a second time ina row, this class exploresaltruism, anti-Semitism, theexistence of evil and thesearch for meaning in the faceof suffering. Students willlearn about the importance of belief inG-d even through difficult times. Theywill find tools for the empowerment oftheir own lives and outlooks in thiscourse.This course requires access to a cassette orCDplayer.Kosher for the Clueless but CuriousIncorporating a lifestyle change such askeeping kosher can be daunting at firstglance. Never fear! This course teachesthe aspiring student about Kashrut fromthe ground up. This is a perfect choicefor the student who wants to know moreabout what it means to keep Kosher andwhy it is important. Additionally, thiscourse strives to help students of alllevels and backgrounds findcomfortable levels of observance fortheir situation.My PrayerPrayer allows humans to connect withthe infinitely powerful creator of theuniverse. This class teaches the basics ofJewish prayer and explains its meaningsby following the text in the Siddur(prayer book). For both the experiencedand those who are just learning,this classhelps broaden the understandings of aperson’s connection to G-d. Additionally,this course strengthens the student’sgratitude for the multitude ofkindnesses that G-d does for all of Hiscreations.Jewish LivingThis course is based on a study of theShulchan Aruch. The Shulchan Aruch is aholy book which teaches the laws ofdaily living as a Jew. This is a lengthycourse which explains the lawsconcerning all aspects of life, such asdaily routine, blessings on foods andevents, Holiday and Shabbatobservance, prayers, giving Tzedakah,affixing a Mezuzah, and donning Tefillin.The dedicated student will gain muchfrom this rewarding course in his or herdaily living and practice of Mitzvot.These courses are designed to help youlearn more about your Jewish identity.We look forward to hearing from you.Once your application is processed, youwill be sent the first part of the course,with question sheets to fill out for eachlesson. These question sheets will beanswered by a designated volunteerrabbi or student with whom you willcorrespond. Subsequent lessons will besent to you each time we receive yourcompleted question sheets. In this way,you will be able to complete the course atyour own pace. If you are unable to payfor the postage to mail in your questionsheets, please let us know and we will doour best to help you (envelopes areprovided). The courses themselves arefree. Youmayenrollinanytwocoursesatone time. Please be sure to fill out allparts of the application form on the nextpage. If you apply for a course thatrequiresaCDorcassetteplayer,pleasebesure to make your selection on the form.Thank you for your participation, andenjoyyourstudies!30VOL. XII NO. 1ELUL 5767-TISHREI 5768 / FALL 200730


NATIONAL .ILiberatorCorrespondence Course ApplicationMail Course Registration to:The Aleph InstituteAttn: Correspondence Courses9540 Collins AveSurfside, FL 33154VOL. XII NO. 131 ELUL 5767-TISHREI 5768 / FALL 200731


Please Pray For Me!A fellow Jew will pray for you at the Kotel (Western Wall inJerusalem) and at the Ohel - the gravesite of theLubavitcher Rebbe.Please use this form to send us the names of everyone you’d like toinclude. Ideally, one should include the Hebrew name of the personwe are praying for, together with his/her mother’s Hebrew name.Hebrew Name: ___________________________________Mother’s Hebrew Name: ___________________________Hebrew Name: ___________________________________Mother’s Hebrew Name: ___________________________Hebrew Name: ___________________________________Mother’s Hebrew Name: ___________________________Hebrew Name: ___________________________________Mother’s Hebrew Name: ___________________________*Please write the English names if you do not know the Hebrew names.Optional:Without promising, I am taking upon myself the followingresolution to increase in the performance of the mitzvah of:___________________________. May the merit of my mitzvah bringmany blessings to the people listed, and all of Israel!Example Mitzvahs:Donning Tefillin, saying the Shema daily,doing an extra favor for a fellow Jew, learning more Torah, doing my bestto keep Shabbat, refraining from speaking gossip for a week, makingpeace between family and friends, family purity.Aleph will gladly send you information about any particular mitzvah ofinterest to you. Please send me information about the mitzvah/s of:_________________________________Name:____________________________________________Reg #:____________________________________________Inst.:______________________________________________Please mail this form to:THE ALEPH INSTITUTE383 Kingston Avenue, #106Brooklyn, NY 11213New Book Available Free of Charge!Absolute Standards in a World of Relativity:Extracts from the Proceedings of The FirstInternational B'or Ha'Torah ConferenceTo order write to:“Absolute Standards” c/o AlephNEW Release-Reentry ProgramA new release-reentry program has been instituted tohelp Jewish inmates reintegrate themselves into societyand transition from incarceration to public life.Through an anonymous grant, Aleph will be offering ahost of programs to get inmates off the groundimmediately once they are released with food, clothing,housing and other needs.If you are being released within the next three monthsand are in need of any assistance coming out, Aleph ishere to assist you.To apply, please fill out this application form and mail it toAleph within 3 months of your release date.Name_______________________________________________Inmate #_____________________________________________Institution____________________________________________Release Address (if known)_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Name of Closest Relative_______________________________Closest Relative Phone_________________________________Employment Experience___________________________________________________________________________________Assistance Required: (please circle all that apply)HOUSING FOOD RENT MONEYCLOTHINGUTILITIESPlease send application to:“Reentry Program” c/o Aleph9540 Collins AveSurfside, FL 33154NATIONALLiberator.IVOL. XII NO. 132 ELUL 5767-TISHREI 5768 / FALL 200732


darknessintoNATIONALLiberator.IWhy do Jewish holidays begin atnightfall? For example, the Sabbathstarts Friday night, and is overSaturday night, and that isconsidered one day.According to the Jewish calendar,not only Jewish holidays begin atnightfall, but every day does.Thissystem does not only effect thecalendar, it effects our whole attitudeto life.In the biblical story of creation, atthe end of each day it says, "And itwas evening, and it was morning;day one", "And it was evening,and it was morning; the secondday". By mentioning eveningbefore morning, the Torahdefines a day as beginning withthe nighttime, followed by themorning.Behind this definition of the passageof time is a profound lesson in how toapproach the days of our lives.Everyone agrees that life is full of ups anddowns. We go through periods where thesun is shining upon us and we feel on top ofthe world, only to turn a corner and be facedwith difficulties and obstacles that drag us down.Then the bad times pass, and it isn't long beforesomething pleasant comes our way to pick us upagain.The question is: which one wins theday, the ups or the downs? What isthe exception and what is the rule?Is life essentially a dark series ofdisappointments dotted by theoccasional ray of hope, which issoon to be crushed by anothersurge of gloominess? Or is lifean exhilarating journeyupwards towards the light,and the challenges along theway are just temporaryobstacles, only there to makeus even stronger in our questfor enlightenment?Does darkness extinguish light,or does light conquerdarkness? Does night followday or day follow night?The Jewish view is clear. "And itwas evening, and it wasmorning." First the night, thenthe day. Darkness is nothing but apathway to the sunrise hidingbehind it. A challenge comes ourway only to help us tap in to andreveal our inner powers that haveuntil now remained unfathomed.So if you are going through one ofthose inevitable dark times in your life,know that no matter how dark it mayseem, at the end of the day, it is light thatwill have the last word. VOL. XII NO. 133 ELUL 5767-TISHREI 5768 / FALL 200733


military programsNATIONALLiberatorIA MESSAGEfrom our Director of Military ProgramsRabbi Sanford L. DresinThis message isbeing written inmy capacity asAleph's"EcclesiasticalEndorser." Nearly two years ago, Aleph was recognized by theDepartment of Defense and given authority to recruit, examineand endorse rabbis for service as chaplains in the military. As Aleph's "Endorser" Iam the individual authorized to certify rabbis applying for commissions aschaplains in the U.S.Armed Forces. Currently Aleph has rabbis serving as chaplains in the Army,Navy and AirForce. I, myself, came to this job with over 26 years of active duty service as an Army Chaplain, retiring withthe rank of Colonel. I am a veteran of the Viet Nam and Gulf Wars. I mentioned the above only to enhanceAleph's credibility in the military arena. I agreed to join the Aleph family, under the leadership of RabbiSholom Lipskar,Shlita,because years ago I was impressed by Aleph's sincere commitment to Jews serving inthe Armed Forces and to their families as well as Aleph's genuine empathy for their very demanding andhigh stress profession.34Let me share with you a brief story that I believe best conveys Aleph's sensitivity to military life. This story,perhaps apocryphal,is about the French Emperor and General Napoleon. It is told that during Napoleon's illfated Russian campaign during the winter of 1813, he was forced to flee and find refuge in the hut of aRussian peasant. Pleading with the peasant to hide him, he promised the peasant a great reward upon hisreturn to the throne of France. The peasant obliged,hiding Napoleon under the bed with piles of filthy ragscovering him. No sooner was Napoleon ensconced in his hiding place,than a group of Russian soldiers burstinto the hut, tearing it apart and slashing and stabbing its contents with their swords and bayonets.Napoleon was fortunate that his hiding place went undetected. Crawling from his hiding place under thebed and filled with gratitude to the peasant, Napoleon promised that when he returned to Paris, he wouldsummon the peasant and reward him with a great fortune. A few months later,the peasant was brought tothe palace where he was lavished with a great reward. After the presentation,Napoleon said to the peasant,“Ask me anything you wish and I will endeavor to give you my best reply." The peasant looked sheepishly atthe floor and with a slight smile, while summoning up all the courage he could muster said to Napoleon,"Your highness,how did you feel when the Russian soldiers were running their bayonets into the bed whereyou were hiding?" Napoleon became livid. In a furious rage,he shouted to his guards,"Remove this insolentpeasant and prepare him for execution by firing squad." The peasant's complexion turned a ghastly whiteas he was being lead away. His hands and feet were bound,and a hood was placed over his head. Napoleonordered that he himself would command the firing squad and on the count of three, they would fire theirweapons and execute the hapless peasant. "One," and the soldiers aimed their rifles. "Two," and theycocked their weapons. By this time the peasant had become incontinent. Suddenly, before the count ofthree,Napoleon held up his hand,signaling the firing squad to lower their weapons. He then walked over tothe quivering peasant, putting his arm around the man's shoulders, he whispered in his ear, "This is how Ifelt."While acts of terror, actual and imagined surround us, I would direct your attention to the last Shabbat ofthis year 5767. On this, the Shabbat before Rosh Hashana, we read the Torah portions of Netzavim andVOL. XII NO. 1ELUL 5767-TISHREI 5768 / FALL 2007military programs34


military programsNATIONALLiberatorIA MESSAGEfrom our Director of Military ProgramsRabbi Sanford L. DresinVayeilech. While the outgoing year has been a difficult one for the Jewish people, nevertheless we can becomforted and inspired by the contents of these Torah readings which focus on the last days on Earth ofMoshe Rabbainu (Moses our Rabbi). As one of his very last acts, Moshe gathers all of the people of Israel inorder to bid them farewell. He speaks not only to the living but also to those who have passed on, whosememory and influence remain very much in the present. He also addresses those yet to be born who willshoulder the duties and responsibilities of Jewish life. He repeats in unequivocal terms his belief in theeverlasting covenant between Hashem and the Jewish people. Moshe foretells that in the end, all will bewell and that Hashem's blessing will comfort and renew. Moshe dies with unflinching faith but also withsome regret, for as is the case with all humans, no one passes on having accomplished all his/her tasks.Nevertheless, Moshe dies peacefully with G-d's kiss upon him, knowing that the Torah that he taught to all ofIsrael will guarantee Israel's survival as a people and allow our people to be a positive force in the world forall eternity.35The word Netzavim itself truly conveys what it means to be a Jew especially during these trying times.Netzavim implies standing in formation, present for duty, and ready, willing and able to be counted in orderto be counted upon. Every Jew is to be clothed in the garb/uniform of our people, standing tall, proud andstrong in his/her loyalty to our sacred beliefs and traditions. The Torah warns us against shirking our duty,not to go AWOL (absent without leave) for to do so is to desert in the face of the enemy on life's battlefield,or even worse, G-d forbid, side with the enemy. The challenge to Netzavim is a call to each and every Jew.Netzavim sets the stage for Rosh Hashana, the Yom HaDin (Judgment Day.) For according to one opinion inthe Talmud, we pass and review before G-d, not as sheep, but as soldiers in King David's Army.Here at Aleph, we care for all Jews, including those who at times have been marginalized by the largerJewish community. Our philosophy echoes that of the Tanna (early Talmudic sage) Rabbi Shimmon BarYochai who compares the Jewish community to two people sitting together in a boat. One passenger takesout a drill and begins drilling a hole on his side of the boat, and to an incredulous fellow passenger exclaims,"What do you care? I am drilling only on my side of the boat." For Aleph, it is not acceptable for anindividual to do only their own thing, or even the right thing. Each of us must recognize that we areresponsible for reaching out to others. This has been our task, this is our task and this shall be our task for thecoming year 5768 and for every year thereafter, Ad Meah V'Esrim Shanah (to 120 years.)VOL. XII NO. 1ELUL 5767-TISHREI 5768 / FALL 2007Respectfully submitted,Rabbi Sanford Dresin,Director, Military Chaplaincy ProgramsAleph provides Jewish books and material to members of the United States ArmedForces. If you are in need of anything, please let us know. Year-round, Aleph providesJewish prayer and study books, educational and inspirational reading material, CD's, andvideos and holiday foods and material. We can put you in contact with Jewish chaplainsand other Jewish soldiers for services and holiday gatherings, and we can help yourfamily members with their Jewish needs as well. Please email military@alephinstitute.orgor call us at 305.864.5553 with any requests you have, and for a free copy ofThe Aleph Institute's Courage & Safety wallet-size booklet to have with you at all times.military programs35


Aleph Wishes You a Very Happy and Healthy 5768!Important Note:Your chaplain(s) should have already received an Aleph Advisory,which included all the important information about the upcomingholidays. Included in the Advisory was an order form for materialsneeded for the holidays. The items offered were: Honey Packets,Shofar horns, High Holiday prayer books, High Holiday instructionalvideos, Lulav & Etrog sets and Sukkah booths.All items are offered free of charge to facilities that do not have pastoralfunds (some items are subject to availability). Aleph can also send otheritems that may be needed for the holidays including Shabbat and Holidaycandles, candle sticks, Yarmulkes etc. We can only send items tochaplains that call, fax or send back their order forms . We cannot and willnot follow up with chaplains to make sure they ordered the items neededto make your holidays joyous and complete. It is YOUR job to make surethat your chaplain or other institutional staff member sends us theorder today if they have not already done so. Don’t wait until after theholidays to ask why you never received anything. If your chaplain didnot receive an Aleph Advisory with the order form, he or she can callus at 305-864-5553 and we will fax them one. If you are denied yourorder request or do not receive necessary items for the holidays,please call Rabbi Katz or have someone call for you. Please makesure that your chaplain or acting staff member is on our mailing list.If they are not on our mailing list, send us their name and addressand we will add them to our list.If you have family that would like to visit youin prison but they cannot afford the travelexpenses, Aleph can help. Please have yourfamily contact Rachel at 718-221-1812NATIONALLiberator.IPRAYER SPACEEvery Jewish inmate should be given time andplace in the chapel or another appropriatearea to pray during Rosh Hashanah and YomKippur services, as well as on other holidays.Well before the holidays begin, Jewishinmates should submit specific requests inwriting to chaplains or other authoritiesspecifying the exact dates and times that youwill require space for individual or groupprayer. Give your chaplain/staff plenty of timeto make arrangements for you.If the holidays are approaching and you arenot certain that specific arrangements havebeen made for prayer times and space,please write to or call Rabbi Katz at305.864.5553. If you ever have difficulty gettingthrough to Aleph, please have a relative or friendcall for you.NEW RELEASE-REENTRYPROGRAM! DETAILS ONPAGE 32!If you would like your family to receive this newsletter, please write to: Family Newsletter c/o AlephWEEK-IN-REVIEW NOTICE FOR EX- INMATES:If you previously received the Week In Review at your home and no longer receive it and would like to startreceiving it again, please email Rabbi Katz at mmk@alephinstitute.org or call Oscar at 305 864-5553.THE ALEPH INSTITUTE9540 Collins AvenueSurfside, FL 33154alephINSTITUTE

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