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Beshalach-Shabbat Shira-True Trust
By Rabbi Biggs,
Chabad of Great Neck

N. Y. City Candle lighting 4:33 . Shabbat ends 5:37

For worldwide times on the web go to www.chabadgn.com/Candles

Kiddush Levanah may be recited through Tuesday night



Shalom and Bracha!

This Shabbat we read the portion of Beshalach. After the Jewish people left Egypt, Pharaoh and his army chased them, pinning them against the ocean. Hashem split the sea, and the Jewish people went through the sea bed on dry ground. Thereafter, when the Jewish people left the sea bed, the Egyptians pursued. The ocean closed, swallowing them and thereafter the corpses washed ashore, finally ending the Egyptian threat to the Exodus. Upon witnessing this, Moshe and the Jewish people sang praise to Hashem. The song of praise which they sang is called the “Shirah” (song) of the sea, and is part of the daily prayers. This occurred on the seventh day of Pesach.

The Shelah, a very famous Halachic and Kabbalistic scholar, notes that Shirah is the diminutive form of the Hebrew word for song, which is Shir. This implies that there was something incomplete in the song of praise which they sang. The Gemarra explains that the reason we don’t say Hallel on the seventh day of Pesach is because Hashem refused to allow the angels to sing praise together with Jewish people. The Shelah interprets the explanation of the Gemarra to mean that Hashem was disappointed with the praise of the Jewish people. When Moshe announced the redemption, although the people trusted him, their faith was not strong enough to lead them to sing praise. When the plagues began and the servitude ended, they still didn’t sing praise. When the first born died and the Jewish people left Egypt, they still didn’t sing praise. Only when they saw the drowned Egyptians, leaving no possibility of recapture, did they sing praise and rejoice.

In the Friday night prayers, we say “Let us sing to Hashem a new song (Shir). This refers to the song of praise when Moshiach comes. The Shelah notes that the word Shir is no longer in the diminutive. He explains that when Moshiach will come, upon his heralding the redemption the Jewish people will begin to rejoice. Although the exile will continue, the announcement will suffice to elicit joy and praise. Each stage in the redemption will enhance our faith and joy and praise.

This Shabbat, the tenth of Shevat, marked the anniversary of the passing of the previous Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneerson, and the ascent to leadership of his son in law, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson. Upon receiving the mantle of leadership, the Rebbe announced that just as in the generation of Moshe Hashem revealed Himself on Mount Sinai, in our generation Hashem will dwell in the Third Temple. In later years he emphasized that we are on the threshold of the redemption, and that certain aspects of the redemption had already begun.

Let us, with perfect faith, begin to live our lives with the joy of the anticipation of Moshiach. Let us live each day as though that day Moshiach would arrive. Let us all sing together to Hashem a new song, the praise of the coming of Moshiach!

  Shabbat Shalom and Chag Sameach,

  Rabbi Biggs

Dedicated to Kochav Shabot on the occasion of his Brit. May he be a true star in every manner and bring only Nachat and Bracha to his family and people.


Tu B’Shevat

Shalom and Bracha!

This Thursday, January 20th, is Tu B’Shevat, the fifteenth day of the Hebrew month of Shevat. The Gemarrah in Rosh Hashanah states that the fifteenth of Shevat is the Rosh Hashanah for trees. This is because the sap begins to flow again after the winter. Although the Gemarrah is referring to the agricultural laws of tithing, today it is celebrated as a holiday by not saying Tachanun and by eating special fruits. It is customary to make the blessing on the fruits for which Israel is famous, namely grapes, pomegranates, figs, olives and dates. It is also customary to eat a new fruit and make the blessing “Shehechiyanu.” By using fruits to make blessings we help assure that Hashem should bless the fruits of this coming year and by making the blessing on fruits connected with Israel we enhance Hashem’s blessing and protection of the land of Israel.

The New Year for trees has important lessons for each of us. A person is compared to a tree. Just as a tree constantly grows, a person must constantly progress. A person is also meant to bear fruits. It is not sufficient that we grow ourselves; we must also affect our surroundings. Just as a tree bears fruit from year to year, we mustn’t be satisfied with our effect on the world until now. We must keep giving and doing and growing.

The entire Jewish people are compared to a tree. Although each branch grows in its own direction, they are all part of one tree. The strength of each limb of the tree aids the entire tree, and the weakness of any limb effects the other limbs. Whatever directions we take, we are one people. When we strengthen each other, we strengthen ourselves. This is alluded to in the name of the month, Shevat. The word Shevat is related to the Hebrew Shevet, which means branch.

The Gemarrah tells us that fruits represent Mitzvot. When a tree bears fruit, it doesn’t lose its power to bear fruit, but instead grows. When we do a Mitzvah, even if it seems difficult or costly, Hashem repays us and gives us the strength to perform another Mitzvah. When we plant a seed, we don’t see the fruits for a very long time. However, from one seed grows a tree that produces thousands of fruits each year, each capable of producing new trees. We don’t always see the effect of the Mitzvot that we do. However, Hashem nurtures them and they bear fruit for us, our children and all future generations.

May Hashem grant that this Tu B’Shevat usher in a new era of joy, healing, new growth and prosperity, particularly in Israel. The Tanya explains that all of the good things that will occur when Moshiach comes are a direct result of our service of Hashem in Galut (exile). Each Mitzvah is a seed, whose fruit we will see at that time. May the joy of redemption replace the pain of exile immediately!

Chag Sameach,

 Rabbi Biggs

The blessing for fruit that grows on trees is Baruch Atta A-donai E-loheinu Melech Haolam Borei P’ree Haeitz

The blessing Shehechiyanu for new fruits is Baruch Atta A-donai E-loheinu Melech Haolam Shehechiyanu V’Kiy’manu V’higyanu Lizman Hazeh.

Dedicated to Yeshayahu (Steven) Ayal. May Hashem watch over him and grant him blessings in every manner.

 A project of Chabad of Great Neck

400 East Shore Rd.

Great Neck NY 11024

516 4874554       fax 516 4874807


The following e mail is for next Shabbat January 22nd


Yitro- Lessons From the Giving of the Torah

NY City Candle lighting January 21 4:41

Shabbat ends January 22 5:44

For worldwide times on the web go to www.chabadgn.com/Candles

  Shalom and Bracha!

  This Shabbat we read the portion of Yitro, the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai. In the Shema we say “These words that I command you today shall be upon your heart.” The Talmud explains that every day we should feel like the Torah was given that day. This is echoed in the blessing that we make upon learning Torah, Baruch… Notain Hatorah. (Blessed are You… who gives the Torah). The word Notain is in the present, which teaches us that we must experience the study of Torah as though we were receiving the Torah that moment on Mount Sinai. As we look more deeply into the lessons of this week’s portion, we can relive the giving of the Torah in a more meaningful manner.

  The narrative of the giving of the Torah begins “In the third month of the Exodus… they came to the wilderness of Sinai… and he camped opposite the mountain.” Throughout the forty years in the desert, every encampment is described in the plural except for this one. The Midrash explains that when Hashem saw the unity among the Jewish people in their desire to receive the Torah, He declared that the time had arrived for the Torah to be given.

Unity is central to Torah. The portion tells us that the Torah was given in the third month of the Exodus, after three days of preparation. This is because the number three represents unity. One represents uniqueness, two introduces division and three represents the power to combine and unite. The Torah serves as the bond between the Infinite Creator and the finite world. The Talmud tells us that the Torah was only given to bring peace into the world. In order to receive the Torah whose very essence is peace and unity, there had to be pristine unity amongst the Jewish people. This unity is expressed in all of the three pillars of service of Hashem: Torah, prayer and acts of kindness.

  The Ten Commandments contain five commandments between man and G-d and five commandments between man and his fellow man. Our service of Hashem must lead to our betterment as a person, and the way we that treat each other must be directed by the Torah, not simply by good intention. Thus, the Torah unites the mundane and the sacred. When we study the Torah we subjugate ourselves fully to the will of Hashem, but we seek to understand the Torah in our intellect. Thus the Torah unites the human and divine intellect. The Ten Commandment parallel the ten utterances of creation. This is because the Torah bonds every finite aspect of the creation with Hashem’s infinite light.

  The Ari Zal (a pillar of Kabbalah) taught that before praying, a person must say “I hereby accept upon myself to fulfill the Mitzvah of love your fellow man as yourself. Prayers are said n the plural (Our G-d, Bless us…) because Hashem blesses us as a people. Further, prayer itself is unity. Prayer is not simply beseeching Hashem for our needs, but bonding with Hashem. The word Tefillah (prayer) comes from the Hebrew root of Tofel (to combine). When we are united as a people, we can bond with Hashem. Through bonding with Hashem, our needs become His needs. When our needs are His needs, our prayers are heard.

  Acts of kindness are done in there truest sense when we feel that the needs of the other party are our needs. The act of giving enriches the benefactor more than the recipient.

  The Semak (a famous codifier) explains that the first Commandment includes the faith in Moshiach. When the Torah says “I am Hashem your G-d who took you out of Egypt,” it is a commandment to believe in G-d and that He will redeem us from every exile. Division caused the destruction of the Temple and unity will rebuild it. The Rebbe has informed us that Moshiach is ready to come and is only awaiting an increase in acts of good and kindness. May we merit his coming immediately and hear the new depths in Torah that he will reveal.

  Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Biggs

In reverent memory of the Rebbe’s wife, Rebbitzin Chaya Mushka Schneerson whose Yahrtzeit is this Thursday May her merit shield us and her legacy bring tremendous blessings.

If you know of anyone who might enjoy Torah e mail, please send me their addresses. If you have received this in error or would like to unsubscribe, contact me at RabbiBiggs@gmail.com

A project of Chabad of Great Neck

400 East Shore Rd.

Great Neck NY 11024

516 4874554       fax 516 4874807

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