18 Elul — Special Shabbat

 Action – 
Counts the most.

Fast growing fruits.

And it shall be, when you come into the land…and you shall take of all the fruit of the earth…and put it in a basket… and you shall go to the priest (Deut. 26:1-3)

Fourteen years elapsed after the Jewish people entered the land of Israel until they were able to fulfill the second half of the verse – the bringing of their first fruits to Jerusalem. 

Seven years were spent in conquering the entire land from its inhabitants; seven more years were spent dividing the land among the 12 tribes. 

Our generation, which will very soon enter the promised land with the coming of Moshiach, will not need to wait any period of time before we are able to bring our first fruits to the Holy Temple.

Not only will there be no need to conquer and distribute the land, but the fruits themselves will grow with such rapidity that their harvesting will take place simultaneously with their planting.

(Sichot Kodesh

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Shabbat Ki Tavo

Mazal Tov to Shaina Esther Ezagui 
celebrating her Bat Mitzvah 
this weekend.

This Shabbat is Chai (the 18th of) Elul, the birthday of both the Baal Shem Tov (founder of the Chasidic movement) in 5458-1698 and the Alter Rebbe, Rabbi Shneur Zalman, founder of Chabad Chasidism in 5505-1745.


In the same way that the Chasidic movement revitalized Jewish life and introduced a new path in the service of G-d, so too does Chai Elul (“chai” – from the Hebrew word meaning “life”) introduce an element of liveliness and vitality into our Divine service in the month of Elul, the main theme of which is repentance. 


A basic fundamental of Chasidut is the joyful service of G-d. As surprising as it may seem, Chasidic philosophy teaches that even the mitzva of teshuva (repentance) should be approached with happiness rather than trepidation. If all of the Torah’s mitzvot should be fulfilled with joy, how much more so the mitzva of teshuva, which is so great it has the power to perfect all other commandments!


At first glance, the pairing of teshuva with joy appears unrealistic. Repentance is serious business: conducting an honest assessment of one’s past behavior, feeling remorse for one’s misdeeds, and begging G-d for forgiveness for transgressing His will. How are we to do this out of a sense of joy?


The answer is that joy, as defined by Chasidut, is not the opposite of seriousness. Joy does not mean frivolity, a life without responsibilities or mindless revelry. Rather, joy itself is serious business, a deep feeling created when a Jew contemplates the enormous merit he has to have been born Jewish, to be able to study G-d’s Torah and to fulfill His commandments. When a Jew appreciates that he is never alone and that G-d is always with him, his joy becomes the impetus to draw even closer to the Infinite.


With Rosh Hashana approaching, what could make us happier than the knowledge that doing teshuva during Elul is easier than at any other time of year? For the gates of repentance are always open, and G-d always gives us the opportunity to return to Him.

Lunch N Learn. 
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 Warmest wishes for a  
Shabbat Shalom.
Kosher Caffeine –  by Rabbi Shlomo Ezagui


The unlimited maximum, blessing, in doing.


A human being is generally divided into three parts. The head, body and legs. These three parts represent three distinct ways we go about our lives and we fulfill our G-dly mission here in this world.  We must use our minds and understanding, we arouse our feelings and fire the emotions in our heart, and the faculty and capacity of action. To do and go places.


The commandments in the Bible are also divided into these three categories. One of the most important commandments in the Bible is to “Know the G-d of your fathers…”. “Know this day …that G-d is G-d in the heavens above and in the earth below, there is none other besides Him.”


We are instructed to study and toil in our understanding of the Bible with our minds, “day and night.” And many more commandments which are fulfilled with our brains and the proficiency to think.


There are commandments that are fulfilled with our heart and emotions. The two basic commandments underlying the fulfillment of all the others, is to love G-d, and to fear G-d. These two emotions form the basis and foundation for the performance of all other deeds in the Torah.


Another example of serving G-d with our heart. We are commanded to love each other, like ourselves.


Then there are the commandments that must be done whether we’re with the program intellectually or emotionally. No matter what we think or how we feel when doing these deeds, we receive full reward for having done them, in deed.


When doing things with our minds and our hearts, everyone is on a different level. Some are more superficial than others, some appreciate much deeper the opportunity to have value in the eyes of G-d. Some care more, some care less.


However when it comes to deed and a commitment to do, no matter what, over there, everyone is exactly the same. It doesn’t matter how the person thinks or feels since the deed is the same in someone who is intelligent and or someone who is not.


Let’s take for example the deed of charity and kindness and the same is true for all the commandments performed in deed. No matter how a person feels, when assistance is offered to the needy, it’s the same hundred dollars coming from a genius or coming from a simple person. Crossing the little old lady across the street is the same, no matter who is doing it.


The full limit and maximum of a human being, which is equal in everyone, is reached when “doing” the right thing.


Sometimes however one may wonder, how is it always possible to throw oneself entirely in the deed. It may happen that the mind and the heart stand in the way of a total commitment in deed. Therefore the Bible also tells us to recognize the limitations of the mind and the emotions, which ARE different in every person.


This is a world of deed.  When it comes down to it, the only thing that matters and that takes us places, is the act of doing. By realizing how limited our minds really are and how unreliable many times our feeling really are, we conclude that no matter what the results have been, we must continue always doing.

Candle Lighting.

Candle Lighting time in
North Palm Beach Florida

Aug. 23, 2013
7:31 p.m.
Shabbat is over
8:24 p.m.
Quick Fix
 Inspiration from the Lubavitcher Rebbe

Giving OFTEN. 




Giving affects not only the one you give to, but also you, the giver.


Therefore, it’s not only important how much you give, but how often. Each act of giving uplifts and purifies you a little more.



Keep a small charity box attached to the wall in a conspicuous place, and place a few coins in it every day. Keep one in your home and one in your office.




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Moshiach Matters.


Ki Tavo begins, “When you will enter the land” refers to the Era of Moshiach, when every Jew will enter the Holy Land that G-d has promised to the Jewish people.

 At that time, the Jews will surely conduct themselves in a way that will emphasize the holiness of the land and its connection to the Jewish people. 

From the Land of Israel, the Redemption will spread throughout the world and to all nations. 

There will be peace among nations as the prophet declared, 
“Nation will not lift up sword against nation.” 
There will be no more war and G-dliness will be drawn down to every creation in the world.

 This Era will be hastened by the Jews’ efforts to prepare themselves to greet Moshiach, studying about his coming and anticipating his coming at every moment.


(The Rebbe, 17 Elul, 5751-1991)

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Action – 
Counts the most.
Fast growing fruits.

And it shall be, when you come into the land…and you shall take of all the fruit of the earth…and put it in a basket… and you shall go to the priest (Deut. 26:1-3)


Fourteen years elapsed after the Jewish people entered the land of Israel until they were able to fulfill the second half of the verse – the bringing of their first fruits to Jerusalem.  


Seven years were spent in conquering the entire land from its inhabitants; seven more years were spent dividing the land among the 12 tribes.  


Our generation, which will very soon enter the promised land with the coming of Moshiach, will not need to wait any period of time before we are able to bring our first fruits to the Holy Temple.


Not only will there be no need to conquer and distribute the land, but the fruits themselves will grow with such rapidity that their harvesting will take place simultaneously with their planting.


(Sichot Kodesh, 5751)


Living with the Rebbe.
Living with the Rebbe

True and absolute Love. 


The Torah portion of Ki Tavo begins by saying: “When you come to the land that G-d your L-rd is giving you as a heritage, occupying and settling it, you shall take of the first fruits…and go to the site that G-d will choose as the place for the indwelling of His name.” Rashi comments: “This teaches us that [the Jewish people] were not obligated to bring the first fruits until they conquered and divided the land.”


Offering the first fruits served for the Jewish people as a gesture of thanks to G-d for leading them into the Land of Israel and allowing them to enjoy its bounty. It thus indicated that they were not ingrates.


The above is also related to Chai Elul, (the eighteenth day of Elul), which occurs this Shabbat  

(Aug. 24,2013). For it is the birthday of two great luminaries–the Baal Shem Tov, founder of the Chassidic Movement, and Rabbi Shneur Zalman, the founder of the Chabad-Lubavitch segment within that movement. Among the fundamental principles they taught are the obligation to love one’s fellow Jew and the concept of the intrinsic unity of the Jewish people which are alluded to at the beginning of this week’s Torah portion, the week in which Chai Elul occurs.


How are love and unity among Jews best achieved? When two or more people unite, then no matter how strong their bond may be it is not absolute unity, since they are intrinsically disparate entities; their union is but an extension to their essential being. We thus understand that the unity of the Jewish people, which is an absolutely true and essential unity stems from the fact that all Jews, by virtue of the common Source of their souls, are truly one.


Nevertheless, the true unity of the Jewish people finds expression specifically when Jews, existing as distinct and separate individuals, are even then, truly united as one. Indeed, if the unity of the Jewish people were not to find expression among Jews who exist as distinct individuals, this would prove that their`unity does not stem from the essence of their being, for an individual’s essence must be found in all his particular and detailed aspects.


This, then, was the deeper reason as to why the Jewish people were not obligated to bring their offerings of the first fruits until they had conquered and divided the land–for it served as an indication of the true and absolute love and unity that existed among them, to the extent that no individual could be truly joyful so long as tHere existed one fellow Jew who did not yet have a portion in Israel.


And as to ourselves, by truly loving our fellow Jews, we can once again merit to “come to the land” of Israel – through our Righteous Moshiach, speedily in our days.


From The Chasidic Dimension, adapted by Rabbi S. B. Wineberg from the works of the Lubavitcher Rebbe.

It Once Happened.

 The spiritual Journey of a giant.   

The eighteenth of Elul ( Shabbat Aug. 24, 2013) is the birthday of Rabbi Shneur Zalman, founder of Chabad Chasidic philosophy and Rabbi Yisrael Baal Shem Tov, founder of the Chasidic movement in general. The following story describes how Rabbi Shneur Zalman became involved in the fledgling Chasidic movement.


At the age of twenty, Rabbi Shneur Zalman, decided to leave home for a period of time in search of a teacher and guide. Two centers of learning beckoned his attention. One was Vilna, the Lithuanian capital, the center of the Talmudic scholarship, with the famed “Vilna Gaon,” Rabbi Eliyahu at its head. The other was Mezritch, the seat of Rabbi Dov Ber, the “Maggid of Mezritch, heir to Rabbi Yisrael Baal Shem Tov, the leader of the still young Chasidic movement. For Rabbi Shneur Zalman, Mezritch was both geographically and intellectually the more distant place, but he had heard about the great scholarship of Rabbi Dov Ber, and the new way of Divine service which he was teaching. Rabbi Shneur Zalman had to make a momentous choice. He thought, “I have already been exposed to Talmudic discipline; I have yet to learn the discipline of prayer,”and he decided in favor of Mezritch. The decision was, of course, the turning point of his life.


Rabbi Shneur Zalman’s decision to go to Mezritch aroused his father-in-law’s vehement opposition, to the extent of depriving his daughter and son-in-law of any further financial support. But Rabbi Shneur Zalman’s wife stood by him, and agreed to his going there on condition that if he decided to stay, he would not extent his stay beyond 18 months.


His first impressions were not encouraging. Rabbi Shneur Zalman closely observed the Maggid and his senior disciples. He discovered that they devoted considerable time to the daily prayers, and in preparation before the prayers, inevitably reducing the time left for Torah study. To the intellectual that he was, this emphasis on prayer seemed extravagant. He decided that Mezritch was not for him. The Maggid made no attempt to detain him.


As Rabbi Shneur Zalman left Mezritch, he remembered that he had forgotten one of his belongings in the synagogue of the Maggid. Returning there, he found the Maggid engaged in the examination of a question of Jewish law. The brilliant analysis by the Maggid of all aspects of the question, which displayed his extraordinary erudition in the realm of Halacha, made a profound impression on Rabbi Shneur Zalman, and he decided to stay a while longer in Mezritch. Thereupon, the Maggid told Rabbi Shneur Zalman that his saintly master, the Baal Shem Tov, had revealed to him that one day the son of Rabbi Baruch would come to him, would leave him, and then return again. Then he – the Maggid – was to tell him about the great destiny that was linked to Rabbi Shneur Zalman’s soul. The Baal Shem Tov further predicted that Rabbi Shneur Zalman’s path in life would be hazardous, but that he, the Baal Shem Tov, would intercede in his behalf, and in behalf of his followers, so that “his end would be exceedingly great.”


Rabbi Shneur Zalman was deeply moved by what he heard, and he decided to cast in his lot with the new Chasidic movement.


But what mostly impressed Rabbi Shneur Zalman was Rabbi Dov Ber’s demonstration of the perfect equilibrium and harmonious synthesis of the mystic and rationalist which was the object of Rabbi Shneur Zalman’s quest. To quote Rabbi Shneur Zalman: “Two things I saw: The sublime ecstasy of the Holy Society on the one hand, and the remarkable composure of our master Rabbi Dov Ber on the other, which enthralled me completely. That is when I became a Chasid.’ Once the young “Litvak” (native of Lithuania) became attached to Rabbi Dov Ber, the latter began to give him special attention, though he was the youngest and newest of the disciples. Rabbi Dov Ber arranged that his son, Abraham, (who because of the saintliness of his character had earned the appellation Malach [“Angel”]), initiate the new disciple into the esoteric doctrines of the Kabbala and Chasidut, as had been taught by the Besht and himself, in return for instruction in Talmudic study. Rabbi Shneur Zalman’s time was now equally divided between the study of the Talmud and Chasidut, which he studied with his customary diligence. He also closely observed the master, Rabbi Dov Ber, and his distinguished disciples, in an effort to emulate their day-to-day behavior and refinement of character. Here was a group of scholarly mystics who exemplified Chasidut at its best. This is what Rabbi Shneur Zalman had been looking for.


When Rabbi Shneur Zalman returned home after 18 months had elapsed, he was asked by his erstwhile colleagues in Vitebsk whether he had found it worth while to go so far away while Vilna was so much nearer. Rabbi Shneur Zalman answered, “In Vilna you are taught how to master the Torah, in Mezritch you are taught how to let the Torah master you.”


Excerpted from The Philosophy of Chabad: Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi, Kehot Publication Society.

Warmest wishes for a Shabbat Shalom.   


Rabbi Shlomo Ezagui

Chabad Center Palm Beach 

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