Tuesday, December 09, 2014


A Mivtsoim Question

   by Reb Gutman Locks   

A Mivtsoim Question


     Mivtsoim is the Lubavitcher Rebbe's term for reaching out to other Jews, helping them to come to Torah and mitzvahs. The idea goes all the way back to Avraham Avinu (our father) who would set up his tent by crossroads looking for travelers to invite for a meal so he could explain to them that G-d is one, and that there are no other gods.

    The next huge innovator and major player in going out to spread Torah to the uneducated was the Baal Shem Tov who spread his Chassidus to the unlearned Jews of Europe some 300 years ago.

     Next, came the Rebbe whose love of his fellow Jew has been translated into hundreds of thousands of Chassidim going out looking for Jews to help. Never in history (that I am aware of) has anyone sent messengers to take their families and move to almost every corner of the world to be sure that every Jew has the opportunity to come to Torah and mitzvahs.

     One of the Rebbe's young yeshiva students sent me this question.

     Hi, it's Berel. I have a mivtsoim question. I put tefillin on someone today, and I explained that when we put on tefillin, and when we eat an animal in a kosher way, we uplift the animal (leather..); that is, if it is slaughtered the right way etc. He asked why we are not concerned about hurting the animal when it's being killed and while it's alive and is being held captive and tortured etc. Evidently all farms are like that. So why are we so concerned when we are killing it, but not how it is treated before then?

Gutman's response:

     I haven't eaten meat since 1967, mostly for health reasons, but animal cruelty plays a part in it, too. So, I certainly understand his question.

    But tell him that the Torah is certainly concerned with animal cruelty, and such mistreatment is entirely forbidden by the Torah (tza'ar ba'alei chayim - suffering of living creatures).

     But when the slaughter is done in a kosher way we are allowed to eat that animal or use its skin even if the animal had been abused during its lifetime. If it is slaughtered in a kosher way that mistreatment does not make the dead animal forbidden. Those who mistreat animals will have to pay their debt for their deeds either in this world, or in the Next.

     As for mivtsoim, make sure that you try to open their hearts, too, and not just have them do the physical mitzvah of tefillin.

     One good way to open their hearts is, after they say the shema have them close their eyes and pray for their family and for everything that they need. Also, be sure that they thank G-d for all the good that He has given them. Explain to them that when a Jew does a mitzvah a spiritual gate opens. It is a time when Hashem listens favorably to their prayers. This will bring them to love the mitzvah and they will want to do it again.   

     Keep up your good work. You are a blessing to the Jewish people. Every time you help one Jew, you help us all.

     See these videos they will encourage your mivtsovim.

Why Should I Help You?

Message to Chabad 



  1. Sorry for a tangental follow up question: Do Tefillin parts have to come a kosher slaughtered animal or just a kosher animal like a cow, bull, etc...? I am under the impression, please correct me if I am mistaken, that Torah scrolls can in fact be made from kosher slaughtered cows, is the halacha of tefillin the same?

  2. The parchment on which a Torah, Tefillin, or Mezuzot is written MUST come from a kosher animal slaughtered in a kosher way and determined to be kosher after slaughter (certain internal damage or diseases will render a kosher animal non-kosher if found after slaughter, such as a hole in the intestines). I am not certain if this is true of the tefillin boxes - they certainly must be from a kosher animal - but I don't know if they are required to be from one slaughtered in a kosher way.


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