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The Chabad.org Blog

Dear Friend,

Exactly 50 years ago, Jerusalem was reunited under Jewish control. Even before the fighting finished, Jews from all over streamed toward the Kotel (Western Wall). Shofar blasts pierced the air, and heartfelt sobbing could be heard from even the most battle-toughened soldiers.

Barriers of political affiliation, cultural milieu, level of observance and Torah education all melted in the flaming fire of Jewish unity that was felt so powerfully by all. Everyone had witnessed the miraculous turnaround that had just happened.

This is the unity of Shavuot. When our ancestors stood at the foot of Mt. Sinai 3,329 years ago, ready to receive the Torah, they were “as one person with one heart.”

We can do it again. Let’s all gather in synagogues on Wednesday morning to hear the Ten Commandments. There is a spot for everyone at your closest Chabad synagogue, where we can all gather “as one person with one heart.”

See you on Shavuot!

The Chabad.org Editorial Team

Dear Friend,

Have you been to the playground lately? You must have noticed that the kids have little contraptions whirring on their fingers. Yes, fidget spinners (and their cousins, fidget cubes) have taken the (juvenile) world by storm, infiltrating classrooms and parks, and even appearing at the dinner table.

What does all this cycling have to do with Judaism?

Well, this week’s Torah portion is all about cycles—the seven-year Shemittah (Sabbatical) cycle, followed by the 50-year Yovel (Jubilee) cycle.

Life, however, is not a merry-go-round (or a fidget spinner). Even as the seasons repeat themselves, we don’t get off exactly where we get on. Time is not a cycle, but a spiral. So, will you be spiraling upward or downward? For that, we have the continuation of the Parshah, which gives us guidelines for honest and productive communal life. As long as we aspire to live in accordance with G‑d’s wishes and help others, we can be assured that we will be propelled ever higher and higher.

Enjoy your read!

The Chabad.org Editorial Team

Photo: Koren Publishers
Photo: Koren Publishers

Jewish.tv, Chabad.org’s video site, is constantly buzzing with people engaging in thousands of learning opportunities. One section that has seen tremendous growth is the series of Talmud classes given daily by Rabbi Avraham Zajac.

This is especially so during this Omer season, when many have the custom to study one page of Tractate Sotah each day. The tractate contains 49 pages (including the cover page), aligning with the 49 days of the Omer count.

This year, students of this series are benefiting from an exciting addition.

The daily Talmud class of Rabbi Avraham Meyer Zajac, co-director of Chabad-Lubavitch SOLA-South La Cienega, Calif., is now online. (Photo: The Eiden Project)
The daily Talmud class of Rabbi Avraham Meyer Zajac, co-director of Chabad-Lubavitch SOLA-South La Cienega, Calif., is now online. (Photo: The Eiden Project)

Thanks to the generosity of Koren Publishers, the Talmud classes on Chabad.org now display the actual text of the Talmud—the original Hebrew, and an excellent English translation and commentary from the acclaimed Steinsaltz Talmud—enabling students to follow in the original and benefit from the additional elucidation.

Dubbed “the most accessible Talmud,” the Koren Talmud Bavli fuses the innovative design of Koren Publishers with the unrivaled scholarship of Rabbi Adin Even-Israel (Steinsaltz).

It gets better. To celebrate this partnership, readers can enjoy a 10 percent discount to purchase the Koren Talmud, using the promo code “CHABAD.” Click here to take advantage of this opportunity.

Click here to view the Talmud classes and texts. Classes are available via online video and audio, as well as through a daily podcast.

We hope you enjoy! As always, we thrive on your feedback.

The Steinsaltz Talmud features translation, commentary, and illustrations.
The Steinsaltz Talmud features translation, commentary, and illustrations.

Dear Friend,

Bows and arrows? Check! Camping supplies? Check! Sunhat? Check! Water bottles? Check! Fire-building supplies? Check!

Sounds like someone about to go on a machismo bow-hunting expedition? Keep on listening . . .

Chassidic text? Check! Money for charity? Check!

You’ve guessed it. It’s the sound of Jewish children and adults all over the world getting ready for Lag BaOmer—the day we celebrate the birth of Kabbalah out in the fields, marveling at G‑d’s magnificent creation.

Lag BaOmer takes place this Sunday, and there’s bound to be a Chabad-sponsored celebration near you. So pack the sunscreen, gather up the kids, invite a friend and get ready for a great time outdoors!

Happy Lag BaOmer!

The Chabad Editorial Team

P.S. Just in case you are wondering, here are the reasons for the bows and bonfires.

On May 8, 2017, Chabad.org will launch a new course that offers insight into emotional intelligence and finding balance in life. Inspired by classic Jewish teachings, we’ve collected and adapted 13 ways to live healthier: socially, mentally, even physically.

1. Positive thinking attracts positive outcomes.

(Rabbi Menachem Mendel, Tzemach Tzedek of Lubavitch)

2. Take responsibility for how you react to others.

(Bava Kama 2:6)

3. Be sensitive and aware of others people’s feelings.

(Leviticus 19:18)

4. Appreciate and have gratitude for the goodness in your life.

(Avot 4:1)

5. Live in the present, not in what “could be” or “could have been.”

(Avot 1:14).

6. When processing a painful experience, consider that it might be part of a bigger picture.

(Taanit 21a)

7. Emphasizing past failure is poison; avoid it at all costs.

(Tzvaat Harivash, Section 46).

8. Relax and recognize that G‑d is in control.

(Maimonides, Yesodei Hatorah, Chapter 2)

9. Don’t judge others until you’re in their shoes.

(Avot 2:4)

10. Properly interpret situations by developing your Emotional Quotient.

Image credit: GIPHY/ Mighty Oak

11. Recognize that happiness is the journey, not the destination.

(Avot 4:16)

12. Know your strengths and weaknesses.

(Rabbi Sholom DovBer of Lubavitch, The “Rebbe Rashab”)

13. Enroll in the ‘Finding Balance’ course TODAY!

Emotional Intelligence can be a tremendous asset to those who have it, but how do the rest of us get in on it? Mrs. Rochel Holzkenner offers Torah lessons on mastering four prime emotions and how to live a more balanced life. In this four-part course starting May 8th you will learn to live a happier life!

Sign up today!

Dear Friend,

When we hear the word “learning,” we generally think of information, systems, and facts and figures. But there is a whole different vista of education that has less to do with the brain and more to do with the heart—learning how to navigate life in an emotionally healthy and productive state.

The latest offering of www.chabad.org/courses is not only a deep look into the Torah’s teachings, but an actual guide on how to incorporate the wisdom and lessons into your own emotional makeup.

Sounds intriguing?

“Finding Balance” with instructor Rochel Holzkenner starts on May 8 and runs for four consecutive Mondays. It’s downright thought-provoking and absolutely free, so hurry up and register today.

The Chabad.org Editorial Team

Dear Friend,

The ubiquity of video cameras has changed the way we see crime—literally. A criminal could once have committed a crime with the (un)reasonable expectation to deny it later.

Today, with cellphones in almost every pocket—and security cameras attached to homes and businesses—the digital trail makes it much harder to hide illegal actions. And it’s not just criminals who are being recorded. All over the world, police officers are beginning to wear cameras, insuring that the guardians of the law conform to proper standards as well.

To us Jews, this is nothing new. This Shabbat, as part of the annual study of the Ethics of Our Fathers, Jews all over will read the words of Rabbi Judah the Prince: “Know what is above you, a seeing eye and a listening ear, and all your actions are written in a [heavenly] book.”

Never mind body cams, livestreams and digital footprints. G‑d has been recording us all along, taking note of our misdeeds and our good deeds as well. Beyond simply policing our behavior, He is cheering us on, hoping that we make the right moves.

So how will you spend the next moment? Will it be something you want viewed by the Supernal Periscope?

Menachem Posner
on behalf of the Chabad.org Editorial Team

Dear Friend,

We regret to inform you of the passing of Mrs. Joyce Freeman, dear mother of Rabbi Tzvi Freeman, senior Chabad.org writer and editor.

Tzvi recalls that their Vancouver home was always filled with guests, and his mother would teach her children, and then her many grandchildren: "If somebody is in your house, they are hungry. So don't ask them if they want something to eat, just feed them. And if they are not in your house, then invite them in!"

As is customary, because mourning is forbidden on the holiday, the shiva mourning period did not begin until the conclusion of the eight-day festival of Passover.

On behalf of the entire Chabad.org family we extend our most heartfelt condolences to Tzvi and his family.

Nichum aveilim (words of condolence) can be shared with Tzvi Freeman through the discussion section.

Hamakom Yenachem Etchem Betoch She’ar Aveilei Tzion V’Yerushalayim - May the Omnipresent comfort you among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.

And may we share only good news in the future,
The Chabad.org Team

Dear Friend,

Just two years ago, veteran “Ask the Rabbi” responder Yehuda Shurpin kicked off his “Ask Rabbi Y” column with a response to why we hide the afikoman. Thanks to the wonderful questions you have submitted, this feature has grown to become one of our most popular offerings, with fresh, insightful and relevant answers to so many questions.

So keep on submitting good questions and sharing thoughtful comments. Together, we’ll make this third year of answers even more exciting, educational and satisfying!

Sincerely,

The Chabad.org Editorial Team

Dear Friend,

We trust that you had liberating, educational, enjoyable and inspiring Seders.

The intermediate days of Passover are traditionally a time for family outings (with lots of matzah and other kosher-for-Passover snacks in the wings), fun Passover meals (did you know that you are supposed to drink a cup of wine or grape juice every day of Passover?) and added Torah study.

And of course, this is also the time we begin to count the Omer, noting the accumulation of days until we finally reach Shavuot 50 days later. To help you count the Omer every day, we’ve got the Omer Counter app. Download it, share it with your friends, and never miss a day again.

With wishes for a beautiful rest of your holiday,
The Chabad.org Editorial Team

Dear Friend,

This week, on the 11th day of Nissan (Thursday night, April 7–Friday, April 8), we celebrate the 115th anniversary of the birth of our beloved Rebbe, of righteous memory.

The Rebbe would speak about the long-awaited redemption of our people using two terms: collective redemption and personal redemption.

Our prophets and sages tell us what the redemption of our entire people will look like: When Moshiach will come, there will be no war or hatred. All peoples of the world will live in peace and harmony. The very ether will be filled with love and awareness of G‑d’s presence.

Definitely a world we can yearn for.

But what exactly is “personal redemption”? What is it supposed to look or feel like?

To be personally redeemed means to apply the same global yearnings and ideals to our own “micro” selves. Personal redemption means that our own little world should harbor no more conflict, jealousy or resentment. It means nurturing an outlook that engenders love inside of our selves toward all of G‑d’s creations. And a state of mind in which we are constantly aware of G‑d’s presence in our lives.

So, how do we achieve this? The Rebbe advised that we begin by studying Torah texts that tell us what the era of Moshiach will look like. We can then work to mirror that in our own lives.

May this Passover, the “Festival of our Freedom,” bring with it true liberation and freedom, both micro and macro.

Mendy Kaminker,
on behalf of the Chabad.org Editorial Team

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