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Editor's Note: How to Get Inspired

Dear Friend,

Not all actions were created equal.

I have a friend who recently began putting on tefillin. Every morning, with great concentration, he would strap the tefillin on his hand and his head. Then he would soar like an angel as he made his way through the prayer service.

Then it happened. A week became a month, and a month became a year, and it was no longer exciting. The tefillin lost their sparkle, and the prayers lost some of their luster.

What is he to do?

The first thing to remember is that a mitzvah is still a mitzvah, even if we are not super-inspired by it. Still, the tendency to become accustomed to our daily routine is something we can and must overcome. How?

Study Chassidic teachings.

Try it and you will see that you will be more in tune with your soul, more open to seeing the inner beauty of the mitzvahs and more sensitive to the G‑dly rhythm behind our universe.

We are now celebrating 19 Kislev, when the first Chabad rebbe was release from a Czarist prison and then began publicizing Chassidic teachings more widely than ever before. It is considered the Chassidic Rosh Hashanah, the “New Year” of Chassidism. If you can use a good dose of inspiration, I think I know what your New Year’s resolution is going to be!

Rabbi Menachem Kaminker
on behalf of the Editorial Team

PS Looking for some texts to start with? You can find a wealth of texts here and lots of classes for every level here.

19 Kislev
Light, Life and Selflessness

Two pithy lines were repeated by beloved teachers and relived by those who heard them each and every year.
Your Questions
Is Judaism a Cult?

I have nothing against religion, but could it be that religious Judaism is a cult? I bumped into an old classmate who has become totally religious. After speaking to her, I felt that she is brainwashed . . .
Why Can’t I Use an Electric Menorah?

I was in a bit of a hurry so I didn’t get into it, but I would still like to know, what is the story with electric menorahs?
Of Kapotehs, Ladders and Crazy, Lit-up Rabbis

After years of watching these and other animated, enthusiastic rabbis, with their interesting and industrious ways of approaching holidays—and every day, for that matter—I have learned that sometimes it’s me who is missing a tune.
An Adult Daughter Muses as She Visits Her Childhood Home

Was I really returning home, or just to the memories of what once was?
The Dream of Life

I surge awake, staring blindly around me for a moment before I recognize my surroundings.
How Joseph Maintained His Serenity

Joseph was in tune with another person’s pain, and was therefore capable of doing that one small act of goodness and kindness. Little did he know that it would change the world.
Tamar’s Twins

Whenever the Torah describes the birth of twins, it goes into minute detail, as if we are the grandparents who are anxious to hear about every step of the labor and delivery. Why?
Where Are Jews Truly At Home?

Europe was our home, but we were never at home there.
Chanukah Essay
Stop the Dreidel!

Each component of a Jewish holiday was put in place in accordance with the particular holiday's singular message. So, where does that leave the traditional dreidel game?
How to Decorate Doughnuts Like a Pro

Of course you need a good, fluffy dough, but let's face it—a huge part of doughnuts is the decorating. There's good old powdered sugar, but there are also all kinds of glazes, sprinkles and other toppings.
Jewish News
A Whirlwind Trip of a Lifetime at Wedding of Grieving Couple

It was a victory over terror for an orphaned bride as college students and visitors from abroad joined thousands at her wedding in Jerusalem.
In the Frigid Calm After the Storm, Spokane Rabbi Sets an Example

The power was out and trees were down, but he kept people's mood warm and up.
Worldwide Events to Mark ‘the New Year of Chassidism’ in This Hakhel Year

Farbrengens and special commemorations throughout the week.
In Hawaii, 9-Year-Old Soccer Player Keeps the Real Goal in Mind

Ref’s call to remove religious attire leads to an educational conclusion for all.
If a person drops a sela, and a poor man finds it and is sustained by it, then he [who lost the coin] will be blessed on its account
— Midrash Sifri