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The Chabad.org Blog

Feature of the Week: Daily Dose

February 19, 2019 1:12 PM

Since the early years of Chabad.org, Tzvi Freeman’s Daily Dose of Wisdom has been a beloved staple of our site. Like a delicious cup of coffee, these pithy nuggets of Chassidic wisdom are uplifting, delightful, and just the right thing to start your day. View them on our homepage or on Facebook, get them in your inbox daily and as part of the Hayom App, or enjoy our favorite selections in ebook form and as an actual book for Shabbat enjoyment.

New Jewish Stories Podcast

February 12, 2019 5:23 PM

Rabbi Yisrael of Ruzhin once said, “The Torah begins by telling us stories, and only later does it turn to the matter of Jewish law, for through stories G‑d’s glory shines through the dense thicket of corporeality.”

Chassidic stories have long been used to comfort, teach and inspire. Now Chabad.org has made classic Jewish and Chassidic stories more accessible than ever with two exciting updates.

Chabad.org’s Jewish Stories Podcast brings little-known tales to the general public for the first time. Each season of stories, narrated by Benson Simmonds, is available for immediate listening or for later binge-listening on Chabad.org, iTunes or by searching for “Jewish Stories Podcast” in your favorite podcasting app.

Chabad.org has also recently added a Jewish stories feature to its Google Assistant app. The feature plays short Jewish stories for Jewish children and adults alike to enjoy. The app is part of a limited set of Google’s Family Safe category, meaning that parents can let their children safely explore the app while limiting the other unwanted content they can access.

To hear a story, simply tell one of 5,000 connected Google devices: “Hey, Google! Ask Chabad to tell me story.”

Feature of the Week: Parsha Perks

February 11, 2019 5:33 PM

There’s a Chassidic teaching that we are to “live” with the Torah portion of the week. Every week, the parshah comes alive for thousands of viewers through Dr. Michael Chighel’s enlightening, insightful and zany conversations with himself. Titled, “Parshah Perks,” these delightful and fast-paced vlog-posts are whimsically described as “perquisites for daily life percolated in the Rebbe's teachings on the parshah.”

This week, a North American Professor Chighel and his very proper British alter ego learn a lesson about desire, sin and repentance. The other week, he spoke to a Freudian psychoanalyst from yesteryear about the divide between rational and supra-rational. With whom will he be speaking next week? Make sure to open this email (or check online) every week to find out.

The. Worst. Superbowl. Ever.

February 5, 2019 1:58 PM

The Worst. Superbowl. Ever.

Rabbi Confession # 1: I didn't watch the Superbowl.

Rabbi Confession # 2: I don't even know the rules of the game, so even if I had watched it, it would have been boring.

Speaking about boring, it seems like everyone thinks that this year’s game was boring. Some even called it “the Worst Superbowl Ever.”

Why?

It seems that this game lacked action. No drama, no high energy movement. Just two teams trying to protect themselves, playing it safe.

And we like excitement. We want to see action. We crave bravery, courage, and risk taking.

Not because we like to see players fail. It’s because when there’s drama, the players shine. When the going gets tough, the tough get going. In those moments of risk and uncertainty, some players find within themselves the most amazing talents. Ignoring the fact that their careers and the very safety of their cities can be jeopardized by their next moves, they “lock in,” focusing only on the job at hand and shine under pressure.

And this game, I’m told, had none of that.

Now, guess what: G‑d also likes exciting Superbowls.

No, not the one played yesterday.

The one being played every day in the arena of our lives. In the stadium of our souls.

You see, G‑d could have guaranteed us a low-score, no-drama, slow-moving life.

But that would be boring. And besides, we wouldn't have an opportunity to shine.

So he created a life full of the possibilities for magnificent catches and dropped passes; great runs and awful fumbles; game-winning touchdowns and blown field goals, so that in spite of everything happening around us, we can tap into our inner core and show our true colors. He gives us the ability to “lock-in.”

He likes it. Not because it's fun to watch, but because he knows it's good for us.

Next time life throws a curveball at you (is this a football term? Not sure ;)), remember that you are in this big, exciting game. Give it your all and play to win.

The Key to Living Jewishly is Coming to WhatsApp!

January 28, 2019 1:02 PM

There is so much to know as a Jew—what, why, where, when, how? Shulchan Aruch, the Code of Jewish Law, is our indispensable companion, our guide to Jewish life. But where does one start learning the Code of Jewish Law?

Rabbi Avraham Zajac has been giving classes on Shulchan Aruch Harav on Chabad.org for several years now. Starting Sunday, we’ll be sending out another 5-minute class every weekday via WhatsApp.

This project is dedicated in memory of our dear partner,Rabbi Yonah (ben R’ Meir) Avtzon, director of SIE (Sichos in English), who passed away this month at age 61. One of Rabbi Avtzon’s most recent (and ambitious) accomplishments was publishing Shulchan Aruch Harav with an English translation and commentary. Indeed, together with the video class, you will receive the text in Hebrew and English, courtesy of our dear friends at SIE.

Here’s how to join: WhatsApp message the word HALACHA to +1-570-543-2125, save our number to your contacts, and get ready to learn!

May the Torah studied through this project bring merit to the soul of this special individual for whom this translation was a labor of love.

Feature of the Week: Ask Rabbi Y

January 18, 2019 11:36 AM

Did you ever wonder why we Jews do what we do? From why we check our fingernails during Havdalah to why some Jews have long sidelocks, and from why kosher pickles are called “kosher” to why Jews toast “l’chaim, “to life.

Get your answers from "Rabbi Y," a veteran of Chabad.org's acclaimed Ask the Rabbi team, who answers another “why” question every week. No question is too obscure, and no area of Jewish life is off-limits.

Click here to submit your question to "Rabbi Y" and here to receive “Ask Rabbi Y” every week by email, and join our growing group of learning, enlightened Jews.

Let's Make the World Into a Garden

January 15, 2019 12:38 PM

Wednesday is Yud Shevat, the anniversary of passing of the sixth Lubavitcher Rebbe—Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn (1880–1950), of righteous memory. It is the day the Rebbe—Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of righteous memory—formally assumed leadership of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement in 1951 and outlined his vision of a world transformed, from “jungle” to “garden,” a world where G‑d Almighty feels comfortable to call home.

May we finally realize the Rebbe's vision of revealing the beautiful garden hidden within the jungle. Amen!

Feature of the Week: Biographies in Brief

January 8, 2019 11:15 AM

Do you wish to learn more about the men and women who have shaped Judaism? What was Abraham like as a baby? How did David have the backbone to persevere through all his tribulations? Get into the mind of Og the Giant in a unique diary you’ll only find on Chabad.org.

Impress your family and friends by reading our Biographies in Brief section, filled with 30+ highly researched articles, each focusing on another key figure in Jewish history.

Where Has Rabbi Yitzi Been?

January 3, 2019 1:18 PM

Rabbi Yitzi Hurwitz, despite having been rendered immobile by ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease), has persevered against the odds to impact the lives of tens of thousands around the world. Unable to speak or type, he uses his eyes to write heartfelt thoughts on the weekly Torah portion.

Over the past few weeks, many have wondered about the dearth of content being pumped out from our dear Rabbi Yitzi. In this raw and meaningful letter, Rabbi Yitzi shares his most recent struggle and his sincere thanks for all who have prayed for his continued wellbeing.

(Watch a video about the inspiring journey and perseverance of this once-in-a-generation man and learn some of his timely Torah articles.)


The past few weeks have been trying for me.

You know that I suffer from ALS which makes me unable to move most of my body, and I can't talk. What I can do is smile and move my eyes. With my eyes, I am able to control a computer that reads my eye movements. With my eyes, I communicate with my family and I write Torah articles. I am also able to use my eyes to text and email.

My joys in life are my wife and children, lifting the spirits of others, and teaching Torah through my articles.

Over the past few weeks, I couldn't get my eyes to focus on the letters I wanted to write. I don't know if it was psychological or physical, but my eyes weren't cooperating. Writing one word took as long as five minutes. I can't even begin to tell you how frustrating it was.

I tried everything from relaxing to praying. Not being able to write to my wife and children, I felt useless as a husband and father. Not being able to write Torah articles, I felt useless and irrelevant. I felt like I was in jail. My thoughts were, "what possible purpose could I have if I can't communicate?"

That is where having a good wife comes in. My wife, Dina, said to me, "It is obvious that G‑d wants something else of you and that writing is not the only way, or perhaps less writing, but more meaningful writing, from the heart, is what G‑d wants from you. On Shabbat, when you don't use the eye gaze computer, you are still there and relevant. Maybe you should think of it like Shabbat. Even if you can only see and look at people, that is meaningful to us."

"If you are alive, it means that you are relevant to G‑d, and that you make a difference."

She also organized a farbrengen in my honor, where people took on good resolutions in Torah and mitzvot, in kindness and in living life in the ways of G‑d. And people around the world have also made resolutions, said prayers and sent me well wishes.

You don't know how powerful your Torah, mitzvot, kindness, prayers, and resolutions are. I am grateful for every one of them. I am also grateful to all of you who prayed for me at holy sites.

So far, I have not gone wrong listening to Dina's advice. She lifted me up, helped me reframe my situation and brought meaning back to my life.

Thank you for all the love you've all sent my way.


Rabbi Yitzi

Feature of the Week: Explore Israel

January 1, 2019 1:46 PM

Did you know that you can read all about famous and sacred spots in Israel on Chabad.org? Appropriately titled “Points of Interest in Israel,” this section will give you all you need to know about sites like the Western Wall, Tiberias, Masada and the Dead Sea.

Learn 15 facts about Jerusalem and 22 facts about Hebron, watch a documentary, climb the metaphorical walls of Masada, and more at Points of Interest in Israel!

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