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The Chabad.org Blog

Exciting News! Two New Classes

July 23, 2020 2:39 PM

We would like to share some exciting news with you!

  • Jews from all walks of life are setting off now on a three-year sprint through the entirety of Torah law!
  • No matter your background or level of knowledge, YOU can join them!

This mind-opening daily study regimen of Maimonides’ magnum opus known as “Mishneh Torah” ― the only code of oral tradition that encompasses the entire span of Torah’s laws ― was conceived and initiated by the Rebbe, of righteous memory, as the very best way to achieve the dual goals of Jewish unity and literacy.

Along with the flagship program (three chapters daily, completed in under a year), which has just begun its fortieth cycle, students of the three-year (one chapter a day) track begin the very first chapter of its “post-bar mitzvah” cycle today.

To aid you on this amazing journey, we are very pleased to announce two groundbreaking new daily classes, adding to our array of classes on Maimonides’ work:

One Chapter Daily: Rabbi YY Jacobson

Rabbi Jacobson, world-renowned for his masterful erudition and oratory skills, will teach one chapter of Maimonides daily on the three-year track. This class promises to be as informative and educational as it will be enjoyable. About 45 minutes daily.

To access Rabbi Jacobson’s daily class, simply go to www.chabad.org/RabbiYYJ.

Three Chapters Daily―The Flagship Track: Rabbi Raleigh Resnick

This new class covers much ground quickly but amazingly leaves nothing out. A significant Torah scholar and director of Chabad of Tri-Valley, Calif., Rabbi Resnick’s courses on Chabad.org have earned him great accolades. About 45 minutes daily.

To access Rabbi Resnick’s class, go to www.chabad.org/RabbiResnick.

Our Existing Cast of Scholars

These new classes join our stellar line-up of brilliant and engaging scholars teaching daily classes on Maimonides. Including:

All classes are available on our updated daily study portal page.

Also new this year: A daily insight into Maimonides’ opus from the Rebbe’s teachings, by Rabbi Avraham Mayer Zajac.

We hope you’ll take advantage of this unique opportunity and join the countless thousands who are learning ‘the entire Torah’ from Judaism’s brilliant and revered teacher: Moses Maimonides!

We wish you a very happy journey of learning, discovery and unity, and a blessed new (Jewish) month of Menachem Av.


Your friends @ Chabad.org

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Live on Monday, July 13, at 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time

July 10, 2020 2:51 PM

Where Is the Parshah Quiz?

July 6, 2020 5:10 PM

Over the past year, many of you have been taking our weekly Parshah quizzes. We’ve enjoyed creating them, and judging by your comments, you’ve had a lot of fun taking them as well!

With the help of the Al-mighty, we are excited to share that we have now created a quiz for every Torah portion. To find the quizzes year-round, simply go to the Parshah of the week, scroll down to the “Family Parshah” section and select the quiz.

Or better yet, browse our quiz repository and test your knowledge on all kinds of Jewish subjects.

Happy quizzing!


The Chabad.org Quiz Team

Today Is Special. Here's Why

July 3, 2020 2:08 PM

Today, Friday, July 10, 2020, is super important. Not just because of what happened on this day (significant things happened on every day of the calendar), but because of what is happening.

Today (18 Tammuz on the Hebrew calendar), around the world, hundreds of thousands begin anew to study Maimonides’ Mishneh Torah — a digest that encompasses all the Torah’s laws and directives — as part of an annual study program that is starting its 40th cycle today.

Over the course of the next 11 months, we will continue to learn through the 14-volume compendium, absorbing a detailed and sweeping tour-de-force of the entirety of biblical and rabbinic law.

What Is “Daily Rambam”?

Rambam (also known as Maimonides) was a Talmudist, philosopher, doctor and rabbi born in Spain who flourished in Egypt in the 12th century.

Among his many works was the Yad Hachazakah, a 14-volume compendium of the totality of Jewish law, culled from Torah, Talmud, Midrash and the other teachings of the rabbis who preceded him.

In 1984, the Rebbe—Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of righteous memory—instituted a daily study cycle, whereby the entire work (often simply referred to as “Rambam”) is completed on a regular basis.

How to Learn Daily Rambam:

  1. Those capable follow a three-chapter-per-day schedule, which completes the Mishneh Torah in slightly less than one year.
  2. For those unable to study three chapters every day, the Rebbe suggested a parallel track at a more modest pace of one chapter daily, which lasts nearly three years.
  3. For those who find even that too difficult, the Rebbe instituted yet a third track. Paralleling the three-chapter-per-day regimen by learning daily about the same commandments being studied there in detail, this one explores Maimonides’ significantly shorter Sefer Hamitzvot (“Book of Commandments”), concluding all 613 mitzvahs each year.

Resources to Aid Rambam Study

Hebrew texts, English translations, audio classes, video lectures and more are all available on the Chabad.org Daily Study page. Here is some of what you can find:

Rabbi Mendel Kaplan preparing for his class.
Rabbi Mendel Kaplan preparing for his class.

The History of Learning Rambam

In the spring of 1984, the Rebbe—Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, of righteous memory—called for an innovative addition to the daily study schedule of every Jewish man, woman and child. He suggested that everyone study a portion of Mishneh Torah.

While many people had been turning to the 14-volume work to supplement their study of the Talmud or Jewish law, it was not being studied as a text on its own. Maimonides’ work was somewhat neglected, as the chief rabbi of Israel, the late Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, wrote at the time: “The Rebbe brought Rambam back from being a book for scholars to being a book for the masses to study.”

“The Rebbe brought Rambam back from being a book for scholars to being a book for the masses.”Part of the reason for this neglect was because the Mishneh Torah includes many laws that are not relevant today for daily life—laws that only applied during Temple times and will again be pertinent during the Messianic Era. So people turned, instead, to the works that focus on Jewish laws that are immediately applicable.

But it was for precisely this reason that the Rebbe recommended studying the Mishneh Torah: “It gathers all of Jewish law in a concise and clear fashion.” Every individual is commanded to study the entire Torah, a goal not within reach for most people. However, it is possible to study the whole Torah as compiled by Maimonides.

The Rebbe suggested that the Mishneh Torah should be studied straight through—from beginning to end—and that this be done according to an organized schedule.

What Learning Rambam Accomplishes

“One of the principal elements in the study of Rambam is the unification of Jewry,” the Rebbe was quoted in The New York Times as saying.

In a talk on April 28, 1984, the Rebbe explained that when everyone studies the same thing on the same day, their learning is united across continents. The Rebbe added that when different people study the same topic, they will come to discuss and debate it. This friendly and scholarly debate, the Rebbe said, will bring people closer to each other, contributing to unity among Jews.

Large numbers of Jewish people around the world immediately took it upon themselves to study the Mishneh Torah on a daily basis. Torah scholars and Chassidic masters issued their recommendation to join this new study cycle. Many Jewish dailies and weekly newspapers began printing the study schedule for the Mishneh Torah together with other existing daily study schedules.

Photo: mayanot.edu
Photo: mayanot.edu

When everyone studies the same thing on the same day, their learning is united across continents At the completion of every cycle, hundreds of celebrations take place in locations spanning the globe. Torah scholars from every segment of the Jewish community join these gatherings, delivering in-depth analyses on sections of Rambam.

“The people praising [Maimonides] were centuries removed from the life of Maimonides, who was born 851 years ago in Cordoba, Spain,” read The New York Times on March 6, 1986, following the celebration of the second completion of the cycle, at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York City. “Yet, after intensely studying his work this last year and applying his teachings, they gathered yesterday to celebrate the wisdom of the sage known to them as Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon, the Rambam.”

The article continued that “since Rabbi Schneerson instituted the program, studying Maimonides has become an integral part of many Jewish households.”

Now is the perfect time to get started. Join the daily Rambam program today!

‘Wisdom to Heal the Earth’ Wins Ben Franklin Gold Award

Tzvi Freeman’s ‘Meditations and Teachings of the Lubavitcher Rebbe’ honored as best book on religion and spirituality

June 30, 2020 12:46 PM
“Wisdom to Heal the Earth” was selected as the Gold winner from among three other finalists in the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) Benjamin Franklin Award™ Program as best book in the religion and spirituality category.
“Wisdom to Heal the Earth” was selected as the Gold winner from among three other finalists in the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) Benjamin Franklin Award™ Program as best book in the religion and spirituality category.

In recent years, a number of new books in multiple languages have brought the teachings of the Rebbe—Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of righteous memory—to an ever-expanding audience, making the Rebbe’s profound message for humanity more accessible than ever. When Tzvi Freeman, a senior editor at Chabad.org and acclaimed author, set out to write his fifth book on Rebbe’s teachings he never thought the finished product would ultimately win a gold medal.

But win it did.

Freeman’s latest book, Wisdom to Heal the Earth, produced by Chabad.org and published by Ezra Press, an imprint of Kehot Publication Society, was selected as the Gold winner from among three other finalists in the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) Benjamin Franklin Award™ Program as best book in the religion and spirituality category.

Regarded as one of the highest national honors for independent publishers, the award was presented by Terry Nathan, COO of the IBPA, as he slid the winning ticket out of an envelope on YouTube at a unique live-streamed ceremony dubbed as the “Shelter-in-Place” award ceremony, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Freeman’s book was recognized, in the judges’ words, as “elegant, insightful, pulsing with deeper meanings that transcend any single belief system and reminds us of the true power of faith.”

Amid heightened interest in the Rebbe’s teachings this week with the approach of the 26th anniversary of the Rebbe’s passing on 3 Tammuz, corresponding this year to Thursday, June 25, the book sets out with an ambitious goal, and quickly plunges the reader into a vast sea of the Rebbe’s transformative knowledge.

The author notes that if there is a single, overarching theme that has been at the center of Jewish thought and practice throughout all time and across all borders and denominations, it is the desire and hope that the physical and spiritual universe should be brought to a state of complete and everlasting perfection, once and for all.

This great, mystical drive and goal, known as Tikun Olam, he writes, has been manifest in Jewish thought and practice in myriad ways over the past four thousand years, not the least in modern Jewish life through social activism—the concern for and practical help to people and things in need—which from the time of Abraham and Sarah has been a signature drive of the Jewish people.

A self-professed child of the ’60s who was drawn to the Rebbe’s message amid the destabilization of society and personal searching that marked that era, Freeman is noted for his unique talent in making the Rebbe’s messages that so inspired him accessible to every human being. Guided by the belief that with proper articulation, the Rebbe’s messages are universal in scope, Freeman has successfully made the Rebbe’s teachings accessible to the widest possible audience.

While he has already written a number of books on these topics, including the best-selling Bringing Heaven Down to Earth series, Freeman felt that his previous works were limited to the genre in which they became so popular: bite-size “meditations” for people to digest and ponder on their own.

Eager to present larger messages so necessary to heal the world, Freeman penned this new volume, including within it some longer prose that fleshes out core ideas.

The key thesis upon which the book rests, in Freeman’s words, is the notion that to heal the world, people must look beyond “Band-Aid” solutions and “live at a whole new level of health, beyond the state that allowed illness to begin with.”

How do we do that?

Well, Freeman argues, “The core issue is our attitude, our state of consciousness. We look at our world and we say, ‘This is a wild jungle with neither master nor meaning. How can I get all I can out of it before some other beast does? How do I avoid being eaten by some beast bigger than me?’ As though all of life is a zero-sum game.

“One of the Rebbe’s strongest points was that the world is not a meaningless jungle. It’s a masterfully exquisite garden. And we are both students and partners of its Creator.

“So a healed world, first and foremost, is one whose every inhabitant sees this world for what it truly is: A divine garden. And so, of course, we treat it that way. And we live in harmony with that divine beauty.”

How can one help but not be drawn by such compelling, universal ideas?

Indeed, it is such ideas—and others—that prompted one of the judges to say: “Most of the book is presented as short poetic bursts that allow the reader to contemplate what is being said without pushing a specific ‘right’ answer.”

“Wisdom to Heal the Earth” can be purchased online and at fine Jewish bookstores everywhere.

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