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The Chabad.org Blog

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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