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The Chabad.org Blog

Special Info for Shabbat Chanukah

December 26, 2019 11:03 AM

Happy Chanukah!

G‑d willing, this Friday evening will be filled with lights—the flames of the Chanukah menorah joining the Shabbat candles in brightening up the night.

It’s important to remember that it is forbidden to light a fire on Shabbat, which extends from before sunset on Friday until nightfall of Saturday night. Therefore, on Friday afternoon, light the menorah before the Shabbat candles, which are traditionally lit 18 minutes before sundown (look up the exact time here).

Since you are lighting early, be sure to use additional oil or larger candles for the Chanukah lights, as they must remain lit until half an hour after nightfall - approximately 1½ hours after the Friday afternoon lighting time. For this reason, the standard 30-minute Chanukah candles cannot be used on Friday.

For the duration of Shabbat, do not move the menorah, relight any flames that have gone out, or prepare the Saturday night Chanukah lights. Make sure to light the menorah after Shabbat ends at nightfall on Saturday night. Traditionally, the menorah is prepared and kindled immediately after the havdalah service.

Shabbat Shalom!

Happy (Chassidic) New Year!

December 17, 2019 11:51 AM

Happy New Year!

Yes, you read right. No, this email is not two weeks premature. The 19th (and 20th) of the Hebrew month of Kislev is celebrated as the New Year of Chassidism.

On this date, in the year 1798, Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi (1745–1812), founder of Chabad Chassidism, was freed from Czarist imprisonment where he was held due to slander propagated by enemies of the fledgling movement. More than just a personal liberation, this was a watershed event in the history of Chassidism, heralding a new era for the revelation of the “inner soul” of Torah.

On this same date 26 years prior (1772), the “Maggid of Mezeritch,” successor of the Baal Shem Tov, returned his soul to his Maker.

The day is celebrated with farbrengens (inspirational gatherings), classes, and other festive events. This is when we begin the annual study cycle of Tanya, the primary work of Chabad philosophy, and it’s also when many communities divvy up the entire Talmud, to be collectively studied over the course of the coming year.

To help you celebrate, we’ve selected some links that we hope will inspire, educate, and assist you long into the coming year.

What Is 19 Kislev?

Video: Where Are You?

Start Learning Tanya

Take a Tractate

Winning the War Against Thinking

Memories of 19 Kislev in the Soviet Underground

This 19 Kislev, Take a Tractate

December 5, 2019 12:40 PM

The Alter Rebbe, the first Chabad Rebbe, established the custom of dividing the entire Talmud, each tractate to be studied by another individual in each Chassidic community, every year. The division takes place on 19 Kislev, “the Rosh Hashanah of Chassidus.”

The Rebbe once explained the appropriateness of this date: Although comprised of several seemingly disparate parts, the entire Torah is essentially one entity. This holism of Torah is only achieved in the presence of the revealed and hidden elements of Torah, represented by the Talmud and Chassidic teachings, respectively. Thus, it is natural that the division of the Talmud was established on the 19th of Kislev, when Chassidism is celebrated.

Throughout the years, the Rebbe would observe the division of the Talmud at the 19 Kislev farbrengen—personally filling out an index card with his name and the tractate of his choice. With the exception of 1952, when the siyum was made by Rabbi Meir Ashkenazi, former Chief Rabbi of Shanghai, the Rebbe himself would ceremoniously complete the Talmud on behalf of all the participants.

This 19 Kislev, we encourage you to take a tractate. Worried about how you’ll learn it? We’re glad to share that Chabad.org has engaging video classes on most of the Talmud (with more being added every day) to help you along. Featuring Rabbi Avraham Zajac, the classes fuse the legalism of the Talmud with the mysticism of Kabbalah, with Chassidic insights sprinkled throughout the lesson.

With wishes for a wonderful “Chassidic New Year,”

The Chabad.org Team

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