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The Chabad.org Blog

Shout!

March 29, 2015

Dear Friend,

Sometimes we just need help from Above.

When a person is trapped in quicksand, his every instinct is to move. But every effort to get himself out only drags him down deeper. He can be freed only when he cries out for help and is willing to take the hand that will free him.

On Passover night we will sit at the Seder table with our children, just as we sat with our parents, and just as they sat with theirs, a chain of collective consciousness and memory that stretches back thousands of years. We will remember and retell that once, in Egypt, in slavery and bondage, we cried out from the depths of our beings, and it was then, with a strong hand and an outstretched arm, that G‑d, and G‑d alone, took us out. And this year, as every year, with great feasting and joy we will celebrate the certainty that we will do our part and He will take us out again, once and for all.

Wishing you a happy and healthy Passover,

Yaakov Ort,
on behalf of the Chabad.org Editorial Team
P.S. In these final days before Passover, we’ve got you covered. You can sell your chametz, sign up for a Seder, download a Haggadah, buy shmurah matzah, and find so much more at our Passover megasite.

The Jewish Nation Grieves

March 22, 2015 5:13 PM

Our hearts go out to the Sassoon family upon the tragic loss of their seven children, killed by a fire that tore through their Brooklyn home this past Shabbat, as we say additional Psalms for the surviving mother, Gilah bat Tziporah, and sister, Tziporah bat Gilah, who are in critical condition, and do good deeds in their merit.

Let us channel our collective deep pain into additional good deeds in the merit of the precious souls of Eliana, Rivkah, Sarah, David, Yehoshua, Moshe and Yaakov, of blessed memory. Their spirits will surely live on with their surviving family and all of us forever.

In these hectic days before Passover, let us thank G‑d for all of the blessings with which He provides us and take a moment to hug our children more tightly.

This Dedicated Torah Teacher Won’t Be Grounded

California rabbi records his Talmud class for Jewish.tv in Moscow airport

March 19, 2015 7:21 PM
Rabbi Avraham Meyer Zajac
Rabbi Avraham Meyer Zajac

So his online students would not miss a day of learning, Rabbi Avraham Meyer Zajac, co-director of Chabad-Lubavitch of South La Cienega, Calif., was at Moscow’s airport en route to Israel and set up shop to record his Talmud class for Jewish.tv.

Be Like a Matzah

March 22, 2015

Dear Reader,

We join with the Jewish community all over the world in mourning the tragic loss of seven precious souls on Shabbat morning in Brooklyn and pray for the recovery of the survivors. May the Omnipresent console the Sassoon family among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.

*

As we all know, Passover matzah is meticulously prepared with much care to prevent it from leavening. The difference between matzah and chametz (leavened bread) is that one rises and expands, while the other remains flat and plain.

It’s interesting that the two words are spelled in Hebrew using almost identical letters, with one slight difference. Matzah is spelled mem-tzaddi-hei, while chametz is spelled chet-mem-tzaddi. The two letters which are different, hei and chet, are actually very similar in appearance; the only difference is that the left leg of the chet rises all the way to the top, while the hei’s leg remains low.

Lowly matzah represents humility.

We sometimes need a reminder to remain humble. Whether it’s in our family life, social circles, or even at work, allowing our egos to get the better of us is never a good thing. A healthy self-esteem is one that occasionally gets out of the way.

So this year, when you eat your matzah at the Seder, take a moment to reflect on its meaning, and how its humble message can be applied to your own life.

Traditional handmade shmurah matzahs are now sold at many supermarkets, and are often available for purchase at synagogues and Chabad centers. Make sure to include them at your Seder table and share this sacred tradition with your friends and family. In case you cannot find shmurah matzah locally, you can order online.

Wishing you a happy Passover,

Eliezer Zalmanov,
on behalf of the Chabad.org Editorial Team

Let Criticism Construct You

March 15, 2015

Dear Friend,

How do you respond to criticism? Do you find yourself trying to justify your actions, even if you know you’re not entirely right?

Rabbi Shalom Dovber of Lubavitch (known as the Rebbe Rashab), whose yartzeit we observe this coming week, shared a most enlightening piece of advice: “Love criticism, for it will raise you up to true heights.”

It’s not enough not to respond with diffidence, a sour face, or resentment. We need to value honest reproach and even love it. Why? Because self-love often prevents us from seeing ourselves objectively. Some constructive criticism is often just what we need to recognize where we really are and help us see how we can improve.

Now obviously, if you are the one giving the criticism, you need to think long and hard about why and how you speak. But when criticism comes along, let’s be ready to take it in the right way.

Rabbi Mendy Kaminker
on behalf of the Chabad.org Editorial Team

P.S. How does criticism make you feel? Have you ever used it to spur growth? Please share a comment with us. We’d love to hear from you.

The Passion Factor

March 8, 2015

Dear Friend,

Reading the Torah portion of Vayakhel-Pekudei can feel like déjà vu. Haven’t we heard all this before? In fact, we have—in the portions of Terumah and Tetzaveh. First G‑d told us how to make the Tabernacle, and now the Torah is describing the actual construction. It seems kind of redundant.

As Shimon Posner writes in My Grandma’s Selective Memory, “The exhaustive repetition begs explanation, until we notice two words, "nediv libo," describing one who gave for the Tabernacle—that 'his heart was full of giving' . . . How do you get from divine concept to empirical reality? For that you need passion, a heart full of giving.”

It is uniquely satisfying to philosophize about Judaism, with its rich history and mystical ideas. But there is a second component that comes along with all the thinking, and that is the doing. Judaism has survived for over 3,000 years not because we are a nation of philosophers, but because we translate G‑d’s lofty will into action. But how do we keep doing without feeling that all this ritual, all these mitzvahs, are redundant? That takes “a heart full of giving.” That takes passion.

Comment below to let us know how you infuse your daily rituals with passion.

Sasha Friedman
on behalf of the Chabad.org Editorial Team

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