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The Chabad.org Blog

Are You as Smart as a Yeshivah Fifth-Grader?

Test your knowledge against 629 girls and boys from around the world

March 31, 2016 5:21 PM

In the coming days, some 629 girls and boys from around the world will gather in New York for the championship tournament of the annual Chidon Hamitzvos, in which Chabad-school students from Australia to Albany have been studying MaimonidesSefer Hamitzvot, his codification of the 613 mitzvahs of the Torah.

The 1,832 children who participated in all stages of the competition have been taking a series of tests over the past six months. A taste of what they have learned can be seen in the following questions, which include some of the most basic knowledge found on the tests.

Take the quiz and see if you are as smart as a Chassidic fifth-grader ...

A Listicle That Runs Deep

March 29, 2016 11:46 AM

Dear Friend,

Listicle /ˈlistək(ə)l/ (noun): an article on the Internet presented in the form of a numbered or bullet-pointed list.

You either love them or hate them (or you love to hate them or hate to love them), but you’ve probably viewed your fair share of them. With “17 dog smiles that will make you bark for joy” vying for attention with “23 of the messiest bedrooms of all time,” it’s no wonder that we associate this kind of media with cheap (and somewhat empty) entertainment.

Sometimes, however, we encounter listicles that are so full of deep and empowering truths that we are touched in a way that goes far beyond the shallow skin of our tablet screens and computer monitors.

One such example is “Ten Controversial Affirmations for Those Who Choose to Fight Depression,” which was recently crafted by Tzvi Freeman. Read it, read it again and then post it on your Facebook wall, your refrigerator door and anywhere else where you’ll be sure to see these powerful words.

And then make sure to open the Chabad.org e‑mail again next week, when we share the next batch of affirmations.

Wishing you an empowering week,

The Chabad.org Editorial Team

Haman in Jerusalem

March 21, 2016 2:28 PM

Dear Friend,

With Purim in Jerusalem around the corner, I walk through the Machane Yehuda marketplace, and two signs of the impending holy day—one deliberate, one accidental—strike me.

The deliberate sign is the plethora of hamantaschen (or oznei Haman, “Haman’s ears,” in Hebrew) spread out on almost every other kiosk table. Every sweet filling your heart can desire. Chocolate. Poppy. Prunes. Walnuts. Jam. Halvah. Dates. And I think to myself: “Haman, how delicious your defeat is!”

The accidental sign is one not peculiar to Purim, yet Purim gives it new meaning. It is the ubiquitous presence of guns. Jericho 941s. Tavors. Micro Tavors. M16s. Galils. And I think to myself: “Haman, how incomplete your defeat is!”

Why are there so many guns in a sunny public marketplace? I conclude: the guns are there to protect the hamantaschen. We celebrate Purim because we survived Haman’s genocidal plan, true. But we survived only because we wanted to celebrate Purim. Even today, we continue to wage war on Haman. But not simply to stay alive. Life is not enough. We survive in order to experience a maximum of delight in the full Jewish existence that makes life worth living, worth fighting for. We survive on the merit of the desire to taste the sweetness, both on our tongues and in our souls, of the Torah and the honey dates of Jerusalem.

Michael Chighel,
on behalf of the Chabad.org Editorial Team

Rabbi Gordon App for iOS

March 17, 2016 3:55 PM

At the end of January, just days before his soul left this world, Rabbi Gordon’s teachings became even more accessible through the launch of the Rabbi Gordon App. At that time it was available only on Android. This week, this newest wing of Rabbi Gordon’s classroom has expanded to encompass iOS people as well. Do you have an iPhone or an iPad? Now you too can experience the sweetness of Torah with Rabbi Gordon easily and seamlessly.

Access the Rabbi Gordon App here: www.chabad.org/RabbiGordonApp

To read our tribute to Rabbi Gordon, click here.

What If You’re Not In the Mood . . .

March 15, 2016 10:55 AM

Dear Friend,

I recently read a fascinating study on body language. Upright posture equals confidence, open hands equals interest, folded arms equals resistance, etc. But the author took it one step further. What happens when people posture, assuming external positions they don’t really feel?

Surprisingly, observers could not distinguish between genuine and fake confidence. Not only that, but the fakers themselves started to feel the way they looked. A change in body language apparently causes a change of heart.

We will soon celebrate Purim—that holiday when we are to be deliriously happy. But what if you’re not up to it? Your cantankerous boss, the dirty dishes in the sink, the needy kids or the lack thereof . . . we all have good reasons why it’s difficult to be happy right now.

But we can fake it. When all you want to do is go to sleep, pour your last energies into a springy step and an easy laugh. Go ahead and fake it till you make it.

The truth is, you’re not faking. Deep down, we each have a G‑dly soul—a piece of G‑d himself. Is that not reason to jump for joy?

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

Celebrating an Ancient Discovery

March 9, 2016 9:53 AM

Dear Friend,

A fascinating piece of news you may have missed: Two tiny stone seals dating back to the First Temple period have been recovered in Jerusalem. What makes the discovery all the more remarkable is the fact that one of the 2,500-year-old seals belonged to a woman, Elihana bat Gael, who apparently did enough business that she needed a seal with her name to sign documents and authorize instructions.

In her wildest dreams, I doubt Elihana could have imagined that the descendants of her people would one day find her signet and wonder about her life. But then, there’s little about the Jewish people that could have been predicted.

Since Elihana’s days, we have survived Sennacherib and the Assyrians, Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians, Antiochus and the Greeks, Titus and the Romans, Count Emicho and the Crusaders, Torquemada and the inquisitors, Chmielnicki and the Cossacks, and, most recently, Hitler and the Nazis.

This coming month we celebrate Purim, when we were miraculously saved from Haman and his evil plot to destroy the Jewish people. Let us take a moment to recognize the many, many times that G‑d has saved us from evil, and thank Him for His continued care and love.

Menachem Posner,
on behalf of the Chabad.org Editorial Team

Memorial Gathering for Rabbi Yehoshua Gordon on Jewish.TV

Recording of California event available for viewing

March 7, 2016 4:21 PM
Rabbi Yehoshua Gordon was an internationally acclaimed teacher of Torah. His classes continue to bring Torah to thousands of students worldwide, including extraordinarily popular daily classes in Maimonides’ Mishneh Torah, Chumash with Rashi’s commentary and Tanya.
Rabbi Yehoshua Gordon was an internationally acclaimed teacher of Torah. His classes continue to bring Torah to thousands of students worldwide, including extraordinarily popular daily classes in Maimonides’ Mishneh Torah, Chumash with Rashi’s commentary and Tanya.

In the 30 days since the passing of Rabbi Yehoshua Binyomin (Josh) Gordon, messages have been arriving from bereaved students all over the world. More than 500 of them were posted publically on Chabad.org, which streamed his daily classes on Chumash, Tanya, Rambam and more.

Many found solace and pay tribute at a memorial gathering at Chabad of the Valley in Southern California, which he founded in 1973. Fittingly, the program, was streamed live for the benefit of the late rabbi’s international following and can be viewed on Jewish.tv.

Watch the memorial gathering here.

Learn more about Rabbi Gordon here.

Participate in Rabbi Gordon’s daily classes here.

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