The Chabad.org Blog

A Message from Jerusalem

July 28, 2014 10:32 AM

Dear Friend,

During the first nine days of the Hebrew month of Av, the Jewish people experience sorrow and mourning. The destruction of the Holy Temples on the ninth day of Av is both a historical fact and an eternal remembrance of national, personal and spiritual loss that we re-experience every year.

But this year—amid the daily funerals of our beloved soldiers in Israel, amid the terrors of our brethren in eastern Ukraine and throughout Israel, amid growing antisemitism and the shattering of the once-assumed security of our children everywhere—all this can lead one to the very edge of despair.

Yet here is the solution, wrapped in paradox: Our sages insist that our mourning be accompanied by joyous gratitude to G‑d and the certain anticipation of an immediate future when all that we have lost will be returned to us in greater measure than before.

The Nine Days is a time of action. We will learn more Torah—particularly, advises the Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of righteous memory, teachings on the rebuilding of the Temple and the final redemption. And we will do more mitzvahs, which bring merit to those who are suffering most deeply, especially giving charity generously, praying for their welfare from the depths of our hearts and performing acts of kindness in their merit.

Yaakov Ort in Jerusalem,
on behalf of the Chabad.org Editorial Team

Chattin' with the Rabbi

Join us as we expand our interactive class suite

July 22, 2014 10:59 AM

Our video site Jewish.tv has been regularly hosting live classes for our worldwide audience for some time. This allows hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of students to study “together.” Participants often send in follow-up questions and engage directly with the teachers–and each other—in the discussions that follow.

The Internet is an amazing tool that enables so many of us to learn and study together. But, of course, always looking for ways to connect even more, we recently debuted live classes with the ability to chat live with the instructor and fellow students, allowing students to interact in real time. It creates an amazing, empowering experience for both teacher and student. We are proud to partner with the Jewish Learning Network for this series.

Based on overwhelmingly positive feedback from participants, we will be expanding this feature to more of our live classes.

We hope you can join us for the next live webcast, which will take place this Wednesday, July 23, at 8 p.m. Eastern time (5 p.m. Pacific time). Rabbi Shneur Wilhelm will be leading an engaging discussion on “The Holy Temple: its history, importance and configuration.”

The following Wednesday, also at 8 p.m. Eastern time, he will continue the series with "My Temple. Destroyed? Can G‑d destroy the holiest place on earth?"

The subject of this series is especially relevant at this time of year, known as the “Three Weeks,” when we mark the destruction of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem in 69 CE. Our sages tell us that G‑d told the Prophet Ezekiel that by the Jewish people studying the ins and outs of the Holy Temple, He considers it as if they actually constructed it.

We’ll be building a Holy Temple this Wednesday and would be thrilled if you could join us. Be ready to take part in the dynamic conversations in our global Jewish classroom on Jewish.tv.

Be sure to sign up for our Live Event Alerts and you won’t miss another live webcast.

What’s the Big Deal?

July 20, 2014

Dear Friend,

My nine-year-old son has an obsession with this week’s Torah portion, Massei. You see, the Torah is chanted in public using a special tune, read from cantillation marks (known as trope). Now, two of the rarest cantillations (named karnei-farah and yerach-ben-yomo) are found exclusively in this week’s Parshah.

Oddly enough, the words to which these marks are set seem fairly dry and routine. In discussing the forty-eight cities to be set aside in Israel for the Levites, the Torah outlines the exact radial measurements for the boundaries of these cities. What is so exciting about that, so dramatic, that warrants such a shrill note?

Perhaps this is what the Torah is hinting to us: Every inch of the Land of Israel is a big deal. We must calculate and measure it, defend and protect it. It is a gift from G‑d, and should be treated with utmost care.

That’s my take. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.

Wishing our brothers and sisters in the Holy Land safety, security and strength as they battle for their survival in our precious homeland.

Moshe Rosenberg,
on behalf of the Chabad.org Team

P.S. We are proud to invite you to join us on Wednesday, July 23, at 8 p.m. for the first of many live classes where participants will be able to chat with each other and the presenter in real time.

Arms for Israel

July 15, 2014 5:17 PM

Dear Friend,

Along with so many others worldwide, we had hoped to devote this space purely to good news, and especially to publicly recognize the extraordinary miracles that G‑d is performing on a daily basis in the Holy Land where, despite the best efforts of our enemies, there had been no direct loss of life from the thousand-plus missiles sent our way. Confront any military man or woman behind closed doors and they will all tell you: Iron Dome notwithstanding, the endless near misses and “open fields” defy logic. It is all truly miraculous!

Indeed, “the G‑d of Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps,” and we should do our part in recognizing that our existence is one determined and closely governed by a Higher Force.

Would that we could devote this space only to this all-important message that we must always remember and be thankful for. Unfortunately, as if to remind us of how dangerous the situation in Israel actually is, we all learned yesterday of the tragic death of Dror Chanin, who had gone to the Israel-Gaza border to bring food and good cheer to members of the Israel Defense Forces.

While we can never deign to understand G‑d’s mysterious ways, Dror's message to us is clear: Do not stand by idly; help in any way you can. And, in Dror’s memory, we all can truly support our brothers and sisters on the front lines.

How so?

​The Rebbe would always remind us that we must employ not only material protection, but place equal emphasis on our spiritual defenses. As one body, the mitzvahs we perform anywhere, especially donning tefillin and performing other mitzvahs like lighting Shabbat candles, have a direct impact on our brethren in Israel and particularly the soldiers of the IDF, whose merit in risking their very lives in mesirut nefesh (self-sacrifice) to protect the rest of us is already worthy of the greatest of G‑d’s rewards.

May G‑d continue to protect His people!​

The Chabad.org Editorial Team

Israel Is In Our Prayers

July 7, 2014 8:05 AM

Dear Friend,

As we send you this magazine, our brothers and sisters in the Holy Land are under fire. A barrage of rockets is raining down on the south and center of Israel, threatening the lives of millions of civilians.

In this week’s magazine, we have included articles about the situation and what we can attempt to do about it. Together with the entire Jewish people, we pray to G‑d that Israel succeeds in its mission to bring true and lasting peace and security to its inhabitants and its neighbors.

And even as the situation seems frightening—and for those in Israel, especially the children, it certainly is—let us remember the Torah’s assurance that Israel is the “land upon which G‑d’s eyes are constantly focused,” and that even in the darkest hours, He is right alongside us.

The Chabad.org Editorial Team

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