Enter your email address to get our weekly email with fresh, exciting and thoughtful content that will enrich your inbox and your life.
The Chabad.org Blog

On the Very Special Son of Eliezer and Sarah of Okopy

August 26, 2015 1:39 PM

Dear Friend,

With the 18th of Elul afoot, I think about my sweet parents. One of the great blessings of having parents is that it gives us the single best metaphor for our relationship with G‑d.

Heaven protect us, heaven protect everyone, from being orphaned at a young age! Is there any suffering that puts the soul in greater peril of despairing of the presence of G‑d?

It is only the greatest of souls that can reconfigure such a personal apocalypse into an opportunity to experience the metaphor in its purity and as a flesh-and-blood reality. “A father to the fatherless . . . is G‑d” (Psalms 68:6).

Such an extraordinary soul belonged to Yisrael the son of Eliezer and Sarah of Okopy, who came to be known as the Baal Shem Tov.

Only the Holy One, blessed be He, knows whether the Baal Shem Tov “needed” this terrible ordeal to come to his wisdom. All that we know is that he did not keep the wisdom to himself (read an exquisite story about that here). As we celebrate the birth of this extraordinary soul on 18 Elul, may we experience profound gratitude for the life of a man who, through his orphanhood at the age of three, was able to experience the sweet word Tatteh, “Daddy,” as a divine name—and who taught all of us how to get to know G‑d on such intimate terms.

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

The Best Way to Prepare for Rosh Hashanah

August 23, 2015

Dear Friend,

Rosh Hashanah is coming, followed by Yom Kippur, then Sukkot, and then Simchat Torah.

It’s an exciting time. And it’s expensive.

At this time of year, the Rebbe, of righteous memory, would often point out that we must remember our fellow Jews for whom the holiday preparations present a serious financial burden. There are certainly families in your area who struggle nightly to put food on the table, let alone to put together a sumptuous holiday meal.

So as you plan your meal invites, please include a family or individual in need. Many synagogues and Chabad centers are collecting funds to help the less fortunate among us celebrate with ease. If you can, please call and offer to help. If you are able, volunteer to pack or deliver food baskets. It’s the best way you can prepare for the holidays.

And if you are on the receiving end this time around, please accept our prayers that this year bring you the good fortune and joy you so deserve!

May we all be blessed with a good, sweet, happy, healthy new year.

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

With whom will you be celebrating this Rosh Hashanah? Please share with us. We’d love to hear from you.

Rabbi Moss Is on Jewish.tv!

August 18, 2015 1:05 PM
Rabbi Aron Moss on Jewish.tv
Rabbi Aron Moss on Jewish.tv

Since 2004, Rabbi Aron Moss has been a staple on our site. His popular Q&A series has covered topics ranging from why Jews are afraid of dogs to why we spill wine at the Seder night. If you’ve carefully read his bio, you know that he a rabbi from Sydney, Australia. But most of us have never seen him.

Recently, our team at Jewish.tv released a series of Rabbi Moss’s classes on Tanya. And for the first time, we get to hear and see him live and in action.

We hope you enjoy them (and the Australian accent) as much as we do!

When I Blew Shofar at a Rest Area

August 9, 2015

Dear Friend,

Several years ago I was traveling with my family from Indiana to New York to celebrate my sister’s wedding. We left the house before dawn, and a few hours into the trip we stopped at a rest area in middle of Pennsylvania for morning prayers and breakfast.

Since it was the month of Elul, after I concluded my prayers, I took out my shofar and blew the customary notes, as is traditionally done during the month leading up to Rosh Hashanah. (No doubt it attracted some stares, but as a religious Jew, I’m used to standing out.)

It was a very picturesque moment; standing there—while still wearing tallit and tefillin—with a background of trees and an open plain, blowing the shofar for my family.

It reminded me of the theme of this month, as taught by Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi, that the King is in the field. G‑d is out in the open and accessible to us all, more so than at any other point of the year. He leaves the confines of His palace and greets everyone with a smile.

The sound of the shofar is the awakening call for us to come out of our own hibernation and go meet the King. He will be there regardless, so let’s take advantage of the moment.

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

Who’s Taking Bribes?

August 16, 2015

It’s important to see things clearly, and it’s easy for things to cloud our good judgment. When a politician accepts campaign contributions from vested interests, for example, it’s hard to imagine that they will have the public’s interests in mind. When a businessman accepts large personal gifts from a supplier, can he really have his company’s needs at heart?

When the Torah forbids judges from taking a bribe, it’s because it is only natural that a bribe will impact their objective judgement.

But, the Rebbe explains, it’s not only bribes that most often clouds our ability to see things objectively. It’s our ego.

In the same way a material bribe will influence a person’s decision-making, so too self-importance and arrogance will obstruct anyone’s ability to make a wise and correct decision.

And this is a lesson for us all, even if we are neither politicians nor judges. When making a decision, are we seeing things clearly, or is our ego getting in the way? When thinking about another, do we really have them and their best interests in mind, or are we thinking about our own wants and needs, and projecting those onto them?

Etti Hazan,
on behalf of the Chabad.org Editorial Team

The latest news from Chabad.org.
Recent Posts
Blog Archive
Related Topics