The Chabad.org Blog

My Favorite Yom Kippur Moment

September 29, 2014

Dear Friend,

My most treasured Yom Kippur moment is at the very end of the day, during the Neilah prayer. Neilah means “closing,” and is a reference to the shutting of the heavenly gates at the conclusion of the holy day. According to chassidic teachings, the gates lock us in, as opposed to out, as we stand alone with G‑d. More often than not, I cry during those prayers, as I find them to be very moving.

And I think of the Yom Kippurs I spent in my youth in 770, the synagogue where the Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of righteous memory, prayed. Despite the crush of people, we were able to pray with devotion and awareness. That awareness reached a crescendo when we cried out the Shema together: Hear O Israel, the L‑rd our G‑d, the L‑rd is One.

The unity, awe and joy which permeated the air were palpable and incredibly special.

And then, after the shofar heralded the end of Yom Kippur, the Rebbe would face the crowd, still wearing his tallit, and start the melody known as Napoleon’s March. The crowd would sing and sing with mounting intensity as the Rebbe swung his arms and encouraged the singing, bringing it to unimaginable heights. I can still feel the energy of those moments. I can picture the expressions on the Rebbe’s face, the victory, the elation, the holiness . . .

No matter where I spend subsequent Yom Kippurs, during Neilah I was and still am always transported back to those incredible moments.

And they remain the highlight of my Yom Kippur . . . every single year.

May you be sealed and inscribed in the Book of Life for a good year,

Chani Benjaminson,
on behalf of the Chabad.org Editorial Team

P.S.: What is your favorite Yom Kippur moment? Please share in the comments section.

Facebook Campaign Inspires Rosh Hashanah and Shabbat Candle-Lighting

‘Event’ marks 40th anniversary of the ongoing worldwide effort launched by the Lubavitcher Rebbe in 1974

September 21, 2014 4:16 PM
Invitations from TheJewishWoman.org are going out this week to women and girls around the world to attend a special Facebook “event”, urging them to light candles on Wednesday, Sept. 24, and Thursday, Sept. 25, in honor of Rosh Hashanah, and on Friday, Sept. 26, in honor of Shabbat.
Invitations from TheJewishWoman.org are going out this week to women and girls around the world to attend a special Facebook “event”, urging them to light candles on Wednesday, Sept. 24, and Thursday, Sept. 25, in honor of Rosh Hashanah, and on Friday, Sept. 26, in honor of Shabbat.

For the past four decades, Jewish women and girls around the world have been educated and inspired in every venue imaginable—in classes, in person, in shopping malls, when stopped outside on the street and through mass media—to light candles at the onset of the Jewish Sabbath and holidays.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the launch of that ongoing worldwide campaign by the Rebbe—Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of righteous memory—as well as building on the most recent chapter in that effort—using social media to spread the word.

Invitations from TheJewishWoman.org are going out this week to women and girls around the world to attend a special Facebook “event”, urging them to light candles on Wednesday, Sept. 24,and Thursday, Sept. 25, in honor of Rosh Hashanah, and on Friday, Sept. 26, in honor of Shabbat.

(For instructions on candle lighting visit the Chabad.org page here. To find the candle-lighting times for your location, visit here.)

“Every mitzvah introduces light into the world, but with certain mitzvahs, the light we generate can actually be seen,” says Chana Weisberg, editor of TheJewishWoman.org. “The Shabbat and holiday candles usher in a day of peace and holiness, and bring peace, light and spiritual protection to our land, to our people and to our world. There is no better way for us to bring blessings to our world than to increase in light, clarity and spiritual protection.”

In the spirit of “passing it on,” women and girls are encouraged to invite their Facebook friends to the “event,” reminding them of the importance of this precious mitzvah, which will result in even greater observance and a marked increase of light throughout the world.

On the 24th day of the Hebrew month of Elul, 5774, corresponding to Sept. 11, 1974, the Rebbe introduced this special mivtzah (campaign) for all Jewish woman and girls. Known as Mivtza Neshek (Neirot Shabbat Kodesh, the lights of the holy Shabbat) the Rebbe also revitalized the time-honored Jewish custom that as soon as a Jewish girl reaches the age of education and understanding, she should light her own candle.

We’re In This Together!

September 21, 2014

Dear Friend,

While preparing to record some of my favorite High Holiday tunes from the prayer service along with their deeper meaning, I was struck by something very telling. Almost all of our prayers are written in the plural. We are approaching G‑d not as individuals, but as one unit—a nation brought together by a common past, present and purpose.

This brought me to a second idea. Since we are all in this together, if some of us are missing, we are all missing. It’s not just enough for you and me to be in the synagogue and hear the shofar; every single Jewish man, woman and child needs to experience Rosh Hashanah.

Do you know someone who needs a place to pray? Please contact your local Chabad center. And if they cannot make it to synagogue, please ask about a shofar home visit. The Chabad rabbi will be glad to help, and you’ll be glad you did.

May it be G‑d’s will that we be inscribed for a good, sweet year—all of us together!

Aryeh Leib Hurwitz,
on behalf of the Chabad.org Team

Craft It Jewish!

Issue 1

September 11, 2014 1:13 PM

Dear reader,

We are so excited to let you know that TheJewishWoman.org and jCreate have collaborated to produce Craft it Jewish, a creative magazine full of amazing, useful and educational crafting ideas just in time for the High Holiday season.

Here's your chance to wow your guests, produce a unique gift for someone special, spend fun, quality time with your children or just craft something beautiful for your own enjoyment.

Feast your eyes on these creative ideas and enjoy crafting your own! Make sure to let us know what you think of it by leaving your comments here.

Chana Weisberg
Editor, TJW

Is Everything Okay?

September 14, 2014

Dear Friend,

They tell of a Jew who once met the rabbi on the street. In response to the rabbi’s query about his wellbeing, the man replied, “Oh, everything’s all right.”

The rabbi gave him a serious look. “All right? Everything is all right? Everything is all right?” he said again and again. The man understood what the rabbi meant, and burst into tears.

All of us—or at least most of us—are busy all day, working hard to juggle work, family, finances, and everything else that vies for our attention. When asked how things are, we reply “all right” and move on to our next task.

But are things really all right in the true sense of the word?

Once in a while, we must take a good look at our relationships—with G‑d, our families, our friends—and examine them. Are those relationships getting closer, more fulfilling, or are we so busy living life that we forget to nurture them?

This month—Elul—is known as the “month of reckoning.” It is a time to take stock of our souls, taking a good long glance at the rearview mirror of life. Then, after we have determined what is all right and what needs to be improved, we’ll be ready to embrace the new year with good resolutions, full of energy to continue forward in the journey of our life.

Wishing you a good and sweet year!

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

Raising Kids Is Hard Work

September 7, 2014

Dear Friend,

The first day of school . . . smiling children proudly wearing their freshly cleaned backpacks full of brand-new pencils, crayons and spiral notebooks.

As the new school year kicks off, there’s a message in this week’s Torah portion that says how to approach the task of raising children.

When bringing the first fruits, the bikkurim, to the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, our ancestors would recount G‑d’s kindness in taking us out of Egypt, saying that He heard our voices and saved us from “affliction, toil and oppression.” “Our toil—these are the children,” says the Midrash, alluding to G‑d’s alleviation of the Egyptian persecution of bnei Yisrael’s children in particular.

The Midrash provides no proof for why the words “our toil” allude to our children—because such proof is entirely superfluous! Raising children takes hard work, “toil.” This is true not only of raising our own children, but also of educating and nurturing students, whom the Torah refers to as one’s children (see Deuteronomy 6:7 and Rashi).

Let’s keep this in mind and determinedly resolve to do what it takes. When we invest ourselves to a point that can rightfully be called “toil,” we can be confident that G‑d will make the seeds of our efforts bear fruit—students and children who, like the beautiful bikkurim, will give us much delightful nachas, Jewish pride, for which to be thankful.

Baruch S. Davidson,
on behalf of the Chabad.org Editorial Team

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