Happy New Year!

Yes, you read right. No, this email is not two weeks premature. The 19th (and 20th) of the Hebrew month of Kislev is celebrated as the New Year of Chassidism.

On this date, in the year 1798, Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi (1745–1812), founder of Chabad Chassidism, was freed from Czarist imprisonment where he was held due to slander propagated by enemies of the fledgling movement. More than just a personal liberation, this was a watershed event in the history of Chassidism, heralding a new era for the revelation of the “inner soul” of Torah.

On this same date 26 years prior (1772), the “Maggid of Mezeritch,” successor of the Baal Shem Tov, returned his soul to his Maker.

The day is celebrated with farbrengens (inspirational gatherings), classes, and other festive events. This is when we begin the annual study cycle of Tanya, the primary work of Chabad philosophy, and it’s also when many communities divvy up the entire Talmud, to be collectively studied over the course of the coming year.

To help you celebrate, we’ve selected some links that we hope will inspire, educate, and assist you long into the coming year.

What Is 19 Kislev?

Video: Where Are You?

Start Learning Tanya

Take a Tractate

Winning the War Against Thinking

Memories of 19 Kislev in the Soviet Underground