Seventy years ago, on 10 Shevat, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, of righteous memory, assumed the leadership of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement after the passing of his father-in-law, the sixth Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn, of righteous memory. In the decades that followed, the Rebbe revolutionized, inspired and guided the post-Holocaust transformation of the Jewish people that continues to this day.

This day, so relevant to every Jew in our generation, is surely a time for reflection, learning, prayer, positive resolutions and acts of loving-kindness.

The day’s observances typically include communal gatherings and prayer, as well as visits to the Ohel, the Rebbes’ resting place in Queens, New York.

This year (5781), as 10 Shevat coincides with Shabbat and the pandemic still rages on, visits to the Ohel will not be an option for most of us, and we will be gathering with only our closest family members.

Looking for ways to channel this day’s inspiration into your home?

Start by printing out our 10 Shevat Home Companion to read over Shabbat.

Here are more suggestions, many of which are the same as in normal times. Due to the sanctity of Shabbat, when we do not use technology, be sure to print up this guide and other texts you will be using before Shabbat.

1. Light a Candle

On Friday afternoon, before lighting Shabbat candles, light a 24-hour candle, preferably made of beeswax. (The Hebrew word for beeswax—שעוה—is an acronym for the verse הקיצו ורננו שוכני עפר, “Those who dwell in the dust shall rise and sing,” a reference to the resurrection of the dead.)

2. Sing a Nigun of the Rebbe

The Rebbe taught 13 melodies—called nigunim—in the early years of his leadership. In chassidic tradition, it’s believed that a teacher infuses his soul into the nigunim he teaches, enabling us to connect to him in ways that we cannot connect through his verbal teachings. You’ll find recordings of all 13 melodies here.

3. Study the Rebbe’s Teachings

After each of the three daily prayers, Maariv, Shacharit and Minchah, study a portion of Basi LeGani, the chassidic discourse the Previous Rebbe had prepared to be released and studied on the Shabbat he passed away, which the Rebbe saw as a sort of final will and testament of his father-in-law.

4. Study Tanya

Study a chapter of Tanya before you start your prayers in the morning, and then study another chapter after the afternoon prayers.

5. Give Charity

Before Shabbat, donate (online or by placing money into a charity box) to institutions and causes related to the Rebbe. The Rebbe emphasized that you should do this on behalf of yourself and every member of your household.

6. Write a Prayer Petition

The traditional letter that is written to a tzaddik, even after his passing, is called a pidyon nefesh, abbreviated as pahn. In it, we ask the tzaddik to arouse heavenly compassion for our souls, and for all those close to us. This year, be sure to write yours by Friday.

Read your pidyon nefesh while visualizing the Rebbe standing before you, and leave the pidyon nefesh between the pages of a maamar or some written teaching of the Rebbe. Then send it to the Rebbe’s burial place at Montefiore Cemetery in Queens to be placed there. You can send your letter via online form or email.

7. Study Mishnah

Mishnah is spelled with the same Hebrew letters as neshamah, the Divine soul within each of us. Thus, over the 24-hour period, study chapters of Mishnah that begin with the letters of the Previous Rebbe’s name.

8. Discuss the Rebbes and Their Love for All

Set a time during Shabbat to sit down with your family and talk about the Rebbes, their ideals, and the work to which he devoted his entire life, especially relating to children and bolstering Jewish education. Under normal circumstances, we also make the effort to do this on a communal level, in synagogues and other institutions. This year, we can do the same via phone, Zoom, Facebook Live or whatever other means we have at our disposal, before or after Shabbat. Find a story or teaching of the Rebbes that you connect with (particularly one that illustrates their unconditional love for all people), and blast it out to your social media circle.

You can find beautiful stories and reflections about both Rebbes in our 10 Shevat Home Companion.

9. Join a Virtual Farbrengen

Ordinarily, this is a time when communities gather for a chassidic gathering called a farbrengen—a unique blend of storytelling, teaching, singing and sharing, during which participants inspire themselves and each other. This year, many communities will be hosting virtual farbrengens before or after Shabbat. Want to join? Speak to your local Chabad center to see what’s happening in your neck of the woods.

10. Make a Plan

Introspection is nice, but action is vital. Now is the time to make concrete decisions regarding things you can improve, in terms of both your Divine service and how you interact with those around you.

But don’t limit yourself to yourself.

The Rebbe taught us to take Judaism to the streets and share it with others. In these challenging times, it may not be possible to physically approach people and offer them Shabbat candles to light or tefillin to put on, nor may people be comfortable inviting you into their home to affix a mezuzah. But through the gift of digital communication, with some perseverance and creativity, you can surely share one or more of the Rebbe’s 10 mitzvah campaigns with others. How do you plan to translate your positive intentions into concrete action?