Category Archives: Chabad

The Only Weight Loss Scheme That Works | Naftali Silberberg


Some claim to offer a magic pill. A once-a-week class on mysticism, a daily mediation or exercise—and you’re all set, despite all the materialism you consume.

Others tell you to cut large swathes of materialism consumption out of your lifestyle. Stay celibate, join a monastery in Nepal, and don’t talk to anyone.

A healthy spiritual diet does not require any unsustainable asceticism. But to stay spiritually healthy, we do need to burn as much as we consume—to find the G‑dly potential in everything we do.

It takes some creativity. But it’s the key to life-long spiritual health.

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Can Modesty Please Take a Stand? | The #1 challenge of our times

By Chana Weisberg,

If I had to encapsulate the challenge of our times in one word, it would be “externality.”

We live in a superficial world. We vie for attention, campaigning and promoting ourselves to ensure that we are seen, heard and noticed. Society places great value on externality; consequently, the sacred Jewish value of internalization has become so elusive.

Have we lost the concept of inner dignity and refinement? Of quiet confidence? The unassuming pride of knowing who we are, without the need for constant affirmation?

Is it any wonder, then, that the Jewish concept of tzniut, modesty, has so many people so perplexed?

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What is Purim?


It all began in Ancient Persia in the 4th century BCE. The Holy Temple that had stood in Jerusalem was destroyed more than 50 years earlier, and the Jews were subjects of the mighty Persian empire which extended over 127 lands.

Three years after King Ahasuerus ascended the Persian throne, when he felt secure in his new position, he celebrated by throwing a grand 180-day-long party for all his subjects. Following this extravagant gala, Ahasuerus hosted a smaller week-long party for the residents of the capital city of Shushan. In the palace’s women’s quarters, Ahasuerus’ wife, Queen Vashti, hosted her own party for the Shushanite womenfolk.

On the seventh day of this party, Ahasuerus’ heart “was merry with wine,” and he commanded his wife Vashti to appear before all the partying men—he wanted to show them all her exquisite beauty. Vashti balked at this request, and at the advice of his advisor Memuchan, Ahasuerus ordered Vashti’s execution.


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Appreciation | Tali Loewenthal

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A key element in human relationships is the ability to express thanks. We also need the complementary skill: to accept thanks graciously. The simple step of appreciating the effort made by another person helps to join hearts, and to traverse the natural barriers, such as the layers of self, which divide one individual from another.

While the concept of giving thanks is important among human beings, it is also central in our relationship with G-d. Almost all of our responses to G-d through following the path of Jewish teaching can be seen as expressions of appreciation and thanks, for the infinite bounty that G-d bestows day by day — despite all the apparent problems and the dark patches.

One of the methods of expressing thanks to G-d is described in this week’s Torah reading. This is the Thanksgiving Offering,1 which an individual could bring to the Temple on any weekday. It was brought as expression of thanks to G-d by someone who experienced any of four specific kinds of danger: a captive who was freed; a person who crossed the sea; one who traversed the desert, and someone who has recovered from an illness. During the offering of this sacrifice on the Altar in the Temple, the joyful Psalm 100 would be sung by the Levites. This is now part of the morning service on weekdays. Together with the offering would be a number of Matzot (unleavened bread) and loaves of leavened bread. The minimum number was three Matzot, and one leavened loaf.

A fascinating aspect of Jewish teaching is the way the Sages often connect together seemingly disparate ideas. The three Matzot of the Thanksgiving Offering link with the three Matzot at the Passover Seder.2 The Sages point out that on Passover we went free from captivity in Egypt. We also crossed the Red Sea, and traversed the desert.3 These are three of the four reasons for bringing a Thanksgiving Offering in the Temple. So we have yet another good reason to express our thanks to G-d, in the exultant Seder gathering.4

1. See Leviticus 7:12.
2. See Shulchan Aruch HaRav, Laws of Passover 458:5.
3. See the sources cited in the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s Likkutei Sichot, vol.12, pp.27-32.
4. However, since the Thanksgiving Offering included leavened bread, and therefore could not be offered on Pesach, we do not say Psalm 100 in the Chol Hamoed morning prayers.

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My Week Without a Cell Phone | Blumie Raskin


No wonder relationships today are at an all-time low. We don’t talk anymore. We don’t converse and have meaningful discussions with people face-to-face, gauging their reactions and physically interacting with them. Our relationships are based on screens and cyberspace and apps! How is a deeper connection supposed to develop?

Maybe it’s time we applied our connection with G‑d to our relationships with those around us who are near and dear. Maybe it’s time that we really started to think about our friends and family and how much we appreciate their being a part of our lives, rather than just “friending” them.

My phone will be back in about six hours, shiny screen beckoning. Perhaps I will shut it off for two or three hours a day, so that I will be forced to connect in other, more meaningful ways with those around me.

I hear my baby moving around in her crib, and I have a husband to make dinner for.

Please excuse me while I go connect with the people I love.

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The Far Horizon | Rabbi Jonathan Sacks


If you want to be a great leader in any field, from prime minister to parent, it is essential to think long-term. Never choose the easy option because it is simple or fast or yields immediate satisfaction. You will pay a high price in the end.

Moses was the greatest leader because he thought further ahead than anyone else. He knew that real change in human behavior is the work of many generations. Therefore we must place as our highest priority educating our children in our ideals, so that what we begin they will continue, until the world changes because we have changed. He knew that if you plan for a year, plant rice. If you plan for a decade, plant a tree. If you plan for posterity, educate a child.9 Moses’ lesson, thirty-three centuries old, is still compelling today.

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The Yom Kippur War | 40 Years Later


In the summer of 1973, weeks before the surprise outbreak of the Yom Kippur War, the Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of righteous memory, urgently requested that thousands of Jewish children gather at the Western Wall and other locations across the globe to pray and recite words of Torah, in fulfillment of the verse, “Out of the mouths of young children You established the power . . . to neutralize the enemy” (Psalms 8:3).

Days before Yom Kippur, the Rebbe wrote a letter “to the Sons and Daughters of our People Israel, everywhere,” emphasizing the qualitative edge gained by the Jewish people adhering to G‑d’s commandments over the sheer quantity of other nations. The Rebbe’s Yom Kippur prayers that year were particularly tearful and urgent.

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