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Weekly Story: Celebrating Sukkos Outside the GPU Office

I was arrested together with a number of other chassidim on the 13th of Elul, 5695 (1935). Around two months later, we all were sentenced to exile for “counter-revolutionary” activities. The train transit took many days, until we arrived at the first destination. There the prisoners were sent to various locations, such as the Ural Mountains, Siberia and Uzbekistan. We were sent to Turkestan.

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Laws and Customs: Sukkos

Rabbi Shmuel Lesches, Maggid Shiur in Yeshiva Gedola of Melbourne, Australia, has compiled a guide to the laws of Sukkos (up to – but not including – Hoshanah Rabbah), including the laws of building a Sukkah and selecting the Daled Minim, for the benefit of the wider Lubavitch community.

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Weekly Story: Techiyas Hameisim on Erev Yom Kippur

Yom Kippur was this past Wednesday, and this Shabbos, Yud-Gimmel Tishrei, is the 136th Yahrzeit of the Rebbe Maharash. I received the following phenomenal story of the Rebbe Maharash, from Rabbi Mendel Moscowitz who heard it from Rabbi Leibel Posner may he be well, who as a child heard it directly from Rabbi Laizer Weissman, the person who personally witnessed it. I verified the story with one of Rabbi Posner’s sons, who filled me in on some additional details.

Video: How do you Define Faith?

Rabbi Yitzchok Minkowicz, director of Chabad Lubavitch of Southwest Florida, delivers his insights on the Parasha of Vayelech. This week he answers the question: How do you define faith? – based on the teachings of the Lubavitcher Rebbe.

Here’s My Story: Turning Rascals in Rabbi’s

I was born in Siedlce, Poland, four years before World War Two broke out, at which time my family fled to Russia. Despite the difficulties of living on the run, my father spared no effort to educate me and my siblings in the ways of Judaism — in keeping with the education he, himself, had received at Chabad’s Tomchei Temimim yeshivah in Warsaw. After the war, we came to Israel, where I learned in the Chabad yeshivas in Tel Aviv and in Lod.

Laws and Customs: Yom Kippur

Rabbi Shmuel Lesches, Magid Shiur in the Yeshiva Gedola of Melbourne, Australia, has compiled a guide to the laws and customs of Kapparos, Erev Yom Kippur and Yom Kippur for the benefit of the wider Lubavitch community.

Have We Become Too Sophisticated For Yom Kippur?

Simple faith. At one time, it seemed within the grasp of virtually everyone. Its expectations were clear: to love G-d, to fear G-d, to feel his presence, to follow his commandments. The relationship was uncomplicated, and by engaging in it, one would be rewarded with a sense of meaning, purpose, place, and belonging.

8:00pm: What Exactly Is Simcha?

This week’s edition of MyLife: Chassidus Applied with Rabbi Simon Jacobson, Episode 229, will air tonight, Sunday, here on, beginning at 8:00pm. This week Rabbi Jacobson will address the topics: Can We Ask About the “Whys” and the “Hows” of Torah and Mitzvos, or Do We Have to Accept It All Without Questions? Chassidus Applied to Yom Kippur and Sukkot; How Can I Show G-d That I Truly Repented? What Exactly Is Simcha? Why Should One Be Observant; Do We Need Someone Outside of Ourselves to Build Our Self-Worth?

Weekly Story: A Rosh Hashanah in the City of Lubavitch

The day has come to an end, as the shadows of evening have already spread throughout the sky. The townspeople, together with the multitudes of guests, the hundreds of students, and their teachers and mentors, gather in the big room to daven the first tefillah (prayer) of the new year — Maariv of Rosh Hashanah.

Here’s My Story: When I Won the Lottery

I was born in 1926 in Kursk, Russia. It was at the beginning of Soviet rule, but despite the difficulties involved, my parents made sure to give me a Jewish education. When I was ten years old, my parents managed to get a permit to leave Russia, and we came to the Israel, then the British Mandate for Palestine. There I continued my Torah studies.

Weekly Story: The Cry Of The Shofar

In Beis Rebbe (p.34), it is noted that the Mitteler Rebbe was not able to be in Lubavitch for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur of 5586 (1825) and he sent a message that his son-in-law the HaRav Menachem Mendel (commonly known as the Tzemach Tzedek) should say a maamar in his stead. The Tzemach Tzedek refused, [as only a Rebbe can say his original maamar Chassidus], but he said a parable to explain the meaning of tekias shofar. The clarity in which he presented this thought, that the people were so affected by it, that even before he explained the nimshal (what we should learn from it), they burst into tears.

Parasha: Like an Apple Tree Amongst The Forest Trees

“As a rose among thorns so is, my wife among the daughters” is a call which gets back a response as: “Like an apple tree among the forest tree, so is my beloved among the sons. Under its shadow, I delighted to sit & its fruit was sweet to my taste.”  (Shir Hashirim 2:2)

8:00pm: If We Did Nothing Would the World Cease to Be?

This week’s edition of MyLife: Chassidus Applied with Rabbi Simon Jacobson, Episode 228, will air tonight, Sunday, here on, beginning at 8:00pm. This week Rabbi Jacobson will address the topics: What Can We Practically Do to Pray a Bit Better? Should I Be Concerned About Speaking Loshon Hora When Speaking with My Mentor? For the Sake of Sholom Bayis Should I Do Something My Spouse Prefers That I Would Normally Refrain from Doing? Does the Torah Expect the Same from People Regardless of Their Vital Childhood Experience? Is There Any Value in Rigidly Doing Mitzvot by Rote Even If It Does Not Refine Me? What Does It Mean That We Need to Stimulate G-D’s Desire to Recreate Existence on Rosh Hashana? If We Did Nothing Would the World Cease to Be?

Weekly Story: Bringing Out Its Beauty

Quite often the question is asked, “What did Chassidus accomplish?” or sometimes it is phrased in stronger words, “You see in the generations before the Baal Shem Tov, that there were great tzaddikim and ehrliche (righteous) Jews, who did not need the “light” of Chassidus to attain their level. So why is it necessary now?”

Hear’s My Story: One Deed is Worth A Thousand Sermons

I am the son of Rabbi Chaim Gutnick, who fled Europe during World War Two and made his way to Australia, where I was born. In his work as a community rabbi, my father was very much guided by the Rebbe, and I would like to relate here a few anecdotes which my father had shared with me.