Archive for the ‘Chabad’ Category

Zalman: “Be a shtickel Rebbe!”

Monday, August 5th, 2013

Reb Zalman sends this mamash / amazing Wort / talk he had with Boulder Chabad‘s Rabbi Yisroel and Rochel Rosencrantz in which he speaks beyond just them to all of us. [Edited by Gabbai Seth Fishman]


I want to say that all this is done l’shem yichud kud’sha brich hu ush’chintey / with an intention of uniting the Holy One Blessed be He and His Sh’khinnah. We really want to help the Sh’khinnah to be connected with Hakadosh Baruch Hu, and the world needs to heal. So that’s the motivation. I’m glad to do this for you because in some ways there’s a kind of Tzava’ah, a last will and testament to say something about what I think things are about for me.

I believe that our task is to look at reality and see it most clearly from a perspective of being a Jewish cell in the body of the world. If we can do that, that’s what I call taking on ‘ol malchut shamayim / a yoke of obedience to heaven’s kingship, [a committed practitioner of Yiddishkeit], in a sense — that whatever the Ribbono shel Olam / Master of worlds has implanted in me when I stood there and they were making me swear: t’hei tzadik v’al t’hei rasha‘ / ‘Be righteous and be not wicked’ .

[NOTE: “It has been taught (Niddah, 30b): An oath is administered to him [before birth warning him]: ‘Be righteous and be not wicked'” (beginning of Sefer Tanya, Chapter 1)]

When I heard, et mi eshlach umi yelech lanu / “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?”, I said hineni, I’m here. At that point the Ribbono shelOlam burnt an EPROM in me.

[NOTE: Computer memory chip. Reb Zalman is saying that he was then given his marching orders on how to be the Zalman God wanted him to be in this incarnation.]

Every time I have to go and get to a place and ask, mah Hashem Elokecha shoel meimach / what does Hashem Your God ask of you, I have to do a reset on my whole system because it picks up a lot of shmutz. (This is computer language.)


Jewish Renewal: Keeping Yiddishkeit Relevant

Friday, June 14th, 2013


The following is a transcript of a conversation between Reb Zalman and Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak (YY) Jacobson, (editor-in-chief of the The Algemeiner Journal), which occurred on November 24, 2007  (15 Kislev, 5768). (Edited by Gabbai Seth Fishman.)

Reb Zalman:

“Here’s the story: There was such a remarkable article by Hillel Zeitlin, ‘Vos is Chabad’ / ‘What’s Chabad about’? You could see from there how he, in his day, was talking about the ruchnius / spirit of Chabad.

“I miss this, nowadays, — when I encounter [with them] — in the Shlichim / Chabad emissaries. Every once in a while, some of the young Shlichim come by here and chap a shmues / grab a conversation with me. Officially, the excuse is [that] they want to see what s’forim / books I have or to talk with me about what it was like in those old days. But what they really want is – to find a sympathetic ear through which they might express conflicts and doubts. They also want to find out how to make their davvenen / prayer more real.

I found, when I was in Australia, that they’re all managers. They’re sort of franchise people where they are. There is very little that is happening in hisbonenus / contemplation and ruchnius / spirituality. They have a very low ceiling. That’s what I’m concerned about, that’s what I wanted to shmues / discuss with you.

“Have you been able to reach your brother or not?”

Rabbi YY Jacobson:

“I couldn’t, I tried.”

Reb Zalman:

Nish geferlich / it’s not so bad; you’ll give over to him.”

Rabbi YY Jacobson:

“I’m sorry, I wanted him to be in on the conversation.”

Reb Zalman:

“So what’s happening? (You’re close by to 770 in New York; you see what’s going on.)

For instance, I was in Melbourne and I asked [if they would show me around] and, they did. And there’s a yeshiva / school for boys and a kollel / school for men. I came to the beis medrash / house of study of the kollel and I asked who is the mashpia / the one who provides spiritual direction for the students. They said they don’t have a mashpia. So vaksen yunge leit / raising the boys missing something essential for the yoshvei ohel / serious students.

“When you look at the way the Alter Rebbe / Reb Schneur Zalman of Liadi was writing about such things in the letters, about yoshvei ohel and what they have to do with their davvenen, etc. — I didn’t have the sense that any of that was happening there.”

Rabbi YY Jacobson:

“The way I see it, there’s two elements. First of all, I don’t feel that Chabad has, at the moment, that many individuals who have the ability to take chassidus / esoteric teachings, to take the maamorim / esoteric discourses and to apply  them in contemporary terms [so] that the 21st century teenager, or young man, or woman, can really get excited about it. They learn chassidus in the yeshivah, they learn the kontreisim / shorter articles, the maamorim / longer pieces, etc., but if you ask most eighteen or nineteen year olds, ‘Are you excited about such and such maamar?’, they say, ‘What’s there to be excited about? It doesn’t talk to me.’ I don’t think, on their own, they could find anything enthusiastic, inspiring or, certainly, overwhelming to actually spend time every day and davven with it or think about it. That’s number one.


The Rebbe’s Prescription for Anxiety

Tuesday, November 17th, 2009

In the following article, Reb Zalman makes accessible some of the core practical teachings of the Alter RebbeRabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi, the founder of Chabad-Lubavitch.  With Reb Zalman’s help, the Baal Tanya‘s teachings extend to universal applicability.  You will find at the end prescriptions for Anxiety.  The message from the Sefer Beinonim is pertinent to all, regardless of identifications or level of observance.  Please feel free to leave comments at the end with any thoughts or reactions.  Gabbai Seth Fishman, BLOG Editor

Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Ladi on

by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi


Anxiety And the Beinoni
The Psychology of Beinoni
The Rational Soul
Habad and Affect
The Vicissitudes of the Beinoni
The Remedy
Inner and Outer Reality