Archive | December, 2014

Tefila tip #4, and Zot Chanukah!

24 Dec

Chanukah in Jerusalem is fantastic!  Huge blue neon Chanukiyot in the public squares, cars with Chanukiyot on their roofs (that’s in all of Israel and also elsewhere), tiny lit up Chanukiyot on the power lines.  And that’s aside from everyone’s personal Chanukiyah in their front doorway or the windows of their home.  Tis truly chag ha’urim, the “festival of lights.”  There’s inner light (hod- majesty) and there is external light (hadar– splendor).  Inner light just is – it’s inside of us and the person who possesses it might not know it, but it emanates from him (or her, of course).  Then there is outer light that you gotta “hook up,” it doesn’t shine automatically, you have to turn it on, but when it does, it lights up the whole public arena.  Then, there’s Chanukah, the “festival of lights.”  That’s when the inner light (hod) shines outside (hadar).  That’s when the powerful inner light that is just is, cause it’s an essential part of us, emanates outside as well.  When that happens, as it does during Chanukah, there’s nothing stopping it.  If you’re wondering how you can tap into some of that inner light, as well as get some tips on prayer (“Tefila tips”),  check out our blog at   If that’s not deep enough for you, then check out our suite of spiritual books on the subject, at  And finally if you just want to see whose lighting up the public arena, so go to  

Chanukah and Tefila!

17 Dec

I get emotional around this time of year, I admit it.  Chanukah was our family holiday, when we got together to kindle the Chanukah lights as a family, or at least whoever was around.  We wouldn’t do much, maybe sing a little and eat some latkas and stuff, but the main thing was the togetherness and warmth.  It also happens to be my birthday (second night of Chanukah).  So, like Pesach and the other festivals, it was a family thing.  Lots of water under the bridge since then, a long time and a huge physical distance, but Chanukah is still all about light and warmth.  It’s in the soul; the Chanukah lights symbolize chochma, or the spiritual wisdom that rises above everyday life.  It’s in space, since the Chanukah lights are placed where they can light up the public arena.  And it’s in time, since Chanukah flows over into the coldest winter days of the year, to warm them up.  Chanukah is also about miracles, that inform us how to connect with something  beyond ourselves.  How?  That’s the subject of this weeks “Tefila tip,” the third in the series.  It’s all about making tefila light up your day.  To see how, go to our blog, at  And if that only stimulates your appetite for more meditation and spirituality, have a look at where you can browse and buy our suite of Jewish spiritual books.  Finally to get in tune with Chanukah in Jerusalem, check out   Chanukah sameach, Happy Chanukah!

The Quorum Quandary – To pray with a minyan or alone?

11 Dec

This week’s Tefila Tip is about a practical issue –whether or not to pray with a minyan (prayer quorum of ten men).  Put in mundane terms, the question is, “do I join them or do I go it alone?”  Of course, it’s easier to stay at home and pray by ourself, but there are some good reasons for going to synagogue and praying together with friends.  Part of it is ahavat Yisrael – the general principle of love for a fellow Jew.  Since we are all brothers and sisters, so to speak, the more that we express our “togetherness,” the more we can do for each other.  But, there’s more to it than that, there are some spiritual reason as well.  If you’re interested, read all about it, at   It’s a fascinating topic!

And if that’s not enough and you want more, try our suite of spiritual books at    Some people just prefer to know what’s going with Chabad in Jerusalem – in that case, check us out at

New Series – Tefila Tips!

3 Dec

Shalom, Y’all!
We are beginning a new series of weekly emails, based upon techniques of meditation and prayer in the Jewish tradition. I believe that prayer is the “last frontier,” and that it is the area in which many of us are underdeveloped. We know that we have to fulfill 613 commandments. And we know that we have to learn some Torah every day. But, we tend to take prayer for granted, and discharge our duty as quickly and mindlessly as possible. Sometimes, this is because we don’t have time or because we have other priorities. But often, it is simply because well-meaning people do not know how to pray with intention. So, the purpose of this new series will be to refer to our website,, where we will post a different part of the prayer service every week, and analyze it according to the inner dimensions of Torah: kaballah and chasidut. We will also suggest a way of incorporating the new meaning into our prayers. In this way, we hope to promote mindful prayer and bring the ultimate redemption that much closer!
So, click on to get this week’s tip on tefila. If you’re looking for something more in depth, then try our suite of books on Jewish prayer and meditation at Finally, for news on Chabad in Jerusalem, go to