What is Chabad? A Comprehensive Guide
Chabad is a Jewish movement that originated in the late 18th century in Eastern Europe. It is known for its outreach efforts to Jews around the world, as well as its emphasis on Jewish education, social services, and spiritual growth.
History of Chabad
Chabad was founded by Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi, also known as the Alter Rebbe, in 1775. He was a disciple of the Maggid of Mezritch, who was a disciple of the Baal Shem Tov, the founder of Hasidism.
The Alter Rebbe’s teachings emphasized the importance of serving God with joy and enthusiasm, and he developed a unique system of Jewish mysticism known as Chabad, which stands for Chochmah (wisdom), Binah (understanding), and Da’at (knowledge).
Expansion and Persecution
After the Alter Rebbe’s death in 1812, his son, Rabbi DovBer, became the leader of Chabad. He expanded the movement’s outreach efforts and established a network of Chabad yeshivas (Jewish schools) throughout Eastern Europe.
However, Chabad faced persecution from both the Russian government and other Hasidic groups, who saw Chabad’s emphasis on intellectualism and mysticism as a threat to traditional Hasidic values.
Chabad survived the Russian Revolution and the Holocaust, and in the post-war era, it began to expand its outreach efforts to Jews around the world. Today, Chabad has a presence in over 100 countries, with thousands of emissaries (shluchim) working to provide Jewish education, social services, and spiritual guidance to Jews of all backgrounds.
Beliefs and Practices
God and Creation
Chabad believes in the absolute unity of God and the importance of serving God with joy and enthusiasm. Chabad also emphasizes the importance of intellectualism and the study of Jewish mysticism.
Prayer and Ritual
Chabad follows traditional Jewish prayer and ritual practices, but with an emphasis on joy and enthusiasm. Chabad also places a strong emphasis on the study of Torah and Talmud.
Outreach and Social Services
Chabad is known for its outreach efforts to Jews around the world, as well as its social services, which include food banks, crisis counseling, and assistance for the elderly and disabled.
Chabad has a presence in over 100 countries, with thousands of emissaries (shluchim) working to provide Jewish education, social services, and spiritual guidance to Jews of all backgrounds.
Chabad has faced controversy over its outreach efforts to non-Orthodox Jews, as well as its stance on issues such as homosexuality and interfaith marriage.
Chabad’s legacy includes its emphasis on Jewish education, social services, and spiritual growth, as well as its unique system of Jewish mysticism known as Chabad.
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