Three centuries ago, Jewish life was in a very bad situation. Massacres and persecutions had devastated the Jewish community in both body and spirit. The harsh conditions forced most Jews to abandon their Torah studies at a young age to help with earning a livelihood. This caused a great lack of Torah knowledge and low morale among the simple folk. The scholarly elite kept aloof from their unlettered brethren and regarded them with contempt.
Technically, Judaism was alive. Jews went through the motions, putting on tefillin each weekday morning, praying three times a day, observing the Shabbat and the dietary laws. But the spark of life was growing cold.
Then, on the 18th day of the Hebrew month of Elul 1698, a child named Yisrael (Israel) was born. Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov breathed life into Judaism– awareness, warmth, and joy. On Elul 18, 1734 — his 36th birthday — the Baal Shem Tov began to publicly disseminate his message. He spoke of the immense love that G-d has for every Jew, of the significance of every mitzvah a Jew performs, of the G-dliness that resides in every blade of grass, in every event, and in every thought in the universe. He spoke to the downtrodden masses and to the aloof scholars. He gave meaning to their existence, and thus joy, and thus life.
Elul 18 is also the birthday of Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi, the founder of the “Chabad” Chassidism. Rabbi Schneur Zalman was the disciple of the Baal Shem Tov’s disciple, Rabbi DovBer of Mezeritch, and thus regarded himself as the Baal Shem Tov’s spiritual grandson. He was born exactly 47 years after his “grandfather” on Elul 18, 5505 (1745), and his teachings and works carried the Baal Shem Tov’s vitalization of Judaism to greater mystical heights, deeper intellectual depths and yet broader realms of application in the daily life of the Jew.
Chai Elul, Hebrew for “the 18th of Elul,” also means “the life of Elul” . And so the Rebbes of Chabad taught: “Chai Elul infuses life into the month of Elul, and via Elul — the month of divine compassion and our own month of soul-searching and stocktaking — into the entire
This past Shabbat, we had our 2nd annual Shabbaton, in Yamanaka ko, near Mt.Fuji.
Each family stayed in bungalows that were spread between a beautiful forest. The main Hall, where the prayers and meals were held, was a very big wooden house, overlooking a beautiful landscape, with a second floor, where the kids played.
Throughout Shabbat, there was singing and happiness, Torah learning, words of inspiration, talking together, and great food.
It was a wonderful experience. There was a great atmosphere being together with many other people in a feeling of unity and friendship, a whole shabbat, in the nature.
While the adults prayed in the minyan, the children heard stories played games.
Right after Shabbat, there was a fantastic BBQ, and the Chabad House Kosher Chickens were served.
On Sunday morning, there was an exercise class people enjoyed, given by Liane and Aki. Everyone heard the Shofar blowing, ate breakfast, prepared lunch, and went to enjoy the area.
All of the participants were very moved, and asked to organize more of such events and trips.
A key point in the Shabbaton was the organization and logistics. Everything was brought from the Chabad House in Tokyo, starting from the prayer books, to the food, the BBQ, games and books for the kids, all the equipment necessary to cook, and the Torah Scroll.
With G-d’s help we plan to make more such Shabbatons, as it greatly adds to the unity, and greatly impacts every participant, young and old alike.
Hopefully this Shabbat we will celebrate in the 3rd Temple with Moshiach now!
Special thanks to Kobayashi san and Hitomi for their incredible help in organizing the Shabbaton.
As a preparation for the High Holidays, Chabad of Japan, with the help of G-d, organized kosher slaughtering this week. This makes kosher poultry readily available and very fresh. It is a project that takes a lot of preparation, time and energy but well worth it.
This Shechita is one of the many Shechita rounds that we have done throughout the years. We were privileged to have Rabbi Yehuda Benshimon, the shochet (ritual slaughterer), come from N.Y. to do the slaughtering.
The shochet commented that the chickens in Japan are much healthier than the chickens in any other country that he slaughtered. Maybe it is thanks to the sushi and green tea that the chickens are fed.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank Rabbi Benshimon for all this efforts beyond the call of duty, and may Hashem bless him and his family with all the brachot.
Our great appreciation for Daniel Moscovitch’s constant help and devotion, to make this shechita possible. He came all the way from Kyoto to be part of this mitzvah.
A great big thank you to Kobayashi san, who gave so much of his time, wholeheartedly.
Thank you to all the generous people who gave Tzedaka to make this Shechita possible.
Thank you Hashem, for giving us the strength and stamina to do more and more good, purifying and elevating Japan. Hopefully this Shabbat, we will celebrate in the 3rd Temple, with Kobe Beef!
Every day, local police men from the Omori Police Station, come to the Chabad House to patrol. They come a few times a day, and leave a note with their report. They also come to the Hall where we celebrate every Holiday, to check and patrol, and make sure everything is secure. We would like to thank the wonderful police men for their time and effort in helping to keep Chabad House safe.
Every synagogue is called a ”MiniTemple” or Mikdash Meat. In the Temple there were Cohens and Levites who were ”watchers”. However they did not protect the Temple from negative infiltration, it was a ” Protection of Honor”.
We feel that aside for the security reason that the police come for, is also the honor that they are giving for the ” House of G-d”, especially now since we are so close to the Redemption.
In the picture above is one of the policemen with his fans from Chabad House.
Rabbi Binyomin Edery Chabad of Tokyo was invited to celebrate the 233rd anniversary of American Independence this week.
He goes on an ongoing basis to visit American Jewish prisoners in Japan, as part of his many services.
In the picture above, the consul and vice consul are glad to meet up with the Rabbi, at the celebration. They are always very appreciative of Rabbi Edery’s efforts and devotion to helping others.
We would like to thank all the staff of the U.S. embassy in Tokyo for their care and concern for their citizens who are in prison.
The Lubavitcher Rebbe always refers to the U.S. as ”Malchus shel Chesed” – a kingdom of kindness, which allows people to practice religion freely, and emphasizes morals and education. The Rebbe also emphasized that it is the only country with the words ” In G-d We Trust” on its money!
The U.S. Goverment have recognized the Rebbe’s huge impact, on the American society, and have officially made the Rebbe’s birthday ” Education and Sharing Day USA”.