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Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

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Question 2.9:
What is Lubavitch Chasidism and Chabad?


Lubavitch Chasidism, most commonly presented through its organizational arm Chabad, is one of the better known groups within Chasidism (although there are others). It is an international movement with headquarters in Brooklyn, New York.

Its major thrust focuses on observing for one's self and transmitting to others the beauty, depth, awareness and joy inherent in the Torah-true way of life. By doing so, it strives to revitalize Jewish life by intensifying the individual's relationship to G-d, and deep sense of devotion and love towards one's fellow man.

The name Chabad (Chochmah, Binah, Daat) refers to the three intellectual sephiros (Divine Emanations); the philosophy of the founder, the Alter Rebbe, stressed the use of the intellect to guide the emotions. Thus, each individual chassid had to work on himself/herself, rather than simply rely on the Rebbe/Tzaddik's saintliness. Another name used in Lubavitch Chassidism is ChaGat (Chessed, Gevurah, Tiferes), which refers to the first three of the seven emotional sephiros/character attributes which derive from Chabad. The empahsis in Chagat Chassidus is on emotional fervor and devotion (the Baal Shem Tov's counter to the dry intellectualism mentioned earlier.) Consequently, a chassid must attach himself/herself to the Rebbe and let his righteousness carry the Chassid along.

The Lubavitch Rebbe, as Nasi HaDor (leader of the generation) has the responsibility of setting the direction of the generation.

Chabad-Lubavitch philosophy promotes an intellectual perspective that strives to helps an individual live in full accordance with the Torah-true way of life.

A key campaign of Chabad is spreading the word of the imminence of the arrival of the Messiah and teaching about what that means according to Jewish law and Chabad. In 1991 (Parashat Chayei Sarah), the Lubavitcher Rebbe said that this campaign surpassed all of the other ones.

Chabad-Lubavitch operates an extensive outreach effort to encourage Jews to return to traditional practices. As part of this effort, Chabad operates the Mitzvah Campaigns. The vanguard of the Mitzvah Campaigns are the "Mitzvah Tanks". The goal of the Mitzvah Campaign is to encourage Jews to perform 10 specific mitzvos, the intention being that through their fulfillment, the individual and the family will come to experience a deeper and more fulfilling relationship with their Jewish Heritage. These Mitzvot are:

  1. Ahavas Yisroel: The love of one's fellow Jew.

  2. Chinuch: Torah Education

  3. Torah Study.

  4. Tefillin: The donning of Tefillin, every weekday, by men and boys over 13.

  5. Mezuzoh: The Jewish Sign

  6. Tzedokoh: Giving charity every weekday.

  7. Posession of Jewish Holy Books

  8. Lighting Shabbos and Festival Candles. Chabad provides a Free Shabbat Kit, available by calling the Rebitzen at +1 310 326-8234. For Candle lighting times anywhere in the USA call 718-774-3000.

  9. Kashrus: The Jewish Dietary Laws

  10. Taharas Hamishpocho: The Torah perspective on married life

Chabad also urges that efforts be made to inform the public at large about the nature and meaning of the Seven Laws of Noah. Additional information on the Noachide Laws may be found in Part 6 of the S.C.J FAQ, Question 12.19, "What does Judaism say about non-Jews?"

Additional information on Chabad may be found in the Chassidic Reading List portion of the S.C.J FAQ.

Chabad-Lubavitch is also reachable through the internet; for more information, send email to Information is also available via WWW or Mosaic via the following URL:

The FAQ is a collection of documents that is an attempt to answer questions that are continually asked on the soc.culture.jewish family of newsgroups. It was written by cooperating laypeople from the various Judaic movements. You should not make any assumption as to accuracy and/or authoritativeness of the answers provided herein. In all cases, it is always best to consult a competent authority--your local rabbi is a good place to start.

[Got Questions?]Hopefully, the FAQ will provide the answer to your questions. If it doesn't, please drop Email to The FAQ maintainer will endeavor to direct your query to an appropriate individual that can answer it. If you would like to be part of the group to which the maintainer directs questions, please drop a note to the FAQ maintainer at

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