19th of Kislev at Chabad TA
19th of Kislev at Chabad TAYoni Kempinski

Chabad-Lubavitch Chassidim began celebrating on Wednesday night Yud Tes Kislev, the Chassidic New Year.

The date, the 19th day of the Hebrew month of Kislev on the Jewish calendar, is celebrated as the Rosh Hashanah of Chassidim and marks the release from a Czarist Russian prison in 1798 of the founder of the Chabad-Lubavitch Chassidic philosophy, Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi (1745-1812).

Arutz Sheva visited the celebration which took place at the Chabad House near Sheinkin Street in Tel Aviv.

“We’re marking the redemption and the liberation of the founder of the Chabad movement,” Rabbi Avraham Shmuel Lewin, former secretary of the Agudath HaRabonim (the Union of Orthodox Rabbis of the United States and Canada), told Arutz Sheva.

“It’s a joyous day especially for Chassidei Chabad, but it also affects world Jewry,” he noted, explaining, “Each person has his own constraints and his own personal exile. The rebbe set aside this day so that anyone who has personal problems, this day will be like Yom Kippur and the rebbe would help any person to be liberated from his own personal exile.”

Rabbi Lewin explained that the fact that Chabad House in Tel Aviv is located in an area of the city which is considered secular, does not mean that there is no connection with area residents.

“Of course there’s a connection,” he said. “That’s the raison d’etre of Chabad: to connect the materialism with the spiritual realm. There are certain groups that isolate themselves and are afraid to go out to the secular Sheinkin Street, because they’re afraid they might be influenced by the ‘negative forces.’”

“Chabad is just the opposite,” stressed Rabbi Lewin. “We go out, we change those negative forces. We’re not on the defensive. We’re an offensive.”