Season 5

New Season Starting
Wednesday, July 12 2023!


These days, it seems like nothing has a shelf life longer than a week. Every day brings another superhero franchise, fashion trend, or dieting fad. News cycles shift by the hour, social media feeds and timelines by the second. With everything flickering, flashing, and constantly updating, it’s little wonder life sometimes feel so impermanent.

For me, there’s no better way to slow things down than to pull back, if only for short while, and try to see things from a more timeless perspective. Our own Jewish traditions are filled with so many breathtaking insights, and they won’t fade away into irrelevance in a few days. Connecting to our own heritage, and ultimately to a divine wisdom, makes the all very human things we do feel richer, more meaningful, and part of something longer lasting.

The Torah Studies program at the Chabad Jewish Center tries to make this happen every single week. Each class take a topic or idea in Jewish thought to explore, tease out, and bring into play with our own lives. Each one is built around texts that we’ll learn together so that you can see these ideas for yourself, argue over them, and apply them to life your own way. Below, you can see an outline of a few of the upcoming sessions, and I’d love if you could join me for what promises to be a fun, engaging, and deeply rewarding learning experience. They are open to everyone, of all abilities, so bring along a friend too!

Shalom, and have a great week,

Rabbi Chanoch Kaplan

375 Pulis Ave, Franklin Lakes NJ


July 12

G‑d Doesn't Want It Darker

If It Seems That Way, Great Things Must Be Coming

We all go through difficult, dark times-sometimes excruciatingly so. Judaism has long held the view that like the Jews' original odyssey through the desert, no stop on this journey of life is so dark as to be meaningless. In fact, the more difficult it is, the greater the growth thereafter.


July 19

How to Make a Successful Remake

Transmitting Values in a New Language Is an Art Form

A remake is always hard. How do you maintain the original authentic theme and flavor while injecting new and relevant language? Two drastically different historic attempts at translating the Torah teach us how to ace this tough task: with creativity and an abundance of caution.


July 26

Struggle Isn't a Bug. It's a Feature

Reframing Negativity Isn't Only about Looking to the Future

A Talmudic story of a sage laughing at the scene of tremendous destruction teaches us profound truths about the destruction in our lives: it's not just getting better ''some day''; the destruction is the very feature that's making it better right now.


August 2

The Big Picture

Your Life Really Only Centers around One Thing

Modern life is a dizzying abundance of ''splintering.'' Every day brings so many different places to be, roles to fill, and projects to carry out. World events regularly turn things upside down. How do we maintain our sanity and peace through it all? By centering everything around one thing: serving G‑d-in whichever capacity He wishes.


August 9

Jerusalem: Our Eternal Undivided Capital

The Meeting Place of Heaven and Earth

It's the most hotly contested piece of real estate within the most hotly contested land in the world. What's so special about Jerusalem that evokes so much passion? Walk its cobblestone streets and you will feel that it is the nexus of Heaven and earth.


August 16

Don't Worry; There's No Reason to Fear

How to Maintain Calm When Life Goes Sideways

Jewish people throughout history have maintained legendary faith in G‑d, no matter how worrisome the future may look. But how? How do we allay fears about the future when we truly don't know what will be? It's all about trusting in G‑d and relying on His master plan.


August 23

Why Evil Exists

When Opposition Demonstrates the Greatest Support

Squaring the idea of an omnipresent G‑d with the reality of evil has always been a thorny theological problem. Discover the surprising premise that upends this entire conversation: it's along the lines of, ''G‑d can make a rock He can't pick up-and then pick it up, too.''


August 30

''G‑d, Once in a While, Can't You Choose Someone Else?''

The Privilege, Responsibility, and Humility of Being ''Chosen''

Our claim as the ''chosen nation'' has too often been misconstrued and misunderstood. It's time to set the record straight and internalize what this idea really means: We are entirely humble before G‑d and here to serve. Now it's time to get to work.

Wednesday, September 6

Kowtowed into Submission?

Judaism Doesn't Believe That G‑d Is Waving a Pitchfork over Your Head

''Fear of G‑d'' and submitting to authority are central planks to religious Jewish life. But who wants to live in fear and submission? No one. The good news is that Judaism doesn't demand that from us. In fact, ''fearing G‑d'' is quite the opposite: It is an edifying and empowering awareness to enrich your life. Discover how.

Wednesday, September 13

''You Matter,'' G‑d Said

Discovering Our Immutable Value in the Shofar-Blowing Ceremony

There comes a time when thinking people stop and ask themselves, ''Do I really matter?'' It's a scary question. The shofar-blowing ceremony provides a reassuring answer: Beyond anything you might do, G‑d decided you matter-and that's who you are. Go ahead and relish that.

Wednesday, September 20

There's Always Room for Improvement

It's Not Just Something Your Therapist Says. Your Soul Demands It

That we can always improve is pretty much a no-brainer. Yom Kippur comes along each year and adds: Today, your soul receives a reboot. You're a new person now. You can improve-and dramatically so.

Wednesday, September 27

The Ascetic Materialist: A Welcome Paradox

Developing a Cunning Approach to Everyday Life

Jewish tradition abounds with stories of pious ascetics who ate black bread and slept on wooden boards. But that doesn't seem to be so commonplace these days. Should we go back? The sukkah-a primal hut, but with all the trappings of a house-provides an innovative and healthy approach.


Chabad Jewish Center

375 Pulis Ave, Franklin Lakes NJ




Torah Studies is a program of the Rohr Jewish Learning Institute