ChabadNewOrleans Blog

Why Does G-d Need So Many Blessings?

Did you know that Jewish law mandates reciting at least 100 blessings daily? Multiply that by the number of people who follow that law, and that’s hundreds of millions of blessings each day. Did you ever wonder why G-d needs those blessings? Shouldn’t it be reversed? Maybe Hashem should bless us 100 times a day. What’s the deal with all those blessings?

First of all, I would argue that blessing G-d is important for us to develop our “gratitude muscles.” Each time we bless G-d, we recognize that the source of life and everything in it, is Hashem.

Over the next two weeks, I would like to offer a deeper peek at the text of the blessings.

The opening of each blessing is “Baruch Atah Ado-nai Elo-heinu Melech Ha’olam” Blessed are You, L-rd, our G-d, King of the Universe. If it’s blessing before a Mitzvah, we add “asher kideshanu bmitzvotav vitzivanu” Who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us to…

Why do we refer to G-d in three different ways, You, L-rd, Our G-d? Why do we call G-d King of the Universe? Despite the popularity of the British Royal family as a curiosity, monarchism is not exactly a form of governance that is heavily embraced. How does Hashem sanctify us with His Mitzvot?   

Let’s explore the meaning of each of these words.

Baruch – literally means blessed. The three root letters of Baruch are: Bet, Reish, and Chaf. A deeper meaning of Baruch are the two words that are etymologically related. Mavrich, which is an agricultural term that means to take a branch and bend it down to the ground to strengthen the tree. In modern agriculture it is called “layering.” The second is Breicha, or pool (of water). In this context, Baruch means that we are calling on Hashem to draw from His pool of beneficence and bend those blessings in a Divine flow towards us so that we can experience them in our daily lives.

Atah – literally means you. In this context we refer to the aspect of Divinity that transcends the association with a name. We address His Essence and ask that the Divine flow (in both applications) come from His Essence.

Ado-nai – is actually a substitute for Y-H-V-H – the ineffable name of G-d. Here we ask that the Divine flow from His Essence, come to us by means of the Divine Manifestation that transcends the act of creation. This allows the Divine flow to remain potent and powerful.

Elo-heinu – this name of G-d comes with the most empowering and uplifting suffix. In Hebrew placing a nun/vav at the end of a word, makes it plural possessive. Our G-d. Hashem allows his name/identity to be wrapped up in ours. Hashem wants our connection to be personal. The great transcendent G-d who is all powerful, is my G-d. As we say in our festival prayers, Your great and holy name You have proclaimed upon us. How wonderful it feels to know that Hashem is proud of His association with us.     

G-d willing next week we will explore the second half of the text. In the meantime take a moment to contemplate these profound ideas before you rattle off a bracha – blessing to G-d.

Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi Mendel Rivkin

Why Print a Calendar in 2023

Every summer I go through the same thought process. Why are we printing a calendar this year? In the 21st century, who uses a printed calendar when everything is available online? It is an expensive project and I hate soliciting ads / donations. I feel like we are constantly asking people for money to support one project or another. Maybe this year we can just eliminate the calendar?

But then I think about the calls and messages from those who view the calendar as a valued resource. Like the folks in prison who have very limited internet access. Or people who are very isolated from other Jews for whom the calendar is a treasure trove of Jewish information and connection. Or people who prefer to rely on print material instead of, or in addition to, online resources.

I think about the many homes and businesses that I have visited over the years where I see the calendar displayed and used.

I think about the calls I get from people to discuss some of the Jewish information on the top page of the calendar months.

I think about the requests that I get from people to send them a calendar if, for some inexplicable reason, their copy got lost in the mail, or from a new family that just moved to town or was not on our mailing list.

So, I conclude that the calendar is important, and we are going to print again this year!

So folks, please help ease the agony of this decision by generously supporting the calendar printing this year by advertising your business or becoming a calendar sponsor.

The truth is, it is an opportunity to get in front of the eyeballs of 2500 households, mostly in the New Orleans Metro area. Please see below and let us know that we can count on you to continue bringing this treasure to those the need it and appreciate it.

If you would like to receive the calendar, or know someone else that would enjoy it, please email a current mailing address to [email protected]. If you received the calendar last year, there is no need to email or call unless your address has changed.

Place an ad for your business, a personal greeting, or sponsor a date of the year in honor of the Birthday, Yahrtzeit or Anniversary of a loved one. Please take note of the PERSONAL GREETING option. The calendar features Full Color Ads. We also offer a multiple ad discount. Place five ads and receive a sixth for free. Please review the options below and let us know that we can count on you for your support. Please note that despite a significant increase in our cost, the ad prices remain the same.

Calendar Sponsor - $3,500.00 - Your ad/greeting will be included on the front cover of our calendar as well as on each page.

Centerfold Sponsor - $1,000.00 - Your ad/greeting will be featured on a full centerfold page.

Full Month Sponsor - $500.00 - Your ad/greeting will be included on the top page of the month of your choice.

Partial Month Sponsor - $300.00 - Your smaller ad/greeting will be included on the top page of the month of your choice.

Large Box Ad- $125.00 each - Your ad/greeting will cover two date boxes within the month/s of your choice.

Small Box Ad- $100.00 each - Your ad/greeting will cover one date box within the month/s of your choice.

Business Greeting - $100.00 - Your ad/greeting will appear on the greeting/business card page of the calendar.

Personal Greeting - $54.00 - Your Shana Tova or general greeting will appear on the greeting page of the calendar.

Tribute - include the important dates of your family calendar - birthdays, anniversaries and yahrtzeits. Each will appear on the actual date of occurrence in our calendar @ $36.00 per date.

We hope that we can count on your participation this year and we look forward to receiving your positive response. The deadline is Monday, July 31. Please take 30 seconds and email [email protected]. If you would like to pay for your ad/tribute online please visit our secure page If you want to repeat last year’s ads or tributes just let me know and there is no need to resubmit the information.

Shabbat Shalom

Rabbi Mendel Rivkin

Thank you for the Love!

This week we humbly asked for your support of our campaign to raise $170,000 in 36 hours. We are pleased to share with you that the campaign was successful. This is important to us on many levels. Firstly, these funds constitute over one third of our annual budget, so the success of the effort gives us a considerable lead on our fundraising for the rest of the year. 

But what is even more meaningful to us is, that 220 donor households were moved by the Chabad of Louisiana story sufficiently to participate in the campaign. The group of donors included current members of the New Orleans Jewish community, former New Orleanians who retain a warm spot in their heart for Chabad of Louisiana, visitors to our city who benefitted from Chabad’s hospitality over the years, and businesspeople that regularly come through Chabad when they are in town. 220 individuals who are entrusting us with their investment to ensure the continuity of Jewish life in the Greater New Orleans region.

That’s a lot of love. Our narrative throughout this campaign has been, that Chabad is about relationships. Our 8 matching donor households, and the 220 contributing donor households, have demonstrated that they appreciate those relationships, and they reciprocated by sending their love our way!

The funds are critical. But the love that accompanied them is extremely uplifting. I wish to share with you a sampling of the messages we received.

“I am grateful to be able to make a token contribution to your amazing life changing organization. Much love!”

“I am grateful for your friendship and the opportunities Chabad creates in our community. ”

“Thanks for your hard work serving the community!”

“Wonderful to hear from you and keep spreading your amazing light!!”

“We miss you guys! And we are happy to tell you that you make a difference to help the Jewish people! The Rebbe was correct! He wanted to send his Shluchim all over the world so they could make a difference! And what a difference you and your family have made in Louisiana!!”

This is what it is all about. It is love that binds us to Hashem and to each other. Thank you for the love! #Heart.Soul.Community. 

Rabbi Mendel Rivkin



PS If you did not have a chance to participate in the campaign, it is never too late to partner with us to ensure that the work goes on!

Tel Aviv Lemonade Stand

When life gives you lemons, the optimal way to deal with it is to turn them into lemonade. Earlier this week, a video went viral in Israel of a woman (how do you say “Karen” in Hebrew?) harassing a young man in Tel Aviv who was laying Tefillin with a pair of teenagers. That young man is a close friend and colleague of my son Sholom. The woman was rude and disrespectful, not to mention disingenuous. The young man remained calm, smiling, and upbeat throughout the ordeal.

In the ensuing days, an avalanche of positivity spawned from this event. There have been lots of positive media coverage and social media posts about this. Even more importantly, many people have come forward to express their support by volunteering to lay tefillin.

Sholom told me that one of the people with whom he meets regularly to lay tefillin, decided that he was going to commit to putting them on every day and bought his own set. Furthermore, this week he asked Sholom for a small portable tefillin stand that he could set up in the doorway of his coffee shop as a way of combatting the negativity. This morning he sent Sholom a video of him laying Tefillin with another man, who had never worn tefillin in his life. It looks like the coffee shop is serving a special flavor of lemonade in Tel Aviv.

This groundswell of support and positive vibes for the effort to politely enable fellow Jews to engage in a Mitzvah on the go, is very encouraging.

There are echoes here of Bilaam’s intended harmful pronunciations against the Jews being transformed into a blessing. With one major caveat! The woman at the center of this controversy is as Jewish as all of us. She has a Jewish Neshama that is just waiting to burst forth. Perhaps this encounter will be a catalyst for her own spark to be ignited within.

May we speedily reach the time when every Jew comes home to experience the unique relationship they have with Hashem!

Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi Mendel Rivkin

Looking for older posts? See the sidebar for the Archive.