Blog Archives


Interestingly, yesterday, Chavie started her new course “Pause & Affect – A Shabbat Outlook” and it got me thinking; there’s no better place to start a journey of more observance than the Shabbat experience.

In this week’s Torah portion, Bo, we read about the miraculous exodus from Egypt. On Shabbat, while sanctifying the day, Kiddush, over a cup of wine, we thank G-d who “has desired us, and has given us, in love and goodwill, His holy Shabbat as a heritage, in remembrance of the work of Creation; the first of the holy festivals, commemorating the Exodus from Egypt”. Shabbat is not only a weekly opportunity to remember the Creator and His amazing creation, but it’s a time to remember Egypt. To paraphrase Maimonides in his Guide to the Perplexed, slaves can’t choose when to work and when to rest, but a free person can. When a Jew celebrates Shabbat, they are celebrating their freedom from Egyptian – and all other – bondage.

All weeklong we are enslaved to the mundane. We’re trying to make a living, to care for our families, to shovel the snow, do the laundry and to enjoy a few hours of sleep. G-d recognized this reality and gave us a day to simply let go. G-d gives us the weekly opportunity to free ourselves from internal bondage, internal Egypt, and head to the promised land of spirit, soul and family. Shabbat is a freeing day to focus inwardly without being concerned with who likes us on Facebook, retweets us on Twitter and shares our pictures on Instagram. Enjoying Shabbat is not all or nothing; you do a little, then a little more, at your own pace.

TGI Shabbat – one weekend at a time!

Wishing you and yours a Shabbat Shalom!
Your friends @ Chabad Lubavitch,
Rabbi Chaim, Chavie, Shoshana, Chaya, Zeesy, Menny & Chana Laya


EDITOR’S NOTE: If God wrote you a letter wishing you a happy new year, what do you think it might say?

Dear Chaim…
By Rabbi Chaim
On Wednesday evening, we will usher in a New Year with Rosh Hashana 5778. During the holiday service, we read the Haftorah about the infertility of Chana and Elkanah. Chana – childless and troubled by her super-fertile sister Peninah – travels to G-d’s Tabernacle in Shiloh and breaks down in prayer, beseeching G-d for a child. She is then blessed with baby Samuel, who grows to be a prominent prophet of the Jewish people. When she returns with Shmuel to Shiloh, she thanks G-d. In her words “ For this child did I pray, and the Lord granted me my request, which I asked of Him.”

How often do we pause to simply say “thank you” to Hashem before submitting our next request? How often do we see the gifts given to us by G-d and just relish in them? How often do we recognize that Indeed Hashem has answered our prayers?

I want to publicly express my thanks to the Almighty for all that He has done for my family and me, and to apologize for not being grateful enough.

Last night, I envisioned receiving this note from G-d:

Dearest Chaim,

Thanks again for dedicating your life to sharing my Torah with Montana. I appreciate all that you do, but I need to knock some sense into you and put you in your place, so please bear with me.

I know that you, like all my creations, have “moments” but please get a grip. Next time you are struggling, next time you think your world is imploding, next time you question what I’m smoking, please remember Chana’s words “El Hanaar Hazeh Hispalalti – For this child I did pray.”. These heartbreaking moments of life always pass, and at the end you will see that I’ve answered your prayers in spades.

When your children are misbehaving, Chaim, giving you heartache, remind yourself:
El Hanaar Hazeh Hispalalti – For this child I did pray. You wanted a family so badly and look, I’ve provided you and Chavie with just that.

When your child is struggling with a tough medical quandary, remind yourself Chaim:
El Hanaar Hazeh Hispalalti – For this child I did pray. Yes, they have health challenges, but I’ve also gifted you and Chavie with inner strength and amazing doctors to get you through the darkness.

When you drive 400 miles just to visit one young Jew in desperate need of love, remind yourself Chaim:
El Hanaar Hazeh Hispalalti – For this child I did pray. How fortunate are you to spend your day on the road, in order to uplift one of My children.

When a Jew increases their Mitzva observance and you’re frustrated that it isn’t more, remind yourself Chaim:
El Hanaar Hazeh Hispalalti – For this child I did pray. Yes, it may be a bit frustrating, but in My eyes, Chaim, their small step upwards has shaken the heavens and is so precious.

When you think that someone else has it easier or better than you, remind yourself Chaim,
El Hanaar Hazeh Hispalalti – For this child I did pray. The life I have given you is a perfect fit, tailor made for you, so cut the you-know-what and be grateful.

Do you feel me Chaim? I don’t mean to shut you up, but please take a moment, daily, to see how much you’re loved and blessed.

I bless you with a rokin New Year and wish you continued success in making Montana a place that makes Me feel at home. Please thank Chavie on My behalf, not only for putting up with you, but for being an amazing mother to her five Kinderlach and a spiritual leader of Big Sky Country.



There’s nothing about my life I’d want to swap out, and neither should you. Look at your life and sing “El Hanaar Hazeh Hispalalti – For this child I did pray”. G-d please continue to give me what I need to be the best I can be in service of You!

Please take a moment before Rosh Hashana to enjoy this beautiful rendition of El Hanaar Hazeh Hispalalti, composed by Reb Shlomo Yehuda Rechnitz of Los Angeles. The kids and I love it, I think you will too!

Wishing you and yours a Shabbat Shalom & Shana Tova!
Your friends @ Chabad Lubavitch,
Rabbi Chaim, Chavie, Shoshana, Chaya, Zeesy, Menny & Chana Laya


What Is MAJCo?

The Montana Association of Jewish Communities (MAJCo) is an umbrella organization that includes representation from Jewish communities across the length and breadth of the great state of Montana. Membership in MAJCo is open to any Jewish community, whatever the “stream,” within Montana.
(Acceptance by the current communities is required.)

Small Jewish communities in rural areas do not exist in a vacuum. Almost three decades ago, the Jewish communities throughout the state created MAJCo, an association of all the organized Montana Jewish
communities. Through MAJCo, we keep in touch and have created a community throughout this great big beautiful state.
The Jewish communities in the Big Sky currently include:

  • Congregation Beth Aaron, Billings
  • Chabad Lubavitch of Montana, Bozeman
  • Congregation Beth Shalom, Bozeman
  • Congregation B’nai Israel, Butte
  • Congregation Aitz Chaim, Great Falls
  • Helena Jewish Community, Helena
  • Glacier Jewish Community/B’nai Shalom, Kalispell-Whitefish
  • Chabad Lubavitch of Missoula, Missoula
  • Congregation Har Shalom, Missoula

Anyone wishing to be on the MAJCo email list may contact Brian Schnitzer at




TONIGHT DEC. 10, 5:30 PM

UPDATE: The road conditions for these young men were just too great to overcome. After the meetings and funeral in Helena, Nadyne, Aaron and Jerry returned in time to assist in lighting the Menorah in front of the Civic Center. We gave out the Sufganiyot from Brooklyn and they were enjoyed. The final box of these sugared jelly filled fried pastries were taken to Paris Gibson Square and given to them for their art opening on Thursday evening by Mimi and Gary Wolf.

Again thanks to Lubavitch Montana for providing.


As we stand before G-d this Rosh Hashana, let’s pray and beseech our Creator to bestow upon His world a super dose of forgiveness, a touch of non-tough love, a good amount of wisdom to focus on the things that actually matter, a gift of moderation so we can stop bickering about anything and everything that doesn’t speak/look/think like us, and a bit more revelation so that His creations can grow in their relationship with Him. We will, of course, do our part: we resolve to be more united even with those with whom we disagree wholeheartedly, we hope to be more conscious of the pristine environment which we’ve been gifted, we are sure to be more devoted to our people, our land and our Torah, and most importantly, we commit to cut the judgmentalism out of our system. G-d is the True Judge, not us.

I bless each and every one of you, my beloved readers, my devoted congregants and my amazing Montanan sisters and brothers: may this year be the one that you’ve been waiting for. May you merit to see G-d in action, not only in mystery; may you merit tangible sweetness materialistically, physically and spiritually. May you know only good health with doctors being used for preventative measures only, may your children, grandchildren and all those whose future you’re rooting for personally, give you Jewish Nachas, and may we all experience redemption, an epic liberation from the exilic limitations, with freedom to worship G-d as He originally intended with the coming of our Mashiach, now!

A Gut Gebenched Yur!

Your Bozeman brother,

Rabbi Chaim Bruk


Yesterday, while celebrating Chanukah at the State Capitol in Helena, I was particularly inspired by the words shared by my colleague Rabbi Berry Nash of Missoula. You see, Chanukah has so many interesting angles, so much depth and so many beautiful customs, at times we can forget what the miracle is all about. Rabbi Nash posed a simple question “Why is Chanukah an eight day festival? There was enough oil for one day and so it should’ve been a seven day festival to commemorate only the miracle days?”

His answer, based on Chassidic philosophy, was powerful: seven represents the cycle of nature; seven days in a week, seven musical notes, seven years in a Sabbatical cycle, human’s seven emotional attributes. Eight, coming after the seven cycle, represents the supernatural; a transition from the finite to the infinite. Lighting Menorah for eight days inspires us to recognize the Divine Providence in the story of Chanukah and in our lives today. If we allow the Infinite to penetrate our hearts, souls, homes and communities, we will inch closer to a time when the the finite and infinite will fully sync with the coming of Mashiach.

In this week’s Torah portion, Mikeitz, we read about that same Divine Providence guiding Sir Joseph Jacobson (AKA Jacob’s son). How in the world does a tormented boy who lost his mother at a very young age, sold into slavery by his own brothers, accused maliciously by his master’s wife of attempted rape, become the viceroy of Egypt, the greatest empire of the time? It was logically impossible but with the hand of G-d guiding him, it was even probable. When we question our capabilities as an individual to serve G-d while challenged by so many obstacles, when we question the Jewish people’s chance of surviving as a unique G-d fearing people and to be a Light unto the Nations, we must remember that our Operating System is Infinite and therefore we can and will persevere.

Supernatural is the way to go; Macabee/Joseph style!

May G-d guard our brethren in Israel and the world over from harm and send us Moshiach speedily. May He protect the armed forces of Israel and the United States wherever they may be. Shabbat Shalom! Chazak!!! L’Chaim!!!

Wishing you and yours a Shabbat Shalom and a bright Chanukah!
Your friends @ Chabad Lubavitch,
Rabbi Chaim, Chavie, Chaya, Zeesy & Menny


Dear Friend,
Chavie, Chaya, Zeesy & Menny join me in wishing you and your family K’siva V’Chasima Tova L’Shana Tova Umetuka. May you and yours be Inscribed and sealed in the Book of Life for a sweet New Year with revealed blessings of health, wealth, happiness and Nachas.
May the conclusion of this year, arguably the most challenging for our people in a generation, bring to a final close the hate, violence and war that we have had to endure, and bring in its place justice, safety, security and most importantly, peace and harmony, to our brothers and sisters in the Holy Land, in Montana and the world at large.
May this year bring about a realization of Hashem’s gifts in our personal life and the ability to transform our challenging moments into moments of learning and growth. May we all utilize G-d’s direct channels of Torah and Mitzvot and His hidden channels in every breath of life to live a meaningful and fulfilling life.
May our dreams become reality, may our hopes for the future become the experience of the present, and may we all succeed in truly living up to the Infinite potential that Hashem has placed within our minds and hearts, bodies and souls.
Most importantly, may this New Year finally bring about an end to this vicious exile and usher in the era we’ve all been waiting for, for way too long, the coming of our righteous Mashiach – Amen.
With best wishes, and deep gratitude for your love and friendship,
Rabbi Chaim Bruk


Join Chabad Lubavitch of Montana for the fourth Montana Jewish Retreat!
May 9-10, 2014 @
the El Western Cabins and Lodges in Ennis, Montana.
• Great accommodations in every price range (If you can’t find a room that fits your needs at the El Western, the Rainbow Valley Lodge is next door)
• Special Guest Speakers: Rabbi Chaim & Rivkie Block of San Antonio, TX.
• Fantastic food
• Fabulous Farbrengens
• Lectures & Discussions
• Special Kids Programs
Call the El Western today to reserve your lodging: 406 682-4217 and tell them you’re with Chabad.