This week, over 5,000 Lubavitcher children in 262 cities spanning 31 countries will be reading the 100th issue of HaChayol Magazine.
Rabbi Shimmy Weinbaum, director of Chayolei Tzivos Hashem, reflects on HaChayol’s five year journey from a 20 page monthly magazine in honor of Shnas Hakhel 5768 to the 12-16 page weekly publication that serves as the means toward hiskashrus and Chassidishe chayus for today’s youth, and expresses hakoras hatov to the one standing behind it.
“Year after year, a survey filled out by shluchos following the Kinus HaShluchos indicated that what shluchos want most is something to support their children’s Chassidishe chinuch,” explains Rabbi Mendy Shanowitz, director of MyShliach. “Tzivos Hashem also kept on getting calls from schools around the world saying, ‘We need something to help keep our children in the fold,’” expresses Rabbi Yerachmiel Benjaminson, executive director of Tzivos Hashem. Rabbi Benjaminson approached Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky, vice chairman of Merkos L’Inyonei Chinuch, and proposed the Chayolei Tzivos Hashem program and HaChayol Magazine. “We felt this program would be of benefit to yaldei hashluchim and believed that implementing it within the Lubavitch school system would help fill the void of Chassidishe education and pride that was rampant 15 years post Gimmel Tammuz,” says Rabbi Benjaminson. “Rabbi Kotlarsky accepted our proposal and has been single handedly raising the funds necessary to subsidize the annual budget for HaChayol Magazine.”
HaChayol is not just a regular magazine. It is the weekly farbrengen for today’s young chossid. Working in tandem with the Chayolei Tzivos Hashem program under the guidance of Rabbi Shimmy Weinbaum, advisory board members Rabbi Sholom Heidingsfeld, Rabbi Shmuel Vaisfische, and Rabbi Mendy Shanowitz, and skillfully led and edited by Chava Leiba Sneiderman, each and every article sets out to connect readers to the stories and lessons surrounding the yomei depagra and empower them with missions to fulfill as soldiers in the Hashem’s army.
Featuring columns such as “Parshafier” by Mrs. Bruria Efune, where the Chassidisher parsha is presented as a weekly skit in which the entire family can participate at the Shabbos table, and “Routes to Roots,” a rendition of the Frierdiker Rebbe’s Sefer HaZichronos in a child’s language by Rabbi Mendel Moscowitz, HaChayol has made Lubavitch history and the Rebbe’s Torah come alive to today’s children. Senior designer Chana Cohen artfully arranges the work of specially commissioned artists Stelian Dobrescu, Petar Krystic and Nikolinka Vukadinova, coordinated by managing editor Rivky Franklin, highlighting special features such as the highly popular comic series.
“We owe it to Rabbi Kotlarsky for changing the face of Lubavitch youth today,” Weinbaum states. “Not only are children excited about Lubavitcher inyonim, HaChayol has made the children realize that, whether they live in Istanbul, Copenhagen or Crown Heights, they are part of something far larger than themselves and their classmates. They realize that the two or five or twenty lines of Tanya they memorized made the entire army indeed be able to achieve its goal and memorize 200,616 lines of Tanya this year.”
“We are living in Moshiach’s tzeiten, that of v’haishiv leiv ovos al bonim,” says Weinbaum. “Parents used to have to cajole their children to learn a line of Tanya, put negel vasser by their beds, or sing a Chassidisher nigun. Now it is the children who are begging their parents to hold farbrengens, read about the Chassidisher parsha with them, and find them mashpiim and mashpios. Children run to their mailboxes every day to see whether that week’s HaChayol has arrived; even adults have subscribed to HaChayol. Through HaChayol Magazine, Rabbi Kotlarsky has indeed turned the tide of today’s Lubavitcher youth, giving us hope for a terrific Lubavitcher tomorrow.”
As HaChayol marks 100 issues this week, we can pride ourselves by the fact that, though they may not have merited to physically see the Rebbe, it is indeed this generation that will lead us out of golus and stand on the front lines as we greet Moshiach, speedily in our days.