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I have a wall calendar (source forgotten) that, as is typical for Jewish calendars, marks the parshiyot for each Shabbat. Next week, instead of giving the name of the parsha (Ki Tavo) it says "Chai Elul". Yes ok, I thought, next Shabbat is the 18th of Elul, but so what? I asked Google what this day is about and learned that this date is important in Chassidism as the birthday of both the Baal Shem Tov and the Alter Rebbe.

This calendar marks other special days without affecting the parsha "slot", so this wasn't the only place they could have noted it. That they replaced "Ki Tavo" with "Chai Elul" made me wonder if there's something special about the torah reading on that day in Chassidic communities. I didn't find anything in my search about special observances for the day, either as part of the torah service or more generally.

What do Chassidic communities do to mark this day? Does it affect the torah service?

  • What do Chassidic communities do to mark this day? Does it affect the torah service? > Make a Farbrengen. No – Shmuel Brin Sep 3 '17 at 17:38
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    I suspect this is simply poor calendar design – Double AA Sep 3 '17 at 18:00
  • @DoubleAA sounds like. It's what got me to ask the question, but the actual question is about the day, not this calendar. – Monica Cellio Sep 3 '17 at 18:02
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Chabadpedia has an article.

מעת אשר נתפרסם אשר יום השמונה עשר בחודש אלול הוא יום ההולדת של הבעש"ט ושל רבינו הזקן - נהגו, בכמה מקומות ובפרט בבתי כנסיות חב"ד, לעשות אותו יום-התוועדות בסיפור מעשי צדיקים, חיזוק בדרכי החסידים בכלל ואהבת ישראל בפרט וקבלת החלטות בקביעות עתים ללימוד התורה - הנגלה והנסתר. בהתעוררות מיוחדה חוגגים יום הולדת זה בבית הרב, והאדמו"ר אומר דברי התעוררות בתורה ועבודה, ולפעמים - גם מאמר חסידות

(my translation)

The 18th of Elul is the birthday of the Baal Shem Tov and of Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi. The custom is in many places and especially in Chabad shuls to make a get-together, telling stories of righteous people, strengthening the participants in Chassidus, especially loving Jewish people and making resolutions to devote time to learning the Torah including Kabbalah.

  • yes this is correct but it is an answer which is very much lacking as chai elul represents much more than the marking of birthdays of rabbis of the past but is relevant to our avodas hashem in a very real way. sichos-in-english.org/books/sichos-in-english/32/13.htm – Laser123 Sep 5 '17 at 1:43
  • @Laser123 Yes. Sorry I'm not a Chabad member so don't really know and was only quoting. You could edit my answer to add anything if you wished. – Avrohom Yitzchok Sep 5 '17 at 9:34
  • So does it change the Torah reading? – msh210 Sep 6 '17 at 22:50
  • @msh210 - Absolutely not. – ezra Sep 14 '17 at 1:55

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