Innovative Halacha Program Spreads to 14 Chabad Communities

14 Chabad communities from across North America are joining the Chabad branch of the Semichas Chaver program, which provides a curriculum to learn in-depth halacha classes, along with the rulings of the Alter Rebbe, Tzemach Tzedek and Chabad Poskim.

14 Chabad communities from across North America are joining the Chabad branch of the Semichas Chaver program, which provides a curriculum to learn in-depth halacha classes, along with the rulings of the Alter Rebbe, Tzemach Tzedek and Chabad Poskim. sat down with the organizers of Semichas Chaver Chabad to hear more about the program.

Lubavitchers around the world are hearing a lot about Semichas Chaver Chabad, what is it?

Semichas Chaver (SCP) is an organization led by Rabbi Elyada Goldwicht that provides a curriculum to teach in-depth halacha classes. The program is currently in over 120 locations with over 2,000 weekly talmidim. The classes are a text-based study of the background and underlying principles of the halacha. The curriculum starts with the Gemara and Shulchan Aruch and follows the chain of the halacha to the contemporary Poskim.

Semichas Chaver – Chabad (SCP-Chabad) is a branch of Semichas Chaver directed by Rabbi Betzalel Bassman and Rabbi Avrohom Jacks. SCP-Chabad is working in conjunction with numerous Lubavitcher Rabbonim to adapt the curriculum to follow the opinions of the Alter Rebbe, Tzemach Tzedek and Chabad Poskim.

The curriculum is approximately a 7-year program divided into 6-month courses. Each 6-month course is an independent study. After each 6 month course, the students review the material and take a test. Those that pass the test receive a prestigious Semichas Chaver plaque signed by leading Rabbonim in the world and Chabad. SCP-Chabad is endorsed by HaRav Gedaliya Oberlander and HaRav Yehoram Ullman.

Which Lubavitcher Cities are having the SCP-Chabad program this coming zman?

Rabbi Zalman Moshe Abraham – East Flatbush, NY

Rabbi Betzalel Bassman – Pittsburgh, PA

Rabbi Berel Bell – Montreal, CAN

Rabbi Mendy Cohen – Sacramento, CA

Rabbi Dovber Dechter – Phoenix, AZ

Rabbi Mendel Gurary – Antwerp

Rabbi Avrohom Jacks – Toronto, Canada

Rabbi Michoel Lerner – Crown Height, NY

Rabbi Chaim Dovid Kagan – Monsey, NY

Rabbi Yossi Marlow – North Miami Beach, FL

Rabbi Moshe Markowitz – Chicago, IL

Rabbi Dovid Shmukler – Los Angeles, CA

Rabbi Shneur Silverberg – Detroit, MI

Rabbi Moshe Slavaticki – Baltimore, MA

There is a second program that is being piloted in 6 Chabad Houses called HalachU to provide the content of SCP-Chabad to an audiance that does not have a Yeshiva background.

What topics are going to be covered in the next current cirriculim?

In the coming zman the topics will be Lechem Mishna, the morning Kiddush, Havdalah and Amira Lakum.

What are some examples of the topics covered over the 7 year curriculum?

Bishul Akum, Pas Akum, Tevilas Keilim, Ha’galas Keilim, Basar V’cholov, Berochos, Nida, Mezuzah, Muktza, Melaben, Bone B’Keilim, Borer, Sechita, Hadlokas Neiros, Ribbis, Hilchos Tefila, Hilchos Beis Haknesses, And much more.

Is there a cost to participate?

There is no cost for the Talmidim, all that is required is a desire to grow in Torah and Yiras Shomayim.

How often is the shiur? 

It is a weekly shiur. In each 6 month zman there are about 20 shiurim. There are a few weeks left for off weeks and a couple weeks for review before the test and siyum.

I already got Semicha, is there anything for me to gain from Semichas Chaver?

In the current 14 SCP-Chabad locations there are over 300 weekly participants and most have Semicha. The majority of the topics covered are not studied in many Semicha programs and even topics that are covered like Shabbos have a much stronger focus on practical applications of the 21st century than most students had in traditional Semicha programs.The feedback we got was that the material is equally intriguing to those with semicha, a yeshiva background or even those with no yeshiva background. In some of the classes more than half of the participants have Semicha in Yore Deah and Shabbos and they felt that the learning was refreshing and challenging. 

Is this Rabbinical Semicha?

No, this is a certificate that celebrates mastery over various sections in Halacha. 

Are the classes available over Zoom?

No, the classes are live face-to-face.

Can I get recordings of the class?

The classes are only available to regular participants. If someone misses a class they can get a recording but they are not available to the public.

What is unique about SCP-Chabad unique?

Participants feel that it is the perfect balance between a deep understanding of the background to the halacha and the extreme practical modern application.

What’s special about SCP-Chabad is that each student is charged with taking the information from the shiur and bringing it home to their family. After each shiur participants receive Q&A’s based on that week’s class to share practical halachos at the Shabbos table. There is also a weekly comic strip based on one of the halachos of that week’s class to share with the kids.

Can you share an example of the material provided for one of the topics?

Here is a folder with the material for the six weeks spent on the fascinating topic of Melaben.

Can you please share some testimonials?

I feel very fortunate to B”H be able to participate in the Semichas Chaver learning program. Much thought and intention has been given to the structure and delivery of the material; there is a beautiful balance of conceptual background and practical application. The programs affords us talmidim the opportunity to gain a substantial knowledge base thru the use of detailed supplementary material which also aids in motivating review and discussion with friends and family.  This program has also increased my appreciation for the cherished and arduous work that our Poskim and Rabbeim have undertaken to help Yidden keep halacha in an ever changing time, a real demonstration of the Ein Sof of Hashem’s Torah. May HaKadosh Baruch Hu bless all the organizers and Maggidei Shiurim involved!!
Reuvan Frank

Semichas Chaver is a university level program in content, structure and instruction. It’s interesting, challenging, engaging and useful. I am fortunate to have this.
-Dr. Moritz

The criculium is very well done.  The teachers comes  prepared with a wealth of knowledge. But the most beautiful part of this program is all the אחרונים mentioned.  Having litvish poskim mentioned together with sephardi and Chabad all in one breath is truly creating אחדות ישראל and is another step towards the גאולה שלמה.
-Ephy Rosenblum

I truly enjoy the Smichas Chaver Program. It’s all the best parts of my experience at yeshivas, without the worry of a knas. The halachos I’m learning are practical and immediately useful. The structure and source materials provided give me access to a wide variety of fascinating opinions, while it’s focus on Shulchan Aruch HaRav gives me a strong foundation in the source of Chabad halachic rulings. It’s practical, illuminating, fulfilling, and even includes a weekly comic strip. I couldn’t ask for more.
-Rabbi Dovber Naditch

I really enjoyed Semichas Chaver classes. The nice thing about it is, there’s lots of modern examples that we may experience and we learn where it’s source is in Shulchan Aruch. I feel like I have a better knowledge of the halachos. Yasher koach!
-Rabbi Moshe Barrocas

I’ve always wanted to understand practical halacha.  With Semichas Chaver, I’m learning all facets of various halachic topics from its origins to its current practical applications.  The course gives me insights into not only the laws themselves but also their rationales.  Best of all, I’m learning how to apply the laws in real-life situations that we all face all the time.  The course provides the opinions of a broad array of poskim, past and present.  Weekly notes and summaries help me keep on top of all the material.  I’m definitely looking forward to the next course.   
-Arkie Engle

The Semichas Chaver program has been an extremely stimulating and thought-provoking, yet very practical, weekly study of halacha. The material is presented in a very systematic and understandable way and there is always a lively discussion and examination of different halachic interpretations. To help the student review, classes are recorded, a weekly review class is offered, and source sheets and summary notes are provided. My wife and I especially enjoy discussing the questions that are sent each week for review at the Shabbat table. I find myself more tuned in to various halachic scenarios I might encounter. The Semichas Chaver program has been an especially wonderful way to study the laws of Shabbos and to help to understand all of the underlying principles  and considerations involved in determining the halacha.
-Reuven Hoch

The Smichas Chaver program has been a refreshing learning experience and I look forward to attending each class. The material presented is well structured and focused for easier understanding. Yasher Koach for making this available!
-Rabbi Yosef Lester

To find out more about SCP-Chabad or HalachaU please contact Rabbi Betzalel Bassman – [email protected]

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