Chabad is a an abbreviation of the words Chachmah (wisdom) Binah (understanding) Da’at (knowledge), which are both (i) the first three of the Ten Sefiros, or divine emanations, and (ii) the corresponding stages that comprise the intellectual process (known as seichel or Chabad). Derogatorily, it is rumored to be an abbreviation of Chamor Bli Da’at, or ‘a donkey with no knowledge’, an allusion to the popular idea that Chabadniks (followers of Chabad) often go on blind faith alone.

Chabad, which was founded by Rav Shneur Zalman of Liadi, is branch of the chassidic movement which is rooted in an intellectual approach to the service of G-d . A synonym for Chabad is Lubavitch, originally the name of the township where the movement flourished from 1813-1915. The name Chabad is also the title of this sect of Chassidism as well as a school of philosophy.

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