The Rebbe's Life and Work

The Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson o.b.m., was the most influential Jewish leader of the past century. He served as the seventh Rebbe in the dynasty of Chabad Lubavitch. To his tens of thousands of followers and millions of admirers, he is known simply as "the Rebbe."

The Rebbe was born on 11 Nissan 5662, in Nikolaev, Ukraine, to his parents, noted Kabbalist Rabbi Levi Yitzchak Schneerson and his wife Rebbetzin Chana. Being a direct descendant of the Tzemach Tzedek, the third Lubavitcher Rebbe, he was given his name: Menachem Mendel. From a young age he demonstrated tremendous intellectual capacity. He was considered a genius in Torah scholarship, and dedicated his life to the study of both the esoteric and Talmudic elements of Torah.

Ninety years ago, on 14 Kislev 5689, he married the previous Lubavitcher Rebbe's daughter, Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka. For several years the couple lived in Europe, but during the Second World War they immigrated to the United States, arriving on 28 Sivan 5701.

The Rebbe, who already had a close relationship with his father-in-law, now entered the field of communal activism, and was placed at the helm of the central institutions of Chabad which had taken shape in the United States. The Rebbe simultaneously continued his studies; he penned scholarly Talmudic treatises and answered questions on all topics of Torah knowledge. Masking his character and abilities, he was also employed by the US Navy.

After the passing of his father-in-law, he began to lead the Chabad movement and transformed it into a international powerhouse. The number of followers increased immeasurably, and his Shlichus endeavor brought young and dedicated couples to every corner of the world. The Rebbe didn't focus on building his own community; he demonstrated genuine concern for the Jewish people as a whole, and was the source of many initiatives that revolutionized the image of world Jewry today.

His synagogue became an icon, known as 770 - its address on Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn, New York. Tens of thousands were drawn to him during his forty years of leadership. Famous politicians, rabbis and spiritual leaders, simple people and those in need, activists and revolutionaries, regardless of their background or origin - they all wanted the experience of being in his presence. 

Aside for granting audiences, the Rebbe spoke often to his followers, and his teachings span more than three hundred printed volumes. He would also devote many hours to answering the letters he received from all over the world, providing guidance on both spiritual and material matters. Close to forty volumes of his correspondence have been published in Igrot Kodesh.

With the slogan, "Ufaratzta - We will spread forth westward and eastward and northward and southward," his followers spread out on "Mitzvah Campaigns," bringing Judaism to their fellow Jews. Over five thousand dedicated emissary couples operate Chabad centers in every city with a Jewish presence, in every corner of the world. In hospitals, universities, academic centers and military bases, prisons and rehabilitation centers, regular activities take place on holidays and throughout the year.

After two years of illness, the Rebbe passed away on 3 Tammuz 5754, at age 92. World Jewry was orphaned from a leader who cared for them as a loving father. His followers throughout the world were devastated, but they resolved to carry on his legacy and to fulfill his greatest aspiration: bringing on the coming of the final redemption, when the world will reach its final goal and fulfill the purpose of creation.

To the astonishment of those who didn't realize the depth of the Rebbe's influence, Chabad has grown exponentially and continues to grow today. Chabad centers continue to develop worldwide, and the initiatives that follow the Rebbe's vision have reach dimensions never before imagined. The source of the inspiration and the driving force behind all this is, of course, the Rebbe's tangible presence in his teachings and his directives, and the tremendous strength that his followers draw from visiting his resting place.

To learn more about the Rebbe - click here.