The Lubavitcher Rebbe
The Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, known simply and lovingly as “the Rebbe,” has cast the warm glow of his sanctified existence, his Solomonic wisdom, his vision for a world perfected, and his sensitivity and love for humanity, over the lives of millions, to the farthest reaches of the world.
Through his inspired vision, the Rebbe endowed us with a passion for the good and the G-dly, and the means to understand that the good and the G-dly are inherent in our world and within each of us and in our everyday lives. It is a vision that will inspire the world for generations to come.
From his early years in Nikolaev, Russia, where he was born in 1902, the Rebbe displayed a prodigious mind and a sensitivity to human suffering.
Educated by private tutor as a child, and then at the University of Berlin and the Sorbonne, the Rebbe exhibited an extraordinary breadth and depth of knowledge, was gifted in the sciences, and had a remarkable fluency in many languages.
But it was in the Torah, the Talmud, in both the exoteric and esoteric realms of Torah and Judaism, that the Rebbe’s erudition and brilliance provided fundamental and original insights to Jewish scholarship.
Indeed, more than 200 major volumes of the Rebbe’s prolific writing and discourses have already been published; more are on the way.
In all his talks, as well as in his innovative, worldwide ubiquitous mitzva campaigns, one discerns a unifying system which binds the physical to the spiritual, and empowers every individual to actualize their potential to impact their immediate surroundings, their community, and ultimately, the world, through their even small acts of kindness.
The Rebbe engaged the greatest thinkers of our times and simplefolk with equal intensity.
It is truly impossible to gauge the scope of this great leader. He never took a day off in 42 years.
He rarely slept. He fasted most days while praying for the hundreds of thousands of people who beseeched him to intervene on their behalf. He also inspired us all with his incredible activism, devotion, foresight and leadership. He always saw what others did not and did what others saw not.
Well before activities on behalf of Soviet Jews became a popular cause, the Rebbe quietly and effectively worked to save lives.
Well before the demonstrations and sit-ins began to make news, the Rebbe had established a clandestine network of Chasidim to supply money, food, clothing, and spiritual support to the thousands of Jews suffocating physically and spiritually under Communism’s boot.
While the prophets of doom talked of the vanishing Jew — through intermarriage and assimilation — the Rebbe, in contrast, established bold and daring programs to reach out to those people who otherwise would be lost to the Jewish people.
When others had given up, the Rebbe always discerned even a small ray of hope and enlarged that hope so that everyone could share in it, and draw strength from it.
And as always, at every step, regardless of the idea or project, there were voices of opposition to the Rebbe’s movement toward a better, saner and more G-dly world. Never inhibited by these voices, the Rebbe persisted, and prevailed.
He has left us a legacy of thousands of educational institutions, humanitarian projects and outreach centers the world over. As it is impossible to gauge the scope of the Rebbe as a person, so it is impossible to gauge the impact of his world wide achievements. Millions are inclined to a better life of goodness and meaning, due to his counsel.
Who can tally the acts of kindness and charity inspired by the Rebbe’s own example, while he stood seven hours every Sunday, even into his ninth decade of life, receiving people from all walks of life, from all over the world, handing out dollar bills to men and women, young and old, Jews and gentiles, to be given to charitable causes?
Throughout this all, the Rebbe encouraged us to join him in his efforts.
In this way, the Rebbe graced us with untold merits and helped us realize the enormous potential for good that lies within each and everyone of us.
By sharing with us his vision, his hopes and his promise, and by making us active participants in the perfection of G-d’s world, the Rebbe has empowered us in a way that every parent can only hope to empower his and her children.
THE IMMINENT ARRIVAL OF MOSHIACH
One objective pervades it all. One goal is at the forefront of a century of life and achievement: a world devoid of hate and greed, a world free of suffering and strife, a world suffused with the wisdom and goodness of its Creator. No less.
In virtually every talk the Rebbe gave, every letter he wrote and every action he initiated, the theme, the sign-off and the objective was: the coming of Moshiach, the attainment of the Redemption.
The idea of a universal redemption, heralded by a global leader called Moshiach (“the anointed”) is a basic tenet of the Jewish faith. The Jew believes that the world which G-d created possesses the potential to fully reflect the infinite goodness and perfection of its Creator. And the Jew believes that the realization of this goal is the very purpose to which his or her soul has been invested within a physical body and life.
But perhaps no leader in history emphasized the urgency and immediacy of Moshiach as did the Rebbe. In this, the Rebbe was echoing the great Jewish sage Maimonides, who more than 800 years ago had said: a single deed, a single word, even a single thought, has the power to tip the scales and bring redemption to the world.
The Rebbe believes that if we open our eyes to this reality, we can bring redemption to the world. Today. In the words of the Rebbe, “We want Moshiach NOW!” “Moshiach is now ready to come…all we have to do on our part is to add in deeds of goodness and kindness” and “The time for your redemption has arrived!”
May the Rebbe’s prophecy of “Moshiach Now” be fulfilled immediately!