יום חמישי ד' בתשרי תשפ"ג 29/09/2022
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  • The Mission Continues

    As in the past so it remains today - we were and still are under the selfsame commitment to adhere to the directions of the Gedolei Yisrael, who stand guard against breaches of purity threatening our camp. When we were required to ask – we asked. When we were instructed to depart – we left. The moment we are summoned back to raise the flag, every other consideration is pushed to the side and we answer: We are ready!

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בראי היום

  • Harav Yisrael Friedman zy”a, the Rebbe of Husyatin

    מוטי, ויקיפדיה העברית

    The ancestral chain of Harav Yisrael Friedman, the founder of the Husyatin chassidic court, originates with the holy Baal Shem Tov. The Husyatin chassidus has its roots in Galicia and eventually came to Tel Aviv, during the turbulent years between the two World Wars.

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  • Maccabi'im Gravesite

    In honour of Chanukah, we will discuss a fascinating, ongoing investigation attempting to establish the place of burial of Mattisyahu Kohen Gadol and his family.

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Reflections

The Chassidic Court of Chabad

ביום ב' בניסן נפטר האדמו"ר הרש"ב מחב"ד, חסידות חב"ד נוסדה על ידי האדמו"ר בעל התניא והורתה דרך חדשה בחסידות ובעבודת ה'. On the 2nd of Nissan, the leader of Chabad chassidus, the Rashab passed away. Chabad was established by the great Ba'al HaTanya who led a new path in Chassidus.

Motty Meringer 27/03/2009 10:00
The Chassidic Court of Chabad is one of the largest in the world. Contrary to other Chassidic Courts who are named after the city of their origin – Chabad was so named at the will of its founder, Rabbi Shneor Zalman of Liadi. 'Chabad' is an acronym for Chochmah, Binah, Da'as (wisdom, understanding and knowledge).

Rabbi Shneor Zalman, the founder of Chabad who is widely known as the 'Ba'al HaTanya', was born on the 18th of Elul, 5505 in the small village of Liozna in Belarus, which was at the time under Polish occupation. When he reached the age of eighteen, he traveled to Mezritch to learn under the famous Maggid, a pupil of the holy Ba'al Shem Tov, making him the youngest pupil of the Maggid.

After the Maggid's passing, his pupils decided to divide all of Eastern Europe between them, so that each pupil would be able to spread the light of Chassidus in a different area. Due to Rabbi Shneor Zalman's great wisdom and knowledge, he was chosen to be sent to Lithuania, where the opposition against Chassidus was the strongest and fiercest. During his stay in Lithuania, Rabbi Shneor Zalman asked to meet with the leading opponent of the Chassidus – the Vilna Ga'on, however, the Ga'on refused and left Lithuania. Additionally, the Ga'on expressed harsh criticism against Rabbi Shneor Zalman and his book, the Tanya.

Despite the condemnation of the Ga'on, some people maintain that his pupil, Rabbi Chaim of Volozhin did in fact meet with Rabbi Shneor Zalman and even reached an agreement with him in various issues that served as the basis of the disagreement between the Chassidim and the Misnagdim (opponents).

On the 29th of Kislev, Rabbi Shneor Zalman was arrested together with another twenty leaders of Chabad due to the informing of several misnagdim to the authorities. They accused him of sending money to his Chassidim in the Land of Israel, who, in turn, provided assistance for the Ottoman Empire, the arch enemy of Russia. After his innocence was proven, Rabbi Shneor Zalman was released from prison on the 19th of Kislev, and this date is observed to this day by Chabad Chassidim world wide as the 'Chag HaGe'ulah' – the holiday of release. In 5561, the Rabbi was arrested a second time, but was released a short while thereafter.

During Napoleon's wars, Rabbi Shneor Zalman vehemently opposed his invasions and publicly condemned them. As a result, when the French forces occupied Russia, the Rabbi was forced to flee. Rabbi Shneor Zalman passed away during his escape on the 24th of Teves, 5573.
After his passing, his son Rabbi Dov Ber was appointed as his successor, and was called 'the Middle Rabbi'. Rabbi Dov Ber, who had already started leading groups of Chassidim during his father's lifetime, settled in Liubavitch, Russia. He too, like his father, was arrested due to informing, and was later released on the 10th of Kislev, 5587, a date that turned into a holiday for the Chabad Chassidim.

Rabbi Dov Ber passed away on the 9th of Kislev, 5588, leaving behind two sons and seven daughters. His third son-in-law, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneersohn, known as the 'Tzemach Tzedek' was appointed his successor. Rabbi Menachem Mendel was a grandson of the 'Ba'al HaTanya', a son of his daughter Rebbetzin Devorah Leah, and was orphaned at the tender age of three. He then moved in with his grandfather, the 'Ba'al HaTanya', and at the age of fourteen married his cousin Chaya Mushkah, a daughter of Rabbi Dov Ber.

Rabbi Menachem Mendel fought fiercely against the Enlightenment Movement and following many accusations against him, was arrested and imprisoned 22 times.

Rabbi Menachem Mendel was greatly renowned for his vast knowledge in Torah and Halachic queries were sent to him from across Europe. He published his commentaries in a book called 'Tzemach Tzedek'. On the 13th of Nissan, 5626, he passed away and left behind seven sons and two daughters.

After his passing, his oldest son, Rabbi Baruch Shalom, was asked to take his place, but refused. His second son, Rabbi Yehudah Leib took over the leadership and called it 'Chabad Kapost', however it lasted for a very short time; after six months he passed away and passed on the leadership to his brother, a third son of the 'Tzemach Tzedek', Rabbi Yisrael Noach, who established the 'Chabad Niezhin' court, but with his passing the court had no continuation. A fourth son, Rabbi Chaim Shneor Zalman, established the 'Chabad Ladi' court which existed for one generation and thereafter collapsed. The fifth son, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak, established the 'Ovrutsh' court, which greatly differed from the original Chabad court and resembled the Chassidic court of Chernobyl.

In accordance with the ruling of a Jewish law court that was set up especially for the purpose of appointing a successor to the Chabad Chassidus, the sixth son of the 'Tzemach Tzedek', Rabbi Shmuel, was appointed the leader of Chabad.
Rabbi Shmuel, widely referred to as the Maharash, had learned Torah under his father, and at the age of 15 married his neice, a daughter of Rabbi Chaim Shneor Zalman. However, after only a few months of marriage his wife passed away, and Rabbi Shmuel re-married, this time with his cousin Rivkah, a granddaughter of Rabbi Dov Ber.

Rabbi Shmuel passed away on the 13th of Tishrei, 5643, at the young age of 48.

The fifth Rabbi of the Chabad Dynasty was the son of the Maharash, Rabbi Shalom Dober, the 'Rashab'. Tradition holds that he was the favorite grandchild of the Tzemach Tzedek, and it was his grandfather who gave him the name 'Rashab'.
The sudden passing of his father had a devastating effect on the Rashab, and throughout the mourning year he locked himself in his room, refusing to come out. The Rashab was the second son of the Maharash, and out of respect for his older brother, Rabbi Shneor Zalman Aharon, he refused to formally take upon himself the leadership of the Chassidus, although he was the actual Rabbi of Chabad. Eleven years after the Maharash's passing, Rabbi Shneor Zalman Aharon moved from Lubavitch, and his brother, the Rashab, formally took on the leadership of Chabad on Rosh Hashanah of the same year.

The Rashab was a fragile man in poor health and suffered many illnesses during his lifetime. He would frequently travel to Marienbad and Manten to seek a cure for his illnesses.

In the year of 5574, WWI broke out, and two years thereafter the Germans were steadily coming closer to Liubavitch. The Rashab feared for his life and fled to Rostov. His plan was to eventually travel to the Land of Israel and prepared himself for the trip (the only available picture of him is his photograph in his entry visa). However, the Rashab changed his mind and remained in Europe until his death on the 2nd of Nissan, 5580.

In his testament, he instructed his only son, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn, to take over the leadership of Chabad, and so it was. Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak, the 'Rayatz', became the sixth Rabbi in the Chabad Dynasty.

The Rayatz took over the leadership of Chabad a short time after the Communist Revolution, and as a counter-act to the mighty war which the Communists waged on Judaism, the Rayatz established a secret Jewish network. He was consequently caught by the Communists and sentenced to death. However, after heavy pressure of many countries around the world on behalf of the Rayatz's release, the death penalty was annulled and the Rayatz was instead exiled to the city of Costra. Eventually, he was pardoned and released on the 13th of Tammuz.

In Adar of 5700, the Rayatz managed to escape form Europe and traveled to the United States. Ten years thereafter he passed away, on Sabbath day, the 10th of Shevat, 5710.

After his passing, his son-in-law, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneersohn, was appointed leader of Chabad. This decision was extremely controversial, as Rabbi Menachem Mendel's mother-in-law opposed his leadership and insisted that her oldest son-in-law, Rabbi Shmariyahu Gur Aryeh, was more suitable to take over the Chassidus. Due to her disapproval, she did not hand over the shtreimel of the Rayatz to Rabbi Menachem Mendel. Consequently, Rabbi Menachem Mendel did not don a shtreimel, rather, he used a regular hat, which has become the custom of Chabad Chassidim to this day.
Rabbi Menachem Mendel was famous for his genius and received diplomas in mathematics and engineering from several universities. However, although he possessed great knowledge in secular subjects, he was even a greater genius in Torah.

On the 28th of Sivan, 5701, he joined his father-in-law in Brooklyn, and began administrating the "Machaneh Yisrael Organization" as well as the Chabad publishing company, "Kehas".

On the 27th of Adar, 5752, Rabbi Menachem Mendel suffered a stroke, and on the 3rd of Tammuz he passed away.

After his passing, no successor was appointed to lead the Chabad Chassidus.