1) Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson (11 Nissan, 5662- 3 Tammuz, 5754) who was known as “The Lubavitcher Rebbe” was the seventh Admor (Hasidic leader) in the dynasty of the Chabad – Lubavitch Hassidut.
2) The Rebbe’s mighty impact on Jews and Judaism is hard to describe! The Rebbe developed and empowered the worldwide emissary enterprise (‘Shlichim’) and Chabad Houses in every major (and many minor) cities around the world. His Shlicim established thousands of Torah schools and institutions under his auspices. His teachings were publicized in his lifetime and after in many books.
3) The Rebbe would spearhead campaigns to spread the knowledge about mitzvoth with the word “Uforatzto” you should burst forth, from the verse: “You should burst forth West ,East, North and South”. He called upon his Hassidim to influence others wherever possible on every Jew even those far from Judaism to learn Torah and do mitzvoth also through going out to public places to encourage people to do mitzvoth. Similarly people who didn’t have money to buy things to do the mitzvoth with received financial assistance to acquire the necessary Judaica items to do mitzvoth with.
4) The Rebbe organized community activities calling them ‘campaigns’. A portion of those campaigns was related to the seasonal Jewish holidays. For example, every year Chabad would make a public Chanukah candle lighting and encourage people to light at home, Lag BaOmer parades, booths to shake the 4 species on Sukkot Giving out hand Shmura matzoth before Passover, blowing the Shofar on Rosh Hashana for those who don’t make it to synagogue, the Purim Mitzvoth etc.
5) The Rebbe emphasized doing mitzvoth even if only once and even if you don’t really understand the meaning of the mitzva.
6) The Rebbe initiated a 10 campaign project calling on all Jews to do 10 mitzvoth he considered paramount and he wanted people to ask other Jews to do them too. These mitzvoth are: loving your fellow Jew, Jewish education, learning Torah, putting on tefillin, placing mezuzahs on your doorposts, giving charity, keeping holy books in your home, keeping kosher, lighting Shabbat and holiday candles and family purity.
7) Because the Rebbe called for this, Chabad Hasidim make Tefillin Booths in public places and offer men to perform this great mitzva. Chabad women and girls give out candles with explanatory literature to women and girls and Chabad houses offer putting mezuzot on doorposts of people’s homes and help them kosher their kitchens.
8) The Rebbe’s Father in Law Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok Schneerson toiled to bring estranged Jews close to Judaism and sent messengers to various countries. In his time this enterprise of spreading Judaism was much smaller and the Rebbe expanded it exponentially reaching hundreds of thousands of Jews across the world.
9) Most of the resources of the Shlichim are dedicated to outreach and assisting Jews around the world to learn about Judaism and begin mitzvah observance. From the 60’s and onward they brought many thousands of Jews back to Torah and mitzvah observance. These shlichim also deal with the material needs of Jews around the world operating dining rooms for the needy and other charitable causes to help the needy. Chabad Houses in key tourist cities are like a Jewish Embassy of sorts that also help people in emergencies. The Rebbe felt that providing the physical needs of a Jew is no less important than providing his spiritual needs.
10) Some choice quotes from the Rebbe:
A. “From the day I started school and even before that, I envisioned how the future redemption would look, the redemption of the nation of Israel from its final exile. It will be such redemption that the cause of any previous pain or suffering, pogroms and destructions will be immediately understood. It will be so clear that we will wholeheartedly say “I Thank You G-d for being angry with me”.
B. “When we open our eyes and see beyond the fog behind the facade of coarse externals that is offensive, we will understand that people aren’t the way they seem, they’re different. What seems to be a world of heresy is really a world of people crying for faith, begging for it. But since they’re embarrassed to call faith by its name they call it a thousand different names. They each say this in their own way.”
C. “When you count diamonds you don’t get tired!’ This is the answer to those who asked him how he never got tired from seeing all those that sought his counsel.
D. “A Torah teacher, instructor or mentor can’t embed anything in a child’s heart as well as a mother can when she invests her heart and mind in the idea that her child should get the right attitude to life through being taught at a very young age that the Torah is his life and Judaism is his guide for his life path. Whatever a mother invests in him penetrates deep into his heart and stays with him his whole life.”
E. “Everyone says: “Show me G-d and then I’ll believe”. But it doesn’t work that way. First you must believe in G-d and then you will see him.”
May His Memory Be Blessed!