The Alter Rebbe

The Alter Rebbe24 Tevet, 5767

Today is the yartzeit of Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi, also known as the Alter Rebbe, the founder of the Chabad Lubavitch Chasidic movement.

To make any kind of summary of his life would be to do a disservice to some aspect of it. Among his greatest achievements are the writing of the famous and revered Likutei Amarim, or Tanya, and the creation of the Chabad movement. Rabbi Zalman’s writings provide, to this day, the philosophical foundation of Chabad, and every Rebbe after him, down to the last Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Shneerson, followed in his idelogical footsteps to bring Torah, especially the secret and mystical parts of the Torah as expounded by Chassidus, to the people. The Alter Rebbe brought the loftiest of concepts down to a simple and understandable level in his writings, allowing even an unlearned layman to access the mystic core of the Torah.

This quote from the Alter Rebbe’s biography on Chabad.org sums it up nicely:

It used to be said: “In Vilna they knew how to study; in Meseritch they knew how to pray.” Rabbi Shneur Zalman, the saintly Sage of Liadi, knew how to do both. He bridged the gap between the mind and heart by his masterly synthesis of intellect and emotion within the framework of Chabad ideology.

May his soul have an aliyah and may he intercede with the Almighty on our behalf to have the redemption in our days.