Seventy Year Celebration in Lubavitch

  • When there is darkness on the earth people need the Messiah.
  • The Lubavitcher Rebbe brought to the Jewish people the Messiah before his time.
  • The Rebbe seventy years ago promised that he would bring the Messiah to the world.

Lubavitch Chassidism is spread out throughout the world but its central location is in Brooklyn, NY 770 Eastern Parkway.  They have branches in almost every country in the world where live or visit Jews. Recently their representative in China was interviewed about the effects of the Coronavirus.

On the 10th of the month of Shvat which falls out this year on Febraury 5 representatives of Lubavitch and followers of the Rebbe the leader of Lubavitch will be visiting Crown Heights Brooklyn where is there hometown, the place where lived the previous Rebbe Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok Schneerson and his successor Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson. Rabbi Yosef Schneerson on this day passed away and a year later on this date was crowned his successor Menachem Mendel. Today is the seventieth anniversary.

The Rebbe began his coronation through reciting a special Chassidic Torah which was left by his father-in-law to be recited on this date by his successor. The Torah talks about the Garden of Eden and how after the sin of the Tree of Knowledge the divine presence the presence of all goodness left the world when Adam and Eve were exiled from the Garden. To return to the Garden of Eden is a goal of every human being to experience the true and perfect bliss of being connected to God and the Tree of Life. The exile of the divine presence continued after the sin of Adam the world fell into a deeper darkness. Then came Abraham until Moses who was the seventh generation of redemption when at Mount Sinai God’s presence was again revealed to the masses. At Mount Sinai was given the Ten Commandments. It took seven generations from Abraham to restore the damage that was done when Adam and Eve ate from the forbidden tree.

The previous Lubavitcher Rebbe Joseph Isaac Schneerson.

Chassidism new movement in Judaism began in the Ukraine under the leadership of the Baal Shem Tov in the early 1700s.  Chassidism is also called Messianic Orthodox Judaism. The Baal Shem Tov in a dream met with the Messiah in heaven.  He asked the Messiah “When will you arrive.”  The Messiah answered him, “When the wellsprings of the Kabballa will be spread outwards.”  The masters of Chassidism began to spread the teachings of the Kabballa primarily the Zohar.  After the Baal Shem Tov passed away his closest student was the Magid.  The prime student of the Magid was Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi, the first Lubavitcher Rebbe.  Just like the world was redeemed from darkness in seven generation from Abraham to Moses; likewise Chabad Lubavitch is now in its seventh generation for seventy years from the time of the passing of the previous Rebbe and the coronation of the present Rebbe Menachem Mendel. Even though the Rebbe passed away in 1994, Chabad have not chosen another leader.  The seventh generation continues to complete the work of Moses of redemption to return the divine presence to the world,and to reveal the Messiah.

The seventieth year is special because in order for the redemption to be complete the presence of God needs to be spread out to the whole world symbolized as the seventy nations of the world. The world today is a much smaller place through technology.  The world faces the danger of a third world war. People of the world need faith in God during these difficult times.

The perfection of the world at the time of the creation of Adam and Eve was only temporary until they sinned. Even when Moses succeeded to redeem the Jewish people from Egypt slavery to Pharaoh only for one instance was there perfection until the sin of the Golden Calf. The Rebbe is not trying to bring the world to its perfection but to improve the life style of the people of the world to accept the laws of morality and the ethics of Sinai.  Also is importance the fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah, that the whole world will be filled with the knowledge of God like the water cover the sea.  The knowledge of God can be received by seekers of truth through the study of Chassidism and Kabballa.

The Lubavitcher Rebbe in his youth.

Lubavitch unlike the other Chassidic groups are interested in bringing Jews who have fallen to liberal values to return to their heritage. It is not hard to see the difficulties which the Jewish people are having today over the controversies of the State of Israel. President Trump in his message to the Union spoke about his peace treaty which is to help Israel the Jewish State but Liberal democrats are even against it. The Jewish nation is today split between Ultra-Orthodox who have maintained their Biblical heritage for over 2000 years and Jews who have found their way to freedom in the secular world. In Orthodox Judaism freedom is in learning Torah and keeping the commandments. In the secular world freedom implies having free choice whether to accept religion or reject religion. This applies also for Christians and Muslims.

The Rebbe did not reject the virtues of freedom even though he himself is Ultra-Orthodox Chareidi. The Rebbe taught that freedom is a gift of God. The Ultra-Orthodox reject this gift and prefer to continue in the way of Orthodox Judaism which rejects freedom. Many people need freedom especially those that have already left the Jewish Orthodox home maybe for one generation or more. Once a Jew falls out of the Orthodox Jewish home he becomes like all secular people.  Many secular Jewish people may find God through another religion or spiritual master. The work of Lubavitch is to try to return these Jews to their roots even to give them freedom with religion. Religion generally is without freedom. To bring freedom into religion is needed the Messiah. In Judaism the Messiah is the one that strengthens the Jewish nation to reject freedom and receive the Yoke of Heaven which is the Torah.  The Rebbe representing the Baal Shem Tov gave the secular Jew another way which is considered to be a compromise by mostly all Orthodox Jewry. The Rebbe declared before his death “We want the Messiah now.”  Jews who are waiting for the Messiah for two thousand years are encouraged by their teachers to be patient. Since Chabad is in its seventh generation ripe for the redemption, the Rebbe took steps to reveal the Messiah in the Jewish world even before its time, Now.

In this way a Jew who has taken the secular road to return to Judaism no longer needs to reject the freedom which he discovered in America which was so dear to him. He can continue to feel freedom and connect also with his obligations to God and the Torah through being a Jew. Not only this, but the whole world which is in darkness also will benefit to find their Messiah much faster. The Rebbe said that the Messiah has already arrived, knocking at your doorstep. The first and most important thing for humanity today is to open their doors to the Messiah who the Rebbe calls the Moshiach.

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David Wexelman

Rabbi David Wexelman is the  author of five books on the topics of World Unity and Peace, and Progressive Jewish Spirituality. Rabbi Wexelman is a member of the American Friends of Maccabee, a charitable organization helping the poor in the United States and in Israel.  Donations are tax deductible in the USA.

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