The Rebbe's Gifts to Us

Friday, 11 January, 2019 - 1:00 pm

This coming Wednesday we mark the anniversary of the beginning of the Rebbe’s leadership in 1950. When the Rebbe assumed the helm of the Chabad movement upon his father-in-law’s passing, the Jewish world and the Chabad movement were just starting to recover from the decimation of the Holocaust. Chabad was a small group, with most of the Chassidim located in New York, Israel or in various displaced person camps around Western Europe. Nearly 70 years later the Chabad movement is one the largest and most active Jewish organized groups, with a presence in 120 countries and every state in the USA. The explosive growth of Chabad and its organizational development can be traced exclusively to the Rebbe’s inspired leadership.

I would like to share a partial list of some of the Rebbe’s contributions to Jewish life that have shaped the growth of Chabad and its influence on Jewish life and the world at large.

  • Shlichus: He instilled within his followers the responsibility for the material and spiritual welfare of every Jew, and the willingness to go anywhere to fulfill that responsibility.
  • Transformative Torah: His revolutionary insights to all areas of Torah have shaped our way of looking at many different things in the universe. Over 1,000 volumes of his teachings have been published in 10 plus languages.
  • Embracing Technology: The Rebbe was way ahead of the game in terms of the use of technological developments. That has also resulted in Chabad occupying a unique leading Jewish presence on the internet to spread Judaism and morality.
  • Strong and unambiguous moral leadership on many issues, including geopolitics, ethics, and Jewish peoplehood.
  • Loving the individual: The Rebbe saw, and taught us to see, every person as a storehouse filled with treasures. When you were in his presence you felt as though he was there only for you. He changed how we perceived the wounded, special needs children, the hippie generation, the youth rebellion, widows and orphans, the wealthy, the aged, and so much more.
  • The role of women: His Shlichus model empowered women as co-equal partners with their husbands in the creation and maintenance of thousands of communities across the globe.
  • The power of children: The Rebbe spent an unprecedented amount of time with children. His children’s organization, Tzivos Hashem, launched in 1980 along with the Children’s Torah scroll project, has impacted millions of children.
  • Fusion of material and spiritual: Each person and every profession or talent in the universe could be integrated into ones relationship with Hashem and furthering His cause for creation.
  • A vision for the future: All of the above contributions were infused with an urgency of bringing the world as a whole and every person, space and experience individually, to the time of Redemption. It was his declared mission statement from day one; and it permeated every talk, teaching, initiative and project.

As we reflect on these and many other of the Rebbe’s gifts to our generation, we must rededicate ourselves to living up to these ideals and ushering that special future era of Redemption for the whole world.

Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi Mendel Rivkin

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