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Chasidic Philosophy including the school of Chabad Chassidic Philosophy, has been the subject of a great many studies in several languages. However, few of the sources were ever translated into English, and for the formidable subject matter, coupled with the specific definitions and connotations of Chabad terminology deter many potential students from exploring this fieldof study. Please see Some Aspects of Chabad Chasidus selected for translation, and discussing the general nature and contribution of Chabad Chassidic Philosophy.
The Alter Rebbe's intellectual school of Chasidus was called Chabad.
The Baal Shem Tov demonstrated that everyone can serve G-d; the Alter Rebbe taught how everyone can serve G-d. This, in a nutshell, describes their relative contributions to Chassidism.
The Master Plan of Creation - The Baal Shem Tov's Unique Conception of Divine Providence. It is no accident that you picked to read this item. Nothing that happens in our lives is mere circumstance or coincidence. We have reasons for what we do and there are reasons of which we are unaware, deeper patterns whose scope and purpose extend far beyond our individual lives...
One difference between the ways of the Baal Shem Tov and of the Maggid was that the Baal Shem Tov went on all sorts of journeys, while the Maggid stayed home.
Moreover, when the Maggid was Rebbe, Chassidus was already widely known, even in distant places, because of the extensive journeys of the Holy Society. Many average laymen had thus become devoted to Chassidus and used to make pilgrimages to Mezritch.
The Alter Rebbe, author of the Tanya, points out in one of his other works, that any of the "seventy tongues", when used as an instrument to disseminate the Torah and Mitzvoth, is itself "elevated" thereby from its earthly domain into the sphere of holiness, while at the same time serving as a vehicle to draw the Torah and Mitzvoth, from above downward, to those who read and understand this language.
Once at a Yom-Tov meal at which the Rebbe Rayatz presided, mayim acharonim was brought to the table in a silver container. The Rebbe demurred, and recounted the following exchange. The Mitteler Rebbe once asked his father, the Alter Rebbe: "What will be the function of mayim acharonim in future time, after the fulfillment of the prophetic promise, 'I shall remove the spirit of impurity from the earth'?" Replied the Alter Rebbe: "At that time, its function will relate to those who engaged in worldly matters in purity." "When that time comes," concluded the Rebbe Rayatz, "it will be appropriate to bring mayim acharonim to the table in a silver container."
The Rebbe "Tzemach Tzedek" wrote more profusely than all the Rebbeim. He did not publish his books himself. In the Alter Rebbe's Likutei Torah, the Tzemach Tzedek added numerous comments and annotations, but he never released his own discourses and responsa to be printed. Chassidim used to copy his writings by hand, and these comprise the majority of the manuscripts of Chassidic discourses extant today. The first editions of the Tzemach Tzedek published after his passing (on 13 Nissan, 5626 - March 29 1866).
The Rebbe Maharash innovated the concept of "L'Chatchila Ariber". The approach of L'chatchila Ariber teaches that if we come upon an obstacle to a task we are involved in, or an obstacle to a mitzva or project or good deed which comes our way (or we pursue), we should overcome the obstacle in the most direct manner. The Rebbe Maharash explained that while some people propose that when confronted with an obstacle the best route is to go around, or under it -- and the Rebbe Maharash says: "And I say one has to go l'chatchila ariber [from the start, go over it]."
On the occasion of the fiftieth jubilee of the foundation of the Tomchei Temimim Yeshivah in Lubavitch, the Rebbe Rashab delivered the Maamar Heichaltzu. This keynote discourse, with its insistence on the essential brotherhood of all Jews, was presented as a foundation stone for the Yeshivah which was destined to educate and inspire generations of Lubavitcher chassidim toward the sublime ideal of Ahavas Yisrael.
. . . . On the 9th day of Adar II, 5700 (19 March 1940), the Rebbe arrived in New York on the SS. Drottningholm, and was enthusiastically welcomed by thousands of followers and many representatives of various organizations, as well as civic authorities. Immediately upon his arrival, the Rebbe publicized that it was not for his own safety that he had made the trip to the United States, but that he had an important mission to fulfill in this free and blessed country. This mission was to make America a Torah center to take the place of the ruined Jewish communities of Europe. The decade that had elapsed between the Rebbe's first and second visit to the U.S.A. left its scar on the Rebbe's constitution. His health had greatly deteriorated by his suffering and self-sacrifice. Nevertheless, the Rebbe threw himself at once, body and soul, into his new mission . . . .
The Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, known simply and lovingly as "the Rebbe," has cast the warm glow of his sanctified existence, his Solomonic wisdom, his vision for a world perfected, and his sensitivity and love for humanity, over the lives of millions, to the farthest reaches of the world.
Through his inspired vision, the Rebbe endowed us with a passion for the good and the G-dly, and the means to understand that the good and the G-dly are inherent in our world and within each of us and in our everyday lives. It is a vision that will inspire the world for generations to come.
From his early years in Nikolaev, Russia, where he was born in 1902, the Rebbe displayed a prodigious mind and a sensitivity to human suffering.
Educated by private tutor as a child, and then at the University of Berlin and the Sorbonne, the Rebbe exhibited an extraordinary breadth and depth of knowledge, was gifted in the sciences, and had a remarkable fluency in many languages.
But it was in the Torah, the Talmud, in both the exoteric and esoteric realms of Torah and Judaism, that the Rebbe's erudition and brilliance provided fundamental and original insights to Jewish scholarship.
Indeed, more than 200 major volumes of the Rebbe's prolific writing and discourses have already been published; more are on the way.
In all his talks, as well as in his innovative, worldwide ubiquitous mitzva campaigns, one discerns a unifying system which binds the physical to the spiritual, and empowers every individual to actualize their potential to impact their immediate surroundings, their community, and ultimately, the world, through their even small acts of kindness.
The Rebbe engaged the greatest thinkers of our times and simplefolk with equal intensity.
It is truly impossible to gauge the scope of this great leader. He never took a day off in 42 years.
He rarely slept. He fasted most days while praying for the hundreds of thousands of people who beseeched him to intervene on their behalf. He also inspired us all with his incredible activism, devotion, foresight and leadership. He always saw what others did not and did what others saw not.
Well before activities on behalf of Soviet Jews became a popular cause, the Rebbe quietly and effectively worked to save lives.
Well before the demonstrations and sit-ins began to make news, the Rebbe had established a clandestine network of Chasidim to supply money, food, clothing, and spiritual support to the thousands of Jews suffocating physically and spiritually under Communism's boot.
While the prophets of doom talked of the vanishing Jew -- through intermarriage and assimilation -- the Rebbe, in contrast, established bold and daring programs to reach out to those people who otherwise would be lost to the Jewish people.
When others had given up, the Rebbe always discerned even a small ray of hope and enlarged that hope so that everyone could share in it, and draw strength from it.
And as always, at every step, regardless of the idea or project, there were voices of opposition to the Rebbe's movement toward a better, saner and more G-dly world. Never inhibited by these voices, the Rebbe persisted, and prevailed.
The Rebbe has created thousands of educational institutions, humanitarian projects and outreach centers the world over. As it is impossible to gauge the scope of the Rebbe as a person, so it is impossible to gauge the impact of his world wide achievements. Millions are inclined to a better life of goodness and meaning, due to his counsel.
Who can tally the acts of kindness and charity inspired by the Rebbe's own example, while he stood seven hours every Sunday, even into his ninth decade of life, receiving people from all walks of life, from all over the world, handing out dollar bills to men and women, young and old, Jews and gentiles, to be given to charitable causes?
Throughout this all, the Rebbe encouraged us to join him in his efforts.
In this way, the Rebbe graced us with untold merits and helped us realize the enormous potential for good that lies within each and everyone of us.
By sharing with us his vision, his hopes and his promise, and by making us active participants in the perfection of G-d's world, the Rebbe has empowered us in a way that every parent can only hope to empower his and her children.