Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi

by leah

Artwork: Leah , Michal

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Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi

by

Artwork: Leah , Michal

  • Joined Sep 2021
  • Published Books 2

My project

1

:Table of Contents
introduction page 2
Episode 1 Page 3
Episode 2 Page 4
Episode 3 Page 5
Conclusion Page 6
Bibliography Page 7

 

 

 

 

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:Introduction

We chose to do our project about Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi, the founder of the Chabad movement, because we think he is a high-level personality who influenced and contributed to the continuation and perpetuation of the Jewish heritage in the world by founding the Chabad Hasidic movement and writing the Tanya book associated with it and thus making Hasidism accessible to Jews scattered around the world.

Much can be learned from the way he leads and the way he thinks

That even though the many difficulties that occured in his life, he did not give up and remained strong and managed to overcome any obstacle even when his masters The Maggid from Mezrich and  The Baal Shem Tov told him to stop.

He left behind believers who continued to spread his faith

What is now known as Chabad Chassidim distributed around the world

 

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:Episode 2 – Arrests

With the rapid expansion of the Chassidic movement under Rabbi Shneur Zalman’s leadership, its opponents resorted to the most extreme measures to undermine his work. He was denounced to the Russian government as a traitor and heretic, an accusation leveled also against certain other chassidic rabbis.

In the year 5558 (1798), Rabbi Shneur Zalman was arrested and taken to the capital, St Petersburg, where he was thrown into prison to face trial for high treason and subversive political activities.

Numerous tales of his sagacity, presence of mind and majestic poise attest to the impression he made on the Czarist commission selected to try his case. Czar Paul I incognito and other men of the highest social and military standing visited him to test his sincerity and to fathom his wisdom. On Kislev 19 in the year 5559 (1798), he was freed on the express orders of the Czar. This date has since been a festival amongst Chassidim.

Hardly two years after the first attempt, the extreme opposition again denounced Rabbi Shneur Zalman on false charges. Again he was brought to the Russian capital and imprisoned, but as before, he was cleared of all guilt and released with the approval of Czar Alexander I, who shared the admiration of his predecessor for the venerable leader of the Lithuanian Chassidic movement.

During the war between France and Russia, Rabbi Shneur Zalman espoused the Russian cause, and through the cooperation of his followers proved of great service to the Russian High Command.

Other Chassidic leaders, such as the famous Maggid of Kosnice, were loud in their acclaim of Napoleon who promised freedom an d equality to all the oppressed, including the Jews. But Rabbi Shneur Zalman realized that the spread of French influence might bring greater moral harm than all the hostility of the Czarist regime.

Accompanied by his family and a number of close disciples he took to the road, barely keeping ahead of the onrushing French armies. Though he escaped capture several times, Rabbi Shneur Zalman’s weakened body was not equal to the harrowing strains of the flight. He became seriously ill and died in Piena, a small village near Kursk, on Teves 24, 5573 (1812) He was laid to rest in the Jewish cemetery at Haditz, a small place near Poltava.

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.

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:Episode 1 – childhood
Shneur Zalman was born in 1745 in the small town of Liozna, Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth (present-day Belarus). He was the son of Baruch, who was a paternal descendant of the mystic and philosopher Rabbi Judah Loew ben Bezalel. the Maharal was the great-great-grandson of Judah Leib the Elder who was said to have descended paternally from Hai Gaon and therefore also from the Davidic dynasty, Shneur Zalman was a prominent (and the youngest) disciple of Dov Ber of Mezeritch, the “Great Maggid”, who was in turn the successor of the founder of Hasidic Judaism, Yisrael ben Eliezer, known as the Baal Shem Tov

He displayed extraordinary talent while still a child. By the time he was eight years old, he wrote an all-inclusive commentary on the Torah based on the works of Rashi, Nahmanides and Abraham ibn Ezra

Until the age of 12, he studied under Issachar Ber in Lyubavichi (Lubavitch); he distinguished himself as a Talmudist, such that his teacher sent him back home, informing his father that the boy could continue his studies without the aid of a teacher. At the age of 12, he delivered a discourse concerning the complicated laws of Kiddush Hachodesh, to which the people of the town granted him the title “Rav

At age 15 he married Sterna Segal, the daughter of Yehuda Leib Segal, a wealthy resident of Vitebsk, and he was then able to devote himself entirely to study. During these years, Shneur Zalman was introduced to mathematics, geometry, and astronomy by two learned brothers, refugees from Bohemia, who had settled in Liozna. One of them was also a scholar of the Kabbalah. Thus, besides mastering rabbinic literature, he also acquired a fair knowledge of the sciences, philosophy, and Kabbalah. He became an adept in Isaac Luria’s system of Kabbalah, and in 1764 he became a disciple of Dov Ber of Mezeritch. In 1767, at the age of 22, he was appointed maggid of Liozna, a position he held until 1801
, he soon decided to leave his home in search of a deeper understanding of the Torah. He has already learned all that Vitebsk can offer him. At that time, a young man eager to devote himself to Torah study would usually travel to the big city of Vilnius, to the Gaon’s academy. It is therefore not surprising that when Rabbi Shneur Zalman decided to go to Mezrich instead, his father-in-law, Litvak, was very disappointed and frustrated. In his anger he withdrew all the financial support from the young couple. However, this did not prevent Rabbi Shneur Zalman and his young wife. They were convinced in their minds that they were on the right path, and that God would not abandon them. Promising to return in a year and a half,
Eventually he reached Mezrich and Rabbi Dov Ber, the Maggid. His initial impression was not particularly encouraging. The Maggid and his circle failed to live up to his expectations. The prayers and ceremonies that preceded them seemed too long and took up the time he intended to devote to study. More and more he believed that he had made the wrong decision. Eventually, he decided to return to Vitebsk.
However, Shortly after leaving Mezrich, Rabbi Shneur Zalman remembered that he had forgotten something in the synagogue. When he returned to the synagogue, he saw Rabbi Dov Ber surrounded by his disciples. He listened, realized that they were discussing a very complex halakhic issue, approached and found himself unable to leave. The deep, elegant analysis and insight given by the Maggid really stunned him, and all his previous fears disappeared without a trace.
In Majorich, Rabbi Shneur Zalman developed the principled principles of his . particularly drawn to three basic principles: that the human mind, however high and pure, is incapable of fully understanding God; that man, the crown of creation, represents the oneness of body and soul; and that the ultimate goal of human existence is the observance of G * d. These were the cornerstone on which he later founded the entire Chabad movement as described in his great book, Tanya.

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Episode 3:
The Tanya – the Alter Rebbe’s major work – was first printed in 1797. Hundreds of handwritten copies had circu­lated throughout the cities and towns of the Russian empire. However, repeated copying of the book had led to an unac­ceptable number of errors, so the Alter Rebbe saw the need to print it. At its core, the book is a revised version of the answers given by the Alter Rebbe to the questions asked by Chassidim during personal counseling sessions.

The Tanya fuses together the nigleh (“revealed”) as­pect of Torah, based primarily on the Talmud, and its sod (“hidden”) part, drawing on the Kabbalah: the Zohar, the teachings of the Holy Ari, Rabbi Moshe Cordovero, and other Kabbalists – but it is primarily based on the teachings of Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov and the Maggid of Mez­herich. The Tanya was written for those seeking and thirst­ing for knowledge, but not for confused individuals, entan­gled in the web of philosophy and skepticism, for whom the Rambam had written his famous Moreh Nevuchim (Guide for the Perplexed) six centuries earlier. The Tanya was in­tended to reach, and did reach, simple and sincere people of unshakeable faith, who were searching for new, better ways to serve the Almighty.

The Tanya (named after the first word of the book), also known as Likutei Amarim (Collected Discourses), pre­sents the substance of Chabad philosophy. As implied by the word “Chabad” (an acronym of the Hebrew words Chochmah – Binah – Da’at (reason – understanding ­knowledge), this philosophy emphasizes that it is incumbent upon us to use the rational power of the intellect to strive for knowledge of G*d and His entire creation. At the same time, Chabad constantly reminds us of the limitations of human reason, which can never achieve complete under­standing of the Creator or fully grasp how the material world was created out of pure spirit. Devotion to the Al­mighty, based on awe and love, must be preceded by ra­tional awareness of the principle of Permanent Creation (based on the Baal Shem Tov’s teaching that the Almighty constantly recreates and sustains the existence of every ob­ject and every living creature), as well as the idea of om­nipotent Divine Providence. This awareness can and does lead Jews to experience fear and love of G*d, at least at the lowest level of fear and love. All of this does not in any way contradict the concept of the ultimately unknowable nature of G*d.

The Tanya explains in detail the concept, which is of paramount importance, that each Jew possesses two souls: the nefesh elokit (godly soul), which partakes of G*d’s es­sence, and the nefesh bahamit (animal soul). Naturally, the former strives toward virtue, light, holiness. The latter also has the faculties of reason and emotion, and is as capable of striving for positive goals as the godly soul, yet it is equally capable of exercising its base instincts by striving for earthly rewards and pleasures. These two souls wage a con­stant battle with each other. G*d, true to the principle of free choice, does not intervene in this battle, although He natu­rally wishes to see the godly soul be victorious, for by con­quering the animal soul and raising it to virtue, light and ho­liness, the nefesh elokit accomplishes the purpose for which it descended into this corporeal world.
The latter also has the faculties of reason and emotion, and is as capable of striving for positive goals as the godly soul, yet it is equally capable of exercising its base instincts by striving for earthly rewards and pleasures. These two souls wage a con­stant battle with each other. G*d, true to the principle of free choice, does not intervene in this battle, although He natu­rally wishes to see the godly soul be victorious, for by con­quering the animal soul and raising it to virtue, light and ho­liness, the nefesh elokit accomplishes the purpose for which it descended into this corporeal world.

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CONCLUSION
I learned a lot about the life and his great personality of the Rebbe I hoped to discover new things that I did not know or missed over the years such as the fact that his father-in-law did not agree to help him financially

If I really had more time to search and research about the Rebbe I would be happy to hear more about his travels and imprisonments and hear stories and testimonies from what was there how he managed to stand in such a solid way and serve as a symbol and example to his surroundings

In addition to all this, he mainly cared for the spiritual well-being of the Jewish people.

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BIBLIOGRAPHYA
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shneur_Zalman_of_Liadi
https://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/110437/jewish/The-Alter-Rebbe.htm#Arrest
http://www.chabadnj.org/page.asp?pageID=EF2BB4A2-0264-4C61-9B88-527009E67CCF

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