"Yud Shvat" Passing of Frierdiker Rebbe and Coronation of Rabbi Schneerson, 1950/1951.
On This Day in Jewish History: January, 1950/1951
On this day, "Yud Shevat", (the 10th of Shevat) we commemorate both the anniversary of the passing of the Previous (Frierdiker) Lubavitcher Rebbe, and the coronation of the Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, accepting the leadership of Lubavitch one year later. Thus forever changing the face of Judaism around the world. In 1951, the Jewish world was in disarray. Still reeling from the destruction of so many communities in Europe, tens of thousands of Jews were still interned in displaced person camps, with no country offering them a home.
2 million Jews were trapped behind the Iron Curtain, under the evil Soviet regime, which oppressed the Jews mercilessly, and cut off any option of celebrating their faith with ease. In the land of Israel, the country was recovering from a war that claimed over 1% of their population and left them with indefensible borders and surrounded by armies of antisemitic hordes.
Across the Arab world, hundreds of thousands of Jews were expelled from lands where they had lived for centuries, many forced to flee with just the clothes on their back. And in America, nearly 5 million Jews, many recent immigrants, lived in what many a generation before referred to as the "Treyfe Medina", the impure land, with little Jewish infrastructure, sporadic Kosher availability, a scarcity of leadership. At this tumultuous time, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok Schneersohn, (Previous) Rebbe of Lubavitch and leader of the Jews of Russia and many worldwide had passed away, and all eyes looked to his son-in-law for comfort and guidance.
Amid a room packed with Jewish leaders from all over the world, amid a message from the Chief Rabbinate and the government of Israel, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson assumed the mantle of leadership with a unique love for every individual Jew, and a remarkable drive and optimism for the future. 70 years later, that love is expressed by 11,000 emissaries in over 105 countries, and in all 50 states, and the wellsprings of knowledge expressed in that small room in Brooklyn, have spread out all across the world by the largest and most dynamic movement in Judaism, beyond what anyone else could have imagined. Every community in the Jewish world has been impacted by the Rebbe’s love, from the largest Jewish city to the most isolated spot on earth.
From new initiatives like the Mivtzoyim, now copied across the Jewish world, to reinvigorating Jewish traditions generations old, from the study of Maimonides to the outpouring of public celebrations of Channukah, the Rebbe’s influence is felt on a daily basis. Throughout his years of leadership, the Rebbe spoke of one subject more than any other: From his very first address, the Rebbe spoke about the potential of our generation to bring on the age of Moshiach, the coming age of peace and holiness at the center of the Jewish faith, brought on by Mitzvos and acts of Goodness and Kindness - through love of G-d, love of Torah, and love of one's fellow Jew. In the very first Maamor (in-depth discourse of mystical, Chassidic, and Halachik thought that is only given by a Rebbe) on this day, the Rebbe spoke about the mission to make this world a dwelling place for G-d, to bring other Jews closer to their Judaism, and urged his followers to be partners in doing so with "overflowing love". So take this special moment to add in your study, your love for your fellow, and your service for G-d, and join the Rebbe’s Revolution!