Here's a great tip:
Enter your email address and we'll send you our weekly magazine by email with fresh, exciting and thoughtful content that will enrich your inbox and your life, week after week. And it's free.
Oh, and don't forget to like our facebook page too!
A new online course
Starting January 22nd
Register »
Contact Us

1950: Leadership
A class of students at the Chabad school in Morocco, the country to which the Rebbe sent the first emissary
A class of students at the Chabad school in Morocco, the country to which the Rebbe sent the first emissary

On Shabbat morning, January 28, 1950, the sixth Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn, of righteous memory, passed on to his eternal rest.

The Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, of righteous memory, was overcome with grief; for months afterwards, his every reference to his father-in-law would summon forth a well of tears. Though he was the natural choice for succession, he steadfastly refused to take on the role of "Rebbe." It was a full year before he succumbed to the entreaties pouring in from all corners of the globe and officially accepted the mantle of leadership.

But from the very start, it was clear that he meant to carry on his father-in-law's work to reach out and embrace every Jew, no matter how geographically or spiritually distant from his people.

On February 7, a mere ten days after Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak's passing, the Rebbe appointed Rabbi Michael Lipsker as his emissary, "shliach," to the Jews of Morocco.

The institution of sending emissaries is without doubt the Rebbe's most revolutionary contribution to Jewish life today. It is no exaggeration to say that it transformed the face of Judaism in the second half of the 20th century.

The concept is both profound and simple. The Rebbe wished to reach every Jew on the face of the earth and to inspire in them an increased commitment to Judaism. But to reach every Jew is a task technically impossible for a single human being. So he raised an army of young men and women and said to them: I empower you to act in my stead. When you go out there—to New Jersey or to Alaska, to Belo Horizonte, Brazil or to Chelyabinsk, Siberia, it will be as if I myself am going there; as if I myself am giving that class, koshering that kitchen, or conducting that Passover Seder.

An emmisary, shliach, is a legal concept in Torah law, by which one person can appoint another to perform an action in his place. The Rebbe took this Torah concept and transformed it into a calling and a way of life for dozens, and then hundreds, and then thousands of young families.

The Rebbe did not allow his emissaries the luxury of mindless obedience to his dictates. Instead, he insisted that their programs and activities must arise from the particular strengths and inclinations of the emissary and the particular needs and circumstances of his locality. It was the Rebbe's unique type of leadership that could combine this with the fact that each emissary was suffused with the awareness that he or she is acting as an extension of the Rebbe's very person—which was what empowered them to overcome the otherwise insurmountable difficulties that lay in their path.

"The New Lubavitcher Rebbe," a heading of a newspaper article following the Rebbe's acceptance of the leadership of Chabad-Lubavitch
"The New Lubavitcher Rebbe," a heading of a newspaper article following the Rebbe's acceptance of the leadership of Chabad-Lubavitch

The Rebbe felt a special kinship with his emissaries. When his wife, the Rebbetzin, passed away in 1988, his first request was "to notify [our] children, the emissaries." Before the Rebbe left his office on the day he suffered a stroke, in March of 1992, he arranged his desk—ordinarily covered with stacks of books and papers—leaving one item on its cleared surface: the three-volume album containing the pictures of his emissaries.

On January 17, 1951, the Rebbe formally accepted the leadership of Chabad-Lubavitch by delivering the traditional discourse of Chassidic teaching, maamar, at a gathering marking the first anniversary of his father-in-law’s passing. On that occasion, the Rebbe said (free translation):

Here in America people like to hear things expressed in the form of a "statement"--preferably a provocative and shocking statement. I don't know if this is the best approach, but as our Sages have said, "When you come to a city, do as its custom."'

The three loves—love of G‑d, love of Torah and love of one's fellow—are one. One cannot differentiate between them, for they are of a single essence. And since they are of a single essence, each one embodies all three.

This is our "statement": If you see a person who has a love of G‑d but lacks a love of Torah and a love of his fellow, you must tell him that his love of G‑d is incomplete. And if you see a person who has only a love for his fellow, you must strive to bring him to a love of Torah and a love of G‑d—that his love toward his fellows should not only be expressed in providing bread for the hungry and water for the thirsty, but also to bring them close to Torah and to G‑d.

When we will have the three loves together, we will achieve the Redemption. For just as this last Exile was caused by a lack of brotherly love, so shall the final and immediate Redemption be achieved by love for one's fellow.

At that gathering, the Rebbe also laid down what was to become the leitmotif of his teachings and activities: that ours is the generation entrusted with the task of bringing to fruition the very purpose of creation, which Chassidic teaching defines as “making a dwelling for G‑d in the physical world.” Ours is the generation, said the Rebbe, which will herald the Age of Moshiach--the era of goodness and perfection which is the end-goal of man’s millennia-long effort to bring to light the divine image in which he was created.


Adaptations of the Rebbe's Teachings:
 Outreach & Influence
 Jewish Unity
 A History of Love
 Outgoing Woman
 A Long Pole
 A Gathering with the Rebbe
 Love According to the Rebbe
 Social Responsibilty

An Archivist Discovers the Rebbe:
 What the Rebbe Did Before Prayers

 My Rebbe the Rebel
 Love According to the Rebbe
 The Ache in My Heart
 Beyond Lubavitch
 I Miss Him
 Do You Feel Another’s Pain?
 Are you a “Farginner”?

 1916: World War I
 1963: Rebellion
 1986: "Sunday Dollars"

Books by the Rebbe:
 Chassidic Dimension - Volume 3: Tzav

Correspondence From the Rebbe:
 Wise Charitable Giving
 By The Way
 Honorary President
 His Own Turf
 A Positive Conversation
 Spiritual Charity
 A Jew in Madagascar
 The Rebbe on the '60s
 A Glaring Contradiction
 A Breath of Fresh Air
 The Rebbe's Apology
 On Leaders Emigrating from their Hometown
 Exerting Effort Even After Seeing Success
 What Can be Achieved through Determination and Commitment
 A Synagogue is Not Only for Prayer
 Jewish Activism and Outreach
 How to Influence Others
 The Lecturer’s Focus
 Spiritual Lay Leadership
 Essence of Leadership
 A Child's Cry
 Guidelines for Outreach
 Is a Baal Teshuvah Really an Outcast?
 Taking Responsibility
 Study Group for Young Women
 Effort Brings Success
 Can Torah Truth Be Compromised?
 On the Urgent Need to Spread Torah to All Jews
 Wise Charitable Giving - Part 1
 Wise Charitable Giving - Part 2

First Person:
 "The Rebbe Said"
 The Woman’s Role in Teaching Judaism

 The Myth of Chabad Outreach

News Updates: The Rebbe’s Reach Continues:
 Focus on Love Mends Fences

Scholar, Visionary and Leader:
 The Seventh Generation: A Leader of Leaders

Special Dates on the Calendar:
 The Ache in My Heart
 The Significance of Yud Shevat
 Love According to the Rebbe
 A Visionary in Our Time

 The Rebbe Who Saved a Village
 The Rebbe's Job
 The Rebbe's Reach
 A Jew in Brooklyn
 The Blow
 The Miracle Worker
 The Rebbe's "Exaggerated Love"

The Rebbe & World Leaders:
 A Mystical Covenant Video:
 One Sukkah, One Lulav, One People
 Sacrifice of the Great
 Love Your Fellow As Your Fellow Needs
 Utilize Your Influence
 Hashem’s Presence, through Love
 “He Created Leaders”
 Love that Knows No Barriers
 Our Generation’s Battle
 Unconditional Love
 Jewish Leadership Defined
 Completely Unwarranted Love
 Love Your Fellow As Your Fellow Needs
 Creatures of Holiness
 Of Love and Marriage
 The Rebbe's Example
 A Time for Loving
 Returning the Hearts of the Fathers
 A Needle in a Haystack, Part 1
 A Needle in a Haystack, Part 2
 A Visionary in Our Time
 You Don't Have to Be a Rabbi
 Be a Lamplighter
 A Shepherd of Israel
 Atomic Energy
 On Jewish Leadership
 The Heart of the Matter
 Planting the Seed
 The Common Thread
 Be a Leader
 The Rebbe and the Best-Selling Author

Play Video

Told by the Rebbe, Summer 1962 (free translation)

The fifth Rebbe of Chabad, Rabbi Sholom DovBer, was once asked: "What is a Chassid?"

Replied the Rebbe: "A Chassid is a lamplighter. The lamplighter walks the streets carrying a flame at the end of a stick and goes from lamp to lamp to set them alight. He knows that he is not giving the lamp anything that it does not already possess--he is only revealing its potential for light."

"What if the lamp is in a desert?" asked the disciple.

"Then you must go and light it. And when you light a lamp in a desert, it will cease to be a desert."

"What if the lamp is at sea?"

"Then you must dive into the sea, and go light the lamp."

"But Rebbe, I do not see the lamps!"

"Because you are not a lamplighter."

"How does one become a lamplighter?"

"Refine yourself, and you will see the lamp within your fellow."

The Rebbe: Timeline Biography
1902: Childhood
1915: Learning
1916: World War I
1923: Soviet Jewry
1928: Marriage
1930s: Torah & Science
1941: Flight from Europe
1939-45: Holocaust & Rebuilding
1943: Author & Teacher
1950: Leadership
1953: Chassidic Feminism
1960: Technology
1963: Rebellion
1967: The Six-Day War
1972: Retirement?
1974: The Mitzvah Tank
1977: Illness & Challenge
1983: Mankind
1986: "Sunday Dollars"
1988: Passing of Rebbetzin
1989: The End of the Cold War
1991: Missiles & Miracles
3 Tammuz 1994: Transmission
1994: Discovery of the "Reshimot"
Today: The Goal