Perhaps the wildest, craziest and most outrageous thing the Rebbe did was to launch a mitzvah campaign. In retrospect, it may seem strange: The Rebbe was a scholar and a sage. You don’t usually expect such personalities to be maverick social activists driving worldwide campaigns. But the Rebbe was not only the mastermind behind the campaign—he was the one stepping on the pedal and driving it full force.

I don’t know if anyone ever made a mitzvah campaign before—at least, not since Moses. One thing for sure, it’s certainly not conventional warfare. Not the goals, not the strategies and certainly not the rules of the playing field.

Take tefillin, the first campaign launched in 1967. The practice had fallen into disuse. Many Jews didn’t even know what tefillin were. Conventional procedure would be to convene Jewish leadership, establish a committee, negotiate cooperative efforts, establish an editorial board to publish materials, establish another committee to oversee distribution of those materials to schools and synagogues, hold symposiums and subsidize speaking tours, establish yet another committee to review the efforts of all these committees and…you get the idea. Eventually, with a more informed public, tefillin may even gain some popularity in specific circles. Of course, a study would be conducted to determine this as well.

The Rebbe’s strategy? There’s a Jew who is not putting on tefillin! Grab him on the street (that’s right, literally on the street), roll up his sleeve and put tefillin on him!

More remarkable: it worked. The tefillin campaign precipitated the victory of the Six Day War and in the wake of that miracle thundered a sudden wave of Jewish pride. The Rebbe’s campaign rode that wave high, directing what could have been a temporal fizz into a renaissance of Jewish practice such as hasn’t been seen in centuries.

So much for committees.

More campaigns were to follow. In 1974, partly as a response to terrorism in Israel, partly as a wake-up call to Diaspora Jews, the Rebbe added on five more: Mezuzah, Torah Study, Tzedakah, A House Full of Torah Books (which brought with it a call to establish yeshivas everywhere) and Shabbat Candles. Over the next two years the Rebbe added Kosher Food, the Mikvah, Torah Education and—the mitzvah the Rebbe called “the general principle behind all the campaigns—Love Your Fellow Jew. That made ten.

Then there were the “seasonal campaigns.” Like, light up the streets, homes and campuses with Chanukah Menorahs. Blitz the Jews with Purim Kits. See how many million tons of matzah we can serve in two nights of Passover around the globe. Get every Jewish man, woman and child into a synagogue to hear the Ten Commandments on Shavuot. And many more. But they were never counted by the Rebbe in his oft-recited list of ten. Neither was the campaign that every Jewish child (and subsequently, every Jewish adult) should own a letter in a Torah scroll—most likely because that’s a one-shot deal.

Eventually, bringing Moshiach became a campaign. The campaign of campaigns.

A lot of nice Jewish people did not react favorably to these campaigns, to put it politely. Some felt that it was ill advised for observant Jews to waste precious time and risk being sullied in their observance by those Jews that had opted out of Judaism. Others argued that getting people to do mitzvahs they did not understand was worthless.

The Rebbe was unmoved by their complaints. His most repeated words were, “The main thing is, do something.” Taste and see/just do it—you’ll like it. Inspiration, understanding, commitment… that was all to follow, once you’ve already taken the plunge. This was radical. For many, too radical. Okay, it was well-grounded in Jewish tradition. So Jewish tradition is radical. People didn’t like it.

But it worked. Take a look around you at the Jewish world today and you’ll see that it worked.

They say that when G‑d wanted to communicate with us at Mount Sinai, He condensed all His infinite wisdom into ten practical, simple utterances. The Rebbe did the same with his ingenuity in these ten campaigns. Each campaign has a strategy that is another lesson in how to conquer the world with light. Here are just a few powerful messages:

Tefillin, like we said, is all about going out there without fear and “just doing it.”

The Shabbat candle campaign is about how one little girl can light up an entire world. The message was, “Every little Jewish girl should light her own candle.” People asked, “And what’s with all the adult women that don’t light?” To which the Rebbe responded, “That’s the point. Who is better at getting a Jewish mother to light a candle than her bubbling little daughter?” And the Rebbe delighted in telling those stories of the little girl who turned her family around just with her once a week ritual of lighting a candle. Sort of a variation on the David and Goliath theme.

The Mezuzah campaign is about the power of details—in this case, the details written in a small parchment.

The Tzedakah campaign was centered around getting people to have a charity box in their homes and places of work—like a Trojan horse that looks so innocent and then pulls so many mitzvahs along inside it.

The Torah study campaigns were about the power of Torah to change the world.

And all of campaigns are about the innate power of any mitzvah, whether we understand it or not.

I’m sure you can think of much more—there’s a deep well of wisdom to draw from here. But the main thing is to keep driving those campaigns without letting up, until they cover the entire earth with wisdom and light. As I can hear the Rebbe saying right now, “The main thing is—just do it!”