“The Rebbe was watched 24 hours a day. Yet there was not one minute in which his personality did not shine.”

—Rabbi Adin Even Yisrael (Steinsaltz)

The Rebbe never stopped. He was active seven days a week, 365 days a year, often twenty hours a day or more.

During 44 years of leadership, he did not take a single vacation, nor a personal or sick day. This is neither exaggeration nor legend. It is a matter of record, as the Rebbe’s daily schedule was public knowledge.

During those 44 years, the Rebbe delivered thousands of public discourses. He responded to millions ofHe counseled countless individuals letters and requests for advice and blessings from men and women everywhere, and to questions from organizations and institutions of all stripes. These requests ran the full gamut of human experience: health, marriage, children, livelihood, education, business, Torah and the sciences.

The Rebbe initiated, guided and supervised a global network of Lubavitch institutions. In personal meetings he counseled countless individuals – Torah scholars, simple folk and heads of state, men and women, hoary elders and children, business titans and troubled teens, men of letters and the ill and infirm.

Every Sunday from 1986 until his stroke in 1992, the Rebbe would stand for many hours without interruption, greeting people, listening and offering blessings and advice while distributing to each person a dollar to give to charity. These sessions often lasted more than seven hours – and by this time the Rebbe was already in his late eighties!

The Rebbe spent the larger portion of his day immersed in Torah study and prayer.

Yet somehow, everyone – especially his Chasidim – took this all for granted.

No one ever questioned how such a schedule, such a lifestyle, was humanly possible. The Rebbe made it all seem so natural, so organic, so effortless, that one easily forgot that his was a schedule beyond the capacity of any ordinary human being.

All these, and more …

Some saw the Rebbe as the consummate Ohev Yisrael, lover of all Jews. Others observed his yir’as shamayim, his rever­ence for G‑d...some recognized his complete selflessness. Others were awed by his genius in Torah scholarship... Some saw him as the man of unparalleled activism. Others experienced the impact of his profound wisdom and keen insight... Some saw him as the paragon of mesiras nefesh, absolute self-sacrifice. Others perceived him as the catalyst of a Jewish revolution... Some recognized him as the ultimate leader. Others viewed him as the ultimate Chasid, devoted entirely to his Rebbe...No one ever questioned how such a schedule was humanely possible And still others appreciated him as the ultimate scholar and intellectual.

The Rebbe was all of these.

Yet it is his essence, which transcends the particulars of his person, from which all of the above emanated. From the very depth of his neshamah (soul), from the core of his being, the Rebbe revered G‑d, loved every Jew, and was devoted to Torah and the fulfillment of G‑d’s will.

The Rebbe communicated many of his thoughts and insights to us out of his deep desire to give to others. By sharing, he afforded us a glimpse into the window of his soul, a reflection of his spirit.

The Wish to Share

“He who has a generous eye, shall be blessed, for he gave of his bread to the poor” (Proverbs 22:9). According to our sages, this refers to Moses whose innate generosity impelled him to share insights of the Torah – even those which he was not commanded to relay.

On a number of occasions the Rebbe shared teachings and stories that he had heard from his father-in-law and predecessor, Rabbi Yoseph Yitzchok Schneersohn, the sixth Lubavitcher Rebbe, adding that he had not been given explicit permission to make them public but was nevertheless taking the liberty to do so, as “my father-in-law knew I would be unable to resist sharing with others...”

A Different World

For the Rebbe, nothing was ordinary. Everything that he touched took on new light, new life, new depth, new meaning. The presence of G‑d was palpable. An ordinary day became a holiday. An ordinary person became extraordinary. A routine mitzvah became precious. A simple Talmudic exchange became a profound principle. A minor footnote in the life of his Rebbe became a life’s lesson. Any mundane object was a spark, any episode a lesson in the service of G‑d. Every occurrence was a stage in the fulfillment of the Divine plan. Every occasion – good or seemingly bad – was a challenge to help us better serve the Almighty. The Rebbe shed new light on every subject. He cut to the core of every matter.