“For the Rebbe, Jewish unity is not a slogan, a wish or a promise; it is a reality.”

—Yisrael Meir Lau, Chief Rabbi of Israel

To the Rebbe, all Jews comprise a single whole – a single body as real as a human one.

Children are an inextricable extension of their parents, regardless of whether they are wise or simple, old or young, righteous or wicked. Even when they deny their parents, the essential connection remains between them. Similarly, all Jews are one because their essence, their soul, which is a part of G‑d – is identical and one.

But even as separate and uniqueEach individual Jew constitutes a unique part of the Jewish whole individuals all Jews are also inter-connected – like a human body composed of many different parts. Only when all the parts are connected is the body whole. Each individual Jew constitutes a unique part of the Jewish whole, without which, G‑d forbid, the entire People is incomplete.

Taking the analogy of the body further, not only is every Jew vital to the Jewish people to constitute one whole but, furthermore, each individual Jew contributes something that is unachievable by any other person besides him or her. The head, for example, lacks the mobility that the foot has. In this respect the foot is superior even to the head and contributes to it by carrying the head and the entire body to places it could not go on its own!

Similarly, every Jew has certain unique qualities that help comprise the totality of the Jewish People, and help propel the rest of the global Jewish body to ever greater heights in the service of G‑d.

Recognizing this unity helps intensify one’s Ahavas Yisrael and requires each of us to reach out and ensure that all Jews, every Jew, find his and her place and utilizes their potential, both for their own sake and for that of the entire Jewish people.

The Rebbe sought to connect every Jew in the world through the boldest spiritual initiative ever undertaken. For the Rebbe, Jewish unity was not a slogan – it was reality.

Jewish Outreach

Why would you ask someone to put on tefillin or light Shabbat candles – someone you have never met before and may likely never see again? And what is the point of encouraging these isolated, seemingly incongruous acts?

A disciple of the Rebbe – a Chasid – offers tefillin and Shabbat candles to a stranger for the simple reason that tefillin and Shabbat candles belong to every single Jew. It is offered because of who that person already is, not because he or she may one day become “Orthodox.” It is the person’s right to perform the mitzvah, and it is our privilege to help him or her with the same fervor and compassion with which we provide a stranger in need with a warm meal and a place to sleep.

600,000 Letters In the Torah

The word “Yisroel” is an acronym for Yesh shishim ribui osios latorah – there are six hundredIf one Jew is in some way lacking, that void affects the entire Jewish people thousand letters in the Torah.” 600,000 constitutes the totality of the Jewish People when they became a nation upon leaving Egypt.

If even a single letter in a Torah scroll is damaged, the entire scroll is rendered invalid for use, until the letter is repaired. Similarly, if one Jew is in some way lacking, that void affects the entire Jewish people.

No Jewish Background?

A prominent businessman and longtime supporter of Chabad started a beginners’ service at his congregation. He proudly reported on his initiative to the Rebbe. “But when I told the Rebbe that I had arranged services for 130 Jews with no Jewish background,” the businessman related, “the Rebbe’s smile vanished. He looked at me with those piercing blue eyes and I knew I must have said something wrong. ‘What?’ the Rebbe said, giving me a chance to repeat myself, which I did. ‘No Jewish background?’ asked the Rebbe. He looked at me as if I had insulted his children.”

‘Go back and tell them that they have a background. They are the children of Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov, Sarah, Rivkah, Rachel and Leah.’ The Rebbe’s smile then returned, and he gave me a blessing.”