“The Rebbe took the Torah and brought it down to earth for us; he taught us how to incorporate it within ourselves… to combine a life of Yiddishkeit with a life of full involvement in the broader community.”

—U.S. Senator Joseph Lieberman

The breadth and depth of the Rebbe’s worldly knowledge included many disciplines: engineering, history, medicine, technology, chemistry, law, literature, politics, and at least nine languages.

The Rebbe was well-versed in all of these fields and more.

He harnessed this vastThe function of every element affects the entirety knowledge to his rare ability to communicate with and connect to people of all levels and backgrounds.

The Rebbe viewed the world’s diverse components as part of a single whole – a whole that is vastly greater than the sum of its parts. There is no fragmentation. The function of every element affects the entirety.

This is both a practical truth as well as a philosophical one.

The world and its inhabitants were designed to be one, created and continually sustained by the one G‑d. And because it is intrinsically one, the world should be treated accordingly.

Thus, it behooves humanity and its governments to be acutely conscious of their conduct, for their effect is felt globally. They must strive for an awareness that true oneness is achieved only by serving the one G‑d.

A Dwelling for G‑d

Created by G‑d, the world is innately good.

The world is intended as a place that acknowledges and is receptive to G‑d, “where G‑d feels comfortable.”

However, there are times when G‑d intentionally conceals the good in order to create challenges. Through their behavior, humans can mine the depths of the divine concealment and reveal the good concealed within.

This “internalization through challenge” is the ultimate beneficial good for mankind.

Accordingly, we should not reject or strive to escape the physical and material world. Rather, we are to transform it into a dirah b’tachtonim, a “dwelling place” for G‑d, in which His presence affects every human behavior and, through man, every object and aspect of existence.

Furthermore, the Rebbe taught, the world can and should express the Divine through its own resources.

While our submission to G‑d’s will can profoundly affect the world around us, a truedirah b’tachtonim can only be achieved when the world – in all of its “worldliness” and on its own terms – expresses and facilitates the revelation of the Divine.

Hence, when newly-observant Jews expressed interest in abandoning their careers – in the arts, sciences or technology – in order to devote their full energies to Torah, the Rebbe, almost without exception, insisted that they remain in their professions. He pointed out that their contribution to perfecting the world was to be through the particular skills and position that their G‑d-orchestrated path had led them to acquire.

Likewise, the Rebbe encouraged people to utilize technological innovation like radio, television and the Internet, to spread knowledge, awareness and understanding of G‑d. Not only can these things be utilized for holiness, the Rebbe explained, but this is their very raison d’etre.

The Rebbe also harnessed social currents and cultural phenomena to advance Jewish awareness. During the cultural revolution of the ‘60s, for example, the Rebbe saw an opportunity to channel the rebellion of the youth toward a reexamination of the Judaism that their parents had rejected.

Even within Torah study, prayer and one’s inner service of G‑d, the Rebbe emphasized the need for utilizing and elevating every dimension of a person’s character. For example, he spoke about the need to utilize the nature of both the simple and sophisticated servant in the service of G‑d. Each possesses a special quality lacking in the other; each approach is, therefore, necessary for the fulfillment of dirah b’tachtonim. For G‑dliness must permeate every aspect of the human expression and experience.

The Good in Everything

Because the world is one cohesive whole, because every occurrence is purposeful and meaningful, because all stems from the One G‑d Who is the ultimate goodness, every experience, even the most challenging and adverse, must contain or engender something positive.

With incredible faith andThe Rebbe's sorry was palpable, yet he called for an increase in communal activities an infectiously positive approach, the Rebbe would find a point of consolation within even the most adverse human experience. While sharing deeply in the pain of others, the Rebbe found words of encouragement for victims of great catastrophe. He would urge and support them to forge forward with a positive approach to life, and to meet the challenge head on – to turn the negative into a catalyst for something positive.

After his wife, Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka, of blessed memory, passed away, the Rebbe’s sorrow was palpable, yet he called for an increase in communal activities. “And the living shall take to heart,” became his motto. He turned the passing of a loved one into a catalyst for acts of goodness – acts which are surely the desire of the deceased, who has passed on to the World of Truth.

The Rebbe’s unified view of the world challenges us to appreciate that everything – including that which seems negative – is not merely a “necessary evil” to achieve ultimate good, but is in its very essence something good.

The Science of Unity

In a letter to a scientist, the Rebbe writes: At the core of material existence, science has found a oneness of two opposite ideas: Quantity and quality… In simple language, matter and energy are one. Why? Because G‑d is one, therefore the world is one.

In earlier generations, the study of nature yielded a picture of a multifarious universe. The world was perceived as being comprised of dozens of elements and driven by a number of distinct forces.

But the more science developed, the more it uncovered the unity behind the diversity. One hundred “elements” were revealed to be composed of a much smaller number of fundamental building blocks; diverse forces were shown to be but variant mutations of a single, elementary force.

Even the differentiation between matter and energy was shown to be but an external distinction between two forms of the same essence. Indeed, science is rapidly approaching the inevitable conclusion that the entirety of existence is a singular ray emanating from a singular source.

A Baseball Lesson

Once, during his years working with his father-in-law, the previous Rebbe, the Rebbe visited the yeshiva down the corridor from his office at Lubavitch World Headquarters. He noticed a student entering the study hall in the middle of a session and asked him where he was coming from. The student cheerfully admitted that he had taken time out from his studies to attend a baseball game. He had left the game early because his team was down by a wide margin. “Did you learn anything at the game?” the Rebbe asked him. The student shrugged with a smile. The Rebbe continued, “In baseball, there are two teams, each with nine players – and there are the thousands of fans who sit in the crowd. As long as their team is ahead, the fans cheer. But as soon as their team falls behind, the fans are let down and, eventually, when they see that their team has no chance of winning, they even leave. The players, however, all stay to the end, no matter what. That’s the difference between a fan and a player.”

On Technology

The Sages pronounced, “Everything that G‑d created in His world was created solely for His glory.” Thus, a Jew cannot divide the world into sacred and profane.A Jew cannot divide the world into sacred and profane Everything has been created for a sacred purpose. Our challenge is to determine exactly how each thing is to be applied toward the fulfillment of its true purpose. For example, when the medium of radio is used to broadcast a lecture on Chasidus, then this invention has reached its purpose in preparing the world for the Messianic Age.

For the Messianic Age is distinguished primarily by two characteristics. The world will “be full of the knowledge of the L‑rd,’’ and this knowledge will be “seen by all flesh.” This is precisely what happens when radio and television are used to broadcast Chasidus. The Chasidus learned thereby is heard physically, and in every part of the world, for a transmission can be heard or seen everywhere if only the receiver is powerful enough. Thus, the esoteric teachings of the Torah, through the use of modern technology, are indeed “filling the earth with the knowledge of the L‑rd,” in such manner that ‘’all flesh will perceive it.”