“Me, what have I accomplished during my 80 years?

But the Rebbe, in just this simple candle-lighting campaign (by women and girls) has illuminated the Jewish home and altered the course of Klal Israel.”

—Confession of an American Jewish leader after the Rebbe’s launching of the candle-lighting campaign in 5734/1974

It was characteristic of the Rebbe to translate ideas into reality. Along with being a visionary with a global perspective, and a leader who inspired his audience to become partners to his vision – the Rebbe called for concrete action, and set in place practical programs that would accomplished the objective.

The Rebbe’s goal was to ignite the Jewish spark, to infuse Jewish consciousness at all levels of the Jewish public, and to foster observance of mitzvot in daily life.

The Rebbe would often quote the Sages in Pirkei Avot; “It’s the deed that is most essential.” Hence he would consistently emphasize the vital necessity of concrete action – calling for deeds – and instructing his Chasidim and those who sought his advice to implement every idea in real-life daily actions.

From the very beginning ofThe failure to act casts doubt on the credibility of the intent his leadership, the Rebbe called for deeds. Thoughts and intentions are good and important, he explained, but if they do not yield concrete results then the essence is missing. Moreover, the failure to act casts doubt on the credibility of the intent. This is true for both one’s personal life and in the public sphere.

The deed is vital and of primary importance because the bulk of human energy is expended on the practical actions in our daily lives. It is in these actions that human beings are meant to serve G‑d, and to make the awareness of the Creator inform every aspect of their lives. Beyond this, the act has an essential significance in its own right. It is precisely via the practical mitzvot that one fulfills the purpose for the creation of this physical world, and the G‑dly desire for a ‘Dirah b’tahtonim’, a Divine residence in the lower realm. This purpose is actualized by fulfilling mitzvot in physical actions.

The Rebbe would illuminate the enormous value and significance of even a single individual mitzvah. As a commandment from G‑d who is infinite, each mitzvah encompasses an immeasurable quality. Hence the colossal importance of fulfilling even one mitzvah – if only once – such as donning Tefillin or the lighting of Shabbat candles. By virtue of fulfilling a mitzvah a human carries out the Al-mighty’s will and is connecting with the source of the mitzvah. Although we may not discern this, nevertheless the connection occurs, and its effects are infinite.

From the very beginning the Rebbe initiated campaigns and called for actions. He did not stop or rest until they penetrated the consciousness of the Jewish community. During the early years of his leadership, he began calling for the loving embrace and encouragement of those who were alienated from their Jewishness; to reach out to communal settlements and kibbutzim in Israel; and to establish schools and other educational institutions.

Increasingly, as these ideas gained currency among his adherents, he called as well for direct action – to literally approach the Jew in the street and offer the opportunity to fulfill mitzvot, such as the blessing over the Four Species during the Sukkot festival, donning Tefillin, Shabbat candles, and more.

With the passage of time, the Rebbe’s projects and campaigns became more frequent, including those relating to holidays and festivals, the study and spread of Torah, the publication of new Torah insights, the establishment of Chabad Houses, the giving of Tzedakah, and dozens of other programs and companies.

The Ten Mitzvah Campaign

Special importance was attributed to the Ten Point Mitzvah Campaign which the Rebbe continually stressed in his talks and correspondence, as core mitzvot of special importance and quality which serve as keys to Jewish life, and broad vessels for G‑d’s blessings.