In 1943 the Rebbe published Hayom Yom, a pocket-sized booklet with a Chassidic saying for each day of the year. Misleadingly humble in format, it soon became a veritable guide to the life of the soul of the Chassid.

More than 200 volumes of essays, letters and talks were followed over the next half century, pertaining to and illuminating virtually every area of Torah (the vast body of wisdom and law deriving from 3300 years of Jewish study and application of the Divine word revealed at Sinai).

The world has primarily heard of the Rebbe as a great leader and motivator; but no less central to his personality is his revolutionary philosophy and approach to life. Indeed, from his teachings sprang the amazing reach of his influence and the legendary devotion of his followers. (For a sampling of the Rebbe’s teachings, see the “Wisdom” area of this website.)

The first edition of “Hayom Yom” one of the Rebbe’s first works
The first edition of “Hayom Yom” one of the Rebbe’s first works

The Rebbe's primary medium of teaching was the farbrengen--the "Chassidic gathering" in which he addressed thousands of Chassidim and other participants from all walks of life; it was not unusual for a farbrengen to go on for six, eight or even ten hours. The farbrengen consisted of sichot ("talks") separated by brief intervals of song and l'chayim. Following each farbrengen, a select group of disciples reviewed and transcribed the Rebbe's talks, many of which were submitted to him for editing and annotation. These edited talks yielded the 39 volumes of Likkutei Sichot which form the backbone of the Rebbe's teachings.

The Rebbe on the Advantage of Chassidus

"The Torah has four primary levels of interpretation: pshat, the plain meaning; remez, the hinted, intimated meaning; drush, the homiletic, expounded meaning; and sod, the esoteric meaning. Each defines and expresses the Infinite Divine Light contained within Torah in its particular manner. The teachings of Chassidism, however, are not bounded and defined by any form. Chassidism includes all four dimensions of Torah, transcends them, unites them, and breathes life into each of them."

From the Rebbe's essay "On the Essence of Chassidism" (free translation):