Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Rebbe's Yahrzeit

The Maimonides of Our Generation:  The Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson of righteous memory, passed away 17 years ago today - on the 3rd day of the Hebrew month of Tammuz, in the year 5754 from creation (June, 12 1994).

In an article at Chabad.org entitled "Meeting with the Maimonides of Our Generation", noted scholar and historian Rabbi Marvin Tokayer recalls his introduction to Chabad philosophy:
As a Yeshiva University student in the early 1960s, I used to attend a Thursday night class on Chabad philosophy. The class was interesting and highly informative, and I was never shy about asking questions. How could you say such-and-such when other Jewish philosophers posit other theories? How do you reconcile their disagreements? The teacher’s recurrent answer was, “The Rebbe knows,” referring to the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, of saintly memory.
Rabbi Tokayer requested, and was granted,  a meeting with the Rebbe.  And what does he remember of that meeting, and of the Rebbe?
My clearest memory from my discussion with the Rebbe is his eyes. I looked into his eyes and he looked into mine. They were the most intriguing and beautiful eyes I had ever seen. I felt that the Rebbe was looking deep into my heart and soul. It is hard to convey this, but I felt he understood me more than I understood myself.
Oh, yes.  Abq Jew had - many years ago - the privilege of davening with the Rebbe at "770", 770 Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn, Chabad Lubavitch Headquarters.  And he will never forget the Rebbe's eyes, either - intense, purposeful, deeply understanding.
During my audience, I felt that the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s approach to Judaism was very close to the approach outlined in Maimonides’ Guide to the Perplexed, a difficult and complicated volume. The Rebbe and Maimonides were trying to do the same thing: teach us how to live as intelligent, modern, devout and strictly observant Jews in the modern world.
The Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson of righteous memory, the seventh leader in the Chabad-Lubavitch dynasty, is considered to have been the most phenomenal Jewish personality of modern times. To hundreds of thousands of followers and millions of sympathizers and admirers around the world, he was - and still is, despite his passing - "the Rebbe".

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