A battle to regain precious Jewish works that disappeared behind the Iron Curtain more than ninety years ago is being waged by a group handpicked by the last Lubavitcher Rebbe. The sefarim of two Chabad Rebbes have lain in silence on the shelves of two Russian libraries, some since the early days of communism. But what chance does even one of the largest Jewish groups in the world have when going up against the kleptostate of the modern Russian Federation?
Ami Magazine takes an in-depth look at the Lubavitch library and manuscripts in Russia, how it got there and why was there a need to have a United States court weigh in on seemingly a Russian issue.
In a discreet building adjacent to Lubavitch World Headquarters, in what was once the study and office of the Lubavitcher Rebbe zt”l, is the Ohel Yosef Yitzchak-Lubavitch Library, known outside of Chabad as the Lubavitch Library and in Chabad as “The Rebbe’s Library.”
Quiet and modest in design, this library’s contents belie its exterior. Within these walls is one of the most prestigious and largest private collections of sefarim and Judaic manuscripts.
Collected by the last two leaders of the Lubavitch movement, the sixth Lubavitch Rebbe zt”l, known as the Rayatz, and the seventh Lubavitch Rebbe, the collection has such rare items as pages of the Talmud handwritten before Rashi’s explanations became standard glosses on the side and the prayer book of the founder of the Chassidic movement, the Baal Shem Tov.
The library, united from the two Rebbes’ collections in 1987, contains more than 250,000 volumes, and tens of thousands of manuscripts and artifacts. The Rebbes’ efforts saved many volumes from destruction or theft by some of the most powerful countries of their times. But there are still some things missing.
A set of rare sefarim that belonged to the fifth Chabad Rebbe, known as the Rebbe Rashab, and thousands of manuscripts of the Rebbe Rayatz are sitting in a state library in Moscow, composing what should be a third section of the Lubavitch Library. This collection was the focus of a court trial intended to force the Russians to allow long-awaited books and manuscripts to come home to the Chabad library.
To read full article, click here