Today, 2 Iyar, marks the birthday of the fourth Rebbe of Chabad, Rabbi Shmuel of Lubavitch, known as the Rebbe Maharash.
The fourth Rebbe of Chabad-Lubavitch, Rabbi Shmuel Schneersohn (1834-1882), known by the acrynom “Maharash”, was born in the town of Lubavitch (White Russia) on the 2nd of Iyar of the year 5594 from creation (1884).
His father, Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Lubavitch (the 3rd Chabad Rebbe, known as the “Tzemach Tzeddek”) once remarked that Rabbi Shmuel’s birthday, coinciding with 17th day of the Omer Count, is defined by the Kabbalistic masters as Tifferet sheb’Tifferet (“Beauty of Beauty”).
Although Rabbi Shmuel was the youngest of Rabbi Menachem Mendel’s seven sons, he was chosen to succeed his father as “rebbe” and leader of Chabad in the movement’s capital, Lubavitch (five of his brothers established branches of Chabad Chassidism in other towns in White Russia and Ukraine).
In addition to leading his Chassidim, guiding and advising their spiritual and material lives and authoring many maamarim (discourses of Chassidic teaching), Rabbi Shmuel traveled extensively throughout Europe, meeting with government and business leaders to exert pressure on the Czarist regime to halt its instigation of pogroms against the Jews of Russia.
Rabbi Shmuel passed away at age 47 on the 13th of Tishrei, 5643 (1882).
A famous adage of Rabbi Shmuel, often quoted and emphasized by the Rebbe: “The world says that if you face a challenge, first try to climb under it, if you cannot crawl under, then try climbing over it. But I say, ‘Lechatchila Ariber! – In the first place, go over!’”