By COLlive reporter
An unknown historic photo was recently discovered with the writing on the back: “Rebbe Sholom DovBer Schneersohn, 5668.”
The black and white photo was taken and developed at the “Moscow Printing and Development House” in 1908. It also reads: “Photo films, pictures are saved for future orders and enlargements.”
Until now, there was only a single publicized image of Rabbi Sholom DovBer, the fifth Rebbe of Chabad-Lubavitch known by the acronym “Rashab.”
Born in the town of Lubavitch in White Russia in 1860 (5621), he already began guiding the chassidim in 1882 and was active in public affairs such as working to have the expulsion of Jews from Moscow rescinded.
Whether living in Lubavitch and Rostov or during his extensive travels to Kherson, Kiev, Odessa, Germany, France and Holland, the Rebbe Rashab vehemently opposed being photographed. The known photo of him was taken for a passport picture.
Rabbi Berel Levine, Director of the Library of Agudas Chassidei Chabad in Brooklyn, NY, and an authority on Chabad history, cautiously commented on the newly discovered photo from 1908.
“There are a lot of similarities” between the famous photo of the Rebbe Rashab and the new one presented now, he said. He didn’t want to determine whether the new photo was indeed the Rebbe Rashab.
He noted that according to the Rebbe Rashab’s passport and writings, he had only been to Moscow once in his life – during the month of Iyar 5668 (1908).
“He traveled there once for 2 weeks to raise funds for Tomchei Tmimim, and it’s possible that this photo was for one of the supporters,” he said, referring to the original Chabad Yeshiva that the Rebbe Rashab established in 1897.
Rabbi Levine did add, however, about the fur-lined coat worn in the photo: “Although in Iyar (May), they apparently did not need such a coat…”
“There is no doubt that computer software can clearly determine whether the two images are of the same person,” Rabbi Levine said.