Chabad-Lubavitch followers around the world are marking today, the 24th of Teves, the Yahrtzeit of Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi, founder of Chabad Chassidism.
Also known as “The Alter Rebbe,” “Baal HaTanya” and “The Rav” — he was born in the White Russian town of Liozna on Elul 18, 5505 (1745) — the 47th birthday of the founder of Chassidism, Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov.
In 1764 he traveled to Mezeritch to study under the tutelage of the Baal Shem Tov’s successor, Rabbi DovBer. Despite his youth, he was accepted into the inner circle of the great master’s pupils.
Upon his return from Mezeritch, there gathered about him a group of disciples whom he instructed in the ways of Chassidism. It was during these years that he formulated his distinct “Chabad” philosophy and approach to life.
For twenty years he labored on his magnum opus, Tanya, in which he outlined the Chabad philosophy and ethos. First published in 1796, Tanya is the “bible” of Chabad Chassidism, upon which the hundreds of books and thousands of maamarim (discourses) by seven generations of Chabad Rebbes are based.
Soon Rabbi Schneur Zalman’s influence had spread throughout White Russia and Lithuania, where a significant part of the Jewish population regarded him as their Rebbe and leader.
Today, the Chabad movement he founded is regarded as the most vibrant force in contemporary Jewish life, bringing the warmth of Chassidism and the profundity of its teachings to Jews, and to humanity as a whole, in every corner of the globe.
Yagdil Torah, an organization promoting daily learning in Crown Heights, called on residents to “seize the power of the day” and study the Alter Rebbe’s Torah.
“The Rebbe encouraged that on this day one should learn the works of the Alter Rebbe in Nigleh and Chassidus,” they wrote in an email to the community.