By COLlive reporter
Guests of the Kesselman-Azimov wedding in Paris this week received a printout of an upcoming new book which recounts the connection between the Rebbes of Chabad and French Jewry.
The book was commissioned by Rabbi Shmuel Azimov, the legendary Head Shliach of Paris known for his dedication and love for the Rebbe. He raised the idea several days before his sudden passing on Cheshvan 12, 5775.
It was authored by Rabbi Zusha Wolff of Israel following his previous publications reviewing the connection and influence of Chabad Rabbis with German Jewry, Austrian Jewry and Romanian Jewry.
Scheduled to be published in the coming months by Beth Loubavitch in Paris, the book will begin from Chabad’s founder Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi, the Alter Rebbe, and conclude with the time the Rebbe and Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka Schneerson “plowed and sowed” Judaism there before fleeing from Nazi occupation.
The printout given to weddings guests –and provided for download to COLlive.com– includes 2 chapters covering the history of the 5th Chabad Rebbe, Rabbi Sholom Dovber Schneersohn (“Rashab”) and his son, the 6th Chabad Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn (“Rayatz”), with French Jews.
The first sample chapter begins with the Rebbe Rashab’s extended stay in France in 5644 (1883-1884) and a lesson in serving Hashem from his visit to the historic Louvre Museum in Paris, with particular attention given to 3 paintings by the Italian Renaissance painter Raphael.
The second sample chapter about the Frierdiker Rebbe highlights his visits there, but also his many efforts to provide the spiritual and physical needs of Jews and chassidim in France following the Second World War, until his passing in 5710.
Rabbi Azimov was the grandfather of the kallah, Chaya Mushka Azimov, daughter of Rabbi Mendel and Sarah Azimov, who continue to lead the unprecedented apparatus of Chabad centers and dedicated community in the French capital.
They noted how the ancestors of the chosson, Sholom Dovber Kesselman, made their mark in France while finding refuge there. They include his great-grandfather mashpia Rabbi Shlomo Chaim Kesselman and chossid R’ Yechiel Yosef Rivkin, and the grandfather, chossid and activist R’ Leibel Ceitlin, all of blessed memory.
The kallah’s ancestors have a history in Paris as well, including great-grandfathers, chossid R’ Chaim Hillel Azimov and the known chossid activist Rabbi Benzion Shemtov and the chossid R’ Shlomo Schneur Zalman Katsenelenbogen, all of blessed memory.
As seen in the 280-page printout, the book is written in Hebrew and includes photographs, documents and manuscripts.