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Chabad Lubavitch

Chabad Lubavitch , also known as Lubavitch Chabad , or simply Chabad or Lubavitch, is the name of a movement of Orthodox Jews belonging to hasidic Judaism who follow the teachings and customs of halakha as taught by their Rebbes (rabbi, leaders). Until the death of their last leader , Rabbi Menachem Schneerson in 1994 , they were governed by a succession of leaders, each descended from the founder of the movement.

The names Chabad and Lubavitch each have a history. Chabad is a Hebrew acronym for Chochma (Wisdom), Bina (Understanding), and Daat (Knowledge), that was chosen early on by its founder, based on themystical teachings of the kabbalah. Lubavitch is the name of a small town in Russia meaning "town of love". It was Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi who founded the movement; his son established court there, and the name stuck. In hasidic Judaism, a dynasty normally takes its name from the town in Eastern Europe where it was born and originated. The followers of Lubavitch place great emphasis on the value and meaning of their group name and town of origin. They say that this evokes, symbolizes, and embodies who they are.

Chabad is sometimes written as Habad in English, and in all the phonetic equivalents of the name in all the countries they operate in. Thus, as an example, Jabad is the Spanish form, particularly important to the Jews of Latin America, most notably Argentina, which has the largest concentration of Spanish speaking Jews anywhere in the world and therefore has a large Lubavitch presence as well.

The movement functions with a mission that they call uforatzta ("and you shall spread out"), yama, vakedma, tzafona,vanegba ("westwards,eastwards,northwards, and southwards") derived from Genesis 28:14 (God's promise to Abraham).

They have trained and ordained thousands of rabbis, educators, fundraisers, and administrators, who are all accompanied by equally motivated spouses and large families with the many children typical of very Orthodox couples, all of whom aim to fulfil their mandate of Jewish outreach, education, and revival. They look for and recruit people who want to join them, and they have been major players in the Baal teshuva movement of encouraging alienated Jews in becoming more religiously observant.

This movement attaches importance to singing Hasidic tunes, either with or without words. Some of these can be found in Midi format here (http://www.geocities.com/novartza/Main/Midis.htm) .


Founders of Hasidic Judaism and the heads of Chabad

Founder of Hasidism: Rabbi Israel ben Eliezer 1698 - 1760. Known as the Baal Shem Tov , abbreviated as BeSHT, meaning "Master of the Good Name", a title rarely applied, and only in exceptional circumstances to a known Jewish holy man and miracle worker beloved and revered by the common folk. According to Hasidic tradition, he studied the inner secrets of the Torah under the legendary Biblical figure Achiah the Shilonite[?], who the Talmud identifies as never having died. Based his nascent movement in Mezibush.

Succesor: Rabbi Dovber of Mezeritch d. 1772. Sought out the Baal Shem Tov and became his leading disciple. He was was well-versed in the Lurianic Kabbalah[?] and when he met the Baal Shem Tov he acknowledged him as his master in this area of esoteric mystical wisdom. Upon the death of the BeSHT he assumed the leadership of the movement that would become known as Hasidism .

Founder of Chabad Lubavitch: Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi 1745 - 1812, son of Rabbi Boruch.

Second generation of Chabad: Rabbi Dovber 1773 - 1827, son of Shneur Zalman.

Third generation of Chabad: Rabbi Menachem Mendel 1789 - 1866, grandson of Shneur Zalman and son-in-law of Dovber.

Fourth generation of Chabad: Rabbi Shmuel 1834 - 1882, son of Rabbi Menachem Mendel .

Fifth generationof Chabad: Rabbi Sholom Dovber 1860 - 1920, son of Rabbi Shmuel.

Sixth generation of Chabad: Rabbi Joseph Isaac Schneersohn 1880 - 1950, only son of Sholom Dovber.

Seventh generation (Final) of Chabad: Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson 1902 - 1994, sixth in paternal line from Rabbi Menachem Mendel , and son-in-law of Joseph Isaac.

After his death, no successor was chosen. A popular belief among his followers is that he shall rise among the dead in the latter-day resurrection and be the Jewish Messiah.

The name "Schneersohn / Schneerson" seems to have begun as a patronymic by Shneur Zalman's descendents.

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