Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson z”l
Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson z”l, the seventh leader in the Chabad-Lubavitch dynasty, is considered to have been the most phenomenal Jewish personality of modern times.
The Rebbe was born in 1902, on the 11th day of Nissan, in Nikolaev, Russia, to the renowned kabbalist, talmudic scholar and leader Rabbi Levy Yitzhak z”l and RebbetzinChanaSchneerson z”l. RebbetzinChana was known for her erudition, kindness and extraordinary accessibility. Her courage and ingenuity became legend when during her husband’s exile by the Soviets to a remote village in Asian Russia she labored to make inks from herbs she gathered in the fields — so that Rabbi Levi Yitzchak could continue writing his commentary on kabbalah and other Torah-subjects. The Rebbe was named after his great-grandfather, the third Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Lubavitch, with whom he later shared many characteristics.
From early childhood he displayed a prodigious mental acuity. By the time he reached his Bar Mitzvah, the Rebbe was considered an illuy, a Torah prodigy. He spent his teen years immersed in the study of Torah.
In 1929 Rabbi Menachem Mendel married the sixth Rebbe’s daughter, RebbetzinChayaMushka, in Warsaw. He later studied in the University of Berlin and then at the Sorbonne in Paris. It may have been in these years that his formidable knowledge of mathematics and the sciences began to blossom.
After being rescued from the holocaust, on Monday, June 23, 1941 the Rebbe and the Rebbetzin arrived in the United States. The Rebbe’s arrival marked the launching of sweeping new efforts in bolstering and disseminating Torah and Judaism in general, and Chassidic teachings in particular, through the establishment of three central Lubavitch organizations under the Rebbe’s leadership: MerkosL’InyoneiChinuch (“Central Organization For Jewish Education”), Kehot Publication Society, and Machne Israel, a social services agency. Shortly after his arrival, per his father-in-law’s urging, the Rebbe began publishing his notations to various Chassidic and kabbalistic treatises, as well as a wide range of response on Torah subjects. With publication of these works scholars throughout the world soon recognized his genius.