Chabad Chassidim Worldwide to Mark 200th Yahrtziet of the Baal HaTanya

This Sunday, the 24th of Teves, marks 200 years since the passing of the first Chabad Rebbe, R’ Schneur Zalman of Liadi, author of the Tanya and Shulchan Aruch HaRav. Chabad Chassidim worldwide will gather to study his Torah and take lessons from his life.

R’ Schneur Zalman was born in the year 5505 (1745) to Reb Boruch, a nistar and follower of the Baal Shem Tov. Though the Baal Shem Tov spoke of his special neshama, and was actively involved in his upbringing, R’ Schneur Zalman was kept unaware of this, on the behest of the Baal Shem Tov to enable him to discover Chassidus on his own initiative and develop his unique path of Chassidus.

As a young child, R’ Schneur Zalman, excelled in the study of Torah, becoming a great gaon, and at the age of twenty-two, wishing to advance his service of Hashem, he traveled to the Maggid in Mezritch.

In Mezritch, he was favored by the holy Maggid. When the Maggid wished to compile a new Shulchan Aruch, it was R’ Schneur Zalman whom he chose to write it. This work was to become famously known as the Shulchan Aruch HaRav.

The Maggid also charged R’ Schneur Zalman with developing an intellectual path of Chassidus, particularly necessary for the intellectually inclined Jews of Lithuania where R’ Schneur Zalman led. For that purpose he wrote his groundbreaking book of Chassidus thought, Sefer Shel Beinonim (commonly known as Tanya), the first sefer to lay out clearly the Baal Shem Tov’s understanding of a neshama, the inner meaning of Torah and mitzvos, and the way to connect to Hashem.

Unfortunately, malicious individuals with personal interests libeled on R’ Schneur Zalman to the Russian government, saying that he was supporting the Ottoman Empire (then at odds with Russia) when, the money was sent to talmidei chachomim in Eretz Yisroel. Consequently, R’ Schneur Zalman was taken prisoner as a revolutionist and was thoroughly interrogated about the nature of Chassidus, notes of which have been recently published. After 53 days, on the 19th of Kislev, he was released.

During the French-Russian war of 1812, R’ Schneur Zalman sided with the Russian side, even sending some of his talented chassidim to spy on the French. Though Napoleon would be better for the Jews physically, the secularism and equality that Napoleon stood for would lead many Jews away from Torah.

As Napoleon approached Liadi, R’ Schneur Zalman and his family escaped deeper into Russia with the help of Russian soldiers . They arrived in Pienna, and Motzoei Shabbos Shmos, 24th of Teves 5573 (1812), after reciting maariv and havdala with much dveikus, R’ Schneur Zalman returned his soul to his maker. He is buried in the nearby village of Haditch which since the fall of communism has become a makom tefilah for thousands of Yidden.

In honor of the upcoming yahrtziet, a visitor’s center including a large shul and a mikva built with the generosity of the renowned philanthropist George Rohr was recently dedicated to serve the regular groups of guests.

Merkaz Anash, the worldwide organization focusing inward on Chabad Chassidim, will be hosting a central Yom Iyun in Crown Heights dedicated to the works of R’ Schneur Zalman in nigleh and nistar.

Sessions include:

  • Shiur in Chassidus of the Baal HaTanya: HaRav Yoel Kahn – Renowned chozer of the Lubavitcher Rebbe ZTz”L.
  • Shulchan Aruch HaRav – The Uniqueness and Depth: HaRav Yekusiel Farkash – Rov in Yerushalayim and author of Seforim on the Rav’s Shulchan Aruch.
  • Shulchan Aruch HaRav – The Structure and Purpose: HaRav Sholom Ber Levin – Chief editor of the new annotated Shulchan Aruch HaRav.
  • Tanya – A Path in Serving HaShem: HaRav Yaakov Leib Altien – Rav of Beis Menachem BP and author of Chassidus Mevueres on Tanya, HaRav Pinchus Korf – Mashpia in Yeshivas Oholei Torah, HaRav Nosson Gurary – Rov and Mashpia in Monsey.
  • Maamorim of the Baal HaTanya: HaRav Eliyahu Matusoff and HaRav Yonasan Reinitz – Senior Researchers in Otzar HaChassidim – Lubavitch Publishing House.
  • Siddur of the Baal HaTanya: HaRav Gedalyah Oberlander – Rov of Kehilas Heichal Menachem Monsey and author of HaSiddur.

Program (in Yiddish) will be held in the hall of Yeshivas Tomchei Temimim – 885 Eastern Parkway Brooklyn NY. Program will also be broadcasted live on:

For more information and transportation call: 347.471.1770 or email: [email protected]

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