May 24, 2007

How they chose their Rebbe

Filed under: deep reflections — Reb Moshe @ 6:26 pm

dworkin.jpgChassidic Dynasties have followed the general tradition to appoint leaders who are either brothers, sons or sons in laws to take over after their Rebbe’s passing. It wasn’t always like this. The Baal Shem Tov simply chose the Maggid to take over leadership based on his humility and ability to lead.

Today, if someone wanted to become a Rebbe, they would have to be somehow related or otherwise they would simply start their own movement. A Rebbe doesn’t appoint himself as leader but it is the chassidim that point and say, this is the man we want to lead us. Usually, before his passing the Tzaddik would pick which son would be best to replace him but usually it was pretty obvious which he would chose. The next Rebbe is usually groomed as a little boy to take on this roll. On rare casses, there is a split between who the Rebbe has groomed and whom the Chassidim feel they want to be their next leader and this turns into conflict.

So what if things were different today and a Rebbe was chosen not based on his Yichus but simply his piety? Would there be more conflicts as too who would take over or would more chassidim strive for higher purity and piety hoping one day to be a Rebbe? A chassid today wouldn’t even think of such a thing as being a Rebbe cause it is simply impossible. He would have to marry into the royal family or shock the world by opening his own doors as a new type of leader.

One thing is for sure, a blood decendent always wants to bring pleasure to the soul of his father or brother. Therefore, he is probably the best to keep on the tradition of a particular chassidic movement.

There were a few great Masters who’s chassidus did not continue on after them but they left holy writings behind. Breslov is quite unique as the Rebbe while alive only had a couple hundred followers while today there are close to a hundred thousand. The Rebbe had stated while he was teaching his works that he was writing them for future generations so nobody has ever thought of replacing him as a new Rebbe.

I believe the Lubavitch Rebbe did not plan on his movement going on without him. All thought, even those not Chabad that he would hasten the Redemption momentarily but it didn’t happen. It is my opinion that Lubavitch hasn’t really moved since his departure but is still stuck in the year of his passing. Chabads greatness was always its unity. When it unifies again, it will once again be great. Even if it did not pick a new Rebbe, it needs a vaad, group of leaders with one focus to hold it strong. Without this, its light cannot be replenished. I truly miss the old chabad that once shown its light throughout the world.


  1. It is sad to see what is happening in Bobov. My Rabbi has cousins in Bobov, and their families are split over it and people are not talking to eachother over who should be Rebbe…

    Its sad.

    As for Chabad, the issue is that we can go ahead with the teachings of the Rebbes, and that we are the last generation in exile, so that when moshiach comes, whoever he may be, the rebbe will be back soon. The division lies with the true chabad who follow the teachings of the rebbe, and from those who think he is alive and well as the moshiach…

    Comment by Asa Yitzchak — May 25, 2007 @ 7:35 am

  2. Today is not the day to mourn for Chabad. Today, Chabad is dedicating a new community center in Glastonbury, CT, right in my backyard, so to speak. If you’re busy looking for some big light to shine out of the sky from Chabad, you’re likely to miss what’s really happening, millions of little lights converging to abolish massive amounts of darkness. I thank Hashem for Chabad’s outreach, and for yours as well.

    Comment by Julie Singer — June 3, 2007 @ 2:37 pm

  3. Very nice, mazel Tov. Did you know it as it once was 10 years ago?
    I would venture to say that most kiruv places around the world disapoint me. Ive tried working with hundreds of them and usually there is no follow through and if there is, the person is very poorly trained, being a big turn off towards those I send.I rarely even bother sending anyone to these small town kiruv places. I’m not just mentioning any specific group here.

    Comment by Reb Moshe — June 3, 2007 @ 3:04 pm

  4. Thank you, Reb Moshe. I admit I don’t know how it was 10 years ago. I also don’t know what it will be like 10 years from now, but some small part of the latter depends on me — that’s the exciting and terrifying thing. Thank you for reminding me…

    Comment by Julie Singer — June 3, 2007 @ 4:22 pm

  5. I think there should be some form of a training program for those getting into kiruv on any major scale. There should be a few months program in many yeshivos.

    Comment by Reb Moshe — June 3, 2007 @ 6:59 pm

  6. As A BT myself from Kiruv work. There are a lot of people doing kiruv. But not many people including Bt’s into thier chevra. Reb Moshe Are You related to the chasam Sofer? If so do You have a family Tree. Keep Up the Good work. I wish I could Help Financiall But right now with medical bills I too am in the red $800-1000 per month.

    G.z Schreiber

    Point pleasant is nice if you like PIN Ball. Spent a lot of time finding myself though pinball. theraputic I think even thou a waste of time.

    Comment by g z schreiber — June 13, 2007 @ 6:55 am

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