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Sholom Dovber Schneersohn

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Sholom Dovber Schneersohn
Lubavitcher Rebbe
Term 10 September 1892 OS – 21 March 1920 NS
Full name Sholom Dovber Schneersohn
Main work 'Yom Tov Shel Rosh Hashana, 5666, Sefer HaMaamarim, 5672
Born 24 October 1860 OS
Died 21 March 1920 NS
Buried Rostov-on-Don
Dynasty Chabad Lubavitch
Predecessor Shmuel Schneersohn
Successor Yosef Yitzchok Schneersohn
Father Shmuel Schneersohn
Mother Rivkah (granddaughter of Dovber Schneuri)
Wife Sterna Sarah (daughter of Yosef Yitzchok of Ovruch)
Issue Yosef Yitzchok Schneersohn

Sholom Dovber Schneersohn (Hebrew: שלום דובער שניאורסאהן‎; 24 October 1860 OS - 21 March 1920 NS) was an Orthodox rabbi and the fifth Rebbe (spiritual leader) of the Chabad Lubavitch chasidic movement. He is also known as "the Rebbe nishmosei eiden" (whose soul is in Eden) and as "the Rebbe Rashab" (for Reb Sholom Ber).

His teachings represent the emergence of an emphasis on outreach that later Chabad Rebbes would develop into a major theme.[1] In Chabad thought, such as described in the talks of the last Rebbe Menachem Mendel Schneerson, each of the 7 leaders of Chabad successively "drew down", broadened, explained and articulated the teachings of Chasidic philosophy more fully into intellectual grasp. The achievement of the founder of Chabad Shneur Zalman of Liadi, was to articulate the new "Torah of the Baal Shem Tov" in intellectual analysis. From his unique approach derives the name of "Chabad", standing for the intellectual faculties of the soul. In this context, Chabad lore, and the last Rebbe, describes Sholom Dovber Schneersohn as the "Maimonides of Chasidus", as with his teachings the ideas reach a new level of intellectual synthesis and philosophical grasp. Just as Maimonides in Medieval Jewish Philosophy (Hakira) and legal codification (Halacha) brought new comprehension, clarity and analytical synthesis to Jewish thought, so did Schneur Zalman ,and even more so Sholom Dovber, in the inner mystical dimensions of Judaism expressed in Hasidus. Illustrative of this is his plan, in founding the Lubavitch yeshiva system Tomchei Temimim, that the students should learn Chabad Chasidic texts "with pilpul", the Talmudic method of logical in-depth analysis.


He was born in Lubavitch, on 20 Cheshvan 1860, the second son of Shmuel Schneersohn, the fourth Chabad Rebbe.[2] In 1882, when his father died, he was not quite 22 years old, and his brother Zalman Aharon was not much older. A period followed, during which both brothers fulfilled some of the tasks of a rebbe, but neither felt ready to take on the title and responsibilities. Over this period he gradually took on more responsibilities, particularly in dealing with the impact of the May Laws, and on Rosh Hashanah 5653 (10 September 1892 OS) he accepted the leadership of the Lubavitch movement.

Schneersohn established the first Chabad yeshiva, Tomchei Temimim, in 1897. In 1911 he established another yeshivah, Toras Emes, in Israel, and in 1916 he established a yeshivah in Georgia.

He maintained a lengthy correspondence, not only with Chabad Chasidim in other countries, but also with non-Chabad chasidim and members of other groups who wrote to him for advice. He also met with other Jewish and hasidic leaders, working with them on issues such as education, unity, policy, and strategy.[3] He was held in very high esteem by the Chofetz Chaim, so much so that the Chofetz Chaim declared of him, "the words of the [Lubavitcher] Rebbe are holy, and anyone who argues disagrees with him [should know that] it is as if he is disagreeing with Moses."[4]

Schneersohn promoted Jewish agricultural settlement, and the creation of employment for Jews, particularly those displaced by the May Laws. He was a prominent opponent of Zionism, both in its secular and religious versions, and a staunch ally of Reb Chaim Brisker. Together with Reb Chaim he joined and supported Machazikei Hadas - a union of Eastern European haredim and the forerunner of the Agudah - but in 1912, when the Agudah was formed in Katowice, Reb Chaim raised 18 objections to its constitution, and the Rashab kept Lubavitch out of the Agudah.

His worries about the Mountain Jews, or Berg Yidden, led him to send a famous Mashpia, Rabbi Shmuel Levitin of Rakshik, to the Caucuses to set up institutions to bring them closer to traditional Judaism,[2] setting a precedent for his two successors as Lubavitcher Rebbe, who conducted similar activities.

Part of a series on</br>

Rebbes of Lubavitch
1. Shneur Zalman of Liadi
2. Dovber Schneuri
3. Menachem Mendel Schneersohn
4. Shmuel Schneersohn
5. Sholom Dovber Schneersohn
6. Yosef Yitzchok Schneersohn
7. Menachem Mendel Schneerson
770 Eastern Parkway · 19 Kislev · Ohel
Chabad library · Crown Heights Riot · 11 Nissan
Brooklyn Bridge Shooting · 3 Tammuz
Agudas Chasidei Chabad · Chabad on Campus
Tzivos Hashem · · Kehos · Library
Gan Israel · Sheloh · Jewish Relief Agency
Children's Museum · JLI · Merkos L'Inyonei Chinuch
Ohr Avner · Colel Chabad · Kol Menachem
Notable figures
Hillel Paritcher · S. Z. Fradkin · Itche Der Masmid
C. M. A. Hodakov · L. Y. Schneerson · Nissan Neminov
Leib Groner · C. M. Schneerson· Shemaryahu Gurary
Manis Friedman · Yehuda Chitrik · Berel Lazar
Yehuda Krinsky · Z. M. HaYitzchaki · Yoel Kahn
Herman Branover · Yitzchak Ginsburgh
Crown Heights · Kfar Chabad
Hayom Yom · Igrot Kodesh · Tanya · Likkutei Sichos
Tehillat HaShem · Shulchan Aruch HaRav
Bais Rivka · Hadar Hatorah · Yeshivah College
Oholei Torah · Tomchei Temimim · Ohel Chana
Yeshivah Gedolah · Beth Rivkah · Machon Chana
Rabbinical College · Ohr Avner · Mayanot
Mitzvah Campaigns · Chabad house · Mitzvah tank
Tefillin · Noahide laws · Shliach · Public menorah
Chitas · Mashpia · Meiniach · Farbrengen
Nusach Ari · Choizer · Chabadnitze
Related Topics
Strashelye · Kapust · Controversies · Messianism

In 1915, as the fighting in World War I neared Lubavitch, the Rashab moved to Rostov-on-Don, where he lived until his passing on 2 Nissan 5680, and where he was buried.

During the construction of the "Rostov Palace of Sport" on top of the Old Jewish Cemetery in 1966, his remains were secretly moved by a devout group of chassidim to a different burial site where they are located to this day in the "Rostov Jewish Cemetery." His grave is visited daily by followers of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement who come from all over the world.

In 1902 he travelled with his son, the sixth Rebbe to Sigmund Freud. Following Freud's instructions, the Rebbe RaSHaB began to take long walks. He also visited many different Synagogues, and met with people, many of whom didn't know who he really was. During this time his son recollects a fascinating aside. The Rebbe always regretted that his father, the MaHaRaSH, did not spend time with him, or his Chassidim, telling stories of his predecessors and other Tzaddikim. But while in Vienna the Rebbe began to have dreams in which his father told him Chassidic stories. During the long walks which Freud recommended he, in turn, related these stories to his son.

Distinguished disciples of the Rebbe Rashab include Reb Itche Der Masmid, Reb Nissan Neminov, and Reb Zalman Moishe HaYitzchaki.


Known informally as "Rambam (Maimonides) of Chabad Chassidus" (from his encyclopedic work on developing Chabad Chassidic philosophy into an organized system), Rebbe Rashab was a prolific writer on Chabad theology. Much of his work has been published in Hebrew, and some of it has been translated into English, and is available online.

  • Sefer HaMa'amarim - a 29-volume set of Chasidic discourses, according to the years set. The most important of these include two three-year long cycle of discourses beginning "Yom Tov Shel Rosh Hashanah 5666 (Samech-Vov)" and "B'shaah Shehikdimu 5672 (Ayin-Beis)". They serve today as major in-depth encyclopedic introductory works into "oral" Chabad Chassidism (as opposed to the "written" one, i.e., Tanya) studied in Chabad yeshivas.
  • Igros Kodesh - five volume set of letters
  • Toras Sholom - compilation of public addresses
  • Kuntres Uma'ayan - basic Chasidic text on self-transformation (as opposed to self-nullification as taught in Musar philosophy) and battling evil desires in an intellectual, Kabbalah-based way
  • Kuntres HaTefillah - explanation of Chabad Chasidic prayer
  • Kuntres HoAvodah - even more in-depth analysis of Chabad Chasidic prayer
  • Maamar Veyadaata - To know G-d, explanation of the unity of G-d with the created Universe and how to reach the understanding and appreciation of it
  • Maamar Heichaltzu - On Ahavas Yisroel, mystical aspects, sources and reasons for a love to a fellow Jew (and explanation of how exactly the dictum of loving one's fellow as oneself is the basis of all the Torah, including seemingly not related areas of it)
  • Kuntres Eitz HaChayim - The Tree of Life -- essay on the importance of learning (how learning of Judaism can transform a Jew's life and personality and change his perception on his purpose in life), order of learning (for Chabad yeshivah students), and focus of Jewish learning.
  • Chanoch Lana'ar - The Ethical Will
  • Issa B'Midrash Tehillim - Bar Mitzvah Maamar -- mystical aspects of the commandment of tefillin; a Chasidic discourse usually recited at by a Chabad boy at his bar mitzvah
  • Some of his published works in Hebrew


  1. The Messiah of Brooklyn: Understanding Lubavitch Hasidim Past and Present, M. Avrum Ehrlich, Chapter 7
  2. 2.0 2.1 Encyclopedia of Hasidism, entry: Schneersohn, Shalom Dovber. Naftali Lowenthal. Aronson, London 1996. ISBN 1568211236
  3. The Messiah of Brooklyn: Understanding Lubavitch Hasidim Past and Present, M. Avrum Ehrlich, Chapter 3
  4. Shemu'os Vesippurim, Refoel Kahn, vol. 1, pp. 144-145

See also

External links

Preceded by
Shmuel Schneersohn
Rebbe of Lubavitch
Succeeded by
Yosef Yitzchok Schneersohn


pt:Sholom Dovber Schneersohn

yi:שלום דובער שניאורסאהן

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