Rabbis Yosef Schneersohn & Menachem Schneerson (Photo: @lubavitch - Twitter)

On this day in the Hebrew Calendar, Yud Shevat, 1951 (the tenth day of the month of Shevat), the Lubavitcher Rebbe Menachem Schneersohn, assumes the position as the leader of the Chabad Hasidic sect after his father-in-law passes away.

“The Rebbe” would completely transform the main goals of his sect, leading missionary-like activities worldwide to help Jews keep the laws of the Torah, wherever they may be. On top of all his blessed work recognized by global leaders all around, the rebbe was the first Hassidic rabbi to recognize the importance of the state of Israel in protecting the lives of Jews. 

Traditionally speaking, many ultra-orthodox Jewish scholars follow Talmudic clauses that prohibit the land of Israel to be retaken by the Jews by force, and only allowed the Israelite Kingdom to resurface through literal divine intervention, specifically, the hand of God coming down and handing it the  Jewish nation. Despite recognizing the importance of the Talmud’s teachings, The Rebbe always was very much in touch with the needs of the Jewish people in the 20th century, especially in the aftermath of the Holocaust which nearly wiped out the entire Ashkenazi Jewish culture. 

According to disciples of The Rebbe, both before and after he assumed his position as leader, as long as the Jewish government in the land of Israel was preventing the loss of Jewish lives, their position in the world may not be divine but is certainly necessary. This outlook on the newly founded state of Israel from the Rebbe was extremely important, as his opinion on all current matters has impacted millions of Jews worldwide, both Hasidic and not. 

Until today, the Chabad movement maintains a strong relationship with the state of Israel, however, is careful in the terminology it uses so as to not upset other Orthodox leaders or disobey the certain clauses mentioned in the latter. According to some verified Chabad sources, The Rebbi was once asked by Yeshiva students the ultimate question, is he a Zionist? The Rebbi’s answer was likely as close as any Hasidic leader could get to sympathizing with Zionism; “If Israel is a state of Jews, then I am not a Zionist, but if it’s a Jewish state, then I am a Zionist.”

Today, almost 30 years since the passing of The Rebbi, with no one assuming his position since, the Chabad movement has grown even closer to the State of Israel. During the Trump Administration and his offered peace plan for the Palestinians and Israelis, Chabad Rabbi Yeruslavski famously begged Netanyahu to not accept Trump’s plan that would allow for a Palestinian state to be formed. “When we are hearing talk and so on about agreement to the establishment of a terror state in Judea and Samaria, we request from your honor that God forbid this mistake will not be made to accept the plan of the century of President Trump which includes a Palestinian state, God have mercy.”

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