Page 185 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 46

Basic HTML Version

SALAMON FABER
The Lubavitch Library
T h e
l i b r a r y
a t
770 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn, NY, known
as
Sifriyas Agudas Chasidei Chabad1
encompasses two major col­
lections o f materials in Judaica which were assembled over the
past 68 years. The first o f these collections was originally or­
ganized in Leningrad, Russia, in the year 1925, by the late
“ Lubavitcher Rebbe” 2 Rabbi Y o se f Yizhak Schneersohn
(1882-1950), renowned leader o f Habad Hasidism3 sixth in the
historic succession o f the movement since it began at the end
o f the 18th century.4 Compelled by turbulent war conditions
in 1915 to leave Lubavitch, the Rebbe shipped some 15,000
books to Moscow for storage, including works on Bible, Rab­
binics, Jewish philosophy and mysticism, especially Habad.
Those works were assembled by six generations o f Habad lead­
ers and constituted a veritable treasure o f Judaic literature. The
Soviet government, which replaced the Tsarist regime in the
course o f revolutionary upheavals, refused to return the ma­
terials to the owner. Instead, it transferred them to the Lenin
State Library in Moscow.
Reacting to these developments in a manner befitting an out­
standing defender o f the Jewish faith, Rabbi Yosef Yizhak de­
1. Hereafter identified by the acronym SA CH .
2. “Th e Master” — title o f reverence used by Hasidim whenever they refer
to a leader o f a reputable Hasidic group , be it one with which they identify,
or any other group.
3. H aB aD — initial letters o f three words denoting intellectual contemplation
o f phenomena o f religion: H (okhm ah ) = wisdom, or initial understanding;
B(inah ) = reflective thought; D(aat) = knowledge arrived at on the basis
o f the two preceding processes. Rabbi Shneur Zalman ben Barukh o f Lyady
(1747-1812) was the first to expound this philosophy, hence the concept
H aB aD Hasidism. His successor established headquarters in Lubavidch,
hence “Lubavitcher Hasidim.”
4. See essay by S.B. Levine in the journa l
Kerem Habad.,
Nisan 5747, p. 132,
on chronology o f Habad.
1 7 7