Shneur, Zalman of Lyady

(1745–1813)
   Founder of Chabad Chassidism. Zalman Shneur was born in Byelorussia, and at the age of twenty moved to Mezhirech to join DOV BAER the maggid, the head of the chassidic movement. After the maggid’s death, Zalman Shneur was acknowledged as the leading chassidic thinker; and from the shtetl of Lyady in Byelorussia his influence extended throughout Eastern Europe. A fine scholar of the Talmud and the Cabbala, he was both an intellectual and a mystic. He was the founder of the type of Chassidism known as Chabad, a name derived from the initials of the words Chochmah (‘wisdom’), Binah (‘understanding’) and Da’at (‘knowledge’). Chabad differs from other types of Chassidism in its stress on the study of the Torah. Zalman Shneur’s eldest son and successor Dov Baer (1773–1827) moved to Lubavich, a place that gave its name to the main Chabad sect. The heads of Chabad became the Schneersohn family, direct descendants of the founder. Joseph Isaac Schneersohn (1880–1950) was the religious leader of Soviet Jewry after the revolution. He was arrested in 1927 but released owing to pressure from abroad, and settled first in Riga, Latvia, then in Poland. After the German occupation of Poland in 1939, he reached the United States, and built up a network of Chabad institutions and activities from a new centre in Brooklyn. He also founded Kfar Chabad in Israel. The third president of Israel, Zalman SHAZAR, was an adherent of Chabad, and when on visits to the United States called on the Lubavicher Rebbe in his Brooklyn home.

Who’s Who in Jewish History after the period of the Old Testament. . 2012.

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