Sholom DovBer Schneersohn was born in White Russia on the 20th of the Jewish month of Cheshvan in 1860 (5621 since creation). He was the 5th rebbe of Chabad-Lubavitch and he was well-known by the acronym “Rashab,”. He was the 3rd child of Rabbi Shmuel of Lubavitch and his wife Rebbetzin Rivkah.
His contact with the religious life began very early when he was just 12 years old and he used to transcribe discourses on Chabad Chassidic philosophy that his father gave to the people. This was a task that only elders could do due to the knowledge and speed required to understand and transcribe at the same time.
In the year 1882, Rabbi Sholom DovBer´s father passed away. Rabbi Sholom DovBer had been transcribing his father discourses and now he began to deliver them to the people. It was the common thing for him to receive leadership but this time he officially refused to be the leader of the movement. His brother “Raza” also refused the task and moved away from town so Sholom could be the leader by default.
Rabbi Sholom was a phenomenal scholar and had an amazing mind and had a very open analytical treatment of Chabad philosophy. He wrote almost 2.000 Chassidic discourses for more than 36 years in a row and he was known to talk about simple and everyday things. He focused a lot on the simple folk and had many discourses that aimed at the people that had limited knowledge of Chassidic thought. Some of his teachings about life can be summarized in the following points.
The First Commandment
The first commandment that can be read in the Torah is to be fruitful and multiply. This means that every person should create from the spiritual sense. For example to influence people around you in a positive way.
Destiny I, II and III
Every person has a destiny or a purpose that is carried in his or her soul. The soul has a mission and when that mission is completed (spreading the Jewish teachings) then the power and might of god increased within each person. The second destiny has to do with the fact that every Jew has to find a place to realize the divine objective. The idea is to recite a blessing or pray because the whole universe is waiting for you to arrive to that divine place and recite your words to god and his creation. The third destiny is about the events that happen to every person in life. If a person finds him or herself in a particular place or situation, he or she must understand that this is by Divine providence. It is god and his way or arranging events so people can reach their full potential.
The purpose of god for people on earth is to go back to the spiritual essence. Transform the material into spiritual. The Rabbi taught that god created something from nothing and the idea was to go back to that “nothing”, to that energy that created all the universe, the spiritual energy.
Time I and II
Hours and days must be seen as passed hours and passed days. Rabbi Sholom used to teach that when a day passes a person should understand what he or she has done in the day and what remains to be done for the next day. Time II is that people should see the next day as an opportunity. No matter the circumstances, tomorrow will be a better day.
According to Rabbi Sholom, everybody should take at least 30 minutes every day to analyze and think about the Jewish education for children. People should also do everything in their reach to motivate children to follow the rules that the Jewish path commands.
The truth is seen as the balance. The truth is the middle point between left and right. If there is an inclination to the right the person will see his or her faults as the way to live or will be selfish; if there is an inclination to the left the person can be very indulgent or cannot notice his or her mistakes. That is why the truth is the middle, the balance.
For Chassidim, absolutely nothing comes for free. Things in life do not come “automatically,” to people. The saying “things happen” or “it just happened” does not exist in Chassidim. The only way to be successful or reach perfection is through hard work and sacrifice. Coincidence is part of a bigger plan that has been designed and that somebody is working hard on, even though it affects you in a positive way.
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