Today, Beis Nissan, marks the Yahrtzeit of the fifth Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Sholom DovBer Schneersohn (“Rashab”), who passed away in Rostov-on-Don, Russia, in 1920.
Rabbi Sholom DovBer was born in the White Russian town of Lubavitch in 1860. After the passing of his father, Rabbi Shmuel (in 1882), he assumed the leadership of Chabad-Lubavitch.
Famed for his phenomenal mind and analytical treatment of Chabad Chassidism, Rabbi Sholom DovBer wrote and delivered some 2,000 maamarim (discourses of Chassidic teaching) over the 38 years of his leadership. In 1897, he established the Tomchei Temimim yeshivah, the first institution of Jewish learning to combine the study of the “body” of Torah (Talmudic and legal studies) with its mystical “soul” (the teachings of Chassidism); it was this unique yeshivah that produced the army of learned, inspired and devoted Chassidim who, in the decades to come, would literally give their lives to keep Judaism alive under Soviet rule.
In 1915, Rabbi Sholom DovBer was forced to flee Lubavitch from the advancing WWI front and relocated to the Russian city of Rostov-on-Don. In his final years, he began the heroic battle against the new Communist regime’s efforts to destroy the Jewish faith throughout the Soviet Union.
Rabbi Sholom DovBer passed away in Rostov on the 2nd of Nissan, 1920. His last words were: “I’m going to heaven; I leave you the writings.”