Rabbi Schneerson was born April 18, 1902 in Nikolayev, Ukraine. His father, Rabbi Levi Yitzchock Schneerson, was a renowned scholar, while his mother, Rebbitzen Chana Schneerson, was an aristocratic women from a prestigious rabbinic family. He had two younger brothers, Dovber and Yisroel aryeh Leib.
When Menachem Mendel was five years old, the family moved to Dnepropetrovsk, where his father was appointed chief rabbi. Menachem Mendel displayed prodigious mental acuity, leaving school for private tutoring. By the time he reached bar mitzva, he was considered a Torah prodigy, and during his teenage years, he immersed himself in the intricacies of Torah study.
In 1923, he met Rabbi Yosef Yitzchock Schneerson – then the Lubavitcher Rebbe- who drew him into his inner circle giving him various responsibilities; five years later, in Warsaw, he married the Rebbe’s second eldest daughter, Chaya Mushka.
Rabbi Menachem Mendel studying mathematics and science at the University of Berlin, Because of the Nazi rise, the young Rabbi and his wife left Berlin in 1933 for Paris, and he continued his studies at the Sorbonne. During this period he served as his father-in-law’s private secretary and traveled on his behalf to visit various Jewish leaders in Europe.
When the Nazis occupied Paris, they escaped the city and arrived in New York on June 23, 1941, where Rabbi Yosef Yitzchock Schneerson appointed his son-in-law head of Lubavitch’s educational arm, as well as the movements social-service organization and its publishing house.
In 1950, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchock passed away. Rabbi Menachem Mendel initially was reluctant to accept the mantle of leadership. A year later he formally assumed the title of Rebbe, which he held for forty-four years. Under his leadership the Lubavitch grew from a small movement devastated by the Holocaust to a worldwide community of 200,000 members with Chabad with fourteen hundred Chabad-Lubavitch institutions in thirty-five countries on six continents.
In 1992, at the age of ninety, the Rebbe suffered a stroke; he passed away two years later, on June 12, 1994.
“At the time, many thought Schneersons passing would lead to Chabads decline. But, despite schisms and disputes, Chabad has only grown stronger. The persona of the seventh Lubavitcher rebbe arouses unceasing interest among his admirers, as well as among anyone who wants to know something about contemporary Judaism. He is the subject of an endless stream of biographies, articles and research studies. Twenty years after his death, the Lubavitcher rebbe is Judaisms most vibrantly alive dead man.” (Haaretz, July 01, 2014)
Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson’s Quotes:
When you waste a moment, you have killed it in a sense, squandering an irreplaceable opportunity. But when you use the moment properly, filling it with purpose and productivity, it lives on forever.
Without question, the material world and your everyday needs distract you from living meaningfully.