Rabbis' Blog

The Rebbe's Legacy of Love

20th anniversary of the passing of the Lubavitcher Rebbe

Levi by Dollars.jpg

The author, Rabbi Levi Greenberg, receives a dollar from the Rebbe. 

I was eight years old. Twenty years ago, on the 3rd of Tammuz – June 12, 1994, I heard the most devastating news. The Rebbe’s physical presence had left our world. I remember traveling as a family to Brooklyn to participate in the enormous funeral and visiting the Rebbe’s resting place a day later. I vividly remember the mood. It was bleak to say the least.

Years later I learned that the pundits at the time predicted the demise of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement. The movement that emerged from the ashes of the Holocaust and Communist religious persecution and blossomed into an empire of global influence in every aspect of Jewish life will not survive in the absence of its dynamic leader, they said.

Yet, the exact opposite occurred. Two days later we returned home and my parents continued their work here in El Paso. They were sent by the Rebbe in 1986 to establish a Chabad presence, with the mission to reach out to every Jew and to strengthen Jewish awareness and engagement. As a child I was keenly aware of the great influence the Rebbe had in our life – and this continued and intensified after that summer day in 1994.

Throughout my childhood and teenage years this awareness grew and matured. This is not a unique phenomenon. Thousands of children my age shared this same experience. Twenty years later, the eight year olds of 1994 have joined the mammoth army of the Rebbe – the global Chabad network that has tripled in size since that fateful day.

I wondered, as many do, how did this happen? How does the Rebbe continue to inspire and motivate a new generation to commit to his mission with such devotion?

A mere biography of the Rebbe’s life would not solve the mystery. He was a brilliant scholar, mystic, dynamic leader and a miracle worker. Thousands of admirers from all across the social and religious spectrum would seek his advice and counsel in a dizzying amount of fields and areas of life. His teachings are published in over 300 volumes and there are thousands of hours of audio and video recordings of his talks. Yet, all this does not explain the Rebbe’s continued influence and relevance in our lives.

Love is enduring. The Rebbe truly loved every Jew. No matter the circumstances he was concerned and interested himself with the physical and spiritual welfare of each individual. As a loving father he reached out to all and was a voice of comfort in a world of chaos and confusion.

Every Sunday, beginning in 1986, thousands of people would come to see the Rebbe, seeking his blessings and advice. The Rebbe gave each person a dollar bill to be given to charity.

One Sunday afternoon an elderly woman could not contain herself. “Rebbe,” she said, “You are older than I. I have been standing in line for two hours and I am exhausted. How do you have the strength to stand on your feet for so long? Do you not tire?” The Rebbe responded with a smile, “One does not tire when counting diamonds.”

To the Rebbe every Jew was a diamond. It may be raw and its potential beauty may have yet to be realized, but he/she is a diamond nonetheless. In his presence one saw himself from the Rebbe’s perspective and was empowered to realize his greatest potential.

This pure and limitless love is the Rebbe’s enduring connection to our generation. He continues to empower and encourage us to pull through this final rough patch as we prepare the world for the era of true peace and tranquility with the coming of Moshiach.


This year, the Rebbe’s yahrtzeit will be observed on July 1. To learn more about the Rebbe click here. To send a letter to be placed by the Rebbe's Ohel (resting place) click here.

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