Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn, the sixth Rebbe

Published on 30 October 2022 at 14:53

Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn and leader of Chabad Chassidim, a scholar and greatly respected among Jews around the world, fearless, courageous, dedicated and loyal to the Jews by staying instead of abandon them.

The Rebbe did whatever needed to be done to protect the Jews, Chassidus teachings and Judaism, by going inderground and continue serving HaShem. But even before communism, it where hard times for Russian Jewry

Throughout Russia the Rebbe appointed  representatives to lead Jewish life underground, he also turned to Jews around the world for help to keep Judaism in Russia alive, Latvia, Estonia and Poland to make a communication line abroad, the American Jewish organizations like the Distribution Commitee channeled funds to the Rebbe's project via a diplomatic wallet.

Children had to gather in secret, one on the lookout,while the other children would learn with their teacher, even the slightest suspicion, the children would quickly break up. When the Communist found out that there where Jewish schools underground, the Rebbe moved the children to another location.

In 1924  the Rebbe invited a select group of students to a secret location in Moscow,  years later he recalled, that he chose nine students with intelligence who also had a  heart for the Yeshiva Tomchei Temimim and invited them for a meeting in Moscow, there they made an oath together, whatever will happen, we will  give up our lives for Torah, to our last drop of blood.

The Rebbe then divided Russian expanse among these nine students, they established hundreds of schools and Chadorim, but their identities remained unknown, a secret. It was until 1927 that the communists and the Rebbe battled with each other from a distance, and how careful the Rebbe operated, the authorities  knew that the Rebbe was the archtect of Jewish underground.When he opend a school, the authorities closed it, when positioned a Rabbi in a city, they would imprison him. The Rebbe argued time and again that religious practice was not against the law, in 1927 the Yevsektsia organized a Rabbinical conference in Leningrad, formerly Petersburg, they were planning to intimidate the Rabbi's into adopting their agenda, the Rebbe opposed their plans, and led a succesful boycott, after the Rebbe's succes, the communist decided to end the shadowboxing.

In the middle of the night on June 14, 1927, pounding on the Rebbe's door, calling out his name, they then used force to break into his home, the operation was led by Soviet Agent Nachmanson, who was from a Chassidic community in Nevel, his father was a Chassid who would visit Lubavitch.

Agent Nachmanson was challenging the Rebbe's youngest daughter Shaina, she wanted to know who he was and to what party he belonged. Nachmanson told her that he belonged to his father's party, and said that they were nonpartisan daughters of Israel. He then threatened her that she has to taken into account their power and opinions. He also went on describing their ability to make everyone testify and even torture would be used to impose their views. Shaina stood her ground and said " People want to take everything with brute force, what a repulsive and unjustifiable thing it is to take hold of men with minds and opinions by the might of the fist and threat of a gun."

The whole confrontation was in the front room of the house, the Rebbe's other daughter, the future Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka, called out to her husband, " Schneerson, guest have come to visit us, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the Rebbe's future son in law, went to work and destroyed all incriminating papers of the secret Jewish educational system.

That night they took the Rebbe to Spalerka prison, a six- story fortress filled with small cells. Among the arresting officers was Lulav, who's father was a Lubavitch Chassid in the past, he offered to carry the Rebbe's bags, as his grandfather did for the Rebbe's grandfather, but the Rebbe refused and telling him " Your grandfather was a Chassid, so he had the good fortune to carry my grandfathers parcels wherever my grandfather went, you want to carry this parcel so that I shoulld go, G-D forbid, where you want me to go, no this cannot be! I am not going your way." The Rebbe took his belongings from Lulav and gave to another guard.

This was the Rebbe's seventh arrest, five times during Czar ruling and the first time in his hometown Lubavitch in 1891. But this time the situation was worse, the Rebbe was held in subhuman conditions, he was denied the use of the Tallit and Tefilin and went on a hunger strike until they returned his Tallit and Tefilin.

It was two nights later, at 10 pm, after two days fasting, that the interrocation began, it was Lulav who led the interrocation and threatening the Rebbe at the end of the questioning, Lulav told the Rebbe that in twenty- four  hours, he will be killed by a firing squad.

As the life of the Rebbe was hanging in the balance, the alarmed Chassidim began to reach out to Government officials in Russia, it was the pressure from higher authorties that prevented his death sentence. There was a world pressure, from followers in Latvia, the Us, Agudas Chassidei Chabad, this same group would help the Rebbe thirteen years later, Boston Chabad, senators and foreign relations William Borah brought the issue to President Hoover, who expressed his concern to Russia about the Rebbe's fate, the death sentence was reduced to ten years hard labour in Siberia, again they started with interrogation, but the Rebbe refused to answer, a day later the sentence was yet changed again, he was sentence of three year of exile to the town of Kostroma.