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Menachem Mendel Schneersohn
Lubavitcher Rebbe
The Tzemach Tzedek
Term 1831-05-05 – 1866-03-17 OS
Full name Menachem Mendel Schneersohn
Main work Shut Tzemach Tzedek
Born 1789-09-09 OS
Died 1866-03-17 OS
Buried Lyubavichi
Dynasty Chabad Lubavitch
Predecessor Dovber Schneuri
Successor Shmuel Schneersohn
Father Shalom Shachna
Mother Devorah Leah (daughter of Shneur Zalman of Liadi)
Wife Chaya Mushka (daughter of Dovber Schneuri)
Issue Baruch Shalom
Yehudah Leib of Kopys

Chaim Shneur Zalman of Liadi
Yisroel Noach of Nizhyn
Yosef Yitzchak of Ovruch
Shmuel Schneersohn of Lubavitch
Rada Freida
Devorah Leah

Menachem Mendel Schneersohn (1789-09-09 - 1866-03-17 OS) also known as the Tzemach Tzedek was an Orthodox rabbi and the third Rebbe (spiritual leader) of the Chabad Lubavitch chasidic movement.



The Tzemach Tzedek was born in Liozna, on 29 Elul 5549. His mother Devorah Leah died just three years later, and her father Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi raised him as his own son. He married his first cousin Chaya Mushka, daughter of Rabbi Dovber Schneuri. After his father-in-law/uncle's death, and a three-year interregnum during which he tried to persuade the hasidim to accept his brother-in-law Menachem-Nachum Schneuri or his uncle Chaim-Avraham as their leader[1], he assumed the leadership of Lubavitch on the eve of Shavuot 5591 (1831-05-05 OS).

He was known as the Tzemach Tzedek ("Righteous Sprout" or "Righteous Scion"), after the title of a voluminous compendium of halakha (Jewish law) that he authored.[2] He also authored Derech Mitzvotecha ("Way of Your Commandments"), a mystical exposition of the Mitzvos. He compiled major works of Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi for publication, including the Siddur Mi'Kol Ha'Shanah (commonly known as Siddur Im Dach), Likutei Torah and Torah Ohr. He also authored a philosophical text entitled "Sefer Chakira: Derech Emuna" (Book of Philosophy: The way of Faith).

The Tzemach Tzedek had close ties with other Jewish leaders. In the course of his battle against the Haskalah in Russia, he forged a close alliance with Rabbi Yitzchak of Valozhyn, a major leader of the misnagdim, which led to warmer relations between them and the hasidim.[3]

According to Baruch Epstein, his father Rabbi Yechiel Michel Epstein spent six months under the Tzemach Tzedek's tutelage, and learned most of his mystical knowledge during that time. This story is disputed.[4]

His close friendship with professor I Berstenson, the Tsar's court physician often helped the delicate negotiation relating to the welfare of the community.[1]

He set up an organisation called Hevras Techiyas Hameisim to assist Jewish boy-soldiers who were being recruited and converted to Christianity by the Russian army. These soldiers known as Cantonists were taken away from the Jewish community to other villages. Schneersohn arranged for his students to pay them regular visits to keep up their spirits and discourage them from converting.[1]

In 1844-45 he took steps to increase the enrollment and viability of the Chabad Yeshivas in Dubroŭna and Kalisz, expanding their enrollment to around 600 students in total.[1] Repeated attempts by the authorities to entrap him using informers such as Hershel Hodesh, Benjamin the Apostate and Lipman Feldman failed.[5]

He died in Lyubavichi on 13 Nissan 5626, leaving seven sons and two daughters.


The Tzemach Tzedek had seven sons:[6]

1. Rabbi Baruch Shalom (1805-1869) did not become a rebbe in his own right; he chose to remain in Lubavitch and become a chasid of his youngest brother. Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the seventh Rebbe of Chabad-Lubavitch, was his great-great-grandson.

Part of a series on

Rebbes of Lubavitch
1. Shneur Zalman of Liadi
2. Dovber Schneuri
3. Menachem Mendel Schneersohn
4. Shmuel Schneersohn
5. Sholom Dovber Schneersohn
6. Yosef Yitzchok Schneersohn
7. Menachem Mendel Schneerson
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2. Rabbi Yehuda Leib Schneersohn (Maharil) (1808-1866) settled in Kopust. A few months after the death of his father, unable to reach an agreement with his brothers, he moved to Kopust as Rebbe. He died two months later. He had three sons:

  • Rabbi Shlomo Zalman (1830-1900), who assumed his father’s position in Kopust. He left no worthy successor. He is the author of Magen Avos.
  • Rabbi Shalom Duber (-1908) served as rabbi in Retzitza. He had a following after the death of his brother Rabbi Shlomo Zalman. He had no successor.
  • Rabbi Shmaryahu Noach (1842-1924) was Rav in Babroisk. He had a following after the death of his brother Rabbi Shlomo Zalman. He and his son had a Yeshiva in Babroisk. He is the author of Shemen La'maor. He had no successor.

3. Rabbi Chaim Schneur Zalman (1814-1880) was Rebbe in Lyady after his father, the Tzemach Tzedek died. He was succeeded by his son, Rabbi Yitzchak Dovber (1835-1910) of Liadi, author of Siddur Maharid, and his son-in-law, Rabbi Levi Yitzchak (-1905) of Siratin, a scion of the Rebbe of Radzimin.

4. Rabbi Yisroel Noach (1815-1883) of Nizhyn, although officially a Rebbe, had only a small following. His son was Rabbi Avraham Schneerson of Kischinev, whose daughter, Nechama Dina Schneersohn, married Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok Schneersohn, the sixth Rebbe of Chabad-Lubavitch.

5. Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak (1822-1876) was a Rebbe in Ovruch. He was compelled to assume this position by his father-in-law, Rabbi Yaakov Yisroel of Cherkas (son of Rabbi Mordechai of Chernobyl and son-in-law of the Mitteler Rebbe) against his father’s wishes.

6. Rabbi Yaakov, although leaving descendants, died at quite a young age. He lived in Orsha. Little is known about him.

7. Rabbi Shmuel (Maharash) (1834-1882) of Lubavitch, his youngest son succeeded him as the Rebbe of Lubavitch.[1]

Ohr HaTorah

Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson said of the Tzemach Tzedek's work "Ohr HaTorah" that it contains all the previous and future teachings of the Chabad Rebbes.[7]

Noted students


  • Ohr HaTorah - Chassidic discourses[8]
  • Sefer HaLikkutim - A Chassidic encyclopedia[9]
  • Derech Mitzvosecha - An explanation of the mystical reasons for the Mitzvos[10]
  • Responsa Tzemach Tzedek - 8 vols. [11]
  • Sefer Chakira: Derech Emunah - exposition of Jewish philosophy

External links


Tzemach Tzedek Responsa. His mastery in Talmud as well as mysticism won friendship from non-Hasidic scholars and helped resolve the Hasidic-Mitnagdic schism
  1. ^ a b c d e Encyclopedia of Hasidism, entry: Schneersohn, Menachem Mendel. Naftali Lowenthal. Aronson, London 1996. ISBN 1568211236
  2. ^ "Tzemach" (צמח) has the same gematria as "Menachem" (מנחם), and "Tzedek" (צדק) has the same as "Mendel" (מענדל). The original responsa Tzemach Tzedek were those of Menachem Mendel Krochmal. Schneersohn's responsa are known as Shu"t Tzemach Tzedek Hachadashot, "the new Tzemach Tzedek responsa". Rabbi Menachem Mendil Hager, the first Viznhitzer Rebbe, called his commentary on the Torah Tzemach Tzadik (צמח צדיק), because he spelled his name with an extra yod (מענדיל).
  3. ^ The Tzemach Tzedek and the Haskalah Movement, Official Chabad history.
  4. ^ The claim is in Mekor Baruch, chapter 20. But see Mekor Baruch - Mekor Hakzavim by Yehoshua Mondshein.
  5. ^ Sefer HaToldos Rav Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn MiLubavitch, Glitzenstein, A. H.
  6. ^ The introduction to Hayom Yom, by Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson.
  7. ^ Sefer HaSichos 5752, Vol. 1, p. 6
  8. ^ Ohr HaTorah at the Kehot website
  9. ^ Sefer HaLikkutim at the Kehot website
  10. ^ Parts of Derech Mitzvosecha in English translation : Part one Part two In Hebrew
  11. ^ Online edition in Hebrew
Preceded by
Dovber Schneuri
Rebbe of Lubavitch
Succeeded by
Shmuel Schneersohn



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