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Wikipedia lists a number of different Chabad groups including:

  • Chabad-Lubavitch
  • Chabad-Bobroisk
  • Chabad-Kapust
  • Chabad-Liadi
  • Chabad-Nezhin
  • Chabad-Strashelye

I was told that these different groups were all formed when the sons of the Tzemach Tzedek created their own Chasidic groups. But today, I only see Chabad-Lubavitch. Are there members of the other groups still around? Or did they just merge? Or fizzle out?

Also, the Lubavitch sub-group of Chabad doesn't seem to refer to the other groups (e.g. in the family lineages I've seen in their printed seforim it only lists one son of the Tzemach-Tzedek when showing a `direct line' though the generations) -- is there a reason for that? Are there still hard feelings over the split?

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up vote 13 down vote accepted

Chabad-Strashelye was started by R' Aharon Strashelye after the passing of the Alter Rebbe, the first Chabad Rebbe, due to different ideas of how to practice the teachings of Chabad. According to the Wikipedia article:

After Rabbi Aharon died, his son[who?] became Rebbe in his place. However, the dynasty did not last into the next generation. Many chassidim of the Strashelye returned to Chabad-Lubavitch in the third generation, accepting the Tzemach Tzedek as their Rebbe.

The rest of the different Chabad groups mentioned were started by sons of the Tzemach Tzedek, the 3rd Chabad Rebbe, after his passing. You can read some more about it at these various wikipedia links:

Most of their Chassidim rejoined Chabad Lubavitch after a generation or two.

Lubavitch doesn't mention the other branches when showing the generational tree, because they are focusing on the transmission through the generations, starting from the first Rebbe to the present day, and not focusing so much on the general history of Chabad. In books that focus more on the history of the Chabad movement (e.g. the introduction to Hayom Yom - a sefer with daily chassidic thoughts), these other branches are discussed, although perhaps not in as much detail.

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"Most rejoined" but are you aware if any followers of the other branches still exist? Either as individuals or in an organized community? – Curiouser May 30 '11 at 17:31
@Curiouser: there are the Malachim chassidim in Williamsburg, who go back to R' Avraham Dov Levine, a chassid of R' Shalom Dovber of Lubavitch who eventually split with him over a personal issue. However, I don't believe the Malachim consider themselves a "Chabad" group (though I could be wrong about that). Other than that, though, the last Chabad non-Lubavitcher rebbe, R' Shmaryah Noach of Bobroisk, passed away in 1923, so it's doubtful that any of his chassidim are still around. – Alex May 31 '11 at 4:09

Our family was attached for a time to the Kapuster and as well as to the Liadier. It seems that we have not been attached to Lubavitch since the passing of the Tzemach Tzedek. Some of us still stick to the nusach hatefilah and whatever minhagim that we are aware of. From my family history research it seems that there were many more families like ours who originated in Latvia and Northern Lithuania who davened at Nusach Ari Shuls throughout the world but most either rejoined Lubavitch or were lost from Yiddishkeit in the Golus.

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It's a little strange to see descriptions of a chassidic background coming from someone with the Vilna Gaon as their personal image. :) – jake May 31 '11 at 4:34
@jake: there were at least two grandsons of the Vilna Gaon who were chassidim of the Tzemach Tzedek, so the converse can happen too. :) – Alex May 31 '11 at 4:50
Jake, as my Rebbi, Rav Yaakov Weinberg ZT"L used to say "If not for the GR"A we would have no more Torah; If not for the BESH"T there would be no Yidn left to learn it." – Yahu May 31 '11 at 18:13
Very appropo for a Rosh Yeshiva of a Litvishe yeshiva who comes from heavily Chasidishe blood. So the story goes that Chabad tried to chap him while he was learning in Chaim Berlin. – YDK May 31 '11 at 22:10
@jake In David Eliezrie's book The Secret of Chabad he says on page 402 in a note that says that their is an old family tradition by Rabbi Leibel Schapiro, dean of the Rabbinical College of Miami that goes as follows: Rabbi Schneur Zalman, the Alter Rebbe and first rabbi of Chabad attempted to meet with the Vilna Gaon, to which the GR''A obviously declined. Here's where the tradition kicks in: apparently, the Vilna Gaon later said that if he had opened the door to the Alter Rebbe, he would have given in to Chassidus. – Ezra Hoerster Mar 31 at 20:06

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