As I have mentioned elsewhere, the only active Orthodox schul in my town is a Chabad, and the mora d'asra is very dogmatic about the idea that R' Menachem Mendel Schneerson of Lubavitch was the rebbe for all of K'lal Yisrael.

My question here is threefold (or possibly fourfold)

  • What is the origin of this belief?
  • What does this claim/belief mean?
  • How is this belief viewed in Chabad?
  • How is this belief viewed outside of Chabad?*

*I am not asking for opinions along the lines of those presented by R' Schach ז”ל, as they are unconstructive and harmful, IMO.

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. Commented Jun 21, 2015 at 16:45
  • this question is fine the way it is asked. there is no reason it should be closed. since I can't add an answer you should look at the maamar V'Atah Tetzaveh - 5741 which can be found in both Hebrew and in English on simplychassidus.com
    – Dude
    Commented Jun 14, 2018 at 23:46

2 Answers 2


The Chabad-Lubavitch worldview regarding the universality of The Lubavitcher Rebbe is based off the belief that the Lubavitcher rebbe is the "Nasi Hador" the leader of the generation.

Chabad.org explains this concept:

Neshamah Kelalit; Nasi HaDor: the comprehensive soul of a Rebbe which is bonded with the souls of all the Jews of his generation

As well as Jewish Virtual Library:

The Lubavitch Rebbe, as Nasi HaDor (leader of the generation) has the responsibility of setting the direction of the generation.

As well as this site:

Lubavitch claims that the Rebbe is Moshiach because he is the Nasi HaDor and the Rebbe said that the Nasi HaDor, the leader of the generation is Moshiach.... Lubavitch [however], certainly believes that the Rebbe is still the Nasi HaDor. No matter who you’ll ask in Lubavitch, even the most vocal person who speaks out against saying the Rebbe is Moshiach - [if] you’ll ask him, "Who do you believe is your Nasi, is your leader and the leader of this generation?" he will certainly say that it’s the Rebbe. And that belief is the universal belief of all Lubavitch and many people outside of Lubavitch, who daven Nusach Ashkenaz, who follow Non-Chabad minhagim, who do not consider themselves to be Lubavitch. But many of them are afraid to come out openly, and to say that that’s what their belief is. Although some of them have

They believe that he inherited this title from the Sixth Lubavitcher Rebbe. As the seventh Lubavitcher Rebbe constantly referred to his father-in-law as the Nasi Hador (even post death).

As told to me by many Lubavitcher Shluchim-emissaries, the basis for this belief is that the Lubavitcher Rebbe was at one point the most recognized Rabbinical figure in the world, his opinions were sought after by politicians, gentiles and other Rabbinic figures. To a certain degree his opinions were taken as a legitimate representation of Judaism. And as Nasi Hador, all of the Jewish peoples souls are included within his soul, this is known as "Neshama Haklalis". Therefore, every Jew and his soul are intertwined and tied up with the soul of the Nasi Hador even if they are unaware of this. Thus, Chabad Chassidim believe that the Lubavitcher is the Rebbe and leader for everyone.

The implications of this belief are twofold. Firstly, from the Lubavitch perspective. Non acceptance of this belief from other non Lubavitch Jews is viewed with astonishment, they ask questions such as "how could you not follow his every directive? He is the Nasi Hador!?". However, from the non-Lubavitch perspective, this claim to title is very hard to understand, for (excluding those that follow the opinions of Maran Rav Schach) they look at the Lubavitcher Rebbe as a man of greatness who did many good things for the Jewish people and observance of mitzvos. But that doesn't obligate one to profess belief in assigning an official title of supremacy to him.

Furthermore, some Jews have a hard time understanding why the Lubavitcher Rebbe cannot be viewed within the whole of the rest of the Rabbinical Intelligentsia, rather than needing to elevate him above and beyond other Rabbinical figures.

  • 1
    Any explanation for the downvote? Commented Jun 21, 2015 at 12:29
  • 3
    probably they are either a) pro-Lubavitch and didn't like any hint of anti-Lubavitch sentiment in your post or they are b) anti-Lubavitch and didn't like any of the Lubavitch-justification in your post. Thus is the price of being even-handed. Commented Jun 21, 2015 at 19:10
  • not just even handed, but respectful also!
    – user9478
    Commented Jun 24, 2015 at 20:05
  • Non acceptance of this belief from other non Lubavitch Jews is viewed with astonishment... As a Lubavitcher who subscribes to this belief, I don't view with astonishment people who don't see it the same way, and I don't know anyone who does.
    – shmosel
    Commented Sep 19, 2023 at 21:25

A Chabad website may offer an answer to parts 2 and 3 of your question.

But, above all, the Rebbe loved the People of Israel. It is the signature of his leadership and the enduring hallmark of the students who follow in his footsteps: genuine, boundless and unconditional love to each and every one of our brethren. From the rabbi and the community leader to the simple layman, from the elder venerable Chassid to the young child with hand outstretched to receive a coin for charity, from the captain of industry to the woman who came to pour her heart out in sorrow. Tirelessly and selflessly, the Rebbe dedicated his most precious commodity, his time, to the welfare of his fellow, remote and lonely as he or she may be. Hours on end the Rebbe stood to greet the many who sought his guidance and blessing. From his modest dwelling in Brooklyn, New York, his reach extended to the far-flung corners of the globe. Thousands of shuls, mikvahs, yeshivas, schools and outreach centers have been created around the world -- not for the benefit of his own Chassidim, but for the benefit of all Jews. Indeed then, he was not simply the Rebbe of Lubavitch; he was the Rebbe of Klal Yisrael. The flourishing success of other groups, not only among Chassidic circles but even the broader Yeshiva world and the Jewish community at large, is in large measure due to the Rebbe and his trailblazing efforts to establish, sustain and broaden Jewish life wherever it may be.

So it seems that R' Menachem Mendel Schneerson z”l was the Rebbe of Klal Yisrael in that his concerns were with all Jews rather than just with his own chassidim.

How this belief is viewed in Chabad might be inferred by this quote (Posted Sunday, Nov 10 2013 2:37pm in Jewish News ) from a Chabad site.

Rabbi Hahn not only has close connections to our community, but also has become a dear friend and colleague.  A few years ago, he and his family moved to Spokane, Washington, to create the Chabad of Spokane.  I remember asking him then why he chose Spokane and being blown away by his reply.  He explained that there is a waiting list to go out and open a new Chabad house.  One jumps at the first opportunity given to him without hesitating or asking questions.

Rabbi Hahn explained to me that the Rebbe believed in sending a shliach to any place that has even one Jewish resident.  At first I thought this to be  inefficient, but after further consideration I realized, would we not go anywhere in the world to show love and concern for even one of our children no matter where he or she may be found?  To the Rebbe and to his loyal Chabad shluchim, every Jew is a precious child deserving of mesirus nefesh, selfless dedication and devotion.

It can be inferred that the principles underlying R' Menachem Mendel Schneerson's z”l role as the Rebbe of Klal Yisrael are alive and well in Chabad.

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