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The Image Of Maimonides In Habad Hasidism

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Chapter Summary

This chapter explores the question of possible influences of Maimonides on early Habad thought and the unusual focus on him in the contemporary Habad movement. The last Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson (1902-1994) presented the image of Maimonides as a paradigm of the ideals of Habad Hasidism. The chapter defines those features of both Maimonides and Habad which make this juncture possible. Maimonides' depiction of the advent of the Messiah, in the final chapters of Mishneh Torah, were cited by Rabbi Menachem Mendel in 1970 in a context of the special focus on the Lurianic messianic process which he had brought to post-holocaust Habad thinking, linked with Habad Jewish outreach and the "bursting forth of the wellsprings". For the Hasidic followers, this passage in the Mishneh Torah became a central element in the messianic movement in the last years of Rabbi Menachem Mendel's life.

Keywords: Habad Hasidism; Hasidic followers; Lubavitcher Rebbe; Lurianic messianic process; Maimonides; Messiah; Mishneh Torah; Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson



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