Many are expected to visit the tomb of the Rebbe, Rabbi Sholom Dov Ber Schneersohn (the Rashab) on Sunday, in Rostov, southwestern Russia, on the 98th anniversary of his passing.
He was born in Lubavitch, in 1860, the second son of the fourth Chabad Rebbe Rabbi Shmuel Schneersohn. In 1892, some ten years after his father’s passing, he accepted the leadership of the Lubavitch movement. His son was the Sixth Lubavither Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok (Rayatz).
The Rashab is known as “Maimonides of Chabad Chassidism,” for his encyclopedic work on developing Chabad Chassidic philosophy into an organized system. He was also a prolific writer on Chabad theology.
In 1915, as the fighting in World War I came close to Lubavitch, the Rashab moved to Rostov-on-Don, where he died in 1920.
In 1940, when the Communist government was erecting the Rostov Sports Palace where the old Jewish cemetery stood, a group of chassidim secretly removed his remains to the burial site where they are today. According to these chassidim, they found his body whole, with no sign of decomposition, 20 years after his death.
Today, his gravesite is maintained and guarded by Agudas Chassidei Chabad. The site includes a guest house, a prayer room and a study, run by Rabbi Yitzchak Kogan, known as the Tzaddik of Leningrad, who helped keep Judaism alive in Russia during the Communist era and serves as Russia’s Chief Shochet (ritual slaughterer).