Thousands of Chabad-Lubavitch Hasidim are visiting the grave of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, obm, this week to mark his passing on Gimel Tamuz 5754 – the third day of the month of Tamuz on the Hebrew calendar. The secular date of the Rebbe’s passing was June 12, 1994.
The flood of visitors to the Rebbe’s grave in Queens, New York – known worldwide as The Ohel – is expected to be especially intense on the day of his yarzheit or hilula.
For many Hasidim around the world, Gimel Tamuz is a day for reflection, learning, prayer, strengthening one’s commitment and actively pursuing good deeds.
Commemorative events are being held in communities around the world to mark the day.
The date is also significant for several other reasons.
Gimel Tamuz is the date on which the Biblical Joshu stopped the sun in its orbit, declaring “Sun, stand still” at Givon to enable his army to continue the battle against the Amorites. (Joshua 10:12-13).
Gimel Tamuz is also the date on which the Frierdikeh Rebbe (Previous Rebbe), Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneerson, obm, was released in 1927 from a life-threatening prison sentence imposed by Russian authorities.
But in these days, the phrase ‘Gimel Tamuz’ is remembered primarily for the devastating loss of the Lubavitcher Rebbe to the world, and the Rebbe’s directive to keep on marching.
Rabbi Adin Steinzaltz (Even-Israel), obm, explained the future of the Chabad-Lubavitch Hasidic movement following the Rebbe’s passing: “You have a light, and the light guides you. And then somehow, the light is extinguished in the middle of the night at some moment. How do you feel then? On the other hand, you don’t have any permission to stop.
“The Rebbe gave an order, marching orders. And so you have to go on marching.”
In the Rebbe’s own words: “When you add one deed, one word, and one resolution for the good, besides affecting oneself he also affects his family and far wider: Maimonides rules that it impacts the entire world, placing them on the side of the righteous. This hastens the redemption with a joyful and happy heart.”