Exalts PNIMIYUS, Utilizes Chitzoniyus
September 26, 2019
Rabbi H. Greenberg in #1184, PARADOXES Of The Rebbe

Emphasizes pnimiyus (seriousness, sincerity, and inwardness) while simultaneously encouraging publicity, ads, billboards, etc.

Chassidus demands sincerity and truth, doing Mitzvos with conviction, feeling, and joy that spring from the core of our soul. The Rebbe, in particular, has been identified with “inwardness,” doing things for the purest of motives and animated by the deepest spiritual feelings.

Yet, the Rebbe encourages bringing Judaism to people utilizing the most modern Madison Avenue techniques such as billboards, ads in the news media, Mitzvah Tanks, and other ways of making his message available to the widest audience.

Emblematic of this paradox is the phenomenon of Chabad’s custom of lighting the Menorah inside the house (rather than in the window for the public to see). At the same time, the Rebbe launched a campaign to have Menorahs set up in public places.

The Rebbe integrates the pnimiyus and the chitzoniyus .  


Doing things with fanfare and quiet support when appropriate .

On the one hand, the Rebbe was the greatest advocate for the public display of Judaism. This was clearly evident in the Rebbe’s call for Mitzvah Tanks, Mitzvah campaigns in the street, public Menorah lightings on Chanukah, Lag b’Omer parades, dancing in the street during the Sukkos holiday, etc.

The Rebbe believed that this is necessary, among other reasons, to combat the public display of negative things. The Rebbe’s philosophy was to bring Judaism down into the street in line with the very purpose of creation to fulfill Hashem’s desire for a dwelling-place in the lowest of worlds. 

Nevertheless, the Rebbe was totally against the public demonstrations to help Soviet Jewry. Although motivated by good intentions, the Rebbe stated unequivocally that it harmed the Jews in Russia and that quiet diplomacy and Divine intervention actually succeeded in freeing Soviet Jewry.  

Stresses the importance of separation between Israel and nations, yet stresses the importance of teaching the Seven Noahide Laws to non-Jews.

The Rebbe was the strongest warrior against intermarriage. He fought against Israel’s Law of Return which did not add the word “Kehalachah — following Jewish law” in its conversion standards. The Rebbe constantly emphasized the uniqueness of the Jewish soul and how we are a nation set apart from the entire world.

Yet, the Rebbe was the only Jewish leader to advocate reaching out to the non-Jews concerning their role in making our world ready for the Messianic Age by promoting the awareness and practice of the Seven Noahide Commandments.


While speaking of how ונשלמה פרים שפתינו in galus is a complete and perfect substitute, the Rebbe nevertheless is shattered because we don’t have it kipshuto, literally.

 The Rebbe would refer to the term “ונשלמה” and translated it as “it is complete” implying that our prayers are perfect substitutes for the sacrifices. 

Yet, the Rebbe was shattered and heartbroken by the fact that we cannot now actually bring the korbanos in the Beis HaMikdash.

Whereas Torah provided substitutes are perfect, we still strive for the time when there will be no more need for these substitutes and we will be able to fulfill the mitzvos as originally intended by Hashem.


Anticipates and yearned for Moshiach’s arrival every minute; yet plans ahead.

The Rebbe spoke of the imminence of Moshiach, yet, he also planned ahead, encouraged us to build private houses and institutions of Torah.

The Rebbe explained that every minute that we are in exile, we have to make the most of it by transforming where we live into Israel.

The Rebbe himself spoke of how he made ten year plus plans, even as the Rebbe expected the Redemption imminently!


Emphasizes how in all suffering, adversity, galus, evil, etc. there are higher forms of good, yet yearned to see revealed good more than anything else.

Chassidus is replete with explanations of how suffering and pain are manifestations of hidden good and how we have to see the good in everything. 

This truth, which is rooted in the Talmud and expounded on in Tanya, has been used as a coping mechanism for countless people. 

Chassidus goes further to show the superiority of the light that comes out of darkness over just plain light. This theme is a recurrent one in Chassidus and particularly in the Rebbe’s teachings.  

Yet, the Rebbe did not stop striving to bring about an end to galus and to usher in an age of peace and harmony. The Rebbe cannot and will not rest until there is no more darkness and suffering in the world!

Article originally appeared on Beis Moshiach Magazine (http://beismoshiachmagazine.org/).
See website for complete article licensing information.