Structured & Spontaneous
August 16, 2019
Rabbi H. Greenberg in #1178, PARADOXES Of The Rebbe

Always scrupulously organized, but spontaneous and creative.

The Rebbe was organized not just in his daily schedule, but as the Rebbe once commented he had a program for the next ten years. Normally, people who are into organization are not as creative and innovative as those who are more spontaneous.

Yet, the Rebbe combines both organization with spontaneity and creativity.

The Rebbe was constantly coming up with new ideas to further the implementation of G-d’s Master Plan of bringing the world to its intended state through Moshiach.

The Rebbe has always been on the cutting edge of Jewish life.

Among the Rebbe’s creative programs are Mitzvah campaigns, Tzivos Hashem, Mitzvah Tanks, Chanukah Live and a host of others.


Passionate and creative, yet calm and organized.

Usually people who are very emotional or extremely creative like artists and abstract thinkers are not organized, put together, etc.

The Rebbe, however, is all of the above, yet he is scrupulously organized and methodical. 

While the Rebbe spoke passionately about subjects that affected the well-being of the Jewish people or even of one individual, the Rebbe would always remain calm. The Rebbe was able to conceal some of his passion. His bearing was regal.

I heard from the Rabbi Isser Kluvgant OBM. that when he stayed with the Rebbe in Paris, he noticed the contrast between the Rebbe and his younger brother Reb Yisroel Aryeh Leib, referred to affectionately as Leibel.

Leibel was a genius but very disorganized like the stereotypical image of geniuses or absentminded professors.

On the other hand, he observed how the Rebbe, obviously a genius’s genius, was the exact opposite; extremely disciplined and organized. Moreover, the Rebbe, who was just a few years older than his brother, took him under his wing as a parent would do and provided him with a measure of stability.


Created multiple structured institutions, yet emphasized breaking out of boundaries.

When the Rebbe spoke of the need for us to increase our efforts to bring Moshiach he stated that we should fuse the “light of Tohu in vessels of Tikkun”.

The world of Tohu in Kabbalah is a world of chaos where the G-dly energy is too powerful for the vessels to contain. As a result, there was a shattering of the vessels.

The world of Tikkun is our world where the Divine energy is attenuated to conform to the vessels.

In simple language, Tohu is an unconventional world and Tikkun is a conventional world. Our goal, the Rebbe explained, is to make the powerful and unconventional energy of Tohu fit into the broad and ample vessels of the conventional world of Tikkun.

This paradox is personified by the Rebbe. While he wants everything to run within structures and he built myriads of organizations and institutions, he always “pushes the envelope” to do more and get us to go beyond our potential and transcend those very boundaries he established. 


Extremely cerebral, yet deeply emotional.

The Rebbe possesses incredible mental capabilities. His memory is legendary, remembering Talmud word for word and never forgetting a conversation he had with someone 18 years earlier. The Rebbe’s breadth of knowledge in all areas, his depth, incisiveness, analytical prowess and ability to transmit his knowledge is unparalleled. 

The Rebbe’s ability to concentrate on one subject for hours is well-known. Perhaps most impressive is his ability to dictate a detailed answer to one letter while reading the next letter!

Yet, the Rebbe shows his love, reverence for G-d and concern for others, crying uncontrollably when he was praying on Rosh Hashanah for the Jewish people, as well as on other occasions. The Rebbe showers his love on a daily basis to hundreds and thousands of his flock; the Jewish people.

Rabbi Greenberg’s popular  “Moshiach in the Parshah” essays  (as well as archives from over 20 years)  can be read on

Article originally appeared on Beis Moshiach Magazine (
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