Moshe Schneerson / Leon Yulievitz [Alter Rebbe son] משה שניאורסון (1784 - 1877) MP

public profile

View Moshe Schneerson / Leon Yulievitz [Alter Rebbe son] משה שניאורסון's complete profile:

  • See if you are related to Moshe Schneerson / Leon Yulievitz [Alter Rebbe son משה שניאורסון]
  • Request to view Moshe Schneerson / Leon Yulievitz [Alter Rebbe son משה שניאורסון's] family tree

Share

Nicknames: "MaHaRam", "מהר"מ"
Birthdate:
Birthplace: Leozna, Poland
Death: Died in Zitomir, Poland
Managed by: Yigal Burstein / יגאל בורשטיין
Last Updated:

About Moshe Schneerson / Leon Yulievitz [Alter Rebbe son] משה שניאורסון

Moshe Schneersohn (also, Zalmonovitch and Shneuri, and later Leon Yulievitz) (born c. 1784 - died, before 1853) was the youngest son of the founder of Chabad-Lubavitch Hasidism, Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi. According to some scholars he converted to Christianity and died in a St. Petersburg asylum. Chabad sources say that his conversion and related documents were faked by the Church.

His conversion and mental infirmity and apostasy have been denied by the Chabad movement consistently since his death.

Documents found by historian Shaul Stampfer apparently document Schneersohn's conversion to Christianity. The original documents are located in the National Historical Archives in Minsk, Belorussia. These include a letter to the local priest in which he states his intent to convert and his baptismal certificate dated July 4, 1820. The documents also show that after his conversion he worked for the Tsar to assist in the conversion of other Jews.

In the letter in which he stated his intention to convert he wrote that Jews who knew him had tried to prevent him from doing so by watching him constantly, beating him and threatening him. He wrote: "I have remained steadfast in my desire to take upon myself the true faith of Jesus Christ, to which the holy books and all the prophets testify." After conversion he changed his name to Leon Yoleivitch. He returned to visit Lubavitch, but fled, ultimately dying in a mental institution in St. Petersburg.

Life

The year of his birth is not clear. It is known that he married in 1797, and since all of his brothers married at 14 years of age, scholars assume that he was born around 1784. The sixth Lubavitcher Rebbe in his historical notes on the Chabad movement notes that he was born in 1784 in Liozna, but elsewhere writes that he was born in 1779.

When he was eight years old he started showing signs of insanity. His father recognised a problem and had him treated by the best doctors available, but his problems recurred intermittently. In 1801 his father took him for treatment with doctors in Vitebsk, St. Petersburg and Smolensk.

He married Shifra daughter of Rabbi Tzvi Hirsh of Ula, a town near Liadi. He went to live with his father-in-law in Ula and was soon appointed to the post of Rabbi in that town.

Moshe had an excellent memory, and while in Ula he authored a number of manuscripts of novellas that he had heard from his father. They are still used by Chabad Hasidim today.

During Napoleon's invasion of Russia in 1812, his family fled from Liadi to the Russian interior. Shneur Zalman died as a result of the journey. Moshe did not go with them, instead travelling to Shklov. He was captured by the French Army and sentenced to death for espionage, but he was pardoned after it was realised that he was insane. According to a letter written by his mother in 1817, he had been stable up to this point, but the sentence disturbed him and he never fully recovered.

[edit] Conversion

Chabad accounts and scholarly accounts of Moshe's conversion and later life differ. The Chabad biography, authored by the sixth Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok Schneersohn, recounts that Moshe accompanied his brother, the second Rebbe of Chabad, Dovber Schneuri to the Tsar to discuss the situation of the Jews in his territory. The Tsar was impressed by Moshe's erudition, and ordered a disputation between Moshe and his Chief Priest. Moshe reluctantly accepted the challenge, and won the debate. Furious, the Christians arrested Moshe, took him to a church and physically forced him to sign his name to a letter that declared his intent to convert to Christianity. Moshe managed to escape from the church, but due to fear of rearrest, he traveled around Europe incognito until his death in 1878.

David Assaf's account

Scholars of Hasidism, such as David Assaf of Tel Aviv University, say Moshe's conversion can be traced back to a monetary dispute he had with a local artillery officer in Ula. As they became acquainted the officer elicited Moshe's conversion by inviting him to a party, getting him drunk, and then encouraging him to write a letter expressing his intent to convert. Moshe removed his peyot and his beard and was sent to the local priest under armed guard. He was baptised a few days later.

Moshe's brothers wrote to the head of the church, detailing Moshe's illness and arguing that his signature could not be accepted for the conversion, but he refused to grant their request. Moshe then requested to convert again, this time to Russian Orthodoxy. As a result of this request the church leaders requested to view the certification of his conversion and a number of procedural errors were found, and it was established that Moshe had not been properly converted. Despite this the Catholic authorities in Ula declared that Moshe's conversion was valid. His conversion was confirmed and his name was changed to Leon Yulievitz.

Upon the request of the Tzar's close confidant, the Education and Religion minister, Moshe was transferred to St. Petersburg where he underwent extensive medical tests that established that he was mentally ill. Despite this, he went on to lecture on the subject of Christianity. In August 1821, his condition worsened and he was moved to an asylum. There are no further records of his life and his grave is not known. Scholars assume that he died within a few years of his institutionalization.

From Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moshe_Schneersohn

and

נאחז בסבך: פרקי משבר ומבוכה בתולדות החסידות, דוד אסף, הוצאת מכון זלמן שז"ר, ירושלים 2006

_________________________________________________________________________

also:

Rabbi Moshe Schneerson (b. 1783 Leozna, Poland, d. 1877 Zitamir, Poland) m. Shifra HIRSCH daughter of Tzvi HIRSCH. They had two daughters:

Sarah Rivkah Schneerson m. Nachum Yosef Schneerson

Rachel Schneerson m. Moshe Tzvi FUNDMINSKY -------------------- Family book of Rabbi from Ladi, ref #12

view all

Moshe Schneerson [Alter Rebbe son] רבי משה שניאורסון's Timeline