|Senator Orrin Hatch with the Cunin family Rabbis and the letter signed by all 100 Senators|
A delegation of Chabad rabbis - all from the one family - are continuing the mission given to their father by the Rebbe: to persuade Russia to return the thousands of sefarim of the previous Rebbe to their rightful place in the Lubavitch Library in New York.
Senator Orrin Hatch, a great friend of the Jewish people, has led his colleagues in an effort to recover the books, and now has a letter signed by all 100 Senators in this regard.
In the 1980's the Lubavitcher Rebbe gave the task of redeeming the library to Rabbi Boruch Shlomo Cunin, Head Shaliach of Chabad California, and this task is being upheld by his sons [and grandsons!]
Most of the books gathered in Lubavitch by the Chabad Rebbes from the early 1800s to 1915 are currently held by the Moscow Public Library. [See ChabadLibrary for more detailed information]
The story of the Schneersohn library is the stuff of a novel, or a movie—a sacred centuries-old collection of rare and holy books at the center of a longstanding and ever-widening dispute among an international cast of characters: rabbis, American lawyers, unsmiling Russian government officials, the heads of major American museums, Al Gore, and Vladimir Putin. The library in question was originally owned by Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok Schneersohn, the sixth Lubavitcher Rebbe and father-in-law of the seventh and last Lubavitcher Rebbe, Menachem Mendel Schneerson. Housed in Lubavitch, Russia, Rabbi Schneersohn’s personal collection amounted to 12,000 religious books and 25,000 pages of handwritten manuscripts. During the upheaval of the Russian Revolution, half of the books were seized by the Bolsheviks and nationalized according to the Decree of the Council of People’s Commissars of 1918, eventually landing in the archives of Moscow’s national Lenin Library.
For the past 36 years there have been several attempts, but only a handful of books have been handed back, to the great disappointment of all concerned. However, with the new President Donald Trump and his congenial relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin, it is hoped that successful negotiations will be able to take place so that we can finally see the return of these precious manuscripts.
The Lubavitcher Rebbe said that when the sefarim are returned [from Russia] we will see the Moshiach.