Menahem Mendel of Vitebsk

   Polish Hasidic leader. A disciple of Dov Ber of Mezhirich, he became the head of a congregation in Minsk. In 1772 he went with Shneour Zalman to defend the Hasidic movement to the Vilna Gaon, Elijah ben Solomon Zalman, but the Vilna Gaon refused to meet them. In 1773 he settled in Gorodok in Belorussia and later moved to Palestine, where he became the leader of the Hasidic community. He subsequently settled in Tiberias. He taught that God is present through the process of contraction (tzimtzum), whereby he makes a space in which creation can take place. His writings include Peri ha-Aretz, Peri ha-Etz, Etz Peri and Likkutei Amarim.

Dictionary of Jewish Biography. .

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  • MENAHEM MENDEL OF VITEBSK — (1730–1788), ḥasidic leader active in Belorussia, Lithuania, and Ereẓ Israel. He was a disciple of dov baer the Maggid of Mezhirech, and headed a congregation in Minsk during the lifetime of his teacher; in Zemir Ariẓim ve Ḥarvot Ẓurim (Warsaw,… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

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  • SHNEUR ZALMAN OF (Liozna-) LYADY — (1745–1813), founder of chabad Ḥasidism. According to family traditions he was born in Liozna, Belorussia, on the 18th of Elul. After his marriage in 1760 he devoted himself to Torah study. Concluding that he knew a little about learning, but… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

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  • ISRAEL BEN PEREZ OF POLOTSK — (d. about 1785), ḥasidic rabbi, one of the leading disciples of dov baer of Mezhirech. He excelled as a preacher, and as an emissary for his teacher together with Azriel of Polotsk, he won over many Jews to Ḥasidism. After the death of Dov Baer… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

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