Russian generals pray for peace at burial sites of Chabad rebbes

15 Russian military men arrived to pray after hearing that all prayers are answered at a Jewish cemetery in the small town of Lyubavichi.

Russian soldiers march in Almaty, Kazakhstan, January 13, 2022 (photo credit: REUTERS/PAVEL MIKHEYEV)
Russian soldiers march in Almaty, Kazakhstan, January 13, 2022
(photo credit: REUTERS/PAVEL MIKHEYEV)

Fifteen Russian generals prayed for peace last week at the Jewish cemetery in Lyubavichi, a Russian town credited as being the birthplace of the Chabad movement.

The military men, who visited the site on the 33rd anniversary of the Russian withdrawal from Afghanistan, told Jewish worshipers in the Smolensk Oblast village that they heard prayers are answered at the burial sites of revered tzadikim.

Those buried at the site include Chabad rebbe Shmuel Schneersohn, The Rebbe Maharash, fourth rebbe of Chabad, son of Menachem Mendel, the third rebbe.

As 75 Ukrainian Jews fled their country to make aliyah due to the threat of a Russian invasion, Russian generals prayed to "prevent war" and for "peace among nations of the area" in the Jewish cemetery.

The Russians also visited several reconstructed historic Chabad buildings and a cenotaph erected in honor of Lubavitcher Jews who perished in the Holocaust.

Lyubavichi, a small village west of capital Moscow, suffered 483 casualties during the Holocaust at the hands of Nazi Germany. It served as the movement's "capital" for over a century, from 1813 to 1915, when Chabad's fifth Rebbe Sholom Dovber Schneersohn evacuated his Hassidic court to Rostov as World War I began.

 

A tombstone in the Jewish cemetery in Lubavitch (credit: ESJF)A tombstone in the Jewish cemetery in Lubavitch (credit: ESJF)

"The town of Lyubavichi has in recent years turned to a prayer hotspot for thousands of people," according to Rabbi Gabriel Gordon, Chabad's representative to the western Russia village. "Most of them are Jews, but I meet non-Jews visiting the town almost every day."

"Anyone is welcome in this town," Gordon said. 

The rabbi hopes that the generals' prayers will also be answered and that "a war will be avoided."