770 Eastern Parkway
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|770 Eastern Parkway|
|Location||770 Eastern Parkway, Crown Heights, Brooklyn, New York
|Year consecrated||1940 (5700)|
|Architectural type||Gothic Revival|
|Founder||Yosef Yitzchok Schneersohn|
770 Eastern Parkway (Hebrew: 770 איסטערן פארקווי), also known as simply "770", is the street address of the central headquarters of the Chabad-Lubavitch Hasidic movement, located on Eastern Parkway in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn, New York, in the United States. The building is the center of the Chabad Lubavitch world movement.
The building originally served as a medical center, but it was closed down by officials after they discovered that illegal abortions were performed on the site. In 1940 it was purchased by Agudas Chasidei Chabad and adapted for the needs of Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok Schneersohn. Rabbi Schneersohn was paralyzed and required a wheelchair when he arrived in the United States in 1940. A building with an elevator needed to be purchased for his use as both a home and as a synagogue. After 770 was purchased, the synagogue was given the name "Congregation Lubavitch". The Crown Heights neighborhood was chosen as the air was felt to be better for the Rebbe's ailing health.
After Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok's passing in January 1950, his son-in-law and successor, Menachem Mendel Schneerson, continued to use his own office on the main floor to lead the movement, while maintaining his personal residence on President Street, several blocks away. Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok's wife remained resident in her apartment on the second floor until her death. Her two daughters would often visit her in her apartment, and during her lifetime the new Rebbe would conduct semi-private meals there for the family and selected visitors on festive occasions. Today, the Previous Rebbe's apartment and office are closed to the public. Since 1994, Rabbi Menachem Mendel's office on the first floor is used on Shabbat and Jewish holidays as an additional prayer room open to the public during prayer times.
From its inception the synagogue has served three parallel purposes. It is a place of daily prayer services, a study hall for advanced students, and an assembly hall for Chabad gatherings, known as Farbrengens. Here the Lubavitcher Rebbe or elder Chassidim would address Chassidim and other visitors about Torah observance and Chassidic philosophy and practice.
As the Lubavitch movement grew in the United States, the original small synagogue was soon too small to house the growing number of chasidim and students who regularly came to pray and study there. The synagogue was expanded in several stages. The first annex was added in 1960, with subsequent expansions taking place in the late 1960s and again in the mid-1970s. The synagogue then reached its current size. The original synagogue remains as a small study hall used by rabbinical students during the week. In 1988, Rabbi Schneerson laid the cornerstone for a larger renovation project which is yet to be completed.
The original building is part of a larger block maintained by the Agudas Chasidei Chabad. This block includes the larger synagogue, a Kollel (Kollel Tiferes Zekeinim), and the community's library. It also houses the offices of the secretariat of the Lubavitch Movement, and other related offices.
As it served as the home and offices of the last 2 Lubavitch Rebbes the site is considered holy by Lubavitch chasidim. It is visited by thousands of people from around the world every year. While the building is recognized as an Orthodox Jewish synagogue, it is open to all people, with a men's section on the ground floor and a women's section on the floor above it. On the Shabbat and holidays, smaller prayer groups can be found congregating throughout the building, including the lobby and office used by the Rebbe within the original 770 building.
The synagogue's official name is "Congregation Lubavitch of Agudas Chasidei Chabad", although it is referred to by several other names throughout the worldwide Chabad community, including: Beis Moshiach ("Messiah's House") and Beis Rabeinu ShebeBovel ("House of our Teacher in Babylon").
Because Lubavitch Chassidim attach great significance to everything that played a role in the Rebbe's life, Lubavitch Chassidim all over the world have built replicas or near-replicas of the building. These include replicas in Kefar Chabad and Jerusalem Israel. Replicas are also at UCLA Chabad House at UCLA; Chabad House at Rutgers University on College Avenue in New Brunswick, New Jersey; on Pico Boulevard in Los Angeles, California; in St Kilda East, Victoria (a suburb of Melbourne, Australia); Milan, Italy, Brazil and Argentina. Several artists have also created Tzedakah boxes and Mezuzah cases in the building's likeness. Joseph Zakon Wineries in New York City makes a wine called "Seven-seventy". Since the early 1990s, tefillin bags with an embroidered picture of seven-seventy have become extremely popular among Lubavitcher Bar Mitzvah boys.
Importance of 770
Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson described 770 as "Beis Rabbenu ShebeBovel" ("house of our teacher in Babylon"), "And we may explain, according the above, that as regards 'our teacher's house in Babylonian' in this generation-it means the home and synagogue of my holy father-in-law, the leader of our generation... 'Our teacher's house' is the primary 'little Temple' in this last exile ... which is the place of the future Temple itself, and not only that, but there will be revealed the future Bais Hamikdash, and from there is will go to Jerusalem. This idea is suggested in the name of 'our teacher's house' in our generation: ... it is universally referred to by its number, 770, which has the same gematria as paratzta (you will spread out)."
Zalman Jaffe was a lay leader in Manchester, England and had a very close relationship with the Lubavitcher Rebbe, in his book "My Encounter with the Rebbe", he relates that, "I found a Tehillim in 770 which, on the front piece, was inscribed, 'The gematria of Beis Moshiach (the house of Moshiach) is 770.' I showed it to the Rebbe who laughed heartily." Later the Rebbe himself pointed out this gematria in a footnote in the famous "Kuntres B'inyan Mikdash Ma'at"
References and notes
- Gopnik, Blake (2006-10-17). "Illustrating That Looks Aren't Everything". Washingtonpost.com. Retrieved 2010-05-12.
- Rabbi Moshe Bogomilsky. 2006. "Hei Teves"
- The gematria value of Beis Moshiach is 770.
- Kuntres b'inyan mikdash m'at zeh bais rabeinu shbabavel", 5752, pg.465
- Weingrod, Alex (1993). "Building 770 in Kfar Chabad: Changing Israeli Landscapes: Buildings and the Uses of the Past". Cultural Anthropology 8 (3): 370–387. doi:10.1525/can.1993.8.3.02a00050.
- "COL חב"ד און-ליין | בזכות הריקמה של 770 נמצאו התפילין". Col.org.il. Retrieved 2010-05-12.
- A central Chabad motto is "and you shall spread to the west, the east, the north and the south" (Genesis 28:14)
- "In the Rebbe’s Presence — Shavuos 5730 (1970)". Chabad.org. Retrieved 2010-05-12.
- Kuntres b'inyan mikdash m'at zeh bais rabeinu shbabavel", 5752, pg. 473 footnote 92