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Unread 02-27-2011, 11:50 AM   #1
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Rebbe - English

I am pretty sure the Rebbe spoke English quite well (correct me if I'm wrong) because people would meet with him properly and speak to him in English. If that is so, why didn't he speak publicly in English (or if he did, it seems it was quite rare)? After all, he spent his entire tenure as Rebbe in America and America seemed to be the focus of his efforts.
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Unread 02-27-2011, 02:25 PM   #2
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Yiddish was the common language of the Jews, at least from Eastern Europe. That's become less true as the years go by, but the minhag had already been established. Yiddish also lends itself better to Hebrew as they use the same alpha-bet, so hebrew phrases can fit in more seemlessly (although I doubt that was the Rebbe's reason). Also, you have a tradition since the Baal Shem Tov of all of the Rebbeim speaking publicly in Yiddish.

But with all of that said... it is interesting that the Rebbe would frequently encourage Russian speaking chassidim to speak Russian with him privately rather than Yiddish. Some people say this was nostalgia... who knows.
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Unread 02-27-2011, 03:22 PM   #3
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Here, in France, at the Beth Lubavitch's headquarter there are dozen of audio recordings in which we can hear the Rebbe speaking in French with some guests from France he received in yechidus.

But the use of yiddish in public addresses was on purpose, I think, because from whatever country a chosid comes, may it be from America or Russia or even from Morocco, Yiddish was/is the common language for chassidim. Now modern Hebrew is being more and more used, but at the Rebbe's time, yiddish was prevalent.
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Unread 02-28-2011, 02:58 PM   #4
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There are many tapes of the Rebbe speaking English as well, usually in Yechidus. The Rebbe said Torah in Yiddish as all his predecessors the Rabbeim did. It is mentioned in Tanya Part IV (Iggeres Hakodesh), #25 (page 141a) that the Baal Shem Tov would transmit Torah in Yiddish
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Unread 03-01-2011, 11:03 PM   #5
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I also saw a video of him speaking to an Israeli official in Hebrew.... so Yiddish, Hebrew, English, French, Russian... what other languages did he speak?
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Unread 03-01-2011, 11:23 PM   #6
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