Is This a New Photo of the Rebbe Rashab?

By Anash.org staff

Here’s what we received via Whatsapp: (Anash.org takes no responsibility for the authenticity of the inscription, nor do we know if this is a picture of Rebbe Rashab.)

An original Unknown Photograph of the Admo”r Rabbi Shalom DovBer Schneersohn (Rebbe RaSHaB) taken in Moscow, 1908.

Only one photograph of the Rasha”b is known. It was photographed in the last year of his life, in 1920, for a passport before his trip to Turkey, when he was 59 years old. The following photograph was taken in 1908, as is printed on the reverse side of the cardboard upon which the photograph is affixed. In addition, inscribed in a period script: “Rabbi Shalom DovBer Schnnersohn, 1908.”

In this photograph, the Rasha”b was photographed at the age of 47, and approximately 13 years divide the photograph before us and the known one taken towards the end of his life.

What do you think? is this the Rebbe Rashab? Let us know in the comments, please.

The Rebbe Rashab’s cousin, Rav Sholom Ber Schneersohn of Retchitze-רעטשיטסע, a son of Rav Yehuda Leib of Kopust and a grandson of the Tzemach Tzedek, passed away on Chol Hamoed Sukkos of 5609/1908 at the age of 74, , so it would likely not be him. He likely would’ve been a lot older than the person photographed here.

Discussion
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  1. In this picture his beard seems to have some white. In the picture taken about 2 years later there isn’t any white. I don’t think it’s the Rebbe Rashab. Maybe another relative

    1. Agreed. Also the beard looks smaller in the newly found picture, and as you said it looks like there is white hair already, not so likely for His beard to change so drastically especially at age 47 (or how ever old it said He was) in 2 years.

  2. In this picture his beard seems to have some white. In the picture taken about 12 years later there isn’t any white. I don’t think it’s the Rebbe Rashab.
    Another thing, think about it. Is that the type of hat a Rebbe would be wearing? He was Rebbe at the time. But this reason isn’t as strong.

    1. Could be the glare from the camera. Photos then could also flash. Could also be lighting.
      Also, we know that rebbeim out of Lubavitch often wore other types of hats.

  3. Rav Sholom Ber Schneersohn of Rechitche, passed away sukkos of he following year 5609/1908, so it might likely be him. 

    We don’t find the Rebbe Rashab in Moscow during the winter of 1908.

    The individual in the photo looks older than 47.

  4. Was it known that he wore such a hat ??? He was Rebbe at the time and I never heard that he wore that type of hat !!! Also from the appearance of the photo, it seems he was a tall man. Was that the case ?? Was the Rebbe RaShab tall ??

    1. Rebbe Rashab was known to be tall, this is recorded in numeres places.
      Legabei the hat: In lubavitch the rebbe rashab would wear a kasket during the week, and kolpik (kind of a shtriemel/spodik, like what the FR wore) on shabos. outside of lubavitch he generally wore a rabonishe hat during the week and shabos (the kind he is wearing in the famous photo).
      I don’t think it is mufrach that he wore a winter hat when it was cold, as you can see he was not so medayek in the type of hat he wore

  5. The only picture of the Bobruisker, the son of the Kopuster, and cousin of the Rebbe Rashab, has him wearing a similar Russian fur winter hat. We need to compare the original passport picture to this. There are experts who can determine if it is the same person, The pictures we have all seen have probably been retouched.

  6. The Rebbe Rashab would have his head tilted slightly as can be seen in the known (passport) photo, which is not seen in this new photo. (source: Reshimos).

    Also i believe the Rebbetzin commented to Reb Nochum Kaplan on his drawing of the Rebbe Rashab that his holy eyes were very sharp, a feature not found in this new photo.

  7. If you zoom in on just the face of both pictures, and compare side-by-side, they cannot be the same person. The Rebbe’s holy eyes in no way resemble the eyes of the person in this picture from 1908.
    The ears are quite different; the Rebbe’s ears are higher up on his face.
    I tried using some free online facial comparison software, and it wasn’t a match, though I don’t know the accuracy of it.

    1. “The ears are quite different; the Rebbe’s ears are higher up on his face.”
      The ears are also bent outwards as opposed to the famous photo.

  8. I’m looking at the pictures (existing picture and this new picture) side by side. I don’t see the same person. The experts will decide.

  9. כבר עניתי שנוטה אני לאשר שהיא תמונה כ”ק אדמו”ר מוהרש”ב נ”ע.

    ואף שאין מנוס מבדיקה מקצועית, לבירור סופי. הנה לפני הבדיקה המקצועית, יש מספר סימנים המורים לכאורה על זהותו:

    א) השם ושם המשפחה.

    ב) התואר “רבי” מורה שאינו רב רגיל.

    ג) המקום במוסקבה, והתאריך תרס”ח, ששם שהה אדמו”ר נ”ע באמצע אייר.

    ד) מבנה הזקן על גבי הלחי, זהה בשתי התמונות.

    ה) הפינה הפנויה מזקן תחת הלחי בצדו הימני, זהה בשתי התמונות.

    ו) היחס בין עינו הימנית (הפתוחה יותר) לשמאלית, זהה בשתי התמונות.

    יחס עם זאת יש סיבות לעורר ספק, שהרי:

    א) הוא תמיד נמנע מלהצטלם.

    ב) בחודש אייר אולי אין זקוקים במוסקבה למעיל חורף.

    ואם זה באמת זוהי תמונת כ”ק אדמו”ר מוהרש”ב נ”ע, אזי נצטרך לומר:

    א) ביקור זה במוסקבה הי’ לפגישה עם נגידים, שיתרמו ביד נדיבה לתומכי תמימים ליובאוויטש. ואולי התנה אחד הנגידים את תרומתו החשובה, בקבלת תמונה זו.

    ב) אולי הי’ עדיין קריר במוסקבה בחודש אייר תרס”ח.

    בכל אופן אין מנוס מבדיקה מקצועית, לבירור סופי.

  10. 1) left ear is different.
    2) left side of the beard should be fuller and longer. in this picture it seems that the right side is fuller.

  11. Im noteh to say it is NOT the Rebbe Rashab. The family trait of sharply arched eyebrows at the ends that is nearly identical with the F”R, is simply not present at all. In addition, based on the creases on his forehead it would seem more likely than normal that his gaze should be a penetrating one which is also a family trait shared with the F”R and yet the new picture has quite a dull gaze; the eyes are slightly rounder in the new picture too. Finally, while the ears are similar, the known picture has the Rebbe turning to his right which should exaggerate his ear’s protrusion and yet the new picture has the left ear protruding even more. As to the name written on the reverse, it would appear that the last name Schneerson was added by a second writer at a later time. This might have been someone’s assumption after seeing the first part of the name.
    For these (and other reasons) i strongly believe that the new picture NOT the REBBE.

  12. The eyes are much rounder and softer than the known photo.
    Most likely one of his brothers and the person who wrote the inscription mistakenly assumed it was the Rashab because of the similarity.
    Also Moscow requires a winter hat and coat in January or February and NEVER in May

    1. Having said all that it is important to note the Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka is to have said that the passport photo (to date the only verified photo of the Rashab) that der Zeide hot nit uisgezen azei. We also know that he was TERRIBLY upset with having to take that picture (apparently to the point where it changed his countenance to the point that we unrecognizable).

    2. Iyar 1908, corresponds (exactly) with May. The average daily temperature in Moscow in early May is 49°F. Mornings are generally even colder… So it’s theoretically possible that the weather in Moscow at that time of year would have demanded warm clothing, and certainly in the earlier part of the day…

    3. It’s theoretically possible that the weather in Moscow at that time of year would have demanded warm clothing, and certainly in the earlier part of the day…
      Iyar 1908, corresponds (exactly) with May. The average daily temperature in Moscow in early May is 49°F. Mornings are generally even colder…

  13. The facial proportions (i.e. relative distances between features etc.) of both photos seem to match, indicating that both pictures are the same person. Furthermore, the man in the new picture looks very much like the frierdiker rebbe in his younger years.

    Still, it’s possible that it’s another person from beis harav and the name written in the back is incorrect.

  14. I think IT IS the rebbe rashab.
    If you look at the old original picture-it’s the photo AFTER it was restored so therefore the right side of the picture (right eye) isn’t similar to the new photo, but if you look at the left part of original photo the eyes look the same, and also regarding the white in the beard-it can easily be blond instead of white, and the reason why he doesn’t look tall is because the coat he’s wearing makes him look wider which makes him look average hight, however in comparing it to the size of the Face he’s definitely above average height…
    *There’s also a photo of rebbe mahara”sh which looks very similar to this one (just some food for thought..)

  15. בהתבוננות בכללות הציור לא הייתי מאמין שזה אדמו”ר מהורש”ב מבלי שיהיה כתוב כן, בהתמונה מתר”פ ואפילו גם בהציור נראים פני אדמו”ר מהורש”ב דוקרים, גם צורת האף אינו שוה לא כמו התמונה ולא כמו הציור

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