web analytics
April 26, 2015 / 7 Iyar, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz On His Relationship With The Lubavitcher Rebbe

Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz (picture courtesy of Collive.com)

Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz (picture courtesy of Collive.com)

In the last two months, no fewer than three new biographies of the seventh Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, have been published: My Rebbe by Adin Steinsaltz, Turning Judaism Outward by Chaim Miller, and Rebbe by Joseph Telushkin.

The release date of the latter two was likely selected to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the Rebbe’s passing coming up on July 1. In the case of My Rebbe, though, it was simply a case of writer’s block.

“When you are removed from a subject,” Steinsaltz told The Jewish Press in a recent interview, “you can deal with it, say, cold bloodedly. But I had, and still have, a very strong personal connection [to the Rebbe], and this personal connection was not a simple one that can be put into words. Because of that it was very hard to go on and to do anything…. I was involved with it for years and years and years.”

For Steinsaltz, the Rebbe was no less than “the greatest man I have ever met,” as he writes in the preface to his book. What about the Rebbe so impressed a man like Rabbi Steinsaltz – author of 60 books, translator of the entire Talmud into Hebrew, and once dubbed by Time Magazine as a “once-in-a-millennium scholar”?

“Let me put it this way,” Steinsaltz said, “I’ve met quite a number of people who were [great in the sense that they produced] a great work or had a certain great attribute. But in general, they were not like this. It’s like when you see a peacock – of course it has a magnificent tail, but the peacock itself is not anything magnificent…. The Rebbe was a great man – great in every dimension, every way you measure it. And that is quite unusual.”

Asked to elaborate, Steinsaltz said, “You look at Everest – that’s a great mountain. How do you describe it? How do you define anything that is great? How do you define a great work of art?”

Rabbi Steinsaltz acknowledges that the Rebbe had many detractors during his lifetime, but he argues that the antagonism was never personal. “I don’t think people disliked him. Let’s put it this way: they hardly knew him. He met thousands of people. I know of hardly anybody who after their meeting had any [sort of feeling] of dislike.”

Any hostility toward the Rebbe, Steinsaltz said, was really hostility to his vision. “He went in a certain way, and he was very clear cut and very unyielding in many ways. He went against the ideas of so many people.”

For example, Steinsaltz said, the Rebbe’s particular manner of reaching out toward unaffiliated Jews (and irreligious non-Jews) bothered many. And yet 20 years after the Rebbe’s passing, outreach has become mainstream. “One of the highest levels of victory,” Steinsaltz said, “is when people begin to imitate you…. People [might not] say, ‘Okay, we changed our mind,’ but they did.”

Rabbi Steinsaltz – like the authors of the other two recently published biographies on the Rebbe – is not a disinterested party to Lubavitch or the Rebbe. He met the Rebbe numerous times, was enthralled by him and – most importantly – has the Rebbe to thank for his son’s life.

“When my son was fifteen years old,” Steinsaltz writes in the book, “he was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia. The prognosis was poor. We asked the Rebbe for a blessing and instructions. The Rebbe was deeply encouraging and blessed our son with a long life. However, he added that we should not permit a bone marrow transplant to be done. The doctors were furious when we chose to follow the Rebbe’s guidance, not theirs. Despite their prediction, our son healed, married, and had children – without undergoing the transplant procedure.”

About the Author: Elliot Resnick is a Jewish Press staff reporter and author of “Movers and Shakers: Sixty Prominent Personalities Speak Their Mind on Tape” (Brenn Books).


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

3 Responses to “Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz On His Relationship With The Lubavitcher Rebbe”

  1. Avis Johnson says:

    Wonderful article !! We Miss You Rebbe so much ! Will purchase all the books

  2. A wise man to follow a very wise mans advice

  3. I am looking forward to getting and reading this book. Thank you Rabbi Even Yisrael!!!

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
USAID recipient Tarek Abbas, son of Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud.
Abbas’ Son Loses $10 Million Libel Suit in US Court
Latest Indepth Stories
Former New York Governor George Pataki

Pataki is the last Republican Governor to win a majority of Jewish votes.

President Obama

Obama’s desire to be “fair” enables Iran to get nuclear weapons which will threaten global security

israeli-american flags

All GOP candidates will continue seeking – and praying – for Jewish money with greater success.

New immigrants from USA and Canada arriving at Ben Gurion Airport.

The one reason to make Aliyah outweighs all the arguments not to move to Israel.

“We returned to this Land not in order to be murdered, or uprooted. We came here to be replanted!”

I don’t fear for the future of our people because I believe Yeshiva University has created an “Iron Dome” of Jewish leadership

Poland’s great Jewish cities where Jewish life had once flourished and thrived, were now desolate

Chief rabbi, Rav Dovid Lau, stated that the Torah community’s turnout in the WZO election is vital.

Iran has at its core the same ideology as that of ISIS but, inaccurately, is thought a lesser threat

An early Yom Ha’atzmaut gathering for Israel’s 67th birthday with Pres. Rivlin of Israel and guests

Israel’s Memorial Day shouldn’t be a day of mourning, it’s a day to honor, not another Holocaust Day

God’s 3 part promise for Israel: to the Avot; a plentiful land; the eventual return home by all Jews

A committed Religious Zionist, he was a sought-after adviser on Zionist affairs around the world.

More important, Mr. Obama is simply acceding to Iran’s position on the timing of the lifting of sanctions.

“Texans share a lot of the same attitude as Israelis, that we say what we think and we think what we say, and that makes it much easier to communicate,” he says.

More Articles from Elliot Resnick
Dr. Mitchell Bard

Mitchell Bard is nothing if not prolific. He has written and edited 23 books, including “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Middle East” and “The Arab Lobby: The Invisible Alliance That Undermines America’s Interests in the Middle East.” Bard, who has a Ph.D. in political science from UCLA, is also the executive director of both the […]

Rabbi Yaakov Dov Bleich

You have to understand that Ukraine was really a very, very Jewish place for many years.

What I think is going on here is the Midrash is making a comment about Rut’s love for Naomi being some sort of reflection of how we have to love God.

HarperCollins’s omission was especially egregious because it is a major general and educational publisher.

I said to myself, “This story has got to be told. We’re losing this generation of World War II and if we don’t listen to them now, we’ve lost it.”

Nouril concluded he had no choice: He had to become more observant.

I was very pro-Israel, I was very proud of being Jewish, and I was living in New York at the time as a single man in my 20s and I was just looking for a little bit more.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/interviews-and-profiles/rabbi-adin-steinsaltz-on-his-relationship-with-the-lubavitcher-rebbe/2014/06/03/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: