web analytics
December 22, 2014 / 30 Kislev, 5775
 
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
8000 meals Celebrate Eight Days of Chanukah – With 8,000 Free Meals Daily to Israel’s Poor

Join Meir Panim’s campaign to “light up” Chanukah for families in need.



‘The Lubavitcher Rebbe Wanted To Reach Every Jew In The World’: An Interview with Rabbi Joseph Telushkin

Rabbi Joseph Telushkin

Rabbi Joseph Telushkin

When Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson assumed the position of Lubavitcher Rebbe in 1951, Chabad was a relatively tiny movement that sometimes struggled to get a minyan at its headquarters in Crown Heights. Today, it is the most widely known chassidic movement in the world with over 4,000 Chabad emissaries spanning the globe.

How did the Rebbe build such an empire? What about him inspired so many? What drew people from all walks of life to seek his advice?

In a new 600-page biography of the Rebbe, Rabbi Joseph Telushkin – author attempts to answer some of these questions. Entitled Rebbe: The Life and Teachings of Menachem M. Schneerson, the Most Influential Rabbi in Modern History (HarperWave), the book was published earlier this month and is a New York Times bestseller.

Rabbi Telushkin, once named one of America’s 50 best speakers by Talk magazine, has authored several previous bestsellers, including A Code of Jewish Ethics, Jewish Literacy, and Why the Jews?: The Reason for Antisemitism, which he co-authored with Dennis Prager.

The Jewish Press: How does a Modern Orthodox rabbi come to write a biography of the Lubavitcher Rebbe?

Rabbi Telushkin: I have very strong family ties to Chabad. My father, Shlomo Telushkin, a”h, was the accountant for the Rebbe and the Previous Rebbe from the time Chabad came to the United States, and my grandfather had a strong relationship with both rebbes. So I grew up with tremendous affection and admiration for Chabad.

And then, for the 12th yahrzeit of the Rebbe, I wrote an article about the Rebbe which contained a very moving story about my father. In 1986, my father had a stroke and was unconscious for several days. Every day I would get two calls from the Rebbe’s office – “The Rebbe wants to know how your father is.” My father finally came out of his coma, and a few days later I got a call from Rabbi Krinsky, the Rebbe’s aide. Rabbi Krinsky says, “The Rebbe has an accounting question.” I said, “Do you know how sick my father is?” (My father was also a little disoriented.) Rabbi Krinsky said, “Of course the Rebbe remembers that, but nonetheless he has a question.”

So I asked my father the question, and he said to me, “The answer is obvious, you should do this and this.” [At that moment] I realized what the Rebbe had done. Sitting in his office in Brooklyn, dealing with the biggest issues facing Jewish life, he thought of my father lying in a hospital bed feeling his life perhaps was coming to an end, and he wanted to make my father feel useful and needed.

I was profoundly moved by that experience because it underlined what I came to understand in researching this book – that as much as the Rebbe dealt with world Jewish issues, he always remained focused on the individual.

In the book, you write that the 19th-century clergyman Henry Ward Beecher once reportedly told his sister Harriet Beecher Stowe (author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin) that he was too busy to get involved in the cases of individuals – to which his sister responded, “Even God is not that busy.”

It’s a great story. But you’re right, the Rebbe seemed to find time for individuals, and part of it was because of his extraordinary work ethic. I have a chapter on his work ethic where I quote what his father-in-law said of him: “At 4 a.m., Menachem Mendel is either getting up or going to sleep.”

You also mention that the Rebbe once responded to a rabbi who complained of being tired by saying, “I’m also tired, so what?”

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.

No Responses to “‘The Lubavitcher Rebbe Wanted To Reach Every Jew In The World’: An Interview with Rabbi Joseph Telushkin”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Haredi men cast their votes for the 19th Knesset in Bnei Brak, January 22 2013.
New Poll: Shows Netanyahu Will Lead Next Gov’t with Haredim
Latest Indepth Stories
512px-Jerusalem_Hannukah_021210

Let us become modern day Maccabees and seize the day. Embrace the challenge. Fight for Hashem.

Motta Gur overlooks the Old City with his troops during the Six Day War

Har HaBayit is still Biyadein; Through our actions, its fate is in our hands


What does the way we count the days of Chanukah come to teach us about living in the present?

Knesset and Menorah

Israel projects global material illumination not always the light of “morality” meant by the Navi

“Mr. Prime Minister, declare a unilateral ceasefire! Remember, Blessed is the peacemaker!”

“D-e-t-e-r-m-i-n-a-t-i-o-n!”

Hamas is continuing to prepare its next war against Israel instead of improving conditions in Gaza

If the UN Grants national recognition to Palestine, why stop there? Tibet, Chechnya, Basque…

The decision to not publicly light the Menorah in Sydney, epitomizes the eternal dilemma of Judaism and Jews in the Diaspora.

Am Yisrael is one family, filled with excruciating pain&sorrow for losing the 4 kedoshim of Har Nof

What is its message of the dreidel?” The complexity and hidden nature of history and miracles.

Police play down Arab terrorism as mere “violence” until the truth can no longer be hidden.

The 7 branches of the menorah represent the 7 pillars of secular wisdom, knowledge, and science.

Obama obtained NO verifiable commitments from Cuba it would desist from acts prejudicial to the US

No one would deny that the program subjected detainees to less than pleasant treatment, but the salient point is, for what purpose?

For the past six years President Obama has consistently deplored all Palestinian efforts to end-run negotiations in search of a UN-imposed agreement on Israel.

More Articles from Elliot Resnick
Joseph Berger 
(Photo: James Estrin)

It’s not an admiration. It is simply a kind of journalist fascination. It stands out, it’s different from more traditional Orthodoxy.

Rav Dov Katz

To many Orthodox Jews the issue is “Permitted & Prohibited;” “Right & Wrong” barely considered,

You can’t say “Jewish French,” “Jewish British,” “Jewish Italian.” They are “French Jews,” “British Jews,” and “Italian Jews” – because they’re seen as Jews first and residents or citizens of their countries second.

Another thing they have been covering up is the nature of the building that was attacked. To this day people refer to it as a consulate or an embassy, but it wasn’t.

The reality is that civility is less important than clarity, and right now only very few people on the Left are interested in having a civil conversation about the merits of particular policy solutions.

Rabinovich is the author of several popular books on Israel’s wars, including The Battle for Jerusalem, The Yom Kippur War, and The Boats of Cherbourg.

I think Seth Lipsky is amazing, but it just drives home the point that newspapers have a lot of moving parts.

Can teenagers seriously be expected to behave properly when they are surrounded by so much suggestive material? Is it fair to expose them (and ourselves) to so much temptation and then tell them, “Just say no”?

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/interviews-and-profiles/the-lubavitcher-rebbe-wanted-to-reach-every-jew-in-the-world-an-interview-with-rabbi-joseph-telushkin/2014/06/25/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: