web analytics
April 20, 2014 / 20 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
Spa 1.2 Combining Modern Living in Traditional Jerusalem

A unique and prestigious residential project in now being built in Mekor Haim Street in Jerusalem.



From The Rebbe’s Pen

Winter-112213-Spirit

Share Button

The Letter And The Spirit: Letters By The Lubavitcher Rebbe, Volume II; Selected and arranged by Nissan Mindel; Nissan Mindel Publications

A unique multivolume collection of English letters by the Lubavitcher Rebbe has just been released, shedding new light on one of the greatest Jewish leaders of modern times.

The Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, a”h, was renowned and acclaimed for his Torah wisdom and countless groundbreaking initiatives in the dissemination of Torah and chassidus the world over. Chabad chassidim have made the Rebbe’s teachings and innovative campaigns a familiar and essential part of the Jewish landscape in the 20th and 21st centuries.

But what is not as well known as the Rebbe’s global trademark Chabad Houses and programs is his personal correspondence – letters he wrote to many thousands of Jews and non- Jews who sought his guidance and blessing.

The Letter and the Spirit series is a compendium of the Rebbe’s personal letters in English, which gives the reader a new and interesting perspective on the Rebbe and his teachings. It has the unique distinction of having been prepared by the Rebbe’s personal secretary, Rabbi Dr. Nissan Mindel. Dr. Mindel served as “royal scribe” for more than four decades of the Rebbe’s leadership, during which time he wrote the Rebbe’s letters on his behalf in English, Yiddish, Hebrew and Russian.

The Rebbe entrusted Dr. Mindel with a copy of each of his letters, which he faithfully preserved and categorized. Of the many thousands of English letters, Dr. Mindel selected and prepared some for publication so that their universal message would benefit the many. He did this with the Rebbe’s permission and blessing, and the project soon became the focus of his efforts over a period of many years. In preparing the letters for print, Dr. Mindel maintained his high standards of integrity and strict confidentiality – removing any clue that might compromise the identity of the person to whom the letters were written.

Dr. Mindel’s eye-opening “general introduction” to the series gives a fascinating and detailed description of the process by which the Rebbe’s correspondence took place and an in- depth, brilliant analysis of the Rebbe’s leadership – as he related to chassidim, to all Jews, and to the world at large through his spoken and written word. In addition to the general introduction, there is an introduction to each section, which Dr. Mindel calls “highlights.” The letters are categorized by topics and arranged in chronological order.

Volume I of The Letter and the Spirit includes the following topics: The Perplexed, Concepts, The Holy Land, The Family, and Lubavitch Derech.

The Letter and the Spirit, Volume II, the focus of this review, was published in early summer of this year and includes these topics: The Perplexed, Torah and Science, and Miscellaneous.

Letters in The Perplexed section address those who are seeking the truth, are troubled by doubts, burdened with questions about faith, and who are facing various forms of suffering – seeming unfairness, contradictions and conflict. Some letters deal with interfaith dialogue; freedom of choice and predestination; the halachic reason for the study of chassidus; the difference between the Jewish religion and other religions; German anti-Semitism; the Holocaust; survival of the Jewish people; intermarriage; and the practice of meditation – to name a few.

Letters in the Torah and Science section run the gamut of physics, chemistry, biology (genetics), medicine, the cosmos, and psychology. This section deals with questions about the age of the world; evolution of the species; the rotation of the sun and earth; spontaneous generation; the “problem” of overpopulation; the theory of probability in Torah concepts; Freud’s theory and approach; and the theory of relativity – among others. The Rebbe’s fascinating and often in-depth answers reflect his mastery of science and the scientific method – and indeed his high regard for science in general. It is the scientists and not science per se whom he holds responsible for much of the confusion and seeming contradictions that one may have regarding Torah and science. Some of the letters address Jewish scientists and their responsibilities.

The third section, Miscellaneous, consists of letters that do not fit neatly into any one category. Thus we find here an interesting mix of topics. These letters deal with subjects as varied as the growing of a beard; the use of LSD; career choice; the annihilation of Amalek; “true justice”; Ukrainian socialism; the meaning of shirayim; and traveling on a Jewish-owned ship on Shabbos. In one letter the Rebbe writes words of encouragement to a world chess champion, and in another words of admonition to a rabbi for his less than acceptable book review. In yet others, the Rebbe expresses his thanks for a gift of a sculpture and its deeper significance; offers words of comfort to one having suffered a fire; and gives answers about the situation in Russia, the giving of charity to a non-Jew, and the Jewish status of an Ethiopian.

Share Button

About the Author: Esther Tauber is a longtime freelance editor for numerous Jewish publications.


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.

No Responses to “From The Rebbe’s Pen”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Ukraine Shul Firebombed
Ukrainian Synagogue Firebombed (Video)
Latest Sections Stories
Schonfeld-logo1

Regardless of age, parents play an important role in their children’s lives.

Marriage-Relationship-logo

We peel away one layer after the next, our eyes tear up and it becomes harder and harder to see as we get closer to our innermost insecurities and fears.

Gorsky-041814-Torah

Some Mountain Jews believe they are descendents of the Ten Lost Tribes and were exiled to Azerbaijan and Dagestan by Sancheriv.

Baim-041814-Piggy

Yom Tov is about spending time with your family. And while for some families the big once-in-a-lifetime experience is great, for others something low key is the way to go.

A fascinating glimpse into the rich complexity of medieval Jewish life and its contemporary relevance had intriguingly emerged.

Dear Dr. Yael:

My heart is breaking; my husband’s friend has gotten divorced. While this type of situation is always sad, here I do believe it could have been avoided.

The plan’s goal is to provide supportive housing to 200 individuals with disabilities by the year 2020.

Despite being one of the fastest-growing Jewish communities in the U.S. – the estimated Jewish population is 70-80,000 – Las Vegas has long been overlooked by much of the Torah world.

She was followed by the shadows of the Six Million, by the ever so subtle awareness of their vanished presence.

Pesach is so liberating (if you excuse the expression). It’s the only time I can eat anywhere in the house, guilt free! Matzah in bed!

Now all the pain, fear and struggle were over and they were home. Yuli was safe and free, a hero returned to his land and people.

While it would seem from his question that he is being chuzpadik and dismissive, I wonder if its possible, if just maybe, he is a struggling, confused neshama who actually wants to come back to the fold.

I agree with the letter writer that a shadchan should respectfully and graciously accept a negative response to a shidduch offer.

Alternative assessments are an extremely important part of understanding what students know beyond the scope of tests and quizzes.

More Articles from Esther Tauber
Winter-112213-Spirit

A unique multivolume collection of English letters by the Lubavitcher Rebbe has just been released, shedding new light on one of the greatest Jewish leaders of modern times.

    Latest Poll

    Now that Kerry's "Peace Talks" are apparently over, are you...?







    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/books/book-reviews/from-the-rebbes-pen/2013/11/21/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: