The story of a legend

A new biography reveals how the Lubavitcher Rebbe came to wield such great influence.

Rabbi Menachem Mendel
Photo by: REUTERS
‘Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the seventh Lubavitcher rebbe, was, inarguably, the most well known rabbi since Moses Maimonides (Rambam),” writes Joseph Telushkin in Rebbe, his timely new biography of this towering figure. Last week was the Rebbe’s 20th yahrzeit, and readers of this excellent book will learn about his legacy and why it has endured.

Telushkin divides the book into thematic categories such as, among others, the Rebbe’s leadership, the “seven virtues” of Judaism, and controversies that surrounded Schneerson. This effective strategy places the emphasis less on chronology and more on the man’s character, the substance of his mission and the totality of his contribution to the world.

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