Thursday, January 17, 2008

Yud Shevat

Previous Rebbe - Poland 1934 (from COL)

There is another blog which has been on the scene for the last few months and has proven quite popular. Portrait of a Leader is a collection of stories, primarily about the Rebbe, along with interesting photos all put together by Menachem Kirschenbaum.

In honour of Yud Shevat Kirschenbaum has reproduced an article written by Charles Haddock in May 1951 after the Rebbe accepted the nesiyus. I have seen the article before but it is worth reprinting. The article appeared in The Jewish Forum and was titled "Heir to a Noble Tradition".

In the article he describes his Yechidus with the Rebbe:
My audience with that profound and humble Chasidic rabbi made my queries wholly superfluous. "America is not lost," he assured me "You are not different. You Americans sincerely crave to know, to learn. You are inquisitive. It is the Chabad point of view," he went on, "that the American mind is sincere, honest, direct--good, tillable soil for Chasidism, or just plain Judaism, if you will." This was his late father-in-law's viewpoint, he added, and that accounted for the unprecedented success of the "Chabad" system of junior and senior academics all over the country.

Our soul-searching talk left me with the impression that the newly-crowned "Lubavitcher Rebbe" had aged perceptibly in these past several months, since he succeeded his father-in-law to the "throne." For his gentle, sensitive and pallid face already seemed to bear signs of the inner conflict always raging in the hearts of our leading spirits--on whom supreme responsibility is suddenly thrust! As he politely took me to the door, the "Rebbe," as Lubavitcher Chasidim fondly call him, inadvertently taught me that Judaism minus Chasidism is but a body with a big head and no heart. And, need we add, that we wish the Rebbe a long and luminous "reign"--for uneasy lies the head that wears a crown, especially a tzadik's crown in unchasidic America...