Dear Friend,

A great person is often difficult to characterize. We can describe the facets of their personality, their goodness, their strengths and their accomplishments. But all too often, their essential spirit eludes us.

This week marks 71 years since the passing of Rabbi Levi Yitzchak Schneerson, father of the Rebbe, of righteous memory. Rabbi Levi Yitzchak was a halachist and Kabbalist of renown, who led the Jewish community of Yekaterinoslav-Dnipropetrovsk (Ukraine) through the difficult years of the demise of the Czarist empire and the Communist oppression that arose in its wake.

Much has been written, and has yet to be written, about Rabbi Levi Yitzchak (including my articles on his early life and career, his leadership in the Communist era, and his scholarly correspondence with his son).

But for a more transcendent glimpse of Rabbi Levi Yitzchak’s soul, I recommend that you read Start off on a High Note! by Mendel Rubin (no relation).

In describing the dramatic, joyous uplift of Rabbi Levi Yitzchak’s lively chassidic dance tune, Mendel captures the unique vigor of his personality. Even under the most oppressive conditions he celebrated his Judaism with remarkable boldness, hope and joy.

And even today, we can all emulate his spirit.

Eli Rubin,
on behalf of the Editorial Team

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The Editors