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Intellectual and Social History

Toil of the Mind and Heart
Diachronic perspectives on the leadership and oral teachings of Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi
A new anthology sheds new light on the historical development of his leadership, the crystallization of his ideology, and the impact of Rabbi Shlomo of Karlin and Rabbi Avraham of Kalisk on the emergence of Chabad.
"Ayin Beis" as the Culmination of a Conceptual Renaissance
The Mystical Thought of the Rebbe Rashab
Is there a single, overarching theme to "Hemsech Ayin Beis" or can it perhaps better be understood as the culmination of various ideas advanced by its author throughout the years of his leadership?
Hippy in the Mikvah Hippy in the Mikvah
Video | 36:52
Hippy in the Mikvah
Post-Modern Aspects of Chasidism and Their Significance for Jewish Society
A brief history of modernization within Jewish society and how various groups responded in very different ways to the threats of secularization and assimilation. The approaches of isolationism and outreach are compared and contrasted.
From Lubavitch to Lakewood From Lubavitch to Lakewood
The Chabadization of Contemporary Orthodoxy
Certain non-chassidic leaders initially opposed the Chabad effort to spread Jewish learning and practice amongst all Jews. But these policies were later changed, and non-chassidic groups began to design programs which—in many ways—imitate Chabad practices.
Breaking the Barrier between Tradition and Modernity Breaking the Barrier between Tradition and Modernity
The Innovative Communal Leadership of Rabbi Shalom DovBer of Lubavitch
Professor Naftali Loewenthal presents an overview of some of the major innovations of the 5th Chabad Rebbe, R. Sholom DovBer, with special focus on his founding of the Yeshiva Tomchei Temimim. Recorded at Chabad of Oxford University.
Torah Study and Mysticism for Women Torah Study and Mysticism for Women
A Meditation System for a Young Woman, Riga 1939
An introduction to the subject of women and Torah study is followed by the study of a letter written by the sixth Chabad Rebbe, R. Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn of Lubavitch, to an 18-year old Chassidic woman who belonged to a women's mystical study group in 1930s Riga.
The Tsar's Scapegoats: Beilis, the Chassidim and the Jews
100 years ago this month—unity, humanity and truth overcame a conspiracy of power and hate
In the Beilis trial of 1913 false accusations of ritual murder were leveled against the entire corpus of Torah teaching, the Jewish people generally, and the chassidic movement specifically. Ultimately, Beilis's acquittal was a bittersweet victory; the central problem had not been laid to rest.
Lisbon, 1941: The Messiah, the Invalid and the Fish
The private journal of the Lubavitcher Rebbe reveals a dual vision for the future of humanity
In June 1941 Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the future Lubavitcher Rebbe, arrived in Lisbon together with his wife, Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka (Moussia). Poised to leave Nazi-occupied Europe for the free world, an entry in the Rebbe’s private journal reveals how he drew on his past to chart a dual vision for the future.
The Chinese Matzah Campaign of 1905
During the Russo-Japanese War, tens of thousands of Jewish conscripts found themselves in China. Collaborating with the imperial Russian government, the fifth rebbe of Chabad-Lubavitch instigated a campaign to provide them with Passover matzah.
The Rabbi Who Defied Napoleon and Made Mysticism Accessible
New publications illuminate the life and legacy of Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi
Making Chasidism Accessible
How Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi Successfully Preserved and Perpetuated the Teachings of The Baal Shem Tov
Can the teachings espoused by the Chabad school be regarded as authentically representative of the chasidic teachings of the Baal Shem Tov? Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak of Lubavitch concludes that the answer is yes. Nearly eight decades later, Prof. Immanuel Etkes arrived at the same conclusion.
“Today is the Day”
Reading Between the Lines of the Lubavitcher Rebbe's Holocaust Era Calendar
Harnessing adversity as a paradoxical opportunity for good, the Ha-yom Yom calendar imbued time itself with a special urgency, encouraging and intensifying the study of Torah, the performance of mitzvot and the devotional service of God in an attempt to achieve salvation.
Education, Postmodernism and the Challenge of Tradition
Reflections on the Enduring Relevance of Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson’s Religious Thought
In a time of sweeping change Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson advocated radically progressive methodologies, marked by their striking relevance to new theoretical paradigms, in the cause of traditional Judaism.
Emancipation, Multiculturalism and the Perpetual Passover
Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson's Vision of Modern Progress as Religious Opportunity
Given the chalanges posed by emancipation and the modern age of multicultural universalism, does Jewish identity have a future?
Communicating the Ineffable: Cosmic Manifestations of the Chasidic Innovation
Q. What is Chasidism? A. It's difficult to say. An examination of the internal lieterature addressing this question draws the conclusion that Chasidism is no less than the paradoxical communication of the ineffable core of divinity.
Emotive Intelligence: A Letter to Sonia Rozenblum by Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn
Sonia Rosenblum (1897-1974) was a woman whose stature as a scholar and practitioner of Chasidic teachings was known and recognized. A lengthy letter addressed to her by Rayatz inquires into the definitive essence of the human experiences of cognition and emotional excitement, and attests to her breadth and depth of mind when she was yet 19 years of age. This is the earliest documented example of a women who engaged in such studies at such an advanced level, which points to a broader phenomenon that predated any institutionalized infrastructure for the education of chasidic women.
The Mystical Thought of RaShaB in its Educational Context The Mystical Thought of RaShaB in its Educational Context
A Chassidic Education
Viewing the Rebbe RaShaB's mystical teachings as an educational initiative for producing students who would go on to defy Communist oppression and challenge American Jewish apathy.
Is Socialism Kosher? Is Socialism Kosher?
Proto-Socialist Resonances in Chassidic Thought
Chabad struggled bitterly against communism's aggressively secular ethos, but successive Rebbes indicated that socialism and Judaism are not entirely at odds. This lecture was in tribute to Professor Chimen Abramsky.
The Idealistic Realism of Jewish Messianism
The real deal on Chabad’s apocalyptic calculations, and why Jews have always predicted elusive ends.
To live messianically is not to abandon the present moment, but to live the present moment so completely that it transcends its own limitations.
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