The years 1934-1936 were anxious years for the Jews of Europe, and it is precisely from that era of foreboding that most of the talks in this volume date. The Rebbe Rayatz, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn נ״ע, was then living in Warsaw and Otvotzk. At a time when Jewry sought some word of guidance and solace, his shepherd’s voice rang out loud and clear — a voice that encouraged the dispirited, aroused the assimilated, instructed the ignorant, and fortified the banner-bearers of Judaism.

As always, his approach as represented here ranges from charming narrative (as in the eye-witness account of the unforgettable bar-mitzvah of the Mitteler Rebbe) to amused irony (when colorfully portraying certain self-righteous pietists); it includes fatherly rebuke (when addressing those of his followers who do not nourish their divine service with sufficient solid study) and insightful analyses of familiar texts and teachings (as in the opening chapter).

American readers will feel particularly at home in the chapters that date from the author’s first visit to New York in 1929. Himself both a product and a cultivator of the value system of the Old Country’s meritocracy, the author reflects on how the brash measuring-stick of the New World has already branded its alien tattoo on the very language he hears around him: ‘How much is so-and-so worth…?”

Like its predecessor, this volume too was translated and annotated by Uri Kaploun, and prepared for publication by Rabbi Yonah Avtzon.

Lovers of chassidic values the world over were grieved some months ago to learn of the passing of the author’s second daughter, the saintly Rebbitzin Chayah Mushka Schneerson נ״ע. Far from the fanfare of publicity, this brilliant and kindly personage led a life of noble and self-effacing devotion to the holy mission of her revered husband, the Lubavitcher Rebbe שליט״א. (May he be preserved in good health, and behold the Redeemer coming unto Zion!)

This volume is humbly dedicated to her beloved memory.

Sichos In English

Chai Elul, 5748 (1988) Shnas Hakhel