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Rebbe: The Life and Teachings of Menachem M. Schneerson, the Most Influential Rabbi in Modern History [Kindle Edition]

Joseph Telushkin
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (203 customer reviews)

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Book Description

“One of the greatest religious biographies ever written.” – Dennis Prager

In this enlightening biography, Joseph Telushkin offers a captivating portrait of the late Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, a towering figure who saw beyond conventional boundaries to turn his movement, Chabad-Lubavitch, into one of the most dynamic and widespread organizations ever seen in the Jewish world. At once an incisive work of history and a compendium of Rabbi Schneerson's teachings, Rebbe is the definitive guide to understanding one of the most vital, intriguing figures of the last centuries.

From his modest headquarters in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, the Rebbe advised some of the world's greatest leaders and shaped matters of state and society. Statesmen and artists as diverse as Ronald Reagan, Robert F. Kennedy, Yitzchak Rabin, Menachem Begin, Elie Wiesel, and Bob Dylan span the spectrum of those who sought his counsel.  Rebbe explores Schneerson's overarching philosophies against the backdrop of treacherous history, revealing his clandestine operations to rescue and sustain Jews in the Soviet Union, and his critical role in the expansion of the food stamp program throughout the United States. More broadly, it examines how he became in effect an ambassador for Jews globally, and how he came to be viewed by many as not only a spiritual archetype but a savior. Telushkin also delves deep into the more controversial aspects of the Rebbe's leadership, analyzing his views on modern science and territorial compromise in Israel, and how in the last years of his life, many of his followers believed that he would soon be revealed as the Messiah, a source of contention until this day.

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* The subtitle’s claim that Schneerson, of the Chabad-Lubavitcher sect of Orthodox Jewry (and thought by some of his followers to be the Messiah), was the modern world’s most influential Jewish religious leader is proven throughout this highly readable book. He was visited by everyone from Robert Kennedy to Cory Booker, had a warm correspondence with Ronald Reagan, and received a Congressional Gold Medal. With outreach programs that extended far beyond his tiny sect, he made the love of one’s fellow Jew a visible symbol throughout the world. Telushkin introduces the Rebbe through the stories and memories of those who knew or were touched by him. A wide range of topics is discussed: Schneerson’s connection with his family, his congregation, and other Jewish denominations; his position on Israel; his outside-the-box thinking on a number of religious issues. Although this account doesn’t contain any real critical assessment, it is not hagiography. Rather, readers are left to draw their own assessment from the wide-ranging portrait. For instance, what to make of the fact that though Schneerson was highly trained in the sciences, he insisted that the sun revolves around an earth that is less than 7,000 years old? For those who wish a more ordered look at the Rebbe’s life, the author provides a detailed time line. Extensive notes bolster the text. Fascinating. --Ilene Cooper


“[An] excellent new biography of Chabad’s great 20th-century leader… For all his immense achievements, the Rebbe’s power ultimately came from a simple message that anyone can appreciate. As Mr. Telushkin puts it: ‘Love your fellow, and not just those who agree with you….’ Mesmerizing.” (Wall Street Journal)

“Through his clear and unambiguous prose cultivated from many sources, Telushkin recounts how the Rebbe fundamentally transformed notions of human potential, as he believed individuals were capable of much more than we imagine for ourselves... Rebbe will be a staple of rabbinic biography for years to come.” (Huffington Post)

“The subtitle’s claim that Schneerson was the modern world’s most influential Jewish religious leader is proven throughout this highly readable book… Readers are left to draw their own assessment from the wide-ranging portrait… Fascinating.” (Booklist (starred review))

“A vivid, panoramic view of Rabbi Schneerson-in each of his many roles as dynamic spiritual leader, inspiring teacher, and even motivating life coach and management guru… Telushkin’s Rebbe is a man in constant motion, a non-stop whirlwind of faith-driven energy and action possessed of a spiritual calm.” (The Jewish Week)

“An admiring but honest look at Schneerson and his legacy… What stands out is Schneerson’s engagement with the principles by which he managed to wield a considerable influence upon the American cultural scene and the Jewish world… An engaging account.” (Publishers Weekly)

“Well-qualified to write about his subject, [Telushkin] draws on Schneerson’s public statements as well as his voluminous correspondence and his thousands of private audiences, with his followers and others, both Jewish and non-Jewish. An approachable and admiring introduction appropriate for readers interested in modern Jewish thought.” (Kirkus Reviews)

“One of the greatest religious biographies ever written. Generations from now, Rebbe will be read by people of every faith.” (Dennis Prager, national talk show host and New York Times bestselling author of Still the Best Hope)

“An iconic figure comes alive in these pages, a man of wisdom and learning, yes, but also of deep personal caring and kindness… An astounding personal biography.” (Ruth Messinger, President, American Jewish World Service)

“Whether you are a believer, an admirer or a respectful skeptic, you will learn much from this deep and accessible account of a truly great man by a great writer.” (Alan M. Dershowitz, professor emeritus, Harvard Law School, and author of Taking the Stand)

“Joseph Telushkin’s earthbound study introduces ‘the most influential rabbi in modern history’ by documenting the incremental process through which his influence was acquired… Illuminating.” (Commentary Magazine)

“Telushkin offers a rounded portrait of life in the shadow, or the sunlight, of the Rebbe. We meet dozens of followers and hear their stories, get a feel for the texture of their devotion, for why they loved him… It is worth studying how and why his method worked.” (The Jewish Daily Forward)

“[Rebbe] should be in the personal library of Americans of every faith.” (Front Page Magazine)

“[Rebbe] is an enjoyable book to read, with insights and perspectives as well as details that inform and engage, shedding light on a towering, influential figure.” (Chicago Jewish Star)

“With this book, the Rebbe no longer is incomprehensible. Spend some time getting to know the Rebbe. You’ll be glad you did.” (Jewish Herald Voice)

“Provides a comprehensive history of the Rebbe’s hallmark focus on the individual-from heads of state to the everyman” (JNS)

“To understand why he inspired so many, do yourself a favor and pick up this moving, new biography. You don’t need to be a Jew or even be a religious person to learn from this monumental man.” (New York 1)

“Rebbe is that extremely rare thing: a perfect book about a perfect man. [It] brings the great man alive and gives the reader powerful motivation to examine his own life... The Rebbe touched the lives of millions; through Telushkin’s book, he will touch the lives of many more.” (NY Journal of Books)

Product Details

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
75 of 80 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars fantastic read! June 10, 2014
Telushkin has taken the impossible in putting the Rebbe in a book. But he has done so masterfully in his inimitable style and in doing so he truly gives you a glimpse in the life of this giant of a man and the influence he has on the world at large. i bought quite a few copies, one for each of my friends. Highly recommended!
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97 of 105 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Skeptic June 10, 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I have been familiar with the Rebbe and Chabad for most of my life but only from a distance. But alas, Rabbi Telushkin is a favorite author of mine and he doesn't disappoint. I feel that I now have a more intimate familiarity and perhaps appreciation for the Chabad and certainly for Rebbe.
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80 of 86 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars inspiration June 10, 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
An amazing book for every Jewish (& non Jewish) home. Will change your life just like it did for the author. You will think speak & behave differently. How one person can be so great, and influence presidents, yet never loosing site of the individual even a child.
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56 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly researched June 10, 2014
By Jacob P
This book is the result of 5 years of intensive research, into the life of a rather introverted man. Telushkin does an incredible job of portraying Rabbi Schneerson, not only by illustrating key biographical moments and pouring over private correspondence, but also by highlighting his most influential teachings. I can't think of another biography that is as detailed and inspiring.
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64 of 69 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating June 10, 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I got my copy of Telushkins Rebbe. Telushkin explained the man, gave his history and life ideas. This is not a conventional biography, rather, the author carefully chose a number of issues which capsulize Schneerson's life. I liked Telushkins assessment of Schneerson's controversial views, which take up a section of the book. The author rightfully disagrees with some of them. I found the book very enlightening and informative. It's an extremely well-researched text, bolstered with hundreds of source notes. What is immediately apparent, is the amount of effort Telushkin must have put into the research of this book. Telushkin's sources contain information he gleaned from tens of interview's he conducted with those who knew Schneerson, including President Reagan's adviser Gary Bauer and Israel's President Shimon Peres. I think this book deserves very high ratings. Highly recommendable.
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62 of 67 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't read once! June 10, 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Full of uplifting anecdotes and stories, Rebbe is not a book to read once, It is a book to go back to when in need of inspiration. Telushkin put himself on a different level.
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91 of 101 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible read June 10, 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
An astounding accomplishment. Artfully compiled. Honestly analyzed. Provides a wealth of information and perspective on the life, ideas and accomplishments of the Rebbe. Works through controversial stances with great balance and clarity. A most comprehensive biography. Provides deep understanding and frame of reference. A window into the mind and soul of a most dynamic, gifted and rare personality. A giant.
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64 of 71 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must have June 10, 2014
By Samg
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Much to be said about this book, but simply put I could not put it down. Fascinating insights into the life of a great person. Gives me much to think about in my own life.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent account of the great Rebbe.
Published 1 day ago by Stuart D. Robertson
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a super book and researched over 5 years
This is a super book and researched over 5 years. I love how Telushkin relates the life of the Rebbe to us. I also enjoyed how he tackled the mishachistic issue within Chabad. Read more
Published 2 days ago by Sarah Leah
5.0 out of 5 stars Telushkins style is fluid and easy to read
Telushkins style is fluid and easy to read. He is a story teller with a passion for Judaism and an apparent deep respect of the Rebbe. Read more
Published 4 days ago by Ori
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent!!
Great read!!
Published 9 days ago by Jacki Folkman
5.0 out of 5 stars A great take on an awesome personality.
Absorbing read filled with so much content, lessons to apply to one's daily life and a sweeping and slightly intimate look at one of the greatest Jewish contemporary leaders. Read more
Published 11 days ago by Josh
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
An engrossing account of the influential Rebbe!
Published 12 days ago by Hyacinth
5.0 out of 5 stars A fine book about a great man.
Clearly and honestly written, this book about one of the great men of our time is definitely worth reading.
Published 13 days ago by SR36
5.0 out of 5 stars A truly great book
Great read! I feel Telushkin did a great job on this book. Personally I believe that it's quite a difficult task to put the Rebbe in a book. Read more
Published 17 days ago by N. Smith
4.0 out of 5 stars Helped me re-evaluate my take on Chabad
"Rebbe" significantly changed and improved my perception of Chabad and I thank Telushikin for that.
Published 19 days ago by Marc G. Leavitt
5.0 out of 5 stars I recommend
Well written and interesting book about the Rebbe. I recommend it
Published 19 days ago by Amazon Customer
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