In the biographical section of my published work about my rebbe muvhak Rabbi Joseph Baer Soloveitchik, I write:
In Berlin, the young Soloveitchik sought out other devotees and interpreters of Torah Judaism. Among his contemporaries at the university was Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneersohn, who was to succeed his father-in-law as the Lubavitcher Rebbe in 1950. Decades later, in 1980, the Rav was to attend the public Hasidic gathering (farbrengen) in honor of the Rebbe’s thirtieth anniversary as the head of Lubavitch. (The Rav: The World of Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik, Volume One, p. 27.)
These are facts which cannot be disputed. All the same, the nature of the relationship between the Rav and the Rebbe remains an open question. In recent years numerous lectures, books, and articles have attempted to analyze and recapitulate this connection. Many are involved, myself included, in what I term “predicting the past.”
Rabbi Chaim Dalfin contacted me a few years ago while researching and preparing his book entitled Chabad’s Secret: Inside the World’s Most Successful Jewish Organization. I subsequently thus described this volume:
Rabbi Chaim Dalfin has given us an insightful portrait of Chabad. The work is unique as it is written by an insider who was born and raised in the Chabad world. Dalfin details the secrets, the individuals, and the infrastructure that enables the international movement to retain its coherency and achieve its goals. This work is infused with the Rebbe’s insights and guidance. The author also details many of his own experiences as Chabad interacts with the milieu in which it functions. Chabad’s Secret is a fascinating read and a must for all, devotees and admirers, antagonists and the inquisitive. (Chabad’s Secret, p. II.)
Rabbi Dalfin has now gone further and diligently researched the connection and affinity between the Rav and the Rebbe. Dalfin has interviewed many of the central figures who knew either or both of the two focal figures of this new volume. The results are a fascinating attempt to recreate details of the lives and the relationship between the Rav and the Rebbe, preeminent leaders of post-World War Two Torah Jewry.
What is most impressive about Rabbi Dalfin’s endeavor is his ability to understand the Yeshiva University world. It is truly a chronicle of the interaction and relationship between Chabad and the Yeshiva University of Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik. There is no bias or superciliousness. As a Chabad devotee, Dalfin also appreciates the realm in which the Rav functioned. This attitude unto itself is a welcome gesture on the current Torah scene where negativism is all too rampant. I am gratified to have been of some help in the research for this book.
Rabbi Aaron Rakeffet-Rothkoff