Aptly titled, this is a complex and often difficult, yet rewarding analysis of the seventh Lubavitcher Rebbe, his messianic theology, and its implications and significance in the chain of Chabad tradition. Of particular interest to this reviewer was Wolfson’s discussion of the role of law and ritual and the contrast between performance and intentionality in pre- and post- messianic theology of the Rebbe. Equally fascinating was the exploration of the significance of America and American democracy to the Rebbe, the roles and relationships of Jews and non-Jews, and the seven Noahide laws as pertains to non-Jews. Ultimately, while the book may be best appreciated by other scholars, Wolfson has contributed greatly to the intelligent layperson’s capability of understanding some of the underlying mysticism and theology that was the driving force behind a major figure in Jewish life of the 20th century. Bibliography, index, notes.
William Liss-Levinson is vice president, chief strategy & operations officer of Castle Connolly Medical Ltd., a consumer health research, information, and publishing company. He holds a Ph.D. in education and is a member of the board of directors of the Jewish Book Council.