Open Secret: Postmes­sian­ic Mes­sian­ism and the Mys­ti­cal Revi­sion of Men­achem Mendel Schneerson

Elliot R. Wolfson
  • Review
By – September 8, 2011
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.

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