Exploring the Father-Son Influence

This week’s special Living Torah presentation, A Father and a Teacher, commemorates the 20th of Av, Yahrzeit of the Rebbe’s father, Rabbi Levi Yitzchak Schneerson. 

JEM’s production team uncovered a dimension of Rabbi Levi Yitzchak that is rarely highlighted.  While most accounts of his life tend to focus on his scholarship and his leadership — a selfless dedication and heroic commitment to Jewish preservation, along with the self-sacrifice endured in the face of brutal Soviet opposition — little treatment is given to stylistic elements of his Torah teachings, which would influence and inform the manner in which his son, the Rebbe, would teach.

“When we think of the Rebbe’s father,” noted JEM’s Rabbi Shmuli Hurwitz, “we don’t necessarily think of him as the Rebbe’s teacher. Creating this video helped shed a whole new light on that reality.”Indeed, as the film demonstrates, when one examines the Rebbe’s teachings alongside those of his father, several parallels in style come into stark relief.  Amongst the more distinct similarities is the ability to identify a common thread that weaves its way through every detail of a given subject, even the time, place and author of the discussion itself. Thereby serving as a constant reminder that nothing in G-d’s universe is happenstance.

While many may already be familiar with the Rebbe’s vast and penetrating genius, A Father and a Teacher offers a rare glimpse into the source of those gifts, paying tribute to the man who was clearly his greatest teacher.