Prominent Rabbonim Rave About New English Likkutei Sichos

In preparation for the 30th anniversary of Gimmel Tammuz, Sichos in English approached prominent Rabbonim from across the spectrum of the English-speaking Torah world to share their perspective on Likkutei Sichos – and were shocked by the response.

In the present day, the Rebbe’s influence is deeply felt throughout all segments of Klal Yisrael. Frum audiences the world over marvel at the unwavering dedication and mesirus nefesh of shluchim. Stories of shlichus in exotic locations such as Nepal, Iceland, or Rwanda captivate the Jewish imagination. Moreover, Chabad has become the go-to address for frum travelers the world over. Beyond Chabad houses, many in the frum world recognize the Rebbe as an outstanding tzaddik and visionary leader. They have seen media clips of the Rebbe and perhaps have even read a biography or two. However, fewer are familiar with the profound depth of the Rebbe’s Torah. 

The Rebbe’s teachings, spanning over 300 published volumes, represent one of the most significant contributions to the collective body of Torah literature. The cornerstone of this vast body of work is Likkutei Sichos, a seminal work that encapsulates the Rebbe’s unique and innovative Torah insights. Despite this wealth of Torah teachings, many outside the Chabad community have yet to explore or seriously engage with the depth and breadth of the Rebbe’s Torah. 

The recently published Selections from Likkutei Sichos is a masterpiece that merges both  substantive richness with aesthetic appeal. This collection features three sichos on each parshah, expertly translated and elucidated with clear explanations and illuminating footnotes by Rabbi Eliyahu Touger and Rabbi Sholom Ber Wineberg. The set has taken the Chabad world by storm, gracing countless Lubavitch homes. Now, the time has come for these original teachings of the Rebbe to reach the broader Torah community.  

To this end, Sichos in English, under the directorship of Rabbi Shmuel Avtzon, has launched a campaign to promote awareness of Likkutei Sichos and its elegant bilingual edition throughout the English-speaking Torah world. The team has met with Rabbonim from across the spectrum to discuss the Rebbe’s Torah and gain their support for the campaign. The response has been overwhelmingly positive and enthusiastic. Time and again, diverse Rabbonim shared high praise of Likkutei Sichos’ unique virtues, encouraging all those in their influence to delve into its panoramic and relevant teachings.

Rabbi Herschel ShachterRosh Yeshivah of Yeshiva University and one of the leading poskim of world Jewry, received the Selections from Likkutei Sichos set warmly. He spoke eloquently of the Rebbe’s extraordinary leadership and the personal growth one can achieve through learning the Rebbe’s sichos. Reflecting warmly on his own interactions with the Rebbe, Rabbi Shachter spoke of the Rebbe’s guidance to countless Yidden in their personal lives. He emphasized that likewise the pages of Likkutei Sichos offer invaluable life-perspective and guidance.

Rabbi Moshe Elefant, Maggid Shiur of one of America’s most widely followed Daf Yomi shiurim and Executive Rabbinic Coordinator of OU Kosher, reflected on the Rebbe’s scholarly contributions: 

“The Lubavitcher Rebbe’s sichos exemplify genuine lomdus. We should focus on this aspect of the Rebbe, a tremendous talmid chacham who possessed knowledge of Kol HaTorah Kulah and taught it in innovative ways.”

Rabbi Leibel Wulliger of Boro Park, Rosh Kollel of Yeshiva Torah V’Daas, urged all Torah Jews to study Likkutei Sichos. As he put it: 

“These teachings show us how to live and how to shape our homes. Everybody should learn the Rebbe’s sichos regularly, daily; if not, at least once a week.”

Across the ocean as well, in Eretz Yisrael,  important leaders of the English-speaking community praised the unique character of Likkutei Sichos:

Rabbi Yitzchak Breitowitz, a Rosh Yeshivah at Yeshivas Ohr Somayach, shared:

“Likkutei Sichos has every aspect of Torah. There is something for every interest. You can find a tremendous amount of things that speak to the Yeshivishe mind, the analytical mind, the nigleh mind, and it’s all there. It’s full of jewels.”

Beyond merely reflecting on the value of Likkutei Sichos, Rav Breitowitz extolled the importance of Sichos in English’s work:

“Likkutei Sichos is difficult because the Rebbe didn’t dilute things. He presented the Torah as it is. It’s in Yiddish, so non-Yiddish speakers are stuck. It’s heavy reading. The text has scholarly footnotes the Rebbe wrote. The mareh mekomos (references) can be bewildering. Many aren’t familiar with the books referenced. It’s a potpourri of Kabbalah, Chassidus, halachah, lomdus, and so on. Someone familiar with one area may not know others.”

Likkutei Sichos is a treasure trove but not an easy read. The Yiddish, organization, style, mix of Torah strands, and references challenge even talmidei chachamim.

 I congratulate the Sichos in English project, which translates sichos, annotates them, and provides supplementary information. This opens the treasures of Likkutei Sichos to a generation of Jews. Exposing a hidden treasure is zikui harabim, bringing merit to Klal Yisrael. It’s one of the greatest things a Jew can do.

In a similar vein, Rabbi Shlomo Katz, Rabbi of the Shirat David community in Efrat and Rosh Kollel of Machon Zimrat Ha’aretz, an institute that trains Rabbonim for English-speaking communities, shared:

“Quite often, a person can become intimidated after that initial spark of interest in the Rebbe’s teachings. They open the sefarim, and so much of it is in Yiddish. Even if you know some Hebrew, what are you going to do with the Yiddish? And then even the Hebrew is intricate and complex. Sichos in English takes a person that feels intimidated and feels that this is not for him. And says to him – we have you in mind too. The Rebbe had you in mind too. We are blessed right now with access to this incredible world of Torah which is so needed now in this generation more than ever.”

Across the spectrum in the frum world, there is widespread recognition of the Rebbe’s unique contribution to Torah scholarship. The time has come for Likkutei Sichos to be accessible to every Jew. We invite you to help Sichos in English spread this message within your sphere of influence. 

In the coming days, Sichos in English will provide resources to help share the value of Likkutei Sichos far and wide – we encourage you to join this effort. Additionally, you can contribute financially to help ensure sets of Likkutei Sichos reach the entire English-speaking Torah world. 

To learn more about this momentous project and how you can participate, visit sie.org/ls

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RAV MOSHE ELEFANT SHLIT”A:


RAV EYTAN FEINER SHLIT”A:

RAV LEIBEL WULLIGER SHLIT”A:

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