By Rabbi Levi Yitzchak Schneerson
Edited by Rabbi Eli Friedman
Pninei Levi Yitzchak is a collection of novel insights selected from the works of Rabbi Levi Yitzchak Schneerson on Prayer, Jewish Holidays, Torah Personalities and miscellanea. Skillfully distilled and shortened by the editor, they provide the scholar and layman a window into the Kabalistic world of the author.
This elegant volume is further enhanced by a comprehensive index and by a penetrating analysis of Rabbi Levi Yitzchak`s scholarship by Chasidic author and scholar Rabbi Yehoshua Mundshine.
Brief biographical sketch
Rabbi Levi Yitzchak Schneerson (1878 - 1944), father of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of blessed memory, was Chief Rabbi of the Ukrainian city of Yekatrinislav, now called Dnepropetrovsk.
He was a foremost Kabbalist of the past generation, eminent Torah scholar, Jewish leader and activist.
During his youth and the span of his career he became renown as an outstanding Halachist and Talmudic scholar. A man of lofty character and purpose, he spent much of his time in communal activities and campaigning for a better material and spiritual life for Jews in Russia.
But his involvement in Torah scholarship and Jewish affairs was thwarted abruptly in 1939 when the Soviet secret police, the notorious N.K.V.D. arrested him, charging him with "counter-revolutionary" activity. He was exiled to Chi`li, a small townlet in the Republic of Kazakhstan.
It was during his years of detention in Chili that Rabbi Levi Yitzchak capped a lifetime of Torah scholarship by recording some of his thoughts.
The Rebbe, often quoting and explaining his father`s teachings, has said that some of his father`s genius and finest teachings came forth when he was under the most excruciating, crushing pressures, "like the olive which exudes its oil when crushed."
Though no ink and paper were available, his devoted wife, Rebetzin Chana, secretly and with great risk, somehow managed to manufacture ink from herbs and plants found in the fields, but in the absence of paper Rabbi Levi Yitzchak was compelled to write sparingly on the margins surrounding the texts--those of which survived with him in his wanderings.
After his passing in exile on the 20th day of Menachem Av, 5704 (1944), his life-long partner, Rebetzin Chana Schneerson, gave his manuscripts to trusted friends, the bulk of which, beginning in 1959, eventually found its way to the United States and came to the hands of his illustrious son, who was by then the seventh Lubavitcher Rebbe.
Along with several hundred pages of manuscripts arrived the original texts that he used, the margins crammed with his writings in the various colors of ink, some lines running horizontal, others vertical. Many of the miniscule-lettered words appeared strung together in brief, encapsulated thoughts, which made deciphering a difficult task.
Five volumes of his works have been published to date. These five volumes, considered extraordinary in their depths of perception and Kabalistic interpretation, were published by the Kehot Publication Society, the Lubavitcher publishing house.