Ariel Evan Mayse
“One cannot, says Hasidism, have to do essentially with God if one does not have to do essentially with men.”
Kalonymus Kalman Shapira, a Hasidic communal leader, and Hillel Zeitlin, a writer who sought to bring Yiddish religious books to a new audience, met on the page, and almost certainly in the Warsaw Ghetto.
After the war, the great Jewish historian Salo Baron wrote to Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn, the sixth Lubavitcher Rebbe, for help with his work on the Commission on European Jewish Cultural Reconstruction. As Hannah Arendt suggested in a side note to Baron, the commission probably wasn't “kosher” enough for Schneersohn, but their exchange illuminates a dark historical moment.
In Immanuel Etkes's new biography, we meet the young Shneur Zalman shortly after the death of his master Rabbi Dov Ber Friedman, known as the Maggid (or preacher) of Mezheritch in 1772.