On Marchesvan 28th 5871, which is Sunday November 15th 2020 in the secular calendar, Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh will turn 76. We are lucky to live at the time when such a luminary shines on so many of us. Rabbi Yitzchak’s super-modesty in projecting his immense knowledge upon us cannot overcome the fact that, in my deep conviction, he is an unparalleled figure in the modern Jewish world in his massive knowledge, his profound understanding, and his extraordinary talent for elegant clarity in presenting his knowledge and vision.
Rabbi Yitzhak GinsburghGal Einai Institute.
My husband Michael and I were very privileged to meet with Rav Yitzhak in his house in Kfar Chabad, and I am often in touch with him over many questions of Judaism that appear in my ongoing work and projects.
Rav Yitzhak is the one of the most elegant men I have ever met. It is not easy to bear the knowledge he is blessed to have, but he does so effortlessly. The inner light of the Torah shines out of him in an emphatically quiet, but stunningly beautiful way. In additional to being the supreme authority on Kabbalah and Jewish mysticism, Rav Yitzhak is a soulful composer and sublime musician who loves to perform his own melodies and he does it in the way that it stays with you forever once you’ve heard it.
He paints, a fact which is not widely known. He is open to Jewish people of various levels of faith, he has special programs for women, he extends his hand to non-Jewish people who are interested in our faith, tradition and heritage. He has many brilliant students who are authorities in many fields of Jewish knowledge in their own right. He is a wonderful husband and devoted father to his many children and grandchildren. His house shines in that unique quiet glow of modesty, dignity, elegance and loving kindness which is the golden heart of Jewishness and Judaism.
Never in my life had I felt the return to the house of my great-grandfather Meer Chigrinsky and his wife Dinah Paley until we stepped into the house of Rav Yitzhak in Kfar Chabad. The last time I had the very same sensations it was there, in the room left for them to live in after the Bolshevik seizure of power, over half a century ago. It is the light which defines any home, not the number of rooms. The light which defines the house of Rav Ginsburgh in Israel is of the same nature which was the light in the apartment of my great-grandparents in Ukraine.
Thatis not that surprising, actually. Dinah Paley’s brother Sergey Shraga Paley was the person who ensured the work position for Rav Levi Schneerson, the father of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, in Ekaterinoslav in the beginning of the XX century. Shraga’s daughter, my great-aunt Esther married Menachem Ussishkin, and the couple lived in the Shraga’s house for their first ten years of marriage before they emigrated to Palestine. My great grandfather Meer, the nephew of Abram Chigrinsky, the treasurer of the giant Ekaterinoslav Jewish community, together with Rebbe’s father Rabbi Levi, saved that entire community from famine in a specially elaborated scheme.
Rabbi Ginsburgh, in his turn, is the one of the most brilliant students of the Rebbe, who had encouraged him to publish his teaching lessons in the form of the book back in 1980 when Rav Yitzhak was 35 years old. The Rebbe was known to be extremely foresighted. He saw the rare qualities of Rav Yitzchak quite early. With his encouragement and his blessing, during the following forty years until this day, Rabbi Ginsburgh has authored a stunning number of over 100 books in Hebrew, English, French, Spanish and Russian. His books explore the fields of knowledge which span science, physics and math in particular, in addition to psychology, health, Jewish mysticism and Kabbalah, marital relations and family, and on to politics and leadership. Rabbi Ginsburgh never repeats himself which is a quality of a super-brain. But this super-brain alone would never go into the innermost hearts of his readers, as it always does, without the fine and delicate, but very strong soul which speaks out in the voice and thoughts of Rav Yitzchak to all of us.
The Inner Dimension
Rabbi Ginsburgh’s newest book is The Inner Dimension, Insights into the weekly Torah Portion. Rav Yitzchak’s commentaries on the weekly parashot, his essays, are based on many of his public teachings on the corresponding portions of the Torah at Kfar Chabad, Jerusalem, Safed, Ramat Aviv, Beitar, Elon Moreh, Afulah, Upper Nazareth, Arad, Karnei Shomron, and Tel Aviv during the previous 13 years, and partially on several of his previous books in Hebrew with some of the articles featured on Arutz Sheva. It tells us, knowing the steady massive productivity of Rav Yitzchak, that he and his colleagues who worked on this book for a long time, have chosen the choicest parts of his wisdom. The book is exceptionally edited in masterly fashion by Rachel Gordon.Cover The Inner DimensionDr. Rogatchi
In the sense of the character of the knowledge brought out in these 54 chapters on 54 parashot, the book is very balanced . The narrative is neither too dry or too light, not too scientific and not too story-telling. In a very harmonious way, it provides the reader with an explanation of the essence of the phenomena occurring in every Parasha. Rabbi Ginsburgh has decided to focus not on the plots or character traits, but on the phenomena appearing and defining every parasha, thus enlightening us with a deeper understanding of what the Torah means to tell us while telling of certain characters and episodes. This is insight into insight.
In its overall tone, the book reminds me of a very important conversation with an esteemed Rabbi who is organically kind and is so wise in his heart that he does not project himself, but sees with the eyes of those to whom he is talking.
The tone of this book is perfect, when you read it, you are as if accompanied with a special quiet light.
Like many of us, I have read numerous commentaries to the Torah, many of them with brilliant thoughts, interesting insights, new parables. You can be knocked down by the mighty knowledge of the great Ari in what his brilliant and devoted pupil Rabbi Chaim Vital wrote down. You can be enlightened by the brilliance of the Maharal and be engaged by his demanding mind. You can be completely gripped by a colossal work and its great result in the Baal HaTurim’s unique commentary.
But I never manage to read the commentaries to the Torah each week except for Rashi, which provides you with this shimmering light that stays with you, importantly, from the moment you close the book, to the next moment when you open it again.
In his book, Rav Yitzchak brings parallels to the current life in Israel in his insights on the Torah weekly portions, and in it, this commentary brings Jewish Law into the midst of our day. Many of those who read it, would think again, and again, and will see the events of the present day, its tendencies, its genesis, in the context, as a moral constant for mindful believing conscientious Jew – and this is exactly why the Rebbe instructed young Rabbi Yitzhak to publish his classes in the form of books. Rebbe knew precisely whom he was tasking, why, and what for.
Watch: as Rabbi Ginsburgh sings the Alter Rebbe’s E-li Atah melody at the special event in Shilo on the Sukkoth 5780 (October 2019):