In an article in Tablet about Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the former Lubavichter leader of the Chabad movement, Adam Kirsch discusses Eliot Wolfson’s new book Open Secret: Postmessianic Messianism and the Mystical Revision of Menahem Mendel Schneerson.
Kirsch, who calls Wolfson’s book “a brilliant new study of the Rebbe’s mystical thought,” looks at Schneerson’s continuing presence in the Chabad movement, evident in Youtube videos and the high esteem many continue to hold him. Claims by many of his followers that he was the Messiah continue to give Chabad a prominence in the Jewish world out of proportion to its actual membership.
However, Schneerson’s own claims about his being the Messiah are ambiguous. Wolfson, as Kirsch points out, “bases his book on the hypothesis that Schneerson not only didn’t think he was the Messiah, he didn’t even believe the Messiah was coming at all.”