It has been known by our intelligence for a while now that weapons of mass destruction have fallen into the hands of many dangerous terror cells. While diplomacy and negotiation may succeed in warding off disaster for some undetermined time, it is inevitable that eventually, some uncontrolled radical will set off a round of catastrophic attacks that will obliterate life as we know it.
With time, we will be able to recover from the cataclysmic carnage and the assault on our environment. The greatest fear is that our leaders will all die, and there will be no one alive with the knowledge to rebuild our civilization and to restore its hard-won values.
So deep in a room underground, we have gathered together the most brilliant men and women alive today-- the leading philosophers, ethicists, scientists, thinkers, and strategists. The goal is to distill the essence of all knowledge into a code that can be preserved so that the sum total of human achievement will not be lost.
No, this is not fiction, not a futuristic sci-fi movie. It is history--Jewish history. As Rome descended upon Jerusalem, there was no escape from the inevitable doom. All the familiar institutions would be eradicated: the temple and the priesthood, the academy and its oral tradition. But we had the code-keepers, the brilliant authors of the Mishnah, who worked tirelessly to find a way to distill the essence of our heritage in a form that would allow Judaism to survive.
The Talmud we hold in our hand today is that code.
One part history, one part biography, all parts inspiration, the thrilling story of Portraits in Leadership will you to the core of our identity as Jews. We invite you to follow this breathtaking tale of enduring wisdom and character, and to become a code-keeper too.
Join us on Tuesday, February 2 at the Chabad Torah Centre, as we examine the life of Hillel, a gentle and beloved man. What qualities enabled him to create a groundswell following for the preservation of the code. We’ll find out in Lesson One.