Weekly Freebies: Moshiach Book

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Tuesday is the third of the Hebrew month of Tammuz, the 17th yahrtzeit of R. Menachem Mendel Schneerson (link). Nearly nine years ago I published a book arguing that the deceased Lubavitcher Rebbe cannot be mashi’ach. The book, Can the Rebbe be Moshiach?, is available for free download here: link.

A Hebrew booklet of mine, Kuntres Bikores HaGe’ulah, is available here: link.

About Gil Student

Rabbi Gil Student is the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of TorahMusings.com, a leading website on Orthodox Jewish scholarly subjects, and the Book Editor of the Orthodox Union’s Jewish Action magazine. He writes a popular column on issues of Jewish law and thought featured in newspapers and magazines, including The Jewish Link, The Jewish Echo and The Vues. In the past, he has served as the President of the small Jewish publisher Yashar Books and as the Managing Editor of OU Press. Rabbi Student serves on the Executive Committee of the Rabbinical Council of America. He also serves on the Editorial Boards of Jewish Action magazine, the Journal of Halacha and Contemporary Society and the Achieve Journal of Behavioral Health, Religion & Community, as well as the Board of OU Press. He has published five English books, the most recent titled Search Engine volume 2: Finding Meaning in Jewish Texts -- Jewish Leadership, and served as the American editor for Morasha Kehillat Yaakov: Essays in Honour of Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks.

61 comments

  1. Machon Shilo’s HaRav David Bar-Hayim has for many years spoken adamantly against Habad messianism. The following is an insightful piec on Habad:

    http://machonshilo.org/en/eng/list-ask-the-rav/31-general/424-the-false-mashiah-of-lubavitch-habad

  2. Aryeh Lebowitz

    When Rav Schachter was at my shul a couple of weeks ago he was asked about Chabad Messianism and said that he does not believe it is apikorsus, just “foolish”. He said that you can daven at a minyan of people who believe the rebbe is Mashiach even if they say “yechi” at the end, unless they ascribe godly qualities to the rebbe or pray to him. He commented that the phrase “l’olam va’ed” is something that should only be said about God Himself. He also said that although it is permissible to daven at such a minyan, he would not do so even if it were the only minyan available on a Shabbos or Yom Tov because he wouldn’t be comfortable davening there.

  3. The problem with Chabad is like shooting an arrow and painting a target around it. First the said the Rebbe is moshiach because moshiach must come from the living. Then he died and they changed their tune. Their religion revolves around the Rebbe, not the Torah. They still have not produced a single source to show moshiach be david can die in the middle of his mission, while there are sources against it.

    All this besides the occasional idolatry.

  4. I had an interesting conversation with an Israeli Chabadnik recently. He personally is not messichist, but his kids are because that is the norm in Israel. His view was also that Chabad in Asia was messichist because it was staffed by Israeli Chabadnikim.

    I think Prof. Marc Shapiro is right in observing that:

    “Today it must be admitted that Judaism and Christianity share a belief in the Second Coming of the Messiah. While this is an obligatory belief for Christians, for Jews it is, like so many other notions, simply an option. The truth of my statement is seen in the fact that messianist Habad is part and parcel of traditional Judaism, and, scandal or not, most of the leading Torah authorities have been indifferent to this. That is, they see it as a mistaken belief, but not one that pushes its adherent out of the fold. In other words, it is like so many other false ideas in Judaism, all of which fall under the rubric “Jewish beliefs.” As long as these beliefs don’t cross any red lines, the adherents are regarded as part of the traditional Jewish community. […] “.

    What I still can’t get my head around is why the MO Rabbinic Establishment accepts this heterodoxy, but remains hostile to others. I.e. why is this belief acceptable, if foolish, while others are “beyond the pale”.

  5. R. Lebowitz: See this post: https://www.torahmusings.com/2004/04/habad-messianism/

    IH: I disagree with Prof. Shapiro. Mainstream Judaism tolerates a deviancy. That doesn’t make it a Jewish belief. The reason the MO establishment hasn’t protested this foolishness is because it does not violate the 13 principles and is, at least institutionally, external to our community.

  6. HIRHURIM:

    “is, at least institutionally, external to our community.”

    don’t underestimate the influence of chabad on MO people. whether college students on campuses with active chabad houses or in communities where chabad shuls have successfully poached the local shul. even in large jewish communities like 5 towns chabad can be very active among MO.

    (as an aside, i think your statement is an interesting point to keep in mind the next time you post a list of differences between MO and RW.)

  7. GIL:

    just to add to the previous comment with a personal observation. on many occassions i’ve been approached by chabadniks on the street, kippah on my head notwithstanding. so they are not as “exte4rnal” as you would imagine. remember, in their view anyone who is not one of them is a fair target, whether one is already ortho or not.

  8. Aryeh Lebowitz

    Thank you very much for that link. It was fascinating. Interestingly, when I have asked Rav Schachter for his opinion on Dr. Berger’s book in the past, he said “I don’t think the problem is as big as Dr. Berger says it is – I think it is even worse! I think he understated it”

  9. gil:

    one more point (sorry).
    plenty of MO are עמי הארץ and are really oblivious to this issue and its problems.
    of course plenty of RW are also עמי הארץ, but they have much more restricted sense of the orthodox world in general and of orthodox authorities in particular, so it’s not as much as problem for them.

  10. Interesting statement by Rav Schachter. If it is true, he is willing to forego the mitzvah of tefilla b’tzibbur for the sake of ‘comfort’. All the while one of his arguments against women’s tefilla groups is that they are foregoing the benefits of tefilla b’tzibbur and deliberately choosing an ‘inferior’ mitzvah. Here he is doing the exact same thing. It would be interesting to hear the justification for the difference between the two circumstances

  11. Aryeh Lebowitz

    Noam – I think what he meant by “comfort” was not simply an issue of being queasy about it, but a concern over participating in a minyan where such damaging and “foolish” declarations of hashkafa are made. It seems that while he stopped short of saying it is prohibited to daven in such a minyan, the concern for participating in foolishness may outweigh the advantage of tefilah b’tzibur.

  12. Noam: That is not how I understand R. Hershel Schachter’s argument. See section I here: https://www.torahmusings.com/2004/03/womens-prayer-groups-r-hershel_30/

  13. Of course there are gradations of ‘comfort’. My point is that in one situation he flat out said it was assur to forego t’filla b’tzibbur and here he says it is ok not to daven with a halachically acceptable minyan. Either it is ok to forego tefilla b’tzibbur or it isn’t You can make all the diyyukim you want, but ultimately it is logically inconsistent, like most of his other halachic rationales to oppose WTG.

  14. No, he did not say it is assur to forgo tefillah be-tzibbur.

  15. I, personally, would find davening in the presence of people with such a twisted theology quite damaging to my kavanah. The shaliach tzibur is supposed to represent me – if he has the rebbe in mind while representing me, what does that say about me? The difficulty of approaching God in such circumstances is a legitimate reason to pray alone instead. That is certainly a bigger obstacle to kavanah than, say, having traveled in the previous 3 days.

  16. GIL:

    “No, he did not say it is assur to forgo tefillah be-tzibbur.”

    what if they are confirmed yehineks?
    or rebbe-theists?

    SHLOMO:

    “The shaliach tzibur is supposed to represent me”

    well then you might have a problem with many shuls aside from chabad shuls.

  17. which, why?

  18. SHLOMO:

    “which, why?”

    you want me to name names? you didn’t strike me as that type of guy 🙂

    but seriously, my comment wasn’t directed at any individual, shul or even ortho subgroup. the problems i’m thinking of cut across all

  19. There are many people I disagree with regarding how to understand the Torah, but as long as they agree it is the same Torah, given by the same God, I’m comfortable with their representing me before that God.

    Would I extend my comfort to a Neturei Karta holocaust denier, or the guy who beats up women who sit in the front of mehadrin buses? No, but I think this discomfort stems from a different source – I cannot make a partnership with someone who is a clear and immediate danger to myself or people I care about.

    Also, “the same Torah, given by the same God” excludes some people on the left, not just segments of Chabad.

    But those are extreme cases, and for the most part I’m comfortable joining a minyan with almost anyone who makes a point of having minyans.

  20. SHLOMO:

    i wasn’t even referring to hashkafic bounderies.

    i’ve been to shuls plenty of times where the shatz wasn’t someone i want representing me before god because of his character (nothing to do with hashkafa).

    and many times the shatz even doesn’t know what he is saying as he repreents me. in many cases it is clear either because i know the person or because of where he pauses (and how he sings, if on shabbos/chag). even in a best case scenario i assume as a common denominator that most people have at most a basic understanding of what they are saying.

    finally there is the issue of kavannah, in general and keeping in mind that one is reprsenting the kahal.

    (and yes, then there are the hashkafic issues.)

    personally i think being shatz is a tremendous responsibility. i haven’t done it in years. (i do lein.)

    btw, i do like the way you refer to the minyan as “joining a partnership.” maybe i’m cynical with what i wrote above because i don’t think most people think of like this. (i know i don’t, but maybe now i will.) rather, minyan is something we look for because it’s part of the ritual recipe for davening. similarly, many people rush to the amud because of a chiyuv, etc., nothing to do with wanting to reprsent anyone or complete a partnership.

  21. Gil- then if that is the basis for his opinion, he shouldn’t say that wtg are assur. It isn’t logical to put together a bunch of non-issur “preferences” and then conclude that something is assur. The intellectually honest approach would be to say it is not reccomended or that in his opinion one shouldn’t do it. If one is saying something is assur there should be a basis for it

  22. There is. I actually slightly revised that post in my book after he reviewed it. He believes WTG’s violate bal tigra. There is a difference between staying home on the one hand and going out but actively choosing to forgo a minyan. In WTG’s, women go out to pray, sometimes in a shul building, but choose to go to the group without a minyan. That is a problem even if there is no obligation to pray with a minyan.

  23. So you are saying that if rav schachter had the opportunity to daven with a minyan, but didn’t, he can’t get dressed im Shul clothes and can’t go out and take a walk, especially near a place that had a minyan?

    Staying home and davening without a minyan is an active choice. You could perhaps make a case that staying in bed and not davening is not am active choice, but when you open your siddur and put on your tallit at home, you have made a deliberate choice not to daven with a minyan. And, I would think that choice is worse for a man who has at least some sort of obligation for tefilla b’tzibbur. The women don’t have that obligation.

  24. Abba, if a Chabadsker approaches you- with a kippa on your head- then they’re only proving how external they are. There’s them; then there’s everyone else.

    I was at a wedding recently- American MO chatan, Israeli Mizrahi kallah- where they brought in the guy’s Chabad campus rabbi to read a letter from the rebbe under the chuppa. So yes, it gets in. But I know a bunch of MO people who daven at Chabad, etc. who write off this detail as a mishegas.

  25. The sinas chinam I see and hear towards Lubavitchers makes me so sick. People love to throw out the word “idolatry” but they don’t know what they are talking about. I personally know hundreds of Chabadniks, and am very close friends with numerous moshichists, and they all are so against even the slightest hint of the rebbe being Gd and they say that the only people they ever find with apikorsus beliefs are a few mentally imbalanced wackos. Many say they have never even met one in person. They are a tiny number of crazies,maybe a few dozen at most. No one even pays attention to them. Chabad is against them and always will be. Chabad will always remain committed to halacha and any attempts to delegitimize them and cause discord with them are going to have to answer in shamayim. You don’t like yechi and want to disagree, fine. But don’t make it where people start to abhor them and throw out the word “idolatry” whenever referring to them. I have seen this all too often with my own eyes. Sinas chinam.

  26. The 12th Ani Maamin espouses a belief in Moshiach coming. I don’t believe that many Chabadniks believe that. Belief in Moshiach means exactly that. It means that one accepts HASHEM’s choice, and not a best guess through strained readings of the Rambam regarding “Neherag”.

    I always ask this question in order to disambiguate: “Do you believe that the Moshiach can be someone OTHER than the Rebbe ז’ל” If they cannot answer or they answer in the negative, then I don’t think they can be held to the 12th Ani Maamin. Am I missing something?

    Even when R’ Akiva held that Bar Kochba was Chezkas Moshiach, was the implication there that R’ Akiva would not accept that HASHEM might have a different view?

  27. Abba:
    1) Perhaps because I’m in Israel, people do seem to know what the words mean.
    2) Perhaps because I’m in Israel, I’m usually in big anonymous minyans or shtiblach, so I’m unaware of the shatz’s character flaws 🙂
    3) I can’t pretend that every time my prayers reach the ideal I described. But why introduce additional impediments, beyond my inherent yetzer hara?

    Tyuvta – praying to the Rebbe is MUCH more widespread than you claim. Not to mention the texts saying that the rebbe is “God in a body”. I take it you live in the US, in the rest of the world deviant beliefs are much more common in Chabad.

  28. Isaac, it doesn’t seem as if Gil mentions this point: To say that the Rebbe will come back as Mashiach is basically saying that he is the greatest Jew, ever. In other words, it can’t be Daniel or Yehuda HaNasi, the Gemara’s choices (and, in the first case, the one on which all Chabad claims hang), nor, say, the sixth rebbe, the first rebbe, the Baal Shem Tov, the Rambam, or Moshe Rabbenu. And to say that *anyone* is greater than Moshe is very problematic as well, and contradicts an explicit pasuk in the Torah.

    Tyuvta: Too often, the words “sinat chinam” are used in an attempt to shut down honest discussion of this topic.

  29. Nachum, that’s not the point I was making. They can have their own view on who it might be, but not allowing the possibility that Hashem has other ideas is greatly problematic to me and is at the heart of the issue, as I see it.

  30. There is no sinath hinam involved in pointing out the problem of Habad’s messianism. HaRav David Bar-Hayim has tremendous ahavath yisrael and speaks out in the name of emeth and so that Jews not get caught believing in something theologically deviant.

  31. Isaac, once you posit that Mashiach can come from the dead, you must defend your choice of a specific dead person as opposed to any other. Thus, a Chabad Messianist must explain why the Rebbe is a better candidate than, say, David HaMelech.

  32. ergo Hirhurim on July 3, 2011 at 10:01 am is an insufficient answer. One could as convincingly argue that Chabad messianism does violate the 13 principles as that it does not. The meta-halachic steer is elsewhere.

  33. Balbin – moshichists refer to the rebbe as being bechezkas moshiach. If someone else is moshiach, they will just be happy that he is here. It is silly to say they don’t hold by the 12th principle.

    Shlomo – can you provide any statistics or proof to your claims? I have spoken with many meshichists who have lived in Israel and none of them have heard of your claims of avoda zara. Did u take a survey? How would you know this? I think you are very misinformed

    Nachum and Moshe – you can have a healthy debate on any topic. The problem is not in the debate, but in what measures and conclusions people jump to as a result of the debate. That is where the sinas chinam happens. To claim lubavitchers as a movement could be idolators, or to claim that one can’t go in their shuls or that their rabbis rulings should not be followed anymore. These are dangerous statements with dangerous results. We haven’t done teshuvah for sinas chinam as a people, and this opportunity afforded to ridicule and disdain and speak badly about chabadniks has become so ingrained in many circles of the Jewish world as a result of hatred, asumptions, and misinformation that gets comingled in these debates about Chabad. Sinas chinam is a very real force today in the Jewish world and it is directed against Lubavitch. Do you personally feel love, or disdain when you see a lubavitcher? Too many people that I have met will answer the latter.

  34. Tyuvta – My local Chabad rabbi (until a recent move) prays to the rebbe. A couple years ago I saw a promotional video for the Crown Heights shluchim conference which was narrated in the form of an extended prayer from a young child to the rebbe. The “personalized messages” from the rebbe attested to in previous comments would seem to follow from a similar perception of the rebbe.

    My feelings of love or disdain for someone are based on their actions. With Chabad it is remarkable how many unusual good and bad thing are mixed together at the same time. I will admit I have an extra appreciation for the devoted Chabad couple I know who feel they cannot send their kids to Chabad schools because of the messianism.

  35. Ahlomo, did he tell you himself he prays to the rebbe? What exactly did his prayer consist of? Furthermore, a letter written at a tzaddiks grave is not the same as praying to him, and this childs talking to the rebbe is not suddenly a prayer because you assume it is. Lubavitchers see the rebbe as their father, and just as someone would talk to their father even if he was deceased, the same idea applies here.

  36. I would just add that the whole claim about “G-d in a body” is a completely misunderstood concept used by those who ould attack Chabad. Chabad does not in any way take that concept to mean Gd in a body literally, chas vesholom.

  37. Seriously, chassidim have been petitioning tzadikim – alive or dead – for centuries. If you have a problem with the practice of “pan,” you have a problem with the entire chassidic movement (and the practice of the vast majority of sfardim and many other ashkenazim as well) not just 21st century Lubavitchers. Then there is the Rashi on “vayavo ad Chevron” about Yehoshua petitioning the avos. You can be a baal gaiva, stick to a very rigid definition of avoda zara, and thus implicate over half of otherwise frum yidden, including many if not most of your own ancestors. The other option would be to think and research a little bit more about what different authorities have to say on this topic.

  38. Tyuvta: I ask the question I stated. I do so all the time. In my estimation 80% of respondents simply are either silent or walk away. Please don’t say they hold by the 12th if they cannot openly admit that theirs is a possibility but not NECESSARILY the truth. The truth is only Hashem’s choice. It’s that simple. Think about it a little more.

  39. Balbin, if you ask a moshichist, they will say that they hold the rebbe is bechekas moshiach, but they will not say he is moshiach vadai. They strongly believe the rebbe is moshiach, but if it turns out to be someone else, they will accept him of course.
    Although I’m not sure how they would be breaking the 12th even if they hold vadai. They still await the coming of moshiach, even if they think they know who it is already.

  40. Tyuvta, I hope you realize that the line beginning “Ani Maamin” is not an Ikar; it’s an abridgement of the actual, which appears in the Perush HaMishna.

  41. Tyuvta, I most certainly have asked. I have asked hundreds of times. If they hold Vadai, which in my estimation is what they do with their silence or revulsion at my question, then they do not believe in Mashiach. Belief in Mashiach means Hashems’s Mashiach not NECESSARILY a human being’s best guess.

  42. Ahlomo, did he tell you himself he prays to the rebbe?

    A friend of mine, who was until that moment was a big supporter of Chabad, heard him petitioning the rebbe during davening.

    Lubavitchers see the rebbe as their father, and just as someone would talk to their father even if he was deceased, the same idea applies here.

    Yet we also see God as our father. The rebbe, like God, unlike my dad, is supposed to be everyone’s father.

    You can make all the pilpul you want about rebbe-as-father, God-in-a-body, and so on – but at some point all the metaphors pointing in the same direction make an overwhelming case that Chabadniks view the rebbe as SOME form of divinity.

    —-

    mor – many authorities would say ein hachi nami, it is all idolatry. Was the Rambam a “baal gaiva” too?

  43. “Balbin, if you ask a moshichist, they will say that they hold the rebbe is bechekas moshiach…”

    IS bechezkas moshiach? That is the problem. The first Tisha B’Av after the petirah of the previous Lubavitcher Rebbe tzatzal, I heard a prominent Lubavitcher Rov here in Toronto state that the Rebbe WAS

  44. cont’d…

    WAS b’chezkas moshiach, not that he IS. Therein lies the problem. The Rebbe is dead and not among the living. Therefore, while he may, according to his chassidim, had a chezkas moshiach, he no longer has that chazakah anymore.

  45. The amazing thing is that while Breslover Chassidim, known as the “toit chassidim” carried on after Rav Nachman’s petirah, even with a very similar “cult of personality” but without any need to start toying with the idea that Rav Nachman was mosiach, Lubavitch couldn’t do the same even though it is effectively in the same boat. CHABADskers live off the Lukutei Sichos like Breslovers off of the Luketei Moharan.

  46. Apropos of the use of Rambam’s 13 Ikarim to define the red lines, RNS posted a wonderful chart yesterday:

    http://www.rationalistjudaism.com/2011/07/interpretations-of-maimonides-guide-for.html

  47. In my previous comment I meant Kalev not Yehoshua.
    Um…Breslovers *do* say that Rabbi Nachman is mashiach.It isn’t a theme song with them but it is definitely an idea out there.
    That ein hachi nami without the remotest show of curiosity was all I needed. Can you imagine a real non-chassidic oheiv Yisroel, such as the Chofetz Chaim or Rav Yaakov Kamanetsky, being so content about that propect?
    If you can show that A. Jews in medieval Egypt commonly petitioned tazadikim for intervention and B. the Rambam never lifted a finger to try and stop them I would say “yes, that is the behavior of a baal gaiva.” Since I think publishing his hakdama to perek chelek counts as “lifting a finger” if we assume that “A” is true, it would be impossible to do that.

  48. First off some people get upset when someone challenges their beliefs so that could explain why they walk away. Second, I don’t know who you have been asking this to, because plenty of chabadniks are very comfortable discussing their views if asked in a polite, non attacking way. The chabadniks I have spoken with have told me they hold the rebbe is bechezkas mashiach, not vadai. However you seem to be saying that because you haven’t received an answer, you assume the worst. You should never assume and jump to conclusions without fully investigating the matter.

  49. Shlomo, what exactly did he ask? Mentioning the rebbe does not mean one is praying to him. Every Lubavitcher I have asked condemns the idea of praying to the rebbe, so I would like more than the hearsay you provided. Chabadniks don’t talk to him like they would pray to Hashem. You can assume the worst all you want, but you have not established beyond a reasonable doubt that lubavitchers have accorded divinity to the rebbe, anymore than they or any other chassidic group accords a type of holiness and divine connection to a rebbe while they are alive. Show me some solid proof from anywhere before you make your claims.

    In terms of the Rebbe not being able to be moshiach, the Rambam himself said that we really don’t know how things are going to unfold when moshiach comes. If there is even a slight possibility that techias hameisim could occur and the rebbe turns out to be moshiach, or that tzaddikim never really die, and he could still be a candidate etc, then one could claim he is bechekas moshiach, as unlikely as it may seem given all the sources throuhgout Jewish history. Again, we don’t know how Moshiach is going to occur, so one must be careful when accusing heresy in regards to beliefs about the unfolding of moshiach.

  50. 2 comments:

    1) I spent a week touring eastern Europe with Rabbi Shechter. Nearly every stop, and food preparation and Minyan, with notable exceptions was at Chabad houses, a memorable one was shachris in the Chabad Frankfurt yeshiva, in addition to numerous private conversations re Chabad and the Rebbe, during one of them he chocked up emotionally. If indeed the opinions proscribed to him are true, and now I highly doubt them, then he would not be the great man I found him to be, if it is true, then I am highly disappointed at whom I thought to be an ish emess.

    2) I have no problem, indeed I understand the issues with Moshichtin, this seems to be a YU etc. fixation, I believe, contrary contrary to what was said above, it is highly overblown, I am against Meshichism, and I think it is foolish, but the beliefs proscribed to the vast majority of them, minus the very few certified nutcases, are simply not there,

    3) the way a chosid talks and “davens” by his Rebbes tziyon, similar to how I saw Rabbi Shechter daven fervently by the Chasam Sofers kever, (why was he davening so fervently there, as opposed to how he davened that morning in the hotel lobby?) is foreign to a non chosid, here isnt the place to discuss this there is a very deep discourse, that I believe Rav Soloveitchik mentioned once called kuntress histatchuss, but it is indeed drawing on the Rebbe/Tzaddik? Chossid relationship to intervene to HKBH or better said in the Tzaddiks zchus to go up and itercede on the petitioners behalf
    Ask yourself what the tens of thousands of people who daven at Rashbi or the baal shem of Michelstadt etc. feel when they daven.

    4) To the guy who claims he “heard” his Rabbi or the local Rabbi davening TO the Rebbe or such, I simply don’t believe you. I dont believe you heard such a thing, and I dont believe The Rabbi admitted such a thing and I dont believe a certain congregant heard it either. I dont believe you are telling the full truth.

    5) Finally, and most importantly, I’ve written before of the abhorring practice on this Blog and other similar ones, of painting an entire Eidah of Yiddden in one brush. It is one thing to disagree, even vehemently, with Moshichism, it is quite another, to really mean Lubavitch/Chabad as a whole. I know hundreds of Lubavitcher hassidim, Rabbonim, Shluchim who are precious, Lomdim, Yirei Shomayim oskei btzorchei tzibbur b”emunah (like the Shliach in Hamburg who asked Rav Shechter to make a Get for a Russsian Agunah) who are medakdek B’kala kebachamura, and to see the words written here behind thinly veiled inuendoes, about all Lubavitchers, is plain simple wrong, and for Rabbi Student, to engender such a polemic around The Yortzeit of someone who did so so much for world Judaism is disgraceful.
    You can agree to disagree, and healthy debate is right and needed but this has gotten way out of hand for years.

    Moishe

  51. Few comments:

    1) I spent a week touring eastern Europe with Rabbi Shechter. Nearly every stop, and food preparation and Minyan, with notable exceptions was at Chabad houses, a memorable one was shachris in the Chabad Frankfurt yeshiva, in addition to numerous private conversations re Chabad and the Rebbe, during one of them he chocked up emotionally. If indeed the opinions proscribed to him are true, and now I highly doubt them, then he would not be the great man I found him to be, if it is true, then I am highly disappointed at whom I thought to be an ish emess.

    2) I have no problem, indeed I understand the issues with Moshichtin, this seems to be a YU etc. fixation, I believe, contrary contrary to what was said above, it is highly overblown, I am against Meshichism, and I think it is foolish, but the beliefs proscribed to the vast majority of them, minus the very few certified nutcases, are simply not there,

    3) the way a chosid talks and “davens” by his Rebbes tziyon, similar to how I saw Rabbi Shechter daven fervently by the Chasam Sofers kever, (why was he davening so fervently there, as opposed to how he davened that morning in the hotel lobby?) is foreign to a non chosid, here isnt the place to discuss this there is a very deep discourse, that I believe Rav Soloveitchik mentioned once called kuntress histatchuss, but it is indeed drawing on the Rebbe/Tzaddik? Chossid relationship to intervene to HKBH or better said in the Tzaddiks zchus to go up and itercede on the petitioners behalf
    Ask yourself what the tens of thousands of people who daven at Rashbi or the baal shem of Michelstadt etc. feel when they daven.

    4) To the guy who claims he “heard” his Rabbi or the local Rabbi davening TO the Rebbe or such, I simply don’t believe you. I dont believe you heard such a thing, and I dont believe The Rabbi admitted such a thing and I dont believe a certain congregant heard it either. I dont believe you are telling the full truth.

    5) Finally, and most importantly, I’ve written before of the abhorring practice on this Blog and other similar ones, of painting an entire Eidah of Yiddden in one brush. It is one thing to disagree, even vehemently, with Moshichism, it is quite another, to really mean Lubavitch/Chabad as a whole. I know hundreds of Lubavitcher hassidim, Rabbonim, Shluchim who are precious, Lomdim, Yirei Shomayim oskei btzorchei tzibbur b”emunah (like the Shliach in Hamburg who asked Rav Shechter to make a Get for a Russsian Agunah) who are medakdek B’kala kebachamura, and to see the words written here behind thinly veiled inuendoes, about all Lubavitchers, is plain simple wrong, and for Rabbi Student, to engender such a polemic around The Yortzeit of someone who did so so much for world Judaism is disgraceful.
    You can agree to disagree, and healthy debate is right and needed but this has gotten way out of hand for years.

    Moishe

  52. mor – Why do you assume that just because I don’t advertise my emotions to everyone, that I don’t have any?

    Tyuvta – My friend, who until that moment was very vocal about the “sinat hinam” directed at Chabad, was shocked enough to characterize it as prayer to the rebbe, and to never go back to that Chabad house. Perhaps in the same circumstances you would have the same reaction.

    Your discussion of “b’chezkas moshiach” shows you have no idea what the word חזקה even means, and your claim “we don’t know how Moshiach is going to occur” could equally be used to justify belief in Yushka as messiah – is that acceptable too?

  53. What’s particularly offensive about the whole “Rebbe as Mashiach” thing is that the Rebbe really did nothing that would qualify him to be Mashiach under the classic beliefs of Judaism. Judaism has always understood Mashiach to be a political figure ruling over Israel (people and Land!). The Rebbe has no political power apart from being able to tell his chassidim who to vote for and tell the Agudah who to align with- both very indirect. And he never even visited Israel.

    Let’s assume he was a great Talmid Chacham. Well? So were many, many others. Let’s assume he brought many people to Jewish practice. Well? So did many, many others. What makes him so special- if you’re not a Chabadnik yourself, that is, or someone whose only contact with Judaism is them?

  54. Dare I say it; I agree with Nachum. (still waiting for the lightening bolt.)

  55. Moishe – which opinions ascribed to Rav Schachter in these comments don’t fit with what you saw? All he was quoted as saying was that it is “foolish” but NOT apikorsus, to believe that the rebbe is mashiach, and that he would be uncomfortable davening somewhere that they said “yechi” as part of the service. That, in no way, contradicts the idea that he believes the Rebbe was a great talmid chacham and tzadik.

  56. “this seems to be a YU etc. fixation”
    the leading anti Chabad gedolim, Rav Shach Rav Svei, were hardly affiliated with YU.

  57. Nachums comment, “Judaism has always understood Mashiach to be a political figure ruling over Israel (people and Land!)”

    The Judaism I get my information from is primarily, Rambam. The Rambam where he describes Moshiach qualifications, indeed that he seem to be alive at the time, (BTW, as the Rebbe WAS,) talks about him being a descendant of king David, a serious and steady Torah scholar (hoga B’Torah) and a strong advocate of strengthening its observance, including what we call Kiruv or outreach (lechazek Bidka) and if memory serves me right, he is then B’chezkas Moshiach.

    Then, if he gatheres the exiled Jews (from where? Jerusalem? Brooklyn? Lakewood?) and is succesful, he is Moshiach Vadai.

    Where does Land or politics (?!) even enter the equation?
    I am aware, that there are some streams of Jewish philosophy who negate a “person” based Moshiach and instead describe a utopian/ nationalistic type era, indeed based on the land of Israel, But I believe Rambam is pretty clear on this.

    I, for one, feel the last thing we need right now, is a political figure.
    I dont know if thats enough lightning for Joseph though.

    Reb Student, oops I mean Talmid, Those leading anti chabad gedolim were anti chabad, anti the Rebbe, way before the first Yechi was shreiked and imprinted on kippas. They were anti outreach (and of course anti YU and RIETS for sure- see Rabbi Lamms excelent,notes re the refusal of those groups to even mention RIETS etc they would only mention the suvalker Rov or such, never Riets) The strident YU, RIETS Anti Chabad, disguised as anti moshichisten is a relatively recent phenomenon, I well remember when YU, and its publications I might add, was a lot friendlier to your average chabadnik and his beliefs – this from current talmidim and recent graduates.

  58. Moishe: sorry – I’m not Gil, just a talmid of Rav Schachter (thus the name talmid – Rabbi Student would be a fool to use talmid as a pseudonym) who didn’t like the insinuation that there was a lack of integrity in his comments.

  59. Shlomo, I am referring to chazaka in the context of the yad hilchos milachim about moshiach. And yushka obviously couldn’t be moshiach because he went against the torah.
    And I would like to see actual proof that someone prayed to the Rebbe. I have talked to chabad rabbis, some of whom were mishichistin, and they are all against praying to the Rebbe. Whoever this Chabad rabbi was, I would like to know the real details of what happened. People love to talk about Chabad’s “idolatry” but no one ever seems to have any real proof.

    The bottom line is, you can disagree with the idea of the Rebbe being moshiach, but to try claim the entire movement are apikorsim, and to call them idolaters, and to attack the entire movement and try to separate the from the Jewish people is sinas chinam. I can disagree with Satmar’s views on Eretz Yisroel without hating and mocking them. I can disagree with many things that Avi Weiss does without mocking or hating him. And people should be able to disagree with Lubavitch while still loving them and doing everything possible to encourage achdus. Be careful when you give people license for sinas chinam. It is very dangerous.

  60. Moshe, the word “melech” is pretty unequivocal. And the Rambam says that the *chezkat* Mashiach must be a “melech.” And the Rambam’s qualifications are pretty clearly political and military and connected with the Land of Israel. The Rebbe had none of that.

    Remember that R’ Akiva thought (as the Rambam stresses) that Bar Kochba was Mashiach. We have no evidence that Bar Kochba was the gadol hador or even a big talmid chacham (although we have evidence he was quite frum and worked for Judaism as well as the Jewish people and land).

    (I’m more of the school that says the government of Israel could well turn out to be Mashiach, but I’ll admit I’m not in the historical Jewish mainstream. I can explain myself further if you want, but that’s not the point here.)

    Oh, and how do you know the Rebbe was a descendant of David?

    And let me point out that when it comes to gathering people to Israel, the Rebbe did…what? He could have snapped his fingers and all his Chassidim would have gone.

  61. RHS does not contradict himself at all: Otoh, he he highly regards the LR personally; otoh he holds that the lubavitcher chassidim today who have the practice of “yechi…” and this belief are a distortion of judaism! See a recent shiur at YUTorah where he puts together Neturey kartah and lubavitch with regards to doing things that are contrary to accepted norms of judaism. He prefaces by saying the LR was a big Talmid chochom but says that today’s Lubavitchers do not have the caliber of talmidey chachamim to be able to innovate “yechi adonnenynooh moreynu…” and to pray to the Rebbe!

    On the contrary, his pointed criticism make shim more of an ish emes as he is not afraid of being vilified by lubavitcher chassidim for his open opinions about today’s’ practices and their new religion.

Leave a Reply

Subscribe to our Weekly Newsletter


The latest weekly digest is also available by clicking here.

Subscribe to our Daily Newsletter

Archives

Categories

%d bloggers like this: