Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Lubavitch II

Some Rabbis - such as Rav Moshe for instance - simply were not "mekabel" that Lubavitch believes some of the things that they do believe (he held it was loshon horah since he did not see any of it himself), and others held that even though they do terrible things, they also do good. Many of those type people later changed their minds. I remember when I was kid that Rabbi Avigdor Miller always used to use the Lubavitcher Rebbe as an example of a Godol; but when the Meshichistism came to light he stopped mentioning the Rebbe as a Godol because he saw what poison came from Chabad. It is true that many Rabbonim did resist those who dismissed Chabad as deviant, but as time went by, more of their activities came to the forefront and more information about them was made available, they saw things differently.

Don’t forget, Chabad is very into PR, and they even had a command from the Rebbe to spread the "news" about Moshiach in a way that "people will accept it", meaning, to specifically make sure that it is presented in a way that will avoid revealing information that will engender opposition and revulsion. But that information is there, merely unpublicized. Most of the information about the Meshichism and other problems came to the public eye in the past 10 years, and particularly after the rebbe died. Any Rav that did not live to see any of this happen proves nothing.

Furthermore, no rabbis ever defended any of the deviant things Chabad or the Rebbe did. Not a single peep of defense to explain the anti-Halachic ruling of the rebbe that only Lubavitcher Chassidim, by virtue of the fact that they are Chabad - do not have to sleep in the Sukah, etc.

Rav Hutner ZTL was extremely anti-Lubavitch, and that includes the Rebbe as well.

When he found out that a few of his students were at a Chabad farbreingen, he threatened to expel them unless they refuse to go there again.

He once said, "Chachmah, Binah, and Daas, they say! Yes, but of course they have no sechel!!!"

"The problem with Chabad," he said on a different occasion, "is that they think they are all of Klall Yisroel and the rest of us are just branches."

Any - and I mean any - student of Chaim Berlin will tell you that Rav Hutner was one of the staunchest opponents and antagonists of Lubavitch, and the Rebbe, in the generation.

And the Satmar Rebbe ZTL was NOT, contrary to what they say in the propaganda of Chabad, a friend of the Lubavitcher Rebbe. He once said that if Hashem grants him long life, after the war with the Zionists is over, his next project will be to write a Sefer against Lubavitch. (Incidentally, this is similar to what the Brisker Rav ZTL once said: "If not for the Zionists, the war in our generation would be against Lubavitch").

In Divrei Yoel (Tzav) he calls Lubavitch - including the Rebbe - "idiots" (tipshim) because of the idea, originated by the Lubavitcher Rebbe, that spreading Chasidus nowadays will bring Moshiach (that was obviously meant only in the days of the Baal Shem Tov he says).

The Satmar Rebbe ZTL considered the Lubavitcher rebbe responsible for corrupting the derech of the Baal Shem Tov and making into a newfangled approach to Judaism that is anything but Chasidus.

He constantly told the students in his Yeshiva that they should not learn Sifrei Chabad more than other Chaasidishe Seforim because even though they are holy, since nowadays Chabad is corrupt, there is a danger of being involved in contemporary Chabad so they should limit their learning of the Chabad Seforim. (Again, a similar sentiment was expressed by Rav Shach shlita, in a letter explaining that he definitely would not mind if his students learn Tanya, but not through Lubavitch, who have corrupted it and twisted their original Chasidus into newfangled ideas.)

And incidentally, Rav Shlomo Yosef Zevin was a Talmid Chacham, but when we are talking about the Brisker Rav, Rav Aharon Kotler, the Satmar Rav, the Chazon Ish, and others of that caliber, Rav Zevin is just not in that league.

Nobody in Satmar ever opposed the teachings of the Alter Rebbe. They are held in the highest esteem there. It is a pity that the Rebbe said such a thing, since it is simply not true. The reason why the Lubavitcher man was attacked was not because of the Tanya but because he was trying to make the Satmar kid - without permission of the parents - into a Lubavitcher Chosid. As I said above, in the name of the Satmar Rebbe, it is great to learn Tanya, but certainly not from Lubavitcher Chasidim who do it to proselytize people into believing in the Lubavitcher Rebbe. As a matter of fact, the father of that boy agreed to learn Tanya with him, just as long as he does not learn it from Chabad, who are only interesting in pushing their own agenda.

It reminds me of a missionary who went around claiming to their people that the Jews don't believe in the Torah since Jewish parents refuse to allow this missionary to teach Torah ("Old Testament" sic) to Jewish children.

No, sorry, it’s not the Tanya anyone has a problem with, it's contemporary Chabad.


As far as having a right to say that contemporary Chabad is not real Lubavitch, there are a number of errors in that logic. First, such a statement is like saying "Jews have no right to say that Christians do not follow the Torah - only Christians have a right to say that, not outsiders." Obviously, this makes no sense. Your label or affiliation is not what qualifies you to make such a judgment - your knowledge does. And just like you, as an "outsider" to let's say Consevative Judaism, or Jews for Jesus, or even Modern Orthodoxy, that they do not follow the Baal Shem Tov, so too others can say it about you.

If the accusation is that today's Lubavitchers are themselves "outsiders" to Chasidus, and that they have no connection to the Alter Rebbes teachings at all, what kind of answer is it that since they are not outsiders only they have the right to judge?


The fact is, no authority has ever defended the Lubavitcher Rebbe on any of the points where he has been accused. His Halachic methodology that led to the sleeping in the Sukkah psak, the "G-d in a body" concept and others have never been defended by any Odom Godol anywhere outside of Chabad. Nobody defends the wrong things that Lubavitch says and does.

There are those who hold that even though the Lubavitcher Rebbe did some bad, he also did much good, and it has to be taken in that context. Others judge him "l'kaf zechus"in different ways, such as Rav Avigdor Miller ZTL, who once upon a time admired the Lubavitcher Rebbe highly, and even used him as an example of a Gadol in his lectures. However, after the Moshiach campaign, he stopped using the Lubavitcher Rebbe as an example of a Gadol, and told people that the whole thing is very wrong.

When Rabbi Miller ZTL was asked by a grandson of his how he could attend the Lubavitcher Rebbe's funeral, since we know of all the terrible things he said and did, Rabbi Miller's answer was that the Lubavitcher Rebbe was not in his right mind the last 20 years of his life and not responsible for what he said then.

As opposed to the Rambam and others, where answers were provided by authorities to all claims leveled against him. The Lubavitcher Rebbe - even among those who were not "against" him - can not answer the clear cut wrong that he did and said. They just feel he was either not in his right mind, or that the good that he did shields him from complete "bitul", despite the bad things he did.

Such as the Gerrer Rebbe ZT"L, who, when told that the Lubavitcher Rebbe was "soon going to reveal himself", answered, "Then let him go behind a curtain."

However, the general consensus of Gedolei Yisroel is that the Lubavitcher Rebbe was to be considered "chutz lamachaneh"


The Satmar Rebbe and the Lubavitcher Rebbe were not contemporaries, though their lives obviously overlapped. The Satmar Rebbe was considered a Godol B'Yisroel in the days of the Chofetz Chaim (he was offered the job of Rav of the Eidah Hachareidis after the petirah of R. Yosef Chaim Zonenfeld. The Satmar Rebbe turned down the job.), and was already a leader of Klall Yisroel before WWII. The Lubavitcher Rebbe was studying in college in Paris and later, working as an engineer in the Brooklyn Navy Yard in New York. The Satmar Rebbe had much respect and admiration for Chabad in the old days, as it was a great Chasidus, and the Rebbe Rashab especially found great favor in the eyes of the Satmar Rebbe. Satmar and Lubavitch were, in those days, staunch allies in the fight against Zionism and secularism. The Rebbe Rashab was one of the leaders of the anti-Zionist Gedolei Yisroel.

The Satmar Rebbe used to be staunch allies with Chabad when Chabad was still following the Alter Rebbe and the Baal Shem Tov.

But when the last Lubavitcher Rebbe began hiding and even watering down the traditional Chabad stance against Zionism, most likely to find favor in the eyes of the masses who would look at Chabad totally different had they known of their extreme anti-Zionist position, and saying crazy things regarding Chasidus in general, the Satmar Rebbe had no choice but to shake his head sadly and take the position that Chabad went down the tubes.

The Satmar Rebbe did not look at the problems with the Lubavitcher Rebbe as a result of lack of proper Torah ideology but simply a lack of brains. He considered the Lubavitcher Rebbe a learned man, a "yadan" (someone with broad knowledge), but a big "shotah" (fool). He attributed Chabad's problems to the lack of common sense and the plain senselessness of their Rebbe. The danger of Chabad, he held was not due to evil, but due to stupidity.

For instance, when Chabad came out with the idea of teaching Tanya on the radio, the Satmar Rebbe expressed his anguish over the lack of common sense in teaching deep Chasidic concepts to people who don’t even know who Moshe Rabbeinu is. This will surely confuse people, sometimes do worse, and surely, to start teaching Torah, you do not start with Tanya.

When someone present asked the Satmar Rav if he is going to come out against the Lubavitcher Rebbe for this, he answered, "What should I do -- argue with a shotah (idiot)?"

He also referred to the Lubavitcher Rebbe numerous times as a "tipesh". In Divrei Yoel (Tzav), he writes about how ridiculous the idea is, that the Baal Shem Tov's famous letter to his brother-in-law means that in our generation, teaching Chasidus the world is what we need to bring Moshiach. He says, though, that there are "tipshim" who think this is so.

It was the Lubavitcher Rebbe who said this.

He looked at the Lubavitcher Rebbe not so much as an evil demon, but rather more like a blundering Mad Hatter.

Stopping the Lubavitcher Rebbe, he held, would involve not so much intellectual proofs against his policies but rather a child-proof cap on Chasidus.

He considered the Lubavitcher Rebbe's idea of Chasidus a silly caricature of the actual, serious derech of the Baal Shem Tov. He was planning on writing a Sefer explaining what Chasidus was all about - and what it isn't about - in order to clarify it for the masses, which is what he meant when he said he would write against "Chabad". But to battle hand to hand with the Lubavitcher Rebbe he considered a fruitless, attempt at talking sense to a fool.

Rav Hutner ZTL also had this view of the Lubavitcher Rebbe. "Chochmah Binah and Daas," he said. "But NO SECHEL!!" (common sense) he added.

I also know that when a student of Rav Hutner's said this over to the Satmar Rebbe, he enjoyed the line greatly.


3) Regarding the Gedolim's opinion of the Rebbe, I have a book called "Shemen Sosson", with 100 Gedolim's positive opinions, and relationships with the LR. Every single one is eyewitness accounts, looked into and proved to be true. (Btw, included in the 100 is R' Abramski and R' Aurbach.)
As well, R' Moshe Feinstein, who was accepted as posek hador, prints The Baba Sali also had enormous respect for the Rebbe, to the extent that he'd stand up when he received a letter from the Rebbe.

Lubavitch regularly makes up stories about people liking the Rebbe and about those who didn’t like the Rebbe being evil.

But yes, Rav Moshe did write letter to the Rebbe, (in Igeres Moshe), where he calls the Rebbe, "Hod kivod kedushas hagoan vihatzaddik", in addition to many other kovodik titles. He also sent him a letter after the Rebbe started mivtza neshek, backing his initiative. What people knew about the LR was not very much. At least, not much of the bad things he said. Remember - the LR gave explicit instructions not to publicize to the world anything that would hamper the learning of chasidus, and that everything should be professed "bofen hamiskabel". Rav Moshe was told that the LR thinks he's moshiach and Rav Moshe responded "I'm not mekabel."

What you will not find is a single instance, in that book or anywhere else, any godol actually defending any of the deviant teachings that the LR taught. Nobody will say "Yes, it's OK what the LR said, that his chasidim don’t have to sleep in a sukkah" or "Yes, it's OK what he said that the Bais Hamikdash will be built in 770" - nobody has ever defended the LR against the claims leveled against him - the defense was always "I don’t believe he said those things" or "The chasidim are making it up." or "The chasidim are the crazy ones, the rebbe is not like them".

So clearly, we know that Rav Moshe, as well as others who supported the Rebbe were not aware of the anti-torah teachings that the Rebbe taught. What you cannot find me is someone who was told of them, who knew them, and still supported the LR. That you will not find.


In writing and orally the Satmar Rabbonim condemned the violence that was done against Chabad as "Nazi tactics" and worse. Yet the Lubavitcher Rebbe made up a story that the reason the violence happened was because Satmar is "against the teachings of the Alter Rebbe". If only because of this outright falsehood - and he knew 100%, like everyone does, that the writings of the Baal HaTanya are not opposed by Satmar or anyone else in the slightest - that the Rebbe used to fan the flames of hate instead of making peace, which he could have done, it would be suffice to explain why people consider him a problem. And to show clearly that he was not interested in Achdus where it did not serve his purposes. It’ funny, isn’t it, how only Lubavitch decided that Satmar shechitah is unreliable - all other segments of Orthodox Jews didn’t prohibit it. Coincidence? You think?

You don’t have to know a shochet's innermost thoughts, but you do have to know his religious beliefs. A shochet who believes in idolatry or another religion is not kosher. Usually, we assume that the vast majority of Orthodox Jews in any given place are not idol worshipers, and such people are a very small exception, if they exist at all, which they probably don't. Therefore, we may rely on the odds and eat from the shechitah.

But if you have a person belonging to a group where idol worshipers (or any other disqualified shochtim) are not unusual, then you may not rely on a shochet until you know that he is not one of the disqualified ones.


I don't think the Gedolim who weren't against Chabad was because of a lack of insight but rather a lack of information. The Lubavitcher Rebbe was very interested in people liking Lubavitch, and therefore he took steps to hide from people things that would make them anti-chabad.

For instance, there's a Lubavitcher named Wolpe who wrote a book like 20 years ago, showing that the Lubavitcher Rebbe was Moshiach. The Rebbe told him not to print it. So Wolpe asked the Rebbe why they have to be ashamed of the Halachah that the Rebbe is King Moshiach over all Klall Yisroel.

The Rebbe answered, "And when you ask a rich man who is not religious for a donation, would you tell him that someone who lights a match on Shabbos is punishable with stoning? And if the Sanhedrin were in power, as we all want them to be, you would be among those who would stone him????"

In other words, the Halachah is true, but you can’t tell it to people if it would turn them off. That was the Rebbe's objection to publicizing his meshichism to the world.

The Lubavitcher Rebbe expressly told his Shiluchim to publicize Moshiach matters only in a way that it will be accepted by the people they are talking to.

Even when asked point blank, he would avoid answering a question when the answer would not be good PR for Chabad. A non-religious Jew once asked him what he thinks of the Satmar Rebbes stance on Zionism. Lubavitch is officially extremely against Zionism. The Rebbe Rashab was a leader against the Zionists - religious and otherwise - together with Satmar and Munkatch. But this was the Rebbe's answer:

"What does it matter what I think of a man who I do not know thinks of a place I've never been?...this [issue] does not concern me."

Even the clear statement in his Likutei Sichos that a Rebbe is G-d in a body, which was said in the early 50's at the very beginning of the Rebbe's reign, was later "removed" from further printings of that Sichah at the Rebbe's specific orders.

He never said he regrets saying it or it is wrong, or that it has to be explained differently - but simply to "take out the controversial phrase."

I heard that Rav Moshe said he was "not mekabel" that the Lubavitcher Rebbe believed he was Moshaich. It is clear that the Gedolim who were not against Lubavitch openly were not aware of these statements.

Note that of among every single rabbi who defended Chabad, not a single one would offer any defense against the specific problems they have. Nobody ever defended the "Rebbe is g-d in a body" concept. Nobody ever said it was OK.


But shouldn't we worry about the threat of assimilation more than if Moderators want to deal with less important issues? So why bother complain? Go fight assimilation!

First of all, nobody is "waging war" with anyone. That’s kind of an exaggeration, no? But more importantly, with that logic we wouldn’t worry about Chilul Shabbos, Kashrus, honesty, or just about any issue, since the "threat of assimilation" is worse.

As Jews, we have a Torah obligation to correct the misbehavior of others, to teach the public what proper Torah theology is, and to do whatever we can to clarify to whoever is willing to listen, what Hashem wants from us.

Not only to fight intermarriage.

Should doctors only treat cancer and close up shop for patients that have other diseases?

There is no logic in ignoring problem A because it is not the biggest threat to us.

If a Jew is doing something wrong, it is a Mitzvah to correct him, even if what he is doing wrong is less bad than marrying a shiksa.


The things he said against the Torah were much much before he had a stroke.

Rabbi Avigdor Miller ZTL said that the Lubavitcher Rebbe was not in his right mind for the last 25 years of his life, and thus not responsible for what he said.

But the anti-torah things he said were way before that too. Starting in 1951, to be exact. His very first speech when he accepted the Rebbeship, called "basi l'gani" in Lubavitch, was read by the Brisker Rav ZTL, who commented right then and there "This lunatic is trying to convince himself that he is moshiach."

If the Brisker Rav was the Lubavitcher Rebbe, all the chasidim would say he had ruach hakodesh and knew the future.

But you didn't have to know the future, even then, to know what Lubavitch would be today. All you had to do, even way back then, was understand what was happening at the present.


Well, unfortunately, it was the Rebbe himself who said that a Rebbe is "G-d in a body", not "Godliness", whatever that means. And check out what Lubavitcher Chasidim understand this to mean. The following is a quote from a booklet authored by a Rabbi Zushe Rivkin "In honor of the Rebbe shlita - Melech HaMoshiach":

"This is what Moshiach is, as the Rebbe shlita said at the beginning of his reign, 'that a Rebbe is G-d clothed in a physical body" [atzmus ain sof hislavesh b'guf gashmi!!!] This concept appeared in our generation only, since that is Moshiach...for all the Tzadikim beginning from Adam HaRishon reached high levels of connections with Hashem, but in Moshiach will be completed the purpose of the world, namely, 'G-d wanted to find a place to live in the lower realm', and therefore only in him [Moshiach] does He [G-d] clothe His self and His essence, just as a person lives with his whole essence and self in a house, so too the created existence is a home for the Real Existence [i.e. G-d], and this concept happens in actuality with regard to Moshiach. This is what is meant by the phrase "A Rebbi is the self of the Ain Sof clothed in a physical body."


There is much, much more like this from Chabad rabbis, starting with that Maamar from the Rebbe himself. It’s in Likutei Sichos vol. II p.511.


It's hard to psychoanalyze the Lubavitcher Rebbe to determine his motives. But we do know that the deification and the Mesiianism definitely started with him, not the Chasidim. He was the one who told his Chasidim that a Rebbe is G-d in a body, and that he (the Rebbe) is the leader of the generation, implying clearly that he is the Moshiach and that he will shortly redeem all of Klall Yisroel.

He was also surely aware that he was saying all this to people who had very little background in Judaism.

The Chasidim did nothing more than to take their Rebbe's teachings to their logical conclusion. As you say the Rebbe "meant well", so did the Chasidim.

As far as bringing people closer to Judaism, the question is, what was the Lubavitcher Rebbe's version of Judaism? He clearly had teachings that were foreign and reprehensible from a Torah perspective.




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