Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Lubavitch IV

One of our 13 Fundamentals of Judaism is that we pray only to Hashem and to nobody else.

The question then is, why do we ask Tzadikim to pray for us, when we can pray to Hashem directly without using the Tzadik as a go-between?

The classic answers to this are either that the Tzadik does not pray for us but rather because of the Ahavas Yisroel of the Tzadik, when someone is suffering, the tzadik suffers too. So the Tzadik is really praying for himself, to end the cause of his own pain, namely, the suffering of the Jews (Teshuvos Chasam Sofer OH 166), or that the reason it is prohibited to use a go-between is because you may think the go-between has some G-dliness (Elokus), such as if we were to use a Malach as a go-between. But since nobody can mistake the Tzadik for possessing Elokus, it is permitted (Bais Elokim Tefilah 12, Maharal Netzach Yisroel 62).

The Lubavitcher Rebbe asks the question, and without mentioning any of the classic answers that have been accepted for hundreds of years, he instead offers the following answer:

“It is not possible to ask a question about a [Rebbe being a] go-between, since this is G-d Himself, as He has clothed Himself in a human body.” (Likutei Sichos II:p. 510-511).

He also adds the following regarding a Rebbe-Chosid relationship:

"Just as 'G-d and the Torah and the Jews are One' (Yisroel V'Oraisa V'Kudsha brich hu chad hu), means not just that the Jews are connected to the Torah and to G-d, but literally they are all one, so too is the connection of Chassidim and their Rebbe, they are not like two things that become united but rather they become literally one. Therefore, to a Chosid, him and the Rebbe and G-D are one entity."

Until now, know that G-d and the Torah and the Jews are one. Now we have G-d and the Rebbe and the Chosid is one.

What is the source for such a statement? Admits the Rebbe (ibid):

“I have not found such a thing in Chassidus. Rather, it is my feeling. Therefore, whoever wants to feel it should feel it, and someone who does not want to, I will not fight with him. Let him have what he has.”

This is not merely a “Tzelem Elokim” thing. All Jews are Tzelem Elokim, but they need the Rebbe to pray for them, because the Rebbe is more than just a Tzelem Elokim. The question was not how can Jews connect to Hashem but how can Jews use a Rebbe as a go-between. The answer is the Rebbe - the g-between is G-d Himself put into a body. That’s the Lubavitcher idea of a “Rebbe” - G-d in a body!

The footnotes do not help. All they can come up with is statements such as we have seen in past posts that Chazal were referred to with Hashem's name, which as we saw in previous posts, is explained by the Rishonim as meaning that the do Hashem's work, not that they are Hashem.

We all know that every Jew has a part of Hashem in his Neshoma etc. However, none of this explains the Sichah, which is referring to Rebbe specifically, saying that the Jew - the one who has a part of Hashem in his Neshoma - uses the Rebbe as a go-between between him and G-d because the Rebbe - specifically the Rebbe - is not merely a person with a part of G-d in him, but G-d Himself put in a body!

With such teachings, is it any wonder we have the following statement from Rabbi S.B. Wolpe (a meshichist, author of “Yechi HaMelech” on topics of Moshiach, complete with Haskomos from many Lubavitcher rabbis praising him and his book) in an article from the magazine “Kfar Chabad”:

“Moshiach is the atzmus ain sof (essence of G-d Himself) clothed in a body.”

As “proof” (sic), he cites a Medrash Yalkut on Tehillim 37:10 that for the final Geulah, Hashem Himself will redeem Klall Yisroel, not a person. So Rabbi Wolpe asks, “Isn’t Moshiach going to redeem the Jews? So why does it say Hashem will redeem them?”

Obviously, the question doesn’t start. Because we know that Moshiach will not be able to complete the redemption without Hashem – the Medrash even says that the third Bais HaMikdash will come down from Shamayim. So we know that the coming redemption will be unique in that without the direct and visible efforts of Hashem Himself, the Geulah will not be possible, even after the contributions of Moshiach thereto.

Right?

Wrong. Answers Rabbi Wolpe: “From this [Medrash] it is proven that Moshiach at the time of the Geulah obvious that he is not really flesh and blood, not even like the flesh and blood of Moshe Rabbeinu, but the [person who is Moshiach] is really Hashem Himself!”

So the Rebbe is Moshiach and Moshiach is G-d Himself. You do the math.

And you expect the Torah leaders NOT to say this is Avodah Zarah?

But it's not over. Get this: this exact nonsensical “proof” that Moshiach is G-d in a body has been used in the past. The following is a quote from Otzar Vikuchim, a collection of the forced debates between Christians and Jews. On p.209, in the “Debate regarding Moshiach and the Oral Law”, the Christian apostate claims that Jesus can indeed be G-d in a body, since – and again, I promise I am not making this up – THE MEDRASH YALKUT ON TEHILLIM 37:10 SAYS THAT THE FINAL REDEMPTION WILL BE DONE THROUGH G-D HIMSELF THEREFORE MOSHIACH MUST BE G-D HIMSELF!!!

Yes, Rabbi Wolpe’s “proof” is hundreds of years old. The exact same Medrash was brought as the exact same “proof” that a human being can be G-d in a body.

And, not surprisingly, the Christian had no better success with the “proof” than Rabbi Wolpe. The Jew proceeds to demonstrate that saying such a thing is Kefirah against the Torah.

Nowhere in the history of Chasidus has such a thing been said – and remember – the Rebbe admits he has no source. The only place we find such claims is in Christianity. Word for word, the same claims, the same proofs, from the same sources.

The Rambam writes (Sefer HaMitzvos Aseh 7) that who uses Moshe Rabbeinu’s name in an oath because he believes that Moshe Rabbeinu possesses the characteristic of “Amitas Etzem” (G-d Himself) is violating the prohibition against “shituf”, that is, the heretical belief that Hashem has a partner c”v.

And what can we expect from Gedolei Torah when they see an article by Levi Lezerson (Kfar Chabad 13 Tamuz 5743) called “An End or a Means?” where he discusses if the connection to a rebbe is an end in itself or a means to help us with our growth. His answer:

“Not only is the connection to a Rebbe an end in itself and not a means, but it is the end that has PRECEDENCE OVER EVERYTHING … for through it, the Neshomah gets the purpose of its original making, before everything, EVEN TORAH AND MITZVOS”.

Everywhere else in Klall Yisroel, there is only one End in itself – the Torah. Rebbes are facilitators for us to do your job of fulfilling Torah and Mitzvos. But in Lubavitch, having a relationship with the rebbe is not only an end unto itself (?!!) but the first and foremost end – that precedes even Torah and Mitzvos!!!!

Lezerson continues: “This, then, is the instructions for all rabbis, mentors, or anybody that has it in his power to have an impact on his surroundings – that when they meet a Jew, regardless of his situation, the first thing is to take care of his Neshoma…meaning, through the medium of the Kohen Gadol of the generation [i.e. the Rebbe]. And only afterward you should work on his avodas Hashem, his madreigos, and his refraining from bad and doing good.

“In order for a person to fulfill his job fully, he must turn to the Rebbe – the brain – by learning his Torahs and following his commands.”

So first priority is the relationship with the rebbe. Afterward, we work on being religious.

What are in fact the Rebbe’s “commands”? The lyrics of an old Lubavitch wedding song from the 80’s (sung by Yossi Piamenta on one of his albums) describes some of what the “Lubavitcher Rebbe commands” (Mah shetzivah haRebbi M’Lubavitch):

“That all women and girls should light Shabbos candles, and all Jews should put on Tefillin, on all doors should be a Mezuzah, and all houses should have a Tzedakah box … then Moshiach will quickly come.”

Um, no. The Lubavitcher Rebbe said everyone should put on Tefillin? Have Mezuzos on their doors? And although I imagine that those who sing this song, if you were to ask them, would tell you that Hashem was the One Who created this Mitzvah, nevertheless, to attribute your performance of a Mitzvah to a human being, even a Rebbe, is 100% Avodah Zarah.

When you out tefillin on someone or teach Torah to someone, you are NOT the Rebbe’s Shliach. The rebbe’s shliach means you are doing the Rebbes work on his behalf. You are Hashem’s Shliach. The Rebbe taught you how to do Hashem’s work. But the work is NEVER called the Rebbes work. To do so is heresy.

(Note: When the Baal Shem Tov sent “shluchim” around the world they were not teaching people mitzvos in the Torah but rather the specific Torahs originated by the Baal Shem Tov. The Mitzvos, on the other hand, were not originated by the Lubavitcher rebbe c”v. So teaching Mitzvos “on behalf of” the rebbe is not what you are doing.)

This deification the Rebbe has become, in Lubavitch, has done more damage than merely created an idol, though that’s bad enough. Like all distortions of a fundamental of Torah belief, it has caused the violation of actual Halachos and Mitzvos. Example:

Lubavitcher Chassidim do not sleep in a Sukkah on Sukkos. Note: All Lubavitcher Chassidim in all previous generation did sleep in a sukkah (weather permitting), and NOT A SINGLE REBBE – CHABAD OR OTHERWISE – has ever instructed their Chassidim not to sleep in the Sukkah. But the last Rebbe did. His reasoning goes as follows:

1) The previous Rebbe, The Rebbe Rayatz, ate in the Sukkah but did not sleep in it. One would assume it was due to the cold weather or other difficulties involved with sleeping in a Sukah where he lived, which would legitimately dispense him from his obligation. But this cannot be, says the Lubavitcher Rebbe, mere physical difficulties would bother the Rebbe Rayatz.
2) Therefore, the explanation must be that the Rebbe Rayatz could not sleep in the Sukkah because a different Chabad Rebbe, the “Mitteler” Rebbe, once remarked about the Sukkah, “How can one sleep in such a holy atmosphere”. Meaning, says the Rebbe, that it would be impossible to sleep in a Sukkah since it is so holy. And of course, according to Halachah he would be exempt form sleeping in the Sukkah, since the Sukkah bothers him, and Mitztaer Potur Min HaSukah.
3) Therefore, according to the “inner core” of the Mitzvah, sleeping outside of a Sukkah is permitted, and even preferable (Davar Ha’Raui).
4) But the Torah said to sleep in a Sukkah because the Torah speaks to the majority, who cannot feel the holiness of the Sukkah. But those who can, the Torah was never talking to them when it said to sleep in a Sukkah.
5) But the problem is, all the great sages from the days of Chazal down (and before) all slept in the Sukkah. Even in Chabad, the Mitteler Rebbe himself, and his father, the Baal HaTanya, and his son the Tzemach Tzedek, all slept in the Sukkah, as it says in Shulchan Aruch, as well as the Rav Shulchan Aruch of Chabad. The Rebbe therefore says, that it is not difficult to understand why we do not find previous sages not sleeping in the Sukkah, since their sleeping itself was part of their Avodas Hashem, so they were able to sleep in the Sukkah. Then he adds: “We can say that the above has to do with the revelation of Toras Chabad, which is meant to deal with the “penimius hatorah” in a way that even the human intellect can perceive it, to the point where it affects even the physical body and soul, and therefore the holiness of the Sukkah effects the person’s body and physical nature. And that is the reason that this Halachic concept was “revealed” by the previsou Lubavitcher Rebbe specifically (for nobody knew of it before), because of his mission in this world.
6) Next step: Even those who are not on the level to feel the holiness of the Sukkah are still exempt from sleeping in it anyway. Why? Because Chasidim, who are connected to their Rebbes follow their Minhagim. (That’s a quote). And more: If a Chosid does not follow in the ways of his Rebbe, he is automatically bothered by it, and therefore, he is in the category of “Hamitztaer potur min hasukah”. More, he adds: The chosid is mitztaer, why he isn’t mitztaer from the holiness of the Sukkah! He should be bothered, and if he’s not, that itself bothers him and therefore exempts him from the Sukkah.

That’s it. Obviously, anyone familiar with Halachah will not accept such “reasoning” to rip a Mitzvah out of the Torah. That the Gemora, the Shulchan Aruch, the responsa, and even the Seforim of Chabad all say that sleeping in a Sukkah is an obligation without exception. And even the Rebbe Rayatz NEVER exempted his Chasidim from sleeping in the Sukkah even though he should have, according to this reasoning, would be enough to reject this entire idea, never mind the impossibility of the entire reasoning.

And such reasoning would never be accepted anywhere else in Klall Yisroel, because anyone else would say OK so I don’t know why the Rebbe didn’t sleep in the Sukkah. But he never said we shouldn’t, and all the Halachah seforim say we should, so we will. In Lubavitch, however, being “like” the Rebbe takes precedence over following proper Halacha.

When Rav Shach saw this “halachic ruling” of the Rebbe he immediately objected in the strongest terms, and used it as an example of how Lubavitch brazenly can twist Halachic methodology and misguide the masses.

And therefore, in the Lubavitch pamphlet of Hilchos Sukkah, published by Tz’ireie Agudas Chabad, in the Halachos of Sukkah, it lists the things one is obligated to do in the Sukkah. It is a quote form the Shulchan Aruch. The word “sleeping” is omitted.

So even kids who have no idea why they are not sleeping in the Sukkah are told not to sleep in the Sukkah, because they are Mitztaer (even though they never felt any Tzar).

This is a clear example of where Chabad changed their own traditions, against Halachah.

Another offshoot of the deification of the Rebbe is the result that it becomes impossible for the Rebbe to make a mistake. While other Rebbes made sure to emphasize that anyone can make a mistake, in Lubavitch this is impossible.

The Kotzker Rebbe pointed out a Maharal that misquoted a posuk in Chumash. How could the Maharal make such an error? He asked? It happened Min HaShamayim, in order to show us that even the great Maharal is human and can make a terrible error (Emes V’Emunah).

The Satmar Rav, too, when he once drank from the second cup of wine at the Seder without making a Brachah (like the Minhag of the Sefardim), he immediately informed his Chassidim: Nobody should think I had a reason not to make the Brachah. I simply made a mistake! (Machzor Divrei Yoel Pesach).

But in Chabad it doesn’t work that way. Anyone can make a mistake – we are all human – and that includes the Rebbe. In his “Tshuvos Ubiurim” #192 he rules that an internal doorway in a house with only one entrance does not get the Mezuzah put on the right side, but rather we determine the place of the Mezuzah according to Heker Tzir, even when that would mean putting the Mezuzah on the left, “following the opinions of the Rishonim who hold like that”.

However, there are no Rishonim who hold like that (of course, no sources are quoted). It was an error. No problem – we can all make mistakes, even the greatest of the great.

Everywhere else, the response would be to follow the unanimous opinion of the Rishonim and Achronim – to put the Mezuzah on the right. But in Chabad, the fact that the Rebbe made a mistake becomes impossible, and in the Chabad pamphlets on Hilchos Mezuzah, it invariably instructs people to put the Mezuzah on the left, if the Heker Tzir says so. Even the Maharal can make a mistake – but not the Lubavitcher Rebbe!

The halachah is that a Mezuzah on the left is like no Mezuzah at all.


Not only does Lubavitch elevate their Rebbes to the level of idols, but they also nullify the great level of superiority that our ancients had over our contemporaries, when the contemporaries are the Lubavitcher Rebbes. This includes Moshe Rabbeinu and Chazal. Example:

In Likutei Sichos for 18 Elul 5743, we have the following question:

How is it possible that Moshe Rabbeinu learned on Har Sinai in only 40 days all the Torahs that were destined to be said throughout history, “especially even the Torahs of Moshiach, which will be very extensive”?

His answer: Moshe Rabbeinu received the Torah with general rules, including the formulas and methodologies of how to learn the Torah and derive its laws. But the SPECIFIC DETAILS OF THE FUTURE TALMIDEI CHACHAMIM LATER ORIGINATED MOSHE RABBEINU DID NOT KNOW. His source: The Gemora says that Moshe Rabbeinu did not know many Halachos that Rabbi Akiva revealed.

Now here again, our classic Seforim, such as the Maharal and the Ohr HaChaim explain that chas v’sholom we cannot say that Moshe Rabbeinu did not know something that Rabi Akiva revealed. And they go on to explain the Chazal according to Kabala and Penimius HaTorah. But they all agree that to say Moshe Rabbeinu did not know what Rabbi Akiva knew cannot be.

Nobody in the history of Klall Yisroel has ever said such a thing, and to every other facet of Klall Yisroel, such a statement is outrageous. Moshe Rabbeinu knew “the rules and the details [of the Torah, that] were given on Har Sinai” (Toras Kohanim). And in Gemora Megilah 19b: “Hashem showed Moshe the details of the Torah (the big and the small – Rshi), and the details of the Rabbonon (dikdukei sofrim, i.e. what the achronim derived from the words of the rishonim – rashi), and what the soferim are destined to reveal”.

According to Lubavitch, the Torahs that were later revealed – and, he makes sure to add, especially the Torahs of Moshiach! – were unknown to Moshe Rabbeinu. So especially the Torahs of Moshiach were known to Moshiach but not to Moshe!

Everywhere else, the inferiority of a Rebbe to Moshe Rabbeinu would be absolute. Infinite. Unimaginable. And with no exceptions. And so it was until the Lubavitcher Rebbe decided that “particularly the Torah of Moshiach” (and also the torahs of other Talmidei Chachamim) was known to Moshiach and not even to Moshe!

Now here’s one about Chazal, in Likutei Sichos for Pesach:

Rav Yochanan ben Zakai, the Gemora says, commented when his students surrounded his death bed: “Hashem! I don’t know which way they will take me [after I die] – to Gan Eden of to Gehenom!”. Asks the rebbe: How could Rav Yochana ben Zakai not know if he was going to Gan Eden or not? (Incidentally, the Ksav Sofer answers that he was referring to his Talmidim, who have the ability to effect the Rebbi’s reward and punishment by their own actions.)

His answer: Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakai did not learn Penimius Hatorah and therefore did not know his own status, since the “outside status” (kochos hagiluyim) are no proof to the inside of a person. And the only way to understand the inside of a person is to learn Penimius HaTorah.

As opposed to the Alter Rebbe, he continues, who DID LEARN PENIMIUS HATORAH AND THEREFORE DID KNOW THAT HE WAS GOING TO GAN EDEN, as he once commented “I don’t even know the way to my Gan Eden”, which means he didn’t know the way, but he was sure he had it!

His exact words are: “The Alter Rebbe was on a higher madreigah than Rav Yochanan Ben Zakai who didn’t know what way they would take him, but the rebbe knew he would be in gan eden.”

Nowhere, absolutely nowhere, could anyone get away with saying that a Rebbe knew what Rav Yochanan ben Zakai did not. The Gemora (Sukah 28a) says that RYB”Z “knew all of Mikrah, Mishnah, Gemora, Halachah, Agadah, Dikdukei Sofrim, Dikdukei Torah, the easy and the hard, the gezeros shovos, fables, big things and small things, namely MAASEH MERKAVAH, and the debates of Rava and Abaye”.

Of course, the statement of the Alter Rebbe does not mean he was confident of going to Gan Eden. Everyone has a chelek in Gan Eden, and the Rebbe cold have been saying “I don’t know the way to acquire my chelek”, which means he would not get it at all. Depends what you read into it. But to say that the Alter rebbe was on a higher level of understanding Penimius HaTorah than Rav Yochanan ben Zakai is ridiculous.

(In another Likutei Sichos – Brachah 257) the Rebbe says that RYB”Z was too busy learning, he did not have time to examine his status).

In short, we have here a Hashkofo that is new, never before seen in Orthodox Jewry, and flies in the face of many fundamental givens of our religion. All the indiscretions go in the same direction:

The Rebbe is G-d in a body / the Rebbe is on a higher level than Moshe Rabbeinu / the Rebbe knew more than Rav Yochanan ben Zakai / Moshe Rabbeinu didn’t know everything / the Rebbe can’t make a mistake / the Rebbe commands us to do Mitzvos. Etc. etc. etc.

Is it any wonder that the Chassidim said that the Rebbe would never die? That he didn’t die?

It is true that not all of this comes from the Rebbe. But don’t forget – enough does that what the Chasidim added is no longer wild. Based on what they were taught, the Lubavitcher Meshichistin and Yechi-niks are not crazy at all. The problem is, they are assuming their teachings are correct. In reality they are far from it.

And it's not only Rav Shach who pointed this out. The Brisker Rav, Rav Aharon Kotler, the Satmar Rebbe, Rav Chaim Shmuelevitz, and many others were all fire against Lubavitch and its theology. Above is just a sampling of why. There is much more, but this should be enough of a demonstration. Here are some quotes from our Gedolim:

“This man is trying to convince himself that he is Moshiach” (The Brisker Rav ZTL after reading the Lubavitcher rebbes’ first Drasha upon becoming Rebbe)

“Lubavitch is the closest religion to Judaism” (Rav Chaim Shmuelevitz ZTL)

“Chacham, Bunah and Daas – but they have no sechel!” (Rav Yitzchok Hutner ZTL)
There are more, severe quotes. But nobody should think that Rav Shach is alone in his opposition to what is obviously not Torah hashkafa. He was merely mimicking the opinions of the Torah giants of the previous generations.

The only question is, how the Chassidim accept this? The answer is that the educational system of Chabad is such that Chasidus in general, besides the fundamental points described above, is changed radically from what is always was.

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The problem is that the Lubavitcher Rebbe holds that imitating the outside, chitzonius actions of your Rebbe is not only important, but is important enough to determine Halachic practice, namely, which poskim to follow.

Therefore, he says that since certain Rebbes could not eat because they were considered like Cholim (sick people), the Chassidim should all follow the poskim that say not to eat (i.e. wash) thereby appearing like people who are considered like sick people (i.e. the Rebbes) and therefore somehow are "following in the derech" of their rebbes.

Not only is this reasoning unacceptable as a reason to follow Halachic opinion A over B, but it is totally against the traditions of Chasidus, and is a perfect example of how Chabad has twisted Chasidus into a laughable caricature of what it once was.

And to add insult to injury (of Chasidus) you tell me that anyone who knows anything about Chasidus would understand that "Chasidim" do things like this.

No. Not "Chasidus". Only Chabad. And only today's Chabad. Real Chasidus does not mean imitating the outer actions of your Rebbe, and real Halachah does not mean that such imitation should determine Halachic practice. In real Chasidus, the way it was practiced everywhere and still is except in Chabad, such empty, chitzonius imitation of Rebbes are criticized as stupidity and a twisting of the teachings of the Baal Shem Tov. In Chabad, what the great Chasidic masters considered "stupidity", the Lubavitcher Rebbe considers "chasidus". The following is a quote from a famous letter of Rebbi Eliezer of Lizensk ZT"L, in the name of his father, the great Rav Elimelech of Lizensk ZT"L, the author of Noam Elimelech, one of the greatest students of the Maggid of Mezritch:

"I received your letter and when I showed it to my father. When he read it his hair stood on edge and his entire body shook because he saw that there exist in the world such stupidities and words of nonsense such as yours ... for you do not learn from the Tzadikim their inner fear of G-d but rather their outside and visible actions, and you think that someone who does those things is called a "chosid". The appropriate thing to do would really be not to write you back at all, but I am answering because of your honor. So said my father: If someone asks whether to say these zemiros or others or to say Shir Hashirim this time or another time or other shtusim like this that I can't even put in writing, said my father, and I quote: Tell them that all these bahaviors are worth nothing to give a person life or to bring him to Avodas Hashem."

He continues to say that Chasidus means to learn Torah and to have Yiras Shamayim and good midos, and this business of imitating Rebbes is nonsense.

In the Machzor Divrei Yoel (Pesach p.189) we have the following:

There was once a story about the great Tzadik, the Saraf of Stralisk ZY"A who was a very poor man, and his Talis had holes in it from so much use, which he sewed up instead of buying a new Talis, which he couldn’t afford. There were some simple Chasidim who saw this, and when they bought a new Talis for themselves they would tear it and then sew it up in order to "be like" their Rebbe, since they thought this was their rebbe's "minhag". The reality is, they were just foolish because their Rebbe had no choice but to sew his Talis, and did it out of necessity.

The Satmar Rebbe ZT"L told this story after he once accidentally came to the Pesach seder and made Kiddush without his shtraimel on. When he realized he forgot his shtraimel he asked the Chasidim why nobody told him he wasn’t wearing his shtraimel. They answered that they thought that for sure the Rebbe has a reason for it. He said no, he didn’t, and told them the story of the Saraf ZY"A to show how simple Chasidim can sometimes imitate a Rebbes outside behavior without a reason, which is wrong.

This nonsense is what has become "Chassidus" in Lubavitch.

And worse, this nonsense has not only become Chasidus, but Halachah too. This is what decides which poskim to follow regarding shalosh seudos.

That is the problem.

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