Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Lubavitch V

The Rebbe prophesied about Moshiach's imminent coming?

"If you see someone who prophecies about Moshiach, know that he was involved in witchcraft or demonism or acts of the Shem HaMeforash, and because they bother the angels, the angels tell him about Moshiach, in order to show the world that he bothered the angels, for in the end, he will become a laughing stock and a humiliation in front of the entire world." (Sefer Chasidim, R. Yehuda HaChosid, #206).

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The so-called "sources" from the Rebbe's statement are not sources at all - nobody ever dared to say what the Lubavitcher Rebbe said, since it is idolatry. In fact, the Rabbeinu Bachye that you mentioned - which we discussed in the Other/Lubavitch forum - says exactly what I said - that all these types of quotes do not cholilah mean what the Lubavitcher Rebbe says they mean. Rather, when we refer to someone as "G-d"(!) it is only a label of honor conferred to him because he is doing G-d's work. Like when someone speaks in the name of the President, we might say "the president is giving us a message", we do not mean that the messenger is the President. So, too, we do not mean that any human is "the essence and self of G-d placed in a body" c"v but rather that he is simply doing the work of Hashem.

So au contraire - nobody says that a human being if he is a Rebbe is therefore "atmuso umahuso alein" placed in a physical body, chas v'sholom. And even to the extent that beseeching this human is not considered using an in-between between you and G-d, since he is G-d in a body. Ewwww!

No, sorry, nobody ever said such a thing, and just because there are footnotes there doesn’t make it better.

And besides, the quote from the above Chabad kuntres shows that the Rebbes statement was taken to mean that the Lubavitcher Rebbe and ONLY the Lubavitcher Rebbe reaches that level, since he is Moshiach.

Nebach.

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What was suggested to you that the Lubavitcher Rebbe meant, is not what he meant. He used this statement - "G-d in a body" - to explain why it is OK to ask a Rebbe to pray for you, even though the Rebbe is then a "go-between" between you and G-d. His answer is that since a Rebbe is G-d in a body, he is not a go-between. If the meaning of the statement was merely he is more aware of G-d in him, but not really G-d, he is still a go-between.

Plus, the sources (sic) that he brings in the Sichah state that people, and angels, are called "G-d" under certain circumstances. If it is merely the awareness of the Nehsomah, referring to those people as "G-d" would not make sense.

(Of course, we quoted Rabbeinu Bachya who explains that calling people "G-d" does not mean they are any more G-d than anyone lese. Rather, the messenger is referred to by the label of the sender while on his mission. It is a title, not a description.)

Chasidus does not go against the Torah. There is nothing in Chasidus that contradicts Shas and the words of our sages. If a certain statement is considered idolatry according to the rules of Mesechta Avodah Zorah, then Chasidus does not argue with that. No Rebbe in the world ever, ever defended statements that were against Shas and Chazal by saying "it's Chasidus". Chasidus is not a new Torah; it is merely a new way of reaching Hashem, needed for the generation of the Baal Shem Tov and those who follow his teachings. It is a way to fulfill Shas and Poskim, not a way to over ride it.

In addition, the Lubavitcher Rebbe's statements that are against the Torah all had to do with simple Chazal and even Halachah. The statement that a Rebbe is G-d in a body was "explained" (sic) by the Lubavitcher Rebbe in his Sichah as being true according to simple Nigleh (not Kabbalah). In fact, in the footnotes of that Sichah he says "There are those Baalei Nigleh (sic) who object vehemently to this, exclaiming "Impossible", yet this idea is found in Nigleh of the Torah in the Yerushalmi..."

No, sorry, there is nothing in Chasidus or Kabbalah that is going to permit what according to the Talmud Bavli is idolatry.

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In order for Lubavitcher to defend their Rebbe's sichos they need to try to twist them into things that he never meant. For instance, the Lubavitcher Rebbe said (Likutei Sichos, Vol. II p. 511) that a rebbe is "the essence and self of G-d placed in a body," such that asking a Rebbe to intervene on your behalf to G-d does not constitute a go-between between you and G-d.

The Lubavitchers tried to defend this piece of rebbe-worship by saying stuff about the neshama of a tzadik, chelek olokah mimaal, bitul of the guf to the neshama, and all these concepts that they think would explain the unexplainable, because no matter how you cut it, a human is a still not G-d, and so would constitute a go-between.

But the problem here is, these Lubavitchers didn’t even learn the sichah! The Lubavitcher Rebbe says that this "Essence of G-d in a body" thing applies also to a malach, yet a malach has no neshama at all!

So scratch that explanation.

But despite this, Lubavitchers constantly try to explain away this terrible twisted teaching of their rebbe as having to do with the lofty neshama of a tzadik.

So please, I would advise you, that if you really want to know what was wrong with the Lubavitcher Rebbe, to read his sichos. Because to defend him without reading them, well, you don’t know what you're talking about.

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And then there is the issue of the Rebbe claiming that Rebbes are "the self and essence of G-d in a body" (Atzmuso umahuso). Their answer is, well, Moshe Rabbeinu also said that he would "give rain" didn't he? So you see that a Tzadik is in G-d's place!

Whatever that means. Nobody ever said that Moshe Rabbeinu was G-d's essence in a body. Chas v'sholom! A Tzadik is the conduit of Hashem's shefa into this world, that’s not new - it says it both in numerous places - and more than that is not necessary to explain Moshe. But the Lubavitcher Rebbe asked a question: Why do we pray to a Rebbe if we can pray directly to Hashem? Isn’t a Rebbe just a go-between when we can go directly? His answer is that the Rebbe is not a go-between since a Rebbe is atzmuso umahuso alein - G-d Himself - vi ehr hut zich areingeshtlelt in a guf - placed in a human body. (Likutei Sichos vol. 2 p.511)

And then they want to know what people have against their Rebbe.

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A Guf is botul because of the Neshomah? Like milk in meat? Where do we begin? As long as the milk is visible, or gives taste, or is discernibly present, there is no "bitul". Plus, "bitul" only works when two things are combined into one big mush. If you have a little milk on one side and a lot of meat on the other side, even if they are "connected", there is no bitul, even though the milk is much much smaller than the meat.

So as long as the Tzadik's body is physically there, as a body, with arms, legs, its not "botul" to anything.

And how do we know a Neshomah is "bigger" than a Guf? In what way? What does "bigger" mean in this case? Weight? Volume? Mass? Is this shishim? Rov? What? The whole idea, used in this way, is a joke.

To say that a Tzadik is "botul" to G-d means that for all Halachic purposes, He is considered G-d. Like for all Halachic purposes the milk is considered null, and the mixture takes on the status of meat.

Meaning you can bow down to the Tzadik, you can sacrifice Korbonos to the Tzakik, you can pray to the Tzadik, you can say the Tzadik is G-d, since there is really nothing left of him but G-d, right? Which is all Avodah Zorah.

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I've sat down with many Lubavitchers, including some of their big name rabbis. They couldn't answer, either. Unfortunately, teenagers cannot recognize distortions of Torah, for instance, the famous Chabad lie that the Gemora says in Sanhedrin 98 that you are supposed to say your Rebbi is Moshiach. This has been said by Chabad rabbis, Roshei Yeshiva, and Mashpim, among others. And it is in writing, in their Seforim also.

The Gemora says no such thing. It says that Moshiach will have the names of every Tzadik. If I say you and I have the same name, does that mean you are me? So if I say Moshiach will have the same name as my Rebbi does that mean my Rebbi is Moshiach?

There is not one single commentary - rishonim or achronim - that explains the Gemora to mean that each Talmid said his Rebbi was Moshiach. Rather, they all explain it as above. The Maharal, when asking about this, comments "It should disturb you greatly" that the Gemora seems to say everyone is referring to his Rebbi as Moshiach.
But what the Maharal says is greatly disturbing, is what Chabad tells everyone it does mean. Again: Not a single commentary explains the Gemora the way Chabad does. This is because the Gemora does not say it. If I say Moshe has the same name as me, it does not mean he is me.

But that is Chabad. That is a sample of the "answers" you get when Chabad rabbis try to explain the unexplainable.

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When we call someone “Moshiach”, that does not necessarily mean the King Moshiach, the redeemer. Every generation has a Moshiach, which may be a potential redeemer, but they are not the King Moshiach himself. They may have some connection in their Neshomos to Moshiach (see below), but nobody, nobody ever said that the presence of any of the “Moshiachs” down the generations means the redeemer Moshiach. Nobody ever equated any of the personalities you mentioned with an imminent redemption. Nobody ever “Halachicly ruled” that the Ohr HaChaim Hakodosh or any of the other illustrious personalities you mention is “b’chezkas moshiach”, “assumed to be the redeemer”, the way they did the Lubavitcher Rebbe. We are talking 2 different meanings of Moshiach. To quote from Meshichist literature:

"Nowadays ... as the rebbe has informed us that 'Your time of geulah has arrived!', and there has already been a revealing of the existence of the redeemer in the Nasi haDor, so we may say that during a time such as this the request and the demand ("teviah") for the Kingdom Bais Dovid ... is no longer ethereal or intangible, but rather, in addition to the request of Hashem that he should send us Moshiach, we show publicly that we are prepared to willingly accept the Kingdom of the Nasi HaDor, the Moshiach of the generation, AS THE KING MOSHIACH". - “HaTekufa VeHageulah b'mishnaso shel harebi milubavtich" (published by Agudas Chsidei Chabad in Israel, and comes with a haskama from 20 Lubavitch rabbis, page 94).

In other words, today is different than previous generations. Today, not only is the Rebbe the “Moshiach of the generation” (who told them that I have no idea), but he is, in addition, the King Moshiach, the redeemer. Nobody has ever said this before, except of course, in such cases as Bar Kochba and Shabse Tzvi, etc.

Every prophet across the board is called “Moshiach” (Ibn Ezra Yeshaya 61:1), yet that does not refer to the King Moshiach, the redeemer.

Every king is called “Moshiach”, and every authority figure is also referred to as “Moshiach” (Abarbanel, Yeshaya 45:1), yet none of this means the King Moshiach, the redeemer.

Even when referring to the redemption. The term “Moshiach” does not necessarily refer to the person himself, but a soul-connection to Moshiach.

Moshe Rabbeinu, Chazal say, is Moshiach. Yet Moshe is from the tribe of Levi and Moshiach has to be from Yehuda! The Ohr HaChaim (Bereishis 49:11) answers: Moshe’s soul includes components of all 12 tribes, and that after Moshiach comes we will find the “roots of kingship” in Moshe.

The Zohar, too, in numerous places, indicates that Moshiach and Moshe are two different people:

“Moshe Rabbeinu, Shlomo HaMelech and Moshiach ... can judge the world without witnesses” (Zohar Yisro 175).

So when we say someone is “Moshiach” it can mean numerous things. And we only refer to people as Moshiach when there is a reason. There is no proof anywhere to the silly idea that everyone can just take their Rebbe and decide he is the King Moshiach, the redeemer. That hasn’t happened, ever. On the contrary, such behavior is what the Yismach Moshe cites as being a terrible sin, and ensures that, as long as they do it, Moshiach will not come.

And anyway, what does any of this have to do with the Lubavitcher Rebbe? The Ohr HaChaim said he was Moshiach, not the Rebbe. So because a great Baal Ruach HaKodesh said someone is Moshiach that means anyone can say anyone is Moshiach? What's up with that? Is it OK for my students to say that I am Moshiach because I am their rebbe? All you see from these places is that great Tzadikim and Baalei Ruach HaKodesh can peer into a person's Neshoma and can recognize a "Moshiach". What in the world does this have to do with the subject at hand? Which Ohr HaChaim, which Rav Pinchas Koritzer, which Baal Shem Tov, decided that the Rebbe was Moshiach?

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Regarding the titles that a student of the Maharal wrote to his Rebbi, which include “Melech Yehuda” and “Moshiach Tzidkeinu”, don’t get over excited about them. We already saw that (a) The Maharal says clearly that it is unacceptable that people should refer to their Rebbe as Moshiach, and (b) the term Moshiach means many things, not necessarily the King Moshiach.

But besides that, when people write titles they often play on words, such as the term “Melech Yehuda” in that letter, which clearly does not mean “King of Yehuda” (as opposed to “Melech Yisroel”?) – the literal meaning of the phrase – but rather “The King, Yehuda”, which was the Maharal’s name. It’s a play on words. It doesn’t literally mean the Ruler of the Jews. And since we saw that the word Moshiach is used to refer to any authority figure, this title shows nothing. If you want to see how much flexibility we use when writing play-on-word titles to Gedolim, check this out:

In the introduction to the Teshuvos R. Boruch Angel, the publisher refers to the author as “Rabeinu HaGadol V’Hakadosh Boruch Hu”!!!!

The Chacham Ovadiah Yosef (Yechaveh Daas III:73) quotes poskim who defend this, based on the Gemora in Megillah (18a) R. Elozor says Where do we see that Hashem called Yaakov Avinu “G-D” (“kail”)? As it says . . . “

Did you get that? Yaakov Avinu is called G-d!

Rabbeinu Bachya (Ki Sisa 33:7) explains:

“V’haya kol mevakshei Hashem … we see that Moshe Rabbeinu is referred to by Hashem’s name, like we see also by Yaakov Avinu that Hashem referred to him as “kail”. Also Shem the son of Noach is called by Hashem’s name . . . so too we find that the King Moshiach is called by Hashem’s name. . . The reason in all these cases is that someone who is attached to something is called by the name of the thing that he is attached to, as the messenger is called by the name of he whose messenger he is”.

He brings other places as well, that Gedolim throughout the generations were referred to with names that normally describe Hashem. Rav Shimon bar Yochai, too, was described as “Ha’Adon Hashem” (Zohar Bo 38a). This is all not meant literally, of course, but rather, it means someone connected to Hashem, or someone doing Hashem’s work (the messenger).

So titles are often not meant literally, and just as when we write in a title "Hashem" for a Godol we do not mean he is literally G-d, we do not have to mean when we write that someone is "Moshiach Tzaidkeinu" that he is anything except attached to Moshiach, or doing Moshiach's work.

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The Chasam Sofer in Likutim CM 98:

"Regarding the coming of Moshiach I need to explain one thing, that is, just as Moshe Rabbeinu, who was the first redeemer, needed 80 years and he did not know or feel that he himself will be the redeemer, and even when Hashem told him “Go, for I will send you to Pharoh”, he resisted and did not want to accept upon himself [that he was the Moshiach], so too will IY”H be the last redeemer. For from the time of the destruction of the Bais haMikdash there has been born someone who is worthy I his righteousness to be the redeemer, and when the time comes Hashem will reveal Himself to him and will send him, and then the spirit of Moshiach, which has until now been hidden on high will enter him … and so as it was with the first redeemer so it will be with the last one. And this Tzadik himself will not know. And unfortunately because of our sins there were many who already died and we were not worthy that the spirit of Moshiach should rest within them. For even though they were worthy of it, nevertheless, the generation was not worthy. However, IY”H when the time comes Hashem will reveal Himself to him, just as he revealed Himself to Moshe by the burning bush, and will send him to Klall Yisroel or to some king, like [Moshe] was sent to Pharoh to say “Let my people go!”

So the Chasam Sofer says:

1) The Moshiach of each generation may not be the Moshiach because the generation is not worthy
2) Until the potential Moshiach is visited by Hashem and told that he is the redeemer, even he himself does not have any idea that he is Moshiach

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I am not a big Rebbe but to some people - especially some who I was Mekarev and made frum - I am their leader. Halachicly, hashkafically, and regarding life in general. So why shouldn't they believe I am Moshiach? What are the requirements? From the Gemora that supposedly is in Sanhedrin, if you want to compare to what is says there, the Lubavitcher Rebbe certainly does not qualify because maybe you can only say your rebbe is Moshiach if he is a Talmudic sage. Even a "talmid chacham" Halachicly does not exist nowadays. So if you can't compare your rebbe to the sages of the gemora, you have no source. If you want to say that the point is merely their leaders, then every father of his kids if he is their spiritual and life leader (it happens a lot) is Moshiach to them.

But there is no such Gemora anyway. No commentary - NONE! - learns the Gemora like that. Of course not. The Gemora in Sanhedrin does not say anyone is Moshiach. It says that Moshiach will posses the name, meaning the attributes, of all sages. If I say you have the same name as me it does not mean you are me. It is one of the well know lies of many rabbis roshei yesivos and mashpiim in Lubavtich that they teach this.

The "name" of Moshiach is not the same as "moshiach" as we saw above. When I say you have the same name as my friend it does not mean you are one person. And when I say you are like my friend it does not mean you are one person.

It is not unfair to be harsh here. It is unfair to teach teenage girls and boys things that are not true and to misquote Torah to them knowing full well that they are not scholarly enough to recognize the errors. That is unfair. Exposing the misrepresentations for what they are is benevolent.

Don't you ever wonder why, if this is what the Gemora means, only Lubavitch fulfills it? Why hasn't every student of every Rebbi and Rebbe throughout history declared their Rebbeim as Moshiach?

From the Rambam's students to the GRA's to the Chofetz Chaim and from Satmar to Ger to Belz. Nobody did this. Nobody does this. Except Chabad. Why doesn't anyone else know about this Gemora except you?

The few cases where a great Tzadik said another great Tzadik is Moshiach is not the point. The point is why is Lubavitch the only group of students who have declared the Rebbe to be Moshiach if the Gemora says it is common practice.

Maybe the whole Klall Yisroel for the past 2,000 years isn't wrong?

It's futile for me to tell you that the Halachah is Lo Rainu Raiyah B'Maasim B'chol Yom - that if people commonly had an opportunity to do something and they do not, that shows that they hold is should not be done (Shach YD 1).

It's futile because we don't need that or any other complex Halachah to discredit this idea. It has no basis to begin with.

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As far as the "chezkas moshiach", if you are going to understand the Rambam to mean that the Chezkas-Moshiach person does not have to succeed in making all Jews follow the Torah but merely want them to do so, or to put an effort into them doing so, then almost everyone in the world who is a good Jew and tries his best to improve others and to fight Hashem's battles is Bechezkas Moshiach, if of course he is from Bais Dovid.

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The Baal Shem Tov related to his brother in law how moshiach told him that he (Moshiach) will come when his (the Baal Shem Tov's) Torahs will be disseminated. Of course, that was stated to the Baal Shem Tov, in his days, that that is what his generation needs for Moshiach to come. The Lubavitcher Rebbe decided, for some reason, that that is also what we need today as well. Of course, that has no source in the Baal Shem Tov and this is one of the "Chasidic" (sic) ideas that the Satmar Rebbe (Divrei Yoel Tzav) referred to those who believe it as "tipshim" (idiots).

Rav Chaim Volozherner does not say such is a legitimate shitah. Not at all.

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