Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Lubavitch VII

Rabeinu Bachya in Bereishis 49:33 says that NOT every Tzadik is like Yaakov Avinu. he says there are certain individuals who mertied that zechus, such as Rabeinu HaKodosh, but besides for such as them, the other Tzadikim are NOT in that category. He says that even Avrohom and Yitzchok Avinu were NOT in that category.

Furthermore, the Chasam Sofer and others state that the only Tzadikim who are considered in that category - that is, not dead and able to perform Mitzvos, are those who return to earth in their physical bodies. Those who do not appear on earth in physical bodies are considered 100% dead. So when the Lubavitcher Rebbe returns in his body like Rabeinu Hakodosh did, then we can put him in that category. Until then, he will have to remain in the same category as all others.

Furthermore, it does not say in the Gemora that you should look at your Rebbe like an angel. It says just the opposite: That if you find someone who is like an angel, you should make him your Rebbe.

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It's true, not all Lubavitchers believe the Rebbe is alive, boruch Hashem. But some have really crossed all lines, even to say that it is prohibited to say "zechuso yagen alienu" on the Lubavitcher Rebbe, since he is still alive.

In the 16 Tamuz 5755 issue of Bais Moshiach, (p.37, 38) we find the following snippet regarding their practice of always referring to the Lubavitcher Rebbe as "shlita":

"If it is true about Rav Shimon bar Yochai (that we do not say "zechuso yagen aleinu"), and in regard to Yaakov Avinu (that they should not have embalmed him since he was alive)then ALL THE MORE SO and kal Vachomer regarding the Nasi Doreinu who is still our leader and has guaranteed many times that we will enter uninterrupted into eternal life with the Nasi Hador at our helm -- can someone even think to use phrases (such as zechuso yagen aleinu or ztzal) that refer to people who have really died? Shouldn't we worry about being punished if we do so? And let us end [this article] on a positive note: That the Rebbe, the King Moshiach shlita should redeem us immediately and right away mamesh."

They said "If R. Shimon bar Yochai and Yaakov Avinu, then all the more so the Lubavitcher Rebbe."

Boruch Hashem NOT all Lubavitchers belief this insanity.

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Miracles and Disasters

There is surely great exaggeration when the Lubavitcher Chasidim describe the "miracles" of their rebbe. However, even if the stories are true, they make no difference.

But there is something distinctly and uniquely negative in the stories about the Lubavitcher Rebbe's Brochos as opposed to those of the Tzadikim.

If someone blesses a sick person that they should live but they don't, it's not a problem - not every blessing comes true; even if someone "guarantees" that the baby will live and he doesn’t, c"v, it has happened. Things affect guarantees after they were given.

However, if a rebbe tells someone to do something that is al pi deerech hatevah stupid and dangerous, and guarantees he will be safe, and then gets hurt, that’s kind of eye-raising.

There was a story once of the Satmar Rebbe ZTL, where his driver was caught in unexpectedly heavy traffic erev Shabbos, and he was not going to make it home in time.

What he did was, he told the driver "drive on the other side of the highway against traffic - my achrayus."

The driver did, and there was no oncoming traffic for miles, even though it was a normally heavily traveled highway on both sides. (The driver of that car is still alive, telling this story to his grandchildren and others.)

Now for a Rebbe to tell someone to do something that's a sakanah is wrong -- unless he "knew" that there really was no sakanah involved, and there would be no traffic, in which case there was never a sakanah.

But let's say he told this driver to drive against traffic and then POW! rahcmanah latzlan.

That Rebbe would be responsible. You don’t do something like that unless you really know what you’re talking about.

This is not the same as "guaranteeing" a recovery from illness. This is willingly putting someone's life in your hands.

And even though the Brachos of Tzadikim, and sometimes even their guarantees do not always have to come true, when you advise someone to go against common sense, putting them in direct danger, you really better know what you’re doing.

But the Lubavitcher Rebbe was accustomed to do just that, and disaster often struck. When the residents of South Africa asked him, a number of years ago, whether they should move out to another country due to the terrible danger and near anarchy that goes on in the streets there, especially in the Jewish neighborhoods (the human animals purposely go into the white neighborhoods because they know that's where the money is), he told them to stay there, because South Africa will remain safe.

Most people left anyway. But the Lubavitchers and those who believed the Rebbe's outrageous guarantee even bought houses and put money into the ones they had.

It was a debacle of major proportions. Johannesburg is the most dangerous place for a Jew to live in the entire world. We're talking the need for guard dogs, electrified fences, and being a prisoner in your own home. We're talking about savages who believe that raping a virgin cures you of AIDS (I'm not kidding. And over 20% of the population is infected). People who are willing to kill for a few pennies.

This was not a blessing that didn’t come true - this was not a prediction that went awry. This was a foolhardy behavior that caused hardship for many, many Jews.

This irresponsibility puts the Lubavitcher Rebbe's advice in a different category than that of the Tzadikim.

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The Gulf War - predictions coming true mean nothing, the posuk in Chumash says a Navi Sheker can make true predictions. And there are many many more stories about the LR being wrong besides the South African debacle. I just mentioned that one because with that one the LR put peoples lives in danger.

Rav Chaim Kanievsky told everyone that they need not wear gas masks at all. People came back to him and reported that Rav Shach said that people should put on gas masks, expecting Rav Kanievsky to immediately defer to the ruling of Rav Shach.

But he didn't. He said, "I repeat, you do not have to put on your gas masks. I know Rav Shach said to do it, but I am taking into consideration something that will protect all of us here that Rav Shach did not take into consideration, And that is how I know that there will be no missiles falling here."

"What factor are you considering that Rav Shach didn't consider?" they asked him.

"The zechus that Rav Shach is here. Because of that I know there will be no danger."

You can’t expect miracles by just having bitachon.

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The Lubavitcher Rebbe's statement about Lubavitcher Chasidim being different from the rest of the world in that they are exempt from the Mitzvah of sleeping in the Sukkah was a total Halachic ruling. It was based on rulings of Shulchan Aruch, believe it or not.

Please note, in addition, that not a single Chasidic Rebbe of Kabbalist ever defended the Lubavitcher Rebbe's statements that Rav Shach opposed on the grounds of Chasidic or Kabbalistic teachings. Not single defense for him has ever been given. And the Satmar Rebbe, who Kabbalists held was the world’s master Kabbalist and was, generations ago, described by Chasidic Rebbes as the model of what the Derech of the Baal Shem Tov was (interesting was the Baba Sali's statement about the Satmar Rebbe: "The Satmar Rebbe gave us a picture of the Baal Shem Tov in his greatness and holiness" – (Baba Sali, p.177), said on numerous occasions that the Lubavitcher Rebbe's ideas of Chasidus were not anything remotely any school of thought ever found in Chasiuds, including Chabad Chasidus.

Teaching Chasidus to people who have no idea who Moshe Rabbeinu's brother was will serve to confuse them and is NOT the "only way to make them frum", chas v'sholom. Why in the world would anybody think that there is no way to make any given Jew frum except by teaching him Tanya? That makes no sense, and even the Lubavithcer Rebbe never said that. The Lubavitcher Rebbe's reason for teaching Tanya as opposed to anything else to the ignorant masses who are not holding by it was, quote, "the main [reason] is, doing so will bring Moshiach, as the letter from the Baal Shem Tov to Reb Gershon Kittiver states." (Statement made to Daizshe Rebbe, Kuntres VaHachai Yiten El Libo).

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The Gemora says that a legitimate Halachic decision may be followed because of who said it, even though otherwise a different legitimate halachic decision would be followed. But if the decision has no legitimacy Halachicly, then no matter who says it, be it your Rebbe or anybody else in the world, you are not allowed to follow it.

Therefore, the Lubavitcher Rebbe's psak that you may sleep outside of the sukkah, which is halachicly baseless is not allowed to be followed.

Please bear in mind that no previous Rebbe ever said you are patur from the sukkah. The story goes that the Mittler Rebbe said to his Chasidim that he cannot understand how they can sleep in the sukah with the ohr hamakif, and that's fine - perhaps they should be disturbed to the point of not being able to sleep. But as long as they are indeed not on the level to be disturbed by it, nobody said they are allowed to sleep outside the sukkah.

That is where the Lubavitcher Rebbe erred. There is no heter anywhere not to sleep in the sukkah because your Rebbe could not. You can, so you must.

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Considering what some people wrote about Rav Shach ZTL (they usually don't even call him "Rav"), what they wrote about me is nothing. Actually, someone I know told me that he mentioned that "shaigetz" line to one of the Moderators on one of the chabad sites (who he knows personally) and apparently it was edited out afterwards. I don't really check, but whatever. They also stopped referring to this site as "frumteens" (they always change a letter or two in the spelling) because they're scared that people will come to the site.

But anyway, their "answers" are just more distortions. It's a pity that their Rebbe taught them these things. Here are some examples of the official "answers" that Chabad has come up with for the claims against them by Gedolei Torah:

Not eating in a Sukkah: "Minhag mevatel din". That’s a quote. They claim that the Minhag in Chabad was not to sleep in a sukkah and the Rebbe merely "explained" it according to Halachah.

Of course, a Minhag cannot allow people to do what is prohibited or exempt you from a Mitzvah. The Gemora says this in Rosh Hashanah 16b and it is all over the poskim, not that it takes any great scholarship to understand this for it is quite obvious. (The Reform and Conservative movement would love this "psak" from these Lubavitchers. What people do permits you to not do Mitzvos! Wow.) Minhag Mevatel Halachah applies either to monetary customs only, or l'chumrah etc. but never, ever to violate a mitzvah.

Then they claim that it is impossible that the reason for their not sleeping in the Sukkah in Lubavitch, Russia was due to the cold - after all, didn't (some) of those chasidim go to the mikveh in ice water? So surely they would sleep in the sukkah in the cold as well!

Ah, no. If you go to the Mikveh in the cold and suffer during your Tevilah, you successfully accomplished the purity that going to the Mikveh provides. Your suffering does not reduce the benefit of going to the Mikveh - on the contrary - your mesiras Nefesh enhances it. But Sukkah has a special Halachah that Mitz'taer Patur, meaning, if you have to suffer, you no longer have Mitzvah to sleep there. You accomplish nothing if you sleep in the Sukkah while suffering, but you do accomplish if you go to the Mikveh.

I mean, first the Lubavitcher Rebbe says the reason why all Lubavitcher Chasidim do not sleep in the Sukkah is because of the exemption of Mitz'taer, then they say that it is unthinkable that Lubavitcher Chasidim would forgo a Mitzvah because of Tzar. Ouch.

They also claim that the Mitteler Rebbe chased Chasidim out of the Sukkah, because how can you sleep with the Shechinah like that, which shows he not want them to sleep there, even in those days.

Please. If that is true, then the Lubavitcher Rebbe certainly is wrong, since obviously those Chassidim who he supposedly chased out of the Sukkah were obviously not "mitz'taer" from the Shechinah (which was the Mitteler Rebbes' complaint) yet he didn’t want them to sleep there anyway And the Lubavitcher Rebbe says the only reason the shechinah exempts someone from sleeping in the Sukkah is because they are Mitz'taer. And even if the Mitteler Rebbe was complaining why aren’t they Mitztaer, so long as they can sleep in the Sukkah without Tzar, they are obligated to do so.

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Regarding Seudah Shelishis, the following comes from "Vedibarta Bam", on the Laws of Bentching according to Minhagei Chabad, by Rabbi Moshe Bogomilsky, page 24,25:

"Question: Why are Chabad Chasidim not stringent about eating a full meal with challah for the third meal, and suffice with just tasting some food?

"Answer: ... However how does one satisfy the stringent ruling of the Alter Rebbe ...that bread should be eaten at the meal?

"The purpose of eating tasty food on Shabbos is strictly to experience "oneg" - delight. If eating, however, is detrimental to a person's health he does nto have to agonize himself to eat ... Hence, one who has reached the level at which he truly feels the exalted spiritual aura during the time of the third meal ... to such a person, eating is a tzar - agony - and he accomplishes his delight by refraining from eating.

"The Rebbes of Chabad 'felt' the spiritual light which shines during the time designated for Shalosh Seudot and therefore refrained from eating. Consequently, the Chassidim who are attached to them follow in their footsteps".

Now this is totally against Halachah. If someone for some reason finds it agonizing to eat that's one thing, but to say that the Chassidim who do NOT find it agonizing to eat are exempt anyway since they follow in the ways of their Rebbes is a typical example of putting the demand to imitate the Rebbes above Halachic obligations. If the rebbe was sick and didn't eat, would the chasidim be entitled not to eat?

Or if the Rebbe was sick on Yom Kippur and did eat would the chassidim be allowed to eat on Yom Kippur because the rebbe is sick?

So if the Rebbe finds it agonizing to eat Sholosh Seudos (which incidentally, other Tzadikim did eat even though they were on this level, since on Shabbos, eating becomes Ruchniyus not Gashmiyus), does that exempt the Chosid?

Only if imitating the Rebbe - a monkey-like imitation, since you are not emulating his level but merely mimicking his actions that he did for reasons that do not apply to you - is more important than fulfilling the obligation that Hashem in his Torah put on you does this make any sense.

Now in this particular instance, the results are not as bad as not sleeping in the Sukkah, since there are legitimate poskim that permit not washing. But the bigger problem is the WAY they got to not washing - the Hashkafa that being "like" the Rebbe makes them think that they are fulfilling the Alter Rebbe's psak to wash. So here you have it again: The twisting of the Rebbe-Chosid relationship to something it was never intended to be

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The problem is not the Rashab's ruling that you do not have to wash for Shalosh Seudos. Many poskim hold like that. And the Rebbe Rashab is fully entitled to hold like them. But the Lubavitcher Rebbe said something totally different.

Although the Lubavitcher Rebbe agrees with the Rashab that you do not have to wash for shalosh seudos, he, on top of that, concocted out of thin air a totally against Halachah reason for it. Namely, not that the poskim who hold not to wash are the majority, or the greater ones, or they have the most valid arguments, but rather, the reason not to wash is that Lubavitcher Chasidim should copy the behavior of their previous Rebbes, who could not eat because they were so "flying" spiritually during shlosh seudos that they couldn’t bear to be involved with a physical activity such as eating. The idea that the need to mimic their Rebbe for no reason creates a Halachic instruction.

It is that REASONING, that misguided interpretation of what creates Halachic instructions, the misinterpretation of what a Rebbe-Chosid relationship is, the entire twisted notion that is the problem. Not the not washing.

If a Rebbe cannot eat, then he is patur perhaps, like a choleh. But if the Talmid or Chosid is not a choleh, he must eat. The Lubavitcher Rebbe admits that the only reason the previous Rebbes didn’t eat is because they were like a choleh so they could not.

But we can. Making believe you’re a choleh is not a reason to determine halachic issues one way or the other.

But in chabad, the robotic, blind, meaningless imitating of the Rebbe is what’s important.

That's the problem.

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At the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s funeral there were shouts of “GET UP! GET UP!”, as the coffin was being lowered into the grave. And there were those who were DANCING and SINGING during the funeral about Moshiach’s arrival. So even though he had a funeral, it made no difference to these people.

And please note: They are not considering the SOUL of the Rebbe alive, which is normal procedure for souls and nothing unusual. They are considering the Rebbe as ALIVE. As in you and me alive.

Those who danced and screamed at his funeral were a small minority, not those who believe the Rebbe isn't dead. The "not dead" people are many more. And the others, the crazies as you call them, still have official positions within Lubavitch, such as - why not? He publicizes this himself - Shmuel Buttman. The man needs to be officially condemned and have his soap boxes - radio shows, newspaper articles - taken away.

But that the Rebbe is alive is much more rampant. Again, in the sefer "HaTekufah V'Hageulah B'Mishnaso Shel Harebi Milubavtich", that comes with the Haskomos of Lubavitcher Roshei Yeshiva, Rabbonim and, as they call them in Chabad, "mashpiim" (i.e. what is otherwise know as a mashgiach), it brings how Moshiach will be "hidden" in the sky before he arrives, not dead at all, and that how Moshiach does not die because he is not affected by time. Also they explain the Yechi chant to mean simply that. I quoted the exact words above.

As far as the Moshiach of the generation, you seem not to have read my last post. To say that someone is "Moshiach" does not necessarily violate the prohibition. It depends what you mean by that. You could mean anything from "authority figure" to "leader of the generation" to "king" and "Moshiach of the generation" and many more. None of this is a problem.

But to say that someone is the King Moshiach, the redeemer, that is prohibited. And nobody in history ever did that before, except by Shabse Tzvi, Bar Kochba, and other disasterous episodes. There is therefore zero comparison or proof in the past references of someone as Moshiach.

Even when someone referred to another as the mohsiach of a generation, it was done by means of Ruach HaKodesh, not because some Chassidim decided it was so. Since no such means - and no other reasonable means - was used to determine that the Lubavitcher Rebbe is the "Moshiach of the generation", it is therefore another baseless concoction.

And to use that wishful thinking as the basis for declaring him the King Moshiach final redeemer is a terrible sin.

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First, if someone chose bad hashkofos in his lifetime, he will indeed retain those bad hashkofos even after he is dead, and any advice he gives posthumously will not be based on anything better than what he person believed in his lifetime. We only have this world to attain the proper beliefs; in the next world, we do not change. Whatever you were at the moment you die, that is what you remain forever - hashkofos and all. When Unkeles was considering converting to Judaism, he sought the advice of his dead uncle, Titus, through supernatural means. Titus told him not to convert, but rather to attack the Jews. He then described to Unkeles how he was currently burning in Gehinnom. Even though he was in the Olam HaEmes, and being punished for all his misdeeds, even so, he was unable to give advice that would have been different from what he believed while on Olam Hazeh.

That is why we are in this world: to straighten ourselves out while we can. After we are dead, it is too late.

Second, if you have to rely on the idea that the person whose kever you are praying at has changed after he died, he is not someone whose kever you want to be praying at in the first place.

Third, and this is the very important, we do not pray at graves of tzadikim to seek advice from the dead tzadikim. This is a lubavitch psycho thing. The poskim warn us when visiting the graves of Tzadikim not to dare think that the purpose is to communicate with the Tzadikim themselves, but rather to pray to Hashem b'zchus the Tzadik, for praying at their graves awakens their zechus (see Bach 217, Chachmas Adam 89:7).

Fourth, for the record, visiting cemeteries and praying at graves should be done only in certain times and places, and certain ways, otherwise, it can be spiritually dangerous. The Zohar writes that for average people going to cemeteries is very dangerous, unless they go after having fixed their spiritual imperfections, so that the "chitzonim (kind of like "forces of tumah") that reside in the cemetery do not cling to them. The Bach (217) says in the name of Rav Chaim Paltiel regarding people who make a neder to go to the Bais Hakvoros to pray, that he is accustomed to nullifying such vows, because women and young people, who are not knowledgeable regarding the reasons for going to cemeteries, "I don't know the purpose of their going" to begin with. The Arizal writes that only certain times of the year are appropriate to visit the cemetery.

Therefore, where and when there is a legitimate established custom to visit graves, we assume those who originated the Minhag knew what they were doing - all this is Kabbalistic anyway - but in a way that there is no established minhag, it is better to stay away form cemeteries altogether.

(There is also a widespread custom among women not to enter cemeteries when they are a Nidah.)

You will benefit much more, and make better use of your time by visiting a sick friend, or helping out your parents, which are Mitzvos D'Oraisa, than by randomly going to cemeteries to pray.

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