Monday, August 11, 2008

Chabad III- The apologetics aren't satisfying

shloime's comment to "Chabad II - The apologetics arent' satisfying":
LazerA wrote:

"Current Chabad's focus on it's rebbe goes far beyond that found in mainstream chassidic sources. In Chabad today we find a totally new phenomenon of people using their human leader as their primary spiritual focus and purpose. Mitzvos are done to give nachas to the rebbe; the rebbe sees all, knows all, and controls all. Such an approach, transforming one's rebbe into one's primary spiritual focus, is not found in any sources outside of current Chabad."
I'm not sure whether your arrogance trumps your rather presumptuous ignorance, or vice versa.
"I would be interested in learning of Chasidic sources that justify using one's rebbe as one's primary spiritual focus. It cerainly isn't in Tanya ch. 2 as you seem to imply."
Before getting to Tanya (where you'd be better directed to Iggeres Hakodesh anyway), you might look at Tanchuma [kadum] bereishis:21 & vayeira :9, as well as the Midrash Lekach Tov, hak. l'p noach. Also see Reishis Chochma, shaar hakedusha 8, Tzavaas HaRivash par.50, and Midbar Kedemos s.v.tziyur, for starters...
"This standard line that the current complaints on Chabad are actually expressions of the old Misnagdim is simply ridiculous."
Ridiculous because you say so, of course... Mina hani milli d'omar kra ?!
"First of all, many of the current critics of Chabad are from Chasidic (or Chasidic-influenced) backgrounds."
Yes indeed - the old 'some of my best friends are Jewish' usually works, doesn't it ?
"Secondly, few of the non-Chasidic opponents of Chabad have any antagonism against any other Chasidic groups."
Ah, that's a very strong set of proofs ! You might want to take a look at Siach Sarfei Kodesh 1:p.4 (or was R' Aron Karliner part of Chabad's conspiracy
"It is simply a way of turning aside criticism without addressing the issues. It is another form of ad hominem response. Defenders of Chabad usually end up resorting to one of these. Either, "you are too ignorant of Chassidus/Kabbalah" or "You are a misnagid."
It doesn't take much to turn aside criticism born (at best) of ignorance - and I'm being generous here.

Bright eyes wrote:
"Rabbi Yehoishophot Oliver said...
".... Hashem speaks through the Tzaddik, which is a core concept in the entire derech of Chasidus, as evidenced from countless stories of emunas Tzadikim from all Chasidishe groups."


Maybe Chabad thinks Hashem speaks through their Rebbe, which would make him a Prophet. The other Chassidic groups do not think that their Rebbe is a Prophet.

Is Rabbi Yehoishophot Oliver saying that Menachem Mendel Schneersohn was a Prophet? If not, then what exactly does he mean when you say that Hashem speaks through the Tzaddik?"
Bright Eyes, might be time for some new glasses. Rabbi Oliver is more likely aware of the many identical (if not stronger) expressions of this concept in such chassidic classics as the Noam Elimelech, Meor Einayim, etc. The focus on these ideas in Chabad seforim is relatively minimal in comparison.


  1. "Rabbi Oliver is more likely aware of the many identical (if not stronger) expressions of this concept in such chassidic classics as the Noam Elimelech, Meor Einayim, etc. The focus on these ideas in Chabad seforim is relatively minimal in comparison."

    Thank you! Exactly what I've said repeatedly here. Indeed, as anyone with even the most basic knowledge of the teachings of Chabad vs. those of other groups knows, the focus of other Chasidic groups was always ONLY on the emunah in the Tzadik, whereas the Alter Rebbe innovated that that emunah is NOT ENOUGH, and each chossid has to do avodah himself as well, so the main discussion was the avodah of the Chossid, and the emunah in the Tzadik was taken for granted and not repeatedly discussed.

  2. I have noticed in an interesting repeating pattern in the posts from the defenders of Chabad (asides from the ad hominem attacks that continue unabated). In general, they will make an assertion and then support it with citations without even a brief synopsis of the material. Having looked up a few of these citations, I begin to suspect that this is a strategic approach, being that the material cited is frequently incovenient for their purposes.

    The responses by Shloime is illuminating if only because he apparently acknowledges that current Chabad teaches that one's primary spiritual focus should be one's rebbe. He simply claims that this is not a chiddush, rather it is found is found in earlier chassidic and traditional sources.

    If this is found not to be true, then we are left with a serious problem in Chabad.

    Unfortunately, I was not able to look up all of the citations (I couldn't find anything in the Tanchuma Kadum that was relevant, but the print I have doesn't have paragraph numbers, and I don't own the Chida's Midbar Kedemos). Nevertheless, the sources I was able to look up did not, in the least, support the idea of making one's rebbe into one's primary spiritual focus.

    Midrash Lekach Tov, hak. l'p noach - simply states that there is great benefit in being davuk to tzadikim. This, of course, is not a chiddush. There is a mitzva of being davuk to chachamim, as discussed at length by the Rambam in Deios 6. This does not mean that one should make his rebbe into his primary spiritual focus.

    Tzavaas HaRivash par.50 - Simply says that one should not look at the faces of those who thoughts are not always focused on Hashem. However, looking in the face of those who are always thinking of Hashem is beneficial. That's it. Again, this does not constitute making one's rebbe into your main spiritual focus.

    Reishis Chochma, shaar hakedusha 8 is a lengthy discussion on taharas einayim. In one paragraph (17 in my print) he states that looking into the face of your rebbe is a mitzva and a tikkun for your eyes. From the context he may even be speaking about during davening. This, clearly, is the most radical statement so far (though the entire perek goes far beyond our normal standards of behavior). Nevertheless, even this does not constitute making your rebbe into your primary spiritual focus.

    Maybe others can fill us in on some of the other citations. However, if this is a representative sampling, we are left with only one possible conclusion. Chabad, as acknowledged, sees their rebbe as their primary spiritual focus. They have convinced themselves that this is true for all chassidic groups and is actually a mainstream idea. However, they are wrong.

    The rest of Shloime's comment isn't worth responding to.

  3. Shlomie has revealed himself to be particularly dishonest in his postings.


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