Monday, August 11, 2008

Chabad - A voice of reason/A chasid needs a living rebbe

Anonymous' comment to "Chabad IV - The apologetics aren't satisfying/Lack...":
I believe that things got out of hand after the Rebbe's histalkus. While a lot of radical things may have been said (many many times), there was ALWAYS the power of the "brake" which stopped and halted the lunatics from taking things out of hand. For instance, it is known and public record that the Rebbe in public audiences scolded and rebuked chassidim for looking at him during davening. (He did it twice if I'm not mistaking). He spoke at length how this is completely wrong. He told them that next time he would notice that he would give them a Siddur to look inside the siddur during their prayers. He scolded the elders for not telling the youngsters what is right and what is wrong!

This really reflects all your discussions here: All these things said by the Rebbe are found in earlier sources but he said it in a way that purposely remained vague and abstract so that the masses not abuse it and misuse it and so that it is NOT translated in a way that is contrary to the regular belief in Jewish thought. (So the earlier quote was kept in a way that certainly fits let's say the explanation of Rabbi Posner and which actually, as many here have said is extremely consistent with the way these issues are explained in Chabad thought -as Micha acknowledges that with chabad version of tzimzumim he can hear how this is not contrary to general thought- and after all that statement was said to those who were familar with this language. As a matter of fact, later in time when this work was supposed to be reprinted the Rebbe asked that those passages be ommitted).

From the early quote under discussion, and throughout every single issue there was and is a strong even "radical" (akin found in Reshit Chochmah etc. and the like and probably some of these are found in Noam Elimelech etc.) statements but there were always brakes, and if needed in ACTION by the Rebbe to stop the misinterpretation thereof to ways that are contrary to the general thought as beleived by Jewry for millenium.

The same with the primary focus of a Rebbe. While certainly there were strong statements as to the role and position of a Rebbe (and as pointed out, there are extremely strong statements in earlier chassidic writings by tzadikim such as Kedushas Levi and Noam Elimelech etc.) ; nevertheless the focal point by the Rebbe's most of statements were that the Rebbe is merely a Shliach to connect Jews to Hashem and to serve Hashem better was always the bottom line. (One can see this stronger in the Videos of the Sunday Dollars where many came to thank the REbbe for this or that issue and he responded so frequently and with a strong vehemence; that he is only a conduit and messenger and repeating what Hashem says etc.).

What happened was: that after the histalkus the more hothead mashpiim and unfortunately even the level headed and the "thinkers" have lost the cool and the common ground in these matters. They also want to keep the real connection with the Rebe alive. But they misapplied it in practice and were not skillful enough to know how moderate the ideas and to channel these "Radical" ideas in a way that conforms and combines with the normal way Jews thought for centuries. Let us hope their less hotter heads (there are very few of them but there are) and those who are filled with the ideology that anything that is criticized from outside is automatically to be shunned will prevail, for the truth must be told: the ideologies of Chabad and the Rebbe that have so much to contribute to all of Jewry and in so many areas of Jewish life (study and fulfillment of mitzvot and serving the ALmighty) and that we must ultimately meet the final destination that everyone of us is so much awaiting the final redemption where and when we will all dedicate all of our energy to know and serve G-d.


  1. What you wrote now is not what I had in mind. I was not talking of living Rebbe. IT is a worthy discussion on it's own right. But what I was discussing about, does not require a living Rebbe. If chassidim choose to continue an attachment to a Rebbe that was nistalek and follow the directives he gave and be connected with him with the known ways that he himself set out and with other clear guidelines he delineated so be it for the purposes of our discussion.

  2. Just to be clear... I was paraphrased as, "Micha acknowledges that with chabad version of tzimzumim he can hear how this is not contrary to general thought- and after all that statement was said to those who were familar with this language."

    Pretty well put, but with only one slight error. It is not contrary to general chassidic thought. It does end up exacerbating an old Gra - Besh"t machloqes, and still places RMMS's words on the wrong side of the red line according to those who are heirs to Litvisher rulings.

    I also do not know if every form of chassidus holds of tzimtzum kipeshuto in a manner that would make RMMS's words within their definition of acceptable (but different) hashkafah, or not.

    I spent time exploring this topic in Chabad sources. I didn't go into finding sources in the literature of other derakhim but theirs and mine.


  3. Move Over Spinka - The Chilul Hashem of the year just hit:

    (No names or LH in article - do your own research)

  4. The Rebbe gave clear instructions for Chasidim to consult with Rabonim for matters of halocho, with mashpi'im for matters of understanding Chasidus and its ways, and with an asei lecho Rav for attaining personal inspiration and resolving personal problems. To the extent that there are problems in Chabad (and I don't deny it), it's due to not following the above, R"l.


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