Thursday, August 14, 2008

Chabad - With defenders like these...?

Rabbi Eidensohn
I respectfully ask that you forcefully repudiate the poster Hirshel Tzigs words against you.On his blog he has called you a 'hater' and other things that had he been a gentile he would have been accused of anti-semitism!

I imagine that you don't take it personally, but a stand has to be taken against this type of practice, accusing anybody who respectfully challenges some Chabad notions.

Most people I know would have a problem with some of the Lubavitcher practices and teachings that you discuss. For example I don't know of any non Lubavitcher who thinks that the Rebbe had the halachik classification of a Novi in the very literal sense of the word (if he did we'd have a major problem, since he said that Moshiach is coming 'ot ot' sixteen years ago! and a real novi who says prophecy on a good tiding ,it has to happen! according to the Ramba'm and if not he is a novi sheker. So, I think Lubavitch is better off saying that the Rebbe was saying it as a prayer to Hashem)Nobody I know is comfortable with the 'atzmus umahus shenislabesh beguf' So although things can be explained raising questions does not make one a hater.

N.B I also happen to know this fellow and he has no right accusing you of these things, especially since you are not hiding behind a cloak of anonymity and he is
The simple answer is that there are two ways of proving a group has a serious problems. One is to give learned discourses and analyses based on subtle clues. The other is just to let everyone observe their behavior and thought patterns.

While there is obviously a universally recognized valid core to Chabad views - the problem is and has always been what results from them. The same goes for Breslav. Regarding the latter I have heard from a number of Breslavers that their problems stem from the fact that Rebbe Nachman's derech is too demanding for the average person and thus it warps. The strongest opposition to Lubavitcher has historically been from other chasidim who think the teachings of the Tanya are not appropriate for the average Jew - not that they are wrong.

An additional problem occurs in any mass movement with a charismatic leader. A talmid chachom told me yesterday that there is no question that the Lubavitcher Rebbe was a genius in Torah as well as being a genius in understanding people. He said simply that the Rebbe created a strong spiritual excitement with his campaign regarding Moshiach - but then he periodically had to change and strengthen it to keep the momentum going. At some point he lost his perspective. Potential and theoretical understanding's became reality. Thus he went from being a possible or a presumed candidate to Moshaich himself.

It is hard for us peons to understand the pressures that exist on a brilliant and senstive person to loose his perspective when surrounded by thousands of admirers who hang on to your every word.

This is also what happened to Dovid and Shlomo.This is actually Rav Tzadok's explanation of why two high level talmidei chachomim - Yoshka and Shabtsai Tzvi went off the derech. I AM NOT SAYING THE REBBE WENT OFF THE DERECH. But spiritual boldness does carry a danger as we see with the Ramchal who was put in cherem by the gedolei hador of his time.

At this point there is not much intelligent discussion between the various factions. I have hoped that this blog would provide one of the rare venues for communication - even though obviously each side has a hermetically sealed core of beliefs.

The problem you are raising is when petty people want to build up their self esteem by acting as zealots. When these midgets get an ego surge with their self-righteousness. When they get a rush of adrenaline about torching the enemy. I simply feel sorry for Hirshel Tzig and his ilk who are not only not convincing anybody of the justness of their cause but as Rabbi Kahn has put it - they are disgracing the name of their great rebbe and making a laughing stock of his legacy. So perhaps one of the strongest proofs of the dangers of Chabad is to let these "zealots" display their thought processes and midos. They are more an embarrassment and debasement to the legacy of the Baal HaTanya than any criticism I might present. With defenders like these, the opponents don't have to work very hard.


  1. > It is hard for us peons to understand the pressures that exist on a brilliant and senstive person to loose his perspective when surrounded by thousands of admirers who hang on to your every word

    You mean the Rebbe or, l'havdil, Michael Jackson?

    One of the problems with Chabad and much of Chareidi philosophy nowadays is that at the core their view is the "right" view and must be defended with passion and aggressiveness. Thus the response to the questions asked on this blog. It's not the most conducive way to encourage open discussion.

  2. Garnel Ironheart said...
    "One of the problems with Chabad and much of Chareidi philosophy nowadays is that at the core their view is the "right" view and must be defended with passion and aggressiveness."

    While I also agree that the problem exists in the Chareidi world as well (though not as pervasively), I do not think the essence of the problem is that they consider their view "right" (which is really to be expected) but that they believe their view is obviously and self-evidently correct. Thus, those who disagree are not simply wrong or misguided, but hateful and arrogant (as we see from the accusations that have been made).

    Interestingly, a similar phenomon existed during the Middle Ages when Christians accused the Jews of ritual murder, host desecration, and of being of a demonic/Satanic nature. This was premised on the Christian belief that Jesus' status as Moshiach/prophet/Divine was clearly self-evident to all who knew him. As the Jews knew Jesus best, their denial of his status as Moshiach/prophet/Divine could only be explained by their wilfully evil/demonic nature.

    As I noted this tendency also exists in some circles of the Chareidi world, and can cause a good bit of trouble.

    Firstly, those who have such an attitude are less likely to consider the impression their actions make on outsiders. (After all, in their hearts, the secular Jews know we're right!)

    Secondly, this is one of the reasons kiruv workers sometimes get in trouble. Although they (usually) believe exactly the same things, they are sometimes seen as weaker in their beliefs because they will acknoweldge that these beliefs are not obvious.

    This attitude appears to be far more common in Israeli chareidi circles than in American.

  3. I don't believe you guys are giving Hirshel Tzig a fair shake. He runs his blog, to quote him, in an attempt to " provide a counter opinion to the Chabad bashing that is so prevalent in blogosphere ". Unfortunately, this blog is a forum for the type of hate Hirshel Tzig has chosen to defend against. Many of the vicious and unsubstantiated screeds vilifying Chabad and posted here, bear ample witness to the fact. I think the fact that you have chosen to conveniently ignore key questions I've posted here in response, is more than telling. My question to you now is;
    Might it be as well to say that with defenders like those 'justifying' the slapping of cheromim willy-nilly on gedolei yisroel and using such an approach to support rampant hate against other Jews with whoms hashkofos we differ - how hard do those opponents have to work ? Does the indoctrination of thousands of yeshiva students to believe that those following another derech are no longer included in 'reiecha' 'amcha' etc. have a beneficial outcome or not ? Remember that there are (at least) two sides to every hashkafic argument one chooses to launch, and that primal hate between Jews has never ended well, even when it's been dressed up as some type of 'love'.
    The open forum provided by Hirshel Tzig isn't disgracing anybody. Rather, he allows for an open exchange and debate of opposing viewpoints, an attitude this blog has yet to adopt.

  4. Shloime,
    You have been quite accusatory in your postings and also tried to divert attention from issues at hand (for example, what difference for the issues at hand does it make what your opinion on Rav Shach is, will it help people understand how the Rebbe is a literal Novi or understand a statement that a rebbe is 'atsmus umahus' or that the Rebbe was infallible?).What really makes me wonder is where do you see Rabbi Eidensohn claim any of your off the wall accusations.Did Rabbi Eidensohn say Lubavitchers are not 'Amcho' or 're'eicho'??
    I have seen him to be respectful, open minded and yes, challenging.
    In fact your comments were posted, though you leveled some nasty insinuations. The other prolific poster 'Lazera' though disagreeing with Chabads viewpoint has been respectful too. Maybe you are mixing up 'disagreement' with hate and your whole litany of accusations. Maybe you should look into the mirror a bit more often

  5. I'm saddened that this post in effect dismisses the Rebbe as some sort of megalomaniac, CHAS V'SHOLOM, when he was world-renowned for his tzidkus, ruach hakodesh, and holiness. I am sure Reb Moshe Feinshtein, who called the Rebbe "HaGaon HaTzadik," would never have spoken this way.

    It's as if the poster, kvodo bimkomo munach, can't imagine that someone could actually be on such a high level, so he must attribute any radical-sounding statements to some sort of crude and lowly failings, ch"v. I can just see it, when Moshiach comes, him being approached and challenged: "What? You think you're Moshiach? No one can be on THAT level!!"

    I would recommend regular study of Kabbolo and Chasidus to gain a perspective of higher spiritual levels in general.

    Then it won't be so hard to believe that when the Rebbe said what he said about Moshiach or the like, he actually knew exactly what he was saying and did so because "Shechinah medaberes mi'toch grono"--just as he knew the full responsibility he was taking by advising people from the beginning of his nesius whether or not to take operations--for which a person must be either a megalomaniac or a real baal ruach hakodesh who simply knows his level and uses his G-d-given powers to help fellow Jews.


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