Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Chabad - Prof. David Berger's clarification of Village Voice article

Regarding a recent article about Chabad in the Village Voice there was a quote from Prof. Berger which seemed to indicate that he had greatly modified his critique of Chabad. The following is his response to my request for clarification of the Village Voice interview.
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Professor Berger wrote:
Dear Rabbi L. and Rabbi Eidensohn,

I have not chas ve-shalom reversed my position regarding Chabad.

You are welcome to post the following clarification:

The relevant section of the Village Voice article reads as follows:
“Though [Berger] staunchly opposes the movement, he says that there are strong theological underpinnings both to the messianism and even to the ‘seemingly crazy assertion’ that the rebbe really didn't die. ‘Judaism says that in every generation, there is a righteous person that connects the world to the divine energy,’ he explains. ‘If there is no leader, the world would actually cease to exist. So the fact that the rebbe has died and that the world continues to exist is a conundrum to them, and it leads them to believe that the rebbe must not have died. But even people who believe he did die find this to be a challenging question.’ They resolve it, he adds, by opining that we're living in strange times, or that the rebbe is still providing the divine connection from his grave.” Ad kan.
I posted the following comment on the paper’s website.
“I am quoted as saying the following: ‘Judaism says that in every generation, there is a righteous person that connects the world to the divine energy. If there is no leader, the world would actually cease to exist.’ I said this about Lubavitch hasidism, not about Judaism as a whole.” Ad kan.
Let me clarify the point and why I think it is important. The instinctive reaction that Lubavitch messianists (and kal va-chomer those who believe the Rebbe is alive) are meshugoyim is one of the reasons why people fail to deal with this clear and present danger to Judaism seriously. Some of the believers are no doubt crazy, but most—even of the latter variety--are not. For them, it is a given that the world can survive only through the mediation of a physical tzaddik, and since the birth of Chabad this tzaddik must be the Lubavitcher Rebbe of the generation. It is simply unthinkable that it could be anyone else. This is all standard Lubavitch theology.

Thus, it is the people who recognize that the Rebbe died who are forced to resort to what they admit are shinuyei dechikei to the point of saying that the world in our generation is sustained and governed from the Rebbe’s gravesite. To illustrate that people who deny sense perception as a result of faith can be entirely normal, I noted the masses of Catholics who believe that the real body of Jesus is present in a piece of bread.

Once we realize that this un-Jewish belief is deeply rooted in a theology that virtually all Lubavitch hasidim affirm—and once we realize that the belief in the Rebbe’s Messiahship and even divinity are also driven by deeply entrenched elements of Lubavitch theology as well as in statements of the Rebbe himself-- we will be less inclined to dismiss these beliefs as the transient products of the fevered imaginations of a handful of wild-eyed lunatics. At that point, maybe we will stop dismissing all this as an amusing curiosity and actually try to do something to prevent the believers from being recognized as Orthodox rabbis and religious functionaries, a recognition that betrays Judaism and desecrates the memory of kedoshim through the ages who died to preserve the theological boundaries between Judaism and Christianity.

25 comments :

  1. Is Rabbi Berger the only voice of reason with regard to Chabad?

    Why is it so difficult to convince Rabbinical leaders that Chabadism is in grave danger of replacing Judaism?

    Are our Rabbis so unaware of Christian theology that they cannot recognize it in Chabad?

    How can Jews live in Christian countries and not understand even the most basic aspects of the beliefs of the Gentiles they live among?

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  2. I would hope that Rabbinic Leadership's attention is on addressing the ills of their own respective followers rather than shout against people they cannot change.

    -micha

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  3. what is truly frightening is this -
    Up until now everybody has claimed that these people do not represent a threat to Judaism the way Xanity did because, after all, they are very careful about keeping Halacha, whereas the Xans reject it. But now we read:

    "Kanevsky ... walked around eating ice cream in 770 on a fast day, which led to her being kicked out. And on the most recent fast day this summer, she talked with some Chabad members in Florida who were enjoying a spaghetti dinner."

    The "most recent fast day this summer"? That's Tisha Be'Av, folks.

    Ad Matai indeed.

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  4. Grow up Dov. Kanevsky was kicked out for behavior that is intolerable and unacceptable. What do you want - they should kill her ? People like Kanevsky aren't dangerous, merely nuts. Now the pedophiles in certain yeshivas -THAT is a real danger, and what are we doing about them ?!

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  5. Recipients and PublicitySeptember 10, 2008 at 10:18 AM

    Dr Berger just doesn't get it. The Shluchot are a refutation to the anti-Chabad sceptics. The complete comment was made a posting at
    [http://daattorah.blogspot.com/2008/09/chabad-dr-berger-doesnt-get-it-good.html]

    Reading this essay is such an interesting counter balance or counter-approach to the Dr. Berger world view of Chabad and how he perceives the subject as he strives to ring alarm bells about it. Published in the latest "The New York Jewish Week," Monday, September 08, 2008 written by noted columnist Jonathan Mark.

    Importantly, the article shows the very real political implications of the Chabad approach both for Jews and in American politics using the person and persona of the latest Republican nominee for Vice President, Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska as a "living metaphor" who has also been praised for her pro-Jewish and pro-Israel stance (but as is known she is a Christian Evangelical that may have its challenges too) see also the VIN article "Chabad Rabbi: Sarah Palin a Great Friend To The Jewish Community" (see below after the Jewish Week article.)
    ===============================

    "Rabbis who can't stop quoting Heschel or Soloveitchik don't get it. Americans and Jews don't need another genius. We don't need another Herr Rabbi Doctor. We have enough "scholars," believe it or not. We don't have enough human beings who'd rather rock a Down Syndrome baby to sleep than abort it; human beings who can relate to a flunking child or the stuffiness of the sophisticates, parents who don't give a damn who's in the top shiur or who made law review. We have too many of the best and the brightest, the wise and the brilliant, who can't communicate (and who, in the end, maybe aren't really the best or all that brilliant.)

    The genius of Chabad is delivering their message in a down-home way, much as Sarah Palin did at the convention. [...] Chabad women don't conduct studies. They cook a chicken (or, Sarah Palin, a moose) and invite you over on Friday night. And college students, middle-class families, international businessmen want to be there.[...]

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  6. Whatever your point was, daniel, it was lost in your opening line.

    Learn to speak nicely and maybe we can talk.

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  7. I read the village voice article as well as Dr. Berger's follow up. He used the term "theological underpinnings" in the first article in the village voice and he reaffirmed it in the second. This implied that Lubavitch has a proper shitah. praying at a grave to ztadikim is something done from the beginning of time. it is Elul. Many will go to the graves of their departed loved ones. Why?

    It is clear from this post that Berger is backing off from that article. If not it would be irresponsible reporting. He cahnged his mind once and now again. let us not fool ourselves.

    I believe that he did back off and that everyone pushed him. Once commited one has to stay put. He has to make everything consistent. Humans are flawed.

    But, he is only a Professor and admits he does not know chasidus as he shows in his writings. So, who is he to say anything? Why is anyone paying attention? My chasidic friends say he writes like a child who does not understand.

    He attacks the rabbinic leaders for their silence. Maybe, they disagree with him. His remark about divinity is a blood libel. Admittedly there are a few nuts. I am sure that this blog has its fair share. But, how can one attack a whole community.

    Even the atmus umahus discussion is nonsense. The Rebbie said it. If you want to accuse a godol of teaching heresy then do so. What I suggest is try to figure it out or give him the benefit of the doubt. I am sure that there are other things we do not understand.

    Finally, this blog is called daas torah. according to the semah (in the name of rishonim) baale habatim do not possess daas torah. So, let people not pretend they do. Stop harrasing others. Keshot atzmecha. The heter of the Chazon Ish is for those who know to expose. An artisain can judge not a layman. A Rov can tell you that another is paskening wrong. Who else?

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  8. levi said...
    "I read the village voice article as well as Dr. Berger's follow up. He used the term "theological underpinnings" in the first article in the village voice and he reaffirmed it in the second. This implied that Lubavitch has a proper shitah."

    The phrase "theological underpinnings" does not, in any way, carry the connotation of correctness. Every religion has "theological underpinnings", does that mean they are all a "proper shitah"?

    Dr. Berger is explaining why the messianists are wrong, not insane.

    As he stated in his clarification, it is the idea that the messianists are just crazy that causes many of the responsible leaders outside of Chabad to ignore the problem.

    "praying at a grave to ztadikim is something done from the beginning of time. it is Elul. Many will go to the graves of their departed loved ones. Why?"

    You have misunderstood normative Jewish practice. When we go to daven at kivrei tzadikim we have several intentions:

    1) The kever of a tzadik is a makom kadosh and our tefillos to Hashem are more readily recieved.

    2) We daven to Hashem that we should be aided in the merit of the tzadik.

    3) We ask the tzadik to intercede on our behalf with Hashem. This last is the most controversial, nevertheless, it must not be confused with "praying to tzadikim". Theologically, it is no different than asking another person to daven for you.

    To my knowledge, no accepted authority approves of praying to tzadikim.

    "It is clear from this post that Berger is backing off from that article. If not it would be irresponsible reporting. He cahnged his mind once and now again. let us not fool ourselves."

    You are reading things into the article that simply aren't there. Although the article was not entirely clear on Dr. Berger's position, there is no evidence there that he had changed his mind about any significant point.


    "I believe that he did back off and that everyone pushed him. Once commited one has to stay put. He has to make everything consistent. Humans are flawed."

    So now, Dr. Berger, who has been a lonely voice trying to get the non-Chabad establishment to wake up to the crisis in Chabad is actually being pressured to continue his lonely crusade? Who is doing the pressuring?


    "But, he is only a Professor and admits he does not know chasidus as he shows in his writings. So, who is he to say anything? Why is anyone paying attention? My chasidic friends say he writes like a child who does not understand."

    Yes, the standard line from Chabad. They never actually demonstrate why you're wrong, they just say you're stupid.

    "He attacks the rabbinic leaders for their silence. Maybe, they disagree with him. His remark about divinity is a blood libel. Admittedly there are a few nuts. I am sure that this blog has its fair share. But, how can one attack a whole community."

    Well, let's take the case of the radical messianist described in the article, Sara Kanevsky. Has any prominent Chabad leader come out with a public statement that her ideas are fundamentally wrong? Not, counterproductive or an embarassment to Chabad, but flat-out wrong? Even the Chabad spokesman quoted in the article, Rabbi Zalman Shmotkin, never says she is actually wrong, just counterproductive.

    The silence is deafening. And it creates the strong impression that they don't REALLY disagree with her, they just find her too noisy and inconvenient for public consumption.

    (BTW, from what I have seen online, it is not really accurate to describe Kanevsky as an isolated nut. She appears to be a fairly well-known and popular teacher and leader in the messianist movement.)

    "Even the atmus umahus discussion is nonsense. The Rebbie said it. If you want to accuse a godol of teaching heresy then do so. What I suggest is try to figure it out or give him the benefit of the doubt. I am sure that there are other things we do not understand."

    What the late Lubavitcher Rebbe intended with his statement is a matter of controversy. However, that it has been misunderstood and misused by some of his followers cannot honestly be disputed. The only question is how large this group really is.

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  9. lezara,

    I have noticed your other posts. You always have a lot to say. You are the expert and everyone else misunderstands. This is a theme you keep repeating. Lucky us.

    But what I said that people on this blog do not possess daas torah (they are not the same as daas rabonim) can be found in the Choshen Mishpat. I did not note a response to this observation. This is a key response to Berger.

    Also, the heter of loshon horoh has not been addressed. It is a waek excuse. You and Berger and all people on this blog do understand the mind of the rabbinic leaders. If they said nothing then it is not a scandal as the book's title accuses.

    I know some Lubavitcher who talk about aztmus umahus. Not one considers the Rebbie divine. This is not what it means to them.

    And, do not teach us why we go to kever avos. No one prays to the rebbie. This is an out right lie. Shame on you for spreading falsehood. he is asked to intervene. What you say is horrible. And, if they look at his picture while praying it is correct. It is discussed by the radvaz in his teshuvos. Many sefardim do that with baba Sali.

    It is disgusting to pick on thousands of kosher Jews. Shame on you all. Nothing seems to clear up. It is just a continuous fight. What is gained? What daas torah? whose dass torah. It is daas yetzer horoh. This is Elul. Let us use it to make peace not argue.

    Berger is not a lone voice. He has the honor of being the first. Everyome tumuls.

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  10. I also want to add that I do not buy Lezara's explanation of the article in the Village voice.

    People got the impression that he backed off his campaign. In fact that is why this post is on this blog. Why would the reporter do that? Why did Berger not write a letter of clarification to the village voice? The post on this blog does not accuse them of anything.

    But, it does not matter. He has provided an opportunity to tumul once more.

    Since he is not a rabbinic leader his accusation of scandal is chutzpah. His daas is not daas rabonim as stated. Why do we need Elul? fighting is not a mitzvah. I read the all machalokes is leshem shomayim. That is the standard excuse.

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  11. Other than the usual nastiness, Levi's last responses do not actually say much.

    I will briefly reply to some substantive issues:

    levi said...
    "But what I said that people on this blog do not possess daas torah (they are not the same as daas rabonim) can be found in the Choshen Mishpat. I did not note a response to this observation. This is a key response to Berger."

    The issue of daas Torah is a red herring. Daas Torah, in its essence, is about community leadership. There is no question, in my opinion, that, ultimately, our community policies and decisions must be made by our leading Torah scholars.

    Obviously, however, this does not make us into automatons. We are intelligent people who, in many cases, have many years of serious Torah study in our backgrounds and, in some cases, may still be involved in serious Torah study and education.

    We don't simply sit passively and wait for instructions from our leaders on how to think.

    The fact is that the current crisis in Chabad is obvious to any frum Jew who is not biased. It is an immense tragedy and, in my opinion, if it continues, it will result in a tremendous loss to the Torah world and an immense chillul Hashem. It troubles me that the bulk of the rabbinic leadership is not taking a stronger, more proactive position on this issue. There are many possible reasons for this, but I don't feel that any of them are sufficient.

    This is not to say that there are not many prominent rabbonim that haven't strongly stated their position: Rav Keller in Chicago, Rav Belsky in Torah v'Daas, among others.

    (Incidentally, the Sema (CM 3:13) simply says: דידעת שפסקי הבעלי בתים ופסקי הלומדים הם שני הפכים. He contrasts "baalei batim" with "lomdim". I won't speak for myself, but I would point out that many of the critics of Chabad on this blog are, in my opinion, clearly "lomdim." Dr. Berger is also a talmid chacham and certainly is entitled to his opinion.)


    "And, do not teach us why we go to kever avos. No one prays to the rebbie. This is an out right lie. Shame on you for spreading falsehood. he is asked to intervene. What you say is horrible."

    I never said a word about praying to the rebbe (methinks thou dost protest too much). I was simply responding to your precise words, "praying at a grave to ztadikim is something done from the beginning of time." If you misstated, then simply say so.

    "People got the impression that he backed off his campaign. In fact that is why this post is on this blog. Why would the reporter do that? Why did Berger not write a letter of clarification to the village voice? The post on this blog does not accuse them of anything."

    I'm afraid you are not seeing what is right in front of your eyes.

    You ask why he didn't write to the Village Voice? He did, as he states in this post, "I posted the following comment on the paper’s website."

    You say that the proof that he backed off from his position is that people got that impression from the article. But no where in the article is there any evidence that he backed off, so clearly that impression is nothing more than wishful thinking.

    You ask why the reporter did that? Because reporters make mistakes all the time, especially on issues involving ideas completely foreign to them.

    There is no need for accusations. The reporter made a minor error, Dr. Berger posted a clarification on the newspaper's website and also here.

    The most that happened was that one aspect of Dr. Berger's position was misrepresented. It was not a major mistake and it did not indicate that he had changed his broader position on Chabad messianism. You need to actually read what was written before you jump to conclusions.

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  12. I am sorry if you felt I was nasty. It was not so intended. But, you do argue sometimes what seems to be "ahavas hanitzochon". But, I apologize. You are learned but give others credit.

    Perhaps, I should not have used the term daas torah which is a new term. The Lubavitcher Rebbie applied that semah lehalacha to prohibit laymen from intefering with the operations that belong to the communal Rabbis. He said that this includes people even with semicah. Unless people are rabbinic leaders and pasken sheelos bepoel they do not have the mindset of rabonim. My remark was that Berger is not such a rabbi and cannot criticize those Rabonim that he does. You do not have to learn like the Rebbie did. This was his pesak and I defer to him. Ask any knowlegeable chosid and you will find the references. He defined lomdim differently.

    Also, you used the expression "praying to ztadikim". I do not know what else you could have meant. This accusation is in Berger's writings.

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  13. levi said...
    "I am sorry if you felt I was nasty. It was not so intended. But, you do argue sometimes what seems to be "ahavas hanitzochon". But, I apologize. You are learned but give others credit."

    I appreciate the apology. I do argue strongly because, generally, I feel strongly about the issue. I don't see this particular debate as some dry academic issue, I see it as one of pikuach nefesh. Perhaos it is because of my own families history with Lubavitch, but, quite frankly, I feel like I am watching my friends drown and I can't seem to help and the people who could don't seem to care.

    "Perhaps, I should not have used the term daas torah which is a new term. The Lubavitcher Rebbie applied that semah lehalacha to prohibit laymen from intefering with the operations that belong to the communal Rabbis. He said that this includes people even with semicah. Unless people are rabbinic leaders and pasken sheelos bepoel they do not have the mindset of rabonim."

    While I understand the basis of this position, it is pretty big stretch to read it into the Sema.


    "My remark was that Berger is not such a rabbi and cannot criticize those Rabonim that he does. You do not have to learn like the Rebbie did. This was his pesak and I defer to him. Ask any knowlegeable chosid and you will find the references. He defined lomdim differently."

    Dr. Berger does not have to follow the psak of the late Lubavitcher rebbe either.

    "Also, you used the expression "praying to ztadikim". I do not know what else you could have meant. This accusation is in Berger's writings."

    I am not following you here. In your original post you specifically refered to "praying to tzadikim." I responded that that was not a proper approach. You replied that I was wrong (Exact words: "Shame on you for spreading falsehood.") for saying that anyone prays to the rebbe. I replied that I had never said anything about the rebbe and was only responding to your words.

    Given this summary of our dialogue on this issue, how does your above response fit in?

    BTW, I would be interested in a reference to the Radvaz you mentioned earlier about looking at a picture of a tzadik while praying.

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  14. Let me add that atzmus umahus is not controversial. Any Lubavitcher chosid who studied chasidus has no trouble with it. R. Pevzner has a reasonable explanation which I have heard from people who know chabad chasidus.

    The garbage we hear comes from bloggers. They are absolutely am horaatzim. If there is a chosid(!?) who sells apikursis then all I can say is "throw him out". We do not need him.

    When one wants to learn a new discipline they must come with an open mind and not be lekanter. If you want to understand then you must ask those that know. I have studied chasidus (chabad) for 20 years and it takes a long time to obtain a vocabulary. I suggest you make time and give at least one year.

    Berger uses expressions that show that he does not understand. I am saying this as one who has read his book and can make the statement. The chasidim see him as one who is just dredging up old fights that took place 300 years ago.

    He has made some good points. But, he has made many mistakes. Those are costly.

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  15. Give me time to find that Radvaz. Maybe tomorrow. It has been a few years since I saw it. But, it is there. He brought the posuk "veyhi morecha .." It gives the proper kavanah. Many sefardim look at a picture of Baba Sali before the prayer.

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  16. (1)Let me first give the reference S"U Radvaz 3:472. He was a big mekubal and no doubt many who attacked the chasidim in the 18th century would have attacked him also. Just read the kabalistic rational about "sod hoibur". In fcat, we could cut up the Bes Yosef as well as the Ari.

    (2) Let me explain the Rebbie's pesak. The principle he derived from that Semah was that baale batim even if they learned - surely we not need a reason to exclude am horaatzim - should not be used in a Bes Din with lomdim because they do not have the proper outlook. He felt that even musmachim when it came to a community should not join with Bate dinim for similar reasons. Maybe, it was an indictment on his chasidim's knowledge. At any rate, a Rabbinic communal leader who Berger is critcizing has other reasons than pure halacha. It is also policy. For example, R. Hirsch threw out reformed. Was he correct? It is more than halacha. When we want to make such decisions only such people can do it. And, we know that R. Hirsch was challemged on this point as going too far. So, even if Berger is correct, he is out of line.

    (3) Thelogical pinnings.
    (a) Maschiach can come from the dead according to some. But, I hate thsi belief because they say it as if it has to be and they know.
    (b) Leading from the dead is more grounded. Ask any Lubavitcher and he will show you this in the Tanya. Their belief that he never died is based on a sicha where the Rebbie said that his father-in-law like Reb Yehudah Hanosi was around (not being nisgaleh) and is still interested and helping his followers. This is in the Talmud Kesuvos 103a. This the Rebbie taught them and Berger has no right to question that belief which he does in his book. But, he was not aware - I am sure - and so he is forgiven. But, he needed to learn first and then he would not write such things.

    (4) No matter what we must never cut off a part of kelal yisrael. This is called self annihilation.

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  17. שו"ת רדב"ז חלק ג סימן תעב

    עוד אמרו בספרי החכמה כי בהיות האדם מתכוון אל רבו ונותן אליו לבו תתקשר נפשו בנפשו ויחול עליו מהשפע אשר עליו ויהיה לו נפש יתירה וזה נקרא אצלם סוד העיבור בחיי שניהם וזה הוא שנאמר והיו עיניך רואות את מוריך וזהו והתיצבו שם עמך ואצלתי מן הרוח וכו' וכן התהלל רבינו הקדוש שאם היה רואה את פני רב היה מגיע למדרגה עליונה וכ"ש אם הרב מתכוין גם הוא וקרא זה אל זה להשפיע וזה לקבל ומש"ה אמר ר' יוסי לא מן הכל אדם זוכה ללמוד תורה ומכאן התירו שילך אדם למקום אחד ללמוד תורה אע"פ שאביו אומר לו שלא ילך ועובר מצות אביו שלא מן הכל אדם זוכה ללמוד תורה וזה הטעם בעצמו בתפלה כי בהביט האדם אל אוהביו או לקרוביו או לרבו או למי שדעתו נוחה תתעורר נפשו אל הכוונה השלימה ונתוסף עליו רוח ממרום וזה דבר שהשכל מורה עליו וההפך הפך. וא"ת הא אמרינן דאינו דומה קלוס המלך והדרתו במתקלס באנשים מרובים לקלוס שהוא מתקלס באנשים מעטים והכי אמרינן לענין מגלה והלל וברכות ולענין תפלה וקרא כתיב ברוב עם הדרת מלך וכתיב נמי הן אל כביר לא ימאס ובשלמא יחיד ההולך להתפלל בב"ה אחרת הרי נתוסף על אותו הקהל ואיכא הכי ברוב עם אבל צבור המתחלק אע"פ שהם רשאים הואיל ואיכא עדה בכל אחד מהם מ"מ לא יפה עושין דברוב עם הדרת מלך וכדכתיבנא. הא לא קשיא דכיון שהם לבות חלוקים אין קלוסן עולה יפה ולפיכך נהגו בכל גלילות ישראל שכל בני עיר ולשון אחד עושין להם קהל בפני עצמו ולא יתערבו עם אנשי עיר ולשון אחר ולא היה אחד מהרבנים שמיחה בידם כי בחלוק המקומות והלשונות יתחלקו הלבבות ואין קלוסן עולה יפה ובהיותם כולם בני עיר אחת ולשון אחד יהיה השלום מתוך ביניהם לפי שכל אחד מכיר מקומו וערכו. ולא תקשה נמי מהא דאמרינן כל הקובע מקום לתפלתו כו' דבכל מקום שהוא מתפלל לשם קובע מקומו בין שיהיה פירוש המקום בבית הכנסת עצמו או שיהיה פירוש בית הכנסת להתפלל בו הרי דאותו מקום קבוע הוא כדכתיבנא לאפוקי שלא יתפלל היום בב"ה זה ולמחר בב"ה אחר. הא למדת שיכול היחיד ללכת להתפלל במקום שלבו חפץ אפילו היה אביו רגיל להתפלל באותו מקום דאדרבה ממקום שבאת בזמן שהיה אביו ז"ל שם היתה דעתו רחבה ונפשו חפצה אבל אחר שמת ונתחדש איבה ללכת למקום אחר עדיף טפי. אבל אם הסכימו הקהל מפני תקנת ענייהם שלא יצא שום אחד מהם להתפלל משם הכל כפי הסכמתם דרשאין בני העיר להסיע על קיצותם הואיל וכל קהל וקהל מחוייבים לפרנס העניים (שלא /שלהם/ דמי לי בני העיר מכל בני הקהל הואיל ומחולקים לכל דבריהם +נראה הכוונה: דבני העיר רשאין להסיע על קיצותם היינו כל זמן שהן קהילה אחת אבל אם נפרדו קצתן ונעשה מהם קהילה אחרת לכל דבר אין אלו /לאלו/ על אלו כלום דמה לי שני עירות או שני /שתי/ קהילות בעיר אחת+). ועדיין יתבאר אם הסכמה זו צריך חבר עיר או לא. וכבר נשאל מלפני אחד מגדולי הדור ז"ל על מקום שנתיישב שם ארבעה קהלות וקהל אחד מהם עשו הסכמה שלא יצא אחד מהם להתפלל חוץ מפני תקנת ענייהם לפי שהיו מחולקות בכל עניניהם בצדקות ובמסים וארנוניות ויצאו מקצתן להתפלל בקהל אחר גם מאותם שלא עשו הסכמה יצאו להתפלל באותו הקהל עצמו ושאלו האם טובי העיר אותם הקהלות שלא עשו הסכמה כשרים לדון בין שתי הקהלות או לא לפי שהם נוגעין בדבר והשיב כיון שלא עשו הסכמה אינם נוגעין בדבר למדת ממנה שבלא הסכמה רשאין לצאת להתפלל. ואותם שהסכימו אינם רשאין לעבור על הסכמתן דאי לת"ה גם שני הקהלות נוגעין בדבר הם כיון שיכולין לכופן להתפלל עמהם ולא מצא הרב המשיב טעם לומר שהם נוגעין בדבר אלא מטעמא דכתיבנא דברוב עם הדרת מלך וניחא להו שיהיו רבים בב"ה שלהם דבהכי ניחא להו טפי. וכל זה בזמן שכולם לב אחד הוא שקילוסן עולה יפה. אבל אם חלק לבם יותר טוב הוא שיתפללו כל כת לעצמה ולא שייך הכא לא חזקתו ולא חזקת אבותיו כדכתיבנא. ולא תטעה בדברי לומר שאני סובר שהחלוקה טובה ח"ו דקרא כתיב חבור עצבים אפרים הנח לו חלק לבם עתה יאשמו וגו' אלא צריך להשתדל שיהיו לב אחד לאביהם שבשמים ואם אי אפשר אלא שתמיד הם מתקוטטין והם במחלוקת דחה הרע במיעוטו:

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  18. Rav Elchonon Wasserman (Kovetz Mamarim): All of us have Daas Torah (Torah minds) to a certain degree. Some have perhaps 50%, others 15% and the rest of the person’s mind is not Daas Torah but perhaps a business mind or his wife’s or children’s opinion or some other type of understanding… Daas Torah of 100% is only found amongst gedolei Torah who have cast off the transient vanities of this world and are loyal only to the Torah perspective
    קובץ מאמרים (תש''ס עמוד ק''כ) לכל אחד מאתנו יש דעת תורה. אבל באחוזים. יש שאחד זכה בחמשים אחוז, משנהו בשבעים וחמשה, והשלישי בחמשה עשר אחוז, אולם האחוזים הנותרים אצל כל אחד ואחד הם לא מדעת תורה, כי אם דעות אחרות, דעת פרנסה, דעת מסחר, דעת אשתו ובניו וכיוצא. דעת תורה במאה אחוז אפשר למצוא רק אצל גדולי הדור, שפרקו מעליהם כל הבלי העולם והתמכרו אך ורק לדעת תורה, ...

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  19. Regarding the Radvaz I don't see what it has to do with looking at a picture during prayers. He is saying that while learning Torah that one should see his teacher.

    שו"ת משנה הלכות חלק ז סימן קנד

    הנה גילה לן רבינו הגדול הרדב"ז מספרי החכמה דהענין של והיו עיניך רואות את מוריך וענין של הא דמחדידנא וכו' הוא ענין של השפעה רוחנית שהרב משפיע על תלמידו בשעת לימודו עמו וזה בראות והיות פנים אל פנים וקרא זה אל זה להשפיע וזה לקבל כי תורת ה' תמימה איננה כמו כל חכמות העכו"ם אלא הכל מה' עלי השכיל והוא בגדר השפעת נבואה שנתוסף על התלמיד רוח ממרום וזה פשוט שא"א לעשות ע"י אמצעים כמו הטעיפס וכיוצא בו ואדרבה נעשה הכל כעין חכמת עכו"ם וזה לפענ"ד הענין של אם הרב דומה למלאך ה' צבאות יבקשו תורה מפיהו ומפיהו דוקא ופלא שלא הביא המהרש"א דברי הרדב"ז ז"ל

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  20. "Their belief that he never died is based on a sicha where the Rebbie said that his father-in-law like Reb Yehudah Hanosi was around (not being nisgaleh) and is still interested and helping his followers. This is in the Talmud Kesuvos 103a. "

    Where in the talmud does it state that he didn't die? Look there on the contrary "nitchu erelim...." Tell me more
    : Do you mean to say that his wife was not allowed to remarry if she would have so chosen? You lubavitchers distort and take gemorohs out of context....perhaps Rebbe came back to some of his families at firstly....and that that too stopped....but to say that that piece of talmud is stating that he didin't die is ignorance!

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  21. "Their belief that he never died is based on a sicha where the Rebbie said that his father-in-law like Reb Yehudah Hanosi was around (not being nisgaleh) and is still interested and helping his followers. This is in the Talmud Kesuvos 103a. "

    Where in the talmud does it state that he didn't die? Look there on the contrary "nitchu erelim...." Tell me more
    : Do you mean to say that his wife was not allowed to remarry if she would have so chosen? You lubavitchers distort and take gemorohs out of context....perhaps Rebbe came back to some of his families at firstly....and that that too stopped....but to say that that piece of talmud is stating that he didin't die is ignorance!

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  22. levi said...

    (1)Let me first give the reference S"U Radvaz 3:472.

    Thank you for the reference (and thank you Rabbi Eidensohn for the text. It can also be found here.) I have to agree with Rabbi Eidensohn that I can't see how this teshuva could be used to justify praying while gazing at a picture.

    Quite frankly, it is difficult enough to find a halachic justification for even possessing a picture of a human being (despite the fact that it is now common practice). Gazing at one during prayer raises all kinds of alarm bells.

    He was a big mekubal and no doubt many who attacked the chasidim in the 18th century would have attacked him also. Just read the kabalistic rational about "sod hoibur". In fcat, we could cut up the Bes Yosef as well as the Ari.

    This comment demonstrates a gross misunderstanding of who the opponents of chassidus were and what their opposition was about. Many of the misnagdim, especially the Vilna Gaon and his talmidim, were mekubalim of the highest caliber.

    (2) Let me explain the Rebbie's pesak. The principle he derived from that Semah....

    As I said earlier, I understand the reasoning of the LLR's position. In fact, I even agree with it to some degree. There is no question that experienced rabbonim can be frustrated by the statements made by talmidei chachamim who have no practical experience in psak and communal leadership.

    At the same time, this is not really a halachic issue (and was almost certainly not the intent of the Sema), and those who are distressed about the current events in Chabad feel they have no choice but to cry out, rather than stand idly by as their fellow Jews self-destruct. As the Rambam (Hil. Talmud Torah 5:3) says, שכל מקום שיש חילול השם אין חולקין כבוד לרב

    Maschiach can come from the dead according to some. But, I hate thsi belief because they say it as if it has to be and they know.

    The idea that moshiach could be someone who was resurrected is, in theory, supportable. If someone comes back from the dead and then proceeds to do all the things that moshiach must do, then he would be moshiach.

    This does not mean that the dead person is already moshiach and it certainly does not mean that any particular dead person is moshiach. Moreover, once we are considering dead people, the number of potential worthy candidates for the position is simply staggering, including prophets such as Daniel and leaders such as R' Yehuda Hanasi. To focus in on one particular individual because he was your rebbe is, well, self-centered.

    In truth, the issue of communal self-centeredness is a key part of the problem. As Dr. Berger points out above, "For them, it is a given that the world can survive only through the mediation of a physical tzaddik, and since the birth of Chabad this tzaddik must be the Lubavitcher Rebbe of the generation. It is simply unthinkable that it could be anyone else." While the idea that there is a single "tzadik hador" who is the primary or sole channel of shefa into the world is legitimate chasidic doctrine, the idea that that tzadik can ONLY be the Lubavitcher rebbe is NOT. It is a fiction that was created by a community that became so self-obsessed that they are incapable of seeing anyone else as their equals. And, yes, my opinion is that the LLR was largely responsible for this problem.

    Leading from the dead is more grounded. Ask any Lubavitcher and he will show you this in the Tanya. Their belief that he never died is based on a sicha where the Rebbie said that his father-in-law like Reb Yehudah Hanosi was around (not being nisgaleh) and is still interested and helping his followers. This is in the Talmud Kesuvos 103a.

    The Talmud does not in any way indicate that R' Yehudah Hanasi was actively involved in community leadership. It should be self-evident that this premise is not a practical concept of community leadership. There must still be a living Torah leader.

    This the Rebbie taught them and Berger has no right to question that belief which he does in his book. But, he was not aware - I am sure - and so he is forgiven. But, he needed to learn first and then he would not write such things.

    Dr. Berger (and anyone else for that matter) has every right to question a teaching of the LLR. The LLR was not Moshe Rabbeinu. If he came up with a radically new idea (in this case, communal leadership by a dead person) without proper precedent in Torah sources, it is the responsibility of any honest Torah scholar (or student) to question it.

    And, once again, you are falling into the standard Chabad pattern of accusing critics of being ignorant. The fact is, while Lubavitchers repeat this mantra over and over, whenever they attempt to present real evidence in their favor it tends to be very flimsy.

    No matter what we must never cut off a part of kelal yisrael. This is called self annihilation.

    Yes. Unfortunately, we can't always prevent a group from cutting itself off. This has happened numerous times in history. Unless strong steps are taken, it will almost certainly happen again.

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  23. I put my comment in another post about that radavaz. You people rely on yourselves and do not hear how "real" poskim have used that teshuvah. I am going to stop now. How can one argue with such people. take it or leave it. It is not only Lubavitch. it includes sefardim. But, you all want to focus on Lubavitch. Pick on the sefardim.

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  24. Lezara,

    I understand your excitement. I am not a Lubavitcher chosid. I do not like what they do but I see no gain in this discussion. the exerpt I saw above from the radvaz was from another sefer and incomplete and the link is not readable. I asked the blog master to post the full text.

    I will not argue with you about Lubavitch. Maybe you are right about the shitah of theirs. I just cannot stand by and watch Jews hurting other Jews. Silence sometines is better.

    But, again, looking at a picture before praying has a mekor. I called up today a daayan (from a non Lubavitcher Bes Din) who was from Israel (Badatz) and he agreed with the custom. This rov did not give me a mekor. The source I cited was given to me 10 years ago by a sefardi. Why can you not trust poskim? I am not a liar.

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  25. Dear lezara,

    One minor correction. Ztadik yesod olom does not mean there is only one. It means there must be at least one. I was shown a sicha where the rebbie discussed that. Some had claimed there must be at least two.

    What kabalah teaches (I saw this in writings over 400 years ago) is that there is someone who functions like Moshe Rabenu. The Moshe Rabenu of our generation they believe is the Rebbie. But, of course, they know that there are other ztadikim. after all the magid from Mesritch had many talmidim who became Rebbies. This is a common mistake. It is major when trying to understand the Lubavitcher.

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