Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Chabad: Serious issues that need to be addressed

Anonymous Guest Post UPDATE  - LINKS TO PREVIOUS POSTS

I couldn't help but notice the recent launch of 2 Biographies (arguably hagiographies) of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, one written by Joseph Telushkin and the other by Adin Steinsaltz. These book launches coincided with the very public events to commemorate his 20th yahrzeit. It is important to note, that by all accounts, Rabbi Schneerson was a very great man. he was an extraordinary Talmid Chacham and a formidable, charismatic leader who reached countless Jews in spreading Torah and Jewish values. However, since his sad passing in 1994, Chabad as a movement seems to have lost direction and has developed very disturbing problems to followers and other Jews around the globe.

Much has been spoken about the Moshiach issue and many debates have arisen in books and online articles about the compatibility of the Lubavitcher Rebbe being Moshiach and accepted Judaism. One such extensive piece is written here: http://moshiachcontroversy.wordpress.com/

It seems to me, that even if it is possible for this Moshiach viewpoint to be halachically acceptable, it relies on outlying opinions and non-mainstream halachah/philosophy. It is therefore very much a "bedieved" position at best. Why do Chabad followers feel the need to rely on such a "bedieved" opinion at all? Why does it sit at the heart of the Chabad philosophy to the point that it is nearly impossible to find a Shliach that does not believe in the Lubavitcher Rebbe being Moshiach?

More worryingly we are seeing ever increasing cult-like behavior of chabad followers. Examples include:

1) Regarding the Rebbe (whether alive or not) as some sort of super human or Messiah
2) A large picture of the the Lubavitcher Rebbe in nearly every Shliach's home ( http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/166901/jewish/Why-the-Big-Picture-of-the-Rebbe-in-Your-Home.htm ).
3) Aggressive programs of outreach to bring outsiders into the group. Notice that the Chabad outreach programs attempts to turn people into followers of Chabad, rather than Judaism.
4) Many followers "consult the Rebbe" before making decisions like where to live, who to date etc. This is done by visiting his grave or sending an email to have someone else do it. ( http://www.chabad.org/tools/ohel_cdo/aid/36248/jewish/Send-a-Letter.htm )
5) Chabad Rabbis often set themselves up as a "parallel" community in towns where there is an established Jewish presence (Schools, Shuls, etc...). This was most notable in Russia where Chabad actually took over ( http://www.haaretz.com/news/no-love-lost-1.176188 ), but this is a common theme around Europe and elsewhere. Furthermore, when Chabad Rabbis hold pulpit positions in non-Chabad Shuls, it is often the case (although not always) that they slowly bring in Chabad customs and erode the minhagim of the community.

But it doesn't stop there. We have all read in the newspapers exposing some Chabad Rabbis as molesters having corrupt practices. This is currently most notable in Australia where it seems the whole Chabad infrastructure has been covering up abuse for decades. It is true that this is not unique to Chabad, but when Chabad have a marketing program with messages like these, a greater effort should be made to clean up their act:


"Chabad Lubavitch worldwide is organized to reach out and help the hungry and the needy among us. For it has always been the Chabad tradition never to turn away a person in need."

I do not wish to see the Chabad movement dissolved, nor do I want Chabad to be segregated to a non-accepted form of Judaism. However, I do think there are very serious issues affecting us all that need to be debated. Many Rabbis won't speak out on these points because there is too much political stake or conflict of interest. The Chabad issues are the elephant in the room that will only get bigger over time unless we confront them now.
=====================================UPDATE=================
Previous discussions of the dispute over Chabad and  the kabbalistic concept of Tzitzum

Rebbe's view of Tzitzum

Chabad - Tzitzum is literal or figurative?


Tzitzum Grav vs Baal HaTanya

Chabad - do words have meaning?

Rabbi David Sedley's Review of Tzitzum Concept

Rabbi Tzadok's Varying views of Tzitzum

Rabbi Oliver and Chabad apologetics

Current generation of Chabad misunderstands Kabbala?

Chabad chasid: Is Rebbe Moshiach?

Chabad I one true form of Judaism?

Chabad II - one true form of Judaism?

Chabad - Atzmut in body - Rabbi Oliver vs Rabbi Berger

Chabad can only be understood by those who accept its beliefs Rabbi Berger response

Chabad can only be understood by those who accept its beliefs - Rabbi Oliver
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RaP's Interlinear critique of "Chabad: Serious issues that need to be addressed"

Guest post by Recipients and Publicity (RaP)
"I couldn't help but notice the recent launch of 2 Biographies (arguably hagiographies) of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, one written by Joseph Telushkin and the other by Adin Steinsaltz. These book launches coincided with the very public events to commemorate his 20th yahrzeit."

RaP: This is not unique to Chabad, it is done by all the groups all the time. ArtScroll publishing is constantly timing the release of biographies of various Gedolim to coincide within the year of their passing, or with some other related events. The 20 years since the passing of the last Lubavitcher Rebbe zt"l (known to most as "The Rebbe") is notable because in spite of all the difficulties the movement has faced without him at the helm, yet they have doubled their Shluchim and their efforts have continued stronger than even before undiminished and undimmed by the passage of time. In fact a generation of young Lubavitchers that has no direct personal experience of the Rebbe himself is now coming forth and getting ready to go into manning the frontlines with the same or greater  enthusiasm than their elders.

"It is important to note, that by all accounts, Rabbi Schneerson was a very great man. he was an extraordinary Talmid Chacham and a formidable, charismatic leader who reached countless Jews in spreading Torah and Jewish values."

RaP: This is almost a superfluous statement. No one would say about any great Rebbe or Rosh Yeshiva that he was anything else but a great Talmid Chochem etc.

"However, since his sad passing in 1994, Chabad as a movement seems to have lost direction and has developed very disturbing problems to followers and other Jews around the globe."

RaP: This is not true. Not just Chabad, but Satmar has split into two factions after the passing of their last Rebbe (between two sons of the previous Satmar Rebbe) , so has Bobov in the USA split into two factions after the passing of their last Rebbe (between a son and son-in-law of the previous Bobover Rebbe). And so have Vizhnitz in Israel split into two factions (between two sons of the previous Vizhnitzer Rebbe). In Chabad there has been a split between the radical Meshichistim (mostly in Israel) and the less strident true-believers (mostly the global Shluchim), but they all have faith that the last Lubavitcher will never be succeeded by another. A big problem is that many of the youth in Crown Heights and children of Shluchim do not relate to these high Chasidic ideals and have gone off the derech (OTD), but that has not stopped the official movement in any way from
expanding.

"Much has been spoken about the Moshiach issue and many debates have arisen in books and online articles about the compatibility of the Lubavitcher Rebbe being Moshiach and accepted Judaism."

RaP: To Litvaks and Misnagdim and non-Chasidim this may be a puzzle, but it does not baffle people who know that from its inception Chasidism is a Messianic movement. The Baal Shem Tov the founder of Chasidism wanted to introduce a movement that inspires people to bring the true Jewish Mashiach. He succeeded where Shabtai Tzvi failed according to Rav A.Y. Kook, since the last era of the 6,000 years of world history is the era of bringing Mashiach. All Chasidic movements believe this, even about their own Rebbes, it is built into their spiritual DNA and it cannot be changed. It is what gives them strength. It is also what got them into trouble with the Vilna Gaon who put them ALL in Cherem (excommunication). So basically it is an ideological split in Ashkenazi Jewry between those who follow the Baal Shem Tov and those who follow the Vilna Gaon. The Chasidish world will never compromise on it, and the Lubavitchers are some of it loudest proponents. They have the Tanya which was written by the first Lubavitcher Rebbe and it is the "Bible" of ALL Chasidim, with the Shulchan Aruch HaRav by the Baal HaTanya as the Halachic basis for that as well. It is a very strong position and cannot be opposed, it can only be ignored and isolated but it cannot be expunged or removed at this stage of history because Chasidus, with Lubavitch as part of it is too powerful. Rav Shach zt"l in his day did his part of opposing the Rebbe and making the views of the Litvaks known, but since that time people who do NOT subscribe to Lubavitch have just let them
be since there is nothing to be done really.

"It seems to me, that even if it is possible for this Moshiach viewpoint to be halachically acceptable, it relies on outlying opinions and non-mainstream halachah/philosophy. It is therefore very much a "bedieved" position at best. Why do Chabad followers feel the need to rely on such a "bedieved" opinion at all? Why does it sit at the heart of the Chabad philosophy to the point that it is nearly impossible to find a Shliach that does not believe in the Lubavitcher Rebbe being Moshiach?"

RaP: Great question and your question is also your answer! It is part of their Chasidus, like asking people with blue eyes why they have to have such types of eyes. Answer: It is in their DNA! You need to get more acquainted with what Chasidus is all about. It involves learning something about the
Zohar, Kabbalah, writings of the Rebbes, Midrashim and Maharal. Basically it is about the NISTAR of Torah that Chasidim are revealing, implementing, practicing and spreading. That is the point of the spiritual revolutions begun since the year 5000 (the sixth millennium), equivalent to "Erev Shabbos" when the world gets ready for "Shabbos", during the 5000s there are spiritual revolutions, along come the Zohar, Ramban, the ARI and the many Mekubalim who reveal the Zohar, the Ramban, the Maharal, the Ramchal, the Vilna Gaon and his Kabbalah, the Mussar Movement, the Baal Shem Tov and the Chasidic movement with its Rebbes and Chasidus, they are revealing NISTAR (the "hidden"), the SOD ("secret/s") of PARDES, the "Ohr HaGanuz" the "Ohr HaTorah" to prepare the world for the true Jewish Mashiach, the Final Redemption, the Acharis HaYamim ("End of Days"), the Ingathering of the Exiles, the War of Gog and Magog, rebuilding of the Bais HaMikdash, and the entry into the Gan Eden and the Olam Haba with the arrival of Eliyahu HaNavi and the notion of Mashiach Ben Yosef and Mashiach Ben Dovid, and Yom Shekulo Shabbos, is integral to that entire continuum and process! And all Chasidus with Lubavitch is part of this and takes it very seriously and succeed on that basis because they are riding the next big and current wave in Jewish history, the coming of the true Mashiach. Okay so they believe that "their Rebbe" is it, but this is something that all Chasidim believe. Breslov has been supporting Reb Nachman of Breslov for a long time after he has passed
away and they are getting stronger than ever!

"More worryingly we are seeing ever increasing cult-like behavior of chabad followers."

RaP: One needs to be very careful with this "label" of "cult" because it is used against by enemies of any Charedi and Chasidic group. Thus if one does not like Yeshivisha people or any other type of Orthodox or Chasidisha people they get tagged with the "cult" label which while it may have some elements of truth is to miss the point. People even label Judaism and all religions as "cults" so it does not help to use this term in a serious discussion.

"Examples include:
1) Regarding the Rebbe (whether alive or not) as some sort of super human or
Messiah"

RaP: To all Chasidim, not just to Lubavitchers, their Rebbe is a superman because they believe that a Chasidisha Rebbe is the "Tzadik" ("tzadik yesod olam") who has direct access to God! All Chasidim look to a Rebbe to bless them and provide "CHAYEI (happy/successful life), BONEI (healthy/good children), MEZONEI" (food/wealth) and in return the Chasidim follow the Rebbe unquestioningly  and give him money and do whatever he asks of them -- if one has never heard of this then they have not begun the ABCs of knowingwhat Chasidus and following a Rebbe, any Rebbe, is about.

"2) A large picture of the Lubavitcher Rebbe in nearly every Shliach's home"

RaP: Every frum Jew has pictures of the Gedolim he and his family venerate,so this is not noteworthy. Some Lubavitchers place photos of the Rebbe into their shulls. It is controversial. There is their view that some hold that because so to speak, God "puts his essence into a body" ("atzmus beguf") that it is the Rebbe that is the one in whom God places his essence ("atzmus in a guf") which is a controversial notion, but still within the range of what many Chasidim hold. To be sure, it is a different way of serving God, and very strange for those not part of it. But much of what Chasidim do is strange to outsiders, such as their dress, their education, their attitudes to secular education, to women, and many other things.

"3) Aggressive programs of outreach to bring outsiders into the group.
Notice that the Chabad outreach programs attempts to turn people into
followers of Chabad, rather than Judaism."

RaP: This not unique to Lubavitch, they are being copied by many others. The Modern Orthodox do huge amounts of outreach and every group that makes the effort wants the newcomers to follow in their ways. Among Chasidim, only Lubavitch and Breslov do massive outreach, because according to them the Mashiach cannot come until all Jews are reached anywhere and everywhere. On the other hand most other Chasidic groups, like Satmar, Gur, Bobov do not do outreach to secular Jews. The Belzer Chasidim have been doing a limited amount of outreach as well. But huge organizations basically affiliated with Agudas Yisrael, such as Lev LeAchim, Shuvu, AJOP, Chofetz Chaim Yeshiva,Neve Yerushalayim, Ohr Somayach and Aish HaTorah and many others do outreach all over the world.

"4) Many followers "consult the Rebbe" before making decisions like where to
live, who to date etc. This is done by visiting his grave or sending an
email to have someone else do it.

RaP: Visiting graves of venerated ancestors and Tzadikim is something that ALL Chasidim do very seriously. There are reasons for this. Litvaks have the Goral HaGra, believe in "Simanim", and consult Daas Torah all the time. Only the Modern Orthodox and Mizrach do not do any of this (maybe when they are caught in foxholes they may resort to it!)

"5) Chabad Rabbis often set themselves up as a "parallel" community in towns
where there is an established Jewish presence (Schools, Shuls, etc...). This
was most notable in Russia where Chabad actually took over but this is a
common theme around Europe and elsewhere."

RaP: Yes, Chabad is very aggressive and they work in an organized way to take over. The only strategy if one does not like it is to try to beat them at their own game. In the USA, the BMG Lakewood Yeshiva has exported dozens of out-of-town small Kollelim to dozens of communities. The Torah Umesorah Jewish day school movement has organized hundreds of Jewish days schools and helps to send hundreds of non-Lubavicth Yeshiva-educated teachers to these schools all over North America, while in Israel Lev Le'Achim sends hundreds of volunteers to learn Torah with secular Jews. There are also Sephardic organizations and rabbis, such as Amnon Yitzchak reaching tens of thousands of secular Jews all the time, everyone is doing it, and most are not Lubavitchers. It is a trend of the times!

"Furthermore, when Chabad Rabbis hold pulpit positions in non-Chabad Shuls,
it is often the case (although not always) that they slowly bring in Chabad
customs and erode the minhagim of the community."

RaP: That is true, but why should that be a problem since most of the shulls are dead or dying and are attended by Jewishly uneducated people who do not know the difference and the Lubavitchers are warm hosts, very welcoming and set themselves up in places where others fear to tread. The Lubavitchers have become the "default Jewish clergy" since there is no one else to do what they are willing to do, such as taharas, burials, bring kosher food, host guest in far flung places, attend the sick, teach children from all walks, plenty of patience for one and all, be non-judgmental and non-critical (often too much so), and their greatest not-so-secret super weapon are the Shluchos, the charming, determined, calm under pressure, always friendly wives of the Shluchim who are more willing to sacrifice everything than even their husbands to go on Shlichus anywhere in the world, something that girls from Boro Park or Bnai Brak or Golders Green would never do!

"But it doesn't stop there. We have all read in the newspapers exposing some
Chabad Rabbis as molesters having corrupt practices. This is currently most
notable in Australia where it seems the whole Chabad infrastructure has been
covering up abuse for decades. It is true that this is not unique to Chabad,
but when Chabad have a marketing program with messages like these, a greater
effort should be made to clean up their act: 'Chabad Lubavitch worldwide is
organized to reach out and help the hungry and the needy among us. For it
has always been the Chabad tradition never to turn away a person in need.'"

RaP: As you say, "It is true that this is not unique to Chabad" -- it is a universal problem and has yet to be solved not just in the frum world but in all of society. But that is not a contradiction to offering to feed hungry people or travelers who have had the benefit of Chabad hospitality. Not all Chabad people are "molesters" so this is a weak argument. Yes, Chabad people venerate their Rebbe even after his passing, but so do the Breslovers and Rav Nachman of Breslov has been gone more than two hundred years and they are still going strong, so it augers well for Chabad that they can easily keep going for more than another two hundred years as well. Complaining will not help. Only rolling up one's sleeves ands trying to win will succeed, otherwise all the complaining amounts to a case of sour grapes and will accomplish nothing while Chabad will continue to flourish and grow since
they are the masters of what they do so well.

"I do not wish to see the Chabad movement dissolved, nor do I want Chabad to
be segregated to a non-accepted form of Judaism."

RaP: Chabad will not go away and it does not look like they are shrinking.In fact more people, not just secular, people rely on, but in the global communty ALL frum Jews rely on them. Just look at who was murdered while visiting at the Chabad house massacre in Mumbai, all sorts of frum people and rabbis not connected to Chabad but relying on the hospitality of the Chabad house there. People use Chabad houses thousands of times every dayall over the world.

"However, I do think there are very serious issues affecting us all that
need to be debated. Many Rabbis won't speak out on these points because
there is too much political stake or conflict of interest. The Chabad issues
are the elephant in the room that will only get bigger over time unless we
confront them now."

RaP: What kind of "confrontation" is needed? What kind of "debate" and where? Which rabbis need to "speak out"? It is absurd to think that at a time when there is massive ASSIMILATION, INTERMARRIAGE, and APOSTASY among the Jewish people that a "civil war" should be started against Chabad, the very people who are on the frontlines doing the "dirty work" against theseproblems that they did not cause. May as well start a war against REFORM, CONSERVATIVE, and SECULAR Jews and their leaders who have caused the literal destruction of the Jewish people and who should be the real ones to face the music and the anger of everyone, and not the Lubavitchers with their quixotic Chasidisha ideas and ideals that seem so strange but is what gives them the motivation and energy to keep on going in the face of a terriblemeltdown in the general Jewish world!

136 comments :

  1. Meanwhile, chabad is laughing all the way to the bank.

    Actually, its short term success vs little ing term planning.

    There are three current "authorized" biographies, actually done that way cause of an unauthorized bio that chabad perceived as critical / not conforming to the "rewrite history" theme common in chasdific and teshivish world.

    The picture of the rebbe is not only in the shliach's home, its all over. But other chasdidim nd yeshividh / lutvish do the same (yeshivish only for authorized / acceptable ranbonim.), tour not as pervasive. The problem us where chabadnikim put a picture of the rebbe in front of soul, forcing others to daven "to the rebbe z,"l.

    ReplyDelete
  2. It is hardly a surprise to see Chabad up to their eyeballs in the horrific scandal of the Schlesinger Twins too:

    http://daattorah.blogspot.co.uk/2014/06/schlesinger-twins-chabad-maintains.html

    http://daattorah.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/schlesinger-twins-court-document-rabbi.html

    http://daattorah.blogspot.co.uk/2014/03/schlesinger-twins-rabbi-bidermans.html

    It seems that this Biderman guy can do what he likes without any other Chabad Rabbi around the world saying a word. Why aren't Chabad UK speaking out? We have recently seen Bnei Akiva speaking out against the behavior of their Israeli colleague/leader. Are Chabad happy to be silently complicit in the face of injustice?

    ReplyDelete
  3. 1) if it is halachicaly permissible, which it is, then what do you care? Feel left out?

    2) why is a picture of the Rebbe different than a picture of any other gadol?

    3) that is an outright lie. Most chabad baalei teshuva do not become chabad. The opposite is true. They are encouraged to become frum. The type of hat they choose to wear make no difference to us.

    4) OK. And? You have a problem with people visiting kivrei tzadikim? This practice has been going on for thousands of year. Not exactly a chabad thing.

    5) I can't believe you even said that. Really? As a general issue with chabad you are saying that there have been molesters? This one line discredits your entire post (even more than it already was). You sound like the people who say all Jews are murderers because of the kid that was killed the other day.

    Regarding the parralel community, it doesn't happen everywhere. But it is also something that your very own aish hatotah does. They go to cities where a chabad shiliach has been for years and start their own competing program. Can I get a condemnation of that?

    Quite frankly, this entire piece was without substance. All it shows is a general dislike for chabad. I wonder what they ever did to you that you should be filled with such dislike. And Daas Torah, I am quite disappointed that you posted something like this with such utter nonsense. It is one thing if he brought up valid points, this was all drivel clearly just motivated by a deep seeded dislike. I expected better.

    ReplyDelete
  4. When addressing the issue of Chabad, its important to realize that the issues of false messiah and rebbe idolatry are only the most current and obvious problems in Chabad ideology. In fact the Chabad Lubavitch movement was teaching problematic concepts and deviations from traditional Judaism since the 18th century.

    Unfortunately very few non-Chabad scholars today are able to expose these errors in Chabad's ideology. Rav Meir Triebitz is an exceptional Torah scholar whose shiurim explain in detail the objections to Chabad's concepts made by the Vilna Gaon, the Leshem, Rav Kook, and other rabbinic philosophers. These last three rabbis objected strongly to Chabad's concept of essentially equating the Universe with Or Ein Sof resulting in a sort of "virtual paganism" where man is incapable of rational understanding of the Universe. It goes without saying that the Rambam would have vehemently objected to any concept of the physical Universe that associates it in any way with the essence of the Creator.

    http://www.hashkafacircle.com/category/vilna-gaon-shiurim/
    http://www.hashkafacircle.com/category/rav-kook/

    ReplyDelete
  5. That is not true. Oat chabad shuls don't even have a picture of the Rebbe in the main shul, so that it won't appear as if they were god forbid davening to the Rebbe. When they do it is usually on the back wall.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Rabbi Michael TzadokJuly 8, 2014 at 9:47 PM

    You have horribly misunderstood the Leshem's understanding of... well everything, and Rav Kook's view of Chabad.

    Whether or not Rav Triebitz views things that way... I'm not sure... however, I am quite certain that you are misunderstanding the classical understanding of the Leshem.

    Please take these very basic and introductory shiurim for example:
    http://www.jhfweb.org/eitz_chaim.html


    For a more Sephardi approach by a lesser lamdan see these:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UVUeJrCc8zk

    ReplyDelete
  7. .@the prof wrote:
    And Daas Torah, I am quite disappointed that you posted something like this with such utter nonsense. It is one thing if he brought up valid points, this was all drivel clearly just motivated by a deep seeded dislike. I expected better.
    =========================
    The issue of Chabad as "the closest religion to Judaism" as a well known Litvische Rosh Yeshiva said - is not going away by simply say that there is no substance the criticism or that it is simply the result of jealousy or nonsense etc etc.

    What Chabad has does is truly amazing. I am now reading Telushkin's biograpy and it is clear that the Rebbe was an incredible person and Jew and that Chabad has and does do very important work. But that doesn't eliminate the problems - especially theological ones. I am aware of Dr. Berger's arguments as well as that of others within and without the Chabad community. It is not so poshut and I think it does need to be addressed.

    That is why I allowed this guest post. It is clearly not the definitive summary of issues - but it serves as a starting point. I appreciate your refutation of points.

    ReplyDelete
  8. 1) the rosh yeshiva who said that had his own personal issues with chabad. But that is neither here not there. Chaim Shaulson had books on the topic.

    2) the theological issues have been addressed time and time again by numerous scholars both within and outside of chabad. Sadly, people pay a lot more attention when chabad is being sttacked than when it is being defended. Rabbi S.B. Wolpe has a while bunch of books which are work checking out if you want to see the "other side"

    3) I have no problem with criticism. I have an issue with the specific issues bright up here, as they are quite literally drivel. I mean the abuse thing, come on! How is that fair to write?

    ReplyDelete
  9. 1) There are more than one rosh yeshiva who expressed these feelings.

    3) Abuse in Chabad is apparently no different than elsewhere in terms of coverups etcs. That itself is a significant criticism because they have a stronger common base and structure to resist pressure for coverups and they haven't.. Furthermore - abuse was known problem during the Rebbe's lifetime - why wasn't a better response decreed? In other words, there was every reason to expect a good response to abuse from Chabad and yet they were no different and perhaps worse in terms of the extent of coverups and the rabbis involved.

    ReplyDelete
  10. There is one specific one who made such statements. Look, the feud between chabad and the litvishe world is hundreds of years old. When chassidus was first founded they said it was strains of shabtai tzvi. So this is really nothing new in truth. I would have looked to think that so many hundreds of years later everyone would have moved on, but clearly not. The world has finally hundreds of years later accepted that the דרך of the בעשט is not RL herisy. It may take a few more years, but the same conclusion will be reached about chabad. If you think about our, when chabad stated the "kiruv" movement it was highly criticized. These days it is copied by everyone. Same with a number of the Rebbe's initiatives.

    Regarding abuse. Chabad really does not have all that much of a central structure. Most shluchum / rabbis are mostly autonomous. There is no real way to sanction them, aside for taking the name "chabad" from them, which is quite difficult as well. Furthermore, there have been responses. In the community I live in, some ten years ago on the chabad school there was a teacher who molested kids. He was reported on and sent to prison. I think it is something that has to be looked at on a case by case basis, as opposed to trying to passing a while movement with a broad brush.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Look, the feud between chabad and the litvishe world is hundreds of years old.

    There are several major flaws with this argument. Firstly, many Chasidic leaders had strong criticism of this previous Lubavitcher rebbe. The Satmer Rebbe spoke out very strongly against some of the ideas that this previous Lubavitcher rebbe instituted, and called it stupidity and worse. It can be found in Divrei Yoel.

    Secondly, this Rosh Yeshiva - whom the Torah world turned to for guidance - got along excellently with many Chasidishe rebbes, and had great respect for them. They had great respect for him. He had been the Rosh Yeshiva for Karlin in Lechvitz. In 1952 he wrote a beautiful article about the Karlin chassidim of Lechvitz as well as the Karliner rebbe (which Karlin published).

    Chabad was not the first of the Chasidim. Nor were they the second or third Chasidus. The objection to Chasiddus, was to the direction Chassidus was taking then. That criticism has stopped many, many years ago. The criticism of Chabad is relatively new.

    Current Chabad does not consider themselves as part of Chasidim. They consider themselves greater, and as the only ones who have it "right". In their glossaries, you will find a section of "chasidish seforim" and a section of "shaar seforim". "Sifrie chasiddus" only includes Chabad seforim, while "shaar seforim" includes all other chasidishe seforim.

    The "snag" versus us claim does not answer the serious questions that there are about certain current Chabad practices and some of their philosophies. These need to be addressed in calm, clear and non-attacking way. I look forward to your response.

    1) Is it OK to Daven to a rebbe? Is this normative Chasidishe practice? Does any Chasidus (other than Chabad and Breslov) engage in this? Do some Chabadskers engage in this? Is this acceptable?

    2) Was Rabbi Schneerson a human being who was capable of making regular human mistakes?

    Was he a godly figure, unlike any other human (other than his father-in-law)?

    3) Did Rabbi Schneerson experience death, the same way all humans have? Is his soul more alive than the Ramban's?



    Thank you for reading my questions. I look forward to your response.

    ReplyDelete
  12. 1) The Meshicistin are problematic but not necessarily kofrim. However, the Elokistim treat the Rebbe like yoshko and pray to him and that is certainly kefira. Jews thar have been approached for kiruv have asked why is yoshko different than the Rebbe.



    2) A large picture of the the Lubavitcher Rebbe in front of the shul (not in the shaliach's home) is an invitation to daven to him. The Lubavitch minyanim stand up for a maamer of the Rebbe but nof for laining. Why?






    4) There is a website where you can ask a question of the Rebbe and get an answer. Even if you scribble something, you will get a response. This is not simply visiting kivrei tzadikim. This is getting a response from the other world.



    5) I have a relative in kiruv and he told me that Chabad stands alone. They never coordinate with other kiruv efforts.

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  13. I have personally heard various learned Chabadniks describe the Universe as some type of illusion, based on Chabad's concept of tzimtzum.



    Rav Kook and the Leshem reject such a concept of the Universe being an illusion.



    http://www.hashkafacircle.com/rav-kook-03-rav-kook-and-the-leshem/



    " Here Rav Kook speaks about the distinction between the general, higher thought, and the specific, lower thought. If the higher apprehension penetrates into the lower apprehension it is dangerous, and destroys everything.

    על כן אם על ידי ההשפעה של המחשבה העליונה יתמחקו כל
    האותיות של המחשבה התחתונה, הכל יועם ויוכת, המוסר יתנודד ושלמות האמונה תתרופף, החיים יחלשו והמרץ יחלש, והארץ תשאה שממה

    Where is the precedent for this idea, that we should not let the
    higher light penetrate and erase the features of the physical world.

    There was a very close connection between Rav Kook and Rav Shlomo Elyashiv, author of Leshem Sh’vo ve-Achlama. In the introduction to Chidushim u-Bi’urim. In the introduction by R’ Aryeh Levine it states that Rav Kook wrote the wording for the Leshem’s tombstone...

    The Leshem writes in Sefer Ha-De’ah amud 57b
    in the paragraph beginning עוד … a strong attack explicitly against Nefesh HaChaim sha’ar 3 (though the view of Nefesh HaChaim is not so different in this respect from that of the Tanya). The Leshem rejects their view that the physical world has no independent reality, but is merely an illusion. He writes:

    ולכן אמרו כי אין מציאות ודמיון לעולם כלל…

    This understanding of the Leshem, that tzimtzum cannot be understood non-literally, is paraphrased by Rav Kook using metaphor of sun shining etc. This shows clearly that our goal must be focusing on the physical world, which has a reality."

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  14. There have been a number of points raised by different people so I will try and address them here rather than post a number of small paragraphs.

    Truth Jew : "When addressing the issue of Chabad, its important to realize that the issues of false messiah and rebbe idolatry are only the most current and obvious problems in Chabad ideology. In fact the Chabad Lubavitch movement was teaching problematic concepts and deviations from traditional Judaism since the 18th century."
    Chabad has entered a new phase, one without a Rebbe or any leader for that matter. This is unprecedented as far as Chabad is concerned and we have already seen the difficulties this has caused, including the debate as to whether he is truly no longer alive or whether he is Moshiach despite his passing from this world. In this modern age of communication, where Rabbinic opinions pass around at light speed on facebook and twitter, it doesn't make sense to compare today's world with what happened in the 18th century where most people were not as educated as they are today.

    "the prof":

    1) "if it is halachicaly permissible, which it is, then what do you care? Feel left out?"
    As anyone who has spent more than an hour in Jewish education knows, Halachah is not black and white. There are many gray areas and we are often advised to take the more cautious path despite there being opinions on both sides. There is some Halachic ground to say that an electric light switch is permissible on Shabbos, particularly if it is activated only by gromoh, according to some opinions. I would be hesitant before I would say "it is halachically permissible". I could say, "there are heteirim, but it is better not to use such a device". Your language is somewhat sloppy. I wouldn't like to rely on a heter (if one exists!) for something at the core of my Judaism.

    2) "why is a picture of the Rebbe different than a picture of any other gadol?"
    In most people's houses, when there is a picture of a gadol on the wall, it is not because they regard that gadol as Moshaich or a super human individual. There is a clear difference and you know full well this is the case.
    3) Every Chabad Shul I have attended always has amongst its ranks Baalei Teshuva. If Chabad are genuinely encouraging people to simply become frum, why is the first sefer they teach them the Tanya?
    4) Same as 2 above. When people write to the Kever of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, they do so largely because they think he is Moshaich. I don't believe there is anything as technologically advanced at other kevorim.
    5) When we look at Chabad in Austria (Biderman) or Chabad in Australia, we don't see a small number of individuals behaving badly, we see a whole Chabad infrastructure geared up towards the coverup of malpractice. This coverup continues on a global scale, as "most shluchum / rabbis are mostly autonomous". Why don't we go a step further and give these Rabbis an award for their coverups? When will you admit there is a problem here?

    Finally, the fact that you admit there is even a picture of the Lubavitcher Rebbe in Shul, even on the back wall, should raise some serious concerns in itself. No respectable Shul has any human form in it, not even the Avos or Moshe Rabbeinu. Are you seriously suggesting the rules should change because of the Lubavitcher Rebbe?

    I think the author has started a very important discussion although I don't agree with everything in the blog post. I would argue that it is about time Chabad was declared to be outside of Judaism by the leading Rabbis of our generation.

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  15. 1) out of the hundreds of thousands of people who identify with chabad there are maybe 100 "elokiatim" if even. They are not considered chabad by anyone but themselves. They are crazy people who are not accepted by anyone. To judge chabad based on them is not very fair.

    2) you will be very hard pressed to find a chabad shul which has a picture of the Rebbe in the actual sanctuary, and even if you do they are always in the back of the room so we won't have that issue. Regarding standing for a maamer and not kriah. Halachicaly one doesn't need to stand for kriah. There is no rule that one must stand for a maamer. If one does it is theirb personal choice, and I would expect they probably stood for kriah as well.

    4) first off, the website is team by a fringe group that by no means repenters l represents the main stream. Secondly, it doesn't not purport to give an "answer". What it does is pull from a database of letters that the Rebbe sent people, and they can see of it applies to their situation, in which case they can take guidance from it.

    5) that is by no means the fault of chabad. The other groups don't like working with chabad. On almost all cases chabad was there first, they came, opened up their own group. If they want to work with chabad, they need to reach out to them, not vice versa. These groups also very often look at chabad in the view expressed earlier that they are " the closest thing to judiasm". How do you expect them to work with people that look at them in such a way?

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  16. I would argue that it is about time Chabad was declared to be outside of Judaism by the leading Rabbis of our generation.


    The question is, are they making strides towards mainstreaming themselves? I think some are, wile some are clearly going further away. We should be very welcoming to those seeking to re-mainstream Chabad. We should pity and be wary of those Chabdskers who are out of the pale.

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  17. Many yeshivish shuls (actually bet midrash) have pictures of acceptable gedolim on the side / back. (Interestingly, a chabad shul i go to somewhat often has a picture of rav yeshayaleh mi'kerestirur (they must have had a rodent problem) on the side.)

    As for asking the rebbe, they have a procedure of looking up in the rebbe's suchot a random page, and devining an answer, a procedure whose origins date to the gra.

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  18. Rabbi Michael TzadokJuly 9, 2014 at 6:10 AM

    As usual, Tzadok attempts to prove his gadlus by responding with erroneous hubris and without addressing the issue being discussed.
    Look to yourself my friend. You are trying to discuss the Leshem without any understanding, and in fact a major misunderstanding of the text. I offered you the Shiurim of Rav Goldstein.
    When Rav Goldstein was in Israel last I had the privilege of escorting him to several Kabbalistic Roshei Yeshivot, he was seeking their approval for his derekh limud. Not only did they give him their approval, many of them asked him to give shiurim in Hebrew so they could learn from him.
    No offense to Rav Triebitz, but I have spoken with him in regards to his shiurim on Kabbalistic subjects, and he openly admits that he is not always giving over the classic understanding nor what he received from his Rabbanim. A basic klal in that limud is for it to be considered truth, it is received ish m'pi ish.
    While Rav Triebitz's chiddushim are interesting... they are not something I would want to build a towering argument upon. Further you are taking his teachings and stretching them in your misunderstanding far beyond any recognition of what his intent is.

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  19. 1) The fact that other chassidic Rebbes didnt always see eye to eye with Chabad is just as old as the Chassidic / Litvish feud. Chabad has, from the founding of chassidus, always been a group that was slightly different than the others. While the Satmar Rebbe didnt see eye to eye with the previous Rebbe, the still had the utmost respect for each other.

    2) The fact that this Rish Yeshiva had no problem with another chassidic group has absolutely no bearing on the matter at hand.

    3) Chabad was actually one of the first strains of chassidus. The Baal Hatanya was a student of the Magid, who was a student of the Baal Shem Tov. Ie: Chabad was one of the first.

    4) Chabad DOES consider itself a part of the "greater chassidic movement". Because their philosophy differs on many issues (as in the basic principles of the chassidus) people often like setting chabad apart from the general chassidic movement. It is incorrect. Re the sefarim, I beg to differ. See here. http://hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=19805&st=&pgnum=542 All sefarim are listed together.

    5) No. A Rebbe is an intermediary between the people & G-d. People make requests from a Rebbe to intercede with G-d on their behalf, as a Rebbe is closer with G-d than the average Joe. People who think a Rebbe is to be davened to are misguided and have no concept of chassidus or what a Rebbe is supposed to be. As I stated in other comments, I do not think there is a phenomena in Chabad of people davening to the Rebbe. The so called "elokist" movement numbers less than 100, and they are shunned and condemed by the main stream chabad movement. They are by no means chabad. They are Kofrim and may Hashem have mercy upon them.

    6) A Tzadik in general is unlike the standard human being. The guf of a tzadik is also complete ruchnius. Therefore, yes, the Rebbe was a Godly figure, like all other Tzadikkim were and are. This is not a new concept or a concept exclusive to chabad. In fact, in the sefer דרכי חיים ושלום which is by The Munkatsher (by no means chabad) he writes that it was said about Reb Mendel of Rimanov (also not chabad) that "Hashem took the four letters of shem havayeh, wrapped them in a kapateh and put a shteimel on it, and that was how how Reb Mendel was made". http://www.hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=4692&st=%D7%A9%D7%98%D7%A8%D7%99%D7%99%D7%9E%D7%99%D7%9C&pgnum=234&hilite=906111e7-7b07-478a-8f93-88ccb863a686. Ie: Tzadikim are not standard human beings like you and me.

    7) As the previous paragraph indicated, the body of a tzadik and the life of a tzadik are not like your or mine, but completely ruchnius. Therefore, the death of a tzadik is also not like the death of a standard person. The Baal Hatanya writes that a tzadik after death has more koach and influence in this world than what he had when he was physically alive. That being said, the Rebbe was nistalek, however, his presence continues to be here, even more so than the way it was before.

    I hope this "clears up" your questions.

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  20. Rabbi Michael TzadokJuly 9, 2014 at 6:54 AM

    As usual, Tzadok attempts to prove his gadlus by responding with erroneous hubris and without addressing the issue being discussed.
    Do you have a source in a sefer?

    Rav Kook and the Leshem reject such a concept of the Universe being an illusion.
    Wrong again. Please see the Leshem Chelek Deah Drush 6 and Helek Biurim Drush Iguilim V'Yosher Anaf 4 number 6.

    The Leshem writes in Sefer Ha-De’ah amud 57bin the paragraph beginning עוד … a strong attack explicitly against Nefesh HaChaim sha’ar 3
    Again you misunderstand what the Leshem is in fact attacking. It is not the question of whether or not the lower world exists... it is whether the upper world, Atzilut and all of the partzufim in Atzilut litterally exist about which he writes very explicitly in Helek Biurim introduction to Anaf B.

    You will note if you listen to Rav Goldstein's shiurim(I believe Shiur 3 or 4), and if you had followed earlier discussions on this subject that the idea of the Tzimtzum ect being eino k'pshuto is not a chiddush of Chabad. The Ramchal was actually the progenitor of the idea, and as the Leshem himself states many Kedoshim have thought that way.

    You commented on this thread where this was discussed before:
    http://daattorah.blogspot.co.il/2013/01/varying-views-on-tzimtzum-by-rabbi.html

    Quite simply you are putting your head between the mountains. You cannot claim that Chabad is "wrong" or "heretical" based on view of Tzimtzum that is widely accepted. Even the Leshem who sharply disagrees calls the people who hold such a view קדושים עליונים.


    The problem here is that you listened to a couple of shiurim, didn't really understand the issue, made your own extrapolations and decided to attack Chabad based on said extrapolations, claiming that things that very much are a part of classical Judaism are not.

    You make it sound as if the problem the Gra had with Lubavitch was their understanding of the Tzimtzum. However, it is a known fact that the Gra held the Ramchal in great esteem and the Ramchal clearly states that the Tzimtzum is aino k'pshuto and simply a mashal. How is it that the Gra could hold the Ramchal in high esteem while decreeing Lubavitch heresy? We are left to say that this was not what was bothering the Gra.

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  21. There is no clear evidence whether the Gra agreed with the Ramchal's idea's in kabbala or even how favorable the Gra was to the views of the Ramchal.

    Rav Tzadok wrote:
    "You make it sound as if the problem the Gra had with Lubavitch was their
    understanding of the Tzimtzum. However, it is a known fact that the
    Gra held the Ramchal in great esteem and the Ramchal clearly states that
    the Tzimtzum is aino k'pshuto and simply a mashal. How is it that the
    Gra could hold the Ramchal in high esteem while decreeing Lubavitch
    heresy? We are left to say that this was not what was bothering the
    Gra."

    It is not known what the Gra's view of the Ramchal as a kabbalist. The fact that the Gra purportedly held the Ramchal in "great esteem" says nothing at all about his views on kabbala. The famous quote about the willingness to have walked to meet the Ramchal - I was told has no basis in reliable sources.

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  22. We have finally found Eddie's long-lost twin!

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  23. "As for asking the rebbe, they have a procedure of looking up in the rebbe's sichot a random page, and devining an answer, a procedure whose origins date to the gra."

    It does not originate from the GRA. I know that you are thinking of what is called by some 'goral haGRA', however, the evidence that that is actually from the GRA is lacking. See sefer haGaon by Rav Dov Eliach shlita on it, and elsewhere.

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  24. Rabbi Michael TzadokJuly 9, 2014 at 3:21 PM

    If I'm going to have to pick between Rav Goldstein and Rav Triebitz, I'm going to go with Rav Goldstein pure and simple. He has the backing and authorization from literally EVERY Kabbalistic Rosh Yeshiva for the things that he teaches.
    Further the claim that you are making(if you had bothered to open the Leshem to the place I had mentioned ביאורים ענף ד אות ו) contradicts precisely what the Leshem there says, namely that the the lower worlds are simply the glow of Atzilut.
    Its very clear that tzimtzum is a major point of contention between Chabad and its opponents.
    It was(and is) a major point of contention between Kabbalists. Hence the article that I posted on this blog giving over the view of the Shem M'Shimon who reconciles the two sides, and deals with the Kushiyot each side raises against the other. I'm afraid that your inability, or unwillingness, to read the Hebrew sources is handicapping you here.

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  25. Rabbi Michael TzadokJuly 9, 2014 at 3:36 PM

    Rav Eidensohn with all due respect my comment wasn't based on the supposed story of the Gra saying that he was willing to walk to meet the Ramchal, but rather what Rav Yaakov Hillel brings down in his sefer Ascending the Path, in the introduction that the Gra kept a copy of the Ramchal's works on his shelf next to the Rambam's Yad. In a sense giving them equal esteem.
    From what I know of Rav Yaakov Hillel, he does not commit such things to writing if they are not true. You would have to bring heavy proof to show that he is in error here.
    The Gra's esteem for the Ramchal does not mean, nor did I intend to mean, the Gra's assent toward all of the Ramchal's Kabbalistic ideas. However, to me it does show that the Gra's problem with the Baal HaTanya ran along a different path. The Gra did not command anyone reading one of the Ramchal's books excommunicated either.
    It is also important to note that the Nefesh HaChaim didn't suddenly embrace Chabad with open arms. Even if you are going to say that Nefesh HaChaim, says what ELY is saying it does, and take his problematic view of the Leshem as well, quite the opposite, that only strengthens my point. Namely that we cannot call people heretics for holding long standing and accepted theological thoughts, and what is more, we cannot say that the opposition of Chassidus in general and Chabad in specific hinged on this one point.

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  26. Rav Yaakov Hillel brings down in his sefer Ascending the Path, in the introduction that the Gra kept a copy of the Ramchal's works on his shelf next to the Rambam's Yad. In a sense giving them equal esteem.
    From what I know of Rav Yaakov Hillel, he does not commit such things to writing if they are not true. You would have to bring heavy proof to show that he is in error here.


    Two questions 1) what is the source of Rav Hillel's statement and which of the Ramchal's seforim were on the shelf?

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  27. 1 - I don't know how you got the statistics for the number of Elokistin. I saw a video of one of them speaking to the crowd at 770

    4 - If the website for questions to the Rebbe is a fringe group, why isn't it disavowed by Chabad?

    5 - Chabad wasn't first in my relative's neighborhood nor in mine. They always act alone.

    Chabad does some good things for some far out Yiddishe neshamos and helps in far flung outposts. However, the issues raised need to be resolved. The Moshiach business also needs to be corrected.

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  28. The Gra reportedly had a high opinon of Mesilas Yeshorim - do you have source he read other serforim?

    From wikipedia
    One major rabbinic contemporary who praised Luzzatto's writing was Rabbi Eliyahu of Vilna, the Vilna Gaon (1720–1797), who was considered to be the most authoritative Torah sage of the modern era as well as a great kabbalist himself. He was reputed to have said after reading the Mesillat Yesharim, that were Luzzatto still alive, that he would have walked from Vilna to learn at Luzzatto's feet;[1][2] He stated that having read the work, the first eight chapters contained not a superfluous word. This is considered to be one of the highest praises that one sage can grant another.

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  29. "I couldn't help but notice the recent launch of 2 Biographies (arguably hagiographies) of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, one written by Joseph Telushkin and the other by Adin Steinsaltz."

    There is also a third major new one, by Lubavitcher Rabbi Chaim Miller, author of the Gutnick chumash et al. It is a sophisticated new work, with copious endnotes. That has led some people to lend it more credence and give it more respect than it deserves. People, however, should not be misled by all the notes. If everything in a book is sourced in endnotes, but the original sources - some, if not all - are questionable, the book still is questionable and shaky. And that is the case here.

    Re Telushkin's book, when Dennis Prager had him on his radio program a few weeks back (they have a long relationship and have written books together years ago), he stated that it was the #1 in the Christian leadership category on Amazon.com. That is interesting.


    Basically all of the new biographies of the Rebbe are by Lubavitchers. Steinsaltz and Miller are officially Lubavitchers (Miller is a BT, son in law of shliach to Leeds, England), Telushkin is grandson of a well known Rav from a Habad background and son of the Lubavitcher Rebbe's accountant. So even if he claims to be Modern Orthodox, and not a card carrying Lubavitcher, the fact is that he is from a deep Habad background.

    In past years, the biographies of the late Lubavitcher Rebbe that came out were very problematic for Chabad-Lubavitch and caused them much distress. I refer to the ones by Rabbi Shaul Shimon Deutsch of Liozna and Professors Samuel Heilman and Menachem Friedman. So evidently Lubavitchers thought they needed to put out similar works of their own to counter the narratives of the others. And this year, three came out around the same time, with much publicity, giving Lubavitch significant momentum in their campaign to wrest back control of the Rebbe's image and life story. However, it is hoped that discerning readers will realize the true nature shortcomings of the new works, and treat them as the hagiographies they are.

    Thank you Rabbi Eidensohn for hosting this very important discussion, which others are afraid of, but which is so very important.

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  30. Back to that. OK. Firstly, it is not a chabad concept, as enumerated above. You clearly have an issue with all chassidus. And its not even chassidus. We see time and time again through tanach and shas how tzadikim led lives that were completely ruchnius, and their bodies "withstood" things a regular body wouldn't. Ie: as the life they led was kulo ruchni, their body was not the standard gashmiusdike body either. Moshe Rabbeinu didn't eat or drink for 40 days. Try pulling that off with your regular physical body.

    Lastly, the argument above re tzimtzum highlights what I said earlier that this debate is hundreds of years old. And you know what, chabad is still around. So once people start leaving comments comparing it to Christianity RL, I bow out. No rational argument can be held any longer. "Debate" the issue amongst yourselves until your faces turn blue. Chabad has survived being hated on for hundreds of years and will continue to survive. It is the biggest force in judiasm today, and its reach will only keep on growing. They are the ones laughing their way to the bank. They don't bother wasting their time with theological arguments they know won't go anywhere because the other side doesn't care to hear. They simply go and do what they have to, spread yidishkeit and the wellsprings of chassidus.

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  31. Joseph Telushkin's book is also more audacious than the others in that he openly describes the Rebbe, in the title, on the cover, as "the Most Influential Rabbi in Modern History". That is a questionable claim for sure.

    Telushkin himself conceded the audaciousness of the claim in a recent interview (http://www.thejewishstar.com/stories/Rabbis-write-up-the-Rebbe-on-20th-yahrtzeit,5038?sub_id=5038&print=1). I think
    that he, coming from outside official Lubavitch, felt less constrained than official Lubavitchers like Steinsaltz and Miller in doing so.

    What is 'modern history' anyway? From when to when?


    Of course, such a claim needs to be accompanied with the fact that the Rebbe was the one with the largest PR staff and effort (which other Rabbi, Rebbe, Chasidic movement has been as heavily involved with modern PR like Chabad-Lubavitch?). Way back in the 1950's he appointed R. Yehudah Krinsky to do PR for Lubavitch. Krinsky put in a lot of work with the New York Times, the so called 'paper of record', and other media outlets over the years.

    Basically, modern, contemporary Lubavitch is to a great extent a PR product and a media creation.

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  32. Rather strange claim. Are you saying that Chabad has done little or nothing but they have magnified it with pr?!

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  33. It may well be that the Gra's view on Tzimtzum being "literal" was in error. This, in fact, is what the Baal haTanya claimed. the Rambam would would turn in his grave if he heard of a concept such as the Tzimtzum. Rambam was opposed to the concept of "immanence", which he considers to be worse than Avodah Zarah (Moreh 1:36). According to Norman Lamm's reading of Nefesh hachaim and Tanya, the 2 seforim have opposing views on the immanence/transcendance dichotomy, where NH sees immanence m'Tzido, and Tanya sees immanence m'Tzideinu.
    As i have argued previously with Ramatz, both Seforim have logical problems, and are "heretical" as far as Rambam's theology is concerned. In Halacha, Rambam rules out anyone who says there are 2 reshuiot - 2 Divine powers chas'v'shalom. NH implies this when he says that we pray to one Entity, but are forbidden to pray to Atzmuto. This is dualism.
    The whole deception about Mtzideinu vs Mtzido, is that everything is Mtzideinu. you cannot claim there are gods and multiple deities, but only from our perspective. this is worse than Shabbetaism.
    The torah laws regarding ir nadachat are very serious. I recall the classic answer Ramatz would give is that "who are you to go agasint generations of gedolei olam".

    The Torah does not grant immunity to anyone - i.e. a spade is a spade whoever calls it such, and polytheism or dualism is assur, whoever writes a sefer about it.

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  34. They have done things, of course, but they have used PR so much more than others in the Chasidic and right wing Orthodox world, to magnify what they did, and make it seem like they are much larger, more powerful, omnipresent, and omnipotent, than they actually are.

    Can you think of any other group in that sector of the Jewish world has been so heavily involved with PR, for so long, like Lubavitch?

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  35. Tokay, many rebbes and RY and "gedolim" have formal and or informal PR flacks. Don't think those rebbe books, pictures in charedi media, etc LG baomer bonfires, guests at weddings, weddings themselves, etc aren't payola. However, most of this PR is aimed at the charedi audience, vs chabad targeting general secular media. (To be honest, it plays into their kiruv work, so criticism may not be warranted. And they know to tone down the rebbe business in their media campaigns, cause it interferes with kiruv ("crazy people") and interferes with fundraising.)

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  36. But do you see what I mean? :o)

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  37. "Tokay, many rebbes and RY and "gedolim" have formal and or informal PR flacks."

    I think you meant today, not Tokay. :)

    Assuming that is the case, that is a key word. Today. And over a half century ago when the Lubavitcher Rebbe appointed R. Krinsky to do PR for Lubavitch was that the case? No, not at all.

    Lubavitch is far and away the most involved in PR. Look at all their websites, the writers, and on and on. Who has the most websites, who is such a big presence online? Chabad Lubavitch is the answer.

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  38. Certain Kabbalists/Chassidim seem to be teaching that the verse "ain od melvado" means there is nothing else besides G-d. One Chabad supporter on this blog claims that the Rebbe is "Godly" and "his presence continues to be here."

    However, the Gemara Berachos 17a states that in the next world, the Tzaddikim will sit with their crowns and enjoy the light of the divine presence. If so, Chazal could not have believed that there is nothing else besides G-d as they clearly viewed Tzaddikim as separate entities from Hashem, and they clearly did not view deceased Tzaddikim as continuing to be present in this physical Universe.

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  39. @Eddie - Good points you made here.



    Also note that a Chabad supporter below stated "A Rebbe is an intermediary between the people & G-d". In Moreh Nevuchim 1:36 the Rambam explains that idolatrous worship is never done with the assumption there are no other deities, rather idols are worshipped as intermediaries. And the Torah calls such idol worshippers enemies, haters, and adversaries who provoke Hashem's jealousy, anger, and wrath.

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  40. In his introductions to the Ramchal's Sefer HaKelalim and Kalach Pischei Chochma, Rav Chaim Friedlander cites a number of sources that testify explicitly to the very high regard in which the Gra held the Ramchal, specifically with regard to kabbala. Among these is a letter from Rav Avrohom Simcha, a nephew of Rav Chaim Volozhiner, in which he quotes his uncle as saying that the Gra said of the Ramchal, "שהוא יודע הנמשל של כתבי האריז"ל". It appears to be a very firmly established oral tradition amongst the talmidei haGra that the Gra held very highly of the Ramchal as a kabbalist.

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  41. "We believe that the Rebbe is Moshiach because he said so."


    Oy vay.

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  42. The vast majority of sources I found in Rabbi Eliachs discussion of the Gra's attitude to the Ramchal (pages 240-245) specifically refer to Mesilas Yesharim. There are a few references to kabbala but there are no sources where the Gra cites the view of the Ramchal and says he agrees with it. And there seem to be no source which indicates that the Gra was aware of the Ramchal's view on tzimtzum. In short there isn't much that can be said about the matter.

    Rabbi Eliach notes that the source of some of the Ramchal's seforim we have today is from manuscripts found in the Gra's seforim collection.

    ReplyDelete
  43. I don't know about the sources cited by Rav Eliach, and why he doesn't mention the sources cited by R' Chaim Friedlander. That, in of itself, is hardly evidence that the sources quoted by R' Chain are unreliable.

    ReplyDelete
  44. Rabbi Michael TzadokJuly 10, 2014 at 12:24 AM

    Eddie, as I have said, and will say yet again, you have yet to definitively show how this contradicts the Rambam. You have works like Shomrim Emmunim, Rav Agasi's Yesodei HaTorah, and even Rav Hillel's Teshuva on the subject, which has been posted here, who you have yet been able to refute.
    You make this large pronouncements, based on your view of the Rambam. However your view the Rambam requires that we throw out our Mesorah, and trust your reading of the Rambam, over say the Leshem and the Gra. Please show how and where they are in error.

    ReplyDelete
  45. Some teachings of the Chabad religion about their Rebbe:

    "the concept of defect or imperfection just doesn’t apply to him"
    "the Rebbe is completely united with Hashem’s essence"
    "The idea that the Rebbe is above and beyond all restrictions is basic, a fundamental principle known to all Chassidim."
    "the Rebbe retains all his infinite faculties and
    strengths, and can still exercise his will in any way he wants."
    "The Rebbe has told us explicitly that whenever an individual looks at his picture, at that moment the Rebbe is also looking at him, thinking of him and helping him!"

    http://www.beismoshiach.org/Ginsberg/ginsberg282.htm

    ReplyDelete
  46. telushkin is a conservative rabbi.

    ReplyDelete
  47. I did not have the time and patience right now to read this whole piece. I read the first few paragraphs. I stopped at the following and would like to respond.

    The Baal Shem Tov the founder of Chasidism wanted tointroduce a movement that inspires people to bring the true Jewish Mashiach.
    ...... All Chasidic movements believe this, even about their own Rebbes,
    it is built into their spiritual DNA and it cannot be changed.




    This is highly inaccurate and completely incorrect. There isn't another Chasidus in the world that ever taught their Chasidim that their Rebbe is Moshiach. No Chasidim, at all, believe their Rebbe is Moshiach.


    All chasidim see their rebbe as a human, although he may reach great spiritual and metaphysical heights, they still understand that their rebbe is human and capable of human error.


    Please be honest.

    ReplyDelete
  48. Yehoishophot OliverJuly 10, 2014 at 3:59 AM

    Thanks, RaP! Gut gezogt!

    ReplyDelete
  49. Elliott Wolfson's "Open Secret" may also be relevant here; he brings a good selection of texts and tries to place the Rebbe and the Frierdiker Rebbe in context.

    http://www.amazon.com/Open-Secret-Postmessianic-Messianism-Schneerson/dp/0231146310/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top

    ReplyDelete
  50. Been drinking. Tokay / today.

    I'm just emphasizing that everyone is doing PR, though directed at different targets. Can't necessarily hold it against chabad.

    As for tlushkin, he is a feel good writer, who knows an "authorized" book will sell, vs an unauthorized which won't.

    The gutnik bio author writes how he began to write a critical book, till gutnik called him in, and gave him full access to info, and alludes to an offer to buy many copies if its a good book. So he wrote a good book.

    Same with th reichman book.

    ReplyDelete
  51. Whatever דורש אל המתים refers to, there is no איסור כרת, only a לאו - Rambam Hil. Avoda Zara 11:14. The Possuk Eddie cites refers to the completely different Issurim of אוב and ידעוני, which are practices described by the Rambam there 6:4. Actually, acc. to the Rambam 11:14 דורש אל המתים would anyway not apply here:

    איזה הוא דורש אל המתים? זה המרעיב את עצמו והולך ולן בבית הקברות, כדי שיבוא המת בחלום, ויודיעו מה ישאל עליו. ויש אחרים שהן לובשים מלבושים ידועים, ואומרין דברים, ומקטירין קטורת ידועה, וישנים לבדם – כדי שיבוא מת פלוני, ויספר עימו בחלום.
    כללו של דבר: כל העושה מעשה כדי שיבוא המת ויודיעו – לוקה.



    P.S.


    This comment should not be misconstrued as approval of any of Eddie's other points.

    ReplyDelete
  52. Chaim is apparently referring to the halacha of Molech (depending on the editing of his copy of the Yad).
    In the online (Chabad) version, it is Hilchot AKUM 6:1

    "Halacha 1

    Anyone who willingly, as a conscious act of defiance, performs the deeds associated with an ov or a yid'oni is liable for karet. If witnesses
    were present and warned him, he should be stoned to death. If he performed these actions inadvertently, he must bring a fixed sin offering.
    What do the deeds associated with an ov involve? A person stands up and offers an incense offering of known content. He holds a
    wand of myrtle in his hand and waves it while whispering a known
    incantation in a hushed tone. [This continues] until the person making the inquiry hears a voice, as if another person is speaking to him and replying to his questions. It appears as if the words are coming from below the earth in a very low tone, to the extent that it cannot be perceived by the ear, but only sensed by thought.
    Similarly, among the deeds associated with an ov is taking the skull of a corpse, offering incense, and chanting incantations until one hears a voice in a very low tone emanating from his armpits and
    replying [to his questions]. Anyone who performs one of these acts should be stoned to death."


    Now these are specific types of Ov and Yidoni. Writing a letter to the dead is not included, but that doesn't mean it is any more permitted.
    If you make an "inquiry" and listen or anticipate a reply, then you are in violation of the Torah commandment. This is liable to Karet.


    Even if Chaim's interpretation is more correct, it is a D'oraita issur. Whilst he is not giving his "approval" of any of my points, he is giving his Mehadrin "approval" to acts which are at "best" lav,and at worst Karet.

    It thus seems that Chaim is officially reform?

    ReplyDelete
  53. @ Chaim "Actually, acc. to the Rambam 11:14 דורש אל המתים would anyway not apply here:"

    but, Chaim himself quotes Rambam as saying "

    כללו של דבר: כל העושה מעשה כדי שיבוא המת ויודיעו – לוקה."


    So with one hand Chaim is admitting that any act to elicit a response from the dead is a violation of the Torah, and with the other hand he says that it would not apply to those who write letters or pray to the rebbe at his grave.


    Chaim's comments should not be misconstrued as representing the Torah.

    ReplyDelete
  54. wow! rabbi eidelson, i am in awe of your sensible dismantling of RAP's post. Kol Hakavod. Tizku Lmitzvois.

    ReplyDelete
  55. "Performing any service to the ruach hakodesh in any man, prophet, or holy man is also called real avodah zarah (idolatry) as we find where Nebuchadnezzar prostrated himself to Daniel (Daniel 2:46), Nebuchadnezzar didn't consider Daniel to be G-d, rather he was trying to serve the ruach hakodesh in Daniel ... since nowadays the service of prayer is in place of bringing offerings, (prayer directed to the ruach hakodesh in a man) is certainly included in the warning against idolatry."

    Rabbi Chaim of Volozhin, Nefesh HaChaim, Shaar 3, Chapter 9.

    ReplyDelete
  56. Yehoishophot OliverJuly 12, 2014 at 1:06 AM

    What a vicious, outrageous libel.

    ReplyDelete
  57. Rabbi Michael TzadokJuly 12, 2014 at 10:00 PM

    May I suggest you actually open up the Sh"A and see what it says there.

    We are not looking for the Torah of Eddie, we are looking for Halakha.

    ReplyDelete
  58. Rabbi Michael TzadokJuly 12, 2014 at 10:23 PM

    These last three rabbis objected strongly to Chabad's concept of essentially equating the Universe with Or Ein Sof resulting in a sort of "virtual paganism" where man is incapable of rational understanding of the Universe.

    Actually the Leshem specifically states in Helek Biurim Shaar Adam Kadmon introduction to Anaf 2, that man is incapable of rational understanding of the Universe. That is his answer to the Shomer Emunim Vaykoah 2 in which the Shomer Emunim brings down 10 ways in which understanding the Tzimtzum to be literal directly contradicts Rambam.

    He makes the argument following Rav Immanuel Hai Reiki(author the Mishnat Hassidim) is his sefer Levav Yosher that this is only a problem if we try to rationally understand and explain the Universe. However if we accept it as Torah Moshe M'Sinai and that it is true, and at leas in this world incomprehensible then their is no problem. He makes a very long arugment as to why rational understanding is simply impossible, thus he pushes aside the arguments of Shomer Emunim based upon the Rambam.

    It goes without saying that the Rambam would have vehemently objected to any concept of the physical Universe that associates it in any way with the essence of the Creator.

    Actually this is wrong. As the Shomer Emunim lays out, and if you had read the piece that I posted from Rav Shimon Agasi, you would know, the concept of a literal Tzimtzum, or Tzimtzum k'pshuto, is highly problematic in regards to the Rambam(a point to which the Leshem openly admits), in that it makes the Deity a Baal Gvul, and Baal Shiur.


    As the Shomer Emunim states with ten different arguments based on the Rambam, the theology of the Rambam requires imminence. It requires that the Tzimtzum is eino k'pshuto. Otherwise we make the Deity to be a baal gvul, and baal shiur which is in direct violation of the Rambams principles of faith.


    So no it does not go without saying. Quite the opposite in fact you are positing opinions that our sages of have said are opposite the opinions of the Rambam as attributable to the Rambam. Please see the Shomer Emunim mentioned above and the Leshem's Response mentioned above to understand how, even according to the Leshem, the Leshem's view goes against the Rambam.

    ReplyDelete
  59. Rabbi Michael TzadokJuly 13, 2014 at 1:02 AM

    There is no clear evidence whether the Gra agreed with the Ramchal's idea's in kabbala or even how favorable the Gra was to the views of the Ramchal.
    Aside from Eliezer's cogent arguments, whether or not the Gra agreed with the Ramchal is a separate issue.
    There is a vast gulf between agreement, and seeing it as a dangerous heresy that needed to be eradicated. The Gra clearly felt that Chassidus was a dangerous heresy that needed to be eradicated. He clearly did not feel this way about the Ramchal's teachings.

    ReplyDelete
  60. You don't consider the Rambam legitimate? After all, the Rambam was cited above, and i responded to it. Anything that doesn't suit your Sabbatean agenda, you dismiss as not being "halacha".
    Now the Ibn Ezra gives a very nice perush on the posuk on consulting the dead - he says that we are not meant to consult with the dead, but with the living - a navi, or to ask hashem, hence this verse is followed by Tamim tihiyeh, and then the posuk about a navi -

    thus we do not make requests from the dead.

    ReplyDelete
  61. Again you are making asserting 1) the view of the Ramchal was similar to that of Chasidus regarding tzitzum 2) the Gra knew the view of the Ramchal in this matter 3) he accused chassidim of heresy for the same thing that he did not accuse the Ramchal

    I have not found any sources that agree with your three assertions. Could you provide the sources for these 3 assertions?

    I did find one academic article that said that the Ramchal and the Gra basically agreed on tzitzum and that they both disagreed with the view of the chassidim.
    Raphael Shuchat Daat volume 40

    ReplyDelete
  62. Here is R Student's take on the issue
    http://www.torahmusings.com/2013/07/is-kabbalah-heresy/
    If this is an accurate depiction of the the debate between the Gra and the Alter rebbe, I have to give another dose of "Eddie Torah" as R Tzadok puts it, and say they were both wrong. Yes,little me is sayong both the Gra and the Alter Rebbe were mistaken on the tzimtzum. That is because having dimensions are just as physical as havng mass, and that is a false conception of G-d. Thus either position violates the earlier principles of the Rishonim, esp Saadia and Rambam. For G-d to "contract" is a ridiculous notion, as the Alter rebbe correctly notes about the Gra. To say that G-d is everywhere, including my old laptop

    and my Hindu neighboour's idols, is idolatrous and pantheistic, as the Gra correctly notes about the Bal haTanya's position. So they are each corect in their critique of the other, and they are both wrong about their own positions.

    ReplyDelete
  63. What do you consider to be a vicious and outrageous libel? What? Please explain yourself.

    ReplyDelete
  64. Rabbi Michael TzadokJuly 13, 2014 at 8:27 AM

    1) the view of the Ramchal was similar to that of Chasidus regarding tzitzum

    The assertion was made by TruthJew that the objection to Chassidus was over their view that the Tzimtzum is Eino K'Pshuto. This is a view quite clearly held by the Ramchal. See his Kalach Pitchei Chochma, Opening 1, and Rav Yaakov Hillel's sefer Shorshei HaYam vol 1 p. 76 writes:

    עיין בספר תניא להרש"ז ז"ל שהרחיב מאד הדיבור בעניני אלהות ושורשי החכמה ועיקרי האמונה שם בליקוטי אמרים, ובפרט בשער היחוד והאמונה, והמשיל משלים לבאר דברים עמוקים כיד ה' הטובה עליו. ושיטתו בענין הצמצום ברורה, שחלילה להבינו כפשוטו, ודרכו בזה דרך כלל היא שיטת מהר"י אירגס ז"ל והרמח"ל ז"ל

    It doesn't much more plain than that. The shita of the Baal HaTanya was the same as the Shita of the Shomer Emunim and the Ramchal.

    2) the Gra knew the view of the Ramchal in this matter

    Aside from the sources that Eliezer has provided from Rav Friedlander, there isn't a whole lot more to say, other than that it seems rather plain that the Gra would have known of both the Shomer Emunim, and the Ramchal. There is also the anecdotal evidence in that the Nefesh HaChaim also held the same view as the Shomer Emunim and Ramchal as Rav Yaakov Hillel explains on page 78 of Shorshei HaYam.

    Considering the Klal that Kabalah is Ish M'Pi Ish I find it hard to believe that the Nefesh HaChaim differed that greatly from his own Rav.

    3) he accused chassidim of heresy for the same thing that he did not accuse the Ramchal

    That is not my assertion at all. Quite the opposite in fact. That is TruthJew's assertion, that it was this issue that gave the Gra pause. I myself believe that the Gra, and the Nefesh HaChaim who also opposed Chassidus, must have done so on different grounds. That this view of Tzimtzum was so widespread and so well accepted there is no possible way that it was this that the Gra was objecting to.

    ReplyDelete
  65. Rabbi Michael TzadokJuly 13, 2014 at 8:30 AM

    I do not consider the Rambam to be the final word in halakha. It is quite clear from the Sh"A that he is not.



    Further your understanding of the Rambam has not always been accurate. For instance you have claimed that Rambam opposes imminence, however, our sages for hundreds of years have said that the Rambam demands imminence.

    ReplyDelete
  66. Both the Gra and the Alter Rebbe had a four element (earth, air, fire, water) concept of physical reality which does not map exactly onto our modern understanding of mass and dimension. Their disagreement was within this shared frame of reference, and is not exactly what you understand it to be.

    While a four element universe can still be useful as a metaphor for human experience, it no longer unites man and cosmos in the way that it did for the Gra and the Alter Rebbe, for whom saying that a person has a "fiery" or "earthy" nature had a meaning that it does not have today.


    Also, is incorrect to characterize the Alter Rebbe's position as pantheism. PanENtheism, perhaps. The truth is, Ein Od Milvado. Physical "reality" is an illusion created by G-d by means of concealment of the full revelation in the face of which we could not perceive ourselves as individual beings – which the Torah wants us to do.

    ReplyDelete
  67. Rabbi Michael TzadokJuly 13, 2014 at 10:51 AM

    To say that G-d is everywhere, including my old laptop and my Hindu neighboour's idols, is idolatrous and pantheistic, as the Gra correctly notes about the Bal haTanya's position.



    Please tell me more about these boundaries, limitations and measures that you say that G-d has. This statement is in direct contradiction to the Rambam's 13 principles of faith. According to the Rambam, G-d can have no boundary, limitation, or measure. Yet you say that G-d cannot be in your old laptop, which is to say the plastic body of your laptop is a boundary which G-d will not cross. That the plastic body of your laptop limits G-d's presence, and that their is a measurable space in which God is not.... so therefore if were to take the size of he known universe(combine all mass found therein, which you claim that G-d cannot exist within) we have a measure of both G-d and the not G-d...


    Please find some sage that says that imminence violates the principles of the Rambam, because I can find several(Rav Irgas, the Ramchal, Nefsh HaChaim, and even the Leshem) who claim that the Rambam requires imminence.

    ReplyDelete
  68. Ramatz, you previously claimed that the Physics Professors at Princeton all know you, and that you were an ilui in physical sciences. however, you seem to have forgotten that just like having a physical body is part of physicality , so is having dimensions. So our space time reality is a physical creation, hence G-d is not subject to it, your argument would be the same as saying that G-d has infinite mass or weight, and to deny this would place limitations on him, or that G-d can have many numbers, chas vshalom, so to say he cannot be more than one would place limitation on him.
    Hilchot Yesodei haTorah:

    Halacha 7

    This God is one. He is not two or more, but one, unified in a manner
    which [surpasses] any unity that is found in the world; i.e., He is not
    one in the manner of a general category which includes many individual
    entities, nor one in the way that the body is divided into different
    portions and dimensions. Rather, He is unified, and there exists no
    unity similar to His in this world.

    If there were many gods, they would have body and form, because like
    entities are separated from each other only through the circumstances
    associated with body and form.

    Were the Creator to have body and form, He would have limitation and
    definition, because it is impossible for a body not to be limited. And any entity which itself is limited and defined [possesses] only limited
    and defined power. Since our God, blessed be His name, possesses unlimited power, as evidenced by the continuous revolution of the
    sphere, we see that His power is not the power of a body. Since He is not a body, the circumstances associated with bodies that produce
    division and separation are not relevant to Him. Therefore, it is impossible for Him to be anything other than one.

    The knowledge of this concept fulfills a positive commandment, as [implied by Deuteronomy 6:4]: "[Hear, Israel,] God is our Lord, God is one."


    I also referred you previously to 1;36 of Moreh Hanevuchim, where Rambam writes that G-d does not fill the earth.

    Rambam himself says that immanence violates his ikkarim.

    Can you kindly point me to the Ramchal source where you claim he supports immanence? My understanding was that Ramchal differentiates between "Rtzono and Atmuto (as Rambam does between G-d's Acts and Essence.). R'tzono can be immanent and is immanent, and rambam agrees with this. Aryeh Kaplan says that Rtzon and Atmuto are the same, and hence states that G-d is Immanent, but this is a mockery and misrepresentation of the Rambam and Ramchal.

    ReplyDelete
  69. Rabbi Michael TzadokJuly 13, 2014 at 2:08 PM

    Ramatz, you previously claimed that the Physics Professors at Princeton all know you, and that you were an ilui in physical sciences.


    Never made any such claim, but it is nice to see that you fall back on worthless and baseless ad homs when you are deficient in facts.

    I have already pointed out the places above, as well as in his predecessors work, Shomer Emunim...

    I will IYH, be posting a longer piece by Rav Yaakov Ades where he brings down the necessity of imminence from all of the major Rishonim.

    ReplyDelete
  70. @Tzadok - "direct contradiction to the Rambam's 13 principles of faith. According
    to the Rambam, G-d can have no boundary, limitation, or measure" - The Rambam in his 13 principles did NOT state what you are claiming. You are imposing a Kabbalistic idea on the Rambam that he did not teach. I'm reasonably certain that Moreh Nevuchim not only denies any corporeality to Hashem, but it also states that Hashem cannot assume a physical form if He wanted to. Furthermore Chazal taught that "ain od melvado" means there is no other power controlling the Universe besides Hashem. "ain od melvaldo" does not mean that everything is concealed G-dliness. Sanhedrin 67b (see Rashi), also http://www.mesora.org/13principles.html

    ReplyDelete
  71. Rabbi Michael TzadokJuly 13, 2014 at 3:03 PM

    Eddie the very Rambam you quote argues on your position:
    Were the Creator to have body and form, He would have limitation and definition, because it is impossible for a body not to be limited.
    Yet you impose limitation just as the Rav Igras brings in Shomer Emunim. To say G-d is not somewhere is to impose limitation.

    If you don't like Shomer Emunim please see this from Rav Yaakov Ades, notably Siman 4, where he brings imminence in the words of all of the major Rishonim. You may also find Siman 6 of interest as it shows your other error in saying that we should not pray to Atzmut.

    ReplyDelete
  72. Thirdly. The faculty of
    thinking is a force inherent in the body, and

    is not separated from it,
    but God is not a force inherent in the body

    of the
    universe, but is separate from all its parts. How God rules

    the universe
    and provides for it is a complete mystery: man is

    unable to solve
    it. For, on the one hand, it can be proved that God

    is separate
    from the universe, and in no contact whatever with it;

    but, on the
    other hand, His rule and providence can be proved to

    exist in all
    parts of the universe, even in the smallest. Praised be

    He whose
    perfection is above our comprehension.



    It is true, we might have
    compared the relation between God and

    the universe, to the
    relation between the absolute acquired intellect

    and man; it is not a power
    inherent in the body, but a power which

    is absolutely separate from
    the body, and is from without brought

    into contact with the body.
    The rational faculty of man may be

    further compared to the
    intelligence of the spheres, which are, as it

    were, material bodies. But
    the intelligence of the spheres, purely

    spiritual beings, as well
    as man's absolute and acquired intellect,

    are subjects of deep study
    and research: the proof of their

    existence, though correct,
    is abstruse, and includes arguments

    which present doubts, are
    exposed to criticism, and can be easily

    attacked by objectors. We
    have, therefore, preferred to illustrate

    the relation of God to the
    universe by a simile which is clear, and

    which will not be
    contradicted in any of the points which have been

    laid down by us without any
    qualification. The opposition

    can only
    emanate either from an ignorant man, who contradicts

    truths even if
    they are perfectly obvious, just as a person

    unacquainted
    with geometry rejects elementary propositions which

    have been
    clearly demonstrated, or from the prejudiced man who

    deceives
    himself. Those, however, who wish to study the subject

    must persevere
    in their studies until they are convinced that all our

    observations
    are true, and until they understand that our account of

    this universe
    unquestionably agrees with the existing order of

    things. If a man is
    willing to accept this theory from one who

    understands how to prove
    things which can be proved, let him

    accept it, and let him
    establish on it his arguments and proofs. If,

    on the other hand, he
    refuses to accept without proof even the

    foregoing principles, let
    him inquire for himself, and ultimately he

    will find that they are
    correct." Lo this, we have searched
    it, so it

    is; hear it, and know thou
    it for thy good" (Job v. 27).

    ReplyDelete
  73. Chazal taught that "ain od melvado" means
    there is no other power controlling the Universe besides Hashem. Chazal (to my knowledge) did NOT teach that "ain od
    melvaldo" means that everything is concealed G-dliness.
    Sanhedrin 67b (see Rashi).

    Also if you believe physical reality is an illusion created by G-d's concealment, then how could Hashem have performed "briyah yesh mi ayin"? Your position sounds close to Aristo's position ie the Universe existed forever, a concept that destroys the Torah and is rejected by all the Rishonim.

    ReplyDelete
  74. Rabbi Michael TzadokJuly 13, 2014 at 3:15 PM

    I also referred you previously to 1;36 of Moreh Hanevuchim, where Rambam writes that G-d does not fill the earth.

    Yes but when I read that part of the Moreh it doesn't say that:
    http://www.sacred-texts.com/jud//gfp/gfp046.htm

    ReplyDelete
  75. @Tzadok - Are you confusing the term "imminence" with a different term "immanence" used by the philosophers? Eddie is using the correct term immanence here to describe our subject matter.

    ReplyDelete
  76. Eddie, sorry - I went away for the weekend. I think that to reply to any of your points would ruin the comical effect they have when they stand alone...

    ReplyDelete
  77. Good, let's keep it that way.

    ReplyDelete
  78. Rabbi Michael TzadokJuly 13, 2014 at 10:31 PM

    Please read the posted above piece on the Gra's view of the Tzimtzum from Rav Yaakov Ades' work Kabbalat HaGra.
    If you really want to have this discussion you need to do the reading. I'm sorry you don't like the position of the Gra, Ramchal, even Leshem... but it is the position of traditional Judaism.

    ReplyDelete
  79. Rabbi Michael TzadokJuly 13, 2014 at 10:35 PM

    The Rambam in his 13 principles did NOT state what you are claiming.

    Once again you really need to do the reading here if you want to keep up.

    Yesodei HaTorah Perek 1 Halakha 7:

    This God is one. He is not two or more, but one, unified in a manner which [surpasses] any unity that is found in the world; i.e., He is not one in the manner of a general category which includes many individual entities, nor one in the way that the body is divided into different portions and dimensions. Rather, He is unified, and there exists no unity similar to His in this world.

    If there were many gods, they would have body and form, because like entities are separated from each other only through the circumstances associated with body and form.

    Were the Creator to have body and form, He would have limitation and definition, because it is impossible for a body not to be limited. And any entity which itself is limited and defined [possesses] only limited and defined power. Since our God, blessed be His name, possesses unlimited power, as evidenced by the continuous revolution of the sphere, we see that His power is not the power of a body. Since He is not a body, the circumstances associated with bodies that produce division and separation are not relevant to Him. Therefore, it is impossible for Him to be anything other than one.

    The knowledge of this concept fulfills a positive commandment, as [implied byDeuteronomy 6:4]: "[Hear, Israel,] God is our Lord, God is one."

    He says it quite clearly.

    Please do not bring me from mesora.org. It is a website that spits on our mesora and holy sages.

    Furthermore Chazal taught that "ain od melvado" means there is no other power controlling the Universe besides Hashem. "ain od melvaldo" does not mean that everything is concealed G-dliness. Sanhedrin 67b (see Rashi)

    That is not what Chazal taught, as Rav Yaakov Ades makes clear in Siman 4 of his piece on the Gra's view of the Tzimtzum.

    ReplyDelete
  80. Rabbi Michael TzadokJuly 13, 2014 at 10:55 PM

    I didn't say that they were G-d. Clearly you cannot bow down to your laptop. However, nowhere there does it say that G-d does not fill the whole earth. You are imposing that upon the text.
    The Yesodei HaTorah states quite clearly that G-d is everywhere both in heaven and on earth 1:8-
    Behold, it is explicitly stated in the Torah and [the works of] the prophets that the Holy One, blessed be He, is not [confined to] a body or physical form, as [Deuteronomy 4:39] states: "Because God, your Lord, is the Lord in the heavens above and the earth below," and a body cannot exist in two places [simultaneously].

    Also, [Deuteronomy 4:15] states: "For you did not see any image," and [Isaiah 40:25] states: "To whom can you liken Me, with whom I will be equal." Were He [confined to] a body, He would resemble other bodies.


    Further he states that G-d has no limit or boundary, halakha 7:
    Were the Creator to have body and form, He would have limitation and definition, because it is impossible for a body not to be limited. And any entity which itself is limited and defined [possesses] only limited and defined power. Since our God, blessed be His name, possesses unlimited power, as evidenced by the continuous revolution of the sphere, we see that His power is not the power of a body. Since He is not a body, the circumstances associated with bodies that produce division and separation are not relevant to Him. Therefore, it is impossible for Him to be anything other than one.

    Yet you say that G-d is limited by the body of your laptop, thus saying that G-d himself has a body, since as the Rambam states limitation is the definition of a body. Does that mean you pray to yoru laptop? NO!!! You pray to Atzmut HKB"H as the Kabbalists clearly state, and as Rav Yaakov Ades lays out in Siman 6 of his piece on the Gra's view of the Tzimtzum.

    I see that I forgot earlier to post the link, so here it is again:
    http://www.scribd.com/doc/233666181/Gra-on-Tzimtzum

    ReplyDelete
  81. Rabbi Michael TzadokJuly 13, 2014 at 11:16 PM

    Eddie,


    These are not "my" arguments, they are the arguments made by Rav Irgas, by the Ramchal, by the Gra, by the Nefesh HaChaim. Even the Leshem claims that this is the view of the Rambam, but he simply dismisses it, because he says that Kabbalah is Mesorah Moshe M'Sinai and thus absolute Emet and any chiddush of the Rambam that goes against it, is simply false.

    However for all of those who believe that the Rambam is correct, again Rav Irgas, Ramchal, Gra, Nefesh HaChaim, it is their argument that you cannot say that there is any place where G-d is not. Now I have brought you many Gedolim who view the Rambam as saying that it is impossible to say that there is anyplace devoid of the Atzmut HKB"H, and all you have brought so far are your own sevoras.

    I'm sure that your sevoras resonate soundly within your own mind, but, and no offense intended, you are a mental midget next to the great minds that you are disagreeing with. Please find one, just one sage of our tradition that holds the way you do.

    ReplyDelete
  82. The quote you bring from Yesodei 1:8 does nto say what you claim it says. It seems you rely on the Chabad website (which I often use myself) for the translation. The Posuk from Devarim does not say Hashem is Lord (Havayah) in heaven, but Elokim - which is G-d's acts in the maimonidean scheme.
    Since you do not know physics, then you are confused about mass, lenght and time. G-d is above time, jus as he is above mass. But he is also above physical dimensions. U ignore this point, since you forgot your fabrication that you said you studied physics at Princeton and the Professors there all know you.
    If God has any physicality, then that would be pantheism. Mass, time and space are all physical dimensions. You are ascribing space to Him, ie infintie space, but that is not the case. There is not infinte physical space, as it ends somewhere.
    Next, you are saying he permeates the laptop with Atzmut, but goes beyond it. So my laptop, and my neighbour's idols are all essentially atzmut, according to your logic, since there is no place without him, according to Kabbalah. That is precisely what spinoza says.

    ReplyDelete
  83. Your claim is not very logical, and you contradict the previous statements you and others have made.
    BTW, i asked you to quote the Ramchal on saying that G0d is everywhere, since in Hokker u'Mekubal he says that Rtzono and Atzmuto are not the same, and it is Rtzono which permeates the world, not Atzmuto. Show me a source.
    Next , you now claim that the the Gra holds that
    ther is no place void of G-d, but a few horus ago you were saying the opposite, that the Gra held Tzimtzum to be literal, and hence He created a place wherehe is not.

    So you keep changing you position, like mercury changes with the temeperature.

    Then the logical point you have not addressed, is how is G0d everywhere, in hsi Atzmuto? Is it that he has physical dimensions? Is it like he is a soul to the physical universe? You have not explained this.

    We had this discussion a while back, here

    http://daattorah.blogspot.co.uk/2013/02/nefesh-hachaim-did-not-misunderstand.html

    ReplyDelete
  84. Yehoishophot OliverJuly 14, 2014 at 8:44 AM

    It should be obvious.

    ReplyDelete
  85. Rabbi Michael TzadokJuly 14, 2014 at 9:47 AM

    That seems to be a typically Kabblistic view, but the early rishonim, including Rambam, held the Kabbalah to be false.

    Please provide reliable quotes for this... Oh wait they don't exist. You are making things up Eddie pure and simple.

    In any case, the Leshem only came into fashion when R' Elyashiv was knighted the Posek hador, so his grandfather's work became more widely known.

    That is complete and utter shtut. You don't know Kabbalah, you haven't studied Kabbalah so you don't know who read or quoted what. My yeshiva has on its shelves a copy of the Leshem that Rav Mordechai Sharabi himself learned from, with his own notes written inside. The seforim were republished in 1970 by Rav Mordekhai Attiah for use by the various Kabbalistic Yeshivot.
    When Rav Kaduri was Rosh Yeshiva of Beit El he made the Leshem part of the course of study for the Eitz Chaim... Really Eddie we can't have an honest discussion if you simply are going to make things up to suit your purposes.

    The Nefesh hachaim is a good work, but it is posul on the grounds of its dualism, which I've alreay pointed out.

    Actually you haven't pointed that out. You have made this claim repeatedly but you have not been able to show it in the sources, or bring any reliable Rav to support your position.

    ReplyDelete
  86. Rabbi Michael TzadokJuly 14, 2014 at 9:51 AM

    Next , you now claim that the the Gra holds that ther is no place void of G-d, but a few horus ago you were saying the opposite, that the Gra held Tzimtzum to be literal,
    You are confusing me with ELY. I have never made this claim.
    Then the logical point you have not addressed, is how is G0d everywhere, in hsi Atzmuto? Is it that he has physical dimensions? Is it like he is a soul to the physical universe?
    I have explained this, and I have brought sources explaining it. You simply prefer to ignore them because you don't like what they say, and you can't argue them logically. You can't bring any reliable source to support your position.

    ReplyDelete
  87. OK. So you would like us to think that certain things are "a vicious, outrageous libel" without telling us what that is?

    ReplyDelete
  88. Rabbi Michael TzadokJuly 14, 2014 at 11:31 AM

    The quote you bring from Yesodei 1:8 does nto say what you claim it says. It seems you rely on the Chabad website (which I often use myself) for the translation. The Posuk from Devarim does not say Hashem is Lord (Havayah) in heaven, but Elokim - which is G-d's acts in the maimonidean scheme.

    Eddie again please bring some source, not your own sevora that says this.

    Here is Rav Kapach's edited version:
    הרי מפורש בתורה ובנביא, שאין הקדוש ברוך הוא גוף וגווייה: שנאמר "כי ה' אלוהיכם, הוא האלוהים בשמיים ממעל ועל הארץ מתחת" (ראה דברים ד,לט; יהושוע ב,יא), והגוף לא יהיה בשני מקומות.

    The Rambam still brings these pasukim as kushia on the idea of a guf, becuase a guf cannot be in two places at once. There is no mention of one being HKB"H and the other being his acts... If such were the case it would undermine the argument.

    Rav Ades also says:
    וברמב"ם בהלכות יסודי התורה בפרק א' הלכה ח' בדבריו להוכיח שאין לקדוש ברוך הוא גוף כתב וז"ל הרי מפורש בתורה ובנביאים שאין הקדוש ברוך הוא גוף וגוייה שנאמר כי ה' אלקיכם הוא אלקים בשמים ממעל ועל הארץ מתחת והגוף לא יהיה בשני מקומות עכ"ל ומוכח מדברים אלו של הרמב"ם לכאורה להדיא דמפרש את פסוקים אלו על עצמותו יתברך ולא רק לענין שליטה והשגחה וכיון שכך ממילא מוכח שהקדוש ברוך עצמותו יתברך נמצא בכל מקום.

    In fact if you would read Rav Kapach's Milchamot HaShem, most notably #80 and 81, you will see that his objection to the Tzimtzum is that that, in his view, the traditional faith of the authors of the Mishnah and Talmud, and the Gaonim was that the Atzmut was found in every place and that it was a rejection of G-d's ultimate unity to say that there was a tzimtzum.

    Now as to your question of Ramchal please see Klach Pitchei Chochma 1 and 24
    http://www.hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=51283&st=&pgnum=43
    http://www.hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=51283&st=&pgnum=100

    While we are at it why don't you check out the Shomer Emunim, upon which the Ramchal based himself:
    http://www.scribd.com/doc/233760039/Shomer-Emunim-On-Tzimtzum

    Then there is Rav Yaakov Hillel's explanation:
    http://www.scribd.com/doc/233759973/Rav-Yaakov-Hillel-on-Tzimtzum

    ReplyDelete
  89. Rabbi Michael TzadokJuly 14, 2014 at 11:36 AM

    Chaim Volozhiner's deadly error and step into dualism, when he said in NH that it is forbidden to pray to Atzmuto, but only to Hitchabruto.

    Stop with the propaganda you picked up from Tohar HaYichud. He does not say that, as Rav Yaakov Ades points out in Siman 6 of his work:
    http://www.scribd.com/doc/233666181/Gra-on-Tzimtzum

    ReplyDelete
  90. Dear Ramataz,

    Thank you for the link to the Pitchei Chochma. The page following the first link,
    http://www.hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=51283&st=&pgnum=44

    says clearly that we are unable to say anything whatsoever about Atzmuto, but we can only, to some limited degree discuss Rtzono. That is what I was arguing with you yesterday, if you recall.

    I have no problem in saying that Rtzono is in the heavens above, or fills the world.
    It is the shaygetz Aryeh, Kaplan, who is kotzetz b'netiot, and says that the Rtzon and Atzmuto are one and the same, and hence Atzmuto is filling the enitre world. This is a deliberate perversion of the words of the Ramchal. As far as i am aware, in my limited knowledge of Ramchal, he was consistent with the Rambam's 13 principles.

    ReplyDelete
  91. If you have a link to Milchemet Hashem, i would be most grateful.
    The shomer emunim you cite and link out to, says that the Tzimtzum took place in Atzmuto. The ramchal says that we cannot know anything about Atzmuto, and we can only discuss rtzono. In discussing the Tzimtzum, the Ramchal says this was all outside of Hashem himself.
    http://www.hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=51283&st=&pgnum=101
    Thus , Ramchal is not basing himself on the SE. He is contradicting it!

    ReplyDelete
  92. Rabbi Michael TzadokJuly 14, 2014 at 3:27 PM

    Which being translated(for the benefit of those who do not know Hebrew):

    He, blessed be He, revealed to him matters which no other man had known before him - nor would ever know afterward - until he was able to comprehend from the truth of His existence, for the Holy One, blessed be He, to be distinguished in his mind from other entities, as a person is distinguished from other men when one sees his back and knows the structure of his body and [the manner in which] he is clothed. This is alluded to by the verse [Exodus 33:23]: "You shall see My back, but you shall not see My face."


    This of course is incomprehensible without what comes before it, which is why in the traditional printing they all make halakha 10, as Rav Kapach is kind enough to note:
    [י] מה הוא זה שביקש משה רבנו להשיג כשאמר "הראני נא, את כבודך" (שמות לג,יח)--ביקש לידע אמיתת הימצאו של הקדוש ברוך הוא, עד שיהיה ידוע בליבו כמו ידיעת אחד מן האנשים שראה פניו ונחקקה צורתו בקרבו, שנמצא אותו האיש נפרד בדעתו משאר האנשים; כך ביקש משה רבנו להיות מציאת הקדוש ברוך הוא נפרדת בליבו משאר מציאת הנמצאים, עד שיידע אמיתת הימצאו כמה שהיא. והשיבו ברוך הוא שאין כוח בדעת האדם החי שהוא מחובר מגוף ונפש, להשיג אמיתת דבר זה על בורייו.
    Translation:
    what did Moses, our teacher, want to comprehend when he requested: "Please show me Your glory" [Exodus 33:18]? He asked to know the truth of the existence of the Holy One, blessed be He, to the extent that it could be internalized within his mind, as one knows a particular person whose face he saw and whose image has been engraved within one's heart. Thus, this person's [identity] is distinguished within one's mind from [that of] other men. Similarly, Moses, our teacher, asked that the existence of the Holy One, blessed be He, be distinguished in his mind from the existence of other entities, to the extent that he would know the truth of His existence as it is. He, blessed be He, replied to him that it is not within the potential of a living man, [a creature of] body and soul, to comprehend this matter in its entirety.

    So the ultimate existence of HaShem is unknowable(great the Ramchal says the same thing) and Hashem revealed to Moshe Rabbeinu more of the truth of his existence than any other man had ever been or ever will be able to comprehend...

    However you have yet to bring a source which says that, however ultimately incomprehensible, the Atzmut does not fill the world.

    I think you are simply citing the Rambam like an opportunistic card layer, since thisi what the Kabablists do, ie he is good enough if we think he supports out claims, but if he doesn't then we discard it, as Rambam is not authentic Judaism.

    Since you are the one wanting to throw out our Mesora, the burden of proof is upon you. You have yet to demonstrate that the Rambam himself was not a Kabbalist as Rav Avraham Abulafia claims, and as Moshe Idel a Rambam and Abulafian scholar claims.


    You keep coming with your own sevoras, but that simply is not enough to throw out our mesora. In this particular, and most foundational point, you don't even have Rav Kapach to fall back on.

    ReplyDelete
  93. Rabbi Michael TzadokJuly 14, 2014 at 3:30 PM

    Eddie Rav Aryeh Kaplan said nothing that the Ramchal does not say. Or that the Shomer Emnunim does not say. Specifically if you had read Patach 24 which I also linked, you would find that the tzimtzum was in ratzon, and not atzmut.

    ReplyDelete
  94. Rabbi Michael TzadokJuly 14, 2014 at 3:45 PM

    The shomer emunim you cite and link out to, says that the Tzimtzum took place in Atzmuto.

    Wrong!!! I cannot help you if you cannot read Hebrew or understand the inyan. He specifically says that it was not in Atzmut and lays out 10 reasons why.

    If you had bothered to read the piece by Rav Yaakov Hillel you would have found that the Shomer Emunim, the Ramchal, the Gra, and the Nefesh HaChaim were all of the same opinion here.
    Sadly, like TruthJew, you seem either incapable or unwilling to do the reading.

    Thus , Ramchal is not basing himself on the SE. He is contradicting it!

    What an absolutely absurd statement. Get back to me when you have actually done the reading. This convo is quickly progressing from being constructive to being bitul zman. If you will not start reading the material, and bringing actual sources... I am simply going to stop responding.

    ReplyDelete
  95. If you look at Halacha 12 in the first ch of YT, Rambam explicitly states that H' is nifrad, separate from the physical world.

    ReplyDelete
  96. Rabbi Michael TzadokJuly 14, 2014 at 7:02 PM

    Yet Rav Ades and Rav Yaakov Hillel claim that the N"H says no such thing. So we must put this down to your own faulty understanding.

    You arguing the ins and outs of Kabbalah with Rav Ades and Rav Hillel would be like you arguing Physics with Hawkings and Higgs respectively... They are so far out of your league(or mine) that it is practically a different sport.

    The problem is the same problem. You can either deny the Rambam, as the Leshem does

    Wait so you are finally conceding that the Rambam does insist that G-d is mysteriously present in the physical world? Because that is where the Leshem denies the Rambam.

    ReplyDelete
  97. sorry, but you are relying on Habad translation of the Rambam I quoted. If one man is separate from another, e.g. i am separate from you, then I do not have any existence inside your body or dimensions. That is what Rambam is saying, how Hashem is separate from the created world.
    You actually oppose this earlier, since you claim for Hashem not be inside the world means limitation etc.



    I know that Rav Abulafia considered rambam as a Kabbalist, but I have not seen Idel make such a statement - kindly advise.


    In any case you have misunderstood this halacha and you are oblivous to the moshul he gives. All R Kapach says is that Moshe was not able to be shown G-d's true Atzmut. I suppose you think Moshe was also a kabbalist.


    You keep making grandiose arguments which miss or misrepresent the texts that I cite.

    ReplyDelete
  98. The Shaygetz Aryeh says the opposite of what the Ramchal says. I quoted above that the Ramchal distinguishes between Atzmuto and Rtzono, and that we cannot say anything meaningful about Atzmuto,.

    Mr Kaplan Msc perverts what the Ramchal says in the link above.
    Here, kaplan claims that Atzmuto and Rtzono are the same thing. http://www.aish.com/jl/p/g/48942416.html
    Thus, to support your claim, you must show me where the ramchal makes such a statement, considering that he says they are not the same in several other works.

    ReplyDelete
  99. OK, I accept this one - I did not read the SE in its entirety. My concern is not the Tzimtzum, but the idea of Immanence. The Ein Sof is also one which needs correct definition.
    The critique was aimed at the Gra as having said there was actual tzimtzum.
    The point is that the Ramchal distinguishes between Atzmut and Rtzono. Kaplan perverts this to say they are both identical, and hence Azmut is in the world around us. What SE said about immanence i do not know.

    ReplyDelete
  100. http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/904960/jewish/Yesodei-haTorah-Chapter-One.htm

    "Halacha 11

    Since it has been clarified that He does not have a body or corporeal form, it is also clear that none of the functions of the body are appropriate to Him: neither connection nor separation, neither place nor
    measure, neither ascent nor descent, neither right nor left, neither front nor back, neither standing nor sitting.

    He is not found within time, so that He would possess a beginning, an end, or age. He does not change, for there is nothing that can cause
    Him to change.
    [The concept of] death is not applicable to Him, nor is [that of] life within the context of physical life. [The concept of] foolishness is not applicable to Him, nor is [that of] wisdom in terms of human
    wisdom.

    Neither sleep nor waking, neither anger nor laughter, neither joy nor sadness, neither silence nor speech in the human understanding of
    speech [are appropriate terms with which to describe Him]. Our Sages declared: "Above, there is no sitting or standing, separation or connection." "

    Now, if he has no place or time, he is not in the universe.

    "neither connection nor separation, neither place nor measure, neither ascent nor descent, neither right nor left, neither front nor back, neither standing nor sitting.

    He is not found within time, so that He would possess a beginning, an end,
    or age. He does not change, for there is nothing that can cause
    Him to change."


    I am sorry ramatz - but this English translation clearly states that G-d has no physical - spatial dimensions, which you claim he has.
    You simply dont grasp physics well enough to get that having dimensions and time is a physical limitation, just like having mass or form.

    ReplyDelete
  101. btw - if you now claim that Kaplan is right and says the same as the SE etc, then you have the logical absurdity that Kaplan equates Rtzono and Atzmuto. hence, despite all the distinctions you have pointed out, and that the tzimtzum took place only in ratzon domain, but not in Atzmut - then kaplan is saying that they are the same hence it also took place in Atzmut. This is theatre of the absurd!

    ReplyDelete
  102. - you are making 2 points

    1) R Ades and Hillel give peirush on the NH. I wasnt able to to see their direct reference to Nh 2:4 , cna you quote them directly please?

    2) No, I have shown that Rambam says G-d has not physical dimensions, time , space or mass. I thought you said the Leshem will reject the Rambam wherever he disagrees with Kabbalah?

    Can you explain how G-d has dimensions? What are these exactly? Does he also have time and mass? Since physical dimensions alone do not exist, they are always subject to time. Are you saying G-d is an infinite vacuum?

    ReplyDelete
  103. Rabbi Michael TzadokJuly 14, 2014 at 9:35 PM

    Eddie Rabbi Michael Tzadok • 2 hours ago

    sorry, but you are relying on Habad translation of the Rambam I quoted


    Actually no. I'm relying on my own understanding of Hebrew as well as the meforshim on the Daf, namely the Ravaad, Kesef Mishnah and Migdal Oz. None of them read it the way you do.

    That is what Rambam is saying, how Hashem is separate from the created world.

    No distinct not separate. Just as, so to speak my soul is distinct from my body, but they are not separate.

    I know that Rav Abulafia considered rambam as a Kabbalist, but I have not seen Idel make such a statement - kindly advise.

    Read some of his books on the subject.

    In any case you have misunderstood this halacha and you are oblivous to the moshul he gives.

    Sorry, but you have. The Ravaad, the Kesef Mishnah, the Migdal Oz read it the way that I do. Further in his work Milchemot HaSHem Rav Kapach, as mentioned before, opposes the notion of the Tzimtzum based on its literal meaning that G-d is separate from the world.

    Now please stop bringing your own sevoras, and bring an actual source, any reliable source that reads this Rambam the way you do.

    You keep making grandiose arguments which miss or misrepresent the texts that I cite.

    Friend you have that very much backwards. You keep making grandoise arguments which miss or misrepresent the texts you cite.

    ReplyDelete
  104. @Tzadok - Your standard canard is that myself, Eddie, Stan, etc. can't or won't read the sources. It appears that you are the one who can't or won't read the sources - "(Tzadok) However you have yet to bring a source which says that, however ultimately incomprehensible, the Atzmut does not fill the world" -

    The sources are there for all to see:

    1) Klach Pischei Chachma, Pasach 24, by Ramchal: "Part 1: In bringing about the creation as a work outside of Himself", (I read the Hebrew-"b'inyan hamshachas ha peulah l'chutz mimenu")

    http://www.azamra.org/Kabbalah/Openings/024.htm

    "This place (Reshimo) or space is said to be empty, and it is void of the light of Eyn Sof, blessed be He"
    http://www.azamra.org/Kabbalah/Openings/026.htm

    2) Klal 3 and 4 of the Asarah Klalim, by the Vilna Gaon clearly describes the nature of the Universe as not being permeated within with Ohr Ein Sof. Rather the Ohr has departed above and only a reshimo (residue) remains.
    http://www.hashkafacircle.com/Asarah_Klalim.pdf

    3) Moreh Nevuchim, 1:70: "Consider their saying: resides upon it. They (quoting Chazal in Hagigah 12b, 'the rider of shamayim') did not say (Hashem) resides in it (the heaven)... the Sabians imagine that God is the spirit of the heaven...they (Chazal) have shown that Hashem, may He be exalted, is separate from the heaven and is not a force in it."

    ReplyDelete
  105. Rabbi Michael TzadokJuly 14, 2014 at 9:49 PM

    First Eddie, Rav Kaplan was a true Rav who obtained Semikha from Rav Birnbaum of the Mir. Refer to him derogatorily again and our conversation is over. It is a severe violation of Halakha to demean any Rav.

    Further I'm not responsible, and neither is Rav Kaplan for an anthology of an anthology of what he said. However stating that the Essence of HKB"H and His will must be identicle, is precisely what the Ramchal said in Patach 1 and 24. Again you need only read Rav Ades and Rav Yaakov Hillel on the subject to understand that.

    Aryeh Spinoza-kaplan is unifying the 2, and then making pantheistic proclamations.
    This is an absurd statement which leads me to believe that you do not understand what pantheism is.
    The article you cites specifically says, As Creator of the universe, God must be distinct from the world. Judaism therefore rejects the philosophy of pantheism.


    Quoting from Wiki:
    Pantheism is the belief that the universe (or nature as the totality of everything) is identical with divinity,[1] or that everything composes an all-encompassing, immanentGod.[2] Pantheists thus do not believe in a distinct personal or anthropomorphic god.[


    That is not the claim being made by Rav Kaplan or by any Kabbalist. The Mekubalim believe, as the Rambam writes, that G-d is absolutely distinct from creation yet fully present within it. Thus your laptop is not G-d, that would be pantheism, but neither is your laptop free of the presence of G-d. You have yet to offer a single reliable source that can be shown to contradict this.

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  106. Rabbi Michael TzadokJuly 14, 2014 at 9:50 PM

    Or you simply have a reading comprehension problem, and do not understand all the implications of the English or Hebrew languages.

    ReplyDelete
  107. @Eddie your gratuitous insults of Rav Aryeh Kaplan are totally unacceptable. In general your debate with Rav Tzadok seems totally unproductive and is not leading in any useful direction. In the near future I am simply not going to approve any more comments.

    ReplyDelete
  108. Rabbi Michael TzadokJuly 14, 2014 at 10:17 PM

    Right, you are relying on English translations. Have you read the piece from Rav Yaakov Ades???

    Have you read the piece from Rav Yaakov Hillel???


    You still haven't brought a source which states that the Atzmut doesn't fill the world. Like I said you or Eddie arguing on Rav Goldstein, Rav Yaakov Ades, and Rav Yaakov Hillel is like you arguing on Hawkins, Dyson and Hibbs respectively in physics. They all say that those very source say the opposite of what you are claiming. All three are known and recognized Illuim in this field. Please, address their words. Show how these Gedolim are wrong and you and Eddie are correct.


    I understand that you cannot read Hebrew... but that is going to be a handicap.

    ReplyDelete
  109. "I understand that you cannot read Hebrew" - Tzadok, once again you resort to blatant lies about your opponents when you're unable to prove your points by citing widely accepted classical sources (such as Gemara, Rambam, Ramchal, Vilna Gaon, etc.).

    If you're at all representative of the so-called "Kabbalists", then perhaps mesora.org is correct in their attitudes toward current day Kabbalah.

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  110. Ramatz , you are contradicting yourself, left right and centre. Ramchal , as I quoted, says they are quote distinct. You claim on the one hand that Tzimtzum took place in Ratzon but NOT in Atzmut. Then you claim that these are identical, therefore you are saying that Tzimtzum took place in Atzmut.
    I quoted rambam which says G-d is totally transcendant, and has no space or time, yet you falsely claim that he says the opposite. this is typical behaviour of Ramatz.

    ReplyDelete
  111. Rabbi Michael TzadokJuly 14, 2014 at 11:08 PM

    Eddie I'm done. Your sloppy reading and lack of comprehension is doing my head in. I will no longer respond to your illogical rants.

    ReplyDelete
  112. "as the Rambam writes, that G-d is absolutely distinct from creation yet fully present within it."
    This is a complete misrepresentation of the Rambam.

    Rambam says the opposite of what you ascribe to him, and considers this view as idolatry.

    ReplyDelete
  113. Rabbi Michael TzadokJuly 15, 2014 at 12:34 AM

    Pleae read Rav Yaakov Ades' work:
    http://www.scribd.com/doc/233666181/Gra-on-Tzimtzum
    Most specifically Siman 2 Anaf 1 and Anaf 4 where he brings the actual words of the Gra from his pirush on Sifra D'Tzinuta where the Gra says meforash that not only is the tzimtzum eino k'pshuto, and that atzmut HKB"H permeates the world, but to think otherwise is an issur chamur.
    Then see Anaf 6 where he explains that the assarah klalim were not written by the Gra, but by his talmidim as they remembered his teachings Baal Peh, and thus cannot be relied upon when they contradict his main work on Kabbalah, namely, as even Rav Triebitz states, his commentary on Sifra D'Tzinuta.
    Or if you prefer to read it plain in the words of the Gra without Rav Yaakov Ades' commentary it can be found here:
    http://www.hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=31539&st=&pgnum=81
    Starting in the second column where it says Sod HaTzimtzum.

    If you're at all representative of the so-called "Kabbalists", then perhaps mesora.org is correct in their attitudes toward current day Kabbalah.

    If this is to mean that my patience is wearing thin with folks who refuse to read the sources but are willing to try and dictate what they say and mean... yes. If that turns you off to Kabbalah I am sorry... but Rav Kaduri and Rav Shalom Hedayya dismissed students for much less than that.

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  114. On R Ades sefer, I think you have missed a page out. On the scribd page 8/9 we seem to have Anaf Yod of siman Aleph. The follwoing page is siman Bet, with Anaf 4 ending, although the point 7 of this anaf deos state the Gra did not hold Tzimzum to be literally Atzmut. this is still problematic if you claim Atzmut is the same as Ratzon.

    How was R' Shalom related to R Ovadia hedaya ztl?

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  115. It seems very unlikely that the Rambam held by Immanence, as he cites Chagiga 12b as rejecting Immanence, and he then associates Immanence with the Sabeans, an ancient pagan sect. If Immanence was a legitimate Torah shitah at the time of the Rambam, I don't think he would have connected it with pagans.

    This would suggest that there is no ancient mesora for Immanence, rather it is a more recent chiddush of the Kabbalists that they're trying to shoehorn the Rambam into.

    http://www.sacred-texts.com/jud//gfp/gfp080.htm

    ReplyDelete
  116. Yehoishophot OliverJuly 15, 2014 at 8:05 AM

    I don't want to sully my keyboard by repeating what he said. Read it for yourself. I objected to "TruthJew"'s vile accusation against the Lubavitch community in his comment; I think that's clear.

    ReplyDelete
  117. Rabbi Michael TzadokJuly 15, 2014 at 8:49 AM

    And yet the Ravaad, Kesef Mishnah, Migdal Oz, Shomer Emunim, the Gra, the Nefesh HaChaim, the Leshem, Rav Shimon Agasi, Rav Yaakov Ades and Rav Yaakov Hillel all say that the Rambam demands that HKB"H fill the earth.

    I am left pitting your understanding of the Rambam, against them... I'm afraid that you will have to bring actual sources that refute them all.

    ReplyDelete
  118. Rabbi Michael TzadokJuly 15, 2014 at 8:52 AM

    How was R' Shalom related to R Ovadia hedaya ztl?
    His father.

    ReplyDelete
  119. Rabbi Michael TzadokJuly 15, 2014 at 9:21 AM

    i·den·ti·cal
    īˈdentikəl/
    adjective
    1.
    similar in every detail; exactly alike.
    "four girls in identical green outfits"
    synonyms:indistinguishable, (exactly) the same, uniform, twin, duplicate,interchangeable, synonymous, undifferentiated, equivalent,homogeneous, of a piece, cut from the same cloth; More


    Identical does not primarily mean selfsame. I would suggest that you read Rav Kaplan's "Inner Space" he goes into extensive detail there.
    Though you are touching on an issue of some import. This is primarily why our sages have forbidden the translating of Kabbalistic works out of the Hebrew language into other languages.
    http://www.scribd.com/doc/31978901/Rav-Pealim

    There was a concern that such translations would lack the precise manner of speaking that Hebrew has for these subjects, and thus could cause problems of faith.
    Clearly you misunderstood Rav Kaplan's remark on resemblance(one that the Gra and Ramchal make) for a statement of identity. You assumed selfsame, even though his other statements on that page refute such, where he was making a statement on resemblance.

    ReplyDelete
  120. Friend,
    If they are exactly the same, you have the problem of dualism.
    If tzimztum took place in Or E"S but not in Atzmut, then they are not identical or the same.
    Kaplan says they are the same thing and inseparable, and hence Atzmut permeates the earth.
    I didnt misunderstand, and he makes the stateemnt in his Handbook of "Jewish" thought.
    Quote me directly to Ramchal please.
    If ramchal says we can say nothing about Atzmut, then I find it highly unlikely that he would say it is exactly the same as Ratzon.

    ReplyDelete
  121. "Nothing can exist unless God wills it to
    exist. If God were to stop willing anything's existence, it would
    instantaneously cease to exist. God's will must therefore permeate all
    creation. But since God is an absolute Unity, His will must be identical
    with His essence. Since God's will must fill all creation, the same
    must also be true of His Essence."
    ......From "The Handbook of Jewish Thought" (Vol. 1), Maznaim Publishing. Reprinted with permission.

    http://www.aish.com/jl/p/g/48942416.html

    --------------------

    i·den·ti·cal [ahy-den-ti-kuhl, ih-den-] Show IPA

    adjective

    1.
    similar or alike in every way: The two cars are identical except for their license plates.

    2.
    being the very same; selfsame: This is the identical room we stayed in last year.
    3.
    agreeing exactly: identical opinions.

    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/identical




    Identical in meaning #2 is selfsame, and kaplan uses it in that context.


    Now, if you really care about the Ramchal, you should think about what Kaplan is saying on its own merit, and not because of the big name that he has within the BT movement.

    ReplyDelete
  122. Rabbi Michael TzadokJuly 15, 2014 at 12:49 PM

    Eddie to claim such you are doing violence to the text. You want Rav Kaplan to be saying that because of your pre-conceived notions and prejudices.
    It is clear from his piece that such is not the case. If you were to actually read his books you would understand exactly how much that is not the case. However, you like to do what your buddies at mesora.org are so fond of doing, which is to cherry pick one liners and then paint them in a negative light.
    Sadly it has become clear that it is impossible to have an honest discussion with you on this topic.

    ReplyDelete
  123. No Dear Michael,

    It is you who changes his tune like a yo-yo, defending blindly anything that a
    kabbalist says, then denying it when finally the penny drops.

    Mr Kaplan says EXPLICITLY, which I have quoted, that they are one and the same,
    and argues that this necessitates that what applies to Ratzon must therefore
    apply to Atzmut.

    Since you are questioning my honesty, let us do a quick summary of what you have been doing for the last week.

    You spent a week arguing that Tzimtzum is not valid for Atzmut, but only fo Ratzon, which you did provide sources for. OK, we are in agreement, but this is
    predicated on the fact that the 2 are distinct.

    I asked you about 10 times for sources, the Ramchal "inside" on where he says that Atzmut is immanent in the world. I am still waiting for this.

    I showed you a source of Aryeh Kaplan, where he equates the 2, which Ramchal says is impossible,.

    You had several knee-jerk responses to this. these include:

    a) R' Kaplan was a proper rabbi who had semicha from a proper rabbis so he must be right (so was Nathan m’Aza).

    b) R Kaplan did say that, but so did Ramchal and a list of other honorable rabbis.

    c) That we can't rely on anthology of anthology etc - a useless statement, really meaning we cannot rely on anything that Kaplan wrote or published.

    d) R Kaplan did not say that, and I am the dishonest one here and i make it up together with my Mesora buddies.

    Now the punchline to this joke, is that I did not mention his other work "Jewish Meditation", where he claims that 1+ 1 = 1, and that thru his
    mediation methods (usual Mesorah from alleged kabbalists) that a person (who buys his books) can become 1 with G-d, so that 1+1 no longer = 2, but 1,
    i.e. there is no difference between the man and God.

    It is a sad joke Ramatz that your standard line is "you didn’t read the sources", when in fact it was you who did not read them, and failed to
    provide evidence for your ever changing claims. When you finally did read Kaplan, you say that I am pushing my words onto him, and the he meant something different, as is apparent if you read his Scientology for the Layman on LSD.

    Whilst I am not attacking you personally, there must be a negios issue since you are incapable
    of being intellectually honest. Yesterday, faced with the same argument, you claimed that all the
    Gedolim held the same view as Kaplan, including Ramchal.

    Today, you are denying that even Kaplan didn’t hold that view and that perhaps I hacked the Aish website and Moznaim publishers, as well as all the print editions of his books.

    ReplyDelete
  124. Yehoishophot OliverJuly 15, 2014 at 11:41 PM

    And what does this have to do with anything? Have you finished with your baseless, vile accusations and insinuations against an entire Jewish community?

    ReplyDelete
  125. Rabbi Michael TzadokJuly 15, 2014 at 11:54 PM

    Eddie our conversation is over. You not only impose your desired understanding upon the sources, but also upon my words, and demand that I answer for them.
    I'm sorry that you hate our mesorah so much that you have the need to debase it through dishonesty. However, I have nothing more to say to you.

    ReplyDelete
  126. "an entire Jewish community" - You're ranting here without any basis from my comment. My quote from the sefer Nefesh HaChaim made no mention of any Jewish community.

    If you'd like to engage in an intelligent discussion, please inform us if you hold by any of these statements made by Lubavitchers -
    "A Rebbe is an intermediary between the people & G-d"?
    "the Rebbe is above and beyond all restrictions"?
    "the Rebbe is completely united with Hashem’s essence"?
    "the concept of defect or imperfection just doesn’t apply to him"?

    This is not an attack on you, its an attempt to understand what you believe.

    ReplyDelete
  127. Fine by me, but for any other readers, I will make a summary of my arguments.

    The question of pantheism is somewhat complex, and a few lines from wikipedia will not suffice. Here is a more advanced essay on the matter, which gives several perushim on what pantheism is.
    http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/pantheism/
    an exerpt: " If omnipresence means, not
    simply that God is cognisant of or active in all places, but literally
    that he exists everywhere, then it is hard to see how any finite being
    can be said to have existence external to God. Indeed, for Isaac Newton
    and Samuel Clarke divine omnipresence was one and the same thing as
    space, which they understood as ‘the sensorium of God.’"

    The Lubavitcher rebbe once said that for Moshiach, the rambam is the Shulchan aruch, ie the haalchic chapters on Moshiach brough by Rambam. It is reasonable to say something similar about yichud.
    R Tzadok mysteriously purports that the Rambam held the view of immanence, despite me an others bringing explicit chapter and verse to the contrary. Hilchot YT 1:11 says that none of our physical dimensions , eg space time, mass etc are appropriate to Him. Moreh 1:70 rejects the notion of G-d being a "soul" to the world, as it is a pagan/pantheistic view. this was repeatedly stated by ELY. Seems despite some previous disagreements I had with ELY, I am coming round closer to his view (eg on feminism and social media gittin). Ramchal says we can say nothing about Atzmuto.
    Rambam in YT 2:12 writes "These concepts are extremely deep, and not every [person has] the knowledge necessary to appreciate them."
    Knowledge of space and time , ie modern physics must be a prerequisite to any claims about whether G-d has physical dimensions. Ramatz has shown his total ignorance of these matters.
    My comments about the offending books by the late Aryeh Kaplan have already been made clearly, but it is important for peopel to be aware that his book which purports to be about jewish thought is one which is making false statements, and perverting the words of Ramchal, and misleading the masses into believing that every Atom is full of G-d. This idea was in the Tanya and was criticized by NH, who said that Immanence is only the case miTzido, from Hashem's side , ie outside creation.

    ReplyDelete
  128. @Eddie one has to conclude that you are one of the greatest experts on Kabbala and Jewish philosophy and therefore your agreements or disagreements with the great rabbis on these topics should be taken seriously by all students of the matter or that you have some interesting questions and comments - but that you are simply a dilletante and your understanding and reading in this matter carries no significant weight and could be partially or totally wrong.

    Not to prolong this debate - I'll leave it up the readers to decide for themselves.

    ReplyDelete
  129. Oh, beating fellow Jews over the head with your Torah under the thin veil of intellectual opposition. You are truly living the Torah way - to be hateful, judgmental, and cause division amongst the Jews. I am sure you have every justification al pi HaTorah.

    ReplyDelete
  130. Yes, but you must believe that your rebbe is the nasi hadar. Otherwise, you've picked the wrong rebbe. I think that's what he meant.

    ReplyDelete
  131. I want to point something out. I think most ppl here should be aware of this. I grew up Lubavitch (no longer frum). Most Lubavitchers are not meshichists. Meshichists just tend to be the loudest Lubavitchers...

    That being said, I think it's wrong to be hateful to anyone for their religious beliefs, regardless of what they are.

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  132. Apparently their PR tactics have worked... they've gained quite a bit of your attention.

    ReplyDelete
  133. A PR product is a product of influence...

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  134. It's a Chabad-wide conspiracy perpetrated by the Rebbe from his grave! I always knew they were secret conspirators.

    ReplyDelete

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