Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Satmar's rapprochement with Chabad

GUEST POST: Recipients and Publicity comment to "RaP & Reading Comprehension
REPORT: Satmar's rapprochement with Chabad in 2008!

Posters Lazera of September 1, 2008 7:15 PM and of course "Just modern orthodoc" reveal by their comments weak perceptions of what's reallyhappening with Lubavitch that they are hopelessly behind the curve bigtime.

Anyone who has been following the news reports on VIN and YW has read of how BOTH of the present Satmar Rebbes, the brothers Reb Aron Teitelbaum of Monroe NY and Reb Zalman Leib Teitelbaum of Brooklyn NY have held PUBLIC receptions to honor Chabad representatives and Lubavitchers and publicly acknowldge these new ties.

Of course among both the self-styled "politically correct keepers of the 'seal of truth'" such as in the YATED and their petty minded types, the various classes of baalei machlokes, and people who are just too slow to understand that the PRESENT top leadership of both Chabad and Satmar are seeing eye to eye and are not going head to head as they once used to in the 1970s and 1980s which is a MAJOR realignment in the NY and American and ultimately Israeli Chasidic and Charedi world that needs understanding.

Now this would seem odd and it should not even be happening (what with Chabad BELIEVING that their Rebbe is "God in a guf" and some viewing them as avoda zaranikas), since according to the naysayers Chabad is beyond the pale so how could BOTH Satmar Rebbes (who are viciously opposed to each other mind you, agree on a what amounts to a common policy in realtion to Chabad) be courting the good will of Chabad and Chabad obliging BOTH Satmar Rebbes with tokens of peace?

The answer is complex, but is essentially based on the realities of the 21st century and the future, and NOT on the past with its provincial rivalries. Neither the 1st Satmar Rebbe zt"l nor the last Lubavitcher Rebbe zt"l left sons as heirs.

In Satmar it was the nephew Reb Moshe zt"l who took over -- now it's just his splintered family that runs it -- and in Chabad it has been the Shluchim APPOINTED by the Rebbe who took over as local potentates all over the wrorld.

Satmar and Chabad actually have no real reason to fight. They do not share "borders" except in Brooklyn, and they have different agendas, and now that they have powerful satelite communities outside of Brooklyn, there is no need for them to fight each other in Brooklyn and hence anywher else.

They are the biggest Chasidic movements in the Unted States and they have entirely different objectives: While Satmar is enetirely INTERNALLY focused, with the goal of making it's own communities stronger, on the other hand Chabad is EXTERNALLY focused, with the desire to mekarev all Jews (Satmar is opposed to kiruv to SECULAR Jews, much prefering to fight them instead, especially the "Tziyoinim") and leaves it to others to do kiruv to non-frum Jews.

On a feeper level, for those in the know, the position of Reb Yoelish Teitelbaum within Satmar is not much different to the status of the last Lubavitcher Rebbe within Chabad. Within Satmar, noone and nothing can be holier or greater or better than Reb Yoelish (he too is a as close to "god in aguf" as any human will ever achieve and they BELIEVE in him passionately) being quite the same with the way Chabad adores the last Lubavitcher Rebbe. To Satmars the grave of Reb Yoelish in Monroe NY is just as important as the grave of the last Lubavitcher Rebbe in Queens NY, vehameivin yavin! It's the same system and concept at work that the greatest of the movements Tzadikim attains a kind of "immortality" even after death because of his being the ultimate and greatest Tzadik. You really have to be Chasidish or really grasp how they think and function to appreciate the truth and power of this!

So it is no wonder that the current crop of Chabad and Satmar leaders have concluded they have nothing to fight over and that they actually do no conflict but rather complement each other. Thus when Satmars travel all over the world, they know that they have a friend to stop at when they come to a local Chabad rabbi anywhere. The Satmars can build their INTERNALLLY FOCUSED financial empire and the Lubavitchers can go on reaching out their EXTERNALLY FOCUSED shlichus to anyone they can. Both are on different missions. They can also help each politically because they have the same religious and sociological needs like the strict Charedim that they both are.

Here are the news reoprts that reveal the latest turn of events and sea change in the relationship between Satmar and Chabad. In all probability all the major Charedi groups will follow Satmar's example, and let Lubavitchers belive in the Rebbe ANY WAY THEY WANT because they are not leaving Yiddishkeit, given the enormous OUTSIDE challenges that face all Chasidic and Charedi groups and communities from their enemies.

ARON TEITELBAUM OF SATMAR MEETS WITH LUBAVITCHERS: VIN reported on 05-14-08 (The same report was published in YW May 14, 2008 with the headline "Lubavitch Shlichim Meet With Satmar Rebbe From Kiryas Yoel". Both reports have photos.)

"Kiryas Joel, NY - Chabad And Satmar Strengthening The Ties. Kiryas Joel, NY - Earlier this week chabad Shliachim to Princeton, NJ, Rabbi Dovid Dubov, Rabbi Chaim Schapiro of Morristown, NJ and Rabbi Dubov’s two sons Sholom Ber - age 11 and Motty - age 9 met with the Satmar Rebbe, Rabbi Aron Teitelbaum in his Kiryas Yoel home.

The purpose of the 40-minute long was to present Rabbi Teitelbaum with the entire 25-volume of Yalkut Moshiach Ugeula Al Hatorah.

Rabbi Dubov shared with the Satmar Rebbe the scope of the project how the Lubavitcher Rebbe Zt’l wanted everyone should learn about Moshiach Ugeula and the idea of collecting Mefarshim form hundreds of different commentary on the Torah in the subject of Moshiach Ugeula.

The Satmar Rebbe was very touched that commentary from his ancestors in the Satmar dynasty such as; Yismach Moshe, Atzei Chaim, Kedushas Yom Tov, and Yeetav Lev etc are included in the Yalkut Moshiach Ugeula Seforim. In general he was looking at the Seforim for over 10 minutes and expressed great admiration for the scope of the project and wished great Hatzlacha for the completion until the end of the Torah.

Rabbi Teitelbaum spoke very highly of the Shliach, Rabbi Yonosan Denebeim [VIN had a story on rabbi Denebeim] director of Chabad of Palm Springs, California where he goes on vacation and Davens at the Chabad Shul and uses the Mikvah.

He related a story where many years ago there were certain organizations who wanted to stop Lubavitch Yeshivos form getting support from certain programs and he personally called and spoke to the ones in charge that they should not stop, C”V to support Lubavitch and B”H they have not. A few years later, Rabbi Teitelbaum continued, the same people wanted to stop Satmer Yeshivos from getting support (due to Internal Machlokes etc) and at that time LUBAVITCH intervened and helped Satmar. He spoke with great Kovod how Satmar helped Lubavitch and Lubavitch helped Satmar.

Rabbi Teitelbaum spoke to Rabbi Dubov in great length about his shlichus work in Princeton and the approach of Lubavitch. He asked how many families come to shul on Shabbos, and Rabbi Dubov answered approximately 40 families. He asked if they are all shomer shabbos and Rabbi Dubov answered “many are and many are on the way of becoming shomer shabbos.” He smiled and liked the answer.

He spoke to Rabbi Chaim Schapiro regarding Morristown and Rabbi Zalman Leib Markowitz the principal of the boys Cheder. He then spoke to the Shluchim kids about their learning and their shlichus.

During the course of the visits there were Divrei Torah and Chassidishe stories about the Rebbe that Rabbi Dubov and Rabbi Schapiro shared with the Satmar Rebbe. On the way out his Gabboim thanked the Shluchim for coming and said that their Rebbe enjoyed the visit very much. (News Source: Shmais.com)"

SATMAR HELPS CHABAD: Reported in VIN 04-04-08 "Kiryas Joel, NY - Partners in Strengthening Torah and Mitzvos: Chabad And Satmar. Kiryas Joel, NY - Remember the days Chabad and Satmar were at each other’s throats?

Back in the 70s and 80s, it seemed that the two would never see eye to eye. The insular Satmars of Williamsburg and the extroverted Lubavitchers of Crown Heights clashed in more than mere ideology. Philosophical disagreements over how to view secular Jews, the secular State of Israel and indeed, the world at large, created bad blood, and worse between the two powerful Chasidic communities. [...] Odd couples? Perhaps. But it’s one of the fastest-growing secrets in the frum community—not to mention a hugely inspiring example of true Ahavas Yisroel and Achdus Yisroel: Today, Chabad and Satmar have come together."

ZALMAN LEIB OF SATMAR MEETS WITH LUBAVITCHERS: VIN of 08-28-08 reports (same report with more photos in COL יום רביעי, כ''ו אב ה'תשס''ח http://col.org.il/show_news.rtx?artID=40768 "חסיד חב"ד תרם מקווה לסאטמר; האדמו"ר הגיע לבקרו "Sullivan County, NY - Satmar - Lubavitch Strengthens Its Relationship With New Mikvah Donation [...]

As reported in a VIN News previous report , this past May, Lubavitch Shlichim from Morristown New Jersey and from Princeton New Jersey met with the other Satmar Rebbe Shlita - Rav Aharon Teitelbaum and cordially presented him with Lubavitch Seforim . The meeting was very effective in building new bridges between them. As well in April a fund raising was held in Kiryas Joel to help A chabad Rabbbi from Palm Springs, CA. [...]


  1. "Of course among both the self-styled "politically correct keepers of the 'seal of truth'" such as in the YATED and their petty minded types,"

    "he Satmars can build their INTERNALLLY FOCUSED financial empire"

    First the Syrians and now the yeshivishe and Satmar.

    Which other erliche Jewish communities will you assail on this blog?

    What is the use of comment moderation if things like this get through?

    Comments like this, I would expect on "Jew watch" and not a blog called "Daas Torah".

  2. Nothing about these events addresses the concerns I have about current Chabad. The ideological, theological, and halachic issues remain the same.

    It only seems to be a further illustration of the apparent obliviousness of some leaders in the Torah world to these major concerns. (This was David Berger's main point in his book, "The Rebbe, the Messiah, and the Scandal of Orthodox Indifference".)

    I don't know why the current Satmar rebbes appear to be changing from the position held by Rav Yoel Teitelbaum and I would rather not theorize.

  3. I would not assume as you say "the current Satmar rebbes appear to be changing from the position held by Rav Yoel Teitelbaum ".

    Just because Rav Elyashiv agreed to have a cup of tea with Rav Tropper, does not mean that Rav Elyashiv supports Rav Tropper's mission with EJF???

    Publicity photos of the tea event, certainly have been used to attempt to mislead the Torah observant public into believing that Rav Elyashiv supports EJF, but this is not the case without an official signed letter.

    Rav Zalman Leib and Rabbi Aharon Teitelbaum each hosted guests from Lubavitch. How does this translate to "Satmar now supports Chabad"?

    Tanya has always been studied in Satmar yeshivas. Most of the Satmar bochurim in my family know Tanya better than any Chabadnik I have ever met.

    Satmar never had a problem with other Chassidus, only with the Rebbe's Messianic aspirations and the proselytizing.

    If you re-read this paragraph,

    "Rabbi Teitelbaum spoke to Rabbi Dubov in great length about his shlichus work in Princeton and the approach of Lubavitch. He asked how many families come to shul on Shabbos, and Rabbi Dubov answered approximately 40 families. He asked if they are all shomer shabbos and Rabbi Dubov answered “many are and many are on the way of becoming shomer shabbos.” He smiled and liked the answer."

    the editorial spin of "He smiled and liked the answer" is absurd.

    A shul full of people who drive to get there is Reform. In a typical Chabad house, more than half of them aren't even Jewish. Its hard to suppress the smile, until you begin to realize that Chabadism has all but replaced Judaism, at least in America.

  4. In these posts I have tried to mostly let the facts and realities and ARTICLES speak for themselves. Nothing in my words is contradicted by what is to be found in the articles cited here. Read the full articles and see for yourself.

    To "disgusted" try to express yourself in more than just two or three quotes that you imagine are "insults" and pleasze stop your own insults because two wrongs do not make a right. You do not realize that an open discussion means that subjects will be examined and discussed critically which does NOT imply or mean that they are direspected by me, but rather that there is what to analyse and criticise. That is what makes FREEDOM OF SPEECH different to the kind of mind-control situations that you would evidently prefer. I would be more than happy to respond to any rational, logical and reasonable presentaion from you that you could lay out in DETAIL and then I can appreciate your concerns better, and could take note of your good manners too, and try to prove to you that your assessments of my words is both false and misleading, not to mention outright silly.

    To Lazer: All I can do is to report and try to understand why BOTH current Satmar Rebbes, and they are the ONLY two leaders of Satmar in its present entirety, have made more than token public acts known of their willingness to make peace with Lubavith. I am not making up these things, they are happening in the real world, regardless if anyone likes it or not. As for Dr. Berger and his books, he is free to hold his views, he is now a professor at Yeshiva University and hopefully he will soon come out with a book or two about all that is openly rotten and wrong in the Modern Orthodox World hashkafically and halachically as well, it should make for good reading. So while Berger is a good writer he is not the "posek ha'acharon" of anything nor the "rashkebehag" of Klal Yisrael.

    To "s. josefovitz": I am not quite sure what point you are trying to make? If you cannot accept that BOTH of today's Satmar Rebbes are making peace with Chabad please take it up with them and ask them to explain themselves. They both head huge factions and are politically savvy so that when they act publically like they are on an important issue (how to deal with the Chabad hot potato) one has to sit up and take note because what they do will be followed and emulated by others in the Chasidic and Charedi world.

  5. A note to the reader: The letter below was originally written to explain this subject matter to my own son. Now I have been persuaded to make it public. I do not intend for this to be a polemic against a particular ideology. Rather, my intention is to help those thoughtful individuals who have open minds and are sincerely seeking for a way to understand and deal with the Moshiach issue.

    If you don’t fit this description please don’t read further. I am also refraining from identifying myself as the author in order not to divert attention from the ideas and arguments themselves. I will instead rely on the dictum “Kabail Es HoEmes Mimi Sheomro.”

    My Dear Son,

    Last night I received a very good report about you from the Menahel of your Yeshiva. I am delighted that you are taking your learning more seriously and that you are focusing on absorbing Darkay HaChassidus. May it be His will that you continue to make good progress.
    You asked me to explain to you my view of the controversial Moshiach issue in Lubavitch since you and many Bochurim in your Yeshiva are confused about the matter and feel very uncomfortable about it. After the report I received I decided not to wait until you come home but to spend the time and write this letter to you with my thoughts on the matter.

    Let me begin by stating that the general notion (you will see below what this actually means) that the Rebbe is Moshiach is not something new that was discovered in the late Tof Shin Mems or the early Nun’s (1990’s). It was something that I also grew up with as a young Bochur living in Crown Heights in the early Chof’s. However it was talked about on rare occasions such as at a Farbrengen, and even then, only late at night when only a few people were left.

    In this context I also recall hearing at those times that really for us Chassidim the title Rebbe was more important and relevant and even perhaps more choshuv. I well understood that this was a chassidishe hergesh that, as Chassidim used to say about krias Shma sheal hamitah, it belongs “unter di koldres” - under the blankets. This means that if you recite a serious krias Shma al hamita in a way that others are able to observe you and know about it then you have defeated the whole meaning and purpose of a real chassidishe ‘krias Shma al hamitah.’

    The point is that this kind of a belief is a personal chssidishe hergesh (a Chassidic feeling). A Chassidishe hergesh is something that if one truly does have this feeling it remains mostly inside of ones self and is kept within the limits of a Chassidishe environment. The purpose of a chassidishe hergish is to be a personal motivator for a Chosid to enable him to do that which is demanded of a true Chosid and not to be used as an ornament or display item. Keeping something in a pnimis does not in any way mean that we are ashamed or afraid to make it public rather it is something that is inherently meant to be internal. After all, the notion of keeping something in a pnimius is the very hallmark of Chabad avodas Hashem.

    An example of this is when the Rebbe would say something at a Farbrengen but later delete it from the edited printed version. The matter was indeed appropriate for a Farbrengen but was not appropriate for a wider general audience. (It seems to me that this inclination to erase the classic distinction between the inner and outer spheres in Chassidic life is an indirect influence from the secular world where the boundaries between the private/personal and the public domains have been completely obliterated.)

    The above comments do not, in any way, affect anything the Rebbe directly told us. The drive to bring Moshiach was an integral part of the Nesius of the Rebbe from day one. Over the years the Rebbe became more and more vocal about promoting the idea of Moshiach in general and in the later years the Rebbe progressed even further to state and publicize that hinei hinei Moshiach bo. However, at no point at any Farbrengen or in print did the Rebbe ever cross the line into identifying who is Moshiach, as I will conclusively demonstrate to you later.

    Now let me get down to the issue itself.

    There really are a number of different aspects to your question.

    a) Do we believe that the Rebbe is Moshiach?
    b) If the answer is yes, what does that mean and in what way is it so?
    c) Is it proper to identify who is Moshiach which includes saying Yechi?

    Let me begin by defining the context in which I will answer the question.

    Torah is comprised of four different categories of understanding; Pshat, Remez, Drush and Sod (Pardes). Each of these is an entirely different realm and operates on different principals. Likewise, Halacha is also a separate field with its own parameters. Most of the confusion that exists today in Lubavitch concerning Moshiach stems from the co-mingling of these separate fields in Torah; Halacha, Midrash and Kabbalah/Chassidus.

    The very idea of Moshiach can be viewed from the vantage point of Midrashim, maamorie Chazal, Kabbalah/Chassidus or Halacha. Indeed there are ‘shivim ponim l’Torah (seventy facets of Torah) even within each category of Torah and each one is equally ‘divrie Elokim chaim.’ However, when it comes down to the reality of this world there can be only one way for us to act in our daily lives and that is “Halacha brurah u’psuka” clear decided Halacha.

    I will only deal here with two general ways to look at Moshiach one is the Halachik perspective and the other is the ruchnius i.e. Kabbalah/Chssidus perspective.

    First let us look at the matter from the point of view of Halacha.

    The most elaborate and clear discussion of this subject is in a Sicha of the Rebbe from Tamuz 12, 5727.

    First the Rebbe emphasizes that the immutable and final word for all the Halachos concerning Moshiach is the Rambam. The Rebbe cites the klal in Halacha that where no other posek disputes the Rambam, the Rambam is the final psak halacha. And so it is in the halachik arena of Moshiach. The Rebbe also notes that since the Rambam is a sefer of Halacha “there can be no pshetlach” ( i.e. it says what it means and it means what it says). The Rebbe continues “when the Rambam writes the word ‘Torah’ he means Torah and when he writes ‘studies diligently’ he means literally learning and when he writes ‘like Dovid his father’ he means like Dovid (HaMelech).”

    The Rebbe goes on to explain the Rambam’s psokim in the following two areas.

    1. The order of the events as they will happen when Moshiach will begin his activity:

    The first thing that will happen is;
    a) yaamod Melech (a king will rise), then
    b) Yokuf kol Yisroel (he will coerce all Yiden to follow Torah), then
    c) Yilchem milchemes Hashem (he will wage the war of Hahsem).

    If he succeeds in accomplishing these three points he becomes b’chezkas (assumed to be) Moshiach. After this if Yivne Bais Hamikdosh and then Yikabet nidchei Yoisrel (he will build the Bais Hamikdosh and then gathers in the exiles) then he is Moshiach vadia. Each of these events must be fulfilled in their entirety and in this precise order.

    (Because every aspect of the Rambam is exact including the order of the halochos the Rebbe emphatically rejected the idea that the State of Israel could be considered aschalto d’geulah. Since the order of his actions must be, first yokuf then yilchem and then yivneh Bais Hamikdos and only after can there be kibutz Yisroel and the fact that the establishment of the State of Israel didn’t follow this order means that according to the Halacha of the Rambam it cannot be aschalte d’geulah.)

    2. The meaning of the words in the Rambam:

    a) “Yokum Ish - a person, with 248 limbs and 365 sinews and he will be seen with physical eyes and it will be possible to ‘ontapen mit di hent’ (felt with hands) and he will be seen in all aspects as a person is seen.”
    b) Melech literally means a king; “men darf a kuk ton tzi halt er fun democratye.”
    c) Yokuf kol Yisroel - “yederun fun yiden” (each and every Jew) ‘kefiah dosis’ (religious coercion). (The Rebbe explains that because bechira will still exist there may be a Jew who will not want to be mkayem Torah and Mitzvos Moshiach will force him.)
    d) Yilchem milchemes Hashem - means literally a war “a (real) war but in a way of peace.”

    Now let me turn to events that happened in 5751-2. (Understanding these developments is very important because it was the origin of the entire debacle and still underlies much of the erroneous ‘new’ ideology.) The tempo of the Rebbe’s fervor during his talks about Moshiach began to reach a crescendo. In response to this some Chassidim, (who for years had been pushing this agenda on their own anyway) especially in Israel, went overboard and openly declared that the Rebbe was Moshiach.

    It was at this point that the fateful and tragic error of some (perhaps well meaning but misguided) Chassidim/Rabbonim come to be. They began to assert and then actually paskened that the Rebbe was already b’chezkas Moshiach in accordance with the Halachik psak of the Rambam and made public pronouncements about this claim setting off a world-wide furor that continues to this day. After Adar 27 all of this activity escalated even more.

    Now, in order to make the Rebbe fit the criteria of the Rambam they brazenly distorted the clear meaning of the words of the Rambam (i.e. Melech - king, no longer meant king but Rabonon (which the Gemora compares to kings); yokuf – force, no longer meant force but persuasion; kol Yisroel no longer meant every Jew but some of them (a lot of them? or a majority of them? – apparently they were totally oblivious of the fact that there are 5,000,000 non-observant Jews in the US alone with a fifty percent intermarriage rate) and yilchem – war, no longer meant war but an information campaign about the seven Mitzvos for non-Jews.

    In no other area of Halacha would anyone have the chutzpa to make such drastic changes in the meaning of words and argue that it is still Halacha. Let us compare this for example to a Halacha from hilchos Shabbos. The Shulchan Oruch states that one may be mechalel Shabbos if there is a sakonas ever (danger to a limb). Now, let us consider, does it really mean an actual danger to a limb or perhaps it means when there is severe pain in the limb it can also be considered a danger that permits desecrating Shabbos? Any Rov who would pasken like this would be ridiculed and dismissed outright. Danger to a limb means just that a danger to the limb and nothing less.
    Perhaps even more egregious than this is that by this psak they contradicted the Rebbe’s own explanation of the Rambam in the Sicha quoted above where the Rebbe insisted that the words of the Rambam are to be understood entirely literally “on pshetlach.”
    (It is no wonder that one of the mazkirim reported that when he informed the Rebbe about this psak the Rebbe commented “m’hechin dantuni? (What is the basis for this?) can one rely on all their other pesokin like on this one?”)

    Bear in mind that once you permit yourself to play around with the literal words of the Rambam then the order of the halochos can also can be tampered with and then you have destroyed the Rebbe’s entire foundation for rejecting the State of Israel as aschalte d’geulah!
    Many Chassidim who had adopted this (mistaken) view realized immediately after gimul Tamuz that they had made a serious blunder; they admitted it, and publicly changed their views. Others, unfortunately, did not have the intellectual honesty and moral integrity necessary to make such an admission. This was, substantially if not entirely, because they had already paskened the Rebbe was b’chezkas Moshiach so how could they now change a pask din of Halacha?

    Even more troublesome for them was the Rambam’s conclusion in the very same Halacha that if the one who is thought to be b’chezkas Moshiach did not succeed in achieving this or is killed then he is not Moshiach. This conclusion, of course, they were unable to accept. Had they not ventured into the Rambam and Halacha in the first place they would not have had this dilemma but now they were stuck with it. In desperation they began to make all kinds of outlandish interpretations of the Rambam (such as, that the Rambam writes ‘if he is killed’ he is not Moshiach but, they suggest, if he dies it is not so. Plainly the Rambam uses the term “if he was killed” because he is talking about a king waging the ‘war of Hashem’ and being killed is what usually happens in a war.)

    They also had to find some other contortion to evade the Rambam’s opening statement “im yaamod Melech - if a king will arise” which means that he is alive! (to use the Rebbe’s language “m’ken iym ontapen mit di hent.”)

    Desperate for a way out of these conundrums, they began to cite various medroshim, the Zohar and various meforshim (the Abarbanel and others) to support their claim that a person can be Moshiach even after a histalkus. The problem is that none of these sources have anything to do with halacha. As the Rebbe said in the same Sicha the Rambam knew of the Gemorra, the midrashim, the Pesukim and all other sources and nevertheless did not pasken according to them. This means that on the level of Halacha all other sources are irrelevant and there is only one valid possibility, the psak of the Rambam.

    Here is another paradox that resulted from this. Until gimmel Tamuz these very same people argued that the Rebbe absolutely must be Moshiah because the Rambam paskenes that Moshiach must be a living person and there is no one else worthy of being Moshiach in this generation so the Rebbe is absolutely b’chezkas Moshiach. The moment gimmel Tamuz occurred they immediately did a one hundred and eighty degree about-face and said no! Moshiach al pi Halacha can also be of the dead even according to the Rambam. The only way a person is able to do such an instant turnaround without a moment’s hesitation (or embarrassment) is because of the way they think about this issue. They begin with a conclusion and then try to make the Torah fit their predetermined conclusion. The dishonesty is breathtaking.

    In conclusion; the answer to the first question “is the Rebbe Moshiach according to Halacha” the answer is unequivocally no, the Rebbe never was b’chezkas Moshiach according to Halacha and is today certainly not Moshiach according to Halacha, period.

    With this in mind you will now be able to understand why the Rebbe never referred to this Gemora (Sanhedrin 98) ‘Im Mimesaya’ in any Sicha as a proof that the Frierdike Rebbe could be Moshiach. In tof shin yud aleph (1951) when the Rebbe wanted to explain why he said ‘Hu Yigolaynu’ about the Frierdike Rebbe he used a different Gemorah which states that “katne sheboch mechaya maysim” (even the least of you can resurrect the dead) which refers to the notion of Techiyas Hamasim as a phenomena of golus times having nothing to do with Moshiach and the techias Hamasim that will come then. Why didn’t the Rebbe simply refer to the Gemorra in Sanhedrin and say that is why the Frierdike can be Moshiach?

    The reason that the Rebbe did not do this is because the Gemora in Sanhedrin was not accepted by the Rambam as Halacha and therefore the Rebbe did not want to use it to explain his position which he wanted to be possible even according to Halacha. Take note that over the course of over forty years the Rebbe never once quoted the Gemora ‘im mimesaya’ to explain why the Frierdike Rebbe could be Moshiach.
    In light of the fact that according to the Rebbe, the only possible way the Frierdike Rebbe could be Moshiach is after a special nes of techias hamasim indicates that until such a nes actually occurs the Frierdike Rebbe cannot be considered Moshiach by Halacha.
    Now let’s go over to the second view of Moshiach, the ruchnius one.

    The Rebbe spoke about a lot of inyonim of Moshiach in regard to the Frierdike Rebbe. Clearly they were not about the matter of chezkas Moshiach or the gashmius of Moshiach but rather they were all in the realm of ruchnius. This category of Torah encompasses most of the references to Moshiach in the Sichos of the later years. When the discussion is shifted to the realm of ruchnius the whole notion is different. Moshe Rabaynu, Dovid Hamelech, the Baal Shem Tov, the Alte Rebbe, the Frierdike Rebbe all are Moshiach to a greater or lesser degree. After all, if the Nosi Hador is Moshiach then every dor has its Nosi who is Moshiach.

    Considering that we have had over one hundred and fifty generations since mattan Torah there are at least one hundred and fifty Moshiachs. (Chassidus even suggests that every Jew has a spark of Moshiach in his neshomo.) Indeed it is so, and yet there is no conflict between them at all. Because in the realm of ruchnius, neshomos can be part of each other, integrated together or invested in each other and one does not exclude the other as it would in gashmius. The nitzus (spark) of the neshomo of Moshiach is invested in all these individuals. We can not know or determine who has more and who has less of this nitzus. All we can say is that our Nosi, our Rebbe, has it.

    Another implication of this ruchnius perspective; when dealing with Halacha (which operates specifically in the realm of gashmius) a histalkus (which is a gashmius event) causes a major change in Halachik status. However in ruchnius, a histalkus (a gashmius event) has no effect. And this is precisely what the Rebbe said about the Frierdike Rebbe. On one hand the Rebbe said that after Yud Shvat nothing has changed but on the other hand he said that according Halacha he was obligated to recline at the Seder table.

    This also explains the various remozim hints which one can find in the sichos about Moshiach which are used to somehow prove that the Rebbe himself (c”v) changed his views or that a new era had arrived and it was now permissible to identify and publicize the Rebbe as Moshiach. Once again, in these instances the Rebbe was talking in the world of ruchnius.

    Remember, you cannot apply the rules of Halacha to the world of ruchnius and you cannot apply the notions of ruchnius to Halacha. Mixing or confusing the two is a fatal error which has misled many.

    Understanding this fundamental ‘hanocho’ is essential to understanding the Rebbe’s approach Moshiach and most of the Sichos in that regard.

    I want to add here, that in learning the Sichos one also needs to bear in mind that at times the Rebbe was speaking in terms of a bracha and a hope or wish and not a ‘metzius’ (reality) even though he used absolute terminology. Often these distinctions were rather subtle and it required some clarity (and objectivity) of thought in order to discern it. Actually, this also applies to printed (muga) sichos, particularly, those of the last years. (I can well understand that those who were at the Farbrangens in 5751 and ’52 became overwhelmed by the kind of terminology the Rebbe used in the Sichos and had difficulty picking up on these distinctions and as a result some unfortunately ended up with bizarre ideas and conceptions.) An example of this is when the Rebbes spoke about chaim niyzchiyim (ever lasting life). The Rebbe was talking about a brocho and a wish that it should become so in actuality not that it was definitely going to be so.

    Another example of this is the Sicha of Shmos 5752. The Rebbe says “after we have already a king of the house of Dovid who studies Torah and is engaged in fulfillment of Mitzvos like Dovid his father….and he will coerce all Yisroel to go it in it’s ways and to strengthen its structure and will wage the war of Hashem- and he is in the assumption of being Moshiach he should immediately become the certain Moshiach.” What they won’t tell you is the beginning of that paragraph begins with the words “Yhi Rotzen” (may it be His will) this is a plea and brocho not a declaration.

    Now, let’s take a look at a Sicha like (Sefer HaSichos 5752, Mishpotim) that is often used to ‘prove’ that the Rebbe acknowledged his status as chezkas Moshiach.

    Here is the language of the Sicha; And so also the psak din of the Rabbonim and Morei Horo’oh among Yisroel that the time of your redemption has arrived, that “a king will arise from the house of Dovid etc., with the assumption (chazoko) that he is Moshiach” until (yet) further the situation of ‘this is certainly Moshiach.”

    They try to interpret that the words about a pask din of Rabbonim is referring to the aforementioned pask that the Rebbe is chezkas Moshiach. This is patently not so. If the psak is referring to the one that chezkas Moshiach is already here then what do the words “until (yet) further the situation” mean. The Rebbe here is joining the two situations. If one (chezkas Moshiach) is here already then the second one (certainly Moshiach) is here too. Since the second scenario (Moshiach vadia) is yet to come in the future the first one (chezkas Moshiach) is also yet to come in the future. The psak Rebbe is referring to, is a psak din of Rabbonim (which the Rebbe personally asked many Rabbonim to make) that time of redemption has arrived (higiah zman geulaschem) and Moshiach should finally come.

    This should serve as an example of how they try to subtly distort the Sichos to fit their preconceived conclusions and aims.

    Now if we go back and ask the question “is the Rebbe, as the ‘nosi hador’ of our generation, the Moshiach of our generation”? The answer for a Chosid I believe should be yes. (Despite that fact that we find in the Sichos numerable times where the Rebbe refers to the Frierdike Rebbe as the Nosi of our generation who will lead us ‘toward’ Moshiach implying that the Nosi is not necessarily Moshiach.) But what this means is that he is so in ruchnius not Halacha and such a ruchniusdike notion has no place being trumpeted in the streets.

    Much (if not all) of the opposition in the world at large to the idea that the Rebbe is Moshiach stems from the assumption that we are talking about the actual Halachik consrtuct. Indeed, most non-Lubavitchers do not know much about Moshiach or anything pertaining to ruchnius in general and certainly they know nothing about the difference between Moshiach al pi Halacha and Moshiach in ruchnius and this is where a lot of the confusion and rejection comes from. They think you are talking about Moshiach in actuality meaning b’gashmius - in Halacha, while you are talking about Moshiach b’ruchnius. This disconnect has caused most of their antagonism and resulted in much of the trouble we have encountered.

    One Litvishe Rosh Yeshiva wrote in a letter that his main objection to the claim that the Rebbe is Moshiach is that it conflicts with the psak Halacha of the Rambam. The moment you tell them that we agree that the Rambam is the final Halacha but we believe that the Rebbe is Moshiach b’ruchnius the whole issue becomes moot. However, because of all the shouting and publicity about who is Moshiach no intelligent communication has been able to take place about this point to this very day.

    Will the Rebbe be Moshiach in actuality? As Chassidim, we have a right to hope that it will be so (I once heard that this was the terminology the Rebbe himself concluded with when he orally explained to someone the issue of v’hu yigolaynu; “meg zich a chosid azo vintshun un geloiben (a Chosid may permit himself to wish and believe that it will be so”) ‘V’anaan ma ne’eneh a’basray.’ But remember all of this remains a hope and ‘chasidishe hergesh,’ as explained above, no more and no less. By no more I mean that it can never rise to the level of a belief. A belief is a certainty and an absolute while a hope is wish.

    Now, if you will ask how is it possible for this hope to actually become a reality? The Rebbe himself gave us the answer. If a miracle of techias hamasim will occur before the time of Moshiach (and completely not related to the geulo and the techias hamasim that is related to it) then he will indeed be ‘of the living’ and then he can become Moshiach. In fact, the Rebbe goes even further in the Sicha of 12 Tamuz 5727 and says that all the steps of the coming of Moshiach listed in the Rambam can happen in one moment! However, the fact that a miracle has to happen in order for a person who is not alive to become Moshiach means that until such time that this miracle actually happens the person cannot now be considered Moshiach according to Halacha.

    Is Moshiach here now? The Rebbe in the Sichos seems to say Moshiach is here already and all we need to do is open our eyes. (You should know that this same language was already used by the Rebbe Reshab and the Frierdike Rebbe many years ago.) The answer is that the Rebbe (and the previous Rebbes) is talking about a ruchniusdike phenomenon (about which we also have precious little understanding) and we accept that it is whatever the Rebbe says it is. But if we are asking what the status is according to Halacha, Moshiach is absolutely not here. We are not even at ‘aschalte degulah’ on the contrary; the fact that some people claim that we are in ‘aschalte degeulo’ places us, according to the Rebbe, in the darkest part of golus.

    Is one able to feel geuloh and Moshiach now as in no other time before this? The Rebbe said yes and so it surely is, if (and ‘if’ is a very big word) we open our eyes.

    Have any of us actually opened our eyes? I don’t want to judge other people but let me say that I am very very skeptical of anyone who goes around and trumpets such a claim. The old rule should apply here; der vos zogt halt nisht derby; der vos halt derby zogtnisht (the one who says is not there and the one who is there does not say).

    At this point it is also important to note that making the issue of the Rebbe being Moshiach (in any which way) into an ikar in our world view and daily life is in itself a gross distortion of Torah and Chassidus. The Torah not only teaches us about the Will of Hashem but also prioritizes these values and practices. This system of priorities is a most critical part of Torah and any time we change or even mildly tamper with this delicate balance we wreak havoc on all of Torah. For example, if one does not know that an essa takes priority over a lo saseh you end up with an entirely different Torah life. This same kind of gross distortion of the priorities of Chassidus is being perpetrated on us by these people.

    There are two additional concepts taken from the Sichos of the Rebbe that are also misused to justify some of the new self-made ideology, Dor Hashviyi and Chaim Nitzchiyim.

    Contrary to the common understanding, Dor Hashviyi does not refer to a literal generation of twenty five years (or so) nor does it refer to the literal life span of one individual. The proof for this is in the very same Midrashic source of this concept quoted in the Maamar. The Midrash states that Moshe Rabaynu was the one who ushered in the Dor Hashviyi and brought down the Shchina to this world. From that time onwards (over 3,300 years age) to this very day we are all still, as the continuation of the Dor Hashviyi, struggling to finally complete the task of bringing the Shchina down below “ten tefochim!” No where is there a suggestion that we have entered into an eighth generation. Obviously, the idea of Dor Hashvyi is not meant to be taken literally in every aspect.

    It is likewise concerning the concept of Chaim Nitizchyim (everlasting life). Chaim Nitzchim and the idea of Histalkus are two matters that seem to be completely mutually exclusive which has led some of the extremists to formulate radical (to put it mildly) new ideas about Gimul Tamuz. However, as usual, with some additional knowledge this too can be put into some perspective. The Noam Elimelech (in Devorim, Voeschanan) asks this exact question. “If a Tzadik has Chaim Nitzchiyim how can there ever be the Histalkus of a Tzadik?”

    The answer he provides is that the devakus of the Tzadik to Hashem, which is what gives the Tzadik Chaim Nitzchiyim, becomes momentarily disrupted (he doesn’t explain how) and at that moment the Histalkus takes place. I am not suggesting that this is exactly what the Rebbe meant because I recognize that these matters are far above me and I don’t really know much about such lofty matters.
    But what these examples clearly demonstrate is that we must never take the liberty to project our ideas on the holy words of the Rebbe and to avoid at all costs distorting and polluting the pure and holy ideology that was given to us by the Rabbayim.

    While mentioning ideology I want to point out that Chassidim always knew that “nisht ales ken men farshtayn, un nisht ales darf men farshtayn.” The Rebbayim, in all generations, said things that were beyond us and our meager comprehension and Chassidim accepted it with tmimus. Since gimul Tamuz we find ourselves in an unprecedented situation which has raised many new questions.

    The best reaction to this is to admit that we indeed have questions but since we don’t have to understand everything it does not bother us and certainly it does not interfere with us continuing to live our lives as Chassidim and doing what the Rebbe instructed us do. The worst possible reaction (and unfortunately this has become quite prevalent) is for us to make up our own answers and create new ideology.

    Now let us look at how the Rebbe reacted to those who began to publicly identify who they believe is Moshiach. This also included singing about the Rebbe being Melech HaMoshach.

    Here are a few (of many) of the Rebbe’s own written responses to this behavior.

    From a tzetel from Adar I 5752:

    “There is no obligation to search for who is Moshiach etc. but there is a positive mitzvah of the Torah to love each and every Jew, and to avoid fights etc. absolutely – and certainly not to intentionally do the opposite.”

    From a Tzetel, Iyor 5744:

    It seems that he is acting as if he doesn’t understand what I answered him before that it is possible to do considerably damage, G-d forbid, to Chabad and to Hafotzas Hamayonos by writing about etc. – and which my intention was primarily to him v”dal.
    I hereby warn him that he should stop speaking or writing and certainly not to distribute and certainly not to print concerning the subject of Moshiach – whether in his name or in another name, by his Shliach or something similar, – nor through any other trick and not in any shape or form. And if G-d forbid, he will do anything like this he should know with certainty that this is a war against me specifically and generally.”

    Here is a message that the Rebbe sent to one of the very first and most prominent promoters of identifying the Rebbe as Moshiach (DN) during Tishrie of 5752:

    “I hereby prohibit him from being active in matters of Moshiach now and in the future!” Did this stop him? No! He continued to do these same activities to this very day.

    Here is what the Rebbe told Shluchim at the last Kinus Hashluchim (and the last Sicha directed specifically to Shluchim) before the Rebbe became ill parshas Chaiya Sara 5752:

    In the unedited galley of the hanacha submitted to the Rebbe this is what was written “every Shliach needs to prepare himself and to prepare all of the Jews in his place and his city etc. to receive Moshiach Tzidkaynu by explaining the subject of Moshiach and who is Moshiach in a way that is acceptable to everyone according to his ability to understand.” The Rebbe crossed out the words “and who is Moshiach” and inserted the words “as is explained in the written Torah and the oral Torah.” In the next part it said that every aspect of Shlichus should be ‘openly’ permeated with how this leads to Moshiach. The Rebbe crossed out the word ‘openly.’

    Could the Rebbe have been any clearer than this? Moshiach should be the inner motivation of everything we do but it should not be evident on the outside. This one word deletion of the Rebbe should be the guiding principal of our entire approach to the Moshiach issue.
    The worst part about the ‘meshugayes’ (and I use this term advisedly) of identifying the Rebbe as Moshiach is that it has utterly destroyed the credibility of the entire Moshiach campaign. As we know the Rebbe desperately wanted us to teach Yiden about Moshiach. The only way it is possible to do this is if we present the idea of Moshiach to them as a part of their own heritage which they should know about. People are very open to such an approach. Now however everyone is convinced that our intention is not really to teach people about Moshiach because it is their heritage but rather we are trying to sell them something of our own – our Rebbe. As a result, the Moshiach campaign has about the same degree of credibility as a salesman selling a product.

    Another egregious casualty of these irresponsible Chassidim is the indisputable fact, which the Rebbe himself stated more than once, that many people (it would not be an exaggeration to say hundreds of thousands) have been turned away from learning Chassidus and having any association with the Rebbe and Lubavitch because of the Moshiach controversy. There were those who tried to deny this years ago but today anyone who does not recognize this fact is simply living in a fantasy world. The accumulated damage to the Rebbe and Lubavitch from all of this is absolutely incalculable and they bear the full responsibility for this. It is appropriate to apply here what the Rebbe said about those who proclaimed that it is aschalte d’geulo “they are the ones delaying the geulah from happening.”

    To sum up this point; this whole misguided effort of identifying Moshiach has to its credit the destruction of the credibility of the Rebbe’s Moshiach campaign and the alienation of many thousands from the Rebbe and Chassisdus. It is not unreasonable to suggest that this mistake has actually delayed the coming of Moshiach!!

    Finally, I want to explain to you additional reasons (besides that it is a way of identifying Moshiach and leads to all the negatives the Rebbe himself attested to) why it is wrong to say yechi. The most important reason is simply that the Rebbe never told us to. The Sicha that the Rebbe said about Yechi haMelech was said in 5746. The Rebbe never once instructed Chassidim from that day on to say it and indeed it was never said by anyone (until after Adar 27th).

    Had the Rebbe wanted us to say it he would have given us precise and unambiguous instructions to do so as he did with declaring ad mosai or other such declarations. Furthermore, what the Rebbe was talking about in the Sicha is only about the words ‘Yechi HaMelech’ it has nothing to do with the new formula that was hatched by a few overzealous Chassidim. The very notion of Chassidim doing things like this on their own is utterly foreign to Chabad.

    While it is true that the Rebbe encouraged the singing of Yechi during his illness the fact remains that no one received any explanation or guidance from the Rebbe about this. (This is particularly significant to those who attended to the Rebbe during this period and understood the unique condition and situation that existed during this painful time.) As such, one can only attribute it to the extraordinary circumstances and conditions of the time and surely it cannot serve as a precedent to reverse everything the Rebbe said and taught up to the 27th of Adar.

    I would also note the answer the Rebbe gave to one of the Shluchim during the month of Iyar 5752 (1992) when he was asked “is it necessary to indicate who is Moshiach” the Rebbe vigorously shook his head to indicate no! This is further strengthened by the fact that we witness daily the destructive impact it has on our task of hafotzas hamayonos and this is the criteria that the Rebbe established in his tzetlach and instructions us prior to Adar 27.

    Now, even if, for what ever reason, one could justify singing/saying yechi before gimmel Tamuz after gimmel Tamuz simply has no place. It has no logical meaning and no ruchnious value. Let me explain this a little further.

    In the sicha where the Rebbe spoke about Yechi haMelech he said “which by this we mean hokitzu v’ranenu shochne ofor.” This seems to be incomprehensible. If the intention is that the Melech needs to be given more life how can he be a shochne ofor (dead) and if he is a shochen ofer then he needs techias hamasim not additional life?

    The answer can be found in the explanation according to Kabbalah that the Tzemach Tzedek gives to the idea of Yechi haMelech. He says that Yechi refers to the sefira of bina and Melech is the sefira of Malchus. Usually for any hashpoah to flow from Bina to Malchus it must pass through, and become limited by, all the intervening sefiros of Daas, Chesed, Gevurah etc. and that is how the limitations of the world comes about including the limitation of life and ultimately death. However, there can be a special situation where Bina and Malchus are attached and the flow goes directly from Bina to Malchus without any tzimtzum at all.

    It is from this second unlimited process that chayim nitzchiyim and techias hamasim both come from. When the words Yechi and haMelech are contiguous to each other it represents this connection and process.

    Now you can understand why the Rebbe used the idea of Yechi haMelech to mean hokitzu v’rannu shchne ofor because this is where techias hamasim comes from. However, when the words Yechi and Melech are separated by other words as it is in the contrived Yechi declaration the entire meaning of the phrase is lost. This is the difference between a Rebbe (who knows what he is doing) introducing something or Chassidim (who don’t know and yet audaciously) do it on their own.

    Let me emphasize again that besides all of the above the most important objection I have to pointing to the Rebbe as Moshiach, in any which way, is that (as the Rebbe said) it alienates people from the Rebbe and Chassidus. Talk to any Shliach and you will hear the same sad story. Fortunately, today more and more Lubavitchers realize the huge damage that has been caused by all of this and have to a greater or lesser degree stopped promoting this. Unfortunately, we still suffer considerably because of the past and from the few remaining irrational fanatical zealots.

    I know this is much more than you were expecting and probably a little over your head but once I got started I wanted to do a complete job. You don’t have to understand all of it now but I am sure that bit by bit it will be helpful to you.

    This Op-Ed reflects the views of its author. It does not necessarily reflect the views of CrownHeights.info nor of its Editors.

    A reader that wishes to make his or her voice heard on any topic of their desire is welcome to submit his or her Op-Ed to News@CrownHeights

  6. The article above, posted by Arthur, is a current op-ed post at CrownHeights.info. The post can be found at http://www.crownheights.info/index.php?itemid=13388

    The response in the comments is largely negative.

    I have a number of comments of my own but its a long article so that will have to wait.

  7. Chabad Habad is the torah portion of Lech Lecha relates that Avraham built three altars to G-d.1 Rashi, basing his commentary on the Midrash2, explains that Avraham built the first altar “upon hearing G-d’s promise that he would have children, and that they would inherit the land of Israel.”3


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