Sunday, October 19, 2014

Rav Schochet - prominent Chabad rabbi - bans Telushkin Book For Heresy Content

Chabad Info October 17, 2014

In a scathing letter written by the Av Beis Din of Toronto, Rabbi Gershon Elisha Schochet, he categorizes the Telushkin book as heresy, and demands that the Rabbi who permitted it recant his permission 


In a letter written a few weeks ago, Rabbi Gershon Elisha Schochet, Av Beis Din of Toronto, asks Rabbi YY Shusterman, Rov in Beverly Hills California, if he permitted the reading and disseminating of the Telushkin book.
After a response was not forthcoming, he chose to publish the letter:
I have heard a rumor, that you have supposedly approved the book of Telushkin, and additionally, you have ruled, in your capacity as a Rov More Hora’ah for Chabad, that Shluchim should encourage the distribution of the book.
I am sure you are aware of the Rebbe’s opinion prohibiting the use of books which were written by unscrupulous individuals, even when there is no inherent problem with the content of the book. And the Rebbe held the same regarding books which only referenced such publications.
Also, you are surely aware of the Rebbe’s extensive correspondence regarding the Conservative movement, it’s “Rabbis” and leaders – that the Halacha is they are considered heretics.
You are surely aware of the famous ruling by Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, that a Conservative “Rabbi” is not trusted for testimony in Jewish court just by the mere fact that he is affiliated with said movement, and he doesn’t need any prior warning before being disqualified…
Regarding the author, Telushkin – there is no need to do any research, for it is clearly known to anyone who searches the internet that he serves as a “Rabbi” in a Conservative temple, where a woman serves as a “Chazanit” and his assistant “Rabbi” is from the Reform movement,
Although this would have been enough for someone who is a G-d fearing Jew, and even more so for a Chossid of the Rebbe, and even more so for one who presents himself as a Rov who rules according to the directives of the Rebbe – to completely prohibit the above book.
More so, in this case (without even discussing the issue of the author), when many people who are considered G-d fearing Jews, and known around the world as smart people who are busy with spiritual issues (I am not talking about those “leaders” who are well-versed in politics, PR and monetary issues) – have said that the book has some terrible ideas which constitute a Chilul Hashem, so much so that anyone who has any inkling of a connection to the Rebbe, and more so if he has an iota of Hiskashrus, would immediately denounce this book.
I therefore turn to you and ask you, in the name of Anash and their descendants which are here and those that will come, that you please tell me that this rumor is a lie, and there is no inkling of truth in this matter.
If G-d forbid there is some truth to this rumor, I demand you tell me what the reasoning behind your ruling is, and if you made your decision independently or after consulting with other Lubavitcher Rabbonim and Mashpiim, and tell me their names and reasons.
With a blessing for a Ksiva V’chasima Tova,
Rabbi Gershon Elisha Schochet


  1. It is strange that with all the Chabad problems circulating around the world, Rabbi Gershon Elisha Schochet focuses on some unread book that everyone has long forgotten about (with perhaps the exception of some young naive Chabad 'hangers-on').

    Where is Rabbi Schochet when it comes to the Biderman situation in Vienna, or the terrible scandals in Australia?

    Anyone who follows a handful of Jewish blogs knows that Chabad regularly gains prominence for all the wrong reasons. Rabbi Schochet is simply re-arranging the deckchairs on the titanic!

  2. What does Rabbi Shochet have to say about how two little boys and their mother are being treated by Chabad Vienna, headed by Rabbi Jacob Biderman?

    Before criticising the author of this book, perhaps he should be investigating the morals and conduct of one of his fellow Chabad colleagues

    At this present time I think we all owe Rabbi Teluskin more respect than Chabad for the damage Chabad is doing to two innocent Neshamas and their mother!

  3. It is funny how Chabad resort to citing halacha and Litvish poskim, when it comes to silencing their critics. This was the same tactic used by Chaim Rappaport of London, against YU and RCA, after the RCA declaration and R' Berger's book, both critical of Chabad Messianism. Ironically, Rappaport cited Rav Shach's attacks on YU and R' Soloveitchik, forgetting that it was Rav Shach who called the Rebbe a false Messiah and his followers eaters of treifos.

  4. well if someone is banning it maybe i need to buy it.

  5. What is "the Telushkin book"? There are many!
    Bad basic reporting.

  6. Rabbi Michael TzadokOctober 20, 2014 at 7:12 AM

    I don't understand what is news with this. Lubavitch Rabbis are crticizing a non-Lubavitch biography of the Rebbe. Nothing new there.

  7. Are we to understand that Rabbi Schochet is asking why other Chabad Rabbis were not consulted before Teluskin's book was given permission to be published?

    If this is so,. Why does a book take preference over two children? On the basis of Rabbi Schochets statement Chabad Rabbonim must not take decisions on their own and this therefore must also apply to Rabbi Biderman. Why is he being allowed to shun rabbis of all denominations, including Chabad? Shouldn't Chabad be giving a clear explanation?

  8. @ Richard - Rav Shochet is saying that recommending a biograrphy of the Rebbe by someone who has the attitude toward halcha as R Telushkin is a violation of the principles that the Rebbe held by. It doesn't take any great effort to verify what he is saying.

    In contrast as far as I know Rabbi Shochet has not investigated the matter of the Schlesinger Twins.

  9. According to an earlier blog the Rebbe made clearin his attitude regarding mothers having custody of their children. Perhaps Rabbi Schlochet should be made aware of the matter regarding the Schlesinger twins and should give his interpretation!

    I am failing to understand and I am sure I'm not alone in wanting to know what is halacha according to Chabad and what isn't?

  10. Well, lots of Chabad shluchim are promoting this book (perhaps even preferring it to the other two recent biographies) and many people are reading it. A prominent Chabad rabbi is denouncing that phenomenon, mainly because of who the author is.

    It's a reasonable question to consider, because Chabad may do a good job of convincing people that Chabad is good and the Rebbe was amazing, but not always a good job of getting people to believe that Reform and Conservative are bad and that Orthodoxy is the only true path. Tons of college students attend Chabad houses and learn something positive but don't get anywhere near becoming baalei teshuvah. So perhaps promoting a book by a non-Orthodox rabbi is sending the wrong message to them -- that it's OK to be not Orthodox as long as you are (like Telushkin) in awe of the Rebbe and are influenced by him positively.


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