Talk:Chabad/Archive 3

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Splitting up the article

The article is lopsided. Starting with the fact that it talks far more about David Berger than any of the Chabad Rebbeim. There are more quotes from other sources referring to the possible future of Chabad than there are quotes regarding what Chabad believes. I'm in favor of having a seperate article about the Messianism and just a blurb on the main Chabad page. User:PhatJew

Again, it seems to me that at times, the article is less about Chabad as it is about issues related to Chabad. I think the whole section about the relationship between G-d, Israel and the Tsaddik needs to be an article in itself where we can more directly explain the concept as it was explained in sources like Tanya, Noam Elimelech, Nefesh Ha'Chaim, etc. as opposed to fitting it into just a question of Lubavitch. Someone say something, or I am going to assume shtika k'hodaah and do it. User:PhatJew

The article probably needs more about the movement itself. Jayjg (talk) 23:53, 17 Apr 2005 (UTC)

PhatJew, I agree with you the whole section about relationship between G-d, Israel and the Tsaddik needs to be an article in itself, since it isn't only a chabad thing.--PinchasC 00:27, 18 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Not all "lies"! What Chabad actually says about its Rebbe

I am disturbed by the way that certain Chabad supporters keep accusing other Jews of lying about Chabad teachings. I can find no evidence of this. In contrast, the description of Chabad teachings about the Rebbe being God incarnate are in fact actual, they are geunine, and many within Chabad now preach this openly. I would like readers to consider the following words from an Orthodox Rabbi, from a forum "Anything About Judaism: Lubavitch forum", in which he discusses the issue:

One of our 13 Fundamentals of Judaism is that we pray only to Hashem [God] and to nobody else. The question then is, why do we ask Tzadikim to pray for us, when we can pray to Hashem directly without using the Tzadik as a go-between?
The classic answers to this are either that the Tzadik does not pray for us but rather because of the Ahavas Yisroel of the Tzadik, when someone is suffering, the tzadik suffers too. So the Tzadik is really praying for himself, to end the cause of his own pain, namely, the suffering of the Jews (Teshuvos Chasam Sofer OH 166), or that the reason it is prohibited to use a go-between is because you may think the go-between has some G-dliness (Elokus), such as if we were to use a Malach as a go-between. But since nobody can mistake the Tzadik for possessing Elokus, it is permitted (Bais ElokimTefilah 12, Maharal Netzach Yisroel 62).
The Lubavitcher Rebbe asks the question, and without mentioning any of the classic answers that have been accepted for hundreds of years, he instead offers the following answer:
"It is not possible to ask a question about a [Rebbe being a] go-between, since this is GOD Himself, as GOD has clothed Himself in a human body." (Likutei Sichos II:p. 510-511).
He also adds the following regarding a Rebbe-Chosid relationship: "Just as 'G-d and the Torah and the Jews are One' (Yisroel V'Oraisa V'Kudsha brich hu chad hu), means not just that the Jews are connected to the Torah and to G-d, but literally they are all one, so too is the connection of Chassidim and their Rebbe, they are not like two things that become united but rather they become literally one. Therefore, to a Chosid, him and the Rebbe and G-D are one entity."
Until now, know that G-d and the Torah and the Jews are one. Now we have G-d and the Rebbe and the Chosid is one. What is the source for such a statement? Admits the Rebbe (ibid):
"I have not found such a thing in Chassidus. Rather, it is my feeling. Therefore, whoever wants to feel it should feel it, and someone who does not want to, I will not fight with him. Let him have what he has."
This is not merely a "Tzelem Elokim" [Image of God] thing. All Jews are Tzelem Elokim, but they need the Rebbe to pray for them, because the Rebbe is more than just a Tzelem Elokim. The question was not how can Jews connect to Hashem but how can Jews use a Rebbe as a go-between. The answer is the Rebbe - the g-between is G-d Himself put into a body. That's the Lubavitcher idea of a "Rebbe" - God in a body!....
...With such teachings, is it any wonder we have the following statement from Rabbi S.B. Wolpe (a meshichist, author of "Yechi HaMelech" on topics of Moshiach, complete with Haskomos from many Lubavitcher rabbis praising him and his book) in an article from the magazine "Kfar Chabad":
"Moshiach is the atzmus ain sof (essence of G-d Himself) clothed in a body." As "proof" (sic), he cites a Medrash Yalkut on Tehillim 37:10 that for the final Geulah, Hashem Himself will redeem Klall Yisroel, not a person. So Rabbi Wolpe asks, "isn't Moshiach going to redeem the Jews? So why does it say Hashem will redeem them?"
Obviously, the question doesn't start. Because we know that Moshiach will not be able to complete the redemption without Hashem -- the Medrash even says that the third Bais HaMikdash will come down from Shamayim. So we know that the coming redemption will be unique in that without the direct and visible efforts of Hashem Himself, the Geulah will not be possible, even after the contributions of Moshiach thereto.
Wrong. Answers Rabbi Wolpe: "From this [Medrash] it is proven that Moshiach at the time of the Geulah obvious that he is not really flesh and blood, not even like the flesh and blood of Moshe Rabbeinu, but the [person who is Moshiach] is really Hashem Himself!"
Unsigned by User:RK
Well, here's a tantalizing hint of the sort of thinking that led Christianity to become a religion in its own right. Might Chabad Lubavitch not be far behind? Rickyrab 17:36, 22 Mar 2005 (UTC)


Robert, I don't think many Chabad members see the Rebbe as God incarnate. This may, just be a noisy minority. Obviously all factions within Chabad edit this article, and (as Chabad in unusually internet-suave for a Hassidic group) all will try to force their POV. Myself and User:Jayjg have long reverted POV edits and suppression of obvious truths on this page.

On the whole, there is very little dialogue possible. Apart from User:Truthaboutchabad, none of these editors get a login name. When they do communicate they cite their own publications in support of their favourite POV. I think we should agree on reverting every biased edit to this article, and aim for neutrality. Do you have access to recent sociological research on the Chabad community? All Lubavitchers I know are very secretive about their stance in the matter.

What is most disheartening is that most Orthodox Jews basically agree with Chabad's outreach methods, but shun the movement because of its ridiculous insistance on making the Rebbe Moshiach. Unless they rapidly agree on a new Rebbe, they are heading for a full split with mainstream Orthodoxy. JFW | T@lk 21:46, 16 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Rooster613 06:13, 28 Mar 2005 (UTC)(Well, maybe, maybe not. The Breslov Hasidim never appointed a new rebbe when Nachman of Breslov died, and they have not become split from mainstream Orthodoxy. What is more likely to happen is that there will be a split within Lubovitch itself.)User:Rooster613

Is it too much to ask that people don't start making catagorical statements about "all of Chabad" and "all other Orthodox Jews" etc.? Isn't it OBVIOUS that these generalizations are always false? And, come on people. Chabad has always been outside of "mainstream Orthodoxy" ever since the Baal Shem Tov. Every single Chabad Rabbi starting with the Alter Rebbe has had major disputes with other Orthodox leaders. The funny thing is that, over time, the Chabad position has basically always been adopted. Let's not forget the fight over sharpening knives, mikveh bor gabei bor, etc. This is supposed to be an informative article, not a place where we try to make our predictions about the future of Chabad legitimate. User:PhatJew

That being said, I speculate that some Chabad elements might start a messainic movement that could evolve into a second Christianity. Rickyrab 17:50, 22 Mar 2005 (UTC)
The Chabad position has basically always been adopted? Hardly. Jayjg (talk) 17:34, 10 Mar 2005 (UTC)
Go ahead and list a place where Chabad has not at least kept up its opposition. I can name public menorah lightings, secular Jews wearing tefillin, bor gabei bor mikvaot, the idea that gentiles can also reflect divinity, that G-d is literally everywhere, that G-d ordains every particular detail of all things and that knives should be sharpened according to the Alter Rebbe. You go ahead and cite something. Please. User:PhatJew
Huh? You were claiming that others have adopted the Lubavitch position. Now you are claiming that Lubavitch has followed the Lubavitch position. These are different things. Jayjg (talk) 02:24, 11 Mar 2005 (UTC)
You not read good. I talk slow. Knives used to cut throats of cows. Jews cut throats of cows with knives sharpened on one side. Alter Rebbe come along and say "No. Sharpen both sides." Misnagdim have conniptions, call Chassidische beef treif. After a while, they give up and start sharpening knives on both sides. Today, it is basically impossible to find "misnagdische" kosher beef, because everyone sharpens their knives according to the Alter Rebbe. That is the clearest one. Of course, no one argues that secular Jews shouldn't be allowed to wear tefillin anymore. They have dropped their opposition to public menorah lightings. They have accepted mikvaot bor gabei bor. Few people even know that there was a controversy over hashgacha b'min. This is where you try to cite a counter example where a single Chabad position has been outright rejected over time. PhatJew
How remarkably rude. The reason a great deal of meat is slaughtered today in the Chabad preferred way has everything to do with market share and Chabad involvement in slaughtering facilities, little to do with halakhic acceptance. Many people still oppose public menorah lightings, they just don't bother to do it publically, because there seems little point. Many people refuse to adopt the Lubavitch mikvah innovations, and do not consider them kosher. Etc. I'm not sure what world you live in, but there are plenty of people who oppose all of these innovations. Jayjg (talk) 17:28, 15 Mar 2005 (UTC)
Very remarkably rude. Not as rude as, per se, totally ignoring me while talking to me, but still rude. In any case, I see that you agree you have no counter examples. And, the examples of mikvah and shechitah have everything to do with halachic acceptance. Nobody holds like the Vilna Gaon that chassidiche shechita is treif, since such a person would never be able to hold by any fleishig hashgacha in the whole world. Similarly, nobody holds that Lubavichers are bnei niddah and they frequent Chabad mikvaot. I live in this world, as opposed to some misnagdische dream world where Hasidism has not become the standard of halachic excellence and the Baal Shem Tov isn't seen as the rightful leader of the whole of klal Israel at his time and for subsequent generations. It amazes me that some people are still unable to realize that although Shammai was a great scholar, the halacha is according to Hillel. BTW, I stand corrected. When I said that the Chabad position was adopted, I didn't mean everyone started taking on these hiddurim. I meant that they were acccepted as, at the least, halachically acceptable. There are plenty of Rabbis walking around with shorn faces, but it is only the few misnagdische extremists who hold looking like the Vilna Gaon's daughter, as opposed to the Vilna Gaon, is some sort of mitzvah. User:PhatJew
Nah, transgendered Jews are the folks who think looking like the Vilna Gaon's daughter is a mitzvah. Anyway, speaking from a Reform POV, this whole debate seems rather silly and arcane. (Then again, Reform Jews consider imposition of someone's views on someone else to be rather silly - the "someone else" should take care to study various POVs before arriving at a POV.) Anyway, going about calling your Jewish neighbor's food trayf without properly looking at the evidence (including investigating the way the food is processed) is little better than lashon hora, and you guys should know that. Rickyrab 17:50, 22 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Is that right, you don't believe in imposing your views on others? Well that is a view, and you impose it universally!! What a muppet!!

Need to expand discussion on theology, with sources

This article requires a discussion of how other Jews understand recent developments with Chabad. We need examples of mainstream Jewish rabbis and scholars, such as those from

Rabbi Chaim Dov Keller, Rosh Yeshiva of Telshe Chicago.
Profesor Rabbi Jacob Neusner
Yosef Dan, professor of Jewish thought at Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
Professor Allan Nadler, director of research at the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research
William Shaffir's "When Prophecy is Not Validated" article from The Jewish Journal of Sociology, 1995, should be mentioned.

The article didn't fully admit that the late Rebbe died. In many places it only refers to his "passing", which is code among some messianic Chabadniks for "hiding". Many believe that he "passed" from the visible world, but is still alive - and will return any day now. We can explain that this is their belief, but the article as such should note that he actually died.

An editor keeps making NPOV violations by cutting out most sources, and making David Berger look like some lone crackpot. Nothing in the article made clear that many (if not most) of Berger's views are widely accepted as correct among many in both the religious and secular Jewish community. I have attempted to make edits which show this. RK

RK, enough of your biased POV. Please stop ruining this for everyone.--Truthaboutchabad 04:55, 24 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Truthaboutchabad, you need to re-read the WP:NPOV policy. You can't just delete any criticism of Chabad you don't like. These are significant well cited sources. If you want to bring other, well-cited sources which dispute them, go ahead. Jayjg (talk) 16:31, 24 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Jayjg, as you are aware, chabad is a subject which has many diffrent viewpoints to it. Until now, both viewpoints had been together on the same page and it has been basically peacefull. Neither side making massive edits, even though many people, myself included, diasagree with alot of what is written. However we understand that there is another viewpoint out there and it needed to be included, as I'm sure you had similiar thoughts about many good things being said about chabad, that you disagreed with them, however you understood that there is more than one viewpoint out there.

However the reced edits by RK, have been very one sided and anti-chabad. It misinterpets chabad teachings without giving the chabad viewpoint. Wikipedia, is not the place to have a full discussion about every detail of chabad, and every viewpoint regarding it. If I explained in detail in a way that everyone could understand the deep concepts behind chabad teachings, it would be a book not an encyclopeida article. The current contervosy section does more than enough to give the viewpoint of those that dislike tthe teachings of chabad.

Additionaly regarding the list of referances, they are mainly articles published in magazines. As you are surely aware there are thousands of articles written about chabad in a positive way. If I was to post those to counter the articles that RK listed, it would be ridiculous.

I hope this can be resolved peacefully.--Truthaboutchabad 07:16, 25 Feb 2005 (UTC)

I hope so too. The best way to resolve this is by posting the Chabad viewpoint that counters the information posted here, citing your sources of course. Removing well cited information from article pages is often considered vandalism, please do not continute to do so. Jayjg (talk) 15:32, 25 Feb 2005 (UTC)

I have made some edits to more accuratly describe what chabad and other Hassidim actually believe in. --Truthaboutchabad 03:47, 1 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Some appear to be unsourced; if you think other Hassidim feel the same way, please bring evidence from them stating they do. Jayjg (talk) 16:12, 1 Mar 2005 (UTC)
See this pdf for sources of Hasidim AND TRADITIONAL SOURCES of the same types of statements as those made by the Lubavitcher Rebbe, and for a complete book of these sources see Al Hatzadikim from R' Avrahom Pavezner Media:atzmus.pdf Therefore perhaps either that entire contervosy paart should be changed to traditional Judaism, vs those that don't understand traditional Judaism.

For those that may not understand hebrew, I have included a translation of a couple examples.

When Reb Dovid’l of Tulneh ZT”L was asked by him Chassidim “What is a Tzaddik, and what is a Chassid?” He answered: “A Tzaddik iz a faideh Gut (“A Tzaddik is the essence of G-d”), un a Chassid? Zai vestu visen”.

Rooster613 06:13, 28 Mar 2005 (UTC)(Actually, these particular quotes are in Yiddish, not Hebrew.)User:Rooster613

In Darkei Chaim V’sholom from the Minchas Ela’zar (in minhogim to taanis tzibur) he writes that he heard from the “Shem Shlomo” that said about the greatness of the neshamah of R. Mendel of Rimanov, that Hashem took the four letters of his name, so to speak, and wrapped them with a “zupitze” and a “spudik”, and that became R. Mendel of Rimanov. And there’s a famous saying in the name of R. Ahron of Chernobyl that “Elokus is the Tzaddik, and the Tzaddik is Elokus, when you travel to a Tzaddik you go with one Machshavah, not with two.” (Even R. Eliyahu Dessler zt”l wrote “ki tzuras hatzaddikim hu Hashem yisbarech, v’heinu hach” (brought down in “marbitzei torah u’musar beginning of vol. 3).--Truthaboutchabad 00:29, 2 Mar 2005 (UTC)
Hi Truthaboutchabad, I'm pleased you're being so candid where other Lubavitchers are usually somewhat secretive.
The quotes you bring are all fairly metaphorical and circumspect (although they follow Hasidic metaphorisms). I'm not sure of Elokus is identical to HKBH Himself. Similarly, the tetragrammaton is only one of G'd's Names. As for Rav Dessler, you must know that he learnt a fair amount of Tanya as a bochur.
Chabad has the habit of maintaining it replaces all other forms of Hasidism. When quoting Sichos, I have heard numerous Lubavitchers state simply: "According to Chassidus", where in fact it is particular Chabad doctrine they are quoting. Please do not do the same here. JFW | T@lk 21:05, 2 Mar 2005 (UTC)
See this link Media:atzmus.pdf for a partial listing of non-chabad sources that say similar words that the Lubavitcher rebbe used including "essence" and so on.
Furthermore I don't understand the difference between what chabad believes in and what others believe in, Everyone agrees that when a tzadik does what G-d wants, his will and G-d's will are one and the same. The only difference written about chabad is that they believe that the chassidim are one with their Rebbe, how is this heretical?????? Nobody including chabad believes that their rebbe is G-d, they and chabad just believe that a Tzaddik is completely nullified to G-d. And his words and will are the same as G-d's.
I believe that this whole part of the controversy section should either be rewritten to more accurately explain how chabad theology is different that others, or if this can't be done, then to remove this part.--Truthaboutchabad 00:35, 3 Mar 2005 (UTC)
Let me start by saying that the whole atzmus thing is highly confusing. The statements you quoted before are all metaphors, and no key is actually provided. As with many similar Chasidic sayings, they can be interpreted in numerous ways, and I'm not sure if your interpretation fits with their intended meanings.
"Being one" with something or someone has many meanings in the Midrash; it does not always mean "identical" - frequently all that is intended is that two concepts share many characteristics. "HKBH, the Jewish People and the Torah are one" (Zohar) does not mean that they are identical. This cannot be, because HKBH wrote the Torah and created the Jewish people. Rather, this means that they are transcedental and eternal.
Judaism believes that every human being has a neshama and therefore a Godly spark, as well as having been created in G'ds image. In that sense, your quote from Pavzener is a bit of a tautology.
I have had the privilege of studying Tanya with someone who was quite close to the Rebbe. If I have the time, I will see if I can get in touch with him. JFW | T@lk 09:05, 3 Mar 2005 (UTC)
As for Media:Atzmus.pdf, the disclaimer at the top states categorically that אסור להאמין בדברים אלו כפשוטן (these things should not be believed on their basic level). If you want to deal with the concept of atzmus in this Wikipedia article, aimed at non-Jewish readers unfamiliar with Jewish philosophy, you will have to be very clear. JFW | T@lk 10:39, 3 Mar 2005 (UTC)

That is my point. It is a subject which only when misunderstood is it considered to be heretical, hence the condemations, because these people condeming it thought that the rebbe was saying that he and G-d are one and the same. However this is clearly not so, as seen from the next paragraph in the sicha, in which the Lubavitcher Rebbe brings a source from the Zohar, and in a footnote there a Gemara Yerushalmi, in which it mentions the same things. Clearly he meant it the way it is by his proof from the Zohar and the Gemara Yerushalmi. (and as previously discussed in this talk page the only diffrence betwwen a rebbe and his follower is that the Rebbe being that he has refined himself so much, his G-dly spark is more revealed and his body doesn't do anything to go against what G-d wants, thereby making his words and actions to be the same exact as what G-d wants.

I look forward to having this section and a similiar section by the wikipedia article by the Lubavitcher Rebbe clarified once and for all.--Truthaboutchabad 12:19, 3 Mar 2005 (UTC)

The person you'll have to convince is User:RK. He felt that there are Lubavitch Chassidim who feel that the Rebbe is literally an incarnation of G'd. If this is so, then you have no right to suppress this, even if you can produce literature to this effect. You are completely right that similar statements are easily misunderstood.
I am not familiar enough with the Tanya to confirm or disprove that a tzadik ve-tov lo thereby becomes more "G'dly" than any other Yid performing a mitzvah.
I'm not sure if the article on the Rebbe should contain a similar section. I think it would be a much better idea to provide a link there and keep the main section over here. Otherwise we'd run the risk of duplication. JFW | T@lk 16:38, 3 Mar 2005 (UTC)
It's not just RK that thinks this; there are Lubavitchers who have quite clearly stated, and published, that the Rebbe is literally an incarnation of G'd. The fact that this phenomenon exists should not be suppressed, regardless of how non-representative or tasteless Truthaboutchabad feels it is. Jayjg (talk) 17:45, 3 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Rooster613 06:13, 28 Mar 2005 (UTC)A personal anecdote: During the 1980s when I lived in Minneapolis, I attended classes taught by Rabbi Mani Friedman, a Lubovitcher Hasid who was (still is?) the director of the Beis Chana Institute in St. Paul. Friedman also used to be the Rebbe's interpreter at many of the farbrengens. So he was/is not a fringe element. At one point I was attending a class in a baal tshuvah household (this distinction is important, read on) and Friedman clearly said that "The relationship between a Hasid and his Rebbe is MORE IMPORTANT than the relationship with God." When I asked point blank if the Rebbe was God, he replied "Yes." He also believed that the Rebbe was Moschiach. When I began to question these things in the class, I was asked to leave and not come back. Apparently I had gotten into some sort of "initiation" group that I wasn't supposed to know about, because I was pointedly told that "this is not a public class, it's especially for them" (the baal tshuvah family, who in their innocence had invited me to come that night). At any rate, this incident is what made me stop going to Lubavitch House and follow the Breslov way instead. User:Rooster613

Jay, could you source this? JFW | T@lk 18:25, 3 Mar 2005 (UTC)
It's all in Berger's book. Jayjg (talk) 18:43, 3 Mar 2005 (UTC)
OK, but as Berger himself is the subject of Chabad criticism - how does he arrive at this conclusion? (e.g. interviews, sociological studies, review of publications or pamphlets). I have no access to the work now. JFW | T@lk 00:35, 4 Mar 2005 (UTC)
I'll get hold of a copy and look it up. Jayjg (talk) 15:31, 4 Mar 2005 (UTC)