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LUBAVITCH-----didn't rambam also have opposition?

aJew Posted - 07 October 2001 20:35

I recently heard about this website from a friend, and I was so impressed when I visited it.

However I was so hurt when I stumbled upon this conversation on Lubavitch. I am Lubavitch. I live in a large Jewish community with all types of Jews living together. I feel that I have grown up with a very balanced education - Lubavitch wise and Jewish wise.

Many things bother me - I feel that a lot of things Lubavitch people do is wrong and not totally the Lubavitch way. Many things bother me about the frum Jewish community, too. I feel that many frum people do things in the name of being frum, and it is totally the wrong thing to do as well. Just because many Lubavitchers do the wrong thing, it doesn't make Lubavitch as a whole wrong. And just because many frum people do the wrong thing, it doesn't make frum Jews as a whole wrong.

I am definitely not the most knowledgeable person in the world - not Lubavitch wise and not Jewish wise. If someone came up to me and asked me why I do a certain thing as a Lubavitcher, I might know the answer and I might not. And if someone came up to me and asked me why I do a certain thing a Jew, I might know the answer and I might not. I don't think that most frum Jews know the reason for even a third of what they do. However, if they went to the right people, all their questions could be answered. The wrong people can answer the questions, too - in the wrong way.

Basically it sounds like everyone is against Lubavitch of nowadays - they say that it's different than what it was years ago. That's true, but that's also true about frum Jews, regular Jews and the whole world. And change isn't necessarily bad. But that's all besides the point.

When Chabad first began, there was major, major, major opposition from the biggest leaders in the Jewish world. For example, the Vilna Gaon was opposed to Chabad. But now, everyone says that Chabad was all fine and great until nowadays - with this Lubavitcher Rebbe. Learning Tanya is OK, and in its core Chabad is OK.

Does that mean that all the Jewish leaders of the previous generations were wrong? Did they change their minds? What's going on? Maybe a few generations down the line everyone will say that Chabad nowadays is really OK.

It's not something new for great Jewish leaders to have opposition. The Rambam faced tremendous opposition during his lifetime. The French Jewish leaders banned and burned his books. Nowadays, EVERYONE admires and accepts and respects the Rambam.

When the Lubavitcher Rebbe initiated new projects, the frum world was initially very opposed to it, however nowadays it has become part of mainstream Judaism. For example, "kiruv rechokim" outreach programs, as they are known. Great Jewish leaders were extremely opposed to it at first, but now everyone does it. Sending people to far-out cities with no Judaism. At first only Lubavitch did it. Now everyone does. I recently read about project SEED and I was very impressed with the program. But that's the exact same thing Lubavitch has been doing for years, and initially the Jewish leaders were opposed to it.

As I said before, I do believe and agree that there are many problems with many Lubavitchers, as there are with many frum Jews, but that doesn't make Lubavitch nor Judaism wrong.

As a Lubavitcher, I don't feel my deep feelings and connection to the Rebbe in any way hamper my deep feelings and connection to Hashem. I actually feel it enhances it. I do feel sorry for Lubavitchers who get carried away, but they are just that - carried away.

Posted - 07 October 2001 20:35

To the "moderator" on your thing about not washing for shalosudos, you bring it as one of your main reasons why chabad is going of the derech, and yet the only thing you can argue on is not the fact that we don’t wash, as you yourself said that their are lots of poskim that say you don’t have to wash but on the fact that " the Rebbe made up something out of thin air”???

Second of all if you would know anything about chasiddus (or the way chasdim not just lubavitch) do things (according to the way their Rebbe says you would be asking Qs on every different type of chasidus out there, so either it is because you are plain ignorant or you want to ignore the facts and paint Lubavitch as something off the wall.

And I guarantee you that if there would have been such a message board when the Rebbe came out with mivtoyim what you call "kiruve richokim" you would have blasted Chabad on that also, and now the in thing is Kiruve rechokim. you can not post this if you think this is damaging to your image but the bottom line still remains the only reason you say what you say if from pure hate.

MODERATOR Posted - 07 October 2001 23:51


The problem is that the Lubavitcher Rebbe holds that imitating the outside, chitzonius actions of your Rebbe is not only important, but is important enough to determine Halachic practice, namely, which poskim to follow.

Therefore, he says that since certain Rebbes could not eat because they were considered like Cholim (sick people), the Chassidim should all follow the poskim that say not to eat (i.e. wash) thereby appearing like people who are considered like sick people (i.e. the Rebbes) and therefore somehow are "following in the derech" of their rebbes.

Not only is this reasoning unacceptable as a reason to follow Halachic opinion A over B, but it is totally against the traditions of Chasidus, and is a perfect example of how Chabad has twisted Chasidus into a laughable caricature of what it once was.

And to add insult to injury (of Chasidus) you tell me that anyone who knows anything about Chasidus would understand that "Chasidim" do things like this.

No. Not "Chasidus". Only Chabad. And only today's Chabad. Real Chasidus does not mean imitating the outer actions of your Rebbe, and real Halachah does not mean that such imitation should determine Halachic practice.

In real Chasidus, the way it was practiced everywhere and still is except in Chabad, such empty, chitzonius imitation of Rebbes are criticized as stupidity and a twisting of the teachings of the Baal Shem Tov. In Chabad, what the great Chasidic masters considered "stupidity", the Lubavitcher Rebbe considers "chasidus".

The following is a quote from a famous letter of Rebbi Eliezer of Lizensk ZT"L, in the name of his father, the great Rav Elimelech of Lizensk ZT"L, the author of Noam Elimelech, one of the greatest students of the Maggid of Mezritch:

"I received your letter and when I showed it to my father. When he read it his hair stood on edge and his entire body shook because he saw that there exist in the world such stupidities and words of nonsense such as yours ... for you do not learn from the Tzadikim their inner fear of G-d but rather their outside and visible actions, and you think that someone who does those things is called a "chosid".

[Moderator's Note: Reuven, please refer back to your post, where your excuse for the Lubavitcher's putting so much importance, even Halachic importance in imitating the outside mannerisms of the Rebbes is because that's "the way chasisidm do things"].

The appropriate thing to do would really be not to write you back at all, but I am answering because of your honor. So said my father: If someone asks whether to say these zemiros or others or to say shir hashirim this time or another time or other shtusim like this that I can't even put in writing, said my father, and I quote: Tell them that all these behaviors are worth nothing to give a person life or to bring him to Avodas Hashem."

He continues to say that Chasidus means to learn Torah and to have Yiras Shamayim and good midos, and this business of imitating Rebbes is nonsense.

In the Machzor Divrei Yoel (Pesach p.189) we have the following:

There was once a story about the great Tzadik, the Saraf of Stralisk ZY"A who was a very poor man, and his Talis had holes in it from so much use, which he sewed up instead of buying a new Talis, which he couldn’t afford. There were some simple Chasidim who saw this, and when they bought a new Talis for themselves they would tear it and then sew it up in order to "be like" their Rebbe, sine they thought this was their Rebbe’s "minhag". The reality is, they were just foolish because their Rebbe had no choice but to sew his Talis, and did it out of necessity.

The Satmar Rebbe ZT"L told this story after he once accidentally came to the Pesach seder and made Kiddush without his shtraimel on. When he realized he forgot his shtraimel he asked the Chasidim why nobody told him he wasn’t wearing his shtraimel. They answered that they thought that for sure the Rebbe has a reason for it. He said no, he didn’t, and told them the story of the Saraf ZY"A to show how simple Chasidim can sometimes imitate a Rebbe’s outside behavior without a reason, which is wrong.

This nonsense is what has become "Chassidus" in Lubavitch.

And worse, this nonsense has not only become Chasidus, but Halachah too. This is what decides which poskim to follow regarding shalosh seudos.

That is the problem.

Regarding the Kiruv Rechokim, that is more Lubavitch propaganda. Please see my next post.

MODERATOR Posted - 08 October 2001 1:10


Yes, it is true that many things Jews do are wrong, and many things Lubavitchers do is wrong. But the big difference is, Judaism has remained the same, its just Jews that have violated it. In Chabad, Judaism itself has changed. The problem is NOT just people who do NOT follow the Lubavitcher Rebbe, but the people that DO. In other words, the issue here is the problem of the Rebbe, not the Chasidim.

The opposition to Lubavitch is based on things the Rebbe himself did and said, many of which have been listed above. Statements such as (Likutei Sichos II:p.511) a Rebbe is G-d Himself clothed in a body, and that Lubavitcher Chasidim - and ONLY Lubavitcher Chasidim - do not have to sleep in a Sukkah because they should be like the Mitteler Rebbe who had a hard time sleeping in the Sukkah because the Shechinah is there, and other things that are against the Torah as well, is what we are talking about.

If Jews want to do the wrong thing, they have free will to do it, but if they want to do the right thing, they know what it is. In Lubavitch, the wrong thing has been made into the RIGHT thing, which is a totally different problem.

The first is violating the Torah, the second is changing it. The second is much worse, since even people who want to do the right thing are misled into doing the wrong thing by the leader, in this case, the Rebbe.

In this, Chabad has something in common with Modern Orthodoxy, the JDL, Zionism, and other deviant groups. Namely, they all claim to be following the Torah but really changed the Torah to follow them. So just like if someone grows up in a Zionist school for instance, and has a lot of Yiras Shamayim, he will still be off the derech, because he thinks he is following the Torah but is not, so too in Lubavitch, those who DO listen to the Rebbe will be going against the Torah.

Now, regarding the idea that "there was opposition" to the Rambam, to Chasidus from the Vilna Gaon, and even to Kiruv Rechokim in general, you are making a number of mistakes.

First, regarding Kiruv Rechokim, I know that what you said is commonly taught in Chabad circles - that Lubavitch once had such terrible opposition to their Kiruv programs and now everyone is doing it - but it is a total falsehood.

Nobody ever opposed Kiruv Rechokim. It is older than Chabad and older than Chasidus itself. What was opposed is the way Chabad does Kiruv, namely, to send some poor guy out to live among the Goyim and non-religious Jews, which is what was opposed by the Torah leaders, as Rav Yosi bar Kisma says in Pirkei Avos, "Even if you would give me all the money in the world I will not live anywhere except in a Makom Torah."

Rav Yosi B"K was offered money to come live in a certain town. They offered him this money because they wanted a great Tzadik like him to be in their town. Obviously, the people making this offer were not evil, for what evil people would pay to have a sage come live among them?

And also obviously, Rav Yosi could have done a lot of good in that town, since they themselves begged him to come. They valued his presence, and wanted him there because they wanted a sage among them.

But Rav Yosi said that he will not move there because he will only live in a Makom Torah.

But in Chabad you have "shluchim" in places like Puerto Rico, where there are zero frum Jews, and zero Judaism, except him and his wife and little kids.

Not exactly what Chazal recommend.

The difference between this and what the Gedolei Yisroel did was they sent groups of people to start Kollel communities to live in different cities, and there was always a pre-condition that the people going to do kiruv would have a "makom torah", either among the Orthodox community of the place they go to, or because of their peer families coming with them. But never would a Gadol send an individual to live among the Goyim and non-religious Jews alone. Never.

That is still opposed, and always was.

Nobody changed their minds about Kiruv, or about Chabad.

The difference between Chabad and SEED is that the SEED program sends (a) people - plural,(b) temporarily, to do Kiruv. That's not the same as bringing up a family and living alone among the Goyim.

What Chabad does, only they do, and it has zero source anywhere in Chasidus. The Baal Shem Tov's "shluchim" were not made to live in Puerto Rico, they went to teach the Baal Shem Tov’s Torahs to frum Jews. Big difference. What Chabad is doing is not Chasidus at all.

The reason the Lubavitcher Rebbe did this Kiruv thing was because of another caricature of Chasidus - the letter of Rav Gershon Kitiver ZT"L saying how the Baal Shem Tov asked Moshiach when he will come, and was answered "When your Torahs will be disseminated".

The Lubavitcher Rebbe decided that because in the Baal SHem Tov's days, that is what was needed to bring Moshiach, so too, for some odd reason, that is also what we need today. Who told the Lubavitcher Rebbe that in our generation, with our needs and our problems, that what applied in the Baal SHem Tov's generation applies to us too, is beyond me.

And beyond Tzadikim. The Satmar Rebbe ZT"L (Divrei Yoel Tzav), pointed out that this story of the Baal Shem Tov was really similar to a story in the Gemora where Chazal asked Moshiach when are you coming, and Moshiach answered "today".

When Moshiach didn’t come, they asked him what happened and Moshiach said "I meant, 'today' IF you follow the Torah".

In other words, even when a Talmudic sage gets instructions from Moshiach about how to bring him, it is not meant absolute, but rather under various conditions etc. So when Moshiach told the Baal Shem Tov - in his generation - that if the Baal Shem Tov's talmidim would disseminate the Baal Shem Tov's Torah, then he will come, so the Lubavitcher Rebbe decided that means that nowadays if we go all over the world teaching all the non-frum Jews Tanya, Moshiach will come.


The Satmar Rebbe calls him a "fool" for this whole idea. So far, nobody has explained what the Lubavitcher Rebbe's excuse is for taking this statement of Moshiach totally out of context.

As far as the Rambam's opposition is concerned, it is true, he had opposition. But one may assume that the Rambam would be able to answer his opponent's charges if directly confronted. The problem is, he did not get a fair chance. The Vilna Gaon too, was supposed to meet with the Alter Rebbe to hear the Chasidim's side of the story but never did. but we can assume the Baal HaTanya could have defended himself.

As opposed to Lubavitch, where the Rebbe himself has not even come close to adequately explaining his actions and policies, even though he has tried.

His defense of tearing the Mitzvah of sleeping in the Sukkah out of the Torah is in Likutei Sichos, and it doesn’t work. Any high school Yeshiva kid could recognize it as Halachicly invalid. When I posted it here, even the Lubavitchers could not believe their own Rebbe said that. Check it out yourself and see if it makes any sense to you.

The same with the rest of the charges against Chabad. In order to defend themselves, they have to lie to rabbis about their actions (such as the letter from the Debreciner Rav above), make up stories about Gemoras that do not exist (such as the non-existent Gemora that says it was "common practice" for students to say their Rebbe is Moshiach). None of the Lubavitch rabbi, mashpiim or shluchin have the faintest idea of how to explain their actions. At least not when trying to explain it to someone a little Torah-literate.

That’s one. Two, you are correct that there was opposition to Chasidus and the Rambam etc. long ago, and that therefore opposition in and of itself does not prove someone is wrong. But you also cannot use the fact that the Rambam had opposition to negate charges against Chabad, because the Conservative and Reform etc. can say the same thing: Maybe in 100 years everyone will agree that Reform is right, like they agree that the Rambam was right?

So now my question to you is, how do you know if the opposition to Lubavitch is like the opposition to the Rambam, or like opposition to Zionism or Reform? Isn’t it true that although there has been mistaken opposition in the past, there has also been legitimate opposition as well, and therefore, the most you can say is "I don’t know if I am right or wrong. The Rambam had opposition but so did Reform. I do not know if I am like the Rambam or Reform."

Is that a way to live? How do you know that the opposition to Chabad is NOT legitimate?

That’s the problem in Chabad. Everyone just blindly follows what they are taught, and when they are shown to be wrong they say "Yeah well they said the Rambam was wrong too."

But of course, whereas those who followed the Rambam did so because they knew the answers to the charges leveled against him, Chabad chooses to follow their way even though they have no idea why.

And that’s the diff. The Rambam's followers were his followers cuz they knew the answers. Not cuz they said "Well, someone else also had opposition."

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