Sunday, November 06, 2005

The People That Believe That the Rebbe is Alive

The People That Think The Rebbe is Alive.

I thought about moving this blog from light to heavy, first dealing with the question of whether Chabad is heretical for saying that the Rebbe is Moshiach, and moving slowly upwards. But, then, I figured, why not start at the top?
Miriam Shaviv has a post on her blog, that links to a video showing the Tzfatim (and others) acting as if the Rebbe was in the room with them, during Tefilot and Kosh Shel Bracha. She follows it up with another one, and the usual suspects have their friendly Chabad Bash-in.
DovBear has a comment that sums up what a lot of the ordinary people of the world are probably thinking. In that same comments section, you can find rants from many commentors, calling this belief "kefirah" "heresy" "psychosis" and lots of other fun stuff.
Now, I am in a bit of a dilemma here, because I, personally, do not believe this stuff. I feel that the "rebbe is alive" crowd is very destructive, and that they are misguided. So, I don't really feel like defending a position with which I disagree. But, I will say that I think that it is important for people to understand where these people are coming from. So, I am going to inaugurate this effort by posting an explanation of this perspective.

First of all, let me say that I am very puzzled by the assertion that this is a reflection of "heresy" or "Avodah Zarah." It definitely is not. Even if there were absolutely no basis for it, it is not heresy. Having mistaken, or even ridiculous opinions does not a heretic make. If a Jew is convinced that the moon is made of green cheese, and claims that this belief is based on a careful reading of the Rambam, he is not a heretic. You can call him a fool, but that is where it ends. The fact that there are so many people that call this "heresy" "dangerous", etc. shows me that there is a lot of Chabad-Hatred latent in the discussion.
Secondly, let me say clearly that I have spent a lot of time talking with a lot of the Tzfatim. They are definitely not psychotic. There is a guy named Ariel Sokolovsky, who posts on various sites. He is psychotic. There is a guy named Shmarya, who has an anti-Chabad site, he is delusional. These guys are neither. Many of them are very smart, and clear-headed. They get things done, live normal lives, marry, raise families, observe Halacha, etc. Their problem lies, in my opinion, in one basic mistake.
I will try to explain their perspective (and, hopefully, show how it is mistaken.) But, before I do so, I want to pose a question:
Suppose there was an assertion in the Torah, in which you believed without a shadow of a doubt. And, then, something happened that contradicted that assertion. How would you handle that event?
Would you:
1) decide that the Torah assertion was wrong, and discard your belief in Torah.
2) decide that both were right, and seek to reconcile them.
3) decide to disbelieve the event that you witnessed, and, instead, to believe the assertion of the Torah.
(to be continued)


Blogger Rebecca said...

Just curious - what are the "Tzfatim"? People from Tzfat? People who have studied with Chabad in Tzfat? I'm not familiar with the term.

I await your discussion of the matters covered on the Ha-Geula site.

2:02 PM  
Blogger Mishichist said...

Tzfatim is a term that many Lubavitchers use for a group of Bachurim from the Yeshiva in Tzfat, who are the main proponents of the "Rebbe is alive" theory.

7:22 PM  
Blogger AharonBenjamin said...

Mishichist, thank-you for starting this blog. I think that it is an important topic for discussion and clarification; however - why have you called my friend Ariel a 'psychotic'? Isn't this a violation of the laws of lashon hara?! Consider that even when the Rebbe Melech HaMoshiach Shlit'a would protest issues involving individuals, I have noticed that the Rebbe would make an effort often to NOT mention the name of the person - but rather just to clarify the issue and then PROTEST ABOUT THE ISSUE as opposed the individual. (See the sicha of the 10th of Teves 5751 as a clear example of the above).

Incidentally, did you know that R'Ariel, is the great-great-great... grandson of Rabbi Menachem Nachum of Cherobyl? How do you think that his saba-raba feels about his grandson being slandered in public, R'L???

B'hatzlocha rabbah with your blog (this was meant to be CONSTRUCTIVE critism)

- Yechi HaMelech HaMoshiach!

11:30 AM  
Blogger Rabbi Ariel Sokolovsky said...

Shalom uBrocha!
"They are definitely not psychotic. There is a guy named Ariel Sokolovsky, who posts on various sites. He is psychotic"

When they see me 770 Tzfatim call me "Rabbeinu Boston" and in general are very respectful if I'm as you say "psychotic" what would it make them in your eyes?:-)

1:31 PM  
Blogger Rabbi Ariel Sokolovsky said...

By the grace of G-d
Shalom Mishichist!
You have a typo in the link in this post " another one, http:// "

remove the 1st http://
Have a Gut Shabbos!
PS.You should make a post explaining how my writing is either heretical or psychotic instead of throwing empty insults.
Yechi Yehovah Tsidkeinu!

7:03 AM  
Blogger Dovid said...

Sokolovsky, it is a mitzvah to kill you, unless you do teshuvah first. You are worse than the worst. You disgrace G-d and you disgrace the Rebbe Mh"m. The Rebbe said that ANYONE WHO BREAKS THE LAW OF SHU"A BECAUSE THAT'S HOW HE UNDERSTOOD ME, DIDN'T UNDERSTAND ME! The Rebbe stands for Shu"a, and you break it in his name! Shame on you! You are ochez b'rosho shel melech...

2:55 PM  
Blogger Rabbi Ariel Sokolovsky said...

It's a mitzvah to love your fellow Jew and not to call him/her a heretic desrving of death penalty with no halachik basis.
Whoever does so publicly should make a public apology ...

9:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What is 'Shu"a' ?

5:11 PM  
Anonymous benji@israel said...

i persanally know relativs of Rebbe Menachem Nahum, they still keep latters with brahot that this Rabbe left for his sons, and this latters still do miracles..

4:59 AM  
Blogger Boris said...

hi, I have no idea is this was addressed or not, but its seems this guy covers all the points made,

7:17 AM  
Blogger jeff levenstein said...

watched the video---there is compelling and persuasively emphatic evidence, that the soldiers in the field have assumed complete ideological control of Chabad. Simultaneously, those "at headquarters" manifest with indecisive sterility. All is for good and "meant to be", however the joyous ,Daat, driven energy of the Rebbe's soldiers manifests in stark and sad contrast to the 'front men" who appear insipid and strangled by protocol. The Rebbe encapsulates and embodies unflinching courage. His troops are gearing off this infinite energy and bravery (the folly of Holiness) and the essence of the soul----the intellect of which is infinitely greater than the restrictive parameters of physical, external logic (rational/tree of knowledge intellect) Sent via my BlackBerry from Vodacom - let your email find you! see amazon/e books "the Rebbe is phsically alive in this world"

3:53 AM  

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