Monday, July 28, 2008

The Pervasiveness of Meshichism in Lubavitch

Last week I posted about a Lubavitch Songbook that was heavily Meshichst. Yet it was identified only as a Jewish Songbook. It seems that these songs are still in use as was indicated by a recently published bencher used at a Lubavitch wedding.

Rabbi Dr. David Berger has responded with a comment of his own. Dr. Berger is in the forefront of confronting this issue and has written a quitessentuial book reprinted in Hebrew and more recently in English in paperback form describing in great detail the Meshichsit problems inherent in Lubavitch - and lamenting the insufficient attention being paid to it by the larger Orthodox world.

Considering his important contribution to this issue I have decided to publish his comment as an independent post rather than having it get lost in a week old thread.

Dr. Berger’s words:

Note that the passage reading

"Redemption has arrived
That’s what the Rebbe prophesied
Moshiach has come
It’s already begun.

The Rebbe King Moshiach
Walking right into shul
Smiling at his kinderlach
Cheering on their song.

The world will gather passionately
To the Rebbe in 770
In the Bais Hamikdosh Hashlishi
We know it won’t be long.

Yet we believe in you with perfect faith…"

is quoted as part of a longer quotation in my Hebrew book (pp. 120-121) as well as in the new Introduction to the paperback of the English that appeared a few months ago (pp. xxxiii-xxxiv). I noted there that the poem appeared in a collection of "Rebbe Songs" in the Song Book distributed at a Shabbaton of Beis Rivkah High School at the Homowack Hotel in early 2002. That high school is of course quintessentially mainstream.

The desperate efforts of some of the commenters here to argue that these songs represent some peripheral position to be found in peripheral institutions are belied by this point. I am of course less than delighted that information that I provided in both books now appears as a great hiddush even to people who follow this issue carefully, but ultimately it is a good thing that the information has emerged.

Nothing will persuade diehard Lubavitch apologists, who are beyond reasoned discourse on this matter; still, other readers might come to recognize the pervasiveness of these beliefs