Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Challenge to Chabad

There is a ‘coincidental’ article on another Lubavitch website (there are so many it’s hard to keep track of all of them). It touts the success of Chabad’s Ohelei Torah’s program of ‘Chavruta’ study in Yeshiva University.

They claim it is successful from both the perspective of Chabad and YU.

In addition to the troubling aspects of this program that I rasied in yesterday’s post this one has some additional ones. They may seem like minor points but I don’t think they are so minor if you consider what I believe to be their goal: the spreading Chabad Chasidus to every segment of Jewish people.

First - there is the use of the Sephardic pronunciation of the Hebrew word Chavruta (study partner) instead of the Ashkenazic pronunciation Chavrusa which is their normal dialect. Many modern Orthodox Jews like those in YU are religious Zionists and prefer the Sephardic dialect since it is the one used in Israel.

Second - their mention of the famous friendship between Rav Soloveitchk and the Lubavitcher Rebbe that was displayed and filmed in its full glory when the Rav visited the Rebbe upon the 30th anniversary celebration of the Rebbe’s assumption of leadership in Chabad.

I believe that this project is designed to woo over to Chabad those who are vulnerable to their beckoning call because of their open minded Hashkafos.

Remember – this is a Chabad website that is ostensibly is speaking to other members of Chabad, Why mention Rav Soloveitchik? And why use the Sephardic pronunciation of the Hebrew words in their text? It is seems obvious to me that it is aimed at their YU Kiruv targets. They know those sites will be checked out.

From the article:

According to Meir Dubrawsky, who serves as the student coordinator for the Ohelei Torah side of the initiative, the sessions reflect the unifying power of Torah study across the Jewish world. “When we come together to learn,” Dubrawsky says, “we reinforce the bonds of unity between what are today two major forces in the Jewish community.”

OK. Let’s take them at their word. I left a comment at that site that in effect invited them to reciprocate.

If they truly believe that this is a collaboration… and a unifying experience between two major forces in the Jewish community - let them ask Yeshiva University to send a group of their rabbinic students to the Beis HaMedrash of Ohelei Torah to study the Hashkafos of Torah U’Mada. Or other legitimate but non Lubavitch Hashkafos like Hirschean Torah Im Derech Eretz. There are many texts available with which to do this. In depth. On a weekly basis.

They can start with f Dr. Lamm’s book on Torah U’Madda. They can also study from the works of Rav Soloveitchik whom they praise. Let them study ‘Halakhic Man’ and’ Lonely Man of Faith’. Let the Ohelei Torah boys learn about something other than Chabad Chasidus. Every week. “B’Chavruta”. Perhaps the Chabad students will even be motivated to pursue further study on their own.

This is my challenge to them. If they are truly serious about unity they will do this. If not, then one can only conclude that this is just a cynical attempt to spread Chabad Chasidus to the masses. And by masses I don’t just mean the unaffiliated secular Jew. I mean all Jews - including religious ones - anyone that will let them in.

I doubt they will publish my comment. As of this writing they haven’t. But even if they do, will they accept the challenge? Are there snowballs in hell?