Sunday, January 28, 2007

The New Christians?

Once again I am forced to write on a subject that is extremely painful to me. It is one that that has become a lightening rod of controversy in our time. And it encompasses hundreds of thousands of religious Jews. Some would say that these Jews are amongst the most Medakdek B’ Mitzvos of all segments of observant Jewry. I am, of course, talking about Lubavitch.

I have written many times about Lubavitch and their over emphasis on their deceased Rebbe. I believe that this over-empahsis is the direct cause of all of their problems, of which there are many. But all pale in comparison to their biggest problem, that of the rampant Meshichism in their midst.

The mainstream leadership claims that they are anti Meshichist. And it is true that there have been and continues to be major fights between the Lubavitch ‘antis’ and the Meshichists. In some instances there has even been violence between them. But I have always maintained that the truth is more along the lines of degree. That is - whether or not that belief should be publicized or internalized and kept secret.

The one thing that there seemed to be universal condemnation of is the idea of the Rebbe as a god. For the most part even the Meshichists condemned that. This is what makes what I encountered today so upsetting. And it made me angrier than I’ve ever been about Lubavitch. Here is what happened:

My Daf Yomi Shiur is in the mainstream Lubavitch Shul. It is so anti Meshichist that they just about physically threw out the Meshichisten among them. Those Moshichisten actually opened up their own Shul - Beis Moshiach - because of it.

There are also two Lubavitch girls high schools here. The Meshichsit high school opened up the same way the Beis Moshiach did. The leaders of the mainstream Lubavitch girls high school fired their Meshichist principal and she opened up a Meshichist branch. It has been very successful.

I walked into the Shiur room this morning and saw that the mainstream girls high school had worked on a project the night before. I noticed centerpieces there apparently for some kind of upcoming Seudah. They were made out of dolls, each one representing some aspect of the Rebbe. Table four had a centerpiece doll dressed up like a king. Here is what the caption on the bottom of that centerpiece said:

“A Jewish King is Atzmus U’Mehus Melubash B’Guf, the representation of Hashem in a body in this world yet He is the head of the Jewish body, completely given over to the people and their physical needs. The Rebbe, our Melech, is the ‘memutza hamichaber’ the connecting force, between Hashem and us. How do you like that? Hashem in a body!”

Remember, this is the mainstream anti-Meshichist school. And the Melave Malka was held in the mainstream anti Meshichist Shul.

God in a body?! I spoke the the Shul Rabbi, Rabbi Baruch Hertz, about it and he was visibly shaken. He told me he would correct the situation and that this is merely a mistake the girls made in understanding 'Atzmus U’Mehus Melubash B’Guf'... a Chasidic concept.

Is their anymore room for doubt about the Christian nature of Lubavitcher belief about their Rebbe? I know the Chasidic theology behind this statement. It is the idea that a human being has the ability to approach Godliness in his life through his deeds. The greater an individual is in this respect the more Kedusha (holiness) he achieves and the closer he gets to Godliness. But this is what happens when Rebbe worship is taken to the extreme that Lubavitch takes it. It crosses the line into Avodah Zarah. MaMaSh!