Wednesday, June 04, 2008

A Battle Royal

Something unusual is happening on this blog. Important comments are being made in a post about Lubavitch Messianism written way back on Sunday, May 25th and is still going strong. Comments on older posts often go on for a long time, as did for example in my series on Skokie. But this one is more than a discussion about historical events. It is a passionate debate over an essential element in Jewish theology - one that Lubavitch interprets in ways that resemble an essential element of Christianity – the second coming a resurrected Messiah.

This is a debate that has implications for the future of Lubavitch and how the rest of Orthodoxy will view them. As a fervently religious group who is meticulous in their observance they are the only ones who promote as legitimate the possibility of a doctrine long associated with Christianity.

This is a doctrine that Lubavitch most certainly would have rejected during the lifetime of the Rebbe. I can only imagine the response of a Lubavitcher to the suggestion – while the Rebbe was still alive - that the Messiah will be a righteous Jew who died and then will be resurrected as the Messiah in a second coming. They would certainly have opposed this as vehemently as they now defend it.

It is a battle royal. It is between those who defend resurrectionist Messianism and those who reject it. Some of the protagonists are quite knowledgeable. It is a fascinating debate and should not be overlooked just because it is an old thread. I therefore bring it to the attention of my readers.