Monthly Archives: September 2004

A Stark Comparison

Famine_cover_a

On the Responsibility to Save Lives

". . . [W]hen children suffer, and we know about them, we are always responsible for what is happening to them. To feed one child and to give hope to one parent is already to raise our voice against despair, against hunger, against injustice, inequality and humiliation."

Elie Wiesel

• • • • •

Shirking That Responsibility

". . . You demand to know why Chabad-Lubavitch representatives (“shluchim”) are not doing anything or are not doing enough, related to this problem [of Ethiopian Jews and the Famine] that you are very concerned with . . . You should know that Chabad-Lubavitch representatives have a specific mission assigned to them, which is to spread Judaism in the communities designated to them. Congressional resolutions* and the like are not part of those duties [even though those same rabbis regularly lobbied Congress and had successfully worked to have the Rebbe’s birthday declared "Education Day, USA" in the Rebbe’s honor] . . . your [requests for help] … do not fit in with the activities and duties of Chabad-Lubavitch institutions or representatives. . ."

The Lubavitcher Rebbe, Menachem Mendel Schneerson, January 16, 1984, at the height of the Ethiopian Famine.

*See here for the Congressional Resolution in question.

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Filed under Chabad and Ethiopian Jews, Ethiopian Jews

Leave It All To God The Rebbe?

As you read this piece by Hillel Halkin, recall that the theology written about here is the theology of Chabad, with perhaps one important exception — Chabad leaves it all to the Rebbe:

Yo’eli didn’t try to argue with that. He couldn’t because he had no arguments. He still had his grin, though. He said, “Your problem is that you have no faith. If you did, you’d leave it to God.”

Now I was really aghast.

I still am. Had Yo’eli said to me, “We’ll put all the Palestinians in trucks and drive them across the Jordan,” or “We’ll sterilize the entire Palestinian adult population,” I would have been less shocked. I would have considered such proposals insane, but their insanity would at least have had the simulacrum of rationality, the madman’s recognition of the need to think logically. Leaving it to God doesn’t have even that. It’s irrationality presented as a political program. . . .

Read it all here.

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Filed under Chabad Theology, Haredim, Israel

Leave It All To God The Rebbe?

As you read this piece by Hillel Halkin, recall that the theology written about here is the theology of Chabad, with perhaps one important exception — Chabad leaves it all to the Rebbe:

Yo’eli didn’t try to argue with that. He couldn’t because he had no arguments. He still had his grin, though. He said, “Your problem is that you have no faith. If you did, you’d leave it to God.”

Now I was really aghast.

I still am. Had Yo’eli said to me, “We’ll put all the Palestinians in trucks and drive them across the Jordan,” or “We’ll sterilize the entire Palestinian adult population,” I would have been less shocked. I would have considered such proposals insane, but their insanity would at least have had the simulacrum of rationality, the madman’s recognition of the need to think logically. Leaving it to God doesn’t have even that. It’s irrationality presented as a political program. . . .

Read it all here.

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Filed under Chabad Theology, Haredim, Israel

Leave It All To God The Rebbe?

As you read this piece by Hillel Halkin, recall that the theology written about here is the theology of Chabad, with perhaps one important exception — Chabad leaves it all to the Rebbe:

Yo’eli didn’t try to argue with that. He couldn’t because he had no arguments. He still had his grin, though. He said, “Your problem is that you have no faith. If you did, you’d leave it to God.”

Now I was really aghast.

I still am. Had Yo’eli said to me, “We’ll put all the Palestinians in trucks and drive them across the Jordan,” or “We’ll sterilize the entire Palestinian adult population,” I would have been less shocked. I would have considered such proposals insane, but their insanity would at least have had the simulacrum of rationality, the madman’s recognition of the need to think logically. Leaving it to God doesn’t have even that. It’s irrationality presented as a political program. . . .

Read it all here.

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Filed under Chabad Theology, Haredim, Israel

Leave It All To God The Rebbe?

As you read this piece by Hillel Halkin, recall that the theology written about here is the theology of Chabad, with perhaps one important exception — Chabad leaves it all to the Rebbe:

Yo’eli didn’t try to argue with that. He couldn’t because he had no arguments. He still had his grin, though. He said, “Your problem is that you have no faith. If you did, you’d leave it to God.”

Now I was really aghast.

I still am. Had Yo’eli said to me, “We’ll put all the Palestinians in trucks and drive them across the Jordan,” or “We’ll sterilize the entire Palestinian adult population,” I would have been less shocked. I would have considered such proposals insane, but their insanity would at least have had the simulacrum of rationality, the madman’s recognition of the need to think logically. Leaving it to God doesn’t have even that. It’s irrationality presented as a political program. . . .

Read it all here.

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Filed under Chabad Theology, Haredim, Israel

1943 & 1983: A Comparison

In 1943, the Union of Grand Rabbis and Agudas HaRabbonim issued the following plea calling on all rabbis to attend the Rabbis March on Washington. In part, it reads:

The Union of Grand Rabbis, as well as the Union of Orthodox Rabbis, appeals to support the action of the Emergency Committee to Save the Jewish People of Europe as a Redemption of Captives [pidyon sh’vuim]. It is important for the aim of rescuing the remnant of Israel in Europe that all Rabbis be present in Washington to add weight to the manifestation of the Rabbis, the Grand Rabbis and the leaders.

As mentioned in an earlier post, it seems that no senior Chabad rabbis from the Lubavitch community of Crown Heights attended.

The Rebbe and his brother-in-law the Rashag did not attend. The Freidiker Rebbe also did not attend. (While it must be assumed that the Freidiker Rebbe’s illness prevented his attendance, it did not prevent him from sending representatives of note. Yet he did not do so.)

Letterad_hoc_rabbinic_committee_2

Proclamation2

Proclamation

Cr_5

Now, let’s look at the 1983 letter from the Ad Hoc Rabbinic Committee to Save Ethiopian Jews. It calls for support for House Resolution 107 (Senate Concurrent Resolution 55), asks that petitions that do so be circulated in synagogues, and includes an ad placed by the above-mentioned Emergency Committee to Save the Jewish People of Europe in the New York Times on February 16, 1943.

The Ad Hoc Committee’s letter is signed by Reform, Conservative and Orthodox rabbis, including Rav Moshe Feinstein, Rav Yosef Ber Soleveitchick Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshiva University, Rabbi Norman Lamm, President of Yeshiva University, and Rabbi Marvin Hier of the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

There were no Lubavitch signatories. Chabad did not support the House Resolution. In the Rebbe’s letter on the rescue of Ethiopian Jews, he ridicules US Government involvement in rescue and refuses to support the House Resolution because such support is not in the job description of Lubavitch.

The 1943 Rabbis March led to the rescue of 250,000 Jews from the Nazis. The 1983 Letter led to US backing for and involvement in the rescues that saved more than 25,000 Ethiopian Jews.

The Rebbe’s letter on the rescue of Ethiopian Jews can be read here. The letters he was responding to can be read here. Please click on the above thumbnails to read the other documents.

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Filed under Chabad and Ethiopian Jews, Chabad and the Holocaust, Chabad History, Chabad Theology, Chabad: Rebbes and the Abdication of Responsibility, Ethiopian Jews, History

1943 & 1983: A Comparison

In 1943, the Union of Grand Rabbis and Agudas HaRabbonim issued the following plea calling on all rabbis to attend the Rabbis March on Washington. In part, it reads:

The Union of Grand Rabbis, as well as the Union of Orthodox Rabbis, appeals to support the action of the Emergency Committee to Save the Jewish People of Europe as a Redemption of Captives [pidyon sh’vuim]. It is important for the aim of rescuing the remnant of Israel in Europe that all Rabbis be present in Washington to add weight to the manifestation of the Rabbis, the Grand Rabbis and the leaders.

As mentioned in an earlier post, it seems that no senior Chabad rabbis from the Lubavitch community of Crown Heights attended.

The Rebbe and his brother-in-law the Rashag did not attend. The Freidiker Rebbe also did not attend. (While it must be assumed that the Freidiker Rebbe’s illness prevented his attendance, it did not prevent him from sending representatives of note. Yet he did not do so.)

Letterad_hoc_rabbinic_committee_2

Proclamation2

Proclamation

Cr_5

Now, let’s look at the 1983 letter from the Ad Hoc Rabbinic Committee to Save Ethiopian Jews. It calls for support for House Resolution 107 (Senate Concurrent Resolution 55), asks that petitions that do so be circulated in synagogues, and includes an ad placed by the above-mentioned Emergency Committee to Save the Jewish People of Europe in the New York Times on February 16, 1943.

The Ad Hoc Committee’s letter is signed by Reform, Conservative and Orthodox rabbis, including Rav Moshe Feinstein, Rav Yosef Ber Soleveitchick Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshiva University, Rabbi Norman Lamm, President of Yeshiva University, and Rabbi Marvin Hier of the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

There were no Lubavitch signatories. Chabad did not support the House Resolution. In the Rebbe’s letter on the rescue of Ethiopian Jews, he ridicules US Government involvement in rescue and refuses to support the House Resolution because such support is not in the job description of Lubavitch.

The 1943 Rabbis March led to the rescue of 250,000 Jews from the Nazis. The 1983 Letter led to US backing for and involvement in the rescues that saved more than 25,000 Ethiopian Jews.

The Rebbe’s letter on the rescue of Ethiopian Jews can be read here. The letters he was responding to can be read here. Please click on the above thumbnails to read the other documents.

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Filed under Chabad and Ethiopian Jews, Chabad and the Holocaust, Chabad History, Chabad Theology, Chabad: Rebbes and the Abdication of Responsibility, Ethiopian Jews, History