Guest Post: Kopul Rosen & The Rebbe – Myth Refuted

Rabbi Jeremy Rosen has sent in the following article about his late father, Kopul Rosen’s, z’l, relationship with the Rebbe. The comments in square brackets [ ] are Rabbi Rosen’s corrections to Rabbi Tuvia Bolton’s article as published by Chabad in Israel. They have been indented for clarity and readability.

My comments? Another Chabad myth destroyed:

Chabad Fantasy
By Rabbi Jeremy Rosen

The Lubavitcher Rebbe was undeniably a great man and arguably the greatest Jew of his generation. Many of his followers have done outstanding work around the globe. But sadly as with every large organisation they have their crooks, their swindlers and their liars. Amongst their failings is an exaggerated tendency to maximise miracles the Rebbe performed (while ignoring his limitations) and frankly lying to suit their own propaganda.

For many years there has been a story circulating that my father who died in 1962 was promised he would be cured by the Rebbe provided he did not tell anyone. But he did and that’s why he died. These stories caused my late mother as great deal of distress and at one stage she actually planned to take legal action. I have just had it brought to my attention that this dishonest story is still being disseminated. You can find a copy of this Chillul HaShem here  HYPERLINK "" .

The facts of the situation are that in the autumn of 1961 my late father (spelled Kopul) was diagnosed with a particularly virulent form of Lukaemia and he was being kept alive by regular blood transfusions. The Doctors described his condition as terminal. Initially he kept on repeating that he was in the hands of God, not fallible human doctors, but as he deteriorated his initial optimism began to wane.  An old friend Rabbi Laizer Spector wnt with him to visit the Lubavitcher Rebbe in New York. (My uncle – who had been going regularly to see the Rebbe before these events – had gone before my father.) My father was tremendously impressed by the Rebbe who encouraged him to devote his remaining time to preparing himself to meet his Maker. He suggested my father grow his beard full, wear a gartel when he prayed and study the Tanya daily. The visit certainly gave my father a lot of spiritual comfort. When he returned he wrote many letters to friends and pupils telling them that he was nearing his end but facing it with confidence. Things deteriorated of course and in the winter he went to New York again for a final visit to the Rebbe. He kept very detailed notes of both visits so we have written evidence apart from his own memory.

The Rebbe reassured him that he would live to dance at his daughter’s wedding (she was two at the time). One can argue whether this was honest or not. Let us assume he was just trying to give him courage or speaking mystically. But medically there was no chance of recovery. He died less than two months later.

Although I have never joined Chabad, when I was a rabbi in Glasgow I arranged for Chaim Jacobs to come as the Chabad emissary and indeed he was employed by my Synagogue, Giffnock, until he could get on to his own two feet. The Rebbe blessed my first marriage and was instrumental in my returning to Carmel as Headmaster. I made several trips to New York to see the Rebbe and to get Chabad teachers to come to Carmel . But no, I am a fellow traveller rather than a believer.

All this is by way of introduction. Here is the body of this regurgitated myth:

‘The scene is London 1963.

[My father died in 1962.]

Three religious bearded Jews are sitting around a table and one, a noted Rabbi and community leader by the name of Rabbi Koppel (sic) Rosen was weeping. Usually he was known almost as well for his disdain toward the Chabad Chassidim

[Strange. When I was in Beer Yaakov yeshiva in 1957 he came to visit and together we went to Kfar Chabad to meet some friends of his. He was responsible for getting Lord Wolfson to fund the building of Lubavitch House in Stamford Hill in the 1950’s and he was a very old friend of Reb Laizer Spector, ZL one of the main early supporters of Chabad in London who actually went with him to the Rebbe the first time. My father was in contact with the Rebbe long before, as letters exchanged between them in the fifties on various issues attest. Incidentally although my late father was sent to Mir Yeshivah and became a great admirer of Rav Yerucham Levovitz ZL after whom I am named and the Mussar movement, he was actually born into a family of Radomsker Chassidim and the Chasidic atmosphere was a far more formative aspect of home life than the Lithuanian.]

as he was for his erudition.

[Whose erudition? His own? He lived for Torah.]

Whenever there was an opportunity to belittle or even vilify Chabad he took it.

[Really? I’d like to hear one person say he ever heard my father belittle Chabad.]

But now it seems that things had changed.

Several weeks later Rabbi Rosen was standing before the Rebbe. It had all come about so suddenly, he had always shuddered in rupulsion (sic) at the name Chabad

[Oh no not that lie again!]

and now it was so obvious that the Rebbe was unequaled in holiness and knowledge that he was actually shaking with excitement.  But the Rebbe wasn’t enthusiastic about his idea of becoming a Chassid. "Chassid?" he answered, "I am willing to accept you as a partner.  But not a Chassid."

[My father kept very detailed notes of his meeting and only the first part of this about being a partner can be found amongst them.]

Rabbi Rosen stayed for over a week in Brooklyn

[He has got the two visits confused and time scales wrong]

and every day he felt better and better, in some ways better than ever before in his life.  For the first time the hatred

[Hatred? What hatred? Of whom? My father never bore grudges nor hated anyone. Chabad? Them why had he been helping them for so long?]

he had always carried in his heart was gone. That Shabbat he attended the ‘Farbrengen’ (gathering) of the Rebbe. Rabbi Rosen was elated.  After the Farbringen he told everyone  he met of the amazing miracle that was happening to him;. how just reading the Tanya and seeing the Rebbe completely cured him of the worst disease and made him young again.

[There was no cure, no remission. But I agree he did feel tremendous spiritual elation from being with the Rebbe.]

When the Shabbat was over he called home and told his wife to advertise the miracle until everyone knew.

[Rubbish, confirmed by my mother.]

Rabbi Rosen never felt better in his life.

[He was on constant blood transfusions!]

He exclaimed that he was healthy and he felt it would last for ever. "I’ll begin by telling everyone about my miraculous recovery!" He exclaimed enthusiastically.

[His letters, notes and conversations say nothing about this at all.]

But the  Rebbe emphatically stopped him. "No! You must tell no one!

[Complete piffle.]

But it was too late.  Rabbi Rosin (sic) had already advertised

[Strange that none of his family knew about this myth.]

After a few months he contracted a cold which developed complications

[He had leukaemia!]

and, as the Rebbe forsaw (sic), he passed away.

Today, said the Rebbe, we should advertise to ALL the world that the time for Moshiach is here!  Soon all the sick will be permanently healed, war and hatred will cease to exist and eventually even the dead will rise!  It depends on us to do all we can to bring….Moshiach now!!!’

Boobah Maisehs and lies will not bring the Moshiach NOW!!

Frankly if he/they can invent this, then every story they tell becomes suspect. I just hope someone of honesty and truth in Chabad sees this and puts an end to it for the sake of their good name.

UPDATE #1, 2-21-06: Rabbi Ariel Sokolovsky sent in scans of the Rabbi Kopul Rosen story as originally published by Lubavitch in England. The story is told by Rabbi Rosen’s wife, Bella. As is easily seen, the story has little in common with the myth later created and circulated by Chabad.

Please click on each image below for an enlargement. All are taken from "Challenge: An Encounter with Lubavitch Chabad," published by the Lubavitch Foundation of Great Britain, 1970.




UPDATE #2, 2-24-06: Rabbi Bolton has "corrected" his version of the story – by lying even more. As I noted in a new post above:

The publication of Rabbi Jeremy Rosen’s expose´of
Chabad’s twisting and exaggeration of his father’s story has drawn a
lot of attention inside Chabad. And the author of Chabad’s most
deceitful version, Rabbi Tuvia Bolton of Kfar Chabad, Israel, has taken
to promising at least some readers that he would correct and update his
version. One such reader emailed me with a link to Rabbi Bolton’s "correction,"
which turns out to be an edited version of the story that replaces
Rabbi Kopul Rosen’s name with the anonymous "Rabbi J.," and that keeps
many of the lies of the original version intact. And, Rabbi Bolton
nowhere mentions his errors or publicly apologizes for lying about
Rabbi Rosen’s relationship with the Rebbe, and his passing.

How can anyone trust anything Chabad publishes or says when its rabbis lie like this?

[Here’s a PDF of Rabbi Bolton’s "corrected" version: Download tuvia_bolton.pdf]

UPDATE #3, 2-24-06: Rabbi Jeremy Rosen writes in this week’s Something Jewish:

I find it fascinating that the Gospel of Mark in the
New Testament contains a similar story of a man being warned not to
reveal a miraculous healing, but publicizing it anyway. It seems that
it’s not just the Second Coming that some people in Chabad are
borrowing from Christianity! If people can invent nonsense like this to
bolster their belief systems, then every story they tell becomes
suspect. Myths and lies certainly won’t help bring ‘Moshiach Now’!

was my mother’s Yahrzeit this week. Out of respect for her memory, let
alone my father’s, zl, I hope someone in Chabad has the integrity and
authority to put an end to this for the sake of its own good name.

Kopul Rosen 2, 3 & 4.



Filed under Chabad History, Guest Posts

31 responses to “Guest Post: Kopul Rosen & The Rebbe – Myth Refuted

  1. ibn tznunya

    This disturbing tendency towards fantastical tales (within the entire religous community) always freaked me out “a bit”. Kinda makes it hard to take the whole proposition seriously when one is witness to such intelllectual dishonesty, or delusionment. I recall my (secular,ivy league educated) families reactions when I used to lay on ’em Talmudic whoppers. Thank G-d that I got out.

  2. Bruce Lokeinsky

    See how myths are made?
    Even in the age of mass communication, telephones, telegraphs, recorded history, photographs.

  3. ma rabbi

    This proves nothing. This only shows that one person Rabbi B. did not do his research carefully. There are hundreds of miracle stories about the Rebbe. Some of which I know the people involved personally. I can also attest to sevral miracle stories about Reb Aron of Belz and the Chazon Ish, where I spoke to the people myself.It comes down to this. Do you believe in the power of Tzadikim to perform miracles. I have seen enough to make me a believer.

  4. By the grace of G-d
    Shalom uBrocha!
    In the book Challenge an Encounter with Lubavitch Chabad published by the Lubavitch Foundation of Great Britain there is the story of Rabbi Kapul Rosen and his picture the story there is authored by his widow Bella Rosenit’s much more similar to what her son is saying than the version of the story as retold by Rabbi Bolton or the one I read in “Lubavitcher Rebbe’s Miracles” book published in the early 90s.
    If you want to publish it I can scan you the story from the Challenge it’s 3 pages.
    Probably like with many other Chassidic stories someone exaggerated it while retelling it and it ended up being retold that way.
    With respect and blessing.
    Rabbi Ariel Sokolovsky
    Yechi Yahweh Tsidkeinu!

  5. Dovid

    Darn, I really liked that story… Oh well, this teaches us to not trust a story until you have reliable documentation that it is true.

  6. rebeljew

    “This proves nothing.”

    It proves that just repeating miracle stories is not harmeless or comforting to everyone and may be distressing to people that we are required to comfort. Here, an entire rechilus and the opposite of hakaras hatov was formed around a supporter of Chabad, in order to amplify this story. In the end, his family just wanted everyone to know that he never hated Chabad nor the Rebbe.

  7. Michael

    Well said rebeljew!

  8. TzudikD

    Every leader is surrounded by myths and tales; secular celebrities have their stories, the pope had his. The only thing these tales prove, by way of the sheer absurdity and imagination involved, is the “everything from the top is truth, no questions asked” policy.

    The stories we were told growing up, both about the Rebbe and previous Rebbe’s were merely Jewish Disney caliber tales. Unfortunately, unlike Snow White, sane adults continue to believe it right through puberty and on itno adulthood.

    And not necessarily this story in particular; the Besht flying in a wagon, etc.

  9. concerned Jew

    Hassidim are well-known for telling all types of baloney stories about their leaders, with scant (if any) regard for their truthfulness. It is not a new occurrence, but something that has gone on since the early days of that movement. They think that it’s okay, as long as it makes people believe in their sect and leaders. It’s part of their propaganda effort. This was acknowledged and strongly criticized by no less than the previous Satmar Rebbe, R. Joel Teitelbaum. While those in the know are aware of this tendency, some naive people swallow such nonsense, hook, line and sinker. Unfortunately, what a great man like him saw as a very serious problem, is seen a mitzvah by many Hassidim who don’t reach his shoelaces.

  10. Ariel,

    Send it to me and I’ll post it.


  11. Benayahu ben Yehoyada

    They think that it’s okay, as long as it makes people believe in their sect and leaders. It’s part of their propaganda effort. This was acknowledged and strongly criticized by no less than the previous Satmar Rebbe, R. Joel Teitelbaum. ……what a great man like him saw as a very serious problem, is seen a mitzvah by many Hassidim who don’t reach his shoelaces.

    So true , Reb “concerned Jew” so true ….
    This posting epitomises more than any other
    this terrible tendency in Chabad . At times it seems , that in part of their education process , Chabad rabbis , take courses in deceipt as they would take on Tanya .
    With them , it’s a science and a discipline .

  12. Benayahu ben Yehoyada

    Rabbi ?!! Ariel Sokolovsky
    a couple of stories on the minim :
    Chullin 2:22-23 tells how Rabbi Eleazar ben Damma was bitten by a snake. A man named Jacob came to heal him in the name of Yeshu ben Pandera . Rabbi Ishmael tells Rabbi Eleazar that Jacob is not allowed to heal; Rabbi Eleazar insists that it is allowed, but dies before he is able to provide proof. Rabbi Ishmael comments that Rabbi Eleazar is fortunate to have died before breaking the law, and quotes Mishlei 10:8, “He who breaks a fence will be bitten by a snake.” Typically, Jews are allowed to break the law in order to save a life; here Rabbi Ishmael teaches that one should rather die than traffic with minim.)
    Chullin 2:24 tells how Rabbi Eliezer was once arrested and charged with minuth. When the chief judge (hegemon) interrogated him, the rabbi answered that he “trusted the judge.” Although Rabbi Eliezer was referring to God, the judge interpreted him to be referring to the judge himself, and freed the Rabbi. But why Rabbi Eliezer was arrested in the first place ? Rabbi Akiva suggests that perhaps one of the minim had spoken a word of minuth to him and that it had pleased him. Rabbi Eliezer recalls that this was indeed the case, he had met Jacob of the town of Sechania in the streets of Sepphoris who spoke to him a word of minuth in the name of Yeshu ben Pandera, which had pleased him.

  13. PishPosh

    Chevre u work yourselves up about miracle working Rabbis and their great sagacity stories for what? Misnagid Jews have had sport with these type of Rabbis and stories for centuries. Wise Men of Chelm anyone??? Hershel Ostropolier?
    So what if a bunch of detached from reality nebishes think its true, if it werent for people like these psychiatrists would be out of a job. And some of these stories do make for a good chuckle today when modernized to fit current circumstances.
    How many times traveling have you wished that you had a flying cart like the Besht to avoid airport waiting?

  14. Dover Eimes Bilvavoy.

    Pish Posh
    while what you are saying is right ,
    meanwhile , these people , hijacked our religion and traded it for idolatry .
    A nice criteria we have in the Orthodox world when we reflect on the other denominations , is wether they will succeed in retaining their grand children within the fold.
    This question , is as aplicable if not more so with Chabad , not only their grand children , but also ours .

  15. Abe

    Someone tell Max of Xlubi fame (sic) about this immediately.

  16. Anonymous

    I’m impressed about how much of the story is true… (partner piece etc.) Most stories in Kfar Chabad etc. are 90% though some are based on truth lioke this one. See Mondshein’s series on Oh veheyisem neki’im: send it to Bolton…

  17. Isa

    I wonder why Chabad didn’t have the Rebbe ‘walk on water’ or why they didn’t cure a cripple here and there? Easy enough to fake too! How about a wedding feast and the caterer didn’t bring enough food and the Rebbe ‘makes’ tons more food nor only to feed the guests but poor in the town etc. Easy to fake.
    Ever hear the Rebbe miracle (lie) about the Rebbe saving Slovenia from being invaded by Yogoslav (Serb) ? Lies all lies. The Serb forces would have to cross Croatia,lies lies lies.
    Here is a ‘good’ story
    A rabbi in my congregation of old told me about one of the Rosh ha Yeshiva from his American Yeshiva (in Ohio I think)It is about how the guy (Rosh Yeshiva) that during the war was a train stoker (feeds coal) on a Soviet train except this guy gets ‘sick’ on Shabbat, gets ‘sick’ next Shabbat, the third time the KGB comes after him but he escapes by swimming across a frigid river. nice story huh??
    Except the train was delayed three times, the train is carrying needed war supplies to fight off the nazi hun. Question: how many days was the Soviet army delayed from liberating the death camps. How many Jews died because the Soviet army was delayed?
    This Rosh Yeshiva is no hero for observing the Sabbath during a war- this guy has blood on his hands.
    This Rebbe stories are nothing more that warmed over stories that Kim Il Sung and his son Kim Jong Il would tell to the masses.

  18. Dovid

    Though I noticed that the Rebbe himself didin’t often say many of these miracle stories, the stories the Rebbe told were stories to learn a lesson in Avodas Hashem. The miracle stories are usually from the Chassidim and they change each time it’s repeated.

  19. Dovid

    I’ve been doing my part in telling people this story is made up…

  20. Isa –

    Your email is bouncing. Please send me your new address, etc.

    Thanks …

  21. Isa

    I get your E-mails at least time to time.
    I had a friend who had trouble sending E-mail especially with an attachment. In the title of the attachment he used several hyphen ” – ”
    Then in the subject area heading of the E Mail he used a slash ” / ”
    Once he got rid of the symbols then the E mails went through. I post this here as this is good info that everybody can use.

  22. Well, that certainly cleans up that legend. To defend Rabbi Tuvia Bolton’s jusy a bit, I’ll mention that I heard this story (rather elabrotley and dramaticly I might add), more then five years ago. While the story has been streched almost beyond recognition, it cerainly wasn’t Rabbi Bolton who has benn spreading it. He probably just made a dramatization of what he heard.

  23. Shoshana Sloman

    It’s one thing to glorify one’s rebbe. It’s another to do it by exploiting someone else, distorting events from their life. But it’s quite another again to speak loshon hara about someone as part of the attempt. Such a thing can’t bring honor or glory to anyone.

  24. I like the original story provided by Ariel Sokolovsky better than the myth. When memories of the Rebbe, z”l, starts getting mired in dubious miraculous accounts, I think it has the affect of making the movement less credible and more fantastic…which appeals in all the wrong sort of ways to all the wrong people (i.e. messianists).

    Why do people need to turn the Rebbe into a Chassid version of Benny Hinn? Whether he was 100% on all the time, he left a body of work and lives touched that speak for themselves.

  25. I think the root of this problem is the Rebbe himself. This exaggeration took place while the Rebbe was alive, and he did not put a stop to it. In fact, he sometimes took an active role, embellishing his academic career and other achievements.

  26. Shoshana

    I think it is interesting that the myth version is similar to stories in the NT, such as that described in Mark 1:44-45, in which a man is healed and warned not to tell anyone, but publicizes it anyway.

  27. Good point! Why do you think this is?

  28. Shoshana

    That’s hard to answer because I don’t honestly understand the point of the version R’ Bolton tells. WHY is there no longer a restriction on publicizing miracles, if the Rebbe said there was before?

    But, from a different perspective, this is not the only example where some Chabadniks seem to be mimicking Christianity. Maybe it is an unconscious desire to emulate, even trump, the dominant religion?

  29. Paul Freedman

    Brian, Ariel *is* a Messianist. Check out his website.

  30. Shoshana

    Well, Rabbi Bolton’s “changed” version of the story is online today. He has not retracted one bit of the myth of the miracle cure, itself. And although he admitted previously that his mistake had been attributing hatred of Chabad to Rabbi Rosen, he only seems to have removed the most extreme statements about that, leaving several other comments to that effect in place. However, he has removed Rabbi Rosen’s name from the story, substituting “Rabbi J”!

    He also said he would put an apology in this week’s parsha mailing. I do not receive his mailing. Can anyone tell me if he did apologize and what he said?

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