Chabad Messianism


Rabbi Gil Student notes the above Chabad messianic poster for a 11 Nissan concert in honor of the birthday of the "Rebbe Melech HaMashiach" (The Rebbe King Messiah).  Below the photograph of the Rebbe in white type it reads: "Yechi adonaynu moreynu v’rabbaynu melech hamoshiach l’olam vo’ed!" (Long live our master our teacher our rabbi king messiah forever and ever!). David Klinghoffer would have you believe Chabad messianism does not exist. Here is absolute proof that Klinghoffer is wrong.

UPDATE: A commenter on Hirhurim notes the root of the problem:

I think many people here are completely missing the point, as is common in any discussion about Chabad.

The heresy in Chabad has very little to do with the Messianism. As many people have correctly pointed out, believing that a dead Rebbe is the Messiah is little more than stupidity and foolishness.

Most Lubavitchers are heretics simply because they beleive that the Rebbe is omnipotent and omniscient; as such they believe that they should direct their prayers and supplications to him. (As someone who spent most of his life in Chabad schools and camps, I am in an excellent position to judge the beliefs of your average Lubavitcher.)

The source of this belief is the Rebbe himself. He writes (Likutei Sichos volume two, pages 510-511), "How can one make a request of a rebbe? Isn’t that surely a problem of speaking to God through an intermediary?"

His answer is shocking. He prefaces it by explaining that the concept that he is about to express is a novel one, an idea not found in other books of Chassidus.

He answers as follows, "One cannot ask a question from the problem of an intermediary since ‘Atzmus u’mehus alein vi er hat zich areingeshtalt in a guf’"

"Atzmus u’mehus alein vi er hat zich areingeshtalt in a guf!" For those non-Yiddish speakers, the Rebbe says that a rebbe is simply "the essence of God enclothed in a body!"

There’s your kefirah.

(It is also worthwhile to see what the Rebbe writes in Igros Kodesh, vol. 3 pp. 419-420 about a Lubavitchers relationship with his rebbe.

"A person must, from time to time, think about himself and his position and situation, but the rest of the time it’s better to think about the Rebbe, how he is constantly with his mekusharim (those with whom the Rebbe is bound, i.e. his Chassidim, and how he leads them through every step.")

David | 03.31.06 – 1:38 am | #




Filed under Chabad Theology

44 responses to “Chabad Messianism

  1. Not Going Back

    We must give the benefit of the doubt to Yaakov Shveki and the other singer listed as performers. They are shomrei Shabbos. But are they aware that they are appearing as part of a cult event? perhaps they have consutled proper Rabbinic authorities and maybe for parnosa it is permitted.

    But if anyone knows these men they should be informed,

  2. Harbona

    benefit of the doubt ?
    don’t they read hebrew ?
    shomrei shabbat ? so are all the other minim .
    i don’t know who is more revolting, the chabad idolaters, or those who don’t see the deviation in doing it for money !

  3. Be honest!

    Exactly! They sell themselves for money. These “gdolim” cannot have it both ways. They claim this is “false messianism” and yet they permit it for “parnossa” and then they will claim that one cannot trust a meshichist mashgiach blah blah blah

  4. Shmuel

    Waiting for the Slifkin-banning “gdolim” to ban this, too. They won’t; too scared.

  5. The problem here is on the misconceptions upon which you base your attacks.
    Chabad is not a cult. Chabadnikim are the antithesis of “minim”, and the meshichistn are simply the liveliest force within Chabad. Without the meshichistn, much of Chabad’s life force would be gone, and the rest of the Jewish world would suffer.
    For the Krinskyites, for instance, Chabad has merely become a bussiness. The Rebbe’s hora’as are a nice marketing point, but not real guidelines by which to live.
    Who, for instance, defends today Sheleimus Haaretz? Who, but the MESHICHISTN? We know it is an inyan of pikuach nefesh, but only the meshichisnt’s faith keeps us defending such vital part of the Rebbe’s hora’a.
    What about mihu yehudi? Or Weekly mivsoim?
    If you are honest enough to recognize the difference Chabad makes in Jewish survival, you can’t put the meshichisnt aside.
    You need to believe in the Rebbe in order to go ahead, because if he dies in you mind, your yidishkeit would be dead as well. Chas ve shalom!

  6. Be honest!

    you got to believe in G-d in order to go ahead. If you don’t, and you opt to belive that man is like a G-d you believe in a new religion and then it does not matter how much “good” you do; for if the foundation is rotten everything else is too…

  7. Shmuel

    Amen to that, Be Honest! They don’t even talk in terms of G-d, these messianists; it’s all rebbe, all the time. A broken record. A dead man, may he rest in peace. A confused following. Fanatics who can’t live with the cognitive dissonance. They’re “the liveliest force within Chabad…” So let’s let them spew any theological trash they can dream up. Disgusting. Humiliating. When will they stop and wake up to the fact that their rabbi is not returning to be the messiah?
    Never. We’re stuck with their craziness forever. Did you ever imagine frum Jews would behave like this?

  8. Yochanan Lavie

    Actually, about 2000 years ago a group of Jews acted exactly like this, Shmuel. They couldn’t believe that their rebbe, Yehoshua, was really dead. So they deified him. Many chabadniks are nice people, and they have done some good. But I fear that they are trying to take over Judaism with their charedi-messianism. And I fear they may succeed where Christianity and Islam failed. (Yes, I know that sounds paranoid, but even paranoids have enemies). BTW, for a few months there was a huge billboard on the West Side Hwy in Manhattan, opposite the Intrepid. It was by a Chabad women’s org., and it proclaimed (in English): “The Messiah is Here! Just add lovingkindness.” (Plus the rebbe’s picture, and yechi in Hebrew). Was that a paranoid hallucination, or did others see it, too?

  9. Anonymous

    rafael you are so lost

  10. Neo-Conservaguy

    So, what does one make of the rather old tradition of visiting and praying at the resting places of various tsadikim? I’ve never felt comfortable with the idea, but they are a heck of a lot of people that make the pilgrimage…

  11. aaron

    i could guarantee that if the non lubavitchers had anybody as special as the rebben they would also be screaming that he is moshiach!!!there was no other person as great as the rebbe in this generation for the following reasons.(1)he knew the most torah and proof of that is that he has much more seforim by far than any other gadol in this generation.(2)he changed the world dramatically more than anyone else by making thousands and thousands of baalei teshuva (i find it funny that if you look back you will see how when lubavitch started kiruv everybody in the world was against it and now for some reason there are all these other organizations that do the same!!!) and setting up shuls at every corner of the world.(3)he stuck up the most for halacha and jewish beliefs like mee yehudi and shelaimus haaretz.(4)he performed countless miracles daily. and according to the torah can anybody give me one good reason that your not allowed to say that he is moshiach? it actually says in gemara sanhedrin that alot of people would proclaim their rebbe the moshiach. im sorry to alll of you but i know it hurts that you that lubavitch and the world was given such a great leader!!!

  12. Neo-Conservaguy

    Your beliefs are highly debatable, but in any case he’s dead now; it’s time to move on. Take the inspiration and look to the future, not a messianic dream from yesterday.

  13. aaron

    why are my beliefs highly debateable? and if they are then why dont u prove me wrong???

  14. Yochanan Lavie

    Rabbi Yosef Soloveitchik and Moshe Feinstein were also special leaders. Why not proclaim them moshiach? We don’t believe in dead messiahs, or messiahs who are the living embodiments of an incorporeal God.

  15. Anonymous

    aaron is dr seuss greater then the rebbe because he put out more books then him. let me ask you if lubavitch are mekarev so many dont you think there would be alot more of them.

  16. Shealtiel

    rafael and aharon
    seem both from the same mould . 2 peas from the same pod.
    i don´t even find their views debatable.
    rebbe greatest , i don´t know .
    looking backwards, he represented an ugly megalomaniac outlook of the beis midrash of mao tse tung. his religion if u can consider that religion, is a bland and shallow fetihist racist worhip of oneself !
    go study judaism, you stand for nothing more than apiqorsus. not only minim , minim square

  17. aaron

    i am appauld at the amount of iggnorence and stupidity!! first, to yochanan it is possible a/c to the torah for someone from the dead to be moshiach 2!!! secondly if r. moshe feinstein was as great to u as the rebbe is to lubavitch then go ahead and say he is moshiach(and by the way look up the halachos in the ramabam concerning moshiach and you will see that the rebbe has met all the qualifications well in order to be. moshiach!!however i dont think r. moshe feinstein meets these qualifications)and as to the next comment i wont even respond i think ill let you figure out the difference between the many books the rebbe made and that of dr. suess.(still the rebbe did make the most torah books in many different subjects more than any other person in this generation!!!) and to the comments of shealtiel–i will tell you loud and clear EVERYTHING LUBAVITCH STANDS FOR IS BACKED UP BY HALACHA!!! AND I CHALLENGE THE PERSON TO FIND ME ONE HALACHA AGAINST WHAT LUBAVITCH BELIEVES. FOR SOME REASON EVERY PERSON IS WILLING TO SAY SO EASILY THAT LUBAVITCH IS APIKORSOS AND MINIM, BUT NOBODY CAN GIVE ONE INTELLEGENT ARGUMENT BACKED BY HALACHA!!!! AND I AM WAITING FOR A QUOTE FROM HALACHA

  18. Dovid Lerner

    Oy Veiy, why do the people who try “defending” Lubavitch have to be so (fill in whatever word you fell appropriate)?…

  19. shealtiel

    halacha ?
    feh, talk to me halakha and rambam, after you accept moreh nevukhim . otherwise chabad’s fondness of rambam, is nothing but a figleaf. (a poor one @ that that fools nobody).

  20. aaron

    to shealtiel i thought i made it pretty clear that if u disagree please bring me a clear quote from the torah!!! and not just good ideas or concepts

  21. aaron

    to shealtiel i thought i made it pretty clear that if u disagree please bring me a clear quote from the torah!!! and not just good ideas or concepts

  22. Yochanan Lavie

    Dear Aaron: Please learn how to spell “apalled.”

  23. shealtiel

    when lubavitch accepts moreh nevuchim , they can hang on rambam’s halacha proofs.
    thou shall not cherry pick @ your covenience, is a well known concept by litterate people.
    but hey, some have to acquire litteracy first. perhaps a long shot.

  24. aaron

    first, again bring me a quote from the moreh nevuchim that we dont agree with dont just throw ideas and from where do u know that chabad dosent agree with the moreh nevuchim . and to yochanan lavie should the fact that i spelled “appaled” wrong be used against lubavitch too??

  25. Yochanan Lavie

    Obviously I was being facetious. But you don’t help your cause by bring forth bald assertions without prooftexts. Where does Judaism approve of dead messiahs? Cite chapter and verse and mefarshim. If you can do that, I’ll even forgive you for misspelling “apalled” yet again. (I acknowledge the good that Chabad has done for outreach and education, but that doesn’t mean they’re above reproach. Imagine if Modern Orthodoxy proclaimed the late Rabbi Yosef Soloveitchik as the un-dead messiah!).

  26. aaron

    to yochanan lavie, first i would like to ask you where it says he cant come from the dead?? and secondly, i do have clear proof that he could be from the dead– look in the sefer of the abarbanel called “yeshuos meshicho” page kuf daled i beleive and you will see that it says moshiach could be. also it should be noted that the abarbanel is biblically respected and nobody disagress. yochanan, i think its pretty clear– i am waiting for your response and i feel sorry that you thought i was so iggnorent and dug up a hole for yourself

  27. shealtiel

    where do u know that chabad dosent agree with the moreh nevuchim ?

    i have a lithmus test for that aharon.
    buy 10 copies, or 5 or 3 or even 1 and donate them to your chabad shul. chances are ….
    for a firmer answer, suggest to your friendly neighbourhood lubovitch rabbi to make a weekly shiur of the “guide” using your donated books.

  28. Anonymous

    aaron did the arizal or the bal shemtov put out seforim ,i geuss they wernt as great as the rebbe

  29. Paul Freedman

    Moreh nebuchiim denies that the highest form of prophecy is identification with HaShem in an equivalence. It goes into great length as to what prophecy and the gradations of prophecy–while a human being, a prophet of the highest order, can achieve inspiration, the belief in “essence of G-d enclothed in a guf” would have made no sense to the author of the Moreh; he might even have declared it a capital heresy, But he isn’t here, is he?

  30. Yochanan Lavie

    Aaron: Thanks for your response. “i feel sorry that you thought i was so iggnorent and dug up a hole for yourself” I never said you were ignorant (even if I teased you for your spelling), nor did I dig any holes for myself. I merely asked for proof. Abravenel is indeed a respected commentator, but how does he learn it out? Where in tanach is this belief supported? Is Abravenel indeed universally accepted in his interpretation, or is he a da’at yachid? As for me, I was always instructed, in Orthodox institutions (by both rabbis with black hats and rabbis with knitted kipot) that we don’t believe in a dead messiah, and that whoever the messiah is, he cannot be the embodiment of an incorporeal God. Those were proofs we told to refute Jews for Jesus with. Do they have the right idea, but the wrong guy? My quarrels with Chabad are theological, not personal.

  31. The Abarbanel brings it as a daat yachid (lone opinion) and then shoots it down. He REFUTES it. He DISAGREES with it.

    In other words, the only ‘souce’ Chabad has RIDICULES the very idea Chabad endorses.

  32. sybmeister

    That’s a lie. The Abarbanel does not refute it, for anybody who would like to check it up it is Yeshuos Meshicho page 94. The Abarbanel bases it upon the Talmud Sanhedrin, 97, b that states “Rav stated if he (Moshiach) is from the living he is (like) Rabeinu Hakadosh, if he is from the dead he is (like) Daniel.” There are different interpretations of this some explain it to mean that Moshiach will resemble the These great men but the Abarbanel interprets it literally (Rashi seems to bring both opinions).
    At any rate there is no serious commentator or posek which says that Moshiach cannot be from those who have passed on.

  33. sybmeister

    its 98b.

  34. Nope. It’s the truth.

    See here and here.

  35. Second link is broken, sorry. Try here.

  36. sybmeister

    The Artscroll gemara doesn’t really learn P’shat in the Abarbanel like you do they bring the Abarbanel in the footnote, and they seem to learn it the way I said it.
    You’d think that if the Rabbi who had written to the Sdei Chemed had said jesus was moshiach he would have responded in some manner, so its pretty obvious that he found this to be an acceptable belief in in Judaism.

  37. Funny how it is that the actual fact of what the Abarbanel wrote refutes you.

    You confuse ArtScroll as well.

    As for the Sedei Chemed, the rabbi writing him did not say “Jesus is the …” or “Mendel is the …” He wrote an ABSTRACT concept. As Tolany writes, there are literally hundreds of teshuvot that quote entire letters but deal with only one or two issues from them. Nowhere is it normal to assume that the respondant agrees with everything written.

    The problem is Chabad lacks poskim. It alsdo lacks rabbis who are truly learned in halakha and gemara. You have no role models.

  38. Joshua Nathan

    Has anyone heard from the performers?

  39. I’m afraid that I must disagree with a few points from the original post:

    Quote: Most Lubavitchers are heretics simply because they beleive (sic) that the Rebbe is omnipotent and omniscient; as such they believe that they should direct their prayers and supplications to him. (As someone who spent most of his life in Chabad schools and camps, I am in an excellent position to judge the beliefs of your average Lubavitcher.)


    Omniscient, maybe (after all, I am a Chassid {{grin}}). Omnipotent, never. No one in my ChaBaD circles has ever even suggested prayers or supplications to the Rebbe, whether in life or after Gimmel Tammuz. Those few, misguided folk who even appeared to do so were heavily chastised.

    Quote: He answers as follows, “One cannot ask a question from the problem of an intermediary since ‘Atzmus u’mehus alein vi er hat zich areingeshtalt in a guf'”


    The writer appears to misunderstand the context of the Rebbe’s answer. Rather than the claim that the Rebbe is “the essence of G-d in a physical body,” every time I’ve heard this expounded/taught/learnt it refers to the Jew containing “the essence…” So, in reality, the Rebbe was communicating the opposite of what the writer implies, since, there is no need of an intermediary because of the proximity of G-d to the Jew.

    As far as thinking about the Rebbe, I remember the Rebbe asking for pictures of each family of Chassidim. When asked why, he replied he wanted to see his family. {Note: This is remembered from memory, and may be not entirely accurate, or it may merely be what I was told at the time.} I think of the Rebbe often, and hope and pray for the speedy end of golus and the resurrection of the dead so that I can see the Rebbe (with my physical eyes) again, because I have an emotional bond with him, similar in some ways to the emotional bonds one may have with family members. [BTW, this is why the meshichitim infuriate me so. They’ve taken a “family” member and “cheapened” him. {{Ahh, I’m getting emotional again!}}]

  40. an aching brother

    Some seem to want to rewrite history so that the rebbe comes out cleaner .
    Those have to address the issue of how the rebbe led yechi chants in his own honour. (this is not a matter of ma bekach).
    Look @ the picture of Nachshon on this blog
    with the Rebbe up in the sky. He is a klal chabad artist.
    There are murals in chabad shuls showing the rebbe up in the sky looking down to earth and waving at mortals, no different than North Korean deity Kim Il Sung. How are impressionable kids in those shuls taught how to relate to the rebbe ?
    For heaven’s sake: Lo taasseh lekha pessel vekhol tmuna . Wake up, it’s not only infuriating meschichisten. It’s all over Chabad. Nobody dares opening his mouth.

  41. While you guys waste your time, and indulge in the worst kind of motzi shem rah against The Rebbe and his Chassidim, the Jewish world is in an ever greater danger. Assimilation, intermarriage, confusion over Who Is a Jew, and the increasing threat on the safety and integrity of Eretz Yisroel by the medina’s very own government — i.e., all the things the Rebbe thought us to fight against! — are pushing the Jewish people over the cliff.
    Wanna act and think like a misnaged? Fine, start by reading the Chofetz Chaim’s works! Don’t stop there, read the Ramchal on Ahavas Yisroel!
    Then come and do, for the first time in your life, really learn from the Rebbe’s sichos. NOT A WORD of self-worship there, the man never ceased to refer to the Frierdiker Rebbe as “may father in law, The Rebbe”. Only guidance, only concern for the most important issues on Jewish survival. If you do so, you might also notice that Chasidus is nothing but the continuation of the light of all previous generations of Jewish teaching since Moishe Rabbeinu and Avrohom Avinu.
    Now, do yourself a favor, cease with all of this nonesense of sinas chinam, and do something worthwhile with your time online!

  42. disbelief

    in case anyone hasn never noticed there are numerouse times in torah shebiksav where g-d tells moshe that the jews will BELIEVE IN HIM too! any arguements anainst that? moshe rabeinu lo meiss. any arguements against that?
    do you people actually have the chutzpah to say that the nassi hador, the biggest baal mofes and baal ahavas yisroel on earth is a self centered lier. in any case in my opinion you numbskulls should rethink what you’ve said, and review your facts a little more thoroughly before writing again.
    (Note: I personally am not a mishechist lubavitcher just a mentch with a little seichel!)

  43. Anonymous

    i just thought i’d add to this that i happened to know personally one of the organizers of this site. he is an apikores himself who has stopped wearing tzitzis already and also all the hairs of his ex-beard have somehow ended up on the back of his head tied up in a pony tail. lubavitch did that too, right? so now everyone of you know what kind of person YOU’RE all following. moshiach now!

  44. Anonymous

    the organizer i was reffering to is none other than ……….SHMARYA! in case any one was wondering about the yiras shamayim status and religiouse stability of this overweight loudmouth to which all of you are feebly kissing up!

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