Chabad Power Struggle Continues – Messianist Event Draws Huge Crowd Welcoming Late Rebbe As Messiah

Matthew Wagner of the Jerusalem Post reports:

Dissenting camps within Chabad voiced mutual accusations a day after a huge Sunday night rally, entitled “Reception of the righteous messiah” drew 10,000 to Tel Aviv’s Nokia Arena.

“There was an amazing turnout,” said Yoni Kahana, one of the organizers of the evening. “Everyone came away with renewed faith in the imminent coming of the rebbe, our messiah. He may not have come on Sunday night. But he will truly be revealed any second.”

However, leading Chabad figures, among them Menahem Brod, the group’s official spokesman, claimed the rally and its organizers were unauthorized.

“They are perpetrators of deception and fraud,” said Brod. “They have no permission to use Chabad’s name* in connection with their activities.”

The event was organized by the messianic elements within Chabad. Participants prayed for the quick revealing of Rabbi Menahem Mendel Schneerson as messiah and a celebrated his 104th birthday. Schneerson died in June 1994.

Advertisements for the celebration, which including performances by leading haredi pop stars, such as Ya’acov Shwaki, Perchai Miami and Sephardi singer Yechiel Nahari, called it a “reception for the messiah” and were dominated by pictures of a smiling Schneerson.

Both messianic Chabad hassidim and their less messianic mainstream brethren believe that Schneerson’s birthday, 11 Nissan, is a special day. But the two camps have different takes on the meaning of the day.

For instance, Chaim Galinsky, who writes for a mainstream Chabad news magazine, said it is a day to accept resolutions to do good.

“When you accept upon yourself an additional good deed, it has more import,” Galinsky said. “The rebbe is the supreme spiritual leader of this generation. I am not saying he is alive**, but his soul, which came down into this world on the 11th of Nissan, was a special soul. It lent to this day special powers . So this is a propitious day to increase Chabad’s activities.”

However, more messianic Chabad hassidim like Rabbi Zalman Notik, a spiritual director at Torat Emet Yeshiva in Jerusalem***, talked openly of Schneerson as the messiah.

“The messiah may come from either the living or the dead,” he said. “We believe the rebbe is still with us and is waiting to be revealed. Every mitzva that a Jew does brings us all a little closer to redemption.



“And the most important mitzva is to publicize the idea that the rebbe is messiah. Intensifying the expectation of the messiah’s coming hastens the actual coming. There is no better day to do this than on the 11th of Nissan.”

Brod said his main objection to the concert was not the messianic message rather the lax religious environment.****

“The messianic Chabad hassidim used the evening to demonstrate their strength,” he said. “But many of the people who came were just a bunch of young hooligans. There is no real education value to the evening, its just a collection of pop singers.”

Despite Brod’s accusations, organizers were careful to separate men and women and several rabbis, such as Yosef Pizam of Haifa, Yosef Yitzhak Vilshansky of Safed, Gedalia Axelrod and Ya’acov Yosef, son of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef,***** gave short speeches.

~~~~~~~~~~~

*This is a struggle over power and control, not over ideology. Please see footnote 3 and it’s referenced text.

**Note Galinsky still considers the late Rebbe to be the “supreme religious leader of this generation.” Galinsky also did not say the Rebbe is deceased.

*** This is the main Chabad yeshiva in Jerusalem and the oldest of Chabad’s yeshivot in the Holy Land.

**** In other words, the issue is not whether the Rebbe is the messiah – he is. The issue is only whether we should make a public campaign promoting this.

***** Ovadia Yosef is opposed to Chabad and Chabad messianism. His son, Yaakov, broke with his father many years ago, while the late Rebbe was still alive.

Advertisements

4 Comments

Filed under Chabad Theology

4 responses to “Chabad Power Struggle Continues – Messianist Event Draws Huge Crowd Welcoming Late Rebbe As Messiah

  1. Yos

    “Everyone came away with renewed faith in the imminent coming of the rebbe, our messiah. He may not have come on Sunday night. But he will truly be revealed any second.”

    Mm-hm.

  2. Anonymous

    i wonder what will be in ten years with this group of idol worshipers.

  3. Anonymous

    “Perchai Miami” – that is Pirchei Miami, aka Miami Boys Choir, a leading frum music group.

  4. Nechunya

    “i wonder what will be in ten years with this group of idol worshipers.”

    a glance at the present, not even future :
    א וַיַּרְא הָעָם, כִּי-בֹשֵׁשׁ מֹשֶׁה לָרֶדֶת מִן-הָהָר; וַיִּקָּהֵל הָעָם עַל-אַהֲרֹן, וַיֹּאמְרוּ אֵלָיו קוּם עֲשֵׂה-לָנוּ אֱלֹהִים אֲשֶׁר יֵלְכוּ לְפָנֵינוּ–כִּי-זֶה מֹשֶׁה הָאִישׁ אֲשֶׁר הֶעֱלָנוּ מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם, לֹא יָדַעְנוּ מֶה-הָיָה לוֹ. ב וַיֹּאמֶר אֲלֵהֶם, אַהֲרֹן, פָּרְקוּ נִזְמֵי הַזָּהָב, אֲשֶׁר בְּאָזְנֵי נְשֵׁיכֶם בְּנֵיכֶם וּבְנֹתֵיכֶם; וְהָבִיאוּ, אֵלָי. ג וַיִּתְפָּרְקוּ, כָּל-הָעָם, אֶת-נִזְמֵי הַזָּהָב, אֲשֶׁר בְּאָזְנֵיהֶם; וַיָּבִיאוּ, אֶל-אַהֲרֹן. ד וַיִּקַּח מִיָּדָם, וַיָּצַר אֹתוֹ בַּחֶרֶט, וַיַּעֲשֵׂהוּ, עֵגֶל מַסֵּכָה; וַיֹּאמְרוּ–אֵלֶּה אֱלֹהֶיךָ יִשְׂרָאֵל, אֲשֶׁר הֶעֱלוּךָ מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרָיִם. ה וַיַּרְא אַהֲרֹן, וַיִּבֶן מִזְבֵּחַ לְפָנָיו; וַיִּקְרָא אַהֲרֹן וַיֹּאמַר, חַג לַיהוָה מָחָר. ו וַיַּשְׁכִּימוּ, מִמָּחֳרָת, וַיַּעֲלוּ עֹלֹת, וַיַּגִּשׁוּ שְׁלָמִים; וַיֵּשֶׁב הָעָם לֶאֱכֹל וְשָׁתוֹ, וַיָּקֻמוּ לְצַחֵק. {פ}

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s