Chabad On Modern Orthodoxy

Rabbi Jacob Immanuel Schochet, who sits on Chabad’s board of rabbis and is a senior leader within the movement, speaks about messianism, heresy and Modern Orthodoxy. For all you YU people who think Chabad is your friend, read on:

Kedma: Do you see Messianism as a

dangerous force in Chabad and do you

speak out against it?

Schochet: I definitely always did, and

continue to speak out against it.

Kedma: So then doesn’t it scare you that

even 50 percent of the teachers teaching

young children are Messianist?

Schochet: Not really, because many

so-called Messianists have left that

fold. As they grow older, they grow

wiser. So number one—they drop

it. Secondly, even those who remain

Messianists, you have many different

groups among them. You have those

who simply believe—yes, the Rebbe

will be Moshiach, which I would

call a stupid belief. It is stupidity but

essentially harmless. Then you have the

real extreme fringe elements who, for

example, would deny that the Rebbe

died or would insert certain claims that

I would call heretical ideas—and with

regards to them I am in agreement with

Berger. These, however, are a very very

very very minute, fringe element of

the fringes of the fringes. It is a terrible

situation, it certainly gives a bad name

to Chabad, to Lubavitch and most

of all to the Rebbe, but I don’t see

that as a real danger for Judasim any

more than I see danger in any other

heretical ideas that you can find in the

various so-called ‘denominations’ of

the Jewish community, including the

so-called Modern Orthodox.


This excerpt is from an interview done with Rabbi Schochet and paired with an interview done with Rabbi David Berger. Download the pdf by clicking here.

[Hat tip: Mentalblog.]

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Filed under Chabad Theology, Modern Orthodoxy

33 responses to “Chabad On Modern Orthodoxy

  1. a non ee moose

    He he it’s funny how people like you use one part of judaism’s evil force and use it to combat another.

    shochet is an idiot. a bigot just like the rest.

    He made his “congegration” fast when someone said yechi in his “shul” and no one spoke up against it.

  2. Paul Freedman

    Shochet isn’t clear here–he is not, as far as I can tell, saying that MO is, root and branch, heretical–and I don’t know what specific heresies he is referring to–maybe their failure to endorse a “young earth”–who knows? The problem is that this only glosses over the Chelm-like heresy that the Rebbe = the unlimited essence of G-d, not to mention the (conceded) flimsiness (unconceded fabrication?) of his own “theoretical” “possibility” that a Brooklyn Rabbi could declare himself to be Messiah then die without accomplishing any non-metaphorical Messiah-type achievements, and then, no foul no harm, become a candidate at the time of general resurrection, for a Mosiah beauty-contest held by G-d, resurrection and the Messianic age having jump started without the Messiah having first done the very things that make a Messiah. Where the heck is this from?

  3. S.

    This is a big deal of nothing.

  4. Neo-Conservaguy

    “He made his “congegration” fast when someone said yechi in his “shul” and no one spoke up against it.”

    Hmmmm, perhaps R. Shochet has some redeaming points. I’d like to see more Chabad congregations stand up like that and deal with things head-on.

  5. the kugelager

    Here in Thornhill ON (a Toronto Suburb), aka Hebron north,
    Chabad headquarters for the region, is located at 770 Chabad gate and York Hill blvd; a couple of hundred yards down the road on the same york hill blvd, is located mh’m’s house with the yellow flag, complete with a crown greeting m’hm etc…
    Across the street from mhm’s house, is another mhm’s house with a larger than life size potrait of mhm promising redemption to all, without exception.
    G-d fearing unsuspecting Jews drop their kids in this house each morning.
    People who pray in the minyonim of 770, pray also at the other locations. And vice versa. In the process, flyers of Messianists are oft found on the tables of 770; nobody seems to mind. A picture of harmony mame”sh, no pun intended.
    The head of 770 and the city vaad head as well, is the elder R’ Shochet brother of R’ Immanuel S.
    As we are accustomed to, they speak from several sides of their mouth.
    When speaking with non religious jews, they seem to go out of their way to reassure them that as long as they are counted among chabadites, they need not worry about changing their ways.
    At the same time, when speaking from side B of their mouth, they have to disqualify other orthodox jews such as misnagdim, who lack neshome, and MO’s who are heretics. According to the criteria set by Rabbi Tauber, judging by one of the progeny at least of our subject here, he himself would be counted among the “erev rav”. To avoid such scandal, the kid is sweeped under the rug. Which brings us to side C of the mouth, i.e. projecting a false immage of tolerance.
    A mile or so up North, is Chabad of Las Vegas North , complete with electronic moving signs advertising Yoga classes, Kabboleh and yes karate.
    In the hall of this shul, is the immortal wall fresco, showing the rebbe in heaven, framed by a cloud, waving to earthlings staring upwards towards “avihem shebashamayim?”. What are young kids to think? Who allows those things?
    On matters of heresy, I am reminded of a famous saying that appears in both the talmud as well as chabad’s fellow messianists of the other persuasion called the new testament: take the beam out from between your own eyes. In Hebrew, Tol qorah mibein eineikho!

  6. Schneur

    I happen to agree with the worthy Toronto rabbi.Modern orthodoxy is dangerous to Chabad as many Chabad teenagers are attracted to Modern orthodoxy, mostly in lifestyle. A minority of teens from Chabad including children of shluchim study at Yeshiva College in Washington heights.and hopefully future groups of Chabad people will integrate more fully in Modern orthodox life.
    It is certainly is more dangerous than Bobov , Satmar, or Lakewood …. to Chabad !

  7. Isa

    A wall fresco with the Rebbe in heaven etc etc.
    Hey Shmyra can’t you get someone to get a picture of that one and put that on your web site

  8. Yochanan Lavie

    My shul is an historical Modern Orthodox synagogue (now small, but still active). The pinheads on the board hired a Chabad rabbi. I actually like the guy personally, although I disagree with him. He has expressed his disdain for Modern Orthodoxy to me. He thinks it’s watered down and nn-sustainable. He says Chabad is Post-Modern Orthodoxy!

  9. der kugelager

    The pinheads on the board hired a Chabad rabbi.

    A moslem qadi, would have been more kosher and possibly more respectful to those who hired him.

  10. der kugelager

    is r’ dayan the elder a member of the sanhedrin of r’ steinsaltz ? he would then be a meyuchos to beis dovid and suitable to be king as in lo yossur sheivet mihudo…. etc…

  11. mazeartist

    In my opinion, the yellow-flaggers are a bigger threat to Orthodoxy than the so-called Modern-Orthodox.

  12. ah yid

    i know one such chabad rabbi that was hired by a modern orthodox shul.
    he’s always saying that his goal is to raise the mechiza and other similar stuff

  13. Anonymous

    raise the mechitza? oy vay a fanatic, don’t tell me he’s encouraging people to no eat pas paltar and drink cholov aku’m. he wants to take us back hundred of years?

  14. uzziahu

    ah yid
    raising the mechitza, is not the problem.
    it is the lies, deceits, double face with which they handle the job. sawing divisiveness, back stabbing. smiling from one side to the guy with the ham sandwich and fighting relentlessly the shomer shabbes in his way.
    oh yes, i have seen it. it is a systematic policy.

  15. der kugelager

    i have read the kadima interviews with both rabbi dr berger and rabbi dr schochet.
    a- rabbi dr berger, comes across, as a more honest rabbi, and a more honest dr.
    b- rabbi dr schochet accuses r’ berger of being unscientific in his work, and slanderous. however, reading him, one faces a demonstration on how to expound unscientifically, and how to be slanderous.
    c- r’ schochet’s command of elementary arithmetics and most elementary statistics, is totally inadequate. it would be laughable were it not a weak cover for deliberate lies.
    see: well, tzfat, is an aberration, denying messianism control of 770, and refering to messianism as a :”These, however, are a very very very very minute, fringe element of
    the fringes of the fringes.”
    this is not a misassessment of the situation, this is the lie of the salesman who will do anything to keep the business going.
    the messianists in israel can fill/and have filled giant amphitheatres in celebrating the death, the birthday, the advent and the greeting of the avoda zore, complete with yellow flags and were it necessary for them, probably a golden calf too.

  16. yoss'l

    I must take exception here to the very cautious remarks of Rabbi Berger in attempting to protect Reb Schneerson’s personal responsibility. Why? he was the choyte umachtee himself!
    Paul Freedman’s comment on failure to endorse young earth has a very valid point. I have attended once, a Rabbi Dr Schochet’s lecture where this matter was brought out. And when one listener opined that: Couldn’t be that G-d haya bone olamot umacharivan? the Rabbi, the Dr, the kabbala man had a categoric no as a reply

  17. Anonymous

    A wall fresco with the Rebbe in heaven etc etc.
    Hey Shmyra can’t you get someone to get a picture of that one and put that on your web site”

    I can take a picture of it, I daven at chabad@flamingo. But I can assure you you’ll be dissapointed when you see that the mural isn’t evn close to the way kugelager describes it.

  18. der kugelager

    how different is it ? anonymous ?
    how different?
    is it a mural?
    that’s what it is!
    is it imposing in size?
    i think that it is!
    is the rebbe scneerson painted prominently?
    there is no doubt that him and nobody else is the subject of the picture.
    is he depicted in heaven? in a cloud?
    it looks that he is.
    is he depicted as waving down at earthlings?
    you daven there? you are used to look at it and take it in stride.
    but kosher, it ain’t.
    ask the rebbe chaplain there for permission, take a photo of the mural and of the chaplain in uniform and let the readers judge.

  19. der kugelager

    more on chaplaincy!

    a police chaplain community rabbi, great. he would then be a chaplain of jewish policemen, super.
    what is his belief on the kashrut of young jews, discouraged from going to college, to serve as policemen?
    what would the jewish chaplain recommend to a young jewess considering to join the force? would he tell him/her go for it? way to go!?
    or he would tell him/her as a the former rebbe -waving down- would have said:
    this is not for you (neither is college), go study torah first and if at the age of 40 you still want to join the force(or go to college), ask me then again and i will answer you?
    so what are we to learn from officier chaplain?
    that it’s ok to deceive your employers, and your congregants provided chabad looks good?
    that honesty is a relative commodity?

  20. Outgunned

    I suspect Schochet is referring to the Zionism many MO’s have grafted onto the Torah. Big deal. The fascinating collage of interviews highlights the bankrupcy of the Chabad leadership. Schochet, their big gun, is outgunned by a MO University scholar. Schochet carries some University credentials but he is plainly clueless regarding scholarly methodology. Berger shines in the collage and I give him much credit for finally letting go of his ‘schism’ theory. There aint no schism in Chabad. And Berger now sees that.

    But what to do? Mere harping on the fact that this heresy is tolerated is senseless.
    Has Dr. Berger layed out a grass root strategy?

  21. ” can take a picture of it, I daven at chabad@flamingo. But I can assure you you’ll be dissapointed when you see that the mural isn’t evn close to the way kugelager describes it.”

    Please do! I’ll post it.

  22. Anonymous

    I’ll try to do it tommorow, Its actually a beautiful mural.

  23. der kugelager

    reading rabbi schochet’s comment on the imbroglio concerning what really were the kids told to be mekaven on during the shmonah essrei.
    he is saying that really the kids were to immagine that the dead rebbe is right there watching them and not to pray to him.
    great. normal jews however have an older, more effective and kosher way to achieve the same effect.
    it is called “shivisi hashem lenegdi somid” dates from the writing of tehillim and adorning many holy arks.
    otherwise worshipers are encouraged to: do lifnei mi ato oymed! the answer being lifnei melekh malkhei hamlochim hakodosh borukh hu. not some deceased man in a fedora!
    one would think that reb schochet would have figured that this is possul!
    hey it is more important than playing hide and seek with hypotetical chomets, eating from a plastic bag and running around after one’s guests with little brooms.
    hossiru et elokei haneikhor asher bekirveikhem, vehittahoru vehachlifu simloteichem.
    MOs come out much cleaner on the issue of how to be mekaven, nobody is fooled, except the perpetrators of idolatry themselves.

  24. anonymous

    If someone can please enlighten me and list the three most negative aspects of Modern Orthodoxy which bothers the centrists so much? I am not sure as how u define modern orthodox. Is it because they go to movies or have Internet? Do their wives cover their hair? Would appreciate some enlightenment.

  25. anonymous

    WIsh someone could point out where in the entire Shulchan Aruch there is a listing of various kinds of Jews other than Ashkenazim and Sefardim. Either u follow halacha or u don’t. End of story. Plenty of people in the conventional Orthodox camp are quite selective in their adherence to certain parts of Halacha especially in Choshen Mishpat.THese labels only drive us further apart.

  26. Larry

    ….aspects of Modern Orthodoxy which bothers the centrists so much?

    if by centrists you mean chabad, i think they belong to a different category altogether. davar acher? 🙂

    …….Plenty of people in the conventional Orthodox camp are quite selective in their adherence to certain parts of Halacha especially in Choshen Mishpat.

    an excellent and valid point!

  27. Harbona

    right, left and centre
    ultra, modern, zionist or not.
    where we were and where we are heading !
    an excellent and definitive article from haaretz:

  28. tzemach atlas

    Your posts are so true to the mark!
    You are obviously well versed in Lubavichianity, to see through their ultimate goal, the corranating of their late leader as the almighty.
    I could not believe the ad hominem attacks against Berger when the book first came out,he made his case, either agree or disagree, don’t start making stories up about a well researched book.The truth probably is that most of his critics did not even read the book.It boggles the mind:A large segment of Lubavitch is pushing an agenda that the late rebbe is alive 12 years after he died, and still Chabad is so legitimate as to getting one of their beards into the White House the other day to represent Judaism in some kind of ‘religion day’!!!
    The wool is being pulled over everyones eyes, and since most people don’t give a flying fig, they get away with it.The truth has to be said loud and clear Immanuel Shochet is a world class Lubab apologist!!Though I could live with the man himself, whose opinions are mainstream enough, his penchant to actually fool himself that the messianics are ‘diapearing’ proves that he must be an immature,partisan follower with zero backbone.

  29. der kugelager

    thank u r’ tzemach.
    actually, i just visited your blog
    and enjoyed it tremendously. ysher koyech!
    i wish i had r’ j.i schochets email contact, to send him this link ,on the things going on in ny, that i took from your blog:
    hopefully he can get an idea on what seems not so evident from the shul he runs in toronto, ironically called among other names, “anshei new york”.

  30. lubavitcher

    oy this is so sad. to see people fighting over whether the rebbe is or isnt moshiach. i am a lubavitcher and i do believe that the rebbe is moshiach, but thats something i believe because every chassid has to believe his rebbe is moshiach. they did the same thing by the alter rebbe all the way down to the current rebbe. i dont believe in just saying out loud that the rebbe is moshiach because it offends people that dont believe in it and it could lead someone to go away from the ways of chassidus and how lubavitch works. thats wrong and i dont think the rebbe would want that. but what the rebbe would want is that every person should do his part so that moshiach could come right now. believe me the rebbe couldnt care less if u said that the rebbe was moshiach or not, thats not what the rebbe lived for. the rebbe lived for us, all of us, every jew and even non jews. the rebbe lived for the sake of making this world into a dwelling place for g-d. the rebbe never cared if he got credit for anything, he never even wanted credit for all the amazing and wonderful miracles that the rebbe did. the rebbe cried while saying a sicha on chaf ches nissan about how mission is complete and that now its up too us to do the rest. obviously by arguing whether the rebbe is moshiach or not is not really working to bring moshiach closer, so i guess its time to just give it up and do our part. thats all and everybody should live to do there part in helping this world become a better place.!!!

  31. a non ee moose

    I can assure you “lubavitcher” schneerson the megalomaniac fuck aka “the rebbe” is the farthest thing from the utopian “moshiach” you dream of.

    If there is a king of negligence, it is he.

    And just technically speaking, his dog is moshiach. His dog’s name is melech. So he’s melech hamoshiach.

  32. lubavitcher

    ur sick and sadistic you probably never had a rebbe which means or your a dumb snag who has no idea what to do with his life because he has no spiritual leader. you dont know all that the rebbe did and u just talk out of your ass. i dont really have time to listen to that crap

  33. a non ee moose

    lubavitcher you stupid slav half breed fuck who doesen’t know which ugly russian fucked his mother a few generations back to make himself urn out this way today.

    I have been through lubavitch and I know what it is. I suggest you start sucking up to the “snags” because in the future they’re going to be the only ones left to join your stupid cult.

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