The Rebbe and Messianism

I posted a link to this two years ago when it was up on a messianist site. It was lost with the hacking that destroyed my first blog. Here it is again, courtesy of YouTube.

As much as official Chabad would like to hide it, the Rebbe certainly allowed himself to be viewed as mashiach.

[Hat tip: Tzemach Atlas.]



Filed under Chabad Theology

25 responses to “The Rebbe and Messianism

  1. ochenveyeeztzoozey

    it’s doctored. i was there…at the time there were only a few individuals who dared to sing publicly (and probably only those few sang this song while ohers didn’t)) …this was a few weeks after the rebbe came down to the prayers 1 1/2 hour late supposedly because the day before an individual made the outrageous declaration of “yechi….”, the public would not dare to sing this publicly. at the time the rebbe would tell people who gave a p”n addressed to melech hamoshiach “i’ll give to moshiach when he comes…”.

  2. Iraneus Neuvo

    The footage is not doctored. Unfortunately the Rebbe did not continually maintain the stance that you are attempting to project. While it may be true that the Rebbe initially made statements disparaging those who maintained that he is the long-awaited Moshiach, it is not true that he said things openly to the contrary.

    There is an entire book entitled ‘And he will redeem us’ which is filled with quotes of the Rebee which are nothing short of him coming out and saying ‘I am the Moshiach’.

    For instance the Rebbe stated openly that the Moshiach is the ‘Nasi’ of the generation (wink wink), and on one video, which as far as I am aware of was not doctored, the Rebbe states that the Moshiach is named ‘Menachem as it says in Sanhedrin 98’. The Rebbe simply left off the fact that it statest that his name is Menachem Ben Hizkiyahu, leaving the impression if not blatenly stating, ‘I am the one you have been waiting for’.

    At the end of the day, if a bochur at Hadar Ha Torah knew where this was going, I can’t imagine that the Rebbe was in the dark on this one.

    As it says in Perkei Avos, ‘Chachamim, be careful with your words lest you incur the penalty of exile and are called to a place where the waters of learning are impure and the disciples that come after you drink of them and die; and the Heavenly Name is consequently profaned.’

  3. Yos

    “As much as official Chabad would like to hide it, the Rebbe certainly allowed himself to be viewed as mashiach.”

    Why shouldn’t he have allowed it! He’s the second coming of Oso H’ish. But seriously, if that was doctored, it was doctored well. The sync is perfect.

  4. Anonymous

    It does look doctored. THe hand clapping doesn’t seem to totally sync with the noise. Also, you really can’t see people’s mouths, so you can’t tell what they are singing. It could have been doctored.

  5. TM

    Would someone kindly explain what is going on here. What is the meaning of this clip and why is it relevant?

    Also, what is the person who says loudly what the Rebbe whispered to him saying?

  6. Anonymous

    Youtube consistently has problems with audio sync. It’s not doctored, just poor quality.

    For better synchronization, try this on google video. It’s a bit more irrefutable.

  7. They’re singing “long live our master, our teacher, our rabbi, king messiah forever.” And the Rebbe is not stopping them.

  8. Chabad left me with a bad taste in my mouth ever since they mailed my Grandmother a biographical pamphlet about the late rebbe. Once you understand that they are basically messianic, all of their weird behavior suddenly makes perfect sense.

  9. rebeljew

    The video is not doctored. The Chabad Rebbe often encouraged the singing of Yechi. It is also true that in previous times, he had vehemently prevented his followers from saying Yechi. What is unclear is whether the Rebbe thought that the singing would hasten Moshiach or whether he thought he was Moshiach. Generally, I would think the former, understanding that the CR was very goal driven, it is logical that he would only have encouraged an action if he felt it would hasten the coming of Moshiach, regardless of whether he thought he was, or potentially was, the Messiah.

    But to defend by saying that this was “doctored” is ludicrous. It was not so long ago, and it waas not a rare occurance.

  10. ochunvayeeztzuzay

    It’s all bobehmaysses..and the meshichisten have succeeded into fooling everyone that the rebbe himself saidh eis moshiach….NOT ONE statement in the book of “he will redeem us” in the source (not the doctored and distorted garbage of the footage and the “book”) say anything: “i’m the moshiach that all jews awaited for”, NOT ONE such sentence.

    at best… all sources can combine to mean: that the the pupils of a rebbe at his lifetime can presume that if G-d will merit them, their rebbe might be entrusted by G-d to become the redeemer….as of course “menachem ben tzidkiyahu” did not go on to become the moshiach neither shiloh etc.

    While at an earlier age the rebbe allowed chassdim to publicly express their hope that he may become the redeemer through songs containing these wishes; he rejected them profusely at a later time…It is incredulous that at that time (15 iyar) the Rebbe was clearly distancing from pronouncements that state categorically that he *IS* the Moshiach (and came late to the morning prayers for this very reason) that the 8whole* congregation (who at least more than half of them at *that* time) were frigthened to utter the “Yechi…moshiach…” publicly would chant as this doctored film suggests.

    “it was not a rare occurrence” was *only* after the unfortunate stroke. Prior to that there was NO such public pronouncements. In fact: in Shabbos Noach 5752 as the Rebbe heard a song that would contain in the past lyrics suggesting that the rebbe may become (by _g-d’s choice) the moshiach, was sung WITHOUT WORDS! protested at this song (and said that actually he should go out of the syangogue…but for reasons of oneg shabos etc. he would not do it now).

    In short: The Rebbe allowed the impression and the hope that he may become by G-d’s choice the Moshiach. He rejected the notion of categorically declaring him to actually be the moshiach.

  11. rebeljew

    “”it was not a rare occurrence” was *only* after the unfortunate stroke. Prior to that there was NO such public pronouncements. ”

    I hear tamborines. What could it be?

  12. Neo-Conservaguy

    “it was not a rare occurrence” was *only* after the unfortunate stroke. Prior to that there was NO such public pronouncements.”

    A local Orthodox friend told me he personally witnessed a scene at 770 like the one shown in the video before the Rabbi Menachem Ben Hizkiyahu Z”T had his stroke. Just another data point…

  13. Anonymous

    What about that video where the nshei chabad hand the rebbe the signatures of all the women who signed a statement declaring they believe to be the rebbe mashiach? The rebbe didn’t seem to discourage this at all.

  14. B”H

    “Youtube consistently has problems with audio sync. It’s not doctored, just poor quality.

    For better synchronization, try this on google video. It’s a bit more irrefutable.

    Posted by: | November 09, 2006 at 12:59 PM

    note the amazing devine providence even the automaticly generated “tinyurl” ends in 28 gematria = Yechi 🙂

  15. ochunveyeeztzuzey

    a selected few disgruntled ladies with tambourines does not equate with approval on definite declarations. The rebbe at that time rejected definite declarations by rabbis or by official people in the movement. Anything that would resemble to an definite declaration was a no no. anything that conveyed a strong wish and hope was accepted as a possible legitimate avenue.

    what counts most is what the rebbe wrote as *his* opinion on these matters, was clearly a rejection of any clear titles of moshiach; only a legitimacy to the hope in the lifetime of a rebbe that his rebbe would become the moshiach. look the texts yourself and do not get fool by propganada and distortions.

  16. The argument that is being proposed; namely that the Rebbe stood in staunch opposition to his being proclaimed Moshiach, and that the meshichistlachs are to blame for pulling the wool over everyone’s eyes is revisionist and absurd.

    The Rebbe repeatedly made statements that anyone with even a modicum of honesty would recognize as a self-proclomation. He whipped his chasidim into a messianic frenzy, stating that the previous Rebbe was the Moshiach of the generation, and that the nasi ha dor (the leader of the generation) is the Moshiach and that all we have to do is open our eyes, etc… He interpreted the concept of ‘miyad’ in that the immenent redemption is dependent upon Chabad, and that his name is Menachem, and that we are in the ‘7th generation’ which of course relates to the 7th Rebbe, himself…

    To think that all of this is null and void, and that the Rebbe is exhonerated from being the cause for this misguided sect, is beyond my ability to accept.

    Did I explicitly say that the Rebbe is responsible for this whole mess?

    I will let the readers decide.

  17. Lawrence M. Reisman

    I’m not convinced by the video clip; it could well have been doctored. However, I have no question that the rebbe knew people were calling him Moshiach, and that while he did make noises that he disapproved, he didn’t disapprove all that vehemently when it counted. In the early 1980s, he ordered a pamphlet printed in Kfar Chabad identifying him as Moshiach burned, but did not really enforce it. My own conclusion is that he knew what was going on and just let it continue. He was so sure Moshiach (whoever Moshiach turned out to be)was going to come and make the whole debate irrelevant. It was a big bet and he lost.

    25 years ago, I was talking with one of Rav Yitzchok Hutner’s gabboim, who told me that someone once said in Rav Hutner’s presence that “the Lubavitcher Rebbe thinks he’s Moshiach.” Rav Hutner’s reply was “No, he does not. The Lubavitcher Rebbe knows he’s not Moshiach; he’s too smart to think he’s Moshiach. However, the Lubavitcher Rebbe thinks that he can single-handedly bring Moshiach, and he’s bending backwards, jumping up and down, and thinking of every little Meshugas he can to do so.”

    Personally, I think that is probably the most accurate statement that’s ever been made.

  18. Anonymous

    “note the amazing devine providence even the automaticly generated “tinyurl” ends in 28 gematria = Yechi :-)”

    Yes, but now that I have added a nineteenth comment to this post, the spell has been broken and 28 becomes just another randomly generated number, as it’s creator meant it to be 😉

  19. Dovid

    The Rebbe had some problems, let’s face it. Shamefully, many Lubavitchers persist in their illusions. There is little that can be done.

  20. Levi,

    I respectfully disagree. I’ve spent a lot of time going through Sichos and it seems clear to me that the L. Rebbe thought that he was the potential Moshiach of his time, i.e. if anyone would be Moshiach it would be him. As the leader of Lubavitch he was theologically forced into this position and he embraced it.

  21. Lawrence M. Reisman

    We don’t necessarily disagree all that much. You say the rebbe “thought that he was the potential Moshiach of his time, i.e. if anyone would be Moshiach it would be him.” Thus, he would allow for the possiblity that Moshiach would not come in our time and therefore the position would go to someone else. His Chasidim did not (and some would say they still do not) allow for this possibility. We will disagree on what he did or did not actually think. However, neither of us disagree that he was aware of what was going on, and that he did precious little to stop it. We can disagree on what his reasons were. I stand fast in my belief that he believed Moshiach’s coming was iminent, and that all the debate and conjecture would be moot.

  22. I think anyone who spent time in Crown Heights with the Rebbe knows that the Rebbe expected mashiach to come every day, and that he would not entertain the possibility that he would not come in this generation. The Rebbe in fact clearly said this several times, that everyone in this room will live to see mashiach (this is a paraphrase, but accurate in intent).

  23. Lawrence M. Reisman

    Shmarya confirms my point. Given the Rebbe’s (clearly erroneous) belief, he felt he had no reason to stop the mechischist meshugas; when moshiach came, the truth would be obvious. It was a big time bet, and he (and Chabad with him) lost big. You can disagree with me as to what was going on inside the rebbe’s head, but my explanation is plausible. Further, Rov Hutner (whose comment I quoted in support of my position) probably knew the rebbe far better than anyone else outside chabad (having learned with him regularly for 9 years before he became rebbe).

  24. Another data point:

    I remember when the mishegos in Eretz Yisroel was big, and the shaliach there was reprimanded by the Rebbe to *not* proclaim him as the Moshiach. The shaliach publicly said “Yes, I know what the Rebbe said, but I also know what he really means.” (paraphrased)

    Thus, although rebuked by the Rebbe, he kept doing the thing the Rebbe told him not to, with the excuse that he *knew* what the Rebbe wanted better than the Rebbe himself.

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