Rabbi Krinsky Says The Late Rebbe Is Still Alive?

Luke Ford has a brief post on a fundraising letter signed by Chabad’s titular head Rabbi Yehuda Krinsky. The letter refers to the Rebbe – who passed away in 1994 – as if he were still alive:

“As a fund which holds deep, personal significance to the Rebbe, the participation in its efforts is indeed a privilege and a priority for each of us.”

This sentence, which explicitly refers to the deceased Rebbe in the present tense as though he were still alive (i.e., “holds” not held), is underlined in the original letter.

Think this strange? Chabad, based on extreme interpretations of some kabbalistic theology, holds that tzaddikim are "more alive" after their passing than while "clothed" in a physical body. It’s a very short jump from there to saying the Rebbe’s relationship to hasidim and the world is unchanged by his passing, and that, therefore, our relationship to the Rebbe should be unchanged. As I noted last week, this is in fact what now passes for "normative" Chabad theology.

The Rebbe himself said things like this (and worse than this) about his father-in-law, the previous rebbe, after his passing in 1950. It was, in part, these extreme and bizarre statements that propelled Menachem Mendel Schneerson into leadership and rebbe status. In other words, to quote an old Yiddish proverb, the fish stinks from its head – the problems with today’s Chabad can be traced directly to Menachem Mendel Schneerson’s behavior in 1950 and 1951.



Filed under Chabad Theology

13 responses to “Rabbi Krinsky Says The Late Rebbe Is Still Alive?

  1. ZA

    Not that I have any much love for the messianic part of Chabad, but I know Hebrew better then both Shmaryah and Luke. I actually speak Hebrew and only know English.

    1. Krinsky is NOT a Meshichist!
    2. The letter speaks about the Rebbe as deceased (ZY”A = Zikhro Yagen Aleinu = his MEMORY should protect us) and the word HOLDS refers to the fund (Keren HaHomesh) and not to the Rebbe. The statement says that the Keren holds importance to the Rebbe ZYA which is correct in Hebrew and it was translated verbatim to the English.

    Shmaryah and Luke try to find fault with these guys even where there is no such fault. You guys should learn from UOJ and allow opposing opinions in your sites.

  2. rebeljew

    This is fairly weak. The fund can “hold” significance to the Rebbe, when he was alive. I think you give more credit to Krinsky’s grammar than is due. Similarly, the Rambam can “hold” a certain halacha, even though he hasn’t “held” it since the mid-1100’s.

  3. ZA –

    1. Rabbi Krinsky’s native language is ENGLISH.


    Those interested can click on the link to Luke’s site and then click the link there to see a pdf of the actual letter.

    Rebel Jew –

    Rabbi Krinsky has consistently refused to say that the Rebbe, even though passed away, is not currently the messiah. The fact that he wrote “holds” rather than “held” therefore is significant. I would also refer you to the story I posted last week about Rabbi Yoel Kahn.

  4. More accurately, the letter does say ZY’A on the first mention of the Rebbe’s name, but not thereafter, and not in this paragraph.

    At the very least, the ambiguity created by this, especially with the continued issues related to the Rebbe’s supposed messiah status, should lead the titular head of Chaabd to be careful with things like this. Either he was not careful – and this is unlike him; Yudel is noting if not careful – or it was, in fact purposeful.

  5. ZA

    For now, I assume that you guys read too much into the missing ZY”A in the English. Don’t forget thta the Hebrew is being read as well and R’ Krinsky wrote ZY”A there, so the Meshichisten would see that…
    I need a better proof that what you say is more then a figment of your imagination.

  6. D

    “More accurately, the letter does say ZY’A on the first mention of the Rebbe’s name, but not thereafter, and not in this paragraph.”

    Similarly, the letter mentions A”H Z”L at the first mention of the Rebbetzin but not in the later mentions. The letter is internally consistent and unambiguous about both of them. At any rate, the Rebbe’s title in the top letterhead leaves no room for ambiguity whatsoever (ZTzVKLLHH ZBGM ZYA).

    There is no “there” here.

  7. S.

    >he fact that he wrote “holds” rather than “held” therefore is significant.

    I don’t about that. One rarely hears “held” in rabbinic discourse in English. I have never in my life heard that the Rambam “held” something. I’ve never heard that the Chafetz Chaim “held” something. Taken out of yeshivish/ rabbinic/ UO context? Perhaps. But I don’t think its reasonable to darshen his use of “holds” when he really would not have put it any other way regardless of whom he was speaking.

  8. Shmarya

    My first thought would be political expediency. If he said it b-kavana, he may have meant to something that could be taken both ways, so as not to pin himself to either side.

    OTOH, it matters little what Krinsky thinks about it, as it matters little what Kahn thinks. No one in Chabad or out will change their mind because of it. All that matters to each individual is what he wants to think that the Rebbe said about it. As you know, since the Rebbe never really said or did anything conclusive on the matter (and he certainly could have and he certainly knew the gravity of it), each will believe what he prefers to believe, and will read it into the Rebbes words or actions.

  9. Rebel Jew –

    Spot on. I’m modeh.

  10. B”H
    In kovetz Moshiach u’Ge’ula vol 2, published by Yagdil Torah in 5757, Rabbi Yoel Kahn writes that the Rebbe is very particular in choosing his words and that whatever Chasidim understand them to mean was certainly intended by the Rebbe. Therefore, since the Rebbe’s words can be understood as proof that He is G-d in human image and is alive forever according to Yoel Kahan it must be true 🙂

  11. Rav Krinsky is not a yellow-flagger. If you’ve ever attended a Jewish school, it is common to hear “Rashi teaches us that…” or “The Rambam points out…” Rashi and Rambam have been deceased for almost a millenium.

    If Rav Krinsky speaks in the present tense about the Rebbe’s legacy, don’t misinterpret him.

  12. rebeljew


    Well the Rebbe can be medayak in his own words, but not in how they are understood. Is Kahn then attributing ruach hakodesh and mystical approach type reality warping even to chasidim?

  13. B”H
    Ther are a number of ways to undrstand this saying by Rabbi Kahan.
    One way is the way you see it I understand it a bit differntly.
    I like it mainly because in it lays the potential for peace and unity among various factions within Chabad.

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