Thursday, May 7, 2009
Reb Menashe and the Lubavitchers
Talk about the benefit of the doubt! You people give me none. If there's something you want to see me address and it isn't done immediate;y, then I must be hiding or censoring something. It seems like over the years I've spoiled you into thinking that at any given movement a long post can appear out the blue. I'm glad to hear that, but sometimes more time is necessary, especially when addressing serious matters that often represent the views of many others. I refer, of course to the recently published Tshuvah in Mishneh Haloches of Rav Menashe Klein where he supposedly called Meshichisten Apikorsim, or something like that. COL saw fit to publicize this Tshuveh, which was recently published in Vol XVII of his sefer, and the result was all hell breaking loose. What we ended up seeing was an embarrassing display of Ameratzes, hate and Bizayon Talmid Chochom, which prompted one Lubavitcher Talmid Chochom to say that "if they're not Apikorsim for their beliefs, then they most certainly are for the Bizui of a great posek, one of the few remaining in America.
Here's my problem: I'll let y'all in a little secret: Reb Menashe Klein was my mohel. He made my Upsheren. I went to his pre-school. I grew up davening in his shul. I know every krechtz and every niggun they sing for every shtikkel in davening throughout the year. Well, at least I knew them all, it's been a while since I davened there. Most of the guys who grew up there don't daven there any more, at least not the guys my age, anyway. They all moved to Flatbush, Lakewood, Monsey or Israel. What's left is my parents' generation, some of RMK's family, an some newcomers. But the place is a shell of its old self, despite moving into a new Beis Medrash upstairs, in the "Heichel Zichron Kedoshim." I believe, that if you ask anybody from my generation what they would rather have, an old shul filled with children and singing, or a quiet, empty, new shul made of Jerusalem stone, and they'd ask for the former, despite the lack of air-conditioning on those hot Shabbos mornings. Why do I tell you all this? just so that you understand where I'm coming from.
Having said that we can go on to the topic at hand. There seems to be more than issue being discussed here. It's not just whether or not you're allowed to believe that the Rebbe is still Moshiach, or was ever. There's the issue of not accepting another Rebbe, and of going to the ohel as well. In other words he seems to be "attacking" just about everybody in Lubavitch, not just the Meshichisten. That's why you'll be hard-pressed to find anybody that would wholly agree with him on this matter. Not because they think they know better, or because they lack respect for Rabbonim, but because they feel - with all due respect - that RMK is an outsider, he doesn't understand the Chabad Dor Hashvi'i - or any generation for that matter - culture, so he can't really lecture them on they should run their own internal affairs. This despite the fact that the Rebbe had great respect for him, even as a very young man almost 50 years ago. For these matters, most Lubavitchers would tell you, one needs to consult with the Rebbe's sichos or with Lubavitcher mashpi'im, not with outside Rabbonim, despite their good intentions, otherwise we may have to discontinue Shlichus altogether, since many Rabbonim oppose it altogether.
Read the Tshuveh for yourselves, we'll discuss it here.