Sunday, June 27, 2010

Guest Post by Guravitzer (He's baaaaaack!!)


"Sabonim" is the most awful epithet I've ever heard. The intellectual secular European-based Zionists, spiritual yorshim of the Maskilim, Conversos, and Misyavnim, tossed aside all valor not given to action. Holocaust murdered and survivors alike were named Sabonim after the soap made of human flesh in the concentration camps. Epitomizing their disdain for sheep led to the slaughter, these upper crust Jew-hating-Jews had no use for quiet dignity, for humanity maintained under the Nazi boot. A group of people allow their minds and egos to lead them as sheep to spiritual slaughter. One of their calls to arms is the Rebbe's attendance at Sorbonne University. Simply a matter of history, of no influence on anyone in any way, they insisted that the Rebbe never attended Sorbonne, therefore chasidim lie, therefore chasidus is a lie. They continue to insist this although JEM uncovered the signature of the Rebbe's inscription as a student. Therefore, I call these people "Sarbonim". Recently, the Sarbonim rejoiced as two of their members published a biography denigrating the Rebbe. Thankfully, a man of courage and wisdom, Rabbi Chaim Rapoport, took down their unscholarly and untruthful work in a 45 page article. The hosts of the site where it is published are to be commended for their interest in truth and justice. Their actions here qualify as tzedek, tzedek tirdof.

The Sarbonim believe they have another reason to rejoice. The purported analysis of the Rebbe Rashab by an associate of Sigmund Freud is published and discussed in an academic article. As a chosid, before knowing details of the article or analysis, there is a certain anticipation. The most noble possibility is a record of a conversation about chasidus or a high-minded subject, similar to the short record of a conversation between the Rebbe Rashab and Dr. Freud given by the Frierdike Rebbe. A less-exciting possibility is the simple details of the treatment of the Rebbe Rashab. The unfortunate possibility is that of a denigrating portrayal. We got the last option. It might have been sorrowful if it wasn't fiction. There is no point in discussing the validity of the historical truth of the analysis. You either believe it or not, there is no corroborating proof for any of it. To wit:

A. Dr. Stekel does not give a name, only the title Rabbi. The identity is a guess.

B. The guess might be based on symptoms and personal data, but the data in the analysis doesn't match much told by others, including the Frierdike Rebbe.

C. There is one outright mistake. He mentions at the end that the Rebbe Rashab sent a daughter for treatment later on. The Rebbe Rashab had no daughter and only one son.

There are two points of conversation in the article that do not make any sense. Dr. Stekel writes, "’How can thoughts produce a severe bodily disease? How can mental things be transformed into physical ones?’ asked the astonished patient." The gemara describes a case of a man so taken with a woman that he became physically ill. This statement should have caused no wonder for the Rebbe Rashab, although it was a novelty in medical circles. Additionally, he mentions a lack of awareness of issues involving shemiras habris. Lack of awareness and knowledge of these issues was very common in general society at the time, and formed the basis of Freud’s theories, but not in learned Jewish circles - Tanya for one mentions the kapara for lack of shemiras habris many times. Both of these points lead to the thought that Dr. Stekel was trying to prove a point to psychotherapy's opponents, not accurately describe conversations with a patient. My opinion, for what it's worth, is that Dr. Stekel wrote a fictional account of a Rabbi's treatment loosely based on the Rebbe Rashab's conversations with Dr. Freud, and possibly even with Dr. Stekel. I haven't read the academic article, only Dr. Stekel's case description and the online discussion of the academic article. There is considerable academic discussion questioning the truth of the cases published by the early psychotherapists including Freud. Their ideas did not survive the test of time either, and they seem to be credited only with giving birth to the treatment of mental issues and disorders through therapy. There is nothing disrespectful academically in suggesting that Dr. Stekel would write a fictional account if he thought it would further the cause of psychotherapy. This is very unfortunate, as it would have been interesting to read a truthful account of the Rebbe Rashab's treatment, warts and all.

To further clarify this account as fiction, Rabbi Sholom Ber Levin released letters of the Rebbe Rashab concerning his treatment. These letters detail a consultation with Freud as a neurologist, who together with an internist named Dr. Nothnagel prescribed electric shock treatment. Yup, folks. The Rebbe Rashab had a neurological disorder of the hand which disappeared after electric treatment. No psychoanalysis, no consultation with Freud because of his new medical ideas. Dr. Stekel claimed that no other treatment had worked, and that his treatment brought a cure. Pure fiction. Again as a chosid, the details of the analysis itself, whether in character of what we know of the Rebbe Rashab or not, make no difference, just as the Rebbe's attendance at university makes no difference. In Lubavitch our Rebbeim are human and we portray them with their human detail as well as the eloki. The wonder is the guf gashmi, that a series of humans with varying personalities can live lives both earth-some and faultless. Einenu ra'u meoros, we saw the Rebbe's behavior and chasidus and we study the Rebbe Rashab's chasidus and life. The details of their lives are interesting and often instructive. Once our eyes judged them to be truth and elokus, it's beyond us to rejudge with every new detail subject to interpretation. Our stories are great when they follow the line of R' Shmuel Gurary remaining a chosid when the Rebbe's advice lost him money. Stories of miracles instruct us about the greatness of Hashem, as the Rebbe wrote explicitly, they teach us nothing about our Rebbeim. Interesting, yes, helpful, no, truthful, not always. The same may be said for the revelations treasured by the Sarbonim.

[ I wonder if I'm doing the right thing here by throwing this out on the floor...]


Mottel said...

Important to note (before the haters claim forgery and koolaid):
The Rebbe Rashab was subject to the use of electricity to revive the numbness in his hand - a common medical practice for the time. Electroshock Treatment (ECT) as a medical term refers to the use of electricity to induce seizures in patients suffering from mania and catatonia. ECT was not introduced until the 1930s.

Lest others jump on our imprecise translations as fuel for their conspiracy theories, I wish to set the record strait.

fakewood inc. said...

thanks for this post i really needed to see the other side. why does this have to be a post on a blog only. no one i asked was willing to discuss it. thank you again.

Anonymous said...

it was discussed already on some Hebrew sites

fakewood inc. said...

which ones i did not see it anywhere.

Chabad-Revisited said...

Just to summarize:

Rabbi Berel Levin curator and archivist at the Aggudas Chassidai Chabad Library, recently made available the Rashab’s correspondence regarding his visitations with Freud, you can read the letters here:

What is clear from these letters is:
1) The Rashab visited Freud as a neurologist, not a psychoanalyst. Stekel was not a neurologist.
2) Freud’s treatment of the Rashab’s hand was purely physical. Though they did discuss topics of mutual interest and Freud did advise methods of alleviating the Rashab’s depression.

Based on the above we can assume that:
1) Stekel never treated the Rashab.
2) He may have known details of the Rashab’s case either from reading Freud’s notes or from conversations with him.
3) Either the case of the Rabbiner has nothing to do with the Rashab or based on his knowledge of the case Stekel may have expanded the facts into some bizarre fantasy of his own.

Bear in mind that Stekel was himself unbalanced, committing suicide and being obsessed with the issues he attributes to the Rashab, so it is quite conceivable that the whole story is his own perverted fantasy run wild.

Anonymous said...

But Stekel’s breakup with Freud was now inevitable. He writes on page 142:

“At one session my honor was personally attacked by Victor Tausk. He insinuated that my cases were in­vented. (If I had invented my cases I should undoubt­edly be a greater poet than Shakespeare.) During this speech by Tausk, I wrote to Freud on a scrap of paper, “If you will not rebuke these personal attacks, this is the last time that I shall have been a member of this circle.” In a mild manner Freud asked Tausk to avoid personal remarks.

We see others claimed that his cases were invented. From Stekel Bio

Anonymous said...

Unbelievable. The typical Snag, including yours truly, never heard about the Rashab meeting Sigmund or the Riyatz's claim to see the remains of the golem-whatever. Now, we have some reading to do.

G. Remember, if the other eydem would have won, you would have convinced yourself the same about him.

shmilu said...

I wonder why you would post this stuff? This is something that I would not touch or discuss.
You should use the delete button on this

Anonymous said...

regarding the golem , r yisrael riesman ,who all agree is a zadik , chacham , and yashar ,has an hour tape investigating the golem with no early sources ,certanly not the benei yessachar.

Friendly Anonymous said...

I feel very slimy reading through someone else's medical records.

That being said, it is interesting how the analysis supports many divrei chazal, among them:

1) tshuvah is not complete until one is with the same woman in the same place, etc.

2) When a person does (or even thinks about) an aveiro, bad attaches to his nefesh, and it is extremely difficult to remove this.

Isaac Balbin said...

I think the points could have been made without using that disgusting description. There really is no need for it.

As to "who cares" ... Sorbonne isn't a deal breaker, however, when you have Chasidim naming Sorbonne and never naming the technical college where he studied most and finished his degree then it's Gneivas Daas and the type of attitude that makes people turn into untrusting sceptics.

Anonymous said...

u really think that this is the major cause of all kids that went off the derech in the last 3 decades?

Twistelton-Twistelton said...

“In Lubavitch our Rebbeim are human and we portray them with their human detail as well as the eloki.”

WOW. Would you say this in 770 as well? Seriously.

“Our stories are great when they follow the line of R' Shmuel Gurary remaining a chosid when the Rebbe's advice lost him money.”

As a Snag, I love that story. And have said it over on a few occasions.

BTW, I am not sure if I agree with you assertion that the Rabbi in question is NOT the Rebbe Rashab. The arguments for seem to be stronger than the arguments against. And I believe the Rashab DID send a rand daughter to Vienna for treatment. But nothing in that article causes me to lose any respect for Rebbe Rashab. Are we to believe that he was born a Tzaddik, and never had any nisyonos?

Isaac Balbin said...

I never claimed that this turned people off the derech. What I am saying, and I know quite a few Chabad people who agree with me, is that telling the whole truth is a much healthier approach. The opposite is so unnecessary. The last Rebbe was a giant, a Gaon Olam and a Manhig of many. That is indisputable.

There really is no need whatsoever to pump up or ignore aspects of history.
People really need to be careful. There are all manner of stories that go around, like Baal Shemsker Maases and then you hear eg Leibel Groner say that "he never heard such a story" etc.

Equally, detractors should also be concerned with the truth and not seek to study history or invent theories in order to minimise and detract from a person's gadlus.

Anonymous said...

לכבוד קוראים הנכבדים הע"י.

עשיתי שימוש רב בדברי הימים של פסיכולוגיה מודרנית, לכן אביע את דעתי בנושא הנוכחי.

ידוע שפרויד (שר"י) הי' עמוס, ראשו ורובו ושלחנו, בבוץ מעשים תעתועים, ובעיני מנוול הסתכל על כל אחד, אי לזאת, אין אף אחד מכל רשימות, בהם מתאר את עבודתו עם הציבור, שלא יתאר את הנידון כמוכה בחולאת תאוות בהמיות.

אשר על כן, לדעתי, אין להתייחס כלל ברציניות לדברי פרויד או לדברי יוצאי בית מדרשו.

Tziki kedera said...

s freud was a baal chesed ,as is known...his wife (bernays) was a cousin of Rav S. r. Hirch...

Anonymous said...

Anon (Hebrew)
as bad as Freud immoral obsessions was, his disciple Shtekel was 100 times worse