Thoughts on Judaism

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Israel Independence and Chabad

Chabad leadership has disassociated themselves from a Chabad rabbi in Israel for taking part in a Yom Ha'atzma'ut ceremony with Moshe Holtzberg, the survivor of the horrific terror attack in Mumbai. Young Moshe is used by Chabad for the considerable PR he provides, but this attempt to use the child and his grandfather resulted in a mess. While the public face of Chabad strongly supports Israel, as a nation of refuge for Jews and homeland for Jews, the underlying Rabbinic authorities are embarrassed in front of Charedim and other Chasidim to assert this position. It is in fashion for Jews to assert their frumness by stating that, since Israel is not run by Torah law, it is evil at the core. Note that Rav Eliezrie rushed to apologize for the contradictory position by laying out the assertion that while Chabad is "Zionist" in a religious way, serving in the army and paying taxes, yet they are Zionists who reject the secular principles of the founding of Israel.

Rabbi, if that is the case, that you respect Israel as a nation and serve it, then why object to recognizing its founding? Even by your position, Chabad took actions that indicate a rejection of the legitimacy of the state itself, not those that would represent loyal opposition. By comparison, many Americans would consider some of our founding principles deeply problematic, (problems that could legitimately be said to extend into our times), but only the most radical would refuse to sing the national anthem or the pledge of allegiance. Certainly, even more radical would be the proposition that an American would be invited to participate in a ceremonial honor for a non-political purpose to the nation, and his group behind would emphasize that they do not support him. In this case, the participation of Rabbi Rosenberg and Moishe emphasizes the "refuge from persecution" aspect that they supposedly agree on with the state of Israel.

In previous generations, Chabad followed the other Chasidic groups and even enemy Charedi groups (yes, Chabad and Charedim were opponents!) in racing to denounce everything the "Tziyoni" did as secular, destructive to Judaism and not G-d's will. By contrast, Ben Gurion tried to develop a plan whereby the rights of religious and secular Jews could be guarded, in a "live and let live" state. The religious insisted upon the impossible standard of running Israel on Torah law. WHOSE TORAH LAW????!!!!!

Well, to carry their position to its logical conclusion, this is why Eliezrie does not support Rosenberg. He would like to see a state run on Torah law. When the forces of "Torah" get together, they will need to agree on a standard. Naturally, they will want to be inclusive of all groups. Therefore, they will adopt the strictest standard that anyone holds in any matter, by definition. Shaved heads and wigs for all women, enforced tznius to teh strictest known standard short of Burkas, no pictures of women, separate buses, all able bodied men learning Torah and not working as a matter of principle, withdrawal from all international bodies, political, educational, and athletic, education that forbids exposure to modern science and teaches ancient science as fact, nullification of conversions and divorces, even held under Orthodox auspices, enforced Shabbat observance, kashrut to the nth degree only, to the strictest known standard, beit din with the power to give makat mardut as it sees fit without check or control, including floggings, imprisonment, torture, even for things that are merely violations of their protocols. Are you scared yet? Are you packing your bags to move to Torah-run Israel? Pack a weapon, because even if you are as scrupulous as humanly possible, any number fo groups will automatically declare you a heretic and want to kill you. Internecine civil strife would be the rule until a strong dictatorial leader rose up, declared himself the Messiah with the help of some celebrity Rabbis, and killed, jailed or silenced everyone who disagreed with him in any matter. While the "Messiah" would not actually do any of the things that prove him the Messiah, he will be declared "b'chazkat Moshiach" until some undetermined future date.

Is that not the Israel you dreamed of? That is the Israel that Chabad would have us dream of. And they are supposedly the least crazy of all. So next time you hear a Chabad shaliach measure his words and tell you that, while they "support the state" (even though they oppose its founding principles, even ceremonially), they really want to improve it into a state that is run by the Messiah and Torah law, please consider what that really means.


  • Obviously you have not been in a Chabad Shul. I have Reform friends and I hear all of the silly rumors and stories that circulate from them - I guess out of fear. Just today, I attended a brit milah and the women and men were in the same room participating fully in the mitzvah. My hair is not covered, I have a 13 year-old daughter and I'm totally accepted in any Chabad Shul - Chabad feels that people grow and embrace Judaism at that own pace... I was not married under the Chuppah and will decide how short or long I wear my hair and what type of hair covering, when and if I'm blessed by a marriage. I am a professional woman, who finds little that I cannot as a religious woman who follows the Torah... Please do yourself and your readers a favor...introduce yourself and learn with a Chabad Rabbi; spend some time learning about what a religious Jew can mean. Your commentary is absolutely incorrect and exaggerated. I am pro-Israel and regardless of what our Rabbi's might believe, in Chabad, we are not forced to do anything or believe anything - life is a Journey, and a test.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:07 PM  

  • In fact, when I am learning on my own, I am, technically, learning with a Chabad trained Rabbi. You see, I was a Chabad Rabbi, though I do not associate as Chabad anymore. Iddo not have anything against Chabad.

    The post simply extends out what the rhetoric really means. Most people do not think it through on a practical level.

    By Anonymous rebeljew, at 8:21 PM  

  • The point was that Chabad will not make the rules in a Torah state. The strictest common denominator will. Otherwise, the stricter factions will not be on board still. They will not consider it a true Torah state. Chabad will have to give in to some of the most radical elements in the frum world. I do not think that Chabad will like the Torah state of Israel that they claim to support.

    By Anonymous rebeljew, at 8:25 PM  

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