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And now a word from a concerned neighbour‏…

December 7, 2009 – 7:14 pm50 Comments
It seems not all missionaries are living such dramatic lives as the Jesuit protagonists in the 1986 film, The Mission.

It seems not all missionaries are living life as dramatically as the Jesuit protagonists in the 1986 film, The Mission.

The following letter was dropped into the letter box of one our readers living on Hotham St, Balaclava.  The letter was printed on plain paper in Times New Roman, single line spacing, and without any spaces between paragraphs (to the extent that there were paragraphs).  Apart from the spacing, we have reproduced the letter below verbatim (spelling mistakes etc included).  We found the letter amusing, and since the author asks for the letter to be passed on to anyone Jewish, we thought we’d help out.  Enjoy and discuss.

Dear Jewish people your god Yahweh has instructed me a non Jew and not even a Church goer to tell you to assess your writings, for your massier has already been. And I must say, my name is Steve, that with no one in the world crucifying people any more, not even in Jerusalem, which I thought they might to at least give there prophases a chance of coming true, that you have missed the boat on this call. Anyway I was instructed in a dream to tell the Jewish people this two years ago but I did not know why, I am not Jewish, not that I know of anyway, so have found myself dodging writing this, but it keeps coming to me so I thought I better get it over and done with and tell the Jewish people and then leave it in there hands.

I believe your people must be Gods favourite people if God is this persistent.

It looks to me like Jesus must have been your saviour, I can’t think of anyone else in history but I could be wrong, but that is up to you to work out, if he was your massier you will have to work out how to worship him in your own manner, you must have something in mind you’ve had a couple of thousand years to think about it and you have been waiting, I hope your people have something good up there sleave. I think in the old days some of your people were not ready for change, and I wonder if someone turned up today as the chosen massier would things still not change, as some people that control things and have power would not want things to change just like the old days. Anyway you’re the chosen People and if you’re reading this and you’re Jewish I have done my job. So spread the word and ask a phew questions of your beliefs and fce answers will lead you to your promised land and the truth, maybe Yahweh will give you the answers in a dream if you just ask.

Good luck and may Yahweh keep loving you Steve.

Pass this manuscript onto anyone that is Jewish please.

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50 Comments »

  • TheSadducee says:

    It would have been nice if steve ran the letter through a spellcheck before printing and distributing it. 

    anyways, could have been far worse – it could have been a couple of Chabadniks doing a doorknocking campaign.

  • Chaim says:

    I did not know that Chabadniks do any “door knocking  campaigns” other than what any other Jewish group does…  except to ask people to do extra mitzvot eg shabbos candles, tefillin or Channukah candles.
     
    I, as one, certainly never have done so.
     
    Are you really that offended by it? You could just say no thank you.
     
     

  • TheSadducee says:

    Chaim

    Yeah thanks – I have to wait until they’ve knocked on my door, then I have to go and answer the door, listen to their spiel and then say, no thank you.

    Or, they could not come uninvited to my house in the first place and I wouldn’t have any trouble at all.

    Which do you think is the more reasonable option?

  • Chaim says:

    You sound easily troubled. I don’t care when Mormons come to the door. I can even enjoy the conversation. You could also easily not listen to the “spiel”… or you can make an educated decision to do whatever you like. Many people say yes – how do they know you will not?
     
    Put a note on your door saying:
     
    Chabadniks: No offense, but please do not knock and disturb my defined world I live in, thinking you can offer me any improvement, enlightenment or broaden my mind,  no matter how good your intentions are . I will just say no.
     
    What is interesting is that you are so vociferous in defending Catholics in another thread and then “slander” a huge section of the Jewish community although granted in the other  case the catholics did not come to your door.
     
     

  • TheSadducee says:

    Chaim

    What “slander” have I engaged in?  Perhaps you can point it out to me and other readers, or perhaps you can apologise for your own.

    I feel that a door knocking campaign from Chabadniks is worse than an a letter in my mail box. 

    The first instance is far more inconvenient for me personally than the second.

    That is not slander by any stretch of the imagination…

    As to the note, it might be a good idea, presuming that I felt that Chabadniks could actually offer me any possibily of improvement, enlightenment or broadening of my mind – things which I doubt from my personal experiences with that cult.

  • Chaim says:

    Getting a little defensive? If I slandered you – I apologise. That was why I put it in parentheses – I was not being literal.
     
    Did you disgrace, discredit or  defame a large group of people by the implications of your original or later statements. That is subjective. Inconvenience was not mentioned originally but  the cult statement was false and malicious. The original statement was in my opinion just  inappropriate and unnecessary.
     
    It seems that no one could offer the all-knowing, omnipotent, erudite profound person you are anything  – a theme from a lot of your comments.
     
     
     
     

  • TheSadducee says:

    Chaim

    I accept your gracious compliment – I didn’t know that my comments were projecting the theme that I was all-knowing, omnipotent, erudite and profound.  I’m relieved that it appeared that way rather than ignorant, feeble, foolish and perplexed!

    Nonetheless, I will take you up on the cult comment as I consider that it was neither malicious nor false.  I apologise if it struck you in that way – let me explain.

    I believe that Chabad, like other Hassidic groups, engages in a personality cult – i.e. they place a higher emphasis on their rebbes than other groups within Judaism.  In the case of Chabad, some of the adherents have developed such a degree of personality cult as to believe that the late Rebbe is the Messiah.  Do you think that this understanding is without merit or unreasonable?

  • hotham st resident says:

    i got this! was in my mailbox around end of july, early august…. thought it was HILARIOUS! especially the spelling mistakes and the fact that the whole thing makes little sense… lol was definitely an interesting thing to receive in the mail…. :)

  • Sadducee,

    I also take offence to your characterisation of Chabad as a “cult” and consider it slanderous. In your subsequent comment, you seem to have diluted this to “personality cult”, which is quite different. Would you say such a description applies to any group with a charismatic leader? How is the Dalai Lama regarded by Buddhists? How about the personality cult around Barack Obama?

  • TheSadducee says:

    David W

    I refer you to this definition of cult:
    “a religious group, often living together, whose beliefs are considered extreme or strange by many people”

    http://dictionary.cambridge.org/define.asp?key=18874&dict=CALD&topic=followers-of-religious-groups

    The fact is that many people consider Chabad’s beliefs extreme or strange.  This is for a whole variety of reasons, some of them are grounded in reasonable and unreasonable grounds.

    Noting that an appeal to an Orthodox religious perspective would benefit you I would refer you to Rabbi David Berger’s “The Rebbe, the Messiah and the Scandal of Orthodox Indifference” for a good example of an Orthodox religious leader which illustrates some Chabad beliefs which are considered extreme or strange eg. Messianism. 

    As to any group which follows a charismatic leader I would say that they are definitely members of a personality cult incl. the examples you note.  The definition at that site for personality cult also fits Chabad too.

    And not that there is anything wrong with any of that of course. 

    I’m sorry that you are offended and I should let you know that I do not consider cult a necessarily pejorative word in my understanding and usage. 

    I would suggest also that the Catholic church is a cult, as is Christianity generally,  Judaism, Islam and Buddhism for arguments sake.  

  • Sadducee,

    While many groups fall within the dictionary definition you cite, the term “cult” is not generally used to describe them. Most people would say that your personal application of the term to refer even to the Catholic Church is a bit of a stretch. So describing a group as a cult when most people would consider that either incorrect or insulting (notwithstanding the dictionary being on your side) is only going to lead to more arguments.

    The views of Rabbi Berger regarding Chabad and Messianism are well known. As is often the case, loud extremists within Chabad highlight what is an otherwise very reasonable Jewish theology that they have pushed beyond its limits.

  • Chaim says:

    Your ignorance is showing calling Berger an “Orthodox religious leader”.
     
    You can call Chabad a personality cult if you like – in someways I fully agree. The greatness of the Rebbe in so many different areas is what brought many people to Judaism and Chabad in particular. And after his passing, there was a lot of turmoil which to this day is not fully settled. The group however is still growing exponentially without a physically living charismatic personality leader which is unheard of in a real personality cult.
     
    The culturally accepted use of the term  cult on its own  with respect to Chabad  is clearly  false and malicious.  It does not meet any other prerequisites even though, as you pointed out, the term is so widely and ignorantly used.
     
    We have dealt with the Moshiach issue on a previous thread. We really don’t need to address it again. It is a continuously shrinking portion of Chabad and I would agree if you looked at ONLY a few small numbers coming out of Sfat in Israel, it has the makings of a cult. This does not represent the other 95% of the group which in most cases openly and unmistakeably dispute and distance them.
     
     
     
     
     

  • TheSadducee says:

    Chaim are you seriously suggesting that  Rabbi Dr David Berger who is the head of the Jewish Studies at Yeshiva University and one of the leading figures in the RCA and Modern Orthodoxy and religious thought doesn’t qualify as an Orthodox religious leader? 

    On what grounds would you dispute this? 

    As to this: 

    “The group however is still growing exponentially without a physically living charismatic personality leader which is unheard of in a real personality cult.”

    Ever heard of Christianity?  And you suggest I’m showing my ignorance…

  • Chaim says:

    No, being an academic dean of of Yeshivah university and an expert in medieval studies or even being one of the many members of the RCA does not in my opinion make him an Orthodox Jewish leader.  An Orthodox  Jewish leader in my opinion has a large influence over a lot of people – R. Elyashiv, Shteinman, Ovadia Yoesf, Feinstein, Kotler, Kamentsky etc are Orthodox Jewish leaders. He is a well known Orthodox Rabbi mainly because of his book however – just not a leader.
     
    I also do not regard Christianity  a personality cult.
     
    Most of the arguments here are in my opinion your loose usage of terminology, titles and definitions.  I can not think of any religious group that does not meet your Cambridge dictionary definition of a cult.
     
    Obviously arguing over disputed definitions is futile and while you “do not consider cult a necessarily pejorative word in your understanding and usage”, your original intention in using the word was clearly derogatory.
     
     
     

  • TheSadducee says:

    Chaim

    “your original intention in using the word was clearly derogatory.”

    -thats your opinion.  It is wrong, however you are entitled to it.  Such is the price of freedom of speech.

  • Chaim says:

    then I sincerely apologize…
     
    all the best…

  • Sadducee,

    Your intention may not have been derogatory, but the impact certainly was.

  • Sam says:

    Just a little aside on Chabad which has copped a beating earlier in this discussion.     We were recently holidaying on Koh Samui, Thailand. While being driven to our hotel my wife noticed a small neon sign in hebrew characters. Being close by we walked back to Chabad House the next evening and were made very welcome by the young Rabbi and Rebbetzin from Israel. On enquiring about the next evening’s events  (Shabbat),  he said that we would be very welcome to attend the service and partake of the meal.
    On returning the next evening there were at least 70 jews present, mostly being young people from Israel  just past their army service, or Israeli honeymooners, but also a few locals.  It was an uplifting and very enjoyable evening. The Rabbi gave a drosha in Ivrit which was well received. There was no charge for the meal which was excellent, however there was a box into which one could make a donation, but there was no pressure to do so. My wife and I were full of praise for the excellent outreach work that Chabad does all over the world. We have never had any affiliation with Chabad in Perth.

  • TheSadducee says:

    Sam

    I’m not saying that Chabad doesn’t do any good works – they certainly do and they should be commended for that. 

    They also however have a number of problems which shouldn’t be overlooked because of these good works eg. the Messianists, their questionable activities in central/eastern Europe, their habit of misrepresenting themselves or conflicting with other Jewish groups all come to mind.

  • Chaim says:

    Sadducee… You are going to get yourself in trouble again…
    Defamation
     
    questionable activities in central/eastern Europe – please clarify.
    their habit of misrepresenting themselves  – please clarify
    Conflicting with other Jewish groups: Ridiculous statement. In every place I have been Chabad has made a discerned effort to not make conflict. They have been involved in communal activities with other groups.  There are always issues when any new shul opens anywhere. Most conflicts arise specifically because of opposition to Chabad not vice versa. Obviously Chabad follows orthodox halacha and will conflict with non-orthodox groups but not individuals.
     
     
     
     

  • TheSadducee says:

    Chaim

    Are you threatening to sue me?  I’d refer you to the moderation policy of the blog if you are.

    As you’ve implied the threat, I’m not game to elaborate any further for the time being and indeed probably wont contribute further here from now on. 

    Well done for shutting down conversation.

  • Chaim says:

    I do not sue anyone nor threaten anyone. I was highlighting what is an acceptable norm in debate and what is not.
     
    Ridiculous and unfounded claims should be answered and shown for what they are. Better yet maybe just not presented.
     
    It wasn’t really a conversation.  That would imply two mutual parties actually interested in being open and learning something from each other. The intention should be coming to an agreement or at least an understanding  where all parties are NOT offended and peoples beliefs and lifestyles are respected.
     
    I fully believe in constructive criticism and transparency. If you had any towards Chabad I would have appreciated it instead of insinuations, accusations and misleading comments.
     
    You failed on all accounts.
     
     
     

  • TheSadducee says:

    Chaim

    Thanks for the promise not to sue – here is my response from earlier:

    Let’s spell out some examples for you:

    misrepresenting themselves –

    a good case recently arose in the Canberra Jewish community.  Chabad opened up a house in Canberra in early 2009.  The fellow they sent out was actually not a rabbi as he didn’t have smicha nor had he completed his studies.  This didn’t stop Chabad from referring to him as a rabbi cf.
    http://lubavitch.com/news/article/2025660/First-Chabad-Center-Opens-in-Canberra-Australia.html
    and yet when confronted by the community the fellow admitted that he wasn’t a rabbi:
    http://www.jwire.com.au/?p=1809

    I could also ask you to perhaps elaborate on the mikvah negotiations which fell through between Chabad and the ACT Jewish community – I’d refer you to the comments of this article:
    http://www.jwire.com.au/?p=1380

    questionable activities in Central/Eastern Europe:

    I would refer you to the situation in the Ukraine where Chabad appointed their own Chief Rabbi in opposition to the current one, and then another Chabad Chief Rabbi was appointed in opposition to both of them!  cf.
    http://www.jewishaz.com/issues/story.mv?051028+chief

    Conflict with other Jews:

    I’d refer you to this example from Russia with Chabad attacking the Reform Jews:
    http://www.ncsj.org/AuxPages/032905JTA_Chabad.shtml

    Do you know what the true irony of this situation is?  My mother’s family is actually from right near Lyubavichi and were members of the group well before the Shoah (around the time of the 4th and 5th Rebbes) and yet I can’t disagree with their modern incarnation without being labelled close-minded to open discussion or suffer the implied threat of being sued.

  • Chaim says:

    1) Misrepresenting themselves. I fully agree that if he said he had smicha and did not yet – it is wrong and a disgrace. The title of Rabbi and the smicha itself is a bit of a joke these days and is really unnecessary in most cases and is taken out of context of what it really was or what it represented originally. Do you know that he had not completed most of his required studies and needed only a few more parts and was just in the process of getting smicha? Even so lies are lies and should not be tolerated. I do not understand the mikvah story – there were no facts and no rebuttal. – I am sure David Werdiger has more information on this subject.
     
    2) Eastern Europe… Stupid rabbinical politics. Did you not see that most of Chabad’s Rabbis (Federation of Jewish Communities, the region’s largest Jewish group) did not accept Azman’s election even though he was ordained by Chabad and that it was done by a essentially secular group without any Rabbinical say. Rabinovich is not Chabad.  Bleich was never elected.  Do you realize why the US and even Australia has no “Chief Rabbi” It is only a political position. How is this questionable activities  in Eastern Europe that reflects on Chabad as a group or organization when within Chabad itself it is disputed?
     
    3) Like I said previously. Chabad like any other Orthodox group is not going to accept Reform Judaism as a legitimate Jewish practice. It will however respect any particular individual no matter what they are.
     
    Again constructive criticism eg Adelaide (if it is true) is gratefully accepted by me as a Chabadnik and I will do my utmost to remedy. There will never be full agreement nor acceptance between Jewish groups or sects – this is not new nor will it ever change. Any large group like Chabad will have degenerate, evil, immoral people within it. They do not reflect the group nor its mission. The question is how it is dealt with.  I advocate transparency, truth and open debate with respect and tolerance and without outlandish and extremely generalizing   accusations. The individual does not represent the group. People are human. People make mistakes.  Otherwise I could say all Catholics are Child molesters which is blatantly not true although many diocese hid / neglected and ignored and subsequently by default then propagated the abuse ..
     
    If you want to know what Chabad believes in or represents or what it aspires to – read the Actual Rebbe’s writings of which there is many.  Go to Chabad.org. Show me something there that is disrespectful or  intolerant and not positive and inclusive within its halachic code. Yes you may disagree or not believe.
     
    My specific problems with your comments were clear. You tell me your intentions were good and altruistic. I can believe that. They did not come across that way at all. They were not constructive nor specific. You generalized a few specific cases to a whole group at all times (“the habit of”) and using words like “cult” was not helpful in a discussion.
     
     
    It is clear to many that the world is a much better place with Chabad in it.
     
     
     
     

  • Chaim says:

    p.s. http://www.jwire.com.au/?p=1809
    Attending his first Canberra Jewish community meeting this week, Dan Avital told members he was not a rabbi.
     
     

  • TheSadducee says:

    Chaim

    yes – he stated this 18 days after his organisation incorrectly detailed him as a rabbi in the press release.  Check the dates – it wasn’t him, it was Chabad’s own official publication which misled people. 

    as to the individual involved – he did get his smicha, something like 8 months later which suggests he had quite a bit of study to go – something that the organisation couldn’t not be aware of.

    as to the East Europe issue – you are obviously not aware that many of those post Soviet states negotiate with the Jewish communities through a politically recognised leader for the entire Jewish community i.e. the chief rabbi.  This is the reason why Chabad keeps fighting over who is chief rabbi in these countries and indeed acts divisely by appointing their own and lobbying for recognition even when there are already recognised chief rabbis eg. the Ukraine example.

    anyways, I’ll take you up on your request and study some more of the early writings before coming back to you.

  • Chaim says:

    I do not make excuses for any purposeful misrepresentation. I agree if something was written that was not true it should be addressed. Whether Chabad international actually knew he did NOT have smicha is unlikely. It was probably just assumed he did because it is very rare that a student goes out before smicha. I am not sure why he specifically was chosen and why at that time before he had smicha.  I will try contact him personally (if I can) for a response.
     
    A Rabbi in its truest term is simply a teacher and does not need smicha except to posken. 8 months does not imply anything. Depending on the smicha it can take 1yr to 5 yrs. Also sometimes people have studies it and need to wait until a specific Rav comes to town to test them.
     
    Most of the turmoil was not about this but rather certain individuals protecting their turf and clinging to whatever arguments they can find to stop Chabad from opening a new shul.
     
    Yes that is why I said it is a political position. Chabad which is one of, if not has, the biggest representations in Eastern Europe has a right to lobby for the position just like anyone else. It should be done in a democratic acceptable way and not a fixed position since it is purely political and not religious – which it seems that most Chabad Rabbis were trying to do. There were two existing Chief rabbis prior to Azman and the one earliest one –  Bleich was never elected by anyone. If anything Azman is the first truly elected one at all even though it seems it was not done in an appropriate way. Give me an example of any politics that is not divisive?
     
     
    I am not sure what you meant by “early” writings.
     
     

  • Chaim says:

    P.S You forgot about Alex Dukhovny – the progressive Judaism Chief Rabbi. So they have four.

  • Chaim says:

    Just to clarify re: Ukraine Chief Rabbis. Another article.
     
    Yaakov Dov Bleich – (1992-present[update]) – US born – original post-communism chief rabbi, assumed the position and was never elected by any group but still widely recognized Chief Rabbi of Ukraine and Kiev. He was disputed because he did not adequately represent all groups.
     
    Alex Dukhovny – The Progressive (Liberal/Reform) Chief Rabbi of Kiev and Ukraine since 1999
     
    Azriel Haikin – (2003-present[update]) – Chabad affiliated – not fully recognized as Ukraine Chief Rabbi, but heads the Ukrainian Chabad. He was elected Ukraine’s chief rabbi in 2003 by a convention of local Ukrainian rabbis, most of them associated with Chabad. Whereas those other movements combined have four rabbis in Ukraine, Chabad has close to 60.
     
    Moshe Reuven Azman – (2005-present[update]) – rabbi ordained by  Chabad, though elected mostly by secular Jewish leaders and not by any rabbinical authority and not head of nor represents Ukraine Chabad and is disputed officially by Chabad. His sponsor is  the arms dealer and media magnate Vadim Rabinovich. It was Rabinovich’s United Jewish Community of Ukraine (no democracy here) that elected Azman chief rabbi.
     
    Are you also going to make accusations that progressive Judaism is divisive since they were the first to dispute and elect their own chief Rabbi?
     
    Who do you think is the preferred or appropriate Rabbi?
     
    Who is being divisive in this thread?   Hypocrisy?
     
     
     
     
     
     
     

  • Chaim says:

    Also in the interest of open debate and full disclosure of facts without jumping to conclusions and judging people purely based on hearsay and innuendo.
     
    I did get in contact with some  individuals involved in ACT. This is not a quote from any specific people involved.
     
    1) R. Avital never said he had smicha and in fact disclosed publicly and openly prior to his arrival that he did not yet have smicha.  He was encouraged to use the term “Rabbi” for the benefit of the people by the community and his superiors  since people in general  are more comfortable with usage of the term. This is not uncommon around the world – it happened in my experience in Perth with someone NOT from Chabad.  R. Avital  never claimed to be a “Rov”.  He saw his job as a Shaliach i.e. to help Jews, administer the Chabad house and its projects etc of which he is competent and appropriately skilled. He was finishing smicha and those activities which require smicha were referred to other Rabbis to deal with.  Of note, in halacha, you can even marry  people without smicha or being a “Rabbi”.
     
    There are over 600 Jews in the ACT and the large majority have welcomed Chabad. The existing center had no Rabbi and no religiously trained leadership. CURRENTLY he and the rest of Chabad get along well with the leadership and most Jews in the ACT.
     
    The community leaders originally  asked Chabad to come and build a Mikvah and the community voted and approved it. From what I was told by different parties involved, essentially   local JCC board politics essentially derailed the project and delayed it until Chabad simply decided to come and do what the community asked outside of the political forum.
     
    I will let others decide who can and how to judge him. Maybe even meet him first before you exercise judgment on  him.  Or better yet maybe actually give people the benefit of the doubt.
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     

  • Chaim says:

    One last thing..  I know I have written multiple consecutive comments…
    In comparison to the quick judgements, animosity and possible contemp shown here for other Jews… PLEASE watch and hear in the Rebbe’s own words with subtitles how he looks at Miriam bas Bilga. An absolute unique view and understanding  to the story.
     
    The Talmud relates that Miriam bas Bilga abandoned Judaism, married a gentile Greek officer and accompanied the Greeks as they stormed the Holy Temple. She then went and pounded the Holy Altar with her sandal, crying out: “Wolf, wolf! You consume the Jewish People’s wealth, but you don’t answer them in their time of need!” For this latter deed, the Sages punished her entire family. She was looked at by all other commentators as an absolute wicked person.
     
     
     

  • TheSadducee says:

    Chaim

    Are you calling for a ban to be put on my whole family?  That is pretty outrageous.  Otherwise what is the point of your reference to bas Bilga?
    Are the moderators reading this thread?

  • Chaim says:

    Wow – you are defensive…
     
    No I would never ever say or even think that.
     
    That is the difference between you and me. Between someone who learns Chassidus and those that do not. My whole point, if you actually watched the video, was to show that Chassidus teaches how to look at the world, Torah and specifically Jews in a different light, in a positive light. Always finding a positive attribute to even one of  the most wicked person mentioned in the Talmud- Miriam bas Bilga. This is what Chabad is about, in the Rebbe’s own words.
     
    You always look critically, finding fault and accusing people of wrong doing – hence your comments above. Did you even think R. Avital or the Ukraine Chabad may have been right or even just had the best intentions and that you were misinformed? Did you search out for an alternative truth and look for a way to view them in a positive way rather than accusing them of wrongdoing?
     
     
     
     

  • Henry Herzog says:

    I don’t know why you guys bother with Saddas, his agenda is pretty obvious.

  • TheSadducee says:

    Mr Herzog

    Chaim bothers with me because hes an infinitely better Jew than you are.

  • TheSadducee says:

    Chaim

    I’ll concede that perhaps I have been wrong on the Chabad issue – my experiences with them have been uniformly negative to date and this may have affected my views, however to your credit you have been extremely patient, reasonable and charitable in our discussions and I appreciate that sort of civility and quality of character.  I am impressed by your witness and conduct to your faith.  I will endeavour to reserve my comments in future until I learn more about the group and its teachings as you have suggested. 

    Have a good Shabbat.

  • Chaim says:

    Actually I bother with TheSadducee because I think every Jew is infinitely better ans special than they or anyone else thinks they really are…
     
    p.s. Are you a he or a she?

  • Chaim says:

    The Sadducee…
     
    I apologize for your negative experiences… Chassidim are human and make mistakes.. plenty..
     
    That is why I try stick with the original writings and speeches by the Rebbe. I have never seen a person who is so compassionate and so understanding and has such ultimate faith in every person…

  • Henry Herzog says:

    The Sudducee concedes he was wrong while Chaim also apologies .. for what? I am not quite sure ; but anyhow, its all because of what I said. You guys have really made my day.

    PSSS Chaim, I wouldn’t be too concerned  if  The Sudducee is a he or she. Ask rather who in his/her  family is Jewish, because you may be barking up the wrong tree.

  • TheSadducee says:

    Mr Herzog

    Not that it is any of your business, but I am Orthodox and recognised as such in my community. 

    (Please use a paperbag if you are hyperventilating)

  • Chaim says:

    The Sadducee: I forgot – Good Shabbos.
     
    Henry: I was apologizing for his/her negative experience with Chabad. It is something I would like to learn from and try to  avoid…. perhaps at another time….

  • Sorry; just caught up on this (editors: subscriptions aren’t working for me).

    Sadducee,

    Here’s an important point about Chabad that should be mentioned. It is a very large, decentralized organization. That was the case even when the Rebbe was around. There is no central press office that does fact checking for media releases. Local shluchim have a large degree of autonomy regarding what they do and how they deal with local issues and other groups. Like any group, it has a specific philosophy and positions about certain issues relating to Judaism, and these are largely held in a consistent way by shluchim around the world (the exception to this last point would be the position regarding Moshiach, which has polarized Chabad itself in recent years – that has been discussed adequately in other posts on this site).

    To point to a few random issues all over the place and combine them to form a view about the organization as a whole, or say that they are representative/common practice of the organization is wrong, and reflects a misunderstanding of how such a large organization works in practice.

  • TheSadducee says:

    I’d like to take the opportunity to ask my fellow Jewish brothers and sisters to pray for the Chabad rabbi who had his finger partially bitten off in a hate-attack in Vienna during Channukah the other day.

    http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/134958

  • Chaim says:

    Not an exclusively Eastern European problem..
     
    http://mysticalpaths.blogspot.com/2009/12/chabad-canary-in-coal-mine.html
     
     

  • TheSadducee says:

    The thing I didn’t understand is why they bother to protest and/or cause trouble?  Surely the people involved don’t think that they are going to actually achieve anything substantial or sway people to their way of thinking (eg. the neo-Nazis)? 

    I’m not so keen on the public lightings because of this very reason (it provides an opportunity for violence/disorder by hostile elements) but nonetheless the people doing this sort of thing aren’t asking for this kind of trouble and certainly shouldn’t be attacked etc.  Despicable stuff.

  • Chaim says:

    Some people ascribe to incognito, ergo sum – I don’t.
     
    I believe non-Jews expect Jews to be proud and public Jews and not ashamed of it….
     
    There will always be a few thugs at any party…
     

  • TheSadducee says:

    Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have a problem with them doing the public lightings – I think its a good thing because Jews who are not part of established communities might see it and get involved.  And there is certainly nothing to be ashamed about (usually) by normal expressions of our faith (except perhaps for kapporot).  However I’m concerned that they clearly can become a focus for malcontents and the people involved may be at risk.  Perhaps better coordination with local government authorities to provide security might be a good idea?

  • Henry Herzog says:

    That bloke in Vienna biting off the rabbi’s finger couldn’t be Muslim: Human flesh is trife to Muslims.  And, the way the report kept referring to the alleged perpetrator as the Muslim, I thought was a tad racist; reminds me of the Jew doing this and the Jew doing that. Just doesn’t sound right in this day and age, although, mind you, it seams we are regressing some what, with Tony Abbott elected leader of the Liberals and all that.

  • Chaim says:

    The Sadducee: I agree…
     
    Henry: I don’t think he was actually thinking about Islamic laws when he actually attacked the the Rabbi and actually outright aimed to bite off the finger.. He actually spat it out and did not chew it and swallow it. Why is it that nearly all conflicts in the world these days involve Muslims? Is that racist to say too? What do you think his intention was? Environmental? Just not liking light or latkes?
    p.s the latkes.. My wife made great latkes but way too much oil… Chanukah is really not a healthy festival for the body – maybe just the soul or maybe I am just a glutton and should have stopped after the second one…
     

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