Jewish, Jewish, Everywhere, & not a drop to drink
Friday, January 31, 2003
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

This seems like an excessive amount of links above in the full article on the Rebbe.
In order to appreciate the scope and reach of the subject's life's work the links offer an on-going overview.
I am not touching the article for now any more than removing the Sorbonne, which is a popular urban legend but little more. This really needs a LOT of neutral point of view (NPOV), especially since Schneerson is still one of the most controversial figures in Orthodox Judaism. To be intellectually honest, some mention must be made of Berger's book, whether you agree with it or not. You might also want to mention the brother-in-law (the one who got the streimel) and how that threatened Lubavitch unity, and give a more thorough coverage of meshichus (Messianism).

does the brother-in-law info need to be included here, or in a separate article on the Lubavitchers?

Guys, the previous rebbe, Yosef Yitzchok , only had 3 daughters. One died young with no heirs. The other married the rebbe Menachem Mendel, the 3rd married Rabbi Gurarie who headed the Lubavitch yeshivas, he pre-deceased Menachme Mendel quietly. He was a quiet person and never a rival. He did have a son tho, Barry, who dropped out of Lubavitch completely, who was very critical of the movement and had no interest whatsoever in being their leader. The guy with the "strimel" is not even a relative I believe, he is just someone who wrote some books about the movement and arbitrarily decided to make himself a successor.Needless to say, no-one either inside or outside the movement took him seriously. There is NO successor, period.

Could certainly be included here. Essentially, what I was trying to say is that this is a hagiography, not an article, and that the subject is still at the center of a virulent controversy.


"hagiography means dealing with saints", ...What we have is an exceptionally gifted spiritual leader who was able to "come from behind" and build a huge movement. This is a feat of leadership and organizational ablities, just not sainthood.

That he was able to "think outside of the box" and was able to inspire a large cadre of loyal devotess to do his bidding, and influence presidents and prime ministers to boot, requires some insight into how the hasidic system actually works.

That he was controversial and misunderstood comes with the occupational hazard of being nothing less than a religious revolutionary with a burning zeal for Lubavitch Judaism.That's simply who he was, before the hunt for warts begins.

This wikipedia piece tries to make sense of the human dynamics of a highly charged spiritual leader, perhaps to his followers he is a saint, but even so, they are very down-to -earth people, and can be dealt with as such.
WE are not dealing with dry atoms, or impersonal cells under a microscope. Religious and spiritual subjects deserve the respect of a skeptical reader.

Forget Judaism for a moment.How could one explain the workings of Hinduism and Gurus, without trying to understand a spiritaual system that has more than a Billion devotees, without trying to get some sense of what it is that makes a guru a guru, and what does it mean to have extra-ordinary spiritual powers supposedly to levitate, believe in cows as holy, and fight demons, and be vegetarian for religious reasons as well.

Similarly, how to understand that about TWO Billion people on Earth are believers in a personal saviour and a dead super saintJesus who they claim to be a son of god,no less, and that there are religious leaders involved encouraging these beliefs?

Or should two billion Christians, and a billion Hindus, as well as another billion Moslems be dismissed with the wave of a cyber-hand and simply stay away from this web-site simply because people are uncomfortable with looking at things in different dimensions? Not everyone on Earth is an atheist or agnostic, in fact very few people are, and they always make the mistake of thinking that it's the "other guy" who is "narrow-minded".

Does one have to have a cloud of "political correctness" descend upon deeper analysis, or should one take into account the inner dynamics of belief in Jesus as the Messiah, holy Hindu animals, and sacred Islamic worship of the kaba in Mecca, when dealing with religious subjects?

It cannot be done in purely "clinical" terms. Similarly with Orthodox Judaism which is neither a passive state of affairs nor does it have a passive mind-set.After all, the Talmudical method sharpens the mind and makes one think, deeper, analytically, and more profoundly.

One needs to get a sense of what the system is like, taking into account BOTH the understandings of those on the inside looking out with those who suppose they are on the "outside looking in". There has to be a lot of synthesis and merging of perspectives to arrive at a semblance of ACCURACY if not TRUTH.

The ultimate question is do we want to look through windows and look far beyond out our own limited pre-conceived ideas about religion or the spiritual domain, or do we want to look into mirrors that reflect only what we see of ourselves a few inches ahead of our noses. The intelligent and objective scholar always looks for a window of opportunity rather that the stultification of "Political Corrections" which is just plain old boring.

Anyhow, this is an on-going discussion, thanks for the feed-back.

First must come a description of Rabbi Schneerson and his accomplishments, which are really of major and global proportions. I am not a devotee of Lubavitch, but I do believe that objectively speaking its accomplishments are so massive, that whatever crticisms may be levelled at it pale in scale to what the movement does, and this is due to Rabbi Schneerson's work.

Who has even heard of the brother-in-law problem, and what does a family dispute that is long gone have to do with so vast a success as the world-wide Chabad movement? Berger's book has come after the Rebbe's death, and is directed at a minority clique. To me it seems more a case of sour grapes ex post facto of the life of Rabbi Schneerson.

If you hate Lubavitch you will love Berger's book. But Berger is just a minor writer/lecturer and pales in the shadow of Lubavitch's work. As for the messianic urge within Hasidism, it has always been a part of the over-all movement and from time to time it spills over, but life still goes on as normal (even for a meshichist) as proof that the Messianic age has still not dawned on earth.

Z&D: For someone who claims not be a devotee, your words both on the original page and here belie that. Wikipedia is supposed to be neutral, not a list of saints.

See my remarks above.

Some people think that President Kennedy was a "saint".Why? Did he do anything during hid life to earn him that title? Probably not.

Are all Orthodox Jews "sinners", as some feel and imply, and it is only the more liberal branches that are "saints" by dint of them merely not being orthodox in the first place? Obviously not. Especially since Judaism does not believe in Saints at all.

A Tzadik is not merely a "saint". It takes a lot of hard work to be successful at the top, and it's that hard work of our subject that needs to be appreciated in order to gain some meaningful insght into a very complex personality and his legacy.

this article is reverting back to hagiography. "all strata"?
It's only a complicated history when you try to present a combination of fact and fiction as fact.

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Jan 14, 2003.

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