Category Archives: Chabad

The Rebbe and the Rav

On Hasidism

By Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik

The following is an extract from a letter written by the Rav to Rabbi
Moshe Dov Baer Rivkin (1895-1976), a rosh yeshiva at Yeshiva Torah
Vodaath in New York City for many decades and a prominent Lubavitcher
hasid.  It was translated from the Hebrew by Rabbi Yair Kahn.

Erev Rosh ha-Shana, 5715
[Sunday, September 28, 1955]



. . . I possess a special fondness for the Lubavitch movement.  As I speak, I recall the visions of my youth, paved with the pure impressions of childhood, enveloped by romantic splendor.  Patriarchal images still hover before me, crowned with ancient glory.  Behold, the likeness of my mentor, R. Barukh Ya'akov Reisberg, z"l, appear to me.  I can still picture his facial expression, which radiated both solemnity and intelligence, as well as sweep and imagination.  To this day, I hear his voice in the silence of the twilight, sad, saturated with sorrow and longing, his words emerging from the distance – words full of passion and fascination regarding his stay in Lubavitch during his youth.  I still carry in the recesses of my soul, the image of the Alter Rebbe which gazed upon us, (tinokot shel beit rabban) from the whitewashed walls of the heder, a broad forehead, commanding intelligence, deep eyes gazing at Divine infinite distances, fastened upon wondrous visions. The beard which flowed upon his garments enchanted us with its majesty and mystery.  My eyes still perceive the portrait of the Tzemah Tzedek, robed in white, who in our childhood fantasy appeared to us as the high priest exiting the Holy of Holies.  My ears still detect strange sounds, both pleasant and appealing, detached phrases and scattered words uttered by the "hozrim" by dim candlelight during the long winter nights, referring to "all-encompassing lights" and "returning lights," concealment and revelation, internal love and the soul of Israel hewn from the celestial throne.  As I continue to dream, I see the image of elderly Hasidim on the night of Shemini Atzeret, dancing around my father and teacher of blessed memory in a quick rhythmic beat.  Images such as these will not be erased from my heart; they are deeply rooted in the mystery of my being.  Therefore, all that is written regarding this great movement is of enormous interest to me…

("Community, Covenant and Commitment: Selected Letters and Communications- Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik", edited by Nathaniel Helfgot, Ktav Publishing House , NY 2005. Pp 289-90)

(Hat Tip to Rabbi Aryeh Solomon for sending this to me)

(See the website here for articles and videos of the time when these two giants met at the Rebbe's farbrengen)

The human side of a Rebbe

With strict confidentiality assured, correspondent could open up their hearts to the rebbe and receive the same response as they would have done in a ‘tete-a-tete’ (yechidut).  Indeed, in some respects, the written had obvious advantages over the personal, or oral, yechidut- advantages enjoyed by both the Rebbe and the Chassid. The advantage to the Rebbe would manifest itself both in term of time and strain.

Originally, the Rebbe devoted three nights a week – literally – to seeing people, most of these sessions lasting almost till dawn. While each audience was limited to several minutes, rarely more than ten, in order to give the maximum number of people an opportunity to see him and discuss their problems, very few of these people realized the strain that was imposed on the Rebbe as the night progressed, with people entering and leaving in rapid succession, each one with his story to tell.

A direct consequent of this was that the Rebbe had first to immerse him in the problem of the individual who had just entered and give his advice and blessing; then, as the party left, divest himself of this stage completely and without so much as a pause, receive the next visitor and go through the same process all over again. Being a man of great sensitivity, he was certainly deeply affected by the anguish of the sufferer, yet he had to conceal this inner state, so as to appear more detached and give the impression that things were not as desperate as they seemed, and encourage the person to have true faith in Hashem and confidence that G-ds help was on the way. In other words, though his natural inclination would have been to weep with the visitor, the Rebbe had to show a smiling face in order to bolster that very vital trust and faith in G-d that a Jew has to have under any circumstances.

The rigors of this process are amply illustrated by the following. The Previous Rebbe’s daughter, who would attend to him after a yechidut session, confided to me on that she had to giver her father a change of undershirt, as the first one was soaking wet!

(The letter and the spirit – Rabbi Nissan Mindel (Personal secretary of the Lubavitcher Rebbe) pg XIII to XIV)

Chabad laying down the law

Below is a letter that I was forwarded. It highlights to me that within Chabad there are those who are very much aware of what is going on and are prepared to take action to rectify the situation. The fact that we have reached this stage is a truly sad state of affairs. Either way, I am doing my part to get the message out there and hope these type of announcements will be more forthecoming in the future.

24 Shvat, 5770


To all Shluchim and friends of Chabad Lubavitch,


It has come to my attention that Alexander (Sasha) Milschtein – who is an “elokist”, rachamana litzlan, and who “celebrates” Tisha B’av with a public barbeque (complete with an announcement r”l in his published calendar) – has been traveling all over the world, fraudulently presenting himself as an affiliate of Chabad Lubavitch of Milwaukee/Wisconsin. 


He and his representatives, Yevgeny (Shlomo) Seskutov and Aleksander Shteyn, appeal to people in your community and are being supported by unsuspecting, rachamonim bnei rachamonim


It is my unpleasant duty, as a Jew and a Shaliach, to bring this to your attention in order to prevent you from supporting a fraudulent and a r”l… operation.  Needless to say, it is an absolute prohibition, an isur chomur, to say the least, to offer any support to anyone of his camp.  It is every Jew’s duty to prevent his constituency and acquaintances from R”L supporting the above, per these letters by Vaad Rabonei Anash and Beis Din of Crown Heights:


Letter by Vaad Rabonei Anash concerning Milschtein

Letter by Beth Din of Crown Heights about Milschtein


[I call your attention below to r”l similar letters from rabbonim.]


May the Al-mighty cause them to do teshuvah immediately.




Rabbi Yisroel Shmotkin

Director, Lubavitch of Wisconsin


Additional links:

Public Notice by Rabbi Telsner

A letter by Rabbi Axelrod – Haifa, Israel

Public announcement by Rabbi Axelrod



Rabbi Yisroel Shmotkin
Lubavitch of WI | Executive Director
3109 N. Lake Dr, MilwaukeeWI 53211
414.961.6100 | m 414.807.4900

e | w

Chabad Theology – The nature of the Soul

The following is from the book "Kabbalah and Meditations for the Nations" by Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh

The nature of the soul

In order to understand why God gave these seven specific commandments – the Laws of Bnei Noach – to all humanity, we must first briefly explain how the human soul functions.

The human soul has both a Divine and a physical, or animal aspect. In Hebrew these are referred to as the Divine soul (nefesh Elokit) and the animal soul (nefesh behamit) as defined in the Tanya, by the Chassidic Master, Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi. All human beings posses a Divine spark. The difference between one human and another lies in the extent to which the spark has entered and plays an active role in his or her psyche. (We use the term “physche” to refer to both the conscious and unconscious planes of the soul).

When the spark fully enters the psyche it is known as a Divine soul. And so we speak of Jews as possessing a Divine soul. With regard to a non-Jew, the Divine spark hovers above the psyche (not entering it even on the unconscious plane). A righteous gentile (that is, a non-Jew who fulfils the seven laws of Bnei Noach) is one who senses the presence of the Divine spark and is inspired by it to walk along the path of God fitting for all people as outlined in the Torah. On the other hand, a non-Jew who has not yet become a righteous gentile is unaware of the Divine spark hovering above.

To use the language of Chassidut, the Divine spark (or soul) of a Jew is considered an inner light (or pnimi), meaning that it is directly experienced and makes for part of his or her psychological makeup. The righteous gentile’s non Jew’s spark of Divinity is described as a “closely surrounding light” (or makif karov), meaning that it is psychologically experienced only indirectly. The Divine spark of a non-Jews who are not considered righteous gentiles is akin to a “distantly surrounding light” (or makif rachok), meaning that it plays no conscious role in that person’s experience as a human being.

Even in this third case, due to the refinement of character that results from life’s trials and tribulations, and due to the Divinely ordained meetings between non-Jews and Jews which introduce the beauty of the Torah to the non-Jew, the “distant” spark may grow “closer” and the “close” spark may even desire to convert to Judaism. It is because of this latent potential innate in every non-Jew that we speak of all non-Jews as possessing a Divine spark. Indeed all of God’s creations are continuously brought into being by means of a Divine spark, but, only a human being, even if born a non-Jew, is able to convert in his present lifetime and become a Jew.

(Kabbalah and Meditations of the Nations, Chapter 3 “The Mystical Symbolism of the Seven Laws of Bnei Noach, pg 55-56)

Chabad Theology: Conversations with R’Tzvi Freeman On Tanya (Part II)

See here for Part 1. What follows is my response to the email and then R'Tzvi Freeman's reply


Rabbi Freeman,

Thanks for your response, it was most thoughtful. Your answer satisfies me on one level, but still leaves with more questions.

1) I found a letter online from the Rebbe on this issue {}. The letter is essentially a whole list of references to books that I do not have. Is the Rebbe basically giving the same answer that you gave?

2) This is a topic that has bothered me before, below is an excerpt from a letter I wrote to someone (unfortunately I never received a response from them). If you could respond to this part of the letter I would be most appreciative. Essentially the real issue is not so much about the ideological / theological underpinnings of how we view the gentile (althought very important), but how this attitude gets manifested in our daily behaviour and in our halachic practice. If you could provide me an answer to this question, in reference to the issues raised below, I will be eternally grateful.

"The issue of the gentile and the "other" in our religion (whether ideas, philosophies, religions, "mada") strikes a very sharp painful cord in my heart. The severe contrast between the the ethical maxisms "Man is created in G-d's image'", "Love your neighbour as yourself" and as eloquently put by the Prophet Micah "He has told you, O man, what is good, and what the Lord demands of you; but to do justice, to love loving-kindness, and to walk discreetly with your God" and the laws relating to the gentile are very very differcult to reconcile. No one put it better than Rabbi Yaakov Yechiel Weingberg "The Seridei Aish"in a letter to a friend  (source Torah U Maddah article by Marc Shapiro)

"The spiritual state in all circles brings sadness and hopelessness. I have bitter thoughts about the very existence of the nation an its hope for the future. The entire world hates us. We assume that this hatred is due to the wickedness of the nations and no one stops to think that perhaps we also bear some guilt. We regard all the nations as similiar to an ass. It is forbidden to save a gentile, it is forbidden to offer him free medical treatment, it is forbidden to violate the sabbath to save his life, his sexual intercourse does not render a woman forbidden to her husband according to R. Tam because "their issue is like the issue of horses". Can the nations resign themselves to such deprivations of rights? It is permitted to deceive a gentile and cancel his debt as well as forbidden to return his lost object. What can we do? Can we uproot our torah teaching with apologetic formulae or clever deceptions. God knows that I have written this the blood of my heart, the blood of my soul.


"Does not their Talmud say, and do not their rabbis write, that it is no sin to kill if a Jew kills a heathen, but it is a sin if he kills a brother in Israel? It is no sin if he does not keep his oath to a heathen. Therefore, to steal and rob, as they do with their usury, from a heathen is a divine service. For they hold that they cannot be too hard on us nor sin against us, because they are of the noble blood and circumcised saints; we, however, are cursed goyim. And they are the masters of the world, and we are their servants, yea, their cattle…

"Should someone think that I am saying too much, I am not saying too much, but much too little. For I see in their writings how they curse us goyim and wish us all evil in their schools and their prayers.
"Martin Luther, 1543 "Von den Juden und Ihren Lugen"

(For actual sources of laws against gentiles see websites under Historical notes and counter apologetics, the website and Jewish History, Jewish Religion: The Weight of Three Thousand Years by Israel Shahak)

No non jew today fulfiles the criteria of the Rambam (well 99.99% at least) to be considered a bnei noach so the majority of the non jewish population is not up there (exception maybe meiri and the tiferet yisrael who would hold different). But what about the hindu, the buddist, and members of any other religion, is there no salvation for them at the end of the tunnel after all there hard years of work, faith and devotion, do they not all suffer have moments of happiness have families, etc? I think a comment by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle summarises my position in the story entitled, "The Adventure of the Veiled Lodger. It is about a woman who always wears a veil over her face because she was horribly disfigured by a lion. Upon hearing her story, Holmes exclaimed, "Poor girl! Poor girl! The ways of fate are indeed hard to understand. If there is not some compensation hereafter, then the world is a cruel jest."


Rael Levinsohn
Sydney, Australia




My apologies once again for taking so long. I managed to steal some time now and push this out. It may sound a little disjointed considering that I wrote it piecemeal whenever I could grab a moment. But your comments will certainly be welcomed:

1. Whatever I wrote, I gleaned from the Rebbe's writings, but in my own style and words. Originality of thought is not my forte.

A common theme in the Rebbe's writing on the subject is that everything that exists is vitalized by a divine spark. Nothing is inherently evil, other than the temporary form it takes on.  When we say that a soul or an animal or an act receives its vitality from "the powers of tuma"–we don't mean that tuma gives life to anything. Tuma, evil and such are no more than artifacts of the concealment of the Divine life that flows into each thing.

(This idea is really inherent in the teachings of the Arizal and it is remarkable that Leibniz, who was well-acquainted with such when he wrote his Theodicy, was unable to accept this.)

2. I also read this quote from the Sridei Aish and it struck a chord with me. I believe this is a tempestuous struggle that every thinking Jew who identifies with our mesorah must face head on.

First, a few crucial quick points. I wish I had time for more, but I am forced to be terse by the restraints of time:

a. The Rambam seems to consider Moslems to be Bnei Noach. My Rosh Hakollel, Rav Izac Schwei, olov hasholom, told us clearly that we must consider the typical non-Jew in Canada/US today a BN. Which means, he said, that we are commanded to sustain his life and provide him a job and medicine if needed.

b. The educated, thinking Hindus I am familiar with are monotheists. So are many of the Buddhists, if we define the term loosely enough. Those who are not educated are not truly ovdei avodah zara—they are just blindly following traditions.
I am not a rav and Halacha is not my forte, however I have been told such by several rabbonim.

c. Luther's comment: Aside from the untruths concerning the sin of murder, etc., I am reminded of one of the vichuchim of the medieval period. After the priest proudly displayed that their Christian universal ethics were so superior to the ethics of the Jew, the Jew lashed back admonishing the Christians that, yes, perhaps your ideals are very great–but what of them do you keep? When you see a stranger, he accuses, you rob him of the shirt off his back and leave him dead in the forest. We, on the other hand, feed the starved, clothe the naked and welcome the stranger, whether he be Jew or stranger.

And this is the fact: Look at reality, not theory, and you will see that there is no people as tolerant, giving and compassionate as our own. Who fought for American Civil Rights? Who joined the Peace Corps? Who built all these hospitals in America and Canada, along with so many of the other charitable institutions?

An elderly chossid I know told of his experience in a forced labor camp in Siberia. He was wilting away in the camp's hospital, suffering malnutrition and exposure when he heard the pleas from the bed next to his. It was a "Subotnik" (I believe those are something like Dukobours) and he was pleading for water. Without a thought, the chossid gave him his ration of water.

When I heard the story, not being much of a chossid myself, I naively asked, "Is that the halacha?" The reply? "Probably not. But it's hard to do otherwise."

As they say, in theory there is no difference between theory and practice–but in practice there is. (See also my article at this site on slavery for the Rambam on this– 305549). I think what concerns both of us foremost is practice, not theory.

d. We can reduce the Arizal's presentation of the matter to the following: The human being is essentially Divine. However, at present, the vast majority of humanity is stuck in a destructive modality that is completely out of synch with his purpose of being and in acrimony with the entire Creation. The exceptions are those "righteous gentiles" who are keeping the Noahide code and Jews at the time that they are not involved in acts forbidden by the Torah.

Concerning the first part of this summary, I believe I wouldn't have much trouble getting a lot of social workers, psychologists, environmentalists, etc. to immediately agree. Personally, I would like to believe that things are not as hopeless as all this sounds. That perhaps now, 500 years after the Reformation and with the universal acceptance of values of peace, equality, human dignity and social responsibility, the human race has become more liberated than in the Arizal's times–certainly more than in Talmudic times.

And perhaps they are. In his last years, the Rebbe stated often, "Esau has been purified. Even the gentile world is ready for moshiach."

But then, why is it that when you gather together the representatives of all the nations of the world into one building, their entire preoccupation is with condemning Israel? Why does the bigotry persist? Why can’t anti-Semitism go away? The Rebbe saw the big picture. Sadly, from our perspective, the Ruach haTuma still covers the earth.

Am I satisfied with this? Problem is, I am not. The struggle between the philanthropist within me and the empiricist—that I can settle with my reading of the Arizal. To some degree, it helps with my reading of chazal, as well. However, I also need a concept of progress and adaptation in Torah. I can’t accept that I should have the same attitude as we ascribe to the Tannaim who lived in the Roman era.

I addressed this issue of adaptation and change in two articles. One, the piece on slavery which I referred to above. Another is my article on “Women in the Synagogue” 444101

Something I didn’t write into those articles: It strikes me that we Jews tend to think of books as more real than people. What I mean is that if the Rambam would walk into the room and start arguing with a typical rosh yeshiva, he would probably ask one of his talmidim to “bring me the Rambam.” It doesn’t matter that the Rambam is standing in front of him—the real Rambam is the book. Just as the real Moshe Rabenu is not the flesh and blood tzadik who lived 3300 years ago, but the Moshe Rabenu who appears every week in the Torah we read in shul.

What I mean to bring out from this is that, in concert with the post-moderns, to us, the word—and therefore the interpretation—is everything. And this it turns out is a very powerful mechanism to adaptation. It means that we do not have to concern ourselves with the original intent of the authors, whether they be rishonim or tannaim. Our concern is with the meaning of the text. That’s where we believe Hashem’s Divine Spirit rests, as the Beis Yosef would write, “This is the mishna speaking in my mouth.” Or as the prophet said, “The spirit of Hashem speaks within me and His words are on my tongue.”

I am saying that we are permitted to reinterpret chazal as time progresses and as the people around us begin to conform to the morals they have gleaned from our Torah. I don’t think this is heresy—I think this is what we have been doing all along.

This all deals with the apparent disgust (and worse) in chazal towards the nations.

Concerning equality: Let me reduce our question to the following: One the one hand, the concept of human equality is rooted in the Torah. On the other hand, our own chazal, not only in theology but in practical Halacha, seem to undermine that equality.

The  response to this is that of R. Eliezer in the Zohar, echoed in the Kuzari: That the entirety of humanity is a single body of which the Jewish people is the heart. The heart, they both continue, is a delicate organ and must be treated differently than say the foot or the hand—or even the liver.

It seems this is an argument against Kant’s categorical imperative which implies a single universal law for all people. Torah certainly does not accept such an axiom. As often stated, equality does equal sameness. Neither does it imply an abandoning of protocol.

I’m dropping off here simply because if I don’t, I never will. I’m interested in your comments on the above. Perhaps these will help me better clarify the issue for myself.

Let me know if this helps. Don't forget to use the link above to get back to me.

— Rabbi Tzvi Freeman for

"Every person counts"


Chabad Theology: Psak of R’Shlomo Aviner on placing letter in Igros Kodesh

Q: When some Chabad Chasidim have a question, they open the Rebbe's collection of letters and find the answer on that page. Isn't this prohibited on account of "consulting the dead" (Devarim 18:11) or "Do not engage in sorcery" (Vayikra 19:26)?

A: The commentators of the Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh Deah 179:4) mention that it is permissible to open a holy book and find an answer, and this is even called a "minor prophecy" (see Shach ibid.). This means that there is no prohibition. There is a similar method of opening the Tanach, and locating verses which answer particular questions. This is called "Goral Ha-Gra" – the lottery of the Vilna Gaon. There is the famous story about the Tzadik of Jerusalem – Reb Aryeh Levin – in which he used the "Goral Ha-Gra. During the Israeli War of Independence, a group of thirty-five soldiers was sent to provide additional defense for the Gush Etzion Settlements. All in the group were tragically killed. After the war, the bodies were discovered but the Chief Rabbinate of Israel was unable to identify twelve of the corpses. Reb Aryeh Levin used the Goral Ha-Gra – which involves using a particular format of the Chumash, flipping the pages back and forth until eventually a particular verse is chosen. In each case, the verse chosen clearly identified a fallen soldier with a particular body (See "A Tzaddik in Our Time: The Life of Rabbi Aryeh Levin," pp. 111-117).
The "Goral Ha-Gra" was also used by Ha-Rav Aharon Kotler when he wanted to immigrant to Israel from Russia, but Ha-Rav Moshe Feinstein was greatly urging him to come to America in order to strengthen Judaism there. The verse which came out in the "Goral" was "Hashem said to Aharon: Go meet Moshe in the desert" (Shmot 4:27). He understood this to mean: "Hashem said to Aharon" – this was a hint to his name Ha-Rav Aharon Kotler. "Go meet Moshe in the desert" – Go meet Ha-Rav Moshe Feinstein who is in the spiritually desolate desert of America. Ha-Rav Kotler indeed went to America and established the yeshiva in Lakewood, New Jeresy, one of the largest yeshivot in the world today (see the book "Ha-Gaon," p. 1118 by Ha-Rav Dov Eliach). There is therefore no prohibition in acting this way, but that does not mean that it will work. Reb Aryeh Levin and Ha-Rav Aharon Kotler were Torah giants and holy individuals. It depends on who performs it.
It is possible to ask any question in the world through the "Igrot Kodesh" but that does not mean that everyone will receive a true answer. Although this is a minor prophecy, not everyone is suited to receive it. Therefore, someone who acts this way does not perform a transgression, but this is not the way of the Torah. If you want to know the answer to a question you have to exert effort or take counsel with a Torah scholar.

Chabad Theology: Conversations with R’Tzvi Freeman On Tanya (Part I)

R'Tzvi Freeman is one of my favourite writers on the website. A couple of years ago I exchanged some emails with him regarding some theological statements in the Tanya, the magnum oppus of Chabad chassidus. This is part one, stay tuned.


Dear R' Freeman

I have been a long time subscriber to your Daily Dose email. Your
poetic words fill me with a deep appreciation for life and service of
Hashem. I have a question that has been bothering me for a while which
I would like your insight on.

It is regarding a statement made in the first chapter of Tanya.

"The souls of the nations of the world, however, emanate from the
other, unclean kelipot which contain no good whatever, as is written
in Etz Chayim, Portal 40, ch. 3, that all the good that the nations
do, is done out of selfish motives. Since their nefesh emanates from
kelipot which contain no good, it follows that any good done by them
is for selfish motives. So the Gemara comments on the verse, "The
kindness of the nations is sin" — that all the charity and kindness
done by the nations of the world is only for their

The above statement bothers me on a multitude of levels. How can we
condemn the entire of mankind, millions of decent, honourable, ethical
people with such a designation? How can we condemn millions of people
just because they do belong to our own religion in such a fashion? It
is true we have been oppressed and tortured in the past, but does that
mean that everyone is guilty? How do you reconcile this statement with
the entire corpus of Jewish thought which you so eloquently put out on
a daily basis? Where is the love for mankind, a brotherhood of
humanity in the above statement?

I look forward to your response on this matter, as this is something
that bothers me tremendously.


Rael Levinsohn
Sydney, Australia

Dear Rael,

You are not the only one with this question. Personally, I couldn't live with the idea that only Jews have any good within them. I will copy here that which I have written to others previously. Please let me know if you have any comments or questions after reading this:

First of all, you have to realize that there is no new dogma in the Tanya. The Tanya comes to enlighten us about ideas that are found in classic Judaism, as you see the citation from the Gemarra. The whole issue about the souls of non-Jews comes up in the Kuzari, the Maharal, the Arizal and many other important works.

The Tanya explains to us the Arizal's point of view. According to the Arizal, everything that exists has a spark of G_dliness within it–only that this spark may be very hidden. Sometimes it is so hidden that this thing becomes totally self-centered, unable to do anything that it does not benefit from.

In most parlance, this is not called evil. This is called how human beings operate. Psychology, sociology–all the human sciences are based on the premise that whatever we do, we do to avoid pain and/or receive pleasure. Truly, 99% of the mitzvahs that the common Jew does falls in the same category.

But in the parlance of the Arizal and the Tanya, this is called evil or klipah and sitra achra–the opposite side of holiness. The Tanya doesn't put anyone down–it simply raises the bar.

Nevertheless, within every human being there is a spark of true good. After all, as the Torah repeats four times in Genesis, and again in the Mishnah, all human beings are made in "the image of G_d." If anyone knows of the equality and dignity of all human beings, they got it from one source and one source alone and that is the Torah.

The job of the Jew is to release that spark. And in those non-Jews who are Bnai Noach, there is already a certain redemption of that holiness. This should answer what you write about the "average American today". As the Rebbe spoke, we have already succeeded in the birur of Esau. Western civilization since the Reformation is really nothing more than goyim acting like Jews.

(Although, I must add this: When we gather all the nations of the world together what do they resolve? That Israel must be condemned. And not just Africa and Asia, but Europe believes so, as well. And in Washington, the State Department never let go of its animosity, continuing today into James Baker's nefarious ploy to sidestep and sabotage Israel. From the Rebbe's perspective, the birur is complete. From our perspective, it seems there is still much to be done.)

So what is the relation of Jews and non-Jews? Look at it this way: For an ordinary Jew to discover and awaken the spark within, he needs a tzadik, as explained in chapter 2 of Tanya. Quite simply, what the tzadik is to the Jew, the Jew is to the non-Jew.

The non-Jew recognizes this, albeit in a distorted manner. Paul Johnson describes anti-semitism as "patricide". Thomas Cahill, an Irishman, writes that the non-Jew hates the Jew because he reminds him of G_d. In fact, they worship a Jew–a tortured, agonized Jew. They got it right and wrong all at once.

A common accusation is that Judaism is racism. This simply doesn't work. Jews are not a race. They come in all colors–white, black, brown and yellow. There are no racial distinctions on who can become a Jew. Furthermore, ask yourself: Is there any other faith that says you don't have to become one of us in order to have a share in the world to come? Believe what you want, eat what you want, smoke what you want–as long as you keep the basic rules of Noach, you're in.

Again, let me know if this helps.

–Rabbi Tzvi Freeman for


Chabad Theology: A response by Rabbi Simon Jacobson


Chabad Theology is something I hope to post a lot more on, however this response by R'Simon Jacobson should make a good start.



There are a couple of concerns I have of late with Chabad theology.

The following websites cover the issues I am referring to:

Clearly this issue, of incarnation, deification, blurring the lines between man and G-d touch at the bedrock foundations of our faith.

Since you are an authoritative voice in the Chabad world, would you be able to please pen a response to the above as I think this is something that many people are concerned about.

With your permission I would like to post it on my blog

Looking forward to your response on this matter,


Rael Levinsohn

Hi Rael,

Thanks for writing about this issue that concerns you and so many others. I looked at the links you sent me. Briefly, allow me to say that these statements made as if they were facts have NO basis in Torah (and by extension Chabad theology, which is nothing but Torah). Indeed, they are CONTRARY to Torah. Anyone mouthing them is both ignorant and uneducated, not to mention irresponsible.

Jewish faith believes that there is one and only one G-d. We need no intermediaries to access G-d. The role of a Tzaddik is to serve as a transparent channel, being a completely selfless role model embodying what it means to live a G-dly life. He therefore is called an "ish Elokim," a man of G-d, or a G-dly man. The Torah says (Exodus 14:31) that the Jews "believed in G-d and in Moses His servant," and the Midrash Mechilta equates the two, saying that one who does not believe in Moses is as if he does not believe in G-d. But this does not in any way mean, G-d forbid, that there is anything but one G-d; it simply means that due to his absolute and total bittul, selflessness, Moses was a true servant and messenger of G-d, to be trusted and believed in. This is the entire basis why we accept the words of Moses — and his successors — as the word of G-d. As the Mishne in Pirkei Avot delineates the mesorah-transmission of Torah: Moses received the Torah at Sinai and transmitted it to Joshua. Joshua transmitted it to the elders, the elders to the prophets, etc. This explains the role of a Tzaddik and a Rebbe: To teach Torah and serve as a selfless example — to people who may be consumed with their own egos and distracted by the materialism of life — of how to live a G-dly existence.

Therefore, the reckless statements made by some individuals which go against Torah and Chabad theology, do not deserve to be addressed. The only reason why I addressed them is because of your question and those of many others.
You have my permission to post this on your blog. I will also send you an an article I wrote on the topic, which may add clarity to the issue, and you may also post.

Blessings and best wishes,

Simon Jacobson

In honour of Gimmel Tammuz

The Lubavitcher Rebbe On “Daas Torah”

Here is an excerpt from a sicha of the Lubavitcher Rebbe ZT"L on the topic of how a chassid should relate to his Rebbe. I think you will be pleasantly surprised.