I can’t commend VIN NEWS strongly enough. These guys continue to show why they are the best Jewish news website, dedicated to the ENTIRE Jewish community.
I was very touched by what they wrote. I disagree with them giving R’ Belsky praise though. As another commenter wrote, it’s like praising someone who robs your home. Because after that you get better security and are safer then ever. Read the entire op-ed at VIN, it’s good stuff.
In other news, here is a letter to the editor in this weeks Mishpacha by a Chabad Shliach in Michigan.
“The following was sent to Mishpacha Magazine B”H Rosh Chodesh Iyyar Dear Editor, As both a musmach of Yeshiva Torah Vodaas, and Rav and shliach of the Lubavitcher Rebbe ZT”L in West Bloomfield, Michigan, I take issue with the comments of Rabbi Yisroel Belsky concerning Chabad Lubavitch, which for the most part are unfortunate and inaccurate.
Rabbi Belsky writes that “Chabad used to be about disseminating Chasidic teachings which the Baal HaTanya wrote… In America Chabad started out with the shluchim going out and bringing the masses back to Judaism… But present day Chabad has nothing to do with the above.” In point of fact, the number of shluchim going out today to far-flung communities throughout the entire world to bring the teachings of Torah and Chasidus to our brethren far exceeds the numbers of shluchim who went out years ago.
One can reasonably argue that there has never been a Jewish leader who so inspired thousands of young families to leave the comforts of a frum kehillah and travel to cities and towns devoid of chinuch for their children, mikvahs for their wives, and basic kosher food. For Rabbi Belsky to state that “present day Chabad has nothing to do with the above” is a gross inaccuracy.
In his critique of the veneration that Chabad Chasidim express towards the Rebbe, Rabbi Belsky writes “There is no room in Yiddishkeit for a personality cult in which an individual is deified and glorified.” Boruch Hashem I have been blessed with many children who have studied in Lubavitch Yeshivas throughout the world. Some are presently in positions of chinuch in the Chabad higher education system.
I can categorically state that none of the Chabad Yeshivas in any way chas ve’shalom “deifies” the Rebbe. Rabbi Belsky’s statement is totally libelous and falls in the category of sheker and motzi shem ra. The issue of the role of a tzaddik has always been a point of contention between Chasidim and non-chasidim. A perusal of the works of such Chasidic luminaries as the Meor Ainayim, the Noam Elimelech, and the Tiferes Shlomo, to name just a few, underscores the central role that a Rebbe occupies in the life of a chasid.
Ultimately we have come to respect these differences of opinions between the two communities. For Rabbi Belsky to reiterate this opposition to what he considers to be an improper chasid-Rebbe relationship only fuels the fires of sinas chinam. As a talmid of Torah Vodaas in the 60’s, I remember Rabbi Belsky as a respected Maggid shiur in the Yeshiva. Indeed, not too long ago I sat with him on a Bais Din in Detroit, and was truly impressed with his vast Torah knowledge. But especially during these days when Klal Yisroel in Eretz Yisroel is facing an existential threat, it is irresponsible to direct such inflammatory and divisive remarks against a world-wide kehilla of people most of whom are yereim and shleimim, and many of whom are on the front lines of spreading Torah and Yiddishkeit under the most difficult conditions.
Chabad recognizes that there is a small (and unfortunately vociferous) group in our community which speaks irresponsibly about the issue of Moshiach. But there is no excuse for the unfortunate comments directed against the entire movement. It is because of my great respect for Rabbi Belsky that I find his words all the more painful. Rabbi Belsky and Mishpacha Magazine owe the world-wide Lubavitch community an apology.
Sincerely,Elimelech SilberbergSara Tugman Bais Chabad Torah CenterWest Bloomfield, Michigan”