Sunday, January 9, 2011

Where are the Chabad rabbis?

Posted by "Baby-boomer Lubavitcher":

The youngsters in our midst (and by that I mean anyone under 40-45) would hardly remember or maybe even know of the "world war" that the Rebbe waged against the various governments of Israel - demanding that they put into place legislation which ensured "Giyur keHalacha", ie, that all conversions recognised by the Rabbanut and therefore the state must be according to the dinim of the Shulchan Aruch.

It would be well worthwhile for those "youngsters" to do some research to learn how our holy rebbe shook heaven and earth to try and force the Israeli politicians to introduce this.

Sadly he failed, resulting in – amongst other scandals - the assimilation of half a million goyim from the former Soviet Union who are today recognized as Jewish citizens of Israel.

The Israeli government has recently passed laws approving 'quickie' conversions to be performed by the Army rabbinate in a manner which is not acceptable as Halachic to the rest of the Rabbinate in Israel.

The leading Torah sages there have issued proclamations attacking this new move and no doubt we will be hearing much more about this in the coming days.
I am however puzzled about the absence of similar denunciations by the Chabad rabbis both in Israel and the Diaspora. They know as well as I do how close this issue was to the Rebbe's heart.

Shouldn't they be in the forefront of this latest campaign?

Yelamdenu Raboseinu, why are you quiet? Why aren't you involved in the holy battle for the integrity of our Torah and the honor of our Rebbe?

As I recall, last time, it was Reb Arel S. leading the troops here in Melbourne - gathering hundreds of signatures demanding Giyur keHalacha. Maybe it's time for a repeat performance?

PS. On a number of local blogs there has been - for the past weeks - debate and argument about who is and who isn't a "Shliach" and a "Head Shliach". My view is that anyone who doesn't publicly support, shturem and undertake Peulos for the Rebbe's inyonim has no right to make any claim for that title.


  1. B"H

    There are a lot of examples of people in high places behaving inappropriately and receiving no censure from the relevant rabbonim except for a few who are brave enough to stand against the common trend of capitualtion to the goyishe values of the contemporary world.
    This is just another of them and unfortunately one which has great repercussions for future generations of Yidden. It is a very serious undertaking.
    There is a need for conversions to be carried out al pi halacha and only by recongised a Beis Din. I personally exclude Reform, Liberal and Conservative conversions from this category because how can you call a beis din whose members are not totally shomer mitzvot, kashrus and shabbes, kosher? There are plenty of people who have extensive medical knowledge but have not been to medical school and received certification as doctors and there are some who have and think they are G-D and make their own rules. These are people to be wary of.
    Rabbonim who sit on a beis din do have an awesome responsibility when it comes to conversion, because the responsibility is not only to the potential ger, but to the generations that come after the ger. His or her children and grandchildren. Much grief is caused by people who are converted through the Liberals, Conservatives and Reform. These conversions actually make a travesty of Jewish values and the halacha.
    If a conversion is carried out quickly without much depth or breadth of knowledge and the sincerity of the convert is not tested again and again, then the conversion is a superficial recognition of oneself as a Clayton's Jew.

  2. B'H
    There is pain involved in becoming a Ger or Ba'al Tzuva and staying true to the halacha on a psychological level because one has to erradicate values and habits that one has grown up with and been comfortable with. There are many Jews who grow up secular and accept their lifestyle as a valid expression of Jewishness and I give some examples.
    1. We keep a kosher style home, but strict kashrut is old fashioned and yes we go on holiday to Surfers and eat seafood because we are on holidays.
    2. Mikveh and the Laws of family purity - Oh are you for real? No one really keeps those. The Rabbi said I had to go to the mikveh before the huppa. I did that to satisfy him otherwise he would not have married us. Do you really think it makes me cleaner. (No point at times in trying to explain that it is not about physical cleanliness but something far deeper.)
    3. Shabbat - well that is archaic and this is modern times. Not using electricity for 25 hours - are you crazy? The gameboys and TV keeps my kids occupied for hours and then I don't have to worry about them. What would I do without the internet?
    4. Laws of Tzniut - Are you some kind of 18th century prude? What harm can pictures of near naked men and women advertising sunscreen do? Anyway if a woman is beautiful she was created by Hashem and she has a right to display her beauty in any way she sees fit and if that is on the cover of a magazine with a circulation of millions and even if she is eight months pregnant and naked, it's ok. We are liberal minded Jews and you who espouse to these archaic modesty laws, you have a problem because you are stuck in the 18th century. Trouble is, these 'liberal minded Jews' have no boundaries in many areas of behaviour and thought. They constantly give way to baser instincts on many levels and want to convince themselves and others that it is ok and kosher when it is actually not. I mean you can take baccon and try and pretend that it is actually brisket,but it won't change the fact that it is from a pig which is not kosher and no amount of self delusion will change the fact it is pork and not mutton.
    Often these Liberal conversions carried out are because someone has met a goy who attracts them on a physical level and they want to put a stamp of approval on their union and convince themselves and others it is really ok and a kosher union. If the relevant authorities will not register our unroadworthy car we will do it ourselves, and pretend it is roadworthy and who cares if the wheels fall off or the steering goes wonky and we drive into a tree or run over a pedestrian a few days later.
    A convert has to turn his or her inner worlds inside out and it is not just the surface appearance that has to change. The whole way of thinking has to undergo radical changes in some areas and be strengthened in others where the actual thinking is in line with Jewish thought. Most converts start with several points of parallel thinking and as a conversion progresses they either become closer or draw away.
    You cannot go to a beth din and say, 'I like the idea of being Jewish but do not want to keep Shabbes.' You cannot say I want to be Jewish but I do not want to keep kosher. Being Jewish is a complete inner and outer journey of constant change and requires born Jews, converts and ba'al tzuvas to undergo constant change and development in connection and devotion to Hashem. We need to be aware of the fact that we constantly change and refine ourselves on many levels and in many areas.
    It is a lot of work and that is why some born Jews probably find being Jewish a pain and look for ways to make life easier.
    However no pain, no gain.

  3. As I recall the rebbe's campaign was brought to a halt after protests by shlchim in the regional US WHO COMplained bitterly about the boycotts on their fundraising by the leaders of Reform.

    Another case of the mighty dollar beats all.very sad

  4. Having attended Moriah college in Sydney, it's obvious what the Chabad Rabbonim who have been the core of the Sydney Beth Din (for approx 25 years) think of Geyrus and the resultant. A few of my friends at school had either a mother or father who converted via the Sydney Beth Din and didn't keep kosher or shabbos once the paperwork came through.

  5. "kehos" is wrong. The "mihu yehudi" campaign was taken as far as it could go; there were several opportunities for the law to be changed, but each time it was sabotaged by the supposedly "frum" MKs of the Agudah, who were bought off with more money for yeshivos and kollelim. The Rebbe could not be bribed in the same way, and continued campaigning despite the pressure and the threat to funding of Chabad institutions in Israel.

    The last and greatest opportunity to amend the law came in 1989, after the Rebbe's electoral victory for the Agudah; the frum parties demanded this reform as the price of their joining the coalition, and it appeared that Shamir (who was personally sympathetic to the cause) was ready to give in. Then the Reform and Conservatives in America threatened a boycott of Israel, Shamir caved, and the opportunity was lost. The Agudah ended up joining a broad coalition without this reform.

    Still, the Rebbe continued to demand change, and to wait for the next opportunity to develop, until the "stinking manoeuvre" of 1991. At that time the Rebbe seems to have decided that the survival of Shamir's government was a matter of pikuach nefesh mamash; and we've all seen how right he was, when the next government brought us the Oslo disaster, which has cost thousands of Jewish lives and may still cost tens of thousands more l"a. Insisting on "mihu yehudi" would have made keeping the narrow coalition together impossible, so saving lives had to come first.

    So no, it was Jewish lives, not the not-so-mighty dollar, which "beat all".

  6. "Baby-boomer Lubavitcher" (and I doubt that you really are one), you have mischaracterised the "mihu yehudi" campaign. It was not "that all conversions recognised by the Rabbanut and therefore the state must be according to the dinim of the Shulchan Aruch". Neither the Rabbanut nor the Shulchan Aruch were involved. The issue was the Law of Return, which defined a Jew as מי שאמו יהודיה, או שנתגייר: someone whose mother was Jewish or who converted, and deliberately omitted the word כהלכה, thus stating that any "conversion" can make someone Jewish, even if it doesn't even pretend to be valid according to the halacha.

    Had the word כהלכה never appeared in the law's draft, or in the regulations that had been in place for years before this definition was entrenched in law, perhaps the Rebbe wouldn't have been bothered. After all, שנתגייר implies כהלכה; how else can one convert? But the word had been in the regulations, and it had therefore also been in the draft, and was deliberately dropped because of a conscious decision to declare that conversions שלא כהלכה are equally valid. To the Rebbe, that was a matter of כתבו לכם על קרן השור: אין לי חלק באלקי ישראל. It was an open rejection of Hashem and His Torah that had never before happened in the state of Israel. And that is what upset him so much.

  7. B"H

    @ Milhouse I agree.
    In order for conversions to be valid, they must be kehalacha otherwise how can they be valid?

    Having attended Moriah College in Sydney does not make you an expert on Halacha. It just means your parents were lucky enough to have the money to give you a Jewish education. And yes, there are people who do go through conversions and Orthodox ones and later do not keep the mitzvot or they do it for the children and spouse. Obviously you are not frum yourself or maybe you are. I do not know seeing as you choose to hide behind the anonymity of anonymous and not give your real name, maybe you do have something to hide.
    However it is interesting that you choose to judge others harshly without understanding where these converts come from and far better that they did put the effort in and convert kehalacha instead of some shonky liberal or conservative conversion so their children are kosher Jews and have a chance to be really Jewish.
    As a person who converted because I felt a need which I cannot even clearly or coherently explain today and am researching my mother's rather mysterious past and that of her mother and her mother's mother and as a person who got heartily sick of being asked time and time again who my husband is that I converted for, I do have respect for and sympathy for those who convert because of spouses and potential children, in order that their progeny do not have a question hanging over their heads. They go through emotional and psychological hell. I am surprised that some of them do not go off and become anti semitic and some do, especially if they divorce their spouses. Then there are the children who pay a very heavy price, torn between two adults with conflicting view religious viewpoints.
    I was just nutty enough to want to be a really kosher Jew by myself and so my journey was different and I only had myself to blame and no unfortunate spouse. I mean I could have found a high mountain peak in India to sit and meditate on for the rest of my life or I could have started my own religion and sat in a cave somewhere for the rest of my life chanting matras, but lucky for me and should I say lucky for Am Israel, I wanted to be a kosher Jew. I might have been Jewish all along, but that I may never know.
    We should not sit judgement on others but try to get all those whose pathway leads to Judaism to convert the kosher way and to keep mitzvot as much as possible. Being Jewish where ever you are coming from is about continual improvement or refinement of the soul.
    Each ger /gioret, ba'al/a Tshuva or FFB has their pathway defined for him or her. We meet our challenges and grow through them to be better people, more understanding and transcending the pettiness of the everyday to be truly connected to our G-Dly souls. The danger with conversions is that often the potential converts do not understand what they are taking on themselves and think they can convert for the most superficial of reasons because that is the way the world operates these days.
    There are some who think it is all about keeping Shabbes, Yom Tovim and mitzvot. Now while that is a vital part of being Jewish, there is even a deeper level of understanding which goes beyond that. There are people who see an observant life as meaningless rituals and unfortunately, these people have missed something vital in their daily practice or non practice. It is about the deeper spiritual connection to a source of brachot and holiness that is hard to describe in tangible terms. It also means that we make mistakes or errors of judgement at times and we seek to redress them because we understand that what we have done is wrong. We move on and pray to do better and to improve.

  8. Chabad rabbis have joined the campaign. See

  9. Also see here:


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