Sunday, February 28, 2010

Costco's Pesach Ad in the AJN

The most recent issue of AJN has a full-page ad from Costco Wholesale urging us to "stack up the savings for Pesach" by shopping with them. The impression of the accompanying picture is that it is tempting us with an assortment of Costco's Pesach items.
While this may not been the aim of the ad, it would have made sense to advise Costco that Vegemite and peanut butter are definitely off the menu during Pesach.

No doubt had there been someone at the AJN who had known this, they would have advised Costco accordingly. Sad.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Glen Eira Jewish councillors (bar one) vote against Jewish school

AJN Watch's reporter at the Glen Eira council meeting this week was extremely disappointed seeing that despite council officials positive recommendations, the (Jewish) mayor and most (including Jewish) councillors opposing the application for Yesodei Hatorah College to build in Regent Street, Elsternwick.

The only councillors who voted in favour were the always-reliable communal stalwart Michael Lipschutz and newcomer Frank Penhalluriack. The Jewish community should remember this at the next  Council elections.

The Yesodei school serves an important segment of our community - nearly all who live in that area's vicinity. They need a new home and this location is for them a rare find. There simply aren't any other suitable building blocks in our areas.

Meanwhile Caulfield Grammar School with its approx 1000 students - most who do not live anywhere near this area - are granted every permit and assistance for expansion - by the very same council. Driving past there for the past decade or so, there has rarely been a time that they haven't been adding new buildings. They are currently putting up another huge edifice - right on their Glen Eira Road boundary. No doubt this will allow them to enroll another few hundred students from all over Victoria, the other states and even overseas. And good luck to them. But why is it that allowing a small Jewish school only a few hundred feet away cannot be tolerated.

Shame Glen Eira Council. Shame.
No doubt this case will end up at VCAT, where we wish Yesodei much Hatzlacha.
See Pages 4-23

Here's the report in the Herald-Sun -
followed by some of the comments on their website:

From Mary Walsh's blog Glen Eira Residents Opinions
(See previous post about her here.)
No prizes on guessing what her opinion is about another Jewish school in the area...
46 Regent Street, Elsternwick

In a rare burst of enlightenment last night, I appreciated the benefit of informed Councillors.
Item 9.1 at last nights Council Meeting was the proposal for a school (Yesodei Ha Torah College) to be built within a narrow suburban street, where once an aged care facility operated.

The Municipal Strategy Statement provided for Institutional and Non Residential Uses in Residential Areas, which was entirely suitable for a passive aged care facility but certainly absolutely a misplaced choice for a school. Not too much traffic visits the elderly but a school is incessant!
A school with a maximum enrolment of 325 boy students. In a community where families can have six children quite often, I believe this figure would (attempt) have been pushed upwards very quickly.

In a suburban street, the operators want to open for business from 7 am to 6 pm (core times) and I think I heard six days a week mentioned!! One only has to see the congestion a throng of 75 kids can make to understand the 88 objectors feelings as their 'castle' space is threatened by invasion of the constant noise and traffic such a busy school would entail! Only a matter of time before the parking up and down the local streets would be on restricted time zones to cater for the put down, pick up daily hassle.
Easy access for buses on school excursions, emergency vehicles, and evacuations must also be considered. And what of playing fields for burning up excessive energy and keeping physically fit?

Then there is the after hours activities throughout the school year compounding the loss of serenity for nearby residents to have space on the surrounding streets to do a bit of private entertainment themselves like the odd family BBQ.
I was appalled that the Council Officers would have made the recommendation to proceed with the proposed project. History has shown that undertakings given to appease residents' anger about noise in other facilities has not necessarily been forthcoming once Council gives them the nod. Over a number of years Council has dealt with complaints from similar establishments and with the residents invariably ending up the losers.
Mayor Tang's outrage at allegations of bias from pseudo secular parties is because that is their experience in dealing with Council business - and is not something he could actually blame me for!! (changing the wording of the Community Grants Funding Guidelines to suitably encompassing narrow interest groups was one such cynical observation I've made! Residents just can't win!)

For those who try to tell us that 60% (195) of the kids will walk to school because they live with a 1.6 km radius of the proposed school. That's today perhaps! but what about within the next ten years??.
From outside the overcrowded Council Chambers, I think the vote to reject the development of the school was 7 against, 2 for. Couldn't hear arguments for and against because of the noise of the gallery, but Cr Whiteside came across loud and clear!
The Councillors definitely got that one right!

Observer said...
"I was appalled that the Council Officers would have made the recommendation to proceed with the proposed project". Dead right!! But once again Mary, you've failed to see the wood for the trees! The recommendation for approval had to be made given the strictures of Glen Eira's current planning scheme. It is, has been, and remains a total shemozzle. Even worse, it's a disaster. Once parameters are set then officers are bound to work within those parameters. They are handcuffed to the inadequacies and shortcomings of the MSS. So if you're looking for who is responsible, the answer can only be the CEO and his handpicked men. Start asking some real questions for a change. Ask yourself why in Newton's reign is Glen Eira without structure plans? Why hasn't there been real involvement by the community in the reviewing, planning, and implementation of the MSS as other councils do? Who benefits from such shoddy piecemeal approaches if not developers? Is this the kind of long term vision that will meet the needs of your kids and their kids?

The three recommendations at last night's meeting should never have seen the light of day. Yes, congratulations to councillors for voting them down. But hey, it also shouldn't take an overflowing gallery of angry, angry, residents to make them see the shortcomings. They must go back to the drawing board and come up with an MSS that does the job it is intended to do. The first step is to lay the blame where it belongs - at Newton's feet. Thus, councillors will only be doing their job if they elect a CEO who suits the community. The past decade in planning alone is another instance of how this man has failed to meet those needs and aspirations.

Stella said...
The Mote in Lipshutz Eye

Last night council meeting sure showed the narrowness of the debate on wether on the proposed Regent St School should proceed. It was knocked back, but for the wrong reasons.

I would have though that a school for children should provide a fair amount of open space for the kids to run and play for starters This development resembled a a 1960’s block of flats not a school. Where were the places to run play and get sunlight? Of course none of this entered the debate. It was traffic traffic and traffic, no one seemed to care for the poor little boys that were going to be condemned to this confined area for a significant part of there life. This would have been a nightmare for me as a child, I needed room to move, and judging from the others kids around me, so did they. How desperate are people to think this development is the best they can do for their children.

“That aside” Cr. Lipschutz once again showed his intractable support for all thing Jewish with stupid statements.

The most ill thought garbage to spill from his mouth was “some residents said Regent street said it was a peaceful street with only moderate traffic, whilst other residents said the street already had too much traffic and was noisy”

Lipschutz said, “Regent Street could not be both things it had to be one or the other” What nonsense.

He used this trumped up divide in supposed logic to condemn the residents as bunch of hysterical ratbags, that did not deserve consideration and punished them by doing what he was always going to do away, he voted for the development to proceed.

Well Cr. Lipshutz “to big” “to small” “to busy” “to colourful” “to crowded” “to long” “to short” to noisy “ “to quiet” “to beautiful” “to ugly” ALL SUBJECTIVE, Cr. Lipschutz. All people perceptions are based on that’s person experiences. What is quiet to someone that’s hard of hearing maybe noisy to someone with good hearing etc. Someone that lived on a main road and just moved into Regent Street may find it tranquil, whilst someone moving into Regent Street from beyond Burketown may find it noisy. Regent Street can and is perceived differently by all its residents, young and old.

How xenophobic is he that everyone has to be singing off the same songbook, the same words, the same key, and all must be reverent too, and just one slip and you’re all condemned.

Cr. Lipshutz tunnel vision of the world is breathe takingly narrow and self justifyingly arrogant, He stood up on his hind-legs and belittle the gallery and other residents with his own ignorance. It didn’t work he looked sheepish and weak and he could hide his predetermined outcome he wanted school at all costs. He knows where his votes come from and here was the payback.

Monday, February 22, 2010

NY Times: "A thumb in the eye of the Nazis" - The passing of a matriarch of one of Klal Yisrael's largest families

A nice story forwarded by a reader in NY,

                          Click to enlarge photo
WHEN Yitta Schwartz died last month at 93, she left behind 15 children, more than 200 grandchildren and so many great- and great-great-grandchildren that, by her family’s count, she could claim perhaps 2,000 living descendants.

Mrs. Schwartz was a member of the Satmar Hasidic sect, whose couples have nine children on average and whose ranks of descendants can multiply exponentially. But even among Satmars, the size of Mrs. Schwartz’s family is astonishing. A round-faced woman with a high-voltage smile, she may have generated one of the largest clans of any survivor of the Holocaust — a thumb in the eye of the Nazis.

Her descendants range in age from a 75-year-old daughter named Shaindel to a great-great-granddaughter born Feb. 10 named Yitta in honor of Mrs. Schwartz and a great-great-grandson born Feb. 15 who will be named at a bris on Monday. Their numbers include rabbis, teachers, merchants, plumbers and truck drivers. But these many apples have not fallen far from the tree: With a few exceptions, like one grandson who lives in England, they mostly live in local Satmar communities, like Williamsburg in Brooklyn and Kiryas Joel, near Monroe, N.Y., where Mrs. Schwartz lived for the last 30 years of her life.

Mrs. Schwartz had a zest for life and a devotion to Hasidic rituals, faithfully attending the circumcisions, first haircuts, bar mitzvahs, engagements and weddings of her descendants. With 2,000 people in the family, such events occupied much of the year.

Whatever the occasion, she would pack a small suitcase and thumb a ride from her apartment in Kiryas Joel to Williamsburg or elsewhere. “She would appear like the Prophet Elijah,” said one of her daughters, Nechuma Mayer, who at 64 is her sixth-oldest living child, and who has 16 children and more than 100 grandchildren and great-grandchildren. “Everybody was fighting over her!”

There were so many occasions that, to avoid scheduling conflicts, one of her sons was assigned to keep a family calendar. But her family insists that Mrs. Schwartz had no trouble remembering everyone’s name and face.

Like many Hasidim, Mrs. Schwartz considered bearing children as her tribute to God. A son-in-law, Rabbi Menashe Mayer, a lushly bearded scholar, said she took literally the scriptural command that “You should not forget what you saw and heard at Mount Sinai and tell it to your grandchildren.”

“And she wanted to do that,” he said, without needing to add her belief that the more grandchildren, the more the commandment is fulfilled. Mrs. Schwartz gave birth 18 times, but lost two children in the Holocaust and one in a summer camp accident here.

She was born in 1916 into a family of seven children in the Hungarian village of Kalev, revered as the hometown of a founder of Hungarian Hasidism. During World War II, the Nazis sent Mrs. Schwartz, her husband, Joseph, and the six children they had at the time to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. At the shiva last month, another Bergen-Belsen survivor recalled her own mother dying at the camp; Mrs. Schwartz took it upon herself to prepare the body according to Jewish ritual, dig a grave and bury the woman.

“For her it was a matter of necessity,” Nechuma Mayer said of her mother’s actions.

When the war ended, the family made its way to Antwerp, Belgium. There, Mrs. Schwartz put up refugees in makeshift beds in her own bombed-out apartment.

In 1953, the Schwartzes migrated to the United States, settling into the Satmar community in Williamsburg. She arrived with 11 children — Shaindel, Chana, Dinah, Yitschok, Shamshon, Nechuma, Nachum, Nechemia, Hadassah, Mindel and Bella — and proceeded to have five more: Israel, Joel, Aron, Sarah and Chaim Shloime, who died in summer camp at age 8. Sarah came along after Mrs. Schwartz had already married off two other daughters.

While her husband sold furniture on Lee Avenue, Williamsburg’s commercial spine, Mrs. Schwartz, who never learned English well, tended the family. She sewed her daughters’ jumpers with mother-of-pearl buttons and splurged for pink-and-white blouses — 20 for 99 cents each — at that late lamented discount emporium on Union Square, S. Klein.

With so many children, Mrs. Schwartz had to make six loaves of challah for every Sabbath, using 12 pounds of dough — in later years, she was aided by Kitchenaid or Hobart appliances. (Mrs. Mayer said her mother had weaknesses for modern conveniences, and for elegant head scarves.) For her children’s weddings, Mrs. Schwartz starched the tablecloths and baked the chocolate babkas and napoleons.

After her husband died 34 years ago, relatives said, Mrs. Schwartz never burdened others with her new solitude.

“We didn’t feel even one minute that she was a widow,” Mrs. Mayer said. “She used to say, ‘When there are so many problems in life, I should put myself on the scale?’ ”

Mrs. Schwartz did not want her children to collect photographs of her and, given that modesty, her family was reluctant to provide more than one to accompany this article. “Just keep me in your heart,” she used to say. “If you leave a child or grandchild, you live forever.”

Good Weekend story: Timmy & Tommy

Comment by a Melbourne Mother:

I read the following article (which, surprisingly, most of my friends seem to have missed) in last Saturday's issue of the Good Weekend magazine. I really enjoyed it and admire both interviewees. However I couldn't help thinking that this article's place was not in a non-Jewish publication but rather in the Jewish News.

What do other AJN Watchers think?

Timmy: I don't make calls on my mobile because I can't afford the bill, but Tommy calls me every day, no matter where he is in the world. Whenever we're on the phone together, he asks how my day is going. It might come up that somebody's kid has been kicked out of school because they can't afford an aide, or a Chabad house [community centre] somewhere has lost their financier. He says, "Well, we can't have that", and he foots the bill for anybody who is needy or struggling. He supports all my causes, all the things that keep me buzzing. I'm a volunteer prison chaplain. I visit the Jewish inmates. We get them kosher food - he pays for that. A lot of them want a Star of David or Jewish books and calendars - he pays for all that, too.

Sometimes I'm on the phone with him and I get a call on the other phone. I say, "Tommy, can you hang on a moment?" He overhears my other conversation, hears somebody who needs something, and he'll chase them. I had the Chabad rabbi from Thailand say to me, "Never in my life has someone chased me to give me money."

One time he knew I was having a poor Lubavitch [an orthodox Hasidic movement] family to dinner. Before we ate, a truckload of cherries, plums, pancakes arrived. He came over and had so much naches [joy] watching them eat. He's just the biggest-hearted guy. I say to him, "Tommy, you've got a heart the size of Texas." He always says, "Did you say I've got an arse the size of Texas?" Most people who have money, they're a bit arrogant, expect people to put them on a pedestal, but Tommy doesn't let a person feel beholden. When he gives, he says, "You're doing me a favour, letting me support the work you're doing." But every time he goes on a big giving spree, he calls a few hours later and says, "You'll never guess, I just got an order from America for a million bucks." It says in the Torah that you get the benefit of tzedakah [giving] in this world as well as in the next. He's a living example.

Tommy is extreme. He's extreme in generosity, extreme in positivity. He's extreme in how he loves life. He's the happiest person I know. And one of the best things is his extreme humour. I need to laugh. I love being happy. One time, I organised a fundraising night for the mikvah and Tommy was one of my comedians. He came dressed as a woman in a black wig, red cocktail waitress top and a gold lame skirt with a thigh-high split. In the audience, one rabbi's wife says to the other rabbi's wife, "That woman's skirt's a bit immodest." The other woman says, "Darling, it's a man." Hilarious. He can make up a song on the spot. He's always making up songs about the mikvah. He decided we should have a mascot, a character, so he comes up with a moose. It's a kosher animal. He got me a plastic moose and makes up this song [to the tune of Macho Man], "Mikvah mikvah moose, I want to be a mikvah moose. We want you, we want you, we want you to be a kosher Jew." He's hilarious.

I introduced him to [his wife] Issy when he was 15, but he was married twice before he eventually married her. He came over after breaking up with the second wife.

He was in tears. He was broken. I couldn't bear it. I made sure he met up with Issy again. I knew they were a match made in heaven. They do go to synagogue but they don't keep the Sabbath strictly like we do. I wish they were more observant but I wouldn't be the one to nudge them. Honestly, they do more good than a lot of observant people. Tommy gives me an amazing backstop of support and friendship. He's my oldest friend. He makes me laugh my head off every day. It's unbelievable. In fact, my whole life is unbelievable because Tommy is in it.

Tommy: Timmy has been at the centre of my life since I was a kid. We grew up in the Jewish community connected to the Temple Beth Israel in St Kilda. We used to go to Sunday school together. She had these dimples, the best smile. The past 20-something years we've been really close and the past 10 years I would speak to her twice a day minimum, maybe six times. It doesn't matter where I am in the world, I ring her every day. What's happening? Who needs help? Who's drowning, who's swimming? She'll say, "I've got a beauty this time, a prisoner, and he's as thin as a rake." I say, "We need to feed him. Go to the Jewish deli, get him some food." I love doing this. This is no burden. Everything I have, all the blessings, come from God. It's not my money; I'm responsible that the money gets used properly. There's no downside. Timmy gives me the opportunity to do my stuff through the work she does.

So many people come through her house she should have revolving doors. She greets them, she feeds them, but how does she feed them? She and her husband can't afford to feed all these people, so I foot the bill. I can't stand to see people not eat. I think that must be Jewish. Also, when you're religious, eating is actually an act of holiness because every time you eat, you say a blessing.

It's holiness but chaos, too. She's always getting herself in trouble. I rang her one day, I said, "What's the matter? You sound stressed." "Stressed! You have no idea," she says. Somehow she's given the wrong instructions to the Yellow Pages about the mikvah listing and a bill has come through for $1600. The guy who owns the mikvah flipped. "Send the bill over," I said. "I'll take care of it."

Another time she's in jail visiting prisoners, she's about to leave and she can't find her car keys. She's got prisoners and warders on hands and knees searching. The prisoners are terrified, they think the place is going to go into lock-down if they don't find her keys. She's worried she won't be able to start her car. The prisoners all say, "I can start your car, no problem."

I tried to set her up in business. I got an art studio in China to paint portraits of rabbis for her to sell. Small problem. The painters used the wrong paint and the rabbis' beards all turn pink. There's always chaos with Timmy. If there's something that sums her up, it's that she not only believes in miracles, she relies on them.

Timmy has married off 15, 16 people. She introduced me to Issy when I was 15. We went out together for nine months. She was my first love. But you go through life, young, stupid. I was married twice in between. I should have known. But, 30-something years later, I hit the jackpot and married my first girlfriend. Why? Because of Timmy. She knew. It was supposed to be the first time. She always wanted us to be together. She's besties with both of us.

I'm a bit of an old business cynic but I do believe people can be good and kind only because of who they are, not because there's something in it for them. That's Timmy. She is full of love. And she has a huge laugh. The laugh arrives 15 minutes before she does. She's the happiest person I know.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Timely Warning for Purim


Click to enlarge

Shabbos House??

Heoros on YG's Kovetz Heoros

Post by Melbourne Chabadnik:

Yesterday (Shabbos) I davvened in a non-Chabad Shul, where I was shown the latest issue of the "Kovetz Heoros Hatmimim V'Anash" published by our Yeshiva Gedolah - copies of which had been dropped off there.

One fellow there asked me about the
 "ק''ז שנה להולדת כ''ק אדמו''ר נשיא דורנו" line which appears on the "shaar". He could not understand why the editors allow themselves to make "choyzek" of the rebbe z'l. He asked me to show him another publication with this type of nonsense. I coudln't really disagree with a second person who joined in on our conversation who said that while virtually all Jewry agrees that the rebbe was one of the outstanding Gedolim of the past generations, such childish and naarish things only serve to detract from and harm the reputation of such a great person. He continued, that creating such harm to the reputation of their rebbe or manhig wouldn't be tolerated in any other sector of Klal Yisroel.

I squirmed, fidgeted and mumbled some meaningless response - and left embarrassed.
Here again I can only repeat what Emmanuel wrote recently: "Be'oifen hamiskabel". That is what should be guiding all of us. Saying, doing or publishing things that make a joke of Lubavitch and/or the Rebbe must be dealt with immediately and the perpetuators stopped.

Chas vesholom that we become the laughing stock of Klall Yisroel!

By the way, perusing that Kovetz,  it is painfully obvious that it doesn't have too much quality material in it - save for Rabbi Telsner's Teshuva. The rebbe's Yiddish Sicha - which no doubt is of the highest quality - is unfortunately incomprehensibe to most of us - being in Yiddish. I would advise their editors to spruce it up a bit. We have many local Anash who are talmidei chachomim. Why aren't they invited to contribute?

And the dedication for this issue could have been worded better:
"fulfill their hearts desires materially" - can sometimes be a dangerous bracha..

I am personally a strong and long-time supporter of the YG with warm connections to many there. Thus I hope that my words will be taken as constructive criticism rather than negative kvetching.

Torah in the news!

Q: How do we get Torah into the Australian media headlines?
A: Simple. Find a sporting champion with that name.

Torah Bright, a devout Mormon from Cooma has achieved exactly that. A few weeks ago very few Australians had heard about her - or Torah. Now many in this country know something about both.

Wikipedia writes this about her unusual name:

Personal life:
Born to parents Peter and Marion Bright, Bright is the fourth of five siblings. Her parents named her Torah after Marion Bright learned the word meant “bearer of great message” in addition to referring to the five books of Moses.

Other websites say that it was a Jewish neighbour that advised her mother about the meaning of the word.

Ajnwatch has long been amused (and sometimes appalled) at the unusual, weird, and sometimes plain idiotic names that some parents in our community give to their  innocent and unsuspecting offspring - as featured most weeks in the AJN birth notices.

So how come no one has ever named a daughter (or even a son) "Torah"?

Possible answer may be that most religious Jews tend to give traditional names rather than modern-day 'inventions'. On the other hand, those parents who go for odd and peculiar names are usually not overly religious or traditional. The last thing on their minds would be "Torah".

Of course things may change now that a internationally famous sportswoman carries this moniker...

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Guest Post: Rabbi Kupchik a Mushroom? And why does he have to talk like that?

Guest Post from Upset Lubavitcher:

Take a look at this piece on Chabad Info (taken from Yeshiva World News):

Then read the comments section in the YWN - including the following:

Dear YWN Editor,

Kupchick is NOT an official Chabad Shliach. he is what is called in Chabad a “Mushroom”, someone who sets up shop on his own and calls himself a shliach. he is not listed anywhere on which list all official chabad houses and locations.

It would probably be best if you deleted that article from your website as it will only spread false information to the general jewish public who may not know the difference. The only thing that article will accomplish is spreading Motzai Shem Rah on a group of Yidden who put their lives on the line every day to spread the message of Torah and Mitzvos.

See link for listing of all OFFICIAL Chabad Locations in India.

Does Kupchik think that he is doing the Rebbe or Chabad a favour by talking like he does?

Sunday, February 14, 2010

"The Lubavitcher Rebbe z'l was against the antics of the Meshichists"

In response to several requests, we publish Emmanuel Althaus' much discussed  article lambasting the continued presence of the "Yechi" sign in the Yeshivah Shul as well as the attachment that came along with it- claiming to be a compilation of the Lubavitcher Rebbe's views regarding Meshichism and Meshichisten.



Ah, honest, integrity, consistency…..nice words, sometimes meaningful, and unfortunately, often not.

That was a lovely letter written by the Dayan, but then there was never a doubt, was there? Only a fool would believe a change would occur. At least we should be thankful, the wording was crafted much more carefully than those expressed on Saturday night. But a few shots across the bow made sure those words were not repeated….showed a serious lack of street-sense, and was insulting.

But let’s get back to what this editorial is all about.

Let’s start with a little truth, and to do that I roll the clock back to 1981/82.

Some of you may recall, there was a most venerable man in our community, by the name of Reb Betzalel Wilshansky o’bm. Apart from Reb Moshe Feiglin a’h, the pioneer Lubavitcher chossid, Reb B’tzalel was most likely the catalyst of how/why the other 5 Chabad families came to Australia . In short, Reb Btzalel was a Shochet in Russia with whom Reb Moshe had communicated prior to WW2 to migrate to Australia to be the local Shochet in Shepparton. It was hoped that the community would thrive and greater things would evolve.  Unfortunately WW2 put paid to that hope at the time however after the mass escape from Russia in 1946 and during the subsequent sojourn in Paris , communication was re-established between Reb Moshe & Reb Betzalel. Reb Betzalel was given blessings and obtained consent from the Rebbe Rayatz z’tl. Preparations were made for Reb Betazlel and his family to migrate to Australia .

However, Reb Betzalel's letter from the Rayatz was intercepted by another Lubavitcher who then too became desirous to migrate to Australia . Together with other Lubavitcher Chassidim, consent and blessing were obtained from the Rebbe Rayatz z’tl . In 1949 those 5 families subsequently migrated to Australia . The rest is well known history on which I do not have to elaborate.

Let’s now move on to 1981/82.

Chaim Ber Wilshanky, son of Reb Betzalel a’h (passed away 1977) wished to honour his fathers memory. He approached the Shul Committee regarding making a financial donation, plus the installation 2 boards on the front wall of the Shul. One for Moidim D’rabbonon, the other, Brich Shmei.

The idea was that these board as in other shuls all over the world, would be able to be read from a distance for the benefit of the mispallelim. The idea appealed to the Committee for several reasons, one being as an engraving had been made above the Oron Kodesh (in honour of the Kedoishim murdered during the Holocaust who were related to an extremely “choshever and admired”member of the Melb Jewish Community (Mizrachi), albeit not a mispallel of the Yeshivah but a great friend and patron none the less for all the years that Chabad was in Melbourne) the so called unspoken taboo to inscribe/install plaques etc, therefore was no longer applicable. Additionally, the reasoning was, that as Moidim D’Rabbonon is recited at least 15 times per week and Brich Shmei at least 4 times per week, and that those prayers are an integral part of every Nusach, Ashkenaz or Sefarad, Chassidish or Litvish, in other words right across the entire spectrum of Orthodox Judaism, nothing could be more Pareve and acceptable than those two prayers.

The Committee endorsed the offer, but was told quite forcefully and categorically by Rabbi Groner a’h that Chabad does not accept nor allow signs, even prayers to be put up in a Shul. There was bitter disappointment at that response, as not only was money was in short supply, but it was felt that the Teffilos were a most appropriate way to honour Reb Betzalel. He was an amazing personality whose farbrengens were unrivalled and unparalleled, whose stories of the Rabbeyim and old time Chassidim were relayed in such a way that if one closed their eyes, they could feel as if they were being transported in time, effectively becoming a time traveler, and witnessing first hand what was happening. Even I used to attend his farbrengens which was delivered in a soft voice where one strained to be as close as possible, that even a pin dropping to the floor could be heard. He simply enthralled us, time and time again that 2,3, 4 hours felt like 15-20 minutes. Virtually, time stood still. He was one of a kind, which my generation could relate to, but unfortunately many of you will most likely never be fortunate enough to experience. My intent is not to detract from the other Lubavitchers, how they too used to farbreng, as for now the focus is on Reb Betzalel a’h.
Chaim Ber tried to rationalize with Rabbi Groner but to no avail. He claims even to this day (I called him last week to confirm) that he was told by Rabbi Groner that if the Moidim and Brich Shmei were installed, Rabbi Groner would not set foot in the shul.  Chaim Ber left and did not return.
And here is my dilemma.

Had there been a Werdiger Hall at the time of the initial hookup with the Rebbe z’tl, the Yechi sign would have been put up there, possibly it would have stayed, maybe not depending on the function being held, but as there was no hall, the hookup was at the Yeshivah and the Yechi sign went up. It was removed a few days later in an undesirable way, but was re-installed. There was contention from day one, maybe not as bad or as numerous as today, but mispallelim were unsettled and some registered their disapproval by leaving. Without a doubt, the Melbourne Jewish community pricked up their eyebrows.

However, I was a little ambivalent about it at the time, but couldn’t get the Reb Betzalel issue out of my mind.

 I asked Rabbi Groner why was Moidim and Brich Shmei, universally accepted prayers by all Jews irrespective of their background….is Treif, yet the Yechi sign which was (and still is, all over the world) controversial….is Kosher? Additionally, he had ruled that Chabad was against signs and prayers being erected in their shuls!  Rabbi Groner didn’t answer. He looked at me for several minutes, uncomfortably, and said nothing. I asked him once more if he had an answer.

I then said to Rabbi Groner the following…..”if you invented that psak regarding the luchos, that is, no signs, period, then why can’t you admit it? If on the other hand the1982 psak had basis, are you now implying that a controversial sign is holier than the Moidim and Brich Shmei and therefore the psak no longer applies? Is this another “twist & turn” episode? (I meant Nishtana Itim)

No response….You ever played the game of Snooker, hear the term snookered?

That was the expression I saw and from that moment on, I formed the view that something was not right. It didn’t make sense, and no explanation was given.

Over the years, from time to time during our many one-on-one chats the topic came up, but till this day there was no answer provided. I believe Rabbi Groner was incapable of telling me that he thought the Yechi sign was holier than the Tefillos I mentioned above, yet could not bring himself to admit that possibly he had made an initial error in judgment and that now he was between a rock and a hard place. I have been told by reliable sources that on occasions he had complained he was being hounded by the younger hard core set, that they were tearing strips off him, that they were insinuating he was not a Chossid of the Rebbe, that if he were to take off the Yechi he would be answerable to the Rebbe in the hereafter. I believed then as I do now, that Rabbi Groner was psychologically pistol-whipped into submission. They simply wore him down. Additionally as the sign was removed without authority, it was a blow to his integrity. He required that it be replaced to demonstrate his authority was absolute. (It’s a shame he didn’t exert the same decisiveness when other of his rulings were totally ignored)

I don’t believe he was really into the Yechi for the following reasons. It is well known that Rabbi Groner was not an Igros Person. (Pity! The Igros could have advised him, one way or the other.) But what I do know is that he was dead-set against the ritual shouting of the Yechi and made many impassioned speeches pleading with people to stop. In fact he quite angrily insisted on one occasion that he would make the Yechi statement at his time of choosing and at his choice of location. On the two occasions that he did make mention of the Yechi , he simply said in a rather subdued voice and not in his usual booming style…just two words…"Yechi Hamelech". That’s it…just two words…Yechi Hamelech and not the entire slogan. And on only two occasions, very close to each other!! Hardly an enthusiastic rendition by any standards.

But individuals simply did not respect his requests, they still called out, resulting in commotion, time and time again. Events were spiraling out of control to the point where things started to become physical.

I recall some months prior to Rabbi Groner’s passing, Sholom Mendel Kluwgant and I, wheeled him into the Kollel and again, he made an impassioned plea for the screaming and ruckus dancinging to stop. He was most unwell, but once again his pleas fell on deaf ears. The hard core did as they pleased, all in the name of heaven. You may not believe it, but at that point in time the Hotham St Shamta Loonies were carrying on like madmen in the kollel, but they still had their supporters during an ensuing argument minutes after Rabbi Groner was wheeled away and barely out of earshot.

So, has Yechi sign has been a rallying-point, the glue which holds our community together?  Hardly!

Has it attracted even one person to Chabad, who came just because of the Yechi?  Show me even one person who has become a member of Chabad exclusively because of the slogan and I’ll show 100 who have been turned off.

Incredibly, for those who argue that a rabbi has the final say about a hergesh, a sentiment, and that a ruling on a sentiment has to be adhered to as if it were Toiras Moshe Mi’sinai, then assuming the Yechi sign was the right thing to do, why doesn’t Chaim Tzvi Groner install a Yechi sign in Ohel Devorah?  He’s the Rov there……no? His father was a so called great believer in the Yechi (being satirical), so wouldn’t one think CTG should follow suit seeing he was a keynote speaker at the recent Moshiach fest in Israel ?

Why worry about what his oilom think……..after all, his mispallelim are Jews who understand the concept that a rabbi’s ruling is final. Let him install the Yechi sign there are well…let’s have some consistency, after all Rabbi Groner was the head Shliach and Ohel Devorah was under his Shlichus. Shouldn’t his example be followed? What. the Yeshivah has a monopoly?

And why not Chabad of Malvern? Shimshon who together with Chaim Tzvi is on the Vaa’d Ruchni at the Yeshivah, making spiritual decisions for our Kehilla , shouldn't he too install a Yechi sign at his Shul? (with the English translation)? It is after all a Chabad Shul.

And what about Mendi Groner? Him too!

Ah, but they have a little problem….It’s called B’oifen Hamiskabel…..two little words the Rebbe was quite concerned about. Applies everywhere except the Yeshivah? Now isn’t that a little hypocritical?

All over the world the Yechi is causing great divisions within Chabad and in the process the Jewish world think we are off the planet.

Some foolhardy people try to equate it with the Litvaks versus the Alter Rebbe, but that analogy is simply preposterous. The Alter Rebbe was introducing Torah, where now we are only introducing slogans. Is the declaration and thrusting into peoples faces that the Rebbe is Moshiach or that he is alive or the 3rd Beis Hamikdosh is situated at 770 Eastern Parkway having a positive or negative effect?

Is the Jewish world thronging to Chabad or withdrawing from Chabad? Is Chabad itself in harmony or not on this issue? There are plenty of mainstream Chabad Shules, Chabad Houses etc, who want absolutely nothing to do with so called meshichistim. One prominent shul in the USA by way of example has “security: to escort people out of the shul just for wearing a Yechi yarmulke if they are not prepared to accept an exchange yarmulka.

Why is this happening?  I am sure there are many Chabadniks who believe what the meshichistim believe, but have recognised that to promote the slogan publicly is counter productive. Many of them also believe in “leave well enough alone”, but wish the sign was not there in the first instance. Sure, they put up with it, but that's all it is....putting up with it. Had Rabbi Groner a'h not succumbed to pressure, the Yechi genie would never have escaped from the bottle. Rabbi Groner’s heart was never really in he Melb Yechi campaign…..they simply wore him down.

I have attached an interesting chronological analysis of the promotion of identifying who is the Moshiach.
The theme throughout appears to be, that if the conducting of the campaign causes even ONE Jew to be alienated from Chabad/Chassidus, the Rebbe was absolutely and passionately against the promotion.One could be circumspect whether or not the promotion of identifying who is Moshiach should be conducted only behind closed (Lubavitch) doors or at farbrengens, but certainly as far as publicly running a campaign which might result in even one Jew being alienated, it is transparently clear the Rebbe was definitely against the promotion.

Assuming for one moment that the Rebbe was in favour of publicly making a mivtzah of his real identity, the obvious question is….when did he change his mind about worrying if anyone was alienated, (even one person…using the Rebbes words)? Did he believe that no one would be or could be alienated?
Or perhaps he no longer cared whether one was alienated or not?  It is simply impossible for me to believe that the Rebbe could do a 180° turn and reject his oft anxious and angry comments regarding alienating Jews from Chabad. Was he wrong at the time when he was angry and annoyed?

No, he was right then but his concerns were simply ignored.

But his concerns have materialized! Chabad has developed the knack of whacking square pegs into round holes however because it’s done with a sledgehammer and in one hit, the assumption is that it fits. But it doesn’t ….no matter what one does….there will be and are gaps, which are becoming larger and larger.  For example, before 3 Tammuz Chabad passionately preached Moshiach could only come from the living, yet after 3 Tammuz “discovered” sources which have now been adopted that Moshiach could come from the dead….. not only could, but in fact will!

I have much more to say, but will leave it to another time. But I leave the rabbis who push the Yechi line with one challenge. I challenge them to publicly rise up on the Bimah and state the following.

"I, Rabbi so and so, the son of …(mothers name and fathers name) do hereby publicly state unequivocally that I believe the Rebbe is Moshiach, that I believe Moshiach is here, that I believe the Rebbe has not passed away, and that the 3rd Beis Hamikdosh is on hand at 770 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn New York and in the event that through promotion of the Yechi campaign, namely that the Rebbe is moshiach, if even one Jew has been alienated from Chabad or it’s teachings or have caused even one person to give away the learning Chabad Chassidus, I am prepared to forfeit my entire Oliom Haboh in favour of the person/persons who has been alienated. I consent irrevocability to this promise."

That way, all the double-speak may be avoided and if a newspaper calls to confirm a comment or a signature, that rabbi will be able to proudly admit to what he said or did, rather than squirm behind a “No Comment”.

As for me, I believe and have always believed that G-d has been here since before infinity and will be here for eternity and beyond. I therefore state that I have absolute confidence in whoever he selects to be the Moshiach, and if that choice is good enough for Him it’s more than good enough for me. So, I’m not going to worry or speculate who it is or isn’t. Nothing constructive can come out of it. I have just one request which is to Hashem and that is, whoever it is that YOU have chosen, please send him NOW!



Iyar, 5744:

In the month of Iyar, 5744, Rabbi Wolpo wanted to print his book "Yechi Hamelech," in which he attempt to demonstrate, with numerous hints, that the Lubavitcher Rebbe is Moshiach. After he sent the Rebbe the book's proofs, he immediately received the Rebbe's answer, written in the Rebbe's handwriting, and read over the telephone by Rabbi Hodakov. The Rebbe's words were:

"Telephone him in my name the following: "It is apparent that he is feigning as though he doesn't understand what I already answered before, that it is possible to do much damage to Chabad, rachmana litzlan, and to the spreading of the wellsprings, through writing on this theme - and my intention was mainly to him; enough said.

"Now I warn him that he must stop speaking, writing, and how much more so, publicizing, especially in print, anything pertaining to Moshiach - whether in his own name, under an assumed name, through an intermediary or the like - with whatever kuntz he may concoct, and in whatever format or manner that may be. And if, chas v'sholom, he goes ahead and does anything in this regard, he should know clearly that this is a specific and general war against me.

"Obviously the above includes any interpretations of matters regarding Moshiach in the Rambam or other Seforim, Chassidic discourses and anything of the like."

Tamuz, 5744:

In the month of Tamuz, 5744, Rabbi Wolpo wrote to the Rebbe asking forgiveness for the aggravation he had caused the Rebbe through his efforts to publish his above mentioned book, but he again attempted to "prove" to the Rebbe that people really "needed" his book. The Rebbe responded:

"1) Obviously, in everything I wrote and said regarding the above there was absolutely nothing at all the opposite of a blessing, chas v'sholom v'chas v'sholom, and even now there is none, chas v'sholom v'chas v'sholom. However:

"2) When something is 'publicized,' and especially when it is printed, what is pertinent is how it will be interpreted by the reader - and not the author.

"3) It has come to pass that because of his activities (speaking, printing, and behaving) - he fuels divisiveness, etc., and hundreds of Jews (and more) have stopped learning Chassidus, and now oppose the Baal Shem Tov and his teachings in actuality, etc., etc.

"4) Among these are some who until he began doing such things were involved in spreading the wellsprings .

"5) Some seek the slightest hint or pretext which can be used to enlarge the bonfire.

"6) In the pages which he enclosed there would be no need for such people to search for hints and pretexts , for they are all permeated with this material, and automatically his effort would only lead to a continuation of the same result, another battle against disseminating Chassidus, and even more people will be estranged from learning Chassidus - may this never happen...!

"All the above is obvious, and therefore it is extremely astonishing that he tries to explain to me the opposite!"

After receiving the Rebbe's holy answer, again Rabbi Wolpo had the chutzpa to "explain" to the Rebbe the value of his book, and he again continued "sparring" with the Rebbe - insisting that no one should be "ashamed" of the halacha. Again he received the Rebbe's holy reply:

"What I wrote was not just a precaution, lest perhaps... Rather, it was founded on what is public knowledge - that thousands, and more, have stopped learning Chassidus and now clash with the teachings of the Baal Shem Tov, etc., because of talk and publications from you alone.

"As for the 'simpleton's question': How can it be proper not to spread the halacha?

"Let me ask you: When speaking to a rich man in the United States for a donation... do you tell him that one who strikes a match on the holy Shabbos is censurable by stoning, and if the Sanhedrin was in power, as you long for it to be, you would be among those who would stone him, rachmana litzlan - as provided for by a clear halacha in the holy Torah? And would you tell this to him even when you were visiting him on the afternoon of Shabbos Eve?

"Certainly, if you answer my question, I will, bli neder, answer you."

Tishrei, 5745:

On the first night of Sukkos, 5745, when the Rebbe spoke about the acrostic of the year, "T - Tehei, S - Shnas, M - Melech, H - HaMoshiach "- "This will be the year of the King Moshiach" - he said:  "It is clearly explained in the famous epistle from the Rebbe Rashab, that Moshiach is called by many titles: 'Dovid,' 'Son of Dovid,' 'House of Dovid' - as in the Rambam, 'If a king will arise from the House of Dovid, versed in Torah... and he will compel all of Israel, etc." - and similarly, at times he is called 'King' - 'King Moshiach.' The advantage of being called 'King Moshiach,' since 'there is no King without people,' is that people willingly accept his sovereignty over them.

"We have the potential for this especially in this year, when we are in the sixth millennium, and in this itself, in the 'afternoon' - i.e., after 500 years - and especially as it is already toward 'day's end,' and in this itself, we are in the year 574 5 (TSMH) - such that we already have the identifier Heh (T - Tehei, S - Shnas, M - Melech, H - HaMoshiach), the year of ' The King The Moshiach.'

"Here it is necessary to note: No one should join the so-called 'Shpitz Chabad' who will start learning hints and inferences from this in a manner that is clearly opposite the will of the Rebbe and Nosi, which can hinder Jews from learning Chassidus - and students have already been repelled from learning Chassidus from such behavior...!

"When it comes to this subject we must rely on the Almighty. What we must do is learn Chassidus, and to the extent that even when one does not have a discourse in hand it is still recognizable that he is thinking Chassidus, and when asked a question in Chassidus, one has to know what to answer as clearly as he knows the most basic halacha. That is the way to merit 'This is the blessing' - such that one will be able to point to him with a finger and say, 'This is a Chossid' -because he will be steeped in Chassidus in a manner that everyone can see it in him.

"And as for the argument that he is not holding thereby - the Rambam already forewarned against this in his famous ruling that every Jew 'wants to do all the Mitzvos,' only occasionally it is possible for "his yetzer to force him," and therefore it may be necessary to blow off the 'dust' which conceals his true will."

Despite the clear wording of the previous Sicha, on Motzoei Shabbos Breishis, 5745, during the Rebbe's farbrengen, Chassidim sang a tune with the words "Soldiers of the Rebbe, soldiers of Moshiach Tzidkeinu, he will lead us with Tanks to our Land..." The Rebbe suddenly interrupted the singing of the song, and spoke sternly and sharply in a deeply pained and loud voice. Some of the Rebbe's less-stern words were as follows:

"There are some 'Shpitz Chabad' who think that specifically they know what has to be done and how it is necessary to behave, and when everyone around them tries to tell them that what they are doing is detrimental, it has no effect on them whatsoever, for they think, 'Who are they to tell us! None of them are on our level, for we are 'Shpitz Chabad!'

"The intention in this: As a result of what they are saying, the things they are printing, and the songs they are singing, etc. - they are responsible for distancing of scores of Jews from the teachings of the Baal Shem Tov, learning Chassidus, and conduct in the ways of Chassidus. Not only this, but even Jews who had already started learning Chassidus - now they have stopped learning Chassidus because of the activities of these people! Not only do these activities not bring closer the distant, but on the contrary, they even distance those who had already started getting close! Even when they try to wrap themselves in a cloak of holiness, "a silken kaftan and gartel" - it does not change at all the fact that thereby they alienate Jews from the teachings of Chassidus, together with everything else that ensues. All of this is squarely their responsibility...!

"Why don't they follow in the way our Rebbeim paved for us! No one has any need for their 'innovation,' especially as the only thing it serves is to foment new divisiveness against the Baal Shem Tov and the Alter Rebbe, rachmana litzlan...!

"Therefore, let it be known: Anyone who continues with these activities - is an opponent who fights against Chassidus Chabad, against Nosi Doreinu, the Baal Shem Tov, until Malka Moshicha... who desires and longs to come and redeem us, only he must wait until there is an increase in spreading the wellsprings to the outside. These people, meanwhile, are decreasing the number of Jews learning Chassidus, rachmana litzlan!

Adar, 5748:

In the month of Adar, Rabbi Yitzchak Hendel of Montreal, sent the Rebbe a Psak Din, co-signed by other Chassidim there, that the Lubavitcher Rebbe "is presumed to be Moshiach." The Rebbe turned to his secretary, Rabbi Leibel Groner, and asked who had sent this. Rabbi Groner answered it was from Anash of Montreal, with the authorization of Rabbi Hendel. Thereon the Rebbe asked:  "Based on what did he judge me this way? Are all of his ruling of the same quality as this...?! "


During the yechidus of Rabbi Tuvya Peles, a Chabad activist from Israel, the Rebbe, among other things, spoke strongly and sharply of Chassidim in Israel (even mentioning names) who go around in the streets announcing the Lubavitcher Rebbe is King Moshiach. The expression the Rebbe used to describe how he felt about this was: "When they do things like this they tear me to pieces!"  Rachmana Litzlan!

Iyar, 5751:

In the farbrengen of the first Shabbos after the famous Sicha of 28 Nissan 5751, Rabbi Y. Ganzberg stood up and made an announcement in the Rebbe's presence, saying that he must reveal himself as King Moshiach. The Rebbe responded, with a contorted face: "Don't tell me what to do...!" (and many know the rest of the Rebbe's remarks).

Again, the next Shabbos, in the middle of the farbrengen, Rabbi Dovid Nachshon burst out singing the tune "Zol Shoin Zien Di Geulah" with the words "Yechi Adoneinu Moreinu v'Rabbeinu Melech Hamoshiach L'olam Voed," and many of the assembled crowd sang along with him. The next day, the Rebbe made it known through his secretary, Rabbi Groner, that:  "What they did was their responsibility," and "because of them the Rebbe was coming down to prayers an hour late..."

In the month of Iyar, 5751, the editor of the weekly Kfar Chabad, Rabbi Aharon Dov Halprin, sent the Rebbe an article by Rabbi Yoel Kahan that he was considering printing. The article explained that one who truly believes his Rebbe is the leader of the generation, and who also believes in Moshiach, naturally has to believe that his Rebbe will be Moshiach. The Rebbe responded (on 17 Iyar) with a complete reputation: "If, rachmana litzlan, you print anything even slightly similar to this - you should right away totally close down the magazine. The enclosed article is obviously baseless."

In that month (Iyar, 5751) the editor of Yisroel Shelonu, Mr. Shmuel Shmuali, wanted to print in his newspaper about Moshiach in general, and more specifically, that the Lubavitcher Rebbe was Moshiach. The Rebbe replied: "Regarding publishing about Moshiach, etc.:   "As evident from all the information coming in, the latest articles and columns on this subject have raised new antagonists, to the detriment of Chassidic learning and practice.
"In debates and disputations, especially in print, the questions are always easily established, but the answers are not always so forthcoming... "Seemingly, considering the present state of affairs, it would be more sensible to suspend printing on this topic..."

Summer, 5751:

In the spring of 5751, Rabbi Wolpo again asked the Rebbe if the time was ripe for him to publish his book "Yechi HaMelech," which promoted as halacha that the Lubavitcher Rebbe must be recognized as the King Moshiach. The Rebbe answered: "If he leaves out the portions, as discerned by understanding friends, that are liable to distance even a single Jew from learning Chassidus - then it is all-right. I will mention this at the Tzion."

Elul, 5751:

In Elul, 5751, Rabbi Dovid Nachshon sent the Rebbe a proposed program emphasizing the theme of Moshiach, sponsored by the "World Organization for Bringing Moshiach." The Rebbe answered (on Elul 12, 5751): "If you can do this in vessels of the World of Tikun [i.e., rationally and pragmatically] - as determined by one immersed in the World of Tikun, after reflection focused in the World of Tikun..."

Tishrei, 5752.

In Tishrei, 5752, Rabbi Dovid Nachshon received another message from the Rebbe, delivered by Rabbi Yehuda Yureslavsky, secretary of Vaad Rabbonei Chabad B'Ertzeinu Hakodesh. In this memorandum the Rebbe stated plainly: "I forbid him to be involved in matters of Moshiach both now and in the future! "
Mar-Cheshvan, 5752:

On Shabbos Parshas Noach, Mar-Cheshvan 4, 5752, Chassidim started the farbrengen by singing the "Yechi... Melech HaMoshiach..." When they finished singing the Rebbe said:

"This is extremely absurd. Here a song is sung with such words, while I sit here at the table... The truth is that I really should get up and leave!...

"As for why I am not leaving - first of all, whether I do or I don't, it anyway would not help; and secondly, it would upset the goal of 'sheves achim gam yachad' ('brethren sit even together') - for if I leave others too will leave, and automatically this opportunity for 'brethren sit even together' would be lost. Everyone knows how important this is - as the Rashbi elaborates in the Zohar..."

Shvat, 5752:

When the signing of Kabolas Hamalchus papers began, the media turned to Rabbi Brod (the spokesmen of Tza"Ch) to explain. He answered that at this point he doesn't want to comment about it. That response was then publicized and he was invited by television in Israel to come explain it. After talking it over with others, it was decided that he should go, and explain that it is the right of a Chossid to believe that his Rebbe is the one who is 'ro'uy' to be Moshiach, and in order to strengthen that belief, or to hasten the Geula, they write to the Rebbe these papers.

They sent a Du"ch to the Rebbe (not a question). On the detail how he answered them at first, that he doesn't want to comment about it the Rebbe wrote: In this manner he should continue in the future too. After the part in the Duch where they wrote what he said in the interview, the Rebbe wrote: Doesn't he understand that once he starts to talk about it, they will drag him in more?

Local Chabad Leadership Should Decide
Shvat, 5752

In the month of Shvat, 5752, Rabbi Bernard of South Africa asked: In the past the Rebbe expressed his will strongly against calling him Moshiach, but was this still against his will? The Rebbe answered:  "It depends on the conditions in the place it is done. It is up to your local Chabad leadership to decide."

Shvat, 5752:

To many who wrote letters to the Rebbe addressing him as "The Rebbe Melech HaMoshiach," the Rebbe replied: "When he will arrive I will give this to him."

Adar I, 5752:

On 13 Adar I, 5752 (a scant 14 days before 27 Adar I), Neshei Women's Organization of New York sent the Rebbe a pamphlet by Rabbi Wolpo that they wanted to distribute, titled "Kabolas P'nei Moshiach Tzidkeinu ," which stated outright that the Lubavitcher Rebbe was King Moshiach. Immediately the Rebbe responded (with a copy to Vaad Agudas Chassidei Chabad): "Urgent! "I have already answered him that essays like this repel very many from learning Chassidus - the opposite of spreading the wellsprings to the outside!"

Just a few days before 27 Adar I, 5752, the Rebbe issued a handwritten answer to an individual (the facsimile was later released by the Rebbe's secretary, Rabbi Binyamin Klein): "There is no obligation at all to search for who is Moshiach - but there is a positive commandment of the Torah to love each and every Jew and avoid divisiveness to the extreme, and obviously one should not intentionally incite the opposite!"

After 27 Adar I, 5752, the Rebbe was no longer able to answer by speaking or writing, but he was still able to answer by shaking his head "Yes" or "No." The following are some of his answers in this period:

Iyar, 5752:

In Iyar, 5752, a Shliach in California, Rabbi Dovid Aliezri, sent the Rebbe a letter with three questions: 1) Should activities pertaining to Moshiach be separate, but on a par with, the Chabad House's other activities? Or are they meant to be the main stress of all the activities? 2) Is necessary to indicate who is Moshiach? 3) Should it be publicized that our period is the period of Moshiach's coming? The letter was read by the Rebbe's secretary, Rabbi Groner, and the Rebbe responded by shaking his head:

To the first part of the first question (Should activities pertaining to Moshiach be separate, but on a par with, the Chabad House's other activities?) the Rebbe shook his head to indicate "No."
To the second part of the first question (Or are they meant to be the main stress of all the activities?) he shook his head twice to indicate "Yes! " To the second question (Is necessary to indicate who is Moshiach?) the Rebbe shook his head vigorously to indicate "No!"

To the third question (Should it be publicized that our period is the period of Moshiach's coming?) he shook his head "Yes."

At about the same time as this Rabbi Yoseph Yitzchak Gutnik asked the Rebbe if he should fund projects of the "International Campaign to Bring Moshiach" which was publicizing that the Lubavitcher Rebbe was King Moshiach.  The Rebbe shook his head "No!"
Sivan, 5752:

During Sefiras Ha'omer, 5752, Rabbis Yitzchak Dovid Groner z’l and Chaim Gutnik z’l, from Australia, travelled through a number of countries to publicize that the Lubavitcher Rebbe was presumed to be Moshiach. Their journey's goal was to have as many Chabad Rabbonim as possible gather in Crown Heights on the holiday of Shevuos for meetings and discussions, and afterwards to hold a general meeting of all Anash in 770. At their discussion sessions these Rabbis decided to publicize a program with a number of propositions, which they planed read in public in 770. Before releasing this program, these Rabbis (together with Rabbi Chanzin and others) asked Rabbi Groner to read it to the Rebbe.

Rabbi Groner reported back to them that to every point the Rebbe shook his head affirmatively, but when he read the proposition about declaring the Rebbe the "presumed Moshiach" the Rebbe's reaction was different:  The Rebbe shook his head very strongly "No!"

There were also many answers like these that the Rebbe to gave to Agudas Chassidei Chabad (for example in Teves, 5753), and to many others as well.

Teves 5753
Answer to Rabbi Emanuel Schochet.

In Teves 5753 he asked the Rebbe:
1) Is there any significance in identifying who Moshiach is, although the Ramba"m and the Chasam Sofer hold that Moshiach is a unknown Tzadik.
2) If there still is a significance, is there any difference between Ana"sh and others, meaning that amongst Chassidim it's ok to talk about it, but not outside, or
3) there is no difference?

The Rebbe hinted to the mazkir to read the questions over again, listened to the first question, but didn't respond to it, then by the second question the Rebbe strongly shook his head as saying yes, and he also held on to the paper of the questions, motioning strongly affirmative.  In other words, there is a difference discussing this among Anash and others.


When one honestly analyses, the time line of positive and negative answers it becomes clear that there is no ‘new era’ in the sense that everything that was previously forbidden is now permissible with complete disregard to any negative consequences. If there is the slightest chance that one’s activity might alienate a single Jew from Chabad and learning Chassidus then its clear from the Rebbe’s consistent position that these actions are strictly forbidden.

Those who still insist on going around publicizing that the Rebbe is King Moshiach should consider these points:

1) The Rebbe made it abundantly clear that Rabbi Wolpo, by publishing his ideas, chas v'sholom, which can, and does, merachek thousands of Yidden to Chabad and to learning Chassidus, is waging "a specific and general war " against the Rebbe, and is actually the Rebbe's adversary, and in reality is fighting against Chabad Chassidus and Malka Moshicha.

2) The fear of the Rebbe that many thousands will stop learning chassidus (which the Rebbe stressed that is what will bring moshiach according to the Baal Shem Tov) has come to pass. Thousands have stopped learning Chassidus as a result of such conduct. Exactly as the Rebbe prophesised.

3) In one of his last written replies the Rebbe once more stressed, "There is no obligation at all to try to identify who is Moshiach -. but there is a positive commandment of the Torah to love each and every Jew."

4) The only case where it would seem permissible would be if the Head shliach rules that his local place this activity is safe from the danger of distancing Yidden. And even then all activities would have to be in a way of ‘ofen hamiskabel’ in a way that there is no chance that even “ONE Jew,” in the words of the Rebbe, (summer 5751) will be turned off from learning chassidus. Thus if wearing a yechi yarmulaka or saying yechi after davening in shul, has a chance of alienating even a single Jew from learning chassidus, then automatically the Rebbe absolutely forbids it.

5) As to the question how come the Rebbe encouraged Yechi in 5753, how come there were positive answers?

It’s very simple.

This very question is the very question shluchim asked the Rebbe specifically during 5753, during the period the Rebbe was encouraging Yechi on the balcony, and the Rebbe clearly indicated his response; there is a difference in expressing these beliefs within Anash and outside Anash. There is a difference between fabrengen among Chasidim and print. (See Tammuz 5744 above.) Believing ones Rebbe might be Moshiach is a legitimate belief. Indeed it is known that many Chasidim of previous generations, including non-Chabad Chasidim considered privately their Rebbe as Moshaich. The early chassidic writings are full of this, about the Baal Shem Tov, the Noam Elimelech, the Yismach Moshe, etc. But these was a PRIVATE beliefs held within and among Chasidim. But once such a belief goes out into the public, especially when in print, it can, and does, cause much damage, as the Rebbe with much anguish stressed again and again. It pushes away people from chassidus and Chabad. Nowhere do we see the Rebbe clearly and specifically changing his mind about this central and consistent concern. The result of ignoring the Rebbe’s extremely clear and numerously repeated instruction is painfully becoming more and more evident.

May we be zocheh that in the zechus of fulfilling the Rebbe’s instructions accurately and with honest integrity we should be zocheh that all our hard work of being mekarev yidden to Yiddishkeit and spreading the wellsprings of Chassidus (as the Rebbe stressed this is our mission while we wait for Moshiach to reveal himself, Parshas Tazria 5752, — 2 weeks before 27 Adar) should finally bring Moshiach down into this world miyad mamash, bimehari v’yomeinu. And may we merit having our Rebbe lead us to the Geulah haamitis v’hashlaima.

A concerned chosid.

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