22 Tevet 5778
There is a kind of censorship prevalent among some Jews and because of it there are things that are off-limits for criticism or discussion. I mentally label these taboo subjects - the untouchables. When I discovered this was so, I found it to be very disappointing. It is a roadblock not only to the establishment of truth and justice, but to complete teshuvah as well.
How can Diaspora Jews today learn any lessons from the Holocaust when every Jew who perished in it was unquestionably a saint and a holy sacrifice for the klal. Nobody did anything wrong and nobody deserved their fate. It is heresy and blasphemy to even suggest it. My heart breaks and I can cry rivers of tears for the fate of those Jews who were murdered at the hands of the Nazis and their supporters and sympathizers. And certainly no child had any culpability in his fate. But, all one has to do is ponder how every last possession was stripped from the victims to understand that the need to retain possessions stopped too many from escaping. It's a hard truth to face, but face it we must, no matter how painful, because it is happening all over again.
The craziness surrounding Sholom Rubashkin's release from prison is another such example. There are people who actually deny that any crime whatsoever was committed at Agriprocessors. According to this timeline, the entire family is run like a mafia. There is something very seriously wrong when Jews are reluctant to confront criminal activity perpetrated by those in the community who wield money, power and prestige as weapons. If you are a large enough donor, no one will be allowed to question anything you do. They will go on trial for lashon hara before you will go on trial for your many crimes.
"The Rebbe" is another taboo subject for criticism. Moshe Rabbeinu made mistakes and was called to task for it and we can talk about that around the Shabbat table. But don't even suggest that anything The Rebbe said, or did, or is being done in his name today could be in error!
Before I knew anything about The Rebbe, Chabad or even Judaism in general, I was a personal witness to a group of The Rebbe's chasidim arriving to a questionable rabbi in the Negev who was explaining to them how Mashiach can come from the dead. It was eye-opening for me. I suddenly understood how Christianity got its start 2000 years earlier. Once Chabad began sending missionaries to the gentiles to spread the Seven Laws of Noah, the movement was being primed for a gentile takeover in 300-400 years just like the first time. There are actually Chabad synagogues in remote places in America where the only Jew is the rabbi.
It boggles my mind how HKB"H shuts down a place of exile just to have Chabad come along and make it possible for Jews to return to those areas. Furthermore, I think it is a spiritual crime that Chabad teaches their women that a wig is the only way to properly cover their hair when the entire rest of the Jewish world says (and has always said) otherwise. If anyone separates between Jews, it is Chabad. I recall hearing when Rubashkin was first arrested that something had to be done about it because "this is one of our own" - meaning a fellow Chabadnik.
Someone sent me a video of Leah Rubashkin. I don't know what they hoped I'd take from it, but this is what I heard. Leah Rubashkin refers to The Rebbe in the present tense. She claims to have written "many letters to The Rebbe and received many answers." I'm sorry if it hurts anyone's feelings, but this is praying to a dead man. How is this any different from what the Christians do? She goes on to say that "The Rebbe is with us all the time." She credits the Rebbe with some of the "miracles" that occurred during their experience with the trial.
In my own experience, I have had Chabadniks quote The Rebbe's sichot in much the same way that the Christians quote their New Testament. I don't know if I would agree that Chabad is "replacement theology," but it resembles Christianity enough to me that I want nothing whatever to do with it.
There is certainly no question that many good things can be said of Chabad and chasidut, but that does not allow us to ignore or even cover up all that is wrong with it. Corrections can only begin with an honest appraisal and permission to speak about what needs improvement.
As things stand today, it is not permitted to warn a Chabad chasid that he has stepped off the straight and narrow path and is wandering afield of authentic Judaism. And it is not permitted to warn Diaspora Jews that they may be standing in the shadow of a second Holocaust.
As things stand today, these subjects are untouchable.