Volume 30 Number 14
                 Produced: Sun Nov 21 23:23:47 US/Eastern 1999

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Administrivia - Chabad postings
         [Avi Feldblum]
Chabad Shecitah
         [Chaim Shapiro]
Do you have last Sunday's New York Times?
         [Sam Saal]
Halachic Heterim for Sin'as Chinom
         [Oren Popper]
R' Alyasiv's "psak"
         [Akiva Atwood]
Status of Chabad (2)
         [Yosef Braun, Jonathan Katz]


From: Avi Feldblum <mljewish@...>
Date: Sun, 21 Nov 1999 23:14:34 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Administrivia - Chabad postings

The topic relating to the status of "messianic" Lubavitchers is one that
is sensitive to a number of people on the list, and I'm pretty sure that
we have already had one or two people drop off the list due to my letting
this topic be discussed. I'm willing to allow that to happen, as I do
believe the topic to be a valid one for this list.

The basic question, as I understand it, is whether these behaviours and
beliefs fall in the catagory of a forbidden nature, in which case
depending on the nature of the prohibition there may be implications with
respect to minyan, shechita etc. However, it is also possible that these
mearly fall in the catagory of "shtus", a possibly silly behaviour/belief,
but not prohibited. In that case, you may choose to leave or choose to
stay as you prefer.

There has not been, as strongly put by one poster below, a clear pointer
to writings by halachic poskim on this issue. I know, as I mention below,
that Dr. David Berger has written strongly on this topic, and I have a
definite impression that there was a discussion on this in the Jewish
Observer. If list members have actual references to the above, as well as
any other such discussion of the basic issues, I would appreciate their
posting that to the list.

As I may have mentioned in the past, I have fairly close connections to
Lubavitch and the previous Rebbe, and as such do not feel I am prejudiced
against mainstream Lubavitch, on the contrary I have very positive feeling
toward Lubavitch and Chassidus, although my personal derech is more
defined by Lithuanian Yeshiva traditions and YU. 

Avi Feldblum
mail-jewish Moderator


From: Chaim Shapiro <Dagoobster@...>
Date: Tue, 16 Nov 1999 11:02:13 EST
Subject: Chabad Shecitah

<< A Chabad messianic cannot be counted in a Minyan.  If you are in a shul
 with all Messianics, then you shouldn't take an Aliyah since the brocho
 would be levatala (in vain). >>

     What about Chabad shecitah then?  It is a little more difficult
than a Minyan.....If I am assuming correctly, that they (Messianics)
cannot be counted in a Minyan because they are out of the pale of
Judaism, shouldn't their shecitah be invalid as well?
     To make matters worse, it would be impossible to be sure who
slaughtered the meat you are eating.  It is my understanding that
Halachicakly if there are 1000 animals, 1 of which is Shecheted by a Jew
who is not kosher, you may not eat any of them!  Would that not
invalidate all of Chabad Shecitah?  BTW it is my understanding that
Empire Chicken has removed Messianic Chabadnicks from shecitah positions
for this very reason!

[As this whole topic is rather sensitive/inflamatory, I would greatly
appreciate if someone could confirm/deny the above statement concerning
Empire chicken. Mod]



From: Sam Saal <saal@...>
Date: Thu, 18 Nov 1999 12:10:40 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Do you have last Sunday's New York Times?

All the News That's Fit to Print? To Some, This Word Was Not
November 18, 1999

"Can you imagine how much of the New York Times is going to be buried
this week?" asks Haskel Lookstein, the rabbi of Congregation Kehilath
Jeshurun, an Orthodox synagogue on Manhattan's Upper East Side.

In all, perhaps a few thousand pages.

Last Sunday, the New York Times's Book Review section ran an
illustration that included the four-letter Hebrew word for Yahweh, a
form of God's name from the Bible. The drawing accompanied a review of
two new translations of the books of Samuel.

According to rabbinic law, written forms of God's name in Hebrew are
sacred and cannot be discarded. Instead, the page containing the word
must be buried in the ground.

Dale Polakoff, the rabbi of Great Neck Synagogue in Great Neck, N.Y.,
alerted his congregants after his Sabbath service. He says he found the
illustration "difficult, certainly surprising." His congregants have
been putting copies in a box set aside for collecting such items, called
Shaimot, he says. So have those in synagogues in Teaneck, N.J., and Los
Angeles, among other places.

The illustration was by freelance artist Dusan Petricic, who says he
found the word on the Internet and didn't know anything about Shaimot.
Steven Heller, the Book Review's art director, says it was an oversight
on his part and that he didn't recognize the characters.

Copyright (C) 1999 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Sam Saal      <saal@...>
Vayiphtach HaShem et Pea haAtone
(<saal@...> also works)

[Question: I was under the impression that if a Shem was written by a
non-Jew or someone who knew nothing about the Shem, such writing does
not have the same level of kedusha as a Shem written to be God's name,
and as such should not require burial. Could someone help with what the
halachot here are? Mod.]


From: Oren Popper <oren@...>
Date: Wed, 17 Nov 1999 13:46:03 -0500
Subject: Halachic Heterim for Sin'as Chinom

In MJ 30#09 Jonathan Katz asks the Halachic question of what one has to
do if he finds himself in the "uncomfortable" situation of being in a
place where the Shul is a Chabad Shul with "Yechi Adonaianu etc." signs.

He states that his first reaction was to walk out of the Shul, but upon
further consideration, realized that he "did not know what the actual
halacha was", he rightfully pointed out that "to walk out without having
halachic justification for doing so would be wrong..."

To this Chaim Mateh replied in MJ30#11 was that "the son-in-law of Rav
Eliyashiv [...] told me that he discussed this topic with Rav Eliyashiv
and Rav Eliyashiv told him the following:
A Chabad messianic cannot be counted in a minyan.  If you are in a shul
with all Messianics, then you shouldn't take an Aliyah since the brocho
would be levatala (in vain)."

I think all do agree that prior to the 3rd of Tamuz 5754, even those so
called "messianic" Lubavitchers would be considered Yere'im U'Shlaimim
(excuse the lack of translation) and would pose no Halachic problem.

That being the case, and you having problems with their current beliefs
or actions, why don't you confront those people, asking them for their
Halachic sources. If they are wrong, maybe you should point it out to
them with your Halachic source.

Unfortunately, instead of such an approach, which would infer honest
concern, you took another, which I regretfully must interpret as asking
the question: "Is sin'as chinom towards 'messianic' Lubavitchers
halachicly justified?"

[I will allow you to use the sin'as chinom attack once in this article,
but that is it. In the remainder of this posting I have removed such
comments and replaced it with my rewrite, clearly shown in
brackets. Mod]

To this question, Chaim Mateh answered: "my Rosh Kolel as well as his
father-in-law, Rav Elyashiv, share [the opinion that the behaviour
and/or beliefs of messianic Lubavitchers are in violation of Halacha
(modified by the Mod.)], and might even be more extreme in it than you
are". I guess this was inline with the Moderators request for "anyone
has seen or heard any discussions from contemporary poskim on what to do
if one finds oneself in that position."

However, all of the participants failed to give ANY halachic references!
On the other hand, I have heard and seen Halachic, as well as other
Torah sources which fall in line with the beliefs and actions of
so-called 'messianic' Lubavitchers.

So please, let's get the questions and answers straight. Anyone who has
any halachic sources [showing that the actions and/or beliefs of
messianic Lubavitchers are in violation of Halacha (modified by the
Mod.)], please quote them. Anyone who has any Halachic or Torah source
to justify any exclusion of so-called 'messianic' Lubavitchers, state
those grounds and your sources. If none of these are posted, I believe
the Moderator owes us an apology for his error in submitting a
non-halachic discussion to this strictly-halachic list.

[There have been several articles over the last few years discussing the
halachik issues related to the so-called 'messianic' groups within the
larger Lubavitcher community. I know that Dr. David Burger has written
extensively on the topic. I would be very interested to know what other
writings there are on the subject. The details of what exactly are the
halachic issues are very relavent to how this topic should be
persued. Mod.]

Oren Popper
Rockville Centre, NY


From: Akiva Atwood <atwood@...>
Date: Sun, 21 Nov 1999 18:15:50 +0200
Subject: RE: R' Alyasiv's "psak"


I just checked out the alleged "psak" of R' Aliyasiv re chabad minyanim
with one of his assistants.

The psak as quoted to the list does not reflect his opinion.

[Unfortunatly this still leaves fully open what Rav Eliyashuv's opinion
is, as the above gives no details. Mod]



From: Yosef Braun <yb770@...>
Date: Wed, 17 Nov 1999 14:27:22 EST
Subject: Status of Chabad

[I had some definite questions about posting the below submission, but
decided that although some portions might be viewed as somewhat
inflamatory, the basic position appears to be very different from the
one posted in the name of Rav Eliyashuv, while also comming from a
position that appears to me to be very much in line with the early
mitnagid approach to Chassidus in general. Mod.]

  I came across the posting re the chabad messianists. I found this
issue to be very pertinent and would be very interested to hear
responses from other's who are facing this dilemma. I live in a
community (Sydney,Australia)where there are many Chabad shules, some of
which openly declare their rebbe as moshiach daily after davening. I am
convinced that this is inconsistent with normative Halachic Judaism (see
for example Rambam Hilchos Melachim 11:4 uncensored version).
  My rosh yeshiva however pointed out to me that this might be compared
to many other Chabad practises (and for that matter genaral Chassidic
minhagim) that although they don't concur with mainstream halachic
normative Judaism [I would guess that the above listed rosh yeshiva, if
he used this language, has a much more restricted version of what he
considers "mainstream halachic normative Judaism" than what I use for
accepting / rejecting postings to the list. Mod.] we don't have the
koach hatorah to be moche(protest). Indeed, the Gra ztl at the time was
concerned that this path might lead them completely off the derech
hatorah. However it was proven that they still maintained their
yiddishkeit albeit with minor (major?) halachic concessions. [e.g. not
sleeping in sukkah; davening late; shinui hamesorah-nusach etc.]
   My rosh yeshiva further stated that if indeed their practises would
have no halachic justification at all, we would have to be moche
regardless of their general commitment to yiddishkeit. Being that
b'dochek there is some halachic justification (witness similiar
expressions from the Lubavitcher Rebbe ztl regarding his father in law)
even though this isn't mainstream halacha, yesh lismoch bshaas
hadchak.[The problem however in this case is more serious: may I join a
minyan which does activities against my/mainstream normative
interpretation of halacha!]
  Also , this "custom" is already going on for several years and was
(unfortunately?) not contested by rabbonim [is it true that R. Aharon
Soloveitchik Shlita endorsed it? I heard this from a chabad rabbi but I
doubt it!}. Perhaps this is in itself a heter to join the
minyan. Certainly lechatchila it is preferable to avoid all shaalos and
daven elsewhere, however usually this causes machlokes.

From: Jonathan Katz <jkatz@...>
Date: Tue, 16 Nov 1999 20:23:51 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Status of Chabad

Chaim Mateh responded to my original question as follows:

>> <<What is the status of those Chabad congregations who still maintain
>> that the Rebbe was Moshiach? (I don't know what "official" Chabad
>> position is on this issue, but I do know from visiting various Chabad
>> shuls that some play up the issue while others ignore it or oppose
>> it)>>

>> I discussed this with my Rosh Kollel today. He is the son-in-law of Rav
>> Eliyashiv and he told me that he discussed this topic with Rav
>> Eliyashiv and Rav Eliyashiv told him the following:
>> A Chabad messianic cannot be counted in a minyan.

I would actually be interested in more halachic discussion about this.
Specifically, what Issur (transgression) is violated by a Chabadnik who
believes that the Rebbe is the Moshiach? How about a Chabadnik who
believes that he might be the Moshiach? Etc...

And why is this so wrong when, for example, Rabbi Akiva once believed that
Bar Kochba was the Moshiach?

Jonathan Katz


End of Volume 30 Issue 14