Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Rabbi Ahron Soloveichik's Verdict of Chabad's Meshichistic Stance

In the summer of 1996, the president of "The Rabbinical Council of America" in the U.S. wrote an impertinent letter, in which he claimed the belief of Lubavitcher chassidim that the Rebbe is Moshiach rests upon non-traditional sources. The letter caused a storm among American Jewry, and people wanted to determine if in fact the rabbis of The Rabbinical Council of America were behind those words.

When the renowned Rabbi Ahron Halevi Soloveichik, זצ''ל, this council's spiritual mentor, got wind of the letter, he published a sharp letter, one that could not be misunderstood, in which he said the belief "that the Rebbe can still be Moshiach" is based on sturdy sources from gemora and halachic texts, as well as on literature from kabalah and on the Rebbe's own writings. A Chabad rabbi of Buffalo, Heschel Greenberg, was in the room when Rabbi Soloveichik signed the letter. Here is that letter, dated the 7th of Tammuz, 5756 (Jun. 24, 1996).

Rabbi Greenberg also said that when they wanted to publish this letter in the weekly Jewish Press, the latter's editorial personnel called Rabbi Soloveichik for his confirmation, to which he answered he agrees and wishes it to be published.

This letter caused a stir among rabbis of Chabad, and on the 15th of Tammuz they wrote to Rabbi Soloveichik a letter of thanks, for he declared a Torah verdict fearlessly, a letter that carried the signatures of rabbis from Rabbinical Courts of Chabad in Israel, the U.S., Canada, Australia and of various European countries.


  1. good to see this! And am happy to see you carrying on even though you got much ridicule and even blocked from other geula blogspots.

  2. please respond to Josh's comments


  3. Tidbits, do a copy and paste of his comments HERE. (Your link is not to his comments)

  4. in terms of Rav Aharon Soloveitchik's thoughts on this, please see my reply at my blog.

    I wrote:
    here is what Rav Soloveitchik had to say about that letter:

    To my great dismay. . . publications affiliated with the Lubavitch movement have persisted in stating that I validate their belief that a Jewish Messiah may be resurrected from the dead. I completely reject and vigorously deny any such claim. As I have already stated publicly. . . such a belief is repugnant to Judaism and is the antithesis of the truth. My intent in signing the original letter . . . was merely to express my opinion that we should not label subscribers to these beliefs as heretics. Any statements in that letter which imply an endorsement of their view were not shown to me at the time I signed and I once again repudiate any such ridiculous claim.

    kol tuv,

  5. This rebuttal quotation derives from Berger, who carries a heavy grievance against Lubavitch - hardly a creditable source for such information. What's more , the wikipedia page for this "proof" states, "In 1994, Soloveichik had told The Forward that Schneerson can't be the Messiah".

    Say what? He TOLD the Forward. Why would he want to TELL them something like that? Why not WRITE it? (Why would any religious person turn to The Forward anyways - to express anything? That paper is a liberal anti-religious paper.)

    Furthermore, the letter Berger got from a "a friend" ought to have been published - somewhere at least. Why wasn't it? Let's see the signature on the rebuttal.

    Why would a great rabbi bother to write to the Jewish Press that which he wrote, and signed his name to, when, according to Berger, he spoke differently to The Forward two years earlier?

    Do you take this great Rav, who not only on his own merit stood tall, but also comes from a most prominent lineage of giants, to be so fickle? Or are you saying he had a gun to his head? Or - that is was a forgery? And if the latter, why did he not brandish a threat to Lubavitch to remove that forgery from his namesake, when he received the letter of thanks from Chabad rabbis shortly after his letter appeared in the Press?

    (And if you still think it a forgery, why not hold the same suspicion to Berger's non-published, non-signed letter?)

  6. so your answer is to be motzi shem ra that Rabbi Dr. Berger has invented evidence? (how do you know it is non-signed, as you assert?)

    did you speak to a student of Rav Aharon Soloveitchik, as I did?

    i am saying that people manipulate Gedolim all the time, and this does seem to be such a case. they went to an elderly and sick man, late at night, something like 11:30 PM, and misled him as to the actual contents of the letter. he wanted to make *peace* but he did not want to endorse the beliefs as valid. and then they ran with it, and he did not want to make controversy. he told those close to him (such as students and his friend), so that they would know.

    this scenario accounts for all the available evidence, is quite plausible, and accords with what i heard from a talmid.

    i doubt you will accept this though, because your mind has been made up from beforehand. i weep at the ziyuf hatorah involved in all this.

  7. Josh, you ask, "how do you know it is non-signed, as you assert?"

    Because it could have ended all speculation, right then and there.

    Dr. Berger's is a long and public story.

    Are you not the one is Motzi Shem Ra by building on what you heard from a "talmid" against Chabad chassidim? Was the talmid there? And is wikipedia your additional source to make poo-poo of the Rav's letter?

    Was the Rav's 11:30 pm YOUR bedtime? Maybe the chassidim were invited, and did not barge in? Maybe the Torah spoken was invigorating rather than oppressive, as you suggest?

    Why assume the Rav was just an ordinary person, meek-minded from age, and easily manipulated? Was his illness merely a physical constraint or was he mentally deficient too?

    If he was mentally deficient, then why did Berger take his testimony? And if he took it - buddy - WHY DID HE NOT SHOW IT, for you and me to see? Huh?

    Weep, my friend, from ziyuf haTorah, which you so strongly defend. But do it in a way where Torah can be proud of you.

  8. bli neder, i'll respond to this rather silly response on my own blog, rather than posting in two separate places.

  9. against my better judgment, did.

  10. Josh, in all honesty, you do have to admit that a signed statement which no one disputes, holds more weight than a hearsay quote