Chabad Lubavitch: It's time to take a stand


Rabbi Elchanan ben Eliezer





The Rambam in Hilchos Yesodei HaTorah, Chapter 1 Halacha 5 after discussing the Creator says: "This entity is the G-d of the world and the L-rd of the entire earth. He controls the sphere with infinite and unbounded power. This power [continues] without interruption, because the sphere is constantly revolving, and it is impossible for it to revolve without someone causing it to revolve·"


The Radbaz (vol. 6 Responsum 2116) says, "L-rd of the entire earth" describes His dominion over material existence. By stating "the entire earth" the Rambam is asserting that it is G-d that controls every facet of worldly existence.


In Halacha 6 the Rambam continues, "The knowledge of this concept is a positive commandment, as it says 'I am Hashem your G-d', anyone who thinks that there is another god transgresses a negative commandment, as it says "You shall have no other gods before Me", V'kofer B'ikar (and he denies the fundamental principle of faith, referring back to the previous Halachos too), as this is the great fundamental on which everything else depends."


It is clear from the Rambam that it is not sufficient to believe in one G-d but one must also believe that it is He that controls the world from the time of creation until eternity. Anyone that denies this fundamental is a Kofer B'ikar, a heretic of the worst kind.


It is for this reason that I was shocked to see a video clip of Rabbi Shlomo Cunin[1], lead Chabad emissary in LA, California[2], at a prayer rally for those unfortunate Kedoshim that were brutally murdered in Mumbai, India say "They will understand and see that it is the Rebbe who runs the world". This shocking statement is the worst kind of k'firah especially because it was said by a man with a long grey beard, long black coat, big black hat to an audience dressed similarly in a speech laced with Yiddish to which everyone answered Amen! Had I not seen this with my own eyes I would have never believed it. It is easy to dismiss a non-Orthodox university professor or Reform rabbi as a Kofer, but when someone who is indistinguishable in dress and speech, from a Chareidi Ben Torah or Rav says these words, the danger is far greater.


We are at a time when due to the terrible tragedy of last week, Klal Yisrael feels united. All segments of our people gathered together to pray for our fellow brothers and sisters who where slaughtered by those monstrous terrorist animals just a little over a week ago. Tefilos were offered from Lakwood to YU, Chabad to Satmar and everything in between. Who has not seen the images of Rachmana Litzlan, the little two-year-old Moshe calling out for his Ima and was not reduced to tears? But yet our feelings of Achdus cannot trump our obligation to stamp out blatant K'firah from our midst. Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch comments on the Passuk "Emes V'shalom Ehavu" that Shalom - Peace, can never last if it is built upon Sheker - falsehood, it can on exist if it predicated on truth.


I have personally learned and gained much from the Chabad Lubavitch movement and continue to admire their efforts to bring our lost brothers and sisters back to the fold. Their Ahavas Yisrael is legendary. They where doing outreach before anyone else knew the word. I have personally availed myself of many a Chabad house in far-flung places for a Minyan or food to eat. It is precisely because of their outstanding influence that they must once and for all take a stand against this type of K'firah or risk severing themselves from the rest of Klal Yisrael. This was not said by a fringe Shaliach (see biography below), and it goes far beyond believing that the Rebbe is Moshiach (a problem in and of itself though not K'firah). This is plain and simple blasphemy no matter how you look at it. The time for Chabad to act is now, its Rabbanim must purge these types of "Minus" (blasphemy) from their lexicon. This was not an isolated remark; there have been many similar comments with varying degrees of blasphemy from other Chabad emissaries. The risk of not taking forceful action is to lose all the great work the Rebbe has started and his devoted followers have continued. Kiruv Rechokim starts at home!


[1] From Wikipedia - Rabbi Shlomo Cunin is the director of Chabad-Lubavitch CA activities on the West Coast of the United States. He was sent as a Shliach in 1965, and together with Rabbi Menachem Shmuel David Raichik, he built a network of Chabad Houses throughout California and Nevada. Cunin is a member of Agudas Chasidei Chabad of Russia. He is trying to help recover the Chabad library.

[2] Chabad of California is noted for its educational facilities, non-sectarian drug-rehabilitiation program, and homeless programs. Each fall it hosts a telethon to raise money for its programs.