Lubavitch Response

Moshe Ben-Chaim

Reader: I think your site is wonderful and full of the wisdom and truth of Torah. I came from a non-observant family and am a baal tshuvah.

Before I embarked on my return, I needed to explore Judaism, Torah, from a logical perspective. Much of what you state was taught to me by a Kollel Rabbi who provided outreach to our community. I am deeply greatful for this experience and for his chochmah, ahavas yisroel, as well as his obvious ahavas HaShem V'Torah.

Later on, I also studied with 2 Chabad Rabbonim (in succession) because they lived in our community and continued to study with the first Rabbi as well. The Rabbi later stopped coming here because he had to tend to the needs of his own community. A few years ago, another Rabbi came and moved here, while Chabad was still in town and he was also Misnagdim. I don't care to repeat the details of the animosity between the two groups, but I do feel something needs to be said.

My community as a whole, is a non observant one and a group of us were trying to grow, to be balei tshuvim (sp?). The animosity and pain that was caused by such animosity was extremely divisive. While I do see and am aware of the differences in approach from the Rabbonim, I think that it did little to foster a feeling of true belief in Ahavas Yisroel.

I am not Chabad. I am not for one and against the other. I have studied the histories and the approaches of both groups. I feel while there are some legitimate arguments relating to the differences, it is a chillul HaShem to speak LaShon Hara or engage in Rechillus against our people, some of them, our greatest. What I witnessed should never have happened. I watched both Rabbonim before the Yomim Noraim give shiurim stating how important it is for us to be Am Echad, to love the entirety of Am Yisroel. Yet, the behavior and words and tensions between the two groups made me see only hypocrisy.

I was and am still firm in my knowledge, as well as my belief and love of Torah and of HaShem. To me, Torah Es Emes! However, others who are just learning these truths and the beauty of Torah can be soured so easily when behaviors and speech do not reflect these truths.

We lost the Beis HaMikdash because of Sinat Chinam. It seems to me that this has not changed. I humbly and respectfully come to you with my thoughts and ask that you give the situation and what I have said some consideration for the sake of our unity as a people.


Mesora: I appreciate what you wrote, as well as how delicately you approached this subject.

Sinas chinam (unwarranted hatred) is prohibited and a great sin. But this should not be confused with one's honesty which is also a great command, honesty of what Torah is, as well as what it isn't.

I must teach what is flagrantly against the Torah, just as all observant Jews and leaders have endorsed. We must deplore what is wrong and certainly what is idolatrous, even if held by Jews - as do many. This is not sinas chinam (unwarranted hatred). At the same time, one must stop and assist a Jew - be he Lubavitcher, Conservative, Reform - if he needs any help whatsoever, one must also simultaneously deplore certain beliefs they have, as both - assistance, and denouncing false beliefs - are Torah obligations. We hold nothing against these individuals personally, but we must denounce their views, and those of others who violate Torah. This should be done by citing sources and showing the underlying truth of correct concepts, and hopefully showing their error, thereby saving him from ultimate disaster - the destruction of his soul.

It is essential that we approach the ideas clearly and objectively, not confusing personal hate with absolute Torah adherence; the former is demonstrable of a flawed personality and is assur (prohibited), the latter is an objective chiyuv (obligation). This is not so easy, but we must train ourselves to do this.

The Torah in so many areas teaches us not to follow idolatrous principles. We must echo the Torah's ideology. If some take it personally, this type of subjective attack must not cause our steps in line with the Torah's objective path to falter, and we must not be alarmed or diverted from Torah objectives due to the unsettled nature of some, who incorrectly feel we are violating sinas chinam.

If one would assume that sinas chinam is defined as opposing another Jew's beliefs, then all the great prophets who ever rebuked the Jews would also be categorized as sinners. Additionally, we must the accept Reform and Conservativism as a valid form of Judaism.

The Torah - by definition - must oppose all that which is in violation to itself. Torah followers must adhere to the Torah and speak out against violations, not violators. Masses of Jews following certain beliefs do not validate such beliefs, and shouldn't weaken our stance.

The only barometer of what is true, is Torah.


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