Data omitted


The hagiographic discussion of how the “Rebbe’s teachings continue to inspire” (WJW, June 18) omitted salient data.

First of all, despite the fact that most rabbinic commentators insist that aliyah and settlement in the Land of Israel is one of the 613 commandments, R. Schneerson not only never set foot on its holy soil, but – unlike the common devotional practice of observant Jews – is not even buried there.

He also forbade his followers from singing “Hatikvah,” the Israeli national anthem. Continuing this legacy of opposition to Zionism, in 2008, when the bodies of their shilichim (emissaries) were flown to Israel after the terrorist attack in Mumbai, Lubavitch protested when the coffins of the deceased were wrapped in the Israeli flag.

Contrary to Lubavitch lore, the technical training which R. Schneerson received in Paris was as an electrician, NOT as an engineer.

As regards Jewish unity, R. Schneerson rejected the legitimacy of non-Orthodox Jewish denominations (especially their clergy), and even the kashrut of the non-Lubavitch Orthodox. Meddling in Israel’s internal affairs, R. Schneerson – from his perch in America – was the behind-the-scenes mastermind of the Israeli Knesset’s 1989 “Who is a Jew?” legislation and campaign aimed at delegitimizing the Reform and Conservative movements.

Orthodox Judaism regards the Oral Law (Torah shebe’al peh), recorded in the Talmud, as definitive for Jewish religious practice. Rabbi Schneerson rejected the authority of this Oral Law: For example, he directed married women to wear wigs in shul on the Sabbath, which is forbidden by the Talmud: Shabbat 64, pe’ah nochrit is the term. The Talmud also forbids clapping and dancing on the Sabbath and Yom Tov (Bezah 36), which Rabbi Schneerson not only permitted, but encouraged.

Lastly, as a matter of full disclosure, it should have been noted that the author of this article holds Lubavitch rabbinic ordination.


Pikesville, Md

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