New Book Takes on Chabad Messianics


chabad-messianics-sofer-bookA decade-long heated discussion within Chabad that has cooled down lately, will possibly be renewed with a new book that was published this week.

Bemai Kamipligei,” authored by Rabbi Yechezkel Soffer of Yerushalayim, takes a bare-knuckle approach to “the disputation of Messianisism in the Chabad movement.”

Soffer, one of the first ‘campus Shluchim’ in Israel, working at the University of Beer Sheva to bridge between faith and academics, said he wrote the book to “resolve doubts and frustrations” among the younger generation and mekuravim.

“This is a halachic and in-depth study that examines the conceptual basis of the messianic faction in the Chabad movement that uses partial quotations from the teachings of the Rebbe to take them out of context,” he said.

With doing so, says the known lecturer and author, “their conclusion and interpretation is not consistent with the approach of halacha… thus creating an image that distances Jews from Chabad chassidus.”

The rabbi once considered himself a Chabad messianic, or ‘meshichist,’ when he advocated that the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, was “the Moshiach of our generation.”

But that was until Gimmel Tammuz, the day of the Rebbe’s passing in 5754 following a stroke 2 years earlier (the cover of the book, designed in Israel, is a photo of the Rebbe taken a day before 27 Adar 1, 5752).

It was after then, on Elul 5755, that Soffer published his 127-page book titled “Yisbareru Veyislabnu,” which caused controversy in Chabad circles.

In it, he argued that “an independent functioning Chabad, with the tremendous investment of the Rebbe, is the real test of our readiness to ‘sacrifice’ the concepts we developed.”

He said the thinking of the Rebbe as Moshiach after Gimmel Tammuz was “a rosy fantasy which oppresses reality.”

Soffer criticized the decrease of intellectualism and thought in Shlichus outreach. “It was just easier to gather the masses with Chassidic rock stars” instead of teaching chassidus, he said.

For guidance and order, he called for the revival of the Beis Din Chabad of Israel (which has since happened), coordinating the role and reach of Mashpiim (partially accomplished) and keeping focus on bringing the final redemption.

“Without a determined standing… we will have rabbis who will rule that kaddish is not to be said after the Rebbe and then we can say kaddish on Chabad,” he prophesied.

But what caught the ire of the public –many of which have not fully read the booklet– was discussing the idea of a replacement for the Rebbe – a taboo topic until today.

The new 420-page book, says Rabbi Soffer, has received the blessings of many Chabad rabbonim and Mashpiim.

The book is available in Judaica stores.


{ Newscenter}


  1. I do not know if the Lubavitch Rebe was Meshiach or not.I do know that the holy books say that in every generation there is one person who has the ability to be MESHIACH.Now let us assume that the Lubavitcher Rebe HAD the ability to be the Meshiach BUT Hashem decided that the time WAS not right therefore the Lubavich Rebe WAS NOT the MESHICH .MAY HASHEM HAVE MERCY ON US AND SENT US MESHIACH NOW, AMEN!

  2. As an insider, i.e. Lubavitcher, I don’t know who this book is directed at. If to the learned, we look for Daas Torah from Torah not from books from philosophers. As a chossid of the Rebbe, we form our understanding after 3 Tammuz in the same way the Rebbe directed chassiddim after the histalkus of the previous Rebbe. Then he said that just as it was accepted by chassidim before the histalkus that the previous Rebbe will lead us out of golus “v’hu yigolenu” (last words of his first discourse in 1951) so too do we maintain that same belief afterwards too. But if Professor Sofer is preying on the ameratzim or baalei tshuvos who don’t know etc then I think his book will have a counter effect and G-d forbid cause more machlokes unnecessary machlokes. Shame.

  3. I wish the Rabbi well. It took tremendous courage to write the truth in book form. If only Chabad would drop this Mashiach nonesense they would be accepted by most segments of Kllal Yisroel. You don’t see this kind of fantasy with any other Chassidus or Sefardisha or Litvisha world.

  4. Anyone who is Chanda and learned the sichos knows that the rebbe being moshiach is a real prerequisite to being the rebbes chosid.
    The rebbes sichos and actions are full of allusions and outright references tgat he is moshiach.

  5. Thank you matzav for posting that story about Edon Pincho. I never heard of him but I youtubed him and now I know a nice new niggun. I know I could always count on matzav-the online voice of torah Jewry

  6. Dave comment # 4

    You’re on the money. The Rebbi has clearly said that he’s Moshiach in many of his Sichos.

  7. Just look at the comments on the original COLive article. A flock of lost sheep. Some of them on the verge of returning but others so far gone, they couldn’t recognize home when they arrive….

  8. To R Sholom (comment 2)

    If you look at the Rebbe the same way he looked at his father in law the Previous Rebbe, and the Rebbe said about the Previous Rebbe “Vehu Yigolenu”, how can you also say that the Rebbe is Moshiach if he said so about his father in law. It can’t go both ways. You can’t say Vehu Yigolenu on the Previous Rebbe AND on the Last Rebbe… So which one is it that you believe will Yigolenu?

  9. If it weren’t so serious, this entire issue would be a Purim play. For thousands of years, Jews never accepted the concept of a dead ‘Messiah’

  10. The previous rebbe did not lead anyone out of galus. Neither did the late Rabbi Schneerson. And one has to believe hes the moshiach? Bist du mrshiga?

  11. To #10
    The Rebbe is the current Nossi Hador according to everyone in Lubavitch and there is no “bmai kmifligi” in Lubavitch on this. It therefore follows based on all the seforim and sources the Rebbe cites that “the Nosi Hador is the Moshiach of the Dor”(exact quote from the Rebbe’s sicha Simchas Torah 5746). In addition the Rebbe expressed himself several times concerning the previous Rebbe that “NISHMOSO BI” so in essence it is both!

  12. “If it weren’t so serious, this entire issue would be a Purim play. For thousands of years, Jews never accepted the concept of a dead ‘Messiah’”

    He’s not dead, he’s just resting.

  13. According to the comments on the other site, the Rebbe declared in sichos 51 and 52 that he is the nasi hador, this is the genration of geulah, and there will be eternal life for the nosi hador- he will never die. But if the Rebbe died, by definition he wasn’t the nosi hador. If he’s not dead, who’s buried in the Rebbe’s ohel? And who was in the offin that was placed in the ground?