A rabbinical Modern Orthodox umbrella group in the U.S. is banning Chabad rabbis with messianic beliefs from membership. The Rabbinical Council of America (RCA), one of the world’s largest organizations of Orthodox rabbis, includes an “affirmation regarding messianic belief” clause to its membership application.
The clause states: “By checking this box and with my signature below, I affirm that the following resolution, adopted at the RCA’s 1996 Annual Convention, reflects my beliefs:
“In light of disturbing developments which have recently arisen in the Jewish community… declares that there is not and never has been a place in Judaism for the belief that Mashiach ben David will begin his Messianic mission only to experience death, burial and resurrection before completing it.”
This is seen as a direct rebuff to a group within the Chabad-Lubavitch movement who believes that the Lubavitcher Rebbe can still be Moshiach.
While the Rebbe passed away on the third of Tammuz 5754, the group cites what Rav Nachman says in Gemara Sanhedrin implying the Moshiach could also come from the dead.
The RCA, associated with Yeshiva University, which employs critic of Chabad messianism Dr. David Berger, dates back to 1923 and its key member was Rav Yosef Dov Soloveitchik.
His brother, Rav Ahron Soloveichik, Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivas Brisk in Chicago, wrote in 2000: “We should not label subscribers to these beliefs as heretics.”
Among its members are Rav Gedalia Dov Schwartz, Av Beit Din of the Chicago Rabbinical Council, and Rabbi Dr. Shlomo Riskin, Chief Rabbi of the Israeli city of Efrat – both friends of Chabad.