Friday, December 28, 2007

Non-Kosher Meat

It's taken me some time to process something I heard a few weeks ago. But now I feel I must address it. It has come to my attention that there are several members of the Orthodox communtity in Detroit who no longer trust Lubavitch Shechita (i.e. Aarons Rubashkin meat). The reasoning I heard had to do with the distrust of those who are "Yechi-niks", or those who believe in the ressurection of the Rebbe, ZTz"L. They say that if they believe in these concepts, then Chabadniks are Ovdei Avodah Zara and connot be truted for Halachic issues such as Shechita.

My experience with Chabad goes back much farther than my own life. My father was Mitkarev by Rabbi Bobroyski, a tzaddik who live in Passaic and taught young children about Hashem and beautiful Yiddishkeit. He was gentle and loving and inbued a Halachic Judaism my father and his "off-the-derech" parents could handle. Even taking a quick glance at our clan, we all have a lot to thank "Rabbi Bob" and Chabad for, Baruch Hashem.

My roommate at Bar Ilan was Lubavitch, albeit slightly more "modern" than the Rebbe. He was still alive then, and I started dreaming of the time of Mashiach, with him as our savior. When he died, I believe I was more devestated than my roommate was. Not because I need HIM to be the Mashiach, but because I wanted SOMEONE to be and thought we had him.

Rav Menachem Mendel Schneerson did so much good in this world of ours. It's a shame how some of the extremists of his devout followers have made a national joke of his memory. It's important to remember that every sect has its extremists, and it's wrong to judge an entire section of Judaim only on those on the edge.

That doesn't mean we should sit by and watch an Aveira happen either. We send our daughter to a Chabad Gan here in Modiin. Last year I insisted upon sending her to the Chabad Gan for four-year-olds as well. When I arrived with my little girl to orientation last year, I asked the teacher if there was a lot of talk about the Rebbe in Gan. She said, "Of course. We teach the 12 Psukim and we talk about the important dates of Chabad." I hesitated and said, "OK." She said she could tell there was something else I wanted to know. I said, "Do you say that he's still alive?" She smiled, "We don't say in the Gan that he's still alive." Hmmm.

What does she personally believe? I really couldn't care less. Even if she is Yechi-nik, as long as she doesn't impart that kind of belief on my kid, it doesn't matter to me. The whole reason I wanted to send our daughter to that particular Gan was because it was Lubavitch. Chabadniks are known as the most welcoming, loving, accepting Gannanot in the country. In fact, the student body in the religious Gan my daughter goes to is two-thirds Chiloni. The population in Maccabim, the non-religious neighborhood where the Gan is, had become aware of the philosophy of the Kindergarten. And they want to get onboard. In an religious Gan!! It gives one nothing short of hope for the same kind of education my father's family received 50 years ago.

Take a look at this website. You will no longer think that Lubavitchers lack Halachic Judaism. And you will go back to buying their meat.

It says that there are ten basic Jewish Mitzvot to focus on. I LOVE that the first one is Tzedaka.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is not just the extremists who believe in the Rebbe as messiah. It is the mainstream. There may be some dispute as to whether to share this bit of information with those outside of the Lubavitch world, but Yechi is far and away the dominant stream in Chabad. So assume your daughter is being educated by a Yehi-nik. But in any case, this does not seem to bother you.
After all, they are doing such nice, wonderful work. Who cares if they share a fundamental belief with Christians?

December 28, 2007 7:39 AM  
Blogger joshwaxman said...

Let me preface this by saying that I eat Rubashkin meat.

But as I understand it, the question these people have is *not* whether we can trust them as to halachic issues. The issue, instead, is that if they are halachically Ovdei Avodah Zarah, then by the gemara (in Chullin) says their meat is not kosher. The fear is that at the time of the Shechita, an idolater will have the idol in mind. And so, perhaps, if the particular Lubavitcher believes e.g. that the Rebbe, zatza"l, is the Divine clothed in human form, when he says the blessing on shechita he has the Rebbe, rather than Hashem, in mind.

I agree that someone can believe this and still not pass it on, and interact with others on a halachic level. Like in the Gan example you give. But as I understand it, the question they have is not whether the Lubavitcher chassid is trying to trick you and feed you non-kosher meat, but rather how his own internal beliefs might have a practical halachic impact on his shechita. Similarly, can you drink Lubavitch wine, or is it considered yayin nesech?

Kol Tuv,

December 28, 2007 7:50 AM  
Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der ┼íteg) said...

it's great that you and your family have had such positive interactions with Chabad. not everyone gets those same experiences.

December 28, 2007 9:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice Blog but I have not heard this rumor yet and I live in Detroit.
A rumor about a new butcher or some sort of compitition for One Stop/Superior Meats would be something to talk about to get the prices down

December 28, 2007 10:51 AM  
Blogger Veev said...

Josh - I was unaware that Chabadniks consider the Rebbe their Hashem. I thought he was a means to an end. Maybe I'm naive, but that's what my understanding is. No one who believes in Mashiach believes that he substitutes Hashem, rather is sent as an emissary. So even if the particular Lubavitcher is thinking about the Rebbe, ZTz"L, isn't he only thinking in terms of Mashiach?

December 29, 2007 4:38 PM  
Blogger joshwaxman said...

The most extreme are unfortunately the ones who say Yechi Adoneinu Morenu *U-Boreinu*.

An example of this is this fellow:

and here is an article about him:

and do searches in general on the concept of "atzmus melubash b'guf" or the like (that is, similar expressions), with the conclusion by *some* that you can pray to the Rebbe.

See here for example:

a standard belief with different interpretations and taken in some instances to unfortunate ends (such as a Chabad school in which the children davening towards a picture of the Rebbe in the front of the room, because there is no difference between the Rebbe and Hashem).

The question is how widespread this belief is. I am sure many do not take it to this extent, as you write. But there are some who do. And where in general, even some of the messianists see it as a mitzvah to hide this fact (messianism) about themselves, I can understand how some might be worried that they are not able to assess whether a particular one is a messianist or an idolator.

Kol Tuv,

December 30, 2007 1:19 PM  
Blogger Riv said...

The site you point to is obviously not Yechi-niks; their page on the Rebbe actually speaks of his death... by the way I haven't heard about people not eating Rubashkin around here either (we still do); who knows what will change with the "new new" Vaad...

btw, miss you! how are things? haven't followed your blog in a while, so I'll need to catch up!


March 03, 2008 8:54 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home