Friday, August 12, 2005

Politics and Chabad

I have been reticent to write anything too negative here during the Nine Days but feel that the situation is becoming intolerable. Nothing will ever be solved by writing anonymous pieces on the internet but some things just need to be said anyway.

Over the last month or two we have seen the politicisation of Lubavitch around the world. Obviously none of us is happy with the situation in Gush Katif - people being expelled from their properties, giving away land in Eretz HaKodesh and seemingly surrendering to the arabs. We must do all we can to try to stop this from happening but in the way observant Jews always do by teshuvah, tefillah and tzedokah. As Lubavitchers we should not be getting involved in politics and denigrating Israel's Prime Minister and politicians. We should not be doing anything that would lead people to feel we are advocating violence or even civil disobedience. We are supposed to be chassidim of the Rebbe and should act accordingly.

From it's inception Chabad/Lubavitch has always concentrated on Jewish education and hafotza to all yidden irregardless of who they are or what they believe in. We used to hear stories of how Chadadniks had access to any part of Israel to bring chizuk to the soldiers - even to the front lines. That is not the case now. Chabad is seen as a political movement and viewed with mistrust by many in Israel. There are many, many shluchim still doing fantastic work but they are being overshadowed by the "lunatic fringe" who are very loud but do not have much substance.

In Melbourne over the last couple of months we have seen a similar situation. A few individuals, not all of them Lubavitchers, have adopted the disengagement cause and handled it in a very disorganised and unprofessional way. The rally which came across as a children's party with balloons and loud music and dancing with a few tehillim thrown in for good measure. Now the fiasco of the "psak din" in which the original and translation did not match - there were even different versions of the translation posted in shuls and in the Jewish News. The organisers seem to have made this a Chabad cause. I know that there are many frum yidden in other communities in Melbourne who are also against the disengagement but it seems that they have either been ignored or not encouraged to express their opinions.

In general I do not like the hashkofa of the Australian Jewish News but the editorial this week makes a some good points. The last sentences read "The Lubavitcher Rebbe called on his emissaries to rekindle the Yiddishe spark in Jews dispersed in all corners of the globe. His rabbis should not be responsible for sparking a major division within the Jewish people either in Israel or Australia."

I know that many people will quote sichos of the Rebbe saying that we cannot give back land etc etc etc. Unfortunately we do not have the Rebbe to guide us in these dark days and have to use our seichel. Denigrating people who do not agree with us was never the Rebbe's way. We must act bedarkei noam ubedarkei sholom as true Lubavitcher chassidim.

Let us hope that the disenagaement and all this discussion is all made irrelevant with the coming of Moshiach now.