Monday, June 18, 2007

french existentialism and the Lubavitcher Rebbe

I don’t know enough about the topic to even begin to think about it, but this posting on the Rebbe and French Existentialism is a fascinating read.


  1. Anonymous12:12 PM

    Fascinating. Also, I think it's pretty clear that all the famous 20th century OJ 'theologians' were heavily influenced (in one way or another) by the intellectual ferment around them. I have seen stuff about how Rav Kook was influenced by various philosophers, and also RYBS of course. This is probably less true of the current Gedolim, though some sub-conscious absorption of the prevailing intellectual 'zeitgeist' is unavoidable I think.

  2. Anonymous2:36 PM

    It is very interesting to read and there are many true facts that are included. There is one fundamental flaw, the author is looking at the results and assuming intent.
    When commenting on any group that is based on a philosophy, it is crucial to understand their philosophy as well as looking at the actions taken as a results.
    There is a mistaken assumption that needs to be clarified. The Lubavitcher Rebbe did not have a policy of being "politically active" as the author suggests.
    The Rebbe was continuing the job of his predecessors going back to the Bal Shem Tov. Everything has one purpose - to bring out the G-dliness of this world little by little until the complete revelation of G-d during the times of moshiach (may he come immediately). Part of that is keeping halachah and halacha dictates that one must do everything possible to save the life of a fellow jew. The Rebbe's stand on israel was always based on this basic concept. Ideological differences with the "government" (The Rebbe never referred to it as "medinat Yisrael" as the government likes to call it, he always called it Eretz Yisroel) does not change the fact that the decisions they make have an effect on the safety of Jewish lives. If something they are doing will put Jews into danger the Rebbe would do whatever possible to change that.
    It is absolutely spooky to read the talks that the Rebbe gave 20-30 years ago explaining the dangers of Israels political policy's. Things that in those days seemed fanciful then are today's reality. (you can check it out
    I must also comment that the same underlying theme (of revealing G-dliness) explains how the Lubavicher Rebbe continued the exact same job as his predecessors yet did it so differently. The goal of Chassidus is to reveal that ultimately everything is from G-d, some things just need a little more digging into. The first Chabad Rebbe's started working from the inside and slowly worked their way out. At this point the issues that are left to deal with are those that are most external - the world at large. This is done by teaching the seven noahide laws, utilizing modern technology and the likes. If it exists in G-d's world there must be a way to use it to make this world a place for G-d to be comfortable.