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Thursday, June 29, 2006

Can We All Agree that this is a Waste of Funds?

It is hard to believe that this article by Rabbi Horowitz, "Thirteen Year-olds or Thirteen Gallons?," regarding prioritizing tzedakah and ma'aser funds found opposition and controversy. Seems that the battle to encourage prioritizing tzedakah dollars is going to be an uphill battle.

Well, in comparison to this grandiose waste of money I discovered today via the Bronstein's blog, Chai Rotel appears to be quite worthy cause. At least with Chai Rotel, people get fed, and possibly even people who have a hard time putting food on the table get fed. (Note: my opinion of Chai Rotel hasn't changed. I've just discovered larger wastes of communal resources).

The grandiose sum of money spent by the Lubavitch Women's Organization and other organizations to promote a false Messiah totals well beyond the $20,000 a month (read: $240,000 a year) it costs to maintain this single billboard seen on the West Side Highway near Lincoln Tunnel. Some organization called "Yechi HaMelech, ran an ad in the New York Times on Saturday, April 8 on page A9 (sorry, I can't seem to upload the image), entitled "Accepting the Kingship of Moshiach Kabbolas Hamalchus." I discovered that ad in that stack of papers I was attacking with a vengence about three weeks ago. My husband saw the ad at work and brought me home a copy.

This advertisement declaring the deceased seventh Lubavitcher Rebbe Melech HaMoshiach asks interested parties to send in a form with your phone number so a representative can get in touch with them.

On top of the utter halachic and hashkafic problems with such beliefs which I don't care to argue here at Orthonomics as others can do a far superior job, I can only wish that donors to such causes have a change of heart on the yartzeit of the 7th Lubavicher and donate to causes that will promote Yiddishkeit, help fellow Jews, and honor the memory of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, not defame him.

The millions that have been spent to promote such shtus could be better used to fund Tomchei, Hachnasat Kallah, Jewish Education, kiruv programs, or even Chai Rotel. I've been in Crown Heights and I can't believe that everyone in Crown Heights is well fed and has their medical needs taken care of. Are the schools no lacking for funds? Are there no unemployed or underemployed people? Are the needs so taken care of that millions of dollars can be spent on Billboards and Ads in the New York Times.

While I'm no Lubavitcher and do have some issues with the hashkafah inside Chabad, I do know that the Rebbe cared about about the gashmius and ruchnius of his community, and 12 years after his passing spending $240,000 a year on a billboard and tens of thousands of more dollars on advertisements in the New York Times could not have been the vision of the Rebbe.


Izzy said...

1) Jewish Women United is not part of Nshei Ubnos Chabad.

2) Nshei is more properly called Chabad Women's Organization. There is no "Lubavitch Women's Organization."

3) Nshei is not affiliated with any of the meshichistic nonsense.

4) I fully agree with you that the money spent would be much better spent on folk who need the physical necessities of life.

5) The meshichistim are, in general, oblivious to the damage they do to Judaism and Chabad in particular. Thank G-d, there are many places where their influence is dimishing.

Anonymous said...

I challenge anyone to find any Lubavitch-connected organization, whether "Meshichist" or not, that considers the Rebbe not to be Moshiach, now or ever.

The damage Izzy refers to in 5)is probably the damage of bad publicity.

Will Izzy please state for us that the Rebbe isn't and can't become Moshiach?

Charlie Hall said...

The $240,000 would pay the full tuition for eleven students in the local MO HS in my nbhd.

ADDeRabbi said...

The grandiose sum of money spent by the Lubavitch Women's Organization and other organizations to promote a false Messiah totals well beyond the $20,000 a month (read: $240,000 a year) it costs to maintain this single billboard seen on the West Side Highway near Lincoln Tunnel

yeah. imagine how much the Catholic Church spends ;-)

Anonymous said...

Of course you are right, but for the record, I believe that billboard had only a short tenure there and is long gone. In fact, the NY Times reported some time ago that it had disappeared and was replaced with a sultry gal saying something like 'hey gorgeous, where did you go ?'

I assume it was due to lack of funds, don't read too much into it.

Itzik_s said...

1) This organization is not sanctioned either by any official Chabad organization or by the majority of Chabad chassidim. The billboard was the work of a renegade wannabe organization.

2) The billboard is gone.

SR said...

Of course the billboard was a HUGE waste of money. I can't imagine anyone in their right mind saying otherwise.

Btw, I have bought the billboard and will be placing it on Park Height Ave :)

Izzy said...

anonymous: "Will Izzy please state for us that the Rebbe isn't and can't become Moshiach?"

Absolutely! Since the Rebbe died, he is not the Moshiach. And, since, according to most opinions, techiyas hamaisim occurs after the revelation of Moshiach, he will not be Moshiach.

A meshichist (just yesterday) told me that this is kefira. If so, then my entire Chabad shul are kofrim. As I have stated in other comments, the meshichistim are still in the first stage of loss: denial.

I cannot say that the majority of Chabadniks aren't meshichistim. I have done no poll. But, I personally see more people who have been meshichistim rejoining mainstream Chabad.

popalopagop said...

You should be careful about throwing words around. A false messiah is [i]not[/i] one who dies. Check your Rambam about Bar Chochba.

Chaim said...

SephardiLady, my dear friend. I just found this post while reading the brilliant post you wrote on Shiduchim to which I have a comment as well. Shame on me for not coming here more often. I'll fix that right away by adding this rss feed to my blogreader.

Next, onto business as they say. You may not know this, but I am a Lubavitcher and I live in Crown Heights. I was just as sickened when I first passed that Billboard. In fact I said exactly what you wrote here to my wife. I told her, do you know how many Shluchim could benefit from the monies being wasted on such a giant billboard?

Every time I hear about a full page ad they take out in the Times I say the same things you have stated here.

I must join my fellow Lubablogers Izzy & Itzik of Frumspace fame by joining with their comments.

More and more I am seeing that the new generation of Lubavitchers are returning back to normal mainstream Chabad and remembering that the Rebbe had many more Mitvtzah campaigns other than Moshiach.

Moshiach is a huge concept and still needs to be talked about and prepared for, but the concept of "WHO" Moshiach is, is not something that needs to be a concern to us. First we need to bring Moshiach, by doing more mitzvahs and making the world a better place. Then let's worry about who he is.

I know there are those Lubavitch haters out there that dont want to accept this. They never liked Chabad and were hoping that this "rebbe is moshiach" issue would tear us apart. But it hasn't.

The official chabad organizations are very hard at work distancing themselves from people who border on Apikorsus. That's just what it is. I heard a Mishachist the other day tell me that we shouldn't be treating Gimmel Tamuz (The Rebbe's yartzeit) like a special day. He said we should be treating it like any other day, because The Rebbe is still with us. You know what I told him? I told him you are nuts, and what your saying is pure apikorsus. That my friend, is what more and more Lubavitchers are telling these people.

It's still a huge problem and there are way too many people who are still in denial, as Itzik said. I feel bad for these people because they obviously never "got" the Rebbe. They never really truly understood what the Rebbe was trying to accomplish. The Rebbe didn't want people to go out and only concentrate on one aspect. The Rebbe spent over 40 years teaching us and telling over Chassidus. He wanted us to do all that we can to BRING Moshaich, not force people to be convinced of who Moshaich is. Sometimes I feel so horrible that the Rebbe isn't with us anymore, for many reasons, obviously. But one main reason would be that the Rebbe himself would have put a stop to these people right away. Same as he did to the women who kept pestering him in the late 80's to reveal that he was Moshiach. As early as bway back then the Rebbe told them not to be concerned with this. Today the Rebbe surely would have put an end to this entire issue.
It's not about bad PR it's about protecting the Rebbe's legacy. These people who put up these billboards, and take out these ads and only worry about making people "accept his malchus" are not doing the right thing. The Rebbe would not approve of it and it's certainly not in line with The Rebbe's sichas and maimarim.

The next time you see such a billboard or such an ad, please remember, in my shul, within my circle of friends and more and more throughout Lubavitch. Those people are dwindling in support and we're finally starting to get over that sad chapter in Chabad's history.

All the best,
Your friend,
Chaim Rubin.

SephardiLady said...

Chaim-Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I am glad to know that there is significant opposition to such wastes in Chabad. I know many Lubavitchers that could benefit from from all sorts of services and I hate to see money flushed down the toilet so to speak.

The money could better fund shluchim, fund anti-missionary programs (such as Jews for Judaism), feed the poor, or fund education or job training and placement programs right in the community.

The point of this post was not to single out Lubavitch by any means, but to highlight just how many precious Yiddishe dollars are being squandered for little to no return. This just happened to be the best example that I have found to date. Unfortunately, time could bring an even better example (but, let's hope not).

Hope to see your comments on my shidduchim post. I'd like a variety of opinions, and I know that you would add a lot. So, feel free to chime in. And, I will visit your blog more often. (I need to print that free slurpee coupon you had up just when my printer ran out of ink!)

jdub said...

Unfortunately, the Rebbe didn't do enough while he was alive to dissuade people that he might not be Moshiach. It seems, from some of his statements that he encouraged such belief, so it's no surprise that people continued the heresy post-death.

Given the tremendous work Chabad does, it's the one pet peeve that this Litvak has with Chabad.

Chaim said...

I hear what your saying, but still for the Meshichists to make this issue their only thing to do, is wrong. I don't recall the Rebbe ever telling people that the only thing they have to do is make people accept him as moshiach. It's a perversion of everything The Rebbe wanted from us.