59 thoughts on “Chabad and the Monsters Among Us – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. Monsters is indeed the term that most fits.

    I have sometimes very frivolously wondered if they hate the Arabs because of their beauty in the face of their personal physical repulsiveness.

    After all.. the body is but a reflection of the soul in many cases.

    I would like to post this on my blog if you do not mind. Thank you so very much.

    1. Barbara: I completely disagree with your views about the relative beauty or republsiveness of Arabs vs. Chabad rabbis if I understand your comment correctly. This is an entirely ad hominem argument and not permitted in my comment threads. STick to the issues please.

  2. Oh, if you ever wish or need, I have images of these fine examples of humanity meeting with almost any world leader you can imagine. I am happy to share!

  3. From now on, God is typed God, not G*d. I thought that someone I would respect, if I knew them, might be offended. A small additional benefit from your post.

  4. If my beloved teacher Rabbi Manis Friedman is a monster then the world needs many more monsters! This article is nothing but a propganda hateful hit piece taking his words completely out of context. Rabbi Friedman is one of the kindest, wisest, self sacrificing righteous Rabbis I have ever known and he has done more than in his life to help his fellow human beings and make this world a better place than the entire Tikun Olam/Moment Magazine crwwd combined!!!
    And what gives the author of this article the right to demand that Rabbi Friedman should not be allowed to state his views? That is totally intolerant!
    You probably are too intolerant to post this comment.

    1. What possible context could excuse the call for genocide the Rabbi makes? Have you seen the Rabbi’s kindness, wisdom, and self-sacrifice applied to any Arab? Many bigots are wonderful people as long as they are dealing with those they consider “their own”. It doesn’t mean they aren’t bigots and that they can’t be called on their bigotry.

      Richard is not calling for the man to be censored or gagged. He is simply asking for major media outlets to refrain from giving a megaphone to such hateful thoughts. The First Amendment does not guarantee everyone the right to spew their hate on CNN or PBS.

    2. the world needs many more monsters

      Ah, but we already have them, my dear. Rabbi Dov Wolpe is yet another Chabad monster. Not to mention other extremist settler rabbis who advocate detestable versions of Yiddishkeit.

      taking his words completely out of context.

      Oh, you mean the lie he’s spreading that he meant to say that Israel should murder Arab children and destroy their holy sites only during a time of war??

      he has done more than in his life to help his fellow human beings

      Don’t you mean that he’s done more to help his fellow Jewish settlers and their ilk than this blog has? If so, I plead guilty.

      what gives the author of this article the right to demand that Rabbi Friedman should not be allowed to state his views? That is totally intolerant!

      Omigoodness, it’s terribly intolerant of me to ask that no respectable media outlet spread the hate-filled invective of the good rabbi. It’s so intolerant of me to think that advocating genocide is a perspective that should be ostracized in our community. Guilty again I guess.

      1. I agree that Friedman’s words were insenstive and shocking, and I dont want to get into his interpertation of the Torah either.

        I think his clarification really does clear things up (at least the way I read it) and i have to say that i can agree with (at least what i think) he said.

        He says that he was answering a different question than what was printed. The question he thought he was answering was how should countries behave in a time of war?

        If a person shoots at you from behind a child or from a mosque should you hesitate to shoot back?

        Friedman says no. What do you say?

        If a person actively plots your destruction in the midst of civilans or in a place of worship, should one preemptively strike? Friedman says yes. What do you say?

        Thats the way i read it.

        1. The question he thought he was answering

          You mean he has trouble with reading comprehension? How does he answer a question he wasn’t even asked?

          If a person shoots at you from behind a child

          OK, this is the justification Friedman uses for killing Arab children. First, there have been absolutely no cases of Hamas or any other force fighting against Israel using children as human shields. While there actually have been a number of cases of the IDF tying children to the hoods of their jeeps and using THEM as human shields. I have pictures to prove it published here in this blog.

          So I’d challenge you to find evidence of a single instance in which children were used as human shields against the IDF. ANd even if you COULD find such an instance (which you can’t), do you mean to tell me that this justifies the IDF killing Palestinian children? What are you, a monster? I’m sorry, I know you are a rabbi and all. But think of what you’re saying by God.

          Friedman says yes.

          All you’re doing here is prettying up what Friedman actually said to make it more presentable and less objectionable. He said what he said. You can’t undo it or minimize it no matter how hard you try.

    3. Thanks for proving there is no hope for humanity. Did you not read what this Rabbi said? You only care because he’s your friend not because of right and wrong.

  5. we know rmf from st paul mn and he is a really nice guy. he is also a true believer and literally quotes from the torah. your beef is with the torah, not with rmf. the rabbi’s predictions are just silly. he has no insight into the events of our current world and no crystal ball to see the future. the good news is that nobody in military or diplomatic authority seeks the advice of that chabad rabbi or any other on matters of real world politics or diplomacy.

    1. your beef is with the torah, not with rmf

      This is a ridiculous statement. First, if Jews lived by the Peshat of Torah, they’d not be counting hours between meat and dairy meals, but simply not “cooking a kid in the milk of his mother”. So, if the Torah of Rabbi Manis Friedman is the Peshat, then “his sagacious grasp of Jewish mysticism” is questionable. Second, and connected to the first, is that there is no such thing as “what Torah says”, but what its commentators make of it. Rabbi Manis Friedman can read a passage and say X, while another rabbi may read the same passage and to say Y. In other words, Torah, as any system of teachings, is like a mirror in which whoever looks into it will see just a reflection of himself.
      The simplistic view that Tzvee tries to propagate here is actually in line with that of quite a lot of anti-Semites on the web, who, in a mirror image of Islamophobes, claim that Judaism in its core is a genocidal, intolerant teaching.

    2. he is a really nice guy

      If you were Arab would you be saying the same thing?

      your beef is with the torah, not with rmf

      That a load of hooey. My beef is with the ways in which Friedman twists Torah to suit his despicably hateful views. Does the Torah call for genocide against Arabs? Don’t be silly.

      the good news is that nobody in military or diplomatic authority seeks the advice of that chabad rabbi

      You mean I’m supposed to feel reassured that only Chabad’s hundreds of thousands of followers around the world adore Friedman, and international media outlets fawn over his every word–you mean it’s supposed to reassure me that Bibi & Yvet don’t consult him regularly?

  6. It’s Rabbi’s like this that made me drop out of the Chabad yeshiva (Morristown) I was attending. They disgust me.

  7. Tzvee, on the site to which Richard has provided a link nine Rabbis voice their opinions. Presumably they all know their Torah. How come that at least seven of these come up with views that are totally different from that of Chabad?


    A RELATED POST: “Traditional Rabbi Appalled As “Salute To Israel” Parade Degenerates Into Arab-Bashing” by M.J. Rosenberg @ TPMCafé, 06/02/09

    (excerpt) One hundred thousand people marched in the annual “Salute To Israel” parade in New York on Sunday and apparently it turned into a hate-fest….

    ….A group of young men in their 20’s….were right in front of me dancing in a frenzy. But they alternated the verse that meant ”the people of Israel lives’with ‘all the Arabs must die.’ It rhymed with the Hebrew. Given the way all joined in, it was clear that this was not the first time it was sung.

    “I leaned over to a young man who was next to me, also wearing a kippah and tzitzit. I nodded at the dancers and asked: ‘Does this song bother you?’ He looked at me with a suspicious look and replied: ‘This is Zionism.'”

    ENTIRE ROSENBERG POST – http://tpmcafe.talkingpointsmemo.com/2009/06/02/traditional_rabbi_appalled_as_salute_to_israel_par/

  9. “Destroy their holy sites. Kill men, women and children (and cattle).”

    Greetings all. It’s been a while since I commented. I’ve been keeping up to date with Tikun Olam through the Vienna app, so haven’t really felt the urge to comment. Until now that is.

    Somebody should ask his holiness if he gets the [very] basic human concept of reciprocity – “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Now, I know this is from the Christian bible, but I believe it is common sense. Only recently, Operation Cast Lead provided a platform for attacks on synagogues and Jews all over the world. If this rabbi condones killing non-Jews and destroying places of worship of a faith that is not Jewish then does he condone those recent attacks? The answer, in my opinion, would have to be a resounding “Yes” because otherwise the rabbi would have to admit he is a hypocrite.

    Geoffrey Alderman expressed equally disgusting views as the rabbi’s on CiF during Operation Cast Lead (http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/jan/12/judaism-gaza-israel-halachah), based on his own interpretations of Jewish scripture. I now make it a point to remind CiF readers of Geoffrey Alderman’s extremist views each time he engages in I/P threads on CiF – and it is often enough to silence him. I would suggest people do the same to Rabbi Manis Friedman wherever and whenever he surfaces to address society. Because, as that wise old saying goes: “If you don’t have anything useful to say, then don’t say anything at all.”

    By the way, what did the poor cattle do to offend his holiness? Surely, as a migratory species, cattle are devoid of all nationality?

  10. “No problem can be solved with the same consciousness that caused it,” said Albert Einstein. The problems between Arabs and Jews cannot be solved from the level of consciousness that has existed for centuries. Both must recognize their collective history and awaken to G-d’s promises as outlined by the prophets. Until people recognize, as Pogo did, that “we have met the enemy and he is us,” they will continue to exist at the level that bred the problem.

    We await the day when our cousins, the children of Ishmael, welcome us to our ancient homeland so we can coexist in peace.
    Rabbi David Zaslow

    A wonderful quote from Einstein. Would he roll over in his grave for the “we await the day…” part? ( ie- it’s entirely up to the children of Ishmael)

    The quotes from the various rabbi’s are interesting to read. Some are encouraging- but the more “religious” ( or orthodox) seem to me to have lost their way. I presume the comments are in some order and thus the Chabad Rabbi is the most orthodox and the most stultified.

  11. “In the Bible, Jews did not routinely wipe out entire tribes merely because they were hostile to Israel.”

    No offense, but they did.

    If you think about it, the old testament is for a people struggling to survive – a no mercy, warrior, kill-them-all religion, including women, children and animals as the good book says many times.

    The new testament changed the religion because at that time the elites needed docile slaves to till the fields and work for their needs while promising them “heaven” for suffering on the temporal plain.

    the friendly atheist

  12. “I have sometimes very frivolously wondered if they hate the Arabs because of their beauty in the face of their personal physical repulsiveness.”

    Uhhh… lets not get too racist here, shall we?

  13. Dear Richard:

    Thanks for your post about the article in Moment Magazaine.

    While I was, of course, horrified by Rabbi Manis Friedman’s answer to the posed question, I was disappointed and saddened by the responses from Rabbis Julie Schonfeld and Yitz Greenberg.

    Rabbi Schonfeld’s answer was filled with quasi-intellectualism while being politically non-commital. As a Movement that has dwindling membership and whose members seem to be constantly struggling with their identity, Rabbi Schonfeld, who is the incoming Executive Vice President of the Conservative Movement’s Rabbinical Assembly, needs to be more decisive about where her Movement stands relating vital policial and social issues. Stradling the middle of the road on these issues fails to inspire, which forces more progressive Conservatives to leave and prevents more progressive religious people from joining. I would much rather that the Conservative Movement start to rally around the more progressive Rabbi Jill Jacobs for their political and social guidance.

    Rabbi Greenberg’s answer seemed to have been written by the leadership of AIPAC. From the many things I have read by Rabbi Greenberg, I have considered him a very tolerant and thoughtful person. I believe that he has been heavily involved with interfaith issues, as well as feminism in the orthodox community (along with his wife Blu). I also believe he has been critical of some Israeli policy in the past. I would hope that the Rabbi would rethink his response. If not, I would hope that those religious people and groups that work with him on his more tolerant activities speak out about this narrowminded statement.

    As for the other Rabbinic statements, I would hope that those Rabbis continue to speak their words of tolerance loudly and often from their bimas.

  14. americangoy, uh yeahh, thanks for calling out that initial comment in this thread. It rather disturbed me. It’s true that there are many physically beautiful Arabs. I find a good number of Arab and/or Middle Eastern women particularly beautiful. There are also many physically beautiful Israeli Jews as well as Jews in general. It’s perhaps better not to get into the issue of physical appearance, at least in terms of making judgements along ethnic lines. Now it’s true that the Chabad fashion sense and style frankly doesn’t do a lot for me aesthetically. But that’s just my personal sense of style and taste. If others respond to that look, good for them. The racist, exclusivist Chabad philosophy as evidenced in this post is DEFINITELY repulsive, though.

    1. Plaut is the guy who trumpeted Dershowitz’s ‘revelation’ that Norman Finkelstein’s mother was a ‘kapo’.

      Utter garbage. He is a liar and a scumbag.

      And people on the Left who support the PALESTINIAN CAUSE support the people and support JUSTICE as they see it via the analysis of the historical record and by applying basic moral principles.

      They do not support religious fanaticism and political repression.

      The governments of the Arab world are puppet regimes that the US supports and keeps in power. Israel LIKES IT THIS WAY. They consider Jordan and Egypt and Turkey to be ‘moderate’ Islamic/Arab countries. And let’s not forget Saudi Arabia.

      If democratic revolutions were allowed to take place in this region without the interference (violent no doubt) of the West, then the Arab world WOULD be free and democratic.

      The Western body politic on the other hand is defined by SANCTIMONY and HYPOCRISY.

      The Zionists who support open immigration and multiculturalism in the US while Jewish exclusivity in the pariah State of Israel.

      Zionists who support ‘progressive’ gay rights while trying to ban the commemoration of the Nakba and force loyalty oaths on the Palestinians.

      Zionists who cry and moan about terrorism when their Nazi army kills FAR more civilians and CHILDREN. Whose Nazi army occupies another people and abuses and humiliates them daily.

      Zionists who founded their Nazi State on terrorism – rape/theft/murder.

      Even the so-called ‘liberal’ Zionists only focus on the Nakba. What about the rapes by not only the Jewish militant nationalists (terrorists these days) and the Israeli army? What about the purposeful policy of ‘transfer’?

      What about the institutionalized racism against not only Palestinians but Arabs in general?

      Jews need to get over themselves and decide to be HUMANISTS.

      Zionism is nothing but colonialism. Indonesia had to stop it’s occupation and attempt at colonization 25 years in. The Zionists have been at it for over 60 years ONLY because they happen to be Jews.

      So, in summation, while you harp on w/ your straw man argument that the Left protects Islamo-blah blah, let’s conclude that the only reason people support the Nazi State of Israhell is due to :

      A) Jewish affluence and economic prosperity which is seen in all sectors of Western society (the intelligentsia, MSM, entertainment industry)

      B) The Holocaust Industry – exploiting the suffering of Jews to guilt-trip/fear-monger/intimidate the goyim into silence or approval of Israeli policy

      At so many levels we are constantly inundated with negative imagery of the Arab and Islamic world while virtually nothing critical in the movie industry is produced about Israel or Jewishness.

      Which makes sense – the ‘Jewish Establishment’ is a social pressure. Chomsky and Herman took a materialist approach to the propaganda model which is legitimate but there is also the ethno-religious angle and it’s clear that in a country that facilitates ‘identity politics’ the Jewish community would excel over all others.

      This is not a matter of the Arabs wanting to take over the world – they are a impoverished/fragmented/politically sold-out repressed people.

      The Ashkenazi Jews are much more organized and close-knit (hence, ‘self-hating Jew’ and antisemite smear-tactics to identify those who stand against ‘the group’).

      What is needed is better solidarity and organization w/ the Palestinian people to counter the organization of the Jewish community.

      It’s an uphill battle since Jewishness has become intertwined w/ Americaness unfortunately. You’ll never see a movie about Deir Yassin in mainstream Hollywood but you’ll see Munich. You’ll never see a movie about the Nakba in the mainstream, but you’ll see Schindler’s List.

      So pro-Palestinian activists (humanists) need to HUMANIZE the Palestinians for the idiot goyim who literally internalize Jewish suffering only because that’s all they are bombarded with.

      We are not only fighting IMPERIALISM and COLONIALISM but we’re fighting identity politics – which is all about advertising and propaganda. These same concepts are behind how we only elect from one party all the time – the business party.

  15. What a stupid thing for a human being to post as a comment! Israel constantly attacks it’s neighbors and you write such ignorant rubbish.
    This is why so many people are losing any respect for jews. All jews like you make jews look to be murderous liars like the rabbi.

  16. Shoshanna

    In a fell demonstration of your mental frame of mind, you have justified in spades every criticism of you in this thread.

  17. Attacking me does not win any of your arguments. Try and disprove that Tikun Olam’s anti-Zionism is anything but pro-Arab Jew hatred filled with lies and propaganda. I’m listening.

    1. “I’m listening”

      No, seriously, you’re not. If a Muslim imam or Christian priest advocated destroying Jewish holy sites, and killing Jewish men, women and children (and cattle, lets not forget the cattle), and claimed that it was the only moral approach, you’d be up in arms with righteous indignation. You’d be wailing about anti-semitism and “Jew hatred” and would probably start waxing on about how it all proves that Islam or Christianity is a warped religion. But all you can say about a genocidal statement from a rabbi is what a really nice guy he is.

      You are a hypocrite who excuses hateful things said by a Jewish religious teacher that you would find utterly appalling when said by anyone from a different religion. You AREN’T listening to what was said, you are only focusing on WHO said it. (In this case, a Jew, so what’s the problem, right?)

  18. Every bit of criticism of Israel is called ‘Jew-hating’. So what’s the point? People are set in their ways.

    It’s too bad for the Zionists that they didn’t steal Palestine in another era when they could have just exterminated the indigenous population.

  19. The song held negative value for me, so, after reading it, I dismissed from attention all but the conclusion that a message of negativity was received, which will be associated with Chabad in my mind.

  20. It’s too bad for the Zionists that they didn’t steal Palestine in another era when they could have just exterminated the indigenous population.

    The above statment is a pure unadulterated LIE based on ignorance and Jew hatred.

    1. I realize for you, Shoshanna dear, there’s no difference between “Jew” and “Zionist,” but for the rest of us there is. Also, I don’t understand how you can call a hypothetical statement a “lie.” Malicious perhaps, but it’s not a lie unless the event actually happened and you’re claiming that he’s lied about something real.

      Unless perhaps you’re talking about the claim of “stealing” Palestine. I could understand why that statement would trouble your mind. Though I would like you to try to explain how more than a third of current settlements are sitting on land that was illegally confiscated from private Palestinian landowners. That constitutes stealing in my book. How would you feel if your family farmed a piece of land for generations and someone bigger and stronger than you & with guns told you you no longer owned it and would get nothing in return. What would you call that? Biblical destiny, perhaps?

  21. Richard, a hypothetical statment? You make no sense. You are irrational. No one with half a brain takes anything you write seriously.

  22. [comment deleted–another commenter has already published Friedman’s “apologia” in the comment thread and I have linked to it]

  23. The Chabad bashing here is prejudice, ignorant, and hateful. A Chabad Rabbi makes a statment that you lefties don’t like and your immediate knee jerk reaction is to call Chabad a bunch of monsters. Tell me Tikun Olam crowd, how is this tolerance? Tell me, how does your labelling of your fellow G-d fearing Torah observing Jews as ‘monsters’ make the world a better place? And exactly what have you guys done to make this world better anyway? All you seem to do is whine, try to prove yourselves as somehow morally superior to all who do not share your far left views, and Jew bash. Meanhwile, Chabad has literally thousands of tireless dedicated souls who work day in and day out on a grass roots level helping people, all kinds of people, Jew and non-Jew alike. Chabad lifts people spiritually and gives concrete help to people materiallly every single day in every remote corner of the globe, one person at a time regardless of their political beliefs or religious stance. No one can ever deny this, it is a fact that Chabad spreads goodness and kindenss throughout the world. Chabad would never label any of you as ‘monsters’, no matter what evil things you may say or do. And do you know why? Because we care, we have love in our hearts, even for those with whom we disagree. Chabad is a shining light in a dark world, spreading the wisdom and light of our holy heritage and there is not a single group within Judaism today that comes close to the self sacrifice of thousands of Chabad Jews who live not for themselves but, soley for others. This is a fact.

  24. The criticisms your reaping are the result of the evils you have sown. Your harvest has but only begun.

  25. Shoshanna’s comments about Chabad are similar to my experiences.

    I have close contact with two chabad rabbis, one in my hometown and one in a nearby college town. They each routinely visit the elderly, the sick, give to poor directly and through agencies without limit or question. Although they pay most attention to the Jewish community, they do initiate service to non-Jews as well.

    Generalization is a violation of kind speech, and a violation of bearing false witness against thy neighbor.

    1. they do initiate service to non-Jews as well.

      Do tell us the long list of good deeds they do for non Jews. I’m waiting.

      a violation of bearing false witness against thy neighbor

      And please don’t deign to posake on halacha. You’re not a rabbi and look foolish when you try to act like one.

      1. I am a dialoguer. I read. I study.

        Don’t attempt to silence me by “you are not a rabbi”. If you disagree with my interpretations, go ahead.

        On good deeds to non-Jews, I only know what I see from the individuals that I interact with. I’ve accompanied the local chabad rabbi to nursing homes in our area, in which he was definitely looking for Jewish elders, but stopped at EVERY door that would invite him in, to talk about their lives, their conditions. I’ve been with him when he picked up homeless people hitchiking and bought them food (while most others just ignored the people).

        My point it to you Richard. You express a lot of bigotry periodically, in stated opposition to bigotry.

        Rather than address the argument, you castigate the people. I prefer the approach of Habad frankly, that individuals can change, are redeemable.

  26. “Tikun Olam” , a “jewish-like” site where authors do not hesitate to calomniate [sic] a genuine, authentic, true great Rabbi as Rabbi Friedman.This clearly demonstrate that you really don’t understand a clue [sic] of what means [sic] “tikun olam”. You may consider renaming your blog as [sic] hatred talks coming from the Nahash…

  27. Richard,

    Your broken moral compass can be fixed if you choose to do teshuva, which I daven that you do, but as of now you wouldn’t know the difference between right and wrong and between good and bad if you fell over it.

    1. You’ve got the cart before the horse. It is Manis Friedman who should be doing teshuvah for his odious comments about Arabs. Let me know when he agrees to do teshuvah, then we can talk.

  28. You can point a thousand times on any mistakes I can make in writing in English, a foreign language to me.
    Your way of doing clearly shows that you try to undermine the other’s position, instead a considering the argument. This again shows a lack of undertanding of what mean “tikun olam”.
    You are taking genuine jewish values and making empty marketing slogans from them…. using all that to advance your personal views …

  29. I think Richard should consider the argument, and dash it.

    But, he should NEVER generalize, as generalization is a form of collective punishment, a blunt instrument assault on civilians, in the name of opposing assault on innocents.

  30. I add for public record that although my grandmother’s name is Silverstein, I have no family links with you, thanks H”.

  31. I don’t think that Mr. Silverstein is out to vilify Chabad. He doesn’t like the Orthodox in general.

    That R. Friedmann has been forced to backpedal on his article has not received comment here so far.

    1. He doesn’t like the Orthodox in general.

      That’s a lie. Just as with any religious group or among any people, there are fine, upstanding human beings and there are louts. I object to the political views of a good proportion of Orthodox Jews who support settlements & the notion that we must not give back an inch of territory because God gave the land to us & not them. Many Orthodox Jews do NOT hold those beliefs. I have no problem with them.

  32. Hi All,

    Has any one read Rabbi Friedman’s clarification of his statement, I believe it is available on his web page.

    All the best,

  33. I’ve met Mani Friedman on several occasions. He’s a good guy, friendly, and easy going who mainly talks from the point of view of someone who is like a social worker, school principal, on Jewish social issues, education, or dating, and the like. His statement on mid-East politics containing over-the-top rhetorical fireworks for shock-value, but I don’t think, from knowing him, that he intended at all that any Jewish halacha concerning warfare would be abrogated. Therefore his allusion to passages about Amalek were intended for shock value, and not to have the well known rules of war in the Torah suspended, as some seem to be supposing. He certainly is encouraging a get tough approach, but this is nothing new. I was dismayed by his loose language (like a loose canon) because it apparently is causing confusion. That confusion can easily be cleared by studying the Laws of War, from standard Torah sources, and presuming that *this* is what he is talking about. To paraphrase, he probably meant to say “The same Torah that told us all those non-Western methods of war with Amalek, shocking as they sound today, will also instruct us in how to deal with our current war in the Middle-East”

    1. All Reb Mani’s friends want to protect him fr. himself. He knows what the Jewish laws of war are, yet he chose to flout them and interpose his own cruel reinterpretation. I’m afraid I can’t parse what he meant to say or should’ve said. I only know what he DID say.

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