Tuesday, 15 Tishri, 5782
  |  September 21, 2021

Dr. Berger Vs. Chabad Shluchim

Yaacov Behrman attended Professor David Berger’s recent lecture at the Center for Jewish History's YIVO entitled "The Lubavitcher Rebbe as Messiah: Turning Point in Judaism?" Following the lecture, bashing Chabad rabbis, Berger was asked "Would you eat from the Kosher supervision of Rabbi Gabi Holtzberg HYD?” Full Story, Photos

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Aron Klein
August 30, 2011 11:08 am

David Berger did not invent his ideas on Messianics. They follow a 1990’s ruling of the RCA (Rabbinical Council of America).

Why just him?
November 22, 2009 10:31 am

Why don’t we quote Spinoza?

an old friend
March 18, 2009 9:02 am

we are witnessing a human tragedy. since publishing his very fine doctoral thesis many years ago, this once promising young scholar,david berger,has published nothing but reviews and critiques of the work of others.his book about messianism and chabad is but the culmination of a sad career characterized by nothing other than playing ‘gotcha’.his book on chabad is but the latest and sorriest chapter in a career that has sadly been more devoted to attack than to learning.he has a few years left. let us hope that he will now sit down and do some original scholarship.this would be of much… Read more »

How to relate to Berger
March 18, 2009 3:44 am

Just a few comments: a) No one, including Lubavitchers, can possibly say that the Rebbe was, is or will be Moshiach. There is no redemption yet, nor even the smallest part thereof, so obviously Moshiach “was” not yet and “is” not yet. As for “will be” – how do you know? Moshiach himself, whoever he will be, does not know that yet, as the Rebbe often cited the teshuvah of the Chatam Sofer. On that score Berger is 100% correct, and the Rebbe would be the first to agree with him – as he often stated that Rambam is the… Read more »

To #47
March 17, 2009 4:10 am

Dude, I saw u last week chanting Yechi in 770 with the rest of the flag wavers…Please…

March 16, 2009 5:22 pm

wow such a chevraman!!!

would you like fries with that burger?
March 16, 2009 4:37 pm

burger respects the Rebbe? Ha the liar just wants to say that the Rebbe is great but the chassidim not so much. what a joke, secular bluf. the likes of burger should be forgotten soon and he himself should do teshuvah, or become an even bigger laughingstock.

March 16, 2009 9:43 am

The Rebbe zy”a was very great by all yards sticks.
Now after the histalkus it is counterproductive to identify him as Moshiach.
People find it the crazed talk of lunatics.
The Rebbe gave us a mission to prepare the world for the Redemption; lets just do our job.

March 16, 2009 8:31 am
TO #8
March 16, 2009 4:05 am

“Even none Mishichistim believe that the REBBE IS MOSHIACH!!! ”
Not everyone believes the Rebbe is moshiach what in the world are you saying? where do you get that from besides whats your proof that the Rebbe is moshiach the rambam says clearly that in order to be moshiach vadai there are certain conditions and those conditions were not fulfilled yet that doesn mean that the Rebbe cant be moshiach but why are you saying that everyone believes that when its not true at all!!!

March 15, 2009 6:02 am

regarding 28
collive in respect of meshichistm and non, please dont post comments like 28ths
and 29
meshichist is nothing to be embarrased of, its not talking bad of the deceased. its something very good to say
i personally believe that the rebbe shlita is moshiach tzidkeinu and may he come back to us BEKOROV MAMASH!

yeah!!! go #44!
March 14, 2009 10:44 am
Wake and smell the Chabdniks
March 13, 2009 10:20 am

As a non New Yorker I can tell you that Chabad has a fabulous reputation throughout the world. Forget the debates, forget Berger and look at the Meserius nefesh, look at the good deeds.

March 13, 2009 7:48 am

I’ve just seen this thread. I do not accept many characterizations of the talk and of my writings, but I just want to correct two concrete points of fact. 1. In the private exchange to which the post refers, I indicated disagreement with elements of Marc Shapiro’s book. I absolutely did not say that i would not eat his shechitah. 2. I greatly admired Lubavitch before the Rebbe’s passing. This admiration did not end even when the messianism became evident to outsiders in the eighties and early nineties (even though I was of course unhappy about it, as were many… Read more »

eli blokh
March 13, 2009 4:52 am

to yacov,

The same question, regarding holtzberg, can be asked of lubavitch. Would you now eat the Volover Rov’s hechser? ( he’s sided with satmar) because his som died in mumbai?

March 13, 2009 1:00 am

Since when do ALL Lubavitchers believe that their Rebbe is Moshiach?!

March 12, 2009 11:46 pm

Since when do all Lubavitchers think their Rebbe is Moshiach? Thanks for imforming me that they all do, I thought it was only Moshiachnics that believe so.

to COLIVE...
March 12, 2009 4:12 pm

I guess you must be careful what you post, as apparently there are non-lubavitchers going to the site:
To all messianic roaming around the Internet:
Someone wrote:
“Our dear Rebbe is not Moshiach. He may have been (and if you ever leant the topic you will no there is no way for us to know Moshiach’s identity and as the Rebbe said, there is no need to know).”
He must not be lubavitch…

March 12, 2009 10:31 am


TO 35 'The organizer'
March 12, 2009 10:05 am

Most did not show up because I assume they did not want to stoop to the level of someone who clearly lies and spews hatred at his fellow Jews without any truthful, just cause.

And, say what you want, that is NOT 160 people in that photo.

Why care?
March 12, 2009 9:54 am

Why does anyone care what this guy thinks? Chabad has always had people against them, it never made any difference to our work and our beliefs. we just have to be proud of who we are.

Berger event
March 12, 2009 8:34 am

The photographer shot Berger from the back of the auditorium, from behind the last few rows of empty seats, giving the impression that there few. In fact, 160 people were there– a large crowd by YIVO post-economic collapse standards. While the author of the article was not among them, and kept quite during the actual lecture, what is more important is that the other Lubavitchers in the audience, when responding to Berger, completely demolished their points (and some were substantial) by their inability to attack Berger personally–and, in one case, the audience itself. He said (and I paraphrase) that Berger’s… Read more »

Berger Is not Moshiach
March 12, 2009 8:09 am

Berger in 1994 was considered the pre-eminent Orthodox Jewish scholar/authority on Christianity from a Jewish perspective.He was considered the go-to guy in many journalistic circles, always good for a profound quote and frequently was invited to speak at various gatherings. His shita was that Judaism rejected the notzri because “we don’t believe in a dead Moshiach”. Gimmel Tammuz strained his message and he felt that the continued belief in teh Rebbe as Moshiach was pogea in his koved. Its as simple as that. Koved. Bigger people in Jewish history than Berger also erred for the same reason. Since he needs… Read more »

Yiddle mitten fiddle
March 12, 2009 8:01 am

The emperor Nero played the violin while Rome was burning.

Lubavitcher chassidim debate last years snow while the derech of Chabad is in meltdown.

th fact that lubavitch is meshichist is undisputable
March 12, 2009 7:22 am

so lets talk about the real issues

Yshar Koach
March 12, 2009 4:10 am

To Reb Yaacov,

What you did was very important and you should be thanked for it.
Jew haters must know that we won’t let them be. There are times when we are not permitted to say quiet and watch our enemies blemish us in public.

Well done,
A yid from Boston

March 12, 2009 3:42 am

Bunch of idiots! Whats the different who Moshiach is?!!!! Stop focusing on the unimportant- your goal now is to get ready for Moshiach andact as a G-d fearing Jew is supposed to.

to #23
March 12, 2009 3:27 am

What an despicable lie! how dare you!!!

Gabi HY”D was a personal friend of mine. We learnt together and kept in touch after he went on Shlichus. He was no Mishichist!

Even more, he suffered from the mishichist so-called “shluchim” in India who after he tragically passed away were raising $ in his name!

I always knew: someone who does not care about the Rebbe and his image (=mishichistim) is a low life

Genug Shoin
March 12, 2009 3:19 am

To all messianic roaming around the Internet:
Our dear Rebbe is not Moshiach. He may have been (and if you ever leant the topic you will no there is no way for us to know Moshiach’s identity and as the Rebbe said, there is no need to know).

To 25 (shliach)
March 12, 2009 2:44 am

And if someone asks if you are a shliach of the Rebbe, and if you will reply YES he will be “misrachek” – will you also answer no???
Kivan Shehoitzei Atzmoi Min Haklal – Kofar Beikar…..

don’t play any games with the Rebbe… it’s scary

To Mnedy Hecht (or whatever your real name is...)
March 12, 2009 2:42 am

Okay, look here: To answer your “questions” one by one: 1. Do we believe the Rebbe is Moshiach? Yes we do. If you do not – then you disagree with our Rebbe, as he said very clearly numerus times that the Nasi is the Moshaich (unless for you the Rebbe isn’t Nassi, vedal) 2. Do we believe the Rebbe could be Moshiach? Of course. Read answer 1. 3. Do we believe the Rebbe will be Moshiach? He IS Moshiach. Learn some Chassidus, see what Moshiach and Rebbe is all about, you won’t have any questions. 4. Do we believe the… Read more »

March 11, 2009 10:02 pm

When concerned people ask me if I believe that the Rebbe is Moshiach I simply answer no and avoid all those ovet-complicated discussion of personal Moshiach v. Moshiach shebedoir. The Rebbe is my Rebbe and that’s it. Proclaiming the Rebbe as Moshiach is counter-productive

Numbers 6 and 22 are correct
March 11, 2009 6:46 pm

Bringing up Gabi was inappropriate. (Unless you wanted to be miorer his pniymius haneshama by evoking the situation of a kadosh so he should speak truthfully. Apparently it didn’t work). But from a logical perspective, it makes no difference to the argument, as number 6 has so elegantly stated. Number 22 is also correct to say that Berger has bigger issues with Chabad than meshichism. Read his book and you will see. He cites the issues of the diagonal menorah and the square luchos as “indications” that we are a cult. He also cites the Tanya that the G-dly soul… Read more »

March 11, 2009 5:49 pm

Popular opinion, not withstanding. Gaby was a big Mishichist!

March 11, 2009 5:44 pm

Actually Berger has been an anti-Lubavitch advocate well before the Moshiach issue came up. Naturally, he’ll claim to have had no issues with us beforehand, because that gives his position more credence. But it’s much more than the Rebbe being Moshiach that he’s got issues with; it’s the whole concept of us having a Rebbe that he takes issue on. It certainly doesn’t fit into this “academic’s” lexicon. In retrospect, he’s B”H done very little harm as most people who’ve had any contact with shluchim realize that his claims are inaccurate and unsubstantiated. Bottom line, he’s anti-Lubavitch and not just… Read more »

March 11, 2009 5:26 pm

BS”D To echo #6 a little: If somebody (usually an idiot) thinks there’s a problem with Lubavitcher shechitah, why in the world would R’ Gabi Holtzberg HY”D be an exception??!!

March 11, 2009 5:22 pm

Quote: “Despite the fact that Berger successfully portrayed the messianic wing of Lubavitch as totally off the charts”

By “messianic wing,” what or who is the author referring to? Someone, for example, like Rabbi Yehudah Kalman Marlow A”H, long-time member of the Crown Heights Beis Din and Mara De’asra of Crown Heights?!

Please clarify.

To whacko (kish'mo kein hu)
March 11, 2009 5:08 pm

If we are not to know who the Moshiach is, so why exactly does the Rambam lay out the criteria’s of the man who will be just that???

To 13
March 11, 2009 5:03 pm

Yes, Why?

To everybody
March 11, 2009 4:44 pm

It looks like there where many empty seats there, look, if nobody else cares what he says why should we?

March 11, 2009 4:34 pm

looks like he had a sell out crowd lol.

March 11, 2009 4:01 pm

It is time that we should stop covering our head in the sand and start facing the the facts. Must of the criticism that we are facing as a community today, is coming from our own “imported dreams” that were not existed ever in Lubavitch. We have let the fear of been called a “Misnged” to control our normal way of thinking. It is time to take a stand and keep the sign of “KOL DECHFIN” only for Pesach. The constant argument over who is Moshiach, or when is he coming, should change to a discussion about our future as… Read more »

i agree with 6
March 11, 2009 3:50 pm
Mendy Hecht
March 11, 2009 3:23 pm

To #11:

Do you have a name? 🙂

March 11, 2009 3:23 pm

Well I never had problems with chabad until their arrogance in proclaiming who Moshiach is while it is clearly up to Gd,the Creator to say who M.is.So yeah people will consider them whackos.Is this a surprise?Why does Chabad act like there are no other Jews and chassidim around and no other Rebbeim?Superiority, arrogance comes to mind.So you created Berger!

To Mendy Hecht
March 11, 2009 2:58 pm

If you want to be me’taher a sheretz, you’re gonna need (at least) 150 (kuf nun) reason’s. Sorry, four won’t suffice!

Mendy Hecht
March 11, 2009 2:37 pm

Okay, look here: Berger is a monster that we created by virtue of some of the wild and irresponsible things that some of our fellow Lubavitchers said and did and continue to say and do. It’s that simple. Reacting emotionally as most of the posters here are doing does not answer the core questions: 1. Do we believe the Rebbe is Moshiach? 2. Do we believe the Rebbe could be Moshiach? 3. Do we believe the Rebbe will be Moshiach? 4. Do we believe the Rebbe would have been Moshiach? These are things that we Lubavitchers need to make clear.… Read more »

March 11, 2009 2:17 pm

He is a Wacko, He is a Wacko… (T.T.T.O. I am an Apple)

To 5
March 11, 2009 2:16 pm

“i am not a meshichist but i do believe in Moshiach”
Even none Mishichistim believe that the REBBE IS MOSHIACH!!!

Kol Hakavod for staying calm and for writing so well
March 11, 2009 1:23 pm

if i had been there i do not think i would have been able to keep my dinner from re-appearing, and even if i did, i probably would have blurted out something accurate when he was telling his lies. so i really commend you for not getting sick and not blurting out and staying calm and asking sharp questions and then sharing it with us. Kol HaKavod Yaakov

Stop abusing the Holztbergs
March 11, 2009 1:08 pm

While I don’t expect you to be objective (anymore than I expect Berger to be objective), I have to say it was over the top to ask him, “Would you eat from the chickens slaughtered by Hakodosh Gabi Holztberg HYD?” I find it sad that “the Holztbergs” have been turned into an all-purpose tool for anyone to use to further whatever purpose. It’s time to stop replacing solid reasoning skills with the “Holztberg” argument.

March 11, 2009 12:42 pm

I am surprised that no one in Lubavitch challenges these YUnicks First i am not a meshichist but i do believe in Moshiach these guys do not believe in Moshiach that it is going to be a person, and that’s what scares them if you read there writings you will see that they look at Christianity as something they don’t know what, just from the fact that they are trying to disprove is prove that in there minds it must be something CH’V so when you take Torah and you try to say that seven days is really billions of… Read more »

March 11, 2009 12:32 pm

what was the title of this lecture? was a lecture about the bashing of chabad specifically? or did it end up coming up in his talk on something else? thank g- d there was a small crowd

good job yaacov
March 11, 2009 12:30 pm

Really well written! Keep the good work.
From your friend Pinchas from Carrol st.

i dont think thats what he mean shrugging shoulders
March 11, 2009 12:30 pm

I think that means I cant answer/cant say yes

like neturei karta
March 11, 2009 11:56 am

you do not give direct attention let them dance and then do what is neecesary to put the good word out