A prominent rabbi of the Religious Zionist Movement in Israel, also known as Mizrachi, criticized the L’Chaim custom in Chasidic circles.
Rabbi Yuval Sharlo, dean of the Hesder Yeshiva in Petach Tikva, said “the consumption of alcohol is one of the ‘metastasis’ of the Chasidic world.”
“Although every Chasid is used to saying he does not ‘drink’ but is saying ‘L’Chaim,’ and with that he turns the drink to a vessel for elevating the soul and connecting with Hashem.
“But, this sentiment is not always perceived that way,” the rabbi claimed. “More than once the drink turns to a legitimate way of life.
“I don’t have to be a Chasid to get to drinking and the scope of the phenomenon is the witness for it.”
Sharlo is a charismatic leader who is known for not being afraid to speak his mind on otherwise delicate subjects.
The Lubavitcher Rebbe instituted the ‘4 cup rule’ where L’Chaim on alcohol is only permitted to be said no more than four times.
At a visit to Camp Gan Israel in New York, the Rebbe told the campers that L’Chaim can be said on soda too.