1464 · 5 · 292.8

+ 460 As a convinced atheist, I ought to agree with Voltaire that Judaism is not just one more religion, but in its way the root of religious evil. Without the stern, joyless rabbis and their 613 dour prohibitions, we might have avoided the whole nightmare of the Old Testament, and the brutal, crude wrenching of that into prophecy - derived Christianity, and the later plagiarism and mutation of Judaism and Christianity into the various rival forms of Islam. Much of the time, I do concur with Voltaire, but not without acknowledging that Judaism is dialectical. There is, after all, a specifically Jewish version of the eighteenth-century Enlightenment, with a specifically Jewish name the Haskalah for itself. The term derives from the word for 'mind' or 'intellect,' and it is naturally associated with ethics rather than rituals, life rather than prohibitions, and assimilation over 'exile' or 'return.' It's everlastingly linked to the name of the great German teacher Moses Mendelssohn, one of those conspicuous Jewish hunchbacks who so upset and embarrassed Isaiah Berlin. The other way to upset or embarrass Berlin, I found, was to mention that he himself was a cousin of Menachem Schneerson, the 'messianic' Lubavitcher rebbe. However, even pre-enlightenment Judaism forces its adherents to study and think, it reluctantly teaches them what others think, and it may even teach them how to think also. Christopher Hitchens, Hitch-22: A Memoir

+ 348 Anthropologist Simon Dein has noted: "Lubavitchers held that the Rebbe was more powerful in the spiritual realm without the hindrance of a physical body. However some have now claimed that he never died again a concept not unfounded as we see the commentaries includin and as late as the Rebbe himself mention to verse such as the one relating to Jacobs burial. Several even state that the Rebbe is God meaning to say completely nullifife to G-ds existence. This is a significant finding. It is known in the history of Judaism to hold that the religious leader is "God"[liness] and to this extent the group is unique. A more famous quote of reference is "righteous ones are similar to their creator". At first glance it may seem there are certain Christian elements which were apparently apparently inform the messianic ideas of this group. The concept of a leader of the generation as he is called and G-dliness is indeed a more often misunderstood concept"

+ 230 Imperfect individuals make perfect communities. The Lubavitcher Rebbe

+ 318 "Let me tell you what I try to do. Imagine that you're looking at a candle. What you're really seeing is a lump of wax with a thread down its middle. So when do the thread and wax become a candle? Or, in other words, when do they fulfill the purpose for which they were created? When you put a flame to the thread, then the candle becomes a candle. "The wax is the body, and the wick the soul. Ignite the soul with the fire of Torah and a person will then fulfill the purpose for which he or she was created. And that is what I try to do -- to ignite the soul of our people with the fire of Torah." "My candle," I asked, "has the Rebbe lit it?" "I have given you the match," he said. "Only you can light your candle." From a conversation between the Lubavitcher Rebbe and Yehudah Avner

+ 108 Reb Menachem Schneerson is being driven to a Chabad retreat in the Catskills by a young student chauffeur. He suddenly requests of the driver a wish to try driving himself after many years of being driven by others. The young driver feels he cannot refuse the beloved Rabbi and lets him into the drivers seat while he gets into the back seat. Reb Schneerson, having last driven a stickshift in Europe, is having a ball with the advanced automatic, power steering, power brakes and all the luxuries. He soon makes like Richard Petty and comes down the NY Thruway at 95 mph. A NY State Police car soon pulls him over. The jackbooted cop ambles over with the ticket book. As soon as he spots the driver, he freezes and mumbles a "wait here a minute, please." The cop hurries back to his car, gets on the radio to his area supervisor, and reports a very serious problem, "I just pulled over a very important person!"
The captain on the other end asks; "Did you pull over Senator D'Amato again?"
"No, this guy is more important!"
"You didn't stop the governor?"
"The President?"
"No, but this person is real important, although I'm not quite sure who he is."
"How do you know then that this person is so important?"
"Well, he has the Lubavitcher Rebbe for a chauffeur!"