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Are there any statistics as to what percentage of Chabad still believes the Rebbe is the Messiah? Is it the majority or simply a very vocal minority? Have there been any serious studies made on the issue?

Please note this question seeks statistics not ideology.

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It could also be a vocal majority or a quiet minority. Can you clarify exactly what kind of statistics you are trying to find? Peer reviewed journals? Impressions of some online blogger? –  Double AA Feb 1 '13 at 14:43
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@DoubleAA, the question says, "Have there been any studies made on the issue?". So not impressions, but studies; but any studies. What's unclear? –  msh210 Feb 1 '13 at 15:11
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Phil, welcome to Mi Yodeya, and thanks very much for bringing your question here! I hope you'll poke around the site and see if there's anything else you find interesting, including, perhaps, our 47 other questions about chabad. –  Isaac Moses Feb 1 '13 at 15:24
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I removed the heterodox tag as this is a question about Chabad and Chabad has its own tag. Generally we use heterodox for questions about other movements (that don't have their own tags) and/or questions abut multiple movements/pluralism. –  Monica Cellio Feb 3 '13 at 0:45
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FTR, there were 245 views as of 02/07/13 (when the link on Chabad.info went up). Let's see how many people come here from there –  Shmuel Brin Feb 8 '13 at 2:32

4 Answers 4

To the best of my knowledge no such study has been done within Chabad chassidim... and even though in general we say 'Ein lo ra-inu ra-aya' (Zevachim 12:4, "'We have not seen' is not a proof"), controversial studies/statistics the likes of this would surely have spread very quickly with very loud responses.

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Mod note: I have removed the parts of the answer and ensuing comments which do not address the question. –  Double AA Feb 3 '13 at 1:35
    
@DoubleAA my original answer certainly answer the question. Did you read the title? "What percentage of Chabad still believes the Rebbe is the Messiah?" - no mention of statistics there. –  Danield Feb 3 '13 at 7:28
    
In any case, I clearly explained myself that statistics are irrelevant when history has suggested a clear answer to the question –  Danield Feb 3 '13 at 7:29
    
let us continue this discussion in chat –  Danield Feb 3 '13 at 8:54
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@DoubleAA Thank you for your response. That being said, I still feel that there should be more freedom of speech on this site. I think a moderator should close a topic if he feels there is a problem in the discussion, not delete posts that were well thought out, labored upon, legitimate and contributing. Thank you –  Yaakov Pinsky Feb 3 '13 at 11:33

For what its worth. I corresponded a while ago (through the official chabad website) with regards to the issue of the Rebbe being moshiach and the proliferation of this ideology within chabad. The responses I received were as follows:

No, the official Chabad officials do not hold that the Rebbe is Moshiach.

There is no underground movement which unoffficially permits for statements to the contrary to be made. I'm not sure why there is a proliferation of such beliefs in some parts of Israel. In North and South America, Russia and Europe that is not the case be that as it may, it is individuals not the official stance of the movement.

The Rebbe not only did not want anyone to perpetuate the idea that he is Moshiach openly as you said, but he didn't want the idea to be perpetuated at all, period.

Along with the other mitzvahs and mitzvah campaigns which he initiated the Rebbe encouraged us to spread the word that Moshiach is coming, he did not say 'tell the world I'm am Moshiach'…

And another related response from Rabbi Menahem Posner:

a. I do not believe that the Rebbe ever said he would be Moshiach after his death. Rather, the belief seemed to evolve as follows: More than anything in the world, the Rebbe wanted Moshiach to come. He constantly spoke about his arrival and worked tirelessly to bring Jewry to a state where they would merit his arrival.

It was not a huge leap for some people to connect the dots and assume that the Rebbe himself would one day be Moshiach.

After his passing in 1994, people were at loss regarding how to continue. They just were not ready to say goodbye to the Rebbe and to his vision of Moshiach’s imminent arrival (and rightfully so). Different people reacted in different ways.

Many Chassidim saw their mission to continue the Rebbe’s work of spreading Judaism wherever possible as their response to the loss which we and world Judaism had suffered. Others continued to refer to him as Moshiach as a way of expressing their conviction that he and his message live on.

This well-intentioned, but misguided, response is the root of what you sometimes see today.

Some of the Rebbe's works were edited and others were not. I am not aware of him editing and approving a work with "melech hamoshiach" appended to his name. My assumption is that this was added afterward by Mishichist elements.

The Rebbe did indeed speak about prophecy in our time prior to the advent of Moshiach in the sicha that you reference...

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Chabad published a sefer subscribing to this belief.

About 10 of the most prominent chabad Roshei yeshiva are on the editorial board and 20 of their superiors have endorsed it. What better statistics can you get? The name of the sefer is "Hatekufa Vihageula", first edition 1999 second edition 2005 (link).

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Can you substantiate that these are prominent rabbis in good standing with mainstream Chabad and not the leaders of the Meshichists? –  Seth J Feb 8 '13 at 3:11
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the book has been published over a decade ago by official central Chabad organization in Israel and no Chabad institution, leader, Rabbi Rosh yeshiva or laymen have yet published anything to counter or de-legitimize the book. –  mordechai Feb 8 '13 at 3:37
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I don't know if you know, but there is a lot of controversy about who gets to publish books in Chabad's name. Nisht azoi poshut (not so simple) to just say "Chabad published..". –  HodofHod Feb 8 '13 at 4:25
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Even accepting this as an 'official' publication, can anyone confirm that it actually claims what the op says it does? –  Double AA Feb 8 '13 at 6:13
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@Danield, no mainstream Lubavitchers that I know think the Rebbe is alive or coming back as Mashiach. If they do, they are excellent liars. I know some Meshichists and some non. The closest I've encountered to a mainstream Meshichist is the phenomenon of Meshichist-defenders. Their belief ranges from internal conflict between wanting him to be Mashiach and acknowledging that this is reminiscent of christianity, to sympathy for true Meshichists and a desire for Achdus more than anything else. –  Seth J Feb 10 '13 at 1:10

Yes, most of Chabad does believe the Rebbe is Moshiach and that he is alive with us, the difference there, is whether physical or just spiritually.

And, no, no real polls were done - and therefor no statistics exist.

P.S. If there was, it would definitely spread like wildfire.

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Tzvi, welcome to Mi Yodea! Please take a look at our FAQ and about pages to familiarise yourself with how this sites works. Specifically, this is a question and answer forum, rather than a discussion. Only the first paragraph of your answer addresses the question which asked for "statistics and not ideology". I hope you stick around and and continue to contribute. –  Michoel Apr 4 '13 at 9:59
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-1 for paranoid conspiracy theories. The idea that everyone who disagrees with you is merely lying to themselves ("You can't handle the truth!") may be comforting to you, but it has no place on this sort of site. –  TRiG Apr 4 '13 at 10:40
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-1. I think the only word in your post which made sense was the word "creepy", which is a perfect description of your post. If you want to convince anyone, try sounding like a calm, normal, rational person. –  Shraga Apr 4 '13 at 13:31
    
-1 for being sourceless and therefore not useful. As an aside, I'm still having trouble believing anyone including yourself could believe what you had written. –  Double AA Apr 5 '13 at 5:38
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I'm sure I sounded like a fanatical missionary, hah. Sorry if I offended anybody. I was just stating all the facts that came up. @TRiG this only applies to people who were born Lubavitchers and are already 3 gen Chabad. Shraga, I am not trying to convince, I just stated the facts that came up. I am backing out of this conversation, for the reason I can't really put my word up on this one - nothing personal. –  Tzvi Apr 9 '13 at 4:04

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