Statement of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, regarding 'betten' (beseeching) the Rebbe [quoted here]:

“It is not possible to ask a question about a [Rebbe being a] go-between, since this is G-d Himself, as He has clothed Himself in a human body.” (Likutei Sichos II:p. 510-511).

This seems to be a direct violation of two of the 13 Principles of Jewish Faith: That HKB"H has no corporeal representation, and has no physical embodiment, and that He is the only One to whom prayer is befitting, and praying to any other destination is heretical.

Is there any legitimate source in Rabbinic literature to support such a shocking statement (and justify it by reconciling this concept with the Principles of Faith)?

  • 5
    Define "legitimate". – Double AA Jun 16 '19 at 1:43
  • 2
    For those looking for a reference in the actual Sichos for the above quotation, see here and type in "511" into the page search. There you will see the original Yiddish words, "אז דאס איז עצומ''ה אליין, ווי ער האט זיך אריינגעשטעלט אין א גוף", which literally means exactly what the above says: "As this is G-d Himself, as he has personified himself in a body." – ezra Jun 16 '19 at 3:06
  • @ezra With respect, you would probably get great benefit from looking at Sefer Dikduk HaGra, and Sefer HaShorashim from both Radak and Ibn Yanach (Janach). Many people, even those with a great deal of Torah learning, have no idea what is meant by the terms ‘mahuto’ and ‘atzmuto’. If you make the effort to understand these terms, then you will have proper comprehension of what the Rebbe is discussing. It’s not his innovation. He’s only repeating what has been found within Torah literally for millennia. B’vracha... – Yaacov Deane Jun 16 '19 at 5:15
  • Chasidus language is allegorical. It's not serious to ask about such expression. Chasidus is based on kabala and in kabala and chasidus corporeality of g-d is excluded. To understand you need to ask chasidim how to understand this text – kouty Jun 16 '19 at 19:40
  • This is a topic I found in Sefer ohev Israel before many years. It's signify that for a man who is far from spirituality, he will discover spirituality thanks to the rebbe – kouty Jun 16 '19 at 20:03

It’s important to note, that despite the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s indisputably vast command of Jewish sources, the rebbe himself acknowledged that had no explicit proof for his thesis. This makes it almost futile to look for alleged “sources”, when the rebbe himself admitted that he had no parallel source that he could point to.

Note, that he prefaces his thesis by writing, that he didn’t see this idea written explicitly in Chassidic works, but this is his “hergesh”, feeling. He also anticipated that this “hergesh” might not be felt by others, and said, that if they don’t share his “hergesh”, then he grants it to them, and won’t argue with them.

Here is the text, in Yiddish (see bottom of page, and continues to next page), which is known that the rebbe himself approved for publication:

איך האב ניט געזען עס זאל זיך אזוי ריידן מפורש אין חסידות, נאר עז איז א הרגש, במילא ווער עס וויל מרגיש זיין זאל מרגיש זיין, און ווער ניט, וויל איך מיט אים ניט שפארן, יהי לו אשר לו


understanding what you are reading is important to not making false assumptions. It should be obvious to anyone that the Lubavitcher rebbe would never claim Gd has corporeal representation. There are many examples of this throughout the Talmud and kabalah and it's important to understand in context what each source means. As far as how a Rebbe is able to connect a Jew to G-d (which is what this is about) is discussed in the maamar (chasidic discourse) "v'ateh t'tzvaveh" when a Jew already has an inherent connection to Gd. The idea here is that while every Jew has this connection inherited from their ancestors it is not necessarily a connection that is felt or realized in actions in their life. A Rebbe is able to connect such a person to Gd by bringing out that inner connection to their conscience in a way that will impact how this person lives their life. Other examples are found in the Talmud Bava Basra 116a, " Rebby Pinchas bar Chama explained whoever has a sick person in his house should go to a scholar and the sage will plead for mercy on his behalf" as well as the the Talmud that states by cleaving to a scholar one is cleaving to Gd (kesubos 111b)

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