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
    Commented Jun 16, 2019 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
    Commented Jun 16, 2019 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... Commented Jun 16, 2019 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
    Commented Jun 16, 2019 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
    Commented Jun 16, 2019 at 20:03

3 Answers 3


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)


To understand what the Rebbe is saying you need to be familiar with where the Rebbe is coming from. It is explained in many sources in Chasidus that in the proses of the creation there are two ways that Hashem creates the world.

To understand them Chasidus usually gives a Mashal (parable) of a teacher and student, and specifically the Mishna and Talmud. When an unfamiliar student learns a Mishna at first he doesn't (truly and fully) understand what he is learning it is only once he learns the Gemara on that Mishna that he can go back and understand the Mishna seeing the same Mishna that before was just some Aleph Beis he now sees all its depth. What changed? the Mishna stayed the same?! but rather, until now the relationship between the Mishna and the student was that the Mishna was over his head (to a certain extant you can call it Bli-Gvul, unlimited), the content and information in the Mishna was not contracted to the mental abilities of the student.

But after he learned the Gemara, the content in the Mishna didn't change, rather it contracted itself to the abilities of the student, but this isn't a real contraction to the Mishna rather now the same content is based of the abilities of the student (Gvul, limited). And the same goes between any teacher teaching a new intellect to his student.

So too is with Hashem creating the world, there is one way that Hashem so to speak contracts himself to the accepting abilities of the creations allowing them to fell like their own independent limited beings, and another way is through reaving himself the he is (not based on the abilities of creations) being unlimited (but would we be aware of this we would not be able to remain limited 'independent' creations, therefor this is not revealed to us and we are not aware of it).

There are many more details to this as explained in many sources of Chasidus, see for example: https://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/85424/jewish/Maamar-VeYadaata.htm

also scattered throughout Tanya https://www.chabad.org/library/tanya/tanya_cdo/aid/1026027/jewish/Text-of-the-Tanya.htm

Based of this you will understand what the Rebbe means by this that a Rebbe is Hashem enclothed in a human body. Clothing is something you wear and is based of your shape and size, it is very contracted to be just for you. So too when a human is aware and subdues himself to Hashem (which is Bli-Gvul, unlimited, and as mentioned before that is also in the creation, that unlimitedness is here) it is basically saying that Hashem (the unlimited) is enclothed (aware and revealed) in the human body. This explanation was a simple one without the many more details (possibly details that are needed for you to fully understand the concept).

  • its interesting to note that once the Rebbe's Mazkir (secretary) Rabbi Groner told the Rebbe how a not Lubavitcher Bochor was asking him how is it that the Chasidim say their Rebbe is Hashem enclothed in a human etc. and the Rebbe asked Rabbi Groner who started with this topic and he answered that the Bochor did and the Rebbe noted that its interesting that the ones involved in this idea is more the not Lubavitchers complaining about than Lubavitchers themselves talking about it.
    – user24005
    Commented Nov 14, 2022 at 5:25
  • (Copy from above). I would guess the answer comes from Sefer HaMaamarim 5730 p. 143. He's not just talking about himself, but everyone. "the essence of the physical self is the Divine self". See also chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/3432275/jewish/… for a good english, down to earth explanation of this deeply philosophical idea. See also plato.stanford.edu/entries/qualia-knowledge: "It is therefore safe to predict that the discussion about the knowledge argument will not come to an end in the near future."
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Commented Nov 14, 2022 at 13:49
  • Does this make sense to you, who have learned it all?
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Commented Nov 14, 2022 at 13:50
  • 1
    user24005: Of course it would be that way. When someone is not a member of a controversial group he usually will hear about their controversial issues from outsiders as opposed to members themselves. He hangs around with nonmembers and members aren't running to share their controversial opinions with outsiders. Shlomo Helbrans could have deflected the exact same way.
    – Schmerel
    Commented Nov 14, 2022 at 14:04
  • @Schmerel casually just equating Lev Tahor and Chabad
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Commented Nov 14, 2022 at 16:54

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