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Major rabbis have signed a document declaring Rabbi Schneerson as Messiah, so do other Jews who do not hold this position become apostates according to these rabbis? Also do the signatories still maintain this view?

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    Contrast: judaism.stackexchange.com/q/38340 – msh210 Sep 21 '14 at 5:26
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    Perhaps according to them. But who really cares? – Double AA Sep 21 '14 at 6:22
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    What is wrong with this question? I don't think it deserves heavy downvoting – Daniel Sep 21 '14 at 20:11
  • Just because some "major rabbis" signed a paper saying the Lubavitcher Rebbe was the Moshiach doesn't really mean anything. After all, R' Akiva was wrong about Bar Koziba being the Moshiach (although some say he really was but was demoted from the position by Hashem). By the way, the link no longer works. – ezra Sep 9 '16 at 20:09
  • How would this document even work? What legal status could it have? – Orion Oct 14 '18 at 23:48
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Let's answer one at a time.

Major rabbis have signed a [document][1] declaring Rabbi Schneerson as Messiah, so do other Jews who do not hold this position become apostates?

Let's see what the Rambam says in הלכות מלכים ומלחמותיהם Ch. 11:1

א הַמֶּלֶךְ הַמָּשִׁיחַ עָתִיד לַעֲמֹד וּלְהַחְזִיר מַלכוּת דָּוִד לְיָשְׁנָהּ לַמֶּמְשָׁלָה הָרִאשׁוֹנָה. וּבוֹנֶה הַמִּקְדָּשׁ וּמְקַבֵּץ נִדְחֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל. וְחוֹזְרִין כָּל הַמִּשְׁפָּטִים בְּיָמָיו כְּשֶׁהָיוּ מִקֹּדֶם. מַקְרִיבִין קָרְבָּנוֹת. וְעוֹשִׂין שְׁמִטִּין וְיוֹבְלוֹת כְּכָל מִצְוָתָן הָאֲמוּרָה בַּתּוֹרָה. וְכָל מִי שֶׁאֵינוֹ מַאֲמִין בּוֹ. אוֹ מִי שֶׁאֵינוֹ מְחַכֶּה לְבִיאָתוֹ. לֹא בִּשְׁאָר נְבִיאִים בִּלְבַד הוּא כּוֹפֵר. אֶלָּא בַּתּוֹרָה וּבְמשֶׁה רַבֵּנוּ. ‏

Roughly translated as:

(A): Moshiach will (1) restore the Davidic dynasty, (2) build the Bet HaMikdash and (3) gather in the exiled Jews [to Israel].

(B): [As a result] (1) Jewish Law will be restored, (2) Sacrifices will again be offered and (3) Shmita and Yovel will be in force again.

(C) Anybody who does not believe in Moshiach, or doesn't wait for his coming, is a Kofer [apostate].

Question #1: Which of the above 3 requirements (in A) did the Lubavitcher Rebbe זצ"ל implement?

Question #2: Which of the above 3 results (in B) have we merited in our days?

While the Rebbe זצ"ל was a potential candidate - see the last piece of Rambam below - it seems we were not worthy, and he did not live long enough to finish the job and qualify.


Also do the signatories still maintain this view?

I didn't ask them, but I am sure they learn their daily dose of Rambam, as the Rebbe זצ"ל expected everybody to do.

Let's skip one Halacha and see ibid 1:3:

ג וְאַל יַעֲלֶה עַל דַּעְתְּךָ שֶׁהַמֶּלֶךְ הַמָּשִׁיחַ צָרִיךְ לַעֲשׂוֹת אוֹתוֹת וּמוֹפְתִים וּמְחַדֵּשׁ דְּבָרִים בָּעוֹלָם אוֹ מְחַיֶּה מֵתִים וְכַיּוֹצֵא בִּדְבָרִים אֵלּוּ אֵין הַדָּבָר כָּךְ. שֶׁהֲרֵי רַבִּי עֲקִיבָא חָכָם גָּדוֹל מֵחַכְמֵי מִשְׁנָה הָיָה. וְהוּא הָיָה נוֹשֵׂא כֵּלָיו שֶׁל בֶּן כּוֹזִיבָא הַמֶּלֶךְ. וְהוּא הָיָה אוֹמֵר עָלָיו שֶׁהוּא הַמֶּלֶךְ הַמָּשִׁיחַ. וְדִמָּה הוּא וְכָל חַכְמֵי דּוֹרוֹ שֶׁהוּא הַמֶּלֶךְ הַמָּשִׁיחַ. עַד שֶׁנֶּהֱרַג בַּעֲוֹנוֹת. כֵּיוָן שֶׁנֶּהֱרַג נוֹדַע לָהֶם שֶׁאֵינוֹ. וְלֹא שָׁאֲלוּ מִמֶּנּוּ חֲכָמִים לֹא אוֹת וְלֹא מוֹפֵת. וְעִקַּר הַדְּבָרִים כָּכָה הֵן. שֶׁהַתּוֹרָה הַזֹּאת חֻקֶּיהָ וּמִשְׁפָּטֶיהָ לְעוֹלָם וּלְעוֹלְמֵי עוֹלָמִים. וְאֵין מוֹסִיפִין עֲלֵיהֶן וְלֹא גּוֹרְעִין מֵהֶן :‏

In a nutshell: Rabbi Akiva assumed Bar Kochva/Koziva was Moshiach, until he died. At that point it became clear that he was not Moshiach.

Since the Lubavitcher Rebbe זצ"ל has a grave in the Montefiore Cemetery in Queens, New York, he can no longer be considered the Moshiach.

It would seem to me that the signatories no longer maintain this view.


The Rambam leaves no doubt as to his opinion, by ending of the chapter as follows:

ד וְאִם יַעֲמֹד מֶלֶךְ מִבֵּית דָּוִד הוֹגֶה בַּתּוֹרָה וְעוֹסֵק בְּמִצְוֹת כְּדָוִד אָבִיו. כְּפִי תּוֹרָה שֶׁבִּכְתָב וְשֶׁבְּעַל פֶּה. וְיָכֹף כָּל יִשְׂרָאֵל לֵילֵךְ בָּהּ וּלְחַזֵּק בִּדְקָהּ. וְיִלָּחֵם מִלְחֲמוֹת ה'. הֲרֵי זֶה בְּחֶזְקַת שֶׁהוּא מָשִׁיחַ. אִם עָשָׂה וְהִצְלִיחַ וּבָנָה מִקְדָּשׁ בִּמְקוֹמוֹ וְקִבֵּץ נִדְחֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל הֲרֵי זֶה מָשִׁיחַ בְּוַדַּאי. וִיתַקֵּן אֶת הָעוֹלָם כֻּלּוֹ לַעֲבֹד אֶת ה' בְּיַחַד שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר כִּי אָז אֶהְפֹּךְ אֶל עַמִּים שָׂפָה בְרוּרָה לִקְרֹא כֻלָּם בְּשֵׁם ה' וּלְעָבְדוֹ שְׁכֶם אֶחָד: ‏

A person can be considered a candidate for Moshiach if he studies Torah live King David, manages to get all Jews to become religious and he fights Gcd's wars.

If he succeeds and then builds the bet HaMikdash and gathers in the exiled then he definitely is the Moshiach.

May we merit to greet Moshiach soon in our days.

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