From a purely Torah perspective. What was the disagreement between Rav Shach and the Lubavitcher Rebbe? Like, from a halachic point of view what were their opinions and why?

I know they disagreed about Shabbos candles for young girls and tefilin campaign and moshiach. I don't know sources it is just spoken about often.

I don't think there is a sefer on it yet.

  • you mean regarding the moshiach scandal?
    – ray
    May 5, 2016 at 6:16
  • Try and find the letters that Rav Shach wrote....They are ummm, eye opening to say the least.
    – Yehoshua
    May 5, 2016 at 11:23
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    Folks, comments are for requesting or suggesting an improvement to the question (or adding minor information like a link to a related question or maybe a proposed avenue of research). If you have an answer, post it as an answer. If you want to chat, there's a place for that. Comments that don't have the purpose for which commenting is intended (here and elsewhere on the site) risk immediate deletion. And please keep all discourse (answers, necessary comments, chat) respectful.
    – msh210
    May 5, 2016 at 21:04
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    @menachem, please edit to indicate what disagreement you're talking about. What do you know about it (and how), and what do you want to know?
    – Isaac Moses
    May 12, 2016 at 11:13
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    @menachem, thanks for adding more detail. This still doesn't read like a clear, answerable question. Imagine that you're trying to get someone who's an expert on the history of this controversy to write an informative, well-written, authoritative answer. (If you're posting on Mi Yodeya, that's what you're doing.) Can you edit the question so that it would attract favorable attention from such an expert? The more effort you put into writing a question post well, the more likely you are to get great answers.
    – Isaac Moses
    May 12, 2016 at 15:39

3 Answers 3


In his letters printed in michtavim umaamarim (Simanim 534 and 535), Rav Shach responded to an accusation of disliking chasidim in general. He vehemently denied this, stating as proof that there were many chasidim that had learned in his Yeshiva.

The only sect of chassidus he said he wanted nothing to do with was chabbad. The reason he gave was that every other group of Jews recognized other groups of Jews as being a viable way of Judaism. They might disagree on what the proper path is, but they are all viable paths. Chabbad he said was different and refused to accept that any other path other than chabbad was possible.

(In this [series of] letter[s] he didn't name any particular Rabbi of chabbad, rather he was focused on the chassidus in general. Please don't shoot the messenger, I'm only reporting what I read there.)


There were several things. One was the Rebbe's innovation of learning Rambam everyday to finish it in 1 years or 3 years. R. Shach mocked it saying that people already knew of the Rambam before the Rebbe came around, and he said that no one should follow the Rebbe's Rambam learning cycle. (He supported daf yomi, and never rejected it saying that people knew of the gemoro before R. Shapiro). He gave two reasons: that people will pasken from the Rambam and it will disrupt seder. Neither of these points seem to be valid, as people who learn Rambam know that we don't always pasken according to the Rambam; and the Rebbe was very adamant that chitas and Rambam should not be learned during seder.

Another thing of contention was whether you can give land of Eretz Yisroel away. The Rebbe was very against giving away land, while R. Shach supported giving away land for "peace".

The Rebbe got very upset when R. Shach spoke really sharply against non religious Jews and kibbutznikim, saying that they forfeited their right to be called Jews. The Rebbe said that "every Jew is part of God” and that “anyone who berates any Jew is touching the apple of God’s eye. (The Rebbe was always careful to only speak of other Jews favourably, similar to the derech of the berditchiver.)


R. Shach also said that anyone who doesn't believe that the Holocaust is because of our aveiros is a heretic. The Rebbe's opinion on that was

In his writings and discussions on the subject, the Rebbe rejected all theological explanations for the Holocaust. What greater conceit -- the Rebbe would say -- and what greater heartlessness, can there be than to give a "reason" for the death and torture of millions of innocent men, women and children? Can we presume to assume that an explanation small enough to fit inside the finite bounds of human reason can explain a horror of such magnitude? We can only concede that there are things that lie beyond the finite ken of the human mind. Echoing his father-in-law, the Rebbe would say: It is not my task to justify G‑d on this. Only G‑d Himself can answer for what He allowed to happen. And the only answer we will accept, said the Rebbe, is the immediate and complete Redemption that will forever banish evil from the face of the earth and bring to light the intrinsic goodness and perfection of G‑d's creation. (Chabad.org)

The are many other disagreements between them, including about Moshiach, which others I'm sure will add.

  • 2
    Adding citations for your claims regarding schnerson and HaRav Shach's argument about the Rambam-learning cycles would improve your post.
    – Double AA
    May 12, 2016 at 9:06

According to the Leshem, the cherem of the Gra against chassidim was primarily on Chabad.

Rav Shach never objected to the Rebbe's philosophy, as Judaism is an open playing field in this area, he objected to halachical abberations such as not sleeping in the succah.

He also objected to Chabad not working on communal issues together with other groups, this goes back to a discussion between the Reshab and Pinchos Kohn et al concerning Chabad not joining the Agudah.

  • 3
    Did R Shach ever cite this Leshem as basis for his actions?
    – Double AA
    May 6, 2016 at 2:05
  • You may have material to answer this question judaism.stackexchange.com/q/17590/759
    – Double AA
    May 6, 2016 at 2:06
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    where is this leshem? May 6, 2016 at 5:05
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    I don't think the second paragraph is true. He definitely had issues with Chabad Hashkafa May 6, 2016 at 5:38
  • where in the sefer? May 6, 2016 at 6:39

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