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2/12/07

Messianic Chabadnik Ariel Sokolovsky Condemned

From OregonChabad.com:

STATEMENT FROM CHABAD-LUBAVITCH OF OREGON:

We of Chabad-Lubavitch of Oregon were shocked to read about the beliefs of Ariel Sokolovsky in the Haaretz Newspaper. His beliefs are heretical and anathema to Torah.

Ariel Sokolovsky has no position in the Chabad Lubavitch movement. He is not a rabbi certified by our movement. He cannot possibly be described as a Chabad activist. He acts in numerous ways in complete contradiction of the Shulchan Aruch - The Code of Jewish Law.

His blasphemous blog is his own private initiative, just as the concubine blog that advocates ideas inimical to Torah and Jewish Tradition. His blog is not part of the Chabad web system. The statement by Haaretz that it is a Chabad website is false.

We strongly protest any assertion that he has any connection to the Chabad-Lubavitch movement.

Rabbi Moshe Wilhelm
Regional Director
Chabad-Lubavitch of Oregon

Here's the concubine website.

Here's the concubine blog.

Here's the Feb. 12, 2007 Haaretz article that got Ariel in trouble:

Rabbi Ariel Sokolovsky is a Moldova-born Chabad rabbi in Portland, Oregon, and a more amiable soul would be hard to find.

Yet Sokolovsky maintains a blog he entitled "Rebbegod" and refers to Schneerson as "Rebbe-Almighty" among other adulatory sobriquets.

Drawing on rabbinical sources, he attempts to show that this is not as revolutionary as it sounds. He concedes that there are few people like him who will openly call the Rebbe God. He claims, however, that many people believe it, but do not say so openly for fear of scaring people away from Chabad altogether.

"The Rebbe and God are not the same thing exactly, but I do not object to people thinking that they are the same thing."

He recounts an incident in which he confronted his teacher - a senior Chabad rabbi from the former USSR - as to why he would not openly declare the Rebbe to be God. According to Sokolowsky, the senior rabbi jokingly warned him: "there can be many gods but only one Moshiach."

Ariel told me Feb. 12 that every reporter since me has misquoted him.

Ariel posts to my blog Feb. 13, 2007:

By the grace of G-d Shalom everyone! This “STATEMENT FROM CHABAD-LUBAVITCH OF OREGON Inc.” makes no sense:

1) How can Rabbi Wilhelm be “shocked” when he knows my beliefs for 2 years I have been here in Portland and 1 year I had http://www.RebbeGod.blogspot.com blog when we had a number of 1 on 1 conversations on these topics with him?

2) How can he accuse me of “blasphemy” if he gives me aliahs to the Torah fully knowing what my public statements and beliefs are (a blasphemer doesn’t get aliah’s among other things) ?

3) He asserts that I have no position in Chabad Lubavitch movement. I don’t know what that means. If it means I have no position in his non profit corporation Chabad of Oregon Inc fine I never claimed I did. Yet on the other hand the Rebbe King Moshiach clearly said a number of times that every Jew is His shaliach (emissary) thus is automatically part of Chabad Lubavitch movement. That every Chabadnik should turn his home into a “Chabad House” to offer physical and spiritual assistance to others including putting a Chabad House sign on the door thus I have a number of such “doors” here in Portland in Boston and online which welcome thousands of visitors daily spreading Torah and Chassidus including the Rebbes teachings about the excitement of living in the Messianic era unfolding before our eyes and the identity of Moshiach.

4) He asserts that I’m not a rabbi certified by Chabad movement which is extremely deceptive as Chabad movement doesn’t certify Rabbis nor is an ordination at one of the Chabad Yeshivah’s is or has ever been a requirement for serving as a Chabad emissary a number of well known emissaries ordained elsewhere are are a clear proff to this fact.

5) He claims that I cannot be called a Chabad activist as my actions are supposedly against the code of Jewish law. Since none of these sins are actually listed this vague slander deserves no reply.

6) He reiterates that my blog is my private initiative as if I ever claimed otherwise. He mentions another blog and a site which are now run under a pen name “Noah Smith” that I have recently took over and improved with the Rebbe’s blessings thru the Holy letters http://www.igrot.com (as is the Chabad custom to ask the Rebbe’s blessing thru holy letters) that “it should be published as soon as possible as it will bring merit to many” (mezakeh et ha’rabim) and claims that this particular blog and site is against the Torah and Jewish tradition ignoring the fact that this site is under the supervision of a qualified Dayan (Rabbinic Judge) from Jerusalem an expert in Jewish family law related to this site and author of many books on this and other topics who has more knowledge than Rabbi Wilhelm Shlit”a whose main functions as far as I can see are teaching the basics of Judaism, kosher supervision and especially fundraising (which often causes people to write and publish such statements which have nothing to do with Chabad teachings or Jewish law but are an example of duplicity, backstabbing Orwellian doublespeak and empty propaganda.)

PS. It has been mentioned to me by a person with connections within “Lubavitch Headquarters” that supposedly Rabbi Wilhelm didn’t write this shameful statement of his own volition but only after facing much pressure from “Lubavitch Headquarters” to do so after the HaAretz article came out. While I don’t know for sure if this is true or another bit of misinformation this statement does look very strange much unlike anything I have seen or heard from Rabbi Wilhelm Shlit”a whom I have grown to respect as a decent and kind human being that he is who I would never had imagined would lend his name and web site to spread this strange defamatory, obscenely foolish and slanderous statement.

With respect and blessing. Rabbi Ariel Sokolovsky Bais Moshiach Center of Greater Boston and Portland Oregon http://www.BostonChabad.com

Nov. 2002

I was tipped off to this story by Ariel Sokolovsky, a Russian Chabad Jew new to America. He created BostonChabad.com.

BostonChabad.com

This website is created and maintained by Ariel S. Sokolovsky. It attempts to present the words of the Lubavitcher Rebbe King Moshiach. It was reviewed by a number of Chabad Rabbis who assured Ariel Sokolovsky that the site is proper. However there are some people in Chabad in general and in the Chabad of Boston in particular who believe that even though the message of the site is true it shouldn't be publicized (despite the clear instructions of the Rebbe King Moshiach to the contrary) since in their opinion it may push away some people from Chabad. Moreover they claim that my using the www.BostonChabad.com name is illegal, against halocha and the Rebbe King Moshiach's directives. Since they have yet to produce one quote or any other shred of evidence to support these baseless allegations it's my humble opinion that they are jelious of the success of this site and are trying to intimidate me into giving up the domain name. I have offered them to ask what the Rebbe King Moshiach thinks about this thru Igrot Koidesh (Holy Letters of the Rebbe King Moshiach which can be used to ask a question and recieve a miraculious reply from Him www.igrot.com however I'm not aware if they have taken me up on my offer so I'll keep you posted of any new developments.

Persecuted Believers In Rebbe King Moshiach Undaunted By Criticism

Chabadniks, members of the Chabad Hasidic sect of Orthodox Judaism, tell lukeford.net that they are persecuted when they speak out about the identity of Rebbe King Moshiach (the Messiah).

A Boston Chabad rabbi writes Ariel:

It was brought to my attention that you are running a website www.chabadboston.com. Did any shliach (presumably Rabbi ___ - the Chabad shliach in Boston, or myself) give you permission to use the name "chabadboston"? If not it is

1. against the law (USA)
2. Against halacha [Jewish Law]
3. Against the directives of the Rebbe

I urge you to stop immediately.

Ariel replies:

Have you heard of the principle innocent till proven guilty well you know me better then to excpect me to cave in to intimidation with no basis in reason or logic. My address is also a part of Boston. I'm also a part of Chabad and it's not within your power to kick me out of Chabad (if that is even possible) so if you feel like it place an ad in Jewish Advocate saying the web site www.BostonChabad.com is not affiliated with your Chabad House or sue me (have you heard of the expression there is no such thing as bad publicity) I urge you to stop immediately.

Did you ask the Rebbe Melech HaMoshiach before writing this letter with such unsubstantiated accusations? why not do it now http://www.igrot.com/eng/form.htm last time i had a similar argument with someone in New York eventually we went into 770 and I opened Igrot the answer of the Rebbe Melech HaMoshiach Shlit"a was "Mivtzoim that you do widen the gates thru which the brocha will flow down" that was a convincing enough answer for that person who is also older and presumably wiser then me to agree that I was right and leave me alone are you sacred of the same exact outcome? Hate to be proven wrong? I dare you try it: http://www.igrot.com/eng/form.htm

Perhaps I wasn't brought up with the same dicipline you were and it's much harder for me to keep any kind of Seider but i was taught not be embarrassed that I'm a Jew not to be embarrassed to say the truth and if you don't share those values your entire being mesudar is worth nothing and the builders of the migdal Bavel were also very mesudar people and had the tremendous achdus...:-)

So if you want to continue convincing students to wear kippah "since everyone around them also dresses weird and has purple hair and piercings" fine i think it's foolish but it's your choice do what you think is right however I'll do what i understand is right and that is to fullfill the directives of the Rebbe Melech HaMoshiach and i know i have His support and i dare you or anyone else to interfere with me and i hope for your sake you are not going to do so.

Respectfully Ariel S. Sokolovsky

Question on BostonChabad.com:

Is this the official policy of Lubavitch?

Answer: The only one who sets Lubavitch policy is the Rebbe himself. No one else. Lubavitcher Chassidim, the world over, live by what the Rebbe says, does and wants. Yes, every person regardless of race, religion, color or creed has a right to express any opinion he wants. It has to be clear, however, that it is only a private and personal opinion and does not reflect the opinion of the Rebbe and/or Lubavitch. The Rebbe made three things crystal-clear:

1. "The time of the redemption has arrived and Moshiach is on his way. "

2. The Rebbe, is Moshiach (see above).

3. We should "publicize this to all the people of the generation." (Shabbos Shoftim 5751)

This is what the Rebbe said. This is what the Rebbe wants. And this is what Lubavitch Chassidim live by.

...Born in Kishinev, Moldova, former Soviet Union on 15th of Teives 5740-January 4 1980, (few months before the Rebbe King Moshiach [Menahem Schneerson] made the famous speech in Russian demanding that the Soviet goverment follow it's own constitution and allow and protect the observance of Judaism in the USSR predicting that if it will not do so it will be replaced by the one which will in a near future) Ariel Sokolovsky grew up in a family where only some Jewish traditions were observed. Before the the fall of communism, he slowly got in touch with his Jewish roots by learning Hebrew and later learning Torah Jewish Law and any Jewish book he could find. He eventually deciding to stop eating meat since no kosher meat was available. He went to various Zionist summer camps then later went to a Jewish school for a year. He went to a Kishinev branch of Torah Vodath Yeshiva right after his Bar Mitzvah. He moved to the United States June 2, 1993.

FOR A CONTRARY VIEW, read this book by David Berger: The Rebbe, the Messiah, and the Scandal of Orthodox Indifference

Ariel tells me in November, 2002: "I grew up in Kishnev, Moldova. When I started becoming religious, I started reading various articles. The Chief Rabbi of Kishinev and Moldova, Rabbi Zalman Abelsky HaCohen, is a great Torah scholar both in Talmud and in Chabad Chassidc philosophy. He was emissary of the Rebbe King Moshiach and of the previous Rebbe a person who rekindled the Jewish spark in Moldova. I went to a yeshiva of Agudat Yisrael [Lithuanian approach to Judaism, mitnagdic, different from Habad Hasidim] Torah VoDas. We studied only Torah from morning until late evening for four month before my family and I went to Moscow on the way to Boston. My mom would also come for Shabbos there and to a seminar they conducted and she too became observant. I and many others had "brit mila"- circumcision and got my Jewish name Ariel which means Lion of G-d and is also used in Isaiah 29 as a metaphor for Jerusalem.

"I studied at the Torat Haim Yeshiva about 30 miles from Moscow in May 1993 . It had some people who were Chabad and some people who were not-Chabad. Some who looked Chassidic some who didn't. I did not then understand the many differences in philosophy between various Jewish movements. (I was told misnagdim study more Torah and hassidim do more good deeds.) During a meal at Shavuos [feast of Pentecost], I asked the head of the yeshiva if it was mitnagdic [opponents of Hasidism], he said "For sure not misnagdic since even the Lubavitcher Rebbe Shlit"a said there were no longer any real misnagdic yeshivot.

"In that yeshiva, I saw a book in Hebrew that took all the customs of Chabad Lubavitch, scrutinized them, and concluded that Chabad was a form of idol worship (G-d forbid) . I was confused. In Kishnev, there were warm and friendly relations between Chabad and Agudat Yisrael How could that be if the charges in that book were true Besides the fact that the customs they quoted there were and are common among many other groups Seffardic and Chassidic in particular.

"When I came to Boston, I was invited to the home of Rabbi Chaim Zalman Gurkow for Shabbos. We studied together the laws of who is the Moshiach [Messiah] in the Mishne Torah and he explained to me why he thinks the Rebbe [Rabbi Menahem Scheerson] fits the description. I went to a Chabad yeshiva in Moristown. I'd go to the mikveh [ritual pool of water] every morning and study Chabad Hasidism before prayer. That regimen gave me a clear mind. I did not have extraneous thoughts. I felt that the evil inclination was sleeping.

"I went to New York for shabbos and visited 770 Eastern Parkway and saw the Rebbe King Moshiach. When he came out on the balcony, people would sing "Long Live the Rebbe King Moshiach Forever and Ever! And he'd encourage their singing. I saw that the rebbe supported the idea."

Levi: "What have been the negative repercussions to you for believing that the Rebbe is the King Moshiach?"

Ariel: "Having to endure some public humiliation. I've had people yelling that I am an idol worshiper.

"There are two issues here. The issue of believing in the Rebbe as the Moshiach and the issue of promoting that belief. All Chabad Hassidim and other people who took time to reasearch the issue of what the Rebbe was saying about Moshiach and know who is the Rebbe believe he is the Moshiach. I do not know one Chabad rabbi who has said publicly that he does not believe that the rebbe is the Moshiach. Some of them however, especially those in America, feel that saying publicly that the Rebbe is the Moshiach now after the Gimel Tamuz 5754 the day of the Rebbes concealment creates the wrong association between Chabad and Christianity. They fear of enduring the few moments when they are called idol worshipers forgeting that the firs thing writen in Shulchan Aruch (code of Jewish Law) is that one is to be bold like a leopard in ignoring the mockers (and as the Rebbe comented the rest of the Shulchan Aruch can't be observed without this that's why it's placed in the beggining) ...

"One Chabad Shaliach screamed at me for saying the Rebbe was the Moshiach in Shule. Then I was at his house later. I tried to convince him the Rebbe is the Moshiach. He said he knew the Rebbe is Moshiach but if we say it publicly, people will not give money to Chabad and they will not come close to Chabad and they will not study Chabad Hasidism which the Rebbe said is the way to hasten the revealation of Moshiach. I pointed out that he mentioned money as the number one reason forgeting that money comes from HaShem (G-d) and following the instructions of the Rebbe King Moshiach and after that he stopped to oppose my actions in publicizing the identity of Moshiach. (After that I also got a reply from the Rebbe thru Igrot Koidesh [holy book] saying that I should continue and increase my activites in this area and I'll overcome all obstacles in the merit of my anscestors.

"If people would understand that the Rebbe is the Moshiach and that he is also a prophet and that whatever he says is the word of HaShem, such as not giving away parts of the Holy Land, and the who is a Jew controversy (rebbe says only those who have an Orthodox conversion) and the obligation to listen to his directives not just as those of the Torah sage but of a prophet see Deuteronomy 18 ..."

Levi: "How many people have given you a hard time for your websites?"

Ariel: "Very few until I registered www.bostonchabad.com. When some shluchim [emissaries] in Boston said I had to ask their priour permission to do so. I was told by Rabbi Chaim Yitzhok Cohen of the Beis Moshiach center in London that Rebbe King Moshiach said in a public talk on this issue that every Chabadnik should put a "Chabad House " sign on his home. It would be as illogical to say that I should go to one of Chabad's emissaries and ask if it is right for me to put a Chabad House sign on my "virtual home" as on my actual home particularly since the Rebbe also said that all Jews who assume that mission are his emissaries. Besides there are plenty of other domain names they can register.

"I urge everyone who is reading this to go to their respective emissaries in their communities and demand that they obey the Rebbe King Moshiach's directives and stop "concealing" the identity of Moshiach and teach people the Rebbes talks from 5751-5752 since the Rebbe said this is the surest way to hasten the redeemption. And proclaim "Yechi Adoneinu Moreinu veRabbeinu Melech HaMoshiach LeOilam Vo'ed!"(video)- Long Live the rebbe King Moshiach forever! (video)"

Chaim Amalek writes:

All the best to this guy, but let's face it, HE ISN'T JEWISH. Oh sure, he remains a Jew in the Adolf-Eichman-Jews-are-a-biological-fact sort of way, but in terms of basic theology, he is no more a Jew than an adherent of the Nation of Islam (let alone a "Five Percenter") is a Muslim or a "Jew for Jesus" is a Jew. He belongs now to some other faith, just as those Jews who insisted that Jehoshua bar Miriam was the Messiah in the years after his death were ultimately acknowledged to be the first adherents of a new faith.

Meanwhile, the flesh and bones of Menachem Schneerson continue to decay in his simple grave. The guy is dead, dead, dead, and he is not coming back to assume earthly form for moshiachdom or for any other purpose. Or do these people believe that he is in fact alive, just "resting" in his grave, not subject to the forces of physical decay that are the final arbiter of all flesh? Luke, if this delusion continues, expect to see some of these people dig up the rabbi's corpse and drag it through the streets of Brooklyn in a parade.

The Chassidic movement, itself not exactly Jewish, deserves this comedy. It is the end result of making of every self aggrandizing rabbi in ignorant Europestern europe who had a following a mincaliphate a kaliphate of the mind in which "The Rebbe" was made into some sort of intermediary with God. And do not forget that by and large these "rebbis", who had immense power over their followers and could have ordered them into a state of violent revolt against the Nazis, instead generally chose for them the path of pacifist suicide. If the Arabs do succeed in driving Israel into the sea, I have no doubt that quite of few of these rabbis will remain on as collaborators with their Muslim overlords, imposing their version of Sharia on the few survivors.

Ariel replies:

As it's writen in the Mishlei (Proverbs of King Solomon) "Answer the fool according to his folly" :-) so all I can say to Reb Chaim Amolek the man should change his last name and have No Compassion for Amalek if he is even Jewish in the 1st place:-)

PS. Can Reb Chaim reread my site and find anything positive he can say about it, anything:-)

Chaim says:

You know, I imagine that were he alive and mentally sound (not suffering from the infirmaties of old age) "The Rebbe" would be spinning in his grave over the assertions being made in his name.

OK, I've read the site, further considered the arguments and have now changed my mind as follows:

AMALEK SUPPORTS THE REBBE AS MOSHIACH
AMALEK SUPPORTS MENACHEM SCHNEERSON AS MOSHIACH
AMALEK STANDS WITH YOU
AMALEK AMALEK AMALEK AMALEK AMALEK WANTS YOU TO GET EVEN MORE PUBLICITY