In a “Clarification Letter” released earlier this week, signed by Rabbi Gershon Elisha Schochet, Av Beis Din of Toronto, he discussed an earlier letter he sent to Rabbi YY Shusterman, fiercely banning the distribution of the book “Rebbe by Joseph Telushkin,” citing the heretical views of its author, and expressing shock that a Chabad Rov supposedly permitted its dissemination.
A version of the first letter appeared in the CrownHeights.info site for a few hours and was subsequently removed after pressure from certain individuals in the “Corporate Chabad” world, who were unhappy with a Rabbinical opinion which didn’t suit their political needs.
The new letter, published yesterday on the aforementioned site, included five points, among them he reaffirms that the first letter is indeed genuine, and he stands behind its content, though he regrets the choice of words.
However, the last point in his letter seems absurd, as it contains “a blatant lie,” which seems to imply that this new letter was perhaps not written by Rabbi Schochet, but was drafted by someone from “Corporate Chabad” on behalf of Rabbi Schochet.
The paragraph states:
“5) The undersigned has never had any contact whatsoever, neither direct or indirect, with the “chabad.info” internet site… The statement on that site that a copy of a letter was provided to them by the undersigned (or anyone acting on his behalf) is a blatant lie. The undersigned can only speculate as to how the site attained a copy of said letter.”
Rabbi Schochet seemingly does not have access to internet, and did not see what was published on ChabadInfo.com, as evident from what was written on his behalf in the letter.
ChabadInfo.com wrote only the following words, an exact quote (Click HERE for the original article):
“In a letter written a few weeks ago, Rabbi Gershon Elisha Schochet, Av Beis Din of Toronto, asks Rabbi YY Shusterman, Rov in Beverly Hills California, if he permitted the reading and disseminating of the Telushkin book.
After a response was not forthcoming, he chose to publish the letter.”
There is no mention that the letter was “provided to them by the undersigned (or anyone acting on his behalf,” rather simply states that Rabbi Schochet chose to publish his letter, a statement which is accurate, for if he (or someone acting on his behalf) would not have released the letter, no one would have known what he wrote…
We “can only speculate” as to who wrote this letter, and we are pained by the fact that the ghost writer chose to use and abuse a highly respected Rov, by lying to him, just for the purpose of furthering Machlokes, and finding yet another opportunity to try and discredit ChabadInfo.com