Chabad Rabbi Bans Telushkin Book For Heresy Content




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    Chabad Rabbi Bans Telushkin Book For Heresy Content

    In a scathing letter written by the Av Beis Din of Toronto, Rabbi Gershon Elisha Schochet, he categorizes the Telushkin book as heresy, and demands that the Rabbi who permitted it recant his permission ● Read More

    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:
    I have heard a rumor, that you have supposedly approved the book of Telushkin, and additionally, you have ruled, in your capacity as a Rov More Hora’ah for Chabad, that Shluchim should encourage the distribution of the book.
    I am sure you are aware of the Rebbe’s opinion prohibiting the use of books which were written by unscrupulous individuals, even when there is no inherent problem with the content of the book. And the Rebbe held the same regarding books which only referenced such publications.
    Also, you are surely aware of the Rebbe’s extensive correspondence regarding the Conservative movement, it’s “Rabbis” and leaders – that the Halacha is they are considered heretics.
    You are surely aware of the famous ruling by Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, that a Conservative “Rabbi” is not trusted for testimony in Jewish court just by the mere fact that he is affiliated with said movement, and he doesn’t need any prior warning before being disqualified…
    Regarding the author, Telushkin – there is no need to do any research, for it is clearly known to anyone who searches the internet that he serves as a “Rabbi” in a Conservative temple, where a woman serves as a “Chazanit” and his assistant “Rabbi” is from the Reform movement,
    Although this would have been enough for someone who is a G-d fearing Jew, and even more so for a Chossid of the Rebbe, and even more so for one who presents himself as a Rov who rules according to the directives of the Rebbe – to completely prohibit the above book.
    More so, in this case (without even discussing the issue of the author), when many people who are considered G-d fearing Jews, and known around the world as smart people who are busy with spiritual issues (I am not talking about those “leaders” who are well-versed in politics, PR and monetary issues) – have said that the book has some terrible ideas which constitute a Chilul Hashem, so much so that anyone who has any inkling of a connection to the Rebbe, and more so if he has an iota of Hiskashrus, would immediately denounce this book.
    I therefore turn to you and ask you, in the name of Anash and their descendants which are here and those that will come, that you please tell me that this rumor is a lie, and there is no inkling of truth in this matter.
    If G-d forbid there is some truth to this rumor, I demand you tell me what the reasoning behind your ruling is, and if you made your decision independently or after consulting with other Lubavitcher Rabbonim and Mashpiim, and tell me their names and reasons.
    With a blessing for a Ksiva V’chasima Tova,
    Rabbi Gershon Elisha Schochet


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    1. The truth

      Finally someone speaks the truth

    2. aich yoradnu

      Unfortunately it took so long for this to come out. Its also pretty revealing that another crown heights site had this on for about an hour and took it off. What a terrible let down that it is the shluchim of the Rebbe that most likely made this book a #1 best seller and chabad houses invite this apikorus to speak in their chabad houses and no one says anything
      Even further there is a chabad school in florida and maybe in another places as well that has made this book a center of the curriculum! !!!!!!! And where very proud to publicize this!!!!!

    3. c what the Rebbe has to say

      See for yourself how seriously the Rebbe views students and graduates of the conservative seminary.

    4. great video

      This video would support Rabbi Telushkin’s book, and would certainly run in the face of the letter posted above. Here the Rebbe refers to a prominant conservative rabbi and leader of the Thological Seminary for many years as a ‘rabbi’. He graciously accepts the ‘sforim’ organized by this rabbi and is sure to mention that his criticism should not negate his appreciation for the sfarim. Clearly, the Rebbe was referring to a specific issue of that time, when rabbi Finkelstein was well in age and not well (he passed away the next year), and that is why the man replied that he has no influence there anymore. All in all this is a classic example of the Rebbe showing ahavas yisroel for a jew responsible for much counter to the Rebbe’s views, cherry picking the good, and encouraging without shame for this rabbi to correct something. Again, not attacking his character, but his (prior) oroganization’s direction. This is exactly the image that emerged when reading Telushkin’s book.

    5. strange people in the world

      Are you kidding or what? The Rebbe refers to him as Dr. And as an afterthought rabbi, not Harav etc. Even in the old age of Dr. Finkelstein the Rebbe strongly talks of the destruction his students and those in the JTS are causing to the point of comparing it to pikuach nefesh and
      adds almost in a kind of prophetic voice that the students there will not be able to read his book the Rebbe as the gentleman he is accepts a good gesture from a person who barely has anything left in dealing with the JTS is not active in open and blatant heresy and you have no clue what the Rebbe did with those books and you still find something positive and redeeming regarding our conversation here? Against the wise psak of Rabbi Schochet?

    6. Is this true?

      In looking at a review of the book online on, it was written in the book that the Rebbe had told” Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, when Riskin first became Rabbi at Manhattan’s famed Lincoln Square Synagogue. Riskin permitted women to read from, and dance with the Torah – and got heat from others after he did so. When Riskin visited the Rebbe for advice on whether he could continue to host such services, the Rebbe said “Not only may you do it next year, you MUST do it.””. Is this true?

    7. Yisroel

      Possibly true. But irrelevant because the rebbe in a letter later printed in kefar chabad magazine retracted and said that it should not be done.

    8. sjs

      It seems strange for the Rebbe to retract what he said. Is there a copy of the article available? Unfortunately, people get information from the internet and books and are not aware of the Rebbe’s response in Kfar Chabad magazine.

    9. clarity

      I’m sure you mean for women only. We need to make that clear!

    10. Eliyahu G

      According to Riskin that it was the Rebbe told him in Yechidus (I have know way of knowing if what Risking says is totally true or not).
      What Telushkin “forgot” to mention was that right after the Yechidus the Rebbe wrote a strong and urgent letter to Riskin, explaining that although in the Yechidus he may have given room for leniency, he takes it back and explains why it is totally Ossur for woman to dance with the Sefer Torah!!

    11. real chosid

      It’s a great book!

    12. Mark Simon

      Here are 2 articles from Haoros. They bring Rabbi Shlomo Riskin’s Yechidus with the Rebbe as well as the subsequent letter the Rebbe sent him.

      Read and enjoy!

    13. me

      No. Chas vesholom to say somthing like that about the Rebbe

    14. agree but disagree

      I agree that this should not be the book the we as chasidim use to teach about the Rebbe (for a variety of reasons), however is Rabbi Schochet the policeman for Lubavitch? What gives him the authority to “demand” that another Rov answer a “rumor”? Rabbi Schochet is entitled to his view and is encouraged to publicize it, regardless and unrelated to the fact that others have supported this book.

    15. this letter needs a pr agent

      Rabbi Schochet has the duty to demand an explanation for a very bizarre position taken by a Rabbi respected for his party line opinions in Chabad and that Rabbi has a duty to explain himself mahaichon dantuni and not ignore Rabbi Schochet as it seems to be the way of party line people unless forced by a secular court. Did you see the video posted above and what the Rebbe has to say when it comes to pikuach nefesh???? so yes Rabbi Schochet is right and brave for opening his mouth on this issue and all the “others” who continue to be quiet are the cissies weak themselves.

    16. agree but disagree

      I didn’t say that Rabbi Schochet should not be brave about voicing his opinion, I actually encouraged him to do so, however I am confident enough about my position that this book is not the right one, that I don’t need to attack others who disagree, just for political reasons.

    17. Phillip Vedol

      All about $$$

    18. Don't forget Rebbe's mission

      This psak should be sent out to every single shliach, many who participated (most unknowingly) in a “campaign” initiated by PR people and those with personal interests (v’dal), which was embarrassing to say the least, to push this book beyond any effort ever made in poshut learning the Rebbe’s sichos and spreading Chassidus. A busha un a charpeh that after 20 years since Gimmel Tammuz the most these publicity hounds could come up with is this book, to do whatever it takes to make it a NY Times best seller (and even after all their efforts och un vay what list it actually hit. And where is the ripple effect they promised everyone?). Where is the shturem — at least with equal passion and zeal — in our core mission?!

    19. chaim

      the title of this article is… off

      its not “rabbi bans book for heresy content, as much as it is “rabbi bans telushkin book for the heretical views of its author”

    20. Mark Simon

      I’m don’t have an opinion on this matter. I just wanted to share 2 interesting episodes.

      see this video of how the Rebbe strongly encouraged Dov Zlotnik Jewish Theological Seminary to publish an sermon he gave at the seminary both in English and Hebrew. and how a Kosher mikva was built as a result.
      text of this story:

      the Rebbe’s interactions with a Reform Rabbi Herbert Wiener

    21. no comparison be honest

      Who are you going to listen to
      The rebbe in the video above who is pretty clear in that video and in many other sources coming directly from the Rebbe or people who offer what they remember and or their own interpretations. Even if we are to say they are totally objective and not personally influenced.

    22. Mark Simon

      The Rebbe’s opinion on these ‘movements’ are crystal clear. no one is questioning it.
      the issue here is: a person composed a very positive book on the Rebbe. I don’t hear anyone is suggesting there is a problem with the content of this book.
      the question is: if a book is 100% kosher, but the author serves a Rabbi in a questionable shul…

    23. correction

      Rabbi Elisha Schochet is not the Av Beis Din of Toronto. He is a member of Rabbi Ochs’ Beis Din. Rabbi Mordechia Ochs is the Av Beis Din of Toronto, as was his father, alav hashalom, before him. Chabad Info: get your facts straight before you rush to print.

    24. now what

      now what if you have the book what should you do with it

    25. money man

      get a refund

    26. Some questions

      כמה שאלות
      למה לקח כ”כ זמן עד שנשאל השאלה – שהוא לכל הפחות שאלה הלכתית – האם מותר לפרסם ספר זה באופן רשמי בשם חב”ד, כמו שעושוים כמה שלוחים וכו’.
      מי פוסק שאלות כאלו בשביל כלל חב”ד.
      מי לוקח האחריות – כלפי כלל חב”ד וכלפי רבינו – לפרסם ספרים כאלו ע”י מחברים כאלו בשם חב”ד.
      מי לקח אחריות על התעמולה אצל השלוחים שי’ לפני ג’ תמוז על הפצת הספר, ולמה הי’ תעמולה הנ”ל בלי שום סמכות רבני כלל, ורק סמכות של העסקנין שי’.
      למה הי’ המכתב על
      רק 2 שעות לבד, ואח”כ הורידו אותו.
      למה יש חילוק בין המכתב הנדפס כאן, בין המכתב שנדפס שם, ששם הי’ על בלאנק אחר, ובהשמטת שם הנמען, משא”כ כאן.
      לדעתי צריך כלל ליובאוויטש ליתן יישר כח לרב הכותב על מס”נ שלו לצאת ולשאול שאלות נוקבות שבאמת על כל אחד מאתנו לשאול.
      וה’ יברך את עמו בשלום

    27. smelly story

      I just noticed that too. The exact same letter printed here was printed there but on a different letterhead and the translation there was not accurate to say the least and even so someone must of pressured them to take it off. What’s going on here? Really what the story behind the scenes?

    28. Yiaroel

      But Schochet never said the book was heresy. He said that the Rabbi is a hereric and the book is muktzeh machmas mius. Please don’t misquote him.

    29. Yudi

      A month after the letter was published and four months after Shluchim have been asked to promote the book, finally the opinion of Rabonim is heard.

      For anyone with access to you could see the discussions and how any Shliach who voiced their opinion challenging the idea of us promoting the book, was voiceferously shut-out.

      In principle I do not visit this site, for various reasons. Having heard that RIS managed to have the letter removed from any other site, I came here to support you promoting it.

      The issue is far greater than just the book. It is the question of who (RIS) decides what is right and wrong and not consulting Rabonim – indeed they are blocked from voicing their opinions.

    30. Mark Simon

      see an interesting letter from the Rebbe regarding the book “The Bible Unauthorized”
      Ig”k Vol 2 pp203

    31. don't mislead....

      give me a MAJOR break. Did you read the original letter in the Frierdikeh Rebbes Igrois?? The FR Rebbe lent him the money to print THAT book because he had so much faith in that authors dedication to be standing up for the right thing even if as our Rebbe said it didn’t always come out as he intended for the good?

      How does that compare to this book written by a publicly professed MIN and Apikorus who even in the book and at interviews is PROUD to disagree with the Rebbe and Torah???? This book is chazar Triaf publicizes a chazar traif individual no different than a sefer Torah written by a MIN that should be burned.

    32. Menachem

      Why is this the only site where a critical opinion of Lubavitch endorsing a conservative author is able to appear?

    33. Menachem

      Only Elisha Shochet has the courage to challenge the higher-ups who decided to control Lubavitch…

    34. Menachem

      Not only were Rabonim not consulted, there was no discussion by Merkos or Aguch – the self-appointed official policy making board of Lubavitch

    35. more facts

      An additional fact is that Zalman Shmotkin (head of arranged that his cousin Ben Federman should pay Telushkin several hundred thousand dollars, supporting him for the years he was writing the book.

    36. Boteach & Telushkin - שקר

      Rev. Shmuley Boteach has just jumped in to defend Joseph Telushkin and his book. He published a piece in the NY Observer about it, it is at

      But Boteach is dishonest in his defense of Telushkin.

      He tries to muddy the waters and confuse the issue, saying that it is a lie that the Rebbe hated non Orthodox Jews, as if that was the issue involved. That is not the issue. The issue (at least this part of it) is that Telushkin is a spiritual leader in the non Orthodox movement, which misleads people, by posing as authentic Judaism, when it is actually a fraudulent, cheap, watered down imitation. The spiritual leaders who perpetrate such a fraud are liable for misleading innocent Jews. On the other hand, a non orthodox Jew, who doesn’t know better, and is fooled by them, is a fraud victim. But the clergy are fraud perpetrators, and judged much more severely.

      Now I understand why Telushkin, in the beginning of his book, goes out of his way to strongly attack Rabbi David B. Hollander zt”l, who was a regular visitor to the Rebbe, who was in the forefront of fighting the phony Conservative, Reform, and other unorthodox movements. Oyfn ganev brent dos hitl.

    37. Some questions

      If Boteach is attacking Horav Schochet, that is the best indication of the correct approach. וד”ל.

    38. Mark Simon

      Interesting video of how Rabbi Chanoch Glitzenstein was asked to assist the secular Israeli author Eliezer Steinman in writing a book about Chabad. and the Rebbe’s instructions on the matter.

      p.s. an amazing story of the Rebbe with Eliezer Steinman

    39. wohhhhh really desperado

      so when your ignorant first just sayin, observation, proof, doesn’t pan out your desperately turn to this???? Give it a break!!! I mean please. What does a secular believing Israeli have to do with a practicing min and apikorus who to this day publicly disagrees with Torah mesinai and openly disagrees with the the Rebbe. Whoever buys this book or supported this min and apikorus to stardom and greater prominence is nosain yad lapoishim – hakoilar tolui betzvoroi.

    40. Jonathan

      Wasn’t the Beit Hamikdash destroyed because of this type of infighting ?

    41. Aktud

      Did Rashi’s daughters lay Tefillin? No. Did they revere Tefillin? Of course. Did they have spiritual desire? Yes. If there is not space for its validation and expression, young women can be drawn away into heresy. Nu?

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