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Boteach and Chabad

Submitted by on February 28, 2014 – 6:31 pmNo Comment | 4,415 views

It’s time for Boteach to cut the apron strings that tie him to Chabad.

Once again there is tension between Boteach and Chabad. It is inaccurate to characterize it as tension from Chabad to Boteach. Chabad has long cut its ties with Boteach. It is Boteach who seeks to be accepted by Chabad.

Chabad is nonjudgmental and welcoming of all Jews, but it is also uncompromising in its passionate embrace of Jewish law. Chabad routinely welcomes non practicing Jews into its institutions and embraces non believing Jews in its synagogues, but not because Chabad doesn’t teach full compliance with Torah. It is because Chabad recognizes that we are a single family, each individual struggling to maximize his or her relationship with G-d. Through acceptance, warmth and learning, Chabad strives to create an environment of growth that cultivates a love for all things Jewish.

Boteach wants his cake and he wants to eat it too. He wants to teach his own brand of Judaism, which is at times in conflict with Jewish tradition. He wants to shock the world into taking notice of him by using controversial titles for his books and decidedly un Jewish marketing techniques for his teachings. Yet, he wants to be recognized as Chabad.

He is personally a believer and follower of Chabad teachings, but he veers from these teachings wherever convenient. He is welcome to identify himself personally with Chabad, but he cannot be a public representative of the movement. His particular brand of flamboyancy, is decidedly un Chabad and he cannot have it both ways.

Chabad has long cut its public and formal ties with Boteach, but Boteach still clamors to be accepted in Chabad. Every time he hears that Chabad has rejected him, he wields his unruly pen to publish disrespectful and even insulting columns against Chabad.

I say, enough. Boteach, leave it alone. We have been around this block too many times. You won’t want to conform to Chabad methodology and Chabad doesn’t want to be represented by yours. Let it be. Agree to disagree.

As a person, you are welcome in Chabad homes and synagogues. We grew up together and won’t reject you just because you struck out on your own path. But as a write, speaker and Rabbi, you cannot represent Chabad. Stop taking this personally. It isn’t a slight against you. It’s just the way things are.

It’s time to bury the hatchet Boteach. Leave things be. You and Chabad weren’t meant to work together. You can eat with Chabad and sleep with Chabad, but the way things stand, you can’t work with Chabad.