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How to tell if your local Chabad Rabbi believes that the Rebbe is Moshiach

I get asked by a lot of folks if there’s a tried and true way to tell if their chabad shaliach or rabbi is a meshichist, unlike most snags (misnagdim) I’m not one who thinks (or believes) that all of those darned chabadnicks are meshichists. In all honesty it doesn’t really matter to me if they believe their rebbe is moshiach or not, but still I like to know. Through the years I have honed in on my Moshiach-Dar and have been pretty quick to note if one is meshichist or not. There are obvious ways and not so obvious ways.

Those who are considered anti-meshichist are just as militant in their views as the yellow flaggers (those who have yellow flags with moshiach and a crown on them) and those who wear yellow pins, have yellow bumper stickers and like to proclaim “yechi” just as often as some like to proclaim Allah Hu Akbar and with just as much enthusiasm.

The best way to tell if your local chabad branch is a bunch of meshichists is through their calendar. One of the ways chabad gets into local homes and institutions is through their Jewish calendar which is chock full of local birthdays and chabad birthdays and yertzeits. If you can all grab your local chabad calendar and switch to Tammuz (usually around June) and see what it says on Gimmel Tammuz – this is usually fairly telling. I have seen multiple things in different chabad calendars for Gimmel Tammuz. For instance, we have the Sunnyvale Chabad Calendar in our home and on Gimmel Tammuz there is nothing, which means that they definitely don’t believe he died (they have yertzeits for everyone else) and which also means they don’t want to be so bold as proclaim their belief in him to be Messiah. It is rumored that shlichim cannot officially be meshichist and so they hide it.

I used to judge shlichim on the amount and placement of Rebbe pictures. Many homes have at least one in the main room, their is a Bay Area shaliach with 7 pictures of the Rebbe in his dining room. Generally speaking, Baal Teshuva’s who became shlichim are usually meshichist. Another telling way is to find the book called “Days of Chabad” in their home or shul and switch to Gimmel Tammuz, I was in a chabad once and someone had crossed off every instance of the Rebbe’s death and dying within the book, very telling – or maybe just graffiti?

Back to the calendar, I have seen a slew of things written on Gimmel Tammuz. I have seen “The Rebbes Day” which is also trying not to acknowledge his death. I have definitely seen “Yertzeit or the Rebbe OBM” multiple times, but it seems that the most common thing to do is leave it blank, hoping that no one will notice. How many people are as curious as I am about what the local shaliach believes in.

I guess you can always ask them, usually you will get the answer that starts something like “we hope he’s moshiach” or “he could be”, but sometimes it’s a little more shady, outside of Crown Heights it’s quite rare to get a straight answer. In fact, the only two places I have been where the Rebbe’s yertzeit was publicly acknowledged was Crown Heights and Albany. Good thing for chabad, on Gimmel Tammuz someone happened to get out of jail as well and only once did I see that acknowledged on a calendar.

Does it matter that your local shaliach believes that the Rebbe is moshiach?

To me it doesn’t really matter at all, it’s a curiosity, but if you look at the macro picture, Jews beliee in some pretty crazy stuff – non-Jews do too. If it was really that big a deal, there would be more people who don’t eat Chabad meat or daven at chabad houses. It seems to me, that beyond all the private critics of Chabad, just as many people are becoming religious and mooching of chabad. I don’t ever recall someone telling me that I shouldn’t hang around chabad because of their less than popular views on moshiach. In the end, I don’t think anybody really cares.

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{ 54 comments… add one }
  • Dan March 12, 2013, 11:17 AM

    I’ve only ever heard an open and public acknowledgement from a Lubuvitch rabbi once, and that was in Israel.

    Me: “Do you really think that the Rebbe is the Moshiach?”
    Him: “Do you have a better one?”

    • Dan March 12, 2013, 11:20 AM

      I’m DAN! GET OUT!

    • Heshy Fried March 12, 2013, 11:25 AM

      Oh when I was in Albany they had a whole thing for his yertzeit with guest speakers etc…

      Last year on the weekend after my wedding I was in CH for sheva brachos and they had loads of things. Fabrengins etc…lots of people telling stories and talking about the funereal. Then again, I was around non-BT old school super gezhe chabad families.

    • Anonymous March 12, 2013, 1:17 PM

      Actually this story is told about one of the Gerrer Rebbis known as the the “Beis Yisroel”.The story is that some of his chassidim approached him with the news that Lubavitcher chassidim consider him (The Lubavitcher Rebbi) to be Moshiach to which he supposedly replied”do you have a better one?”

      • Toldos Aron March 13, 2013, 8:48 AM

        this story does not make sense – atleast not with the reb yisroel alter of gur – he passed away 1977, when this movment was not around.

        the rebbi shut the mouth of reb avrum paris very fast.

        • Critic March 13, 2013, 6:00 PM

          Their were many in Lubavitch who thought that the Rebbi was Moshiach when he was still living.This story allegedly took place during the Rebbi’s lifetime.

      • Chanan March 19, 2013, 3:08 AM

        I’m a Gerrer. The story that they tell in Gur is that the Lev Simchah (brother of the Beis Yisroel and Rebbe after him) sent his son (who is the present Gerrer Rebbe) to ask the Lubavitcher Rebbe if he was Moshiach. The Rebbe supposedly answered him “No, but I am the one in this generation who has been sent to bring the the Moshiach”.

    • Eli March 13, 2013, 6:04 AM

      Kinda like when I ask my rabbi to prove that God exists, and he replies, “prove that he doesn’t”.

  • Dan March 12, 2013, 11:30 AM

    Here is the leading treatise on this http://forums.dansdeals.com/index.php?topic=13790.0

  • dave March 12, 2013, 11:31 AM

    One tell is if they read the letter at the wedding

    • gezhe March 12, 2013, 12:59 PM

      Everyone reads the letter at weddings.

    • dk March 12, 2013, 3:12 PM

      what is up with the letter? i went to a chabad wedding once and the read a letter from the rebbe – i thought it was some sort of personal one – but i guess I am wrong?

      • The Mrs. March 13, 2013, 10:31 PM

        The letter is just a sample of a letter he sent to couples on their wedding day. It’s pretty obvious the couple at the chasunah didn’t get the letter themselves.

  • Izzy March 12, 2013, 11:33 AM

    Very odd coincidence or is it?…our Chabad Rabbi’s name is listed on Gimmel Tammuz. Would would that mean?

    • Anonymous March 12, 2013, 4:36 PM


  • chevramaidel March 12, 2013, 11:34 AM

    Rebbe pictures aren’t really a good indication as everybody has them, some more and some less. So unless they have a caption saying “Melech HaMoshiach” or Yechi, don’t assume the rabbi is meshichist.

  • yitzchokaizik March 12, 2013, 11:38 AM

    A Lubavitcher friend once told me that Chabad today is divided in two groups: the meshichists and the liars.

    • sarah March 12, 2013, 12:12 PM

      It depends on what the guy paying them believes! How can anyone who was younger than 10 at the time of Gimmel Tamuz especially those who grew up outside of US especially BT who never met the Rebbe OBM can be true meshichists-all they know are the books and the study and 770!

      • Heshy Fried March 13, 2013, 9:58 AM

        Hence they are more susceptible to brainwash. Chabad BT’s can get pretty nutty.

  • Drew March 12, 2013, 2:09 PM

    I don’t think it matters that much by shluchim,
    bc they keep it on the down-low.
    What yanks my chain are the anti-Chabad people, who
    apparently have nothing better to do than try to destroy
    Chabad. Now they want to say the Zohar isn’t “kodesh”
    (“holy”–ie, part of the canon). That would
    put chassisus out business. I wish they would
    worry as much about number of shuls and day schools
    that are closing.

    • Dan March 12, 2013, 2:35 PM

      Either this was meant as poetry, or you are cutting and pasting from somewhere else.

      • Anonymous March 12, 2013, 4:36 PM

        Either way, it’s a major fail.

    • anonymous March 13, 2013, 1:55 AM

      Here’s a shaliach who doesn’t keep it on the down low:

      “In December 1999, Rabbi Binyomin Y. Edery received a blessing from the Lubavitcher Rebbe King Moshiach to open the first Chabad Tokyo Japan.”


      • Anonymous March 13, 2013, 10:36 AM

        He is not considered an official shliach. The Shliach to Tokyo is Rabbi Sudakevich, listed on chabad.org/centers

        • Yoni G. June 20, 2013, 9:36 AM

          Why does Chabad.org get to decide who is a Shliach and who isn’t. Edery was there first, and to this day, Sukadevitch does absolutely nothing.

          • G September 16, 2013, 8:54 AM

            The Rebbe headed an organization call Merkos L’inyanei Chinuch, or ‘Merkos’ for short. This is the body that oversees and manages Chabad shlichus and shluchim worldwide, because that’s how the Rebbe set it up.
            They also set official Chabad policy. So any rabbi not officially sent into the field by Merkos, and there are many – who happen to be doing very good work – are not official representatives of Chabad in an organizational capacity. Like any other organization, they get to choose who represents them.

  • Anonymous March 12, 2013, 2:53 PM

    It is very smart for meshichists to hide their true beliefs. We followers of Shabbati Zvi (z’tl) have been using this tactic for centuries.

    • Heshy Fried March 12, 2013, 4:06 PM

      I never admit to people that I’m a Carrarite and I grow my hair long so no one can really tell that I wear my tefillin between my eyes.

      • Yochanan March 12, 2013, 7:55 PM

        Karaites don’t wear Tfillin at all. Remember Tfillin is mentioned nowhere in the Tanakh.

        • Heshy Fried March 12, 2013, 8:09 PM

          it’s in shema, of course we wouldn’t have known what those darned totafot are without the Rabbis.

        • Anonymous March 13, 2013, 10:15 AM

          “Remember Tfillin is mentioned nowhere in the Tanakh.”

          Someone hasn’t read Tanakh…

          • Michael March 17, 2013, 1:59 AM

            Much more fun being a Shabbatean than a Karrarite when it comes to Tfilin- Sabbateans where Tfilin, but the Klafim are blank – so everyone “thinks” they’re doing a Mitzva, but in fact they’re not (ha Ha – fooled you)See here for an interesting story:

            I want Anonymous above to show us the klafim in his Tfilin to prove that he’s a real Sabbatean – otherwise we’ll make him daven at Chabad.

  • Aaron March 12, 2013, 5:08 PM

    Slightly off topic, but interesting nonetheless:
    Once you’re checking the various calendars of Chabad and other Chassidic groups, see what they write for the 5th of Iyar.

  • Toldos Aron March 13, 2013, 8:51 AM

    Lubavich hot girls sure tell me moshiach and the goods days are comming…

    • Anonymous March 17, 2013, 1:15 AM

      You really need to get out more; Maybe put down the bamba and enjoy a nice walk in the park.

  • Toronto Yid March 13, 2013, 12:44 PM

    Yup, just checked Toronto’s calendars for Gimmel Tammuz and it’s the Rebbe’s Day.

    Not surprising given the large Meshichist contingent here.

    • Izzy March 14, 2013, 12:56 PM

      I looked at our Chabad calendar and it says it’s our local Chabad Rabbi’s birthday. Do you think that was done to honor the Rebbi or is it just coincidental? Or perhaps, it really means his Mom was induced to give birth on the Rebbi’s birthday. Do they plan this so the babies will go term at the anniversary of the Rebbe’s birthday? Just curious…anyone with insight on this?

    • YY March 16, 2013, 7:57 PM

      I don’t think the calendar thing proves it at all. In my area there are many shluchim, none of which are meshichist, and the calendar doesn’t use the term Yartzheit — it just says something about a farbrengen in the Rebbe’s honor.

      • Heshy Fried March 17, 2013, 8:27 AM

        But why use the term yertzeit by every other Rebbe, but somehow “the” Rebbe, doesn’t have a yertzeit, it makes no sense.

    • G Klimowitz September 16, 2013, 9:06 AM

      I just checked the Chabad calendar for 3 Tammuz and it says nothing at all, but-
      Not surprising that certain Toronto yidden would stoop to bald lies about other groups, given their strong track record of Ahavas Yisrael….

  • bratschegirl March 13, 2013, 5:44 PM

    Is the opposite of a “mesichist” a “zaid-ist?”

  • mekusher March 13, 2013, 6:12 PM

    The opposite of a meshichist is a lubavitsher chasid

  • Doctor Optional March 14, 2013, 7:56 AM

    The calendar for Chabad Mequon (Mequon is just north of Milwaukee, Milwaukee is a bit beyond “just north” of Chicago) splits the difference: they refer to Tammuz 3 as the date of MMS’s “passing” while all others have their yahrtzeits labeled as such.

  • Yirmi March 16, 2013, 7:55 PM

    I think most official shluchim are non-meshichist. In my town there are several shluchim and none have ever given the impression of being meshichist. However, once one of their relatives from out of town came to an event and, instead of ending his speech with a generic call for Moshiach to come (as Chabadniks typically do), he said something like, May Moshiach come in all his fullness, or something like that. That clearly implies that he’s already started to come, but just hasn’t finished his mission!

  • Michael March 17, 2013, 2:03 AM

    The Chabad Shaliach in Modi’in says that he is the a “Shaliach of the Rebbe” – in spite of the fact that the city was built after the Rebbe dies, so he could not have been sent to Modi’in by the Rebbe himself.

    Does this make him a closet Meshichist, or is that just standard terminology which has no significance?

    • zackk March 17, 2013, 12:20 PM

      that’s standard.

    • Anonymous April 5, 2013, 2:31 AM

      standard terminology which has no significance.

  • Jon Baker March 19, 2013, 2:57 PM

    My impression is that they almost all believe that the Rebbe is/will be Moshiach. The difference between Meshichist and non-Meshichist is the same as it was before 1994: whether or not to publicize one’s belief. So the Meshichisten will say Yechi when they’re davening, even in a shul not their own; wear yarmulkes proclaiming “Yechi…”, and/or yellow flag pins, etc. There are a lot of variants, e.g. “he never died, he’s just hiding”, etc., but I don’t know if all of them have survived this long non-regnum. Lubavitch has in recent years expressed a lot of sympathy for Breslov, on the grounds that both are rebbe-less sects.

  • Yosef April 8, 2013, 12:25 AM

    It didn’t seem to bother the Rebbe (especially in the later years) when people would sing “Yechi” at farbrengens and would refer to him as Moshiach in the dollar line, so I don’t know why there are people who swear that they are Chabadnikim who say it bothers them. I can understand certain non-Chabadnikim being bothered by calling the Rebbe Moshiach, but they always have a “reason” to kick Chabad, they just change the reason every few years. Also, in Israel, it is not a big deal at all. People see the Rebbe being referred to as Moshiach (in print, on posters) and usually just say “halevai”. Nobody bats an eyelash at anyone wearing a Yechi keepah (except, maybe, for some of the perpetually agitated people you call “snags”). I raise my imaginary plastic l’chaim cup and wish us all Achdut, Ahavat Chinam and tolerance for differences.

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