Respond to Ask the Rabbis

By | May 19, 2009

May/June coverBy Maxine Springer

Have you read the latest Ask the Rabbis in our May/June issue? This time around, our rabbis sound off on how Jews should treat their Arab neighbors. As usual, we’ve asked rabbis from across the spectrum of Judaism, and their answers are fascinating and diverse.

The contrast between Independent Rabbi Gershon Winkler and Chabad Rabbi Manis Friedman is particularly stark.


“…Although we need to take every precaution against fanatical Muslim Arab terrorism in and outside our homeland, we need to cease forcibly displacing peaceful Arabs like Bedouins, destroying their homes (even their mosques!) for the crime of not filling out forms…”


“…The only way to fight a moral war is the Jewish way: Destroy their holy sites. Kill men, women and children (and cattle)…”

Read more from our rabbis, and tell us what you think! Post your thoughts in the comments section.

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15 thoughts on “Respond to Ask the Rabbis

  1. Alvin Edelstein says:

    Tell me that Chabad Rabbi Manis Friedman’s comments (May-June 2009)is a joke! Surely with a few critical word substitutions a Stalinist or Nazi could have written it.

  2. J Bronstein says:

    If the Chabad Rabbi’s comments represent that movement, they are nothing more than a bunch of psychotic sociopaths who deserve to be pre-emptively eliminated by whichever terrorist group has the firepower to do so. I’m angry that Moment would waste the space to print that disgusting trash.

    1. Chayim T says:

      Let me get this straight, Bronstein:
      You are calling for the murder of an entire community of G-d fearing Jews, (By a terrist organization no less!!) because they support a no-tolerance policy towards the murder of Jews. This is fine, and the Rabbi’s comments are “disgusting trash?!!?” Ironic.
      Edelstein in the comment before you is not much better, but sane. I agree with the Rabbis position. NONE OF THE OTHERS OFFERED ANY SOLUTION. Only more western-democracy-love-your-enemy-poppycock which kept us in this endless game for so long. The answer IS self defense at all costs. You owe Chabad an apology, and you can restate your argument in a more civilized manner. Please think before you respond.

  3. Randy Farb says:

    Once again, Friedman displays the typical ignorance all Lubavitchers share. He seems to be referencing Exodus 14:20, but ignores the Midrash that HaShem rebuked the angels for rejoicing when the Egyptians drowned, because after all, the Egyptians were part of HaShem’s creation. What a shame that Moment doesn’t ask educated Hasidim such as the Boboverim or Breslaerim, or Satmarim for input. Lubavitchers know nothing about Judaism. It’s a pity Friedman wasn’t on the bridge August 1, 2007.By the way, Friedman, acknowleding the Old Testament gives relevance to the New Testament.
    What was also interesting is that the Conservative rabbi did not answer the question, which is also typical of JTS graduates. They can’t answer questions either.

  4. Randy Farb says:

    Friedman is a Lubavitcher, the least educated sect of Hasidim, so he must be forgiven for his ignorance. A Lubavitcher would not know about the Mishnah on Exodus 14, where HaShem rebukes the angels for rejoicing when the Egyptians drowned. HaShem reminded the angels that the Egyptians were also part of the creation.
    What is also interesting is that the Conservative rabbi, another uneducated movement, did not answer the question but spewed doubletalk.

  5. John says:

    I have been a fan of Rabbi Friedman for over twenty years now and i can tell unequivocally, this does not sound like him. He is wise and compassionate. Was it edited by the magazine? Was it taken from some other longer piece? something is very amiss here. I’d like to get the rest of the story about this piece!!

    1. Steve says:

      Well John, I don’t know if there was any editing, but the whole response as contained in the magazine is not very long, and the little blip cited above is not taken out of context.Read the whole response for yourself. I personally found it appalling and shocking. At first I thought he was being facetious and sarcastic, but apparently not.

  6. L Asrtow says:

    Mr. Bronstein, your comments are pretty vile and violent themselves. I’m unclear as to how you differentiate them from the comments you are criticizing. Besides, after you get over the rabbi’s initial provocation, (which is not my favorite writing style either,) it is clear that the rabbi is advocating taking a strong stance in order to minimize the loss of life. So Mr. Edelstein’s comparison to the evil killers is clumsy and dishonest and clearly emotion-driven.
    In addition, Maxine Springer is being sensationalist in offering the teaser quotes she does. The quotes clearly do not represent the values set forth by the authors.

  7. Neil says:

    Rabbi Friedman argues “with their holy sites destroyed, they will stop believing that G-d is on their side.” Has that ever been the result of such an action? I can imagine the Romans saying the same thing in 70 AD as they destroyed the temple.

  8. Raphael says:

    If what Rabbi Friedman means is that a war must be waged in a manner that aims to quickly and absolutely destroy the enemy’s ability to fight, even if it means wholesale collatoral damage, then I definitely agree with him.

  9. Figaro says:

    Friedman’s comment was monstrous, vile. The wholesale massacre of women and children is his idea of modern Jewish morality in time of war? Where did he learn this…at the feet of Torah or at the feet of Hitler’s ghost? That such a person should be educating Jewish young is inconceivable.

  10. S. says:

    If you are thinking that the rabbi is promoting pogroms against the Arab nations you must read his words again! When Israel won a war in six days there should have been no more fighting. But we were liberal idiots who immediately showed “mercy” to the suffering enemy. To the Arab that is a sign of weakness.

    Do you drip your own blood into a pool of sharks? Do you want to attract the attention of the blood thirsty crazies? Of course not! You need to stand tall as if you’re facing a polar bear. Scream, yell, ring your bells as loudly as you can. Let the big bear know that you mean business.

    That’s what the rabbi is saying. When fighting a war (which is not something that might happen soon – it is the present reality) you can’t afford to reveal any weak spots. You need to make a very clear statement that absolutely nothing can shield your enemy from your reach. There can be no safe base for the enemy to retreat to.

    Being this unequivocal leaves the enemy with only two options. 1. Stop the attacks 2. Die. And there is no question at all that the second option is a necessary evil. Very evil – very, very necessary.

    1. Abdullah says:

      Excuse me to say, what you said is very stupid. The Rabbi said clearly “The only way to fight a moral war is the Jewish way: Destroy their holy sites. Kill men, women and children (and cattle)…”. And you say “It’s just a way of fighting?!!”.
      The Rabbi has a criminal mintality even worse then Osama’s. I never heard Osama saying “Kill children, kill everyone”.
      After a while the Rabbi said “It’s just my way of thinking”.Yet, the Rabbi was qauting the Torah!
      Hemm, How odd is that?!
      We (ARABS) have a saying “Troughing Ashes into the Eyes”
      That’s exactily what you’re doing.

  11. It’s disgusting pieces of garbage like Rabbi Freidman that have caused so much death in the world, what a disgusting pathetic excuse for man he is. An “Eye for an Eye”, when is it going to stop?
    I say put Rabbi Freidman on a deserted Island with Osama Bin Laden, give them both baseball bats, let them beat each others brains out, and leave the rest of the world in peace!

  12. Lou says:

    Wow. If anyone cannot believe Friedman’s comments, they could do worse than check the Tanya, the Chabad ‘bible’, if you will. There is no contradiction, there is no mistake; in their ideology there is no quarter offered for any goy (who do not count as human to their nazi-esque thinking). The prescient will hopefully notice the movement is not true Hassidism, nor is it Judaism, nor does it possess much morality. Beware Chabad!

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