Melbourne Rabbi ex-communicates Lubavitchers for defying Fast Day

January 11, 2010 by Henry Benjamin
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A group of Melbourne’s Lubavitchers has been ex-communicated for drinking and eating throughout the Fast of Tevet believing that since the Meshiach is already here, the Fast is no longer necessary…and for publishing a video of their festivities.

The group is holds the belief that the late  Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson who died in 1994, was and remains the Messiah.  Named Honk 4 Joy, Alex Leonard and his group wave flags anddance in the streets of Caulfield almost every night encouraging motorists to show their support for their belief in the Rebbe.

In a written statement, Rabbi Zvi Hirsch Telsner, Rabbi of Melbourne’s Yeshiva Centre, said:

It has been brought to my attention that on the 10th of Teves (Sunday December 27th) this year, a day on which our Rabbis decreed that we are obligated to fast, as stated in Shulchan Oruch (Code of Jewish Law Ch. 121), a small group of individuals organised a festive meal at which they ate, drank and rejoiced. They subsequently publicised their actions by posting a film of the festivities on international websites, together with the message and implication that such behaviour is highly commendable and is connected with the coming of the Moshiach.

Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson

I therefore wish to state unequivocally and to emphasise in the strongest manner that the above actions, being as they are contrary to the explicit rulings of Chazal and Shulchan Oruch, are totally unacceptable at any time or in any place. That the perpetrators of such misguided deeds should then endeavour to make their behaviour known all over the world, constitutes a massive and reckless Chillul Hashem which can have no justification. In addition, these actions do not represent that philosophy and way of life taught by Chabad Chassidus, in any way or form. They are totally contrary to the wishes and directives of the Rebbe and those who carry on his holy work. To present such conduct as being in accordance with the Rebbe’s teachings and message is a complete fabrication, and can only serve to destroy the good name of Chabad in the general community.

In light of the above, I find it necessary to rule that until the perpetrators of these deeds stand before a Beis Din of three Rabbonim, and seek forgiveness and correction of that which they have done, they are to be ostracized by all members of the community. They cannot be counted as part of a minyan (for davening) or mezuman (for bentsching), and one may not answer Amen after their Brochos. They cannot be given a Aliyah to the Torah or honoured with any other Mitzvah (see Shulchan Oruch, Yoreh Deah Ch. 334 Para 2). Similarly, one should not speak to them or have any business dealings with them.

May the Al-mighty restore His broken fences, and put into the hearts of those who have gone astray, a spirit of true Teshuvah.

Rabbi Telsner told J-Wire: “Every Jew wants to repent.  There were no more than five involved in this and I am waiting to hear from them to get this settled.”

The offending video….

The Fast of the Tenth of Tevet marks the day that the Babylonians laid siege to Jerusalem shortly before the destruction of the First Temple. The siege was to last three years befor ethe city walls were breached and the Temple destroyed in 586 b.c.e.


One Response to “Melbourne Rabbi ex-communicates Lubavitchers for defying Fast Day”
  1. Shmiel says:

    I have watched the video many times. I can only see the women eating.
    Perhaps Rabbi Telsner did not watch the video?
    Pretty sure that the custom in Melbourne is for women not to fast.
    10th Teves is in the summer here with temperatures of over 100^!
    Also starts about 5am and finishes at 10pm.

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