Rabbi denies Melbourne group is ex-communicated

January 12, 2010 by J-Wire
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Reports that a breakaway group from Melbourne Yeshiva had been ex-communicated have been denied by the Yeshiva’s Rabbi.

Alex Leonard

Alex Leonard is a member of Melbourne-based group Honk4Joy which believes that the late Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel who died in 1994, is the Messiah and that the thrid temple “is ready and waiting in heaven”.

The group which waves flags and dances in suburban Caulfield every morning and evening, urging motorists to “honk for joy” posted a video on YouTube showing themselves celebrating and feasting on the 10th of Tevet, the anniversary of the beginning of the siege of Jerusalem by the Babylonians which culminated in the destruction of the First Temple. This a dawn to dusk Fast Day for Jews.

Rabbi Tzvi Hirsch Telser, spiritual head of the Melbourne Yeshiva issued a statement in which he said:

“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.

Reports on orthodox web sites claimed that Rabbi Telsner had issued a charem on the group…but he denied this to J-Wire today saying “As far as I know, a charem has not been imposed on anyone for 200 years. This is a Shamta, the explanation of which is self-evident from the statement I made. No-one is named. We are simply responding to this group’s activities.”

But Leonard told J-Wire: “I understand that the notice has been placed on the wall of the Yeshiva Shule which I do not go to. But if we have been ex-communicated, no-one has told us! So as far as I am concerned, I have not been the subject of a charem. One has not been served on me. My understanding is that we are supposed to be summoned to the Beth Din but there has not been a word…indeed I am told that the notice in the Shule does not mention names.”

Leonard told J-Wire he had once been a member of the Yeshiva congregation but that was over two years ago. He added: “We are not in this community and have nothing to do with them.”


2 Responses to “Rabbi denies Melbourne group is ex-communicated”
  1. Tanya Arons says:

    Cognitive dissonance is a very good and pragmatic way of describing it. I raise your World Peace for Tikkun Olam anyday. Wish us Luck!

  2. Adam Neira says:

    M.M.Schneerson was a great man but he was/is not Moshiach. The percentage of Lubavitchers who hold the meshichist position has been sliding towards zero since 1999. This process has accelerated more and more rapidly since 2003. There is much cognitive dissonance in all communities at the moment. World Peace 2050 anyone…

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