Monday, May 08, 2006

Zombie Rebbe

Someone, somewhere, was talking about something involving the idea of mashiahh, or Chabad, or something like that, and a commenter claimed that there's nothing wrong with believing that a dead person is the mashiahh — R' Menachem Mendel Schneersohn, for instance — and that "when the moshiach comes, we'll know who it is" because there's no way to disprove options.

I responded that we do know that a dead person cannot come back as mashiahh, and that if the Lubavitcher Rebbe comes back, all we'll know is that he's a zombie. And then we all joked some more about zombie rebbes.

Anyone remember where this was?

U          P          D          A          T          E

Here it is, in the comments of this post by Godol Hador.

The Godol Hador šlit"a asked:
And why don't the Gedolim ban the heck out of Lubavitch?

To which lakewood yid responded:
Because there is no need to.
If the Rebbe comes out his grave, we'll except him as moshiach.
And as long as he down under, he's harmless.

And so I then said to Lakewood Yid:
LY, dead people aren't mashiahh.
If the Rebbe comes out of his grave, we'll accept him as a zombie.
That's about it.

Where's my chainsaw?

And then Godol Hador briefly responded to my comment:

So lakewood yid asked me:
If the Rebbe comes out his grave, and accept him as a zombie, will you start believing in the golem?

And I responded with an important hhiluq, and added:
zombie = reanimated corpse (usually evil)
golem = animated inanimate matter (classicly good)

Now werewolves that's what i'd like to see! Supposedly that's what it means (according to Prof. Alick Isaacs of Hebrew U) in the Ashkenazic text of Tefillat Haderekh when it asks God to protect us from hhayot ra‘ot.

But then YS yelled at lakewood yid, who responded:
Just playing with Steg.

Chill out, YS.

So then I told lakewood yid:
Play with my goblin minions, sucka!   ;-)

And lakewood yid brilliantly bounced back with:
goblin. golin. golim. golem.   :-)

Holy Hyrax then jumped in:
oooohh, ooooh.
Can you imagine a fight between the Golem and a zombie rabbi.
Who would win?

So that's about it.

mmmm... zombies!!!
grrr... arrrg...


Blogger yoniQua said...

hey there - first of all i think u need to remember that all tzadikim/righteous ppl deserve some respect and honor.
Do you believe all those Elijah stories? Tzadikim dont "die" like the rest of us "regulars" do. Their spirits are much more with us. By them not being limited to a physical body, they are able to accomplish much more than they did when alive.
Whether or not the Rebbe is the messiah should not be our utmost concern - rather, is what we are doing hastening the messiahs coming or lengthening this confusing, ever deepening, and depressing exile?

Let me know what you think.

5/08/2006 4:51 PM  
Anonymous pmyf said...

Though I admit that I've said some things about the Lub. Rebbe, its true that people often tend to disrespect him and that shouldn't happen. Yet, to disregard the claim that he is the Mashiach is outright dangerous. I'm not saying, like some, never to trust them, but clearly such false claims have done great damage to our ancestors. And, if even if we ignore that, we need to work on "hastening the messiahs coming," which includes spreading the truth, not dangerous falsehoods.

5/08/2006 7:26 PM  
Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...


i don't believe all those Elijah stories; i'm pretty agnostic on that point. I do have a friend who had an Elijah story happen to them, but i'm having trouble remembering what friend and what the story was :-P .

I think that it's pretty clear that a dead person isn't going to be the mashiahh. It's a straight-up Rambam, after all, and don't we supposedly hold by him when it comes to faith issues? Besides which, as far as i'm concerned anyone who claims that a dead messiah is perfectly fine is desecrating the memory of the thousands and thousands of Jews who were murdered by Christians over the past two thousand years for refusing to give up that belief.


I agree, although i'm a bit more cynical about the LR's influence.

5/08/2006 8:56 PM  
Blogger Mar Gavriel said...

It's a straight-up Rambam, after all, and don't we supposedly hold by him when it comes to faith issues?

Are you being cynical, or do you really believe that some physician-dude in Fostat had the power to legislate metzi'us?

I agree, although i'm a bit more cynical about the LR's influence.

Ah, but our LR (=LabRab) certainly has good influence, no? :-P

5/08/2006 9:06 PM  
Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...


R' Moshe ben Maimon wasn't just "some physician dude", he was one of the most influential and greatest philosophers and halakhists in Jewish history; and almost all traditionally-minded Jews today claim to (at least) follow his Thirteen Principles.
/a.k.a. שלוש עשרה הדוגמות/ ;-)

5/08/2006 9:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I believe with perfect faith in the coming of the Messiah and even though he may DELAY, nevertheless I believe that one day he will come."

Seems to me like being dead is in a different category than being "delayed." But what do I know. I live in Denver and there are a lot of "Things to do in Denver When You're Dead."

5/08/2006 11:25 PM  
Blogger Warren Burstein said...

I think the source they use for the ressurected messiah is Sanhedrin 98b, at the bottom.

אמר רב אי מן חייא הוא כגון רבינו הקדוש אי מן מתיא הוא כגון דניאל איש חמודות

Back when the Rebbe was alive according to all opinions I used to argue with the "Shaliach to Cyberspace" and other Chabadnikim on Usenet. I am pretty sure that during this period they used the Rambam on how being dead disqualifies a potential Messiah as indicating that the Rebbe would recover from his incapacitated state and would not die.

After he had been "released from the hospital", I think they started to refer to that Sanhedrin. And when asked why the Rebbe and not someone else (they have to admit that there are lots of other dead people who were qualified for the job while they were alive, because they believe that at every instant there is a potential messiah), they say that the previous candidates have been in the spiritual world for so long that they are too removed from material existence.

It would be interesting to find out if the people who decided that the Rebbe was going to be a ressurected messiah knew that there was another religion that already had one of those. It seems hard to imagine that there's someone who doesn't know at least the standing-on-one-foot version of Christianity, but I have a feeling that's possible - I don't know how much secular education there is in Chabad schools, but it would not surprise me if they skip any mention of other religions. And if all they know is Jewish sources, I don't know if they have access to the censored aggadot about Jesus, or to "Toldot Yeshu" in their schools.

The censored aggadot ( and that seem to be about Jesus don't mention that he was thought to be the messiah, divine, or ressurected, instead they make him out to be a mamzer, a very naughty boy and a magician. But you have to look in critical editions, (or Steinsaltz), to find them, and I'm pretty sure they wouldn't do that in Chabad yeshivas.

Toldot Yeshu (I'd never seen it before, but found a version at does refer to each of those claims, but I don't know if this text is known in the yeshivas.

So I'm ambivalent - did the "he's coming back" and the Borenu people know that very similar things were said about Jesus, but didn't care, or did they just not know that there was precident for these ideas?

I also think it would be interesting if the Rebbe would turn out to be number twelve on some list (I can't think who to put in front of the Baal Hatanya except for the Maggid and the Baal Shem Tov, which only brings the count up to 9), as then there would also be a resemblance to the Shiite concept of the 12th Imam.

5/09/2006 7:17 AM  
Blogger The back of the hill said...

Okay.... I knew that there's was something weird about the idea of Rebbe Shneerson coming back from the kever.

If the moshiach is an animate corpse with holes and raggedy parts, I'm checking myself in to a clinic.
Convinced, at that point, that it ain't the first coming, but a bad acid trip.

Either that or I lost my marbles.

5/09/2006 5:27 PM  
Blogger The back of the hill said...

Can you imagine a fight between the Golem and a zombie rabbi.
Who would win?

Sounds like a Cantonese movie from the Mr. Vampire series.

Note: Vampire is a mistitlement; what they called a vampire in the subtitles was a keung-si - a reanimated corpse that locomotes through hopping, and needs yeung-hei or 'Yang-essence' to stay mobile. A type of zombie, without the higher soul, but inhabited by the animal spirit of the decedent.

If the zombie rabbi was a kabalist, then the golem would snuff it. If not, the golem would win, hands down.

5/09/2006 5:32 PM  
Blogger dbs said...

Hmmm, how exactly did the early christians handle this problem...

There is a great 'sode' which very few are on the madregah to understand. The Rebbe is not dead because is not mortal. He is, in fact, a part of the aybishter.

Ergo, one of the (many) theological consequences is that he would kick the golems butt.

Gotta go...I'm late for my dinner with Elvis...

5/09/2006 5:46 PM  
Blogger Ezzie said...

Okay - as a post, this is one of the strangest ones I've read... :)

5/09/2006 5:54 PM  
Blogger Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Did you hear they put armed guards around the Rebbe's kever?

Apparently, he was getting death threats.

5/10/2006 10:29 AM  
Blogger PsychoToddler said...

Zombie Rebbe...I'd pay to see that movie.

5/10/2006 2:23 PM  
Blogger Nemo said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

5/11/2006 11:33 PM  
Anonymous nemo said...

Jesus was not disqualified because he died, he was disqualified, as the Ramabam puts it, because instead of saving Jews and bringing them close to Torah, he caused sin and many Jewish murders.

5/11/2006 11:35 PM  
Anonymous big brother said...

right. uh huh. vuss-ever. i'm too bored to point out the difference between Judaism and dead-messiah-worship again.

5/11/2006 11:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ahem - get it right:
tchiyat hametim = zombies.

5/12/2006 5:34 AM  
Blogger thanbo said...

Yoniqua: Elijah isn't a model for the late L. Rebbe's resurrection, because Elijah was assumed bodily into heaven, as witnessed by Elisha. Whereas, the late L. Rebbe was buried in the ground. So Elijah's occasional visits are understandable, but not as a model for the L. Rebbe's resurrection.

5/15/2006 12:41 PM  

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