The author Elliot R. Wolfson writes in his book “Open Secret” about the “Postmessianic Messianism and the Mystical Revision of Menachem Mendel Schneerson”. I haven’t finished reading the book and I am still somewhere in the middle. It is anything but an easy read and it is one of those books you have to read a few times in order to understand everything.
Elliot Wolfson lists plenty of sources from the Zohar, Iggeret HaKodesh further Chabad literature. I studied with Chabad in the past and still like going to their Synagogue services. Shame on me because I do prefer the Livishe Synagogues but, from time to time, Chabad is a nice change. 🙂
What I learned in Chabad were mostly stories and a lot of Tanya. However, Elliot Wolfson goes much much deeper into Rebbe Menachem Schneerson’s messianic ideas. Not that he is the Meshiach. Don’t get the wrong idea now !
Messianism has been one of the major issues in Chabad ideology. Already the sixth Lubavitcher Rebbe Yosef Yitzchak spread various ideas. However, these ideas even lead us back to the fifth Rebbe and those who are familiar with the topic know that it wasn’t all the last Rebbe’s “fault”.
I am going into the subject in a later article but without finishing the entire book I have to say one thing: It does bother me that Chabad constantly refers to itself. Everything is only Chabad. I think it was the last Rebbe comparing Avraham, Yitzchak, Yaakov, Levi, Kehat, Amram and Moshe to the seven Chabad Rebbes.
It is already well – known that in Chabad, everything is just so Chabad but comparing the coming of Meshiach only to Chabad is a little too much for me. On the other hand I must admit that Chabad (according to it’s own claim) is the most intellectual Chassidut ! But this statement has nothing to do with Messianism but to Chabad ideology as a whole.