DON’T BAN THE TANYA

The Jewish Chronicle - - Comment & Analysis -

Those who claim the Tanya is “racist” and banned its study ( JC, Oc­to­ber 10) are un­for­tu­nately mis­guided. Ac­cord­ing to their view, whole sec­tions of our pray­ers will have to be banned. Fur­ther­more, var­i­ous haf­tarahs would have to be re­moved from the list or deleted from the Prophets com­pletely.

Even more dis­turb­ing is that the vice-pres­i­dent of the Board of Deputies sup­ported the ban. Ev­ery phrase in Tanya, in­clud­ing the com­ments that he found “un­ac­cept­able”, come straight out of the Bi­ble, the Tal­mud, the Midrash and other au­then­tic sources. If au­then­tic Jewish teach­ings are deemed “un­ac­cept­able” and banned by the leaders of An­glo Jewry, how do they ex­pect their neigh­bours to find Jewish rites ac­cept­able? Rabbi Yossie Alper­owitz Di­rec­tor, Chabad of Bournemouth We­ston Drive, BH1 You re­port that three con­gre­gants of Hamp­stead Gar­den Sub­urb United Syn­a­gogue man­aged to halt an adult-ed­u­ca­tion pro­gramme on the Tanya (au­thored by the founder of Lubav­itch Cha­sidism, Rabbi Sh­neur Zal­man of Liadi), on the grounds of its ap­par­ent racist con­tent. In an­other story, Chris Huhne and Me­lanie Phillips de­fend the right of Holo­caust­de­nier Fred­er­ick Toben to preach his bile, all in the name of free­dom of speech.

I am no fan of Lubav­itch. I also hap­pen to de­spise Holo­caust-de­niers, though I can’t make up my mind if I agree with Mr Huhne and Ms Phillips, or if the Holo­caust-de­niers should rot in jail. It would be of mild in­ter­est to know if any or all of the so-called “gang of three” from Nor­rice Lea agree with Holo­caust-de­niers’ rights to free­dom of speech, and if so, how they square that with their as­ser­tion that the ven­er­a­ble late rabbi should not be ac­corded the same rights. Yoav Bi­nad yoavbi­nad@google­mail.com

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