Guest Post: Kopul Rosen & The Rebbe – Myth Refuted
Rabbi Jeremy Rosen has sent in the following article about his late father, Kopul Rosen's, z'l, relationship with the Rebbe. The comments in square brackets [ ] are Rabbi Rosen's corrections to Rabbi Tuvia Bolton's article as published by Chabad in Israel. They have been indented for clarity and readability.
My comments? Another Chabad myth destroyed:
By Rabbi Jeremy Rosen
The Lubavitcher Rebbe was undeniably a great man and arguably the greatest Jew of his generation. Many of his followers have done outstanding work around the globe. But sadly as with every large organisation they have their crooks, their swindlers and their liars. Amongst their failings is an exaggerated tendency to maximise miracles the Rebbe performed (while ignoring his limitations) and frankly lying to suit their own propaganda.
For many years there has been a story circulating that my father who died in 1962 was promised he would be cured by the Rebbe provided he did not tell anyone. But he did and that’s why he died. These stories caused my late mother as great deal of distress and at one stage she actually planned to take legal action. I have just had it brought to my attention that this dishonest story is still being disseminated. You can find a copy of this Chillul HaShem here HYPERLINK "http://www.ohrtmimim.org/Torah" http://www.ohrtmimim.org/Torah .
The facts of the situation are that in the autumn of 1961 my late father (spelled Kopul) was diagnosed with a particularly virulent form of Lukaemia and he was being kept alive by regular blood transfusions. The Doctors described his condition as terminal. Initially he kept on repeating that he was in the hands of God, not fallible human doctors, but as he deteriorated his initial optimism began to wane. An old friend Rabbi Laizer Spector wnt with him to visit the Lubavitcher Rebbe in New York. (My uncle – who had been going regularly to see the Rebbe before these events – had gone before my father.) My father was tremendously impressed by the Rebbe who encouraged him to devote his remaining time to preparing himself to meet his Maker. He suggested my father grow his beard full, wear a gartel when he prayed and study the Tanya daily. The visit certainly gave my father a lot of spiritual comfort. When he returned he wrote many letters to friends and pupils telling them that he was nearing his end but facing it with confidence. Things deteriorated of course and in the winter he went to New York again for a final visit to the Rebbe. He kept very detailed notes of both visits so we have written evidence apart from his own memory.
The Rebbe reassured him that he would live to dance at his daughter's wedding (she was two at the time). One can argue whether this was honest or not. Let us assume he was just trying to give him courage or speaking mystically. But medically there was no chance of recovery. He died less than two months later.
Although I have never joined Chabad, when I was a rabbi in Glasgow I arranged for Chaim Jacobs to come as the Chabad emissary and indeed he was employed by my Synagogue, Giffnock, until he could get on to his own two feet. The Rebbe blessed my first marriage and was instrumental in my returning to Carmel as Headmaster. I made several trips to New York to see the Rebbe and to get Chabad teachers to come to Carmel . But no, I am a fellow traveller rather than a believer.
All this is by way of introduction. Here is the body of this regurgitated myth:
‘The scene is London 1963.
[My father died in 1962.]
Three religious bearded Jews are sitting around a table and one, a noted Rabbi and community leader by the name of Rabbi Koppel (sic) Rosen was weeping. Usually he was known almost as well for his disdain toward the Chabad Chassidim
[Strange. When I was in Beer Yaakov yeshiva in 1957 he came to visit and together we went to Kfar Chabad to meet some friends of his. He was responsible for getting Lord Wolfson to fund the building of Lubavitch House in Stamford Hill in the 1950’s and he was a very old friend of Reb Laizer Spector, ZL one of the main early supporters of Chabad in London who actually went with him to the Rebbe the first time. My father was in contact with the Rebbe long before, as letters exchanged between them in the fifties on various issues attest. Incidentally although my late father was sent to Mir Yeshivah and became a great admirer of Rav Yerucham Levovitz ZL after whom I am named and the Mussar movement, he was actually born into a family of Radomsker Chassidim and the Chasidic atmosphere was a far more formative aspect of home life than the Lithuanian.]
as he was for his erudition.
[Whose erudition? His own? He lived for Torah.]
Whenever there was an opportunity to belittle or even vilify Chabad he took it.
[Really? I’d like to hear one person say he ever heard my father belittle Chabad.]
But now it seems that things had changed.
Several weeks later Rabbi Rosen was standing before the Rebbe. It had all come about so suddenly, he had always shuddered in rupulsion (sic) at the name Chabad
[Oh no not that lie again!]
and now it was so obvious that the Rebbe was unequaled in holiness and knowledge that he was actually shaking with excitement. But the Rebbe wasn't enthusiastic about his idea of becoming a Chassid. "Chassid?" he answered, "I am willing to accept you as a partner. But not a Chassid."
[My father kept very detailed notes of his meeting and only the first part of this about being a partner can be found amongst them.]
Rabbi Rosen stayed for over a week in Brooklyn
[He has got the two visits confused and time scales wrong]
and every day he felt better and better, in some ways better than ever before in his life. For the first time the hatred
[Hatred? What hatred? Of whom? My father never bore grudges nor hated anyone. Chabad? Them why had he been helping them for so long?]
he had always carried in his heart was gone. That Shabbat he attended the 'Farbrengen' (gathering) of the Rebbe. Rabbi Rosen was elated. After the Farbringen he told everyone he met of the amazing miracle that was happening to him;. how just reading the Tanya and seeing the Rebbe completely cured him of the worst disease and made him young again.
[There was no cure, no remission. But I agree he did feel tremendous spiritual elation from being with the Rebbe.]
When the Shabbat was over he called home and told his wife to advertise the miracle until everyone knew.
[Rubbish, confirmed by my mother.]
Rabbi Rosen never felt better in his life.
[He was on constant blood transfusions!]
He exclaimed that he was healthy and he felt it would last for ever. "I'll begin by telling everyone about my miraculous recovery!" He exclaimed enthusiastically.
[His letters, notes and conversations say nothing about this at all.]
But the Rebbe emphatically stopped him. "No! You must tell no one!
But it was too late. Rabbi Rosin (sic) had already advertised
[Strange that none of his family knew about this myth.]
After a few months he contracted a cold which developed complications
[He had leukaemia!]
and, as the Rebbe forsaw (sic), he passed away.
Today, said the Rebbe, we should advertise to ALL the world that the time for Moshiach is here! Soon all the sick will be permanently healed, war and hatred will cease to exist and eventually even the dead will rise! It depends on us to do all we can to bring....Moshiach now!!!’
Boobah Maisehs and lies will not bring the Moshiach NOW!!
Frankly if he/they can invent this, then every story they tell becomes suspect. I just hope someone of honesty and truth in Chabad sees this and puts an end to it for the sake of their good name.
UPDATE #1, 2-21-06: Rabbi Ariel Sokolovsky sent in scans of the Rabbi Kopul Rosen story as originally published by Lubavitch in England. The story is told by Rabbi Rosen's wife, Bella. As is easily seen, the story has little in common with the myth later created and circulated by Chabad.
Please click on each image below for an enlargement. All are taken from "Challenge: An Encounter with Lubavitch Chabad," published by the Lubavitch Foundation of Great Britain, 1970.
The publication of Rabbi Jeremy Rosen's expose´of Chabad's twisting and exaggeration of his father's story has drawn a lot of attention inside Chabad. And the author of Chabad's most deceitful version, Rabbi Tuvia Bolton of Kfar Chabad, Israel, has taken to promising at least some readers that he would correct and update his version. One such reader emailed me with a link to Rabbi Bolton's "correction," which turns out to be an edited version of the story that replaces Rabbi Kopul Rosen's name with the anonymous "Rabbi J.," and that keeps many of the lies of the original version intact. And, Rabbi Bolton nowhere mentions his errors or publicly apologizes for lying about Rabbi Rosen's relationship with the Rebbe, and his passing.
How can anyone trust anything Chabad publishes or says when its rabbis lie like this?
[Here's a PDF of Rabbi Bolton's "corrected" version: Download tuvia_bolton.pdf]
UPDATE #3, 2-24-06: Rabbi Jeremy Rosen writes in this week's Something Jewish:
I find it fascinating that the Gospel of Mark in the New Testament contains a similar story of a man being warned not to reveal a miraculous healing, but publicizing it anyway. It seems that it’s not just the Second Coming that some people in Chabad are borrowing from Christianity! If people can invent nonsense like this to bolster their belief systems, then every story they tell becomes suspect. Myths and lies certainly won’t help bring ‘Moshiach Now’!
It was my mother’s Yahrzeit this week. Out of respect for her memory, let alone my father’s, zl, I hope someone in Chabad has the integrity and authority to put an end to this for the sake of its own good name.