The Baltimore Jewish Times allegedly held a Joel Shurkin article about Chabad messianism for more than one year, repeatedly slotting it for publication – at least once as a cover story – and then pulling it due to 'community pressure,' much of it from Chabad.
What is so damning about the article?
It is written that before the Messiah comes, he must be preceded by a messianic age and Schneerson announced that age was here before he died.
So what about the body buried in Queens?
That he died only amplifies his qualifications. Rambam, among others, [Chabad Rabbi and Rosh Yeshiva Tuvia] Bolton says, wrote that the Messiah must come from the dead and that the resurrection of the dead is central to Jewish messianic belief. To say otherwise, he says, is to misunderstand him.
“Moshiach is the essence of Judaism, as is the raising of the dead. The two concepts do not contradict one another.”
As to the Rebbe, now in his grave 10 years, “The Jewish body has no connection with death whatsoever. The physical is eternal. Now it seems the spiritual is higher, that the body dies and decomposes. That’s what seems to us, but it is not true. The body is eternal and will be reconstructed,” he says.
In response to this type of 'logic,' the article quotes Rabbi David Berger:
Berger points out that only two messianic movements in Judaism lasted after the supposed Messiah died: Shabbatianism, which also survived the conversion of Zvi to Islam and still has a few followers in Turkey, and Christianity. Both are considered Jewish heresies.
The criticism is unfounded, say Chabad rabbis.
“Maimonides was referring to J.C. [Jesus],” says Bolton. Bolton says that traditional Judaism has always permitted the death of the Messiah because in tradition, the dead will rise again.
If that belief is legitimate Jewish thought, counters Berger, then the only difference between Chabad and Christianity is a case of “mistaken identity.” Christians think it was Jesus; Chabad thinks it was Schneerson.
Read it all here.