Less than human, less than divine.
Chicago Samson writes:
I would also add that a Kaddish can certainly be said for a righteous gentile or a gentile parent (cf. Responsa of Yahavah Da’at 6:60 [Rabbi Ovadia Yosef]; Leket Hakdama HaHadash c. 46-87, p. 316)), or for one of the truly good and pious people of the world.
Incidentally, the Halacha is very clear that a Jewish person may say Kaddish for a righteous and decent non-Jewish person; many Jews have done so especially for those fine and decent people who rescued Jews during the Holocaust. Sanctifying God’s Name is not limited to only Jews; the morally decent people of all faiths have a share in the world to come and are worthy of being remembered through the recitation of the Kaddish Prayer. More specifically, since this non-Jewish spouse supported her husband’s willingness to observe the Jewish faith, this too makes her worthy of being remembered through the Kaddish Prayer.…
Chicago Samson wrote in response to this comment from Mordechai:
My soulmate and dear wife of more than 30 years passed away last Thursday after a brutal 8 year fight with cancer. This has been devastating.
I approached a Chabad Rabbi just hours ago to ask: "What Jewish prayers do you recommend for my wife; she was not Jewish." To which he replied: "There are no Jewish prayers for her. Don't do it again!"…
I know that Chabad rabbi. He is the senior Chabad rabbi of his region, someone who was close to the late Rebbe. And there is nothing in his response to that grieving Jew that in any way deviates from Chabad theology.
Several years ago, not long before I was helped out of Chabad, a potential convert was able to locate his father's grave (for various reasons, a problem) and get a tombstone erected. He wanted to say kaddish for his father. Rabbi Asher Zeilingold refused him. The potential convert, only days away from his conversion, said kaddish anyway. That ended his conversion process.
In my experience, in Chabad the only time kaddish is said for a non-Jew is if the Jew saying kaddish is very wealthy or if Chabad stands to gain materially in some other way – and these exceptions themselves seem rare.
Chabad views non-Jews who have not publicly adopted the so-called 7 Laws of Noah as less than human, closer spiritually to animals then to Jews.
That helps explain Agriprocessors' atrocious treatment of its workers, and Chabad's complete and total lack of concern for those workers in the aftermath of the immigration raid.
Chabad does a lot of good. But it also does a lot of the opposite.
Perhaps the worst of what Chabad does is promote a bizarre racialism that has more in common with the KKK than it does with Tanach, the Hebrew Bible.
Others will tell you Chabad's theology is similar in this regard to the theologies of the rest of ultra-Orthodoxy. Put simply, haredim view non-Jews less than human, lacking a true divine spark. They base this mumbo jumbo on kabbalist mumbo jumbo, which itself is largely the invention of Jewish sepratists who lived in what had been until recently tolerant, polycultural Spain. But as non-Jewish tolerance for minorities faded, Jewish racialism grew.
Jewish racialism has never been the only way Jews looked at non-Jews, and it has never been the dominant way. Even after the Holocaust, most Jews made clear distinctions between non-Jewish evil and good.
But most Jews largely did not include Jewish sepratists – the haredim.
You would think we Jews by now have had enough experience with racism and racialism to stay far away from it. Sadly, you would be wrong.