Chabad's "official" leadership again tries to evict the messianists who control the main Chabad synagogue at Chabad's World Headquarters, 770 Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn, New York. But there's one important fact to know about this looming court case you probably won't read in the newspapers.
What is that fact?
This fight is NOT about messianism. Both of the main Chabad factions believe in essentially the same messianist doctrine.
The fight is about two things:
1. What the public image of Chabad will be. Will Chabad publicly say its late Rebbe, who died in 1994, is the messiah? Or will that be what Chabad followers believe in and talk about among themselves, but not in the wider public? "Official" Chabad holds the latter view. The messianists who control 770 – along with most of Crown Heights – hold the first view.
2. Political power. Who really controls Chabad's iconic institution? And who really is "official" Chabad?
No matter how this latest battle comes out, the war between the two camps will continue – perhaps for several generations.