Judging Other Jews


I hope that Rabbi Ephraim Buchwald, in his letter, “The Rebbe As Innovator” (July 4), was experiencing an everyday lapse of concentration — or a lapse in computer keyboarding — when he attributed to Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson the preposterous “message” of “never judging fellow Jews.” 

Really? We shouldn’t judge the Jews who evidently burned alive, to death, some random Palestinian boy they plucked off the streets? Or the assassin of Yitzchak Rabin? Or Bernard Madoff and other swindlers? Or stealers of funds intended for charity and communal institutions?   

Of course we should endeavor to put ourselves in another’s place and to judge on the side of merit — but the assertion that we should never judge fellow Jews is ethically repulsive. I am not a Lubavitcher and don’t know whether the late Rebbe ever taught as much. But I would hate to think that Rabbi Buchwald, with his own distinguished career of outreach and education, is actually transmitting so toxic a teaching to his students.