Shlomo Carlbach – The Prince of Peace

  • Rabbi Shlomo Carlbach taught toleration of all Jews and had love for all of humanity.
  • Israel is faced by a schism of secular and religious which Rabbi Shlomo Carlbach did not accept.
  • Rabbi Shlomo Carlbach was not afraid of hugging a woman in public which is against Jewish law. He loved everyone.

Not only Jews, but all people can learn from Shlomo Carlbach, a singer, Rabbi and spiritual leader. Born to a Religious Chassidic family dynasty, Shlomo Carlbach learned the way of authentic Judaism at a young age.  He studied in the most prestigious Torah schools in America including Lakewood Yeshiva and Lubavitch.  At some point in his life he rebelled against Ultra-Orthodox Judaism and established a new approach toward Judaism, progressive Jewish spirituality.

Carlebach’s grave.

Besides being a great Torah Scholar, he learned also the esoteric teachings of Judaism and was knowledgeable also in Christian theology, Bhuddist, and Hindu. He needed this knowledge to do his outreach work and to bring Jews who had grown up in the modern free world exposed to all angles of spirituality to also relate to Judaism in the right way.  Jews who come from Jewish assimilated families can also become resentful to Orthodox Judaism which condemns them and even can call them sinners. Orthodox Judaism teaches theocracy, Judaism as a national religion for Jews only.

The Jews were given the Law of Moses which they accepted blindly after having been redeemed from torture and slavery by Pharoah in Egypt through ten plagues described in the Book of Exodus. They experienced miracles before their eyes like the splitting of the Red Sea. They believed in Moses their teacher and had very few doubts that the Law of Moses was the authentic the will of God.

Today the world examines what is written in the Law of Moses and calls it outdated because it is a theocracy not giving human rights like a democracy. The Law of Moses was the foundation of the Biblical State of Israel and continues to be followed by Orthodox Jewry today. The Laws and instruction of Moses are given as commandments with severe punishments for transgression. It separates the Jew from the rest of the world. The most important of the commandments of the Torah is the learning of the law. Jews in Biblical times and also today are commanded not only to be obedient to their nation Israel, but also to study the law of the nation day and night. Neglect of the study of the law is a severe sin.  Chezkiyahu the King of Israel placed a sword over the entrance to the house of study of Jewish law to threaten any of his subjects by death for neglect of Torah study. Scriptures speak about the Torah that it was given with fire, “a law of fire for the people.”

Kabbalah or “correspondence” is an esoteric method, discipline, and school of thought of Judaism. The definition of Kabbalah varies according to the tradition and aims of those following it, from its religious origin as an integral part of Judaism, to its later adaptations in Western esotericism (Christian Kabbalah and Hermetic Qabalah). Jewish Kabbalah is a set of esoteric teachings meant to explain the relationship between God, the unchanging, eternal, and mysterious Ein Sof (“The Infinite”), and the mortal and finite universe (God’s creation). It forms the foundation of mystical religious interpretations within Judaism.

Through the Torah and its Orthodox observers the Jewish Nation survives today in the homes of millions of Jews throughout the world. The leaders of Judaism who are Torah Scholars who usually also have a strong lineage connection to the Kingship of Israel are against freedom and democracy.  The Greeks and Romans introduced democracy to the world at the time of the second holy temple when the Jewish people lived according to their religion in Zion and Jerusalem.  Ultra-Orthodox relate to democracy the way it was lived by the Greeks and Romans who persecuted Jews in the times of the temple. Democracy will not allow Israel to be a Jewish state.

Democracy today and the world is not the same as it was in Biblical times. The Romans and Greek cultures today are considered Pagan in relation to the majority of modern society. There is still Paganism in the world but after religion entered the world beginning with Judaism the world has changed. Ultra-Orthodox Judaism follows the Law of Moses which is rigid and against accepting change. This makes it awkward for modern Jews today who have accepted the changes which came after the destruction of their holy temple. Orthodox Rabbis who do not accept change remain opposed to democracy and call Christianity idolatry and claim that Judaism is the only true religion. Judaism was the only true religion because it initiated Monotheism in a world which believed in Paganism. After Judaism came Christianity and Islam based on the Bible but independent from Judaism.

In the theocracy of Judaism the Law of Moses gives preference to the nation of Israel and its survival which is dependent on Jewish lineage. According to Jewish law unity of God on earth and peace depends on the sovereignty of the biblical state of Israel with its holy temple in Jerusalem.  The prayers and goals of Judaism are for returning the Biblical nation to become a sovereign nation the Biblical theocracy living according to Jewish law.  The Law does not allow for any other religion in Israel except for Judaism. The Law is for the sake of maintaining Jewish lineage through the commandments and statutes of the Torah. Jewish lineage is most important in Judaism, Jewish marriage and raising a family boys and girls educating them to follow the Torah. In Judaism the laws of incest including the prohibition of intermarriage takes precedence over other spiritual goals like Unity of God and World peace.

Later esoteric teachings in Judaism the Zohar, Sefer Hakana gave preference to Unity of God over national Jewish goals.  The religious establishment still do not want to change priorities. Changing priorities will weaken National Unity connected to Jewish lineage. Torah Scholars have learned the texts of esoteric Judaism but still consider lineage which depends on laws of incest most important. The Jewish body of flesh and blood is considered more holy than the spiritual soul. Torah scholars teaching Jewish law do not accept a spiritual soul which has no connection to the Jewish body flesh and blood. Critics argue that the soul is pure and has no connection to race. For sure God is not Jewish.

Shlomo Carlbach rebelled although he was raised in an Orthodox way and understood the requirements of an Orthodox Rabbi to teach and practice strictly according to Jewish law.  Most Sephardic Rabbis refuse to recognize him as a Rabbi.  They took away from him his smicha or rabbinical ordination. Shlomo was hired by Lubavitch as a representative to do Jewish outreach. He could not accept all the requirements which Lubavitch insist upon their representatives like maintaining separate groups, men and woman. The Rebbe told him that in this way he can no longer act as a Lubavitch representative.

Shlomo continued his work independently. He could not accept to deny what he believed was true. Although separating sexes is preferred in Orthodox Jewish day schools, weddings and concerts; Shlomo felt that he did not want to exclude anyone from his concerts.  The question of separation of sexes at a concert was questioned in Israel when a concert scheduled in the Northern City of Efula was cancelled by the Supreme Court of Israel. Shlomo Carlbach sang for mixed groups and at separate group concerts.  He did not make an issue of it. He felt that you cannot change the world and return it back to Biblical times when Jews were governed by a Theocracy without freedom of religion. He even made a concert at the Vatican and deep in India inviting there many Gurus to attend. He made concerts for the sake of Jewish unity like his concert in the city of Shechem where is buried the patriarch Joseph when the tomb of Joseph had been burned by Arab terrorists.

Shlomo ran an Orthodox Synagogue in Upper Manhattan where he would sing with a guitar the holy prayers of Israel. He was also a story teller of old Chassidic tales of miracles done by the righteous saints. He did not oppose anyone, but they opposed his progressive way. Shlomo passed away in 1994 but people continue to sing his songs and to watch his concerts on You-Tube. Shlomo sings for peace shalom:

The Nation of Israel fights for survival

Today there are two nations of Israel which interplay in everyday Jewish life. There is the modern state of Israel which is a democracy and the eternal religious state of Israel which is a theocracy, Kingship. At the head of the Biblical eternal nation of Israel is King David an eternal king who has not yet to be revealed; and Torah Scholars Judges and teachers of Torah preparing the way for the coming of the Messiah.  When the messiah will come the whole nation will return to its homeland and will be built the holy temple in Jerusalem.  The eternal nation has survived after the destruction of the holy temple by the Romans in the homes of Jews throughout the diaspora their synagogues and learning centers.

The modern State of Israel came after World War II and the holocaust when the British released the British Mandate over Palestine through the war of independence of 1948.  The founders of the State of Israel decided to make a democratic Jewish State run by a coalition government.  They gave special recognition to the Orthodox to run the Religious court which would supervise of marriage and divorce according to Jewish law. Through doing this, the modern State of Israel became known as a Jewish State. The rest of the laws of the country were not according to the Law of Moses for establishment of the nation of Israel like in Biblical times. The State of Israel also observed as national holidays the Jewish holidays which are Rosh HaShanna two new year days, Yom Kippur the high holy fast day, three festivals Succot which comes after the high holy days in autumn season, Passover which falls each year in springtime, and Shevuot the holiday of weeks which falls after seven weeks on the fiftieth day after Passover.

Modern Israel accepts and respects Christianity, Islam, Baha”i and other faiths their holy places and their constituents. In the eternal state of Israel there was only permitted Orthodox Judaism with strict controls over the laws. Orthodox Jews living in Israel may or not recognize the State of Israel according to the strictness of their observance. Many Orthodox Jews oppose the State of Israel for several reasons. Other Orthodox Jews respect the State of Israel as they would respect any nation which gives them the opportunity and freedom to live and be happy.  The large majority of Jews in Israel consider themselves first Israeli before Jewish.  They do not accept the obligation to follow strictly Judaism as a religion, but maintain their connection to Judaism through keeping several rituals like lighting Sabbath Candles before the Sabbath and holidays, wearing Phylacteries, praying in Orthodox congregations, supporting Jewish religious institutions. There is a conflict between religious and secular Jewish Orthodox religious values in Israel based upon Jewish law which is ideologically against the State. They feel the State of Israel should be a Kingship, a theocracy when the Messiah comes. Before the Messiah comes, there is a difference of opinion on the permission according to Jewish law the make a Jewish State.  Those that oppose the State of Israel feel that before the Messiah arrives it is dangerous to make a Jewish State in Israel.

Jews or Jewish people are an ethnoreligious group and a nation, originating from the Israelites and Hebrews of historical Israel and Judah. Jewish ethnicity, nationhood, and religion are strongly interrelated,as Judaism is the ethnic religion of the Jewish people, while its observance varies from strict observance to complete nonobservance.

After the State of Israel has been established for seventy years and six million Jews live in Israel, it is hard for Torah Scholars to oppose the State of Israel. Most have compromised their ideals and accept the State of Israel as divine providence. The State of Israel was established to give Jews a homeland. With the establishment of the State comes protecting its citizens which is difficult in living in the unstable region of the Middle East. Very few Orthodox congregations add a prayer for the State of Israel on the Sabbath, and they do not have in their temple an Israeli flag. Israel has given them a place in the government and supports their institutions.  Most Orthodox succeed to avoid military service. It is critical that even to say a prayer for the safety of soldiers of Israel they neglect. The secular for many reasons have lost respect for the Orthodox. The coming elections may be disappointing to the Orthodox but they have not shown very much concern for the State of Israel anyway.

The excuse given by the Orthodox Jewish leaders to oppose the State of Israel that the Messiah has not arrived and that it is not a theocracy according to Torah law in the light of world faith is a denial of the presence of God on earth. The concern of the Orthodox is more for sustaining Jewish lineage through its religion than building the Kingdom of God on earth. Esoteric teaching which have come into Judaism in the last eight hundred years emphasize more Faith in God and Unity of God before Jewish blood lineage. Not only these esoteric teachings but the works of the Prophets written in the Bible – Tanach also stress unity of God and peace before Jewish blood lineage.  There is idolatry in religion whether it be national or universal, Judaism or Christianity or Islam. More important today is Unity of God and World Faith before religion. This was the teaching of the prophet of Baha”i, Yoga and of Progressive Jewish Spirituality. Religion is only the beginning of spirituality.

President Trump as an Evangelist Christian has recognized that the State of Israel needs the help of America to defend itself and to maintain stability in the Middle East. Many Orthodox Rabbis besides liberal Jewish democrats publicly mocked him for praying at the Wailing Wall; and do not even give thanks to him for protecting the rights of Israel to Jerusalem and the Golan which is so important for the National Security of Israel. These Orthodox Rabbis live according to a doctrine which is completely racial not giving respect and being open to the light of God in the New Age according to the prophets of Isiah, Ezekiel, and Jerimiah. Their basis for this kind of disrespect is caring more for their children that they should be religious than for the name of God which is Shalom and peace. The Israel News Media cannot hide its feelings about the Ultra-Orthodox. It is true that they have protected the Jewish covenant of God in the diaspora but they are covering up the revelation of God on earth through denying the coming of the Messiah. From the first day of creation, the Messiah has arrived when God said “Let there be light, and there was light.” The darkness of the world continues to cover up this revelation even within Judaism. Looking into the future for the coming of the Messiah is a good excuse not to receive him in the present. The State of Israel is a nation like all other nations which has to defend itself. It is not claiming to be the Messianic State. Who needs the messianic state anyway, a theocracy dictatorship suppressing human rights? We need the Messiah to give mankind faith in God as the world approaches the deepest darkness in its history.

Shlomo Carlbach a singer rabbi and spiritual leader Orthodox Rabbi rebelled against racism in the Jewish world and in the four corners of the earth. He sang songs of love and peace.

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David Wexelman

Rabbi David Wexelman is the  author of five books on the topics of World Unity and Peace, and Progressive Jewish Spirituality. Rabbi Wexelman is a member of the American Friends of Maccabee, a charitable organization helping the poor in the United States and in Israel.  Donations are tax deductible in the USA.

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