There is something about hatred for Chabad that transcends all political and religious affiliations. All of a sudden, everybody understands each other, and can all exchange the proverbial winks. Even people that can’t agree on anything seem to band together in a harmonious cadence of “Chabad bashing”.
There are many reasons for this. By some, they get to feel smug and intelligent, that their predictions were accurate. That baffles me. בשלמא those who in the 60’s predicted the madness of the late 80’s and early 90’s; we can give them a little room to rejoice over the fulfilment of their own prophesies. But predicting the Melbourne shenanigans? That was easy. It is the Sabbateans all over again – just with better PR.
Others feel self-righteous bashing Chabad; they get to feel the internal glow of the zealots that they despise. They feel like they are doing G-d’s mission and sticking up for what is right. They feel like they can take the moral high ground, quoting chapter and verse from Professor Berger like he is Charlton Heston.
What is very revealing about the nature of the Chabad hatred is that many- after innocently wondering if ‘all Lubabs are Meshichists’ - feel the need to sprinkle their criticism with disclaimers such as ‘oh, I daven in a Chabad shul’. Or even worse, ‘some of my closest friends are Lubavitchers’. Goebbels, ימ''ש, complained that he got too many phone calls from Nazis asking him to save their friends.
Regarding Meshichism: For many, it is a messianic vision in which Chabad, which controls the world now, will be recognized, by young and old alike, as the center of the universe. Everybody will have their pamphlets with the daily dose of Chasidus and Shteinzaltz Gemaras. All the politicians, whose decisions were anyways always decided by the Rebbe, will pay homage to him. They will bring fruit on silver platters. The world will be filled with knowledge of the Rebbe’s sichas - no need to sit in 770 with headphones. The little Temimim will sit in the front while the best of the other segments of Judaism will sit on the periphery, chalilah.
Furthermore, Meshichism has nothing to do with Moshiach. Obviously, it is an expression of an intense need to make the Rebbe larger than life; Meshichism is just a HT- היכי תימצא. The greatest level a human can obtain is to be the Messiah. Theoretically, if they would be convinced that a different position, let’s say Kohen Godal, would be the ultimate one, they would dredge up all the sources indicating that the Rebbe was really the High Priest.
A thought about the Melbourne incident: the reason why such a thing can only happen in Chabad is obvious. Someone who became religious through, let’s say one of the many selfless shiluchim of the Chafetz Chaim network, would be self-conscious and embarrassed to publicize something that is ridiculed by the overwhelming majority of Jews. Not so in certain known groups of a certain group. Their handlers take advantage of them. They feed them all the Chabad talking points. They are taught that only Lubavitch cares about others, remained religious under duress while the Lita was being destroyed spiritually; they overdose on exclusionism, xenophobia, and hate.
Someone who a Chafetz Chaim talmid was mekarev is more open to outside influences. He is not convinced that the only way to save the world is to learn very slow, or that Chafetz Chaim yeshivas are the true representatives of Slabodko, even though in Slabodko they were intentionally not ‘into the shiur’ and they stressed individuality. He/she might later join the followers of Rabbi Friefeld or Aish Kodesh - and maybe even Chabad. He will send his kids to good yeshivas and might fulfil the dictum of חנוך לנער על פי דרכו better than a FFB. And more importantly, they don’t feel compelled to quote Reb Henoch Leibowitz at every public function and simchah.
Contrast that to some of the elements of Chabad. They know more stories about how the MiSnagdim always persecuted the faithful than עין יעקב. They would never quote or look at a sefer written by a non-Lubavitcher. They are taught that only Chabad are the true Jews and anything positive in Judaism results directly or indirectly from Lubavitch. Those people in Melbourne, couldn’t care less that they are being scorned upon by everyone else. They were taught that no one else counts.
In conclusion, one story will illustrate the point: There was this person who became frum via Chabad. Succos time, he started going to the Succos of other groups (maybe he was looking for a mattress). His handlers admonished him; they told him how the Stoliners are terrible and the Snags are the devil incarnate and Satmar is who knows what. This person, fortunately, ignored them, got to know the other Jews, and was pleasantly surprised that they weren’t as bad as they were made out to be.
On the first night of Succos, he was in for a rude awakening. His host, who was sitting in a beautifully decorated Succah, told him that we have to greet the Ushpizin. He asked his guest if he knew who the guest was for that night.
The reply: the Alter Rebbe.