Manis Friedman

Manis Friedman
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Manis Friedman (full name: Menachem Manis haCohen Friedman; born 1946) is a Chabad Lubavitch Hassid. He is a Torah scholar, rabbi, author, counselor and speaker and is the dean of the Bais Chana Institute of Jewish Studies.

Born in Prague, Czechoslovakia in 1946, Friedman immigrated with his family to the United States in 1950. He received his rabbinic ordination at the Rabbinical College of Canada in 1969. He currently hosts a cable television series, Torah Forum with Manis Friedman, syndicated within North America. Friedman's first book, Doesn't Anyone Blush Anymore?, was published in 1990. It is currently in its fourth printing. Since the 1970s more than 150,000 of Friedman's recorded classes and lectures have been sold.[1]
Manis Friedman's brother is the renowned Jewish singer Avraham Fried.[2]

Contents

Activities

In 1971, with Rabbi Schneerson's guidance, Friedman founded the Bais Chana Women International, an Institute for Jewish Studies in Minnesota, which became the world's first school of Jewish studies exclusively for women with little or no formal Jewish education{{[3]}}. He has served as the school's dean since its inception.

R Manis Friedman at a wedding. (2007)

From 1984-1990, he served as the simultaneous translator for a series of televised talks by the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson. Friedman currently serves as senior translator for most of the Lubavitch publishing houses, including the Kehot Publications Society and Jewish Educational Media, Inc.
Friedman has lectured in hundreds of cities throughout the US, as well as London, Hong Kong, Cape Town, and Johannesburg in South Africa, Melbourne and Sydney in Australia, and a number of South and Central American cities.[4]
In the wake of the natural disasters in 2004 and 2005, Friedman authored a practical guide to help rescue and relief workers properly understand and deal with the needs of Jewish survivors.

Teachings

Rabbi Manis Friedman is a social philosopher. His teachings range from explanations of Chassidic texts to healthy marriage advice.[5]

Though not extensively published in book form, Friedman's teachings have been cited by many authors writing on various secular issues as well as on exclusively Jewish topics. Friedman's student and fellow author Shmuley Boteach cites Friedman often, including in his books The Private Adam (2005) and Dating Secrets of the Ten Commandments (2001). Barbara Becker Holstein quotes Friedman in her book Enchanted Self: A Positive Therapy (1997), Angela Payne quotes him in her book Living Every Single Moment: Embrace Your Purpose Now (2004), and Sylvia Barack Fishman quotes him in A Breath of Life: Feminism in the American Jewish Community (1995; part of the Brandeis Series in American Jewish History, Culture, and Life). Lynn Davidman, in her book Tradition in a Rootless World (1993), credits Friedman with playing a key role in the resurgence of Orthodox Judaism among women. In two separate autobiographies, Playing with Fire: One Woman's Remarkable Odyssey by Tova Mordechai (1991) and Shanda: The Making and Breaking of a Self-Loathing Jew by Neal Karlen (2004), both authors credit Friedman for their own returns to Judaism.

Moment Magazine Controversy

Rabbi Friedman was one of the featured Rabbis responding to questions posed in Moment Magazine's ongoing "Ask The Rabbi" forum. One of the questions posed was "How Should Jews Treat Their Arab Neighbors?" Rabbi Friedman's response was printed with several errors, including the omission of a paragraph as well as stylistic detail. Included in his response as printed was the following quote:

"I don’t believe in western morality, i.e. don’t kill civilians or children, don’t destroy holy sites, don’t fight during holiday seasons, don’t bomb cemeteries, don’t shoot until they shoot first because it is immoral. The only way to fight a moral war is the Jewish way: Destroy their holy sites. Kill men, women and children (and cattle.) "The first Israeli prime minister who declares that he will follow the Old Testament will finally bring peace to the Middle East. First, the Arabs will stop using children as shields. Second, they will stop taking hostages knowing that we will not be intimidated. Third, with their holy sites destroyed, they will stop believing that G-d is on their side. Result: no civilian casualties, no children in the line of fire, no false sense of righteousness, in fact, no war."[6]

Attempts by the rabbi to have the magazine correct the errors were not successful, despite the great controversy caused and the deep offense taken by many readers including Jews, Muslims and others. Rabbi Friedman released a statement addressing those readers, which included:

"It is obvious, I thought, that any neighbor of the Jewish people should be treated, as the Torah commands us, with respect and compassion. Fundamental to the Jewish faith is the concept that every human being was created in the image of G-d, and our sages instruct us to support the non-Jewish poor along with the poor of our own brethren. The sub-question I chose to address instead is: how should we act in time of war, when our neighbors attack us, using their women, children and religious holy places as shields. I attempted to briefly address some of the ethical issues related to forcing the military to withhold fire from certain people and places, at the unbearable cost of widespread bloodshed (on both sides!) -- when one’s own family and nation is mercilessly targeted from those very people and places."[7]

With Bob Dylan

In the 1980s Manis Friedman accompanied Bob Dylan to a farbrengen (hasidic gathering) of the Lubavitcher Rebbe in Brooklyn. Dylan had frequented Friedman's home in St. Paul. Friedman's book "Doesn't Anyone Blush Anymore?" eventually won the following blurb from Dylan: "Anyone who is married or thinking about getting married would do well to read this book."

Published works

Books

  • Doesn't Anyone Blush Anymore? Reclaiming Modesty, Intimacy and Sexuality.
  • The Relief and Rescue Workers Guide to Judaism - a Rescue Workers Handbook.

Audio

  • The Art of Living (12 lectures based on the Lubavitcher rebbe's responsa)
  • Chassidic Thoughts at Bais Chana (16 lectures on every aspect of Judaism)
  • Family - Getting to Like The People You Love (14 lectures on healthy relationships)
  • Holiday Series (9 lectures on modern application of holiday messages)
  • It's Good To Know (16 lectures; the answers to the hardest questions)
  • Living With The Times (54 of Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson's lectures on Torah)
  • Rambam - Perplexed No More! (14 lectures - the mysticism behind Maimonides' teachings)
  • The Rest of the Story (20 telling stories)
  • The Ring of Truth - Jewish Philosophy (4 lectures)
  • The Ring of Truth – Faith (6 lectures)
  • The Ring of Truth - The Inner Jew (6 lectures)
  • The Ring of Truth - On Torah and Mitzvos (5 lectures)
  • The Ring of Truth - The Vast Eternal Plan (5 lectures)
  • How To Be A Mentch (12 lectures base on the Ethics of Our Fathers)
  • The Tanya (42 Lectures on the most basic Hassidic Text)
  • Get To Know Your Soul (12 lectures on why you do what you do)
  • The Holistic and Kabbalistic; Kabbalah and Homeopathy
  • Not for Women Only; Relationships
  • Moshiach; Why Believe When You can Understand?
  • Why Me; Why do Bad Things Happen to Good People?
  • You Are What You Believe
  • What's Love Got To Do With It; Three ingredients to everlasting love.
  • Nothing Besides Him - Tanya for everyone!

External links

References


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