“Libs of TikTok” is a Twitter handle with over a million followers. It has rapidly become a sensation among the American right-wing and conservative masses.
Like Matt Walsh, “Libs of TikTok” became famous for weaponizing Leftist stupidities against themselves, generally just posting clips from Leftists who miss the irony of their nefarious agenda.
In particular, “Libs of TikTok” targets trans activists.
In April 2022, it was revealed that the individual behind the Twitter account is a woman named Chaya Raichik, a real estate agent based in Brooklyn.
More importantly, she’s an Orthodox Jew who is likely linked with the Chabad movement.
The Chabad movement is the most important revivalist Jewish movement, which has directly impacted tens of thousands, and more than a million indirectly. They are involved in “reconverting” secularized Jews through missionary work, which is carried out through education, philanthropy and even business.
The Chabad movement is the most influential sub-group of Hasidism. Hasidism was a spiritual movement born among the Jews of Eastern Europe during the 18th century, as a sort of coping mechanism for the violence they had to endure. In order to defuse the pogroms, they adopted a Messianic movement. Gershom Scholem – the most influential scholar of Kabbalah – described it as putting their hope in religion to end suffering in the world.
More precisely, Scholem showed that Hasidism is basically a popularization of Kabbalah (which back then was limited to the elite), so the Jewish masses could forget the pains of the real world via a “spiritualist” escape.
The adherents of Hasidism are organised into “dynasties” – families with an important founding father gathering disciples. And the Chabad-Lubavitch dynasty, founded by Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi, is easily the most influential.
The name “Chabad” itself is heavily Kabbalistic, being an acronym for chochma, bina, and daat, part of the Kabbalistic “Tree of Life” symbol. You may refer to our article about the occult in anime to know more.
Of course, like many other such groups, it’s prone to controversies.
For instance, Rabbi Schneur Zalman’s most popular and widely-read book is the Tanya, which defines the whole of the Chabad movement. In chapter 2 there is a famous quote about Jews being unique in having two souls – one earthly like the rest of us, but also a second which is divine:
The second, uniquely Jewish, soul is truly “a part of G‑d above,” (…)
So, too, allegorically speaking, have Jewish souls risen in the [Divine] thought, as it is written regarding the Jewish nation, “Israel is My firstborn son”, and concerning Jews as individuals, “You are children unto G‑d your L-rd.”
That is to say, i.e., the significance of the Jew’s being called G‑d’s child is that just as a child is derived from its father’s brain—his inner and essential being.
Some may view this as Jewish racial supremacism.
As we noted earlier, Hasidism as a whole (which includes the Chabad movement) was a Messianic movement. Jews, through Kabbalistic “spirituality,” could maintain hope in an avenging Messiah to bring them respite from their hardships.
This Messianism is such that the last leader of the Chabad movement was Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson who died in 1994. Schneerson has not been succeeded by another leader because the followers of the Chabad movement believe he’s the Jewish Messiah (an image he himself cultivated), and therefore cannot be replaced since he’ll probably be returning soon.
Though interesting, this isn’t what we’ll be focusing on.
We’ll be taking a look at how transgenderism is in fact present within Kabbalah itself and wondering whether “Libs of TikTok” will be consistent and also criticize such trends, or if they’ll just stick to dunking on queer teachers.
Kabbalah and Transgenderism: Cross-Dressing in the Name of “Spirituality”
What could be considered as transgenderism within Judaism is not restricted to the mystical tradition of Kabbalah alone.
Purim – one of the most popular Jewish festivals – is characterized by its recommendation for cross-dressing.
The Talmud says that what is prohibited is falsifying identity for the purpose of spying on the other sex. The great medieval commentator Rashi says that the prohibition is limited to concealing identity for the purpose of adultery. The Shulhan Arukh notes that cross-dressing is permitted on Purim because its purpose is simha (celebration, joy) and that it is forbidden if it is for the purpose of fraud. In limiting the prohibition to situations of fraud and deception, the talmudic and medieval rabbis indicated that cross-dressing in a way that is true to the cross-dresser’s identity is permitted.
Cross-dressing is thus encouraged in traditional and normative Judaism in the name of “celebration” and “joy,” as per this rabbi.
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In Kabbalah itself, transgenderism is even more obvious.
The Zohar is the most influential text of the Kabbalistic tradition. It has been claimed to be dated back to the 2nd-3rd centuries by the Kabbalists and ascribed to some rabbi. However, secular scholarship dates it back to the 13th century.
We find many references to “gender fluidity” in the Zohar.
For instance, in 1:49:
Then Rabbi Simeon said: “It is written, ‘and he went on his journeys from the south to Bethel unto the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Bethel and Hai’ (Gen. 13:3). It says, ‘He went on his journeys’ instead of ‘his journey.’ Why is that? There is a reference not only to his own journeying, but also that of the Schekina, who always went with Jacob, and therefore we learn that every person needs to be male and female at all time, for the sake of his faith, he ought not to think or imagine that the Schekina forsakes him in any way.
See, it has been said, a man ought always to cleave to his wife that the Schekina may always be with him, yet it is possible to go alone on a journey and the Schekina will still be with him. And when doing so he ought to direct his prayer to the Holy One that this may be, and in this way the male and female will always be associated in union with oneself.
We could easily provide more references from the Zohar, as well as other Kabbalistic texts.
The whole of Kabbalah is predicated upon the “union with God,” but with “God” having an ambiguous sexualization (God being masculine but His Shekhinah or glory being feminine). This thus becomes a sort of trans spirituality – the perfect man, or “Adam Kadmon,” being one who embodies both genders. Like the first Adam, as Kabbalists put it.
Dr. Jay Michaelson is a popular writer, rabbi, and LGBTQ activist attached to many reputed American institutions (including eminent Jewish ones). He summarizes the Kabbalistic approach to trans ideology within his article, Kabbalah and Queer Theology: Resources and Reservations, which was written in 2013 for the Theology and Sexuality journal, vol. 18, no. 1.
He writes on p. 10:
Since it is generally understood that all of Israel stands in relationship to God just as David does, all of (male) Israel also stands before God as a woman, and yet also takes the part of God as a women, praising God’s masculine nature, and seeking to unify with God by embodying the Divine feminine in order to erotically arouse the masculine potency. In this model, the individual mystic’s soul, gendered feminine, first participates in an act of transgender-homoerotic mystical fellowship with those of her fellow mystics in order to at once welcome in the Divine feminine (in some cases entering into erotic union with Her) and immediately switches gender roles to embody that Divine feminine for her congress with the male Godhead. This act of psychic double-transvestism is abetted by the Kabbalistic trope that casts God and Israel as the two lovers in the Song of Songs, or the two cherubs over the ark, with Israel taking the female role. (…)
Every Kabbalist, then, is invited to participate in an almost comic gender play, imitating God Him/Herself, who is, via the sefirot, a kind of multi-gendered, transgendering, hermaphroditic drag queen, wearing the masks of different genders at different times, and seeking partners who do the same. (…)
Finally, even when the male Kabbalists are explicitly unifying with the Shechinah, rather than taking her role in unification with the male potencies, their union is far from an ordinary heterosexual one. In many texts, Malchut B stands, as it were, as part of what Idel calls the ‘‘triadic model’’: between two male lovers in a kind of theurgical menage-a-trois between the earthly tzaddikim below, and the male godhead, mediated by yesod, the supernal tzaddik above.
More devastating effects of Shirk…
Whether or not “Libs of TikTok” is part of the Chabad movement is irrelevant.
The question is whether she’ll have the courage to ridicule Kabbalah in general, and also Chabad in particular – the most important Jewish revivalist movement?
Or is satire reserved only for “owning the libs”?