Scary article in Haaretz
The journalist visits a Chabad Yeshiva in Tzefat. Here is the conversation:
Why do they think that Schneerson is alive? "The Rebbe was no normal human being," is the response. He was a polymath who "studied under Einstein in Berlin" before "inventing the atom bomb."
How do they view the connection between Schneerson and God? "The Rebbe is not something different from God - the Rebbe is a part of God," says a British teenaged student.
Does this not 'idolize' Schneerson, in the literal sense? "We cannot connect to God directly - we need the Rebbe to take our prayers from here to there and to help us in this world. We are told by our rabbis that a great man is like God and the Rebbe was the greatest man ever. That is how we know he is the messiah, because how could life continue without him? No existence is possible without the Rebbe."
Would they go so far as to describe the Rebbe and God as one and the same, as some extreme Messianists have done? "No, some people have gone too far and described the Rebbe as the creator.
"They say that God was born in 1902 and is now 105 years old. You can pray to the Rebbe and he will answer, and he was around since the beginning of time. But you must be careful to pray only to the Rebbe as a spiritual entity and not the body that was born in 1902."
Does the Rebbe have a will of his own? What if the Rebbe and God disagree? "That is a ridiculous question! They are not separate in any way."
So the Rebbe is a part of God. "Yes, but it is more complex than that. There is no clear place where the Rebbe ends and God begins."
Does that mean the Rebbe is infinite omnipotent and omniscient? "Yes of course," an Argentine student says in Hebrew. "God chose to imbue this world with life through a body. So that's how we know the Rebbe can't have died, and that his actual physical body must be alive. The Rebbe is the conjunction of God and human. The Rebbe is God, but he is also physical."