Post by David Tenner
"In the winter of 1902-1903, suffering from loss of feeling in his left hand
--or, according to Chabad sources, from a 'low spirit,' Rabbi Schneersohn
traveled to Vienna to consult with Sigmund Freud, who was then in the thick
of developing the principles of psychoanalysis. The two apparently had
profound discussions about the relationship between the mind and the heart
and Freud also treated the rabbi with electrotherapy, but the treatment
brought only temporary relief. When Schneersohn returned home, the problem
Question: Which is more plausible (or less ASB): Freud converting Rabbi
Sholom Dovber Schneersohn, the fifth Lubavitcher rebbe to atheistic
psychoanalysis--or the Rebbe converting Freud to Chabad?
You have to understand how flexible Judaism is, David. Every Rabbi's his own Pope. One could quite easily see Freud simply as a rival Rabbi. Indeed, many Jews consider Sigmund Freud and Albert Einstein to be modern prophets of Judaism. Jews don't believe that anything, even the Torah, is strictly the "word of God" -- just the words of prophets, or "smart people". Ideas to be considered, but not always accepted as truth. The Jewish Kabbalah is an ongoing attempt at seeking religious truth, largely through numerology.
And, the concept of God is extremely vague in much of Judaism. Not at all like Christianity, with its extremely personal God. Many Jews sound a lot like Buddhists, or Gnostics, in their concept of God.
Hence, describing Freudian psychoanalysis as strictly atheistic, at least in Jewish terms, may not be entirely accurate. It's more like a variety of Kabbalah.