Tuesday, June 27, 2006

It works for President, why not Shluchim?

It's the Neo-Tzig again, and as I prepare to pass the baton back to the real deal Tzig, there is a matter that has been bouncing around my brain for a long, long, time:

Shlichus. I understand that it’s the Rebbe’s baby and it has changed the world. I get it. However, the current state of affairs (in the Neo-Tzig’s opinion) leaves much to be desired. So, my proposal:

TERM LIMITS.

Anyone “out there” can tell you about “Old-Sheliach syndrome.” It’s only normal that people get burned out, sit back on their laurels, allow corruption to sneak in, etc. here are some advantages that could be had, if we would term limit them:

1. We would have an influx of new blood and energy
2. Success will have to be current, instead of the successful 1976 season.
3. Mosdos wouldn’t become stale – people could have a (very healthy) “what have you done for me lately” approach.
4. Old (and successful) shluchim should then come back to Crown Heights and be living examples for unzer yugent. (Something is terribly lacking & needed – what other kind of community sends their best away to leave only the worst as examples for the future?)
5. We would strike a bit of a blow against nepotism – theoretically eliminating shluchim who really shouldn’t be.

I could surely come up with more advantages, but that’s a good start. I could also come up with a list of cons, but I’ll leave that for you commenters (and I still think the pros will outweigh them). Term limits don’t have to be short (say 25 years?), let me hear what you think...

(Also true: Berl Yeimi: Shlichus should be a no self aggrandizing zone)

21 comments:

friendly anonymous said...

Rotating Shluchim between different geographical areas might make more sense.

Tzemach Atlas said...

Bring Cunin to Boston. Let him go one on one with Ciment...

Tzemach Atlas said...

25 years term limit, a joke?

Hirshel Tzig said...

altz vos men tracht muz men drukken?

Boruch der ayzel said...

Rather have the position of Head Shliach voted upon by the sub shluchim. I wonder how many of them would stay in power? ;)

bandito said...

You are picking a domain in lubavitch that is overall stellar (albeit sometimes very human), and fomenting strife and revolution.
Why don't we deal with a core problem (you alluded to it in your post)and created a revolution there. Crown heights has degenerated into a despondant hot bed of strife, indiference, permisiveness, politics. We don't have the Rebbe nor rabbonim to say anything. This is affecting all of lubabvitch because CH is a vital organ. Viva la Revolucion!

Neo-Tzig said...

I threw 25 years out there to get the conversation rolling.

What number do you think is reasonable for a guy who has to get to know the lay of the land and invest considerable energy to build relationships, meisedies, etc. I imagine that he deserves a decent chunk of time - 15/20 years?

The rotation idea is also interesting... Or maybe what I'm looking for is more like forced retirement...

Neo-Tzig said...

Baruch,
That's not a bad idea either!

Neo-Tzig said...

How about this:
Elections every 5 years, with a maximum of 3 terms.

berl, crown heights said...

1. The sheluchim are, kishemom, answerable only to their meshaleach.
2. The Rebbe was completely against retirement.
3. The Rebbe was very set on the idea of a sheliach remaining in their place of shelichus.
4. The presumption of חזקה שליח עושה שליחותו must be respected and remain in force, save for cases of egregious abuse and /or impropriety. Safeguarding from such aberrations was, I believe, the main reason behind the establishment of the ‘head sheliach’ office. There can be cases, where the head sheliach might appear to not be doing that job, or, worse might himself appear to be guilty of egregious behavior; such cases must be taken up by the relevant bodies, empowered by the Rebbe with the ultimate שליח עושה שליח authority. If those bodies, too, appear not to be ‘doing their job’, then the only thing one can legitimately do is SAY TEHILIM (one can always do that).
5. If only Keirach had thought of term limits! But then again, קרח פיקח הי' :)

Other than that – a terrific idea!

Neo-Tzig said...

Berl,

How do you know the Rebbe was "completely against retirement" ?

There is a well known story of a certain Shliach long ago. He had just completed a major building project, when he recieved a call for R' Chadakov telling him that to begin another.
The Shliach responded (something like:) "I just completed up one large building, I need to take a break before I take on another project of this magnatude."
The Rebbe replied, "YOU completed a large building? In that case, come back from shlichus."

Perhaps we can say that story is the norm today? I can say that of the 6/7 Shuluchim I know, those towns could use a change.

berl, crown heights said...

"How do you know the Rebbe was "completely against retirement" ?"
Fix that to "the Rebbe spoke publicly against retirement in general; and there is much anecdotal evidence he did not let older sheluchim retire or change pace when they expressed the desire to do so".

The 'sheliach recall' story: Even if the story is true (and it doesn't ring true), it is not related to the subject at hand. Just becasue the meshaleach can terminate the shelichus, does that give others the license to do the same? I contend - NO, this can be done only by those the Rebbe empowered to do so. (Like Merkas, etc)

"...those towns could use a change."
Call Moshe Kotlarsky and then proceed to say tehillim.

...

berl, crown heights said...

And what, not even a chuckle for 'Kerach and term limits'? Is that not the ultimate 'living with the times' ('times' tarti komashma - poroshas hashovua & the circus tent)?

Neo-Tzig said...

Let's put it this way:

Serious o b j e c t i v e effort should be put into figuring out a way to deal with the problem by whomever takes the role of "mishaleach' (and some office must take that role - Merkas, Aguch, whoever it is, is fine with me) to honestly see what the Rebbe really wanted to be the procedure (and to see that it's being fulfilled properly).

I don't know if the Rebbe gave any specific directives here - I suspect not - but there must be an evaluation process and a way to address issues 1-5 in the post.

I don't need to tell you how many good shluchim there are that need to be relieved, and how many poor-excuse-for-a-shliach exist...The current state of affairs is pathetic. The Chazaka that they're all doing their job to the best of their ability is also somewhat counter-intuitive, isn't it?

Saying Tehillim and going to the Ohel, etc, are all very good things to do. Do them all regularly. A little change in lematte mearah tefachim is required - maybe this is the result of all the Tehillim un treren?

Neo-Tzig said...

Yes, the Keirach comment was a nice touch.

Pesi adif m'Pikeach

bandito said...

Berl, thanks for the clarity.

Neo, why are you drawing a general observation about shlichus from an anecdotal story that may or may not have happened? Between me and you, and never mind the rebbe's standards for a second (CHvSH)or the required irony of a juicy story, did the shliach who 'put a up a building' fail in his day in day out dedicatioon of a life time shlichus? of course not.

regarding the 6 or 7 shluchim that you know and the perceived need for 'change', snitching on them for real crimes to kotlarsky makes sense, but lets acknowledge that shlichus is challenging, difficult, complicated, and unique in every locale. I know of a shliach who is unique compared to other shluchim that I know in that he often ostracizes people over time. Not pleasant. On the one hand he should be booted. On the other, The insidee story is that the guy does shvitz for yidden, is largely not appreciated, and 'suffers' very often because of the nature of people frum and frye in his area. And there are a lot of people who beneift from his presence and have only glowing things to say. its downright complicated. My feelings because of my persoanl experience is fire him yesterday and maybe some lashes. My seichal says this is very complicated and that perhaps the replacement shliach will step into the same environment and be worse!!so unless the guy is a criminal its a very grey area....

Neo-Tzig said...

I never said that the shluchim are bad guys that don’t care. But, many shluchim stagnate and prevent growth. There needs to be fresh blood and change every once and a while (in most cases), and this is just one idea to deal with this.

Maybe the Shluchim that the Rebbe personally sent can be grandfathered, so they'll be exempt (not their children), but I made this proposal because I think it will benefit EVERYONE involved.

I think the story (that I've heard repeated many times) does seem to show that if a shliach loses his way (this shliach's mistake was in saying that HE had built the buldings - a pretty high standard, no?), the Rebbe was not opposed to replacement.

mendelbomb said...

Let the market decide. You didnt elect them you dont pay their salaries - at least not a significant amount of it, or you wouldnt be writing this. If a shliach becomes irelevant to people he can no longer raise money, if he is successfully raising money that is proof of the fact that he is relevant at least to a few rich people, and who says that because they're rich they don't deserve the attention of a shliach. In fact what is motivating shluchim to bring out new and young blood is often the force of the market, trying to keep a healthy growth rate and to remain relevant in the eyes of the donors.

mendelbomb said...

I do agree that the local shluchim should have a say in the head shliach that represents them, this is already being done in long island.

heimish said...

Neo, you are forgetting one important element of the shlichus: totalitarism. Your proposal is good for democratically ruled mosdos that maintain "open books" and have board of directors, treasurers etc. Under the democracy you can elect the best candidate there is and recall the elected person if he underperforms. How can a shaliach be replaced if he is the Rabbi, the treasurer, and the chief executive, whose financial books are sealed from the public eye and who is heavily invested in his empire?

baalbatish said...

Good idea. Will never happen.