Friday, November 10, 2006

Shluchim Running Marathons: Am I out of touch?

I've had this thread saved for a while now, not knowing whether or not to post it, but I've decided to throw it out there to see where I stand.



I imagine that young Shliach (at Brandeis University) Peretz Chein means well, and there's nothing per se' that's really so terrible, but can you imagine Reb Moshe Feller of Minnesota, a Shliach for well over 45 years, running the marathon 40 years ago looking like a spaceman? I understand that Peretz Chein works with lots of young people, and that he feels the need to connect to them so as to bring them closer to Yiddishkeit, but is this going too far? I also know that I've never done anything in my life to be MeKarev Yidden, so I shouldn't be criticizing others.


(what was he thinking?)

Here's how it came about: (From Crownheights.info)

"At Chabad's Shabbat dinner one week after his trip to New York in 2005, Chein spoke to Brandeis students about the importance of doing things in life that are so beyond them that they never even considered trying, with the goal of inspiring students to do good deeds in Judaism they never thought were possible. Teaching by example, Chein promised the crowd that he would run the full 26.2 miles of a marathon within the next year." He also called the idea of running the marathon a "moment of inspiration", he was inspired while seeing the runners of the NYC Marathon run in NY last year. Why that would inspire a skinny young guy like himself is beyond me.



If Chabad was really run like it should this young man would get a telephone call from New York that day and would be admonished for his silliness. If the main office won't do it then at least his superior in Massachussets should. As would every other Shliach who oversteps his boundaries. Unfortunately, that hasn't happened yet, and probably never will. What's more disheartening is the comments in places like CrownHeights.info where people have totally lost it. They think this is a good thing, like you and me going to the gym to ride the stationary bike.

Photos courtesy of COL, Shturem and Crownheights.info.

47 comments:

chabakuk elisha said...

Um, H - I think you've spent too long near the Hungarians amigo.

Please explain to me whay running a marathon is so inappropriate:

Is there a chilul Hashem ?

Is it something that lowers the standards of yiddishkeit?

Is it an opening to a world antithtical to Torah?

I dont think so. Convince me otherwise - tell me, more specifically, the problem with this sheliach's behaviour. And the fact the Moshe Feller dosen't run in them dosn't do it.

Hirshel Tzig said...

It's right here brother (bangs his chest) It feels all wrong. The fact that Moshe Feller doesn't shows that there are standards for Shluchim. Otherwise they all should've gotten high and "bonded with nature" in the '60s just like the young people then.

chabakuk elisha said...

Well I can't argue with a feeling. It seems like you're gut feeling is a manifistation of the "slippery slope" argument (especially in light of some far more problematic, "indescretions") which is understandable - but I really think that he has not crossed any line here... other than the finish line that is.

Friendly Anonoymous said...

This is great for his health. But I do wonder if he retains his effectiveness as a shliach when he runs after the same things as his students

zezmir said...

meheicha teisa that he runs "after the same things as his students" - zein leifen ken zein gor an anderen leifin.

Hirshel Tzig said...

hey

If you're gonna run in the marathon at least do it like the REAL Yeshivishe guys: Play in Your White Shirt and Shoes!!!

levik said...

There you go again, nochmachen di Yisivise - feh.

snag2 said...

Hirshel raises some good points here. Yasher koyach !

He is sounding a shtickel like a snag, emes (though what is wrong with sounding like a snag?). Rav Shteinman shlita was asked a while ago re Rebbes playing ball with their talmidim and he came out against it (but other snags are meikil). Evidently R. Barnetsky z"l did it (but we can be michaleik between doing so regularly and rarely, and otherwise).

The larger issue here however, is more important. Lubavitchers like R. Rapoport from England and R. Boteach are coming out with a soft-line re mishkav zochor'niks, while the Haredi world is up in arms fighting toeiva. There is a blurring of the line between liberalism, modern pop culture, modern orthodox and Lubavitch in some cases. Lubavitch is becoming more and more different from the Haredi consensus. The Haredi-Lubavitch divide is growing.

What would the Rebbe have said ?

snag2 said...

Hey, if there is a surfer shliach, why not a runner ?

Maybe next thing will be mountain climbing ?

Itzhak Schier said...

Snag2 - Boteach is an ex-Lubavitcher at this point.

Tzig - hmmm..I think the great strength of Chabad is that while some of us (like you and I), may not identify with marathon running shluchim (or with Matisyahu for that matter), we have room for this kind of approach just as we have room for Yerushalimers like Reb Chaim Sholom Deitch shlit"a - and each style has its crowd. But at the end of the day, we are all part of Chabad and all doing the best we can to mayfitz maayanos.

Gut shabbos.

PS: I just donated platelets at Maimo. They asked me what I had for breakfast - I told them four eggs, 2 bowls of cholent, and a glass of slivovitz. The bag of platelets that resulted from my donation was duly marked with a biohazard sign labeled "Nur Far Ingarisherlach/For Hungarians Only!"

berl, crown heights said...

Perezt Chein is a chassidisher yungeman. I love the fact that he ran the marathon! What's the probelm here?

just a guy said...

Excuse me Snag2,
Lubavitch in Yerushalim came out in force against the abomination parade. I have a younger brother who is learning in Eretz Yisroel and he called me from Kikar Shabbos , he said that many bochrim from Kfar Chabad Yeshiva and most of the Toras Emes Yeshiva in Yerushalaim was there. They even blocked the highway near Kfar Chabad for a short time until the police forced them back.

Stop your garbage that Lubavitch is turning into the “liberals” of the frummeh velt. Like I said before the Lubavitcher Yerushalmim got bloodied and battered by the Shabbos demonstrations. And Boteach is a Lubavitcher like you’re a Mishichist.

just a guy said...

Excuse me Snag2,
Lubavitch in Yerushalim came out in force against the abomination parade. I have a younger brother who is learning in Eretz Yisroel and he called me from Kikar Shabbos , he said that many bochrim from Kfar Chabad Yeshiva and most of the Toras Emes Yeshiva in Yerushalaim was there. They even blocked the highway near Kfar Chabad for a short time until the police forced them back.

Stop your garbage that Lubavitch is turning into the “liberals” of the frummeh velt. Like I said before the Lubavitcher Yerushalmim got bloodied and battered by the Shabbos demonstrations. And Boteach is a Lubavitcher like you’re a Mishichist.

Anonymous said...

Boteach was let go from Lubavitch not because of his controversial books/ideas .He went because he invited Shimon Peres to speack at the Lechaim student group he headed in Oxford.What does that say about Lubavitch?

Itzik_s said...

It was Rabin OLBM whom ze she af echad lo Boteach bo invited. There were other issues as well. Still, for a while after his dismissal he stayed personally involved with Chabad; now he is no longer affiliated with Lubavitch in any way personally or professionally.

Anonymous said...

Why does Shmully Boteach, who has done very well for himself financially and socially need Lubavitch at all??
I'm also sure you don't know him at all, Izik, you are just spouting your party line.

AussieEcho said...

My gut tends to agree with Hirshel but logically I cannot see anything wrong with what Peretz Chein did. Although I do tend to wonder what his namesake (and I assume great-grandfather) would think of such shenanigans...

Matisyahu, on the other hand, is doing nothing chassidish as far as I can tell. I do like some of his music but cannot see how he is "spreading the wellsprings". If Matisyahu were not a Chabadnik I think that he would be castigated by Lubavitchers.

When he came to Australia (during the Three Weeks) he played to exclusively goyishe audiences in pubs and at some sort of music festival. Who did he mekarev there? In fact he was booed by the audience when he mentioned the war in Lebanon and wanting an end to the bombs falling on Israel. Not many Jews in that crowd...

Snag said...

Boteach got thorwn out of Lubavitch for being TOO meshugger.

Who could believe that such a concept exists!

Itzik_s said...

Boteach used Chabad and the good name of Chabad in England to establish himself. Then, once he became financially comfortable, he started his shtick which began with mixed programs for goyim and Jews (thereby introducing non-observant Jews to goyim under Jewish auspices - very nice), and which culminated in the Rabin OLBM invitation.

In short, he is a showman who used people to establish his show.

Matisyahu is neither here nor there. I am certainly acquainted with him as he occasionally davens where I do, and in fact I was at the sholom zochor for his son last night.

My feeling is that he sees himself as a performer, and in fact he is actually kind of quiet in person, whereas it is his fans who see him as some great guru. Nothing for Chabad to be proud of or to be ashamed of - just a performer, and someone who was lucky enough to be born with the right talent to make it in today's market. In terms of mentality he is part of the new age contingent of Chabad - natural food, his wife gave birth at home with a midwife etc - but perfectly kosher. Those of us who don't care for his style are best off just ignoring it - it is not meant for the frum velt in any case.

maaravah said...

Tzig- this guy hurts your competition with snags. How you can you go and convince snags that we're all about learning and so on and then explain this guy's apparel and behavior. You got to snap out of it. He ran the flippin marathon. BIG DEAL? I knew him. he is one of the good guys, learning, yiras shamyim, chassidishkeit, v'chulhu. So a misnaged or poilisher sees this pic and says we're not as good as them, b/c we're unyeshivish, and a rabbi puts on funny looking clothing-- who cares? Don't you pride on youself on having a more authentic set of values?

snag2 said...

"just a guy said...
Excuse me Snag2,
Lubavitch in Yerushalim came out in force against the abomination parade. I have a younger brother who is learning in Eretz Yisroel and he called me from Kikar Shabbos , he said that many bochrim from Kfar Chabad Yeshiva and most of the Toras Emes Yeshiva in Yerushalaim was there. They even blocked the highway near Kfar Chabad for a short time until the police forced them back."

That's in Eretz Yisroel. It's different there. Also Yeshiva bohchurim are different.

"Stop your garbage that Lubavitch is turning into the “liberals” of the frummeh velt. Like I said before the Lubavitcher Yerushalmim got bloodied and battered by the Shabbos demonstrations."

Okay, maybe what I said is more of a problem in places like the USA, UK and down under. Lubavitcher Yerushalmim are obviously a different subgroup. But it still is a phenomenon that can't be denied that some Lubavitchers, shluchim and others, are taking quite liberal positions these days on stuff like mishkav zochorniks.

"And Boteach is a Lubavitcher like you’re a Mishichist."

Limayseh he has the Lubavitch stamp on him even if he is not formally one now. That is where he was formed religiously to a large degree. He still talks about Lubavitch things, still dresses like one, etc

Hirshel Tzig said...

Maaravah

Maybe it's just me, but I don't think soemthing like that needs to be publicized on either end. Meaning: If he did it, fine. But don't go and send those pics to all "Lubavitcher" websites, showing everybody how proud of yourself you are. And to those geniuses running the websites I say: If he sends it to you have the common sense to politely refuse.

Anonymous said...

and what do you say to the genius running this website?

Anonymous said...

whose yardstick does one use to measure success. When one runs a marathon which the goyishe velt says is an accomplishment? Who defines accomplishment torah or velt. There are some yavan things that the world admires that can be keilim for hafotzoh such as music, art writing. Torah and yiddishkeit can be expressed through them. But to say let me get respect from an accomplishment of physical stamina and power is Hellenistic. It does not add to kiddush hashem when a shliach makes millions on business deals or gets a part in a movie as an actor or hits a homerun.

B)there is a bluring of lines between mashpia and mekabel. take for example a boxer, a beat boxer and a politican. People can find what to respect in them being frum and succesful in the fields the velt respects. But for a shliach to be succesful in any of these areas would be a chilul hashem v'pashut!

hirhurim said...

A number of years ago,in the immediate aftermath of my receiving and reading R D Berger's book, we had a choice of vacations-either Virginia and staying in a motel/B& B under Chabad supervision or buying our own food and going to Lake George. I asked a shealas chacham to a major American Gadol and was advised that going to Lake George was preferable.I also davened by myself rather than attending a minyan organized by a local Chabad rep.
Steve Brizel | 11.09.06 - 4:05 pm | #

hirhurim said...

WADR, Bobby-I have discussed Chabad rooted messianism with enough Chabadniks, in person and on web, to be convinced that rational debate with them is a useless exercise in intellectual rope a dope on the issue of messianism within Chabad and its influence therein.I have seen the full gamut of reactions from messianists that run from active denigration of Talmidie Chachamim such as R D Berger and others to denial that messianism is an issue to claims that basically take credit for any successes in kiruv and Torah in the USA-all of which are highly devoid of facts and which transgress many Torah prohibitions. I should comment that one Chabadnik was intellectually honest to admit to me that the movement is overwhelmingly messianist in make-up and that messianist spokesmen either smile and deny that it exists or engage in attacks that I would characterize as "shoot the messenger." FWIW, none less than E Elyashiv views the shechitah of a messianist as treife/passul afilu bdieved.
Steve Brizel | 11.09.06 - 6:02 pm | #

Anonymous said...

how very humble of you to label your 'shaylo' as a sheilas chochom. as to the major american gadol, i'll stop here....

Anonymous said...

you know what i love?

all the self righteous guardians of judiasm that chas vsholom they would never eat from a lubavitcher's shechita, keilim etc, treif gomur, but if they are ever in an exotic part of the world on business or pleasure, they have no hesitation in accepting or soliciting food or other forms of support form the local shliach, as if this shliach's sole purpose in living in this isolated yehupitz is to cater for their needs.

i love these shluchim who are happy to help out a fellow jew, irrespective of whether he is deserving or not, just becuase he is a fellow jew.

Anonymous said...

a group of non chasidim were once discussing the gadlus of their ancestors. a chosid joined into the conversation and siad that his father is a godol and he has a rayo from the gemoro. the group of people were appropriately impressed and upon pressing the chasidisher yid he explained, 'koton ayno molid' veda'l.

Anonymous said...

give ut up hirshel, "men darf leben mit di tzeit", even if at times it mkes you uncomfortable in your own skin.

Anonymous said...

Lubavitch never gave a "rat's behankes" with how things are perceived by the frum/heimish world, and thank g-d for that. Hirshel its about time you see thing from a bigger picture perspective, and if this had the potential of bringing one person closer to yidishkeit, Kol Hakavod.
Derech Agav, it would do Moshe Feller a world of good to consider running in next years marathon.

Der Shygetz said...

Moshe Feller running the marathon? OK. Who's next? Yossel Aronov? :) :) :)

Hirshel Tzig said...

To the Mod-Ortho "Frumak" who wouldn't eat at the FarbrengInn:

You can go back to eating your non-glatt Empire and your Friendship Cottage Cheese, The Kranz family doesn't need your type clogging up the pool and shul and complaining that the chicken is undercooked.

Shmuly Boteach? puh-leez.

As far as worrying about the frum world goes: Those are the people the Messianists are מרחק and we worry about that, right? so let's say that we don't care. Besides, what about PC himself; where are his standards?

Anonymous said...

chabakuk elsihsa, tell me this: do you think Peretz Chein would have sent his pictures in a duch to the Rebbe? would he have mentioned this stunning pe'ulah?

Anonymous said...

''You can go back to eating your non-glatt Empire and your Friendship Cottage Cheese, The Kranz family doesn't need your type clogging up the pool and shul and complaining that the chicken is undercooked.''
They don't need you staying at Fabreng-Inn (or farGrebt-inn)but they do need your $$$$,even a guy married to a shiksa is good for that.

Anonymous said...

'Non-Glatt Empire'
Empire is chickens and Turkey only, where did the 'Glatt' come from?
Friendship Cottage Cheese? R'Moshe Feinstein said it's ok.Good enough for me.
When you start to be makpid on Chodosh an issur deoraysa to most rishoinim (and yes there are heteirim, I know)come and preach to me about not relying on R'Moshe Feinstein in an issur derabonon!!!

maaravah said...

anon- nice try to manipulate imagery. Would you send a picture of yourself in a purim costume to the REbbe in a duch? Just telling the Rebbe would be fine- i thinnk he would tell the Rebbe that he ran the marathon, and I don't think the Rebbe would mind, to the contrary... Not that I know for sure. Sorry if this makes it harder to convince misnageds that we are the ultimate frumak farchnyukte sect.

Hirshel Tzig said...

I guess Reb Meyshe zt"l didn't care about your Emunah if you didn't. Listen, if you'd come to me and tell me that 50 cents a week on a container of Cottage Cheese is gonna kill you, I'd also tell you so. The point is that Cholov Aku"m is Metamtem HaMeyach VeHaleyv, so if you don't care about it I suspect that your worries about Messianists not being Jewish are unfounded or founded in Friendship Cottage Cheese.

As Far as Yoshon goes: I'm makpid on Yoshon just like you Frummies were ten years ago. Besides, everything you buy today is Yoshon. And the Bac"h is Matir.

Oh, before I forget. When you won't be Makpid to be Eyver an Issur D'oRaysoh by shaving every day, then I'll be Makpid on Yoshon.

Anonymous said...

Hirshel
Don't show yourself up to be auch an am hooretz, please:Ok?
'
'' The point is that Cholov Aku"m is Metamtem HaMeyach VeHaleyv'
Back this statement up, will you??
(What you mean is that the previous Rebbe said cholov akum causes 'sfeikos be'emunah'-Now, he must have meant the general theme of 'ma'acholos assuros' are metamtem ess halev, though it's a bit of a chidush to say this about an issur derabonon.HOWEVER, that is only the case if it's cholov akum, If R'Moshe said it's OK, IT'S NOT CHOLOV AKUM)
'The BACH is matir'-We all know this, that's why in Europe they were more maikil because people had no food,HOWEVER,most rishoinim and the Shulchon oruch pasken its ossur midoryasa.The Ba'al hatanya also write to be machmir

maarava said...

Chadash- Sicha from the Rebbe Acharon Shel Pesach 5740 explaining that the AR's psak in hlchos pesach is not exactly like you said. you can get it a sichos kodesh.com (starts at os 76)

menachem said...

Actually, it is the Shulchan Aruch that tells us that Cholov Aku"m is "Metamtem HaMeyach VeHaleyv". I don't have a shulchan aruch in front of me at the moment (and couldn't find a place online that had the text), but if I remember correctly, it is in Yoreh Deah, chapter 81 (please correct me if I'm wrong).

Sender Brinicer said...

HT

maybe send the shtikkel to Peretz himself, see how he defends himself!

Anonymous said...

even the Mishkanos Yakov writes that in the Lita nobody is makpid on Chodosh eventough the Gra hold it is a Deorasio, By chasidim they were makil because of worms were to be found in the old flour. Just lately the problem of worms is again on the front burner in the hashgacha world. But cholov akum was ossur beminyan according to most poskim as the Chasam Sofer,

EARLY BIRD said...

Re marathon running:

Had any of this chevrah ever completed a mesechteh in Shas he/they would have know of - and used the line 'onu roztim veheim rotzim..."

Hirshel Tzig said...

You call yourself the early bird? You're 3 weeks late to this thread.

brandeis ben brandeis said...

Really the most important factor is R' Peretz's intention by this action.
These types of things which are not clearly wrong or right can't be judged objectively from afar. If he did it to say, "hey, i ran a lot and now i feel great" that's different than "i worked hard and did this impossible thing, anyone can work hard and accomplish mitzvot and learn torah. now let's go learn some torah"
actually, it's pretty clear that the second one was his intention
chabad also would agree that sometimes you should put yourself in awkward positions and even make yourself look ridiculous for this type of chizuk .

there's no blanket prohibition, everyone agrees. and so it's not fair to R' Chein that you speak rechilut or l''h about him (how come nobody has raised this issue?) without proper investigation or perhaps (how come nobody has suggested this) trying to be melamed zchut or dan zchut for a known yashar and shomer-torah yid

Anonymous said...

Just read some of your stuff on here. All due respect, you may want to talk to someone. Its hilarious. First with the pictures criticizing what went on in 770, though it is a chillul H', you say "supposed ahavas yisroel" but yet there you are taking pictures of the crap, rather than stopping it. Way to go.. Second, the fact that you have the chutzpah to criticize a campus shliach for running a marathon!? Mate, the guy is mekarev yidden like crazy and is a chassidishe yid himself. get back to basics, dont judge until you have been in there shoes. Sick what is going on here.