Wednesday, April 18, 2007
Chossid gets no respect
You readers of the English language Mishpachah these last few months have defintely read the story of Yisroel, the prize "catch" from Ponovezher Yeshivah, who lives the dream of a good Yeshivah Bochur, getting a top-notch Shidduch, an apartment as Naden, and being supported while in Kolel. He somehow discovers (the fictitious) "Milchover" Chassidus, and becomes increasingly drawn into it, against the wishes of all his family - including his wife. The "complaints" against Chassidim and Chasssidus, the classic stereotypes of all Kugel and no Torah, the lack of adherence to Halochoh, they're all there, albeit from the perspective of the Misnaged. The Milchover Rebbe and his Chassidim are made into a bunch of fools at best, and charlatans at worst. The wife has been taught well by her brothers and father, and instead of respecting her husband's wishes - which she sees has only a positive affect on his observance of Torah and Mitzvohs - she criticizes and questions at every opportunity. This character must have nerves of steel to take this from his wife of all people. Hey lady: Cut your husband some slack, will ya? Don't worry so much about your Yenta friends.
I found myself being transported back to my Bocher'ishe days, and I emphathized very much with Yisroel and all he was going through. The scorn from supposed friends, and the aggravation from family members. ( I did not have to live through the disrespect from family, b"h) I could not help but realize how so many of our brothers (and sisters, for that matter, there are girls out there that are attracted to Chassidus) have to live through the same ordeal. They make a conscious decision that there's a better way for them to live their lives, not to CH"V leave the fold, but to adopt a different way of serving Hashem. They love their parents, spouses, and families, but they choose to live their lives differently. After all, can we really expect that all of our children be exactly the same? I b"h did not have to live through that, being that my parents were supportive for the most part, although it meant some self-sacrifice on their parts. Supposedly there's even a Vort from Chassidim of the Mitteler Rebbe of Lubavitch that goes like this: We do not know if Chassidus Lubavitch will last another generation, since it's based so much on putting your hearts and minds into the learning of Chassidus, and how can we be sure that our children will want that as well? We cannot force them to be like us, but we hope that we can influence them by our actions to continue in our path. If the young man or woman chooses a different path is it so terrible? (Please don't start with the Apikorsus chants, because I won't have any of it.) Parents who want the best for their children must realize that the best, is THE CHILD'S best, not the parents'. I'm waiting to see how this Mishpachah story ends up. Will he remain a Chossid? I think so, he seems too much into it to leave now. What the wife and her family do, if her brothers and father get to her and force her to do something rash remains to be seen.