Sunday, July 1, 2007

The Chossid's worst enemy

Guravitzer commenting on Tzigene Links

Tzemach just posed an interesting question: Why couldn't Chabad keep Zalman Shechter (and others of that type)? The truth is, the bitter enemy of Chasidim is Ta'avos Olam Hazeh, not Misnagdim. There is nothing in Toras HaChasidus that prevents one from davening in a Litvishe shul, with a litvishe nusach, with litvishe minhogim etc. You may not be able to point to such a person and say an echte chasid, but the contradiction is social, not religious.

Taavos Olam Hazeh are the worst enemy of a Chossid. They drag him down, dry him out and prevent him from Avodas Hashem, and in our generation from our Shlichus and Hiskashrus. (As the well known story with the Rebbe, asked by a Chossid for a brocha for Hiskashrus, the Rebbe replied, "One selects the finest portion of food, adds salt to taste, and then asks for a brocha for hiskashrus?!") Zalman Shechter would truly have been one of our finest lights - if not for Taavos Olam Hazeh, in his case getting high on LSD. Shomo Carlebach would as well, if not for women. Shlomo managed to maintain certain standards, Zalman lost them altogether, but they each fell to our enemy. Other Chasidim, less well publicized, have fallen to this as well.

In essence, a Chossid who farbrengs overmuch about Misnagdim is in denial. A Chossid who farbrengs overmuch about avoiding Taavos Olam Hazeh is fighting the good fight. This has many modern day implications. My enemy is not the Misnaged, but the taavoh for kovod, sinah and money that accompany the fight. My enemy is not ---------, but the taavos that brought him down. My enemy is not the pitiful child I meet on the streets of Yerushalayim, Crown Heights, Bnei Brak or Boro Park, but the taavos they have fallen to.


snag said...

Yasher keyach !

Anonymous said...

I heard lately, that some guys in Montreal wanted to learn Chassidus with Reb Velvel Greenglass zol zein gezunt, the first condition was that they should refrain from Ice Cream, I unfotunatley forgot the other conditions.

taryag said...

Dont say "Chossid", Say Lubavicher. Chassidim (or litvaks) dont view other groups of frum jews as a threat or an enemy. How chabad became this way, I dont know. This is unless by you the term "chossid", means chabad exclusivly. Then your use of "chassid" makes sense.

Anonymous said...

tzig welll said

and you mention rabbi greenglass !! ah a chosid like that is unbelievable i learnt by him and he was mamosh a chosid botul to the rebbe

i recall meeting him on shabbos afternoon the first year after gimmel tamuz. and i went over and gave him a gut shabbos and i asked him nu it is a year since gimmel tamuz now what?

he said now!! did you wash negel vaser did you learn chitas today were yuo maavirthe sedra etc.. now .... and i git the message ...

Friendly anonymous said...

As a member of an Anas"h community, I feel more threatened by a misnagid than by tayvos. As an individual, however, "es gayt mir nit on" what a misnagid might think of Lubavitch. (or, for that matter, what other Lubavitchers might think of Lubavitch).

Misnagdim attach "chabadskers" as a kohol, rather than any particular individual. (Similar to the way mashi'im farbreng with bochrim about "misnagdim").

eli said...

Well said! BTW, IIRC, good ol' Zalman ran off on his family with a nice young shiksa... not just LSD.

schneur said...

I did not read TZ.A. original comments.I agree that Taayvos are an unhealthy manifestation in terms of spiritual growth.In my opinion they are the downfall of contepmporary Charedi Jewry, just check out the new multiplicity of Glatt steak houses where a Charedi with a sheine beichel can be mekayem the mitvoh of "haletani" with a Glatt Chassidishe hechsher.
But may I add that I think you do not understand Zalman's spiritual journey. The man was a true and genuine seeker of Hashem and as such sought out Chabad and was an enthusiastic Talmid Chaver of the last rebbe.. But Schacter is not one satisfied with Mitzvas anashim Melumda, (which most of Chassiduth has become -that is rote observance of certain rites and rituals). as such Reb Zalman sought new ideas and energy from other Chasidic groups like Bobov, from the Flower children of the 1960's (by the way their whole mahus was a war against the materialism of the western world and Middle class artificial values which seem to have a strong and powerful hold on most Charedim today.).
As such Shalomi also no longer sees any value in artificial boundaries set up between different spiritual schools in different religions . Thus he found value in Sufiism, Tibetan Buddhism, American Indian folk religion, Ceratin monastic orders of the RC Church etc etc.All these gave Prof. Schacter new spiritual energy. By the way his Pnai Or movement provides thousnads of Jews with a serious and earnest form of Judaism.
Punkt farkert Reb Meshullom Zalman was originally not running after nekaivos or drugs, but these came later. Some of the people you call Misnagdim also fell into the lure of the modern day Sexual Revolution. By the way whats the functional distinction between anash drinking vodka in 18th century White russia and taking some mind expanding drugs in the 20th century ? Probably only societal norms, middle class values adopted by Frum world say drugs are not acceptable, but bronfen, and cigaretes are !
Respectfully , before you categorize Zalman read some of his works. they are filled with autobiographical detail of value and interest to any chabad Chassid out in the field.
May I just add that i met zalman several times years ago in his home in Phil. and he told me that in 1951 he expected the new rebbe to frame his Maamorim in a mathematical and scientific framework befitting his scientific background and the Atomic era, rather than keep on teaching maamorim on an outdated system based on Greek philosophy.
Schacter was seeking a unified theory of knowledge with no articial boundaries instituted by ethnic differences and false borders between science and "religion".
I also take exception to your one dimensional take of Reb Shlomo C. But thats for another time.

guravitzer said...

I left the comment on Shlomo one dimensional because he really isn't the case point here - he remained frum. In no way do I view him one dimensionally.

I'm sorry, but schneur and eli, you do not know his life story well. The shiksa came much later, as well as all the integration with Avoda Zara. He first experimented with LSD, and everything else followed. Of course I am makir todah to him for preserving stories of the Rebbe, and even an entire farbrengen of the Rebbe!

So not only do I understand his journey, I know of every step of the way, from all sides of the story.

Aside on the Maamarim, instead of moving to that style, the Rebbe moved to his father's style, a synthesis of Kabbalah. It is a change as great as the Tzemach Tzedek change from his father-in-law and grandfather.

taryag, can you please describe your relationship and discussions with such groups of chasidim, so we can better understand your comment of there being no sense of enemy between them and Misnagdim?

Anonymous said...

It is absolutely fascinating to see how Chabadskers see Litvishe yidden as their 'enemy'. Chabadskers are so stuck in the 1800s that they dont see that this whole chassid-Misnaged fight ended about 70-80 years ago. All other 'misnagdishe' and chassidishe groups all get along just fine now but chabad still sees other Jews as a threat and an enemy.

The irony is deep since chabad claims to love all Jews, when it is they who not only consider their Teyrah to be the only real Torah, but they also see other Jews as enemies.

But dont wait around for Chabadskers to do any introspection and ask themselves why they are doing such things. chabad insulates itself so well that their only response is to lash out some more and defend their hateful perspective and meshuga hanhagos.

schneur said...

Guravitzer ! Reb Zalman was becoming friendly with the Roman catholic college chaplain in some university town in Mass (Worcester)long before Timothy Leary invented LSD. And as he stated several times this was the 1st time he realized that other religions also have spiritual values .He became interested in Bobov long before Timothy Leary. He was doing a doctorate at HUC long before he met Leary.His post denominational Judaism ws taking shape at the Winnepeg Hillel long before the LSD.
How did Zalman come to Chabad in the first place was it because of LSD ? He has always been a spiritual seeker and thats why he came to Chabad ,LSD, and other potentially mind expanding systems not the other way around.
Excuse me for saying this you sound like one of those old foggies from the the 1960's who blamed allof society's ills on drugs and Rock N Roll.
Again may I urge you to read some of Zalman's autobiographical stuff.Start with the Making of a Modern Hasid, published in 1962.

Chaim G. said...

Ah Chusids ergsterhr feint is duhs bedt

Overheard from an alter Gerrer Chusid during my student days in Yerushalayim.

Chaim G. said...


I like your thesis.

Is this true for Rebbes/Tzadikim as well or only for rank and file chasidim?

Hirshel Tzig said...

Chaim G

s'iz nisht mein vort, it's Guravitzer's. I made that quite clear.

Chaim G. said...


Guravitzer, Please respond.

guravitzer said...

It's interesting how these comments on lack of introspection are on a post precisely about introspection.

Schneur, you have a tendency to trust the words of one side, perhaps what we can call the "victim" in certain situations. I have no need for his autobiography, he was "expanding his mind" in Winnipeg. I know which came first in his case, please do not wave away my first hand knowledge here.

He was a spiritual seeker. Before the drugs, he drank from mekor hataharah. Afterwards...

chaim g., this applies to Chasidim. There are other challenges for a Tzaddik or a Rebbe.

schneur said...

Guravitzer , for a Chabad Chasid you demand a tremendous amount of emunah peshutto in your statements, as all you can say is that you have first hand knowledge, without backing anything up with even an iota of documentation.
And let me ask you another question according to Chassiduth Chabad well known for its "drinking" what is wrong with LSD ? have you tried it , do you have first hand knowledge here too. Is this another case of emuna peshutta in your views.
How can one possibily have a meaningful dialogue when one party says he or she has the complete truth but fails to document it and says just TRUST ME.
Come to think about it that may be applicable to a lot of dialogue with a certain Jewish group...
Zayt gezunt und stark !

schneur said...

Another question for Guravitzer. Is there value in the spiritual doctrines of other religions ? Does Buddhism have something to offer for spiritual Jews, how about Suffi techniques? Please remember the son of the Rambam was greatly influenced by those teachings. And one of todays leading lights in Chabad SJ is basically a New Age teacher.
I seem to recall the Rebbe talkingabout mediattaion too at a farbrengun in the late 1970's.

yoshe kalb said...

I heard from R' Mendel Futterfass that the two biggest problems for American Chassidim are a, to find parking in front of the house b, to eat a tasty dinner without gaining weight.

Anonymous said...

Becherhafer quotes the Piaceztner as saying that Mashke by chasidim is a form of deviekus.So can LSD give you the same results? isn"t these the same concept as the Lilke & Tzibech of the Masse Bicher.
I dare to disagree that the chabad mashke has to serve a different purpose of mahskin hashor lifnie haschita.

Freilach Chossid said...

What do you think is the Shaliach's worst enemy?

reality check said...

What gives?
On the one hand people are crying here about 'yeridas hadoires' about how people are full of 'tayvos'
On the other hand Lubab inc is growing very well, thank you.I thought that Lubavitch stood for 'iskafya' for 'tzebreching' the 'yeshus' etc, so why is it so attractive in this generation of 'gashmiyus'?
Der terutz is poshut, in actuality Lubavitch inc stands for all of the above-Tayvos, sai foon kovod oon say foon gelt oon say foon dai lamevinim,todays Lubavitch is one big empty hoax and that's why it's so attractive to all the Hungarians and the leidigayers and the meshiguem, after all, who wants to sit and learn all day long and not fool themselves by 'bebbing' a perek in Rambam or some sicho kedeisha?
Life is easy for a Lubab

guravitzer said...

freilach, why is it any different for a Shliach?

Freilach Chossid said...

B/C a Shaliach is faced with other temptations: Kovod, Gelt,Politics

guravitzer said...

Did I make a distinction anywhere between different Taavos Olam Hazeh? I made none. Every businessman has the taavoh for gelt, every Jewish community roils with politics, which is obviously associated with kovod. The only reasons to try to segregate categories of Jews or Lubavitchers in this discussion would be because of personal feelings towards a particular category. That has nothing to do with what I wrote.

At least you can feel superior to the commenter right before me, who has neither feeling nor thoughts. I think Tzig provides us with those comments to keep the tone light, otherwise it would just be a bunch of serious people discussing real issues.

Freilach Chossid said...

I did not read your article, just the title
kind of lazy

Anonymous said...

i think many of our sages took herbs and explored plants. Nothing is to say that some of those plants did not have mind expanding benefits.

it seems to be a common theme in humanity that whatever goes against the majority opinion, is wrong. if we only kept in mind that so many times in the past, it was jew's in general who were "not of the majority opinion"

we should be more careful not to expel the few of our bothers and sister that have the foresight to go beyond the realm of normalcy.