Saturday, April 12, 2008

Should These Boys Be Home For Pesach?

(Group Photo Of Bachurim That Will Travel Worldwide To Lead Pesach Sedorim In Far Flung Communities)

When it comes to Chabad Peulos people can be very funny, irrational really. They have a very hard time giving credit for the good work they do, so they find ways to passel their work. Words like "There's no chiyuv to be mekarev these people," to "They're mekarev to Chabad, not to Judaism," to "There's no heter to live in a place with no chinuch etc. just to be mekarev yidden," are quite popular among some people. I don't address those people here. As is the case with every Peuloh Tovah sometimes there can be Yenikas HaChitzonim when it comes to Shlichus (kiruv). Not that I'm here to judge anybody here either; I'd like to discuss Pesach and shlichus. I hope the Lubavitchers among you will find the Ahavas Yisroel to forgive me for what I'm about to say. I think I've proven myself enough for you to give me the benefit of the doubt, and understand that what I'm saying doesn't come from hate, C"V.

I remember the time that an elterer yid called up a Lubavitcher mossad where I was working to complain. The mossad couldn't really help him, but that was the one he saw in the phone book, so he called. He had heard from his daughter that their child (his grandchild) was going off to some far-away country to lead a seder for a bunch of yidden who had no Rabbi there. This Yid was an elderly Hungarian Yid who's daughter had married a Lubavitcher Bochur, with his blessing, and had set up a nice family. (I'm not talking about myself, believe me.) He really had no problem with his grandchildren's lifestyle, but the not-being-at-home-for-the-seder thing was a bit much for him. Vee Iz Doos Gehert Gevorren? he asked, that a child leaves his parents' home on Pesach??? A child has to be home with his parents, and help prepare for YomTov, like all others do. Let the yidden there make their own seder, he said, this kid has to be home! Can I blame him for saying that? absolutely not. Other than traveling to a Rebbe most people stayed home or traveled home for Pesach, why should his eyniklach be any different.

Not to pat myself on the back, but I too would walk a few miles to help lead sedorim as a Bochur. I'd leave before the first night of YomTov and come home when the family would be up to Motzi-Matzoh or so. The same goes for the second night; we'd walk in the afternoon and come back late at night. Then I'd quickly make Kiddush, and say the Haggodoh, chapping arein the first KeZayis before Chatzos. The Afikomen I wasn't so lucky with; that never happened until much later. My dear father, ZGZ, and LBC"L my zeide, z"l, to their credit, although surely not very happy with it, respected what I was doing and didn't mind terribly that I missed most of their sedorim. The Bochurim travel back on Chol Hamoed and spend the rest of YomTov with their families, but that's a chatzi nechomoh. Yet, somehow, I feel that were this to happen to me I'd be less understanding than they were.....


Leibish Volf said...

Let's be practical here, Tzig. It's safe to assume that many of these bocherim are planing on being shluchim, so managing sedorim in far-flung places is simply practical career training. Same as what is done many other yomimtovim. The same ta'ano can be leveled against any type of involvement in shlichus, and it's certainly one we reject. The discussion in the gemoro regarding "hakbolas pnei hora b'regel" raises similar issues which, as I recall, wouldn't apply to a bocher, only to a married man.

Lutziner einikel said...

Surely the bigger question here is the influences on these bochrim from the young people they are generally making the sedorim for, and lack of proper frum framework for them in these far flung places?

Isaac Balbin said...

Well I am in India. I had Shabbos in Bombay. Two guys were going to make the Seder in Goa. There is a Shliach in Goa but he has trouble with his visa. Who will tend the flock?There are many Israeli tourists in Goa. Unfortunately, many are caught up in things they ought not to be, but that's not the issue. So, the Shliach in Bombay, who I know personally and has real Mesirus Nefesh (as does his Rebbetzin Bekiflayim) to simply be in that City, organised for Bochurim to be Memaleh Mokom and paid for the Hotzois. To be in India in this farshtinkeneh heat, let alone other Farshtinkene things, is not something that can be adequately described, unless you have experienced it.

Those two Bochurim had just arrived moments after I did, and they were physically finding it difficult to walk around in the heat on Shabbos. I am twice their age and managed, but I have more experience in the country. I could tell they were pretty shell shocked. It isn't an easy thing.

I watched them load up boxes of food, sponsored by the Shliach in Bombay, and off they went to unchartered territories armed with suggestions as to what/how to cook, and a colour invitation inviting people to register for the Seder.

One may end up a Shliach, the other doesn't appear to have this on his agenda. Despite this, they were there and will have a tough time, I am sure. Yes, they could and should be with family, but I think the family unit in chabad has partially blurred. I would say they see other yidden as their family at a time like this, and accordingly Goa will be their home! Now I am sounding like a Chabadnik (which I am not). I am sure that if for some reason one of my children did this, I'd be very sad (we are excited to have our son coming home for Pesach)
at the same time, the phrase "Eis Laasos Lashem, Heferu Torosecho" also comes to mind.
The main thing in my mind is to ensure that only top bochurim with both personality and exemplary yiras shomayim go. We ask many questions on Pesach. This might be a good one to ask before the Ma Nishtana ... Vchol Hamarbeh Harei Ze Meshubach.

benny said...

We have a nice story about a yeshiva man saving a young Lubavitcher bochurs life by donating marrow,and, later on being maskim to schlep to California to a seudas hodoyo...
Nice story for your blog,right?
You are a mecharcher riv, like the mamzer ben nidda Shoulson, so if Jews get along you two have no tzil in life, cuz after all, what could two ignoramasus like yourselves give the world besides machloikes, loshon hora and rechilus???

Hirshel Tzig said...

I actually thought the story was silly, since neither the donor nor the recipient knows where the organ goes to..... This that they found out after the fact is nice, but why should we be surprised? Is it a chiddush that a Litvak would save a young Chabadnik's life?

Chaim Shoulson's parents were nice people, as is he once you get to know him, he just has this Meshugas.

Guravitzer said...

benny, Tzig doesn't do fluff. (Let the wounded animal screaming begin.)

I think breaking the mental block against bochurim being away for Pesach was the last stop in Lubavitch truly accepting the Rebbe's directives on Shlichus.

It was very difficult to accept Bochurim going away for three weeks in the summer. Then to accept the children moving to a faraway city or country. Being away from home for Tishrei wasn't seen as so bad, RH and YK aren't really family time, and on Sukkos you'll be driving around town with a Lulav and Esrog anyway. Pesach was the last stop considered family time.

Even when the Rebbe was here, 770 was empty on Pesach.

Anonymous said...

Hirshele Hirshele

Batel retzoncho (afilu a rotzon foon torah u'mitzvos, ober es iz retzoncho vi es leigt zich ba dir) mipnei retzono (az du zolst zein botel legamrei on kein yeshus afilu nit kein yeshus d'kdusha) L'chaim L'chaim V'livrocho

Mendel (for some reason I can't post with my name)

Twistelton-Twistelton said...


You really are nuts. The one nice thing Chabad dose is be mikaruv people at great personal sacrifice, missing Yom Tov Shabbos, Yomim Noraim etc. Think of all the Bochurim serving as masgichim out of town over yom tov. And Chabad dose it for a Mitzvah. I guess Mosiach is coming if I am defending Chabad against HT’s comments!!!

(I know, I know you think he came already) :-)

Twistelton-Twistelton said...

What do you think of the Hichal Menachem Hagaddah being advertised in all the frum publications. Ad features a NUSACH ASKENAZ haggadah, and say not a word about the Rebbe. This is an undercover haggadah!! If you look at the actual hagaddah (visible in the ad), it says clearly based on the teaching of the Rebbe. Still, in this day when Askenaz is a small minority, I get kick out of Hichal Menachem prompting Askenaz.

Hirshel Tzig said...

You mean Kol Menachem, the Gutnick Haggadah.

Mottel said...

Tzigele -I fail to follow your train of thought . . . You yourself did it as a bochur, yet you don't understand why? The ta'anos against being away are the same as any time on shlichus -just like m'darf zich nit farentfaren ven s'kumt tzu merkos shlichus etc. Why is Pesach different. I can safely say that I am a better person for my time spent making sedarim for the Higge Yiden in Lita.

I have a story for you:
Many chassidishe Yidden sent their children to the Tomchei Temimim yeshivah network in Poland. A Gerer chosid sent his son, Leibish, to learn in Chabad, and much to his chagrin, found his son was no longer able to spend time with him on Shabbos. The bochur would daven b'arichus on Shabbos, run home and eat quickly -making kiddush on chalahs (apparently there were two different standards in hashgocha on wine) eat the now cold food (I can't recall if he trusted the shchita on the meat or not), and would then run off to farbgreng etc.
The father one week told his son that he didn't understand him -the boy had no olam hazeh and no olam habah -the food was cold, he didn't have time to take a nap, or to chap a shiur before mincha. etc.

The son turned to his father and said,
"Tateh, du bist dach a beheimah."

The father was furious. He went to R' Chatshe Feigan and made very clear that he was not happy with the direction that
his son's education had taken.

R' Chatshe calmed the father down, promising that he would speak to the bochur.

When he did, he said told him that he would could never say such a thing about his father, but ended saying,
"Uber trachten meg men."

Tzigele it's mesiras nefesh, it's kabolos ol, but pesach is about those inyunim -m'tzad echad matzo has no tam (as a opposed to wine, or even matzo ashirah) m'tzad sheini, it must be eaten -not just swallowed . . . a geshmak in kabolos ol.

I know a shliach who's bechor learns in a cheder out of town. The boy, now 13, has come home for a few days, then gone off to help bochurim make a seder out of town -he's been doing this for the past few years. Now that is mesiras nefesh -uber vi ken es zayn anderesh?

Mottel said...

Of note, it's the Slager Haggadah.

Tel Aviver said...

Talking of these bachurim.shlichim. A very MO friend spent his honeymoon in Koi Samoi (sp?) Thaliand - whichis right on the beach. He (not a chnyok by any any means) was pretty disgusted to see young Chabad boys in teh local Chabad House and restauarant. The place is amokom tinofes, pritzus and gilui ariyes of teh worst type. How can any hakf decent parent or teacher or mashpia allow ANYONEhere? But a young unmarried bachur!!??? hayitichen? Ma yaaseh haben shelo yechteh? Chazal tell us that ein apitropus le'aroyos - but certain machers in Lubavitch seem to know better than Chazal !!

This should be stopped ASAP. And in Goa too. And - despite Balbin's nice words, lo zu haderech and I am syre that teh rebbe never expected his yeshiva boys to be darfted to spend time in a kuppa shel zonos (or whatever the phrase actually is).

Wake up ! Wake up!!

Isaac Balbin said...

Tel Aviver: me thinks you protest way too much. Extending your logic, they should only work in ski lodges, because the females will be most adequately attired.

I've been to Thailand as well. Hakol Lefi Hamareh. I've seen plenty of good, and very rarely, a bochur who has lost his way.Rather than you just hear from your MO friend, I suggest you meet up with some of the Bochurim themselves. Listen to their stories, hear their words. Farbreng with them. Then ask yourself if they became kalleh or grew. Do that please.You will be surprised.

Hirshel Tzig said...

Ya gotta love the MO people who complain about the black hatters etc. they see in Miami and other hotspots. For them Iz altz Muttar.

Anonymous said...

Tel Aviver
The older I get, I am coming to the conclusion that people are what they eat and they see what they are too,without the Toras Habesht that if you see something bad you have some affiliation with that subject

Joe in Australia said...

I saw the same things as your friend because I was zocheh to assist the first public seder in Koh Samui. As it happens I was also on my honeymoon.

Yes, Koh Samui is full of perverion (like most Western resort areas in Thailand). But it isn't the bochrim who interact with the professional ladies and men. The bochrim are much too busy trying to cook food for hundreds of people using some primitive gas burners. If I were worried about the bochrim - and I'm not - I would worry about their interactions with attractive Israeli backpackers. In fact I'm not worried even about these interactions. The bochrim are too busy to hang around mooning with the customers, and they rarely seem to go anywhere alone. I have good reason to believe that they are effectively supervised by R' Kantor and the other senior Chabad figures in Thailand.

Anyway, I have a solution for your friend. If he avoids places like Koh Samui then he will keep himself further away not only from pritzus and gilui aroyes, but also the temptation of slandering some fine young men who are very likely oblivious to the things that so disgusted him.

Chaim Chaikel said...

Telaviver is 100% correct. And Joe, so too are you. I travel to Bangkok often and make good use of the wonderful facilities provided by rabbi Kantor (yeshalem Hashem paolo). Yes teh bachurim there do have plenty of time on their hands and I often see them sitting donw in the restaurant chatting away with the female Israeli backpackers. This may be kiruv and may be the MO way - but in no way is this chassidish!

Unless Chabad has invented the antidote for the yetzer hara, I am sorry to say they are playing with fire and risking the neshamos of their youngsters. How many of us woul dbe happy to allow young men with roaring hormones to spend months and months amongst some of the worst prutzos in the world - as well as the thousands of immodest and sadly immoral israeli ex-chayalot?

Lo zu haderech

Friendly Anonymous said...

All children should be home for Pesach to enable their father to fulfill the mitzvah of vehigadeto levincho

Hirshel Tzig said...

I guess then going to the shver is out of the question? forever?