Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Guess Who Made It Happen?

I saw this ad recently and it got me thinking. Truthfully only a guy like myself - living in both worlds - would realize a thing like that, but that's why I'm here, to make y'all aware of what goes on in the world. Look closely at the young man standing at the Kosel, all emotional, asking G-d to help him find his way. He came to the Wall, either by himself or with a Birthright type group, and is overwhelmed with emotion by the awe and splendor of Israel and Yerushalayim. On his way to the Wall he's approached by a pesky Chabadnik who asks him to put on Tefillin. Look how the tefillin is worn, if you don't believe me. It's minhag Chabad. The guy may have had the chance at his Bar Mitzvah to put them on, or maybe not - that's beside the point. The fact that he's wearing a paper "Kosel yarmulka" adds a lot to the picture; it makes for a great paradox, as if only black hatters should be there, or something.

I was thinking of asking the good people at P.I.T. if they made sure that the lad washed his hands and had a Guf Noki before he donned the Tefillin. After all, the mentors of the group always had that worry on their minds when condemning the Chabadskers at the Kosel and elsewhere grabbing people in all levels and styles of dress, plopping a yarmulke on the head, and strapping on the tefillin. I happen to know that P.I.T. is a good group of people, so I'm not condemning them, C"V, it's just sort of ironic, that's all. They were also the group that made the Lakewood ger/goy frum, not that it was their fault, but just so you know.


Zalmy said...

Tziganer Magyar Tzigaleh Bachi,
Aren't you sick of badmouthing already?
Why do we yidden need to suffer because of your gypsy blood.
Erev Rav are always lurking to divide yidden

The Bray of Fundie said...

Khakira re: the headline of this post:

Are you asking who made this particular boy depicted in the ad come to the Kosel? or are you asking who laid the kiruv groundwork and changed the consciousness of the frum community to the point that such Kosel encounters could happen at all?

The answer to the first question is PIT.

To be candid I am unmoved by the fact that the supplicant is in t'filin although it does present a picture more appealing to the eye. What is moving about the picture is the d'vekus of a yiddisha neshoma to the makom shelo zuzuh sh'kheena m'shum. I'd be as impressed, touched and moved had their been a girl in the picture instead of a boy.

The answer to the second question is, possibly, arguably Chabad and it's leader the rebbe zy"a.

Hirshel Tzig said...


don't Taitsh so much into the titles of posts. Theyr'e spur of the moment things,

The Bray of Fundie said...

Point is we should all be looking to cooperate not compete in being m'karev r'chokim.

maybe we should work out a system for apportioning credit just like basketball and hockey have statistiacl categories for "goals scored" and "assists".

Oh but wait, the shofet kol ha'oretz has that scoring system perfected already, doesn't He?

schneur said...

Actually 2 other "Sinai "events started this so called Teshuvah movement.
The 6 Day War and the struggle for Israel's survival in 1967 brought many of American Jews out of their deep sleep.This was the single key event that gave American Jews a new feeling of identity with Judaism , Jewishness and "Jewing".
Next the recognition of the Holocaust in its true historical and spiritual context which began in the late 1970's also contributed greatly to the new interest in Judaism in the USA.
Finally the turmoil of the 1960's in the USA was also a major impetus. Firstly ethnic power first articulated by the Blacks in clothing , hair style names etc made it okay to be ethnic ie Jewish.
Next the spiritual movement towards the EAST growing out of thwe HIppie movement, placed mystisicm, and God front and center and Judaism beneifited greatly.
In the next place I would place people and groups like the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Shlomo Carlebach, Zalman Schacter and a few lesser known people.

The Bray of Fundie said...


Interesting historical analysis but we're talking apples and oranges. While you provide plausible reasons as to why unaffiliated assimilated jews might have become ammenable to kiruv I'm crediting the Rebbe zy"a (possibly) with causing a sea-change within the FFB community in their attitudes towards the secular and assimilated.

None of what you mentioned would've made an FFB feel comfortable with a friar yid around his Shabbos table or Yeshiva bochurim have ambitions to become kiruvrabbis/professionals.

While Shlomo Carlebach, Zalman Schacter contributions were valuable they themselves were counterculture yotzay dofens who were dismissed by the frum establishment.

Credit for changing how the FRUMMA think about kiruv goes to the Rebbe, Rav Shlomo Freifeld, Rav Henoch Lebowitz, Rav Simcha Wassreman zecher kulam livrocha and lhvbchl"ch to Rav Nutta Schiller, Rav Noach Weinberg etc.

Anonymous said...

I don't mean to nit-pick, but Chabad are not the only ones who wear tefilin in that fashion. And besides, I think the kesher by the shel-yad looks like a regular sfard kesher, not our Chabad kesher, but it's hard to tell, the picture in not that clear.It could've been some Breslever guy I think there's one guy like that at the kosel too.

At any rate, Tzig I get your point. And between me and you if PIT would have realized that is a Chabad customer they probably woud've have ditched this photo for a better one. (Again, assuming that it is indeed a Chabad kesher)

Anyway, who are these guys at PIT, are they Lakewooders?

Anonymous said...

The fact what Schneur is saying, about the 67 war causing a major tremor for the Jewish nation is a fact that the Rebbe writes in many letters, and the Satmar rov in Al Hagelua scorns the Baal Teshuva awakening as Satan as the time of Shabsi Tzvi were also many Baalie Teshuva

The Bray of Fundie said...

A branch of Torah U'Mesorah IIRC. Although no doubt many of the telepartners are lakewood yungeleit and vaiber.

Anonymous said...

I would've known that he's a chabadsker from the red pants. The tefillin only told me that he's a guy.

The Bray of Fundie said...


I guess in some quarters FFB attitudes towards fraya remain unchanged since the late 50s.

schneur said...

Frankly in the Orthodox community I grew up in the 1950-1960's we always dealt with non observant people like brothers which in most cases they really were.This is still the situation in the MO world.
Perhaps the few Yeshivishe people in NY were different but by and large they too had some very close non Orthodox relatives. And they have become very closed minded and in my opinion still are.
So the Hungarain and Chasidic communities were very closed minded and Rabbosai they still are , BP and Williamsburg are still very narrow minded places.
And while the Yeshiva world sponsors a host of BT agencies, somehting tells me that most are not ready to do shidduchim with their new recruits, They still do not have a I-Thou relationship with their potential recruits.
Lubavitch may in fact be different, There the BT culture has to some extent become the dominant culture of Chabad.

arbiter said...

Anonymous- That's a sloppily finished wrapping around the guy's hand, not a Kesher of any sort/

Boruch said...

What difference is what way the guy puts on tefillin?
How can you see if it's Chabad?
Knowing this blog, the author 'sees' lots of things regular ,normal people don't see.

P.S Chabadsker, what bothers you if other people do kiruv? I've always had the gnawing feeling that Chabad is not about kiruv per se it's about making people Lubavitch.i.e another pound of flesh for Lubavitch inc.That may explain what bothers them about other organizations kiruv.

snag said...

"On his way to the Wall he's approached by a pesky Chabadnik who asks him to put on Tefillin."

"I was thinking of asking the good people at P.I.T. if they made sure that the lad washed his hands and had a Guf Noki before he donned the Tefillin."

Isn't that a stira ? First you say that a Lubavitcher put the tefillin on him and then you ask if the P.I.T. folks made sure that he was ready and raui for them. If Lubavitchers handled it, why are you asking if PIT made sure it was done properly?

Shmeryl said...

In the Heilige HaModia Weekend Edition this week's Kiruv column, the Rabbi goes on and on about how chas v'Shalom he wanted to make sure he would teach no woman the helige gemara and despite his narrowmindness etc ;) the couple turned out not only frum but Rabbi and Rebbetzin. Nebach

Hirshel Tzig said...

no stira at all. What I meant to say was: did they make sure that he was clean while wearing the Tefillin when they went and used the picture. They takeh weren't at the Kosel.

Friendly anonymous said...

Re: Guess Who Made It Happen?

The Rebbe in Gan Eiden doesn't need us worrying about making sure he gets the schar coming to him, and Lubavitch/P.I.T down here will both claim the credit, so there's enough to go around for everyone. The one's who definitely didn't make it happen are you and me :)

The Bray of Fundie said...

I've always had the gnawing feeling that Chabad is not about kiruv per se it's about making people Lubavitch.

While I sometimes find the smug, we-are-the-only-authentic-expression-of-chasidus/Judaism attitude of some Chabadniks off-putting (moreso when directed at other FFBs) I find this tainah silly.

You teach the Torah you know. If Rav Noakh Weinberg got his hands on a frei Morrocon and was mekarev him and he ended up a litvish-style Yeshivaman in Mir would you say that he failed as a mekarev because the fellow didn't end up practicing/thinking/looking like Rav Amnon Yitzchak?

Similarly it is completely unreasonable to expect Lubavitcher shlukhim to create BTs who are NOT Chabadniks.

What would be refreshing in the world of kiruv is some greater familiarity with and mutual respect for the "competitions" product and some greater willingness to steer a frei yid who is not suceeding or who's developement has been arrested in/by one owns system to another system that might be a better fit.

There will be times when a Chofetz Chaim or Aish branch ought to be referring studenst to the local Chabad House and vice versa.

Then again if we shloimei emunah had a drop of "greater familiarity with and mutual respect for the "competitions" product " i.e. if we could lose our prejudice, sinas chinam and Judaism-reduced-to-color-war attitudes Y'mos HaMoshiakh would've been here by now.


Friendly anonymous said...

Have we reached a point in history where the benefits of having separate groups are outweighed by the losses?

The Bray of Fundie said...

moot point. Who do you suggest would cobble the monolithic replacement?

Mottel said...

What bothers us not that they do the job -abi a Yid tut a mitzvah - Not even that as Johny-come-lately's they claim that they thought of it (let them feel good about themselves)
It's that they badmouth Chabad . . .

The Bray of Fundie said...

The answer is MORE communication , understanding, tolerance and respect not LESS diversity.

Anonymous said...

the bray
competition in Yiddishkiet didn't start in the USA in the 2000, in every respected Teshuva Sefer you will see multi teshuvas regarding Rabonas Shtele and shochtim etc.. why hallucinate that we are the Olum Hatikun

The Bray of Fundie said...

I have no illusions. We are feet even heels. Particularly malodorous feet at that. But for the entire body to stand it needs a healthy pair of feet.

Not my vort.. It's a S'fas Emes. (Well not the malodorous part. Thatwas my own flair for melodrama)

The Bray of Fundie said...

competition in Yiddishkiet didn't start in the USA

True. But

A) In ruchniyos competition and cooperation needn't be mutually exclusive and
B) The challenge is to fight nicely.

What's remarkable about our era is that despite mass media and so many groups living cheek by jowl the level of ignorance about all groups other than ones own is amazing.

Arthur said...

My father Z"L
who was a Alexander Chosid told me that there were tremendous fights,some times even physical ones ,between Alexander and Gerer Chasidim in Poland before the Shoah,to the point that he was taught in cheder to say "Shaketz...." when passing by a Gerer shtiebel or cheder.Interestingly ,The two Rebbis ZY'O on the other hand got along famously.

Anonymous said...

I am sorry but you are naive, people today are much more open minded about other sects cultures then the older generation, I am seating with a old shviger by a shabos table on a weekly basis she is extremely indifferent to anyone outside of her box,My kids feel sorry for her.

Arthur said...

"The purpose of this blog was to provide a counter opinion to the Chabad bashing that is so prevalent in blogosphere. I hope I've accomplished that objective."
Tzig,I think you've abrogated your objective. A couple of days ago I pointed out to you the rantings going on the UOJ blog.I sent you the post I sent UOJ regarding Rubashkin and his answer to me, in which he bashes not only Rubashkin but denigrates Chabad and above all the Rebbe in a very vile manner.For reasons beyond my ken you posted it for a couple of hours and then you removed it.
He caters to a large group of professional haters and has a huge following of groupies.He condemns the whole world.Litveshe gedolim,Chasiddeshe gedolim and everybody in between,yeshivas,frum organizations on and on.It seems that I was the only one to take up the sword to defend the Rebbis Kovod.I was attacked tarred and feathered till I threw in the towel.
I then turned to you because of your declaration to defend Chabad .I can't handle defending the Rebbis kovod on my own.I know that there are posters on this blog who villify the Rebbi and Lubavitch but he makes them all look like emestike Lubavitcher chassidim( I know that some of them will take offense at this statement).He's very clever,and has a great talent with words.Der hoiz brent un alle shvaigin.If any body can stand up to this guy I assumed it's you.
Are you afraid of him or perhaps you don't want to tackle him because of "kol hamisnavel....?
I am anxiously awaiting you reply.

Hirshel Tzig said...


I actually posted your comment for a while, until I realized that I couldn't leave what UOJ wrote against Lubavitch etc. up here for all to see. So, I deleted it. I can't possibly be responding to all of UOJ's rants. I'd have no time.

Anonymous said...

Listen, I know it's hard to believe. There are other organizations that have been very successful at bringing Judaism to the unaffiliated and partners in torah is one of them. This may come as a shocker but chabad is not the only one. Your tone is a bit abrasive and that is putting it mildly. My friends mom passed away last year and P.I.T was an organization she was very closely affiliated with. If you want a better understanding about the organization which you seem to have such animosity for click here and maybe then you'll change your tone.