Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Still not the whole story (Book Review Part II)
Still reading Freifeld. It's good, I tell ya....
What intrigues me about the book is how it gives every type of reader what he or she wants. That may have something to do with the author, himself somewhat of a hybrid Chossid/Litvak. You want typical Rosh Yeshiva/Gadol? He was that. After all, we're told that he was a "Hutnerite" to the end, so that must make him a typical Gadol. You want a trailblazing Kiruv worker who brought hundreds back to Yiddishkeit? Just look at Sh'or Yoshuv and see what he did. You want a supreme mentsh who went out of his way even when he was gravely ill to make people happy and comfortable? You have countless stories like that in the book. As a Lubavitcher I can tell you this is part of what people always saw in the Rebbe - in a much greater way, obviously - that all kinds of people could relate to him, and each would see what he wanted to in the Rebbe. I see a microcosm of that in this book, and I think that the idea to write his biography in such is a good one.
I do have a message for Rabbi Besser: Based on conversations here with many people that knew the Rabbi I believe the book is not complete. Don't get me wrong, it's miles beyond anybody else would do, and I appreciate many of the messages that you bring to the forefront, but HOW COULD A BIOGRAPHY ON RABBI FREIFELD NOT MENTION HIS CONNECTION TO THE LUBAVITCHER REBBE, ZY"A? Why is it OK to say that he read American Indian History books just so that he could relate to a certain talmid, but it's not OK to say that he spent time in Lubavitch? That he insisted that the Yeshivah continue its tradition of having a grand Purim parade through the streets of Far Rockaway just so a Jew going to pick up his paper in the morning will see the parade and will get a warm feeling about Yiddishkeit JUST FOR A MINUTE?! These are not your typical CB ideas, I dare say that the Rebbe was the one who gave birth to such an idea, or at least was the one to publicize it, that the Eybershter has Nachas from times when his children do the smallest things, even if a Yid puts on Tefillin once in his lifetime, and that a great part of our mission in this world is to give the Eybershter Nachas!!