Monday, July 28, 2008
Revenge Isn't So Sweet
There were times as a bachur that the Tzig had to deal with swarms of snags and others that would pounce on him, thinking him to be weak and separated from the pack. They thought that he would just give up on Lubavitch and leave them be. His sheer existence was enough to make their blood boil, and they let him know, on numerous occasions, how they felt about the group that he attached himself to. It may not have gotten to the point where a mob came up to the hill and was about to lynch him, like they did to the Breslovers in Berditchev, but it was bad enough for a young bachur. If you think that it was limited to hot-headed bachurim, think again. Even the supposedly mature, and the Roshei Yeshivos and Rabbonim that you see on lettuce with bugs Kol Korehs, they can also get into the act. They couldn't help themselves; it was an opportunity to show the world who's in charge. Who knows? maybe I would do the same if I had a chance.
I thought I was over all that, but it seems like it's all coming home to roost now. Listen to this story and tell me if this man was well-meaning or not. You can probably tell that I'm not a big proselytizer. I do my thing and don't try to convince anybody to do the same. Yes, I'll knock your derech, but only in self-defense, yet others are not so generous or understanding. I remember when upon returning to New York after a year in Eretz Yisroel I tried to get back into one of my former yeshivahs. I was what you called a "good kid," not someone who made trouble, and definitely not someone who would ruin the reputation of the yeshivah, but the one in charge wouldn't have me back. He said my group loyalty was not where he wanted it to be; he didn't like the fact that I was a Lubavitcher. So, rather than mope and be upset I went on to a better caliber yeshivah, and that was that. Other people in my shoes would probably never forgive him, but I did. Not only that, but whenever I see him I smile nicely, and he does too. He even invited me to his daughter's wedding years later! This blog would be the ideal place to even with the score with him, but I'm just not that type of guy.
I might also add this: When it comes to anti-Chabad attitudes prevalent in Judaism today, some of the most "anti" are the former Chasids who either left the Chassidic world completely, or those who have very strong ties to the Yeshivishe/Litvishe world. For some reason - and we know why - they need to affirm to their current peers that they're really not part of those silly kugel-fressing groups anymore. Some Lubavitchers are that way too, but let others speak of that, here we'll speak of my experiences. Which reminds me; I once this Rosh Yeshivah who was - you might say - a Rebbishe kind, but who lost his way and ended up learning in a Southern New Jersey Yeshivah many years ago. The Rosh there was no lover of Chabad (maybe because he was FROM there) and seemingly passed on that "love" to his disciples. This RY seems to live in both worlds in his day-to-day life, hopping fences like he was a crazed jackrabbit being chased by that old man with a rifle who can't pronounce the letter "R." Yet, when it came to Chabad he remembered his alma mater and could not help himself, going as far as telling a young Chabadniks parents that their son's Rebbe choice makes them "Umglicklach." Nice, no?
Yet the Tzig bears no ill feelings to that old fool. He goes on with his life, trying to feed his family and serve the one above. Rather, trying to stay out of trouble and not have the bank take his house away from him. Others in his situation would foam at the mouth when mentioning his name, I laugh. Why then do I remember, you ask? Simple. I remember because it was a part of my life; a part of what shaped me, a part of what made me what I am today, for better or for worse. Maybe if I had better experiences with these types I would respect them a bit more. The proof lies in the fact that I'm willing to give these people a chance, that I'm willing to have my son in such an environment, even if it is only a summer month. I recognize good people wherever they may be, and don't keep my head in the sand. I'd like to see some of you geniuses do the same with your prized possessions and then get back to me about how understanding you are. Oh! and claiming to have the monopoly on all things Jewish won't cut it neither, not here not ever. Until you can learn to appreciate other approaches put a sock in it. All of you.