Saturday, August 30, 2008
Did we "make" it yet?
(Ed. note: The ad pictured here appears on COL for quite some time now. I have not been able to blog as often as I wish lately due to lack of time.)
If the ad/picture to your left will allow it, the picture should display the name Zundel Berman Books. Although not owned by old man Zundel anymore I'm sure his nephew, the current owner, paid a pretty penny to keep the old name intact. I'd go as far as saying that most people may not know that Z no longer works there, which leads me to the point of the story here.
There was a time way back when the name "Zundel Berman" was synonymous with Snag. Before you say "there he goes again with the Snag talk" hear me out. Some Lubavitchers dub every non-Chossid - from the MO guy to Reb Chaim Kanievski - a "Snag." I'm not that uncouth; I realize the differences, me being extremely observant and noticing the nuances when it comes to things like that. Which makes me wonder: when did the term "snag" come into use in Dor Hashvi'i Chabad? Did it come together with the Chabad Talis and Surdut/Sirtuk? Maybe Schneur can answer that.
Why do I single out Z? Although I usually refrain from the heavy Loshon HoRah Z is special and deserves some of the negative attention he'll get here. He's special because the dislike for Chabad that this man has running through his veins is unlike anything I've ever seen. You'd think a man with a good business would be past that and wouldn't run around on his bike tearing down Chabad signs in Boro Park like some young hothead in Williamsburg does. You'd also think that a grown man in his 60's with grandchildren wouldn't walk half a mile to daven in a shul that he's never davened in just because he heard that some Lubavitchers moved in there and plan to "take over the shul." And I don't mean just daven there, he went there to stir up trouble and "save" the shul by any means necessary, even if it meant time and money spent for the cause, just so that the darn Lubavitchers shouldn't get their hands on it. A guy like that seems to have it in for Lubavitch. Maybe he had a Lubavitcher melamed back in Yerushalayim as a kid that rubbed him the wrong way. Who am I to judge? The Lubavitchers have gone on to bigger and better things, but the memory of Zundel and his antics at the old shul in Boro Park live on in infamy for those who witnessed it.
Some of us in Chabad are always wondering whether or not we're accepted among the true Jews of Lakewood and Bnei Beraq. It bothers us and we try hard to change that perception that we're different and not authentic. We look for every little sign that maybe the tide has turned and things have begun to change. Be it a no-name Rav or Rosh Yeshiva who makes an appearance at a Chabad event, or a Chabad yeshiva class that gets farherred at the home of a prominent Rav, those of us who care get very excited over events like those. So if a prominent seforim seller like Zundel, to whom Chabad is like a red kerchief for a raging bull, although no longer under his ownership, chosses to advertise on a Chabad site like COL just so that Lubavitchers and their centers should shop there, this is cause of muted celebration.
IN NO WAY IS THIS AN INTENTION TO C"V HURT THE BERMAN BUSINESS. I, MYSELF, WAS A FREQUENT CUSTOMER WHEN I LIVED IN BROOKLYN AT BOTH THE BP AND CONEY ISLAND AVE STORE. THEY HAVE A GREAT SELECTION AT UNBEATABLE PRICES. HANDS DOWN.