Thursday, August 14, 2008
Pots and Kettles
(If it's incoherent I apologize...)
Here we sit listening to guys like Schneur telling us how Chabad has it coming because it went from "Nevel and Minsk to Madison Avenue." They lost their way - they say - and we're just responding accordingly. Everything they do involves fund raising and collecting money - they say - they're terrible. In other words blame Lubavitch. They're terrible people who did not nothing to stop assimilation in the US despite 60+ years of outreach and education. OK. I hear what they're saying. Then I open the papers and read online how Aish's tactics are under attack, how they're PAYING people to go on Birthright trips with them, but I hear nothing from these same righteous sages. OK, there's nothing WRONG with paying people to go to Israel, maybe that's why they're silent. Why Aish gets a free pass with all their antics is very simple. You and me know it, and they know it. It's because they're the antidote to Lubavitch. It's so the Yeshivishe Velt can say "We do Kiruv too, and we do it the right way!"
But that's the seder Ha'olam, and you get used to it after a while. You realize that you're in a minority and you make due with the situation. Then there are times that it just gets to you. You buy a Jewish newspaper because there's nothing else to read, and what else would you want your kids to see, and you're ready to puke. There they are, the Kiruv workers with their "Shelichim", collecting money already for the Jews of Tbilisi, since according to them they're the ones who are responsible for the Russian BT Movement, and they're the ones who are caring for all the Jews in the FSU now, especially Tbilisi. We KNOW that's the case because the Mashgiach HaDor goes there and hugs the little Russian/Georgian kids, so it MUST be so. So if you have a conscience give to the Vaad, they'll save them. איי they just had a huge dinner where all the fatcats came and felt good about themselves that they support Kiruv? that doesn't matter, I guess all that money already went to good use. There, I'm rattling again. Let them have their money and their spotlights, it's none of my business. It's G-d's world, and right now he seems to like them more.
After seeing what a group can do when it has the press backing it and helping it spread the exaggeration what remains for the outsiders like Lubavitch? Here's a theory I have: One reason Chabad has to try so hard to get its message out is BECAUSE of the fact that they're shut out from the mainstream Jewish press! The Rebbe understood how the human mind works and that word needs to get out if Shluchim will ever make it in their towns. The fact that it's perfectly acceptable - in the eyes of the Charedi world - for a Kolel or Aish guy to move into an established community with a strong Chabad presence and ride the backs of these Shluchim, and take their people tells us how righteous these Kiruv professionals really are. Yet when a Shliach comes to a town where the old Rabbi there, someone who last did anything in 1966, has zero contact with those Jews who never step into his shul, and starts a kindergarten, or G-d forbid a minyan in his basement, the world comes to an end. The point here is that the perception that Lubavitchers are these terrorists who come and disrupt the pristine atmosphere that the Agudah/YTV/YU/TU set up all across America and the world is an image that you'll see only in the press. Kind of like Madison Avenue showing you that all housewives are perfectly groomed and manicured while baking cookies in a spotless kitchen.