!א רבי קען דערנעמען א מענטש אין אסאך וועגן
Back in Chanukah of 5768 we discussed the six foot tall menorah of the Rebbe Reb Aron of Satmar and how I thought it hypocritical, or at least dishonest of a man that follows in the ways of his uncle the Baal Divrei Yoel and VaYoel Moshe to afford himself such luxuries if not for the fact that Chassidus and the Baal Shem Tov allow for it. At that time, many of you - my closest allies included - disagreed with me for different reasons. Some of you said that the whole concept as it pertains to Satmar has nothing to do with Chassidus, it's all cultural. Hungarians like flashy things so they buy themselves and for their Rebbes, but the point here is neither Baal Shem Tov nor Chassidus. That's the one of the great advantages of this blog, you teach and learn at the same, by virtue of the comments that come in from people like you. בא ללמד ונמצא למד.
Then, this morning, I open my inbox and I see that our good buddy, Mr. A Simple Jew בכבודו ובעצמו, sent me the link I bring above, where a Yid's wife is on the plane and she sees the Satmar Rebbe, Reb Aron, and his Tallis zekkel and she's totally enthralled. She's a MO Jew from California and she's never seen anything like it, so she calls her husband and tells him all about it. In her own world she sees this zekel as being "Corbusier," as in French designer, and is excited that a Chassidishe Rebbe would ever have something like that. Were it not for the fact that SR was sitting in first class, as all good Rebbes should and do, she would've gone over there and asked him all about it. And he probably would've obliged here by answering all her silly questions, this being Untervegens and all, where Rebbes and more relaxed and approachable. So we see; Rebbes and their seemingly luxurious artifacts can have that positive effect on less-observant Jews.
She'll probably go home and be a much better Jew from now on. First, her husband already mentioned that he'd like one too. He obviously doesn't know that Tallis zeklach such as this are reserved for Rebbishe types only, but what he doesn't know can't hurt him. Lots of newly religious or newly Chassidish overstep the so-called boundaries and wear clothing reserved for Rebbes, so this should be no different. Then he'll begin to grow a beard and peyos and be in general more frum and Chassidish, since some well-meaning frummie will ultimately see him and tell that either he gets rid of it or he begins to be more frum. Not wanting to give up his "Corbusier" he'll become more frum. Then his wife will begin to see what he's doing and she'll begin to wonder how she can claim to be married to him when they look so obviously different. Her look definitely doesn't match his, which now includes a shtraymel and vayse zokken, so she'll begin to be more Chassidish and frum too. And it all will be thanks to a Tallis zekel which non-believers like myself thought extravagant and unnecessary. A regular Joe's Tallis bag would never have done the trick.