Friday, February 6, 2009
"אבי אבי רכב ישראל ופרשיו"
So said Rabbi Noah Weinberg's son on his father, who passed away yesterday at the age of 78. Watch it here. It was actually nice to see and hear the old Mussar'dike niggun with which the grandson of Chassidishe Rebbes as he sang his hesped. I'm sure the young Rabbi loved his father dearly, as most of us do. And I'm sure that he meant to give his father the proper Koved HoAcharon, as a son should. But I think it's safe to say that it's times like these that we now see and understand why Chabad doesn't "do" hespedim. It gets to be a bit much, even in the land that created this monster, and I know you all agree with me. Since when does a man who makes Baalei Tshuvah become like Eliyahu HaNovi that we use those terms on him? The same goes for the comments on the Aish website, some of them are just plain terrible, words like ship losing its captain, (does he mean the USS Aish or Klal Yisroel as a whole?) to the world cannot go on. Please, people.
Rabbi Weinberg was a kid from Brooklyn who saw a total lack of concern among his fellow Lithuanian Jews to the plight of American Jewry and did something about it. Frankly I'm impressed that he saw that need. I don't think many others were concerned about their non-Religious brethren back then. It must be the Chassidishe blood in him, otherwise he'd be content with just shteiging away on his own and letting the chips fall where they may. What he built was a network of schools and centers as well as electronic media that brings Jews closer to their father in heaven. We've our differences with him and his organization and emissaries here on the blog, but that doesn't diminish what good he's done. I just wonder out loud what the future of Aish will bring. Will an organization that relied so heavily on the charisma of one man be able to survive in his presence? Or will Aish go the way of so many others biting its proverbial nose to spite its proverbial face? Only time will tell.
Yehi Zichro Baruch.
the JTA compares the two organizations.