Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Apples, Oranges

Photo by Roman Vishniac

I was asked a question that I often think about, despite it being unrealistic and very hard to compare fairly. The questions were respectful, and it seems like he REALLY wants to know the answers. I'll try and answer to the best of my ability.

Hirshel ,

Q. Did you or your family "shteig" in ruchniyus by making the switch to Lubavitch?

A. I know I did. I was wandering with very little TRUE direction, which is spiritually dangerous for a young bachur. If you want to be honest and sincere about it you might say that I shteiged tenfold since joining Lubavitch. I made a quality shidduch by any standard. Ten times better than had I stayed as neutral, "international" chossid in Boro Park. If I had to guess I'd say that I'd be one of the numerous shtraymel/trimmed beards you see around town. You know, the ones with the little jackets and the weird glasses during the week? that would be me. Or, you might say that I would've gone much further than that. Or you might say that somewhere along the way I would've found a Rosh Yeshive somewhere who would've convinced me that the Litvisher Derech HaLimud VeHaChayim is the absolute best. Can one ever decide for sure what would've happened? Can one know for sure what WILL happen? I don't think so. Not that it's not a question one could ask; it's just that the answers are hard to come by.

Q. Is your family in a more Yiddisher environment because of your switch to Lubavitch?

A. This question depends on the question above, I would think. If I'm in a more Yiddishe environment then so are my kids, right? Then again, sometimes being in a chassidisher environment may sometimes have good repercussions on its own. The kid's home can be terrible, yet he's influenced for the better by the outside, and he comes out looking like a million bucks! I often wonder how that's fair to some parents; that they work so hard on raising their kids and aren't successful, and the ones that live it up and have a grand old time have the good kids.... We can play the game of percentages and make assumptions, but those stats are very quickly becoming worthless in these the days of the internet and text messaging. So to answer your question: There is no clear answer, unless you look only at appearances.

Q. How is your family's level in Yiddishkeit in comparison to other grandchildren of your great zeide ?(if there is any GC)

A. That again is very difficult to properly gauge. We each have different things that we stress. Some of us may stress longer peyos and no stripe white shirts, while other may stress loud brochos, negel vasser, and Krias Shma BiZmano. Compare that if you will, I won't tell you who stresses what, but you could probably figure it out if you tried.
I can see that your question is a loaded one, that you basically have an answer in mind, but it's hardly the case with me and family. You must have a wrong impression of me and of Lubavitch in general, some it based on experience and some based on misconception. We run a very tight ship at home.

Q. How would you compare the level of avoides hashem of any Rav Toifes Yeshiva in pre war Hungary to the ReYatz or ReMaSh?

Again with the comparing? Why the need to compare all the time?

Q. Would you as passive as you zeida if one of your children switched to a different kehila outside of Lubavitch?

A. I was asked that question here before. Hypothetical questions are always very difficult to answer, but I can try. Since I only joined Lubavitch myself as a bachur, and maintain close contact with the "outside world" on a daily basis, I can only imagine that I'd be quite fine with that happening. I wouldn't prefer it, but it would go over well. I would wish that he joined a kehilla that didn't hate Lubavitch - become a misnaged - but then again, if he remains a frum Jew I'd be happy that it was the worst thing that happened to my kid. Try and remember that my family is not hardcore Satmar, we didn't have a strict code that we needed to follow, like some of the Wiliamsburgers who joined Lubavitch in the 70s and 80s had. For them it was devastating, since they were fed a pack of the lies about Lubavitch. My zeide z"l was not part of that camp. You didn't become an apikores in his eyes if looked, sounded, or thought a little diferent than him. He respected every erliche yid, whether he looked or sounded just like him or not. That's why he had no problem with me going over there.

Q. I will learn a whole
perek mishnayos L"EN your zeida if you answer some of the above.

A. Learn a long and difficult perek, like Keylim or Negoyim. With RO"B and TY"T, please.


Maybe A Litvak said...

Very thoughtfull and poignant.
Personally, did you have a geshmak in lomdus?

Hirshel Tzig - הירשל ציג said...

a geshmak in lomdus?

that's the only question you could think of?


Maybe A Litvak said...

That is the main source of sipook for those of the Misnagdesher persuasion. I wanted to know if you experienced that before you zuhed oys other mehalchim?

Hirshel Tzig - הירשל ציג said...

Not necessarily, my friend.

Look for the next topic we discuss here.

Some people, even the greatest Lamdonim, sometime look for epes merrer....

Anonymous said...

If you're lucky I'll have him in mind when I glance a Sicha laying around the shul this week. Unless of course they are all disposed of in shaimos already, and then he'll be forgotten.

Ivan said...

Do you have a geshmak in learning Chassidus? Before and between davening on Shabbas are you koching in Divrei Elokim Hayim or are you in L"H in the mikve and the hallway, c"V that you would zog in shul. I wanted to know if you experience since or otherwise you zuhed oys other mehalchim?

AH said...

Did you or your family "shteig" in ruchniyus by making the switch to Lubavitch?

I don't know who u are, (i may know..) but i do know a couple of other family's in the NY area and elsewhere that made the switch..

Seems to me (IMHO!) they gained ZERO by making the jump..


I believe a true gauge is to compare "YES COMPARE!! the person's OWN level in yidishkeit (not his kiruv activities or such...) in comparison to his brothers BIL etc.

If you look at how they daven a regular shachris, their "bren" to mitzva, shmiras einyim, i'm sorry to say but NONE of them are any higher madrega than their "REGULAR" peers...

And if u look at the children it's actually heartbreaking to see some of them living a MO/Chasidic lifestyle which is quite popular in chabad ( OH Yes!! they do lots of kiruv... Mivtzoim..) While their coisins live ultra-chasidic lifestyles...

curious reader said...

Thanks for answering,
Since you were slow in responding, and I felt I should learn within the 3 days of the yortziet I started Arvie Pesochim (M"Inuna) and almost finished ,I am glad I did, your answers did not warrant a long and difficult perek, as a matter of fact you did answer it at all

1) Comparisons are more pertinent to understand and to explain the benefit of a persons switch from 1 kehila to another, then for some one who did not switch and is just doing what he was brought up (or not brought up)to do, especially for someone who did make that that jump and claims that it wasn’t just a a bucherisha shtick and goes out of his way to run a blog to defend it today, comparing it and analyzing to the benefits of your previous social-religious environments is a sincere thing to do ,and comparing your grand fathers rebbes and your cousins level of yidishkeit to your current social-religious environments is a truthful way of taking stock of the benefits of the switch you made,
the way to thank hashem that this switch resulted in a good shidduch is to continue to be a mevakesh and guide your family to your grandfathers rebbes if you can be honest with your self that their kehilas are shteiging more or not falling as fast then the environment you are in now .
If you can elaborate along the above lines you might answer my questions but i cant learn Negoyim before pessach because i have to help my wife and parents

Friendly Anonymous said...

I agree with you that the street has much influence, irrespective of the home.

Therefore, it makes more sense to contrast a Lubavitcher in Monsey to one in Crown Heights, where you might have a big difference, rather than a Lubavitcher in Monsey to a Litvak in Monsey, who both have similar world outlooks.

Lipa S. said...

"ultra-chasidic lifestyles..."

and Vat means exactly "ultra-chasidic lifestyles", if I may ask??

Maybe A Litvak said...

Curious reader

Appreciate your maylos and the good things that you do. Do not take it for granted; even if others expect it from you.

Realize that with every word of davening and learning you are misaken the oylemes and spiritual growth is incremental and is not always discernable. You don't realize the royshem you made on yourself through your maysim toyvim.

Continue you to be persistent in your Torah, Avodah and Gmilas Chasadim. Take it to a slightly higher level.
Think about someone who can use an encouraging word or a little bit of recgnition.
Spend some moments before davening and contemplate what you are about to do.
You will have good haarus on the tefilah. Take a small notebook and right down your thoughts.

AH said...

and Vat means exactly "ultra-chasidic lifestyles", if I may ask??

It Means...

1. No TV, movies, theaters etc.
2. Tznius
3. Kashrus
4. Social interaction between men/women
5. Engaging in non-jewish culture

etc. etc....

Menashe said...

Response to AH,

And "regular" chasidic doesn't mean those things??

Anonymous said...

the bitter foolish old man, is crying like a crybaby one again.

anon3 said...

Are you aware of this posted on "Hoemes Vihoemuno"?

With Friends like This…

Hirshel Tzig - הירשל ציג said...

yes, I am, anon3, now go and defend me!


Anonymous said...

Are these your lines or plagiarized from AJ Twersky? They are Gooood

Anonymous said...

Impressed by your tolerance. I know a Lubavitcher who completely cut off ties with his son for becoming a Breslover.

Hirshel Tzig - הירשל ציג said...

for becoming a Breslover? that's weird.

anon3 said...

"yes, I am, anon3, now go and defend me!"
I would but I know that you can do so much better then I can.

Hirshel Tzig - הירשל ציג said...

Alas! time is at a premium these days... besides, it looks better for me if others pitch in.

moshe mordche said...

Tzig - What was tht you mentioned about a "yiddisher enviroment" ?!

Do you call the total lack of tznius that so sadly prevails big time in Lubavitch a "yiddisher enviroment" ?!

Whether you like satmar or not - the fact is that the overall tznius standards r quite high there' whilst in lubavitch tznius standards are rock-bottom worse than any other charedi community worlwide (never mind chassidim)

Lubavitch is the only group that officialy posts pics of women in their books and websites - never mind the proste code dress and xtra-long sheitels of the Lubavitch womenfolk

cleaning for pesach said...

Just wondering do you have brothers and how did becoming Lubavitch or not effect their yiras shamaim

Anonymous said...

Moshe mordche,
is there bichlal a offical satmar website, besides the hiemishe .... sites?

Anonymous said...

Moshe Mordechai
According to chssidic therapists and mussarniks as Hertzman Z"L a lot of hirhurie avioro would be avoided if the majority of williamsburgh would wear the long Shietels.

SatmarTC said...

would you advice someone to switch after 3 Tamuz?

Anonymous said...

I bless the day my grandpa left all this chassidshe narischkeit behind.