Monday, July 6, 2009
Keep on Keepin' on
It seems easy, replacing a man. You get a guy that looks like him, sings like him, dances like him, flips he tallis like him, and we're done. We have ourselves a bonafide memaleh makom. Just ask the Bobowers, they love RSH's son because he does that same "walking on air" routine that his father did at the weddings. He waves around the Lulav and Esrog the same way, and his peyos are just so, just like they were by his father. And he has the same last name too. That's often what they care about. If he didn't do it just so they'd complain that he was "meshane fin di tatte's deyrech..." But hey, who am I to complain about them? I imagine the same would be true in Lubavitch too if there was a replacement. On the other hand, maybe not. The Rebbe did things his own way, despite being a very big chossid of the FR, his predecessor. People often were taken aback by some of the changes, but they quickly learned to accept them, because they saw and realized who the Rebbe was.
And now that phenomenon has spread to the Chassidei Carlebach of the West Side. The board of Directors, or whoever is in charge there, decided that they too need to replace Reb Shlome'le in all aspects, so they got two people to fill his hippie shoes. They got former Lubavitcher Naftoli Citron to fill the Rabbi role at the Carlebach Shul by lecturing and teaching, and they got Yehuda Green, Shlomo wannabe extraordinaire, to do the singing and davening routine. The end result is that the two together make you feel like you had Shlomo up there like in the good old days. And in case Green's singing and dancing is not enough during Selichos they have Citron right up there next to him to complement the look. Put the two of them together, close your eyes, and you can take yourself 15+ years back to the times when Shlomo did the preaching from the Bimah. I'll tell you the truth it surprises me to see that there. I thought this was a speciqal connection, a connection to a man, not to a vest and a guitar...
Now, maybe there are many that were mekushar to him personally and they haven't come back since, but I would think that those people who do come back to the shul to hear Citron & Green would need more than just a similar-looking guy or guys up there to fill the void left by SC. Those that were influenced by him and shlepped out of the muck by him needed him to do it for them. It wasn't the fact that he was teaching Izhbitza or telling stories of Moishele the holy Gannif. Anybody can teach or tell stories - not like him, yes, but still. What made it special was who was telling the story or teaching the vort from Reb Tzadok HaCohen. They believed that he truly believed the Torah and the story, and believed in what he was telling them and teaching to them. No vest or length of hair or banging on the bimah just like that can replace that. You can wear a shtreymel, and keep your hair short, and accomplish just the same if you keep it real. The point is some things are just irreplacable. Case closed. You hear me, Green?