Sunday, April 25, 2010

"Good" Lubavitchers...

HaRav Eliezer Wenger, z"l

Everybody (almost everybody) in the frum world has "his" Lubavitcher, like, lehavdil, every goy had/has his Moshke, who was a good Jew, unlike all other Jews who were part of the International Jewish Conspiracy, or whatever they called in the centuries before the last one. His Lubavitcher was good, not like the others. The good Lubavitcher may be family ("it happens in the shenste mishpoches") a former classmate, or a neighbor or acquaintance from work/business. In my blogging career I have become the good Lubavitcher to several people, some of whom really never knew Lubavitchers close up and personal before; all they knew was what they thought they saw or heard in Yeshivah. If I may say so myself: when they got to know me they realized that we have no horns and we practice the same religion than them, maybe even more fervently than them, and it's not as bad as they thought! That's not to say that with some people getting to know Lubavitchers is not the cure-all; they may meet the wrong type, or have negative experiences, depending on the situation.

People like to have their Lubavitcher be a good one. It makes them feel good and that they're in the company of good people. Many of the old timers will tell you about the old days in cities like New York, Yerushalayim, or Montreal, where all frum yidden lived together in peace and harmony, and there was no animosity between groups. They'll say that they have only fond memories of those days and wish they could have them back. When asked why the feelings towards Lubavitch changed they'll probably point the finger at Lubavitch and blame them for moving out of the neighborhood, becoming more "moderen," going off the deep end, or all of the above. I'm not here to argue those points, only to tell you what the situation was like. When you had yidden like Reb Peretz Mochkin in Montreal at the helm in Lubavitch in Montreal, and you saw his davening and avodas hashem you put up with his strange behavior - what you found strange, and you respected him and were in awe of him. The same goes for Reb Sadyeh Liberow in Antwerp and many others. Today we lack Reb Peretzs so others can sit and point fingers and turn their noses at Lubavitch. I know I had more in this paragraph, but my browser closed on me and three hours of intermittent writing was lost. חבל על דאבדין.

Which brings us to Reb Lazer Wenger, z"l. He was what you called a "good Lubavitcher" and was zocheh to an obituary from the American Yated for several reasons. (Not before they made it very clear as to why they were even writing about him, if you know what I mean.) One: he was the son of a Kletzker Talmid. (That doesn't always work for you if you leave that fold, but it dis work for him) Two: he was a sheiner talmid chochom. (It's tough to negate accomplishments in Torah, even if they come from a Lubavitcher - it's done, the negating, never mind, but it's still not so easy) Three: he taught and was fondly remembered by thousands of talmidim and talmidos in several different cities. Four: He was a Rov in a semi-Lubavitcher/veltishe shul and was on good terms with all Rabbonim in Montreal. I say whatever it takes. Even though we know that we're in "galus" and need to please people who are terribly biased and prejudiced, we still need to work hard and aim to please those cannot easily be pleased, so that the name of Lubavitch is held in esteem. Rabbi Wenger may not have needed to work very hard at it, but he sure did accomplish that in Montreal, and that's not avek tzumachen.

We need more of these so-called good Lubavitchers, despite the fact that it's degrading and maybe even dishonest to work hard to please those who will not be pleased. Not that I'm advocating doing it solely for the purpose of PR, but we need any incentive we can get. It's no different than the chassidim/yeshivaleit trying to please the MO, or the charedim trying to please the chilonim in Israel, you can try hard but one idiot can ruin it for all of you. But as long as you know that you're not one of the trouble makers you know you're on the right path. If those who have it in for you have no reason to knock you, then you're an asset to your community. From what I understand Rabbi Wenger didn't need to try to please, he didn't need ulterior motives, but some of us may need them, and if that's what it takes then so be it. Others do it for their own koved and reward, if you do it for the greater good you're still way ahead of them!

I know there was more that I had to say, but alas, it was lost in a Firefox crash!


Anonymous said...

los angeles nebach has way too much peace, harmony and tolerance

Anonymous said...

needs a ")" somewhere

Hirshel Tzig - הירשל ציג said...

where does it need a )?

Anonymous said...

what was weird about him? how did he become farchapt? what made him special? was he a meshichist? are his kids shluchim? was he moicheh on his fellow Lubavitchers? how about the good L-ers under 45, who are they?

Hirshel Tzig - הירשל ציג said...

I see now. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

u are such a lubab kufoi tova!
no one
no one has done as much for rubashkin than r pinny lipshitz from the yated, how dare you mock him!

Anonymous said...

Also Reb Leizers brother is a eidem of Rav Muttel Weinberg and a litvishe rov and rosh yeshiva and they were best buds.

Anonymous said...

Isn't there a perek in Tanya without the ")". What are u fishing for and did you go fishing in sefirah? Also the nine days when you cannot eat meat? and what of the worms?

David said...

Thank you Tzig for this article. I enjoyed reading your perspective, as usual. As a former Montrealer, and very familiar with what you are discussing here, I am happy to say that you are right on.

Part of Rabbi Wenger's greatness is that he didn't seek to be accepted. He was who he was and you either liked him or didn't. Most did.

Yehai Zichro Boruch.

Hirshel Tzig - הירשל ציג said...

anon 9:53

I've spoken about reb Pinye Lipshutz beforer and what a wonderful person he is for the selfless act of chesed that he's doing single handed. That doesn't change the fact that he still has a paper to produce and sell, and mostly to an Olam who doesn't want to hear about Lubavitch. He's not gonna destroy his paper to write hespedim on Lubavitchers

Mottel said...


Anonymous said...

I think its obvious that Hirshel isnt attaching Pinny or Yated and to do that it to miss the point. Though when I think of it, Sholom Rubashkin is definately 'good Lubavitch'.

He is kvetching that the media doesnt cover or love the wacko cracko choo-choo train kippah types.

Shmuel said...

I"m pasting a small snippet of what you wrote and want to ask you an honest question.

"I say whatever it takes. Even though we know that we're in "galus" and need to please people who are terribly biased and prejudiced,"

My friend,I don't consider myself terribly biased but want to ask you what am I to think of a current Lubavitch that promotes the Rebbe as Shlit'a and moshiach, be it in lecha dody with singing of yechi hamelech or chanting it numerous times after every tefilla.What am I to think of Lubavitchers going around with lulav and esrog and as part of the process of being mezakeh yidden in arbah minim also add the Yechi mantra?How about all the dancing Yechi with yellow flags?
You can obviously claim that it's a tiny and vocal minority, but it's not! I"ve been to 770 numerous times and it is without a doubt a Meshichist ruled shul, the walls and poroches plastered with Yechi Hamelech, the many bochrim with the Yechi "uniforms" of outsized yechi kappels,yechi lapel pins, etcetra.

How about the fact reported on Vosizneias that the Rov of the biggest Chabad shul all the way downunder in Australia forbade removing a a large Yechi banner?..

I don't know the break down in Lubavitch, which group is bigger, but the Meshichists are surely a significant group especially in Eretz Yisroel.

So why am I biased if I think that something is off in Lubavitch?
If you saw such things in another group would you also call people thinking it's crazy,biased??

Please respond honestly.

The Bray of Fundie said...

I'm troubeled by your equation of anti-emitism to intra-Jewsih animosity.

Nokh aleh mayses, one yid can NEVER hate another yid, either qualitatively nor quantitatively, like ah goy ahn Antehsehmit hates a yid.

Seen-it-all said...

Where are all the so-called "Good Lubavitchers" hiding?
I see them as a cult strongly involved in self promotion known as "kidesh shem Lubavitch" in their slang.I see nothing selfless about them and because I don't want the fool running the blog to censor this I won't say anything about their strange practices and belief system.
I guess there are a few good people hiding there somewhere and it's time they got out of this sinking ship

Hirshel Tzig - הירשל ציג said...


!!!!איך האב דיר אין באד - אויך נישט

Anonymous said...

lipshits is ur "one good snag"

seen it all said...

plz don't use my name. I'm the real seen it all and HT has had some email correspondence with me the past year.
and HT is not a fool. He may run off his mouth too much but after spending some time with him last yr, kein naar is er night.

Hirshel Tzig - הירשל ציג said...

seen it all (האמיתי)

where did we meet?

who are you?

email me, please

seen it all said...

Just did

Anon3 said...

"Where are all the so-called "Good Lubavitchers" hiding? etc"
Dos vos men zucht gifint men.

Anonymous said...

"Where are all the so-called "Good Lubavitchers" hiding? etc"

back in the day most city's did not have a big frum oilom and there was the one/two shtiblach that all the anti modern/zioni farchnyokte chasidish yekishe litvishe yiden davend.

So anyone that grew up in those shtiblach knew the old time eccentric yiden that just did not fit in a balebatishe shul.

today each kraiz has its own shtiblach and the only interaction between kraizen are the askonim and meshulochim.
even within one kraiz the 'weird' chnyok is no longer noticeable.

to the yid that comes by 770 and sees the meshugoyim running the place.

1. come 'fartog' 5:30-6 am and see the quiet BB that come in pull out a sefer sit in a shiur daven and go off to work.

2. come back mincha mariv time and watch the same BB come off the train, davin mincha, pull out the sefer learn daven mariv and go..
there you will find amazing people.

In any kraiz. show up for the last minyan and you will find loud askonim that think they run the world. unemployed 'investors' etc.