A Post For The RCA

The RCA convention is this week. One of the topics yesterday was blogs and how to deal with them. I do not know whether this blog was discussed. But, in the off chance that it was, I have decided to write this post.

“What,” the average RCA member may ask, “would cause anyone to write a blog like this?” The answer, in brief, is you. Yes that’s right, you.

Why?

Let me first start by explaining my history. I grew up in a nominally Conservative household in the midwest. Unlike most of my friends and much of my family, I developed at a young age a very strong interest in Jewish history and culture. I purchased Jewish books, read dozens more and, after my Bar Mitzva began laying tefillin. (The thanks for this goes to a Modern Orthodox / Conservadox ba’al teshuva who taught at my afternoon Hebrew school and was the rabbi of a congregation that would soon go conservative. The rabbi would leave and return to the east coast not long after this happened.)

I did not keep up with my morning davening or with Jewish studies, largely because no one else I then knew did those things – at least no one else within 20 years of my age.

Chabad had a major center in the small Jewish community I lived in. But, despite copious amounts of PR claiming the contrary, it had virtually no impact on our lives. I knew no one affiliated with Chabad, this despite the fact that one of their buildings was one block from my house and another, their main center, was a five minute walk away. And my experience was not atypical, by any means.

While attending university, I met up with another like-minded student. He had been helped by Chabad, but only through a strange and sad set of circumstances that left him an orphan. And, like most people I knew with a Chabad connection, the kid was dropped like a hot potato after he was enrolled in Hebrew Theological College in Skokie. (Chabad had no yeshiva for him in those days, and the kid had no money.) But he was eventually thrown out of HTC because he asked too many difficult questions and would not accept pat answers. He finished high school in a public school, and then enrolled in university. He wore a kippa and kept kosher and Shabbat. He did this, he later told me, as a trial, for another year, just to see if somehow he could believe after his horrible experience in HTC. His one year trial failed. I saw him last year for the first time in more than 20 years. He’s involved in his Conservative shul, as are his wife and children. He has no connection to Orthodoxy or Chabad.

But, back then he was my lifeline and, with two other close friends who, while not Orthodox were concerned and involved Conservative Jews, I became frum. A Hillel rabbi (left wing MO) also helped, as did a fellow student who had become frum (largely on his own) a few years before.

Anyway, I became an active student leader on my campus and later nationally.

I met Chabad because I sought them out, largely for help with various Jewish student educational programs I was involved in. Almost without fail, Chabad failed to come through, even when help was promised. There were exceptions to this rule, but they were few and far between. I later met students who had been active 10 years before and 10 years after me. Their stories with regard to Chabad were identical to mine.

Perhaps a brighter person would have learned his lesson and ignored Chabad. But I did not. Chabad’s PR painted it as the only Jewish outreach happening. Of course this was not true, but it did not seem like a very big exaggeration to me, largely because YU’s efforts were not well-publicized.

I wanted desperately to learn. So, when a friend invited me to join him in visiting the local Chabad community for Shabbat, I agreed. I had reservations, to be sure, but my curiosity won out. Anyway, I was blown away. Not by the shul experience or by the rabbis, but by the family life, the kids and the Shabbat table.

And so, I repeated my visit many times, most often to the homes of fellow ba’alei teshuva. Eventually, I became Chabad. And here is where you come in.

I was told by Chabad rabbis – shluchim – that YU was a problem. It’s derech was bad. While the Rav could dabble in all that stuff and stay frum, the line went, his students (that’s you) could not. The Rav was walking along the edge of a cliff. He did just fine. Most of his students fell off. I bought this line hook and sinker, in part because they illustrated it with stories, often about MO rabbis I knew.

I would later briefly go to a Chabad yeshiva, which I hated, and then to Aish HaTorah in Jerusalem, which I liked better. Of course, no one at either institution

did anything other than reinforce the idea that YU was not really frum.

I would return to Israel six years later and work, all at the same time, for Chabad, Heritage House and for Jeff Sidel (freelance). And, as you surely know, Heritage House actively attempts to “get” MO students and place them in Ohr Somayach in order to make them “frum.”

“So,” you ask, “what does all this have to do with me and the RCA?” The answer is: your silence.

Haredim regularly spit on all you stand for. But you do not respond, probably in the mistaken notion that this is a virtue. Let me disabuse you of this notion. Your silence allows others like me to get sucked into a version of Judaism that, I believe, is dangerous both for the individuals sucked in, and for the Jewish community as a whole.

In the face of repeated haredi attacks – the Rabbi Slifkin and Kamentzsky bans, the metzitza b’peh controversy, etc. – Modern Orthodoxy has responded with only the weakest of protests. Worse yet, your rabbinic leaders, your gedolim, are largely absent without leave. For every effort by Rabbi Aaron Lichtenstein, there are dozens of non-efforts by Rabbis Hershal Schachter and Mordechai Willig. And, even worse than that, both of these “leaders” frequently and publicly defer to haredi poskim – the same poskim who regularly attack MO.

You do not set YU’s agenda or control who leads it, but you do have mouths to speak and eyes that see this wrong. But you are silent – and, last time I checked, silence equals agreement.

This blog started as a protest (and, in those days, a mild one) to a great evil done by the Lubavitcher Rebbe. It has expanded to be a scream, a protest against the destruction of Judaism and the strange silence from the leaders of Modern Orthodoxy that accompanies it.

Realize this: Every time a haredi “godol” condemns science or “defends bris mila” at the expense of dead and maimed babies, more of us walk away. This happens because YU and MO are not a viable alternative. And you’re not a viable alternative because of the silence, especially the silence of your gedolim.

Several years ago, you “spoke out” against Chabad messianism. But, in practice, you eat Chabad food, daven in Chabad minyanim, hire Chabad rabbis to teach in your day schools, and socialize with Chabad rabbis. The message this sends is clear, even if you miss it. If you can eat Chabad food, daven in Chabad minyanim and have Chabadniks in your organization, and you do so without any type of litmus test at all, what does your “protest” mean? It means nothing, my friends.

Within 50 years, Chabad’s Judaism – including its messianism – will be normative. It is you who will be in the minority. Is that the Judaism you want your great-grandchildren to practice? Because, in all probability they will practice it. Those who do not, and who remain frum, will in all probability follow the theology and practice of haredism. The Rav and his legacy will be a distant memory, if even that.

Your silence makes this happen.

And that, my friends, is why there are so many blogs like this one. Be it GodolHador or others, in more or less the same way, we’ve all had it. Some of us want out, some have already left, a few still hope for change. But your silence speaks far louder than our protest.

Please remember that.

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33 Comments

Filed under Modern Orthodoxy

33 responses to “A Post For The RCA

  1. Dovid Lerner

    Wow. The Scott Rosenberg story…

    I finally figured out what this is all about.

  2. PishPosh

    Shmarya just curious as too wether or not you have had any dialogues with any member of Breslov??? Any of your personal thoughts regarding them vie a vie Hassidism in genereal. Of course a no comment will be respected as well.

    PishPosh.

  3. A bit. I’ve learned Rabbi Nachman’s hasidut, I always donated what I could to Breslov, and I learned briefly with a Breslover leader in Jerusalem.

    But the problems are systemic throughout the haredi world, although worse in some places than others.

  4. aza

    you obviously have some serious issues, which are best left to discussion with a profesional therapist.

    good luck, it sounds like you need it.

  5. Shmarya,

    I think your blog and the people it attracts demonstrate that there is hope for Judaism amongst the laity, if not what’s coming out of YU. Granted, hasidut became normative in spite of the Vilna Goan’s best efforts, so who’s to say that Chabad won’t, but in the end, Chabad’s foibles will catch up with it. It’s the problem with all of man’s institutions, regardless of the holiness we ascribe them, that they eventually implode.

    I look at my soon-to-be in-laws, my soon-to-be wife, and the wonderful MO rabbi I was deployed to Louisiana with last year, all of whom view Chabad as nice guys who give out menorahs and tefillin, and some even have nice stories about the Rebbe (z”l). We look at local Rabbi Green who tries to introduce tiny mitzvot into the lives of the secular. He and his wife are good people, and they teach at a nice local yeshiva that was opened to teach guys not cut out for a life of scholarly pursuits trade skills for a purposeful existance within their communities. Chabad, MO, Belcz, and even the occasional traveling chassid all daven together happily at the local Orthodox shul…and despite their disdain for Conservative and Reform folks’ practice, they still accord them respect and hospitality.

    I think that Chabad’s influence will produce the exact opposite of their deeper intentions. I walked away proudly shomer mitzvot from Chabad, in spite of doctrines I couldn’t stomach. It’s having a positive impact on the observance of a younger generation of Jews outside of the Orthodox fold, too.

    You are doing great things, Shmarya. For my part, I often point to your blog as an excellent source of relevant criticism. As long as there are voices that are anti-hypocrisy and anti-fundamentalism, as your blog surely is, I have no doubt that Judaism will always remain the “thinking person’s religion.”

    Keep it up!

  6. Shmuel

    To Aza, who posted above that Shmarya has “some serious issues” and therefore needs a “professional therapist”:
    What, then, shall we say of a religion run by people who have serious issues with basic science? Who condemn anyone who incorporates science, or history, into their analysis of Judaism? I’ll tell you what the problem with OJ is today: our fearless leaders are intensely frightened by the world at large and all the discoveries made over the past 300 years. And because Reform and Conservatism incorporate history and science into their minds, charedim must fight that trend and forbid such study. We wind up with a religion stuck in the 5th century, science-wise, and afraid to look at history.

    And look at charedi attitudes! Do Maskilim study Tanach, and Hebrew language, and history, and science, and philology? Then we won’t! That’ll show them! Do Zionists love the land of Israel? Then we’ll downplay it! That’ll teach them! Do Chabad scream Moshiach? Then we’ll downplay that, too. That’ll show them! Do our own charedi rabbis see value in trying to make sense of Talmudic science, and write books to reconcile rabbinic science with science? We’ll ban their books! That’ll show them! College? We’ll ban it! (until, of course, we have to give out a Tomech Torah award, then we’ll find the biggest doctor or lawyer we can. Hey, fun’s fun, but we’re running a BUSINESS here.). Secular books? Banned! Science? Banned! History? Banned! This is not the religion I remember from 25 years ago.
    Instead, this is charedi Judaism, and sadly, this absolutely meshuga attitude, which I think was created by chasidim and has been adopted full-bore by the Yeshivish, who feel inadequate vis-a-vis chasidim and are always looking over their shoulders to see if they can move more and more to the extreme, has become normative. May Hashem help us and save us from charedi-ism.
    And Shmarya’s right: MO rabbis are indeed sitting out this fight, because they just don’t have the stomach for it, because they’re tired of raising a voice and being called kofrim by Lakewood or Boro Park, etc. That’s not leadership. That’s being cowed by the opposition.

    We do have serious issues, but they’re our collective problem, not just Shmarya’s.

  7. Nachum

    Shmarya, I’m not sure what you’re problem is. No, I just figured it out this second: You still have the Charedi point of view that leaders make a movement. There’s nothing keeping you, personally, from becoming Modern Orthodox. OK, so the leaders have failings. That’s something that Modern Orthodoxy is OK with. So the problem, basically, is in attracting Charedim who are looking for leaders. They can’t accept a movement whose leaders they find anything wrong with, and, in any event, they wouldn’t get that in Modern Orthodoxy anyway, because that’s not what it’s about. I’m sorry. I hope, one day, you will be brave enough to be something despite leaders.

  8. Nachum

    One other thing: The RCA, strictly speaking, is not MO, but aims to represent the whole of Orthodoxy.

  9. Let's start learning

    Shmarya,
    By your own admission you are not very learned in Torah.You studied in a Chabad yeshiva for ba’aley teshuva, Morristown, which does not teach very much torah and Eish hatorah.
    Don’t you think you are being a wee bit presumptuous when you tackle halachik or talmudic debates and consider yourself a decisor, this against torah sages who have been studying for decades?

  10. Uzziyahu

    No,Mr Let’s-start-learning ,
    “Don’t you think you are being a wee bit presumptuous when you tackle halachik or talmudic debates and consider yourself a decisor, this against torah sages who have been studying for decades?”
    It does not work that way.
    Shemarya, is honest. He believes in reasonable Torah True Judaism, those so called Gedolim however, are distorting the religion.
    Ours became a religion of who will out-machmir the other. This does not bode well for the future of Judaism.
    They have burned “kol chelkah tova” in Judaism, and driving jews away.
    You are asking to sit obediently and let those ignoramuses destroy whatever is left?
    It is becoming hard to pray betzibur and to attend shiurim of idiots we no longer respect.
    Living with the idolaters (those davar acheir) makes things even more difficult.
    If those negativists machmirs who are controlling religion do not act more wisely there will be nobody left.
    When our Rabbis of old decreed she-ein gozrin ‘al hatzibbur gezeira she-ein hatzibur yakhol laamod bah, it should mean too that the intelligence of the tzibbur is not to be tried or insulted.
    Our “leadership” these days is busy shovelling people out of the religion.
    I do not think that kowtowing to those so called “gedolim” and pretending that they constitute a sound leadership, will make things any better.

  11. Neo-Conservaguy

    While I’m touched by Shmarya’s thoughtful writing, I’m troubled by the implied idea that “Modern Orthodoxy” would be just fine if only it didn’t remain silent in the face of fanatical haredi statements and actions. It’s not even clear to me what “Modern Orthodoxy” truly is given that almost every “Modern Orthodox” person I ask has a different definition.

    I find “normative”, non-haredi Orthodoxy as commonly practiced as deeply troubling – perhaps more so, given that the membership of that club are supposedly well-educated in both secular and religious concepts. How then, can one find so many Orthodox Jews that think with their dogma first and their knowledge of the history of halachic development last when it comes to examining halacha as applied to an ever-changing world? How can it be that much of the food eaten 20 years ago was in fact not-kosher? How did the Jewish people ever get by eating bugs on their vegetables for thousands of years? How did we keep the women from storming the mechitsa and jumping over those low walls to attack the men while they were saying “Shma'” – the mind boggles at the ignorance and foolishness of the earlier generations.

    If YU (and the OU) represent the future of Orthodoxy, it’s not clear to me that’s much better that what’s offered by the Godol Hadar and his followers.

  12. Yochanan Lavie

    MO people look over their right shoulders, and non-Orthodox join the Chabad fan club for the same mistaken reason: The search for authenticity. When I became observant through MO (I’ve backslid a bit, but not totally) a close MO friend wanted me to attend Ohr Somayach in the worst way! (I didn’t go to the Happy Light Yeshiva). My MO shul recently hired a Chabad rabbi. Why? “Oh, they look just like Fiddler on the Roof! They must be the real Jews.” If chabad/charedism is the real Judaism, then the Amish cult is the real christianity.

  13. Yochanan Lavie

    MO people look over their right shoulders, and non-Orthodox join the Chabad fan club for the same mistaken reason: The search for authenticity. When I became observant through MO (I’ve backslid a bit, but not totally) a close MO friend wanted me to attend Ohr Somayach in the worst way! (I didn’t go to the Happy Light Yeshiva). My MO shul recently hired a Chabad rabbi. Why? “Oh, they look just like Fiddler on the Roof! They must be the real Jews.” If chabad/charedism is the real Judaism, then the Amish cult is the real christianity.

  14. Anonymous

    Shmarya never got married and blamed it on Chabad. He leads a bitter lonely life because the jews lied to him.

  15. “Shmarya,
    By your own admission you are not very learned in Torah.You studied in a Chabad yeshiva for ba’aley teshuva, Morristown, which does not teach very much torah and Eish hatorah.
    Don’t you think you are being a wee bit presumptuous when you tackle halachik or talmudic debates and consider yourself a decisor, this against torah sages who have been studying for decades?”

    Actually, I learned much more than that, including learning Yoreh Dayah. If you reread my post, you’ll note large time gaps.

    Anyway, that aside, the points I make are what you should be arguing against, not the person who made those points.

  16. Isa

    I ‘grew up’ in a shul with ‘black hats’ and ‘white hats’ but with a MO rabbi.
    At the time I was naive and didn’t know the difference. The shul later split apart generally along white and black hats with certain exceptions. I chose the ‘white’ What shocked me was that most of the people that ever invited me over were ‘black hatters’.
    I personally know of a small non Chabad ‘shul’ that hired a Chabad rabbi. The rabbi seemed warm. Yep Chabad will be normative.

  17. Anonymous

    what the hell are white hatters? members of the KKK?

  18. Ma. Rabbi

    Shmarya,
    I dont want to debate Chabad with you since you are fanatically anti. But I want to talk about your friend. As you state, he was an orphan. Chabad took him under its wing and even enrolled him in a yeshiva.Today he is a Conservative, but at least he is still part of the Jewish community and married to a Jewish woman.
    Had Chabad not helped this boy, today he might well have assimilated and been married to a goy. This is typical of the good work that Chabad does all over the world.

  19. Do something positive!

    shmarya,

    It has been years that you have used most of your energy to rant and rave against this or that group.

    You have made it your mission in life to denigrate all Orthodox circles and almost no one passes your test.

    Maybe it is now high for your introspection to ask your self: “why have not actually DONE something positive?”

    If you feel that “ranting and raving” and disclosing all the ills of the orthodox circles is something positive then contniue your path…

    however: When you posit your central querry: how come the MO rabbis are silent? Have you ever thought that there may be another answer to your querry than your expected tirade?

    Have you ever thought that perhaps with all the ills of the orthodox circles and all the dark powers that loom there and are trying to poison you with their venom, that maybe those rabbis understood what *you* and your frinds do not understand:

    They understand that with all the “Garbage” these orthodox people offer something that contains “authentic” judaism that *you* and your freinds fail to offer? Have you ever thought that people look for something beyond what is seen in external world as the supreme and ultimate to quelch their thirst? Have you ever thought that they have perceived after decades of practical tests and experiments that the people who have paasion for Yiddishkeyt and want to live a live where G-d resides and where G-d is felt in every aspect of their lives are not satisfied with the dry cold enviroment that is found by people who extoll science and other values as their utmost and ultimate but have no passion and fire to connect their lives with Hashem in their personal lives and every day day to day living? Have you ever thought that the perceived that maybe children of MO who do not swerve to the right and swerve to the left…leave yiddishkeyt at a quicker pace that those who go to thier right (all the “Dropouts” and kids of risk (who need to handled with love and care notwithsanding)…have you ever thought that perhaps the silent rabbis see that all other circles with aLL THEIR MALADIES have been able in the past decades to quadruple and more the numbers of their circles with people that are wlling to continue to live with yyiddishkeyt passion? have you ever thought that perhaps many of these fellows feel “unfulfilled” with all other material pursuits or even other scieintific otr other activies but who have no connection with our heritage and tradition???

    Shmarya, again: I think it is about time, that if you want to do something POSITIVE start DOING something. Start your brand of whatever that connects you and people with G-d and Judaism and see what you can come up with…ranting and raving at other jews doe snot the trick anymore…I agree that there myriads of problems in orthodox circles…and they must addressed…but you and your firends are way off the mark if you think that the remedy is to do away with what they did and do and will do in gterms of positive experience of conencting jews with G-d and Torah and and Mitzvot…Try to do something of the sort and then we can talk….

  20. Neo-Conservaguy

    Whoa – that triggered a major run-on sentence alert in grammar control central. That last comment was a serious stream of conscientiousness brain dump that totally lacked the thoughtfulness and quality writing of the original posting.

  21. Isa

    Regarding this comment:
    “what the hell are white hatters? members of the KKK?”
    They are generally MO because in general their kippas are not all black.

    Black hats are generally ones who wear black hats!

  22. mazeartist

    I’ve always felt that the reason why MO rabbis do not condemn their critics is because we don’t want to look like we’re adding flames to the fire. When Hasidic gedolim criticize us, we quietly ignore them, while respecting their piety. Unfortunately they do not respect our piety. We could have easily become atheists, but in spite of our critics, maybe because of them we remain observant. The Torah is perfect, but most of its teachers are not- so many Hebrew schools need to be fixed.

    We may not be wearing Borsalinos, but we put on the same tefilin, observe the same Shabbat, and study the same Tankh and Talmud as the hasidim. Most MO Jews disagree with the Satmar Rebbe’s stand on Zionism, while respecting his high level of Jewish education and leadership. Just because we disagree with certain chumras, doesn’t mean we are disrespecting the gedolim who instituted them.

  23. “Shmarya,
    I dont want to debate Chabad with you since you are fanatically anti. But I want to talk about your friend. As you state, he was an orphan. Chabad took him under its wing and even enrolled him in a yeshiva.Today he is a Conservative, but at least he is still part of the Jewish community and married to a Jewish woman.
    Had Chabad not helped this boy, today he might well have assimilated and been married to a goy. This is typical of the good work that Chabad does all over the world.”

    I’ll remind him of that “fact.”

  24. Mendy Hecht

    Re: “…a great evil done by the Lubavitcher Rebbe. …”, the quote is wrong.

    It’s: “…a very, very great and absolute evil by the even-more evil, very, very obviously evil, I-can’t-stand-him-he’s-so-evil Lubavitcher Rebbe.”

    Heh heh heh, hee hee! “…great evil.” Whoo hoo!

    Reb Shmarya! I’d laugh in your face, but it wouldn’t be nice. Your invite to CH still stands–remember?

  25. I'm sick and tired of Lubab KoolAiders!

    Mendy Hecht,
    Why don’t you hang out with your fellow Lubab Kool Aid drinkers instead of polluting the blog with your clueless airheaded Lubab crap.

  26. I'm sick and tired of Lubab KoolAiders!

    and if I’m not mistaken papa(yours!)is a Jim Jones Kool Aider aka Lubavitch shaliach on the West Coast, right? Go and tell papa to open up a Jewish book once in a while and practice saying a full sentence without mentioning the Rebbe ten times!
    (Not picking on your pops, cuz I don’t know him, but if he is like most Lubab ‘shliach’ KoolAiders the above is probably quite descriptive)

  27. yanna

    “Had Chabad not helped this boy, today he might well have assimilated and been married to a goy. This is typical of the good work that Chabad does all over the world.”
    Here’s a chassidic story I heard recently and I thought it was apropo, because I come from a Chabad community where people mekareved through Chabad feel the obligation to stick to them, because after all w/o Chabad where would they be?
    Here goes…There was once a poor chossid, who was returning from a peddling journey, in which he had been able to amass a small sum to bring home to his family. On the way, his only horse dies and he is left with no choice but to walk for days until after three days w/o any provisions, he arrives at a small village. He collapses at the door of the first home he sees. The door is opened by a kind Russian peasant, who welcomes the poor peddler into his home and offers him something to eat. the chossid refuses to eat non kosher food (even though halachically this would have not been a problem) but he sees that the peasant is a bee keeper and asks him for some honey to rejuvenate himself. The bee keeper kindlly obliges and lo and behold, a miracle, the chossid is revived. The chosside thanks the peasant profusely and continues the short distance to his home. Ofcourse his family is grateful to have their husband and father home in one piece. The chossid relays the story of the Russian peasant who saved him and life continues as usual. The very same Friday night at the shabbos meal, there comes a knock on the chossid’s door. To his pleasant surprise, who is there? The Russian peasant who saved his life! They embrace warmly and the chossid treats the peasant as a guest of honor, serving him the best of their modest shabbos meal. After the meal, they say their parting farewells and the peasant returns to his home. The next week, came Friday night and the same thing, the Russian peasant comes to partake in the Chossid’s modest shabbos meal with his family. This begins to become a regular weekly visit, and the impoverished chossid really can’t afford to host the Russian peasant, as he would be taking food from his children’s mouths. The next week he confronts the peasant and asks why he must come every week and that it is getting difficult for him to host him so frequently. The peasant’s response is, “but I gave you honey!” (side note: any questions about the validity of this story–“Of a maaseh freg nisht ken kashes-don’t ask:))
    The sense that the one right thing Chabad did was to keep this family within the Jewish fold is that of the “but I gave you honey” reponse. Just because one was mekareved through Chabad, does not make them beholden unto their path and way of life.

  28. yanna

    “Had Chabad not helped this boy, today he might well have assimilated and been married to a goy. This is typical of the good work that Chabad does all over the world.”
    Here’s a chassidic story I heard recently and I thought it was apropo, because I come from a Chabad community where people mekareved through Chabad feel the obligation to stick to them, because after all w/o Chabad where would they be?
    Here goes…There was once a poor chossid, who was returning from a peddling journey, in which he had been able to amass a small sum to bring home to his family. On the way, his only horse dies and he is left with no choice but to walk for days until after three days w/o any provisions, he arrives at a small village. He collapses at the door of the first home he sees. The door is opened by a kind Russian peasant, who welcomes the poor peddler into his home and offers him something to eat. the chossid refuses to eat non kosher food (even though halachically this would have not been a problem) but he sees that the peasant is a bee keeper and asks him for some honey to rejuvenate himself. The bee keeper kindlly obliges and lo and behold, a miracle, the chossid is revived. The chosside thanks the peasant profusely and continues the short distance to his home. Ofcourse his family is grateful to have their husband and father home in one piece. The chossid relays the story of the Russian peasant who saved him and life continues as usual. The very same Friday night at the shabbos meal, there comes a knock on the chossid’s door. To his pleasant surprise, who is there? The Russian peasant who saved his life! They embrace warmly and the chossid treats the peasant as a guest of honor, serving him the best of their modest shabbos meal. After the meal, they say their parting farewells and the peasant returns to his home. The next week, came Friday night and the same thing, the Russian peasant comes to partake in the Chossid’s modest shabbos meal with his family. This begins to become a regular weekly visit, and the impoverished chossid really can’t afford to host the Russian peasant, as he would be taking food from his children’s mouths. The next week he confronts the peasant and asks why he must come every week and that it is getting difficult for him to host him so frequently. The peasant’s response is, “but I gave you honey!” (side note: any questions about the validity of this story–“Of a maaseh freg nisht ken kashes-don’t ask:))
    The sense that the one right thing Chabad did was to keep this family within the Jewish fold is that of the “but I gave you honey” reponse. Just because one was mekareved through Chabad, does not make them beholden unto their path and way of life.

  29. Hirhurim/Gil Student mentioned your blog, Unorthodox Jew and Luke Ford as three examples of “scandal” blogs.

  30. Mendy Hecht

    Re: I’m sick and tired of Lubab KoolAiders!

    “Resentment readings are off the scale, Captain.”

    […I’m still laughing…]

  31. Anonymous

    I wonder what Aryeh Calvin (in SLP) thinks of his former study partner? Is he someone who can appreciate Chabad (or the local yeshiva?)

  32. Wow, I agree with you completely. I think the MO world needs to turn its back completely on the Charedim. The YU Charedi wanna-be’s are a tremendous problem. I went to Charedi BT yeshivas that disparaged Rav Soloveitchik. They are cults, most of the BT yeshivas, and do demand acceptance of pat and often stupid answers. I believe in the authenticity of Torah. But the charedi world distorts it terribly, in my view. Centrist YU Orthodoxy is bearable but very weak.

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