By Shalom B.
Being a Crown-Heights resident, I often hear people discussing and questioning the future of “Lubavitch.” They mention teens falling “off the derech,” deteriorating tznius standards, constant fighting of rabbonim and other ills. (Some will also add to the bunch, the “Tzfatis”).
There are certainly many accomplishments, some unprecedented, to be proud of. 4,000 Shluchim and counting, thriving Chabad communities, schools and yeshivos that are filled to capacity and an abundance of new seforim and publications – in more than one language.
But, as is the way of life, it is the negative that draws our attention and looms over the horizon. We daven for redemption, yet worry what the future has in store for us. What will be with our children and in what kind of world are they growing up in.
This past Shabbos I was proven wrong.
I spent it with close to 1,000 chassidishe yidden. Anash, Shluchim, bochurim and even a few rabbonim. The point of gathering was in a row of tents near the Old Montefiore cemetery in Queens, where the Rebbe’s holy Ohel is located. The occasion being the Shabbos before Gimmel Tammuz.
It was a first for me and I came there hoping to be inspired and uplifted, and to rejuvenate hiskashrus to the Rebbe. By the time Shabbos has ended, I left there with much more than that and that is the reason why I am sharing my thoughts with you.
What I saw there was the future of Lubavitch. I saw there the real, original and authentic Lubavitch. The Lubavitch the Frierdiker Rebbe writes about in his memories. The Lubavitch the Rebbe wanted and dedicated his life to. We might have been near a cemetery, but all I saw was life – מה זרעו בחיים, אף הוא בחיים.
I saw the new generation of bochurim, of those who sit and learn chassidus before davening, who daven with a geshmak, bochurim with whom I had conversations in nigleh and halacha, needless to say chassidus. Bochurim with whom politics weren’t discussed at all, because it was not of interest to any of them.
There were hours-long farbrengens, niggunim were sung, stories were told, sichos were reviewed and L’chaim was said, yet adhering to the limits of the Rebbe’s gzeirah on mashke. I didn’t see anyone going wild, no booklets being banned or opinions and slogans being imposed on others.
I left inspired by what I saw, by the fact that there is a positive Lubavitch outside of Crown Heights, that there are bochurim who respect rabbonim and who want to become rabbonim, that there are bochurim who are striving to be Chassidishe Baale Batim, and Shluchim, and chassidim and just want to fulfill whatever the Rebbe wants from them without agendas, loopholes and excuses.
I therefore would like to highly recommend to all cynical people out there: Take the trip to the Rebbe for Shabbos. Do yourself a favor, leave the politics behind and see that there is a future. You just have to know where to look.
Thank you Rebbe! אשרינו מה טוב חלקינו!