Rabbi Manis Friedman is a world-renowned author, counselor, lecturer and philosopher and co-founder of Bais Chana Institute of Jewish Studies in Minnesota. He also served as simultaneous translator for the live televised talks by the Lubavitcher Rebbe.
On Sunday, May 16, he is holding a first-of-a-kind question and answer session for single Lubavitch bochurim in Crown Heights at 8:00 pm at The Besht Center (formerly Cafe Boulevard), 510 Empire Blvd, Brooklyn.
In a conversation with Yehuda Ceitlin, editor of COLlive.com, Rabbi Manis discuses why he is concerned with the state of post-Yeshiva bochurim at this day and age.
• You’ve been all over lately?
Yes, I’ve been around. It goes by seasons – this happens to be a busy one.
• And what is the focus of your talks?
Right now I’m focusing on tznius and good marriages. Better yet, healthy marriages.
• And how is it going for you?
Very powerful stuff. Wednesday night I spoke in Chabad of Brooklyn Heights and a couple of women decided to start keeping the laws of Taharas Hamishpacha.
• You are having a Q&A with bochurim. What is that about?
I’m not sure. It’s really an experiment.
• But what are you trying to tackle?
We all know that Chassidus is the truth and has the answers to all questions and yet, some are not inspired.
• Some of us?
Yes. The bochurim. It’s like a bank account that you cannot make a withdrawal from. How can someone learn Chassidus and not be inspired? Where is the missing link? When you teach Chassidus to people who never learned it – they come alive, they ‘get it.’ In Crown Heights, bochurim don’t seem to respond.
• What type of bochurim are you expecting?
I think this meeting is for post-Yeshiva bochurim who know that the emes (truth) and the answers are in Chassidus.
• Is that a badge of shame on the Yeshivos?
It’s not that the Yeshivos are failing. It’s that they are not enough. I don’t know if Yeshivos were ever enough…
• What are you suggesting?
We need a support system. Ashei Lech Rav is not enough; we also need U’knei Lecha Chover. (Assume for yourself a master, acquire for yourself a friend –Avot, 1:6). The Frierdiker Rebbe said that a rabbi without a friend is useless and the opposite is true too. A rabbi teaches you what to do and a friend teaches you how to do.
• So bochurim today are mixed up?
I think so. There is a lot of confusion and questions are not being answered. There is a gap between what we learn and practice in Yeshivos and what we are faced with on Shlichus. We know so much but don’t always know how to put it to practical use.
• What was it like when you were in Yeshiva?
What inspired me most was not the Mashpia, rather the lectures at the Pegisha (the Shabbaton Weekends in Crown Heights). There, I would listen to what they were telling the ‘beginners’ about Yiddishkeit. I knew and had learned what they were saying, but hearing it in English made it real.
• And that is not being projected to bochurim today?
A bochur once told me, “I never knew what Tanya was all about. I thought it was the knas (fine) for coming late to shiur.” That is very sad. If we have something that is so powerful, so cosmic, so universal that it can change people’s worlds, why is it not having the same effect on our own?!
• So what would be the goal of this Q&A session?
To know why you are getting up in the morning and for what purpose.
• Will you be discussing shidduchum?
It might come up because it’s part of life. It’s all related – if you don’t know what Chossid you are, why would you know what wife to look for.
• Are yungeleit confused too? Can they attend?
This is about what Chassidus wants from me, not what my wife wants from me.
• So the lecture will make them a mentsch?
That’s too ambitious. But at least they’ll see more clearly what life is about.
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Rabbi Manis will be heading a special Q&A for Lubavitch bochurim in Crown Heights on Sunday, May 16, 8:00 pm at The Besht Center (formerly Cafe Boulevard), 510 Empire Blvd. Suggested donation $5
Rabbi Manis will be the guest of a VIP Shavuos Extraordinaire at Chabad of Scottsdale, Arizona. Enjoy in-depth lectures with full catered meals. Call 480-998-1410 or email [email protected]