Oct 31, 2014
What Are We Thinking?
Illustration photo by Levik Hertzel. The pictured aren't connected to this article

From the COLlive inbox: A Lubavitcher from Los Angeles recently attended a wedding and was shocked by what he witnessed.

By Rabbi Gershon Schusterman for COLlive

There has always been a struggle with the clash of values, between walking the straight and narrow and walking on the edge, periodically stepping over the line. Torah's values and the modern world's values are often at odds, often not diametric opposites but divergent enough, that over time and distance they will be antithetical to each other. And this often begins with seemingly innocent digressions.

We Lubavitchers pride ourselves as the vanguard of bringing Yiddishkeit to the world; not only the Shluchim but each of us in how we conduct our personal and family lives. Chassidus give us immunity to the modern world's seductions. It empowers us to ignore the modern worlds blandishments, with a deep and inner pride of knowing who we are and what we stand for.

Or does it?

Focusing on a tangible example would be clearer than abstract preaching so let me talk about how we celebrate our weddings.

Every effort is made that the ballrooms are set up beautifully, the food is plentiful and tasty (and Glatt Kosher). However, what I experience as disconcerting is that the music and the dancing, often at the later part of the wedding, are more styled after a disco than that of a chassidishe, Lubavitcher wedding.

I recognize that this is also happens in other communities as well, but that is scant comfort. I thought that we are special and I still think that we are special.

Whether Los Angeles or London, Miami, Melbourne or Crown Heights, wherever we are, like it or not, we carry the Rebbe's aura with us. We must carry it with dignity. Disco-style dancing disgraces us that the one whose banner we are under.

It is not for me delve into the halachah of what is improper dancing; rather I will simply paraphrase a U.S. Supreme Court Justice who said, "I know it when I see it." I would like to believe that these events are rare exceptions to the rule, but, unfortunately, they do not appear to be that uncommon. What is inappropriate should not be tolerated.

Why does the wedding meal have to be glatt-kosher, but not the wedding celebration?

I would be dishonest if I said that I personally feel compromised; I don't. I live in Los Angeles, California, just a few blocks from its border with Hollywood, where just walking in the street is a moral challenge, and we learn how to deal with these challenges. But I am offended and demeaned, as a Lubavitcher chossid, that such behavior is taking place in the Rebbe's communities. I am embarrassed for all of us as a community and for the Rebbe.

At many Lubavitcher weddings, a few guests from surrounding chassidishe communities attend. When I see these people observing this type of dancing I cringe and ask myself, what are they thinking?! Then I ask myself, what are we thinking? Are we thinking at all? Have we just given up and capitulated? Are we oblivious to what this does to our image and, therefore, also to the Rebbe's image?

For the FFBs amongst us, this type of "worldliness" (to be kind) is to invite the world's trash into our greatest simchos. For the BTs amongst us, I quote a BT friend of mine from California, who, while watching the dancing with me, said to me bluntly, "For this I became frum? I thought I left all of this behind me!"

How can I enjoy the beautiful achdus of our diverse community when we dredge up the lowest common denominator and place it front and center? What happened to our self-respect? What happened to the Lubavitcher "V'niflinu" (Shemos 33:16), to the sense of our being unique and exceptional?

How one talks, walks, even how one closes the door, says a lot about the person. Body language speaks loud and clear. Uncouth body language isn't about the body at all; it describes character.

When standards decline a little at a time, we barely notice and become inured and insensitive; when we become desensitized, things deteriorate further.

T'was a time, in the early fifties, that a proper mechitzah at a Lubavitcher wedding was not that common. The Rebbe took it upon himself to change this. He spoke about it to individuals and wrote about it (see the first letter in Igros vol.9), encouraging us to set our standards higher. He wrote that not having a proper mechitzah is wrong, not only because it is inherently wrong, but also because it creates an obstruction in the path of the blessings that are showered from On High for the new couple. If we really believed this we would not tolerate vulgar music and dancing at the young couple's royal sendoff.

The yetzer hara wasn't Made in the USA; it flourished in Europe in earlier generations, too. There are passionate Rabbinic responsa on this subject. When the behavior at the wedding is not as it should be, many authorities forbid adding the words, Shehasimcha B'me'ono (there is joy in His dwelling) by the one leading the bentching, "because He has no joy in this setting!" (See Kitzur Shuchan Aruch 149:1)

So the Rebbe won the mechitzah battle, but not the wedding war. Now the battlefront has moved to the dance floor. By carrying on this way, wittingly or unwittingly, it besmirches and sullies the standard and image of Lubavitch and the image of the Rebbe.

There are other things happening at weddings that are new-and-not-improved, which are signs of declining standards.

The juvenile flirtatious behavior of the chosson and kallah toward each other in public is no longer uncommon. It sets a poor example for their peers. The newfangled family dance of the kallah's father and siblings —of both genders — on the distaff side of the mechitzah didn't used to happen. These are simply inappropriate and inconsistent with long-established Lubavitcher standards. This is not to be confused with a mitzvah-tantz (which we also don't do) nor is it the mezinke-tantz.

The responsibility for these examples of declining standards rests on all of us and, if we care, we must speak out sincerely and persuasively; we cannot be passive in the face of it. Yiras Shamayim without courage is wimpy and, communally, worthless.
The lion's share of the responsibility rests squarely on the shoulders of the ones who call the shots and pay the bills — the mechutonim.

Where there is meticulous concern for the menu and flowers, there is apparently no such concern regarding the type of music to be played, which determines the tempo and choreography of the dancing. The musicians and bands are hired professionals; they will play exactly as asked. The one signing the band's contract must put in it, in writing, what they do want and what they don't want. They carry the reasonability for the resulting atmosphere and dances.

Just as the mashgiach on the kashrus is present throughout the celebration to make sure that the proper kashrus standards are maintained throughout the evening, have we now reached the point that we need the mesader kiddushin to stay through the evening and take responsibility that appropriate kedushah standards are maintained for the entire celebration?

There are things that the Rebbe personally campaigned for or against, setting the standards for his community. Some are straightforward dinim in the Shulchan Aruch and some go beyond it: beards (untrimmed), eiruv (not in larger cities), mechitzah (of proper height and density), sheitel (not hats, falls, etc.), cholov Yisroel (not cholov stam), and more. These are important to us because they were so essential to the Rebbe that he spoke out and campaigned for setting a unique and higher Lubavitcher standard.

I am sure we can relate to one who says he does certain things (dinim, chumros, minhagim) a certain way, because "this is the way my father insisted that our family do it." Well, our father, the Rebbe, insisted that our greater family should do these things this way. Let us not embarrass the family and let us not disregard our father.

We are one family. Each of us sets standards for others by our own behavior. By raising our own awareness, we elevate ourselves and others in a positive way and make our family, community and world purer, brighter and holier.


Based on an article which originally appeared in the N'shei Chabad Newsletter, Tishrei 5775

Most Read Most Comments

Opinions and Comments
I left Chabad Lubavitch and my family only because there were people constantly telling me what not to do, yet rarely did I ever receive any positive feedback or reinforcement. Let's be honest, the young people from fringe families cannot get shiduchim if they ever step out of line. One small infraction leads to a dressing down and a bad name, and then no one wants to marry into your family. I wish I could get married to a frum girl, but whatever, I did too many things wrong and even worse, stuck up for myself. What a lucky man to be invited to Lubavitcher weddings. I never received any invitations for any of my friends' weddings.
(10/31/2014 10:20:19 PM)
I was at that wedding
Rabbi Shusterman

Thx for bringing up so many good points that require change and you brought these up in a way of darkei Noam and darkei Sholom that everyone can relate to

I have been to a number of similar weddings, and I think u have to take into account that in some cases the chosson and kallah while both from Lubavitcher homes have now strayed a little from that upbringing and have a similar circle of freinds and other family members who are not connected to these values at all

I think that creates a diff atmosphere than your standard wedding and that should be taken into account

(11/1/2014 2:43:23 PM)
Very true
unfortunately true,
Thank you for posting such a unique article with a unique lesson!
(11/1/2014 2:44:34 PM)
Finally, someone is voicing the heartbreak and pain, that SO many of us are experiencing concerning our so called Lubavitch weddings! When my daughter got married last year, i, as her mother, as well as my husband were helpless in the choice of music that the band were playing! and before anyone starts jumping down our throats, we DID try, more than try, to get the band to sing OUR choice of songs! I actually begged him, together with our machatonim, to lower the tone, to adjust the beat, to play just normal regular beautiful music, not even necessarily only Chabad niggunim, because there are other beautiful songs out there too, that will please the Chosson and Kallah, who sometimes want a little variety etc . . trust me, when I tell you, they WOULDNT listen!! afterwards someone told me that I should have withheld the total cost until after the actual wedding, that way he'd have no choice but to comply, but it was too late for that wedding!
Like the author of the article, i too, cringed, right the way through the entire dancing; embarrassment and shame at what i was witnessing at my own childs wedding! the happiest day of my life?? unfortunately anything but; and the lack of aidlekeit with the dance steps, the wildness of the girls, the steps they performed could win first prize at the disco, as Rabbi Shusterman so rightly said;
Infact everything he wrote was unfortunately so true and so right, he presented the picture for exactly what it was, everything our weddings should NOT be!
I defy anyone to disagree with this, no one can argue the facts that are staring us in the face, and as that guy remarked, if this is what being frum/lubavitch is all about, then 'och and vay' is all that is left to be said, and halevai that from now onwards the ''oilom'' bears in mind what has been written here, and our weddings become what they should be, occasions and simchas of true joy, true jewish chassidish music, pure hearts and minds and a simcha in every sense of the word!!
Thank you Rabbi Shusterman for starting the ball rolling!
(11/1/2014 3:21:35 PM)
Thank you
Thank you col for posting this and Thank you Rabbi Shusterman for speaking up! I agree with every word!
(11/1/2014 4:19:08 PM)
Thank you. We need reminders and clear guidance.
(11/1/2014 4:26:06 PM)
(11/1/2014 5:00:10 PM)
Thank you for this well - straight to the point. What is sad is that so many of the comments you will get in return will be of those that disagree and will justify this sort of behaviour. It is like the new "Chabad" with short Kapotas, no hat or beard which says I can do what I like and claim to be Lubavitch - face the facts - it just is not what the Rebbe demands from his chasidim.
(11/1/2014 6:02:10 PM)
It's not anywhere as bad as he writes, and why mix in all the way from the west coast??, as if all is perfect over there
(11/1/2014 6:47:32 PM)
25 years ago we asked only for chassidishe music by our wedding, in the middle I, the kallah, (we were in the old Oholei torah where the men were downstairs women upstairs) had to approach the band because I did not approve of a song they were playing. BH my daughter also asked for only chassidishe nigunim and it was a very freileche and memorable wedding bh.
(11/1/2014 6:55:22 PM)
wow, wow, wow
This is a really well written article. Thank you for expressing what so many of us feel every day. The standards of all of us - and sadly I refer to anash and shluchim in a lot of places - have unfortunately become very much lower than even 10 years ago. There are too many instances to enumerate. Lets hope this will get the ball rolling on a new era where we remember who we are and what we stand for.
(11/1/2014 6:57:19 PM)
i am sick and tired of all this constant negative attitude on these jewish websites,
if you keep on telling people what not to do, you are going to lose us all.
lets just all keep our mouth shut if its not going to change (whats the point of complaining if nothing comes out)
if everyone has issues hire or let a new artist play ONLY chassidishe stuff.
the reason why people ask for the non chassidish music is because it makes people dance more, and thats the whole excitement of new marriage.

sad to say typical CH guy.
(11/1/2014 7:23:07 PM)
at last
what has taken so long for this to be said?
(11/1/2014 7:28:36 PM)
are you kidding me…
I assure you, Rabbi Schusterman, the music played at frum weddings bears no resemblance to what you seem to think pervades the secular world. The fact that it brings in the world's "trash" is because it isn't good music period… not by any standard, frum or otherwise.

A little "worldliness" might not hurt you so much. You might learn that the secular world isn't nearly as depraved as you seem to think.
(11/1/2014 7:37:52 PM)
to #12
listen, maybe YOU dont care, but how would you feel if at your wedding the Rebbe would come in to the hall with such music playing on?? wont you feel ashamed??? if you will, then you DO care
(11/1/2014 7:42:09 PM)
To #1
You want to "come back"? You will be welcomed, I'm sure. We are ALL Baalei Teshuva, none of us is perfect. And it's not true, I personally know guys who went "OTD" who got nice Shidduchim -one is now a Shliach. It's a shame you weren't invited to your old friends' weddings, but when you find your bashert, hopefully they will dance at yours. You know whom to contact & where to go to help you transition back. Wishing you much Hatzlacha.
(11/1/2014 7:42:50 PM)
To #4
I also recently made a wedding and my daughter wanted to choose what songs the band would play and I. Said I am choosing when you made your child's wedding you will choose and that was it, she had no choice and it was beautiful. Also, thank you rabbi Shusterman for the letter, it's a huge issue in lubavitch amongst everyone and something needs to change.
(11/1/2014 7:43:18 PM)
You think weddings are bad???
What I have seen this week will make your hair curl. BLATANT mechalel Shabbos on Kingston. Women behaving like street women. Kids up to every kind of behavior. Drunken behavior everywhere. Weddings are the least of our problems!
(11/1/2014 7:45:47 PM)
To number 12
Actually as a previous writer noted, Rabbi Shusterman wrote this article in a very gentle, but firm voice! at no point was he telling anyone what to do or not to do as such , merely voicing an opinion about an inyan that so many feel strongly about and trying to find a way out before it goes even further than it has already! but then again there always has to be some out there who react negatively to something that is so obviously not the way its meant to be, that its staring us in the face!
Thank you Rabbi Shusterman, and please don't be put off if there will be the 'chosen' few who will tear this thing apart!
And to number 9, i say, he didn't at any point claim ,that everything is fine on the West coast, or that he was mixing in; I'm sure he has attended weddings himself in CH on more than one occasion and witnessed first hand the state of our weddings; a little derech eretz would go a long way
(11/1/2014 7:52:25 PM)
to #9
Thanks for not posting your name. Like this you don't make a fool out of yourself. He never said the west coast is any better, he said he was at a wedding where he saw this. He did not say where this wedding took place - could be NY or West Coast. Do you go to every wedding to say it's not as bad as a writes?? There is a reason 90% of the comments agree with the author. No hard feelings. A Gutteh Voch.
(11/1/2014 7:54:59 PM)
Need to be clarified before
The machatonim and choson and Kallah need to clarify BEFORE what standard music is acceptable at their wedding nor during the wedding it's too late.
Maybe the mesader kedushin should be more involved in the wedding standards before he accepts to marry them. Some shluchim are careful not to be involved in a simcha that is not kosher etc.
(11/1/2014 7:55:03 PM)
missing the point...
All of you who are going on about the music, whether its non chassidish or not, are missing the point. I think there is much more at the root of the problem, its not about actual music being played. Having attended many crown heights weddings, I can honestly say the music being played by our usual musicians is hardly the issue. The tznius of the participants, the atmosphere, ansd other things such as the family dancing together on the women's side all add up to a less than ideal atmosphere. And the sooner we all admit there's a problem the sooner we can educate our children that some things are just not done by us.
(11/1/2014 7:55:31 PM)
OK, so when Niggunim were created in Russia, they followed the russian style, and in some cases we even stole their songs, and we danced like them as well, hupp chazak Etc.

So now shouldn't be a surprise to you Rabbi, its only normal to enjoy modern style music.

I do not see this as a Halachik problem.
(11/1/2014 8:07:10 PM)
Mesader kidushin should demand signature
ALL rabbonim who are mesader kidushin should demand a signature from the mechutan (or mechutanim) who is paying for the band, as well as a signature from the band leader, that only appropriate (should be defined) music and "beat" is played.

I was by a chasunah were only Lubavitcher music was played and it was amazingly and unusually lebidik and a "cool" bochur tells me: "wow! I never realized that there were so many freiliche Lubavitch dancing tunes, I'm having a blast"!

The entire frum world (litvish and chassidish) are dancing to Lubavitch music, WE should definitely be setting the standard.

Thank you Rabbi Shusterman.
(11/1/2014 8:11:45 PM)
(11/1/2014 8:17:41 PM)
good point
I can say I am at many nice frum weddings and the music is pleasant. Yes lubavitch music is nice however there many other chasidush niguning that are aidal and pleasant. Our daughter got married last year it was there choice to have only lubavitch chasidush music. Let me tell you the chasune was REALLY. Lebedic. Everyone including the so called lubavitch light had a wonderful time
(11/1/2014 8:21:23 PM)
Only niggunim wedding
Our last two children had niggunim only weddings.
They were beautiful, and lebedike and set a tone of kiddushah. Aren't we celebrating the "kiddushin" after all?
(11/1/2014 8:21:37 PM)
to #4
If you would have told the band
I think it would have happened.
when we got married we told the band what type music to play and thats what he played PERIOD
(11/1/2014 8:26:49 PM)
The mitzva is to misameach the choson and kallah. Not the rabbi or the parents. This style is what the young people find fun and make them happy. Move on.
(11/1/2014 8:27:26 PM)
You really are exaggerating what you said.
(11/1/2014 8:31:51 PM)
To #1
As a ffb girl, I have dated a bochur who was otd for a while, and I know more girls who did.
It's never too late, anyway you were always one of us, we are all the Aibishter's children. About having done things wrong, as you state, you did innocently what seemed for you the best thing to do at that moment, and so did your parents and family.
I wish you much luck in making the right decisions. May the Aibishter grant you with much happiness, joy from within and joy because all circumstances in life will always be joyful for you be"H. A gutte voch
(11/1/2014 8:38:51 PM)
Thanks for having the guts to air an important issue. People might complain, but what our generation is missing is clear, reasonable, guidance that includes the reasoning. Whether they all follow or only some people follow does not change the urgent need for clear, loving, but firm guidance.
(11/1/2014 8:45:51 PM)
Thanks rabbi Shusterman!
You really wrote beautifully. I was a Chosson and at my chasuna I stopped getting involved in dancing at a certain point since the songs being played were horrifying. I didn't want to build the foundation of my life on such simcha chas veshalom.
(11/1/2014 8:46:46 PM)
We are witnesseing so many actions which would never have been acceptable in Lubavitch in the Rebbe's lifetime.
Men cutting their beards women showing their hair and legs, men and women socializing etc etc.
There is a core of people who are conducting themselves in a Chassidishe manner but it is decreasing.
Further, we are gripped by Messianic ideas, which do not appeal to many, 770 is control/influenced by that grouping who believe they are the custodians of Chabad, it has got out of hand.
During the summer I was in the country at a Lubavitch colony, men in shorts women in very untznius attire where will this end.
we are witness a Chabad which is become modern orthodox, the wedding situation is but an example of the lack of standards.
(11/1/2014 8:47:38 PM)
I agree!
and I am an unmarried girl of 20
(11/1/2014 8:50:46 PM)
Are you kidding???
You think the music completely controls the dancing????? I was recently by a wedding - yes, it was in CH - where the band only played Lubavitcher Niggunim, yet some of the dances that I saw were so inappropriate that I left the dance floor.
(11/1/2014 8:51:21 PM)
why the brides family joins the womens section?
it seems to become that the family of the kalla joins the women section to dance with the bride. in my opinion, it takes away from the women dancing, since we stop while the kallahs family dance with her. i understand that its very special, but not proper for everyone to see. what is private is sacred!!
(11/1/2014 8:55:12 PM)
music is too loud.
I end up leaving the hall and spending time in the area outside away from the loudness

(11/1/2014 8:56:27 PM)
to 15 from 12
dont mix in a WHAT IFS because its not going to happen. (and the whole world would be LOT different if the rebbi is with us)
unfortunately everyone is looking to bash everything in chabbad LETS STOP THE FOOLISH BASHING UNLESS THERE WOULD BE A REASONABLE OUTCOME.
and live a life that would more friendly.
(11/1/2014 8:57:33 PM)
to #23
for your information, only Rebbeim could make from a russian song a niggun, and i'm sure there's no Rebbe making a niggun of these goyshe songs
(11/1/2014 9:04:58 PM)
Thank you Rabbi Schusterman
Dont you all understand that music says what your neshama is?! music is for the soul and if you put goyshe music at your wedding, do u understand what u want for ur life????
(11/1/2014 9:07:25 PM)
to 25
You bring up a good point, that some of the "way things have always been" practices are not helping. The disco dancing is just a tiny symptom.

I do feel this article is quite negative and gives no reason for wanting a different type of music and dancing- at least for the people who are getting wild. There is just no reasoning given for calmer music and dancing beyond guilt- which only goes so far until people say "enough! I want to feel free, and like a person, what do I gain from being told off all the time, I'm just going to do what I want." This will upset people who think it should be obvious, but if you truly care about helping, you need to start by LOVING your fellow Jew and understanding what is happening and why, and then your approach will be different and will actually help. Yes, it will take more work, a LOT more work, but if you really care you will do it.
(11/1/2014 9:08:06 PM)
Give Me a Break
Okay, maybe girls get excited sometimes. Okay, maybe sometimes we shake our hips (ahhh, no way!) and OKAY, maybe the music is C"V too beat-y.

But that's nothing compared to discos, clubs, etc. How would you even know? Compared to those, Lubavitch weddings are laughable at the modesty we hold.

The music is too beat-y?! What does that even mean?! Beat-y. Is that a word? SO WHAT. We want music that makes us dance, not music that makes us move around in a monotonous circle. Gawsh.

Flirtatious behaviour between the chosson and kallah? That depends on the wedding and the people. They share a joyous smile while leaving the chuppah- is that flirty? Yes? No?

Define flirty, please, because I dislike (strongly) when people mistaken happiness for flirtatiousness.

(11/1/2014 9:22:37 PM)
Respectfully disagree, we need a wake up call
It's always important to remember bounderies, but what are the actual bounderies that are important? Does everyone have to daven Tehilas Hashem to be a Lubavitcher? No. Take the shaitel example: Yes, it's the first choice standard, but if someone is totally Lubavitch, but has a sensitivity, either emotionally, or physically to wearing a shaitel, but still sincerely covers her hair and keeps every other minhag, are we going to throw her out of the "club"? It's not the time to be excluding everyone who doesn't quite fit your particular view of who gets to call himself Lubavitch. And by the way, no eiruv in a large city? How about let's stop imprisoning our wives and start building proper eiruvim in smaller neighbourhoods so we can all start enjoying Shabbos again. What's important is that our sons and daughters grow up to love Yiddishkeit and want to then pass it on to their children. There are already enough issurim and restrictions, to start banning fathers from dancing with their daughters, where does it say this is assur? And if our child actually decides to marry a fellow Lubavitcher, or from Jew, and their only vice is to dance a little wild, while still be separated by the mechitza; and most importantly, that they will have a frum lifestyle, (Shabbos, kosher, mivkeh, tznius, yiras shomayim) and want to pass it to the next generation…THAT'S what we need to focus on, and empower our kids with that, and ignore the exterior stuff.
We are all Human beings and need an outlet, but as long as the bigger picture is Al Taharas Hakodesh, we should be proud. Like Chassidus says: that all the chtzonius isint a real existence, then don't give it much importance, and we should focus on what's real. Fine, so this isn't how they did it 200 years ago, but these are also external things. Let's remind ourselves that Chassidus actually teaches us to ignore the external and to concentrate on the essential. We're not tzaddikim, and accept that, and focus back on the things our kids are still doing right, which is to love positivity in Yiddishkeit, marry other Lubavitchers/Jews, and to stop telling them what they are doing wrong. The Rebbe also reinvented Lubavitch, which now looks different from when we were back in Russia. And just by the way, why does Jewish music coming from Poland sound different than music coming out of Morocco? Because Jewish music ALWAYS sounded like music from the locals! This isn't new, but if it's from 300 years ago, somehow it becomes OK. Let's get over all this stuff which is distracting us from encouraging our children to grow up to be emotionally solid human beings, then Jews, then religious, and then specifically Lubavitch.
To the mother who said that her daughter's wedding was not the happiest day because of the music, I hope your daughter didn't read that comment, because for a mother to say that about her own child? And it was still a Lubavitch wedding! It's not like her daughter married a goy!!! Let's get on with seeing the broader picture folks…Halacha tells us what we must do, and what we must not do. Chassidus is about how to enhance our connection to Hashem.
All what you outline is not specific and should be made clearer. Was it that they played goyishe music? or was it that Jewish music has started to sound goyish? You want to talk about eiruv… we know already how the Alter Rebbe paskined, so let's find a way that in Lubavitch neighbourhoods we can make smaller eiruvs so that women too, can feel that Shabbos is really about Toras Chaim and not closed up in the home with 8 kids and hating it.
And it's about time that we should talk and social more and focus more how to enjoy life in a frum way and I'm not talking about what kosher restaurant we should go to tonight. I'm taking about enhancing our social life how we see each other; i.e. to start seeing each person as a human being and not how much money he has or how Chassidish we think he is or isn't; rather to start caring for people as human beings, caring for their needs. Just like the Baal Shem Tov did 300 years ago. He saw the Jewish people were at a low level of Yidishkeit. so he said: We first have to heal their body and then the soul. He went out to set up Parnasa for people in farms, and once he set that up, then he went on to publicizing his Chassidus. Then, still in a positive and constructive manner, there is no need to focus on the bad of the person. To start imposing strict one liners (like father not dancing with daughter or must wear a sheitel and not a hat….) on things that aren't against Halachah , we can't do that when we took in so many Baalei Teshuva and have many compuneites in different parts of the world with a large variety of backgrounds, each with their own challenges. We can suggest what is meritorious, but if we truly want to emulate the Rebbe, then we also must focus on the good, and pass on positivity to the next generation. With Chesed, i.e. True Lovingkindness.
(written by a proud Lubavitcher with a full beard)
(11/1/2014 9:23:18 PM)
I told the musician before the wedding what we wanted. It had to be chassidishe music. And did not have to be only Lubavitch. He agreed. At the wedding I hear different music. I went over and said this is not what I want. He said this is what all the young kids want. I said no. He changed the music for about 5 minutes and went back to the music that I did not want. I came over, grabbed someone else as a witness and said, if you don't play what I want and we originally agreed, I will not pay you. He immediately started and continued playing the type of music I wanted.
(11/1/2014 9:26:42 PM)
it is true unfortunately
and it happens at weddings where the chosson, kallah and families are officially all frum and chassidish
it needs to stop
it could be they don't even think before they do it
but it is inappropriate nontheless
May there be simchos by Yidden
(11/1/2014 9:32:01 PM)
THanks And Thanks
Thanks for your courage. Thanks for the time to write it up. And thanks for signing your name. Such creditibility. We need to act on this.
(11/1/2014 10:00:25 PM)
You're 100% percent right so what it's very easy to sit and write letters all people do these days is put out letters criticizing And putting down everything big deal I can write a letter to so what. The system never changed to adapt with the younger generation. In my opinion sad to say I think it's too late they don't see it like the older people see it they're living in a whole different world as an older chsid myself (I hope I can call myself a chasid) I struggle to stay on the right path.and what keeps me on the right path I believe is mixing together the learning of the books and having the rebbe with me being that I physically lived with the Rebbe (that makes it a lot easier )that's my glue I believe.but the younger generation I believe are not getting enough from the system to understand and appreciate the values that we have and what we stand 4.learn learn is not the only thing blah blab blah like this is going to make a difference I'm done writing
(11/1/2014 10:05:13 PM)
From the young generation
I also agree and see this more and more that unfortunately I skip many weddings because it's just not my style...
(11/1/2014 10:24:23 PM)
True True
Spreading the word definitely helps, although this isn't the root of the problem, just a result.
(11/1/2014 10:24:47 PM)
Disco Ball
What do you all think about the colored lights at many weddings?
(11/1/2014 10:24:50 PM)
Young people
Did it occur to any of you that many "Chabad" young people go clubbing and want to recreate that atmosphere at their weddings? I also disagree, but in order to be able to fix, we must first recognize the root of the problem...
(11/1/2014 10:26:47 PM)
Men videotaping women dancing
Speaking of having a Chassidishe atmosphere at the dancing at weddings, I think it is not proper to have a male photographer videotaping the women dancing. Even if a woman photographer videotapes the dancing, it is quite possible and likely that a man will view the video, so I would strongly discourage any videotaping of the dancing.
(11/1/2014 10:47:46 PM)
to #44
love it!! so brilliantly written and all your comments are so very true!! couldn't have said it better myself.
(11/1/2014 10:54:18 PM)
Get a life
To the rabbi that wrote the article.
You need to stop looking in the wrong places.
Dancing wild and crazy is not a problem.
We have much bigger problems. Like
Teenagers smoking pot girls dressing very not
Tziniosdik!! Kids not happy with life..
People suffering from depression. Etc.
You so narrow minded you really need to get
A life. Your to self centered. How about those
Bachurim and girls either not married
Or marrieyng out of faith be happy your
Coming to a Jewish wedding. And soon they will
Iyh have children. We're not in Russia anymore
Welcome to the USA!!!
(11/1/2014 10:56:17 PM)
Rabbi Shusterman-
I respect you,
But what is your plan of action? We're you warm to the choson and kallah behaving in a wild manner?
I feel like 35-40% of Lubavitch are interested in the 'old' standard, and the other 60-65% want to have a good time and not out of rebelliousness just out of peace and happiness.
We cannot eradicate those 60-65% and we can't hope that they die down. How do you plan to handle them and their in changing views?
(11/1/2014 11:02:55 PM)
to #9
he never said it does not happen in CA in fact he said it happens everywhere
(11/1/2014 11:03:06 PM)
To all those saying "It's not so bad"
That is extremely unfortunate. That something so horribly wrong should be called "not so bad" by a Lubavitcher is really embarassing. Are our standards so low that disco dancing, lack of tznius and inapropiate music at weddings are considered okay? To say that by being negative we are pushing the young generation further away - is that what Lubavitch has come to? And by the way I am a girl from "the young generation" and I'm shocked. I am ashamed that fellow Lubavitchers can act and speak that way. If something is done wrong and you are explained why - don't try to excuse yourself, try to fix it! Let's all make the Rebbe proud and make a kiddush Lubavitch. May we all share Simchas with the true type of Simcha!
(11/1/2014 11:04:15 PM)
great musician
yossi cohen one man band plays only chassidishe music at weddings and is amazing.
(11/1/2014 11:05:36 PM)
put your beliefs where your mouth is
I will not say whether i agree or disagree with Rabbi Schusterman ( who i happen to feel is a rational person). But if you stand on the sidelines and just watch and then comment later, than you have done nothing. If you and other Rabbonim make a shturem when these things are happening then maybe you will have some change. I am alittle tired of Community leaders or Rabbonim willing to have their opinion after the fact, Yes you will get laughed at or even some nasty comments back. But if you dont confront the problem at the time it happens then maybe you truly dont want to defend Torah or shulchan aruch.
Action is better than words.
(11/1/2014 11:09:41 PM)
Yossi Cohen
He did the music for our wedding, entirely chasidishe nigginim, it was beautiful, lebedik and he was fantastic! We got married a bunch of years ago, but I'm sure he'll still do that.
(11/1/2014 11:11:57 PM)
it's not the music, it's the people
This may be obvious to many, but some seem to have missed the point, so I will spell it out here.What determines the atmosphere on the wedding dance floor may be partially influenced by the music, but it's mostly dependent on the type of people who are dancing. Aidel, chassidishe people dominating the dancing = aidel, chassidishe atmosphere. Non-chassidishe and non-aidel people dominating the dancing = non-chassidishe and non-aidel atmosphere. So what it boils down to is who is coming to the wedding, and what kind of atmosphere are they going to bring? I'm going to go a step further and say that the kind of dancing/merrymaking at a wedding usually reflects the kind of dancing/merrymaking that the guests think will make the choson/kallah happy. So yes, ultimately it comes back to the choson/kallah and the kind of chassidishkeit/aidelkeit that they and their social circle have chosen for themselves. The band and the music is a relatively minor factor.
(11/1/2014 11:13:11 PM)
Baalei Tshuva
my husband and I are both baalei tshuva and yes, I danced with my family on the womens side and my husbands mother danced with him for a second. To our families it was very important, and to let them have that little bit which would make them happy, whereas otherwise they would have been infuriated and felt completely out of their children's lives, i wouldn't have had it any other way.
(11/1/2014 11:15:18 PM)
to #43
Boy are u missing the point! I suggest u read the article over again. U think that if in discos and clubs it is worse, than we are okay?!
Ur focusing on the word beat-y instead of focusing on the meaning behind it. U know exactly what he means. And non-disco doesn't mean "music that makes us move around in a monotonous circle" There are plenty of fun lively chassidishe songs and plenty of tzniusdike fun ways to dance. No need for shaking hips to make the kallah happy. Lubavitch, wake up!!
(11/1/2014 11:23:34 PM)
to 44
wasn,t it the rebbe who so strongly spoke about shaitl.
also the about having chassidishe music at chassuna.
(11/1/2014 11:24:04 PM)
Don't get it
This is NOT mixed dancing! Isn't that the bottom line? Why shouldn't the girls be able to lose themselves in the dancing! It's part of the simcha! It radiates joy and brings pleasure to the Kallah to see her friends really letting go and having a great time at her wedding. It is not in front of men. It is separate! Why is the way so many men dance at simchas Beis hashoeva any different? Or the way the men act on Purim any different? Why does this seem to be directed only at the women? Why do women haveo dance with restraint on the WOMENS side?! There is joy and happiness in dancing for the purpose if making a Kallah happy. A little wild dancing at a wedding never hurt anyone!
(11/1/2014 11:24:52 PM)
Let the wedding halls refuse to allow the musicians that don't
comply with strict regulations to perform at their venues. This can be included in the contracts. What doesn't fit for a Yeshiva or girls school should not take place on premises. Prefect and easiest fix
(11/1/2014 11:26:18 PM)
Dear 44.
denial ain't just a river in Egypt! I'm really tired of people using our focus on penimius to try and claim that tzeeus doesn't 'really matter. Even if you foolishly think tats ,listen to what Rabbi Schusterman is saying about how all this prustkait reflects on our Rebbe!!!
(11/1/2014 11:27:41 PM)
TO #30
Unfortunately #18 is right on target.
(11/1/2014 11:27:56 PM)
it's perfectly ok
In Lubavitch to practice, discuss and teach, Chabad Minhagim anf halacha in general, and in particular. Everyone who is upset about this factor wants us who "practice Lubavitch" to feel guilty about being committed and practicing what we preach. And that's not ok
(11/1/2014 11:32:34 PM)
I'm leaving
I'm ffb and my husband gezer And we are in middle of plans to move out of crown heights and join a frum community locally. Weve been round the world living in all different lubavitch communities hoping that the level of yiddishkiet in lubavitch was just the problem of that geographical place . My last stop was CH and thinking that this had to be the real deal, shechuna of the rebbe. It was worse then the lot. I've lost a kid here to the madness so as much as I love the rebbe and what the old lubavitch stood for .... In out ! I want a frum ho me with good old fashion jewish values and it isn't in lubavitch today. Good bye .
(11/1/2014 11:37:15 PM)
to #23
The Russian dancing you mention (hop kazak etc) was not lascivious, even the Shpoler Zeide danced in the Russian style, he learned it to free a captive once. The type of dancing Rabbi Schusterman so rightfully criticizes is dancing where the movements are openly immodest, in the secular world it is like a competition to see who can get the most observers. The difference is very easy to see.
(11/1/2014 11:38:07 PM)
Mom of chatonim
My mother, my son & I danced together behind a mechitza away from everyone at my sons' weddings. It made my elderly mother very happy & nobody could see. I don't see why that can't happen or what is wrong.
(11/1/2014 11:47:11 PM)
agree with #34
I am a BT of 30+ years living out of town and I am horrified at photos I see now of Lubavitch events with women with bare legs, skirts that don't cover the knees (ten times worse when they sit down, and then they even cross their legs), snoods or tichlach inevitably pushed back so several inches of hair shows, necklines that expose the entire collarbone, bare feet in "look at me" shoes... When I first got involved with Chabad the appearance of the women was one of the points that really made an impression on me, they looked to me like royalty, perfectly put together but completely dignified, I wanted to look like that. Now sadly even some shluchos apparently think they have to dress like the street to be able to relate to the locals -- nothing could be further from the truth.
(11/1/2014 11:53:22 PM)
Very well said.
(11/1/2014 11:53:59 PM)
agree with #53
100%. I never understood how people could have a perfectly tzniusdik wedding dress, proper mechitzah etc and then have men videotaping the women. Today Baruch Hashem there are female videographers, there should only be females videotaping the women's side.
(11/1/2014 11:59:59 PM)
to #55
Did you ever hear the famous vort of the Frierdiker Rebbe, "Amerike is nisht anderesh!" (America is not different!)?

(11/2/2014 12:01:47 AM)
To #44
As a BT, male "friend of Chabad" who trims his beard, I've also learned from Chabad - and appreciate - about not focusing on the external, like you mention.

But - and in support of R Shusterman's writing and, well, reality - I've also learned through Chabad that the external has the POTENTIAL to affect us internally through the senses. So we have a personal responsibility to keep our neshamos "pure" and unblocked from kelipos coming through the senses, which also helps us to be mekabelim Hashem for doing mitzvos and avodah. ...Kind of like how an athelete needs to strictly keep a special diet and have a special daily routine to give their best performance... and even win.

Further, I learned from Chabad Chassidus how smells/odors can affect the neshamah and similarly kosher food through the mouth. I hear that the sounds of the shofar "stir the soul" through the ears - so then must "shmutzy" music.

And even R Shusterman described walking down the street in Hollywood being a "moral challenge" - I'm thinking, like my own experience as well - through the eyes, ears, and nose!

I've also learned through Chabad the first Shulchan Aruch, that we must have "eyes like an eagle" to see only good, but at the same time have a "heart strong like a lion"... to guard it from "gashmius" influences that happen to get by even an eagle eye!

And I think that's all the rabbi is trying to point out. Nachon, we all have a personal responsibility to "be affected by the ETernal, not the EXternal". But we have to be bitul enough to say we also need help. Like we say in Tachnun, "We do not know what we do" all the time and in every situation on our own.

So thank G-d we have mashpiim and people who care like R Shusterman sounding his "shofar" to maybe affect us positively inside... and help redirect us from all the veltishe distractions that desensitize us from our derech on a daily basis, so that we can "win" over the yh.

As Yidden, each of us is like an individual keli in the Mishkan. We need to strive to keep holy as an individual piece, so that we, together as a community, can keep holy and function properly as a makon Hashem - a "Mishkan". The Mishkan doesn't function without the holy individual pieces.

"Shomer makom Hashem" - I think this is R Shusterman's concern, as should it be for every Yid.
(11/2/2014 12:01:58 AM)
The Jewish community, since it's founding, has always evolved, morphed, and stratified over time. Chabad Lubavitch which itself evolved from other forms of Jewish observance, was founded only 239 years ago and bears little resemblance to its original founding.

That's life. The only thing that stays the same is that everything changes. Problem is, there are people who simply can't accept this reality. They deny all of of documented human history and delude themselves into thinking that THEIR experience will magically be different. That THEIR community and traditions will continue along ad infinitum.

But that's not how it works. So I have a solution: stop deluding yourself into thinking that these newly wedded people you disapprove of are Lubavitch. They may have been raised in a Lubavitch community, their parents may be Lubavitch, but they are not. They are in a transitional stage somewhere between their formal Lubavitch upbringing and their future identity. If you do not approve of this metamorphosis, do not attend their weddings.

But by all means, stop pretending as if the Lubavitch you experienced as a child will magically live on unchanged always and forever.
(11/2/2014 12:03:49 AM)
To #44 Why didn't you just write a book
(11/2/2014 12:04:12 AM)
then what?
what is the music that she'll be played by weddings?
what is good?
(11/2/2014 12:05:01 AM)

It's not mixed dancing at least be happy with that. We don't have any venue to dance and "let it out". Do we want the 20 year olds to go to bars in pritzus is that better?.
So the wedding won't look so Oldschool Lubavitch. But the Choson and Kallah are more modern and that's what they want.
(11/2/2014 12:15:46 AM)
Only Nicho'ach!
And if the mesader kidushin doesn'd enforce this, merkos should make him ois rav! period
(11/2/2014 12:17:40 AM)
Dovid Altein
Played chabad niggunim only at a few weddings here. It was so nice to hear quality, lebedike music and witness and be part of the refined dancing it led to.
We were even able to hear ourselves say Mazel Tov to the Kalla and her family.
(11/2/2014 12:18:12 AM)
to 65 from 44
Yes, the Rebbe did say Shaitel is important, but after that, if a woman really can't or really doesnt want, we don't need to measure each person on every single decision that other people do. But what about working on ourselves to not judge others? Why is someone not wearing the shaitel? you'll never know. It's not because the Rebbe talked about the importance of Shatels, it didnt give license now to any or all of us to start bashing those who currently can't or don't hold to that standard. I said in my comment this is the first choice, but the minute someone doesn't do it doesnt mean they are "out of the club". thats what people don't seem to get.
(11/2/2014 12:21:36 AM)
respectfully disagree
Rabbi Schusterman, the musicians play according to the dictates of the one hiring them, THEREFORE, all you needed to succinctly state was that it is necessary to clarify to them PRIOR to the wedding [as opposed to in the middle of the wild dancing] precisely what type of music you expect at your child's wedding!!!! By both of our children's weddings there was crystal clear communication to the band before the wedding and by our recent wedding which occurred in Brasil, Moshe Okonuv played STRICTLY chassidish niggunim along with Choni Grunblatt singing, as per the wishes of the chosson and kallah!!!!! There was absolutely no room for surprises because the singer had plenty of time to learn the lyrics of the niggunim that M Okonuv provided him with way in advance. Furthermore, I made sure that both the musician as well as the singer knew how important it was for the chosson and kallah to have only chassidish niggunim that no additional song requests were allowed to be taken from wedding guests.....and yes we dimmed the hall lights and had prism beams lighting up the dance floor!
M Roumani
(11/2/2014 12:27:56 AM)
I'm for Yossi Cohen too
Great chassidishe music!
(11/2/2014 12:34:01 AM)
To 66
Losing yourself is what is the problem. Simcha and fun is good, but a trance is not Jewish. And this applies to both genders, but moving the hips is more vulgar for women, even though its also not tznius for men
(11/2/2014 12:35:25 AM)
to #68 from #44
Wild music with a mechitza is not the same as mixed dancing, and if pritzus is truly happening, then everyone present is responsible and it must be stopped at the wedding immediately. Rather, it seemed that R' Shusterman's article is more emotional, and not fact based, since instead of giving a concrete example, he writes "you know it when you see it". And for a Lubavitch couple that is actually getting married to each other and lead a Jewish life with a Jewish home, and there's a bit of different music, then leave.

But if there is no mixed dancing, and no halachas are broken, then YES, we should be happy that they are continuing the Jewish generations. And also, if this is really a problem, then the Rabbonim should come together and paskin that no goyishe music can ever be played at a Lubavitch wedding. It's easy to just write an article. Action is the ikkur, not just words. So many young people are being disillusioned. The Rebbe spoke of the importance of certain standards, yes, but then each individual knows for him/herself at what level they are holding and it is not for us to judge others, only to try to elevate ourselves.

And by the way, I read a comment about a Shliach who is picky on what couples he marries. If 2 halachic Jews, religious or not, come to a Shliach and appreciate their Judaism enough to ask a Shliach to married them, I hope every Shliach in the world would say yes.
(11/2/2014 12:36:38 AM)
The problem described by Rabbi Shusterman is real, but as pointed out previously, our leaders (Rabbonim) could do much more than just write letters. There is enough respect at least among most Lubavitchers, that we would listen if they would simply ACT instead of WRITE and SPEAK. Rabbonim have the power to limit the volume (it's earsplitting, and dangerous unless you wear earplugs-amplifiers should be assur!) and type (no more secular rock'n'roll songs) for halls like O.T. and the Razag. If the MUSIC is not loud and Chassishe, you will see the dancing and the behavior change for the better!

How about it, dear Rabbonim? Are you willing to take a stance and lead???
(11/2/2014 12:49:02 AM)
I have seen it all...
I am a mashgiach and attend hundreds of weddings a year...I have seen it all my friends, shluchim attending non kosher weddings (yes JUST the food was kosher...) and being at the party from beginning to end...not no mention Chabad shluchim performing a kosher weddings inside a conservative sanctuary...ah, I forgot to mention that on both instances above the chosson family (or kallah family) were loaded with money...nowyou know the rest of the story...
(11/2/2014 1:00:52 AM)
To #43
High-Five!! :)

Do you need a hug?
(11/2/2014 1:09:54 AM)
I have to say...and sadly
When the well known band at my youngest daughter's wedding a few years ago started to get more disco-y by the second dance, my Husband went over to the leader and asked him to change the music. When I discussed it with him later he had the chutzpah to tell me that this is what the chosen and kallah had said they wanted and he felt that it was his responsibility to make them happy!! Frankly I think that the musicians have a large part to do with this terrible situation and encourage the dancing and the behavior with the music that they are more than willing to play.
(11/2/2014 1:11:18 AM)
My observation why it happens
The popular musicians want to stay in the biz so they do what they think will make them popular.
My friend said, "That's what my kid wants. It's his day, I hv to do what he wants"
(11/2/2014 1:19:01 AM)
I agree. Its out of hand and a big Busha
We are Chosids not mizrachi. Let's act accordingly!
(11/2/2014 1:40:22 AM)
to 39 from 15
Let's not mix with IFS? Then what if I tell you that the Rebbe IS at every wedding..he's watching sadly from gan eden how his chassidim are dancing happily at their weddings with goishe music..
(11/2/2014 1:40:51 AM)
The Rebbe pic
I was sure s/o would mention: O,T, ballroom has a gorgeous picture of the Rebbe. Surely ppl wd want the rebbe to hv Nachas at their wedding. (Likely the letter from the Rebbe was read under the Chuppa)
B"H there are thousands who DO enjoy and dance feverenly to Chabad niggunim as I witnessed the daning at Simchas Beis Hashoeva 2-6AM!
(11/2/2014 1:58:19 AM)
oholey torah razag etc, put your foot down
Make sure that in your. Mosdos by contract only chassidishe music and atmosphere.
You can do it. Make it very clear to the younger impressionable generation that it's not ok, and if some people are in transition from being Lubavitch into something else should take the weddings somewhere else if they don't like it
(11/2/2014 1:03:42 AM)
to #71
hey, don't let the door hit you when u leave.

Seriously, that's nonsense - the grass is NOT greener on the other side.

You need to discuss this more with some heavy duty mashpiim that understand the issues today.

(11/2/2014 1:05:34 AM)
Article picture
Who are these bochurim dancing? Where did they buy their red "shlaykis"???
(11/2/2014 1:22:33 AM)
Live and let live
If you don't like the way a wedding is done, make yours differently. Stop trying to live other people's lives for them in the name of Rebbe. Oh, but then you can't control everyone? Aw shucks.
(11/2/2014 1:33:24 AM)
To #83
Tottaly agree it should be onli nichoach
(11/2/2014 1:43:39 AM)
to #93
Why do you blame the musician for listening to your daughter, instead of blaming your daughter for ignoring your wishes?
(11/2/2014 2:07:10 AM)
then STOP attending weddings!!!
find something better to do with your time. maybe have a drink and let loose and dance instead of sit on the side judging and making problems.
(11/2/2014 2:08:25 AM)
to number 92!
YES!!! i do need a hug :)
(11/2/2014 2:41:01 AM)
to Number 66
interesting. I am a woman, i read the Article and at no point did i feel Rabbi Shusterman was referring to the women. In fact being he said he was watching the dancing, i naturally assumed that it was the music and the mens dancing that he was referring to. He did mention some family dancing on Kallah side but the inappropriate dancing was not especially referring to us women. Having said that I agree with him totally, that on both sides of the mechitza there could be improvements in dancing.
those that are so on the defensive that u dont even give appropriate but freilach dancing a chance. I witnessed a beautiful wedding. One side ffb one side not frum. The ladies were dressed as someone remarked like in Gan Eden before the Chait. Yet the dancing was unbelievable. The ffb side pulled everyone in and danced. The simcha was so contagious and yes, holy, that a few of the kalla's friends said. I wish I could have such a happy wedding, . This was comments from ppl who only knew goyishe music and therefore were not threatened by the Niggunim or the feeling of someone telling them what to do. They just enjoyed the moment at the fullest. Lets stop being so defensive and start to enjoy our weddngs in a way that Will make the Rebbe proud. If not , then what. ??????
(11/2/2014 6:29:56 AM)
Thank you!
Thank you Rabbi Schusterman. These topics need to be discussed and 'farbrenged' about more frequently across the globe. The future of Lubavitch is quite unsettling...
(11/2/2014 6:52:06 AM)
Food for thought
To all of you out there who are trying to belittle and play down the wedding situation, and all it entails,I have this to say;
Why is it, that because it could be worse, e.g. the comment that sadly announced that we should be grateful that our children are not marrying goyim c''v,! ! or how much worse the 'real' disco music/lights are out there, etc, really have to get their acts together, and rethink their whole attitude! Because it could be worse, we should be 'grateful' for the current sad situation that our youngsters are seeking and achieving in the world today??! Because they didn't marry a goy, or come totally untzniusdik to the wedding (or in the streets also) or because
it could have been farrrr worse, is that a reason to overlook and accept!??
Let our Rabbonim, without coming across with a whole list of ''what NOT to do's) lay down certain borders/limits for those who make their weddings in OT or the Razag, (or anywhere else for that matter, what difference is it, where it is) and let us accept and understand that by doing that we can only enhance and improve the atmosphere, the dancing, the tznious and the simcha!
(11/2/2014 7:16:51 AM)
It seems by these comments that people just sit and watch others so they can criticize instead of enjoying themselves.
(11/2/2014 8:10:08 AM)
light a candle-don't curse the darkness
You describe the music and dancing as like a disco. Last night, I saw a video with Rabbi Yitzchok Dovid Grossman, sheyichye, dancing with people at a disco to encourage them to be more religious.Do you know what experiences and influences these people had? Do you know if they learn Torah now? Maybe the next time you or someone sees people who are dancing in a non-chassidishe way, speak to them nicely and ask how they are doing, if they are lerning any Torah now (just because they went ot yeshivas and seminaries does not mean they are still learning), then maybe give them a card and conduct a virtual Torha class with them.
(11/2/2014 8:55:18 AM)
#4: are you my Shviger by any chance? The only thing that tells me you're not is that u don't usually post on col
#33: I relate. I too was very bothered at how the music turned out VERY different than my parents and I had specifically requested. (Except that I stayed on the dance floor just because I rathered not make a fuss)
(11/2/2014 9:16:34 AM)
what rabbi Shusterman isn't getting
Rabbi Shusterman grew up seeing all non Lubavitchers flee ch so he thinks what's left now is only Lubavitch.
There are many small kehilas in crown heights these days that are not Lubavitch. Their shuls may still be davening from a nusach ari siddur and the congregants may have spent their younger years in a Lubavitch educational institute but that's where it stops. Some have their own rabbis and slowly they are opening their own schools in the community.
They have their own standards and as lubavitchers we can't expect them to be like us just because they rented a hall in ch.
(11/2/2014 9:17:29 AM)


(11/2/2014 9:23:40 AM)
Very long post, but worth a read. Hits the nail on the head!
(11/2/2014 9:26:35 AM)
only in CH
Just Stop it!

Look at any other chabad community and there is much more accepted. CH is full of externalities and fakeness. People need to stop wasting their time thinking about the nitty gritty and seeing at the end of the day people serve Hashem in happiness!

This is why CH has such a huge problem with shidduchim and girls getting married! In France being normal people like dancing at this wedding is normal and there are many other stuff that if done in CH your looked at as being totally not chassidish.

You need to start practicing what you preach, if you say that Chabad loves every Jew that means also your Chassidish neighbor who dances at a wedding with flashing lights and fun music and honestly is only doing it to serve Hashem with happiness.

Chabad needs to be more accepting of their own children and the children of the BT's too. I've talked with a lot of Highschool and elementary completely frum and not who grew up in CH and they all see this as a big problem.

Either stop it or regret it!
(11/2/2014 10:09:03 AM)
wake up call
It's very simple to call the band and tell the leader with whom you make the contract that if there is a single note played that's not "jewish" then you consider the contract null and void, and have it in writing, and then you won't pay a dollar.
The article is helpful so people can think thoughtfully in advance about what they want and what message is given and not get stuck in the middle with a surprise.
(11/2/2014 10:17:43 AM)
Band Leaders Don't Listen
For the record, when I asked a ban leader to lower the music, he responded that his reputation is on the line and therefore, he can't lower the music. This is the fact. So all those that believe that talking to the band leader will fix anything, you are wrong! This will not fix anything. If you don't believe me, just try to ask the band leader to lower the music.
(11/2/2014 10:18:36 AM)
Helpful to think in advance about the keli we are creating with the chasuna for the couple's marriage which goes way beyond the night of the chasuna IY"H.
(11/2/2014 10:19:27 AM)
A Musician
As a musician that plays at many weddings, i can say that te weddings that have only lubavich niggunim are the most freilach and fun. Lets not forget that a wedding is a holy celebration, not just the chupa but the dancing as well.

I have recently played at a wedding out of ch, there was a large non-frum crowd. They enjoyed the lebedikiet and danced till the end!

We need to remember that ashraini ma tov chellainu! and be be proud of it.
(11/2/2014 10:26:04 AM)
In my opinion we have to start earlier than by weddings. We need to set standard by bar mitzvahs to have chasidishe nigunim and to FORBID any bars. By starting with this we will see changes later. The chasidishe yeshivas of our shchuna have the ability to enforce this and there is no excuse of the Kalah wants it. I was by beautiful weddings and bar mitzvahs where yossi Cohen played only chasidishe nigunim.may we all have chasidishe nachas from our children and grandchildren. This starts with chasidishe nigunim which is the pen of the heart
(11/2/2014 10:48:57 AM)
There are communities that have higher standards than Chabad. I was at a Bais Medrash (Litvish style, non-Chabad) on Simchas Torah and there was absolutely no alcohol to be found. We danced appropriately, with dignity and we all felt the presence of the Shechina with us. Truly a Kiddush HaShem.
(11/2/2014 10:59:00 AM)
To 99 From 71
Ur response just proved my point !
(11/2/2014 11:29:11 AM)
agree with 119!
well said!
(11/2/2014 11:30:27 AM)
Gershon Shusterman for President
Looking. Forward to more articles. WE NEED YOUR LEADERSHIP NOW.!!!!!!
(11/2/2014 11:35:59 AM)
to #110
Oh for goodness sake! Those Yidden in the disco are Iy'H on there way up. Us dancing at chasanas like that.... So many excuses!
(11/2/2014 11:42:25 AM)
Not to long ago
I was at a wedding here in Los Angelas.Both sets of parents were chsidishe shluchim but the music and dancing were absolutely appalling. When the Lubavitcher singer began chanting "rock your body" I left and I felt sorry for the Baalei Simcha.
(11/2/2014 11:48:18 AM)
Go Benshimon
Before our wedding I went to his studio to show him what type of music I want. I was looking for Chabad Niggunim that are lively and elegant. He said that he usually follows the dancers. I explained thatdI'd like him to set the tone with his playing and he did! Our wedding was very lively, and it was also beautiful! For several weeks after, people came over to tell me that the music was so so beautiful. The dancing was graceful asn elegant jewish, lubavitch wedding should be.
(11/2/2014 12:04:31 PM)
to I'm leaving
I'm in similar situation. My spouse is not there yet but I've realized that while I will always remain Lubavitch in thought and practice I want something different for my children. The focus to be an ehrelicheh, shulchan aruch yid, is unfortunately no longer the primary focus. Externalities have seeped in and the drive today is not what I signed up for.

Is there a group we can look towards that can help with the transition? I fear that if the transition is not managed well, it will be too much of a shock to my children and may end up causing more harm.
(11/2/2014 12:14:17 PM)
Respect for the Rov
! Take a step back. Be frum, be lubavitch, be BT, be chilled, call yourself whatever you want, but be respectful! The way people are talking towards the Rov has to change fast!. Please. (Not that it matters toward this discussion or my point here, but Rabbi Shusterman sits and answers shaalos from Lubavitchers in every time zone every single day! Its truly amazing and appreciated. Thank you very much. Tzu lange gezunte yahren!)
(11/2/2014 12:17:34 PM)
Great Article
As usual, beautifully illustrated, Rabbi Shusterman. Always driving home the point.
Hope we can all internalize this, as I find it absolutely beautiful to attend weddings that have the whole "chassidishe vibe."
If only the Rebbe could personally attend each and every wedding in Lubavitch...
(11/2/2014 12:34:07 PM)
to #124
(11/2/2014 12:35:14 PM)
I 2nd Benshimon
He did exactly what we wanted. We chose all nigunim including nigunim that were not necessarily Lubavitch and it was beyond amazing. Not sure why people are blaming the musicians in the comments
(11/2/2014 12:39:12 PM)
Commen sense is gone!
This is unacceptable and by this I mean this article. Just to point out you shared an experience where you were next to a bal teshuva who asked "this is why I became frum?". I for one am more concerned with commenter #1 who left Chabad and his family because of people like this then I am about this individual who became frum for the wrong reasons.

I think before writing an article like this, you should consider weather your thoughts are inline with Halacha or rather the way one feels Halacha should be.
(11/2/2014 12:40:46 PM)
Get a life
All get a life and worry about your self first! Tell others what to do, got us here with all these so called " problems "
(11/2/2014 12:41:13 PM)
My daughter got married a year ago not in NY. The niggunim and chassidishe music and singing she had at her wedding was beautiful. I was told by many people that this wedding was one of the most lively weddings they've been to.
Last week I was in NY For one day. Walking down the street and shopping in a local grocery store I was embarrassed to see almost every single girl and woman not tzniusdik. I would Never move back to crown heights for my children to see the way people dress there. On the other hand when I went to a l'chaim at night I was proud to see every person tzniusdik there. Where these tznius girls and women were during the day I don't know but maybe they're also hiding out because they dint want to be associated with garbage!
(11/2/2014 12:58:28 PM)
Respect for the Rov
I believe that the Rabbi Shusterman who answers shaalos is not the R' Gershon Shusterman who wrote this article.
(11/2/2014 1:14:30 PM)
Thank you Rabbi Shusterman
For another great article to get many thinking and then doing.
(11/2/2014 1:34:24 PM)
to #43
very true, thank you for writing this. I %100 agree, you summed up just what I was thinking. I cannot understand this entire article...I wish these things were explained more, because I cannot totally understand what he means. Chabad weddings are still very modest.
(11/2/2014 1:35:12 PM)
We need more of these!
Rabbi Shusterman, keep writing!! Hopefully this way we will bring more awareness and bring up our standards. It is obvious from the comments that so many people have noticed this problem and want it to stop.
(11/2/2014 1:47:39 PM)
to 71
I am sorry for your kid - I can relate but 99 has a point - grass is REALLY not greener out of CH.
I'm sorry you want to leave - but I can almost guarantee you it will not be better elsewhere.
Yes, other hoods have better this and better that - granted - everything has its pros and cons. Yes, CH too!
I think you need to really look deep into this before you throw in the towel.
I wish you mazel and sorry again for your kid - if It helps, I lost a kid to the madness in another town NOT specifically in CH.
(11/2/2014 1:54:49 PM)
Besides the Point
Is the father dancing with the bride really the problem? Or the music? Maybe it is....but in my eyes, it's a little deeper than that. I've been to plenty of non frum weddings where the father dances with his daughter....where the wedding is mixed....where girls are wearing what would be deemed non-tsnius clothing and yet the overall feeling is that of respectable people coming together to celebrate a wedding.

I have noticed a trend in chabad lately where girls and boys look desperate and rebellious and what we are focusing on is the length of the skirts, the music they are listening to etc - why? Take a look at the secular world - girls can be wearing pants and short sleeves and still look more refined and aidel than the average "tsnius" girl walking down kingston with her long sheitel and tight clothes that reach her knees.

Something is missing in the picture - I'm not sure what it is - but we might be focusing on the issues that are not the real problem.
(11/2/2014 2:00:46 PM)
to #129
That's a different Rabbi Schusterman
(11/2/2014 2:07:51 PM)
Rabbi Shusterman
A few of my children live in LA, and Rabbi Shusterman is their Rav!
His answers are clear and concise, he is real, down to earth and understanding of circumstances and any given situations, and paskens with heart and common sense!
Thank you Rabbi Shusterman, you deserve the utmost and highest respect, as those of us who know you are fully aware of.
Your article is beautifully written and appreciated by those of us who know in our hearts how right you are, and we are the vast majority!
(11/2/2014 2:35:31 PM)
#143 to clarify again,
Rabbi Gershoan Schusterman who wrote the article and Rabbi Yossi Shusterman,the Rav who paskens shailos (note the different spelling of the last names) both live in LA.
(11/2/2014 3:11:50 PM)
to #110
There is a big difference between disco dancing in a disco vs disco dancing at an event called KIDDUSHIN which should have an atmosphere of holiness.

There is a big difference when a tzaddik does something one time for a holy purpose, vs everyday people doing it for their own "entertainment". Yes, there are stories of chassidic rebbes who made one-time visits to goyishe theaters or card-playing venues, for the sole purpose of pulling holy Jewish neshamos out of the mud. There are NO stories of any chassidic personalities conducting such activities in their own home or shul. The reason is really simple, our holy Torah tells us we are not to bring a toeva (abomination) into our home. Bringing lascivious dancing into a chassunah totally defiles the event.
(11/2/2014 3:38:17 PM)
I can say that
I can say that Chony Milecki played appropriately at our son's wedding, as far as the playlist.
I find the volume in Crown Heights to be louder than at out of town weddings.
I also want to point out that I live out of town and when the young single girls come for dancing- even high school age- the dress and dance style leave much to be desired....although perhaps it does delight the kallah???
(11/2/2014 4:06:42 PM)
Yossi Cohen beyond great
We married off BH three children so far
And we only took the best and got the best !!!
Thank you yossi Cohen for making our simchas so so special
(11/2/2014 4:21:57 PM)
its interesting
While the topic of tznius behavior at weddings and in our daily life has been debated back and forth here on the forum ,
most people are concerned with what the Rebbe would approve of.
Maybe we need to look further and be concerned more about what the Abishter wants from us first.
(11/2/2014 4:32:14 PM)
On the right foot!
Of course, often-times things have to be taken by the root and the cause evaluated. Rabbonim and Mashpiim/Mashpios need to reflect on how to make a Lubavitcher want to want the right things. Nevertheless this article is very appropriate and will/has already opened up peoples minds. Sometimes dealing with a symptom will also help the cause. B"H, at the recent (within two years) wedding of my son, we used Yossi Cohen, and the music and dancing was extremely Lebedik and fun, it was appropriate and amazing fun. The guests had a blast and do/will remember it for a long time. The Chassidish relatives who came said it was a Kiddush Lubavitch!! My point is, if you really want it right, it will be right and alot more appropriate fun than you could imagine!!
P.S. we also had a female videographer and a Mechitza in the hall of Ohelei Menachem!!
(11/2/2014 5:33:53 PM)
a yeshiva bochur
How is this article gonna change anything when people don't care..You may ask why people don't care? B.c the education system in Chabad is terrible..I recently hung out with a few seminary girls and was shocked to find out how far they are (tznuis is way gone but still the focus lol) I don't get it most of my friends are not religious but they are not in yeshiva anymore.what's UP with staying in the system and not being religious..
(11/2/2014 5:36:00 PM)
On a side note...
the Rebbe said that if we would only know how close we are to Moshiach, we would be dancing in the streets!! L'chaim to true simcha - the simcha of geula!
(11/2/2014 5:54:05 PM)
Can anyone explain please
Why father can't dance with his daughter on the side
Or mother and son
(11/2/2014 6:23:19 PM)
i dont understand..
please explain- why are people writing that immodest dress and dancing would PLEASE the kallah? why would such things delight her? can someone perhaps explain? i never heard of such a thing- for the kallah to be tickled pink and happy when her friends shake their hips? what is this? it increases the joy of her wedding day ?
(11/2/2014 6:56:51 PM)
To the ones who wrote that they're leaving chabad..I feel like I'm going to cry. I remember when I was a teenager my friends asked my teacher , " how do we know that our Rebbe is the true Rebbe? Maybe we should be following a different one?"
Among her reasons was one thing that stood out to me I'm her reply- " you've seen people leave their groups to be chabad, but no one leaves chabad."
I can't believe it has come to this.
(11/2/2014 7:18:37 PM)
to 148
Its one and the same.
(11/2/2014 7:24:21 PM)
one who learns chasidus knows it's not a steera-contradiction cvs.
(11/2/2014 7:33:30 PM)
Thank you!
Thank you Rabbi Shusterman for speaking up, to be honest I'm so immune to all this that I almost forgot there's something wrong with it, Ty!
(11/2/2014 8:27:33 PM)
The source of the issue.
It seems to me that most people missed the main cause of this new phenomenon. Our children do not have the respect for parents as their parents had for theirs. If our parents told us that they want the wedding to be kach vikach we children wouldn't have the chuzpa to disagree. Today, as so many comments testify the parents are at the mercy of the young couples decision as to how THEY WANT the wedding. the parents are at the mercy of their children becausr THEY ARE ENTITLED. sad but true
(11/2/2014 10:23:26 PM)
(11/2/2014 10:25:07 PM)
to #135
You call a Jew garbage? Every Jew is a precious neshama. Even those who are not yet dressed appropriately. Noach was criticized because he did not daven for the people of his generation to do teshuva. Do you daven for the Yidden you call "garbage"? I do-because some of them are my daughters. Yes, I would like for them to be more tznius and I cry and daven for them to be but we all have our tests. And even though they do not yet dress tznius, I still love them and admire their beautiful neshamas and the mitzvos that they do. Let's try to have more achdus, please.
(11/3/2014 12:13:34 AM)
If Lubavitch had more leadership we would be in better shape. Today it is ok to be "lubavitch" but not frum,. Whoever heard of such a thing??? When you tell people off nicely, they say "don't tell us what to do". These frayaks are ruining it for us and our children. Its almost become optional to be frum or not frum in Lubavitch.

I say like this: You want to go off the derech, you don't want to keep tzniyus or your beard or halacha the way the Rebbe defined it, then you are not Chabad. Go to young Israel, or whatever but know what you are. To be a lubavitcher is a privilege and with it one has a responsibility to act in a certain way and follow a certain derech.

Enough of this nonsense. Its time to call a spade a spade and clean up this mess.
(11/3/2014 1:19:40 AM)
to 150
hmmm... now i understand why you "hang out with a few seminary girls"...
(11/3/2014 2:23:41 AM)
to the ones who said they're leaving
I feel really bad for you. Come back!
(11/3/2014 2:31:11 AM)
I appreciated everything in your article except for when you mentioned FFB's and BT's. There are plenty of FFB's with a taste of the outside wanting more. They are just as much to blame as the "fringe families" and BT's who don't know better or whose families come to simchas and don't realize how inappropriately they are dressed and acting. This is a huge problem in Lubavitch today. Old Time FFb's feeling that the new and modern BT's are taking over and bringing in all the garbage from the outside. When, in fact, it's often the BT's trying so hard to do the right thing while the FFB's are flirting with the outside influences and because of their yichus, they can get away with it.
(11/3/2014 7:41:06 AM)
I read these comments and my heart breaks!
What has happened to us? What have we become? How did we sink this low? and more importantly, what WILL become of us??
Today the term 'Lubavitch/Chabd' has taken on a completely new meaning! there is almost nothing left of who or what we once represented! Dare I go as far as to say that even the wives of our Shluchim leave a lot to be desired as our 'role models'! take a good look around you and see what is happening!
Rabbi Shusterman started the ball rolling talking about the state of our weddings, now look how far, and into what subjects, that ball has rolled into!
And judging by the massive endless responses, it seems to have touched many many a heart!
Och and vay! sad times, sad happenings and now what??
(11/3/2014 8:35:17 AM)
with the old breed
what is the problem and what is the symptom? It is sad when people stop to care how much more so when you add the name chosid or Lubavitch....well all the best to all of you.
(11/3/2014 12:09:27 PM)
to # 135
Dear Lady, You don't want to come to CH the Rebbes Shechuna, don't come, but do not threatened other ppl with this silly statement. "I would Never come back to crown heights"
#1) you WILL come to CH and lots of times. 2) I have been in Miami or Los Angeles, it doesn't look just any better than in CH, maybe worse. In fact 75% of Chabad youth in Florida are " Chabad light.
In other states the situation il also not better than CH.
so stop publicizing that you will NEVER come to CH, you are making a full of yourself, instead, start thinking how and what we could to help the situation.
(11/3/2014 1:00:46 PM)
Spot on. You took the words from my mouth...
(11/3/2014 2:54:29 PM)
to #165
You mention Shluchim/Shluchos as your "role model", perhaps that is where the issues start. Shluchim were not appointed as the mashpiim nor machanchim of Lubavitch. They are on the frontlines fighting a whole different battle. Their battle at times requires them to get dirty (an example would be turning a blind eye to chilul Shabbos or or not being as machmir on certain hidurim that should be kept by Lubavitch individuals).

This could be analgeous to foot soldiers (the Rebbe's foot soldiers!!). I admire them for their dedication but when looking for role models, guidance, inspiration I wouldn't hold them to the same standards as the president, congress, etc. For that we look towards Mashpiim, Rabonim, Michanchim, etc.
And li'maaseh, when looking to these groups, you usually see the finest tzinous behavior Lubavith has to offer.
(11/3/2014 5:01:50 PM)
Be thankful
I like the weddings here however they come, loud, fast, whatever. We should celebrate!! A Jewish boy and a Jewish girl - married!!! Just look at the world. So many not married or mixed or marry/then not. It's a hasnah, BH, celebrate!
(11/3/2014 9:26:12 PM)
We were doing what the Rebbe asked from us, a. to learn about and publicize that Moshiach is on his way, and b. Really cared most about what's most important (and no, I don't mean money) than the younger generation would be inspired and not be frying out.
(11/4/2014 4:43:12 AM)
Very true!
(11/4/2014 9:18:12 AM)
to 160
i love your comment. i daven for your girls too.
(11/4/2014 10:38:41 AM)
Ugh!!! Yet another kvetching tznius article....
young ppl don't do as the old ppl say... Now what? Let's all shout at them and kvetch to our friends...

I think the Chabad approach is to focus on the light not the darkness. Why don't you compliment the young ppl for their energy and work with them to better channel it...
(11/4/2014 6:53:29 PM)
Thank You For Expressing Your Fealings
and please don't be discouraged By Latzoni Hador
we need to hear from people like you loud and clear
(11/5/2014 12:48:09 AM)
to 169
Very well said.
(11/5/2014 1:02:20 PM)
the things going on in crown heights lately are more important than the music that they are playing at a chabad wedding,
(11/5/2014 1:24:41 PM)
THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Rabbi Shusterman,
You are a GREAT MAN amongst us
you are not afraid to say the truth
Kol Hakavod!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
(11/6/2014 10:57:12 AM)
Yossi Cohen!!!!!!!!!
Yossi cogen is the best musician! I hired him for all my childrens weddings! He cooperates wit you and is a pleasure to work with!!! He is just the best musician!!!!
(11/8/2014 9:40:33 PM)
Wonderful, but...
A serious article. Wonderful indeed. But why the kvetching? Please... no more kvetching. #nomorekvetching
(11/10/2014 2:21:43 AM)
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