Monday, February 25, 2008

The Lipa Affair

I now listen to the strident call to arms and present to you my thoughts on the big event of the century, an incident that will surely change more lives than the big bang, a cataclysmic event that may signal the end to listenable Jewish music, get the point. I speak, of course, of the planned Lipa Schmeltzer/Shloime Gertner/Yisroel Lamm which would have rocked WaMu like nobody's business. As of this time no one really knows whether the concert will continue as planned.
For those who don't know, this concert was officially "banned" a few days ago by about thirty Litvish and Chassidish people types. Some would call them "Gedolim" and Rebbeim". I certainly wouldn't. The blogosphere has pretty much divided itself as to whether Lipa, who the ban is mainly directed against, should listen or not. Perhaps the most important issue is one of intent; why this singer, why this concert.
The people who orchestrated the ban are known as "Askanim", community workers. We bless these people every week on Shabbos in the Yekum Porkans and Mi Shebeirach. Who are these people? The conspiracy theorists would have you believe that these people are out to get Lipa, for some unnamed offense, and they managed to get a bunch of gullible Rabbis to sign on. The self-righteous slimesnags (ooh, can I copyright that word? [and with that objectivity flies out the window]) are saying that these Askanim are righteous people, concerned for the welfare of their community, and trying their utmost to make this world a better place.
As I've commented several times on other blogs, I'm very happy to be a Luabvitcher, obviously for many reasons, particularly because it means that I don't have to listen to this ban. This attitude is really not to conducive to Judaism, but it certainly does have precedent. Do any Sephardim not have two wives because of Rabbeinu Gershom? (Major tangent here: As reported on that indispensable source of [possibly true] information, the reason for the continuation of Rabbeinu Gershom's decree against polygamy is a source of major conflict among the weirdos who are [potentially] interested in getting hitched twice.) Additionally, if Lubavitch Rabbonim were to ban the concert, would I go? Obviously, if the Rebbe were to come out against something like this (which he would never do, because 1. He is way too classy, and 2. He is way too smart) then obviously not only would I not go but I would also try and stop everyone else from going too. But what if, for example, a Rav I respected would prohibit attendance? Or a Mashpia? In fact, I've been told by a Bochur that I respect that he, though a big fan of Lipa, would never go to a concert, because it's not a place for a Chassidishe Bochur. This wasn't a criticism of those who do attend concerts; after all, an unimpeachable source of religious inspiration, our gallant leader, has been seen by this blogger at various concerts. Heck, his uncle and brother make their living standing up on stage and singing. So Lubavitch is ok with concerts. Great.
But the rest of the world? If the concert happens, are they allowed to go? I would say yes, but that's only because I can't stand the slimesnags and look for any opportunity to show their true colors. (Man, I just realized that I'm really a close-minded bigot). The Torah tells us to make fences in our lives, to be holy in that which is permitted. At the same time, the Torah tells us that the original sin was caused by Adam's adding to G-d's prohibition. Where's the middle ground? Go ask a Rabbi. But what is obvious is that banning a concert like this is a great way to write the word "is" three times in a relatively short sentence. No, really what I'm trying to say is that some Rabbis don't see the forest for the trees, and don't get that sometimes they shouldn't listen to askanim and blindly sign anything that comes their way.
Isn't it nice to parrot what a bunch of other bloggers have written and not even write it as well? Yup, life is good.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for your feedback. Inquiring minds now know!