Thursday, February 5, 2009

What were they thinking?

Please, do not listen to what they are telling you. The Kinnus Hatmimim in Beis Rivka-Campus Chomesh tonight was a failure. A massive failure. If the goal had been to arrange a place for bochurim to come and socialize in a relatively chassidish environment with free food and drink then it was a success. And you know what? I don't think that would have been a bad goal to have. But the goal of this particular kinnus was for all the bochurim in Lubavitch to sit down like tattelehs and listen to a ton of super-boring speeches for hours and hours and hours. Ridiculous, I know. The only person the olam paid attention to was the Rosh, and that's because he talked about guts on the ceiling, or something like that. I got there in the middle of Rabbi Perlstein's speech, and it got so bad in the middle that Rabbi Gancz came up to the microphone and tried to get everyone to shut up. Poor Rabbi Perlstein, how often can you fix your kapote while someone is trying to get people to be quite so that they can listen to your speech? Regardless, he spoke for way too long. All the speakers did that. And did any of them tell any jokes or at least stories? Somehow it's gotten into people's heads that it's chassidish to chazzer every sicha in the book, but that telling chassidishe maasos is for Chabad Houses. Hello people, you ever read the Friediker Rebbe's farbrengens? Today's speakers aren't the Rebbe, they can't say chassidus for six hours. They simply can't pull it off. And you want to know a little secret? The sichos people paid attention to the most by the Rebbe's farbrengens were the political ones. Why? That's just the way people are.

What was really sad was that Rabbi Holtzberg, father of Gabi HY"D, spoke, and no one listened. No one even knew he was speaking in English. And whose fault is this? It's not the bochurim's fault. They see their friends, they go over and chat. No, it's the fault of the organizers. You want to have forty people sitting on your dais? Enjoy. But don't have ten speakers, have two. And make sure they're interesting. Then people will listen. Seriously, it seems like they think they're producing a show for sleeping seniors, not for a ton of 15 year olds. Which brings up another point. I was older than 94 percent of that room. Scary.

Anyway, now that I've got that rant out of my system...but wait, there's more! I understand that you're shushing me. Really, I do. But when you're shushing me so that you can hear better what your friend has to say? And you're in your middle sixties? Please. I talk, you talk, we'll all be happy. And what's with JEM providing a translation for only half of what the Rebbe said on the videos? Kasriel Shemtov's funding ran out in the middle?

The good news is, I did convince a friendly semi-relative to start blogging, and this is the result. I must say, I am extremely surprised at the result. I was firmly convinced that it'd be an ode to ties or something like that, but in fact it's a very nice dvar Torah. I'm impressed. All my blogging people should go check it out and comment obsessively. Oh, yeah, a word to the wise, comment moderation is ridiculous.

I also managed to farbreng with Rabbi Mottel Friedman. All right, it was more like a heart to heart. Mushy, I know. The same can be said for my conversation with Motty Beenstock, who is getting married soon to Rabbi Melech Zweibel's niece. I thought you should know that. Possibly the only inspiring moments of the event were watching hundreds of tmimim jumping on the tables and dancing like nobody's business. All that youthful innocence...before they've been perverted by reality. I used to be like that. Good times. Pity the rest of the event stank. I get that a lot of work was put into it. But sometimes you just have to wake up and smell the coffee, realize that you're not meeting the needs of your audience. Art is great, but if no one's buying it, then it's worth nothing.

After this exciting attempt at religious endeavor I made my way to an apartment for an intimate farbrengen with Rabbi Mendy Schapiro and about fifteen friends. In the beginning I decided that even though it was likely to be a rocking farbie and certainly blog-worthy it would be a waste to blog it live, because sometimes I need a little inspiration too, and it's impossible to listen to a farbie while you're transcribing it. I turned out to be correct, but unfortunately I fell asleep in the middle and left early. Still, the homemade peanut butter cookies were out of this world, and it was really nice to see my friends who were there. One thing I remember that Rabbi Schapiro said was about how we work hard at something, whether it be learning a sicha or doing a job, and we think, "OK, once I'm finished here I can go to sleep. I'll be done." But the fact is, you're never done. Life wasn't meant to be easy.

Sure, I know that this is a bit obvious, but that's the genius of the Rabbi. Tell me something I know in the back of my head and show me why I have to pay attention and realize that I have the answers inside me already, I just need someone to bring them out.

Another thing he said that comes to mind was that whether a person is a bochur, or dating, or a chassan, or married, or whatever, the way to deal with the situation can be found in the Rebbe's works. Without these, no one has any chance of doing what the Rebbe wants. So yeah, that was really nice. Oh yeah, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that it was TanyaChaz's 21st. Happy birthday Chaz. Keep on thinking I'm the greatest guy of all time.

Once I left that little nest of love I had a nice little heart to heart with Big Fan for, oh, two hours, plus some conversational banter with Lucky Wolf and this guy's younger brother, who appears to be going for the Matisyahu look, minus the white peyos. And yes, I have no idea why I know who Jordan Farmar is.

And that brings me back here, blogging late and feeling a bit like Yud Shevat has passed me by. Has passed us all by. I hate to admit it, but Mottel has a point. We need to shape up, and we need to shape up now.

45 comments:

LE7 said...

I watched part of the live feed... the whole thing was rather amusing... well not completely... but I knew the fact I was amused was a bad sign. Anyways.

Your second half sounded productive it seems.

Crawling Axe said...

I also think grubkeit is to blame. Lack of respect. It seems to me that “back in the day” (and I am certainly too young to use this phrase), chassidim would have respect. They may have fallen asleep, but they’d still have respect — and bring up their children to have respect.

The Real Shliach said...

CA: You totally missed the point. Back in the day, if people had any respect, it was because they deserved it. In Lubavitch we urinate on everyone, because compared to the Rebbe, we're all worth nothing.
But that's not why you're wrong. You're wrong because this is an event which is officially catering to the youth, and yet somehow the only thing it manages to do is cater to the egos of some rabbis who deserve to be urinated on. You get the point?

e said...

Agreed. People come there exclusively to hang out. So why mutche the bochurim and the rabbis with these silly speeches?

I also was kind of freaked out that I'm older than the Beis Rivka crowd. Another point relevant to us old geezers is that we don't need to wait for Yud Shevat to see our friends. We're all here all year anyways. So the Beis Rivka scene is kind of unnecessary (unless you want a free mivtzoim tefillin bag!!).

Crawling Axe said...

I am not arguing that the light should fit the keili, but as FR writes in one of his letters (I think in Warsaw), a student of Torah looks different from everyone else — he doesn’t walk on a street eating sunflowers. Obviously this doesn’t exist today so much.

What do you think both yungerlach and elder people in the audience would do back in the day?

e said...

back in the day, chit chatting with your friends was a big deal. Just they didn't call it "hanging out." They called it "chassidishe db"t" or "dibbuk chaveirim" or whatever. Please. Everyone is going to get lots of toichen after they finish saying hi and sit down with their respective mashpi'im, whose farbrengens they are interested in hearing.

Shimon Michal said...

One of the best analyzation of the kinnus hatmim ever written.

Dead on.

Mottel said...

Wow I had a point? The Messiah must be on his way.

The Real Shliach said...

Shimon Michal: thank you.
Mottel: you and several other people I talked to about this.
e: yup.

Dovid said...

1. Mah nishtanah hakinus hazeh?
2. I thought Rabbi Groner from kiryat gat had lots of good stuff.
3. "this is an event which is officially catering to the youth, and yet somehow the only thing it manages to do is cater to the egos of some rabbis who deserve to be urinated on."
Its organized by the tmimim themselves, apparently we like to have bigshot bigname speakers at the podium.

The Real Shliach said...

1: Takeh. Every year it's a disaster.
2: All the speakers had good things to say. But was anyone listening? Did the organizers make it that anyone should want to listen?
3: Organized by the tmimim themselves? Never happened.

Dovid said...

1. And every year the Rosh is entertaining.
2. How, get a louder mike?
3. No? I thought the vaad is Rabbi Zaklikovsky and a bunch of tmimim.

Dovid said...

"And did any of them tell any jokes or at least stories? Somehow it's gotten into people's heads that it's chassidish to chazzer every sicha in the book, but that telling chassidishe maasos is for Chabad Houses."
"All the speakers had good things to say."

Shtey ketuvim hamach'chishim ze es ze?

and Groner was 90% chassidishe maasos

The Real Shliach said...

1: The one bright spot.
2: Cut it down to two speakers, ten minutes speech, funny, entertaining, stories, etc. Enough of this chassidus that no one cares about.
3: A bunch of 24 year old guys who care more about their own kavod and fighting the tzvatim then they ever cared about doing the right thing.
4: They have good things to say, but they have no idea how to say it.
5: I left before Groner spoke-I was sick of the whole thing. Plus I had a great farbie with Schapiro to attend.

Dovid said...

2. Those are actually some really good points, but you can't stop the socializing. Its part of any kinus- talking with friends you haven't seen in a while.
4. ok, ad sheyavo hakasuv hashlishi.

Cheerio said...

who's jordan farmar?

The Real Shliach said...

2: Obviously. But you can make things better than they are now.
4: Exactly.

Cheerio: A Jewish NBA player.

Modeh B'Miktsas said...

Or you could be litvaks and socialize with your friends all day during seder.

What's a tzvatim anyway?

The Real Shliach said...

Don't worry, we do plenty of socializing during seder also.

Tzvatim are the radical islamic insurgents currently holding 770 hostage...

Crawling Axe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Real Shliach said...

CA: When?

Crawling Axe said...

Sorry, wrong blog.

They are tzfatim, aren’t they? I have mixed feeling. Mostly I am fighting negative feelings (a snag inside).

The Real Shliach said...

Don't worry, most Lubavs don't like them either.

Modeh B'Miktsas said...

ooh. cool. insurgents. (Insurgent is a fancy educated word for people good american citizens can bomb)

Dovid said...

TRS- lets not go down this path. Don't you think its better to ignore problems in Lubavitch and just hope they go away?

LE7 said...

ah that's the official terminology? I always called them tzfatties...

LE7 said...

Wait maybe I misunderstood...

The Real Shliach said...

Dovid: As I always say, there's no problem that's too big that can't be run away from.
LE7: They're called Tzfatim. But they're not necessarily from Tzfas.

Crawling Axe said...

It’s the sort of feeling when you meet a conservative, and you both agree on politics, foreign policy and economics — and then you find out he is a racist.

LE7 said...

Well a lot of them are.

sarabonne said...

Now now my mummy calls it "culture-ist."

The Real Shliach said...

Who's a racist?

Crawling Axe said...

A random conservative friend. It was a moshol regarding your last answer to me.

Crawling Axe said...

Don’t take everything so literally.

The Real Shliach said...

I got confused, because LE7 started on about tzvatim being racist, and it was all downhill from there.

LE7 said...

I did no such thing.

The accusations start flying...

You Mongolian nosed hippo eared Shakespeare aficionado!!!

The Real Shliach said...

Why, thank you.

LE7 said...

No problem.

e said...

This is when trs gets silly, when people just comment for the sake of commenting. But whatever. I guess this would be analogous to the small talk that keeps a conversation going between juicy topics.

Dovid said...

The small talk is not a means to an ends, the small talk is the tachlis.
What can be juicier than descriptions like mongolian nosed hippo eared Shakespeare aficionado.

The Real Shliach said...

True this and that.

Ben-Yehudah said...

B"H

A "rocking farbie?"

Only in America...

Ben-Yehudah said...

This and mottel's are my favorite Lubavitcher blogs. Although Rafael V. Rabinovitch does some fun political commentary via Photoshop.

The Real Shliach said...

A: I'm sure you could find one in Kfar Chabad from time to time...

B: Really? I'm honored.

zalman said...

by the title, i thought you were gonna say even the malach michoel cant accomplish.