Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Mattisyahu Debate Continued

This interview seems to have sparked a lot of controversey; especially as regards this response. See here, here, and here. (Thank you, Halfnutcase.)

I'd like to say several things. First of all, most of what is being said here I said about a year ago, as probably none of you remember, here. Except not exactly there because you have to scroll most of the way down to get to it, but it's titled The Mattisyahu Debate, so it should be pretty easy to find.


And I'd like to say several things.
1)How can anyone base anything on that interview? It was an incomplete interview, and it sounds, from the way the answers didn't really answer their questions, like the quotes were taken out of context.
2) Chabbad is a really intense community. And they do have a tendency to ignore the existence of other Orthodox Jews; ie, once you're not so Lubavitch, clearly you're not really frum anymore. I can understand how this is limiting to everyone and anyone really, but especially someone whose always exploring. Spiritual searchers do not like final answers. Probably because final answers have little to do with truth.
3)I find that the ease and speed of condemnation is a little contrary to Chabbad's theoretical policy of warm and unconditional acceptance. To have denounced Shlomo Carlebach for breaking halacha is one thing; to denounce Mattisyahu for not really doing anything wrong at all is disturbing.
4)Jews maybe don't drink wine to relax (yeah, that's not true, let's just pretend it is though.) But Chabbanikim drink vodka at the drop of a hat. Which is more healthy?
5) I'm only going to say this once. STOP ENLISTING THE CHILDREN AS AN EXCUSE FOR, AND PRISONERS TO, YOUR SUSPICIOUS AND BASELESS PREJUDICES!!!!! (Just so you know, this goes for Dawkins too.) Entrapping the youth culture and dictating to them what music they can and cannot listen to is fascist and vaguely troubling. I love how people get to take the high ground the minute it's about "the children." G-d forbid we should allow "the children" to think or decide for themselves. G-d forbid we should teach them what intellectual and moral discrimination really is instead of just telling them what to believe. But no matter what the particular brand of dogma is at the moment, whether it be evolution or Chassidut of any form, as soon as you invoke "the children," you've got the upper hand, ethically and morally. Why can't everyone just leave "the children" out of it, and discuss your issues as your own issues?

Sorry, that's been a long time coming; and it isn't 100% logically sound, I know, but I'm getting really pissed off with all this indoctrination. It isn't just Chabbad, it's everywhere...ah well. Another rant for another time.

Meanwhile, I hope Mattisyahu sticks with the yiddishkeit, because that's what makes him so hardcore; and the fact that his music is all about Torah, and life, is part of what makes him such a unique and amazing performer within the secular mainstream. But I have to say, for all those of you out there who are worried about it, I wouldn't say that this article is neccessarily an indication of anything, except a typical frustration with a Chassidic community.

35 Comments:

Blogger Halfnutcase said...

I wish I could get ahold of him, not that I might be able to help much given how tenuous my connection has become in and of its own self, but yes I agree with your points.

I also find it really really disturbing how fast the condemnation has come from a group of orthodox jews who are supposed to be so accepting. One thing, I suppose that is really turning me off now.

Which reminds me, I still have to tell the rebbetzin about the bochur at the yeshiva I was at who was mekareved by matti's music. (yay, I get to reffer to him that way and other people don't! :-))

10:43 AM  
Blogger Halfnutcase said...

oh miri, when it comes to linking specific posts, there is a little timestamp at the bottom of each post, next to the person who wrote it, if you click that you will find your self at a dedicated page to which you can link directly.

Hope it helps :-)

11:01 AM  
Blogger Miri said...

HNC-
It is thanks to you that I am able to link at all, an ability which you can see I am thoroughly enjoying. Thanks for the new tip, I'm sure it will be helpful too. :)

11:05 AM  
Blogger Halfnutcase said...

you are, most welcome.

11:53 AM  
Blogger Nemo said...

"2) Chabbad is a really intense community. And they do have a tendency to ignore the existence of other Orthodox Jews; ie, once you're not so Lubavitch, clearly you're not really frum anymore."

I'm a little sick of hearing this to be quite honest. In Lubavitch I was always taught to respect other Rabbonim and Chassidius and types of Jews.

The only truth to this is that Chabad has trouble swallowing it's own pride. They don't like when people start making statements that are factually incorrect, like about who invented Kiruv, etc. And yes it's admittedly true, Lubavitch would love to see it's Rabbis sitting in every Shul and that every Jew should learn Tanya.

As far as Mattisyahu {or any other Chabad BT turned something else} it's a bit annoying and quite when you put so much work, support and time into an individual and they kinda go off on their own. Right or wrong, understandable or not, it's quite normal to feel marooned.

10:25 PM  
Blogger Nemo said...

And I don't think many people have a problem with Matisyahu doing his thing... He's got a mortgage to pay, right... They just don't want to endorse it or encourage it.

"3)I find that the ease and speed of condemnation is a little contrary to Chabbad's theoretical policy of warm and unconditional acceptance."

You can't just invoke Ahavas Yisroel and say that everythings cool. There must also be an extent of moral and intellectual discrimination when dealing with such issues, particularly when dealing with an issue that, as this one does, pertain to the entire community.

No one's chucked him out of their Shabbos table just yet, it's just that people are kinda {finally!} seeing their hopes of a role model dashed.

"G-d forbid we should teach them what intellectual and moral discrimination really is instead of just telling them what to believe."

This educational philosophy is so utterly flawed, especially when a kid is young and impressionable. If you place options in front of a kid and tell him or her to chose, ultimately the kid will just remain in flux. The kid never knows definitely what is a correct choice. He will necessarily pick the choice that is self-sufficing. There is no possible way to impart specific values by giving an ambivalent education.

"but I'm getting really pissed off with all this indoctrination"

Indoctrination or education? Education is, by definition, an indoctrination.

10:44 PM  
Blogger Nemo said...

Oh, and I totally see Mattisyahu going the Carlebach route...

I'm not so anti-Carlebach because Carlebach respected that he was on his own and doing his own thing. I'm also not so convinced that he was a evil as people like to make him out to be...

10:47 PM  
Blogger Miri said...

Nemo-
"I'm a little sick of hearing this to be quite honest. In Lubavitch I was always taught to respect other Rabbonim and Chassidius and types of Jews."

1) My statement may have been a little harsher than necessary; and, once more, I should defer to your experience, since you have more of it. The statement of mine to which you were reacting was based on my personal experiences; the fact that I'd never heard of gedolim outside the Chabbad world until I got to high school; the elitism that preached Chabbad as the one true Orthodox way; and the people who tried to be mekarriv me, even though I was still 100% frum, once I was distanced a little from Chabbad. It was also based on the experiences of my close friends, who did go to Chabbad high schools and seminaries and really lived in the community. Maybe the girls schools are different from the guy schools though.

And yes, of course I was taught to love and respect every Jew. I was just also taught that really, they should be Chabbad.

I do understand what you mean about the frustration when something goes awry into which so much work was put. But this is one of the risks of working in kiruv. Ultimately people decide for themselves, and ultimately, they should be doing most of the work themselves. That way, they're that invested in it, and it would feel like a waste of time and effort to them. When you're the one fighting the battle, the other person's passivity keeps him from getting invested which makes it all that much easier for them to walk out if they want to.

"You can't just invoke Ahavas Yisroel and say that everythings cool. "

I can understand if you feel like I'm oversimplifying the theme. But the fact of the matter is that to a certain extent, you should just be able to invoke ahavat yisroel and everything's cool. It is, according to Rabbi Akiva, the entire Torah. yes, it gets a little gray when you want to accept people whose behavior is a little shady; that's when you say things like "He's a good person, he's just not doing the right thing," or variations on the general theme of hating the sin and not the sinner.

I guess I can understand people not wanting Mattisyahu as a role model for their children, but what I specifically objected to was a widespread and complete banning of his music.The issue of music in the Jewish community in general is something I'm kind of touchy about, but I just really don't believe in telling people what recreational activities they can and can't enjoy no matter how old they are...providing, of course, that it doesn't violate halacha.

4:08 AM  
Blogger Miri said...

"This educational philosophy is so utterly flawed, especially when a kid is young and impressionable. If you place options in front of a kid and tell him or her to chose, ultimately the kid will just remain in flux. The kid never knows definitely what is a correct choice."

Here's the thing though; after 20 years in the Jewish community, being told exactly what is and isn't right and wrong, very black and white, albeit from three or four different hashkafic perspectives, I still don't know what choice is right and wrong. Frequently. Philisophically, hashkafically, halachically. Perhaps if I was told how to discriminate, I might now have a better time discriminating. But when you're taught what to think and not how to think, it really just ends up crippling you in the end. Massive educational systems along this theory would be flawed; massive educational systems on any theory are always flawed. Actually, educational theories are always flawed, to be perfectly honest. I still prefer to teach the art of thinking than to force ideas on someone with the danger of crippling their mental processes.

Oh, and the whole giving children choices thing? It's kind of empowering. It gives them a sense of control, and a sense of self-respect because their opinion and decision making skills are valued and respected. I'm not saying you need to give kids fifty options and let them flounder. But you can guide their thinking in a discriminating manner "why do you think that is? What do you think about that?" kind of thing. Personally, I don't find that so flawed.

4:14 AM  
Blogger Halfnutcase said...

Nemo, for what it is worth, my experience with chabad is more like miri's.

5:08 AM  
Blogger Nemo said...

"the fact that I'd never heard of gedolim outside the Chabbad world until I got to high school;"

I hear this complaint all the time though I don't see it as a complaint. The fact is that every Hashkafa, so to speak, belies it's leaders and often belittles the accomplishments of anyone else's. I think that you will find that many, if not most people's knowledge of the Lubavitcher Rebbe is at best limited to that he was a great man and a false messiah. A Litvish school will tend to focus on their Gedolim. Chassidish schools will have focused on their guys. And believe you me, you're not going to here about too many more Gedolim in MO than RYBS.

I would also call into question the fact that you never heard of other Gedolim. I find it highly improbable that you didn't hear Chassidic stories about non-Lubav Rebbes and Chassidim. Yeh, perhaps they don't tell Chafetz Chaim and Chazon Ish stories, but who's to say that's obligatory?

"the elitism that preached Chabbad as the one true Orthodox way"

I've never heard this at the expense of anyone else. In other words, I've never heard of anyone seriously Passuling another group to vindicate Lubavitch beliefs. Yeh, there's jokes here and there and specific Hashkafic and often Halachik differences, but no one has ever told me that so and so is treif, etc.

Elitism exist for a very simple reason- because you must feel sure of what you're doing. Why would you want to go down a spiritual path if you don't think it's optimal? It's not saying that everyone else is wrong {and sometimes this is where a bit of intellectual discrimination comes into place} but it's reassuring itself that it's made the best choice. You need to have a bit of pride in what you do.

"and the people who tried to be mekarriv me, even though I was still 100% frum, once I was distanced a little from Chabbad"

Probably because so much time was invested in you...

"But the fact of the matter is that to a certain extent, you should just be able to invoke ahavat yisroel and everything's cool. It is, according to Rabbi Akiva, the entire Torah. yes, it gets a little gray when you want to accept people whose behavior is a little shady;"

We're not discussing accepting someone's character or not; we're not talking about Matisyahu Miller. If it was merely his character being judged, then you could invoke Ahavas Yisroel. However, the discussion about whether his music is acceptable or whether it should be condoned is really asking ourselves if the influence of the secular music world and all of it's opulence is really something that we want in our homes and communities. I, for one, think that it preaches that everything that is bad about the world is somehow made right and acceptable and consonant with your Yiddishkeit. And I see this constantly with people, even 20 year olds, who have obfuscated the club and amphitheater scene with something acceptable and even encouraged.

Personally, I've never been a Matisyahu fan but I've always respected his abilities. However, I'd quicker tell someone to go to System of a Down than Matisyahu.

{BTW, I'm totally not with Chaim on the whole wine and Jay-z thing}

6:47 AM  
Blogger Nemo said...

*"everything that is bad about the world" should read "everything bad about THAT world"

I'm not blaming music for EVERYTHING :)

6:51 AM  
Blogger Miri said...

Nemo-
"The fact is that every Hashkafa, so to speak, belies it's leaders and often belittles the accomplishments of anyone else's. "

Yes. But you are aware that such people exist.

"I find it highly improbable that you didn't hear Chassidic stories about non-Lubav Rebbes and Chassidim."

I did. They were referred to as "Misnaggdishe Rabbis." No names. I'dlike to specify who exactly I hadn't heard of, to give you an idea: R' Moshe Feinstein (well, a bit, around the edges,) Rav Dessler, Rav Hirsch, Rav Kook , the Baba Sali, the Chazon Ish, or any of the Rav Soloveitchiks. And I went to school with Rav Ahron's grandkids. (The Chofetz Chaim is a little tough to ignore.) And many others.

"Why would you want to go down a spiritual path if you don't think it's optimal? It's not saying that everyone else is wrong {and sometimes this is where a bit of intellectual discrimination comes into place}"

That's fine if you're acknowledging that it's optimal FOR YOU, while admitting it may not be optimal FOR OTHER perfectly frum people. The thing about Chabbad is that I feel like they push the message that everyone else is wrong.

"I, for one, think that it preaches that everything that is bad about the world is somehow made right and acceptable and consonant with your Yiddishkeit."

I can understand why you might think this about secular music in general. I cannot accept this satement as something applicable to Mattisyahu's music. Every word he sings is about Torah, and G-d, and doing things for the good of mankind. Really, how can you equate the two? simply from the lyrics!

"However, I'd quicker tell someone to go to System of a Down than Matisyahu."

I don't know why, firstly because System of a Down kind of Sucks, and Mattisyahu is an amazing artist, and secondly, re-read previous point. You won't find SOAD singing about Moshiach, that's for sure.

"{BTW, I'm totally not with Chaim on the whole wine and Jay-z thing}"

Thank G-d for that ;).

HNC-
Thanks for the support:)

9:36 AM  
Blogger Nemo said...

"Yes. But you are aware that such people exist."

First of all that's not true. I challenge you to go to Bnei Brak and ask your average Bochur {ok, maybe not :)} or girl in high school about Rav Cook, RYB Soloveitchik or R'Hirsch. And when you're done with that, go to your average Yeshivat Tichon and ask them there about the previous Lubavitch Rebbe or any one of his contemporary Litvish or Chassidish leaders. I can assure you that from either query you'll either get a blank stare or a blanketed despise.

Secondly, I had only heard some of these names and Seforim as a kid and I had plenty of non-Lubavitch teachers {Mir and Staten Island types}. My first memory of the name Chazon Ish was looking for an intersection in Bnei Brak when I was 13. I honestly didn't even know much about Lubavitch until I was in high school, even though I had always been in a Lubavitch school. I remember that the only thing I knew was that we ate salami on 19 Kislev.

"I did. They were referred to as "Misnaggdishe Rabbis." No names. I'dlike to specify who exactly I hadn't heard of, to give you an idea: R' Moshe Feinstein (well, a bit, around the edges,) Rav Dessler, Rav Hirsch, Rav Kook , the Baba Sali, the Chazon Ish, or any of the Rav Soloveitchiks. And I went to school with Rav Ahron's grandkids. (The Chofetz Chaim is a little tough to ignore.) And many others."

I definitely heard about Reb Moshe in school{my teacher was a Talmid of his} but I didn't respect him then nearly as much as I do now. The thing is that in school {middle, high and even into Yeshiva} they never really taught anything about Halacha and Rabbonus. But, because I've been involved in Rabbonus and learning Halacha over the past two years, I've found Reb Moshe indispensable. There isn't a Rov today worth his opinion if he doesn't have Igros Moshe in his library. We didn't learn about too many contemporaries, just the classics. I wasn't taught any of this in school simply because we only learned Gemara, Chassidus and the AR Shulchan Oruch. This is probably also why there wasn't much time devoted to the Chofetz Chaim either- because he is not the Lubavitch Posek.

As far as RSR Hirsch and Rav Cook, it shouldn't suprise you that their Hashkafas weren't taught in a Lubavitch school as their approaches starkly contrast Lubavitch's. It's not exactly apropos to teach their works in a Lubavitch school, don't you think? Although I'll have you know that I've only read and heard respect for both of them, particularly Rav Kook's learning {they say he was greater than many of the Chareidi Gedolim of his time}. Rav Dessler was a very big Mussarnik which is also a very drastic difference.

11:43 AM  
Blogger Nemo said...

"I can understand why you might think this about secular music in general. I cannot accept this satement as something applicable to Mattisyahu's music. Every word he sings is about Torah, and G-d, and doing things for the good of mankind. Really, how can you equate the two? simply from the lyrics!"

Nothing to do with the lyrics... if it was lyrics alone, it would be hard to say definitely right or wrong just by virtue of musical style because the truth is that much of Jewish music has gone that direction. This could only be left up to the discretion of the individual.

The problem is when people start going to his concerts and thinking that a spiritual experience. The problem is seeing a guy on stage talking about G-d and Moshiach while rubbing bodies in the mosh pit with half naked chicks and getting high on Torah while toking your hash...

11:52 AM  
Blogger Halfnutcase said...

when my shliach and rov got to go to one of his concerts the club made a seperate viewing area for the lubavitchers in some kind of balcony or box.

You don't have to deal with that kind of thing.

Oh, and methinks that pertaining to miri there would be far more concern about rubbing up with half naked men. ;)

12:16 PM  
Blogger Nemo said...

"You don't have to deal with that kind of thing."

That's not the Metzius. I've heard it first hand from lots of Lubav kids.

"more concern about rubbing up with half naked men. ;)"

Women might also be disconcerting!

12:33 PM  
Blogger Halfnutcase said...

I'm sorry Nemo, but the talmud from everything I have ever studied was far more concerned about womens lack of ability to control themselves than mens. :-)

1:13 PM  
Blogger Miri said...

"I remember that the only thing I knew was that we ate salami on 19 Kislev."

OMG us too! Did you eat yours with ketchup? I was convinced that this was perfectly normal until I left Chabbad at which point society seemed to tell me it was a freakish thing to do..although I learned plenty of Chabbad Torah in school. We didn't start hard core Tanya or gemarrah until high school, but we learned lots and lots of sichot...(which by the way, are very very very cool Torah...)plus doing Chitas, the stories, learning in Yiddish, etc. !9th of Kislev...someone got out of jail, right?

"ask your average Bochur {ok, maybe not :)} or girl in high school about Rav Cook, RYB Soloveitchik or R'Hirsch. And when you're done with that, go to your average Yeshivat Tichon and ask them there about the previous Lubavitch Rebbe or any one of his contemporary Litvish or Chassidish leaders."

I'm pretty sure most Bnei Brakians are familiar with Rav Hirsch. Probably at least vaguely with Rav Kook too. Soloveitchiks, maybe not. But all the beit tichon people have heard of the Lubavitcher Rebbe. Everyone has. In the MO community, it's largely because of the friendship he had with Rav Soloveitchik. (Hence the soloveitchik grandchildren attending Chabbad elementary schools...)Also though because of how Tanya comes into fashion every once in awhile, and also unfortunately, bc of the current machloket in Chabbad...

R Hirsch and Rav Dessler's hashkafot were contrary to Chabbad; but Rav Kook's philosophy is in many ways very similar to Chabbad's, if not in many points almost exactly the same.

"just by virtue of musical style because the truth is that much of Jewish music has gone that direction. This could only be left up to the discretion of the individual."

Be forewarned your statement here is probably going to provoke a whole new post. look; art doesn't exist in a vaccum. Copying the stylings of the current popular music, borrowing from other arists, these things are essential to creativity. (Ever hear the theory about how the old niggunim were rewrites of local bar songs? And what about the Sephardi rabbanim and their piyutim in the 13th and 14th centuries?) If you want to complain about Jews not being able to come up with a unique musical style, I'm right there with you. But the fact is that the new is created by amalgamating and reinterpreting the old. I see nothing wrong at all with being able to connect with rap and reggae in a spiritual way and then using that connection to serve and come closer to G-d. I know people get paranoid every time anything smells even vaguely goyish. I really think people need to start getting over that, especially if, like me, you don't want to live in a community that's completely culturally stagnant.

"getting high on Torah while toking your hash..."

Forgive me for sounding like a libertine shiksa, but any way anyone wants to get high on Torah is fine by me man...

4:06 PM  
Blogger Miri said...

Oh, and guys? I would be more concerned about the half-naked men. Or rather, the ones who may or may not be wearing clothing, but are taking advantage of the crowdedness to put hands in inappropriate places...

4:07 PM  
Blogger Halfnutcase said...

as I remember it we got hotdogs and steak on 19th kislev. :-) (the alter rebbe's release from prison)(steak for dinner, and hotdogs for lunch, the regular rosh chodesh fare, lunchwise.) Plus a nice fabrangen with very little mashka, but then on I went to the at-risk home of chanoch lenaar. (oh the stories I have to tell)

and what I know about rav hirsch always struck me as taking half of chabad philosophy and pumping it up with steroids untill it filled up the other half. :-)

but what really weirded me out was people eating pizza with katchup in kingston pizza. I felt really sick the first time I saw anyone do that. That and peoples habit of dropping soft serve icecream in to paper bags with a little bit of wax paper wrapped around it, the poor ice cream!

oh and about non-jewish music becoming a niggun, you do realize that that is what happened when chassidim incorperated nepoleon's march (aka the french national anthem) as a niggun? (and I wonder why I don't hear that one sung very often anymore!) Talking about elevating bar songs, you know that our national anthem is a bar song?

(and miri it isn't fair, I said that you would probably be more concerned about the men. didn't I?)

4:47 PM  
Blogger Nemo said...

"I was convinced that this was perfectly normal until I left Chabbad at which point society seemed to tell me it was a freakish thing to do."

Hey, what's wrong with salami and ketchup?? OK, salami maybe. But what else are you gonna do with it if you can't put ketchup? And you shouldn't talk about freakish foods... I'm just picturing you sitting there eating pitas and a 10 shekel kilo of chummus.

"!9th of Kislev...someone got out of jail, right?"

The Alter Rebbe, R' Shneur Zalman, aka the Baal Hatanya and the Rav.

"I'm pretty sure most Bnei Brakians are familiar with Rav Hirsch."

I wouldn't be. I mean, I'm not saying no one, but not the Litvisher or Chassidish crowds.

"Probably at least vaguely with Rav Kook too."

Nope. He's persona-non-grata over there. Remember, relgious Zionism?!

"But all the beit tichon people have heard of the Lubavitcher Rebbe."

I know that {some of my best friends are MO}, but I very specifically said the previous Lubavitch Rebbe who was, in my humble opinion, one of the greatest shapers of post WWII Judaism.

"R Hirsch and Rav Dessler's hashkafot were contrary to Chabbad"

I wouldn't say contrary to Chabad at all Hashkafa-wise. Actually, I've been wonderfully surprised about some of the similarities between Chabad and Hirsch. Both put a very strong import on a rational approach to Yiddishkeit. Also, I've heard that in Michtav Eliyahu, Rav Dessler has a very strong influence from Tanya.

"but Rav Kook's philosophy is in many ways very similar to Chabbad's, if not in many points almost exactly the same"

I'll admit that I'm not well equipped to have a discussion on Rav Kook. I know that his books and essays cover a wide variety of matters, but what he is most known for is his strong views in support of religious Zionism. While Lubavitch certainly agrees in many points, I find it hard to say that they are parallel. Additionally, I think that in contemporary national religious affairs there are also a lot of pointed differences.

5:00 PM  
Blogger Nemo said...

"But the fact is that the new is created by amalgamating and reinterpreting the old. I see nothing wrong at all with being able to connect with rap and reggae in a spiritual way and then using that connection to serve and come closer to G-d. I know people get paranoid every time anything smells even vaguely goyish. I really think people need to start getting over that, especially if, like me, you don't want to live in a community that's completely culturally stagnant."

I'm agreeing with you here, although I wouldn't disagree with someone who would say otherwise. I think that everyone has the right to chose the music that they and their children shouldn't listen to. I guess that it's a matter a prerogative, although it may also have a communal impact.

"Forgive me for sounding like a libertine shiksa, but any way anyone wants to get high on Torah is fine by me man..."

The chummus is getting to your head.

Oh, BTW, HNC just reminded me of this. There always used to be these Frum families that would put ketchup on everything like macaroni and pizza. They also used to eat American cheese... I thought it was all so repulsive until I got to Yeshiva and learned, by necessity, to deal with it.

8:51 PM  
Blogger Nemo said...

BTW, are you from Chicago?

11:41 PM  
Blogger Miri said...

HNC-
ketchup on pizza still freaks me out. for that matter, so does ketchup on noodles, or on anything that isn't fried or red meat. and I agree with Nemo - what are you going to do with salami if not put ketchup on it?

And of course I know about Napolean's march, but there was a story behind that...using the spiritual koach of the melody to defeat him and thus avoid bringing equality to the Jews of Russia, right?

To Nemo and And HNC-
I don't know too much of Rav Hirsch's Torah; I know more about him as a historical figure. And I don't know about Rav Dessler being influenced by Tanya, although some of his hashkafic ideas are very similar to Chabad's. I guess the reason I think of them that way is because that's how they were portrayed to me by my high school. "We don't agree with Chabbad philosophy. Go read these Rabbis instead." Pretty ironic when I found out that the Rabbis they were sending me too actually supported my point and not theirs...but that's really more of a reflection onthe Jewish educational system than on the Rabbanim themselves. Which, I guess is always the case.

Rav Kook has many similar views to Chabad in terms of love for Eretz Yisrael, Moshiach, ahavat yisroel and seeing the good in every Jew; plus other more abstract/ mystical concepts concerning existential issues. He really wrote some very very cool stuff. And the resaon Bnei Brakians would be familiar with him, ie at least have heard of him, is because he was such a tremendously influential figure in Israel; he united many different aspects on the spectrum and was considered the Rav of Jews of all stripes and colors. Sound familiar?

oh, and pita and chummus? Not only extremely healthy, but downright patriotic in this country. Just saying.

And yes, I am from Chicago. Why do you ask?

1:40 AM  
Blogger Halfnutcase said...

Miri-

Not quite. Actualy the story as I heard it was that the alter rebbe simply found the whole idea of encouraging your soldiers by singing your victory march while marching out to battle to be a pretty nifty Idea, so he coppied it as a lesson to his students.

Actualy I heard that the whole issue of nepoleon was solved with a shofar blast on rosh hashana. (which, come to think of it defies halacha in so many ways, but anyway)

and I think that nezshuritzi khloptsi is factualy a converted drinking song. I seem to remember hearing that from a russian.

But whether niggunim started their lives as drinking songs they certainly are ending them as drinking songs.

But one day I'm going to introduce "hey lets go" in to a fabrangen sometime and see if I can get it listed as a new niggun. Its a really upbeat little diddy. :-)

4:19 AM  
Blogger Nemo said...

"and I think that nezshuritzi khloptsi is factualy a converted drinking song. I seem to remember hearing that from a russian."

B'Feirush... it means "Don't worry buddy, soon we'll get to the inn and drink vodka"...

It became a Niggun for it's upbeat tune and it's "Toichen"... to Chassidim it meant don't worry my brother, for soon we'll get to Lubavitch and drink in Chassidus.

7:21 AM  
Blogger Halfnutcase said...

exactly nemo, but still its an old russian drinking song, which is the point.

It just goes to show you can elevate almost anything.

7:44 AM  
Blogger Nemo said...

I thought you were from Chicago for some reason, and then you said that you went to school with R' Ahron's grandkids, so I figured...

9:56 AM  
Blogger Miri said...

HNC-
Yes, they are definitely ending their lives as drinking songs. Also, i'm pretty sure "hup, Cossack" was originally if not a drinking song, certainly a bar song. It would be awesome for you to introduce "hey let's go," let me know if you do. Also, try the Mario theme song.

Nemo- it used to be on my blog profile that I was from Chicao. Then I made aliyah and someone pointed out how that wasn't exactly accurate anymore. And I've probably mentioned it in various posts...so anyway, yes good call. hope that didn't turn anything I've said into loshon horah for you...

2:02 PM  
Blogger Miri said...

oh, and? this is officially my most commented-upon post to date. so thank you guys for that.

2:03 PM  
Blogger Nemo said...

"hope that didn't turn anything I've said into loshon horah for you..."

Yes, cause now all of your secrets are making sense...

"this is officially my most commented-upon post to date"

No comment.

6:48 PM  
Blogger Halfnutcase said...

the bochurim ase so sheltered that they likely would not even recognize the tune to say its goyish, and with that I might be able to explain that it is a niggun and convince them to teach it to others, and thus we find a new drinking song! :-)

7:16 PM  
Blogger Miri said...

Nemo-
Seriously? Or are you being sarcastic? One thing about the Chabbad community is that everyone knows everyone else, I really wouldn't be surprised if you could figure out about half my life story just based on what I wrote here and knowing where I'm from.

HNC-
Good luck with that!

3:09 AM  
Blogger Nemo said...

Maybe I could if I wanted to, but you seem harmless...

1:54 PM  

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