Monday, March 12, 2012

An Ode to the Forlorn Chabadnik

Chabad has a mission today unlike any other. A mission the Rebbe handed his emissaries in 1992. Of all previous campaigns he dispatched them with, the most difficult mission he saved for last, more difficult, in fact, than all previous campaigns combined!

What makes this task so difficult? Why is there so much resistance?

Because it is easier to remove the Jew from exile, than to remove the exile mentality from the Jew. The Jew got used to his Western lifestyle, and now the Rebbe comes along and tells them, "Start thinking Moshiach", "A Jewish Messiah has come onto the scene", "Think of accepting him as your king!"

Huh? Say what? There's a Messiah who wants to dislodge me from my comfort zone? Who is this man? Did you say "king"? Do you want me to start thinking fantasies? Keep moving. Stop bugging me with antiquated, bizarre concepts. I got enough on my hands as it is, let alone annoying spiritual demands. Judaism is nice, but go easy on the mystical.

Jews have it good in the U.S. and other countries they're in. They are profitably employed or loaded with amenities. They have good business connections. Many Jews have slipped out of strict orthodoxy. Most were already born into a secular, worldly, luxury-seeking lifestyle. Shabbos is a favorite weekday - a time for frolic. The kosher diet need not be so stringently enforced. And as for family purity, why the shower is just as good as a dip in the mikveh.

The unrestrained attitude has been adopted by the religious element as well. They may not desecrate the Shabbos, or eat meat that wasn't properly slaughtered, but to have them confide new faith to some outsider's sect who "claims" their rabbi is Moshiach - well that kind of Moshiach I just won't accept. After all, who says he's the right rabbi for the mission? I know a better one, so there!

These religious Jews also have prominent positions and profitable investments, and cannot be bothered with self-sacrifice like yearning for Moshiach just now. Yes, they pray for redemption everyday, but as long as it remains in the context of formal prayer, let it stay there and not effect outside life that's running rather smoothly as it is, thank you.

Jewish hearts have become burdened with lard. They are too heavy to nimbly shift into Messianic mode. They wax in morality but cannot now prostrate themselves to a call from a divine prophecy.

Poor Chabadnik. He must go out to these Jews, religious and non-religious, and try to cloak his wild ideas (for they are wild and absurd - because at the same time they straddle the supernatural and the unnatural), in calm, rational explanation. Not only does he have to say Moshiach is the Rebbe, even though people can swear the Rebbe was buried, but he also has to explain that even if Moshiach can arise from the dead, the Rebbe, whose stark gravestone stands in a Queens N.Y. graveyard, is alive and well - despite facade appearances. Poor Chabadnik! He has to convince Jews they are supernatural beings and the Rebbe even more so, and despite what the world thinks, or what nature determines, the Rebbe is alive and well - and waiting for Jews to crown him as King Messiah!

Talk about a bitter pill to swallow. Woe to him who has to convince in rational terms that which clearly rests completely in the realm of the irrational. Yet here he is, the Chabad emissary, having to obey his Rebbe, who commanded him, "Take the absurd, wrap it up in careful, rational language; Make it palatable. Cook the wild food in an acceptable pot before you offer it, so the person listening can take the vessel's content and then digest it - no matter where his state of mind happens to be." "אורות דתהו בכלים דתיקון"

Many Chabadniks shrug off their orders, lower their heads between their shoulders and quickly slink away, as if they never heard the orders. When they are reminded of what the Rebbe said at the International Conference of Chabad Emissaries in ש''ק חיי שרה , 1992, they just sigh, "Oy vey"!

(The "Moshichists", on the other hand, put faith in what the Rebbe said, "Go ahead, the world is ready!", and quietly watch the world transforming into its loftier metamorphosis as they ply the Rebbe's final campaign unabashedly.)

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