Jun 9, 2013
Politics Aside This Past Shabbos
Turning off more than just the cellphone at the Ohel * Photo: Bentzi Sasson

From the COLlive inbox: A Crown Heights resident shares his thoughts after spending this past Shabbos at the Rebbe's Ohel.

By Shalom B.

Being a Crown-Heights resident, I often hear people discussing and questioning the future of "Lubavitch." They mention teens falling "off the derech," deteriorating tznius standards, constant fighting of rabbonim and other ills. (Some will also add to the bunch, the "Tzfatis").

There are certainly many accomplishments, some unprecedented, to be proud of. 4,000 Shluchim and counting, thriving Chabad communities, schools and yeshivos that are filled to capacity and an abundance of new seforim and publications - in more than one language.

But, as is the way of life, it is the negative that draws our attention and looms over the horizon. We daven for redemption, yet worry what the future has in store for us. What will be with our children and in what kind of world are they growing up in.

This past Shabbos I was proven wrong.

I spent it with close to 1,000 chassidishe yidden. Anash, Shluchim, bochurim and even a few rabbonim. The point of gathering was in a row of tents near the Old Montefiore cemetery in Queens, where the Rebbe's holy Ohel is located. The occasion being the Shabbos before Gimmel Tammuz.

It was a first for me and I came there hoping to be inspired and uplifted, and to rejuvenate hiskashrus to the Rebbe. By the time Shabbos has ended, I left there with much more than that and that is the reason why I am sharing my thoughts with you.

What I saw there was the future of Lubavitch. I saw there the real, original and authentic Lubavitch. The Lubavitch the Frierdiker Rebbe writes about in his memories. The Lubavitch the Rebbe wanted and dedicated his life to. We might have been near a cemetery, but all I saw was life - מה זרעו בחיים, אף הוא בחיים.

I saw the new generation of bochurim, of those who sit and learn chassidus before davening, who daven with a geshmak, bochurim with whom I had conversations in nigleh and halacha, needless to say chassidus. Bochurim with whom politics weren't discussed at all, because it was not of interest to any of them.

There were hours-long farbrengens, niggunim were sung, stories were told, sichos were reviewed and L'chaim was said, yet adhering to the limits of the Rebbe's gzeirah on mashke. I didn't see anyone going wild, no booklets being banned or opinions and slogans being imposed on others.

I left inspired by what I saw, by the fact that there is a positive Lubavitch outside of Crown Heights, that there are bochurim who respect rabbonim and who want to become rabbonim, that there are bochurim who are striving to be Chassidishe Baale Batim, and Shluchim, and chassidim and just want to fulfill whatever the Rebbe wants from them without agendas, loopholes and excuses.

I therefore would like to highly recommend to all cynical people out there: Take the trip to the Rebbe for Shabbos. Do yourself a favor, leave the politics behind and see that there is a future. You just have to know where to look.

Thank you Rebbe! אשרינו מה טוב חלקינו!


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Opinions and Comments
1
Name.
Wow, such a nice article you should mention your full name, nothing to be embarrassed of.
(6/9/2013 9:56:06 AM)
2
Wow
I applaud those ehrlicher lubavitch yidden who make such a kiddush lubavitch and have such middos which make an impression never to be forgotten.
(6/9/2013 10:03:47 AM)
3
inspired
thank you for sharing. as an "out of towner" i feel alone in regard to 3 tammuz. my children are young and i worry abut the future for them. thank you for your inspiration, your positivity and encouragement!
may we merit to see the Rebbe b'gashmius and leave our worries behind.
(6/9/2013 10:04:47 AM)
4
beautiful!!
for once a beautiful, nice, up-beat article!!! no demeaning or bringing down other yidden.
thank you and shkoiach!!!
please stop yourself from commenting negative thoughts.
(6/9/2013 10:10:10 AM)
5
dont buy it
I "smell agenda all over your article. I dont buy your story.
there are pleanty of chasidisher people in ch well over a thousand. before this shabbos you didint know there are bochurim who get smicha and dayonus... business men whomlearn and go on mivtzoim??? As I try not to judge you I wounder maybe your are very naive and dont visit 770 and you hear "bad" and false matters about crow heightsers and than you went to the ohel and... so what YOU can learn is not to listen to Loshon Hora and be a real chosid come to 770 as well..
(6/9/2013 10:19:54 AM)
6
politics aside?
just funny to me that after starting off with such a beautiful title you go and contradict yourself by addressing the 'tzfatis' as one of the 'ills' of lubavitch. maybe you do not consider yourself to be part of those that think ill of them but you need to be accountable for everything you say
(6/9/2013 10:24:24 AM)
7
:) :) :)
I second your sentiments, i had a very similar experience last year, IT WAS ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL.
(6/9/2013 10:24:49 AM)
8
agree
I experience the same, every time I spend a Shabbos at the ohel too.
(6/9/2013 10:25:33 AM)
9
crown heights
Enjoyed what u wrote - the positivity. But why make CH sound like a bad place?
(6/9/2013 10:26:55 AM)
10
Yossi A
Agree with #5. Sorry but I don't buy your well written letter.
(6/9/2013 11:01:07 AM)
11
Wow!
Nice article.
Now we will go to Gimmel Tammuz with going this Monday night to the Achdus Kinus for us all to be united and see our Rebbe for one hour!
The right way to come in to the holy day of Gimmel Tamuz.
(6/9/2013 11:10:32 AM)
12
to num 5
First of all no one cares if you "buy" it. who r you?
Second of all no one said in 770 there isn't cassidishe peaple
There r prob more there, then anywere (prob). Its just that in 770 all I see (yes I know Your gonna say is who m I) and I'm sure other peaple do, is tsfatim going nuts and politics being spoken about. on the other hand by the ohel whens the last time you saw peaple going nuts? I'm there at least once a month for shabbos and I can tell you that all is good and fine by the ohel no "peaple ging nuts". Its a place that if u wanna farbreing and daven WITHOUT peaple speaking about pollitics you go there! So as for you all I can tell you is: start "shoping" at the ohel" and I can tell you that you will buy all that's there!
(6/9/2013 11:24:17 AM)
13
#5,6&9
I agree.
(6/9/2013 11:33:06 AM)
14
Words well put
Yes, it was a very inspirational Shabbos, and it was hard to leave!
Thanks to all the organizers for making it happen!!!
(6/9/2013 11:34:22 AM)
15
Toshav Crown Heights 60 yrs plus
The Rebbe gave us a gift , no other kehilla has .
We are a part of him , we are the only community that has a 5 sq mile of Chabad chassidim neighborhood.
We are growing as of the last count we are 51 shuls and growing BH .
We are proud to host thousands of yidden from all corners of the world at all times of the year , shiurim , torah classes , inspirational gatherings are constantly available to those who want to learn, I do not find the tzinius problem at all , in fact , many out of town girls and women are visiting and strenthen their tznius commitment visiting CH BH.
our children shine with mivtzaim and outreach , there is a bright future , Ashreinu ma to chelkeinu , I watched the Rebbes caring and brochos come true here and around the world , he is with us all the time -Un Hagbolos -.
Jump in and be Happy , Love your self and your neighboor
(6/9/2013 11:48:56 AM)
16
770?
IM HAPPY TO HEAR YOU HAD A GOOD TIME
JUST TO MAKE SURE I UNDERSTAND
GOING TO THE OHEL ON SHABBOS IS GOING TO THE REBBE?
CHASSIDIM ALWAYS KNOW THAT GOING TO 770 IS GOING TO THE REBBE
IM NOT KNOCING IM JUST SAYING
(6/9/2013 11:50:39 AM)
17
the rebbe says...
Not to go to the ohel or shabbos...
(6/9/2013 11:56:34 AM)
18
So True
While from the outside it may look like Lubavitch is falling apart Ch"V. At the core there are many Chassidishe Bochurim and families, and while it is true that they can be found everywhere (as per comment #5) at The Ohel it is much more apparent being that for some reason the place doesn't attract as much trash as most other Lubavitch concentrations.
(6/9/2013 12:24:44 PM)
19
very well put
and to "dont buy it". You don't need to buy it. All it takes is going once and seeing if there is anything there as he describes and then you can make your own assessment of the experience you had. If it's too toxic an idea for you to go to the ohel for a shabbos, then gezunterheit, stay home.

Though 770 is a tremendous kli for kedusha, when you spend shabbos in Crown Heights, you're at home having a mundane experience and for a few hours you go to daven/farbreng in 770. But then you go back to your mundane home, your mundane family etc. etc. In the ohel, you are immersed in an experience of learning, davening and farbrenging for a 25 hour period without the distractions of your family, mundane comforts etc.

But if getting a geshmakeh bed to sleep on is of importance of you, they fall short in that area, (please G-d, they shall merit to perfect that aspect as well pending a few million dollars of donations).
(6/9/2013 12:38:25 PM)
20
Thank you
as a bochur learning in 770 and having spent one shabbos at the ohel recently i completely agree with you

very well written and right on point, politics aside it is a really nice place to spend shabbos
(6/9/2013 1:09:16 PM)
21
just asking
are you supposed to be at the ohel on shabbos?
its pretty clear your not supposed to.
please correct me, but did the rebbe ever stay there for shabbos? yud shvat etc?
(6/9/2013 1:09:53 PM)
22
Thank You
Until we are iyh very soon we will be reunited with our Rebbe,for me the ohel for Shabbos is one place you feel close to the Rebbe and the achdus of chassidim

Thank you Abba Refson for making all this availabe for all of us,
(6/9/2013 1:32:00 PM)
23
Agree
As a Bochur who was there for the first time as well, I 100% agree.
(6/9/2013 1:32:57 PM)
24
Breadth of fresh air
Great article. People in CH need to be held accountable for allowing the Rebbe's shul to become infested with insane behavior. Just look at the video being displayed around the world of "Lubavitchers" receiving kos shel bracha this past Shavuos. When will our community leaders step up to the plate and defend the Rebbe's kavod ? A Shabbos at the Ohel is a great retreat, but not the solution to a growing problem.
(6/9/2013 1:45:00 PM)
25
Seriously
This has "agenda" written all over it.
Mention of Tzfatim, slogans etc make the nice writing and the good and true points void.
(6/9/2013 1:56:46 PM)
26
To 21.
The Rebbe did not spend Shabbos in many places that we do. The Rebbe did not spend the summer in the country or went for a vacation to Miami etc. nevertheless we do. we do not know the reason for the Rebbes hanhogos, so we should not impose those on others based on our own interpetations. As long as its a positive experience for a chosid that will enhance his hiskashrus to the Rebbe, I doubt the Rebbe cares where this takes place, so for those who feel they can connect better at the Ohel good for them and those who feel closer in 770 good for them too. Ahavas Yisroel especially between chassidim means also everyone should respect each others hergesh when it comes to where they want to spend their Shabbos, in a chassidishe environment.
(6/9/2013 2:27:59 PM)
27
Seriously.
IF YOU HAVE NOTHING NICE TO SAY
DON'T SAY IT.
No one is interested.
You are not helping things.
(6/9/2013 2:52:58 PM)
28
Mundane
Maybe if more fathers would not look upon the holy work of being mechanech their children , or spending time with their families as mundane ... we would collectively look a whole lot better...
(6/9/2013 2:56:24 PM)
29
To #25
What "agenda" does this have?

Is it not true about the Tzfatim, slogans etc...?

Crown Heighters have abandoned 770 many many years ago because of the Tzfatim (violence), slogans etc... So many shuls, over 40 since 5754 (1994) have opened, why is that?

I take it you've never been to the Ohel for Shabbos and therefore wouldn't really have a full any idea as to what is being written above true or not. I suggest you go to the Ohel for Shabbos and taste for yourself and then come back here and write your comments.
(6/9/2013 3:04:57 PM)
30
totally agree with 5 and 6
and not to be negative, but not so surprising the lack of politics, when you only have "one side" of the relatively like-minded people there!
(6/9/2013 4:10:02 PM)
31
what a beautiful letter
thank you for sharing.... amash ashreinu ma tov chelkeinu. how lucky we are so see the emes.

I wish i could have been there...

unfortunately there are people that are stuck in mud and dont know how to get out of it. what i mean by that is that they dont realise how much theyre ffoling themselves my saying "im not an ohel guy". ver bistu???? ohel guy??? u go to the rebbe.

noones saying u DONT go to 770. 770 is the place where the rebbe was begahmius for years, and thats why we go and daven and learn in 770. but t make urself a shtel on "i dont go to the ohel" is like sayin "i dont go to 770" before gimel tamuz..

lechaim chsidism, may we be zoche to be together with our father again bekarov mamash..... back in 770.
(6/9/2013 4:19:01 PM)
32
what???????
shabos at the ohel?????
770 is the place to b!!!!!!!!!
its our bais hamikdash take advantage and focus on the good stuff!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
(6/9/2013 4:48:21 PM)
33
TRASH Shame on you
18 How dare you call any yid Trash????
And you want to tell anybody that you care about what the Rebbe wanted. He is definitely not what you think!!! The Rebbe is absolutely in 770 loving caring taking care of every single yid, no matter where or what he looks like! Shame on you NO 18
(6/9/2013 4:56:21 PM)
34
agree with the others
you yourself are pushing an agenda by painting certain groups as having no agenda.
If people are really totally involved in the right things with no hint of politics you won't have to write about it, people will see for themselves
(6/9/2013 5:01:42 PM)
35
to # 16
the rebbe always went to the ohel to go to his rebbe after yud shvat, and we do the same after gimmel tammuz (unless there was no gimmel tammuz for you ) then i cant argue with you
(6/9/2013 5:03:39 PM)
36
to # 5 and everyone with the agenda
all he said was the greatness of the ohel, and yes unfortunately CH is going down, i would say there are alot less then 1000 true chassidishe FRUM people left in CH
(6/9/2013 5:04:58 PM)
37
to shalom b
to the writer of the article
you should have just wrote you had a good time. thats it.
even if i know its wrong to be there for shabbos,if you write you had a good time and thats it, im happy for you
for all the haters, enough allready!!!
everyone knows and agrees the only place is 770. only cuz of the helem v'hester some people were at the ohel.
besras hashem it should be the last time you ever have to go there again.amen!!!
(6/9/2013 5:26:07 PM)
38
Seriously
Unfortuantely there is behavior and a ruach imposed by some in 770 that is m'rachake many of Anash. The attitude of those individuals is that if someone is uncomfortable with it that's their problem. It's tragic and sad that this is what's become of the Rebbe's daled amos R"L.
(6/9/2013 5:31:50 PM)
39
to #35
very wrong
the rebbe didnt go for shabbos
and true my 3 tammuz is way different than yours
(6/9/2013 5:51:46 PM)
40
against
...such bias against the (so called) "tsfatim".
(6/9/2013 6:33:28 PM)
41
to 25
even if this article is 100 percent filled with "agenda" (which i doubt but anyway) the points are all true, sadly too true.
the rebbes shul and lubavitch world headquarters has sadly been invaded by a force of uneven minded individuals chock full of "agenda" who have succssesfully transformed a beacon of holiness into a den of psychotic, deranged, individuals.
spouting nonsense, sparking conflict, and making a whole lot of unwanted noise in general.
contrary to this you have the ohel, a successfully managed, clean organized facility, with a aura of peace and holiness pervading the center.
you cant blame anyone for exulting and glorifying the latter, whilst condemning the former.
good day.
(6/9/2013 6:53:44 PM)
42
to 41
Gut gezucket. Well said.

(6/9/2013 7:00:48 PM)
43
to #9: "why make CH sounds like a bad place"
Crown Heights is a joke in the eyes of the...

...rabbonim world (3 members of Badatz don't talk or recognize each other, a corrupt Crown Heights Bais Din, a CHK kashrus that is constantly challenged)

...askanus world (inactive community council, a netzigim that almost noone wants to be a part of)

...politics (different and competing people claiming to represent the community)

...police (people freely massering on each other)

...frum world (our tznius situation is way worse than other neighborhoods)

...mosdos (incompetence and maybe even corruption in the administration of our schools)

...business (we shop in our neighborhoods instead of supporting our own)

...media (we are a goldmine of juicy and controversial stories thanks to hate blogs and people who are ready to sell us out for 15 seconds of fame)

Let's call spade a spade: This is not the shchuna the Rebbe wanted. This is not a shchuna that gives the Rebbe nachas. It can be, but it's not and let's not kid ourselves because the sooner we wake up, the sooner we'll put an end to all the nonsense.
(6/9/2013 8:25:26 PM)
44
Sholom
one can find Chassididse Yiddin everywhere, in nearly every community where Anash live. There are places which are blessed with a higher proportion, however no one should dis pare, if we want we will find those to guide us.
(6/9/2013 8:52:50 PM)
45
TO EVERY SINGLE COMMENT..................
YECHI ADONAYNU MORAYNU VERABAYNU MELECH HAMOSHIACH LEOYLUM VAED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! THE SICHA THE REBBE HAD IN THE BACK OF HIS SIDDER WAS A SICHA ON HOW THE REBBE IS IN 770! AND IN SHEMOS CHOF VOV THE REBBE PROVES HOW HES ALIVE WITH US IN A PHYSICAL BODY SO GOING TO THE OHEL ON GIMMEL TAMUZ IS DOING THE OPPOSITE OF WHAT THE REBBE SAID AND WANTS YOU TO DO. YECHI HAMELECH
(6/9/2013 10:29:00 PM)
46
to # 39
do you do and not do everything the rebbe did and didnt do? he said to go to the ohel for his rebbe and we go for ours that was a lesson for us if he went on monday's and thursdays we can still go on sunday and fridays.

PS where it says that we do not go to a cemetery on shabbos, yom tov, chol hamoed, hoshana raba & rosh chodesh does not apply for tzadikim as the rebbe told a few people that tzadikim are there all year long and you can go anytime and the rebbe himelf went on hoshana rabba & rosh chodesh, as well as the other rabeim in russia if you know some history
(6/9/2013 10:35:22 PM)
47
Halevay
haleviy i could go to the ohel CH is beareble, i was bearly there but all that atracted me was davning in 770 (davning ONLY)
(6/9/2013 10:52:48 PM)
48
TO 37
EVEN THE PEOPLE THAT R"L WERE AT THE OHEL HOPEFULLY KNOW THAT IT SHOULD BE THE LAST TIME.
(6/9/2013 11:05:40 PM)
49
To #26
Gut Gezogt! Nicely said!
(6/9/2013 11:31:51 PM)
50
To # 47
Do you you think that shouting by using upper case letters makes your mindless mantra more believable?
(6/10/2013 3:46:07 AM)
51
Very nice
There is alot of truth to what your saying and the ohel is also a nice place to spend shabbos, but........ Why do you call it "going to the Rebbe"? Going to Beis Rabeinu is going to the Rebbe
(6/10/2013 4:30:20 AM)
52
#46
ARE YOU FOR REAL?
NEVER WENT ON SHABBOS AND YOM TOV
(6/10/2013 5:13:38 AM)
53
to all of you that say the ohel is not a place to be:
im sure everyone that went to the ohel has been in 770 as well but you people have never been at the ohel so you cant say anything! so shut up!! there is not one person that said that at the ohel there was nothing but pple that have been in 770 say that all that thay see is pple going wild etc... so go to the ohel and taste for your self!!!!.
(6/10/2013 5:52:20 AM)
54
the equalizer
why go to the ohel to daven on shabbosthe rebbe davened and farbrenged in 770 for over 40 years, if that is not good enough,you have problems.
(6/10/2013 8:07:33 AM)
55
# 45
If you think that the Rebbe,ZY"A is in a physical body you belong in either Bellview or Kings County G Building.
Gimmel Tammuz is his yohrtzeit,Yom Hilula & he is in the same place where the Freidiker Rebbe,ZY"A is namely the Ohel!!!!
(6/10/2013 8:08:47 AM)
56
Sorry # 47.This comment was directed at # 45
Do you you think that shouting by using upper case letters and over the top usage of exclamation points makes your mindless mantra more believable?
(6/10/2013 9:14:03 AM)
57
Politics or hiskashrus?
The most important thing is to be connected to G-d and the Rebbe and to be a better Chosid

It does not make a difference where that physically is achieved (obviously in permissible places)

So don't pour cold water on someone who goes somewhere to be inspired, just because of Your political view (kabal daati or else...)

The Baal shem tov davened in the forest and R' Zusia and R' Elimelech served G-d even in a cell full of garbage.
(6/10/2013 9:24:31 AM)
58
missing the point
The ohel is an inspiring energizing [transient] chassidishe community when it gets filled with hundreds of anash a dozen or so shabbosim a year. Most people there daven in the tent and don't step foot into the cemetery, Going to the Ohel doesnt mean that you are spending shabbos visiting the tzion (even those who daven at the ohel, it's at the candle room, they don't step foot near the kever), it means you are spending shabbos NEAR the tzion with many Chassidishe bochurim and anash. So forget the ohel, it's spending shabbos in Cambria Heights. If you're cambria- heightsophobic, than thats fine. I never saw Rabbi Refson on all fours begging people to come for shabbos.
(6/10/2013 9:35:54 AM)
59
nice to say
if u don't have something nice to say...
then say it in Yiddish!
(6/10/2013 12:34:25 PM)
60
TO 59
MAH KESHER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
(6/10/2013 5:08:47 PM)
61
To everyone
Let every one have is free choise, if you fill moor connected to the rabbi in 770 perfect, if you fill connected to the rabbi in the hoel is olso good. the most importent think is not to talk bad on anader juw we all "am echad" "vhaavta lereacha kamocha"
(6/10/2013 9:27:33 PM)
62
to #43
Don't forget the education world
(6/13/2013 8:35:09 PM)
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