This post continues my letter to a disenchanted Litvak and describes the many different possible Mishechist options.
I debated including these in my letter to you, Reb Yid, but judging from the customs you described in your letter and the things I read on your kashrus blog, you are well accustomed to rigid extremes. Knowing how you won’t want be satisfied with the second-rate, I offer you the gold standard of Mishechism the Tzfatim. Before you protest that you’re not even Israeli, let me assure you that all nationalities can become tzfatim, just crop your hair to near baldness, leaving big puffs for payos. Have an extensive wardrobe? Leave it all behind, you won’t need it where you’re going! Dark, stained jacket, droopy, wide brimmed borsalino and sweat stained white shirt. Moshiach flag pins are a must.
Wake up, say Yechi, Modeh Ani, then hop on over to 770 Eastern Parkway where your bench at the farbrengen table awaits you. You’ll spend most of your waking hours there, though you will venture into the wilds of Manhattan for mivtzoim, protests and the occasional court appearances; when you leave make sure to bring 770 with you. Your bumper sticker plastered tefilin bag or briefcase should be well stocked with mikvah water, kos shel bracha, literature for B’nei Noach and your favorite volume of Igros. (You may need to ask for directions, subway lines are tricky.) Reading materials: Dvar Malchus.
Perhaps you want to be a tzfati, but also need the sweet release and adrenaline rush of an all-out brawl;
my friend, do I have a group for you! The Taliban-mishechistim are the military wing of the tzfatim. Armed only with blind faith, their bare fists and whatever siddurim are in reach (when throwing a siddur, do try and throw a Kehot siddur.) This formidable, self-governed group is the main reason we mishechistim have been the tour de force of the Lubavitch movement; after all, it is we who maintain absolute control of the glorious, beautiful basement of 770. Be warned! This is not for the weak or the faint of heart, and it will be your responsibility to maintain order when the Rebbe Melech Hamoshiach distributes dollars and kos shel bracha.
If brawling isn’t your thing, become an editor. Over the last eighteen years,many of the books of Chabad Chassidut have glaring errors in them. We cannot allow anyone to think for one second that such terms are appropriate! There are many way to go about accomplishing this sacred task: Stickers over the offending descriptors, crossing out the incorrect words, or simply tearing out the page with the repulsive text. All these methods are valid, as the sages told us (the Rebbe quoted it, so we KNOW it’s true) shivim panim latorah.
If you have any doubt as to which level you should take, pull out any volume of the Rebbe’s Igros and he will be happy to tell you which way to go.
May we be zoche to the hisgalus soon!!!
Rabbi Dovid Lerner
P.S. Don’t just write “Lubavitch” in your will, Lord knows how much trouble that gave us last time. Be specific.
David Lerner is a former Lubavitcher bochur from Detroit who would drift among the Mishechistim because they had more fun than the antis. In case you were you were wondering, he is an egomaniac, but he doesn’t want to get anymore hate mail. OK, that’s a lie. He totally loves getting hate mail. You can find him at academic libraries poring over ancient manuscripts looking for typos. He lives in his own head.