An insiders guide to chabad

This post is more serious then funny but its informative – everyones favorite rabble rouser Phil writes:

Though I usually comment on many of the posts to this site, this is my first attempt at writing a satirical blog post.

In today’s class, we will attempt to delve into the complex world and ways of a decent sized Chabad community. While this task is nearly impossible due to all the politics, factions and weirdos that make up who we are, we can start with some of customs that are apparent to anyone coming for a visit.

Dress code and appearance:

Hats are usually mandatory no matter what they look like and what the weather is. It seems to be more important to wear a hat in the street even when your ears can fall off in minus 30 degree weather, or when you can die of heat stroke. As long as you’ve got that smelly, crushed Borsalino on, you’re one of us. Take it off, and you’re on your way off the derech. Ever notice that none of the original chassidim wore black hats. Maybe it had to do with the fact that Borsalinos weren’t available in Russia?

Moving down to the holy beard, trimming is a no-no, brushing the beard might rip out some hairs, mustache trimming is debatable. Shulchan Aruch says it;s fine, but frummies know better. In fact, the beard is so holy, it’s assur to throw out beard hairs. If one falls out or God forbid you happened to rip it out, it must immidiately be placed into a siddur or chumash forever.

Kapota is the black rabbi coat that was once reserved for the roshei yeshivas and rebbeim. Today, every other married shmo wears one on Shabbos and Yom Tov. I find it really ironic when BT’s drive to shul in Kapotas on Shabbos, or when you see these guys in their kapotas on Motzei Shabbos at blockbuster.

To summarize, it’s more important to dress and look like the Rebbe than it actually is to follow any of his teachings.

Sheitels are mandatory for married women any time they are outside the house. The prettier the sheitel the better, as Jewish / Lubab women are all queens and should be proud to walk around in sheitels that cost enough to take a second mortgage on your house.

When it comes to tznius, we are less militant than our Polish and Hungarian cousins that force their wives to wear bullet proof stockings, shave their heads and cover them with those bellhop type caps. Out of town shluchim’s wives are also given extra leniency when it comes to tznius, not sure if this is done in order to help attract rich men to donate to the Chabad houses.

Daily observance :

Although personal hygiene is advised by the S.A, you can bypass it al by hopping in the mikvah before davening. What better way than dipping in a small pool where another hundred people that are too much in a hurry to shower just dipped into?

Davening is usually quick, not much time wasted. Great thing about our shul is the number of minyanim every day. From 6 :30 AM until 11 :30 AM, a new one sarts ever 30-45 minutes or so. To yechi or to not yechi will be covered later on in this post.

Learning Chitas, Rambam and for the guys with some snag blood, maybe even daf yomi. Most people now get the condensed version in a ‘dvar malchus’ pamphlet, never mind that they don’t understand half of what the are reading.

Food / Kashrus:

Fruits and vegetables are subject to the strictest opinions possible when it comes to bugs, so any new pre-checked invention automatically makes the same species trief if it’s not coming from a reliable pre-checked company. Furthermore, even some canned or frozen goods such as artichokes with an OU are no longer good enough either. Surprisingly enough, the ban on raisins was lifted this week, looks like the rabbi in charge got fed having to dissect every raisin in his breakfast cereal.

Dairy products must all be cholov yisroel, even D.E. doesn’t fly around here. Then you have the extremeist version of people who won’t eat this brand of cheese or avoid that brand of milk for no apparent reason other than “that’s the way it was in our house” aka political B.S.

Meat and chicken must all be shechted by a Lubavitcher in order to be kosher. Never mind that the slaughterhouses are all shared by other chassidim such as Belz and Satmar, and never mind that their shochtim are just as frum as ours. How can anyone eat meat shechted by an evil Satmar or perverted Belzer if they haven’t learned their daily Tanya portion before shechting? As I don’t buy into this racket, and the other butchers often have better meat, some of the kids coming over to us for a BBQ bring their own meat. Poor kids, you should see their faces when our steaks are sizzling next to their cheap hot dogs that are burning, as they contain more startch than meat.

For some reason, we don’t hold by the Yoshon/Chodosh thing. I think the reason behind it is that we have a moral obligation to argue with anything instituted by snags. If we claim that those laws only apply when the beis hamikdash is standing, shouldn’t we be applying them if we believe moshiach is already here?

Yom Tov :

I would get into all the details of the holiday minhagim one at a time, but find it easier to summarize. Unless you’re fasting, all holidays are a reason for waking up really late. In fact, the shuls that start at 10 or 10 :30 AM on Shabbos, have yom tov minyanim starting at noon. Anyone care to guess why? If you guessed Vodka you’re on the right track. All holidays are another excuse to drink and farbreng. Somehow, single malt is popular these days, probably due to large influx of Glennovicher chassidim from Scotland.

Lubavitch holidays, aka yemei depagra :

These are known mainly by insiders, though I must admit I still get many of them confused. OK we have big ones like Yud teds kislev and yud shvat, but who remembers beis iyar or chof cheshvan? Luckily for us, most of these days are no tachnun days, so you’re reminded first thing in the morning. God forbid should the chazzan not start kaddish after chazaras hashatz, 100 people will scream Yisgadal! These holidays are best on Mondays and Thursday, we get to skip 5 minutes instead of 2. These no tachnun days somehow remind me of drawing the “get out of jail free” card in Monopoly, probably because most of them were institued when Lubavticher rebbeim were released from prison. As with all other holidays, another excuse to leave the wife at home with the 10-15 kids and go have some vodka and herring with the “shpitz Chabad” old timers.

Finally down to the mother of all debates :

Gimmel Tammuz / Rebbes yartzeit. OK, that just gave away which side I’m on. Is He really gone? Is He really buried at the Ohel? Is He not still hiding in 770, waiting to join the yechi crowd for one of those now famous Youtube ‘apparitions’?

Are you allowed to add 3 yechis to davening, leing and bentching? Why has yechi not been added to kiddush levana? After all, we do say Dovid Melech, siman tov and sholom aleichem 3 times, why not yechi? What about the Ohel? Is it customary to say yechi there too?

Got to hand it to the profiteers in charge of merchandising, the yechi yarmulkas and tallis bags were one thing, then we got bumper stickersand flags, onto to t shirts, then the best is th guy that had his car custom painted yellow and purple with crowns and yechis all over it. First time I saw it, I figured he would get it licensed and start making hot wheels yechi cars.

To summarize, Chabad is one of the most interesting sects in Judaism today. We have it all from Ex hippies to ex soldiers possibly even ax murderers and everything in between. We reach out to all Jews everywhere, in order to bring them in, although I must say that once they are in, no one knows where to put them unless they loaded with $$$.

Although I love to hate most of what I put up with everyday, I wouldn’t trade it for anything.