My first Lubavitcher

RosietheTefillinWearerGuest post by Jeremy Shadow

Despite currently being a neo-pagan, I was born and raised a Conservative Jew in South Orange New Jersey. South Orange is a friendly little community somewhat close to Newark. After the Newark Riots, when Jews were kicked off of their turf, a great deal of them migrated to this area, comprised of Livingston, South Orange, Short Hills, and numerous other towns with large Jewish populations. This story is my first experience with the orthodox Jews.

When I was younger, my father would often recant tales of his “lubavitcher” friend at his office. Every Tuesday, to this day, my father joins him and lays teffilin. These words sounded so funny to me, but so exciting at the same time. They were a strange and inviting, and I laughed every time my father would tell the same story.

“Every Tuesday, when I see the lubavitcher, I walk into his office teffillin in hand. I look him square in the eye, and say to him, “are you a holy man?” and the lubavitcher looks back at me and replies “I have holes in my socks.”

My father is laughing uproariously at this point, at his own story. When he calms down, he continues.

“Are you a pious man?” my father next asks the lubavitcher” and the lubavitcher replies, never wavering “I do indeed like pie.”

My father and I shared many laughs over this same story, always told the same way. I wondered what this strange species of creatures were called “lubavitchers”, and why they lay tefillin every day, instead of just every Tuesdays. To me, Tuesday was teffilin day. I once asked my father why he too didn’t lay teffilin every day, or keep kosher. He said to me “I’m not ready. I’m still climbing the ladder of mitzvot.”