Most of you realize I love Chabad. It’s not just the beautiful girls, good food and free places to stay – I love their passion, their skill and their ability to be both modern and traditional. Before all of you crushed hat wearing die hard Chabadnicks go nuts – know that every group will picked on – not just you. Stay tuned for posts devoted to BT’s, Gerim, Modern Orthodox and more in the next week or so.
Stuff Chabad Likes:
Tefilin: They like tefilin so much they have two pairs, and they also believe that hounding people on their morning commute to put on some strange leather straps in the train station is God’s work – mostly based on a gemara that says if someone never put on tefilin they are going to hell or something like that. They also like huge tefilin boxes, but that may be a form of litvishe envy.
Nice Mikvahs: The men go all of the time, but did you know that Chabad has some of the nicest mikvahs around? The rebbe was really into having nice mikvahs so it would encourage women to use them and it worked quite well.
Vodka: Or shall I say mashka? Chabadnicks are the only Jews I ever hear ask you if you want white or yellow when it comes to offering you a drink. It sounds too much like urine. Smirnoff somehow became the drink the of choice in Chabad. I think it has something to do with Russia even though it’s made in the states.
Yichus: Outside of Chabad it’s not talked about too much but Chabadnicks are hung up on ancestry. There are folks who will date others with Gezhe which means you can trace your yichus back to the forests of Russia. Like Romeo and Juliet, Gezhe Chabad families don’t mix with BT chabad families and so on. I have a first cousin who’s a well known shaliach, does that mean I have gezhe?
Stories about misnageds becoming Chabad: Chabadnicks love telling stories about how the head of Aish Hatorah is from a Chabad family or how a really famous Gadol’s son became Chabad. It shows that Chabad can compete with the yeshivish rabbis any day.
Internet: Chabad was one of the first large groups to discover the power of the internet. Their site is highly trafficked and it’s hard to find a Chabad rabbi that isn’t on Twitter or Facebook. They even have an accredited online school for kids of shluchim that live in far flung places like Boise, Idaho or Bozeman, Montana.
Half Cooked Cholent: Why is it that Chabdnicks don’t know how to cook their cholent fully? It seems that they like it in the form of soup with sort of cooked beans. Maybe it’s the snag in me but I really like a thick cholent where its contents are all mushed in together.
The Rebbe: They sincerely love the Rebbe (wait — I love the Rebbe too) and if you read any of the encounters with him you will know why – he was a super holy dude who everyone seemed to know. I’m not sure how many politicians met with other Rebbes but the Lubavitcher Rebbe seems to have a monopoly on famous personalities meeting with him. When it comes down to it, the Rebbe is probably the most recognized Jewish figure of the last 1000 years.
Numbers: Chabad places a lot of value on numbers. 770 is more important than 613 and practically everything in the torah can be traced through gematria to some random date in chabad history.
Rubashkin: when it comes down to it, most Chabad folks think he’s innocent and that it was sort of conspiracy. I have spoken to lawyer friends of mine and it seems that he isn’t innocent at all, but Chabad has rallied around him – and I got to visit Postville before everything went downhill.
Moshiach: whether you believe that the Rebbe is moshiach or not, all Chabadnicks are obsessed with moshiach. Yeshivish people are obsessed with telling us that moshiach is coming when something bad happens while chabadnicks are obsessed with learning about him and subtly hinting that the Rebbe is moshiach who will reveal himself soon.
Traveling: One of the best perks about growing up Chabad is the ability to see the world. In fact, they should advertise that when they indoctrinate people. I know a kid who went to yeshiva in Brazil, South Africa, France and Australia. That’s nothing — you meet girls who work as teachers in Alaska and then do sedarim in India, and this is all common practice. We are stuck in college and they are seeing the world.
Separatism: Chabad is kind of known for its separatism. What people fail to realize is that there is this negative view of chabad for this reason but any other Chassidic group would be the same if they lived in far flung places. People simply don’t experience the ways of other Chassidic groups which would be the same if they lives away from big population centers. Chabad in general doesn’t mesh with the rest of the frum world, while satmars and yeshivish people go to each others events and quote each others Rebbes etc…
770 Eastern Parkway: Did you know that 770 used to be an abortion clinic back the day? Well since becoming Chabad’s headquarters, Chabadnicks in their obsession with 770 have recreated the building many times.
The Forest: Almost every Chabad story takes place in the forest in Russia. The story usually starts with someone fixing a wagon and a poor chossid that needed to travel somewhere with the Baal Shem Tov.
Colored Yarmulkes: Chabadnicks wear colored velvet yarmulkes in the colors of red, navy blue, green and brown. Some more modern chabadnucks wear black knitted yarmulkes.
BT Stories: If I became Chabad I could probably go on a speaking tour. In fact, Chabad is full of interesting people that tell their life stories to encourage people to drink the koolade — some of them are quite good.
Dollar Bills: Just like Bodegas hang up their first dollar bills, Chabadnicks all have a dollar from the rebbe — strange but that’s their thing. I wonder how many dollars the rebbe gave out?
Stuff Chabad People Don’t Like:
Vilna Gaon: He put Chassidism in cherem – there ought to be bad blood there. Funny because almost all Chassidim get along with the Litvishe mussar crowd, except for Lubavitchers.
Ashkenaz Siddurim: I can always find a few ahskenazic siddurim at a shteeble, but at Chabad it’s rare. It’s like they want to force the Tehilas Hashem on you or something.
Admitting the Rebbe died: sure, there are loads of Chabadnicks that don’t believe the rebbe is moshiach, but how often do you hear them say things like zecher tzadik lebracha or of blessed memory? Very rarely do you have a Chabadnick admit outright that the rebbe died.
Snags: The derogatory way of calling someone a misnaged, which is what they used to call the people who opposed Chassidism. Now it’s more of a way to laugh about people who are snaggy, hard to explain, but I am no snag.
Tachnun: It seems that chabad never says tachnun and this is because almost every day is another chabad holiday. This is because there were an endless number of Chabadnicks getting thrown into and being released from communist prisons.
Shabbos Zemiros: Did you know that Chabad doesn’t sing at the shabbos table because you’re supposed to be discussing chassidus instead? Funny, because rarely do I hear chassidus discussed at the table.
Aish: Aish is known to preach against Chabad. Trust me, I know people on the inside and Chabad doesn’t really like people who send folks to their campus and try and get students to become frum – it’s territorial, man.
Community Schools: There could be a fully functioning yeshiva day school but Chabad loves to make its own schools. This way, they can indoctrinate the kids of families that attend their Chabad houses and educate their kids in the ways of the Rebbe without snag influence.
Environmentalism: Most frum Jews don’t like the environment, but Chabad goes out of its way to show disdain. Have you ever seen their mitzvah tanks? They are basically converted RV’s with pictures of the rebbe that roll along in gas guzzling parades that make Prius owners cringe. They also have sukkah mobiles on pickup trucks and are willing to drive extra miles to get someone to put on tefillin or do a bris in the middle of nowhere.
Gimmel Tammuz: I was at the Berkeley chabad house a few weeks ago and noticed that the gimmel tammuz square in their calendar is blank (proof that they are mishichist.) What’s interesting is that on the most important date in chabad history – the day the Rebbe z”tl passed away there is nothing at all and this is one of my first things I look for in Chabad. I always love telling Chabadnicks that my father took us to the Rebbes leviah. I love the reactions that range from “wow, you’re Chabad” to “which Rebbe’s leviah?”
Mussar: Next time you’re hanging around Chabad, ask the rabbi to explain the difference between mussar and chassidus – it’s like asking a mac lover to explain the difference between macs and PCs.
Kiruv: Chabadnicks don’t like to call their work kiruv. In fact they hate kiruv organizations, but I think that’s mostly because of territorial issues. Aish sends a rabbi to their campus and they think the world has ended. Chabad thinks they hold the monopoly on kiruv although they don’t call it kiruv.
Asked if they are Chabad: Go ask a Chabadbick if they are Chabad and nine times out of ten, they will tell you that they hate the divisions and they are just Jewish – I find this hilarious.
Yeshivish people: there isn’t anyone quite as a snaggy as yeshivish people, especially the ones that show up a Chabad house and have to voice their concerns over a woman saying kaddish. They don’t realize that Chabad doesn’t do everything according to the books – they want to make people as comfortable as possible.
Stuff Chabad People aren’t sure if they like: