The letters of our thoughts are the ideas present in our mind before they come to realization . . . Thoughts that are, yet not felt . . . The words of the subconscious . . . of the soul . . .


Sunday, September 16, 2007

Shmuley Boteach -Back home to Chabad

Back home to Chabad

It seems as if Shmuley has been doing a serious chesbon hanefesh over this past Elul . . .
. . . I had a
major falling-out with the Chabad leadership because of my outreach to
non-Jews. Ever since then, I have reconciled myself to the somewhat
lonely status of being a Lubavitcher without a community. I compensated
for my sense of isolation by becoming integrated into the mainstream
Jewish community, even as I gave my children Chabad names and continued
to essentially raise them within the Chabad mold . . .

not know was whether my children would grow up and make the choice to
be Lubavitch, as I had done. So when my daughter told me that she
wanted to marry a Chabad rabbi and go off as an emissary to a
university town where she could do outreach with students, as I and her
mother had done, at first I was pleased; but then I was frightened . . .

In my
professional life since leaving Chabad employment, I have had the
enormous privilege of serving as an ambassador of my people. I am proud
of being a rabbi with yarmulke and tzitzit on national TV who
seeks to heal mostly non-Jewish families in crisis. But I do not fool
myself into believing that my contribution to my people approximates
the Chabad emissary whom I recently met in Anchorage, Alaska. He built
a mikve and a Jewish day-school in a place where there would otherwise
be none. . . .

prophet Malachi said that the hearts of the fathers would be restored
through their children. Since my daughter's announcement that she
wished to marry within Chabad, I have begun to ponder the words of
Sigmund Freud concerning "strange mystical yearnings, the more powerful
the less they can be expressed in words," that were pulling him toward
his people.
I too feel those yearnings pulling and tugging. Pulling me home, pulling me home.

What can I say? Good for him.
While I have never agreed with his tactics, and found him to step over the line far too often, when he left Chabad lost a brilliant (though somewhat uncontrollable) mind . . . Perhaps this is a step in the right direction.

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