the rebbe's birthday
Today (if you’re in Australia — Monday night and Tuesday, I mean) is the birthday of Rebbe Nachman of Breslov, the coolest Jew ever…please ignore the background music and groove on this.
Rebbe Nachman’s birthday
Happy birthday, Rebbe Nachman. And mazel tov, sis-in-law and about-to-be bro-in-law.
I’ve been thinking lately a lot about rebbes. being as though right now we’re all gathered for the impending wedding, i’m surrounded by Lubavitcher Chasidim, and it’s both beautiful and creepy how they talk about the Lubavitcher Rebbe — as if he’s right around the corner, waiting, each of their best friends who is both loving and stern, ready to do anything for htem and ready to kick their asses if they need it. which, you know, is kind of what G*d is for me.
Yeah — it’s a hard, weird thing, using a person as an intermediary (or even, sometimes, as a stand-in) for g*d. but in a certain way, it’s a beautiful, powerful thing. the function of a rebbe is half parent and half rock star, except that we don’t choose our parents (and, therefore, we give them hell and run away from them and ignore what they say sometimes) and we do choose our rebbe. more than anything else, it’s a mark of respect that i feel sort of violated whenever my Lubavitch friends always talk about the Lubavitcher as “The Rebbe,” as if nobody else in the universe had a rebbe — and, dammit, that’s why Rebbe Nachman is my rebbe.
Hisbodidus (see video) is the most amazing thing in the world. One day, I was talking to Rabbi Davide and he was like, “do you pray?” I said yes, but that praying was getting on my nerves lately. He told me, “That’s because you aren’t doing it enough. You need to pray constantly — when you walk down the street, when you’re fighting with people, when you’re in a mosh pit. Just take yourself out of it for a second and say ‘hey’ to G*d.”
These days, I live in Chicago. There aren’t too many deserted fields around to run away to and do hisbodedus. But Rebbe Nachman teaches us that hisbodedus is as far away as your brain is — and that’s as far away from us as his teachings are — you just have to remember they’re there. Selah.