Religion, Uncategorized

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.

5 thoughts on “the rebbe's birthday

  1. “Yeah — it’s a hard, weird thing, using a person as an intermediary”
    A Rebbe is not an intermediary. Judaism believes that each Jewish person has the ability to communicate directly with the One and Only. The job of a Rebbe is to enhance the relationship between you and your G-d. At least that is how it was explained to me.
    Breslov is all about Hisbodedut, a meditational ritual geared (correct me if I’m wrong) to connect man to G-d.
    The Lubavitcher Rebbe established Mitzvah campaigns directed to increasing performance of Mitzvahs, ie Teffilin, Shabbat Candles.
    A Mitzvah connects a Jew to G-d.
    If your Rebbe is, in any way, your stand in for G-d, that just seems strange.
    Intermidiaries are for the Goyim.

  2. Intermediaries are not for Goyim – they’re for two kinds of Jews: the christian kind and the lubavitch kind. keep your kosher wine away from both kinds.

  3. ok, well i’m not a student of hasidism or anything. but i read this quote by said rebbe nachman and was rather turned off:
    “the principle and foundation of everything is that one connect oneself to the tzaddik of that generation and receive his instructions in every single matter, whether small or great, and not to deviate from his instructions — God forbid — right or left; as our rabbis of blessed memory said, ‘even if he tells you that right is left,’ etc. one must renounce all manner of wisdom, annulling one’s mind as if one had no reason except that which he receives from the tzaddik, the rabbi of that generation. as long as a person retains any independent reason, he lacks perfection and is not connected to the tzaddik.”
    the source is likute moharan, 123, 66:1.
    i get the idea of submitting to God, and this is why i’ve never been a big fan of ta’amei mitzvot, or kantian ethics. but to some rebbe? care to jump in and defend this position?

  4. “Question your own authority.”
    – Rabbi Paz
    1. The Rebbe thing isn’t that simplistic
    2. cynicism is blindness which deadens the heart
    3. The Rebbe taught (and this i believe is a sign of a true Rebbe) that ‘we all Are Rebbes in our own right’ – and ‘no longer will one man teach his neighbour for all will know Me!’
    4. Moses? who was he? not an intermediary?
    5. Seven Fat Cow – much tastier than school

  5. amit:
    mi ata uma ata?
    i’ve never seen you write anything positive about the chassidim- this brings your validity into question.
    perhaps thy haves a personal vendetta.
    anyhow- you’re a misnagid and an asshole.

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