Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Conversation #2: "That's Good"

(Although the basic back and forth is the same, the following conversation is not verbatim.)

She was having a hard day. We were talking and sharing.

A religious person she knows has hurt her.

She says: You see, this is why I hate institutions. This is why I hate Judaim sometimes.

I hear in her tone that she is expecting me, the outspoken Chabadnik, to be defensive, hard and insensitive to her claim. She's expecting me to stick up for religious people around the world. She is expecting me to turn her feelings to unwarranted nonsense, and to be insulted.

Instead, I say: Me too.

She says: You too?

I say: Yes, I hate institutionalized religion, just like you.

Life has made her distrust such claims coming from identifiably "religious" Jews. So that's where I come in, to shatter a warped perception and show her that I too, "the Lubavitcher," see religious/institutionalized Judaism as the key ingredient to the disintegration of our people. The Judaism that looks like an institution is man-made. It is corrupt in it's refusal to see our nations unity - something we are nothing without.

I say: I strive every day to become less institutionalized.

She says: That's good.

And there ends Conversation #2, a conversation that will resurface and be the basis to a lot of new questions and discoveries.

She is forced to think, and is relieved. People have given her the false impression that being institutionalized is a must to be a good Jew. Her soft, searching, and intuitive soul is relieved to hear my words.

Just as I was, when someone finally told me the same thing.

Chabad has nothing to do with an institution. It forces me to make claims based on my people, my G-d - not based on a sect. I am Chabad, yea, sure, if we must. But the more I learn all this, the less of a robot I become.

The person I spoke to is upset about a Judaism that forgot about the clear focus that came and went for our people. It was a focus hand-fed to us, with clear instructions to get out of slave-mentality, seek truth and freedom, be one with our family, and always choose humility.

It's what happened at Mt. Sinai.

Anytime you get closer to a Jewish group and begin to feel tight, critical, and higher than everyone else - you are probably becoming institutionalized.

Run for your life.

You were not put here to be a robot.

Don't hurt people who don't wear your company's uniform.

G-d is not a corporation.


Look into it.

This has been Conversation #2.


Ilana said...

Conversation 2 may have more implications that you would like to think, Mimi.

Yossi's blog said...

I tottaly agree, however, if you don't define yourself to a degree, meaning i'm this and not that, then where's you're sence of identity, pride...belonging'nes?? Am i just a floater, who identifies with all, but myself?

In the end i think there needs to be a little intolerence. A ability to disagree. To be, on the other side of the debate.

We as humans need to be in a constraining enviorment. We need to relax and so we can be comfterable to a degree. We need structure and rigidness to be able to let go and let our minds free while our bodies follow a subconcouse pattern....i.e Davening; a ingrained activity that is used for deep meditation.

However it cannot become our whole lives, and thats what i think you mean.

If i'm wrong please correct me.


hmmm said...

Love your blog, attitude and writing - especially loved the Myth #1 post on black hats.

Keep up the writing, and the good work!

Nemo said...

Famous story of the Rebbe Rashab-

When he saw an Apikores he ran over to him and hugged him. He exclaimed, "The G-d that you do not believe in, I do not believe in him either".

Mimi said...

Almost Holy: Do you mean the conversation having a positive impact on the other person? I hope so. Thanks for believing it will. Really.

Yossi: The identity,pride, and belonging that you speak of is a part of being Jewish. It's that simple. The "structure" and "rigdidness" you see as being vital is debatable. Unless, of course, it is coming from the right source - meaning, the Torah that belongs to the world. We all have to look into our lives and take away all the manmade chaos, the layers. Underneath it all, you find G-d, you find Judaism.

Hmmm: Thank you, Mr. Hmmm. I must say, Myth #1 is one of my favs as well. Which reminds me, I have to get back to the myth busting. Stay tuned!

Nemo: That story always moves me. It's so simple, yet the depths of what the Rebbe Rashab meant is so important to understand, and to live. Thanks!

Ilana said...

Well, no.

I meant that what you are putting down might include a lot more than you think you are putting down.

Mimi said...

almostholy: If you're referring to Chabad...I obviously didn't write what I wrote to put down Chabad, so it must mean that I maintain that Chabad is not included in "institutionalized religion." Much more to say on that topic, that's for another blog post perhaps. But is this what you mean to be getting at?

Pragmatician said...

I'd say it went quite well.
I'd like to repeat these words sometime if you agree, because they made a strong impression on me
Don't hurt people who don't wear your company's uniform.

G-d is not a corporation

hmmm said...

I actually enjoyed your post on joining Chabad on the Main Line as well, not for the writing, but for the news. Your site gives an indication of how much of an asset you will be there!

FrumGirl said...


But... and I hate to say this... is it really that way? And the answer is no. And its ruining Judaism!

Mimi said...

Pragmatician: There would be no point if all this just stayed in my blog. Share it! Welcome to commenting on the Hilltop.

Hmmm: Have you been to the Mainline? Thanks for the ever-so-sweet enthusiasm.

Frumgirl: When you say "really that way" - REALLY means in truth, in reality. So, yes, in reality - Judaim IS this way! Like I said, the rest is the stuff that we make up. In our lives as Jews, we have to look at things in its purest form, in the ideal. This "corporate Judaim" we all see is faaaaar from it. You know that. So, again - we must not look at the way Judaism appears, but what it, well...REALLY is. :)

wandering said...

A quote from one of the Rabbi's who taught me in Israel last year: Judaism is not a religon! Religons are rules and regulations and exclusive groups. Judaism is about a realationship with Hashem.
(as heard from Rabbi Levinger)

jim said...

I am impressed, amazed, and you are so, well, young? And back here, a topic arises, (of course), that is interesting to me, I would like to hear more about it, I intend to know more about it.

Can I learn from one so young? Yes indeed, perhaps. I will come back and read some more this week, thanks.

Mushk said...

So true.

Something I think all can relate to. At one point or another, we have all fell victim. It is what we do with the realization of where we are, that can then define us.

To Yossi. True, we must all identify with something in order for us to connect to something subconscious, yet what will we choose as the ultimate defining factor? An action, or an overall attitude? A word or an idea?

We all choose what it is that we identify with. Yes, we all must identify. But to what extent...and even more importantly, with what will we identify?


Anonymous said...

Almost Holy,
the rigidness you refer to, things like davening, set times in learning Torah, it starts out being imposed from the outside, simply because it's something Hashem wants of all of us, but maturity is changing these things to something that comes from within. because they will only last if they are anchored within your identity, coming from essential desires. like love for Hashem, using Rabbi Levinger's mashal (Wanderer - i love it). In a relationship, the things you do, however small, are anchored in your love for the other person.

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