Kingdom of Priests

Kingdom of Priests


A Spooky Story about the Lubavitcher Rebbe

posted by David Klinghoffer
Lubavitch_Rebbe_mhm.jpg
I’m thinking of the night the Lubavitcher Rebbe died, which was exactly 15 year ago this coming Friday, June 12, 1994. I’m not Chabad — a fellow traveler at best, and that only pretty recently — but I have a vivid memory of being in Amagansett, New York, on a weekend beach trip with a friend. That night, which was a Saturday, we were both sticking our heads out of a skylight to catch the sound of the surf and the smell of the wind. Very strangely, we both suddenly had a feeling of being “spooked.” Did you ever have an experience like that? It was a strong intuition of loss, as we mutually confirmed before we knew anything about what might have called it up. Returning to Manhattan on Monday morning, we learned that the Rebbe had died the previous day.
Of all the Jewish movements going at the movement, I consider Chabad the most successful and on balance the most admirable and appealing. My wife asked me the other day, half jokingly, why we don’t put a picture of the Rebbe up somewhere in our house, as many Chabad admirers who are not Chabad themselves will do. Many, for example, is the Israeli taxi with a yarmulke-less driver and a picture of the Rebbe dangling from the rearview mirror. 

Sorry. As I explained, that’s not for me. I’m not a joiner and never feel quite comfortable with groups of any kind. Maybe that’s why I’m a Jew. The word for Hebrew, in Hebrew, Ivri, has as one of its meanings being on the other side from something. A Hebrew is always in contrast and conflict with his surroundings. Abraham, the first Hebrew, is called that (Genesis 14:13) because he came from the “other side” of the Euphrates River. A Jew should always feel on the outs with the wider culture. When my spiritual and intellectual affiliations seem, superficially, at odds with each, that’s my comfort zone. Maybe that’s why the thing that initially turned me off liberalism, on arriving as a freshman at Brown, was the smug feeling shared by so many of my fellow students that only we, smarty-pants liberals, had it all figured out and three cheers for us.
But that’s all an aside. Going back to my wife’s question, I thought, why not put a picture of the Rebbe up on this blog? That I can handle. So here it is.


Advertisement
Comments read comments(2)
post a comment
Abigail

posted June 10, 2009 at 10:52 am


As a Jew, you think for yourself, of course — but you’re also expected to be part of a community, support its synagogue, send your children to a Jewish school, pray with a congregation, etc. Jews might be different from everyone else in the world, but we form a community. The second temple was destroyed because Jews were turning on each other in “senseless hatred.”
I’m not saying you have to put up a picture of the Rebbe in your foyer. But I will say this for Lubavitch: they *really* get ahavat yisroel, the love Jews are supposed to have for each other. That is a trait worth emulating, whatever else you might think of Chabad.



report abuse
 

David Klinghoffer

posted June 10, 2009 at 1:19 pm


Abigail, thanks, what you write is true too and well said.



report abuse
 

Post a Comment

By submitting these comments, I agree to the beliefnet.com terms of service, rules of conduct and privacy policy (the "agreements"). I understand and agree that any content I post is licensed to beliefnet.com and may be used by beliefnet.com in accordance with the agreements.



Previous Posts

Another Blog To Enjoy!!!
Thank you for visiting Kingdom of Priests. This blog is no longer being updated. Please enjoy the archives. Here is another blog you may also enjoy: Kabballah Counseling Happy Reading!

posted 11:24:22am Aug. 16, 2012 | read full post »

Animal Wisdom: The Voice of the Serpent
Our family watched Jaws together the other evening -- which, in case you're wondering, I regard as responsible parenting since our kids are basically too young to be genuinely scared by the film. The whole rest of the next day, two-year-old Saul was chattering about the "shark teeth." "Shark teeth g

posted 3:56:33pm Mar. 16, 2010 | read full post »

Reading Wesley Smith: Why the Darwin Debate Matters
If the intelligent-design side in the evolution debate doesn't receive the support you might expect from people who should be allies, that may be because they haven't grasped why the whole thing matters so urgently. I got an email recently from a journalist whom I'd queried on the subject. "All told

posted 5:07:12pm Mar. 15, 2010 | read full post »

The Mission of the Jews
Don't miss my essay over at First Things on the mission of the Jews to the world. This, I think, the key idea that the Jewish community needs to absorb at this very unusual cultural moment, for the time is so, so right. Non-Jews are waiting for us to fulfill the roll God gave us in the Torah. Please

posted 6:14:16pm Mar. 05, 2010 | read full post »

Darwin at the Mountains of Madness: Evolution & the Occult
Of all the regrettable cultural forces that Darwinism helped unleash, perhaps the most surprising and seemingly unlikely is its role in sparking the creation of modern occultism. Charles Darwin himself could not have been less interested in the topic. But no attempt to assess the scope of his legacy

posted 2:04:11pm Mar. 04, 2010 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.