Sunday, April 25, 2010

I Have Learned to Love Perdue Chickens, but I Have Not Learned to Love Snags

This Friday night I ate at my neighbor's house (the same neighbor whom I met because he was looking for a Shabbos goy). At the table there were the host and hostess, yours truly, and a divorced guy. It was really my first close-up encounter with snags so I was interested in re-evaluating the stereotypes I hold about them and was looking forward to hearing what stereotypes they hold about "us." There was some stereotype busting, but I think there was more stereotype reinforcing.

The host, who's been married around a year, talked an awful lot about girls he had dated. I know that he once went to Chicago to date a girl. I know that his best friend married a girl whom he had dated. I know he had been pressured to date the divorced guy's ex-sister-in-law. Don't you think that in Chabad it would be really bad form to talk about a girl you didn't date in front of the girl's ex-brother-in-law and your wife? Maybe it's true that in the snag world guys date bajillions of girls and dating is no big deal. Oh yeah, and the guest is looking to marry a divorced "girl." These girls who are getting married for the first time aren't for him...

The host and the guest spoke a lot about the beautiful places they had visited and the various hotels that had stayed in. They also spoke a lot about the rich, important businesspeople of the snag world, how much property they own, how much they lost on Madoff, etc. The conversation basically flipped between discussing Lubavitch and discussing "gorgeous" vacation spots/money/houses. The host and the divorced guy both knew an awful lot about the latter's ex-in-laws and their finances. They have a six-bedroom house in Sha'arei Chesed, Jerusalem and the ex-father-in-law has over $120 million. They spent $250,000 on the divorce. The guest only spent $100,000. I also know how much rent the dude is currently paying. Ach! Misnagdim ligen nur in gelt!

When Rubashkin came up, they were surprised to hear me talk about "Rubashkins" in general. They didn't realize that most Lubavitchers know at least a few members of the Rubashkin clan. But both the host and the divorced dude knew the new guy who took over the plant. So Agri went from being one of "our" businesses to one of "their" businesses.

They both were under the impression that there was a religious reason that Lubavitcher guys don't tuck in their shirts. The other guest started telling me this nonsense about how you need to have your shirt untucked for tzitzis-related reasons. I had a bit of a hard time convincing them otherwise.

The host was shocked to hear that my mother and my grandfather had grown up on shlichus. He didn't know that shlichus existed back then.

The host thought that in Lubavitch it's normal for guys to learn just Likkutei Sichos and not Gemara--after all 770 has more copies of Likkutei Sichos than Gemara. He was also under the impression that 770 is the main Lubavitch Yeshiva.

The host asked me why it is that all Lubavitchers still think the Rebbe is god super cool. Don't they realize that, to quote the host, "he's looking at the onions from the bottom?" Why aren't there Lubavitchers who keep the Lubavitch minhagim, wear the Lubavitch clothes, sing the Lubavitch songs, but just dump this Rebbe stuff? After all, his father's Bobov affiliation pretty much consists of that stuff. If only I could have explained to him how many people there are who eat on Yom Kippur but still think the Rebbe is god...

The guest wondered how Lubavitchers are able to come to a place where they know nothing and nobody and are able to take the place over. I tried to explain the supreme I'm-saving-the-world-so-get-outta-my-way arrogance Lubavitchers have.

At the end of the meal, the host tried saying that the Rebbe did what he did because he wanted power and kavod. This I didn't let him get away with.

All in all, a fun time was had by all, as they examined the exotic creatures living in their neighborhood.


  1. After reading this I feel much better about being a Lubavitcher.

  2. Oh! I forgot to include. They said that Lubavitchers are always happy. I tried to convince them that it's a marketing trick, but they wouldn't buy it. When they started talking about how miserable snags are, I couldn't claim to know better than them and was forced to relent.

    The host also said this depressing dvar torah about how sinful R' Akiva's students were.

  3. Damn it. Or, as the British say, blast! This really off-set my efforts to improve my ahavas Yisroel and not say loshon horah.

    On the other hand, this is brilliant. :)

  4. I just wonder how long will it take for people to come and say that these are not typical snags or that Lubavitchers are no better?

  5. What other exotic creatures are in the neigborhood? I remember a good friend of mine went to a non-Lubavitch seminary. One time she stayed with my friends and I and casually mentioned how good Chabad was, how wonderful the kiruv is, and how charming it was that one can find Chabad anywhere. In fact, aside for the small detail of avoda zora, we we're just great!

  6. ha ha that is hilarious.
    i noticed you we :)

  7. ah that was a typo. it was supposed to say "i noticed you wrote we"

  8. Bochurim do say that tzitzis out is a religious thing - perhaps some sloppy OT guy told them as much.
    The myth of what we learn . . . sigh.

    There's a certain geder of person who leaves the fold - they tend to have left no later then the mems - that is mad frie . . . and mad dish.
    The kind of old school Russian who shows up on Simchas Torah, 19 Kislev, and what you - and tells everyone, "When we were bochurim - we would farbreng." and "I F*ing love the Rebbe." - you know, the kind of guy who makes kiddush davka on mashke in the Litvishe shul he shows up to, and makes the brocha "Sh'lo asani Misnaged" - b'shem u'bmalchus.

    I get some nachas thinking that a little bit of that Russian is in you :P

  9. one sec, there is actually something to it as far as i recall - that the tzitzis are supposed to hang down (or maybe diagonaly, im not sure) across the beged. in fact some people who tuck themselves in are scrupulous to leave the corners out for this perpous.

  10. It's good you were there to stick up for us, and sort through their cockamainy ideas (is that the right spelling?).
    I know someone who would not tuck in his tzitzis, worried that he wouldn't have the right shiur of the beged (an amah across, an amah down...). and the idea of having the corners and tzitzis strings out is also an inyan of U'Ri'isem oiso

  11. So the snags served Purdue chicken?

  12. Ah, the joy of Flatbush hattism.

    re tzitzis: You have a shiur in beged whether it's inside or out. I wear my tzitzis out as a matter of chutzpa.

  13. a little intellectual honesty, pleaseApril 26, 2010 at 11:22 AM

    Those are not typical snags! And Lubavitchers are no better!

  14. Sarabonne: she stayed "my friends and me." Your "I" really threw me off. I thought you were saying that you said how Chabad is charming etc.

    Mottel: Those people didn't stop leaving in mems. I can introduce you to some of them, if you wish.

    Nemo: They serves mevushal wine. I didn't ask if it was intentional.

  15. Dowy: I believe I discussed this with you back in 712. The Alter Rebbe says (se'if 30 or 31, on the bottom of amud beis or the top of amud aleph in the old print) that the tzitzis need to touch the corner. If you tuck in carefully, you can better insure that your strings touch the corners than if your tzitzis just hang out.

    Same applies to the amah-al-amah business. If you're careful how you tuck in, you can keep the shiur better than if you were untucked.

    The main proof that there's no halachic reason to keep your shirt untucked is that the only people who don't tuck in are shlumpy bochurim and R' Sholom Charitonow. Are all the rabbonim less scrupulous than the shlumpy bochurim?

  16. -e: I know they still exist - I do know some of them.
    But today we have a more varied spectrum of people.

  17. I do belive there is something about the corners being visible.
    There also might be something about going untucked on Shabbos, not being able to wear a bendel? not sure.
    Do you mean Perdue by any chance?

  18. Modeh B'MiktsasApril 26, 2010 at 5:13 PM

    It's an issue of chukas hagoy. The snag schools make a big deal about tucking your shirt in.

  19. E - have you ever heard of a letter written to your great grandfather from the Rebbe about the boys in Pittsburgh always having to be tucked in? This is something I remember hearing about, being educated in your great grandfather's venerable institution, but I can't recall the details ...

  20. Anon: correct about the chicken. Incorrect about the tzitzis. I challenge any of you to find a rabbi or a book to support your opinion instead of just quoting what you heard.

    Modeh: In Chicago we were fined if our shirts were untucked. But then again the Detroiters would say that Chicagoans are really snags.

  21. Nemo: never heard of that letter.

  22. I don't know what was happening under the Rebbe's kapote, but in his short-jacket days, the Rebbe was difinitely tucked it.


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