I realise that my last couple of posts have been quite personal- this wasn’t entirely intentional, and I hope to get back to insights on the Parsha and other Jewish texts quite soon! But please, bear with me for the time being, while I write about perhaps the most important part of my life.
When I “chose Chabad”, they were a familiar name to me- a household name, even. And because I was already Orthodox- by some definition of the term, at least!- the idea of attending a Chabad Shul, meeting Lubavitchers and reading the Tanya wasn’t too intimidating. Slightly, perhaps, though I decided to just take a leap and immerse myself. I plunged into the Tanya like a reckless diver and have never quite known what I’m doing when I read it every day (though I do find it interesting), and what started off as a visit to a Chabad House Shul very quickly evolved into me attending every Shabbes, and feeling more at home then than I do in my own house. I must confess I haven’t totally gotten used to the idea of “other Lubavitchers” because we’re such a varied bunch. They do all try to make me feel welcome, though, which is very much appreciated by me!
Anyway. I’ve spoken about diving in; why did I choose to dive into this world of black hats, shaytels, niggunim and Rebbes?
Quite frankly, there’s no one reason. I think the attitude of Chabad is what led me to love the movement, though. Kiruv is really admirable, and although I was already quite Orthodox when I became interested in the world of Chabad, I was in no way “sidelined” or ignored, but instead welcomed with open arms. My questions were answered, everyone was willing to speak with me, and I was invited to countless meetings, services, and lunches. Everyone was so welcoming, which was exactly what I wanted.
But it wasn’t just the people. It’s the ideology. I love reading about the Rebbe zt”l, and all the miracles that surrounded him. When I read the weekly printout about stories of the Rebbe, I feel awe-struck and amazed. The Rebbe was a truly amazing man, and his followers have inherited his purity and holiness. He tried to reach out to every Jew, and Chabad shluchim around the world are following his lead to this day.
I also love Chabad culture. My old Shul had a beautiful and acclaimed choir, but nothing could’ve prepared me for the wonder of Chassidic melodies. Chabad texts are also amazing, and though initially difficult to understand, when you begin to grasp their true meaning you suddenly feel like a new person. I love the lifestyle; to me, it brings me closer to the Creator than anything else I’ve tried.
Chabad Chassidism is truly the most amazing, authentic type of Judaism I’ve ever encountered. The passion, love, and chesed is there for all to see. That’s why I chose Chabad.