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  • A Moment of Silence to Save Lubavitch

    For many years, we are debating the matter, and it caused us to part paths too many times • So maybe this is a better idea — let’s have a “Moment of Silence” that all Lubavitch institutions, even those who are not yet ready to allow public expressions of simple faith in the Rebbe’s words, will begin their day with • By the Beis Moshiach Magazine • Full Article

    Levi Liberow, Beis Moshiach

    Disclaimer: I use some cynicism in this piece, but just to help bring across the point. Please try to take this seriously.

    Some weeks ago, I had the “privilege” of spending Shabbos at an NYC hospital with a relative. In what they call the “Chessed Room,” we managed to put together a tight minyan. There was 1 Lubavitcher, 2 Litvisher guys, a Skverer Chassid, a Satmerer, two “Young Israel” style guys, and a few more Chassidishe Yidden although I didn’t manage to figure out their exact affiliation.

    We had a very nice Shabbos, as nice as it could get in a hospital. I shared some sichos of the Rebbe, others shared Divrei Torah and stories from other Tzaddikim, we danced after Lecha Dodi (to a few niggunim), and we even had some schmoozes about Moshiach, and obviously about the recent tragic events at the Chabad House of Poway.

    On the table in the Chessed room, were Jewish newspapers and magazines in English and Yiddish, which all featured front-page articles about Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein’s inspiring words at the White House.

    Vus punkt is die ‘Moment of Silence’ vegn vus er hut geredt?” a heimishe Yungerman from Monsey asked me, as the Lubavitcher representative around the table.

    So, I gave him a brief history of the topic. There used to be a non-denominational prayer said every day in American public schools; then came along some of our lost Jewish brothers who fought it and had the Supreme Court declare this prayer to somehow be in violation of the first amendment and therefore unconstitutional, utterly contrary to the spirit of the law. After the failed assignation attempt of President Reagan, the Rebbe publicly called for it to be restored, but quite quickly came up with an even better idea — not a verbal prayer, but a moment of silence that students, from kindergarten up to college, will begin their school-day with.

    Why was that better than a verbal prayer to G-d?

    The Rebbe gave many reasons. Some technical, as well as points that bring out an advantage of a Moment of Silence over a verbal prayer:

    It cannot be challenged on the grounds of the “Separation Clause.”

    It will prevent proselytizing attempts on the part of teachers and administrators to interfere in the religious beliefs of the students.

    It will prevent debates on religious topics between students.

    The parents will be the ones to direct the students what to think about. Thus, the responsibility of educating the child’s character by exposing him to the concept of a G-d who sees and hears everything they do, will be brought back home to the parents.

    Thought, is in many ways more effective than speech. A prayer said by a group of children can be said superficially, while a moment of thinking allows the child to think freely without feeling pressure to imitate or be intimidated by a fellow student.

    We, Baruch Hashem, send our children to religious schools, and as Jews have always done, we begin the school day with a verbal prayer from a siddur. I always wondered how we can implement a “Moment of Silence” in our educational institutions; after all, this was something the Rebbe had a great koch in.

    In the last few weeks, it dawned on me.

    ***

    There used to be a non-politicized prayer said every day in Lubavitcher schools and shuls. Then came along a Yetzer Hara and got many of us to stop saying it, sometimes invoking the Rebbe himself and claims that it violates the first Mivtza — Mivtza Ahavas Yisrael, utterly contrary to the spirit of Moshiach and his imminent arrival the Rebbe spoke about so much.

    For many years, we are debating the matter, and it caused us to part paths too many times, leaving those of us who are not so familiar with the intricacies of the Rebbe’s sichos and answers, totally devoid of any significant mention of the Rebbe’s ultimate passion — Moshiach Now.

    So maybe this is a better idea — let’s have a “Moment of Silence” that all Lubavitch institutions, even those who are not yet ready to allow public expressions of simple faith in the Rebbe’s words, will begin their day with.

    Why is this better than a verbal announcement? There are a few reasons:

    It cannot be challenged on the grounds of the Achdus.

    It will prevent attempts on the part of teachers and administrators to interfere in the Chassidishe expressions of the students.

    It will prevent fruitless debates between the students.

    The parents will be the ones to direct the students what to think about. Thus, Moshiach awareness will return to every Chabad home, not just the “radical” factions on both sides who are still fighting over it.

    Thought, is in many ways more effective than speech. A prayer said by a group of children can be said superficially, while a moment of thinking allows the child to think freely without feeling pressure to imitate or be intimidated by a fellow student.

    I would recommend that even if you do feel comfortable to announce this prayer verbally, you should also add a Moment of Silence as well. It allows people on both sides of the debate some quiet time to rethink their positions. It can’t be that any of us are 100% right, if it were so, we would be in a much better place by now.

    *

    The magazine can be obtained in stores around Crown Heights. To purchase a subscription, please go to: bmoshiach.org

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