by D.J. Granovetter
As of late I have been troubled, seeing a great many articles and social media posts online written by anonymous individuals bemoaning their lives growing up in the Chabad world. These tearjerkers want to tell everyone what victims they are, how they were “abused” by the system, and by their parents, and by everybody.
But what’s more troublesome than these self-indulgent articles tends to be the comment sections, filled with readers who have taken the bait and are shedding crocodile tears, and then some.
What kind of cushy lifestyle have we gotten accustomed to that so many want to thrive off the culture of victimhood?
Imagine, back in the olden days of Chabad, when families would brave communist Russia, going with mesirus nefesh, the whole family, to spread Torah and Yiddishkeit. There was no talk then of victimhood. There was only talk of Chabad shlichus, and what needed to be done. But today it’s totally different. You hear people crying about not having received enough attention when they were little, that their parents were “too strict” with them, that they were forced to learn a ma’amer before their bar mitzvah and oh, it was so hard and excruciating.
These are the kinds of things individuals are complaining about today!
You have those who have left Lubavitch, pretty much left the path of Torah and mitzvos. But they stay around, taking advantage of the institutions, services and open arms of Chabad, and then they turn around and behind their backs and speak lashon harah about Chabad and about shluchim.
Maybe the time has come to take a step back from self-indulgence. Life is not all about self-focus. It’s not all about screaming victim. And there is a perfect cure for this illness, and it’s not therapy. It’s real simple: Let’s stop thinking about ourselves and concentrate on others for a change. There are so many opportunities in this world for chessed projects and outreach. Maybe spend a day doing chessed. Volunteer in a soup kitchen, or at your local Chabad house. Go visit lonely senior citizens. Hand out sandwiches to homeless people. See how quickly you forget about yourself, and rise out of the self-imposed illness of victimhood.
And remember: Parents, teachers and others do make mistakes. Human beings make mistakes. You wouldn’t want your own mistakes to be held against you forever… and in the spirit of that, it’s time to forgive and move on.
To be sure, problems need to be pointed out, and not brushed under the rug. But the intent ought to be to fix the problems, not just make noise for the sake of making noise.
There is a world of goodness out there. Why not go out there and be part of it? It’s what life really is all about. Blogging endlessly about our trivial woes is certainly not going to help bring the Geulah. Rising above ourselves and reaching out to others with acts of goodness and kindness, now that will surely bring the Geulah!