8:00pm: Do ‘Mushrooms’ Have Any Legitimacy?

This week’s edition of MyLife: Chassidus Applied with Rabbi Simon JacobsonEpisode 25, will air tonight, Sunday, here on CrownHeights.info beginning at 8:00pm. This week’s class will address a variety of topics, including secular education, music, summer camp and ‘Mushrooms,’ a term commonly used to describe unaffiliated ‘Shluchim.’


What does the Rebbe and Chassidus have to say about music? How selective must one be about listening to Chabad music, chassidishe music, chazonus? What about Carlebach, mainstream frum music, and more modern music?

What role does secular education play in the life of a Chassid, if any at all? What can be said about those that some have coined “mushrooms”? Are camps teaching hiskashrus in a healthy way or teaching campers to simply repeat “bumper stickers”?

Tune in this Sunday night for the next episode of MyLife: Chassidus Applied, which will address these sensitive and controversial issues, based on the questions anonymously submitted through the online forum. This hour-long dose of insight is meant to inform, inspire and empower us by applying the teachings of Chassidus to help us face practical and emotional challenges and difficulties in our personal lives and relationships. To have your question addressed, please submit it at www.meaninfullife.com/mylifelive.

The topics in this Sunday’s hour-long broadcast will include:

·        Can you get a secular education without polluting your mind?

·        What is the role of secular studies in a Chassid’s life?

·        The legitimacy of  “mushrooms”

·        How should summer camps teach hiskashrus?

·        How careful should I be about the music I listen to?

·        Follow-up on Rebbe Edition

MyLife: Chassidus Applied addresses questions that many people are afraid to ask and others are afraid to answer. When asked about the sensitive topics he has been addressing, Rabbi Simon Jacobson commented, “I understand that the stakes are high, but the silence and lack of clarity on matters plaguing the community can no longer go unaddressed. The stakes of not providing answers are even higher.”

The on-going series has provoked a significant reaction from the community, with thousands of people viewing each live broadcast and hundreds of questions pouring in. At the root of every question and personal challenge tackled by the series is the overarching question: Does Judaism have the answers to my personal dilemmas?

In inimitable “Jacobson-fashion”, the broadcast answers people’s questions in simple, clear language while being heavily sourced. Each episode is jam-packed with eye-opening advice from the Rebbeim, gleaned from uncovering surprising gems in their letters, sichos and maamorim that address our personal issues with disarming relevance. Simultaneously, Rabbi Jacobson is able to crystallize a concept quickly, succinctly, and poignantly for any level of listener.

All episodes are immediately available for viewing in the MLC’s archive and can be downloaded as MP3’s for listening on the go.

Questions may be submitted anonymously at www.meaningfullife.com/mylifelive.


  • 1. Mendy wrote:

    I think they had some technical difficulties.
    It was a funny beginning;-)

  • 2. YMSP wrote:

    Very impressed that he admitted his minor error with class and grace at the 30:00 mark. Well done and good to see (and that is also going in the way of midas emes…). Yasher Koach!

  • 3. Mendy L wrote:

    The reason that the people who go out in clear desecration of the Rebbe’s words and wishes and strive to make unnecessary Machlokes are called Mushrooms is not to be derogatory but because it is an apt description, as they are a fungus, a disgusting mold growing on Lubavitch, and they are actively driving people away from Torah and a connection with the Rebbe by starting fights, Drama and Machlokes within established communities and convincing Givirm who have the potential and ability to help many Yidden that perhaps rather than decide which rabbi to give they should refrain from giving at all.

    Furthermore to say that the army is closed is preposterous. Shluchim are going out all the time, and not only those with connections but those with the drive Hiskashrus and discipline to work with others to spread the Rebbe message.

    And lastly it is extremely insulting to the Shluchos to say there are 4000 Shluchim. If there are around 4000 couples (the number is actually a little more) then there are in that case 8000 Shluchim. The rebbe also only referred to Shluchim’s children as Shluchim themselves and one should never discount the amazing results children can have on Shlichus

    May the shluchim of the Rebbe and the Anash of Lubavitch together joyously celebrate the revelation of Moshiach and the Geulah right now.

    • 4. YMSP wrote:

      As Rabbi Jacobson would say, this is certainly not the way the Rebbe would talk of yidden who work to spread Torah (or of any yidden) and is in fact a prime example of why the system has the problems that it now has. Btw, when I’ve spoken to shluchim about someone who has set up shop and is not qualified, I’ve mentioned that ignoring them is the only way not to turn off people. On the most mundane level, every business has competition and no restaurant wins by yelling obscenities against its competitors. When it comes to Torah, doing so is a Chilul Hashem. What competition should inspire a shliach to do, is to redouble his efforts and expand. If he’s seen as avoiding fights and not responding (other than by adding koach to the moised’s peulos), on the most basic level, he wins.

      Re Shluchos – children:
      a) Kol Kvuda Bas Melech Pinima.
      b) Ain lonu ela divrei Ben Amram – the count in Torah (umimeno yiru) counts the men brabbim, with the rest implied. The more precious are kept treasured.

    • 5. YMSP wrote:

      Btw, this needs to be pointed out too, re taking gvirim and what to do – and what not to do – about it,

      Let alone a regular case where the independent guy is also receiving a donation from one of your gevirim (who still supports you as much/almost as much as before also). In such a case, it’s understood that this gvir gives to many causes habitually in addition to you (the local hospital, maybe even some interfaith organization, People for the Protection of Limping Wombats, Inc., etc.). If you challenge their other giving, you lose your own. This is no different, especially since (in at least the gevir’s eyes) he’s supporting Torah.

      But let’s take the absolute worst case.

      You have a Baal HaBos who you’ve mekareved from the beginning. Aside from spending many hours every week with him for years, he’s also wealthy and generously gives you 100K a year (out of a total 250K budget).

      An unofficial guy comes to town. He’s not like most. He’s not well meaning. In fact, he’s the most offensive, farchnyukter, fuleh rishis veinik mitzvos, rude, incompetent and income potent person one could ever meet.

      Your Baal HaBos likes him and now divides his time equally between the two and his money (he now gives you 50K).

      If you criticize and belittle the other man, as deserved as it may be, you’ll do nothing but turn off your supporter and possibly lose even the 50K – aside from the Chilul Hashem.

      However, if you sit down and think of a new peuloh, one that’s truly needed and that would be effective in your community (and mah tov if it’s something that this Baal HaBos has a natural affinity to), you can go back to your supporter and say “we’ve come up with this great peuloh. We need your past support.” He’s been with you longer. He’s much more likely to give you back the 100K, and you can build from there in future, and limit the new guy to 10K.

      As always, doing things al pi Torah, and al pi the real Rotzon of the Rebbe (through Torah, Ahavas Yisroel, etc), is also the most practical and beneficial. And a nisayon brings great things when you pass it.

    • 6. Mendy L wrote:

      As it happens I work in Chinuch and the only vested interest I have is in seeing the greatest possible achievement of the Rebbes Shlichus.

      As for your claim that any damage a Mushroom causes is the fault of the Shliach, and if he would just ignore the Machlah is would go away, the majority of people who choose to openly disregard the Seder the Rebbe set up and to go out are rude and argumentative people with little tact or Sechol or respect. rather then the picturesque situation you described where a Baal Habos becomes enamored with this new individual and decided to begin splitting his donations, it is much more common for the Mushroom to approach the Baal Habos and aggressively go after his donations rarely having a issue with disparaging the Shliach he is stealing from. It is in situations like this that the Baal HaBos will “take his ball and go home” and it is hard to blame him. so what you describe as the absolute worst case is actually a best case scenario.

      furthermore Money is not the objective of a Shliach. in the vast majority of communities a Shliach has opponents, calling themselves anything ranging from Misnagdim to Reform. When a new person shows up in town who Identifies himself as a Lubavicher and claims to represent the Rebbe, any overzealous move or foolish faux pas is not only seen as an embarrassment to him but as an embarrassment to the actual Shliach and what even worse to the Rebbe. It gives ammunition to those who would seek to drive Yidden away from Chassidus and gives pause to those who want to draw closer. this is not an isolated indecent but a widespread problem plaguing many Chabad houses.

      (For the record what you are describing when you say that if the Shluchim don’t respond to the Mushrooms they will stop attacking and leave peacefully as neighbors is the same exact strategy the Goyishe Velt pushes on Eretz Yisroel every day)

    • 7. YMSP wrote:

      Mendy L,

      That’s not what “I’m saying” at all.

      My posts seem clear and I’m wondering how anyone can read into them what you seem to have read.

      In the scenario that you bring (your one valid point – because I’m not “blaming the shliach” or saying that “he’s motivated by money”….) it’s better to cast light on the situation and effectively refute his claims. It’s extremely ineffective, in such a (rare) situation, to counter insanity with insanity and smear back. Worst case scenario, you can take him to a Zablo over any overt defamation, like any other case.

      The situation that you present is not typical either.

    • 8. YMSP wrote:

      About problems with Reform, etc. In tough situations, the shliach can always distance himself, publicly if necessary, but recognizing that hamisabek im menuval misnabel gam kein and the more minimally and less vicious it’s done, the more effective.

      It also helps for the shliach to recognize the matzav and try to speak with the unofficial guy and see if, even though they disagree on everything else, they can’t work to minimize such problems, ltoivas shneihem.

      The Rebbe quotes the old express “me chapt mer [fligen] mit honik vi mit esik” in many letters (it’s easier to catch – more flies – with honey than with vinegar).

      Again, the derech of the Rebbe is actually the most practical.

  • 9. To #3 wrote:

    With all due respect, you sound like someone who has an agenda and a nogayeh b’dovor to boot. If you want to honest and be taken seriously and credibly, offer total transparency and full disclosure of your interests (I;m sure you are not claiming to be above bias).

    Calling anyone fungus is certainly not the language of the Rebbe. How can a shliach of the Rebbe — who is supposed to be representing the meshalayach (shlucho shel odom kemoso) use words that the Rebbe would never use?

    You may call it preposterous — but many shluchim, and indeed leadership as well, have said publicly and privately that geographically speaking the territories have been divided, and there really is not much room for more shluchim!! Just in Manhattan you have over 2 million Jews…

    Check your numbers: There are actually far less than 4000 shluchim (the number 4000 includes teachers, employees, secretaries). And with all their great work – there are still 14 million Jews and 7 billion people out there.

    Rabbi Jacobson hit the nail on the head — we should have tens of thousands of shluchim as the Rebbe wanted. For some reason that may make you queasy, but maybe it’s time to begin thinking of what the Rebbe wants, not what you or any other narrow minded people may feel serves your interests.

    Yofutzu mayanosecho chutzah to the entire universe, moloh ha’aretz de’eh es Hashem — that’s what we are aiming for. Nothing less.

  • 10. Shumel wrote:

    I look forward to each new “My Life,” but I still don’t know what “mushrooms” applies to? Can anyone explain.

    • 11. YMSP wrote:

      They’re a good part of most salads. Baalei Taivah have also been known to put them on pizzas.

      Any other use of the word (such as using it as an insult against people who try to spread Torah but may or may not be the most competent in doing so – and who aren’t officially recognized) isn’t really worth mentioning – vashrei mi shelo yodoh.

  • 12. Mendy L wrote:

    Mushrooms are those who move to The Mokom HaShlichus given to a Shliach by the Rebbe and work to steal from him and his family. They go after his Parnossah, the Givirim that help support his Chabad House, and his Baali Battim, and worst of all they do it all in the name of Rebbe. They have caused Machlokes where ever they have gone and have driven many many people away from the Rebbe and Chassidus.

  • 13. "Official" shluchim wrote:

    And what about the so called officially sanctioned shluchim who sing an anthem for which the Rebbe took off his name, and do other unacceptable things? And what about one who in all circumstances would be called that derogatory name, until a relative made a donation that suddenly got him “appointed”? And all those “official” ones that have created other Chilul Hashem’s, v’dal. The list goes on.

    Call a spade a spade — many are treating shlichus like a business and corporation, with no quality control — nor the ability to ensure that their “official” shlichus status live up to the Rebbe’s standards. But mit amol — when it comes to someone that they feel threatened by it’s all about the Rebbe’s kavonah etc.

  • 14. Your real name? wrote:

    So then Mendy L, if you are so transparent and honest — tell us your real name?


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