Friday, April 03, 2009

Encounters with a Lubavitcher

Oh. My. God. Not that I ever needed reaffirming to my decision to leave the Chabad fold so many years, but I got it anyway last week.

My mom received a rather large chunk of money from Social Security, which allowed her to move to our town and settle in a nice little apartment about two blocks away from us. We rented a truck with this money, and a friend of my parents' offered to drive it, free of charge, as long as my mom paid for the gas, the rental, and what little food he needed.

Sounds nice, right?

Wrong. This guy, and really, all my thanks to him for do such an act of chesed for my mom, is THE Lubavitch stereotype. He is a boor, an Am Ha'Aretz, thinks he's an expert at EVERYTHING, the son of Ba'alei Teshuva (not that that's a bad thing - so am I, but at least I had the foresight to move on from Chabad at a pretty early age). Now, I'm not judging him on his total ignorance on pretty much every subject he discussed. The problem was, he didn't take that one little piece of advice from Pirkei Avos: Syag LaChochma SHTIKA - a fence to wisdom is SILENCE. In other words - if you're dumb and don't want people to know it, keep your mouth shut. Otherwise people will certainly know you're not the brightest bulb in chandelier. And this guy personified this notion, in blazing colors.

First, he thinks he's expert at everything, especially about hashgacha, mainly because he worked as a mashgiach. He won't eat OU glatt because it's not good enough. Then he'll deny insinuating it's not good enough. Cholov stam is pure traif, but then he'll deny insinuating that, too. Satmar supervised meat is no good because thirty-five years ago, when the Satmars controlled most of kashrus in the US, there was an incident with traif meat. Therefore, for all time, Satmar is traif. But then he'll deny insinuating THAT. My response to the last was we specifically DON'T eat Lubavitch meat because for all we know, the shochtim and the mashgichim are Meshichist who believe the Rebbe is God incarnate (funny, didn't we go through that about 2000 years ago? As I recall, that didn't work out so well for the Jews). When it came to keeping Chalav Yisrael, he went on and on about the hechsherim were originally put on the foods to allow people to have their children drink pure milk when on trips, but for no other reason and he insinuated that anything with a D tagged on the hechsher was actually not kosher because the whole D thing got completely out of control. In other words, anything with non-Chalav Yisrael in it was indeed traif in all but name.

Of course, if you follow that logic, then nothing with those hechsherim at all is actually kosher. What was so ridiculous is when I spelled out his insinuations, he completely denied them, not by saying he didn't say they weren't kosher, but by saying "I never SAID that!"

This guy went on and on and on. He just wouldn't shut up for the three days he was here!

And that's not the worst of it! When he set out last on Saturday night (March 21) we told him to take his time and not get here until Wednesday as my mom wasn't arriving until Tuesday night and wouldn't have the keys to her apartment until Wednesday morning. Did he listen? No. Of course not. He decided to chew an entire package (at least!) Jolt gum (made, I believe, by the makers of Jolt Cola - twice the caffein, all the sugar). Problem was, he did NOT follow the instructions on the box because the guy refused to read. The box stated that TWO pieces, NOT an entire package, were the equivalent to a full energy drink serving (think Red Bull).

So, he simply couldn't sleep most of the trip and drove 45 out of 52 hours straight to get here. Guess when he got here? Yeah. 5:25 AM on Tuesday morning. Woke us all up by calling to let us know he was outside. Idiot.

And, it gets even better. The guy conked out on my couch for about five and a half hours, snoring loudly through a meeting I was trying to have here. He also ate us out of house and home, but ONLY pareve stuff. No meat, no dairy. Neither was kosher enough for him. And the amounts he ate were incredible.

On top of all that, this guy was completely uncouth, didn't shower, was loud and obnoxious, and all around annoying.

This guy made $300 for the drive. He also got lots of furniture and appliances out of my mom's house, probably worth a grand total of about $5000 for $1500. It was originally supposed to be $3250, but he said no because he knew we really had no choice, so he accepted a contract with the amount of $2500. He then emailed me at 6:20 AM EST (that's 3:20 AM HIS time) and protested the $2500. To just get rid of him, I agreed to $1500. It was worth not speaking to him again.

Ah, yes. Speaking to him. He called last Friday morning at 2:53 AM after two attempts to reach me on my cell phone and a first attempt on my home phone. Woke us up at 3 in the friggin' AM. When I made mentioned of it, he said he "forgot" the time difference. Because Midnight is any better, right? And he had just gotten home from Cleveland and rushed right over to my mom's old house to take stuff and it was so important to call me, who had nothing to do with ANYTHING in Las Vegas, and tell me someone had taken the washing machine he was supposed to get.

What an idiot.

I'm not sure I've properly conveyed how much of a visit from hell this was. I mean, it was a MAJOR visit from hell. Thank God my wife had the foresight NOT to allow him to stay in our home. We were actually able to put him up in an empty house that's for sale and has some furniture in it. Thank God for small favors. But really, I don't know if I can properly convey what an idiot this guy is! He got all bent out of shape when I talked my mother out of continuing to keep Chalav Yisrael because the quality is terrible and it's WAY too expensive and she just can't afford it. He tried valiantly to convince her to continue keeping this silly chumrah, almost, but not quite, to the point of telling her how traif non-Chalav Yisrael products actually are. He pissed me royally, and after he'd gone on for HOURS, I finally exploded a the guy and told to butt the fuck out business not his own and explained quite clearly that my mom needed every dollar she could save. I FINALLY (I hope) managed to shut him up, but it took an awful long time.

I drove him to Mincha at the local Chabad shul here, and he was so excited when he got out of the car, he exclaimed he couldn't wait to see a friendly Lubavitch face. In other words, no one else is frum.

And that's really the message this guy conveyed during his stay here. No Judaism aside from Lubavitch is real Judaism. No Judaism except Lubavitch Judaism is kosher Judaism. And that was the basic message he conveyed, and it was disgusting.

Now, this schmuck keeps calling me. Luckily, every time he's called this week, my mom was here, so SHE got to talk to him instead of me. I really pray he ceases having contact with me. I'm not his friend. I don't WANT to be his friend. I just want him to go away. Forever.

Well, that's my rant for the week. It's been brewing for a week. It's finally out.

3 O'Clock in the effing morning. Moron.


Selena said...

Oy....well at least your mom is there now!

Am Kshe Oref - A Stiff-Necked People said...

Yup. Oh my gosh. You would have gone nuts!

Kylopod said...

I grew up among Lubavitchers. One of them was like a brother to me, and we frequently had sleepovers at each other's house. The only thing in your description that rings true is their tendency to think of Chabad as the only authentic Judaism. Everything else, I cannot relate to. Lubavitchers include some of the nicest and most pleasant people I've ever known.

On a completely unrelated note, as a sci-fi buff you may (or may not) take interest in my recent post on the Back to the Future trilogy:

Am Kshe Oref - A Stiff-Necked People said...

Unfortunately for me, growing up Lubavitch, I had a very different experience. When I mention this experience, I get many people actually calling me a liar and that it just cannot be so (and I'm not saying you are), but trust me, it was so, at least in my miserable experience...

Kylopod said...

Liar? Not in the least. We simply have had different experiences. The only time I remember someone calling you a liar was Esther over at DB's blog, who was offended by your reports of Lubavitch racism. In that case, I agreed with you.

Am Kshe Oref - A Stiff-Necked People said...

Oh, gosh! THAT was a really inane conversation. No, I know you weren't accusing me of lying, but what amazes me is the same people who do when I tell of my Chabad experiences are also, at other times, Chabad's biggest critics. I have a feeling that, as Yeshivish people who can't stand "doubters" like me, they just had to disagree with me on principle...

Anyway, have a wonderful Pesach.

The back of the hill said...

He is a boor, an Am Ha'Aretz, thinks he's an expert at EVERYTHING,That's funny, I never suspected that you knew any Hollanders.

Syag LaChochma SHTIKA So amazingly like Arabic!
Shaq = doubt.
Al = to, towards, of.
Chachamat / Hikmat = Wisdom, smarts.
Shtika = Uskoooot! Shaddap!
I've probably mis-identified the cognates.... Oh well.

Lovely rant.
Everytime you mentioned something you hated, I kept remembering classmates, neighbors, acquaintances..... and Calvinists. Lots and lots and lots of Calvinists.

What do you call one Calvinist? A believer ("een vroom mens" - a frimmer mentsh).
Two Calvinists? A congregation.
Three Calvinists? A schism.

Two Calvinists on a deserted island show their rescuers what they built in their years of isolation. "This is my church." "That is his church." "That third one? Oh, that's the one neither of us would be caught dead going to."

And regarding the various kashrus issues, I remember once squiring a Chabad rabbi around San Francisco several years ago. It turns out we have no edible food here whatsoever. Even though there's a picture of The Rebbe at the only kosher restaurant in the financial district. Surprisingly, he was not thin at all. But he was actually an echte mentsh. Erlich, derech-eretzisch.

And yes, I remember Essie over at Dovbear's blogg too. That was a real sach.

Am Kshe Oref - A Stiff-Necked People said...

You said it! :)

Altie said...

You seem to dislike lubavitchers as a whole, which is wrong. If you say you didn't like this particular guy, and he was not so bright, fine. But don't generalize.
I have friends who say stupid things like, Obama is bad, he will be bad for the jews and israel, etc. I tell them, dont say that, you dont know yet what he will do. Give him a chance.
Now, I am speaking as a lubavitcher myself, but I still think its wrong to generalize.

Am Kshe Oref - A Stiff-Necked People said...

Well, since my general experience with Lubavitchers has been pretty bad, I guess I will tend to generalize about them. Doesn't mean they're ALL bad. They are certainly not. But generally speaking, my experience has been pretty negative.

Altie said...

Well then I'm sorry for you that you've only met ones that had a negative impact on you, because there are so many lubavitchers, shluchim, rabbis out there who are amazing, warm, caring people and do so much for the world. I only hope that you keep an open mind, and get a chance to meet one someday.