Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Lucky Dollar Bill??!!!

Everyone's favourite websites Shturem, Chabad.info and Shmais have all succumbed to the disease of relegating Chabad to some sort of superstitious cult type organisation. They have quoted one sentence from an article in the Australian Jewish News about Malcolm Turnbull. The article states:
Late into the night, Turnbull suggested to Rabbi Feldman that his victory could have been be due to the lucky dollar bill, which once belonged to the Lubavitcher Rebbe, that was given to him during his campaign.
Far be it from me to take exception to the veracity of the heiliger Jewish News but that sounds like a misquote to me. What the heck is a "lucky dollar bill"? The Jewish News proves again and again that its journalists know very little about normative Jewish practices and next to nothing about Chassidic groups.

Shmais have also quoted this article as have Shturem who have admittedly toned down the hype since they got a few comments about it.

But what is really annoying is the meshichist site Chabad.info have reported this as Victory Due to Rebbe Dollar - how embarrassing!! This just plays into the hands of those who believe that Chabad is the closest thing to Judaism - to quote an anti-Chabad "joke".

The Rebbe gave out dollar bills in order to achieve two main things as far as I know. One was in order to increase in the giving of Tzedokah - when one received a dollar from the Rebbe the intention was to give that dollar - and preferably more - to charity. Obviously one would want to keep the dollar that the Rebbe actually gave them as a keepsake and substitute that dollar for one of their own to give away. While Chabad does not emphasise the concept of Shirayim (where Chassidim are eager to obtain food that the Rebbe has tasted etc) it is just human nature to want to keep an object from someone who you admire greatly - especially when that person is the Tzadik HaDor.

The other reason for "dollars" was so that the Rebbe could have personal contact with his Chassidim. As he told the woman who asked how he could stand for hours greeting people and giving out dollars: "Every soul is a diamond. Can one grow tired of counting diamonds?".

The Rebbe did not give out these dollars as lucky charms to be used like some magical potion. As far as I know in Chabad we do not go in for this type of Yiddishkeit. Chabad is supposed to emphasise that intellect rules over emotion but it seems that the meshichist element has reinvented this as well as other normative Jewish and Chassidic practices.