Tonight, the Rosh Hoshana of Chassidus, I reflect upon my relationship with it and Chabad in general.
I find it slightly comical, misrepresentational, uncomfortable, truthful, prideful, and cool to call myself Chabad.
I've never been one for labels, as I feel they don't often adequately describe my situation and affiliation. The last few weeks have been filled with Chabad holidays, getting out of prison days, weddings, deaths, and births. To be honest, I realize most of these very important Chabad holidays when I pick up my daughter from school and she's wearing another crown with a picture on it commemorating the day. I don't really know most of the Rebbeim, I know very few niggunim, and I feel my connection to the Rebbe to be one of admiration, connection,yet distance and unfamiliarity.
And yet, and yet, I feel the string pulling me, attaching me to this culture, this philosophy, this Truth, keeping me put in this particular Jewish world, despite feeling like an imposter in forced stockings, fake hair, and feeling like I don't belong.
It's the Chassidus that I've learned that keeps me here, keeps me connected, those words from great Rabbis, teachers, and friends, that dig themselves and burn their way through to my heart, opening my eyes to our destiny. It's the Chassidus which I chap, which I get deeply, that makes me "authentically" anything.
Here's the clincher: chassidus isn't just for the "authentically" Chabadniks who know all the niggunim and all the right things to say. It's not for the Chabad Elite. It's for all of us; partially Chabad, not Chabad, anti Chabad, whatever. We have just as much ownership on chassidus as the Emes which chassidus embodies, the words that are the vessels for Truth, Life, Gd himself. Similar to how Chabad doesn't own the Rebbe; he isn't just Chabad's Rebbe, but rather, as Rav Aron Soloveitchik declared, the Rebbe for Klal Yisrael.Similar to how no one is more or less close to Hashem ; we all contain a spark of Him within.
For when the Alter Rebbe got out of that cold prison so many years ago, we then, that night that is this night that is now, all left Mitzrayim. Tonight does not mark the Rosh Hoshana for Chabad alone. It's the Rosh Hoshana for reclaiming the Emes that has been chained down within all of us. It's the opportunity for us to connect deeper.
Tonight, fellow Yidden of all stripes and affiliations, lets leave Mitzrayim once more. we don't belong there. And let's use those Chassidic insights gleaned throughout the long years of exile to loosen the shakles.