As Anash Communities, We Deserve Higher Standards

From the Inbox: As shlichus has grown BH, we must make sure not to lose sensitivity for Anash standards. What is appropriate and even encouraged on shlichus, may not be suitable for an Anash community.

By Yaakov S.

A well-known mashal is shared about a family that grew up in an underground cave. The elders passed down the ancient family lore regarding a place outside the cave that existed where the people experienced something bright called sunlight that warmed and illuminated their surroundings. As the years went by, there was a recurrent family debate about the possible authenticity and necessity of experiencing sunlight and living with such brightness. After so many generations of being in the dark, many didn’t believe in the necessity of sunlight or its ability to enhance their everyday existence. 

This mashal is used in many contexts, and I would like to use it to explain a phenomenon we in Lubavitch experience as a side effect of the lifestyle we champion of going on shlichus.

In the early years of dor hashvii, the Rebbe worked hard to convince young couples to travel out on shlichus. Most yungerleit’s families had legitimate concerns about the spiritual wellbeing of the shluchim, and their future children. The Rebbe addressed this by assuring them that as long as the shluchim are connected to him, they would be the influencers and not the opposite. A mikvah, explained the Rebbe, requires 40 se’ah, but a spring, as long as it is connected to its sources, needs only enough to cover the person or vessel.

Much has changed since that original hesitancy was the natural reaction to getting an offer to move out, and 74 years later, couples are eagerly searching to go out and find their portion of the world to transform and prepare for Moshiach. There are currently many families who have four generations of shluchim spread out over the map.

As the years progress, and the landscape of the different communities change, we may have shifted to the other extreme and have gotten too comfortable in the new reality to discern what a drastic hit our communities have taken.

Lubavitch, by definition, is a sector of Chassidim. A Chassid is one who goes beyond the required level of halachic standards and rises above it to follow the most stringent interpretation possible. When Pirkei Avos speaks of the most pious of Yidden, it uses the word Chassid. 

Yes, shluchim have leeway sometimes to lower the standards as long as it is to bring people closer to Torah, and not ch”v the other way around, but those dispensations do not apply to the Anash community. 

As mekuravim join the Anash community, we need to ensure that the community’s standards aren’t lowered. Moreover, even if some Anash don’t adhere to our standards, that doesn’t change what Lubavitch is about.

A shliach, especially one who was born on shlichus, can become accustomed to shlichus lifestyle and become desensitized. He may not even realize how that differs from our internal community standards.

This applies to many facets of shlichus, from publishing certain photos online, in calendars, in promotional videos and the like, to the nuanced support we give to the Yidden of Eretz Yisroel, entertainment artists or venues, davening, standards of kashrus, and so on.

This is especially true regarding the kinds of entertainment that are offered. In the Lubavitch that I was raised in, we didn’t follow “singing sensations” – even if they had a beard. Likewise, there are public speakers who may be fine speakers to be mekarev Yidden, but that doesn’t mean they’re appropriate for Anash.

It’s not only about halachic standards but also with regards to eidelkeit. While bright yarmulkas and emblazoned sweatshirts might be great for CTeen, there’s no reason that ehrliche boys and girls in unzere mosdos should be dressed in them.

What has been happening is that there is now a lack of clarity in many of these matters. Many who were born and raised on shlichus may never have even had the opportunity to fully ingest the depth of all our internal standards. There may be families of mekuravim who join the family of anash but have also not had the opportunity to fully ingest the depth of chasidishkeit, or are well on their way, but not there yet.

It is important for us to be wary of outside influences creeping in, stand on guard, and while we are mekarev every Yid and seek to lift them up, bear in mind that real achdus can not come from watering down standards, rather from lifting up. Real achdus is not about making anybody lower their standards, but rather by elevating everyone.

In keeping in line with the Rabbonim's policies for websites, we do not allow comments. However, our Rabbonim have approved of including input on articles of substance (Torah, history, memories etc.)

We appreciate your feedback. If you have any additional information to contribute to this article, it will be added below.

  1. This was something I have been feeling and maybe in some areas not have been sensitive enough. Thank you for bringing up the bar !!!

    1. There is a lot of standards in our own community that has gone down, starting with the dress code with the kids in our schools.
      There was once an op-head posted with the title along the lines that if you kid is leaving the house to go to Simchas Beis Hashoava with blundstones and a hoodie then you know he or she is going for the wrong reason, and this is very much true! (which that itself is an issue that boys and girls are dressing the same, and you can’t imagine what it’s going to lead to) Not even mentioning the girls schools and the dress codes they allow (the skirt size and elbow length…) which that is very clearly stated in Shulchan Aruch what the standards are, which the schools don’t seem to enforce, but the boys schools have also dropped their standards on dress codes.
      When I was a kid in school in crown heights (which wasn’t so long ago) coming to school with a colored Yamulka, sweatshirt even without something on it (sometimes these days boys aren’t even wearing a shirt under), sweatpants and the shoes that you see kids wearing was unheard of and school would enforce that.
      I think these the schools administrations and board members are afraid of parents, or they themselves have their kids dressed in these Goyishe ways.
      I think it’s time for the Rabbonim, community leaders, and Mechanchim to step up and not be bullied by what big donors or board members are gonna say, you job is to make the right decision regardless of what’s going on around you!
      It’s time to enforce the dress code! Once your lenient on something’s then it’s like a spiral staircase with the dress code with wearing Tzitzis changing Chas Vesholom….

      1. Why are you upset? All of these statements about stylistic dress are totally spurious: Blundstones are absolutely not a sign that your kids are going for the wrong reason. Likewise , I promise you that your kids still look Jewish in colored yarmulkes and sweatshirts, maybe even more brightly so. You’re picking on all the wrong stuff. Besides, a very strict dress code is not going to stop your kid from going off the derech, sorry to tell you. (A beard, yarmulke, hat and tzitsis may look weird enough to deter a non Jewish girl from chasing your son, but they won’t necessarily keep him frum.)

        More importantly, having a parent that makes snide comments about other people’s sleeve lengths or other chitzoniyus is likely to deter that child from asking that parent for their help when it really matters. Don’t make this mistake. These changes are minor and kids aren’t sensitive to them. By contrast, as I said before, your kids WILL notice if you look at modern dressing Jewish kids as goyish. You’ll train them to be judgemental for the wrong reasons and to be afraid of your petty sensibilities, and once they realize how silly you were being, they’ll lose respect for more important things, chas vshalom.

    2. How did we fall so low to think that true ahavas yisroel is “lowering standards”?! We are raising our standards in the mitzvah that matters most!
      Seeing it through the lens of lowering standards is an infiltration from other communities that lack in ahavas yisroel.

  2. To add to one of the author’s points, I once heard from someone (a Rov possibly, I can’t remember who) that the attitude of a Shliach must be that if he has to lower high standards for the sake of being Mekarev a Yid – it must pain him. And he has to constantly yearn for the day that the standard can rise back to where it should be.

  3. There are many shluchim who do hold to the proper standards regardless of their immediate environment. I encountered shluchim in a distant community, surrounded by apathy and deeply-entrenched secular culture. It blew me away to see how staunchly they hold to Anash standards (kashrus, dress styles, eidelkeit, entertainment, etc.) for themselves and their children and grandchildren B”H — absolutely beautiful to see. At the same time, they gently mekarev the Jews in their community. I would think this would be a topic on groups exclusively for shluchim.

    1. It hasn’t only affected shluchim, but it’s spread to Anash communities all over.

      A bit part of the problem today is the internet since whatever a shliach does in his town is seen everywhere. And people think that’s the Lubavitch standard.

      The only solution is awareness with articles such as these. Thank you for posting!

  4. unfortunately what stands out are also affordable communities where anash move to and the shaitel comes off, ladies wear pants, kapotehs and beard are discarded.
    Parents are disregarded (this happens all over already. fifth commandment erased?)
    can you imagine what will happen with our next generation?

  5. is a site that tries to adhere to more acceptable standards. It is noticeably more careful which articles, news and pictures are shared. Hence, I was just wondering why the picture for this article was chosen?

  6. The author does mention a few valid points but it’s not your task to go telling the parents how to raise a child. If you actually felt that by writing this article will help, then why didn’t you put your name and contact info so that we can ask your advice and guidance on how we can run our lives. By you not willing to guide this way I feel like you should have explained this better. I hope I wasn’t to harsh.

    1. We can have an objective discussion. If the points are valid, than we should take them to heart and seek to fix them. I didn’t notice him telling parents what to do, he is simply bringing them up to bring awareness to the topic.

      Not everyone is willing to put their name out, but that shouldn’t stop them from raising good points.

      קבל את האמת ממי שאמרו

  7. I don’t feel it’s correct to single out shluchim. It’s more prevalent for anash in lubavicher communities to watch movies, go to stadiums, and listen to non erlich music. Baruch Hashem the Rebbe has watched over shluchim and shluchims kids are amazingly and against all odds exponentially so connected. To reiterate I did not appreciate your shluchim comments.

  8. Lots to think about here. It reminds us parents that we need to consciously educate our children to our standards and not rely on the ‘arum’ to do the work.

  9. I see a lot of “kuch” in the comments, and its good that people are interested in higher standards, however i think its important to keep our focus on the big picture.

    Its so and so many years since we dont see the rebbe, and look what the community is like.

    Kids are inspired to do what the rebbe taught us, going on mivtzoim, lighting up the world.

    Yes there are certain standards that have dropped, and you cant really blame them, but overall it seems that the community is going in a good direction.

    However, when we want to raise standards, and add more yiras shomayim, the way of doing that is not really by making more rules…

    If you want someone to act like a better yid, the way to do that is by inspiring them. Show them how its done, and by beeing a shining example, you will get more people onboard.

    If everyone would feel a responsibility to set an example for his close circle, we cant know how strong of an effect this can have on the general community.

    1. There is a big difference between community standards and individual hashpaa.

      When trying to influence an individual, the solution is of course to inspire them, not to impose more rules (although rules do play an important role in chinuch).

      But as a community we should have standards of what is normal. Those who are creating community events must be aware of Anash standards and keep to them. It isn’t right for them to produce a shlichus style program for chassidim.

      1. its true that as a community we need to have our standards.
        however, i think its only through positive influence, and a warm approach, that one can bring others to adhere.

  10. This has nothing to do with Shlichus, and it can be clearly seen that this is a baseless and not well thought out article.

    Who are you speaking to? A specific institution (School/Shul)? Did someone release new guidelines and allowed something you think is wrong?

    Did the Rabbonim send out a psak you have issue with?

    Everything you are describing is personal people making decisions, and non of those people or yourself was given the pulpit to speak for Lubavitch.

    For the record, there is not even one reference to a single letter, story, maaneh etc. from any of the rabbiem, chazal, tanach, etc. mentioned here to support your opinion that you blasted off without thinking through.

    You take issue with certain speakers? Give an example? Do you feel threatened that Anash (young and old) listen to shiurim from speakers who they can actually understand. These are talented individuals that explain things where even a non affiliated jew can relate to. You should be thankful!

    Maybe you should start listening to some of them and your feelings will change (you will hopefully change as well).

    I bless you to find your way to a more positive outlook on others and more importantly yourself.

  11. I don’t know where you live, but the issue is in front of our eyes, and there’s a reason it resonates with so many people.

    Numerous events in Anash communities don’t reflect the standards of a community of Chassidim. The obvious proof is that such events would never have happened before Gimmel Tammuz.

    Attributing it to ideas gotten from shlichus is judging them l’kaf zechus (rather than saying that they are trying to be worldly). I believe that they’re well meaning, but they just have no idea what a chassidishe event should look like.

    This isn’t about putting anyone down, but simply about being Lubavitcher chassidim. It’s no one’s business if someone wants to be more worldly, but as a community we deserve chassidishe standards.

  12. B”H you left off food. I am on a “Chabad” kashrus group and it is amazing how they try to matir everything without hechshers and other foods meat and everything is par baked so not need for PY….. and not all are shluchim in the corner of a Nevada desert.

  13. We must remember that our community is made up of individuals. Despite people’s best efforts, many are struggling to uphold the standards that they wished to uphold. Its imperative that you as an individual not rely on others to “set the standard”. If you are disappointed with the behavior of those who you wish to respect, then remember that its up to you to make the difference that you want to see. There is no “they should be more chassidish”. We live in galus that is getting darker bu the year. We dont “deserve” higher standards from other people. We can only expect from ourselves. When Moshiach comes, everyone will keep standards even higher than the previous generation. Until then, focus on yourselves and those in your surroundings. Dont rely on “them”.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

advertise package