Thursday, June 16, 2011

Can you believe this ? "I go to the Ohel" - a toddlers (!) book

Really! What next?
From the site:

"For the first time ever, parents can make precious time at the Ohel more meaningful and special for toddlers and preschoolers!"

Pardon ask for asking, but is a cemetery really a place for toddlers and preschoolers?

"From writing to the Rebbe, making a hachlata, to giving tzedakah and wearing special shoes, very young children can become more aware of these important details, enriching their Ohel experience and strengthening their hiskashrus with the Rebbe."

Thousands of Tzadikim, Gaonim as well as the greatest and holiest Rebbes have passed away, but no one has ever suggested that young children be inculcated with such bizarre ideas which in their young minds could border on necromancy and "doresh el hameisim".

"A must for every Chabad home, I Go to the Ohel was developed with input from rabbanim, chassidishe parents, and preschool teachers."

What seems to be missing is input from expert child psychologists about the danger of distressing and traumatising young children by exposing them to death and graveyards. The alternative risk is that trivialising the cemetery "experience" in children's books totally removes the concept of "ma nora hamakom hazeh".

We fervently hope that the leadership in 770 will protest this improper and frivolous portrayal and interpretation of this makom kadosh - the resting place of the Rebbe zichrono livracha.


  1. No! I can't believe this.

    April Fools Day or Purim or what??

  2. "We fervently hope that the leadership in 770 will protest this improper and frivolous portrayal and interpretation of this makom kadosh - the resting place of the Rebbe zichrono livracha."

    Still cant bring yourself to say "zichrono tzadik livracha".

    At least you are consistent

  3. Someone correctly posted a comment last week on this topic, which exposed AJNWatch's anti Chabad agenda. You posted it and now you've removed it. Truth hurts doesn't it...

  4. To Anon # 1, You obviously don't know much about these things.
    "Zichrono livrocho" and "zecher tzaddik livrocho" mean exactly the same thing.
    The pasuk states that the memory of a tzadik is 'livrocho'. Thus when saying 'Z"L'- clearly one is referring to a tzaddik.
    (And the way that you wrote: "zichrono tzadik livracha" indicates that, with the greatest respect, you really don't have a clue.)

    To Anon # 2: To the best of our knowledge we didn't remove any comment, thus we have no idea what you are referring to. Please forward more details.

    * We have in the past week or so received a number of comments which, whilst mostly being supportive of AJNWatch's manner and tone towards members of the orthodox rabbinate. We therefore cannot allow these on this blog. One can make a strong point quite clearly even whilst being moderate and showing derech eretz.

  5. Interesting to see an obvious Chabadnik upset that the rebbe doesn't get the zt'l tag.

    has anyone seen any Chanad publication or article where the rebbe is thus mentioned?

    I think ven teh yYeshiva letterhead doesn'thave it.

  6. A book about going to the cemetery aimed at toddlers is pretty sick, no?

  7. This article stems from a major lack of understanding not only of the Ohel, but of the concept of a Rebbe as taught in Chabad in general. The writer is surely not familiar with the Rebbe's many sichos and letters about the holiness of the Ohel. I would also wager that he himself have not ever been to the Ohel.

    For Lubavitcher chassidim, what changed was very simple: Before Gimmel Tammuz the Rebbe was not in the Ohel, and so the main thing was to go to visit the Rebbe, and going to the Ohel of the Frierdikeh Rebbe was not such an emphasis.

    But now the Rebbe is in the Ohel, ba"h. So going to the Ohel means going to the Rebbe, even though we can't see him. Put differently, it's the equivalent of Yechidus today. I.e., one is not simply visiting a kever in the way that other kevarim were visited in times past, one is visiting the Rebbe who is our Rebbe now.

    Why shouldn't children be given literature suitable to them that explains correctly the practice of visiting the Rebbe at the Ohel, and makes them feel comfortable with it and excited about it on their own level?

    Any Chabad parent would want nothing more than for their child to have the uplifting, holy experience of visiting the Ohel, and 1. davvening to Hashem; 2. asking the Rebbe to davven on our behalf.

    On the topic of the Rebbe being our Rebbe now, see here.

    As for what soome secular psychologists say about children and cemeteries, I find it odd that AJNWatch, which generally stands up so proudly for uncompromising Torah views against secular ones, chooses to adopt the secular view in this case.

    As for what children could misunderstand, which is indeed a valid concern:

    1. Indeed, the parents should make sure to explain it to them, just as they should explain countless other things in Torah that might be completely misunderstood at first glance;

    2. So that's exactly one of the purposes of the book--to explain the concept accurately;

    3. Even if the child misunderstands the concept despite it being explained to him or her because of his or her lack of comprehension, so what? I believe that this is comparable to the fact that a childish mind will not grasp the concept that Hashem has no body and form, and that "And Hashem said" is an anthropomorphism, and no booming voice was heard--and yet a parent teaches a child about Hashem in the child's terms, and that is okay. There is a sicha of the Rebbe in Likkutei Sichos, Vol. 15 here in which this general topic is discussed.

  8. Not that they are equal, but I wonder if those putting forward the complaints would also be opposed to taking children to the Me'aras Hamachpelah and Kever Rochel, because they are "cemeteries."

    Concerning the appropriateness of visiting kivrei Tzaddikim in general, see the explanation here.


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