Women are going to save the world. That’s clear to me now. I used to think it was just kind of a cute thing that none of the women participated in the sin of the golden calf. Certainly brave that they shaved their heads in order to turn off the Greeks from defiling them before they got married. But it was hard to see that in today’s culture.
And then I got married. And I realized I’m a silly, silly man.
This became really clear during this whole Matisyahu controversy. I made the usual arguments. His whole message was against assimilation. Sure, the girl wasn’t dressed right, but hey, we all make mistakes. We’re silly guys, right?
But my wife, she wouldn’t accept it. He was our posterchild, she said. Our man, the one who everyone looked up to. Those of us in the spotlight, we can’t afford to slip up. Yes, the point was against assimilation. But we can’t violate our principles to make a point.
And she was right.
But here’s the problem. It’s hard. It’s really really hard. Just look at Pop Chassid.
Pop Chassid has a problem. On one hand, it tries to use the modern world to its advantage. To raise up the world of movies and art. On the other, the world of movies and art violates Jewish ideals to an almost absurd degree.
And even further, the movies whose messages are most connected to deep Jewish kabbalah and chassidus concepts are the movies that are most filled with klippah, with negativity, with scantily clad women and death and swearing and hate and other things poisonous to the soul.
So, Pop Chassid has tamer movies. Movies like Megamind. Movies that are cute, nice, pretty, and easy. Movies that aren’t so deep. Because the deeper we go, the more likely we are to mess up.
The Pop Jewish world has this problem. Look at the popular Chanukah videos from this year. One was by Matisyahu. Deep, great message, but enough bad that it has sent shockwaves through the Jewish community. Then we got the Maccabeats video. Cute, nice, beautiful, great, but little depth.
What’s a Pop Chassid to do? How do we get the message across? Is it impossible to make true art? Are all my blogs destined to be cute and nice but pathetically simple?
But here’s where a wife and a bit of Chassidus can come in handy. My wife, she says exactly what the Tanya, the written Torah of Chabad Chassidus, says. She says something only a woman could say.
She says, “No, it’s possible. It’s possible to be deep and real and make true art. It’s possible, it’s possible, it’s possible. We just need to stay focused, to stay strong, and when we mess up we need to do teshuva (return to G-d’s truth, without looking back).”
That’s essentially what the very first chapter of Tanya says. It says, you may be a screw up, you may not be perfect, but you can do perfection. You can live perfection. And even when you mess up, you just have to keep aiming at perfection, always keeping the target in your vision.
And that’s why it doesn’t matter if our intentions were good. Why the ends don’t justify the means. Because we’re Jews, and our job is to be perfect, even if it’s an impossible task. And when we mess up, we need to fess up.
So, I for one am fessing up. Pop Chassid’s gotten too shallow. It’s time to get real again. It’s time to do teshuva. It’s time to admit that G-d wants even the most simple blog to be totally perfect, totally deep, and not afraid to push the limits.