Recently someone sent me a YouTube video of two brothers, both Chasidic rabbis, appearing on an Israeli television show similar to America’s “The Voice” – only with a swarthy, skinny, olive skin, curly black haired version of Christina Aguilera.
At first glance all I could tell about these two rabbis with long dark coats, even longer peot ( the curly strands that align the side of their faces in lieu of sideburns that drag well below the collar bone ….not to be confused with the long scraggly coarse beards with evidence of lunch still entwined in it) and very short- or shaved -haircuts that were covered with even bigger yarmulkes.
My first thought was that they looked extremely “religious”.
The only thing I imagined coming out of their mouths was prayer.
But within seconds they began strumming their guitars and with their eyes closed tight they started singing in harmonious concentration Simon and Garfunkles’
“ The Sound of Silence” …..I immediately snapped to attention.
These men had talent!
It reminded me of the old adage that you can’t judge a man by his clothing.
Which made me think further about a story I have been following this past week in the New York Post, about a Chasidic man (or is he Lubavitch? – In my mind they are the same thing but I’m pretty sure they are arch rivals and likening them to each other is probably like comparing the Mexican cartel to the Russian mafia –both criminals but on different sides of the game) .
In any case the subject of the story in the NY newspapers was a very “Religious” man – at least he dressed the part. But his deeds and morals were in fact anything but pious. To sum it up, he was accused of being a slumlord and sketchy business man and was killed by what the Post referred to as one of many enemies. The list of people who had reason to kill him apparently was endless.
His community leaders came out in outrage against the NY papers by contesting their version of this man’s actions and headlining with these terrible accusations (although many people came forward to confirm their truth).
But all I kept thinking as I followed this story line is that this man DRESSED the part of a religious man and LIVED in the community of “religious “ people.
He chose to wear the same long black coat and long peot with big yarmulke that the two singing rabbis wore. He chose to live a life of implied faith just by being a part of the small and segregated ghetto Chasidic “religious” community.
In my opinion, his “religious” belief was inferred by his attire.
Which only confirms my prior point: You can’t judge a man by his clothing.
The next time you see a man with food stuck in his beard , don’t assume anything other than he had a good lunch.
and now for your listening pleasure click below:…