I’m trying to keep up.
Trying to keep up with all the articles, the pictures, the news.
Trying to keep up with all the farbrengens, the stories, the quotes, the hours upon hours of inspiration.
Trying to stay sane, to keep my tears in check, to bottle the rage.
Trying to stay on top of my feed….Trying.
For twenty-some years, we are trying to balance the fear and the hope.
Trying to understand how we could go on.
Trying to find the reassurance that we will only get stronger, only grow wiser, only make our Rebbe proud.
Trying to figure out how we will keep our children uplifted, keep our children as chassidim, keep our children in line,
in love with someone they cannot see with their eyes.
For twenty years and change, we are trying to keep the shirts white, keep the beards full, keep the skirts long, keep the chitas learnt, the mivtzoyim done, the l’chaims drunk, the fervor just so.
For twenty-odd years, we are opening more and more Chabad houses, designing more and more programs, creating more and more slogans,
serving redemption along a side of shnitzel and fries,
forging our way deeper into Jewish community, deeper into Jewish practice, deeper into Jewish consciousness,
teetering between dogma and a life-giving revolution.
For twenty-plus years, so many are disillusioned, standing on the outside of our schools, shuls and communities.
For twenty-plus years, many leaders scramble in the face of decisions.
For twenty-plus years, we feel alone.
For twenty three years we are watching time tick by…time tick by.
I don’t want to be afraid anymore.
Not of a ‘Schneerson’ on every corner,
each in the eye of the beholder.
Not of our world. Not of our neighbors. Not of the leadership.
Not of ourselves.
Not of being Chassidish enough. Or tznius enough. Or sheltered enough. Or learned enough. Or inspired enough. Or active enough. Or apologetic enough. Or dogmatic enough. Or strong enough.
I don’t want to keep up anymore.
It’s twenty-three years — it’s time to let go of the fear.
To let go of the image and embrace the realness.
To join our Rebbe. To be a revolutionary. To turn toward the light.
Because the Rebbe believed in me.
The Rebbe believed in you.
And the only yardstick the Rebbe ever used
Is nestled tight in each of our soul’s
I’m done keeping up.
I’m about the holding up,
the lifting up, the climbing up,
I’m about the lighting up.