The Baal Shem Tov, or Besht —  the founder of Chasidism — 
met the soul of the Messiah during an ascent to heaven. 
The Besht asked him, "When will the Master come?" 
The Messiah answered, "When your wellsprings break forth to the outside!" 
(from a letter written by the Besht to his brother-in-law about one of his soul ascents) 

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Some folks get a thrill from matsah crumbs scattered over a naked torso, and who would object to HEEB's annual alternative to the sad, exploitative Matzah Ball – these are pretty much the things HEEB does best. HEEBonics notwithstanding, could this experiment in creating new Jewish culture be more superficial?

Jennifer Bleyer, HEEB's founder who left HEEB to write for the Times, wrote, "the popular message [of HEEB] was, roughly speaking, that being Jewish is cool...I preferred the definition of Jews as ultimate outsiders. That I bore this ridiculous message of coolness made me want to crawl under a rock...I didn't want to be a 'cool Jew.' If anything, I wanted to be a holy schlepper." [Read her article here.]

What would be the spiritual or political alternative to HEEB's hipster consumerism? Where can the "new Jewish culture" take us that we actually want to go? That is a question for all the "boundary crossers" and holy schleppers to think about. I hope demonstrates (or stumbles upon) some of the answers.



Design in progress © Rabbi David Mevorach Seidenberg 2006