Shmuel Pollen, a resident of Morristown who participated in and even led “Call of the Shofar” workshops, reveals what shook him out of the “influence.”
It occurred this past Shabbos, when I was having a short, but deep conversation with an elder chassid.
He made a remark in a speech that he gave, that appeared to me to be a slight against Call of the Shofar.
I approached him about it and we quickly got into a philosophical conversation in which I tried to explain the merits of “Shofar philosophy” and how it fits in with Chassidus.
Keep in mind, Shofar does teach extremely deep concepts that do seem quite similar to Chassidus. And they often are found to be much more accessible than what we typically learn (which is a draw for Lubavitchers).
He countered what I was saying with proofs from various places in Tanya. Admittedly, his arguments were dismantling mine.
But I continued to present the other side of the coin, playing devil’s advocate.
This was going on fine, until a certain point in which I explained a particular aspect of what Shofar is trying to accomplish, and suddenly he froze up, and became visibly shaken. He was so upset he didn’t want to talk about it anymore. He came back to me to confirm a few more times that what I had said was actually something that is believed by Shofar attendees.
I confirmed it. Then he said, almost in a panic: “If they do this – it’s a masis umadiach! I can tell you 1,000 percent it’s completely asur to go to such a place.”
It shook me up.
And when I really thought about what he had said, I realized that he was completely right.
It suddenly occurred to me that this organization which seemed benign and elevating, was actually, a threat to our very souls.