People often debate whether it is proper to copy the Rebbe or not. I don’t think it is as popular as it used to be, but I remember when a lot of people would dress like the Rebbe, pinch their hats like the Rebbe, talk like the Rebbe, and do all sorts of other shtick.
The question is, is this good or bad? Should we try and copy the Rebbe or not?
Once again we have a perfect example of something that people debate back and forth, over and over, and completely miss the point. The entire issue becomes ridiculous and senseless, unless we find the real issue, the truth to both sides -- the truth that unites them.
The answer is: You should copy the Rebbe as much as possible… you just have to know how to copy.
Here is a trivia question: What size hat did the Rebbe wear?
Size eight, you say.
The Rebbe wore a hat that fit.
So if you want to copy the Rebbe and wear the same size, you should not wear a size eight hat. You should wear a hat that fits.
The Rebbe didn’t go to a hat store and say, “Hmmm… I want a size eight hat and I don’t care if it fits me or not.” The size is completely secondary, it’s the chitzonius. The main thing, the pnimius, is that the hat fit.
So too, we need to learn how to see what the Rebbe is doing and find
what the Rebbe really is doing, and then we can copy him.
An example: Someone once asked the Rebbe, “how can I be connected to you?”
The Rebbe answered, “learn what I learn.”
The bochur was a bit taken aback, but he mustered up the courage to ask, “And what does the Rebbe learn?”
“I learn Nigleh and Chassidus,” the Rebbe answered, with a smile.
Obviously, the Rebbe is going to learn at a level of quantity and quality that far surpasses the ability of the bochur to keep up. Yet, that was not the main point. The Rebbe learned Nigleh and Chassidus according to his ability, and he expects us to learn the same thing: Nigleh and Chassidus according to each of our abilities.
Then we are truly copying the Rebbe.
But, if we try to just copy the Rebbe’s external actions, we end up just being something that we are not. We become monkeys copying a person. We become fakes.
And the last thing that the Rebbe is, is a fake!
So don’t fake it, be real.
And remember: Chabad mont pnimius!