Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Oh Baby!

Here's a comment that I got from the editor on my last post that for some reason blogger is refusing to post.

You just mentioned something that kind of pisses me off. I hope you'll find this genius of mine worthy of putting near yours.

People like to take out all the juice of everything and blame it all on the Rebbe. Case in point: "Who the hell understands what was so important about the seforim? Not me! The only reason I'm celebrating is because the Rebbe found it important!" Or, "Who the hell would think it's important to get kids to hear the Ten Commandment? Not me! I'm only shlepping kids off the street because the Rebbe said to do it!" Or, "Why the hell would someone want to learn chassidus? Not me! Just the Rebbe said to do it, so I'm doing it!" This kind of attitude can really make you feel bottul and mekushar and mesiras nefeshdik (Side note: a mashpia once said: the only mesiras nefesh we do is when we're moser our nefesh elokis.) but you're drying out Judaism. Didan notzach becomes a meaningless victory which we celebrate b'kabolas ol because the inscrutable Rebbe felt like it. Mivtzoim isn't necessarily accomplishing anything; it's just doing something that the inscrutable Rebbe wants. Learning Chassidus (Learning Chassidus!) also doesn't accomplish anything, it's also just doing what the inscrutable Rebbe wants. Is this what Judaism is about? An emphatic no! Chassidus does have an effect. Movtzoim do have an effect. If the Rebbe (who certainly is inscrutable) wants something, it's because that thing is worth wanting! If we don't understand why, then we're missing a very important part of the point!
The real mekusharim don't care if Judaism is dry. All that matters is oysfirin di kavanah. Well, if you don't attempt to scrutinize the Rebbe (just a wee bit) than you can't think straight.
For example, people might say, "It's important to build buildings because "der Rebbe vil binyanim!" (It always sounds better in Yiddish, even if the key word in the sentence is Hebrew.) Well, buddy, why, pray tell, does the Rebbe want buildings? Because buildings help you do shlichus. So, if you're on shlichus with limited resources, considerations such as "Der Rebbe vil binyanim" are only going to befuddle your decision—unless you think why the Rebbe wants binyanim!

If you think this is kefirah, then write back, and we'll settle things out.

Did you like his genius? Impassioned no doubt. Kefirah? Doubtful. My point was that sometimes we don't know what to do, and then the answer is to rely on the Rebbe, not on our own intellect. Sure, work as hard as you can to understand, but sometimes you just don't. Is this an excuse to not do what you have to do? Of course not. Is this an excuse to not try to figure it out? It's like the Bracha Shekahol. Shulchan Oruch says that this Bracha is said whenever you don't know the proper Bracha for something. But not because of your ignorance, that you haven't learned which Bracha to make, it's because you did learn and still don't know.


Anonymous said...

What a well-written post! I totally agree with the editor. Who is he? I would like to have him edit my multi-billion dollar-multi-and-million-subscriber periodical, he seems like the man for the job!