Sunday, January 13, 2008

Chosen and other shtuff

Today I said a word incorrectly while I was saying Berachos, and it got me thinking. In the Beraisa we say at the end, Ailu Devarim, it enumerates different rewards for different things. One of them is that a person who is early to the Beis Medrash in the morning and evening "eats of the fruit" of the of the deed in this world and principal is reserved for the world to come. So I accidentally said "Beis Hamikdash" instead, and began to think...did people go to the Beis Hamikdash regularly back in the day?
For example, back in the more recent days, everyone would pile into 770 for prayers when the Rebbe would Daven, as well as for Sichos and other shtuff. Did the same thing at the temple mount? Was there anything to see? Was it seen as "Chassidish" to be there? I understand that many people didn't have the time, but did Bochurim come every day? All right, so you had to be pure, but did people keep themselves pure in order that they should be able to attend? Was there coffee, tea, and cookies for those who showed up? The daily life of people in the times of the Beis Hamikdash is really fascinating. How often did the average Joe see the king? What did the king do all day? We know a lot about what happened in the political, military, and religious life of the people from Tanach, but what about the proletarian view of things? Were there local shtieblach, and were they used on Shabbos as well? Was there a police force? Were there traffic rules?
Anyway, I was just wondering. In other news, I found out where I'm going to caucus. It's in some school. Who will I go for? I really have no idea. Every candidate has some good points and bad points, and of course nothing they say means anything, because all politicians are flip-floppers. Truth is, Ron Paul is probably honest, but who wants a Nazi in office? I guess I'll just have to figure it all out then. Of course, if the race is decided by then, it'll be pretty disappointing.
Finally, R. Zeilengold gave a speech on Shabbos in which he cursed out a couple people without actually mentioning what they did, or even their names, meaning that only they, plus those with IQ's over 37, got what he was saying. The problem for Rabbi Z. is that these people aren't going to listen anyway, but I guess he figures that as Rabbi of the Shul he's obligated to say something. I can imagine that it's pretty difficult to be leader of a Shul. Think about it, you're responsible for the spiritual welfare of a bunch of people who have no desire to be guided. This isn't only a problem in Lubavitch, though it might be accentuated here, because we all think that we know how everything should be done, and who's this guy trying to tell us what to do? Fact is, every Jew is like this, and even if in other, non-Lubavitch, congregations, the problem isn't as obvious, I'm sure that it's still there. Yeshiva's have it easier, because at least they have some way of enforcing their will, though even that is very difficult. In a Shul, no Rabbi has any real power to enforce his will. It's different in a Chabad House, because there people (at least pretend to) respect the Shliach. Another point in the Shliach's favor is that his job is to help people, not to run a Shul. In a Minyan of Anash, there are very few who respect their Mora D'asra, whose job it is to run a Shul. The difference is that the Shul is an institution that is greater than the people in it; we can always replace the people, but not the Shul. A Shliach on the other hand is a product of the people, and as such is pretty much obligated to cater to their needs. Some people in my congregation think that if they can break the monopoly, by starting a new Minyan, then they'll either fix the current Shul or at least have an alternative. Will this work? There are, like I constantly stress about everything in life, pros and cons. Some breakaways work, because the people involved are willing to work together and compromise. It's like a marriage, except that instead of one partner you have twenty. All other problems, like money, space, Sifrei Torah, etc, are incidental. The reason I don't think our community would allow it to work is that I don't think there's any willpower to make it work. Besides, personally, I love politics. Politics is what makes life exciting. Though the truth is a breakaway Minyan would help politics bloom. So it's a win-win. Joy!


e said...

What did those horrible people do? My IQ is over 37 and I can't figure it out!

Just like a guy said...

Basically, the Rabbi asked some people not to say Yasher Koach to everyone who gets an Aliyah, and they started doing it louder. That was on Parshas Bereishis. Now he's at it again. Only thing is, one's a big Gvir, so he can't say anything too explicitly.

Anonymous said...

politics are sickening.
but the points you raised about daily life in the times of the Beis Hamikdash... i've always tried to imagine it. what WAS it REALLY like?
here's to hoping we find out soon.
which we'll only do when there's less politics.