Sunday, February 3, 2008

Rebbe!!

I recently heard a song, I believe by Dov Shurin, which not only insults Meshichists and Na Na Nachmans but also proclaims that "Hashem is my Rebbe!" This line reminded me of a conversation that I had many, many moons ago with a couple of Snags in Savannah Georgia. I was only 11 or so, and consequently wasn't as well versed as I am now. Anyway, they tried to convince me that there was really no fight nowadays between Chassidim and Misnagdim, as after all, everyone has a Rabbi, right? Obviously they didn't quite get the difference between a Rebbe and a Rosh Yeshiva, but that's not the topic of today's post.
Fast forward several years to a Farbrengen with the Rosh in LA, who told a great mashal, parable, about the whole concept of Rebbe. Here it goes, with some slight embellishment by yours truly to keep it interesting.
Misnagdim have a famous question on Chassidim, "Why do you need a Rebbe? After all, there's no Mitzvah, no commandment, in the Torah to have one?" Chassidim have two choices when they're faced with this query: the first thing that comes to their mind, and lefi anias daiti the right move, is to give the guy a quick punch in the gut. The second thing that comes to the mind of a Chassid is to say the following...
Many, many years ago, in a land far, far away, like Arizona, but not exactly, there lived a man who wanted to become a goldsmith. He decided to apprentice himself to the greatest living goldsmith, a man so renowned for mastery of the precious metal that he had earned his country's highest medal for his genius. Let's call him Jonathan, or John for short. Oh, and the seeker can be Pedro. So Pedro comes to John and begs to be apprenticed. John says, "All right, as long as you promise to pay attention to everything I say, and even more so to what I do, and don't be an idiot." Pedro agrees, and spends the next seven years learning how to create the most magnificent vessels, jewelry, and the occasional casket.
One day John told Pedro, "Today is the day when you shall go off into the world and become a man for yourself." Pedro did so, returning to his hometown and opening up a goldsmithery. The first day of business he gets very excited, and places a large hunk of gold on the table, and starts to hammer it. Nothing happens. He thinks that this is strange, and takes out a chisel. Again, nothing. He tries all his tools, but the block of gold does nothing.
Pedro runs back to John, and complains that nothing is working. John looks at him strangely, and asks him to replicate everything that he did. Pedro takes a block of gold, puts it on the table, and starts to hammer. Again, nothing happens. John says, "You idiot!" Pedro looks up, all offended, and asks, "Why?" John tells Pedro, "You didn't light a fire underneath the gold, you moron!" Pedro says, "Huh? You never told me to light a fire underneath the gold." John responds, "I figured that it was so obvious that I didn't have to tell you. Didn't I say int he beginning that you have to pay attention to what I do even more than what I say?"
Thus ends the mashal. The point is obvious. The reason Hashem didn't tell us, in the Torah, to get a Rebbe is because he figured it would be obvious. After all, he appointed Moshe, and assumed that people would get that you have to have a Moshe in each generation.
And that, my friends, is the why Dov Shurin is out of his mind, and why a Rebbe is very different from a Rosh Yeshiva.

5 comments:

Eliezer said...

That Moshel could be used by anyone to prove anything. Why doesn't the Torah tell us to roll in the snow? Well it's so obvious that the Torah didn't need to say it!!!!!!

The Real Shliach said...

Yasher Koach. Fact is, it's a nice mashal, and you should stop nitpicking, and instead concentrate on making spanish jew's lives miserable.

Eliezer said...

I'm not nitpicking. I'm rightfully pointing out that while your moshol is a nice example of a teacher not mentioning the obvious, it does not prove the misnaged wrong. Do you think that makes it a nice moshol?

The Real Shliach said...

OK brilliant boy, how would you prove the misnaged wrong?

Eliezer said...

Lol