Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Bigger and better things

I just heard a nice vort from everyone's favorite dean, Rabbi Mordechai Friedman, about Jewish music versus non-Jewish music. Benny Friedman recently sang at a concert in California, and his brother Eli, Shliach in Calabasas and producer of the concert, got a letter from a congregant, which went something like this:

Dear Rabbi, thanks so much for inviting me to the concert, it was really great, Benny sounded even better than he did last time I heard him. Incidentally, I really feel that my love for Hashem has increased [due to the concert].

The point? Benny did not sing about love of Hashem, and yet his concert had the power to cause a person to come closer to their father in heaven. Listening to goyishe music does not necessarily cause a person to frie out, but it can certainly have that affect. And no one would say that attending a Jewish concert would cause someone to frie out, while no one would say that attending a goyishe concert would increase a person's frumkeit. Will these things definitely occur? Of course not. But can they help? Certainly.
And what about frum people singing not-Jewish music? Don't ask me.

In other news, Rabbi Nachman Wilhelm told me yesterday that I was a pea-brained Lubavitcher. In my defense, the offense I was accused of wasn't actually perpetrated by me. Not that I'm not a pea-brained Lubavitcher of course, but at least this time I'm not guilty. Rabbi Wilhelm's point was that if there's anything a person would be ashamed to do in front of a misnaged, then he shouldn't do it ever. In fact, if a person bashes misnagdim it's because they have low self-esteem as Lubavitchers, and the only way they can put themselves up is by putting others down. Fine, so it's pretty basic shtuff, but still important to hear every once in a while. Of course, if a person is bashing them just for fun, then it's probably OK. (Right).