Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Here's you go

In the most recent issue of the Nshei Chabad Newsletter there is an interesting editorial from Rishe Deitsch. By the way, the newsletter is the best English-language Lubavitch publication out there, with Beis Moshiach in second. You're right, there aren't too many English-language Lubavitch publication out there anyway, but you get the point. Mrs. Deitsch wrote about the evils of verbosity, and brought many examples to back herself up. While I fully support her crusade to rid the world of wordy essays and garrulous articles, it does seem, at least to me, to be a strange forum for this crusade. What exactly does good writing have to do with the women of Chabad? Additionally, while I do agree with her point, she does neglect to mention that on occasion writers have verbal diarrhea on purpose. Perhaps they enjoy it, or maybe they're mocking another. Hey, I do it all the time. Is it partially because I'm not the greatest writer in the world? Yeah, probably. But at the same time, sometimes (OK, too many times) I do write too much, for the simple joy of the turn of English.

Pesach was really nice. I saw a short exchange in "Hamelech Bemsibo" between the Rebbe and his brother-in-law, the Rashag. The Rashag wanted to know why the students of the five sages had to come and tell them that it was time for the morning Shema. This question has been asked a billion times, and there's probably two billion answers, but this Pesach was the first time I'd seen this one, and you're reading anyway (presumably), so bear with me. The Rebbe answered that when the Avoda, the work, of the students is over, then the Avoda of their teachers' is over as well.
Is this not a powerful lesson? It's funny, because that's all there is to the exchange. What's really needed is a great Mashpia to Farbreng about this for, oh, seventeen hours or so.
I, as you may or may not have noticed, am not that great Mashpia, so you'll have to work out the ramifications on your own.

In other thoughts, I was contemplating my Mivtzoyim (community (i.e. Persian and Israeli] outreach) route in Los Angeles. If you can believe it, and I see no reason why you you shouldn't, I (and my Chavrusa Dov Ber Berkowitz [did I spell that last name right?]) got 30 Tefillin every week, not to mention a similar number of distributed Lchaims and an average of 120 dollars for Tzedaka. When we'd come into Yeshiva, proud of our exploits, people would say, "What are you so excited about? You think you did anything? It's all the Rebbe! And anyway, Mivtzoyim isn't about numbers, it's about effort." Yeah, they were probably just sore, but they did have a valid point.
Today I was thinking about this and it struck me that at the end of the day, it's probably no bad thing to be proud of Mivtzoyim exploits. At least you're proud of doing the right thing.

And last but not least, I'm happy to report that Baruch Hashem I fulfilled the time-honored tradition of going to a zoo on Chol Hamoed. For the first time that I can remember, the lion was not only awake but quite vocal too, which scared my niece to no end. Don't worry, she got over it. It was nice to see many other Orthodox-type Jews also continuing this fine practice, including the Morah D'asra of Beis Yisroel in Minneapolis and a future Gadol Hador, if I may say so myself. Well, it's 1:00 now, my self-imposed deadline, so "so long everybody".

P.S. Some people correctly pointed out that the final paragraph seems to say that I, TRS, am a future Gadol Hador. I'd like to correct that misconception and state that while I have many Taivos (passionate desires), being a Gadol Hador is not one of them.
The sentence above was supposed to make clear that the Morah D'asra of Beis Yisroel is a future Gadol Hador.
I'm glad we cleared that one up.


Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. R. Shliach: little can compare to the roar of the mighty lion as he surveys his kingdom on the great plains. I'm sure he was saluting your presence. L d. T.

Rishe said...

Dear TRS,
Thank you for your comments on my recent editorial (Pesach issue, N'shei Chabad Newsletter). I appreciate both the compliments and the criticism. You wonder what a discussion of the "evils of verbosity" is doing on the front page of the N'shei. Every Lubavitcher of any age is a Shliach of the Rebbe. Communicating the mitzvos to our fellow Jews in a way that they can hear it and absorb it is the job of each one of us, isn't it?
We can't communicate that (or anything else) if we don't know how to communicate effectively. People will tune us out.
Thus the evils of verbosity are all of our business... I think. Keep up the good work,
Rishe Deitsch