Thursday, May 8, 2008

Responses, Shach, and Sefiras Haomer

Before we get to this soppy material shtuff that I've planned for you (that's right, this is not Montessori here [look it up yee of little knowledge]) I'd like to apologize to Rabbi Belsky for not giving him an honorific. I may not agree with everything he says, but A. He's older and smarter than me, and B. If as a Lubavitcher my Europass Smicha entitles me to be called Rabbi, then...(Yup, these ellipses sure are convenient when you can't think of a good way to end a thought [and these parentheses can sure get annoying, eh?]) So as I was saying, a minimum of Kovod is expected, and will hopefully be tendered in future posts. Truth is (as truth does), why should I differentiate here between the guy who taught Torah in Bnei Brak and this one who teaches Torah in Brooklyn? Why, in Lubavitch, do we not like E. Man Schach? Because he gave such pain to the Rebbe. When a guy curses out my Rebbe now, shouldn't I have an equal dislike for him? And if you're gonna say that the guy officially like my Rebbe, but curses out his Chassidim? Well hey, the Rebbe cared diddly-squat about his own Kavod. The Kavod of his father-in-law, the Friedriker Rebbe? Yes. The Kavod of Lubavitch, which also means the Rebbe and Chassidim of Lubavitch? Yes. In fact it's a moot point, because after 10 Shevat the Rebbe ceased being an individual and the Chassidim ceased being, well, whatever they were before 10 Shevat (whatever that was [am I on slippery ground here?]). Point is, and this was brought out in the Sefarim trial, and repeated by every 25 Cheshvan, 2 Kislev, and 5 Teves Farbrengen ever since, that a Rebbe and his Chassidim are bound closer than pretty much anything in the known universe. So when you curse out Chassidim, you curse out their Rebbe as well. In all fairness, I am aware of Shach's Tehillim for the Rebbe after 27 Adar. Was that his redemption? Who knows. Has Rabbi Belsky done as much, whichever fashion it would take? I don't think so. In conclusion, I'll call him Rabbi Belsky, because it's the right thing to do, but I'll continue to think of him the same way I think of Shach.
It's funny, because a Lubavitcher would take that to mean that I can't stand Rabbi Belsky, while a Snag (if they took it out of context) would think it high praise indeed. Just an observation.
Anyway, back to our originally scheduled programming. I feel like I should make this into it's own post. As a Chassid though, with my moach constantly shaliting my lev, I'll ignore that feeling. The idea has been expressed before, but this is certainly the first time I've ever heard it expressed in this way.
While I was learning Shulchan Oruch today with fellow Shliach Yoni Chanowitz I came across a passage in the Alter Rebbe's Orach Chayim, Siman 489, Halacha 3. It says that we can't begin to count the Sefirah because the verse says that they (the days) should be complete, and I quote in transliterated Hebrew, "V'ain atah motza temimus elah keshemaschil lispor b'erev", that you don't find completion except when the counting is begun at night, meaning that the count must begin the night following the Omer offering, and all counting follows the first, which means that all the counting we do for the next 48 days also takes place at night.
The word "temimus" struck me, and an idea began to formulate in mine little mind. At first I dismissed my thoughts as needlessly snaggy, because who else but they make their own little pshetlach? I then realized that these thoughts were anti-semitic and committed to writing them down, right here, right now (that was, of course, six hours ago. But I digress).
The verse I quoted can also be translated as, "A Tamim is not found unless he begins to count at night." One of the lessons of Sefiras Haomer is that our days must be counted, every moment accounted for. If a person has no seder, no order in their life, then they can't hope to succeed. This is especially true for a Yeshiva Bochur, and even more so for a Bochur in Tomchei Tmimim, the Yeshiva of Lubavitch. A person can't think to become a Tamim without first accepting upon themselves the yoke of responsibility, of proper-time management. And the Shulchan Oruch says here that a Tamim only begins to count at night, that the time for this preparation begins at night. A Tamim can't stay up partying until four in the morning expecting to be fine the next morning. He can't go to sleep thinking improper things and expect to wake up pure, ready for the holiness his day will demand of him. He can't go to sleep watching inappropriate movies, or reading inappropriate books, and expect to "have a head" for the morning's work. In short, a Tamim must begin to count his days at night.

Nice, no? Whenever I write those two words together I feel so Jewish (stam). But seriously folks, I think it's a nice lesson, and might one day make a nice Farbrengen too. Who knows, I might even take my own advice (smiley-face icon[doesn't work well in parentheses])!


Anonymous said...

Have you ever studied in Brunoy? R' Itcheh Neminov's pet peeve, or more like obsession, is Bochurim going to sleep late. Even if it to do holy things....

Just like a guy said...

No, I didn't, but it would have been interesting I'm sure.

Milhouse said...

I am aware of Shach's Tehillim for the Rebbe after 27 Adar.

Is there a source for this beside the word of Shlomo Lawrence? So long as that's the only source I'm aware of, I simply don't believe that it ever happened.

Just like a guy said...

I read it in some snag book, but I have no idea whether it's true or not. The point is that if people are willing to tell this story, then that says something about what they believe Shach represented.

Dovid said...

They say to the wasp, "we want neither of your honey, nor of your sting".