Thursday, December 11, 2008

Connecting the anniversary

Tonight is the fourteenth of Kislev, the Rebbe's wedding anniversary, and in honor of that Rabbi Chaim Schapiro, who has received plenty of praise on this blog in the past, deigned to farbreng with us, his faithful students. It was of course an excellent farbrengen, and if course it would be impossible to give it over to you the way I got it. Whether this is a chisaron in me or whether it's unavoidable I haven't yet determined, but be that as it may, I suppose I'll just write down whatever it is that I can. Oh, and whoever it is that was by the farbie also, please, add whatever I skipped out.

There was once a bochur who visited someone or other in Miami who, when he he found out who exactly it was that was visiting him, said, "What? A Lubavitcher apikores?" The bochur asked why exactly he was an apikores. The guy related that he had heard a story of two bochurim on Merkos Shlichus who were stuck in some kosher food forsaken place, and they were getting desperate. Eventually they came to a grocery store, and prepared to buy some food that, while kosher, wasn't exactly up to Lubavitch's standards. One of the bochurim, as he pulled his money out of his wallet, saw a picture of the Rebbe and ceased and desisted, realizing that he could continue to live on bell peppers and apricots for the foreseeable future.
The bochur who was listening to this story was impressed, but the story teller wasn't. "Of G-d, who says that this food is kosher, he's not afraid, but of a Rebbe, a man of flesh and blood who says that it is ossur, he's afraid? Apikorsus!"
The bochur said, "What's the problem? We have a clear proof for such behavior from the Torah itself! Yosef the tzaddik, when he was about to sin, saw his father's face, and he too stopped himself. Are you calling Yosef an apikores?"

The point, my friends, is that we are people, and we relate to people. It's all very good to have a big G-d up there, but if we can't internalize it, or even relate to it, what good will be done?
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A chossid once came to the third Rebbe of Lubavitch, the Tzemach Tzedek, and complained that he didn't believe in the existence of G-d. The Tzemach Tzedek said, "Tell me, you ever saw the czar?" The chossid answered that he had not. The Rebbe then asked him if he believed in the existence of the czar. The chossid answered affirmatively. The Rebbe asked him how he knew. "Well," said the chossid, "I know Ivan the furrier, and his cousin's third brother thrice removed and four times reconstituted saw the czar in S. Petersburg once. So, obviously he exists." The Tzemach Tzedek answered him then, "If so, you can take it on my word that there is a G-d."

This is similar to another story, with much the same plot, though presumably with a different chossid. The Rebbe asked his chossid, "Why do you care if you believe in Hashem or not?" "But Rebbe," cried out the chossid, "a Jew has to believe in Hashem!" The Tzemach Tzedek said, "If that's your answer, then you'll be okay."
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Once by farbrengen the Tzemach Tzedek mentioned a special hell that is looks exactly like this world, so the soul thinks it's in this lowly world of ours, but in fact it's totally fake. One chossid (and I'm undoubtedly a gilgul of this guy), said, "But Rebbe! How do we know that this world isn't that fake world in hell?" The Rebbe said, "Fool! Would I be here if that was the case?"
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There are many different types of people with a connection to Lubavitch, and the question has therefore arisen, "Who is a Lubavitcher chossid?" The answer is very simple: whoever can make a chilul Shem lubavitch, can desecrate the name of lubavitch, is a lubavitcher.
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Money is like a toilet. It's a wonderful thing to have, very useful too, but at the end of the day, it stinks pretty badly, and anyone who spends too much time involved with it has issues.
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So once the good Rabbi was reading a "litvish" magazine for bochurim, and it mentioned tips for bein hazmanim. It recommended that you always have a mesechta ready to claim as the one you're learning, and furthermore, to say that you're learning one of the later dafim, e.g. 80, because everyone knows the first few dafim of a mesechta well, but after that you should be safe. But just be careful that the mesechta you choose actually has a daf 80!
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These were the words of the good rabbi. All right, he said a lot more, but unfortunately my recording instrument at the time losses it's capability's to record because of insufficient battery power. Oh well. Just know that he farbrenged well, even if he did focus a bit too much on what comes after smicha, which I have no interest in discussing right now...

30 comments:

Elisheva said...

Why live in the future when you're perfectly happy in the present?

Nemo said...

What comes after smicha, law school?

Crawling Axe said...

Reminds me of a story of A"R’s chossid who said that he survived (in ruchniyusdike sense) in Peterburg only through ga’ava. Every time his y"h urged him to do something inappropriate, he asked himself, “How can I, a chossid of the Alter Rebbe, do this?”

I don’t think it’s true that somebody necessarily needs an image of a teacher to remind him of Eibeshter. See the story of T"T and his former melamed who asked a brocha that his grandson should be a chossid because his father and grandfather is a chossid. (T"T reacted negatively to that.) You can learn Chassidus and remember Eibeshter. So, why have a picture of the Rebbe in your wallet (bichlal, why the Rebbe, not your father)? Because — who is the source of Chassidus?

The Real Shliach said...

Elisheva: or as I say, "don't burn your bridges until you come to them.

Nemo: Whatever it is, this particular Peter Pan ain't interested in it.

Crawling Axe: who is this TT of which you speak?
And I think it's like the famous line, "let your fear of heaven be the same as your fear of man."

Elisheva said...

Although, I think it should be noted that one can live by the policy of burning one's bridges before getting there without being completly imprudent. Just my $0.63.

The Real Shliach said...

Though of course such a policy might lead to crossing your bridges after you've burned them, and then where would you be? In the drink, with the hulk of a burned bridge above you, and spectators lining the banks giving unhelpful advice to your would-be rescuers.
No, much better to just follow my plan, and burn together with the bridge, a rapturous Indian experience that few have survived to tell of. So it must be good.

Elisheva said...

I'll just agree, because I'm not quite sure what in the Queen's Kingdom you were speaking of.

Crawling Axe said...

TT = Tzemach Tzedek.

And I think it's like the famous line, "let your fear of heaven be the same as your fear of man."
“The same” but not “come from”. At least that’s not the best we can do.

In the story with Yosef, it’s not like he was afraid that Yakov Avinu would come to Egypt and punish Yosef or that he would find out and Yosef would become embarrassed. It was the memory of his father, his teachings, his example that gave him strength in his yiras Shomayim.

So, the correct answer to the guy’s protest would be that the bochur too was afraid of G-d, not the Rebbe, but image of the Rebbe gave him strength to feel that fear more acutely — because from where do we know what it means to fear G-d?

The Real Shliach said...

Actually, yosef saw his father in a vision, and his father told him that he would lose his spot on the choshen if he sinned. Yosef obviously didn't want this to happen, he was afraid of it, and he expelled his seed through his ten nails.
So, it appears that seeing the Rebbe can be a valid motivator or guilt inducer.

Nemo said...

I'm just impressed the dude didn't go nuts about why a Luabavitch guy would consider a reliable frumme hechsher to be "treiff." I'll bet the story was about a can of Starkist tuna ...

The Real Shliach said...

Actually, Rabbi Shapiro mentioned something about pas akum.

e said...

I just felt the need to comment. I was sitting at my computer (actually my neighbor's computer) and needed something to distract me. I saw that the TRS label in my inbox had an unread message and gleefully opened it, anticipating some distraction. To my dismay, it contained nothing that interesting. But I just distracted myself anyways. In a few months, I'm going to come across this comment and cringe. Oh well.

The Real Shliach said...

Save yourself the trouble and cringe now.

Nemo said...

Even worse! You know what the Rama says about Pas Palter? He says to eat it ... and comes this smart ass Lubavitch boy and decides it's not kosher enough for him.

The Real Shliach said...

Yeah, there is a G-d in the world.
What did that mean?

Nemo said...

The rama says that you can eat pas palter nochri without a second thought, even where there's pas yisroel available. Look it up. Y"D 112 if I remember correctly.

The Real Shliach said...

Ahh, but we're better than thou.

fab girl... said...

BS"D
I like this whole post. The tidbits of "Farbrening" were very enjoyable, thanks for posting them.

The Real Shliach said...

My pleasure. For more pleasure on your part, just search, in the top left hand corner, "farbrengen". You should find a great many posts like this one, filled with inspiring words and other somesuch things.

Cheerio said...

eliezer, i vehemently disagree. i found this post of farbrengen tidbits both interesting and entertaining.
especially the tidbits with the zing, lie the chillul lubavitch quote. ouch.
speaking of better than thou - at a yud tes kislev farbengen in a certain yeshiva in a certain city in a certain state in a certain country, which my brother attended, a rabbi said that lubavitch is the ultimate of judaism. (not lubavitchers, just lubavitch.) any comments?

The Real Shliach said...

I'll say this much- almost every Jewish group thinks the same thing.

e said...

I'll say this much- almost every group thinks the same thing.

e said...

Cheerio,

What are you disagreeing about? I never said I'd cringe from the post. I said I'd cringe from my comment.

Cheerio said...

"To my dismay, it contained nothing that interesting."
i disagree. clear?

e said...

Gut gezokt, Cheerio. In that case, we shall agree to disagree.

e said...

Usually when people say, "Let's agree to disagree," they really mean, "You're goddamn wrong. I just don't have the energy to fight anymore." It was very satisfying to use the agree-to-disagree expression properly. Thanks, Cheerio!

Cheerio said...

always a pleasure.

Dovid said...

TRS I don't know if you look back at old posts for comments, but this was a great post. Please do this often.

The Real Shliach said...

Every comment that's written on here I read, but lav davka do I respond. There's a much more posts like this, if you search you will find, and tonight I'm posting a great one we just had with ephraim piekarski.

Dovid said...

great, thanks.