Monday, December 8, 2008

Yechi someone or other!

Last night Rabbi Nosson Gourarie formerly of Buffalo, now of Monsey, came to farbreng in yeshiva. He was quite good, one of the old style, one of the guys people who make fun of farbrengers make fun of, the type of guy who tells it like it is and doesn't care to curse people out, including some of the head honchos of our organization. When it was all over I was getting a drink of water from the water fountain and mentioned something to a friend. The good Rabbi happened to be walking by, and he asked me what I had said. I answered, "I said that it's impossible to blog a farbrengen." He asked me what a blog was, and I explained that it was a type of website. "So the farbrengen is not on the web?" he asked, and I confirmed that statement. I'm not sure he understood what I was saying though. He was relieved that this particular Chassidic gathering wasn't going on the world wide web, but I don't think he comprehended my essential point. You see, it's easy enough to parody a farbrengen online, but to transcribe the real thing? It's impossible, for one simple reason: there's no food online. Alcohol you can do without, but food? It's just not happening.
Anyway, I suppose I could try and cover some of the main topics. Essentially, he called for us to become real. Again, if I use the words he used, it'll sound like I'm making a joke of the whole thing, which is exactly what I'm trying to avoid. I know that I rarely take anything seriously, but sometimes, you know, these things can't be avoided. When a rabbi is accusing you of subverting the entire existence of the group you most closely identify with, it's difficult to remain unaffected. Oh sure, I still made my smart comments in the back, but they were only half-hearted attempts.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Rabbi Chaim Schapiro, leader of Morristown Machon L'hora and defender of the faith, got into another verbal altercation with the mikveh bochur. Unfortunately, it only lasted a few minutes, because I had to ask a halachic question regarding spoons, but, as I said to the Bochur later, "Yasher Koach, you've given me what to blog about." See, as Lubavitcher Chassidim, we have the custom to say, in grace after meals, "Harachamon hu yevarech es adoneinu moreinu v'rabbeinu." This bochur first wanted to know if this was halachicly acceptable, and then where the source of it was. When he learned that in fact it was common practice to add all sorts of personal prayers to the standard as laid out by the men of the great assembly, and that this particular request was laid out in the book of customs of the Lubavitcher Chassidim, he pressed on, much to my delight and Rabbi Schapiro's annoyance. At least, that's what it looked like to this reporter. He asked, "Do you say it still?" The answer was in the affirmative, and the next question was the $64,000 one: "Why?"
Rabbi Schapiro, that paragon of wisdom, comprehensible sense, and incomprehensible classes, paused, and, allowing the tension to increase to a bursting crescendo of passionate eloquence is an ancient and hackneyed plot device, said several immortal words: "I don't know." The bochur was understandably flabbergasted, and he proclaimed for everyone in a three table circumference to hear, "You mean you do things that you don't understand?" "Sure," said the Rabbi, "I never pretended to know everything. If you want, I can give you some biurim, i.e. it's spiritual, or something like that, but honestly, I don't know."
At this point my chavrusa started getting antsy, and he called me back to our place to continue shteiging. I told him that I was waiting to ask my questions about spoons. Rabbi Schapiro turned to me and said, "No you weren't, you were listening into my bubbe maisos, but nu, ask your question," which I did; the answer, by the way, was that it's (whatever it is) talking about the head of the spoon, not the handle.
Be that as it may, I still found the conversation to be quite interesting, and I hope you did too.C

54 comments:

Anonymous said...

BS"D
I like this.
this is a post worth a million words.
It's like a cross between "kabalos ol" and blindly following religion... one of those things u need a mashpia to sort through.
Thanks for blogging it.

The Real Shliach said...

Hey, thanks! It's nice for someone to have something nice to say.

Anonymous said...

BS"D
Umm... I kind of only say nice things to say.
If i don't like something, and it doens't pertain to me or "hurt" anyone, anyways, then what's the point in venting out about it?

Perhaps then, my silence is far mor loquacious than my words :)

e said...

Well, it looks like Mr. I'm-too-cool-for-a-name-so-i'll-just-be-anonymous and TRS hit it off. Well, Mister anonymous looks like he'll get under my skin if he hangs around her too much.

1. What's this balderdash about "a cross between "kabalos ol" and blindly following religion""? Kabbolas ol IS blindly follwing religion. And that's exactly what Rabbi Schapiro is practicing and advocating.

2. The way you write "pertains to me" show that you're one of those illiterate slobs who can't express themselves in a single language, and constantly mix Yiddish, Hebrew, Aramaic, and pidgin English into the horriblest stew.

Anonymous said...

hahah e, look whose talking don't u know theres no such a thing as 'horriblest'?

anonymous returns... said...

BS"D
Dearest E,
I find it fasinating that an individual as yourself, who has absolutely no clue who I, comes and lables me as an "illitirate slob".
Seeing as how you don't know me, you haven't heard of me, you haven't read my published writing,you haven't heard my speeches, you haven't sat in my classroom, you haven't seen my face, and you most certainly have never spoken to me, I find your lable rather..... odd?

Are you one of those passionate people who just throws uncalled for names at other people so you can find excitement from their answers?
Does it stem from boredom or from a desperate and deep need to put others down so you can feel your own self worth?

In any case, may you be blessed, and if I ever have the pleasure of actually speaking to you, then perhaps your assumptions of who I am will be rightfully disproven.

Kol tuv,

Cheerio said...

anon - eliezer be making certain assumptions about your education - or lack thereof - based on some very basic grammatical errors that appeared in your comments. the standard for comments is very high on trs, unlike other blogs or news websites which shall not be named.
alternatively, he might be insanely jealous of the rapport you seem to share with trs, displacing him from his station as best buds with our master blogger.
it could be either, really.

Cheerio said...

to comment on the post, and not the comments, i'd like to say that i think you did a fair job of capturing a farbrengen. not the one by r' gurary, but the one given in a few brief moments by r' shapiro. see, i classify a farbrengen - or a good one, at least - by the one or two statements that affect my perspective. r' shapiro's answer was definitely in that category.
chabad has so many of the answers, it is rare for someone to admit to lacking one.

Nemo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nemo said...

I know the type of this ever-questioning bochur ... usually they end up with a blog.

Anonymous: what years of condemning peoples' grammar and spelling has taught me, is that when trying to correct or rebut them you must make your best effort at perfection. Not that it's any proof, but it's a convenient way to get an extra jab at someone. With that said:

"lables [sic] me as an 'illitirate slob [sic].'"

Cheerio: you're right and I'm astonished that we've allowed your failure to capitalize letters to persist for so long. I hereby condemn you.

Nemo said...

Oh no ... correction on the correction:

"lables [sic] me as an 'illitirate [sic] slob.'"

Leo de Toot said...

Dear Mr. R.S.:
Amongst the many other issues and insights raised in this particular edition of your blog is yet another one of the great truths of life. It is always easier to parody, make fun of, trivialize, etc. than it is to faithfully and seriously report or describe. Which explains why those who regularly engage in such (parodying etc.) usually come across as frivolous rather than intelligent. Put another way, only the truly intelligent can produce successful parody (or satire as the case may be). By the way, Rabbi Shapiro sounds like someone with a real sense of his place in the world, i.e., a smart man.
Impressed as ever,
Leo d T.

Cheerio said...

yes, yes, let not the sinner cast the stone or something like that. however, my spelling is usually spot-on!

The Real Shliach said...

Well well, once again I miss a whole fantastic imbroglio, just because I had to sleep. Dang. Anyway, just to set the record straight, e, I do not know who this particular Anon is, though I have noticed a marked similarity of style to someone who styles herself "Kessmers".
Yes, grammar, punctuation, and style are very important, but content is king.
Anon: you may only have nice things to say, but I daresay you'll discover that this is not the modus operandi on TRS.
Eliezer: Cut the girl a little slack, not everyone is as brilliant as you are (there, I wrote that with a straight face).
Nemo: so far, no, but if he does, you'll be the first to find out.
Cheerio: It's not to rare for the Rabbi to admit that he doesn't know something, but I think this is because he's smart enough to realize that answering questions, even with the right answer, is sometimes worse than just shutting up.
LdT: thank you.

MyYeshiva said...

you made it to the cover of the rolling stone!

The Real Shliach said...

Pray tell, what is the cover of the rolling stone?

e said...

Cheerio: what are you quoting the new testament for?

Leo de Toot said...

Dear Mr. R.S.
I believe your correspondent is sadly mistaken - I have just checked the latest edition of "Rolling Stone" and you are not on the cover. (In answer to your question, this magazine was started in the 60's and quickly became the "bible" of modern i.e. rock and roll, pop, music. Had you made the cover it would have been a major coup (sort of ...)
L d T.

Nemo said...

Haha E, good catch. That's John 8:7.

We Pharisee Jews tend to do just the opposite. We encourage those that recognize faults to be the first to beat up on those that make the mistakes. "And let the hand of the witnesses be first against him ..." Devarim 17:7.

Anonymous who needs a new name... said...

BS"D
I hereby make a public apology for disgracing this blog with a post that was awful enough to have been called a name not worth repeating...

To be honest, I stopped in the middle of the sentence, and then continued with it without looking back. That's what proof readers are for right? :)

Elisheva said...

Oh goodness Anon don't ever apologize.

The only time I apologize is when I want to patronize someone else by apologizing. It's a good policy.

Elisheva said...

At least on FrumSatire's blog whenever you comment it subscribes you automatically...

The Real Shliach said...

MyYeshiva was actually referring to crownheights.info. Go check out my picture, and some cute comments.
I have to agree, apologies are only warranted when you're trying to lekk. Or, if you're like me, when you're too lazy to continue fighting.
And no, Elisheva, frumsatire does not automatically subscribe you. Sorry.

Elisheva said...

Yes it does! It leaves that check box thingy that says if you want to be subscribed or not checked as long as you're using the same computer. Booyah.

Elisheva said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Real Shliach said...

Um no, every time you want to subscribe to a new thread you have to check it again.
So, for the record, BOOYAH!

Elisheva said...

Actually you don't. I'm dead serious. Maybe it just happens to be Mac computers are nicer to their owners. Thus I don't have to recheck the box. I guess I'll have to move on to, booyakasha.

The Real Shliach said...

Perhaps. Who knows. Whatever.

e said...

I agree with Elisheva, TRS, et al. Getting called nasty names is no reason to apologize. Now mister Anonymous, if you apologize for apologizing, I'm really going to get mad...

RE what anon actually said: WTF is the difference between kabbolas ol and blindly following religion? And how did Rabbi Schapiro cross them?

(TRS, elisheva, I apologize for steering the conversation away from your doubtlessly hyperimportant discussion of frum satire.)

Elisheva said...

Nice usage. See thats when you're supposed to apologize. When you're trying to backhandedly insult someone. That wasn't supposed to become a conversation, I was just subscribing. :-/

e said...

Ha! I have honed using apologies to backhandedly insult people into an art form by hanging around TRS. Poor anon has a lot to learn...

Elisheva said...

But seriously leave Anon alone. She's a fabulous gal.

e said...

Oh she's a girl? and how you this know? I thought he was a bochur. Do girls say things like "it doesn't pertain to me"? I thought girls got educated.

Elisheva said...

Or bochur. They can be a fabulous bochur.

e said...

Or maybe not fabulous? What makes him/her fabulous? b/c he left a few stupid comments?

Elisheva said...

Because I know exactly one person that types BS"D everytime they post a comment. They happen to be a fabulous gal.

e said...

How about leave anon. alone she's an overworked mother. Or leave anon. alone, he's a psychotherapist and always *has* to say nice things? Or leave anon. alone b/c he's a stooge who'll never get teh point?

Why'd you pick "she's a fabulous gal" from the literally infinite set of possible causes for me to leave him/her alone?

e said...

So why'd you say "or bochur"?"

Elisheva said...

Because I wanted to say "fabulous bochur" really, really badly and I have no self control.

The Real Shliach said...

I hate to interior this fabulous tete a tete, and I wish there were italics on the iPod, but let me try to deal with what the fabulous girl (hmm, eliezer? ;) ) said. She posited that there was a bridging of the dichotomy between knowledge and belief. I believe that she was trying to say that we've got to work as hard as possible, but sometimes you've just got to leave it up to divine providence. But I could be wrong. Who knows?

e said...

PUULLLEEZ "kabbolas ol" and "blindly following religion" are "knowledge" and "belief"? Did you read this "fabulous girl's" comment?

The Real Shliach said...

Are you kidding me? That was forty comments ago! But yes, now that I read it again, I don't quite get what she was saying. After all, the whole point of kabbalos ol is following religion blindly. So, um, I guess we'll just have to wait for her to clarify.

The Fabulous Gal (aka Anonymous) said...

BS"D
My, these blogs can become rather addictive.

I was being sarcastic when I apologized, it's a shame that my sarcastic side never shows in my writing.

E, this is for you: I APOLOGIZE FOR APOLOGIZING :)

Nice to know that I'm known as a Fabulous Gal... Elisheva you're THE BEST.

So, to clarify...
Kabalos Ol (KO) vs. Blindly Following Religion (BFR)
I may be wrong (in which case you will strongly point this out to me, most likely with name calling etc.) but I feel that there is quite a difference between KO and BFR.

Torah demands of a Jew to know G-D, to understand, to learn, to question, to grow. Yet, Torah demands Kabalas Ol. Which (I believe to mean)is a level beyond the "me" and what I understand, what I see, what I feel. Rather it is doing the RIGHT THING because I am a limited and finite being and I TRUST with the simplest (which in truth is the greatest) Emunah that Hashem wants me do be doing this, and this is a time where questions don't need to be asked. It's a level that surpasses my understanding, because it's a level where I don't exist alone, rather I am an extenstion of a higher purpose and a Greater Existance. Idealy Kabalos Ol should be a constant in one's Avodah, yet learning and understand (ChaBaD) is vital to a complete Avoda of a Jew. This is a paradox that is truly beautiful. We as Jews have the ability to blend into a greater cause without ever loosing ourselves. Hashem doesn't want a nation of robots, He wants the Jewish Nation, each with their own talents and shortcomings,their own individuality blending together to become the symphony of creation. Each "instrument" has it's own solo, duet, quartet, etc., and each note is vital in order to have harmonious perfection.

Blindly following religion on the other hand, is where a person can completely become robotic. It's a state of being where there is no room for individuality. When a person BFR then horrible things can happen because they don't step back and reflect. They don't judge the bigger picture vs. the details. They just do.
You can't keep going without reflection.
Our religion is based on reflection. We say 100 Brachos a day so we can slow down, stop, and appreciate what's going on 100 times a day. Shabbos is a day of reflection. Davening is a time to reflect. Most Mitzvot are opprotunities to stop, reflect, and truly LIVE. They allow us to live in the moment and realize that Hashem is in our lives. A person needs to be conscious of all of this.
When you blindly follow something, then there can never be "geshmak" a sense of true passion in your Avoda.
Life is meant to have color, vibrance, passion, expression, etc.

That's how I see the difference between the two. Now start bashing me for how wrong I am...
GN :)

e said...

What you labeled as "KO" is actually a mixture between kabbolas ol and understanding.

Fabulous... said...

BS"D
Can you elaborate?
As I understood it, a Torah life demands Kabalos Ol, yet it demands and level of understanding. Kabalos Ol cannot stand alone.

Let's take a look at Avraham Avinu. He first became aware of each miraculous nuance within creation. Through this awareness he came to UNDERSTAND there must be a G-d, and then only YEARS later did he perform the ultimate Kabalos Ol (that went beyond all levels of understanding and emotional rationalizations-as explained in length in Chassidus)with the final test of sacrificing Yitzchok. Yet his avodah needed those steps, the realization, awareness, reflection, understanding... then, at the ripe age of 137 (134 years after he realized Hashem exists) was he finally able to have complete Kabalos Ol.
Blindly following religion seems to conote a thoughtless, reckless,and frightening path.
BFR leads to mass murder and terrorism in the name of G-d.
BFR leads to a void, and null sense of being, and room for horors.

But of course, I could be wrong...

Fabulous... said...

BS"D
Can you elaborate?
As I understood it, a Torah life demands Kabalos Ol, yet it demands and level of understanding. Kabalos Ol cannot stand alone.

Let's take a look at Avraham Avinu. He first became aware of each miraculous nuance within creation. Through this awareness he came to UNDERSTAND there must be a G-d, and then only YEARS later did he perform the ultimate Kabalos Ol (that went beyond all levels of understanding and emotional rationalizations-as explained in length in Chassidus)with the final test of sacrificing Yitzchok. Yet his avodah needed those steps, the realization, awareness, reflection, understanding... then, at the ripe age of 137 (134 years after he realized Hashem exists) was he finally able to have complete Kabalos Ol.
Blindly following religion seems to conote a thoughtless, reckless,and frightening path.
BFR leads to mass murder and terrorism in the name of G-d.
BFR leads to a void, and null sense of being, and room for horors.

But of course, I could be wrong...

e said...

Lady, understanding is the complement of kabbolas ol. But it certainly is not kabbolas ol

e said...

yeah, and i agree with you that bfr sucks

fabulous etc... said...

BS"D
Lady? Better than other things you've called me.

It may not be Kabbolas ol, but KO cannot exist in full form without understanding, that is the "crux" of what is the difference between the two.

I'm glad we can both agree on someting, shehchiyanu... :)

e said...

Goshdarnit... a vaiberishe kop! I'm too tired for this. TRS, can you explain to her how that makes no sense?

e said...

in short: a thing needs its complement, but it is not its complement

fabulous... said...

BS"D
It is not its complement, but the fact that it has/needs it, is what sets it apart from blindly following religion.

That's in a nutshell the difference between the two. KO has understanding as a complement, whereas BFR is deviod of such things...

Do you understand what i mean?

g'nite.

The Real Shliach said...

Fabulous: sarcasm very rarely comes through online.

Your fight with eliezer is quite interesting, though I may just have to take his side here. Kabbalos ol, as explained in chassidus, means that one blindly follows religion. If you doubt my words, go look it up in mikneh rav '66.
Saying the harachaman during bentching is, as a fabulous young gentleman pointed out to me, the same as saying the harachaman for someone's parents after they have passed on.

Diff. anon said...

I see it like this - KO has to be WITH the knowledge that there is a BIG G-D out there and that He is the Supreme Being etc...HOWEVER we do His commandments ONLY because he commanded us and NOT because we understand the rhymes and reasons for them, but because we understand (or believe) His greatness.
In other words, "I am not following blindly. I know, I understand (how much is possible) Yet, I am doing solely for the cause!"