Saturday, March 21, 2009

The 42nd

Someone told me today at the Chabad House that, "Your problem is that you think the Chabad House is a Shul. It's not. It's a Chabad House." I felt like telling him, "You know, I did write the letter on this..." But I didn't. I didn't even bother arguing. What do you tell a guy who tells you to be more open minded, to realize how many shluchim have lost big baalebaatim because they were too frum? How do you respond to someone who thinks that when you're trying to bring Jews closer to their father in heaven anything goes?

Now obviously I haven't walked in anyone's shoes, and I'm certainly not qualified to judge any case, but it does seem to me that something is wrong here. You know why Lubavitch was always skeptical of Matisyahu? Because it says in the holy books, "Um'karvan L'Torah," bring them closer to Torah, not bring Torah closer to them. What makes Shluchim so amazing, so dynamic, so successful? Their authenticity. Their loyalty. Their steadfast commitment to the faith of their fathers. Since when did it become permissible to sacrifice that for convenience? Why is it that people think that just because they can find a heter from some rabbi for something they now have a mitzva to do it? Whatever happened to the ways of old Israel, of kedoshim tihiyu? Does that not apply to Shluchim?

And yeah, I know all about "es lasos laHashem, haifaru torasecha." The guy I was arguing with brought up the story in this week's Torah portion which deals with the mirrors the Jewish women brought before Moses. He didn't want to accept them, because he thought that anything connected with passion and lust could not be used in the tabernacle. But G-d told Moses to accept them, for they were holy.

So what does this story teach us? It does not teach us, as my opponent would posit, to make use of any and all means of luring innocent souls into their nearest local Chabad House. Because guess what. G-d himself had to come down and say, "Look here, Moshe old chap, be a good boy and use those mirrors." Same thing on the mountain with the priests of Baal. Who opposed them, who brought a sacrifice outside the Temple, who brought back the whole Jewish nation to their father in heaven? It wasn't a shnook like me or you. It was Elijah the prophet. The lesson? You need to be a seriously great guy to even suggest the changing of things, of doing not the way they should be done.

It's one thing to not do minhag here or there, or to set aside a couple of obscure halachos, but to actively advocate the overthrow of traditional Judaism? I don't think we've ever done that before, and I sure hope we never come to it.
Meanwhile, in other news, it's time for another exciting edition of the Haveil Havalim! Woohoo! I somehow ended up as the very last blog to be mentioned, which might garner an extra hit or two. Who knows? Who cares?


Anonymous said...

Ahh, but remember the psak.

Anonymous said...

Torah is great wisdom

Anonymous said...

And "the 42nd" is, I presume, the number post? oh, were people to get that?

Just curious, that's it.

Just like a guy said...

Modeh: which psak? (evidently I've forgotten)

Torah: what is this, an advertisement?

Anon: nothing to do. It's for people who have read THHGTTG. Or else who are looking for miracles on the street.

Anonymous said...

The psak of HQBH to Moshe that you state in the post.

Now of course Torah is the answer to Life the Universe and Everything but what does that have to do with the length of a chabad house kaballas shabbos?

le7 said...

It looks like an ad.

Good stuff. You should carry around your letter.

bonne said...

get the letter laminated and put on the wall like a doctorate or badge of honor.
These paragraphs are looking awfully nice.

Anonymous said...


I'm the Anon above. Can you please be "m'faneiach" that acronym (THHGTTG), to elucidate to the masses?

le7 said...

Anon I am going to take the liberty and say:

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Just like a guy said...

Modeh: This had nothing to do with a Kabbalos shabbos, or indeed anything practical (ok, a little, but they didn't know the Halacha). This was merely a rant against a certain attitude that I've seen in more than one place.

And btw, what does that psak have to do with anything?

le7+sara: re: letter: yeah, I really should, eh? Especialy since I quote myself so much!

Re: paragraphs: always glad to be of help.

Anon: le7 did a fine job for me.

e said...

As I always say, you should never quote yourself.

Anonymous said...

TRS: der kuntz ist, memeileh he was allowed to use it.

Just like a guy said...

Only because G-d said he could.

Anonymous said...

but once God says so muttar it is muttar. and kabbalas shabbos comes into it from your letter.

Just like a guy said...

Modeh, you're beginning to sound suspiciously like e. And yes, once G-d says it's muttar to use mirrors for the kiyor you can use mirrors for the kiyor. Does that mean you can extrapolate forevermore? I think not.

Fine. Maskim. But there's a difference.

Anonymous said...

Once god says you can use neutral object x for holy purpose y even though x is often associated with unholy purpose z you are allowed to do exactly that. What extrapolation?

Just like a guy said...

Modeh, I'm modeh to your point. You are allowed to use female mirrors to build a kiyor. You know another law in the Torah? It says you aren't allowed to use a harlot's hire to pay for a korban. So you'll tell me there's a difference. I'm maskim. But do you know how to tell the difference? Do I? No. You need a qualified rabbi, not some pisher who thinks he knows something because he learned in kollel for six months.