Monday, March 30, 2009

Save the best for last

This morning I flew back to good 'ol Minnesota, and had a terrible flight. No, it wasn't the turbulence, nor the pathetic amount of ginger ale (one cup!) or even waiting forever (and half an hour after that) to deplane. No, what was terrible about the flight was that it was scheduled to leave the gates at 10:50, and like the tattelehs we are we were all sitting nicely in our seats, waiting to leave. The stewardess came on the public address thingie and said that there were just a couple passengers who hadn't yet gotten on the plane, and we'd be waiting for them. At 11:15 the last of those couple (it was more like 12) passengers got on the plane. And guess who the vast majority of those passengers were? That's right folks, frum Jews!

Now, I don't mind being a little late, but I do mind A. the chilul Hashem, and B. the connections my fellow passengers made between me and those late in boarding. For the sake of truth I must point out that the five Lubavitchers on the plane were all on time, while of the 12 or so non-Lubavitchers, about ten.... But my point here is not to bash our Lakewood brethren. It's to plead for a little courtesy and respect for one's G-d. If you don't believe in that, at least have some mercy on your fellow passengers!

This point was brought closer to home tonight at Shul where we had two of our SLP brethren join the minyan. It was embarrassing for me as a Lubavitcher to see everyone talking during Davening and generally showing that we don't particularly care about prayers or halacha.

The bright spot of prayers was Rabbi Nachman Wilhelm coming over to me and saying, "You're causing trouble." I asked him why, and he told me that someone came over to him and asked, "Is it Lubavitch minhag not to do Birkas Hachamah?" Rabbi Wilhelm asked him where he could get such a crazy idea from. He answered, "From The Real Shliach!" I was as shocked as Rabbi Wilhelm at this, and as soon as I could I went online and looked at the post he was referencing. I assume that it's this post, because no other post talks about our once-in-28-year blessing of the sun/early wake up. As you can see for yourself, I said no such thing.

Another bright spot of prayers was Rabbi Wilhelm's halftime speech. He asked, why is it that the afikomen is hidden? Even in Lubavitch, where we don't steal it, we still hide it. What's up with this?

The gematriah of Afikomen is the same as "B'mirmah", which means trickery. We find this word used in the Torah to describe the way Yaakov got the birthright from Esau. Why specifically this word? It's explained in the holy books that when Yaakov brought his father two sheep he was actually bringing his father a korban pesach and a korban chagigah, for it was in fact the holiday of Passover. Once Yitzchak had eaten of these he could bless his son with all the goodness of the world.

There was one remaining problem. How did Yaakov know that his brother Esau wouldn't come, feed his father as well, and get a share of the blessings? The halacha says that one may not eat after the Afikomen, so Yaakov fed his father this-the afikomen, b'mirmah. When his brother later came with his meal Yitzchak could no longer eat, and the blessings were given exclusively to Jacob.

The Vilna Gaon asks a question on this. He says that the Seder must be at night, and the blessings were given in the day. So how can you say that this story happened on Pesach? Rabbi Gershon Grossbaum said that we find the same thing by Avraham Avinu. When the angels came he gave them matzos and meat for it was Pesach, even though it was in the middle of the day. Obviously, you must say that when it comes to the simanim of the Seder, even the day is okay. Or something like that.

Rabbi Wilhelm then proceeded to ask another question. What's with the four cups of wine? Why do we drink them? To show we're free. But for many people, four cups of wine is a burden. Even for those who imbibe with ease, we it still seems like an odd choice. After all, most people becoming at least a little affected after four cups of wine-is this the freedom the Torah recommends?

When the Jews left Egypt they had no clue what was going on. It's not like nowadays, where no one goes to the airport and catches the next flight out. We first want to know where it's headed! When the Jews left Egypt, however, they just got it, having no clue where they were going, or what they would do for food, drink, and the other essentials of life (wifi?). They simply put their faith in the word of G-d as transmitted by Moses and journeyed onward and upward. This is true freedom, to not be encumbered by physicality, by obstacles, but rather to make like Lipa Schmeltzer and hut bitachon.

Today, when we drink the four cups, we look for the very same feeling. We are trying to leave our limitations, our personal Egypt, and have faith in our Father in heaven.

There's an interesting story of the Kotzker, who when he heard this vort immediately thought of his Rebbe, R' Simcha Bunim of Peshischa. He reasoned that his Rebbe was not one to get affected by mere piddling amounts of alcohol, but he also knew that the Rebbe would surely want to fulfill this mitzvah. (You know, maybe I'm getting the story mixed up a little. Maybe R' Simcha wanted to make sure his talmid fulfilled the mitzva correctly?) When it came time to select cups for the seder the largest cup possible was selected by (one or another) for (the other one) in order that he should be able to fulfill the mitzva properly.

Man, it seems so wrong to print such a bad retelling (my fault of course) of a story. Oh well.

85 comments:

Modeh B'Miktsas said...

Yes it is a terrible thing when people come late and walk past everyone they kept waiting sporting their beards and yarmulkas. You'd think people who haak zmanim so much would at least know teh word "punctuality."

Re the gematria: Friday night I heard a gematria from somebody in shul (after aleinu). The word "בגמתריא" adds up to "hi bittul zman gadol me'od." Not to bash it at all c"v but just another cutre one.

e said...

subscribing

Anonymous said...

MB: the people he was referring to who cam late to the plane i guarantee you were not wearing beards, instead they had been neatly shaved that morning!

TRS: btw, what does SLP mean?

Modeh B'Miktsas said...

Snags wear beards too, particularly after marriage.

fakewood inc. said...

i think i have to stop reading your blog since you quoted the burning in Tabasco sauce cockroach .

The Real Shliach said...

Anon: as Modeh pointed out, the married ones sometimes have beards. In fact, the last one on the plane had a nice trimmed one.

SLP is S. Louis Park, where the non-Lubav frummies live.

Fakewood: Ouch, that's rather harsh. Of course, the Lubavitcher Rebbe also quoted him...

le7 said...

Suba. Suba suba suba subscribing.

(I decided to jazz things up).

The Real Shliach said...

nisht im shabbos gerecht...

le7 said...

Well yeah what are you going to do... (I'm a musician sadly enough. Man I want some garlic chips. Where can I get something garlicy?)

Modeh B'Miktsas said...

nisht im shabbos gerecht
Well now I know when to argue with you

The Real Shliach said...

le7: the store?

modeh: if you come here then even on shabbos!

fakewood inc. said...

i meant wilhelm.

The Real Shliach said...

LOL. I thought you meant the Gra (you do of course know what the Rebbe Rashab said about him...). As for Rabbi Wilhelm-I don't think he should run a yeshiva (maybe that's why he isn't anymore), but he does happen to be a truly incredible teacher.

Cheerio said...

no one frum ever flies to the bay area.

The Real Shliach said...

give me a good reason to come... :)

Cheerio said...

one day, one day... (i should point out, it's the best place for a yeshiva titled "the one of love and learning"...)

The Real Shliach said...

I can't wait.

(ditto)

fakewood inc. said...

wilhelm is a scumbag piece of *&^&*^&. if i saw him i would probably knock the living &&*^&* out if i saw him.

The Real Shliach said...

Ahh... well, everyone is entitled to their opinion.

fakewood inc. said...

i spent 3 week with him.

fakewood inc. said...

the movies i found in his house were his "babysitter" and he was going to tell her mother.

The Real Shliach said...

now now, we might be Lubavs, but there are still halachos about loshon hora...

and um, he was going to tell whose mother?

fakewood inc. said...

the babysitters

fakewood inc. said...

so delete the comments

The Real Shliach said...

Knowing the girls who used to babysit for him, I wouldn't necessarily assume it wasn't the truth...

and yeah, that won't be necessary.

fakewood inc. said...

trust me they werent some girls movies. i can spot a bullshitter frum a mile away.

le7 said...

How do you know what sort of movies girls watch?

I bet I watched whatever movies they were when I was 12.

fakewood inc. said...

the mexican with julia roberts is one that i rember

sarabonne said...

Now I'm curious. Which movies? Le7 and I can vouch.

fakewood inc. said...

i cant rember the other 2.

fakewood inc. said...

o yea swordfish

sarabonne said...

Hmmm, alright I haven't seen those but I have friends who have. Of course, they're not frum. Or Jewish...

fakewood inc. said...

i have see them and they have way to much blood an gore for some little teenage girl.

sarabonne said...

*snort. Some little teenage girl? Oh, you're referring to the babysitters? Hm, well I'm not judging...

The Real Shliach said...

Fakewood: watch your language. Loshon hora I can tolerate, but not nivel peh.

re: movies: I always try to give people the benefit of the doubt...

fakewood inc. said...

wow the first time i have said anything and i think i have managed to offend everyone.

fakewood inc. said...

i am proud of myself.

le7 said...

Teenage girls could watch the Mexican.... I saw that when I was 16 or something...

fakewood inc. said...

but not swordfish.

le7 said...

I haven't heard of it... but to make a point...

my favorite movies in middle school were Die Hard, the Devil's Advocate and the Matrix...

fakewood inc. said...

one of the seens in swordfish a guy gets a bomb strapped to him and gets blown up and you see pieces.

fakewood inc. said...

plus your a musician that doesn't count

le7 said...

What kind of discrimination is this? plus your a musician that doesn't count

What does that have to do with anything? Note I was a wedding, pit orchestra, classical sort of musician...

fakewood inc. said...

musicians especially strings are very tripped out people.

le7 said...

String musicians are the most eidel. We can't be wild. We're break out priceless fragile instruments...

le7 said...

*We'll break our...

The Real Shliach said...

Fakewood: Yes, you're incredible.

le7: you too.

le7 said...

Ouch.

The Real Shliach said...

OK, the first was sarcastic, the second sincere.

le7 said...

Oh. Fine.

fakewood inc. said...

le7
i didnt say wild i said tripped.

trs

thanks for the compliment.

le7 said...

What does that mean?

e said...

"nisht im shabbos gerecht"="not right on shabbat"=complete nonsense.

You meant to say, "Nisht um shabbos geret," which means "not said on shabbos."

lipa and his ilk say, "im."
we lubavs say "um,"

fakewood inc. said...

you guys march to your own drummer.

le7 said...

Such crap totally not true. Hello. Classical musicians are used to using a metronome, are tied to written music and need a director to tell them what to do!

fakewood inc. said...

that is also a different drummer.

The Real Shliach said...

e: that's the whole point. Lipa sings "night um shabbos geret is nisht um shabbos gerecht."

e said...

oh. OK.

e said...

ok, other party, can we have your permission?

e said...

darn. that was meant to go on questing.

Modeh B'Miktsas said...

fake:I love explosions. You have now managed to offend everyone from the chassidishe baal hablog to the resident litvak. Consider hosting a talk show :)

le7: What if it's a borrowed cello? From someone you really, really don't like.

TRS: Why? lashon hara is harbeh issurim d'oraisa. The word bullshitter might even be totally muttar.

The Real Shliach said...

You know the famous story with the Rebbe Rashab and the Chofetz Chaim, yes?

Modeh B'Miktsas said...

I know you're talking to fake but I don't know either.

The Real Shliach said...

Why would I talk to someone who hasn't commented in over five hours? Of course I'm talking to you, Modeh.

Modeh B'Miktsas said...

Oh. Thought you mentioned the story before but now I see that one was about the gra. Nu? zugt der maaseh.

The Real Shliach said...

The Chofetz Chaim asked the Rebbe Rashab why Lubavitch focuses on beards so much, when it's at most 5 lavim in the Torah, and doesn't focus on Loshon Hora, which is 33? The Rebbe answered, "Because there's a big difference between the two. When it comes to loshon hora, people are just talking and a little bit comes out here and a little bit there unintentionally. But for shaving? You wake up in the morning, make a whole seder, and shave."

Point is, by chassidim, the kavanah is more important than the maaseh (keeping in mind that hamaaseh hu haikar {go learn Tanya if you didn't get that}).

Modeh B'Miktsas said...

perek what? I don't think I got that far.

The Real Shliach said...

Somewhere between 33-40.

Modeh B'Miktsas said...

Well, my reason for not shaving is kind of backwards from that. It's such an easy mitzva to do. It costs you nothing, it saves you time, and even money if you were lucky enough to start stopping before you shelled out money for a muttar shaver.

The Real Shliach said...

which makes you wonder what e is thinking.

sarabonne said...

could you translate lavim,and hamaaseh hu haikar?

The Real Shliach said...

lav=negative commandment of the Torah

hamaaseh hu haikar=the deed is the main thing

sarabonne said...

ah...enlightenment. Thanks.

fakewood inc. said...

snags have a beard for kavod purposes so you see even their beards are not for proper intentions.

The Real Shliach said...

mitoch shelo lishmah ba lishmah

fakewood inc. said...

i wasnt saying they shouldnt i was just bringing more proof to the whole kavanah in chasidims actions.

The Real Shliach said...

Ahh. Excellent.

fakewood inc. said...

how did taruvos go.

Modeh B'Miktsas said...

Which is why snags only grow beards if they are full and long like a rosh. You wouldn't catch a snag dead with my scraggly 3/4 beard.

The Real Shliach said...

Fake: BH. I won't know until after, but I think I passed. I took the test faster than anyone else, and it took me 2.5 hours...

Modeh: efshar a photographia?

fakewood inc. said...

not true in lakewood they were a trimmed beard.

Modeh B'Miktsas said...

yes, but fully grown in.

fakewood inc. said...

you mean you dont see fuzzy ones. you do like for example rabbi gissinger.

muse said...

How'd you get "83 comments?" I'm impressed, so impressed, that I forgot what I wanted to say.

The Real Shliach said...

LOL. The way to 83 comments (or my record, 200+) is through fractious commenters.