Saturday, May 15, 2010

The man protests?

Is it possible to protest too much? Probably. Fortunately, I don't have this issue. My issue is that I don't protest enough. Instead I do the passive-aggressive thing, just saying "No" when an explanation would go over much better. Some people would see this a positive (the English?) but in general it's probably not a very good way to go through life. I suppose I could change this particular trait of mine, and I'm sure it would be a very good things for all concerned. In fact, that's the whole point of Chassidus, even if I don't remember this specific character defect being mentioned in Tanya.

I'm not bringing this issue up right now because I'm particularly interested in self-flagellation, but rather because it's pertinent in the extreme. "There but for the grace of G-d go I" said I, and once again I failed to say anything as evil was perpetrated upon innocent souls. In my defense, I actually did try to say something, but though the horse was lead to water it could not be made to shut up and listen. But did I try hard enough? Of course not. But that's not the point. The point is that evil was perpetrated, and though I saved myself (and my wife saved some others) I utterly failed to prevent the horribility from happening. I didn't even properly protest. I feel like Neville Chamberlain after Munich. "But," you are undoubtedly saying even as you read these words of mine, "Neville closed his eyes and collaborated with evil, all you did was fail to constitute the resistance." I answer, "But all that is needed for evil to prosper is the absence of a few good men to say something about it." And, having mangled more quotes than is normal for your average person in a lifetime of mangled quotes, we are once again left with the lack of backbone to say anything constructive about it. Protesting after the fact is all good and fine, but experience has shown that it very rarely accomplishes anything positive.

So what's to do? I'm not sure. I mean, if I'm not man enough to burn some bridges and say something on this forum, what can I possibly do? Is there any solution? Time, the great healer, might possibly work its magic here, but I'm skeptical. When a doctor has proscribed vicodin for six months and the patient jumps off a bridge, it's probably a sign that someone was incompetent. It could be Abbott Laboratories, but probably not. More likely, the patient just didn't respond properly to the medication, and no one cared enough to shed a tear. At least until it was too late.

Will we be left mourning when all is said and done? Will we be happy to point fingers and say, "See?" I would hope not. In fact, I hope that there will be no more war, no more will lions roar, and the earth will be filled with the Glory of G-d. In other words, I hope it all works out in the end. But I doubt it will. Because even if the Rebbe wasn't a prophet, he knew something of the human condition. And when he said that there are consequences to actions, he wasn't joking.

56 comments:

Menashe said...

What was the evil? No names obviously.

sarabonne said...

Just as the Rebbe said there are consequences to actions, it is also important, I think, to decide on the best course of action, if you deem it a necessary one to take.

The Real Shliach said...

Menashe: As the Rebbe wrote many times, "If you're close when you should be far then you'll be far when you should be close."

Sara: what would you suggest?

sarabonne said...

Ach, I hate telling people what to do. I think direct communication would be a bit better than blogging about the issue, if you don't mind my saying.

sarabonne said...

Actually, you didn't blog about the issue, so I take that back.

The Real Shliach said...

Would blogging about the actual issue be better than nothing?

Modeh B'Miktsas said...

probably. THis blog sometimes is a weird alcohol-free binary farbrengen.

The Real Shliach said...

It doesn't have to be alcohol free...

sarabonne said...

I don't think blogging about the actual issue will serve an postive purpose. So no.
Doing nothing is also a chosen course of action.
Like I said, if you think it is necessary to say something, assuming it comes from the right place, doing so directly is better.

A Suede Ḥossid said...

Why can't you discuss the negative effect of the evil perpetrated in a nice and civil manner without attacking anyone in particular personally? It is a sin not to warn your fellow when his car is rolling towards a precipice. It is also a sin to warn him so harshly that he will be put off and ignore your warning. The best thing of all is to warn and to explain. The worst thing of all is sit on the bench spouting cliches.

A Suede Ḥossid said...

I think, in general, the same thing that is good with tzedaka is also good with warning and rebuke. It is good when it's not personal. But better personal than nothing. Plus, you have to give yourself nine times you give the others.

Yossi said...

I don't understand your post at all. Which I think was the intended purpose, perhaps? Or maybe it's me. I'll try again tomorrow.

A Suede Ḥossid said...

Yossi, you’d make a good Straussian (a follower of Leo Strauss school of philosophy).

The Real Shliach said...

Sara: easier said than done, what what.

CA: It would be very difficult to say anything in an anonymous manner.

Yossi: there's always the good 'ol email.

A Suede Ḥossid said...

Well, by anonymous I do not mean that they would not necessarily know that you’re writing in reaction to their sin.
 For instance, if you see someone eating a pork sandwich, you don’t have to write: “Today, I saw a close friend of mine consume swine. What a lowlife! What a donkey!”, etc. Instead you could write: “As many know, eating pork is forbidden in the Jewish tradition. Many do not know, why, however. It is not only because of the fear of trichinosis, although even in our times such a fear remains at large. Following the laws of kashruth in general results in the Jewish community being more close-knit, which is the goal of all Laws of Torah. Therefore, when eating pork, one commits the ultimate sin: destroying the fabric of our holy community.”
 Words written in such an objective way, have greater power than a personal attack.

The Real Shliach said...

CA: Hmm, well, this is an idea. I will have to consider it.

Menashe said...

I have to compliment you on that answer (to me.) It was very much a Rebbe way of answering. It was a very nice way of saying "breaches in the fence of shomer negiah."

The Real Shliach said...

Menashe: Spot on.

Modeh B'Miktsas said...

which kind of negia?

Negia as in COI or negia as in what is metamey b'shratzim?

The Real Shliach said...

COI?

A Suede Ḥossid said...

http://www.fishingfury.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/12/world-record-koi.jpg

The Real Shliach said...

Do all Russians always mix up "C" and "K"?

A Suede Ḥossid said...

No, we mix up h with kh or g. I guess it's gashgacha protis.

The Real Shliach said...

Sure thing.

e said...

TRS: If this is about what I think it is, then just give up. Sure the Talmud says, "'Rebuke you shall rebuke,' even a hundred times." But I suppose this will be yet another example of when I disagree with the Talmud.

A Suede Ḥossid said...

What’s another example? The part where Talmud says that G-d created the world? (Actually, does Talmud positively state anywhere that G-d exists?)

The Real Shliach said...

e: The question is, is it worthwhile to do something which you know has no chance of success? I think it's important that something be said, even if you know nothing will come of it.

A Suede Ḥossid said...

Why? If you know your action will have no positive effect but only a negative one?

(Otoh, I disagree that it will have no effect.)

The Real Shliach said...

Obviously, if I think it'll have a negative effect then I wouldn't do it. Unless you're saying that no effect=negative effect?

You think there's hope?

A Suede Ḥossid said...

Well, any time you rebuke someone there is a negative effect, no?

What the brain does not perceive, neshama perceives. Perhaps the person will be driven towards teshuva — if not in this area, then in some other, when his neshama experiences the distance from its Father in Heaven. Furthermore, it may not have effect in this area now, but perhaps later it will.

The Real Shliach said...

What? The point of rebuke is to have a positive effect, to prevent evil from occurring and to bring forth goodness. That's hardly a negative effect.

Takeh. I shall not cease my efforts.

A Suede Ḥossid said...

But there is also a negative effect. Just like when you are attacked by a robber and break his jaw, there is a positive effect: you were not robbed. But there is also a negative effect: you hurt your knuckles.

Go on you shall go on.

The Real Shliach said...

Words which are spoken from the heart enter the heart- and from the heart there is no negative effect.

Well, I'm glad I have your haskama.

A Suede Ḥossid said...

Of course there is a negative effect. As the words enter the heart, they pierce the pericardium. There is always collateral damage in any case of correction.

A Suede Ḥossid said...

Incidentally, when will you resume the Dear TRS section?

The Real Shliach said...

When the correction is done with love, there is no negative effect.

Good idea. Possibly today?

A Suede Ḥossid said...

Yes there is. Ignoring it is like blinking in front a weeping angel.

Who knows?

The Real Shliach said...

The difference between man and angel is that man must blink.

The shadow knows.

A Suede Ḥossid said...

A man can blink when he’s safe.

The Real Shliach said...

The only thing to fear is fear itself. Ergo, man is always safe.

A Suede Ḥossid said...

Adding clichés to non-sequitur logic is a nice touch.

The Real Shliach said...

I try.

A Suede Ḥossid said...

http://www.yasharbooks.com/Torture.pdf

A Suede Ḥossid said...

Wait a second. Wrong blog. Sorry.

Modeh B'Miktsas said...

TRS: Conflict of interest

e:Arachin 14b -- עד היכן תוכחה? עד הכאה. (Until where is rebuke? Until the guy hauls off and slugs you) There are more lenient opinions but you people are "lechatchieh yidden"

The Real Shliach said...

Why would it be conflict of interest?

And yes, we certainly are "lechatchila yidden". Mi laHashem alai!

Modeh B'Miktsas said...

a-how should i know what story your talking about and if you say negia it's one or the other

b- uhhh, in case you plan on going vad lishmiras hadas on us again, let me remind you that ad haka'a is the rebukee doing the hitting not the rebukor.

The Real Shliach said...

What do you mean it's one or the other? It's negia k'pshuto, bein adam l'nekeivah.

You think I haven't suffered enough?

Modeh B'Miktsas said...

a- ah, tumas shrotzim
b- just saying over the gemara. you decide what you want to do.

The Real Shliach said...

Well, if you want to put it that way...

Okie dokie.

Pinehas said...

keep up the fight until the sinner hits you!

The Real Shliach said...

Yes Sir!

Modeh B'Miktsas said...

Look it up, it's a mishna: hasheretz m'tameh b'maga, ub'masa veino metameh b'ohel oh b'*whateveritwas* In no way am I condemning my entire gender to creepy crawly-hood.


ps I know what you meant by negia but I couldn't resist. I've been waiting to use this line since I heard the story with RYBS.

The Real Shliach said...

Obviously not! Just like a man touches a sheretz...

And you've been waiting to tell the story about (who?) for how long?

Modeh B'Miktsas said...

The story goes that in the very early days of kiruv an NCSY rebbi/counselor took his (mixed) group to meet his Rosh. This being NCSY the Rosh in question was R' Yoshe Ber Soloveichik II. In the open Q&A following the shiur (for what else does one do when taking impressionable youths to visit a Rosh Yeshiva) one girl asks "why can't we do negia" to which the Rav replies "who taught you about tumas shrotzim?"

The Real Shliach said...

Nice.