The letters of our thoughts are the ideas present in our mind before they come to realization . . . Thoughts that are, yet not felt . . . The words of the subconscious . . . of the soul . . .


Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The Kapote Conundrum Continuum

Kapotes with out a beard at the Treaty of Versailles (Source)

yitz said...

First, let me state at the outset that I am not a Lubavitcher, although I owe a personal debt of Hakaras HaTov to the movement for some of its work decades ago, which helped me on my path to Yiddishkeit.

I think the most important thing is to help bring a Jew to Torah mitzvos, pure, unadulterated version. Let him then choose his minhagim, if he wants to try to trace his own roots, join Chabad, join YU, become a Sefardi, or whatever. Anything else, IMNSHO, is not kiruv, but rather selling an agenda; which, unfortunately, too many people are guilty of.

My 2 agorot!

Yitz... said...

(kodem kol, like Yitz above, I am not chabad. I do learn a lot of chabad chassidut though.)

rather than:

That Chabad Chassidus is the ideal

I think you should say: "Chabad Chassidut is vital to every Jew."
ideals confuse reality.

I think, if the Shaliach is doing their job, being a true shining example of what it is to be a Jew, then he will always focus his 'flock' on Torah and Mitzvot, and the step to being Lubavitch/wearing the uniform will happen naturally on its own, at the right pace for each person. When that Shaliach sees people focusing on the exterior/uniform, it's his duty to refocus his congregants.

I also think this point is obvious and talking about it is only productive in aiding people in pointing fingers. (just as a uniform is primarily helpful in causing people to point fingers)

This whole issue only comes up when Shlichim stop thinking of Jews as individuals and seek to 'assembly line' the process of hafatzat hamaayanot, something that really cannot be industrialized. How can someone ask the question: "What should be the goal of shlichut?" How could the goal ever have become blurred to begin with??? It's so pashut. Jews doing mitzvot and learning Torah.

this is my l'chatchilah ariber response to your question.

ps. it goes without question that when I say Torah and Mitzvot, I mean Torah and Mitzvot infused with the intensity of Chabad Chassidut..otherwise, what's the point?

yitz said...

To Yitz...[the one WITH the dots], who wrote: Chabad Chassidut is vital to every Jew.. Oh really? Was it vital to Moshe Rabbeinu, Rashi, Rav Yosef Karo, Rav Shimshon Rafael Hirsch, the Baal Shem Tov? Is it vital to HaRav Ovadiah Yosef, the Amshinover Rebbe, Rav A.L. Steinman, the Gerer Rebbe, etc. etc.? Methinks not!

I would perhaps at the most say, "Chabad Chassidut OR ITS EQUIVALENT is vital to every Jew," AND there are many equivalents!


The main focus of Lubavitch is hafatzos hachassidus b'chlal and a Chassidus Chabad b'frat.

Why? Because in order to truly reach the chutza, the outer limits of the world, one must also be able to to reach the outer limits of the mind . . . Chassidus Chabad with its stress on arichus habiur and havana v'hasaga is what is able to accomplish this goal.

This is not to negate the intrinsic ma'alos of other chasddusin . . .

The only catch is that in order to have hafatzos hamayonos, we need hafatzos hayahadus first. Chassidus is great, but a person who thinks chassidus, but is m'chalel shabbos afterwards is missing the point. (This does not negate the teaching of chassidus to those who are not yet religious, only that the teaching must bring to ma'aseh b'poel)

In other words, the Rebbe wants every Jew to grow. A person who doesn't eat matzo on Pesach should eat Matzo, one who does it it should put on tefillin from time to time . . . someone who only goes to a shiur gemara once a week should go twice . . . someone who doesn't learn mussar should. Someone who learns mussar should learn chassidus etc. etc.

Someone once asked the Rebbe if he should change his hat to a Lubavitcher one. The Rebbe told him that a person who wears my hat is not a chossid. A person who wants to grow I am happy to call my chossid.

The Rebbe doesn't want everyone to start shaking Lulav the way we do, or rap the retzuas of his tefillin around his hands as we do.

But Chassidus must be learned!

My question is slightly different.

There is no doubt in my mind that a m'kurav should be taught chassidus. My friends father makes more then sure that his congregants learn. The question is, as Chabad Chassidim, do we try to bring others that extra step forward.

I could have ended up a stam Orthodox guy, with a love and respect of Chabad . . . but with out the nafshius'dike farbund tzum Rebbe'n.

As to your remark "Was it vital to . . ."

There are a couple of points to keep in mind.

1. Before hisgalus hachassidus there was no need for it. I assume that you feel chassidus haklolis is important to every Jew. The same question you ask on Chassidus Chabad is the one asked on Chassidus haklolis . . . the answer is the famous moshel of the Alter Rebbe (The crown with the diamond etc.)

Those that didn't have chassidus available didn't need it.

Now that it's here . . .

Rebbetzin Sussia Schochet (the mother of all the Schochets -Emanuel, Ezra (the Rosh) etc.) Once asked the Rebbe why her sons needed to grow beards. Growing up around Yekkishe Yiddin, there were many choshuvei yirei shomayim with out the yud gimel tikunnie dikna.

The Rebbe told her (if my memory serves me exactly) that these days a beard is needed to to have yirei shomayim (Would you rather eat from a shochet (The job, not the name) with a beard or with out?

2. Those alive today, therefore, do need Chassidus Chabad. The Gerrer Rebbe should still be the Gerrer Rebbe. He needs to teach his chassidus, follow his customs etc. But Tanya darft er eichet lernin . . .

(Of note, the Beis Yisroel, z"l, once said that a person who doesn't learn the first 12 chapters of Tanya can't be a yirei shomayim.)

I love the story you bring by the way!

L'chaim Yidden.

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yitz said...

Hey Mottel - I see you're learning from ASJ how to make a post out of our comments! Love it!

Mottel said...

I've done it in the past as well, but I normally don't get enough comments to do it :-p
But ASJ has inspired me in several ways.

yitz said...

Okay, let's get back to our discussion. You wrote: I assume that you feel chassidus haklolis is important to every Jew.
No! That's just my point. I don't think R. Shimshon Rafael Hirsch needed it, I don't think that Rav Ovadiah Yosef needs it, etc. I think that a Litvishe gadol, if he's steeped in Chovos HaLevavos, the Gra, Nefesh HaChaim, Ramchal, etc. can probably be a true eved Hashem without Chassidus Chabad. That said, I agree with you that the Tanya is a great sefer, & many of us have a lot to gain by learning it. But is it vital to each & every Jew, bar none? Methinks not.
You asked: Would you rather eat from a shochet with a beard or without? My answer: I don't think that's the criteria. I want to eat from a shochet who's a yirei Shamayim, period. Unfortunately, we see today that there are even Jews with beards & payos that can embrace the Hitler of Iran, ymach shmo! Certainly a beard, payos, kapote, etc. while important, are not the REAL criteria! Didn't the Baal Shem say, "Rachmana liba ba'i" - Hashem wants our heart, our pnimiyus. Did the Baal Shem wear a kapote? I don't think so, although probably no one knows for sure.

Mottel said...

Every Derech has its unique attributes, and a road to play in the avodah of k'lal yisroel . . .
I don't mean to imply that one can not be a yirei shomayam with out chassidus.
However, my statements are based on the remark of Moshiach to the Ba'al Shem Tov . . . that Moshiach will come when the mayanos of chassidus are spread out to the outer reaches.
Chassidus those plays a needed role for all of us.

yitz said...

Thank you Mottel, I am relieved by your last comment. We sometimes get carried away thinking "My Rebbe's derech = the Baal Shem Tov = absolute Truth" and nothing else counts. That was my concern, and hopefully we should be wise to see that there are many paths to Hashem. What we can say is that FOR US, this is what works best! L'Chaim!!!

yitz.. said...

how does that idea square with yisrael areivim zeh la zeh?

If we can't know what's good for someone else, only ourselves, that becomes problematic. On some level we have to be able to say, "this is good for you too."

Obviously you're trying to avoid the nonstop machlokot that never help and never get anywhere about "MY rebbe's torah is THE torah." But, the whole point of halachah at least is that we can arrive at some common objective viewpoint.

btw, I replied to your comment at the old discussion and was curious what you had to say in response,
I personally believe that had we infinite time, we all should be learning all of the various faces of the Torah, all of whom are significant to each of us individually, but due to our limited resources, there are various branches of the single tree of Torah that have a different priority for each individual soul.

In other words, it's not that there are people who have nothing to gain from Chabad Chassidut, it's just that it's more efficient for them to spend the time on Mussar/Mishna/Gemara/youNameIt depending on what is more integral to their immediate challenges.

yitz said...

"Dotted" yitz wrote: how does that idea square with [Kol] Yisrael areivim zeh la zeh?
"undotted" replies: I think of our areivus as, if you're in trouble & I can help you, I better do it! Or if I'm happy, I should share it with you! I don't know if every path needs to be shared with every Jew who might be on another path. You seem to concur with this at the end of your comment.