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 . . .

These are the LETTERS OF MY THOUGHTS.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Lessons from a Table

A Chassidisher Ma'aseh

The other night I heard a story that had been told by Mendel Morozov about his father R' Chonya. After his marriage, R' Chonya went with his wife to buy furniture. Looking for a good tabble - one to gather around for Shabbos meals, farbrengens and the like - they went to a table merchant.
The first table shown to them was gorgeous - it was hand crafted with mahogany wood, inlaid with ebony and the like . . . When Chonya asked for the price, however, he was told it cost 10,000 Rubbles. Such a sum was more then he'd ever make in a year, and far too much to spend on a table.
  'Well' said the salesman. 'If that one's too much for you, then I can show you something that's very similar - but on at a better price.

Shown the next table in the showroom, Chunya looked at the second table. Seemingly it was just as nice as the previous table.
  'This table,' said the salesman. 'Is only 5,000 Rubbles.'

Why was it so much cheaper? There was a scratch on the bottom of the table that ,slight and unabtrusive as it was, devaluation the table by half. 

Though the table was half price, however, it was still beyond the young couples' means.

The salesman took them to another, far simpler, table. This one only cost 300 rubbles.
Far cheaper then the previous two, it was still more then Chonya wanted to spend,
   "Do you have this table with a scratch?" Chonya asked optimistically.
   "No." Laughed the salesman. "This table is made of simple pine. A scratch will not affect its value."

Unable to buy any of the tables, the Morozovs left.
Though table-less, the young Chonya took a lesson from experience:
A tammim is like a fine table - he's worth a lot, but even the smallest scratch can devalue him. A misnaged is like the other table - mit a kratz, un a kratz, er iz alamal di zelbe (with or without a scratch, he's worth the same.) 
But a tammim - even a scratched one - is always worth more then a misnagid.

Technorati Tags: , , , , ,

40 comments:

e said...

not only are we super cool, they're super uncool.

Mottel said...

It's an interesting story. Take it as you will.
The Frierdiker Rebbe one said "Unsere ziburis . . . "

e said...

exactly my point. We are super cool and they are super uncool.

Modeh B'Miktsas said...

Something else of about the same level of maturity: My neshama shtams from lubavitch, but it's the nefesh ha--b'hamis I'm talking about.

Nemo said...

Modeh - you must then have an connoisseur's appreciation for bad furniture and cheap vodka.

C said...

And the fact that we're all Jews? Doesn't count?

It's stories like these that piss me off. Whatever happened to Lubavtich's "legendary Ahavan Yisrael".

It sickens me.

Mottel said...

-C: How do different levels in Avodas Hashem change the baseline that we're all Jews? Chabad may be big on ahavas Yisroel, but it also shtams from a long line of Lithuanian Jewry - which includes a very sharp and caustic whit.
So in context: All Jews are good, just some do more with it then others.

e said...

Mottel, what you wrote reinforces C's point.

The difference between chassidim and misnagdim is basically the difference between two types of avodas hashem. Different levels of avodas hashem don't change the baseline that we're all Jews. So how can you call one Jew an expensive table and another cheap table? Because they have a different derech in avoda their minor character flaws are less important?

Mottel said...

-e: Truth be told, C irked me slightly. It's she's sipping the Koolaid. Yes Ahavas Yisroel was a hallmark of the Rebbeim - but as the rebbe said, "If people want [chasadim or rachmanus - I forget which one] they should go to Barditchev." Lubavitch comes from a long standing Lithuanian tradition, of being exceedingly sharp - The Frierdiker Rebbe once made the Chofetz Chaim cry. In other words - Lubavitchers were Russians, and Russians are jerks. The attitude may stink, but it's older then the push for love for every Jew.

That being said, a Mashpia in LA once said that the exceedingly large number of statements against misnagdim that we have, can be said about the misnagid sh'bkirbecha. It's apologetics, but it gives a new life and role for these stories in our avodah.

e said...

Oh? Lubavitch is really about being a jerk? Ahavas Yisroel is a modern innovation? That's news to me.

This misnaged sheb'kirbecha thing doesn't make you sound any less condescending or arrogant. The fact that you use minagdim as a metaphor for your bad side shows what you think of them.

e said...

Imagine you hear that in Mir the mashgiach tell stories about how awful Lubavitchers are. You erupt in righteous indignation. One of the bochurim tells you, "Chill out. We're from Lithuania, so we're jerks with a stinky attitude. Oh, and we didn't really mean you. We just say 'chasid' when we mean 'yetzer hara.'"

Mottel said...

I'm not saying it's nice, I'm not saying it's good . . . I'm saying that it's not a new thing. Thank Lubavitch, with all of the ahavas yisroel, flaunts a superiority (right or wrong as it may be) over others.
We say that our Nusach Hatefilah is the sha'ar hakolel to get to the heavenly temple, we say that our derech in chassidus is the true heir of the Ba'al Shem Tov's teachings and that only through learning it (our way) can one bring the redemption, we say that our Rebbe's are the leaders of each generation for the past 200 years . . .

I don't believe the point of the story is about the etzem of any Jew - we all come from the same root. We're talking about the finish on the tables, the levushim created through our avodah. The avodah of Chassidus, if one does it, are sh'lo b'fi erech greater then any other. The other avodah is good, but doesn't produce the same gloss. But as the Rebbe said (concerning the ma'aleh of a yid over etc), this shouldn't lead to Chauvinism, but rather greater responsibility.
The avodah of tommim, which is the ultimate expression of the avodah of toras chassidus chabad, comes with responsibilities - even the smallest knick (ga'aveh b'sochum, v'uli b'roshum) can depreciate the levushim created. With all the danger said and done, the avodah, even if flawed, is greater. None of this changes the essence - no one is created a chossid or Misnagid . . .

Take it as you will, but it's not a new problem. It's very much part of our world outlook.

Michael said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Menashe said...

I cannot consider the possibility that the Rebbe would approve of such a story. What absolute narishkeit. And that's being generous.

Dowy said...

this is all wrong

Mottel said...

The story is about a preeminent chossid. Yes the Rebbe said that there is no such thing as a misnagid today, but I highly doubt that he would have a problem with the story.
R' Itche der Masmid hy"d once said that only a chossid could be an emmese 'yodea es ribono u'michavin limrod bo' as only a chossid could learn enough chassidus to rebel. Same idea. The frierdiker Rebbe publicly didn't like the vort . . . due to the negative light it portrayed chassidim, but privately he appreciated it.

Modeh B'Miktsas said...

Lubavitch is about being a jerk. Exactly what I said: my nefesh habehamis shtams from lubavitch and the nefesh elokis from lita.

Nemo said...

Mottel - even if it is something old and innate, maybe it's time to bury the hatefulness?

Modeh B'Miktsas said...

Yeah, you're right. I'm just teasing Mottel. Unfortunately while I'm joking he isn't.

Mottel said...

-Nemo: I'm saying a story to inspire conversation . . . I'm curious what people think.

I do believe that with Chassidus as a guide, one can go beyond the norm. The idea of which yeshivah on learns in doesn't come into play.

That being said I'm surprised by the feathers it ruffled amongst the Lubavitchers . . . Modeh took it the best of the group as a whole. And my commenting friend(s) Snag Jr/Not Brisk etc. have remained silent . . .

e said...

Nemo said...
Mottel - even if it is something old and innate, maybe it's time to bury the hatefulness?


And admit that our righteous forebears were imperfect? Never!

The Real Shliach said...

This was a great story for Haveil Havalim-now everyone can know that the PR people for chabad says that he likes them but really thinks they're dirt.

e said...

Perhaps @lubavitch should tweet this post! I can see it now, "Chabad's opinion of the 'not-yet-lubavitchers' bit.ly/asdf"

The Real Shliach said...

Why a link to http://coryforsyth.com/ ?

e said...

it was a random bit.ly link.
asdf=something easy to type without thinking.

Mottel said...

-TRS: As one who goes by the moniker The Real Shlaich, it would behoove you to remember that people who live in glass houses shouldn't throw rocks.

All of you grew up or learnt in a yeshivah system that tells these stories. Perhaps in stead of attacking me, you ought to instead try to understand the sentiment, and discuss it's relative advantages and disadvantages . . . that's what I wanted out of the story in the first place.

For the sake of further stupid comments like these, I've made a point of adding a legal disclaimer:
Important Disclaimer

Now E, I do find it ironic that as an individual, when I ask for help in these things, only my blogging friends cast scorn on my work and refuse to help a friend out.

Your local neighborhood snag said...

"However I will reject any comments that are, or contain, libelous, abusive, racist or offensive language."

I thought this post was offensive-will you remove it?

Mottel said...

Comments, not posts.
I will reject, not you.

The Real Shliach said...

100%-as a real shliach, I love all my fellow Jews, regardless of anything. As soon as I'm on a higher level than the Alter Rebbe's Perek Lamed Beis I'll notify y'all, but until then...

Mottel said...

-TRS: As a Real Shliach it would behoove you to make sure that all of your posts and the actions resulting from them be fitting with what a real shliach truly is v'dal.
In any event, you gratuitous aggression towards me on a consistent and uncalled for basis is NOT fitting with perek Lamed Beis.

C said...

I grew up on shlichus with the love-all-Jews attitude. When my brothers grew up, went to yeshiva, and came home spouting this anti-snag propaganda, I was so turned off from Chabad. It really bothered me... still does.

It's wrong. There is no two ways about it.

The Real Shliach said...

Mottel: strong words, white boy

C: hey, don't blame it on chabad, the whole world is like that. All right, we should be better? That's a different post.

Nemo said...

Mottel - why do you take these comments as such a personal affront?

And what was your point in posting this story?

Mottel said...

I did when they got personal.
I posted the story because I found it interesting and wanted to share and discuss it with others - not turn it into a witch hunt over my job and my requests for a little help from my friends.

e said...

Your story offended people. They expressed their offense. A blogger needs tough skin.

This whole discussion has nothing to do with the twitter awards.

Mottel said...

When TRS attacked me and you joined in . . . I don't appreciate an assault on my character . . . nor on the work I do.

The Real Shliach said...

How could I stand by idly while the blood of my brothers was being spilled?

Modeh B'Miktsas said...

A vort from the "chazoras hashatz":
(I get a lot of good jokes from the two older fellows who sit behind me and shmooze a whole mincha)

Q:why is the magen david a jewish symbol?
A:because it has 6 points and none of them point the same way.

e said...

sheesh. you weren't suppose to take it as an assault on you or your work. I just wanted to point out the huge gulf between this post and the official Chabad PR statements. Nothing personal was intended.

I'm sorry for taking things too far.

Crawling Axe said...

That’s a very nice story. I read it again in Reb Morozov’s biography by his grandson (or great-grandson). Except in the book it talked about a level of a chossid only: “When you’re a chossid, even a smallest scratch on your character damages you greatly.” We find the same with the tzaddikim, whose behavior was considered to be a sin even when a smallest thing was off.

Re: discussion: all this time arguing could be spent on saving another misnaged from the clutches of kaltkeit.