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.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

A Fire Burns in Crown Heights: An Essay on Religion, Modernity and Pizza

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Photo Courtesy Basil


Please check out my Op-Ed now on Crownheights.info - please join the discussion there! As well, if you have any questions or thing you wish me to elaborate on - then ask away in the comments here!

We live in a dual culture - pulled by the Jewish, Chassidic, and uniquely Lubavitcher traditions that bind us, we also seek on some level to integrate into the society around us. Our use of innovations in technology, our homes, and even our clothes, are all the result of the modern world's influence on our lives. [Note to those that take issue with the belief that any modernity has seeped into our Lubavitcher meta-culture: Our mode of dress - be it the short jacket, the choice of a more modern fedora over the more traditional Russian kasket, or even the relatively modern design of the Kapote (based on the Victorian Prince Albert frock) are all signs of our organic adaptation to the modern world]. The calls of modern life offer a lot of potential. They also give room to incredible danger. It is the tension of spanning this spiritual chasm that we must address if we are to remain viable as a group.

It is my contention that in no other season is this dichotomy embodied then the Summer months. In chassidic thought, the increased revelation of sunlight and warmth in the summer is the physical manifestation of the greater divine revelation being showered upon the earth. As the Torah teaches, however, the greater room for spiritual potential and growth, the greater the manifestation of the impure. To be frank: The revelation of the shemesh havaya, the G-dly power of the summer, brings to a very disturbing trend of a rather different revelation on the streets of Kingston. 
Continued here

10 comments:

shualah elisheva said...

you are a most eloquent author, mr. mottel. i found your article both enlightening and entertaining [in the well.written sense].

kol hakavod!

A Suede Ḥossid said...

Nice article.

I have one nitpicking question. Isn’t it ossur d’oraysa (b/c of begged isha) to trim down your beard down to nothing (like with a “kosher” shaver or the cream), while it’s not ossur to trim the beard to “shape” it, but we don’t do it because of Kabbalistic reasons (full, untrimmed beard, being representative of Yud-Gimmel Middos HaRachammim l’maila, etc.)?

e said...

subscribing

Anonymous said...

Mottel,

Your wife is a very talented writer. Will see who the kid takes after....

Modeh B'Miktsas said...

CA: we were through this on the shaving post. According to the Tzemach tzeddek, even shaping is lo yilbash. I don't understand how, but he was an acharon and I'm a college shmendrick.

Mottel: Great article. So you're getting a kanoim problem in your area too? I'd recommend a counterinsurgency, but frummaks are also technically Jews and there are issurim involved.

A Suede Ḥossid said...

According to TT, shaving is beged isha.

A Suede Ḥossid said...

And as a result, trimming to the state of no beard is beged isha. But not trimming to the state of a small beard. The problem with the latter is al pi Kabbolo, not al pi Halacha, afaiu.

Mottel said...

As per my understanding of the sh"ut (look in the kitzur at the end) even trimming is asur.

Modeh B'Miktsas said...

After that debate I went and read the tshuva. He says very clearly "to shorten or remove"

Anonymous said...

the Rebbe hated all Jews