Thursday, November 05, 2009


The Disagreement

by Reb Gutman Locks at Mystical Paths

(Photo: Yeshiva students.)

I am in frequent contact with a rabbi who opened a yeshiva in a small hamlet outside of New York City. He reads my articles and often sends me a one-word comment. However, on the subject of “outreach,” the responses became longer. The conversation went something like this:

I wrote: “David is an Atheist … But, Not a Very Good One.” In this story, I wrote of how I convinced an anti-religious boy to put on tefillin.

The Rabbi responded: “Great! Send us more stories like this one.”

I wrote back: “The way to get more stories like this one is to take your tefillin with you when you go to the store (i.e. look for someone to help).”

He wrote back: “I don’t go shopping.”

I answered: “Then, when you go to town.”

The Rabbi: “Since I started this yeshiva, I do not go to town.”

My answer: “Then train your students to take their tefillin with them when they go to town. You can change the world right from your desk.”

Rabbi: “Were you ever in this hamlet? There is not really a town to go to.”

My answer: “You seem to be avoiding my point. If we (you, me, and your students) are obligated to help a Jew to pick up his fallen physical donkey, then how much more so are we obligated to help him to pick up his fallen spiritual “donkey”?

”But it seems that this idea is not only not part of your life, (apparently, other than the students who make it to your yeshiva) but even more sadly, this thinking does not seem to be part of your curriculum, either.

“You can reach “town” every day of your life, and even after 120 (after you pass away), without leaving the study hall, by simply showing your students the importance of helping other Jews to come to love the mitzvahs.

“Be careful! There are thousands and thousands of Jews out there who think that they are following all of the rules of learning and mitzvahs, but they are keeping the Torah for the wrong reasons. They are following it because they are obligated, or for a reward. The result of this practice is rampant depression in our Jewish communities!! G-d help us.

“You must show the students the joy and true holiness in the mitzvahs and learning, or you are merely adding to the numbers of the depressed.

The Rabbi answered: “One is obligated to help a Jew to pick up a fallen donkey when they come across such a scene. They are not obligated to go out looking for such a scene, especially not a bocher (student).”

I wrote back: “My point was, and continues to be, that if you look to see who you can help, you will end up helping someone. If you have your eyes closed to others, then, to some degree, G-d has His eyes closed to you.

“If you are sitting on a plane, and after praying you take off your tefillin and pick up a magazine without the least concern to look for the Jew who might be sitting next to you, you will have transgressed a number of mitzvahs, including the one that states that we are responsible for one another.

“Throughout the Torah, we see that the Jewish people are judged as a single person, and yet you are saying not to go out of your way to help a fellow Jew. I am shocked that you try to avoid this teaching, not only in your own life, but even more importantly, in the basic teachings of your yeshiva.

“That you do not go to town is a lame excuse. Those students of yours should schedule at least one afternoon each week to go out, in pairs, and look for Jews to help, The great Rosh Hayeshiva (yeshiva head) Moshe Feinstein, O”BM (of blessed memory), taught that just as we are obligated to give ten percent of our income to charity, so too are we obligated to give ten percent of our time.

“If you cannot motivate yourself to reach out to others for their sake, then know that when you help others, G-d helps you.”

He answered: “You are mixing up several issues to continue your original point, which, in my humble opinion, you are wrong.”

My answer: Do not hide your eyes to your neighbor’s lost object.[i] All the more so, do not hide your eyes to his lost soul.

“Be of the disciples of Aaron, loving peace and pursuing peace, loving your fellow creatures, and bringing them near to the Torah”[ii]

If the words of the Torah and sages do not convince you, then take a good look at this picture.

Even Little Students Can Reach Big People


Anonymous said...

why do you pressure people?

Yonatan said...

For exactly the reason he wrote in the post - Get involved!

Shiloh said...

What happens when Jews follow the Torah? We unite as we are on the same page. What happens when one follows talmudism? By the own rabbi's admission, depression and I will add, hatred and separation from fellow Jews. Why, you are creating false guilt which runs rampant in the Jewish communities. If one does trangress the Torah of Moshe, then he should feel shame and guilt, make t'shuvah and start over. But when the rabbi's have added literaly thousands of fences and expect Jews to keep them, what else would one expect. It has turned into a religion that not one of our Patriarch's would recognize.

It's the responsiblity of the Orthodox rabbi's to clean up this mess that they have created which has led us completely away from the essence of the Torah that Moshe received. We in no way are following his Torah as it without a doubt has been replaced. Then we are critical of other replacement theologies. Rabbi's, take the beam out of your own eye before you try to take the speck out of fellow Jews who don't buy your own version of replacement theology. Stop the chillul haShem. HaShem will bring the redemption, not for our sake, but to save His Great Name. Read it!!! Wake up.

You also claim that there will be two roads to the geulah. One easy based on our actions and one difficult. We, as time is showing, will be facing a very difficult road ahead because of what the faithless shephards are teaching. You, and you alone, rabbi's and rebbe's can clean this up if you put your ego's in the garbage where they belong. Correct Judaism. Start with getting our holidays on the right day and trash your preset calendar which is wrong. At least on Yom Kippur we are repenting and receiving kippur from our Father then. Sure, it's a huge prospect and since every sect of Judaism is following the Truth, that's why we are united. NOT!!!

Why must we do it the hard way. Our greatest strength is our greatest weakness.

ReuvenEzraF said...

Wow. Jews who don't believe we should go out and help each other. The Zohar says that if we knew the reward for bringing others close to Torah & Mitzvot, we would be constantly running after them (my point is not the reward, but showing that its important to personally reach out, as the deed corresponds to the reward). Why did Avraham sit outside in the heat? Because he wanted to go outside actively seeking people to bring in and get them to bless Hashem for the food he offered do one good deed! He didn't just sit, he went out bringing people closer as the Torah tells us regarding all the people who were with him & Sarah. In regards to the Sanhedrin it says that they were not to just sit in chambers and be authorities on Torah law, but "gird their loins with bands of steel, lift their robes above their knees, and traverse from city to city... to teach the Jewish people." (Tanna d'Bei Eliyahu Rabbah, ch. 11.) This is also why the Baal Shem Tov traveled from place to place to get Jews to simply say "Baruch Hashem." Shlomo Hamelech even went so far (because of his high level) as to marry many women in order that they should convert, thereby causing tremendous spiritual sanctifications of G-d's Name. So clearly it's our job to do what we can on our level to reach out actively to our BROTHERS and SISTERS, not sit in our own box and think that everything is okay while Jews whose neshamas are literally linked to ours in one spiritual body suffer in darkness. Do you sit, do nothing, and wait for money to come your way to pay the bills? Of course not. I wouldn't recommend trying that philosophy with your parnassa. You have to do hishtadlut and then the blessings will come. How much more so do you think G-d wants our histadlut when it comes to bringing diamonds (fellow Jews) in, which hastens His will, the coming of Moshiach. If we think otherwise, perhaps its we who are really in the darkness, and we don't really grasp our learning.

josh said...

IS it just a coincidence that the pilot cadet's face is covered up?

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