Tuesday, May 22, 2012


The Tzadik is a Tzadik, But Not Mine

by Reb Akiva @ Mystical Paths

[ The title is from a chassidic story, where a chossid of a Rebbe is sent as a messenger to another chassidic Rebbe.  The chossid delivered his message and stayed for a while, learning from the other Rebbe.  After a time the other Rebbe asked him to stay and become his chossid, switching to his chassidus.  The chossid replied, ‘the Rebbe is a Rebbe, but not mine, this chossid is a chossid, but not thine’. ]

HaRav Shteinman, one of the gedolim of our generation in his late 90’s, visited Ramat Beit Shemesh (Alef) this week, to advocate for a full Torah (no secular studies) education institution in town (which is now having to complete with a new 75% Torah, 25% secular studies institution).

Much is being made about some strong statements he made, which Life in Israel translated here.  I will not comment on those statements except to say we’re seeing transition and cultural upheaval in front of us when a 90 year old gadol has to be dragged around to support the older way.

But there is a spiritual statement that Rav Shteinman made that is worth my discussion here…

“…how much one must do for the everlasting (the torah)! A person does not need to live just 100 years.. he can live for eternity! The life of a person is not here in this world... in order to live everlasting life a person has to work his entire life to create the everlasting life, and what is the everlasting life? torah and mitzvos, and nothing else. From learning math and from geography one does not achieve everlasting life, only from torah and chessed.

…to be a talmid chacham bitachon is irrelevant. One cannot just have bitachon and become a talmid chacham. If he does not learn torah, he will not be a talmid chacham. One who does not learn torah, will not do the mitzvos…  Also chessed must be done, but torah is the main thing.”

On Rosh Hashanah we pray that Hashem judge us as His children.  (For what father will not have compassion on his children?)  And then, after that, we pray that if Hashem will not judge us as His children, THEN (and only then) we pray that He will judge us has His servants.

The rav is of course correct.  Learning Torah, doing mitzvot and chessed literally build one’s place in the World to Come.  Yet the question is WHETHER our goal is to build our place in the World to Come OR to build a relationship with our Father in Heaven. 

Will we be servants working for our (afterlife) payday?  Or children trying to make our Father proud?  Will we learn Torah because each minute gets us a little better seat in Heaven?  Or because by doing so we being to understand a little better, relate a little better, and connect a little more to our Father in Heaven?

And while we’re here, will we express that by doing chessed, mitzvot and helping our brothers?  Will we take steps to make this world a little more heavenly? 

I for one follow the path of the Chabad Rebbes.  My goal is to connect to our Father in Heaven, and bring a bit of heaven down here to earth. 

This gadol’s path does not even interest me.  May he have a long life to complete it.  But it’s my belief bringing more people to it will do NOTHING for this world, nor for Klal Yisroel. 


  1. Akiva, I agree with you in the sense that it will bring absoulutly nothing to this world and I will futher state nothing in the world to come if our behaviour does not change.

    Lets take it further. From what I am seeing in the "Torah" world is really not the intention or message of the Torah but really the focus is on control of every aspect of ones life then thinking this is the derech that haShem wants from us. It's not.

    Lets simplify it, it's our conduct between us that matters in this world and the world to come. Following the endless array of takanot of the rabbi's will NOT improve ones midot. They will NOT teach correct behaviour in society, but actually makes a very sick people. I see it everyday Akiva, everyday.

    Why not spend the early years teaching children how to behave in a normal society. How to interact with people who don't dress in a certain way. How to behave in the grocery store, getting on the bus, greeting a fellow human with kindness. The list is endless and if we listen to this elderly rabbi we cannot fix our troubles we have by returning to the system that has and is destroying us as a nation. Living by the Torah of Moshe is of utmost importance but ignoring our social skills and interactions are and will destroy us.

    The Torah was given for us to live and survive in this world. It was never intended to isolate us, to allow us to become freaks of society.

    Is the machine to big to change, probably yes. Has the erev rav successfully led us of the original derech, without a doubt. Only until a critical mass of people begin to make the changes we need within the Jewish world will anything change for the good.

    One or two lone voices cannot fix it, so we will decend to the depths of destruction and never reach geulah. Thankyou Erev Rav.

  2. Typo, the Erev Rav has led us OFF the derech (not of).

  3. Well said, Akiva. We are also Lubavitchers and see our task as elevating the sparks of this world in order to create a dira b'tachtonim. And Shilo, I really liked your comments as well.

  4. Excuse me Rav Shteinman? I thought that the purpose for learning Torah and doing mitzvot was to create a dwelling place for G-d in this world so that we can bring the world closer to perfection. And we are partners in Creation to achieve that task, irregardless of whatever brownie points we are earning in Heaven. If that were the case that the entire world exists just for the Torah without it achieving its purpose, then why does Sefer Shemot spend five parshiyot after Parshiyot Yitro and Mishpatim telling us how to build a Dwelling place for G-d in this world?? After this speech and some recent misquotes of certain people about how having the Internet in the home was the cause of the massive Atias tragedy, I have an uneasy feeling that some of us are re-enacting a different Matan Torah than the rest of us are re-enacting this Shavuot. This is all very unsettling.

    And to say that having bitachon is irrelevant to becoming a Talmid Chacham, all I can say is that he obviously is not a Breslover.

  5. Shilo: The 2nd set of 6 years mentioned in the Zohar between 5766 and 5772 is to defeat the Erev Rav and the Erev Ze'ir since they have such a hold on us. The first set between 5760 and 5766 was not enough to achieve that task. Just wait patiently, and watch the world change by Tisha B'Av, the previous post the one about the 60 days. Plus you have incorrectly identified Rav Shteinman's thinking process. He is not from the Erev Rav. The Erev Rav wants to perpetually worship a god called popularity or world public opinion. Rav Shteinman wants something completely different. Apparently he seems to want to continue to study Torah in a desert without Geulah where we fail to achieve that national mission, to create a dwelling place for G-d in this world. This is the error of the shevatim who spied out the Land and wanted to remain in the desert. Yes, it is a bit different than it was in the midbar. There was already a mishkan in the desert, but now we see that the same folk have discarded the mishkan altogether! They have no interest in being popular or getting the world to like them. This should be obvious. This is better described by the term Erev Ze'ir than the term Erev Rav.

  6. Dov, I was not reffering specifically to the R you mentioned. We cannot create our national mission Dov, the game is rigged by the Erev Rav. According to Ashlag the Erev Rav are simply the ones who want to keep the Torah for themselves. Look at the character of the ones Moshe so stupidly brought with us, and it's so easy to see who the Erev Rav truly are. You can rewrite or reanalyse it to divert the focus off of the true ones who have changed the derech thus preventing the geulah. Have a wonderful day.


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