Tuesday, July 8, 2008
Mystical Paths writes...
The following story is going around within religious circles in Jerusalem...
The famed Rabbi Shachne Zohn, shlita, had an amazing dream about three weeks ago. Rav Shachne Zohn has been the Rosh Kollel of Kollel Kodshim v'Taharos in Yerushalayim for nearly 40 years. Before that, he served as a Rav at Yeshivah Torah Vodaas in Brooklyn. In his youth, he studied at Yeshivos Mir and Kamenitz in Europe. He also studied briefly with the Chafetz Chaim, who had a great impact on him.
About three weeks ago, the Chafetz Chaim appeared to Rav Zohn in a dream. The Chafetz Chaim said to him, "Geula krova lavo. L'farsem, ulehitkonen." (Translation: The "redemption is close. Publicize and prepare yourself.") [The author of this writes...] I have confirmed this story with Rabbi Zohn's daughter in Jerusalem, and his son, Rabbi Elchonon Zohn, Director of Vaad Harabanim of Queens, Chevra Kadisha.
May Hashem bring Moshiach so pull Klal Yisroel from the darkness.
During Shabbos davening at my parents shul the Rabbi stood up in the middle of davening and asked the congregation nicely if "the people praying could keep it down because there were people trying to talk." It got a mixed reaction. Some laughter, maybe some silence from the constant chatterbox's that plague Torah Observant Shul's worldwide. Ive been in shuls where the Gabbi said if you want to talk then go outside, and a group of around 10 people left. A full minyan decided that what they had to say to each other was more important that what they should be saying to Hashem.
Its something that unfortunately has becoming an accepted practice on Shabbos because "you kinda have to be there" but there are other times it just surprises me. Last night we had a 10pm maariv so that someone could say Kaddish. Not surprisingly, the two next to me finished Shemonah Esrei in 3 minutes flat but what was surprising was what they did when they finished. They started talking. Talking in the little Bies Midrash where everyone can hear you without a single care as to the disturbance they might be causing their fellow Yidden. It's not that I was truly distracted or even offended, I'm just surprised. I'm surprised that after reading Tanya probably fifty times over, they would have skipped the end where it discusses the Alter Rebbe of Chabad's view on davening. They spoke throughout Shemonah Esrei, in between the amens of Kaddish and since they said Aleinu right after Shemonah Esrei, they spoke through ours. Now like I said, "you have to be at shul on Shabbos" but you DON'T have to be at shul at 10pm for maariv as a favor for another Jew. Couldn't you talk after Maariv? The whole davening only lasted 15 minutes at best. Couldn't you have gone home and chatted on the phone? I got home at 9:00 and I was tired. I could have davened and went to bed, but I went to shul because I feel its important to daven with a minyan. What about you?
Its safe to say they weren't discussing a blot of Gemara they just couldn't decipher, or a Sefer that really has them boggled, or even some part of Tanya that has them perplexed. It was about sports, or movies, or just something "funny".
We arent on the levels of the original Chassidim or anyone before them and never will be. However that has now become an excuse for trying to raise up our spirits and devotion to G-d, because its HARD to do and with much more temptation than the Chassidim of the Baal Shem Tov, its easier to fall pray to the Sitra Achra.
How can I, a Baal Teshuva, with barely any yeshiva learning, with only a few years of devotion to Hashem have trust that after many years I will grow closer and closer to HaKodesh Barachu? When I see FFB's with Smicha who are a good 5-10 years older than me acting the way these two were acting I know Moshiach is coming because he will only come when people start forgetting Torah.
Its a total disrespect for Hashem's Presence, the Torah's Presence, & the Shuls Presence. Is it not a mitzvah to show reverence to the Sanctuary or did I confuse that with something else when I read the Chofetz Chaim's Book of Mitzvot.
I dont think I'm better than these people, in fact its the opposite. They are better than me, and when they act in a holy way which I know they can, they inspire me to raise myself up. Its when they think that Tivo-ing the Dodgers game is more important than praying to G-d that I just don't understand.
Someone once defended them by saying after decades of davening it becomes routine and that the more you learn the strong your Yetzer Hara becomes. Later I thought to myself, and the more you learn the more you understand how to battle the Yetzer Hara.
I pray to G-d that when I'm G-d willing 30 or 40 or 50 or 60 or 120!! I will always remember how important davening was to me when I was 23. Hopefully the Torah I learning from now till then will strengthen my devotion and not weaken it.
Monday, July 7, 2008
I was recently in a discussion with an acquaintance about women becoming Rabbis. He told me that we need woman Rabbis because there are certain things that a woman doesn't feel comfortable talking to a man about, even if he is her Rabbi. Without wanting to get into such a pointless circular argument I responded that this women should ask her Rebbetzin. Well that set off more of a fire than if I would have argued on women Rabbis. He argued on what qualifications a Rebbitzen has except that she is married to a Rabbi. When I pictured my Rebbetzin in my mind this offended me greatly. She is so learned and my wife and I's confidence in her is equal to that of our Rav.
How could one think that a Rebbitzen is nothing more than the wife of a Rabbi? I mean of course this statement is true, and yes there are some Rebbitzen that shouldnt be relied on for halacha, but this is your Rav's Rebbetzin we are talking about. I can understand the wife of a Rabbi who got smicha a year ago, but this isnt someone who you would take on as your Rav in most cases. My Rav is in his early 40's and has had smicha for over 10 years. He and his wife have both put in time for serious learning. So how could someone say that she is just a wife? This isnt a doctors wife, or a lawyers wife. This is a Rabbi's wife. I guess unless you have a wife you might not be able to grasp this lofty concept called sharing everything with the one you love. I share all the Torah I learn with my wife and she does the same. We thrive off of each other knowledge as we grow together.
I once heard a story of a Rabbi who was giving a Drasha in front of a large audience and when he stumbled for a second, he bends down and confers with his wife! It takes not a big man, but a smart man to ask his wife something in public, in a world where "only men know Torah" and " 's are to note the sarcasm in that statement of stupidity.
Of course this acquaintance is trying to cleave to Torah from a typical American liberal lifestyle. Women must be equal! Why does equal have to mean doing the same things? I thought equal was about respect. Does a Lawyer and a Doctor have to be equal? Would you trust a Lawyer with your surgery or Doctor with your court case? G-d forbid you need the right one for either cases.
Choose your Rav and Rebbetzin wisely of course, but know that if you see the understanding of Torah in your Rav that his wife isn't just someone married to a Rabbi.