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Thursday
Mar212019

Is it okay to poke fun at "Misnagdim”?

Stump the rabbi

rabbi Noam Wagner

Is it okay to poke fun at “Misnagdim”?

Let’s first discuss in general the concept of making fun of another Jew:

When I mock another Jew, I am, in fact, essentially mocking and making fun of Hashem, so to speak. Because a Jew is one with Hashem.

In the very beginning of Shulchan Aruch, it is stated: “Be bold as a leopard… to fulfill the will of Hashem. (Alter Rebbes Shulchan Aruch - Mahadura Basra 1:1)

What does that practically mean? — That you shouldnt be embarrassed and ashamed when confronted by people who mock you when serving Hashem. Thats the famous part, but the Shulchan Aruch continues: “Nevertheless, he should not answer them in a chutzpadik (brazenly and aggressive) way so that you don’t acquire that attribute and habit of aggressiveness.” (Ibid 1:3)

Mockery, leitaznus, in general, is a very discouraged behavior. The Gemara says that kas leitzim,”  jesters, are one of the four groups that are unwelcome by Hashem! (Sotah 42a)

***

The Rebbe said more than once that in our time there are no more Misnagdim.

What is a Misnaged?

If a Misnaged means someone who happens not to be a Chassid, then why would you, a Chassidwho learns Chassidus and knows the truth of Elokus make fun of someone who is lacking that truth? You should instead go and teach it to him!

If a Misnaged means someone that has different minhagim —  then there is absolutely no reason to make fun of him. He’s following his absolutely legitimate tradition of Torah and Halacha. He’s doing what he was taught by his rabbis!

If a Misnaged is someone who opposes and mocks the ways of Chassidus, that is what the Shulchan Aruch is referring to when sayingconfronted by people who mock him while he is serving his Creator.”

For the most part, they don’t exist anymore. But the concept of a Misnaged may still exist. Not so far out, but inside us.

The solution isbe az kanamer” - don’t be nispael (affected) from them.

Toughmeans that I realize that this is the way to go; this is the truth, and although sometimes the Yetzer Hara tells you, “Look! This person is trying to mock the reality of Elokus,don’t accept it! Be tough!

That’s why we sometimes find that Chassidim during a farbrengen and the like, would mock the mockersthe maliigim, those who try to pull you away from Elokus.

However, even there the Shulchan Aruch warns you to be careful of how you do it, lest you acquire the negative trade of mocking others!”

***

I’ll try to illustrate with a fascinating story that I heard from an elder Shliach in South Africa about his grandfather who came from a city in LithuaniaI believe Rakashik.

His grandfather recalls that as a young child of 5 years of age he traveled to visit the Rebbe Rashab. He went with a group of Chassidim via a sled pulled by horses over the snow. The long trip passed through many towns of Litvisher Yidden, who would greet them with stones and would laugh at them. So the Chassidim had a song they would sing: “Ich fohr tzum Rebbin, ich fohr tzum Rebbin, ich lach fun zey” — “I’m traveling to the Rebbe, Im laughing at them.”

Take this story as a perspective.

The songIm laughing at themhere was not because they liked to laugh at the Misnagdim, it meant that being that I’m traveling to the Rebbe so the stones being thrown at me won’t disturb me because “I’m laughing at them!”

Chazal say thatAll mockery is forbidden besides for mockery of Avoda Zara.” (Megillah 25b)

Why is such mockery allowed?

Perhaps when used not cv to poke fun at the other, but to extract that strength within us to feel the pride of being a Jew and a Chassid, it is actually a positive tool.

But it’s not a personal thing, it’s actually directed against theMisnaged within us.” It’s poking fun at a particular character trait that we want to remove from ourselves! Not a specific person or group of people.

Remember, a Jew is not someone we should poke fun at. He is a part of Hashem!

 

By Rabbi Noam Wagner

Let’s first discuss in general the concept of making fun of another Jew:

When I mock another Jew, I am, in fact, essentially mocking and making fun of Hashem, so to speak. Because a Jew is one with Hashem.

In the very beginning of Shulchan Aruch, it is stated: “Be bold as a leopard… to fulfill the will of Hashem. (Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch - Mahadura Basra 1:1)

What does that practically mean? — That you shouldn’t be embarrassed and ashamed when confronted by people who mock you when serving Hashem. That’s the famous part, but the Shulchan Aruch continues: “Nevertheless, he should not answer them in a chutzpadik (brazenly and aggressive) way so that you don’t acquire that attribute and habit of aggressiveness.” (Ibid 1:3)

Mockery, leitaznus, in general, is a very discouraged behavior. The Gemara says that “kas leitzim,”  jesters, are one of the four groups that are unwelcome by Hashem! (Sotah 42a)

***

The Rebbe said more than once that in our time there are no more Misnagdim.

What is a Misnaged?

If a Misnaged means someone who happens not to be a Chassid, then why would you, a Chassidwho learns Chassidus and knows the truth of Elokus make fun of someone who is lacking that truth? You should instead go and teach it to him!

If a Misnaged means someone that has different minhagim —  then there is absolutely no reason to make fun of him. He’s following his absolutely legitimate tradition of Torah and Halacha. He’s doing what he was taught by his rabbis!

If a Misnaged is someone who opposes and mocks the ways of Chassidus, that is what the Shulchan Aruch is referring to when sayingconfronted by people who mock him while he is serving his Creator.”

For the most part, they don’t exist anymore. But the concept of a Misnaged may still exist. Not so far out, but inside us.

The solution isbe az kanamer” - don’t be nispael (affected) from them.

Toughmeans that I realize that this is the way to go; this is the truth, and although sometimes the Yetzer Hara tells you, “Look! This person is trying to mock the reality of Elokus,don’t accept it! Be tough!

That’s why we sometimes find that Chassidim during a farbrengen and the like, would mock the mockersthe maliigim, those who try to pull you away from Elokus.

However, even there the Shulchan Aruch warns you to be careful of how you do it, lest you acquire the negative trade of mocking others!”

***

I’ll try to illustrate with a fascinating story that I heard from an elder Shliach in South Africa about his grandfather who came from a city in LithuaniaI believe Rakashik.

His grandfather recalls that as a young child of 5 years of age he traveled to visit the Rebbe Rashab. He went with a group of Chassidim via a sled pulled by horses over the snow. The long trip passed through many towns of Litvisher Yidden, who would greet them with stones and would laugh at them. So the Chassidim had a song they would sing: “Ich fohr tzum Rebbin, ich fohr tzum Rebbin, ich lach fun zey” — “I’m traveling to the Rebbe, I’m laughing at them.”

Take this story as a perspective.

The song “I’m laughing at them” here was not because they liked to laugh at the Misnagdim, it meant that being that I’m traveling to the Rebbe so the stones being thrown at me won’t disturb me because “I’m laughing at them!”

Chazal say thatAll mockery is forbidden besides for mockery of Avoda Zara.” (Megillah 25b)

Why is such mockery allowed?

Perhaps when used not cv to poke fun at the other, but to extract that strength within us to feel the pride of being a Jew and a Chassid, it is actually a positive tool.

But it’s not a personal thing, it’s actually directed against theMisnaged within us.” It’s poking fun at a particular character trait that we want to remove from ourselves! Not a specific person or group of people.

Remember, a Jew is not someone we should poke fun at. He is a part of Hashem!

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