Current Issue

 

Share

Search
BeisMoshiach.org
Web
Tags
"Misnagdim” #1000 #1001 #1002 #1003 #1004 #1005 #1006 #1007 #1008 #1009 #1010 #1011 #1012 #1013 #1014 #1015 #1016 #1017 #1018 #1019 #1020 #1021 #1022 #1023 #1024 #1025 #1026 #1027 #1028 #1029 #1030 #1031 #1032 #1033 #1034 #1035 #1036 #1037 #1038 #1039 #1040 #1041 #1042 #1043 #1044 #1045 #1046 #1047 #1048 #1049 #1050 #1051 #1052 #1053 #1054 #1055 #1056 #1057 #1058 #1059 #1060 #1061 #1062 #1063 #1064 #1065 #1066 #1067 #1068 #1069 #1070 #1071 #1072 #1073 #1074 #1075 #1076 #1077 #1078 #1079 #1080 #1081 #1082 #1083 #1084 #1085 #1086 #1088 #1089 #1090 #1091 #1092 #1093 #1094 #1095 #1096 #1097 #1098 #1099 #1100 #1101 #1102 #1103 #1104 #1106 #1107 #1108 #1109 #1110 #1111 #1112 #1113 #1114 #1115 #1116 #1117 #1118 #1119 #1120 #1121 #1122 #1123 #1124 #1125 #1126 #1127 #1128 #1129 #1130 #1131 #1132 #1133 #1134 #1135 #1136 #1137 #1138 #1139 #1140 #1141 #1142 #1143 #1144 #1145 #1146 #1147 #1148 #1149 #1150 #1151 #1152 #1153 #1154 #1155 #1156 #1157 #1158 #1159 #1160 #1161 #1162 #1163 #1164 #1165 #1166 #1167 #318 #319 #350 #383 #390 #550 #560 #594 #629 #642 #776 #777 #778 #779 #780 #781 #782 #783 #784 #785 #786 #787 #820 #823 #824 #825 #826 #827 #828 #829 #830 #831 #832 #833 #834 #835 #836 #837 #838 #839 #840 #841 #842 #843 #844 #845 #846 #847 #848 #849 #850 #851 #852 #853 #854 #855 #856 #857 #858 #859 #860 #861 #862 #863 #864 #865 #866 #867 #868 #869 #870 #871 #872 #873 #874 #875 #876 #876 #877 #878 #879 #880 #881 #882 #883 #884 #885 #886 #887 #888 #889 #890 #891 #892 #893 #894 #895 #896 #897 #898 #899 #900 #901 #902 #903 #904 #905 #906 #907 #908 #909 #910 #911 #912 #913 #914 #915 #916 #917 #918 #919 #920 #921 #922 #923 #924 #925 #926 #927 #928 #929 #930 #931 #932 #933 #934 #935 #936 #937 #938 #939 #940 #941 #942 #943 #944 #945 #946 #947 #948 #949 #950 #951 #952 #953 #954 #955 #956 #957 #958 #959 #960 #961 #962 #963 #964 #965 #966 #967 #968 #969 #970 #971 #972 #973 #974 #975 #976 #977 #978 #979 #980 #981 #982 #983 #984 #985 #986 #987 #988 #989 #990 #991 #992 #993 #994 #995 #996 #997 #998 #999 1 Kislev 10 Kislev 10 Shvat 10 Shvat 10 Teives 11 11 Nissan 112 Tammuz 12 Tammuz 13 Iyar 13 Tishrei 14 Kislev 15 Elul 15 Menachem-Av 15 Shvat 17 Tammuz 18 Elul 19 Kislev 2 Iyar 20 Av 20 Mar-Cheshvan 20 Menachem-Av 22 Shvat 24 Teives 25 Adar 27 Adar 28 Nissan 28 Teives 29 Elul 3 Tammuz 33 Tammuz 352 5 Teives 6 Tishrei 7 Adar 770 864 865 881 9 Adar 9 Av 9 Kislev 903 Acharei Acharei-K'doshim Achdus Adar Ahavas Yisroel Alef-Beis All Jews Shall Rise Alter Rebbe Amalek Argentina Arizal army Artwork Aseres HaDibros Australia Avoda Zara B’Chukosai B’Shalach Baal Shem Tov baal t'shuva Baba Sali Balak BaMidbar bar mitzva Basi L'Gani B'Chukosai be Bein HaMeitzarim Beis HaMikdash Beis Nissan Beth Rivkah B'Haalos'cha B'Har B'Har-B'Chukosai Birthday Bitachon Blindness Bo B'rachos Brazil brit milah Brussels B'Shalach chai v'kayam Chanuka Chassidic Rabbis Chayei Sara Chernobil chesed Chevron children chinuch Chitas Choshen Chukas Churban controversy convert Dan Diary of the late R’ Saadya Maatuf Dollars dreams D''varim Editorial Editor's Corner Eikev Elul Emor Europe Family Purity fire France free choice Gaza Gentiles Georgia Gulf War Gush Katif Haazinu Hakhel Halvayas Hameis Hashavas Aveida HaYom Yom Hebron hiskashrus Holy Temple Honoring Parents Hospitality IDF Igrot Kodesh India Intermarriage Internet Iran Iron Curtain Israel Japan Jewish Refugee Crisis Kabbala K'doshim Kfar Chabad Ki Savo Ki Seitzei Ki Sisa KIDDUSH LEVANA Kiryat Gat Kislev kKi Sisa Kohen Gadol Korach korbanos KOS SHEL BRACHA Krias Shma K'vutza Lag B'Omer lashon ha'ra Lech Lecha letter Litvishe maamer Machatzis HaShekel mahn Mar-Cheshvan marriage Massei Matot Mattos Mattos-Massei Menachem Av Menora Metzora Mexico Miami MiKeitz MIkvah Mishkan Mishpatim Mitteler Rebbe Mitzva Tank Mitzvah Tanks Mivtza Kashrus MIvtza Neshek Mivtza T’fillin Mivtza Tefilin Morocco Moshe Rabbeinu Moshiach & Geula Moshiach Seuda music Names Napoleon Naso niggunim Nissan Nitzavim Nitzavim-VaYeilech Noach Noachide North Africa olive oil painting Parshas Parah parshas re'eh Parshas Zachor Pesach Pesach Sheini Pinchas Pirkei Avos P'kudei Poland prayer Prison prophecy Purim R’ Avrohom Schneersohn Rabbi Hillel Zaltzman Rabbi Levi Yitzchok Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu Rabbi Shlomo Galperin Rambam Ramban Rashbi Rashi Rebbe Rebbe Maharash Rebbe Rashab Rebbe Rayatz Rebbe Rayatz & Joint Rebbetzin Chana Rebbetzin Chaya Muska Rebbetzin Rivka Red Heifer Reform movement R'ei Rishon L'Tzion Rosh Chodesh Rosh HaShana Russia S’firas HaOmer Samarkand seifer Torah s'firas ha'omer Shabbos Shabbos Chazon Shabbos Hagadol Shabbos Nachamu shalom bayis Shavuos Shekalim shiduchim Shlach shleimus ha'Aretz shliach shlichus Shmini Shmita Shmos Shoftim shtus Shvat simcha Simchas Torah South Africa Sukkos summer tahalucha Talmud Torah Tanya Tazria-Metzora te Tehilim Teives Terror teshuva Tetzaveh t'fillin the soul tisha b'av Tishrei Toldos Tomchei T'mimim Truma t'shuva tTruma Tzanz Tzav Tzedaka Tzemach Tzedek Tzfas tzimtzum Tzitzis Tzniyus Ukraine undefined Upsherinish VaEira VaEs'chanan VaYakhel VaYakhel-P’kudei VaYechi VaYeilech VaYeira VaYeishev VaYeitzei VaYigash VaYikra VaYishlach Vocational Schools Winter women Yechidus Yerushalayim Yeshiva Yisro Yom Kippur Yom Tov Zohar Zos HaBracha. B'Reishis סיביר
Visitor Feed
Friday
Feb222019

TROUBLESHOOTING THE MADNESS OF EXILE

Einstein famously defines insanity as “doing something over and over again and expecting a different result.” Are we insane to think that what we’ve done until now suffices?! Are we mad to think that if we’ve tried it for almost 30 years, it still may be the best approach?!

By Boruch Merkur

There is a fascinating list of Jews in the Talmud. In a sense, they are the greatest four men who ever lived. These spiritual giants were so righteous they were deemed worthy of immortality, never having sinned. They only died “b’etyo shel nachash – because of the counsel of the serpent [i.e., the primordial snake’s enticing Chava to eat of the Tree of Knowledge, resulting in human mortality]”:

Our Sages taught: There were four people who died only because of the counsel of the serpent, and they are: Binyamin son of Yaakov; Amram, father of Moshe; Yishai, father of Dovid; and Kilav, son of Dovid. (Bava Basra 17a)

You can often tell more about something by what is absent in it than what is present. This rather short list of righteous Jews is conspicuously missing some very big Biblical names. Rabbi YY Jacobson1 draws our attention to these shocking omissions, as well as to another peculiarity:

Think of all the great people of our nation who are excluded from this list: Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel and Leah; the other eleven sons of Jacob including Benjamin’s older and beloved brother Joseph, known as Yosef HaTzaddik, Joseph the righteous one. Moses, the greatest prophet, teacher and leader of Israel about whom the Torah states that “there never arose a prophet like Moses whom G-d knew face to face.” Aaron, the High Priest, Joshua, Samuel, and many more, are not on the list. Our greatest giants did not make it into the Who’s Who list of sinless people. Instead, the list consists of four relatively anonymous persons: Benjamin, Amram, Yishai and Kileab. Why?

Also, the Talmudic identification of each of these four individuals is strange. Each of them is mentioned with his father’s name or his son’s name. Why doesn’t the Talmud simply list their names as it does with most biblical characters? Why identify each historical figure by his relationship to another: Benjamin, the son of Jacob; Amram, the father of Moses; Yishai, the father of David; Kilav, the son of David?

The Talmud is intimating an extraordinary idea: Our greatest heroes are not the ones who never sinned, but rather the ones who actually committed mistakes (relative to their spiritual level). Because when you are a leader it is not a question of “if” but of “when.”

Benjamin, Amram, Yishai and Kilav all died sinless, because they lived a life of isolation. They did not deal much with people; they did not take responsibility for the generation; they did not get enmeshed in affairs of the community. In short, they did not get their hands dirty, hence they remained untarnished. …

Don’t be afraid of making mistakes. Just make sure … they are new mistakes.

And Rabbi Jacobson concludes that a leader who is not enmeshed with his people or who is not prepared to go out on a limb to follow his vision, a leader unwilling to risk making mistakes “generally makes nothing.”

 

The typical righteous man, even if he does not achieve his goals, takes pride in his effort. There is much satisfaction in the many steps taken towards one’s objectives. Yet the Rebbe, a true leader and visionary, in considering that he has not yet accomplished his life’s mission of bringing Moshiach in the literal sense, feels that he amounted to nothing. “What more can I do?” the Rebbe says, “I don’t know. For all I have done until now is ‘l’hevel v’la’rik!’ It amounted to nothing! We remain in exile.”

A mashpia told me that he has a friend who desperately tried to live with Moshiach every day, literally expecting Moshiach to ascend his throne before the day ended. He did this for six months straight and told his friend how devastated it made him, facing the end of each day with letdown and failure. Imagine, the mashpia replied, how the Rebbe felt doing that every day for over 40 years!

Who would dare describe the Rebbe’s lifework of illuminating the world to bring Moshiach as “hevel v’la’rik,” words so distasteful that we spit them out in Aleinu. Yet the Rebbe’s brutal self-assessment illustrates how important, how urgent and pressing is this single goal.

 

There is a video of a Polisher Chassid describing to the Rebbe a tish2 he attended: “It was… It was…” The man just waves his hands in inarticulate gesticulation. “Nu,” the Rebbe asks, “why do you gesture with your hands?” What was so special about the tish? What was said? Was there some message you took out of it, a new perspective, a directive to help us navigate the darkness of the world – or did it actually amount to nothing?

How many times have you been to even incredibly inspiring events, yet you reflect and ask yourself: What new was said here? Was it truly relevant? Did the speaker address the most pertinent issues of our times? Did the speaker acknowledge the gaping vacuum in leadership? (Sometimes you even notice, by dint of an empty seat at the dais, that key figures ducked out early or didn’t even show up.) Why is there the conspicuous omission of (not the word “Moshiach” – though often that too – but the fire, the urgency of) Moshiach? Are people literally embarrassed about Moshiach and the imminence of the geula, which the Rebbe said to publicize as a prophecy?

The biggest idol of our times is apathy towards Moshiach. Our smug satisfaction should come with the warning label: “Don’t hurt yourself – patting yourself on the back.” How different is the Rebbe’s definition of and reaction to hearing of others’ accomplishments, which typically was expressed by asking, “What next do you have planned?”

Recently a prominent individual, someone very learned, publicly screamed out against the approach of saying that nothing happened on Gimmel Tammuz 5754. He taunted that if the Rebbe is alive, why don’t we publish new maamarim and sichos? He went on and on, standing on his chair and shouting sarcastically, “What has changed since Gimmel Tammuz?!”

“Just after Gimmel Tammuz,” I responded grimly, also standing on my seat, “there was polarization between two groups of Chassidim, and we fought. Now no one fights, because nobody cares.”

The growing polarization in American politics, the growing polarization between the genders and races, the growing coming-out-of-the-closet anti-Semitism, rachmana litzlan, all point toward the urgent need for us to wake up from our galus-slumber and be vigilant about our welfare as Jews and about bringing about the only solution: geula.

When Jews get together for a Shabbaton or the like, serious attention should be devoted to shaking up the status quo of exile. A gathering of Yidden, Chassidim of the Rebbe, devotes time towards brainstorming what we could possibly do different, what new approach we can come up with to finally bring Moshiach.

Why do we suffice with continuing the exact same approach, giving the exact same emphasis and focus, without trying something new? Doesn’t anyone realize that what we’ve done until now has NOT WORKED! Einstein famously defines insanity as “doing something over and over again and expecting a different result.” Are we insane to think that what we’ve done until now suffices?! Are we mad to think that if we’ve tried it for almost 30 years, it still may be the best approach?!

We need new ideas (obviously based on the Rebbe’s teachings) to troubleshoot the madness of this 2000-year exile. I personally will not stop encouraging rosh yeshivas, mashpiim, bachurim, and baalei battim until new leaders3 assert themselves, true leaders who live every moment of their lives with the urgency of redemption.

NOTES:

1. In his article on TheYeshiva.net (“Leadership is Synonymous with Sin,” https://www.theyeshiva.net/jewish/5477), Rabbi Jacobson cites Chiddushei Agados Maharal as a source for the conspicuous omissions from this list, “but Maharal provides a different answer.”

2. A ceremonious gathering of chassidim and a rebbe at an elaborate table (tish).

3. In my opinion, many of the current and former leaders must strive for new focus and vision, or simply new ways to articulate their vision, or by employing more sophisticated, far-reaching platforms to get out their message.

 

Boruch welcomes opportunities to speak further about Moshiach and a variety of topics. Please email editor@beismoshiach.org for details.

 

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Post:
 
All HTML will be escaped. Hyperlinks will be created for URLs automatically.