7/23/09

Today I will begin to put the dread of you and the fear of you upon the nations that are under the entire heaven, who will hear reports of you and shake and be in trepidation because of you.(Devarim 2:25)

May we be zoche, this week!

No Patience


The most obvious difference between the two traditions [of the Jewish and American peoples] is that of national origins. The beginnings of Judaism are as old as history itself, whereas the sum total of American history reaches 190 odd years, a total which in Jewish history amountsto only a page and which to the Jewish consciousness is absurdly small. While it is true that America’s roots antedate 1776 and can be found in Greece and Rome, it is equally true that in conduct, thought and character, America is distinctive and unique. For despite the variegated roots of American civilization, a homogeneous national character has emerged which is peculiarly a product of the New World. And the beginnings of this national character are quite recent….

This contrasting length of the two histories accounts in part for their disparate time-view. A civilization whose past is measurable has a more restricted view of time than one whose traditions reach into pre-history. For Judaism, the future follows the way of the past, distant and infinite. In America, too, future is like past: brief, measurable and immediate. Thus we find America operating on a short, hurried time scale. It is more concerned with the here and now than the hereafter, both in the practical and the teleological sense. There is no patience for eternity. By contrast, the Jewish time scale is long and far reaching. The Jew has time. This has been celebrated in our folk lore, our humor, and even in the classic Tiddish aphorism, A Yid hat zeit. He is patient, as one who ahs come from the dawn of history and now waits for the Messiah must be patient. The objects of his authentic ambition are sacred rather than secular, and he does not think only in terms of the immediately attainable. Time is not a commodity which must be used. God himself is mekadesh Yisrael ve’ha-zemanim – He who sanctifies Israel and the seasons. Time is holy. Speed in understanding all things, rapidity of movement for its own sake, short courses in learning and scholarship – these are foreign to the Jewish tradition.

The Jew has time, and his Book is constantly expanded: Bible to Talmud to commentaries to super-commentaries ad infinitum. The American book is quickened, shortened: novels to pocket editions to abridgements to condensations. Characteristically, the Jew has carried his Book on his shoulders: Ol Torah , the yoke of the Torah. The American carries his book in his hip pocket.

Rabbi Emanuel Feldman, The American and the Jew: Equation or Encounter? (Tradition, Fall 1960)

7/22/09

The Spread

A group of hikers on their way to rock climbing sing the rebbe's niggun! The revolution is spreading! May it continue until we scale all walls!!! video

7/17/09

Not so easy to be a Working Jew...

It is told of the Vilna Gaon that he was very fond of the Maggid of Dubno and would invite him to visit from time to time.

On one occasion, he told him: "you give mussar everywhere you go; why don’t you give me mussar as well?" The Maggid became instantly ill at ease. How could he rebuke someone as revered as the Gaon? But the Gaon was insistent.

Finally, the Maggid spoke: “Rabbi, you sit at home with the shutters so tightly closed that not even sunlight can enter. Is it any wonder, then, that you are a tzaddik. Perhaps if you wandered around the marketplace all day you wouldn’t be so righteous. "

And the Gaon took his words to heart.

Geshmak

One Litvak asked one of the early rebbes, "You Chassidim and we misnagdim both learn Torah. We're makpid in halacha and you're makpid in halacha. So, sof kol sof, at the end of the day, what did chassidus really add?" The rebbe answered him that everything he said is true, but that there's one difference; after Chassidus, when one does an aveira, it just isn't as geshmak as it used to be."

7/6/09

Shira Chana Kohl!

Hodu Lahashem Kitov! Praise Hashem that I am alive and able to serve my Rebbe and my Revolution!

My Tatte looks like a smurf! Watch out it's Gargamel and his evil cat Azriel! Tatte, Were the Smurfs communists?
A new gate in heaven was opened with my birth, and the light was so intense that it engulfed my Tatte's head. Little midwestern boys of the revolution should take note if they ever try and steal my Rebbe action figure with daled minim included. (yes girls of the revolution play with Rebbe action figures too.)




Mazel Tov to the Field Commander!




Daughters of the Revolution - welcome a new sister to the fold!