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Thursday, October 06, 2005

So, there's a conflict sometimes, between Truth and Peace, both of which are names of God.

Ever feel like there was something so wrong with the way your family, your community, your religion or government was doing something? Don't tell them. It's forbidden.

Not really. Unless they already did it. After someone got ripped off on a deal, you have to tell him, "wow! what a great deal!" Because it doesn't help to bum him out afterwards. But if he's going to go do it again, or for the first time, or if he can get restitution somehow, then it's ok, you can actually be honest with him.

This is a big Machloket/conflict within chassidis, notably between the Kotsker and the Apter, but deeper, between the Kotsker, and to some degree, the Izhbitzer.

The respective torahs of Izbitz and Kotsk on the surface are pretty similar. Eli Wiesel did a nice piece contrasting the subtle but dramatic differences between the two. He boiled it down to few percieved compromizes that the Izbitzer makes, notably re: sex and conception.

The Izbitzer holds
That in order to make babies
you have to forget about god
just for a moment
and from that forgetting
comes lack of godliness
that gives the newborn a yearning
for the divine that he never knew

The Kotsker holds
how can you ever let yourself forget god?
how dare you accept such a thing?

In that question,
is the challenge to anyone who would dope themselves away from one reality
in order to be at peace with the work you're doing
which is the whole working world
chas v shalom

It's a challenge to Judaism and it's acceptable delusions, this idea. You think you're in yeshiva all day in order to serve god? This is a very mean and acid thing to suggest, that all our mythic pleasures are not nessesarily as sacred and important to God as we may pretend, for the sake of community.

For the sake of comm-unity, all kinds of lies are not only accpetable, they're encouraged. Mottleh, that was the highest davening ever! Your dead grandparents are looking down at you with so much naches right now! Every time we attach an "is" "was" or "are" statement to something that is not experienced directly, we become liars for the sake of something. Maybe peace. And the meanest thing you can do to someone is cut them down for it.

Famous Kotsker story
The guy sitting at the shabbos table
lovingly lifts up a spoon full of chulent
and with a pious joyful sound, proclaims:

"Lkavod shabbos kodesh!"

Which the Kotsker followed up with
lifting a spoon full of stew to the air
and testifying:

"Lkavod my gut!
you liar."

The radical truth of Pshische
That God is bigger than you ever knew
and ultimatly
Is not impressed by nothing nessesarily
as far as you know
That true service depends not
on knowing that he's going to do anything for you
and that he's not going to love you more
because you are pious
according to the law
is reflected in both rebbes.

The difference is in how to relate to that truth.

The Izbitzer seems to maintain
we're all liars
and that's ok
it's not our fault
And that worse than lying
is getting angry
Play the game
knowing it's just a game
and don't worry too much
about winning or losing

The kotsker
is really bothered by that compromise
(more on that soon.)

12 Comments:

Anonymous esther shoshana said...

"The Izbitzer holds
That in order to make babies
you have to forget about god
just for a moment
and from that forgetting
comes lack of godliness
that gives the newborn a yearning
for the divine that he never knew"
- wow yoseph u have no clue...I was just mamash with my sister for 2 and a half days in labor (She was in labor...). And of the trillions of things running through my mind in the delivery room, this was exactly one. I never heard this before but I was really thinking this...I didnt get as far as to the point of why you forget about G-d though..I was just struggling and trying to come to something. At the same time you are like screaming OH MY G_D! but it doesnt register the actual situation and the hashgacha and so on....i was like where is G-d, in a very crazy way that ive never pondered or felt before...its not an experience of doubting chas vshalom its just a whole diff ball game.....
oh she B"H had a baby boy at 2:40 today....if uve never been....u should really experience being with someone while they give birth.

3:05 AM

 
Anonymous esther shoshana said...

i realize that the idea is regarding conception and the act of relations but i felt that it pertained to what i just experienced,.

3:06 AM

 
Blogger Yoseph Leib said...

wow! mazel tov!

Batya Lakshme Illior once wrote a theory that, what's tumah? It's a form of Kedusha, as high as Tahara, just accuired differently. Burying the dead, giving birth and having sex are all unquestionably holy, as anyone who's ever done any of those things with god in mind can testify-- it's just different, in that it's no longer about inviting the divine through some kind of process, it's about experiencing it in the physical in a much more immanent way.

look up wikipedia "transcendant" and "immanent"
a.k.a. Keter and Malchus, lefi daati.

That's huge though. how's your sister? how are you?
is that the first birth you've been to?

12:34 PM

 
Blogger donbonus said...

Yosef, I should have known you were a Kotzker ever since you cursed me out that Shabbos at the Charles Street Shul when I told you we were going to "raise the sparks"! Anyway, I forgive you ... Let's learn Ammud Haemes (Kotzker torahs) together. Gmar Chatima Tova.

8:40 PM

 
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Blogger Dindel said...

Wow, So much.... so much. Shabbos is comming soo soom. Yosef!! how are you. Ineed a new burst of torah. :) Do you think you can find me something good on morning prayers. i.e. davening shacrit? I've been trying to learn from the kitzur, but I'm not understaning it. so I got the Alter Rebbi's Shulchan Aruch, and thats all about tzitsus..

I know you have some insight that you would love to share.

here's all my love to you and all in the holy land?

12:53 AM

 
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