Thursday, March 29, 2007

Yated Appears to Falsify Torah to Attack YCT

Now we have time to post the critique of the Yated’s attack on R’ Dov Linzer.

The Yated writer:

Another of Rabbi Linzer’s written statements warrant mention here. In the Jerusalem Report Magazine November 2004 edition, Rabbi Linzer in a signed article wrote, “As an Orthodox Jew, I have to struggle not just with G-d ’s presence in the world, but with His commandments as well. Some of these do not seem to square with a good, just G-d. The command to destroy Amalek and the Canaanite nations, the death penalty for one who… [engages in toeiva], the inability of a woman to terminate a failed marriage—to pretend that these are not profound problems or that they are consistent with G-d’s goodness is, for me, not an option. I choose to take the path of Yisrael, to face these problems and to struggle with them…”

Did Rabbi Linzer, forget that which every simple [sic] knows? Did he forget the words in the Torah on which Rashi (Bamidbar 19:2) cites the Chazal that we have no right to “second-guess” or question those mitzvos whose reasons are not immediately apparent?

What does that Rashi say? From

This is the statute of the Torah. Because Satan and the nations of the world taunt Israel, saying, “ What is this commandment, and what purpose does it have?” Therefore, the Torah uses the term “statute.” I have decreed it; You have no right to challenge it. — [Yoma 67b]

Clearly, the writer takes issue on the basis of the underlined section. But what is its source? (from the Soncino translation):

Yoma 67b: And My statutes shall ye keep,14 i.e., such commandments to which Satan objects, they are [those relating to] the putting on of sha'atnez,15 the halizah16 [performed] by a sister-in-law, the purification of the leper, and the he-goat-to-be-sent-away. And perhaps you might think these are vain things, therefore Scripture says: I am the Lord,14 i.e., I, the Lord have made it a statute and you have no right to criticize it.

(14) Lev. XVIII, 4.

(15) A web of wool and linen, v. Deut. XXII, 11. All the laws mentioned in this group cannot be explained rationally; they are to be taken on faith, as the decree of God.

(16) The ceremony of taking off the brother-in-law's shoe, v. Deut. XXV, 5ff.

What does this mean?

Let’s ask Rashi on the Gemara:

“Therefore it says ‘I am God’”: this refers to statutes (chukim), that came from Him, He constructed them, thus it is called “Chok” – I God have decreed it.

It is as clear as day. One has no right to second-guess chukim, arbitrary Divine decrees such as the Red Heifer or mixed kinds of cloth. But that tells us nothing about our approach to mishpatim – civil laws. We have every right to try to come to terms with the civil and criminal laws, that we find morally difficult.

To take R’ Linzer’s examples:

  • The command to destroy Amalek is not a chok, it comes with a reason – because of what Amalek did to us when we were leaving Egypt. Part of the command to destroy Amalek is to kill Amalekite babies. Would the Yated writer really feel no compunction in killing an Amalekite baby, who by definition could not have sinned? Does the baby possess some kind of , lehavil, “original sin” that allows us to kill it?
  • The death penalty for one who engages in toeivah, and the inability of a woman to terminate a failed marriage, these are mishpatim. And in the latter case, Chazal and the Rishonim went to great lengths to try to even out the balance between the man’s power to terminate the marriage, and the woman’s passive role – allowing hafka’at kiddushin in certain cases, allowing a woman to sue in beis din to initiate a divorce, the Cherem of Rabbenu Gershom – all of these are Chazal and Rishonim struggling with the apparent immorality of one-sided divorce mandated by the Torah text.

In neither case does the stricture in the Gemara and Rashi apply.

From where does our morality spring, other than from the Holy One Blessed be He? He gave us a moral sense, and He gave us law, and we have to make the two of them square.

The Yated, on the other hand, has apparently falsified the Torah (ziyuf haTorah) in its attempt to vilify R’ Dov Linzer.

[Irrelevant pointers to the necessity of tziduk hadin and the incomprehensibility of Divine thought snipped]

It is clear that he made this statement despite his knowledge of the above. This is why the “Open Orthodoxy” of YCT is not Orthodox but resembles something akin to a new “Conservative light” movement.

No. What is clear is that nothing, not even the words of Chazal and the Torah, stand in the way of the Yated writers’ desire to vilify R’ Linzer and his Yeshiva, Chovevei Torah. This claim had also been made against R’ Linzer in an earlier attack on YCT, that time without an attempt to justify the claim from Chazal. Evidently the writers felt that the point was important, and that supporting it from Chazal was important as well. It might have been better had they found a more appropriate source.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Retzei et les prieres du Comtat Venaissin

The antepenultimate blessing of the Shemoneh Esreh, the Blessing of Divine Service.

What are we asking for in this bracha? Whom does it address? Whence cometh its text?

Ashkenazic and Sephardic versions exist, but are almost identical, as Babylonian nusach has become standard since the Eretz Yisrael community disappeared after the conquest of Salah-al-Din in 1191 (enslaved or disappeared). However, the Cairo Genizah has revealed parts of the lost nusach of Eretz Yisrael. Yechezkel Luger published a book with Genizah manuscript evidence for the various nuschaot of the Shemoneh Esreh, the central thrice-daily prayer.

Here is the Ashkenazi nusach:

רצה ידוד אלהינו בעמךָ ישראל ובתפלתם והשב את העבודה לדביר ביתך ואשי ישראל ותפלתם באהבה תקבל ברצון. ותהי לרצון תמיד עבודת ישראל עמך:

ותחזינה עינינו בשובךָ לציון ברחמים ברוך אתה ידוד. המחזיר שכינתו לציון:

The usual question, which has sparked some recent discussion on the Avodah mailing list, is how do we parse the paragraph? Does the phrase “v’ishei ysrael” belong with what precedes it, or what follows it? If attached to the preceding, we would say “Return the service to Devir Your House and the fire-offerings of Israel, and receive their prayers with love”. If attached to the following, we have “Return the service to Devir Your House, and receive the fire-offerings of Israel and their prayers with love.” Are the fire offerings to be returned, or to be received?

As it happens, the classical commentaries, mostly based on the last Tosafos in Menachos, which in turn cites midrashim, are divided. The Mishna Brura summarizes the variety of opinions:

First, he notes that the Mechaber is referring to a minhag which skips the beginning of Retzei, starting from V'ishei Yisrael; said minhag is denigrated, although perhaps not so far as the Pri Megadim would, who said it denied the text of Hazal; still one shouldn't do it. That custom supports grouping "V'ishei Ysrael" with Utfilatam.

He then lists three explanations:

  • Tur: V'ishei Ysrael Utfilatam: tefillot are in place of korbanot.
  • Yalkut Shimoni: Angel Michael sacrifices tzadikim on a Supernal Altar, so Ishei Ysrael == Anshei Ysrael, and links with Utfilatam.
  • Some comment: Return the fire offerings along with the Temple service. And accept our prayers...

Taz prefers the second, Gra prefers the third explanation. M"B doesn't say which he prefers. So three sources (the old custom, YS and Tur) support one grouping, while the Gra supports the other grouping.

If I look at it, I prefer "V'ishei ysrael utfilatam", following the Tur's explanation, coupled with grammar:

Return the service to Dvir Your House, and the fire-offerings of Israel. And receive the prayers... - doesn't make sense grammatically.

1) it looks like an afterthought;

2) the service IS or at least INCLUDES the fire-offerings, esp. since we can't ever do bamot again, so it's a redundant afterthought.

3) Lack of an "et" to indicate a direct object to "Hasheiv" also argues against it. In fact, that also makes it group better with "utfillatam":

a) v'...u' to distinguish two types of "and"; the first indicating "here's a similar sentiment to the last" and the second indicating "this is grouped with the previous"

b) neither of the objects of Tekabel gets an "et", while the object of "hasheiv" has an "et". (this turns out to be debatable, some siddurim have “et”, some don’t, in trying to reach a 34-word count set by old Ashkenazic tradition)

If they wanted to group it together with "Divine service", perhaps it should have said "Hasheiv et ha-avodah v'et ishei yisrael lidvir beitecha".

For reference (from Bar-Ilan database):

Tosfos Menachos 110a:

ומיכאל שר הגדול עומד ומקריב עליו קרבן - מדרשות חלוקין יש מי שאומר נשמותיהן של צדיקים ויש מי שאומר כבשים של אש והיינו דאמרינן בשמונה עשרה בעבודה ואשי ישראל ותפלתם מהרה באהבה תקבל ברצון ויש אומרים דקאי אדלעיל והשב את העבודה לדביר ביתך ואשי ישראל, לא מצאתי יותר.

Mishna Brura 120:1:

(א) במנחה - דהיינו שהם מתחילין מואשי ישראל ועיין בפמ"ג שכתב דלפי מה שנהגו עכשיו בכל מקום לאמר רצה מקרי המדלג משנה ממטבע שטבעו חז"ל ודינו כמש"כ המחבר סימן קי"ט ס"ג בטעה בברכה ולענ"ד צ"ע אם זה מקרי בדיעבד בשם טעה ואפילו בשחרית עיין לעיל סוף סימן ס"ד במ"א בשם הכ"מ ובסימן נ"ט ובסימן קי"ד מ"א סק"ט ובריש סימן קפ"ז. כתב הטור על מה שאנו אומרים ואשי ישראל ותפלתם וכו' ואע"פ שאין עתה עבודה מתפללים על התפילה שהיא במקום הקרבן שתתקבל ברצון לפני הש"י ובמדרש יש מיכאל שר הגדול מקריב נשמתן של צדיקים על המזבח של מעלה [ר"ל שמגיש אותם לרצון לפני ד' לריח ניחוח] וע"ז תקנו ואשי ישראל ר"ל אנשי ישראל וי"מ על מה שלמעלה ממנו וה"פ והשב העבודה ואשי ישראל ואח"כ ותפילתם באהבה תקבל ברצון ועיין בט"ז שכתב דהפירוש האמצעי הוא המובחר מכולם אבל הגר"א כתב שהעיקר כפי' האחרון:

* * *

While looking into antique siddurim for punctuation evidence, I came across a strange nusach, that of Avignon. Avignon was one of four ancient communities, along with Carpentras, L’Isle sur Sorgue, and Cavaillon. Cut off from the mainstream of French Jewish culture until the French Revolution, their nusach disappeared as the community assimilated into the rest of France. Their prayers were the old Provençal rite. [based on Kestenbaum’s catalogue #36].

Goldschmidt in the Encyclopedia Judaica characterizes it as mostly Sephardi, specifically close to that of neighboring Catalonia. However, their version of Retzei is peculiar, to say the least.

Let’s look at it: (typed from the 1766 Avignon siddur available on the Jewish National & University Library (JNUL) website)

רצה ידוד אלהינו בעמךָ ישראל ושכון בציון מהרה ויעבדוך בניך בירושלים ואתה ברחמיך הרבים תחפוץ בנו ותרצנו:

ותחזינה עינינו בשובך לציון ולירושלים ברחמים כמאז ברוך אתה ידוד. המחזיר שכינתו לציון:

Almost all the main paragraph has changed, and the word k’meaz (as before) was inserted. That last is evident in many older Ashkenazic siddurim, as noted by the Eizor Eliyahu (which assesses old Ashkenazic prayerbooks and manuscripts to find the “original” version) commentary, and in old siddurim online at JNUL. Also note that the following bracha, that of Divine Peace, in the Avignon siddur is the short version we use today only at mincha and maariv, when the priests would not have said the priestly blessing: Shalom Rav instead of our Sim Shalom. However, where does that main paragraph come from?

Let’s look farther back, to the Geniza. Luger has isolated two main versions, which he calls A and B. A is associated with Sephardic traditions, thus is almost identical to our usual Retzei. B is associated with the version of ancient Israel, and contains the text of the main paragraph, plus, as a closing, the bracha that we say only at duchaning - “that only You with fear do we serve”, which was in fact the closing of the bracha in the Temple, when the Kohanim used it to bless the daily offerings.

We find this in other places as well, that Temple prayer texts continue down into Eretz Yisrael post-Destruction rites, and only later are re-absorbed into, or overwritten by, Babylonian prayers. The recitation of Hodu, after Baruch She’amar in the mornings, is similarly a survival of Temple morning rituals, which was in EY and Ashkenazic prayer, and only later migrated into Sephardic practice – see Y. M. Ta-Shma, “Early Ashkenazic Prayer”.

At any rate, Luger’s recensions of the prayers:

Version A:

רצה ידוד אלהינו בעמך ישראל ובתפלתם
והשב עבודה לדביר ביתך
אשי יש ותפלתם
מהרה באהבה תקבל ברצון
ותהא לרצון תמיד עבודת יש עמך
ותחזינה עינינו בשובך לציון ברחמים כמאז
בא"י המחזיר מהרה שכינתו לציון

Version B

רצה ידוד אל
ושכן לציון

יעבדוך עבדיך
בירושלים נשתחוה לך
ברחמיך הרבים תחפוץ בנו ותרצינו
בא"י שאותך ב[יר]אה נעבוד

You can clearly see our version as a slight variant on Version A. And you can also see the Avignon text as a hybrid of Versions A and B. That could be understood in terms of an old French community with some remnants of Eretz Yisrael prayer-texts (under the widely-held theory that Jews migrated from Eretz Yisrael through Italy north into France, bringing an oral culture of Minhag Eretz Yisrael with them that became Minhag Ashkenaz, as attested by some Tosafot which try to reconcile Minhag Ashkenaz with clearly different laws in the Babylonian Talmud, and in some ancient piyutim), merging its nusach with neighboring Spain during some period of increased contact.

Note also that the speaker is different in the two version. In our Version A, we specifically ask for return of the Temple Service. It is a thoroughly Galut prayer, fitting for Babylonia, and after the Destruction, universally applicable. Version B, however, associated with the rite of the Land of Israel, is personal, it asks for us the servants to return to service. Version A is objective, referring to the Service, version B is subjective, referring to the Servants, the priests and their followers who returned to, and remained in, Eretz Yisrael.

However, here’s where it gets really weird.

Luger has a source text, from the Geniza, which is almost identical to our Comtat Venaissin prayer text. His Source 46, which is identified as manuscript fragment H5.135, covers two leaves of a prayerbook, with the second blessing and last three blessings of the Shmoneh Esreh. He doesn’t estimate a date or a point of origin, but since it is mostly the Eretz Yisrael text, I have to wonder if it really is an Eretz Yisrael survival, perhaps from some period when the two versions were merging. Also, Luger’s text, clearly from a morning service (as there is the beginning of a piyut attached to the blessing of Gevurah (Might), has Shalom Rav as its concluding blessing.

Luger’s text, reconstructed from his notes in the book, is as follows:

רצה ידוד אלהינו בעמך ישראל
ושכון בציון מהרה
יעבדוך בניך בירושלים
אתה ברחמיך הרבים תחפוץ בנו ותרצינו
בא"י שאותך ב[יר]אה נעבוד
ותחזינה עינינו בשובך לציון ולירושלים ברחמים כמאז
בא"י המחזיר שכינתו לציון

So how did a prayer text, a hybrid between Nusach Bavel and Nusach Eretz Yisrael, found in the Genizah in Cairo, find its way also to the isolated communities of the Comtat Venaissin? Is the Avignon text a survival of Nusach Eretz Yisrael from some intermediate period when it was being infiltrated by Nusach Bavel? Or is it parallel evolution leading to the same solution?

If someone could forward contact information for Dr. Luger, I’d love to hear his opinion.

Huh. If I get some interesting answers, and expand it a little with midrashic and scriptural sources for the prayer, and some exegesis, I could turn this into an article. As a blog post, it’s a bit telegraphic.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

The Banner Mentality

The BAR Four - the latest sensation to roil the JBlog world - reveals the Banner (those who would ban) Mentality.

What is the Banner Mentality? It's a desire to hunt heretics, combined with an intellectual dishonesty and a lack of reading comprehension. Implicit in this, is the requirement to be dan lechaf gnai, to presume the other party guilty.

How does this manifest in this issue? The rush to label Dr. Lawrence Schiffman, the only observant Jew in the group, and the only Jew to maintain his faith in the face of secular scholarship.

The passages in question:

Dever: Living in the Holy Land, I became extremely cynical about religion. I began to think, more or less, maybe like all of you, that I had no talent for religion, that faith might be a matter of temperament as well as training. I never had a pious bone in my body. And I realized I was never really a believer, but it just took me 40 years to figure out that it was no longer meaningful. That’s when I converted to Judaism. [Laughs] I did it precisely because you don’t have to be religious to be a Jew. And I’m perfectly comfortable where I am.

Shanks: How do you respond to that, Larry? “You don’t have to be religious to be a Jew”?

Dever: That’s true of most Israelis.

Schiffman: Yes, that’s a fact. A Jew remains part of the Jewish people whatever he or she believes or practices. But in order to be a Jew, you have to have some concept that you believe in Judaism. You have a received tradition from other people—at least they believed they received the revelation.

Dever: Absolutely.

Schiffman: You’ve got to decide: Do I believe there is a God? Do I believe that God communicated some kind of way of life to someone that became Judaism?

Dever: I think Judaism is about practices rather than a correct theology.

...Schiffman: In one of Bill’s books, he discusses the historicity of the Exodus, and he throws up his hands. From the Jewish viewpoint everyone says it happened; it’s part of our past, part of our history. Somehow or other, it happened. I happen to believe there was some kind of Exodus. But the point I’m making is that the framing of the question, from the Jewish point of view, is very different.

Dever: Which is why I feel comfortable in Judaism. That’s where I’ve arrived—by a long and tortuous path.

The banner-types take Schiffman's statements about "some kind of exodus", and "you have to have some concept to believe in Judaism", and take them to mean that Schiffman doesn't believe in a literal Exodus, that he doesn't believe in the Revelation at Sinai, that he doesn't believe in the authenticity of Torah, and on that basis scream that he's Conservative, that he has lost his faith, etc.

But look at the context. Who is he speaking to? In part, he's speaking to Dever. Dever was a Protestant minister, who lost his belief in a literalist faith, converted Reform to marry his wife, and doesn't claim to be much of that either. This is in the category of da ma shetashiv, how to speak to a Reform Jew to try to encourage him to take on a little more. He's countering Dever's "you don't need any belief to be Jewish" with something Dever might be able to accept. Countering it with full-on Orthodox belief would just not be accepted.

Also, as one commenter noted, he has to keep some things under wraps if he wants to continue to be taken seriously in academia, which frowns on being actively religious. It can easily affect one's academic detachment.

The banner mentality ignores all this, and takes the statements as claims of personal belief, rather than statements which will be accepted in their proper context, in the conversation as recorded. On that basis, the banner writes off the writer. But just as bloggers may maintain a persona which is not identical to their real selves, academics may maintain such a persona.

This is exactly how R' Slifkin got into trouble: people took his words out of context, ignoring that they came from books aimed at those who were having trouble remaining in the fold, took them as statements of personal belief, and used their influence with big-name rabbis to prounounce a ban on his writings. As a result, he the person has become non grata in his own yeshivish world.

As prose in the mind of the banner
Who misquotes or distorts it at will
Don't let them slander the good guys
Heed thy common sense, heed not the banner.

Friday, March 09, 2007

The Jewish Imperative to Sing, III

MUSICAL NOTE (from LSS Shabbat Echod)
by Cantor Sherwood Goffin

Did you know that there is a custom - not only to sing, but to dance at Kiddush Levana, the ceremony of sanctifying the moon performed after every Rosh Chodesh! The Ramah, Rabbi Moshe Isserles, in the Shulchan Aruch(426), says that there is a custom to dance at Kiddush Levana. In the Darkei Moshe of the Ramah, he even more explicitly says that this dancing is required according to Kabbalah. He then states that if dancing is required then it certainly requires singing! (To what do you dance if there is no inging). This another example of the requirement to sing in public.

Daven Well and Sing Along!

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Purim Sicha of the Shluffener Rebbe

A Sicha of the Shluffener Rebbe,
Meir Moshe ben Yankev Yitschak Shnoozer,
also known as “the Shnoozer, Meir Moshe, hakodosh”,
or the ShMMuH”K

transcribed by thanbo b. simcha
for a refua shelema for simcha b. rivka

Purim, 5767

The megillah tells us to make “ymei simcha umishteh Yemei, two days, implies a night between. Mishteh, drinking, must be an integral part of the “days”. As the Passaicker Maggid, R’ Micha Berger often says, 7, the days of the week, the lower sefiros, the nonzero digits of the Lubavitch headquarters, the speeds of an internally geared Shimano Nexus hub, the number seven, sheva, zibn, siete, sept, sju, pito implies the natural world, that which is normally accessible to Man and his technology. Eight, however, the lights of Chanukah, the day after Shabbos, the days before a Bris – this, this is the Supernatural, the Holy. Since the ideal amount of sleep is eight hours, therefore one’s sleep is itself an act of kedusha. To sleep properly is to revel in kedusha, immerse in kedusha, imbibe kedusha with every snore.

But where is the kedusha in the Megillah? There isn’t even a name of God, the Holy, blessed be He, the Eibershter, the Ein Sof, the King whose Name shall be praised forever, yeah, OK Dovidhamelech, we get the idea – none of His names appear in the Megillah. Yet, some consider the Megillah’s command of Purim to be almost on a D’oraisa level. It is a semi-Yom Tov, with some of the additional prayers, piyutim, and meals of Yom Tov, but there is no Name of God associated with it. There is no Kiddush on the Day. But Chazal did feel empowered to ordain a festive meal – why?

The Megillah may not contain a Name of God, but it does contain many many references to HaMelech, The King. Many take these to refer to Hashem obliquely, kaveyachol, kil’achar yad, as it were, backhand.*

*HG”H: With the frequency of the Hamelech references, we might almost say that they are volleying for serve. But we won’t.

Underlying this assumption of HaMelech being HaMelech HaElyon, is that God is the True King. Kingship is reserved to the HolyBlessedBeHe alone. How do we know this? Even though the Torah mandates that we elect a king, Shmuel Hanavi, who was the Eibishter’s Right-Sefira Man at the time, waxed wroth at the idea that the Jews wanted to elect a king, to be just like the goyim (yech, pfui, eww). If Shmuel said it, and he had a direct line to The Holy Office Upstairs, surely Hashem was not pleased with the idea of Jews having a king. The Heilige Siddur bears this out – so much of our tefilos on Rosh Hashanah, not to mention Birchos Krishme, (hare hare, krishme krishme, rama krishme – behold, the highest Krias Shma), emphasize the Malchus Hashem.

So how can that malchus extend to Our Rabbonim, and Our Neviim, not to mention Queen Esther*,who ordained the mitzvos and zichronos of the day.

HG”H: Queen Esther, in her modesty, always sat at the back of the mehadrin chariot, fulfilling Shlomo Hamelech’s dictum: kol kevudas bas melech acharonah.

I feel free to speculate, not having seen any reference to this in the Words of the Living God, the Chassidic literature, that we humans are “demigods”. The Torah tells us, we were created with Tzelem Elokim. What is tzelem elokim? The Image of God, kavyachol, not that there can be a visible Image of God, h”v. But a Tzelem can also be a Demus, a Face, a Character, a Form. It is the Form without the Substance of God, we have the Form of God, but the Substance of Gashmiyus. So we are half-divine, half-human – we are DemiGods.

The words themselves bear this out. The Gaon I___ M____, Linguist Extraordinare of Today, the Gimle”t, proposes the unity of all languages, based on the Original Antediluvian Language, which is Hebrew. All languages must be linked. Demus – which is half of the self, the Form without Substance, compares to the Greek “Demi-“ meaning half. So Tzelem Elokim, our Heilige Halb, makes us DemiGods.

To bring the ‘Snags into the fold, we take their understanding of the Beinoni, according to the Rambam who is the one who is balance, half good and half evil. The beinoni, the normal man, is half a tzadik. The tzadik is a memutza hamechaber, the intermediary who attaches, who allows us to see the Divine in the Tzadik which is also immanent in the twigs and stones. The Heilige Sokolovsky says that the Rebbe is God, a Tzadik is God, therefore we, as half-tzaddik-half-rasha, are half God, or DemiGods.

If Malchus is of Hashem, then, we humans partake of Malchus simply by existing, through our Divine Half.

Chazal had malchus through this, as they often said (as said in Shaarei Gan HaEiden I:2:1, of R’ Yaakov Kopel Lipschitz, zt”l) “We [Rabbis] are kings, ruling the body of Torah”. Therefore, they could mandate a Yom Tov, but not kiddush, as they were not the Kiddusha Brich Hu. They could, however, mandate human requirements, such as sleep. Sleep, as we have seen, is in the aspect of kodesh, if done for 8 hrs (if they are to be shaos zmanios is discussed elsewhere). And sleep is central to avodas hanofesh, as the admo”r c”k theAlter Shluffer ztvkll”h nbg”m zy”a tells us in Mitah Mikva uMimaalah, “az der rebe shlof, shloffen alle chasidim

Why, if we are demigods, do we need so much sleep? We are half human as well. And that human half, the half tzadik, is half a mercavah for the Eibishter. The Lubavitcher says that the goal is to make a Dirah beTachtonim for the Kudsha Brich Hu. We hold that it suffices to make a Mechonit beTachtonim, as we do with the Holy Half-Measure. A car is a lot heavier than a chariot. Carrying around the Eibeshter all day is pretty tiring. As they say, s’iz shver tzu zein a Yid. As a consequence of our human half, which has to be at least half good, to be a Mechonit beTachtonim, we need to keep our energy up. This effort is the Avodas Hanofesh.

So too we celebrate Purim with food & wine, which lead to sleep, when we can’t recite Arur Haman uBaruch Mordechai.. May our avoda begashmius lead to avoda beruchnius, and all of us work towards perfecting the world, preparing for Bias haGoel, bimheiro vyomeinu, mamesh mamesh with all that that implies.

Bivrachah, Meir Moshe Shnoozer