(a re-post... sorry it’s late)
Notes from a Torah class by Rabbi Posner of Boston on Parshas Shlach. So, please forgive the choppiness.
It all starts with Jews sending the spies, who come back with the unfortunate report. When Hashem tells them they would travel in the desert for forty years as a punish… I mean, consequence of their actions, some people suddenly come to their senses. And decide that are ready to do it. Yep, ready to do it. Come on, let’s do it, let’s do it.
And then Moshe Rabbeinu says: “Don’t go, for Hashem is not with you.” And, as one might expect, they still go (into a battle) and get killed. So, what’s going on? OK, here come the notes:
Hinenu: we are ready (like Hineini). We are ready to go and to fight. What changed?
- Every Jew is inherently a believer in G-d
- When Moshe Rabbeinu screamed at them, they realized they were being foolish, and restored the connection
- But, MR said: don’t go, because G-d is not amongst you.
- Amalek came down and killed them.
- What did these people do wrong? It seems they did what Hashem wanted them to do…
- Moshe Rabbeinu told them not to go…
- You can do all teshuva in the world you want, but you still need MR and Aaron go with you
- You cannot divorce the soul of Torah from Torah itself
- You can talk about the beauty of customs and traditions – but if you change it, it is not going to last
- Needs to be steadfast connection to bris Hashem
- Who asked you to make decisions? You can’t make decisions either when you’re a spy or later, when you decide to attack on your own…
- If MR tells you: don’t go on, then it will not be successful.
- The power of tradition…
- What does it say, how do we know?
But, Chabad is the biggest rebellion ever. It’s not the way it’s been done; it’s not the way to do it.
Rabbi P. in Young Israel. In weekday shull. An old man giving a class. Rabbi P. saying Tehillim. The man was talking about the Blessing for the Sun. He was saying it’s really not such a big deal. People do it, but they don’t celebrate it. Don’t make a whole event out of it. Some people take regular things and blow things out of proportion about them. Like Chabad putting tefillin on in the street. Tefillin has always been a regular quiet thing – and suddenly you make a big deal out of it?!
In the year of 2009 of common era, someone should say this! Are you joking? Do you realize what happens here in the shull: groups of kids from Reform, Conservative families come learn about Shmura Matza in your shull (because Chabad brings them). Bridges between secular and religious worlds.
The world today is completely different world – majority of Jews have never and will never put on tefillin, until someone does it with them.
The mindset that existed in 1950s – this has never been done. Sending shluchim to places that have nothing to support them religiously: this has never happened in the history of Jews. Jews are very community-oriented. If you are a frum Jew, you need a minyan, and you need all that the community provides. How did Jews do it?
They never have.
The answer: If you walk by a lake, you don’t jump in it in your suit. But if your brother is drowning, of course you would jump in – so, you will wet your suit a little, nu…
So, yeah, there is a concept of doing things traditionally: daven in a shull, not in the middle of a street. But sometimes you need to make a change. The question is: why do you need to make a change? Why make a change?
When Jews tried to conquer EY for the heck of it, without Hashem’s and MR’s protection, it was not successful. They died. Just like families of Reform and Conservative Jews. They implemented changes for themselves, not for Hashem. You can’t have personal motivation – I think it’s a good idea, I think I want to do it.
So, when the Rebbe became a leader of the generation, he explained that when a Lubavitcher puts on tefillin with someone else, he doesn’t do it as his own thing but under guidance of the Moshe Rabbeinu of the generation.