Friday, July 17, 2009

Selling things outside of Beis HaMikdosh

I heard yesterday from someone that he had a problem with some guy standing outside of the mikveh of Arizal and selling towels. He said it reminded him of 770 today, supposedly one of the holiest places of the golus, outside of which people are standing and selling stuff. Also, people standing inside, talking, etc. Thank G-d not smoking anymore for the most part (after than ensued a conversation about how everyone used to smoke inside all the time, and how Reb Yoel Kan smoked during his shiurim so much that you had to open a window to breathe).

I commented that it was the same in the time of the Beis HaMikdosh, wasn’t it? People were selling livestock, food and other things right outside of Beis HaMikdosh. At which point someone commented that there is even a story with Yoshka about that (whether or not it’s true and whether it was an appropriate comment is another point), and the original speaker said: “Yes, the feeling of kedusha lost”.

Now, my question is not about the fact that the feeling of kedusha was lost, both in the times of the Beis HaMikdosh and around 770 today. I am wondering, however: is it so wrong to sell towels for the mikveh outside of mikveh or sell cattle for karbonos right outside Beis HaMikdosh? Isn’t that what creating dira b’tachtoinim all about — participating in the world? The guy selling towels is selling something you need for a mikveh; when you buy a towel from him, you allow him to earn livelihood (as opposed to schnor, which I suppose is a more stereotypical activity for a frum Jew nowadays), and since all of that is used for a holy purpose (going to a mikveh), what’s the problem?

I am also wondering whether there is a conflict of oiros vs. etzem in here. Experience vs. the essence. Which is interesting, because the same person told me that it is more chassidish to daven in a minyan, where you’re bottul to the fact that you need other nine men, vs. davening b’avoida, where it’s all about your own experience.

9 comments:

Child אִישׁ Behavior said...

you make an excellent point. Though in answer to your question, the experience of davening with a minyan is more uplifting than davening by yourself.

Crawling Axe said...

If you daven with a minyan, you can forget about davening b’avoida. So what’s uplifting?

The Real Shliach said...

If you go to Yerushalayim you can see where they had the major market in town right next to the Beis Hamikdash-it was like Tishrei the whole year! Of course then, come RH-YK-S-SA-ST time, it must have been like Tishrei on steroids...

Crawling Axe said...

Yeah, that’s what we were talking about (among other things).

Child אִישׁ Behavior said...

Feeling part of the congregation. When they say Amain Yihay Shemy...Kadosh Kadosh... all the other parts of davening that you can't say biyichidus. More people makes for a bigger uplifting more spiritual experience. Compare that to davening in the corner by yourself, you may think you are talking to Hashem, and feeling all pious, but really your just talking to yourself and wondering if Hashem is really listening to your little prayers.

Crawling Axe said...

Everything you said makes sense if you don't learn Chabad Chassidus. Once you start learning and applying it properly, everything you said reverses.

Also, what does the feeling of community, etc., have to do with G-d? When you're trying to meditate about G-d and address him directly, your feelings are most likely fake, but you're on the right path (in regards to feelings). When you feel something as a result of being part of the community, it is for sure fake, and you're on a wrong path.

Chabad Rebbeim addressed this in a number of works, most famous being Kuntres HaTefilla.

Crawling Axe said...

And anyway, the truth of your feelings aside, the point of davening is to elevate yourself. Even when your feelings of talking to G-d are fake, nevertheless, you do have awareness that you are standing in front of Him, which puts you in a certain perspective of fear and love that allow you to shape who you are.

All of that is much more difficult when davening b'tzibur.

Feivel ben Mishael said...

I believe there is a letter which is reprinted in the back of sefer minhagim which addresses how one can reconcile the need for tefilla b'tzibbur with the need to daven b'avodah.
In short the answer is to attend a minyan and participate in all of the congregational type things like saying amen and kedusha etc etc.
Afterwards daven by yourself at your own pace.
In Likkutei Dibburim the FR speaks about how his father would daven up until L'Shem Yichud and then wait until the whole congregation was done davening. He would then daven b'arichus.
If I have mixed up any details please forgive me.

Crawling Axe said...

I did not say that not davening b’tzibur is a way to go or that I am advocating this (and I am a nobody to do that anyway). What I merely said is that from the perspective of Chabad Chassidus there is an inherent dichotomy between davening b’tzibur and davening b’avoida by yourself, and that in the words of the person whose opinion I was quoting, there is advantage in davening in a minyan, even though davening b’avoida may seem at first more appealing from working on yourself point of view.