Monday, July 11, 2011
The cartoon above is interesting, because it’s possible to interpret it in a number of ways. If you’re an eidel Jew, you can take what the cartoon says, and what the message of Baal Shem Tov was, literally: there is G-d (and Eliyahu) not just in sitting on your bench the whole day learning Gemara, but also in doing a mitzva, out there in the world. In other words, ein od milvado, without exceptions.
On the other hand, if you’re a grub apikores, it’s possible to say that revelation of Eliyahu and all that holy stuff is merely a metaphor for doing a good deed. As I was thinking while driving just now (incidentally, to do a mitzva), a religious scientist tries hard to see G-d in the world. A secular scientists thinks what he is studying is G-d. A chassidic scientist knows both of them are right. (A Lubavitcher scientists knows why and how they are both right.)
And so the lesson is (going back to the cartoon) that this is why Alter Rebbe created Chassidus Chabad. Because Ba’al Shem Tov’s Torah and its message, ein od milvado, are too eidel for a regular grub person. They need to be chewed; they need to be explained such that a person sees not Martin Buber’s version of Ba’al Shem Tov’s Chassidus, but, lehavdil, Torah version.
But another point is that there is an advantage in Talmud Bavli over Talmud Yerushalmi, even though that advantage comes as a result of a lower spiritual level. When a person comes into a lit room, he sees where the exit it and goes straight towards it. When a person comes into a dark room, he has to tap his way towards the exist. He taps, he taps, he taps. He gets to know every object in the room, intimately, by touch. Sure, it takes him longer to go through the room, but once he is through, he knows more about this room than about the lit one.
Therefore: when you have a question about something that the Rebbe did, don't hesitate to ask it.
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