Friday, November 26, 2010

Uniqueness, revisited

I've been thinking about it last night. What is the chiddush of Alter Rebbe? I mean, really? Not using long words and paragraphs.

Well. I remember, around Simchas Torah, I've been sitting in the sukkah of one local Jew, with my rabbi and a Yemenite Jew from Israel. We were talking about Chabad and Judaism in general. And I said: "In Chabad, we believe that ein od milvado — there is nothing but Him". And the Jew answered: "What, everywhere else they don't believe?"

So, my rabbi, diplomatically, changed the subject a little bit, and said: "The Rebbe once asked someone if he knows what a difference between emunah and bitachon is. And the person said he didn't know. So, the Rebbe explained: emunah is when you believe that when you come to an obstacle, the obstacle is for the best, and Hashem will give you the power to overcome it. Bitachon is an awareness that there is no obstacle."

(And, if you think about it, we believe in something, but trust somebody — not in somebody. Meaning, faith is a state of philosophical disposition towards some concept. [I know, I promised no long words.] But trust is personal. And how can you establish a personal relationship with G-d to the point that not only do you believe — abstractly — that He does only good, but trust Him directly? Why, you learn about G-d and meditate and daven.)

But after all of this, I thought last night. And I think it's actually quite simple. You can believe that ein od milvado. I mean, everyone believes that. It's in the book. But to make it an ikkar of your haskala and avoida, to put it on the cover, lehavdil, like "Do not panic" was written on the cover of H2G2?

And then again: you can make it the ikkar from which everything stems. But to make every single nekuda in avoida and haskala directly linked to it and revealing it directly? To see ein od milvado in two Jews splitting a talles — and applying it directly to your everyday life? Now, that's another thing entirely.

I mean, it's quite a feat. No?

And that's what Yud-Tes Kislev is for me. The way TRS puts it, no bochur who is not married knows what it's like to be married. Even if he knows everything, all the steps, in theory — he doesn't really know it, does he? Yud-Tes Kislev for me is about knowing it. "Yadativ v'hayisiv."

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