Sunday, December 07, 2008

Thank God for our Rabbis and Rebbetzins

[Rabbi and Rebbetzin Holtzberg, may God avenge their deaths]

I was thinking recently about the huge debt of gratitude we owe to the men and women who devote their lives to studying and teaching Torah on a full time, professional basis. These include the scholars who study full time in advanced Talmudic seminaries, the men and women who teach in Jewish religious schools as well as the pulpit rabbinate.

These people preserve the authentic enthusiasm and idealism for Judaism which we should all aspire too. They sacrifice financial security and material comforts for the sake of idealism. In some cases, they even make the ultimate sacrifice. For them Judaism is not a culture, like Irish culture or Italian culture, with a special cuisine, language and celebrations, having sentimental value but nothing more than that. It's also not a race; bear in mind that the concept of race is today considered to be bogus by most scientists. Rather Judaism is simply the will of God as revealed to Moses at Mount Sinai.

I can recall so many cases where I received so much kindness spiritually and physically from rabbis who have helped me throughout the years. When I was a teenager in Bnei Brak, Israel Rabbi Yaakov Kanievesky spent many hours answering my questions about Judaism. A neighbor of his, Rabbi Eliyahu Weintraub generously paid my rent for the first year following my marriage to my first wife in 1981. He also spent many hours personally counseling me free of charge. Rabbi Elazar Shach also gave me personal advice. He also provided financial support, without my requesting it, on one occasion.

The primary benefit of the rabbis and rebbeztins, however, is that they present a goal for everyone else to strive for. Through their pure devotion, they are the role models for us all. Everyone should seek to associate with them and be inspired by them.


Anonymous said...

Yeah, but all these rabbi's did was talk you into their brand of Judaism. If you had hung around with a Conservative oir Reform rabbi then you would believe what they taught you. We are all subject to what we are taught and whom we wish to follow. If a preist had gotten ahold of you when you were most suseptable you would not even be a Jew now.....Avi

jewish philosopher said...

No one talked me into anything. Orthodox Judaism doesn't encourage converts. And if the Internet hadn't gotten a hold of you, you wouldn't be an atheist now.

Anonymous said...

How do you think Rav Shach, the Steipler and Rav Elya Weintraub would react to your blogging?

Do you think that they'd be supportive of it?

Also i think that if Rav Shach influenced you at al that youare probably quite unsympathetic to all things Chabad.

Isn't it a bit disingenuous and opportunistic of you to jump on the mourning band wagon now???

Anonymous said...

Given your opinion here, what do you think they did to deserve death?

I hope that doesn't sound too facetious-I am genuinely perplexed by the viewpoints you expressed on this subject before.

A Nonny Goy

jewish philosopher said...

"How do you think Rav Shach, the Steipler and Rav Elya Weintraub would react to your blogging?"

Very positively.

"youare probably quite unsympathetic to all things Chabad"


"what do you think they did to deserve death?"

I don't have the faintest idea. How should I?

Yeshivish Atheist said...

Well they died, so obviously Hashem wanted them to die or else they wouldn't die. So obviously the terrorists that killed them were doing Hashem's will. Also, Hashem will punish&burn the terrorists in hell for doing Hashem's will.

Makes sense?

Anonymous said...

It is funny that you should think so highly of this lubab, who I know for a fact that he was highly sexually energized... (which according to your logic would make him a kafir).

jewish philosopher said...

"Hashem wanted them to die or else they wouldn't die. "


"So obviously the terrorists that killed them were doing Hashem's will. "

False. Hashem commands us not to murder, therefore murder is against His will, even though the result of the murder, the victim's death, would have in any case come about through some other means.

klienertuches, this is probably the most stupid comment I have ever read. Thank you for raising the bar.

Yeshivish Atheist said...

But Hashem wanted them to be murdered, or else, they wouldn't have been murdered. So their being murdered was all part of Hashems plan.

jewish philosopher said...

One more time.

If someone is murdered, God apparently wanted the victim to die since God controls everything.

However God said "Don't murder". That's an order, it's not a suggestion. God does not want us to disobey His orders, although He gives us the free will to do so and He will punish us if we do.

Yeshivish Atheist said...

One more time.

The question is not "Did God want them to die?"

The question is "Did God want them to get murdered?"

If no, than how come they got murdered?

jewish philosopher said...

God did not want the terrorists who killed them to choose to murder them. However, since the terrorists chose to murder, and since these people were destined to die in any case, God let them go ahead and murder. And the terrorists are now being punished in hell for having done it.

Anonymous said...

You wrote:
may God avenge their deaths

IMHO, I believe (am I being redundant?) that this is the wrong attitude to take. One should not wish ill on others. Rather one should wish that the evil turn from their ways.

jewish philosopher said...

Someone who would tie up a pregnant young woman and then shoot her to death merely because she happens to be Jewish - I would wish something bad on him.