Thursday, February 08, 2007

Moshiach & Simple Jews

Asher commenting on "An Old Joke":

Moshiach arrives and, together with the simple Jews begin to dance ecstatically in the streets.The Litvaks run home to get their gemorras and all their shailas for the Moshiach. The Chassidim dash off to the mikve and change into their long frock coats.

Quickly the Litvaks (with their gemorras and shailahs in hand) and the Chassidim (with their peyos still dripping) hurry back to join the crowd of dancing Jews.

The Moshiach spots them there and turns to one of the simple Jews and asks, "Who are they?"

"Them?" replies the simple Jew, "It's OK. They're Jews too!"

(Told to me by Shlomo Carlebach)


At February 8, 2007 at 9:55:00 AM EST, Anonymous Bob Miller said...

This one is both funny and disturbing. Can someone please elaborate on R. Shlomo's underlying point and its validity or invalidity?

In what respect, if any, do the Chassidim and Litvaks in this story have wrong priorities? Does ecstasy really trump Torah and Taharah?

At February 8, 2007 at 10:55:00 AM EST, Blogger yitz said...

Bob, It seems that you, too, have missed the point. Reb Shlomo [or so it seems to me] is saying that we sometimes need to "live in the moment" and not be so caught up in "what will I look like to the next guy?" That is, so what if I don't have a Shaila to ask Moshiach, or if I didn't go to the Mikveh just as he came? Can't I be REAL for a change?ni

At February 8, 2007 at 11:08:00 AM EST, Anonymous Michoel said...

I would taaneh that p'shat is that "rachmana liba baei". Regular beleiving, loyal Jews without any sense of a derech which is better than someone elses derech. There is also an implicit kitrug against what has become normative in some chasidic quaters. It used to be that the Litvaks were the snobs and the Chasidim (largely) were the pashuteh mentchen.

At February 8, 2007 at 11:21:00 AM EST, Blogger yaak said...

I just want to comment on the fact that this post is a post of a comment on a post which was a comment on a post which was a comment on a post.
I hope you got that straight. You can now post your comments. :)

At February 8, 2007 at 11:26:00 AM EST, Anonymous Bob Miller said...

Here we get into the confusion between the real and the spontaneous. What exactly are our real selves? Do we check our minds at the door? Is reflection and deliberate action during a peak experience automatically fake, reflecting some type of affectation or snobbishness?

The story's apparent line of thought takes me back to (lehavdil) rock music criticism in the 1960's and 1970's. Critics extolled naturalness and true raw emotion over everything, and denigrated the more urbane and calculated styles as "contrived". Maybe we could trace this attitude back further to Rousseau.

In R. Shlomo's general approach, not only in the above story, I saw an overemphasis on spontaneous emotion as opposed to intellect.

[Note to Michoel: in this story, the Chassidim are put down just as the Litvaks are]

At February 8, 2007 at 11:34:00 AM EST, Anonymous Bob Miller said...

just as the Litvaks are---meaning categorically, not just "in some quarters"

At February 8, 2007 at 11:37:00 AM EST, Anonymous Michoel said...

You said that same as I. ?

At February 8, 2007 at 11:40:00 AM EST, Anonymous Bob Miller said...

Michoel, I was partially agreeing with you.

At February 8, 2007 at 11:44:00 AM EST, Anonymous Bob Miller said...

But I don't accept that Litvaks as a group in the old days were snobs.

And not as a group now either and not Chassidim as a group now either.

At February 8, 2007 at 11:53:00 AM EST, Anonymous Michoel said...

My intent was to try and shed light on Reb Shlomo's intent, not to voice an opinion about heligeh chassidim or heligeh litvaks, chas v'chalilah. BUT, in the popular view, their is such a perception of Litvaks viewing limud haTorah as everything to such a degree that their can seen to be a degree of lack of kavod for the unlearned. And, although the vast majority of chassidim are holy baalei middos who have kavod for the d'rachim of others, if you think that there is not such thing, b'zman hazeh, as some chassidim looking down at Litvaks or even other chasidim, then you are being delusional. The original chassidus aimed at, among other things, lifting up regular Jews. And I think that is something Reb Shlomo is saying that they should return to, ie loosing there sense of WE are chasidim and YOU are something less than that.

At February 8, 2007 at 12:02:00 PM EST, Anonymous Bob Miller said...

I'm saying take individuals as they come and avoid negative generalities about frumer yidden. R. Shlomo should have known better.

At February 8, 2007 at 12:09:00 PM EST, Anonymous Robot said...

Folks, in all jokes there must be a kernel of truth - or it wouldn’t be funny.

Here's another joke for y'all (I heard from a Skolye Chossid):

When HKB"H gave us the Torah at Sinai three things happened:

1. The Yekkes (German Jews) came early, and got the Derech Eretz (Derech Eretz Kodma LeTorah).

2. The Litvaks came exactly on time and got Torah.

3. The Chassidim were so awed that HKB"H was giving them this gift they spent great amounts of time preparing themselves, and thus, arrived late (as Chassidim do) missing the entire thing. But there was great joy and closeness with G-d after kabbolas haTorah... and that's what they got!


At February 8, 2007 at 12:17:00 PM EST, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

…and then there is this classic joke

At February 8, 2007 at 12:26:00 PM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm reminded of another old joke with a similar theme (but with a different punch line and a different "moral of the story").

When Moshiach arrives, the Chassidim will greet him with a half a fleshl (flask) of bronfen (liquor), and the Litvaks will greet him with half a pshetl (Torah discourse).

When they ask the Chassidim, "Why didn't you bring a full fleshl bronfen?" -- they'll answer, "If Moshiach would have come sooner, we wouldn't have had to drink half."

When they ask the Litvaks, "Why didn't you bring a complete pshetl?" -- they'll answer, "If Moshiach would have come later, we would have had enough time to finish the pshetl."

At February 8, 2007 at 1:22:00 PM EST, Blogger yitz said...

Anon - I heard that one, except in the version I had, there was nary a drop in the Chassidim's huge barrel of whiskey; and the Litvakers had NO dvar Torah to say.

Back to Bob - I think you again miss the point here. Firstly, a joke is meant to shake us up a bit [especially if we're the butt of it!], and give us a different perspective on things. And as "robot" said, " all jokes there must be a kernel of truth - or it wouldn’t be funny." You seem to be over-intellectualizing this whole thing, and while I don't recommend "checking our minds at the door," perhaps Reb Shlomo is trying to teach us that sometimes we have to flow with the moment, yes, to think about what we're doing, but not necessarily to "run home & grab our Gemara" or "run off to the mikva," but rather to BE with Moshiach and perhaps we'll learn how to REALLY BE, not just what we think we're supposed to do [often out of "political or religious correctness"]!

At February 8, 2007 at 1:44:00 PM EST, Anonymous Bob Miller said...

"You seem to be over-intellectualizing this whole thing"

Even my comments have a kernel of truth.

At February 9, 2007 at 3:03:00 AM EST, Blogger Mottel said...

Anon -yours is the one that I know as well . . .
It reminds me of another joke (with slightly less toichen)

A Two Chassidim, a Chagas'nik (please don't shoot me for saying that -it's the way a Vizhnitzer told me the joke) and a Chabad'nik were speaking about the different ways in which they serve Hashem.
The Chagas'nik said that every night he fills up a kelishke of vodka and places it next to his bed . . . in the morning he said modeh ani, washes negel vasser, and then says l'chaim to the Aibishter.
The Chabad'nik is shocked.
"What's wrong," the Chagas'nik asks him.

"How can you sleep if there's mashke next to you bed?" replied the Lubavitcher.

At February 9, 2007 at 11:43:00 AM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mottel -

LOL. I like it. (I guess I'm a Nehim'nik, though. <g>)

A Gutten Shabbos,
Anon. (formerly of 12:26 PM)


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