Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Guest Posting By Rabbi Dovid Sears - The Preciousness Of A Simple Jew

(Painting by Zvi Malnovitzer)

Rabbi Nachman once predicted: "A time is coming when a simple good man will be as remarkable as the Baal Shem Tov was in his day" (Chayei Moharan 454).

The original Hebrew "ish-kasher pashut" is probably a translation of the Yiddish expression "a poshuter ehrlicher yid," which denotes a simple religious person, like the unlettered religious Jews of old who didn't know how to make heads or tales of a blatt Gemara, but who faithfully recited Tehillim with the accompanying Yiddish translation, put on Tefillin and davenned in shul every morning, and washed their hands before eating bread, etc. Yet we see that, thank G-d, there are myriads of Jews today who do these basic mitzvos. Does this mean that the situation is going to get even worse, G-d forbid, before it gets better?

Maybe the answer is that the Rebbe meant a truly simple Jew, which is a rarity indeed.

When Reb Noson was on his deathbed, he sighed. Noticing the concern of his students, he explained, "I did not sigh because I didn't study Torah and pray enough during my life. I did my best, and minded my time. What bothers me is if I fulfilled the Rebbe's temimus -- his stress on simplicity!"

We are all exposed to so much today and modern life is so complicated that temimus / simplicity seems to be a more elusive virtue than ever. I fear that the Rebbe's words have already been fulfilled. If so, Moshiach must be right around the corner!


At January 2, 2008 at 8:30:00 PM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe this is why the Rashab named his yeshivah "Tomchei Temimim." He foresaw the shortage!

At November 1, 2009 at 10:35:00 PM EST, Anonymous yaakov said...

in the breslov megillah, book on purim they quote mordechai as saying 'all i want is to be a simple jew!".

to be a 'simple jew' is actually a very profound thing and a noble goal.
if you are in a hassidic shul and tell someone that you are just a simple jew, or your goal is such, you will see smiles of great regard and approval.

to be simple with G-d, and ish tam, like yaakov, is a great and worthy thing.

as reb nachman says, emuna pshuta, simple faith is the most important thing!


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