Monday, January 7, 2008
The Mad Hungarian strikes again!
It seems like Shlomo Lorencz, the great Hungarian Hope, has struck again. Lubavitch is the target. Again. I guess this is how the former Israeli MP intends to create a legacy for himself; to go out with a bang, and to let it be known that he was a true "Lochem Milchamas Hashem," fighting to keep Judaism out of the hands of the non-righteous. Although the book in which this story was printed (במחיצתם של גדולי ישרא-ל) is not brand-new, the story was brought up recently in a discussion about Moshiach and the belief in his imminent arrival, something seemingly not OK to believe in anymore, since Lubavitch somehow rendered it impure. Not just the Lubavitch of Dor HaShvi'i either, mind you, it's the Lubavitch of 1943 with slogans such as LeAlter LeTshuveh LeAlter LeGeulah - and that all that's needed for Moshaich to come now is the Tshuvah of Yidden that also somehow veered off the path set out for us by our Lithuanian Rabbis who are the true bearers of the torch of Torah and Mesorah.
You see my friends, I like Reb Yaakov Kamenecki, not that I knew him or ever met him, I just established a liking for him later in life. He was an easy-going man who taught BeDarkei No'am, unlike some of our contemporary "Gedolim." According to all accounts he was not a zealot who needed to make himself heard at every turn, and never screamed from the rooftops about other peoples' misdeeds. He was a Yid from Di Alte Heim who made a living by working hard and raised a nice family of Talmidei Chachomim. Interestingly, his son Nosson, probably the only one who writes about him "like he saw it," seems to speak out of both sides of his mouth when he discusses his father. One one hand he's this somewhat self-educated and very Mentshliche man who's astounded by the ignorance and naivete' of his Talmidim when it comes to secular knowledge, and on the other he's this zealot who's very worried about people's intentions when they do Mitzvos, as if we do for all the right reasons...
The story here is as follows. (I doubt the accuracy of the story - HT) When Reb Yaakov was living in Toronto - this must be back in the '40's - a Yid came to him and told him that he took upon to himself to begin keeping Shabbos because he heard from "Anshei Chabad" (a term meant to be derogatory, btw) that Moshiach is coming - that their "Rebbe" (quotations are the original's) was soon to appear as Moshiach - and how will it look if Moshiach comes and he's Mechalel Shabbos? "Don't believe them," Said Reb Yaakov, "Moshiach - LeTZa'areynu - is not coming yet." You need to keep Shabbos anyway, whether or not Moshiach is coming. He then went on to explain to the Yid the essence of the holiness of Shabbos, and how he must refrain from doing business on that holy day. He also explained to this Yid how to believe in Moshiach, There's no Mitzvah to believe that Moshiach WILL come anyday, just to believe that he MAY/CAN come any day. I guess the Yid thanked him for clarifying these issues to him, thanked him, and left. I also assume that his store was again open for business next week, but that may be me getting ahead of myself. Like I said, I doubt the story is true, for numerous reasons, but I still need to address it.
When the Yid left those around Reb Yaakov (which is probably a lie, since I doubt he had "Shtub-Mentshen" in Toronto) asked him why he discouraged this Yid from (believing in Moshiach's imminent arrival and) keeping Shabbos, , since at least if he believes he'll keep Shabbos, whereas now he'll definitely continue to be Mechalel Shabbos?! Reb Yakkov replied: What the "Anshei Chabad" accomplished here was imaginary, and the "loss will be greater than the reward." In the near future when this Yid will see that Moshiach has yet to arrive (how does he know that he won't come?! - HT) he'll begin to desecrate the Shabbos again, and furthermore, until know he believed with absolute faith that Moshiach will come one day, now that he's disappointed he'll lose one of the foundations of Yiddishkeit, the faith in Moshiach's arrival. This seems to follow the logic that we shouldn't put Tefillin on (irreligious) people since we need to check for - ahem - "Guf Noki." We thank Reb Shlomo ZGZ for the wonderful Mayseh, and the very important lesson we learn from it. Never tell a Yid to do a Mitzvah unless you're absolutely sure that all systems are in order, even if it's a Bori VeShemo.....
A Shayne Mayseh.