[The following was received via e-mail. The views expressed therein are not necessarily those of Circus Tent, Hirshel Tzig, their families or friends.]
Dear Mishpacha Magazine:
I followed the exchange between Rabbis Noach Shafran of Baltimore and Moshe Weinberger of Woodmere, [See articles here, and Here] with rapt interest. Clearly, two serious yidden are engaged in dialogue about the most important topics; how to properly serve הקב''ה. That is inspiring. Yet, I am very troubled about what R. Weinberger says, doesn't say, as well as the style and substance of some of his arguments and innuendos. It goes without saying, that Rabbi Weinberger’s sincerity is not doubted. His keen discerning of a thirst and a yearning among many - for something that is both something deep and meaningful - is laudable and commendable. His attempts at challenging those feelings towards something positive and challenging is a big zechus. I will give him the benefit of the doubt that he agrees that working and toiling in learning is the ultimate accomplishment.Yet, that being said, Rabbi Weinberger makes a chulent from advocating learning Pnimiyus Hatorah to going to Lizhensk, experiencing hisbodedus and participating in farbrengens. It seems to me that there is a lack of appreciation for מבית מדרשו של הגר''א and what that represents in the discussion. It appears that according to Rabbi Weinberger, if one wants to experience depth and pniymiyus on a practical matter, one has to look elsewhere. Why doesn’t Rabbi Weinberger wax on about learning from the Gaon’s Cheder? Does that not constitute “pnimiyus hatorah?” Is that not all about, to paraphrase, getting a closer look and relationship with the Aibershter? If the writings of הגרי''א חבר ז''ל, that were studied by the Lubavitcher Rebbe, are not enough to inspire those who, I paraphrase, want to “shlug op their chavrusas”? Isn’t he aware, of the big lamdanim, who took part in the weekly transatlantic shiurim of Reb Moshe Shapiro, by invitation only?
Moreover, Rabbi Weinberger points to the fact that people recently flock to certain kivrey tzadikim as proof to the legitimacy of his claims. Where was he michunach that he makes such arguments? At YU? Yet, with regards to going to kevarim, we all know how many times Reb Chaim Volozhiner went to the Gaon’s ohel to daven. But what does beseeching the Creator for השגת התורה have to do with hype and pomp? With all due respect, some people get this fuzzy feeling dancing around a fire that even influenced Skver to enact new customs after decades, so what? What if some of those people don’t get as inspired, in the same “ethereal” manner, by הויות דאביי ורבא? Of course, there is no mention of חכמת המוסר. Did we try to understand Reb Yeruchem? Do we know what he wanted, what he was driving at? Don’t get me wrong. I’m among the many whom also appreciate Piasecna. Undoubtedly, his ability to make Chassidus practical is appealing, as well as his gift at using exquisite meshalim. Perhaps, the Piasecner’s ability to fuse pniymiyus with practicality based on his mesorah, is what this is all about.
I appreciate your printing my letter.
The author can be contacted via Mishpacha.