Monday, October 30, 2006

Neo-Tzig is rethinking his belief system

This just in from the Neo-Tzig:

This Motzoei Shabbos I had the pleasure of spending time with friends (Hirshel Tzig & Faruq (yes, he lives) were in attendance). The Melave-Malka brought a collection of thoughts into focus. Tell me, am I sliding off the deep end? Here's some of what I'm talking about:

A number of years ago I believed:
1) Tzaddikim don't make mistakes.
2) Science and Torah can always be reconciled as long as they are understood properly.
3) Torah Yiddishkeit is basically black and white, with small areas of gray.
4) We're supposed to love every Jew deeply, and be able relate to them intimately.
5)Truth is a fundamental element of Yiddishkeit, (and especially of chassidus).

Today I lean towards the opinion that:
1) Tzaddikim are G-dly people, but unlike Him, they may err, and perhaps even err foolishly and often.
2) Scientific information we now have may not match the interpretation of Chazal. Time to get over it…
3) Yiddishkeit is all gray, with small black & white areas.
4) The common interpretation of Ahavas Yisroel is ridiculous, impossible and unhealthy. Let's redefine it to mean "respect and deal fairly with your fellow Jew."

It's all about "group think" today. Truth is irrelevant and despised – on a group level – and while many individuals may indeed seek it, they are discouraged and insulted if the dare expose that to others. Troublingly, it seems, however, that open-mindedness does generally lead to less frumkeit, while the more restrictive, regimented, and legislated Judaism being sold by the establishment does have a considerably higher rate of success (and if you don't believe me, just look at pre-war Hungarian Yiddishkeit vs. the Polish/Russian model!). Ugh.


Anonymous said...

No one helps me live my life. I am not on welfare, nor do I receive tuition breaks. I am responsible for myself and b'nei beisi. I hang out with similar-minded people.

B'kitzur, no one tells me how to live my life, and I don't care what the people may say. I guess that's called being a balabos in today's society.

Anonymous said...

Tell us, O' great Neo-Tzig, how did all this happen; could it be that you stuffed your brain with Sifrei Kfirah, and you thought they would have no effect on an intelligent guy like yourself?

You reap what you sow, brother.

Anonymous said...


Sifrei Kfira? What do you define as "sifrei kfira," brother?

Anonymous said...

neo, hi! this is tzibaleh calling. I think you have a point there.

Anonymous said...

Why is it noyge'ah to you what others think? are you dependent on them in any way?

A Simple Jew said...

Why "impossible and unhealthy"?

Anonymous said...


you're not the first one with questions. All questions come from reading unkosher material, it's a fact.

Anonymous said...

Mayses fun tzadikim are a medicine for farkrumt brains.

Hirshel Tzig: I answered something on one of your old posting below, and there is a nice story there, which you can like.

Anonymous said...

Seforim chitzonim? Halevai! It's stupid blogs that he's been reading.

Anonymous said...


Unfortunately, our history shows that at the end Grey becomes either Black or White.
Do you want your einiklach oder ureiniklach running a ‘Chabad house’ or do you want to feel lucky if they end up walking into a Chabad house for a Chanukah party?

The Rebbe's yiddishkeit is black-and-white. He was smart enough to understand all the ramifications of that approach. He was smart enough to see all the grey subtleties and philosophical difficulties. He knew about the existential angst. Yet the yiddishkeit he pushed for was that of black-and-white emunoh peshutoh.

Hirshel Tzig - הירשל ציג said...

a Yid:

That's a story that can easily be verified. When was Reb Avrohom Rov in krementchug, and was he Rov of all Chassidim?, of the Eylimishe? because In Chabad there seems to be another Rov, of the Tumarkin family.

Anonymous said...

Do you think this is a healthy progression?

Hearing what others say often helps us understand things better.

See klei yakar on the dor hafloga (thanks to Faruq for pointing it out to me). There is a real impossibility for unlike people, with different goals, to be forced into an intimate closeness. It only created friction and anger – however, respect and fairness (which are often not included in people’s ideas of Ahavas Yisroel) are possible and healthy. Do you see where I’m going with this idea?

Boruch & DWSC,
Yes, Blogs have definitely quite a toll, but they only forced me to think more about things that I should have thought into a bit deeper anyway.

I agree 100%.
Problem is, if I don’t really agree with many of the conventionally accepted ideas, do I repress what I – personally – really think in exchange for the safer approach (even if in my I disagree)? BTW, I am in no way proposing any change in behavior, only a variation in beliefs.

A Simple Jew said...

Neo-Tzig: I understand where you are trying to go with this.

What I would be curious to know is what happened that caused you to have this change in your thinking.

Anonymous said...

Hirshel Tzig: Reb Avrohom Shrernhartz ztz"l was the Rov of Krementcgug until 1936, when he was able to leave to Eretz Yisroel from the communists regime. He was a talmid of Reb Nachman miTcherin ztz"l (in Halocho and in Chasidus). You can find some information about his biography here:
His more complete biography was never published. Now Reb Avrohom Shimon Burshteyn from Yerusholaim is working on a seyfer on Reb Avrohom Shternhartz's biography and collection of mesoyroys from him. He told over that last story about shiur Chasidus in Krementchug.

Anonymous said...

This is a matter of essential significance and on this I have always parted ways with faruq. So here it goes:
Whether something legt zich op in mine seichel or not, does not change dem emes and I will always choose to farlozen zich af dem rebbe'n. There is a small maamar by the Alter Rebbe where he delves into the meaning of the word 'emunoh'. He sais there that the real meaning is abot 'faithfulness, trustworthiness' (as in 'vene'emon attoh lehachayes meisim'). He further states that the contemporary usage of the word only came as a reaction to 'philosophers'...

Anonymous said...


Why would you continue to indulge your brain with subjects that cause you to stray further from the Torah path, albeit only intellectually. In due time thoughts like that have a detrimental affect on Mitzvos Masiyos, and soon enough Tefillin and Shabbos will become a task and burden for you.

Stop reading books and blogs that hurt your inherent Emunah Pshutoh. Do it for your kids if for nothing else.

Anonymous said...

Neo-Tzig: You wrote, "Scientific information we now have may not match the interpretation of Chazal."

How does this affect you on a practical level? Does this bother you?

Anonymous said...

to believe Scientists who are prejudiced at best over Chazal is nothing short of assinine.

Hirshel Tzig - הירשל ציג said...

May I take issue with the final part of your statement, NT?

Since when is the Hungarian model, which was 1/4 or less the size of Hungarian Jewry, comparable to the Russian/Polish model? How can you look at these 2 and declare one a winner?

Anonymous said...

BTW, it is silly to compare the 'Russian model’ with the Hungarian one solely based on the pre-war 'results'. One has to remember that from 1917 until 1939 the Russian Jews lived under the communist oppression... Would the Hungarian Jews fare any better under similar conditions?

Anonymous said...

BTW,it is silly to dare diagree with 'berl, crown heights' he is always 'right', always obscene always partisan. (failed 'wannabee' shliach syndrome ??)

Anonymous said...

What exactly did I say that was "obscene"? What exactly do you find yourself wanting to disagree with in my comments in this thread?
Most importantly, one can be a failed sheliach or a sheliach-wannabe, but how can one possibly be a "failed wannabe sheliach"?

Anonymous said...

Sorry that I'm late to the party.

Far from being symptomatic of your frumkeit slipping I think that, by and large, these are signs of psycho-spiritual maturation.

Just as tribe and gender are factors so too is age a factor in our ruchniyos. We were not meant to apprehend G-d and Torah at 80 as we did at 18 or what’s a lifetime of learning and experience for? And although the Besht said az der gantza kunst iz nisht ahlt tsu veren this means to stay vital and to continue learning. It is not another way of saying az der gantza kunst iz tsu blaibin bai dee kinderisha hasoges. It’s not by accident that Shlomo HaMelech's ruach HaKodesh filtered out as shir hashirim when young, as Mishlei in his prime and as Koheles as an old man.

However I would quibble on a few of the particulars:

In #1 you express a belief that Tsadikim err foolishly and often. Whereas error and folly are almost synonymous I believe that they err far more infrequently than do non-tsadikim/Chachomim. Absent that belief why bother with any emunas Chachomim at all? If they are just as likely to err as I am why not just proceed with my own sechel enoshi in all matters and never ask an eitsah or hadrokha(or even search for these in seforim)?

In # 4 I think you’ve lowered the bar of ahavas yisroel all the way down to the level of generic kovod habriyos.

Should we not treat Ohrntlicher goyim (I’m not talking Jew-Haters or Pereh Odoms now) with “respect and fair-dealing” (Please tell me your not from those who hold that all goyim are there for us to exploit and be noikem sins of other goyim on). Assuming this is so, isn’t it obvious that some higher standard is demanded of us vis a vis our fellow Jews?

TM (Jewlicious) said...

Uh oh, you sound a little like me...and I belong to a Conservative congregation. :)

Anonymous said...

Berl said,

He knew about the existential angst. Yet the yiddishkeit he pushed for was that of black-and-white emunoh peshutoh.

And I believe it is this matter that bothers TA. If its true that for the Rebbe everything is black and white how come it seems leadership of the corporation is so black and evil? It questions the very core belief system to see the three goons on top act like common human beings with all their weaknesses and worse. The foundation of all that chassidus claims to represent is greatly shaken when Krinsky Kotlarsky and Shemtov and all his goons act like cold hearted murderers.

TA isn't questioning his own faith, his own faith is firm and strong I believe he questions the products all around him who claim to have this faith and in practice will rip a persons heart out alive.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry instead of TA I meant neo-tzig. Well well It's almost about the same type of philosophical pondering's and has a common underlying reason for questioning.

Anonymous said...

As long as a person has an inner personal dialog with G-d all the rest revolves around it. This is still the most important reality to lose.

kishke said...

The chiyuv is to love, but not necessarily to like. That takes care of all problems.

Anonymous said...

Ca. Rabbi,
I think you are projecting your own issues onto Neo-Tzig. What he wrote about has nothing to do with the topics you raised.

Hirshel Tzig - הירשל ציג said...

Ca. Rabbi: A little self-containment would do you much good.

TA: thanks for the link.

Anonymous said...


if it's dialogue with G-d that you seek then Breslov is the place for you. There they speak out their issues during Hisbodedus and always "concede" that G-d is right and just in his ways. Other groups just get upset and leave G-d's path.

My opinion.

Anonymous said...

Ca. Rabbi

The ones that feel that the leadership is "evil" are one of these groups.

1) those that were hurt by them, whether fired, pushed out from positions, or just had it out with them. Be it justified or not those people don't forgive. (Shluchim like Lieberow in Flatbush come to mind, although they take all his crap when evil ones would have booted him long ago.)

2) those that never met them and heard in the local Mikveh that they're to be hated, yet he doesn't know why. (Yellow flagwavers from Safed etc.)

3) Those that are upset at Lubavitch in general and now take it out on them. (TA comes to mind)

I fall into another category. I'm upset at them for NOT doing enough to curb the lunacy and anarchism that prevails amongst some in Crown Heights and beyond.

You seem to have been hurt by the Merkos, and seem to fit into category 1. Yet you claim to be a Lubavitcher for whom Lubavitch is dear to him. How can you defame Lubavitch so much? You sit and foam at the mouth about Krinsky, Kotlarsky and Shemtov when most Shluchim today have nothing but heaps of praise for the Merkos. Words like "murderers" and "goons" seem to be a bit over the top here, don't you think?

If all it is is a personal matter, and I may have an idea who could be so nasty, then come out and say it! Say that you were wronged. This has to stop.

Anonymous said...

My apologies for being absent yesterday – I spent the day dealing with an infected wisdom tooth which was ultimately, thank G-d, extracted.

I appreciate all the advice and comments, especially Chaim G., and I’ll respond to R’ Chaim first:

1. I don’t think err = folly. What I mean is that I believe a tzaddik can mishandle or take a position that can be mistaken, and may even backfire. Throughout Tanach, Shas, and Jewish history there are countless examples of this, and I don’t think it needs to be a stira. Honestly I question the source of the notion altogether… I would really like to see a mekor for this idea other than what mashpeim like to tell us.
To me, emunas chachomim means that I believe tzaddikim are getliche mentchen. They even have superhuman perceptions and understanding. They can be poel yeshuos, and I surely give them the benefit of the doubt and assume they generally aren’t wrong. Also, this is mostly academic, because I agree that we are (generally speaking) to follow them even if they are wrong – just like we follow a Rav’s psak even if he is mistaken and we are obligated to follow the kohen’s determination whether certain nega is tzoraas or not, regardless of the accuracy of his determine. But that does not mean that they can’t ever be mistaken in my book. I am (obviously) avoiding specifics here because they are really not the point right now.

2. Please describe ahavas yisroel, then tell me if it’s REALLY possible (and please don’t give me some pie in the sky meaningless mumbo jumbo).

Anonymous said...

neo tzig, what constitutes a tzadik in your opinion?

if you don't agree with neo's comments, how could you post such non-orthodox, let alone non-lubavitch, views? or are you selling your soul for the popularity, rating & the amount of comments your blog builds up?

if you do agree with... why do you pose as lubavitch hassid?

Anonymous said...


BTW, I am, I was, and I remain a Lubavitcher (although I may be a Lubavitcher for different reasons than most). I hope to actually explain this in the near future IY"H.

Also, what about these thoughts do you take issue with and support do you have to say that they cant fit with Orthodoxy or Lubavitch?

Anonymous said...

R' Nachman of Breslev said: "A tzaddik can make mistakes, and the tzaddik remains a tzaddik while the mistake remains a mistake."

Anonymous said...

'just like we follow a Rav’s psak even if he is mistaken '

Neo Tzig,
The above, from you, is not true at all. You are mixing up a special halochah from kidush hachodesh.

Breslever allready posted the famous vort from R'Nachman about what 'the velt maint'

Hirshel Tzig - הירשל ציג said...


I'm trying to help my friend here. If I was interested in my ratings I would besmirch, degrade, and slander lots of people. It's not me.

Anonymous said...


I would think that the Vort from Reb Nachman furthers the point here. Namely, that the mistake doesn't become "part of the Tzaddik", but rather the tzaddik remains unblemished.

Anonymous said...

Neo-Tzig: Could you cite one specific example of where the Lubavitcher Rebbe erred or made a mistake in your opinion?

Anonymous said...

Now that you’ve elaborated we are in basic agreement on point #1

2. Please describe ahavas yisroel, then tell me if it’s REALLY possible (and please don’t give me some pie in the sky meaningless mumbo jumbo).

I’ll try my best although mumbo jumbo is in the palate of the jambalaya ingester.

Ahavas Yisroel is ahava directed towards a Yisroel. Generic ahava includes feelings of affection, tenderness, patience, gratitude, esteem, trust, unconsciousness or marginalization of the love-objects faults and errors and, most of all, a desire to give to the love-object. When these feelings are directed towards a Yid, and in particular towards the Yiddishkeit/getlikhkeit of that yid that’s my definition of ahavas yisroel.

Now the chicken/ egg causality relationship between loving and giving is subtle and tricky. They are basically a cheerful cycle. But Rav Dessler z”l established that, in fact, we love those whom we give, not the other way around.

As ahavas yisroel is a mitzvah, like any other mitzvah it takes a willful exercise of bechira and continued effort to fulfill and shtaig in. Also, as with other mitzvahs, certain people, based on how hard they work at it, their shorshei haNeshoma and T’chunos HaNefesh, have an easier time with it than do others. It IS hard, and as our continued golus testifies, perhaps harder than any other mitzvah, but it is not impossible. ain HKB”H buh B’Trunia im breyosov.

I’m hardly exemplary in this department so it’s not my place to write a primer. But I have an insight that might be helpful. The velt says that “familiarity breeds contempt”. Ever see the moshol in Gulliver’s Travels when the tiny Gulliver lands on a gigantic beauty’s face and sees the repulsive equivalent of a greasy, toxic lunar landscape? Sometimes we are too close to our brethrens peshoim for ahava to be mechaseh. Many of us, especially klei Kodesh, have no human relationships at all with nochrim. I don’t have a good eitzha but, paradoxically, our insular self-imposed ghettos that have kept so much goyishkeit out have also (owing to our lack of real interaction with those truly different, hateful towards and contemptible by, us) created an ambiance where we focus and harp on each others faults and the minutiae that divides us rather than on the Torah and laiv echod that unites us.

I have a Yeshivish friend who once interviewed for a high-school Rebbee’s job at an MO Yeshiva. After a good model lesson and towards the end of a long interview the Menahel asked him “So tell me. What are your feelings about Yom Ha'atzmaut?” he responded “Main tayara Menahel, based on our exchanges so far we are more or less in agreement on how to be mechanench the kids here the other 364 days of the year. Are you going to tell me we can’t work together because we disagree about how to handle ONE day?” Needless to say he did not get the job. But I think that this ma’aseh brings the phenomenon that I’ve been describing into sharp relief. I f we have any hopes ever being more than feuding Sunnis and Shi’ites absent the rifles and cut-throat proclivities, if we ever hope to get beyond the “Judaism-reduced-to-color-war” matzav that we find ourselves in we should give more davka to those yidden most different than us, and seeing the much that unites us instead of the klainikeitin that divide us, close ranks. This is what the Holocaust survivors had the good sense and survival instincts to do in the T’kufa immediately following the war.

Anonymous said...


I like you already.

Honestly, I don't know if it is possible to "LOVE" (I guess that’s a term that needs to be defined as well) EVERY Jew.

There are Jews that are cruel, unfriendly, distasteful, disgusting, aggressive, etc. There many are groups of Jews with extremely different views, ideals, goals and attitudes. There are Jews who take advantage of others and people who are taken advantage of. There are jews that would walk over your dead body for a dollar...
Sure, it's easy to say "Love the sinner, hate the sin" (although it's used by christians), but on a practical level I can tell you right now that I have never met a normal everyday Jew (we'll leave tzaddikim out of this conversation)in any of the many communities that i have passed through that can - or does - do this. And to "force" or 'demand" that I have affection for certain people is not just impossible but unhealthy and ridiculous.
I believe this creates one of the following scenarios:

1. People give up trying and relegate the words ahavas yisroel to the realm of lip-service.
2. Incredible angst.

Thats why I want it reexamined. A friend called me about this issue. He told me a very beautiful pshat from Ibn Ezra (I was still suffering from my tooth extraction last night so my memory cannot be relied upon as perfect, so please look it up – I will try to do so this evening): V’ahavta l’reacha komocha is an odd wording; seemingly it should say veahavta es reacha komocha (to be defined the way we usually translate it). Therefore, Ibn Ezra is medayek on the lamed to be understood: Be happy [when something good happens] to your fellow Jew just as you would had it occurred to you…

Now isn’t that a much more achievable, healthy and realistic goal?

bpunbound said...


I wish you would have been so talkative Moitzo'ei Shabbos. I wouldn't have left so early.

As to your thesis:

1) So what. This is not new. Moshe Rabbeinu erred. This somehow negates his status a tzaddik and Nosi Hador? Or that we're any less connected to him?

Or, put another, very extreme way, somebody's dad is not a very good guy at all. Is his obligation to honor and obey him any less?

Get over it (as you say), it’s not my problem if my Rebbe is human. As long as I know he's a Rebbe and mine, then the bullet won't do any harm at all (to paraphrase R' Shmuel).

2) Another so what. The two operative words you used were "now" and "may".

Last read of Webster defined science as accumulated knowledge systematized and formulated with reference to the operation of general laws. Nothing immutable there. Laws today are tomorrow cast in the dustbin of history, as the detritus of past civilizations serve as the foundation for future societies.

Or, only G-d is absolute!

3) Could you flesh that out a bit?

4) Get off it. Just 'cause you can't love a Rasha Gamur like you do a tzaddik (who can?), does it make it any less true?

And if tomorrow the Jew you deal with respectfully and fairly decides to bash you in the head, does the bar get lowered again?

I'm not yet prepared to tear Perek Lamed Beis out of my Tanya, regardless of how little of it I comprehend and even less observe.

Anonymous said...

Berl you are right. I did not read this entire blog. I saw the link on TAs' blog and figured it was something about 'his' ongoing situation so I commented wrongly for this subject.

now to neo tzig and my great response.

#1,Tzadikim vi nisht vi are human beings. They are, the greatest human beings on the face of this earth. Halevai their mistakes in my life. Halevai I err in following their mistakes than do right by my own judgement.

#2, When you compare Science versus Chazal it depends who in Chazal you are talking about. For some people modern day shmendricks are Chazal not for everyone else. The prophetess Chuldah had one opinion about war and Yirmiyohu had another. Only one was right.

Science is an ongoing quest for understanding physical matter, The practices of Torah and how a Jew should live are forever right, for a Jew.

#3, For some farkrumteh Rabbonim it actually does seem like Yiddishkeit is gray. Because for every issue there is a relative response and its always moving. For Rabbonim who have shtolz as the Rebbe once said, in Torah it's either right or wrong there is no gray area. (lefi erech ;-)

#4, There are so few people who really practice true Ahavas Yisroel that it may lead one to believe its impossible, however the Torah only expects from us the possible.

A Jew must constantly nourish his soul with faith as he does his body with food. Without the constant learning of Chassidus a person will dry out.

Neo Tzig. Even though sometimes we judge a product by it's statistical success rate, don't do that with Torah. Very few people actually observe Torah consciously and corectly (it isn't all that easy). For many it's more a robotic pattern of life . To those who consciously follow Torah and implement it's instructions there is long life and good years.

Anonymous said...

Menachem Begin
I would respectfully post about where I and many others believe the Rebbe erred , but don't believe that Tzig will allow it to remain.
I'll post one thought for now:The matsav in Lubavitch today with the fighting,moshichist etc. is because it is leaderless.The Rebbe could have done something about it...

Anonymous said...

Therefore, Ibn Ezra is medayek on the lamed to be understood: Be happy [when something good happens] to your fellow Jew just as you would had it occurred to you…Now isn’t that a much more achievable, healthy and realistic goal?

Adderabah. This is an incredibly exalted madreigah. Rav Chaim Shmulevitz z"l has a Shmuess where he says that noiseh B'simcha im Chaveiro is an even greater darga than noiseh B'Ol im Chaveiro. I think that A can be very fond of B but still have mixed emotions of happiness and wistful envy/oppression /failure/ inadequacy @ B's simcha. That Goyisha Kop Antesehmitt Gore Vidal once said(I paraphrase) "Every time I see one of my friends succeeding I die a little bit." It takes a real selfless/Yaishus free, Ohavah Yosair m'gufoi- love bibcheenas chesed shel emmes (looking for nothing in return)to achieve what the IE taitched in the posuk.

Refueh Shlaima on the tooth. remember Novocain doesn’t kill pain. It merely postpones it.

Hirshel Tzig - הירשל ציג said...

Chaim G

you're a geshmak to read, but maybe you can either italicize the many Hebrew words you write, or better yet, write 'em in Hebrew.

Anonymous said...

Shkoyach. You aint too shabby yourself.
ain habayshan loimaid
I admit my ignorance and lack of tech savvy. I don't know how to write in Hebrew /Yiddish in halo scan. Could you teach me?

Hirshel Tzig - הירשל ציג said...

Thanks for the comment, but what's the connection to ביישן?

1) this isn't Haloscan, it used blogger.

2) If you have Hebrew added to your languages then you can probably switch back and forth just by clicking left shift+alt, together that is. If not you need to add Hebrew, with Windows XP it's simple.

Anonymous said...

I'll try it and BL"N get back to you.
If you wnat to see some of my posts and comments with hardly any of the Yinglish you will find a lot of them on (They have a very different readership there)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the brocha. Honestly I dont have this problem with being happy if something good happens to someone, and I can feel bad when something bad happens to someone - even though I cannot create a deep feeling of "love" for that person.

#1 & 2: No, no, no - you misunderstood. Maybe reread what I wrote in the comments above. I was pretty much saying what you just said.

And Let's be realistic about the mitva of ahavas yisroel. If the mitzva isnt possible, then I think weve misunderstiood it.

Anonymous said...


Davke Ahavas Yisroel is what you have a problem with? That's the most difficult Mitzvah?

Anonymous said...

CA Rabbi,
1. I agree
2. I agree
3. Debatable
4. Disagree

The mitzva of Ahavas Yisroel sounds great untill we figure out that were talking about loving another Jew, not another Jew loving us. So, let's define love here: Is love on an intimate level - or is this love more of a compassion?
1. Can't be; it's simply impossible
2. I can do that.

Anonymous said...

And by Yiddishkeit being grey, I mean that there are large grey areas in hashkofa, halacha, and how Yiddishkeit defines what is acceptable & unacceptable...

yitz said...

1) tzaddikim (are not meant to rely on themselves being tzaddikim while they are still alive.) When we see one err, we have to believe they do teshuva.. that's the jewish byline, even moshe rabeinu sinned. [Nevermind what the baal shem tov says about judging others..there's no end to the depth of that torah.]
2) scientific information will flip flop a hundred thousand times in the next few years. anyone who thinks pshat is pashut is foolish. But I have yet to see ANY scientific data that doesn't coroborate with an appropriate reading of sippur maaseh bereishit.
3) Yiddishkeit has (almost) always been grey, what were you thinking. that's what galut is. Piskei halacha perform berurim for exactly that reason, the psak turns the grey into black/white. (read the daily tanya it's speaking to this issue right now!!. ps. i'm not a chabadnik.)
4)Ahavat Yisrael is a virtually unattainable goal. According to the Notzer Hesed (Komarna) the point where you utterly love all of klal yisrael and appreciate each one of them in their uniqueness (and see how much better they are than you) is actually a level of ruach hakodesh bestowed by God. Besides, what's wrong with an unattainable goal?!? Utter humility and never getting angry are unattainable goals too.. but their constant pursuit only serves to improve the individual and the world.

Anonymous said...


Torah is " wider than the earth and broader than the seas". there are many variables for the many circumstances that are possible. Once a qualified Rov tells YOU what needs to be done it becomes clear the will of G-d, for YOU.

Torah offers clear and concise direction how to reach to this "prescription".
What a person chooses to do, is ALWAYS either right or gray as in wishwashy, the here and there kind of stuff.

Ahavas Yisroel means to see a fellow Jew as an extension of yourself. Maybe even as the best part of your own existence. Treat the other as you treat yourself or more accurately Don't do to the other what you wouldn't like done to yourself.

The two above thoughts take thinking into it to appreciate the depth of these explanations --which are both not mine.

Anonymous said...

1. We're not necessarily in disagreement here - let's put it this way: can we can agree that there are countless black areas and just as many white areas...

2. You say:

"Ahavas Yisroel means to see a fellow Jew as an extension of yourself. Maybe even as the best part of your own existence."

Are you sure? What about the Jew that is, let's say, a real jerk, a crook, despicable or worse....

bpunbound said...


I am in agreement totally with your assesment that we are agreeing. Agreed?

There, I feel much better.

At your leisure, please bring some color to that grey area comment.

And, give a guy a hand with his Ahavas Yisroel and let him know when your tooth is ailing so he can say a Kapital Tehillim on your behalf.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the varme verter!

I said above: "And by Yiddishkeit being grey, I mean that there are large grey areas in hashkofa, halacha, and how Yiddishkeit defines what is acceptable & unacceptable..."

Growing up I was told that there is right & wrong, and virtually everything falls into one of those categories. I have come to comclude that, although that may not technically be false, the "right and wrong" of it all really depends - and it depends so much that can even be virtually impossible to know what G-d want's in many situations.

Anonymous said...

In medicine and in law what makes a doctor or a lawyer great is the power of discernment.

Wisdom in itself can not only become confusing it can lead a person in the wrong direction. A true Rov with a head on his shoulders and Yiras Hashem will always give you a straight clear and concise sense of direction.

As far as Ahavas Yisroel. Let's say one of your limbs were a jerk. A crooked finger for example. Every time you pick up your hand, there goes the jerk....

The same way you would deal with that jerk, that's how we should deal with. The jerk.

Anonymous said...

CA Rabbi,
Nothing personal, but if I hear the body moshul again I think I'm gonna puke.
Can't anyone say anything practical here? Have Jews all become slaves to abstract parables that deal with nothing real?????

Anonymous said...


Stop carrying on, will you please. 1) The first step towards Ahavas Yisroel is Bittul HaYesh, stop loving yourself and what YOU decide is right, and loving others will come easier.

2) Remember that you're being Mekayem a Mitzvah, no less than shaking Lulav, that should be somewhat of a motivator too.

Anonymous said...

More empty words? Very impressive. I see that the approach most people take is to kick the whole Ahavas Yisroel thing down to the level of lip service.
Limbs, bittul, bla, bla, bla. let me see you try it for read. You are so full of baloney it's sad. But hey, if these types of platitudes make you feel good, who am I to argue?

Anonymous said...


if you please I can put it into simpler, less lofty words, words that even a non-believer like yourself can understand.

The first step towards loving others is to forget about your own stature, or place in society. That helps put other people in perspective, they're not so terrible anymore. From there it's a breeze.

There's a reason that Chassidus emphasizes Bittul and Ahavas Yisroel so much: They're very much dependant on each other, and you can't have AY without Bittul. Boduk U'Minusoh.

Anonymous said...



You know, I really can't have a dialogue with people that are out to lunch. When you have an honest moment in your life, try again - I am saddened by the labotomization that they gave you... Lubavitch didn't used to be that way. Oh well.
Please save the slogans for your next attempt at mivtzaim.

Anonymous said...

You seem angry, NT, I'm not sure at what. Try to figure out the source of the anger.

Anonymous said...

Yiddishkeit has (almost) always been grey, what were you thinking. that's what galut is. Piskei halacha perform berurim for exactly that reason,

Beautifully put Yitz. I just have a question. Do greater talmidei Chachomim have relatively speaking more B&W and less grey, or, like a mountain climber ascending the foothills obscuring his view of higher peaks in the range, do the earlier sets of Birurim lead to whole new plateaus of understanding that, when first encountered, seem like even larger murky, undifferentiated masses of Klipas Nogah?

I'm far from a Talmid Chochom but if the answer is yes then there is no s'tira between you’re contention and Hershel’s metamorphosis into neo-Tzig.

Anonymous said...


You're not following me.
As to your latest comment, replace the word "angry" with "frustrated," and the source is people who refuse to think. I can repeat the same fluff about ahavas yisroel that we've all heard a million times too. That's not what I am looking for here.
I'm not saying that what you're saying is false, but I am looking for something that addresses the REAL LIFE ON THE GROUND situation. If you don't understand what I am talking about, then don't bother trying to solve it.

R' Chaim,

BTW, Neo-Tzig isn't Hirshel - Neo Tzig is a friend of Hirshel's that took care of the "tent" while he was abroad.

I realize that the Grey vs. B&W statemnt was somewhat vague. But that's beacuse it has so many ramifications. I'll use three quick and simple examples (I'm just pulling three out of nowhere, there atre many more you can come up with):

Q: What is the halacha in a specific matter?
A: It's a machlokes. It depends on who you hold like, which minhagim you follow, the specific case and people also make a difference.

Q: What is the Torah standpoint about issue X, Y or Z?
A: Depends on which school of thought we decide to take here...

Q: What was the Rebbe's position about issue X, Y or Z?
A: Many people will tell you that it is one specific thing - but usually it depends. There were different answers to different people at different times, etc.

Hirshel Tzig - הירשל ציג said...




met‧a‧mor‧pho‧sis  /ˌmɛtəˈmɔrfəsɪs/

1. Biology. a profound change in form from one stage to the next in the life history of an organism, as from the caterpillar to the pupa and from the pupa to the adult butterfly. Compare complete metamorphosis.

2. a complete change of form, structure, or substance, as transformation by magic or witchcraft.

3. any complete change in appearance, character, circumstances, etc.

Is that what you think happened to me?

Anonymous said...

You know H, you've been (theoretically) missing in this conversation (unless, of course, you are anonymous ;-)

Hirshel Tzig - הירשל ציג said...

Now, why would I be anonymous, and which one anyway?

Anonymous said...

My bad. I really did think Hirshl and Neo-tzig were the same fellow.

Anyway my use of "metamorphosis" was probably more Kafkaesque than biological. The sense that you wake up one morning and as a result of an attitudinal shift you are a misfit, a whole new critter, among your old chevra and faith community.

So now I'm confused to whom do I say Yasher Koach for comment mining and posting me and to whom do I wish a refuah Shlaima?

Hirshel Tzig - הירשל ציג said...


Thank me for the mining, thank Neo-tzig for everything else.

yitz said...

Chaim G.

imho, the higher you get (talmid chacham-wise) the bigger the berurim and the bigger the grey, BUT, the more evident the siata d'shmaya)

but i'll tell you if i ever get there ;)

I'm sorry you don't have a mashpia who can answer these questions.. imho it's a very american afliction to resort to making yourself a rav rather than finding one who can actually answer your questions. Since you are (i guess) experiencing the second-generation results of this.. you're at a particular loss as most of the mashpiim have had undoubtedly no mashpia.

but i think that is one of the characteristics of this lengthy galut.. it just starts to look darker and darker.. i guess i can only thank God that here in yerushalayim there are real tzaddikim and talmidei hachamim who have answers. (certainly those appropriate to someone at my limited level.)

Anonymous said...


We've both acknowledged that we're not there yet. You're still young, in my case I've basically been m'yaesh of ever getting there (certainly won't if I continue devoting/wasting so mush time and energy blogging). But you do have the resources of mashpia trained mashpi'im and Talmidei Chachomim. Please be kind enough to put the question to them. Trough this technological wonder perhaps we too can tap into your human resources.

PS I left a comment on the newest post on your blog. Have a look.

Hirshel Tzig - הירשל ציג said...


ever try asking a Shayleh in New York? It's not easy finding a Rov (I speak of Boro Park, where there are something like 300 shuls!)

No wonder people here don't bother asking Rabbonim. Whom do you speak of when you mention Mashpi'im /Rabbonim in yerushalayim? I mean people you can actually speak to for a while.