Monday, September 3, 2007

Dixie Yid's Take On the Bilvavi Author Starting Out Anonymously

Here's my take on why the author of the seforim Bilvavi Mishkan Evneh, started off anonymously, from a Hashgacha Pratis perspective. If everyone knew who the author was at the very beginning when the seforim first began to come out about 3 years ago, then I believe that it would have been an impediment to the wide ranging acceptance the seforim have had. As it is, during his visit to the Eastern United States, Rav Shwartz spoke to Litvish Yeshivos, Kollelim and Baalabatim, Sephardi Yeshivos and Kollelim and Baalabatim, a Chassidishe kollel, a modern orthodox yeshiva, and to numerous FFB and BT Baalabatim from all backgrounds.

I believe that some would not have given the seforim a chance, if they knew who the author was at the beginning. Many might have said that the author is too young. Others would have said that since he's not coming from a Chassidisheh background, or their particular Chassidishe background, it's not for them. And Sephardim might dismiss it because it's from an Ashkenazi Rav.

As it was, no one knew who the author was or what his background or "denominational affiliation" was. Therefore, the seforim were judged based on their content, not the group affiliation of the author. Since the seforim draw light from many different paths in avodas Hashem and Torah, everyone saw the teachings of their own group in his writings. Everyone figured, "Look at what he says here, he's a Breslover!" "He's Sephardi!" "He's a Litvak!" "He's a Lubavitcher!" Since everyone saw the amazing clarity and direction that the seforim provided in focusing an individual's avodah in this world, they accepted it for its content, notwithstanding the mysterious identity of its author. Before you know it, the seforim were being studied in Litvish yeshivos, Chassidishe communities, Sephardi Shuls, and modern orthodox enclaves.

In the past 3 months, as the author's identity has become known, people are finding out that the author has a certain background, but that he draws his teachings from a unification of many different sources. This is why everyone was able to see their own mesorah in his teachings. Once they were learning the seforim and it had become accepted in their communities, people weren't going to stop learning them, simply because of some difference between the author's background and their own. It is for this exceedingly great advantage that I believe much good has come from the author starting out anonymously.

I told Rav Weinberger this theory of mine in the conversation that I wrote about before. He very much liked the idea, and in a subsequent conversation, told me that he told over my thought to Rav Shwartz himself!

We should all be zocheh to internalize the message of consciousness of Hashem at all times, that Rav Shwartz teaches about in his seforim!

-Dixie Yid

(Picture courtesy of Yoram Raanan)

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

what is his background?

Anonymous said...

litvack I guess

DixieYid said...

Yes, I believe his background is Litvish. But if we focus on the past and piogenhole the Rav with certain assumptions, we will be shortchanging ourselves. Be well!

-Dixie Yid

Anonymous said...

I have been going to the Rav's shiurim in Yeryshalayim for the past 2 months and have come to the conclusion NOT to even think about the Rav's "background." It really is not important- what is important is slowly learning the sforim and integrating them. Believe me- in the short period of time since I first saw his Bilvavi Mishkan Evena in Woodmere after Pesach my being has undergone a transformation!

Anonymous said...

On the other hand many didn't look at them at all, precisely because of not knowing who the author was.

A Talmid said...

Interesting. I told a friend almost the same exact thing. If people would know he he is they wouldn't learn what is an awesom sefer. It's like the old Moshiach comes to town story and everyone rejects him because he doesn't dress the way they do. Yasher Koach for helping to publicize this great sefer.

DixieYid said...

A Talmid, you're right. It's a lot like that story. Thanks for reminding me of that. It is also quite apropos that you mention that since the Rav's theme is so often the Oro Shel Moshiach which does transcend different "brands" of Yiddishkeit.

-Dixie Yid