Monday, November 18, 2013

My Guest Post at Circus Tent - Intro to Rav Moshe Weinberger's Teachings and Response to Comments

I enjoyed reading Reb Hirschel Tzig's recent post at Circus Tent about the inspiring Rosh Chodesh Kislev farbrengen held by Rav Weinberger at YU but I was dismayed by the smallness, disrespect, and ignorance displayed in many of the comments. I know it's the Internet and many comment sections in the world are populated by such commenters, but I was unable to forget about these comments without putting a response "on the record." For the sake of the majority of readers there who did not comment, and perhaps against my better judgment, I offered to write a response to the majority of Circus Tent readers who may not be aware of the ignorance of many of the commenters. Baruch Hashem, Hirshel Tzig was gracious enough to accept my offer.

Please see below for the introductory comments at the beginning of my guest post or you can click here to read the full post. I encourage my Dixie Yid readers to contribute voices of reasonableness and sanity to the comment section there and I discourage people from making disparaging or insulting comments in response to any small-minded comments you read. I don't think anything is gained by sinking to the lowest common denominator of the Internet comment world.

Here are the first few paragraphs of the guest post:
First of all, thank you to Reb Hirshel Tzig for publishing this guest post so that I can share some information and thoughts about my rebbe, Rav Moshe Weinberger, shlita, who I see as one of the greatest mashpi'im in our generation. I do this with the recognition that although it is absurd for an ant like myself to "explain" Rav Weinberger to those who are not yet familiar with him, the comment section of Reb Hirschel Tzig's recent post about the inspiring Rosh Chodesh Kislev farbrengen held at YU convinced me that many Circus Tent readers may benefit from some additional insight into this very special Rav.
My biggest hurdle is, as Rav Weinberger said about Rav Kalonymous Kalmish Shapira, Hy"d, the "Aish Kodesh," at that tzadik's hilula a few years ago, is "For those who are not yet familiar with his teachings, how does one explain that this [is] not 'just another rabbi?'" The only way for readers to truly get a sense of why Rav Weinberger's teachings are so vital for our generation is by listening to at least one series of his shiurim. I recommend starting with one of the series of shiurim on the teachings of the Baal Hatanya, Bilvavi Mishkan Evneh, or Rav Kook. You can also read some of  his recent Shabbos morning drashos on my blog here. Nevertheless, I will try to hit a few roshei perkaim and point those interested in learning more toward some helpful sources.
My only basis for speaking on the issue is the fact that I have been a student of Rav Weinberger's in Woodmere for about nine years and a student-from-afar of Rav Weinberger's for about twelve years. Readers should note that the views I express here are my own and I am not an "official" spokesperson or gabai for Rav Weinberger. Any mistakes in attempting to characterize Rav Weinberger's teachings are my own.
In terms of format, I will address the topic by responding to many of the misimpressions expressed in certain of the comments to Reb Hirshel Tzig's post according to the categories listed below. In doing so, I am intentionally looking past the profound bizui talmidei chachamim, smallness, and ignorance in which many commenters enclothed their "analysis." I'm also numbering the paragraphs so I can refer to the paragraphs in this guest post if a comment raises a point or points I've already addressed here either explicitly or implicitly. Life is short. Here are the general types of comments/"complaints" organized by category:
  • It is problematic that Rav Weinberger does not limit his self-identification and teachings to Chabad chassidus 
    • It is problematic that Rav Weinberger cannot be pinned down to clear Chabad/Chagas/MO/Litvish labels 
    • Rav Weinberger's teachings are not penimius/derech arucha u'tzetzara. They're "Poilishe bubeh maasehs," fireworks, and pomp to appeal to the masses and are without tochen.
    • YU should be ctiticized for hiring a chasidish mashgiach and thereby abandoning their Brisker/Litvish/RYB Soloveitchik heritage (I'll explain below why I place this in the "Rav Weinberger is not Chabad" complaint category)
  • How can a Rav who learned in YU and is "worldly" credibly be considered a "Rebbe?"
  • Rav Weinberger appeals to the chevra at YU because they are starved for spirituality
  • Rav Weinberger appeals to the chevra at YU because he teaches Rav Kook

CLICK HERE to read the full guest post!

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1 comment:

yidel said...

Dixie Yid, I follow your blog almost daily and always agree with you. However, having read Reb Hirshel Tzig's recent post and those people who commented on it, I must respectfully disagree with your position to, "intentionally look past the profound bizui talmidei chachamim". I feel that I must stand here and be moche the azus, the zilzul talmidei chachamim, and the consequent chillul Hashem caused by it. People hide behind the anonymous veil of the blogs/internet and are moireh heter to say whatever they want. I want to remind all of them of the posuk, "Hanistaros L'Hashem Elokeinu". Let them keep that in mind before they hit the send button posting their venomous and vile comments against our Rabbonim, Talmeidei Chachhomim and Gedolim.
In the meantime, Dixie Yid, Please continue your Avodas Hakodesh Litovas Haklal! Ashrecha!