Monday, March 10, 2014

GUEST POST: A Reflection on Yesterday's Atzeres Tefillah

Thank you for Dixie Yid's encouragement to post the following thoughts I exchanged with him over email. 

On the train ride to the Atzeres, I read Dixie Yid's reflections here on living outside the box. His personal reflection made me dive into my "box," a working out-of-town "Baal Teshuvah" heading to a event defined for the "Charedi" velt. 

My experiences and growth in Torah have been a multifaceted and this year has been no different. I spent Rosh Hashanah in Uman and on Chanukah I was at a IDF base behind the green line passing my son around to soldiers. Today I was davening next to Satmar Chassidim and crying with them. 

Labels are the most divisive thing possible. 

I feel like my life would be so boring if I couldn't appreciate and learn from The Lonely Man of Faith, an IDF solider, or a Satmir Chassid. 

The Atzeres itself was a few hours of my life that strengthened my connection to Torah and my Emunah. The Ribono Shel Olam had to have nachas from the event. This is not the place to discuss my motivations for going but after putting aside the issues, one is left with a picture of tens of thousands of Yidden davening from their hearts, many with tears on their faces. No pushing, no yelling, and no signs. Just davening to Hashem for Limud Hatorah. there was only one pre-written statement at end and the rest was Tefillah. 

While trying to extract some mussar from the event, the following question was left in my head: Perhaps if we can look past the Chizonious (the issues/motivations) of the events/people, will the Penimius of Yidden looking for a deep connection to Emet will shine through?

The more we stand together from all spectrums the faster the Geulah will come. 

Am Yisrael Chai! 

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micha berger said...

The pnimius of the event, though, has SERIOUS problems.

1- It is based on the idea that the Hesder lifestyle is a threat to Judaism. Not that there are multiple ways to serve G-d. Or that risking one's life for another Jew might actually have its own qedushah.

2- It is a protest against a government for running out of money and patience after supporting a lifestyle for 65 years. Rather than a thank you for the past 65.

3- They actually called upon G-d to "pour out Your Anger upon the nations who do not know You, and upon the kingdoms which do not call out in Your name." (Tehillim kapitl 79 was among those recited in Manhattan.) Really? This is how you talk about other Jews?

Along the same lines: Why take to the streets in a non-Jewish country to complain about other Jews? If this is really about tefillah, why not reserve space in Boro Park or W-burg?

Marc said...

Thank you Micha. As I said in my post I am not here to discuss/debate.

In my humble opinion no one is protesting the Hesder lifestyle or the IDF. There was a great article my R' Moshe Grylak here:

On your question why wasn't this held in BP or W-Burg is simple. There was not enough room. I heard from someone that they wanted to have it there but couldn't.

micha berger said...

You should not have pointed me to R' Moshe Grylak's far from great article. He opens with a huge distortion of truth. Illegalizing draft evasion is not illegalizing learning. It's a lie on the front page of Mishpacha and no more honest when repeated.

You also shouldn't go to a rally and then refuse to stand up for what you did. They called down G-d's wrath on the people who fund the chareidi infrastructure and risk their lives keeping the country safe. This is a kafui tovah of unprecedented dimensions, and a denial of membership in the Jewish People that (as we shall say in the hagadah) is tantamount to heresy. Not something I would EVER admit in public I attended.

Marc said...

Thank you Micha. I stand behind our Gedolim in going both in America and Eretz Yisrael.

We obviously have our difference of opinions. I am not here to prove you wrong nor fight. That's not my place. We are brothers.

yaak said...

Marc, Kol Hakavod on your beautiful post.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure you - Micha - mean well, just like all sides everywhere do. And I'm not 1000% in line with everything about the event there or anywhere either. No matter where you stand you need to realize that the signatories behind the event were giants and we are ants. It's not your opinion and theirs. It's theirs vs an ant's. And I don't disagree with what you said. Just the tone.

micha berger said...

There is no consensus among gedolim on this.

Second, one can't say "I'm going to eat crab because the gedolim said it's okay." There are limits to appeal to authority.

So, you are forced to choose between wehther the people telling you to curse other Jews or the other members of the mo'etzes who refused to sign, or the Rashei Yeshivah of the Yeshivos Hesder, YU, et al are "the gedolim", it's time for a MAJOR cheshbon hanefesh. I personally could never follow rabbanim who so deeply demonize other Jews rather than try to understand them.

Mark Frankel said...


Great post and I felt the same way as you did and posted about it on Beyond BT.

It was an amazing event and a tremendous Kiddush Hashem.