The People v Sophistication II

Updated: Jul 5, 2020

I just read the article titled the people v sophistication. It made me wonder what else seems simple to us but really carries a unique depth. Yes, action definitely qualifies that description. We are so convinced that it reflects a lack of depth but really if understood correctly in many ways, its purity brings so much more to the table.

The Freidiker Rebbe used to say that the real "maskil", the real intellectual, will end up actually working on himself, sometimes in the simplest of ways. Someone who is analyzing something with the glasses of truth knows that complexity, and sophistication is really a valuable spice, but its a distraction if overvalued.

Another thing that seems to fit this is Kabolas Ol. When we are young we are presented with this idea, that no matter what we feel no matter what we think we need to do the right thing, and that is called Kabolas Ol. Definitely true, but does that really reach the bottom line of Kabolas Ol? Is it really just the medicine for lazy, and ignorant to not get lost in the sea of apathy?


The Rebbe said a beautiful Maamar titled "Margilah B'Pumiah D'Rava" (5740), in it, the Rebbe explains the real value of Kabolas Ol, and how it's necessary for all moments of our Yiddishkeit, even when we are in the mood, and excited.

Love, and reverence, is imperative in any relationship, especially with the Aibeshter. These feelings however are subjective, and any relationship that begins and ends with these feelings, is not a connection to anything outside of you, its relationship with yourself. In the words of someone wise "We don't love people, we love our version of them"

A relationship based on this can be as shaky as what side of the bed we get up on. In addition, even when it's going good we are never really connecting to anything outside of us, we are just finding a way to feed our emotional, and intellectual needs. While it is noble to say that you won't do anything that you don't understand, it also means we are simply having a relationship with our brain.

Now does that mean we should just do things without thinking? Does that mean if we love and value certain mitzvos then it's worthless? Chas Vsholom. Chassidus constantly encourages us to invest our thought and feelings in our Yiddishkeit. It just can't end there, it needs to go deeper.

A friend of mine was asked by a Hillel Rabbi, a woman, why she couldn't put on tefillin. She has done it before and she felt so spiritual, why can't she take part in this mitzvah that means so much to her?

He asked what she likes better, coke, or diet coke. She was adamant that although its probably unhealthier, diet coke simply tastes much better.

So If G-d asked for a coke, would you give him a diet coke? Its much better, right?

If the relationship is based on how we feel, then it falls apart when our feelings, and views contradict what the relationship demands from us. We want to feel spiritual, but sometimes, as good as diet coke is, the Aibeshter wants a coke, and that's it.

We need to invest our mind and heart into it, but when the relationship demands from us to dig deeper than that, are we ready to do it? That's the question Kabolas Ol asks. So Kabolas Ol is clearly not exclusive to moments where we don't understand, and feel. It needs to be present even when we are feeling energized in our Yiddishkeit. Since even in those moments, if that premise isn't there, then we are missing the most vital part of the mitzvah: actually connecting to Hashem.

That was all during the times where we are excited about what we are doing, but then there are the prove-it moments, and it's in these moments, the times were are mind and heart are not into it, that our relationship with Hashem is solidified. It's in those moments that we show ourselves, and the Aibeshter that we mean business.

Now if we fail in those "prove-it" moments does it mean all our feel-good moments were lacking? Not at all, we are souls in human bodies, and that can win over us sometimes. But the reality is this: Kabolas Ol is not a participation trophy for the ignorant, it is what sets the stage of our relationship. Then on that stage, we can place all of our musicians, and performers, all of our ideas and feelings that make the event of a mitzvah so incredible.

But you need the stage for every performance.

In the people v sophistication, it was mentioned that our generation is described as very action-based, and how while that seems to be a big disadvantage it is really a huge asset even in comparison to previous generations.

Our generation, the one that is going to greet Moshiach, is also described as one who's primary focus is Kabolas Ol. We are the heel, and as the Freidiker Rebbe explains, the feet, and especially the heel has the least feeling, and therefore contain the most Kabolas Ol.

This can sound demeaning. No feeling, just dry doing, just empty listening. However, if you look at our history it's clear this is an unprecedented opportunity.

When the yidden got the Torah, they married the Aibeshter. Since then, the Bais Hamikdash, the Tannaim, Ammoraim, the Rabbeim, have all been somewhere between the honeymoon, and the first couple of years of marriage. Yes, there were some tough times but with the accessible leadership, we could always insert our minds and hearts into our Yiddishkeit.


For the first time in history that is not the case. For the first time, yes we have Our Rebbe, but not as accessible as before Gimmel Tammuz, the clarity isn't the same. This is the moment all of Jewish history has been waiting for. The moment to prove that even in the best of times it was never only about what we felt, it was so much more than that. it was about the Aibeshter. Finally, it's an established relationship, finally, it's a world that is ready to transcend its subjective views and experiences, and be a true home for Hashem. That's Moshiach.


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