How can Rabonim be more respected?

At the door of Rabbi Kennards comments (and he wasn’t engaging in a debate with Rabbi Shochet, by the way), is the feeling that Rabonim are undervalued. Rabbi Kennard is certainly not undervalued, although I must admit to misgivings that he seems to have timed some of his Shiurim at the same time as Rabbi Sprung on Shabbos, and given the clientele I’m not sure that this has helped Rabbi Sprung’s position.

In my opinion, one of the outcomes of being non judgemental and displaying extreme Ahavas Yisroel, is the tendency to become an event organiser who portrays and executes feel good sessions. Certainly people need to feel good. Certainly people need to feel that they are Tzelem Eloki, and there is little doubt in my mind that they will not feel that acutely or even moderately (except through general mentchichkeit) through the Litvish/Misnagdish approaches, where they are, in the end, “not there” and really not valued (unless they have oodles of money to donate).

The key to respect is two words: Limud HaTorah. As much as one tries to enfranchise Jews in the experiential, one must remain grounded. There is so much, and such varied material in Chochmas HaTorah that our youth, young adults, and young marrieds that they have not been exposed to, it is critical that there is a renaissance in that arena. To be fair, Rabbi Kennard must not sleep. His contribution is outstanding and welcome.

At the same time, I know of countless Rabonim who do not engage in the basics of Limmud HaTorah. Sure, they are of the view that Tanya and Chassidus will open doors. They may, but they need a solid foundations. I am often astounded at the lack of basic knowledge many so called frum people have in common Yahadus. I stress common. The Ramash, for sure, never advocated the abrogation of Nigleh. Chassidus was the crème de la crème.

We can argue what you start from, but I would suggest חנוך על פי דרכו

If Rabonim were less functionaries and portrayed more real Chochma, there would never be the current scourge of

  • Trey functions at a wedding or Bar Mitzvah
  • “Kosher Style” functions at a wedding or Bar Mitzah
  • Tendentious reliance on private hasghochas at such affairs

The RCV should get serious and set a basic set of benchmarks. Pre-packaged Shiurim are definitely not the answer either, as beautifully produced as they are. Nobody looks at Aleph Beis, and knows to point in a simple Kitzur Shulchan Aruch. Want it spicy? Add Sheorim Metzuyonim Bahalacho.

Where are the sessions of 

“What does Judaism say about”

When I have guests, I get some great questions. I had a couple once who saw me come home from Shule wearing my Zeyda’s Gartel. I will cherish that all my life. They asked what it was. One could give the more esoteric answer of separating the top and the bottom, but the belt achieves that too. It would be better to start from the Gemora in Shabbos (I think) that introduces this custom, and explain how it is manifest, and eventually show that it is as dear to me as their grandmothers’s Gefilte fish.

If Children do not see their parents refer Rabonim for their Keser Torah as opposed to slap on the back “you are a great guy and we love you” solely, I fear we won’t achieve the respectful Mechallel Shabbos who ran with embarrassment and hid when he was smoking on Shabbos and saw the Rabbi in the distance. 

The answer certainly isn’t in Beis HaTalmud, except for Yechidim. We need a charter in the RCV to adhere to. That charter should be debated and set, and private, and it, rather than the card a particular Rabbi is wearing, should be the secret to success,

I heard a drosha on Shabbos. It was nice, but I felt the use if secular writers on their own, to support a notion, was disingenuous. There were explicit Chazal that said these things well before, and they also expanded on them.

Let’s not be embarrassed about Chochmas HaTorah and it’s Kiyyum Hamitzvos. It is this which comprises the ultimate Mitzvah of והלכת בדרכיו and it is this which will see us in utopia כהרף עין.

Let’s not bicker. Lets contribute, as one.

Author: pitputim

I've enjoyed being a computer science professor in Melbourne, Australia, as well as band leader/singer for the Schnapps Band. My high schooling was in Chabad and I continued at Yeshivat Kerem B'Yavneh in Israel and later in life at Machon L'Hora'ah, Yeshivas Halichos Olam.

4 thoughts on “How can Rabonim be more respected?”

  1. I think you will find a wonderful example is set by Rabbi Saffer and Rabbi Neumann of Aish in Melbourne who run programs, lectures and events in the manner you describe above. They offer a range of levels and explore many of more difficult questions according to their Rebbes approach.


  2. i thought you posted how can rabonim be more respectful. the way they’ve been talking about women lately really does beg that question. but i misread your title. you are trying to work out a way that the arrogance of the rabonim can be further pumped up. not possible. they are ready to burst now.


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