Sunday, July 15, 2007

Two Tribes in Conflict

From the [18th century] Rabbi Mordechai Yosef of Ishbitz
(translated by Gershon Winkler)

[The Jewish people is comprised of] two tribes who are constantly in conflict with one another. The life objective of Ephraim, as inspired by the Creator, is to concentrate on the halachah regarding every matter, and not to budge from obeying its every letter... And the root of the life of Yehudah is to focus on the Creator and to be connected to the Creator in every situation. And even though Yehudah perceives how the halachah inclines on an issue, he nevertheless looks to the Creator to show him the core of the truth behind the matter at hand... [Yehudah] looks to the Creator for guidance in all matters rather than engage in the rote practice of religious observances, nor is he content to merely repeat today what he did yesterday...but that the Creator enlighten him anew each day as to what is the God Will in the moment. This sometimes compels Yehudah to act contrary to established halachah... But in the time to come, we have been promised that Ephraim and Yehudah will no longer be at odds with one another (Isaiah 11:13). This means that Ephraim will no longer have any complaints against Yehudah regarding his deviation from halachah, because the Creator will demonstrate to Ephraim the intention of Yehudah, that his intentions are for the sake of the Creator's will, and not for any selfish motive. Then will there be harmony between the two (Mei HaShiloach, Vol. 1, Vayeishev, 14b-15a).ยท


Blogger Baal Habos said...


1:29 PM  
Anonymous happywithhislot said...

this is a chassid way of saying to misnagdim, hey we are legit.

9:51 PM  
Anonymous B. Spinoza said...

true, but he's so blunt about appreciating breaking halacha.

9:57 PM  
Anonymous happywithhislot said...

thats what they were accused of.

10:01 PM  
Anonymous B. Spinoza said...

yeah, but he didn't deny it! he was proud of it

10:05 PM  
Anonymous happywithhislot said...

yeah he isnt denyng it because he thinks its legit.
for example, maybe they were accused of davening mincha too late for the zman, thats breaking halacha for misnagdim, but chassidim say they have their special reason for doing so.

10:21 PM  
Blogger Hasidic Rebel said...

Just to note, the Izhbitzer was considered radical even for chasidim. Which might explain why his teachings (and that of his disciple Reb Tzadok Hacohen) are so notable among non-Hasidim; his concepts are thoughtful and revolutionary in a way that few sifrei chasidus are -- especially among the later masters.

6:37 PM  
Blogger B. Spinoza said...


maybe I should read up n these hasidic thinkers. Any other suggestions?

8:50 PM  
Blogger Hasidic Rebel said...

B. - Other than the Izhbitzer and Reb Tzadok, try some Reb Nachman; and for a "Litvish" approach to chasidus, of course, try some Tanya.

For more recent works: look at "Hachsharas HaAvrechim" by R. Klonymos of Piasezna, who combines traditional chasidus with an original approach to psychology. It's quite high-minded, intended for an elite readership, but quite profound, not to mention unique.

Also, Nesivos Shalom, by R. Shalom Noach, the previous Slonimer rebbe; the concepts are simple but the language and its message are stirring.

My own preferences were for the very early works, such as the collected sayings of the Magid of Mezeritch -- "Likutim Yekarim" and "Magid Devarav Leyakov". Another favorite was "Yosher Divrei Emes" from R' Feivish of Zhbarizh -- a short but amazing book (a pamphlet really, originally written as a letter to a friend) that lays out the foundational principles of early chasidus like no one else.

Hope this is helpful.

12:04 PM  
Anonymous B. Spinoza said...

Thanks for the suggestions.

I take it from the fact that you wrote "My own preferences were" (past tense) that you no longer study it. Is that an accurate inference?

1:27 PM  
Blogger Hasidic Rebel said...

B. - Yes it is. Find no pleasure in it these days.

2:07 PM  
Blogger littlefoxling said...

how did he get the idea that one is ephraim and one is yehuda?

2:41 PM  
Anonymous B. Spinoza said...

>how did he get the idea that one is ephraim and one is yehuda?

not sure. I only found this quote

2:50 PM  
Anonymous Rabban Gamliel said...

Ok I'm going to show off here. I suspect that it is because Yosef complained to his father against some of his brothers on the side of strictness and he didn't bother to check closely at the causes of what he thought he was seeing.

12:27 PM  
Anonymous Rabban Gamliel said...

What the Rebbe believed was that there is no freewill. In the time to come people will realize it he felt. The uniting of their will with G-d's would be the great era.

3:28 PM  
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