Chovas Hatalmidim| week 12 | Harav Y. Reuven Rubin shlita

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Chovas Hatalmidim

week 12

By Harav Y. Reuven Rubin shlita

Zeitgeist…The defining spirit or mood of a particular period of history as shown by the ideas and beliefs of the time.”

In the sefer Bnei Machshava Tovah the Piesnetzna Rebbe Ztl speaks of how a Jew must live with simplicity and temimous (guilelessness) He then tells us:

“I realise that a person may be so used to overvaluing human knowledge and intellect that it will be difficult for him to understand my demand for so much simplicity and guilelessness, and he may imagine that I want him to become a fool. But a person who raises this objection has not understood my intent. It is possible that the venom injected into mankind by the sin of Adam is causing him to consider the opinions of the world as good (in particular, its outlook on good and evil, an outlook that results from a lack of clarity and from an inability to choose between the two polarities of good and evil). He honours and worships the world’s outlook, and imagines simplicity to be boorish and foolish. Yet Yaacov is praised as a “simple man” (Breishit 25:27), and we are directed to be “simple with Hashem your G-d” (Devorim 18:13)”

Does this all sound a bit too familiar?  The current zeitgeist looks down on simplicity and denigrates old values. They extoll the might of our powerful telephones and the greatness of values that have been attributed to whole nations without ever asking its citizenry. Simplicity of heart, what was once called “eidelkiet” has been caste into the shadows, and the notion of “eis paste nisht” consigned to stories of a lost world.

Jewish youngsters have a right to develop in a wholesome way, so that their inner kedusha can flower. In a world that views such wholesomeness as being akin to ignorance, we have our work cut out.

The Rebbe in Chovos Hatalmidim speaks constantly about the greatness of the Yiddisha Neshomah, how youngsters should rise above the ropes that seek to tie them down to this world of materialistic shallowness, and how they should seek inspirational moments that can awaken their souls. He expects from his young readership real actions, real thinking. Not for his students a yiddishkiet created for mimicry and emptiness. He treats the youth as responsible young men and respectfully expects them to think in such terms.

There is an expression making the rounds, “Snowflake generation” a term “used to characterise the young adults of the 2010s as being more prone to taking offence and less resilient than previous generations, or as being too emotionally vulnerable to cope with views that challenge their own.” It is little wonder then that so many of our young are vulnerable to the siren call of the secular society that seems so clever and sophisticated. Old values of borders in life and modesty are seen as archaic with no real validity in todays “open” society. We are warned not to be dogmatic, as this will offend our tender sweet little kids. Our own Snowflakes are going thru their formative years never experiencing a sense of challenge in their connection with Hashem, never understanding how much Hashem loves them.

The Rebbe keeps reminding us too teach the young that their noshoma’s matter, that they matter, that they are worthy of greatness.

Whilst the outside world is busy typing their empty words onto handheld screens of emptiness, we must give our young a clear understanding of who they are and the great wealth they possess within their souls.  They won’t melt if they are given the chance to grow!

Often parents are afraid to ask of their young anything that seems too “frum”. In other words, they fear their precious neshomalach will get too pressured and will rebel. What the Rebbe speaks of is sharing with love so that the child’s heart opens up and drinks from the wellsprings of our loving Torah. When we make a loving connection with our young we create a bond with Hashem, and it is this that gives them the ability to weather any storm.

Young souls thirst for spiritual nourishment, but this can’t come without any effort. We should be creating spaces for this to occur, time spent with chaverim, singing , sharing a seudah, speaking of tzadikim that live on in our combined memories.

Rabbi Nitzan Bergman recently shared a sweet vort:

Moshe Rabbenu was meant to teach Klall Yisroel one more lesson. In need of water, he had to speak to a rock in order to draw water from it. Tragically, he hit it instead. This mistake was so significant that he lost his right of entry into Eretz Yisroel.

What lessons did he fail to teach the people? That with the right words, you can get water out of a rock!

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