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Dr. Rabbi Alan Brill has a great post about a recent discussion with Rabbi Shlomo Einhorn here. The observations by both Dr. Brill and Rabbi Einhorn are revealing and seem to be very on target towards my generation. Here are a few great quotes:
Einhorn describes the need for his age group, the younger gen x and older gen y rabbis to seek the experiential. They grew up with a strict halakhic diet and a rationalist worldview which did not sustain their cravings for religious experience that they were taught to value in Israel.
Rabbi Einhorn is absolutely sold on Tony Robbins’s program for fire-walking to be transformed and to release the potential within.
I commented on the actual blog post and recommend you check it out what Dr. Brill posted and some of the comments.
If R’ Einhorn is correct, MO is heading for oblivion. Not in a negative sense, just that the people he’s describing found other expressions of Yahadus a better fit. I’ll address this topic here, since it is what you added to the original post. Comments on the original post ought to be posted there. (Except for observations I think ought to inform AishDas decisions, which we’ll discuss among ourselves.)
They moved from ipad and MTV to a year in Israel where they acquired black hats, allegiance to rabbinic authority and complete submission to Torah. But they also developed a yearning for the spirituality they found in Rav Zilberstein with his ecstatic third meals in darkness or the tisch kabbalah of Rav Morgenstein or Rav Moshe Wolfson. They were not attracted to the slow study of classic Kabbalaistic texts rather the saintliness and supernaturalism. They loved the emotional devotionalism of zaddikim.
People who self-isolate using uniforms (“acquired black hats”) and who appeal to authority and submission (“allegiance to rabbinic authority and complete submission to Torah”) rather than personal creativity are not only not students of R JB Soloveitchik, they can’t even claim to be holders of his legacy (or RSRH’s or R’ E Hildesheimer’s).
To RJBS, the image of G-d is free will, and thus the role of Torah is very much about maximizing free will, rescuing people from the self-objectification caused by sin. Entering creative partnership with the Almighty, with an emphasis on personal contribution. The role of rabbinic authority is thus necessarily limited to specific halachic obligations or prohibitions.
An interesting article. I’m not in the target demographic, I think, though I do find a great deal of value in the “motivational leadership” literature. The thing is, though, what these books and seminars really provide are *tools*, not goals, even though they might have you think they provide both. In fact, the tools can be very useful in one’s development of one’s avodas Hashem, but one must go to Torah for the goals.
A wonderful term I got from the title of a book by a Tibetan Buddhist monk (of all things) is “Spiritual Materialism.” The idea is that many people today look at spirituality as a kind of “acquisition” and develop a selfish acquisitiveness which they think of as “spirituality.” Needless to say, this is NOT avodas Hashem. If you’re not thinking about how to do Gd’s will, but rather on your own “spiritual fulfillment” or “growth” or “leadership” you’re totally missing the point, and that’s a big danger with all of these motivational approaches. Self-development must be in the service of improving avodas Hashem, not a goal in its own right.
I’ve replied (Shlomo) on Dr. Brill’s blog.