Saturday, November 27, 2021

A Time to Build,” Rabbi Chaim Dov Keller

 There is another aspect to the "with us" syndrome: Give us what we want. "We want spirituality," so we give them spirituality. "We want meditation," so we respond with lectures on meditation. "We want Kabbala,"and we deliver Kabbala. This, it can he argued, is only used as a means of attracting them. But then we have to "bait and switch." And"bait and switch" does not always work. A person coming into Judaism searching for mysticism and Kabbala may not be so happy to be sold the halachos of Shulchan Aruch. And when he's not satisfied with ourbrand of mysticism, he may explore other forms of mysticism. Our goal is not to produce Mitzva Machines, but to make bnei Torah, andto spread Torah, which is the lifeblood of the Jewish People. "Spirituality"seekers are in reality "hungry to hear the words of Hashem." When people are hungry and thirsty, you do not feed them potato chips and diet cola with cotton candy for dessert. And when they really want to hear the word ofHashem, you do not feed them puffand platitudes and pop Kabba/a before you teach them the basics of Torah'. Otherwise, the result can be a hybridization of Judaism - "feel good,'' and do-it-yourself religion, and in the worst scenario, introduction into messianic cults. Not all outreach is kiruv.

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