Gone are the days where the Chassidic tales were understood though the lens of Martin Buber’s classic folktales. Most people understood these fables were Buber’s romanticisms of Eastern European folk heroes. And somehow things evolved into a new type of story: a fusion of Chassidus and Musser — Mussidus?. I heard such a story recently in the context of a scary dvar torah delivered recently who was describing why we suffer the punishment of Amalek –it’s due to thinking, feeling, and asking. (disclosure: I heard this second-hand from someone who was there — and the Rabbi who gave this d’var Torah said this story was told to him by R’ Shlomo Carlebach, which I don’t believe, BTW).
A man attends the tish of the Karliner Rebbe. He is standing far in the back of the room and wondering to himself “Why am I here? I’m going to be waiting for a long time, for a small morsel of food. What is so special about this food? The Rebbe eats, and I eat. What’s the difference?”
Suddenly the Rebbe tells his gabbai to grab this man in the back and bring him forward.
The Rebbe says “Do you know what the difference between me and you is? When you eat, you make a brocho, because you know that you have to make a brocho in order to eat. But I’m different, I eat because I want to make a brocho.”
The lessons? a few pop-out at me. 1. Rebbes are clairvoyant. Of course, they are super-human too, nay, they are demi-gods. Note to self, don’t think when you are near them. Hint: that’s why the smart chassidim booze up. 2. if you ask questions you will be punished. So don’t ask. 3. It’s perfectly OK to embarrass someone who is a doubter. They are asking for it. And don’t get me started with the “I eat in order to make brochos”.
The Rabbi who gave this dvar Torah continued on to say that we see God punished the Israelites by sending them Amalek because they questioned if God was with them (Ex 17:7 -8). So, God and the Karliner Rebbe, don’t like questions.
And that was the D’var Torah. If only this was satire, indeed it was just sad. What do you say about this? What do you think? feel? or ask?