Sunday, January 23, 2011

Strawberries and Dates

Strawberries and Dates I guess not everybody is into Chumrot.

Hat Tip


  1. Nice point, reminds me of Rav Amital Zal who passed recently. Here is an observation by a student.

    After losing many students in the 1973 Yom Kippur War, Rav Amital shifted away from the messianic settler movement. He believed in the possibility, not the divine promise, of religious redemption through the state of Israel and began to argue for peace accords with Israel's neighbors.
    Rav Amital was unique because he blended passion with humility. His vision allowed him to found new institutions and pioneer innovative methods, but his drive never kept him from understanding the other side of an issue. When compelled by evidence, he would change his views.

    My experience with Rav Amital began 10 years ago when I spent a year at his yeshiva. His personality drew me to him: he carried himself as a humble, simple Jew. And though he was serious about Torah, he did not take himself too seriously. Once, I had learned that a Jewish legal technicality had invalidated a ritual that I enjoyed performing. Rav Amital explained to me that what I had been taught was incorrect and continued, You don't have to search for problems. You don't have to search for stringency. Take it easy! That's what's written in the Torah! Take it easy!”

    Take it easy troubled me for years. Where is “take it easy written in the Torah? What does it mean? Surely Rav Amital wasn't advocating lax observance of Jewish law. What bothered me most of all, though, was Rav Amital's personal experience in light of that advice. Was he taking it easy when he was in a Nazi labor camp? When he was fighting in the War of Independence? When he was founding the Hesder movement or his yeshiva or Meimad?

    I am not sure how to answer those questions, but I think that the focus of Rav Amital's life was not Rav Amital; he placed the people of Israel and the Torah before himself. Personal anxiety did not factor into his thinking. He wasn't advocating laxity so much as the easing of stress and anxiety. What was important is the big picture: the sincere attempt at living a Torah life, not the small personal successes and failures.

  2. I want to know what peiros ha'aretz are doing at a Tu Bishvat party. Next thing you know there'll be bananas on the table.