Week's Roundup - Am I crazy enough?
Highlights from this week's learning and events; An eternal message from the Torah about how I'm crazy and won't you join me and be even crazier?
Did you know that the Torah has an eternal Divine Message that applies to every single human being? Authentic Torah learning grounds us in reality, both what we can observe and what is beyond our observation, grasp and even understanding, and leads to practical positive action. Positive for us and positive for those around us. Torah reveals our Divine Innate Spiritual Compass and brings our Spiritual Backbone to the forefront of life.
If you have adopted some or all of Enlightenment thinking, learning Torah will challenge everything you believe and hold dear.
In each Week’s Roundup, you will find a special topic, links to this week’s learning, the Torah perspective on current events, upcoming learning and action suggestions. This week we embrace being not just a little crazy but completely crazy. Learn, take hope and take action, and share.
Do you think I am crazy?
I hope so!
If not, I’ve got some work to do!
Avrohom Avinu (Abraham, Our Father) set out to let the entire world know that there is a Loving G-d Al-mighty bringing everyone into existence from nothing at every instant, willing to go into a fiery oven instead of making even the slightest compromise or accommodation to the government authorities. He was so extreme that the Torah tells us that Avrohom was on one side, and the entire world was on the other.
Moshe Rabbeinu (Moses, Our Teacher) really really believed that it was possible to lead the Jewish People out of Egypt, a place of oppression so compelling that no slave had every escaped. When he set out at G-d Al-mighty’s command to present the demands to Pharaoh, he was initially accompanied by the elders of the Jewish People, but by the time he faced Pharaoh, they had backed out entirely.
Mordechai HaYehudi (Mordechai, the Jew) was the only one who did not attend the Grand Feast celebrating the demise of the Jewish People. He was the only one who refused to bow to the government minister, Haman, despite government orders. He was accused of causing the genocide of the Jewish People for his refusal to compromise.
Dovid HaMelech (King David) was rejected by his own father and brothers and pursued relentlessly by factions of the people sometimes led by his own children. Yet, he never wavered.
The Previous Lubavitcher Rebbe refused to bow to the Communists and allow any secular studies in his Chedorim and Yeshivos. His stance was not the mainstream as most others compromised and surrendered. He opened new Torah learning centers to replace closed centers that had been led by those advocating compromise and surrender. He refused to surrender and withstood crushing physical violence without flinching and started from scratch in America even though he was told explicitly by close supporters that there was no point in trying.
The Lubavitcher Rebbe said explicitly to a visitor that he should let people know that “I am crazy about Moshiach.” Do you think merely meant that he really, really, really, wants Moshiach and Redemption? Everyone wants that!
He meant much more - he is willing to re-evaluate and recommit and go without looking who is following and do whatever G-d Al-mighty wants us to do to get to the intended result.
Now, if you take the bold move and decide to be crazy, there is a risk, nay a certainty, that people will laugh at you at the beginning and at the end. You are breaking ranks. That always brings snickers and mockery from those who have committed to compromise and who have made a decision that belonging is their most important value.1
But what happens if the ending does not turn out the way you hoped? New ideas are always coming and it is possible, G-d forbid, that there could be an idea that looks good but really takes you off track. Then those who opted for safety and took little meaningful action, will point you out to their family and friends as an example of how a person who thinks for the themselves and is crazy ends up. This cements for him and his family and friends that it’s really too dangerous to ever break ranks. The conformers settle in to even more conformity.
But there is a way to stay on track in the craziness.
First is to make sure you are using the six step process for making good decisions in all times and all places. Make sure to watch that here:
Second, apply the Awe of G-d Al-mighty and Torah and Mitzvos test. Does your course of action lead to an increase in Awe of G-d Al-mighty, and an increase in learning Torah and in actions in fulfillment of G-d Al-mighty’s Divine Commandments, and an increase is love and understanding for our fellow?
Third, have a Mashpia, a spiritual advisor who you can discuss matters with.
The Rebbe didn’t tell people to have a Mashpia so that the Mashpia could tell you how to conform. The Rebbe wants you to have Mashpia to make sure that you are as crazy as can be and follow through on it. 2
Bottom Line: Don’t be embarrassed before the mockers. The first law in the Shulchan Aruch (Code of Torah Law) warns us not to be bothered by the mockery of others. Do we merely need that reminder for some person we don’t know mocking from a distance. Rather it means that we must not be affected by the mocking of the people closest to us.
How crazy are you?
What have you been afraid to do or afraid to do fully because you don’t want to sound or appear crazy?
Let me know in the comments or if you are just crazy and not sure you want everyone to know about it just yet, send me an email by hitting reply.
Shabbos is coming, a reminder for every human being that they are an intentional creation of G-d Al-mighty right now and a continuing beneficiary of His Love, His Joy and His Abundance! What an incredible moment to increase even more in joy!
Action: Use the link above to check Shabbos Candellighting times in your city around the world. Shabbos Candlelighting time in New York City this week (3/24/23) is 6:54 pm and Shabbos ends at 7:54 pm.
Pesach (Passover) is coming. Make sure to sell your chometz using this link and buy Shmurah matzos, which can often be found in your local grocery store.
Here is some of the learning we did this week:
These videos are available in the content library at RabbiSmith.org (in parentheses) and also on YouTube by clicking the name of the learning. When you watch on YouTube please like, share and subscribe so the message of hope reaches more and more people. See below at the end of this article a list of upcoming classes both in person and on Zoom.
👉 2023-03-19 - Mitzvos Hashem - Rabbi Steif #53 - WARNING to parents 🛑 Enlightenment Public Schooling. 🛑Parents concerned about and fighting against public school content are making a critical error!🛑 (Playlist - Mitzvos Hashem of Rabbi Steif for Bnai Noach).
Here is YouTube Short made about No Infallible people in the Torah
👉Want to understand the Passover (Pesach) Seder and the Hagadda? You will love this video: Passover (Pesach): Haggadah Part 2 - Inspire your soul and others with compassion and gratitude
On Substack this week:
On Substack, I write about the practical implications of Torah learning, and how to keep our thinking clear, grounded in honesty and common sense. Here’s The Rabbi Smith Bulletin for this week: A number in draft so stay tuned!
A Torah perspective on the world around us…
Ask in the comments below about topics and news you would like the Torah perspective on.
A peek ahead…
Passover (Pesach) is three weeks away. Watch the first in our new series explaining the Passover (Pesach) Hagada. And the Second.
You can watch the Pesach video series on the Pesach Playlist. Topics include:
A thought in concluding for now…
Thank G-d, we live in the most inspiring and incredible times in the history of the world. We have a great and beautiful mission before us. The need in the people is great, time is of the essence and the undertaking is massive, but eminently doable with the help of G-d Al-mighty. Please consider a generous gift to bring this message of hope to thousands more people, by clicking here.
May G-d Al-mighty bless you and Gut Shabbos!
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Shabbos Afternoon (Saturday) 4 pm Eastern
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Tanya: Sha'ar Hayichud v'HaEmunah - the Gate of Oneness and Faith
In person in Passaic, New Jersey, only.
👉Rabbi Steif Mitzvos Hashem
SUNDAY 7 am Eastern (1 pm Germany time)
Rabbi Steif wrote this holy book to avert the Holocaust by making sure that both Jews and non-Jews should know clearly G-d Al-mighty's rules for non-Jews.
👉Zecharia 8:23 - Weekly Torah Portion, Prayer and Talmud
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Learn the week's Torah Portion (parsha) as it is relevant to every man, Prayer for every man and portions of the Talmud that are relevant to non-Jews
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THURSDAY 10 am Eastern - Note New Time
Only with tranquility of the soul can we hear G-d Al-Mighty's voice clearly, know what to do and have the strength to do it effectively
👉Gate of Oneness
Words on the Torah Portion
The Torah Experience - Life Fully Lived
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Study the Gate of Oneness (Sha'ar HaYichud) by the Mittler Rebbe which teaches us how to think clearly. Delivered by Rabbi Shimon Chyrek. Rabbi Smith speaks on the weekly Torah portion at the end of the class.
Think more about how crazy you are are and what holds you back from stepping forward with your gifts in service of G-d Al-mighty and your fellow man. Post in the comments and hit reply.
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To validate themselves and justify their belonging they define whatever they want to belong to as the correct path and everyone outside as either not sufficiently committed or dangerously crazy.
But even a Mashpia, generally an older person, has a limitation - the Rebbe says that the work needed to be done to bring the entire world to the completion of the Kingdom of G-d Al-mighty will only be done by people who are willing to recognize that what the previous generations did is insufficient and the previous generation will not even be able to perceive or support what’s needed to be done.
So how can a Masphia help? He himself didn’t think of it and he won’t do it himself and maybe he is part of the previous generation of limited thinkers.
Don't expect that your Masphia is going to say that he wishes he thought of your idea himself. Rather listen carefully for feedback that can be helpful in keeping you on the right track and remove any confusion or hold-backs. Look for support and caring observations and helpful course changes. Think about how a Mashpia can help you overcome internal obstacles to your execution of your ideas rather than merely looking for ratification of your ideas.
In fact the junior Rabbi who came up with the idea of model matzah bakeries for children to learn about matzah baking was so attacked by senior Chabad Rabbis in Israel for doing something that was not previously done, that he wrote to the Rebbe saying he gave up. The Lubavitcher Rebbe responded that they senior rabbis sole activity is to negate the inspired innovations of the younger generation and they should be ignored and the Rabbi should continue with his idea of model matzah bakeries.