Reflections on Returning from an Uncle Moishy Concert

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1. Even though I am descended from Gerrer hasidim, being a kalter Litvak must be in my blood. Despite my best efforts, the only one of my children who wanted to go to this concert sat there the whole time without moving and without a smile on his face.

2. I make sure to only go to the concerts in Flatbush or Boro Park, and not in Crown Heights, after an experience a few years ago in which the whole audience was shouting out “Yehi adoneinu, moreinu ve-rabeinu, melekh ha-moshiah le-olam va-ed.”

3. After every concert, I make a point to tell my children that we do mitzvos because God commanded us to, not in order to bring Mashiah. Whether or not it will bring Mashiah, and I’m not convinced that it is wise or correct to tell our children that it will, is irrelevant.

4. The song “Hashem is Everywhere” makes me uncomfortable. These matters are beyond my comprehension, but it seems to me that the Vilna Gaon would label the panentheism/monism inherent in this song as heresy. (See Mordekhai Willenksi, Hasidim u-Misnagdim, pp. 188, 200-201; R. Menahem Kasher, Torah Shelemah, addenda to Parashas Shemos, no. 15; Allan Nadler, The Faith of the Mithnagdim, ch. 1)

About Gil Student

Rabbi Gil Student is the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of TorahMusings.com, a leading website on Orthodox Jewish scholarly subjects, and the Book Editor of the Orthodox Union’s Jewish Action magazine. He writes a popular column on issues of Jewish law and thought featured in newspapers and magazines, including The Jewish Link of New Jersey, The Jewish Echo and The Vues. In the past, he has served as the President of the small Jewish publisher Yashar Books and as the Managing Editor of OU Press. Rabbi Student serves on the Executive Committee of the Rabbinical Council of America and as Director of the Halacha Commission of the Rabbinical Alliance of America. He also serves on the Editorial Board of Jewish Action magazine and the Board of OU Press. He has published five English books, the most recent titled Search Engine volume 2: Finding Meaning in Jewish Texts -- Jewish Leadership, and served as the American editor for Morasha Kehillat Yaakov: Essays in Honour of Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks.

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