Tuesday, March 31, 2009

לשון נקיה - א

Well, manifesting an interest I had expressed verbally, I went over to Rutgers' "Battle of the Bands" to hear my friend Dustin. It was very nice, though I obviously didn't know many people there (though I did meet his parents; I asked if they approved, which was out of place partially because they're baby-boomers who grew up on Rock themselves). I didn't have the patience to stay till the end, but it seems pretty evident to me that he was the winner, since he was the last singer, garnered the most crowd interest, and, quite frankly, had better music than the others (though I personally thought the band a few performers before him were so-so)...

Well then, getting along with business, I take interest in speaking here about פסח, since, well, it's next week, and I don't think I've ever written my thoughts about it at all here..or anywhere..or ever, as a matter of fact.. Though I'm not sure I want to get into that just yet.

First off though, I wanted to mention an interesting passage I was reading in "The Year of Living Biblically" (I had read it when it came out last year, but only sporadically..now it's "בעיון". A very interesting idea for a book in my opinion, not to mention it's unusually humorous for a book about religion. ...though it seems a little pointless for such a secular individual to even sympathise with the religious outlook). He talks (Beg. Month 10) about his attempt to refrain from the course language he was accustomed to using, at least for the duration of his year. He mentions the obvious fact that there doesn't seem to be any explicit "no using the F word" mitzva in the Torah, which would make it unclear as to the opinion of the Tanach on the subject, especially considering his reference to a comment by Natalie Angier that "the Bible itself uses adult language", and that there are some references to base things in the Tanach. He also mentions that the New Testament seems to be much clearer about it when Paul admonishes people not to engage in "obscene, foolish or coarse joking" (Eph. 5).

I don't like what this "Natalie" lady seems to be inferring; i.e. the Torah has no problem with people making clear verbal references to the coarsest of things. "The Ramban" is famous for discussing this issue in his discussion about the supremity of the Hebrew language (Ex. 30:13). My own idea about it is quite simple though, especially when comparing the Torah to the Ephesian Epistle; the Hebrews at that time (and perhaps Semites in general) didn't attach anything childish or coarse to speech concerning (albiet base) things in a serious context. The whole idea of finding "bathroom talk" or "sex talk" funny or obscene is an invention of European Man, as are most innane things.
It kind of reminds me of a conversation I once had with my Moroccan friend 'Aziz in Orlando. We were once chatting about his romantic existence while he was working in Wisconsin (in a job he, strangely enough, found out about from a newspaper in Morocco), and he asked me straightforwardly if I had ever had ever had physical interactions with a prostitute (perhaps he thought I looked older than I was!). He went on to confide to me that "In Morocco, most mens go with the Q'hba..". I found it a little humorous since I had never heard the word Q'hba (قحبة) used outside the context of a curse, but the obvious truth is that to him ...well..to him it wasn't a "silly" concept I guess.. ..I don't even know where I'm going with this anymore!...

(Come to think of it, this actually does have what to do with פסח: To those who don't already know what I mean, the first Mishna of Pesachim informs us that there is an obligation to search ones premises for leavened products by saying "אור לארבעה עשר בודקין את החמץ". The Talmud subsequently spends two pages in an attempt to decipher the meaning of the word "אור" in this context. It turns out it actually means night. The Gemara asks why then don't we just say "night". It answers that "אור" is a much more refined way of saying it, and spends another two pages telling us why and how to use the most refined of word usages. ...so there!..)

The book then moves on to discuss the myriad of words created in the English language to substitute for G-d, Jesus and hell (not to equate the three in any way!). The English created words like "Lor" and "heck" to avoid using the real words, till they themselves were banned! I had actually recently done a bit of research on sayings like "Goodness Gracious!" and "Great Scott!". In my opinion that whole mode of Puritan thinking is way off; it obviously makes no sense to ban words than were created as substitutes for other words (Which creates questions with words like the one we use to substitute for the four letter name of G-d in prayer; i.e. if it's a substitute, then it should be ok? ..long story there actually, perhaps another time, ..but it is something I ponder from time to time).
Hm, quite lengthy this time, not my style...

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Book Review: מלכים ג

As you may have noticed, dear readers, I have, under obvious influence of Ms. Mara Manischewitz's blog, added an application (for your benefit and for your benefit only, dear readers) on the side of this page in which one can hear my selection of a few popular American Rock songs (I would have liked to have offered greater musical diversity, but there wasn't a lot available there). I'm not sure if I want to keep it though, since it may be distracting and makes the page take longer to load...not to mention the semi-mourning of the "עומר" period is coming soon.

There were some things I would have liked to speak of here, that, as most things, seem to have slipped my mind. One thing of interest I do recall at the moment is seeing a nice new book at the Hebrew book store recently. It's called "מלכים ג" by יוכי ברנדס (who herself is pretty interesting, considering she's the daughter of the Biala Rebbe, and is a teacher of Tanach. I think her name is similar to "Brandeis").

Now, not that I'm the biggest Connoisseur of Hebrew novels, but this one caught my attention; it's a biblical historical novel of the kind you don't see every day. From what I understand it tells us 'the side of ירבעם בן נבט we never knew", through the eyes of a youngster from צרידה. I think this kind of novel is a bit too rare, especially in the usually meaning-devoid Israeli novels. Due to the chronological distance between ourselves and the first Temple period we obviously have a hard time even imagining what "Jewish" life might have been like back then; what "Judaism" meant and what it meant to be a "Jew" back then. Now, obviously Brandes' novel is a modernistic, and unquestionably distorted view of things (to an extent), but at least it shows a true effort in the author, and creates a true effort in the reader to discover more about those formidable times for the early shaping of our people.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Women Rabbis

I noticed a few people speaking about the place of female spiritual leaders in Judaism. Namely Gil Student (Hirhurim) and the "Garnel Ironheart" blog in regards to Sara Hurwitz, a woman appointed by Yeshivat Chovevei Torah's Dean as a "Spiritual Leader" after her completion of a rabbinic course. "Garnel", as I suppose he shall be called, seemed to just be criticizing Yeshivat Chovevei Torah for considering women for spiritual-leadership roles. I couldn't disapprove more of his approach. He has his idea of the limitations of Orthodox Judaism, and nothing, not even an honest inquiry into the halachic sources, would change his mind that such things are evil, and that this modern Orthodox yeshiva is forfeiting on it's orthodoxy for even considering such things.

Gil on the other hand, did at least take a bit of time to consider the halackic and "hashkafic" reality of the subject in a novel light, though even he discussing the most practical aspect of it, and is mostly just quoting previous halackic authorities (who rule against the idea).

Personally I never considered the "unorthodox" approach to it much, until I dated a girl who happened to be a "rabid feminist". Upon my conversations with her I started considering the subject more seriously than I had in the past, and started to "see the light" in some forms of Feminism. Yet even today my opinions about it haven't been fully shaped, as, I hope, my opinions about all things. Still, I'm very clear that the current Ultra-Orthodox approach would be inconsistent with the "spirit of the law".

Though I must also state that I feel the whole idea of what it should mean to be a spiritual leader in Judaism is a bit misunderstood. The modern concept of what it means to be a "rabbi" is a relatively modern one, and has changed dramatically since Talmudic times. To put it shortly the current concept of a "rabbi" was born in Western Europe in the fourteenth century, partly to mimic the Christian minister. In Talmudic Judaism though, there was a much greater amount of self-autonomy in the spiritual realm, and let's not even discuss pre-Talmudic times!

There were obviously female prophetesses who advised male visitors, female Judges and learned and pious women in Tanaitic times. Reagarding women in the Talmud though, one might say that we see that there were no "women rabbis" and that the Talmud frowns upon such innovations. In my opinion, though, the fact that the great women the Talmud discusses were not public spiritual leaders was, it can be said, only an influence of the time and place of the Talmud (the situation for wome has changed little until recent times). I feel that if the Talmud itself, so to speak, if it were to be strolling about today, it would seem much more liberal about the subject than Orthodox rabbis today..

From a halakhic viewpoint there seems to be a difference in interpretation between Orthodox and Conservative rabbis in regards to the Talmudic source passages regarding women in the public domain, for which traditional reasonings are usually given concerning a fear that putting women in the public eye would endanger the spiritual safety of men (and which liberal rabbis interpret differentely). Though it can be said that there is more than halakha guiding the Orthodox pinion, and more than halakha guiding the Conservative opinion, but I would add that considering the "temporal conformity" of the Torah and Talmud, the responsa of the conservative rabbis should be considered more seriously.

Book Review: The Dollar Table

In order that this blog not stay idle for long, I'm putting up something here that isn't of great importance, but that somewhat interests me.

On 14th ave in the Boro Park section of Brooklyn (not far from my current place of residence) there is a used Hebrew book store run by a Mr. "Pinter". It's sort of a particular store because of his "dollar table" where, as implied, all the books on it are one dollar. Strange thing is though, some of the books on the dollar table are definitely worth at least more than one dollar. Some such books are 50 to even 140 years old, and are still one dollar, and since I'm a great lover of antiquities I picked up two such books today on my way past the table today.

The one I wish to speak of was first printed in Krakow just over a century ago (1908), it's hard to tell if it's a first print though. It's called "דברי חכמים" (the whole book can be read on this site by the way...guess I wasted my dollar), by ד"ר וואלף מישעל from Câmpulung Moldovenesc (which is in the Bukovina area of Romania/Ukraine). It's about a subject which I consider important, but heard about far less than I would have liked to; the "true" meanings and significance of the Midrashim and Agadot. He mentions his frustration with something I too have dealt with, namely the "limitations" most commentaries put on the Midrashim; they make the Midrashim seem almost petty, and concerned with a very small scope of ideas. He also mentions that this approach is what turned most latter-day Rabbis off about Midrashim, and is what made them look for the very wackiest Midrashim, and explain them in ways that take advantage of their worthy Talmudical minds. This approach is what always turned me off about Midrashim as well; it seemed like they were just adding pointless additions to the biblical narratives based on discrepancies in wording. I thought, "why should it make any difference what color socks Avraham Avinu wore when he went to Canaan? The point is that he went!".

Then again we see what Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto says about Agadot, and we hear some of them expounded in that mindset by Rabbi Berel Wein, but is there a methodology for such a study? I can't say this book provides one, but that is the objective of the author, and it's closer at accomplishing that goal than any other book I've seen on the subject.

...it's interesting how sometimes history and people overlook some of the better books and creations of times past. Sometimes out of nowhere there is a sudden interest in certain old books that no one has heard of for a while, yet sometimes many books are just left abandoned, notwithstanding their worth.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Modivated by the Babysitter...

...I decided to write my findings to the same project she had on her blog--namely typing "[your name] needs" into Google, and commenting on what comes up. ..Here goes!

....Shlomo needs heavy security

Yes, yes I suppose I do. Security against the will to transgress G-d's commands. And what security is there if not Mussar? ..gotta' get into that.. ..it's tough in my schedule though.. ..but definitely needs looking into..

....Shlomo needs go get off twitter and get started with all these new ideas

Yes, well, I'm not quite into "Twitter", and to be quite honest I'm not that interested in it considering that the video I saw about it on "LE7"s blog wasn't very inviting.

Though it's not just about Twitter, it's about any distraction in life that stops you from "getting started with..new ideas". All the distractions in life that, like Twitter, place a person into a false state of reality, similar to that human farm described in the "Matrix" film. A person in such a state can feel that they are going about all the real events of life, and yet are living in some "dream world". ....

....Shlomo needs to strengthen himself and “be a man,”

Yes, yes, quite true. As i mentioned before, I'm getting older, it's about time to get going with life, if not now then when, when I'm f--king 83?

....Shlomo needs to import long wooden beams from Lebanon

Well, em, if you say so.. I mean, I don't know if I "need" to...I mean, what would I do with beams anyway? ...and how would I import them from Lebanon? We have fine beams here in the United States if you ask me...

Well, that's about all the time we have were today folks, see you next time for another wacky episode.

Saturday, March 14, 2009


Something I considered a few days ago, friends, is the nature of expectation. I cannot fully remember what made me ponder such a subject, but I think it had to do with marriage. I suppose I might have said to myself, "Usually when one expects of what nature they wish their marriage partner to be, those hopes do not materialize. As far as I've experienced, a marriage partner is generally someone somewhat unexpected".

This is true though for many things, the most famous of which being the advent of "משיח"; there is a tradition that he will come when he is least expected (or at least that's what I was told by my third grade Rebbe). Yet the same essentially goes for anything that's expected; they don't happen until they become unexpected.

I am currently in the process of reviewing the episodes of "Star Trek" that I first watched when I was very young (don't ask why I decided to take upon myself such a task). In one of the "TNG" episodes the android character (Data) wished to study the human phenomena of expectancy by testing an aphorism that states "A watched pot never boils" (meaning that water only boils when one has taken his attention off of it). According to Data's study the kettle always boiled at the same expected time (since he did not have individual perception)...nevertheless the phrase is for the most part true for people.

I think the reason for this phenomenon is very simple: When one eagerly expects something, their perception of time becomes slower. If so, in their perception it takes longer than planned to reach the appropriate time for something to occur. Because of the artificially elongated time one somewhat looses hope by the time the event actually occurs. ...extremely bogus ideas I have, I know, but I felt like recording it here.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

By Jove I Think I've Got It!

I Hope everybody had a good Purim (I know mine sort of sucked, but whatever)..

Yes, em, something which, for reasons beyond even myself, I wanted to have been mentioned here: I've recently made somewhat of a discovery in a subject which, though I take great interest in, I'm ashamed to say I haven't done any research in until now. The subject is the names of days in the English language (which should have been elemental knowledge to me long ago, and which, in my opinion, should interest any speaker of the English language, especially those opposed to Pagan references).

I mean, I've always known the names were of the sun, moon, and other mythological gods, but I never understood how all the English names (unlike the names in most every other Romance language) reflected the gods I thought they were named after. Lucky for me, my jolly old friend Wikipedia was in the neighborhood, and I happened upon him with some questions, which he happily obliged to answer.

As a preface, I wish to express my wonder at a certain religious phenomenon around the world, which I've pondered about long ago: There are certain religious notions that were common to people the world over, even if they developed in different, isolated parts of the globe. The entire world was once unified by polytheism. The religions of the Americas were very similar to those in Asia, as to those in Africa, Australia and Europe. There have always been similar notions of gods and heaven and hell and many such ideas, in every place. How could it be that they all came to such similar conclusions about things? Startling in my opinion.. Nonetheless, this fact was more true in Eurasia than anywhere else. The Greeks and the Romans shared the exact same gods as the Sumerians and Babylonians. (This is actually one of a few good examples of why it's important to know about Greek/Roman mythology/religion. You've gotta know Ares=Mars, Zeus=Jupiter, Aphrodite=Venus, etc.).

Another important point is that, based on their Astrological knowledge, early civilizations created some sort of "planetary clock" that determined which planet/god (they associated moving heavenly bodies with planets) was associated with which day. The funny thing is that the Romans used numbered days for the week, and it was the early Roman-Christian authorities who were responsible for reinstituting the Pagan names.

The only question is; very well, Tuesday is Mars, Thursday is Iupiter, etc., but where the hell did all the English names come from? Wednesday doesn't sound anything like Mercurius!

Well, Wikipedia let me in on a little secret (we have a special relationship): In Northern Europe the names (except Saturn) were changed to the Germanic names for those same gods. Tuesday Wednesday Thursday and Friday (the odd names) are named after Tyr, Woden, Thor and Frige. (Come to think of it, this actually connects with Purim; Marduk and Ishtar (Mordecai and Esther) are Babylonian for Jupiter and Venus!).

As far as I'm concerned the main lesson of this is similar to the main lesson of most things for me; Anti-"Ashkenazi-ism"! It has been the practice of the Eastern-European Ultra-Orthodox establishment to preserve Yiddish as a spoken language, and at times, in fact choosing to speak it over English and even Hebrew! To me this is one more reason why it's "wrong to speak Yiddish"; it's proponents say that the language is "distinctly Jewish", and yet when it comes to the days of the week, instead of adopting the numbered ("countdown to Shabbat") Hebrew names, they instead insist on continuing to use the same Pagan Teutonic names that are used by the non-Jews in Germany. G-d help them! And G-d strengthen those who speak His Holy Tongue!

(Umm, by the way, "Jove" is another name for Jupiter).

Monday, March 9, 2009

Random Megilah Thoughts

OMG, it's, like, almost Purim and I didn't write anything about it yet!

Well, one thing that quickly crossed my mind last night, that others I spoke with actually concurred with a bit, is that it seems that it was Mordecai who started the whole debacle, since he was the one who incurred Haman's anger when he refused to bow or rise for him. It is obvious that Haman was a pathological individual, and that it would serve him better not to be heeded, but according to what I was reading in the NIV he wouldn't have been transgressing any sin if he did bow to him (since there are other biblical characters who did bow to people--Abraham bowing to the sons of Heth for example), and the only reason he would not was due to an obvious strife he had with a personage such as Haman. Yet the fact remains that if he did bow, Haman's anger against the Jews might not have been incited, he would not have plotted against the exiled Judeans, and we would never have heard the story (and it was Mordecai himself who later sends to Esther that "if you don't risk your life to save us, salvation will come from another source", as if to suggest that he is sure a salvation must somehow come, although it is he that caused the very need for a salvation).

But that is just a whimsical thought, obviously it was part of G-d's plan for Mordecai not to bow or rise (since that is what happened), and there is a likelihood that based on the circumstances refraining from showing honor to such a person was in fact the superior course of action.

Yet aside from that, every year I come upon a few small realizations about Megilat Esther that I had in the past. Though aside from seeking textual, moral and literary insights, I, in general, like reading Megilat Esther in a "realistic" sense, especially through the subject of archaeological and person identifications. This is due to the fact that in the "Boro Park society" in which I reside the Megilah is obviously taken far from it's original meaning, and contorted to become some Chasidic fairy tale, where Mordecai is an "Admur" and Haman is visibly villainous. If one does believe that the events recorded in the Megilah actually occurred in reality, one obviously must distance such imagery from himself. Now, as far as we're concerned Haman was indeed sinister, but considering his stature, most probably saw him only as an elderly statesman.

Also in regards to Mordecai, some interpret that he himself was exiled from Jerusalem, while some, based on the dates we have, say that it is impossible for him to have come from Jerusalem, and it is more likely that he was first or second generation foreign-born. Also, I mentioned before a "villainous appearance"; keep in mind that Persians are known to despise middle-easterners. Mordecai must have been somewhat racially different than the others, which is enough to create within him the animosity of his countrymen.

In regards to Vashti as well, there is textual as well as historical evidence that she was not killed, but rather dethroned, and actually returned after Esther either died or lost favor with the king.

Something I enjoy thinking about in regards to Ahasuerus that he is, for the most part, associated with the Persian king "Khashayar-sha", which sounds more Persian, since it ends with "shah".

Yet these are essentially trivial points. The main point is obviously to internalize the lesson of the Megilah, something which, I'm afraid, is somewhat overlooked due to the pervasive cultural aspects of Purim. I am actually of the opinion that few, very much including myself, fully perceive the spiritual significance of Ta'anit Ester, and Purim itself.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

3 Essays

I, friends, have a few minor things of theological significance that have been swimming around in my mind here and there recently, like refuse washed up in a puddle after the rainfall, and although you know that it is not my way here to put things to writing unless I find myself brooding over them for an extended period, I feel these are worth putting to the pen.

1. Artificial Piety

While biking to the place of my education to-day, I was reflecting upon this video (I'm not sure if you've seen it, but rest assured it is entertaining): It is clear to most of us that the methodology this man employs to "battle evil spiritual forces" is at lest somewhat nonsensical. I mean to say, while it is clear that one must battle those forces—for they are real—, and that he is wise in engaging in such a struggle, his particular means are a bit "fanciful". There is no explanation needed for that. .
This reminded me of a discussion (which was previously discussed) that I took part in in Chicago this past summer. It was the American among our Green Bay Shoh'atim arguing with an American Chasid (a stress on "American" I guess) about weather Kabalah should be utlized by the masses as a means for spiritual enrichment. My opinions reflected that of my friend, that Kabalah has taken "too prminent a place in normative Judaism". I felt this way partially because, while I agree with the authenticity of the Zohar for the most part, I do admit that the Moshe De Leon story is a bit fishy, though there has obviously been a form of Kabalah extant in Spain long before De Leon. I was also influenced by my friend having just informed me that while Vital's "Etz Hayyim" discusses transmigration (גילגולים) at length, Sa'adia Gaon dismissed the idea centuries earlier. Yet the man insisted that forms of Kabalah brought people closer to G-d in a way they would not have been otherwise (which, I, in the Sephardi/Israeli community, was more than aware of). Based on these premises I told him something which I found to be somewhat memorable; "if someone gets "h'izuk" from reading comic books, then that's also a good thing" (but it doesn't mean the comics are theologically legitimate).

It was the memory of this incident that came upon me while biking, and reflecting upon the Breslov video. Through this comparison I came to the obvious conclusion that we stress exterior elements of "religion" to too large a degree. If things like wearing your tzitzit strings out, shaking while praying, dressing like a Polish noble or wearing a cowboy hat make you feel more committed to moral ideals, then by all means, but know that the point is the morality that they encourage.

In all honesty though, if one were to take this idea all the way it would lead to the sanctuaries of Secular Humanism, who have a similar complaint toward the religions: If associating with a religion makes you feel all fuzzy inside, OK, but the point is morality, and nothing else". So it's a slippery subject.

2. The Irrationality of Rationalism

(A title which could, by the way, not be more heretical as far as I'm concerned).

There is undoubtedly, friends, a certain friction that one perceives between ones religious ideals and secularist ideals when one studies nature, in all it's aspects, for when one studies nature they discover what a clockwork cause-and-effect system it is, which leaves little room for the notion of attributing events to a Divine source. This, I fear, is a fundamental problem for all "rationalist-religious" such as myself. It is a problem because one of the clear lessons the bible teaches us, and that the Oral Tradition enforces is that natural events, even if they do run in a natural way, are caused by G-d, and weather or not they will take place can be changed by Divine will. Now, I do not mean to say that this is any kind of real theological conflict, since we do not harbor doubt in these religious matters, but only that as a matter of perception it can, at times, be tricky.

The point I mean to bring out is that this "naturalist" way of viewing things can be quite harmful to the religious man (...or woman), for a man can be sitting by his Shabbat table, with his wife and children, in good health and eating good food and think "well, this is the natural course of events based on my actions and the workings of the forces of nature". Obviously, this man would be committing the grave sin of completely overlooking all the good that G-d has done on his behalf.

There was once an old gentleman who roamed around the Shor Yoshuv building engrossed in deep thought (as he had once been a Talmudic genius), but was now unfortunately more than a bit mad. I recall this gentleman once inserted the necessary amount of coins into a soda-pop machine, and lo and behold, out came the soda! This man expressed his gratitude to G-d for this miracle by saying "chasdei Hashem!". Is this a reasonable way to react to such an occurrence? Surely the machine was programed to deliver the soda upon insertion of the coins! This is obviously too enigmatic a question to actually discuss here, but according to "our" theology the answer is that this man was justified! For the laws of nature and the programing of a machine do not always work as one would hope. The evidence of Divine Providence in nature, to an extent, is G-d's occasional absence from nature! To the man with the family I would say: Yes, it is natural for you to have had this family, but how many men fail to find a suitable mate with which to procreate? And how many wives cannot bear? How many people become inexplicably unhealthy (רחמנא לשיזבן), how many families don't have sufficient sustenance, and how many times does the right soda not come out of the machine?!

3. עשה לך רב

I was just thinking of what seems to be a bit of a conflict in Judaic thought.

On the one hand, we are not Christians. One of the mainstays of Christian belief is that one cannot be "saved" by works alone, and certainly not by clinging to "the Law", but only by faith in the manifestation of G-d in this world (Jesus) and more so, to try to learn about, and emulate his ways, though this is decidedly a more Protestant version of things. Judaism is obviously of the complete opposite opinion; that it is mainly, if not only, works and the Law (תורה ומצוות) which have the potential to elevate one to perfection.

Yet this idea of "IMITATIO" has been and is practiced fully by adherents of the Jewish Chassidic sects, in regards to a full adherence to, and imitation of, the Chasidic "Master".

Yet on the other hand something that comes quickly to my mind is the Messilat Yesharim; Luzzatto is very individualistic when it comes to religion; in what to me was the most surprising part of the book, the last chapter, he seems to say that "his work is done" and that it is up to every Chasid (totally different meaning) to pave a path for himself. It should be noted, by the way, that more than being "in opposition" to the opinions of those who do not follow the mitzvot fully, the book is more opposed to the ideas of fully observant sects, namely the archetypal "Chacham" and "Chasid" (maybe one day I'll get back into that Mesliat Yesharim blog!).

But this is not the whole truth though, for the Mishna itself in many places says quite clearly that one aught to "make for himself a Rabbi" and attach himself to that person in every possible way, and learn from them as much as possible, which is somewhat more reminiscent of the Chasidic worldview. —?—. וצריך עיון