Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Putting a word in for איסיות

[Something I would have liked to have said here recently is a thought that came to my mind on erev Yom Kippur while I was, ..strangely enough, coming out of the Bobov mikve (1) (for the first time in a little while. ..I used to go almost daily). ]

Although I’m generally a proponent of what might be called "Modern Orthodoxy’ and look critically on the exaggerated ways of the Kabalists and the Neo-Chassidim (2) (some of which are uncannily similar to the practices of the ancient Essene sect (איסיים), hence the title), I do admit that in some situations desperate times call for desperate measures in regards to the mitzvot.

משל למה הדבר דומה? …the most a propos analogy I could think of was from the zombie-movie “Resident Evil” (1, 2 or 3). The protagonists of the story go everywhere heavily armed, since most of the world’s population has become violent zombies who understand nothing but the force of the bullet. Yet is that an the most ideal situation? The best situation is obviously for a people to be unarmed and be free to travel about without fear of being harmed. But the reality (in that movie) was that without weapons they would be in grave danger, and therefore had to put themselves in the unideal situation of carrying weapons everywhere they go.

So it is with our own lives: there were times when the יצה"ר went about it’s business getting people to sin in more tame and discreet ways. But now that the יצה"ר has called against us all the uncouth denizens of the netherworld to coerce us to sin against g-d, we have to serve g-d “Resident Evil-style”, consistently utilizing "כלי מלחמה". What are these "כלי מלחמה"? Are they not the חומרות and הקפדות of the ירא חטא that they utilize in the "מלחמת היצר"? If we cannot lead the lifestyle of a fanatic to the fullest extent then at least the minimum; having a 'seder', studying Mussar/Chassidut every day, minimizing on recorded entertainment programs that can be seen on televisions and computers and maximizing on our reading of the sacred books, etc etc etc…

(1) The Word "Mikve" ends with a segol, not a kamatz.
(2) A more acccurate terminology than "Chassidim".

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