We saw in part one of this series that there is a prohibition — according to some an actual Torah prohibition — to be involved in, aid, or even to refrain from preventing (if one is in a position to do so), machlokes: not argument, not disputes, but division and “sides, even if you are in the right. If Moshe Rabbeinu (!) would not have gone to the tents of Dassan and Aviram (!) to try to placate them, he presumably would have been in violation of this din (we derive the din from what Moshe did).
In part two, we pointed out that at one point of our lives, we have all probably witnessed the setting aside of the most intense of differences in order to join in a common cause. We want to understand: what makes that happen, and how we can achieve that madreigah?
We cited the Medrash that states that machlokes was an actual Creation, created on the second day, when Hakadosh Baruch Hu divided the upper waters (above the sky, or firmament) from the lower waters (the waters beneath). This, the Medrash teaches, represents machlokes (and, according to another opinion there, Gehinnom). How was this division, obviously necessary for the beri’ah, to be divisive and the model for machlokes?
The upper waters represent the spiritual sources of physical matter. Before the second day, there was no division between the corporeal and its ethereal progenitor. The physical had no “selfhood” and existed only as a tool in the hands of the spiritual realm to proclaim the Glory of Hashem.
On day two, Hashem, in order to fulfill the purpose for which He was creating the world, split the two — hafrada, division. The physical now had an ego, a self, a being that existed seemingly as if it has a true self-sustaining existence (we say seemingly because in objective reality, Hashem is actually the only REAL, absolutely authentic metzi’us — everything else is subjective reality — subject to His will that it exist). Everything physical is now b’nifrad (separated) from its spiritual parent, where the only reality is ratzon Hashem, and takes on the veneer of self, where I, or the table or the chair, or the pen in my hand, exist on their own; it is here one moment, and so, we think, that is why it is here the next moment — but that’s wrong! At both moments it only exits as a product of Hashem’s will, and would, should, cease to exist the moment it stands in contradistinction to Hashem’s will. The ability to not self-destruct at that moment was enabled by the hafrada of yom sheini, where the physical (lower waters) were separated from their roots, the spiritual, k’ilu (as if) they now have a self.
And THAT is precisely the creation of machlokes. Once something exits, seemingly objectively, it has its sense of self. And a second thing that exists has its sense of self. And thus there can be, and is, machlokes. When everything everything everything is inherently just a tool to carry out, TO BE, the will of the Almighty, there will be no machlokes. Because nothing has a sense of self, and therefore all act and react as cogs in a machine, as parts of the whole. This is the normal reaction of such a state of existence. It’s when things acquire that “selfhood” that I am I and you are you and machlokes is possible.
A simple story, as a moshol: I am personally aware and am involved in a certain vasikin minyan in a certain town in the USA. The minyan has no pretensions of being a “real” shul, no “members,” certainly not a kehillah, they won’t be meeting for minchah and maariv, they barely stick around for mussaf on Shabbos (just too inconvenient not to, I guess) no speeches, no appeals — no nutthin’! They daven vasikin and go home!
After about 20 years of existence, a long-time mispallel, someone actually there from day one, proposed a change to following what is called netz hanir’eh — the actual perception of sunrise, taking into account the natural topography, and other such factors. Some people said yes, okay, that’s how many do it in Eretz Yisroel, it makes a lot of sense. Others said no way! We’re not changing, this is not the way it is mekubal here in the States, it is NOT logical…
At the end of the day, the matter was decided by the posek of the minyan — no. It is not yet mekubal in the USA, he (the posek) did not see any compelling proof that that is the way to go, and thus to change represented an inappropriate change from minhag hamikom.
The fellow who brought up the subject in the first place, clearly feeling strongly about the matter (nature books warn about trying to separate a vasikin person from his netz — it is considered very, very dangerous and should only be attempted by highly trained personnel), went and made his own minyan! Yes, “he broke away” and started a vasikin minyan according to netz hanir’eh. He drew upon the older original minyan for his new minyan, managing to get around fifteen people, and voila! Two minyanim!
I see the Reader seething. A chutzpah! How could he do such a thing! The nerve! After all these years, where’s his hakaras hatov, where’s his submission to the posek, where’s his deference to the tzibur? And the Reader can envision the verbal accusations, the lashon hora, the rechilus, the malbin p’nei chaveiro that must’ve went on. Ooooh ahhhhh!
And then that fellow had the added chutzpah and audacity and… and… words fail me! He comes back to the old minyan for Shabbos with a smattering of people who went away, because he couldn’t put together a minyan for Shabbos, so he marches back with his partners in crime to his old shul, his old place of davening, and that… that… that I don’t know what, boldly stands there in his former makom kavu’ah and davens as if nothing happened! He breaks apart the minyan and he comes back for Shabbos! Surely the Reader assumes his shtender was thrown out the window, his Siddur Hagra taken away and hidden, and there’ll be three days Rosh Chodesh before he gets an aliyah! And what makom kavu’ah, you LEFT, someone else should sit there now, you go slink away to the back, you good-for-nothing mechutzaf!
And a huge fight breaks out about if he should even be allowed to daven there on Shabbos…
Right? That’s what happened, right?
Wrong!100 percent wrong.
Continued next week. . . . . . . .
I wish to thank the tzibbur for coming and participating so strongly in the Kashrus lectures (and a special thank you to Chadash for advertising it gratis). There was a palpable feeling of a willingness to learn and be educated. Im yirtzeh Hashem this will lead to improvements in the status quo of Kashrus in BS and RBS — for ALL chugim, and ALL hechsherim.