Posted on | December 25, 2007 | By Rabbi Lazer Brody | 11 Comments
Rabbi Lazer Brody originally posted this good advice here:
Josh from New England sent me the following question via my dear friend A Simple Jew:
I wanted to get your 2 cents on something. It’s my rabbi and my trouble seeing him as “my rabbi”. I am used to warm and caring rabbis, however he is what my wife refers to as “gruff”. His wife, on the other hand, is one of the sweetest rebbetzins you would ever meet.
The rabbi is constantly frazzled and short with me. Often he walks right by me without saying hello. He never engages me in conversation when I come over to wish him a “Good Shabbos”. He is easy to lose his temper, barks out commands to his kids, and often partakes of an inordinate amount of alcohol – and not just at times when it is customary to do so. This last observation has also been made by a number of people at my shul.
If I boil down what I am saying, he is not my ideal for a rabbi and barely meets my qualifications for a decent person. Have any advice for me? Finding another shul is obviously your first answer. However, my kids have lots of friends at this shul and also adore the rebbetzin. What should I do? I would have to move to another town since this is the only shul in walking distance if this is your advice to me.
First off, I want to warn you about gossip and slander. Even if the facts are true, you and other community members shouldn’t be talking about the rabbi unless you are bona-fide representatives of the community doing so to consider extending his contract or not. In your words, This last observation has also been made by a number of people at my shul – don’t fall into the Yetzer’s gossip trap.
If what you say is true, both anger and alcohol are clear signs of dark-side influence. Such a person cannot be a healthy spiritual guide, for if he is disconnected from holiness, how can he connect you to holiness?
I don’t suggest that you uproot your family because of this guy. Find yourself a rav and spiritual guide outside the community, and pray within the community. With email and cheap long-distance dialing, it’s no problem talking to any rav you like anywhere. Make no expectations from the local rabbi and you won’t be disappointed. Also, be careful not to join on a bandwagon against him. Hashem will take care of this His own way. Blessings and Happy Chanuka, LB