Posted on | August 6, 2013 | By Mark Frankel | 5 Comments
I’ve felt a little besieged recently because of my hashkafic affiliation which is with Chofetz Chaim, headquartered in Kew Gardens Hills, Queens, NY. In the old classification system of LWMO, RWMO, LWUO, RWUO, Chofetz Chaim was in the Left Wing Ultra Orthodox segment, almost indistinguishable from the Right Wing Modern Orthodoxy of much of Yeshiva University, with perhaps a few differences in halacha and hashkafa. But in the new classification system you’re either Charedi or not, and in the blog and social media world that I mostly inhabit, Charedi is a pejorative word.
But then comes Sunday morning and a group of YU and Chofetz Chaim guys gather for our weekly Halacha and Machshava shiur which has been going on for over 10 years. We’ve been fortunate to have Rabbi Daniel Stein (currently of YU and Passaic) and Rabbi Yakov Haber (of Darche Noam) from YU among our distinguished teachers.
On Sunday morning, clarity sets in when we get together and learn. It’s an intermediate level shiur and when we delve deeper there’s often something to incorporate in our understanding of Torah or practice of halacha. We hock and we debate and we clarify, but we’re there to learn and it’s clear to all that when we’re involved in spiritual growth there’s no significant difference between the RWMO of YU and the LWUO of Chofetz Chaim.
That’s the unity principal for our time. Learning and growing spiritually is what unites us as one people under G-d. I see it on Sunday, I see it when I learn with my non-Observant chavrusa, and I see it when I learn with any of my chavrusas.
It’s Elul, a time when we push a drop harder on the growth pedal. It might also be a good time to reflect that our growth and our fellow Jew’s spiritual growth is what’s important, it’s what unites us, it’s what we should continue to focus on.