Monday, August 22, 2011

Differences


by Rabbi Yisrael Bronstein

A simple man once approached the Chofetz Chaim and asked "Rebbe, why must there be different groups of Jews in the world? For example, there are chassidim and there are misnagdim; some Jews focus primarily on prayer, others on Torah study, and yet others dedicate their Divine service to serving Hashem with joy.  Why is it necessary to have so many different divisions within Judaism?

"Why are you asking me?"questioned the Chofetz Chaim.  "Go and ask the Russian czar why he needs so many different divisions of soldiers in his army.  For instance, there are soldiers who fight on horseback, soldiers who man the cannons, pilots, sailors, and infantrymen!"

"The czar would undoubtedly answer," continued the Chofetz Chaim "that each group of soldiers is essential for his army, for each unit contributes in a different way and serves a unique purpose.  Infantrymen are not equipped with the skills necessary to wage aerial combat.  A soldier adept at manning a cannon is unique in that he can target enemies that are long distances away.  Even the soldiers in the army's band serve a unique purpose, as they lift the spirits of the soldiers at war."

"This is the reason," concluded the Chofetz Chaim, "that the Jewish people have also been divided into many different groups. Each one of the groups has its own unique characteristic and contributes in its own invaluable way to the battle against the yetzer hara!"

1 comment:

  1. This is one of my favorite Chofetz Chaim stories. Some Jews think that our diversity is a sign of weakness, when in reality it is our greatest strength.

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