Tuesday, January 02, 2007


I received this email from Lakewood venter and I thought it was great!
I actually once heard another answer to the question asked - I'll post it below!
***
Question of the Week:

Dear Rabbi,

Why does the Jewish religion seem to obsess over insignificant details? How much matza do we have to eat, which spoon did I use for milk and which for meat, what is the right way to tie my shoelaces? It seems to me that this misses the bigger picture by focusing on minutiae. Is this nitpicking what Jews call spirituality?
(I actually already sent you this question over a week ago and didn't receive a reply. Could it be that you have finally been asked a question that you can't answer?!)

Rob

Answer:

Dear Rob,

I never claimed to have all the answers. There are many questions that are beyond me. But it happens to be that I did answer your question, and you did get the answer. I sent a reply immediately. The fact that you didn't receive it is itself the answer to your question.

You see, I sent you a reply, but I wrote your email address leaving out the "dot" before the "com". I figured that you should still receive the email, because after all, it is only one little dot missing. I mean come on, it's not as if I wrote the wrong name or something drastic like that! Would anyone be so nitpicky as to differentiate between "yahoocom" and " yahoo.com"? Isn't it a bit ridiculous that you didn't get my email just because of a little dot?

No, it's not ridiculous. Because the dot is not just a dot. It represents something. That dot has meaning far beyond the pixels on the screen that form it. To me it may seem insignificant, but that is simply due to my ignorance of the ways of the web. All I know is that with the dot, the message gets to the right destination; without it, the message is lost to oblivion.

Jewish practices have infinite depth. Each nuance and detail contains a world of symbolism. And every dot counts. When they are performed with precision, a spiritual vibration is emailed throughout the universe, all the way to G-d's inbox.

If you want to understand the symbolism of the dot, study I.T.
If you want to understand the symbolism of Judaism, study it.

All the best,
Rabbi Moss

***

Nice answer, no?
I once heard another answer to this question that I really loved a lot.
A rabbi I heard said: (I'm paraphrasing!)
"My wife doesn't want or need anything. She's happy with what she has. Whenever I want to get her a gift, she tells me she's happy and there is nothing that she needs. I want to show her how much I love her, I want to express to her how much she means to me, I want to be able to get closer to her, to make her happy, to get to know her inside out, but she tells me she doesnt need anything.
Now, if one day she were to take me into a library with bookshelf after bookshelf filled with thousands of books from floor to ceiling, and she told me 'See all these books, i wrote them. I wrote them for you. You asked me what you can do to get to know me better, to get closer to me, to make me happy, well, it's all in these books. Read them. Learn them. Get to know me. Learn how to make me happy.' I would run into that room and read every single one of these books, i would devour them, and i would follow every instruction in there. Not only that, but i would be SO greatful that i would finally know how to please my wife, how to get closer to her, how to finally make her happy'.
Of course this story is a mashal for the torah Hashem gave us and the reasons why it's so beloved to us, down to the tiniest detail. If we view Hashem as someone we love with all our heart and soul, it's normal that we want to get closer to Him, we want to follow every detailed instruction He gave us.
That's why we care about the details. When you love someone, you want to know every intricate detail about them, and you desperately want to make them happy. We follow the Torah, down to the smallest detail - out of love."

Beautiful.

27 Comments:

At Tuesday, January 02, 2007 3:33:00 PM, Blogger Nemo said...

Well, I would say that the first answer is more correct but I can see why the second turned you on... love and marriage and all :)

 
At Tuesday, January 02, 2007 3:54:00 PM, Blogger the only way i know said...

Regarding Love
I just asked someone the question of whether we really love people...or interact or 'help' or 'care' because it makes us feel good.
How do we define 'love'...
I would think that love is when it is selfless, (like my mom and dad are for their kids..) and requires sacrifice..but I'm not sure..
I wonder if I've ever really felt love - real love...
or am I always 'taking' and thereby loving no one but myself..

Loving G-d is of course the ultimate..I wonder if I'll ever get there.

 
At Tuesday, January 02, 2007 4:30:00 PM, Blogger Lvnsm27 said...

I like both.
The first one shows how every detail is important even if it seems small.
And the second one emphasizes that if we want to know about the one we love and how to come close, we need to learn about them and how to connect with them.

 
At Tuesday, January 02, 2007 4:50:00 PM, Blogger nuch a chosid said...

got it too, and liked it too, very clever

 
At Tuesday, January 02, 2007 7:15:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello, I enjoy your blog, but as for Lakewood venter's e-mail, see the original source.....

http://www.chabad.org/library/article.asp?AID=160998

 
At Tuesday, January 02, 2007 8:13:00 PM, Blogger anonym00kie said...

nemo..
thats why this rabbi teaches in a girl's school.. he knows how to relate :)

towik..
hmm.. there is definitely an aspec of love that is about 'getting' but i find it hard to beleie that youve never loved in a selfless way. i dont think its about what you get or what you give, i think love is about feeling so concerned for someones well being that you are willing to sacrifice for their own good. i dont think youd be the person you are if you had never had that.. you underestimate yourself..

Lvnsm27..
youre right about the second one, every detail is relevant and important.. in personal relationships (where we feel a natural drive to behave this way) but also with G-d wwhere we soemtimes have a harder time relating to Him in such a "real" way.

nuch a chosid.
ah.. but you didnt read the second one, did you? :)

anonymous..
thanks so mcuh! i was actually hoping someone would give me the source. ill update the blog to include it.
im still grateful for LV's email, he brought it to my attention :)

 
At Tuesday, January 02, 2007 11:53:00 PM, Blogger knaidel maidel said...

I wish I could remember the details, but what really hits me about Judaism's attention to minutiae is that EVERY single thing a Jew does is an opportunity for growth and spirituality. When we read Pirkei Avos (Ethics of the Fathers) we say "HaShem wants to reward Bnei Israel, therefore he gave us a LOT of Torah and mitzvos." It's very special. When a Jew wakes up in the morning, the fact that he washes his hands in a specific order says "I am thinking about G-d right now. I am doing something to connect to Him. I am elevating my actions." This goes on throughout the day, every time the Jew eats, ties shoes, does business, all the way until s/he closes his/her eyes at night. A person who takes full advantage of these many opportunities lives a very rich, meaningful life.

 
At Wednesday, January 03, 2007 2:29:00 AM, Blogger the only way i know said...

thanks Mooks, good to be encouraged...
true about being concerned for the the other person's well being..and willing to sacrifice for it..maybe i've just never felt able to sacrifice alot...then again, maybe i have..hmmm -
Well -point is to give as we can, and push ourselves..I guess..
Thanks, Sweetie.

 
At Wednesday, January 03, 2007 11:25:00 AM, Blogger socialworker/frustrated mom said...

It is an interesting answer the rabbi gave. I could see the person being annoyed that asked the question. The second is a nice mashal.

 
At Wednesday, January 03, 2007 1:50:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

MOOKIE-
The first article is by Rabbi Aron Moss, not "Rabbi B."

 
At Thursday, January 04, 2007 11:00:00 AM, Blogger David_on_the_Lake said...

Good answer...
The way I understand it..that there is a rule called Shliach Shel Adam K'moso..someones messenger is like the sender himself...
The same is with hashem by following what he tells us to do we are his messenger and thus become God like..and so the more minute details we get right the more secure this connection...

 
At Thursday, January 04, 2007 2:00:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

MOOKIE ITS BY RABBI MOSS!!!!!

 
At Thursday, January 04, 2007 2:13:00 PM, Blogger anonym00kie said...

knaidel maidel..
yup, beautiful. really every single thought or action can be viewed this way.

towik..
stop underestimating yourself!

socialworker/frustrated mom..
i dont know if he was annoyed, but i think its a valid question!

Anonymous..
OKKKKK I heard! i just copy/pasted it from LV..
now i changed it..
THANKS for the correction
now stop yelling at me! :)

David_on_the_Lake..
i dont understand why we are we his messenger? its not like he has to keep shabbos but he asks us to do it for him..
i dont think i

 
At Thursday, January 04, 2007 2:14:00 PM, Blogger anonym00kie said...

David_on_the_Lake..
i dont understand why we are his messengers? its not like He has to keep shabbos but He asks us to do it for him..
i dont think i understand..

 
At Thursday, January 04, 2007 5:20:00 PM, Anonymous malka said...

maybe by messenger he means that we bring sprituality to this world and elevate this world by learning and doing mitzvot. Or maybe he means something else.

Anyhow, what people in genenral should understand is that He's not giving us mitzot for Him, He's giving us mitzot for us so we can be close to Him. And He told us how, in the Torah

 
At Thursday, January 04, 2007 5:22:00 PM, Anonymous malka said...

*mitzvot

 
At Thursday, January 04, 2007 10:10:00 PM, Blogger chaverah said...

Nice email. I am curious to know the source of why the email was sent. are you questioning religion? are you questioning your goals? do you feel that certain things you do are not important in the big sceme of things?

I actualy love the first answer because it shows all of us how we all make a difference. The smallest thing actualy makes a dent in this tameh world.

 
At Friday, January 05, 2007 8:49:00 AM, Blogger anonym00kie said...

malka..
that makes sense, im not sure if i would have used the word messenger, but i get what youre saying
and i agree.. of course Hashem gave us the mitzvot for us - thats why its silly to resent them when we get frustrated

chaverah..
am i questioning?
first of all i'm ALWAYS questionning. the day i stop questionning = the day i stop thinking.
second of all, it wasnt my email, im not rob :)

 
At Friday, January 05, 2007 9:50:00 AM, Blogger David_on_the_Lake said...

WHY we are his messengers is really irrelevent..

The point is theres a connection forged when person A sends person B on a mission..that makes person B become like Person A...and that only comes through carrying it out exactly as told..

 
At Friday, January 05, 2007 9:54:00 AM, Blogger anonym00kie said...

but david my question was, what mission did He send us on? keeping mitzvas isnt a mission, its a vehicle.. malka said to bring spirituality to the world, or i'd say maybe revealing it ...

 
At Friday, January 05, 2007 10:22:00 AM, Blogger David_on_the_Lake said...

all I'm saying is...regardless of the reason...theres this added connection that occurs thru this vehicle...

 
At Saturday, January 06, 2007 4:06:00 PM, Blogger kasamba said...

Why does my comment never make it????
Does blogger have something personal against me??????

Anyhoo, loved the post as I have said three times already- let's see if this goes through!

 
At Saturday, January 06, 2007 8:13:00 PM, Blogger Independent Frum Thinker said...

Both answers are great!

 
At Sunday, January 07, 2007 9:53:00 AM, Blogger M said...

I've heard it said that the devil is in the details. Ya think?!

 
At Sunday, January 07, 2007 8:59:00 PM, Anonymous the sabra said...

came here to tell u that im waitin for u to reply to my response to ur comment on the new years eve post.

butttttttttt

somethin caught my eye-
a comment..some words....im thinkin i should read e/t written so as not to make a fool outta myself, but nu...so bottom line is that gd put us into this world in order that we can make it a place where He will feel comfortable..and He told us exactly what to do in order to accomplish that..

 
At Tuesday, January 09, 2007 6:54:00 AM, Blogger Pragmatician said...

I'd be happy she wrote down everything that I need to know her but I'd be mighty unhappy about the fact that she'd choose such an impersonal and difficult way to let me know.

And sometimes I am frustrated, why must Halacha so hard to follow?

 
At Sunday, January 14, 2007 5:46:00 PM, Blogger Arielle B. said...

Nice Answer but I don't know if it's the best analogy being:

1. If you are designing a webpage and you are so concerned about the dot in your address, are you going to have a good web page?
What details should you focus on when you are attracting users? Should you dedicate 100% of your energy to that dot or 5%
2. For e-mail purposes, using a specific address is important to get your mail to the sender however how you get a persons e-mail depends on a few things: your eye sight, that person's method of communicating it to you leaving way for interpretation. If I tell you my e-mail address has the word Ariel in it, it only tells you part of it. You can totally get the dot and miss the domain! And if your eye sight is bad it doesn't matter if you know the correct address and aim to type it, you might not be.
3. That person might have different e-mail accounts. I have more than 5....I mean, we're talking about the creator of the world here! Totally beyond e-mail and that dot and the web.
4. The dot refers to part of the address, it doesn't refer to the content. So if this analogy is referring to how we humans communicate with G-d, each one of us can have different content and it can still go to the same address. However, halachicly speaking, the programming language used to get the data from one machine to another can represent halacha so if you don't follow the right halacha then your message might not go anywhere.

However, there is different ways to program the e-mail function in javascript and in other languages showing that what is necessary for the delivery of the message is a language determined by the creator however different it might look in different codes.

Mel

 

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