Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Emes and MS

Emes (truth) is a very geshmak'er (enjoyable) flavor. It can set a person free. But some people see it as MS - a handicap - rather than the liberating agent emes, which frees people from the heavy handicap of living and toting lies.

We need a virtual Kotzk in cyberia - where the focus is on emes !

Kotzk and Lita

It is interesting how certain Chassidic groups and some Litvaks (esp. mussarniks) share certain common values.

Some Chassidim have an extreme emphasis on emes - I am thinking of Kotzk (and perhaps Ger/Gor/Gur), R. Pinhas of Koretz, and the like. In some ways they are similar to certain Litvaks who similarly place great emphasis on being emes'dik (as our heiliger Torah does).

Some things said over in the name of Rav Yisroel Salanter, e.g., are sometimes stated in the name of the Kotzker Rebbe. I think that they are sometimes confused, leading to such misattributions (going both ways), because of their shared focus on emes, penimius (inwardliness), and genuineness in avodas Hashem, which leads to some of their vertlech/divrei Torah being similar.

Rav Yechezkel (Chatzkel) Levenstein z"l, one of the great baalei mussar in the Yeshivishe velt, came from a Gerrer background. Was that just a coincidence ? Ger/Kotzk and mussar seem to fit well together.