You said that sometimes chassidim are so attached to their Rebbeh and it leads to fighting with other chassidim instead of being a ladder to climb closer to Hashem. But isn’t it true that even among the misnagdim that they also look up to and emulate the the roshei yeshiva?
Isn’t it true even among misnagdim, that the followers look up to their rav and they emulate him? Yes, but they don’t have this attitude that he’s everything.
Now, I said before that there’s a loss in this and there’s a benefit. The benefit is that people who are influenced by a chassidishe rebbe will do more than other people would ever do for an adam gadol who’s their rebbe. It’s a fact. Because there’s less independence with a Rebbeh. With a chassidesheh Rebbeh, it’s a gezeiras hakasuv. If the Rebbeh says something, he’s always right. And therefore, people are more eager to live up to his requirements. Whereas in the case of an adam gadol – a rosh yeshiva or anybody else – there still is a certain amount of free will and criticism. People use their own judgment too and they’re not always as eager to fulfill his words.
However, we don’t find people fighting over “My rosh yeshiva, your rosh yeshiva.” That much you don’t find. They’re not that committed. As I said before, it comes from a lot of love, a lot of commitment. A chossid is committed to his Rebbeh. But it has a certain weakness too because if people will remain just with that and they don’t go further, so it becomes only a cause of fighting.
There was fighting in Europe too, but in Europe you didn’t have newspapers to publicize it. Here you have Algemeiner Journal and they’re making a very bad mistake in writing it up. They shouldn’t write about it in the newspapers. These things shouldn’t be spoken about at all! It’s bad enough on its own but you don’t have to spread it; especially among the irreligious Jews and the goyim.
Now certainly, עשה לך רב is a very great principle for success. And עשה לך רב doesn’t come to exclude a Rebbeh. A Rebbeh is also a rav. So whether the rav is a rosh yeshiva or the Chofetz Chaim zichrono livracha or Rav Aharon Kotler zichrono livracha; whether it’s one of these great men or if the rav was Rav Yosef Yitzchok, the old Lubavitcher Rebbe zichrono livracha or it was the old Gerrer Rebbe zichrono livracha, all of them can cause a person to be lead on the way to success.
Only that he should make sure that it shouldn’t be the cause of his undoing. Sometimes by blinding allegiance – it means with unthinking and by emotions – people can use them just for machlokes and that’s not the purpose of a rav and the Rebbeh.
TAPE # 165 (April 1976)