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Many Roads, One Destination
There is plenty of variety in
Judaism that many take advantage of. These include attending a Chassidish
Tisch, learning Chassidus, joining a Kabbalas Shabbos with lots of singing, the
analytical Brisker way of learning, Rosh Hashana in Uman and so on. How can we
know for ourselves what to take part in?
The answer is that if something
brings us close to Hashem, then we can pursue it. This is hinted to inואני קרבת אלה-ים לי טוב—if it brings us close to
Hashem, then it is good.
is no one way in Avodas Hashem. For this reason, there are so many different
factions within Judaism—Sefardim, Chassidim, Litvaks and so on. Even within
these there are various groups. Within Sefardim there are Yemenites, Moroccans
among many others. Likewise among Chassidim, there are many groups—Ger,
Viznitz, Breslov, and Skver to name just a few. Then there are those that
comprise themselves from some or all of these.
One way is not more correct
than the other rather one must choose that which brings him close to Hashem. A
way to comprehend this is that just as there are many ways, for example, to get
to the number 19—11 added to 8, 14 and 5, 10 and 9 and so on. Similarly, there
are many paths in Avodas Hashem. Another way to understand this is when one
drives for instance from New York to Los Angeles there are many different
routes to take to reach the destination. Likewise, the same is with Avodas
Hashem. This idea is hinted to in זה שער
השמים, this is the gate of the
heavens, as זה has a Gematria of 12, alluding to the 12 Shevatim.
Each Shevet as well as each person has their own path to reach the gates of
is it that different people have different paths in serving Hashem? There are
600,000 letters in the Torah and 600,000 Neshamos in Klal Yisrael.
The placement of where one’s letter is in the Sefer Torah is why each person is
attracted to different aspects—Chassidus, singing, Halacha and so on.
When we look at a cake, we may
not know the ingredients it consists of. However, upon tasting it, we realize
how much flour is in it, the amount of sugar it contains and so on. The same
applies to our Avodas Hashem as once we taste it, we can know what we need at
which time (Tefila, Chassidus, Halacha, Gemara, a break), how much we need as
well as what and how much is missing.
Rabbi Alt merited to learn under the tutelage of R’ Mordechai Friedlander Ztz”l for close to five years. He received Semicha from R’ Zalman Nechemia Goldberg. Rabbi Alt has written on numerous topics for various websites and publications. He lives with his wife and family in a suburb of Yerushalayim where he studies, writes and teaches. The author is passionate about teaching Jews of all levels of observance.