Monday, April 5, 2010

Are you standing on one leg?

From Visions of the Fathers, on the three pillars which support the world from Pirkei Avot 1:2:
R' Yechezkel Landau of Prague (Noda BeYehudah) urged his congregants to greater exertion in giving tzedakah and doing acts of chesed. When he found that his biddings were not being heeded, he closed the local yeshivah and conspicuously wandered the streets as if he had nothing to do. When he was asked about this unusual behavior, R' Landau said, "The Talmud tells us that there are three pillars that support the world: study of Torah, the Divine service, and acts of chesed. If a table which stands on three legs loses one of its legs, it can continue to be used if something is placed under it for support. However, if there are no longer acts of chesed, the only thing to do is to remove the third leg. When the community became lax in acts of chesed, my only option was to close the yeshivah, thereby removing the third leg of Torah. If the community will resume doing chesed, I will open the yeshivah again.
Are you or your community standing on one leg?

2 comments:

Athol (Aharon Yosef) said...

Thanks for your great blog. I really love Perkei Avot. I have a beautiful large artscroll edition. You are inspiring me to reread it. I just finished reading for the second time post-missionary messianic Judaism. have you read it?

Yahnatan Lasko said...

Athol, Yes, I've read Kinzer's book--I think it's a very significant work for Messianic Judaism and for the church at large. What do you think of it?