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Vilna gaon


Rabbi Ari Shvat

Tevet 10, 5782
what and why was the confict if vilna gaon and magid of mezhirizh?
Almost all new movements come to stress a true ideal that was previously being neglected. On the other hand, most new movements take their positive innovation to an extreme, often at the expense of another important aspect. Rav Kook wrote that the Vilna Gaon, in his time, had to oppose the hassidic movement in order to “balance” out the negative aspect which arose there, the belittling of the centrality of Torah study and non-observance of a few mitzvot, e.g. saying Kriyat Shma late; eating before prayer. There was even worry that the early hassidim were like Sabbateans (hidden followers of Shabtai Zvi). The Gaon refused to hear out the hassidim, but he heard of the "hearing" of hassidim in Shklov which ended with their being accused of heresy. On the other hand, Rav Kook adds that it was inevitably just a matter of time until the positive Hassidic stress on happiness and kabbala complimented (!) Torah study. Today, the Hassidim learn a lot of Torah and the Yeshiva world has adopted most of the Hassidic ideology, as well (it’s even hard to differentiate between them except some small external garb!). In short, we must always take the positive aspect stressed in each Jewish ideology, and leave the negative (“speaking against” some other aspect) aside. Harmony is based upon the beautiful balance between the different tones. Similarly, history is comprised of: thesis, anti-thesis, synthesis. With Love of Israel
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