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Is he my Rabbi? Discovering faults in rabbi


Rabbi Ari Shvat

Shevat 6, 5777
I chazar beteshuva 2 years ago and I really needed a rabbi to help me go on the right path and learn Torah. Finally a year ago I met a rabbi and it seemed to click, I started coming to his shiurim everyday and coming to eat at his house on Shabbat. I’m now his main talmid and we go together to all the shiurim he gives during the week and on Shabbat, and I’ve learned a lot of Torah.. He’s helped me so much throughout the past year and I owe him a lot. The problem is that I’m starting to see some not so good middot in my Rav. Yelling at the people in the shiurim (although they do talk a lot, but other Rabbanim that I see with the same people have patience and don’t raise their voice), as well seeing how he treats his children at home (which I for sure don’t want to copy for my kids), and also speaking badly to me and making me feel low. The problem I’m having is that I know the Baal Shem Tov taught that whatever you see in other people, Hashem is really trying to show you what you have inside yourself. So I guess on some level my Rav is helping me see things in myself that I need to fix. Maybe Hashem wants me to be better in thinking and seeing good in people no matter how they behave. But on the other hand the Gemara teaches us to take a Rav with the face of an angel, meaning to say a Rav with good middot that you look up to him and want to copy his ways. I am really confused, and not sure what to do in this situation. On one hand I have a personal Rav to learn Torah with a few hours a day everyday and can ask any questions I have, and on the other hand I don’t want to be influence by some of his middot and also don’t look up to him so much because of it. If there is anyway to help me with this situation I would much appreciate it. Thank you,
It’s important to remember that Judaism is perfect- Jews are not. As a matter of fact, as opposed to the Catholic Church, Judaism states explicitly that rabbis are not infallible, and everybody, even Moshe Rabbenu, made mistakes. “There is no tzadik in the world who [only] does good and doesn’t [make] mistakes” (Kohelet 7, 20). I have met rabbis that the more you get to know them, you realize their greatness that much more, but unfortunately, like in your case, it’s not uncommon to reveal certain shortcomings. Rav Kook even warns students that those failings in the rebbe often are even magnified if copied by his disciples and Hassidim, because they don’t have the strengths, knowledge and outstanding good qualities to minimize or offset those deficiencies. He suggests that the solution is to idolize Am Yisrael, and not individuals, because only Klal Yisrael as a whole organic nation, “has it all”. The midah of Ayin Tova, to focus on the good in everything and everyone, is very important. Have several rabbanim (except for piskei halacha), something very accessible today on internet and even advisable, from whom you can receive from each their strong-points, thus you can learn the holistic Torah, taking the best from each rav, without having to lose the advantages of your own local rabbi who is even more reachable (even on Shabbat!).
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