I have always been drawn to the teaching of the Rebbe of Kotzk. His approach was predicated upon uncompromising truth and intellectual independence.This allowed him to be fearless and never to succumb to societal pressures.
He knew that Judaism was so much deeper and more profound than the way it was perceived by the masses and bent by religious populism.
These essays, although not necessarily Kotzker in essence, are certainly Kotzk inspired.
#shortkotzkvorts: LIFELESS TORAH IS LIKE IDOLATRY:
The Torah says: “...and make an idol or image...as G-d has commanded you.”
Lest one takes this verse out of context and think that G-d commanded us to worship idols, Rashi is quick to add; ‘as G-d has commanded you not to do.’
But the Kotzker Rebbe seems quite happy to leave the verse in its original form and have it read: Sometimes you can turn G-d’s commandments into a form of idolatry.
He says; “...the Torah warns us to guard ourselves against making ‘idols’ out of what G-d commanded us to do – so that we do not turn G-d’s laws into lifeless objects like wood and stone - as that would be the same as idolatry. ”
Unless we are able to captivate the spirit, warmth and vibrancy of Judaism, the mere routine following of the law is of absolutely no spiritual value whatsoever.
On the contrary, without meaning, even G-d’s law would be just another form of idolatry.