The rambling thoughts of a Modern Orthodox Chassid (whatever that means). Contact me at emansouth @

Thursday, July 01, 2004

The RAMA's Doors

I received this comment from "An" in connection with my second post on Rav Dovid Lifshutz, ZT'L.

I am reminded of another question that you may want to address (somewhat similar to this thread in that they both relate to possible misrepresentation or people wrapping thesemselves in something that isn't appropriate for them).

Someone I know visited the seat of Piasczener/Woodmere Hassidism in NY a while ago and was upset to see that there is a reproduction of the exterior of the RAMA Shul from Cracow there. He was upset that this Hassidic congregation is wrapping itself in the mantle of the RAMA and the RAMA Shul, when the RAMA was an Ashkenazic Jew, in who's Shul nusach Ashkenaz was the nusach. The RAMA was not Hassidic ! Is it proper to do such a thing ? Would the RAMA be pleased? Hassidim do not follow the RAMA in various matters, unlike other Eastern European Ashkenazic Jews. If they have a reproduction there, it should be of some Hassidic house of worship - not the RAMA Shul.

I would be interested to hear your comments on the above.
Being Jewish, let me answer your questions with a few of my own.

1. Do you think the RAMA would be upset about being associated with a shul that davens with amazing kavanah and almost total quiet?

2. For that matter, do you think that Rav Avraham Yitzchak Hakohen Kook, ZT'L, would be upset if he knew that the Chassidishe Rav of kehilas Aish Kodesh was giving a weekly shiur in his sefer Oros Hateshuva to 50 people?

3. Do you think the Rav (RYBS) ZT'L would be upset if he knew that his talmid, now a Chassidishe rav at Aish Kodesh often gave over his Torahs?

4. Do you think that Rav Hutner, ZT'L, would be upset that a Chassidishe Rav at Aish Kodesh gives a weekly shiur in Pachad Yitzchak?

5. Do you think the Alter Rebbe or the Piaczecna Rebbe would be upset if they knew that a musmach of YU who now wears the lavush was teaching their ma'amarim to a bunch of Modern Orthodox people in khakis and jeans?

6. Did your friend ask anyone what the meaning behind the "RAMA" doors? What about the painting in the front hallway of Aish Kodesh? What about the entire motif of the shul that takes you back to Polish (not Chassidic) Jewry of a couple of hundred years ago?

7. Wouldn't your friend have been better off coming out of Aish Kodesh thinking: "Gee, I can't remember such a quiet yet inspiring davening. I wish I could find a place like that." instead of getting lost in the smallness of the RAMAs doors.