October 5, 2010 7:25 pm at 7:25 pm #592530
Donkeys walk in the middle of the road. People need to choose a side.
What do you think this means?October 5, 2010 7:46 pm at 7:46 pm #699338
I think it means when there is an issue you should take a side and have an opinion. There is no great chochma to say that you are neutral and not taking sides, any donkey can do that.
Awesome quote.October 5, 2010 7:53 pm at 7:53 pm #699339
That’s good. I like your explanation that could be it. I had a similar understanding but a little different.October 5, 2010 7:58 pm at 7:58 pm #699340
What was your take on it?October 5, 2010 7:59 pm at 7:59 pm #699341YW Moderator-80Member
i think sacrileges interpretation is good
also perhaps, if donkeys use the middle, stay to the side to keep away from donkeys (people who bray and talk without Chochma about nothing)October 5, 2010 8:10 pm at 8:10 pm #699342
I understood it to mean that there are people who want the best of both worlds. They want to “tantz by both chassunas.” Meaning some people want the Ruchniyus and the Gashmiyus but they don’t really go together, to excel at one means to sacrifice the other and you have to decide which ones most important to you and clearly pursue that. Don’t be wishy washy mixed up trying to do both. (I’m not saying one shouldn’t have gashmiyus, just that one needs to have their priorities straight)October 5, 2010 8:30 pm at 8:30 pm #699343says whoMember
WOW, We can use more of this in the CR.October 5, 2010 8:41 pm at 8:41 pm #699344chesednameParticipant
i would assume Sacrilege got it right.
where is this quote from? i would like to see it.October 5, 2010 8:49 pm at 8:49 pm #699345yes-its-meParticipant
see shut meshiv dovor vol 1 responsa 44 that in some areas the middle way is the very wrong one. [if you asked sombody a question in emuna and he says “he’ve mesunim bedin” he’s in a bad way]October 5, 2010 8:50 pm at 8:50 pm #699346theprof1Participant
Sacrilege and WellInformed have put it exactly. The satmar Rov ztzl Rabbeini Yoel said. By us at home (Hungary/Romania) animals walked in the middle of the road. Menschen walked on the sides. Same concept.October 5, 2010 8:52 pm at 8:52 pm #699347theprof1Participant
Chesed I think the Kotzker quote is in the sefer Siach Sarfei Kodesh but since the sefer has no real order, it’s very hard to find.October 5, 2010 8:59 pm at 8:59 pm #699348
WIY – Oh I like yours!October 5, 2010 9:27 pm at 9:27 pm #699349mw13Participant
I’m with Sacrilege. A useful quote to know…October 5, 2010 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm #699350
Thanks, and I agree it is an awesome quote.October 5, 2010 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm #699351pascha bchochmaMember
Thanks for posting the quote, and thanks everyone for your interpretations – this is a great topicOctober 6, 2010 12:21 am at 12:21 am #699352
We had a teacher in HS who was the granddaughter of R’ A. Miller ztz”l and she had tied a current events issue into her lesson. So a girl in class said she didnt know about that because she doesnt follow the news (yes, super greasy BY) so my teacher said “It doesnt make you frum to have your head buried in the sand, you have to know whats going on.”
IDK, this kind of reminded me of that.October 6, 2010 12:36 am at 12:36 am #699353
You are welcome.October 6, 2010 1:42 am at 1:42 am #699354mw13Participant
“It doesnt make you frum to have your head buried in the sand, you have to know whats going on.”
Another great quote. Didn’t we used to have a whole thread for this?October 6, 2010 1:56 am at 1:56 am #6993552qwertyParticipant
I dont agree with your second part about mixing Ruchniyus and Gashmiyus.
To aquire great Torah knowledge you need to give up Gashmiyus but otherwise its fine to mix those two together.
Its our goal to bring Ruchniyus into our every day lives to uplift our Gashmiyus.October 6, 2010 4:23 am at 4:23 am #699356World SaverParticipant
The Kotzker did not mean mixing ruchnius and gashmius. The first explanation is closer to what he meant but not exactly. If you read some books on the Kotzker, you will have a better understanding of what he meant by gaining a better grasp of his Derech. He was very against doing things because everyone does it or because this is what I did yesterday, or this is what my Rebbe told me to do. The whole difference between an animal and man is the intellect. Always know what you are doing and do your own actions because YOU understand this should be done. (Many of the Kotzkers points are hard to understand unless an effort is made to understand it, and it can take some time..).October 6, 2010 4:54 am at 4:54 am #699357
Maybe I wrote too briefly. However I disagree that “To aquire great Torah knowledge you need to give up Gashmiyus” gashmiyus is here so that we should elevate it and grow closer to Hashem. This beautiful world was not created so that we should not touch anything of it and subsist on bread and water. There is a Rambam which isnt as widely known as I wish it were, which says that if a person dies not having tasted all of the delicious fruits that Hashem created for mans benefit he will have to give din vcheshbon. We are supposed to have and use gashmiyus but not to the point where it derails us from our purpose in life.October 6, 2010 4:55 am at 4:55 am #699358
Ok good to know.October 6, 2010 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm #699359gavra_at_workParticipant
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Melachim 1:18:21October 6, 2010 1:00 pm at 1:00 pm #699360telegrokMember
Based on my readings, the Kotzker Rebbe had a penetrating insight into human nature and his admonitions forced students (and us) to face facts honestly and without evasion. The Kotzker’s encounter with truth is brutal; there is no equivacating. The statement about donkeys in the middle and people taking sides is an example of this: confront the issue, and determine where you stand.October 6, 2010 2:38 pm at 2:38 pm #6993612qwertyParticipant
I was referring to:
“This is the way of Torah: Eat bread with salt, drink water in measure, sleep on the ground, live a life of deprivation – but toil in the Torah!…” (Avos 6, 4)October 6, 2010 3:18 pm at 3:18 pm #699362
I understood that you were coming from there but I don’t really think that it is meant literally. A person will die from malnutrition if they live off bread water and salt.October 6, 2010 3:33 pm at 3:33 pm #699363oomisParticipant
Any moron can act like a behaima and refuse to take a position on the side of an issue. Menschen choose a side and take a stand.October 6, 2010 11:32 pm at 11:32 pm #699364
I’m going out on a limb here, but I thought the Kotzker might be refering to the “donkey” as in Yissoschor, who can only tread the path of Torah. The “people” are the Zevulins of the world, but need to choose a side, meaning are they going to defer to the Yissoschors, or are they going to manipulate them?
Or, choosing a side might mean, as a Zevulin, you need to choose a profession, but make sure you choose wisely.
(I was also mulling over the donkey of Pinchas Ben Yair, but could not delevop a trail, so I’ll go with the Yisoschor track)October 6, 2010 11:39 pm at 11:39 pm #699365
The Kotzker seems to be contrasting regular donkeys with regular people.October 6, 2010 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm #699366
I know.. but the chossid in me always tries to read between the lines (Like the R’ Nachman stories)October 7, 2010 6:23 pm at 6:23 pm #699367
I recently came across another quote from the Kotzker:
“I would not want to serve a G-d which I can understand”October 7, 2010 6:40 pm at 6:40 pm #699368Yoish Im Telling youMember
That’s a good one as well. His sayings are all really deep and powerful messages.October 7, 2010 7:56 pm at 7:56 pm #699369
Should I be embarrassed that I’ve never heard of him before?October 7, 2010 8:06 pm at 8:06 pm #699370oomisParticipant
Rav Mendel of Kotzk (The Kotzker Rebbie) was an incredibly wise and intuitive man. His sayings are spiritually deep and have great integrity.October 7, 2010 8:09 pm at 8:09 pm #699371YW Moderator-80Member
of course not!!October 7, 2010 8:12 pm at 8:12 pm #699372
He was a Rebbe in the first half of the 1800s. He is well known for his sharp and insightful remarks on human nature…
I don’t know if girls are taught about him but any boy who had a decent Yeshivah education should have heard of him. I remember my Rabbeim quoted divrei torah or some of his sayings.October 7, 2010 8:31 pm at 8:31 pm #699373
Interesting quote. I think he means to say if he can understand all there is to know about an entity, it cannot be that complex and therefore cannot be the source of creation,or anything worth worshipping.
If I remember correctly, his general approach was quite harsh and unforgiving. He placed high demands on his followers (and himself, of course)October 7, 2010 8:34 pm at 8:34 pm #699374
80- LOL!October 8, 2010 3:24 pm at 3:24 pm #699375jay11691Member
I believe WorldSaver is pretty on the money: to understand a Kotzker saying completely you have to enter and understand his life view. This cannot be accomplished by randomly quoting one or two of his more famous sayings (which how most Yeshiva bochurim know of him). You have to delve deeper and truly investigate his approach.
Just quoting a pithy saying of his and feeling satisfied is, in a sense, “walking in the middle of the road”.October 8, 2010 3:51 pm at 3:51 pm #699376not IMember
I am a girl and I definitely heard about him!October 8, 2010 4:58 pm at 4:58 pm #699377
not I – congrats!October 8, 2010 5:11 pm at 5:11 pm #699378HaLeiViParticipant
The Kotzker has many Vehrtlach checking true concepts taken too far. We all know of the Rambam about going B’derech Hamemutza. However, as with all great rules, this too can be overdone. We’ve all heard of those that complain about frumkeit or about learning most of the day.
I thought of a great Mashal: one extreme is to fast, and the other extreme is to eat all your waking hours. Therefore, the middle road is to eat for 8 hours, right? Well it depends on your sights, what is your right end and what is your left end. So, one extreme is to learn all my waking hours and the other extreme is to learn a minimal amount.
Anyhow, he is saying don’t be so proud that you think Avodas Hashem is extreme and that you are going in the middle of the road. The donkeys go in the middle of the road.
The fact that the Satmarer Rebbe said it over is proof to my interpretation.October 8, 2010 5:21 pm at 5:21 pm #699379jay11691Member
It is a mistake to say the Kotzker had “Vertlach”…. You must familiarize yourself with his overall views before interpreting his thoughts…..
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