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Sunday, July 10, 2005

Meritocracy and Aristocracy

Both the first generation of Roshei Yeshiva (post GR"A) and Rebbes (post Baal Shem Tov) were a meritocracy.
Sons of Rebbes with huge influence had small influence (Dovid'l Kotzker, for example), and some promising Talmidim with modest yichus became world changing gedolim (Rav Aharon Kotler is an example). When a leader died, students and/or chassidim did a search, and chose a successor, or sometimes split up and followed more than one successor.

Fast forward to today.

From my perspective it seems it is no longer the qualification of merit, but the accident of birth which entitle one to be a decisor in klal Yisroel. What percentage the Moetzes or the Hisachdus did not inherit a position?

Even the well blogged Bobov situation hinges on the 'true' rules of peerage.
(But in Britain, bastion of aristocracy, the House of Lords is a joke!)

Why are we moving in the opposite direction of the rest of the world?


Is it that our generation is so weak that the eibishter cannot rely on us to choose, and this is his way of choosing for us?

Look at some yachsonim, then look me in the eye and say that!

Is it because the vested interest of fathers to have their sons inherit a position leaves us with no say at all?

Are we so shallow that the (inherited) clothes make the man?

I'm perplexed.


Anonymous kendal deerson said...

who carries on the mesorah in america? it all depends on who you ask. the Torah World has two main camps in America. "Litvishe and Chassidshe". but of course as you turn up the magnification of the microscope a myriad of permutations can be identified within each grouping. and then somewhere at the edge of each camp are individuals who serve as interlocking connection.
i don't think the selection process by the Ribona shel Olam has changed really much since Moshe Rabeinu. as with all good chakiras such as the one you just posed the answer is both.

some food for thought i happen to disagree with your conclusion of accidents of birth. is being born Jewish an accident, a stroke of luck or a series of cause and effects traceable to a conscious decision of ones immediate and not so immediate ancestors. if your answer is no. 3 then by definition nothing is by accident but rather a by-product of choice. Man chooses G-d and then G-d chooses Man. No one is an innocent by-stander to Life. Of course all of this does not exist for those of us who don't think about these kind of things. Its called ignorance is bliss which translated into frumspeak might be categorized as AmHaritzas.

its all rather elementary my dear watson.

11:24 PM  

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