Dear Editor,
I wonder what Rabbi Stone would answer were someone to ask him, 'what is
more important, the physical body or the soul'? I further wonder what
he would respond were he asked, 'is the purpose of Mitzvoth for the
physical body or the soul'. I would imagine he would answer 'the soul'
is more important. Why, then, does he assume when Chazal state that a
"Mezuza is a protection" they mean a protection of the physical? Isn't
it possible they mean a protection for the soul? The Rambam states in
Hilchos Mezuza 6: 13 that a person should be careful in fulfilling the
Mitzva of Mezuza, "and every time a person comes in and goes out he will
come in contact with the Unity of the Name of HaShem and he will
remember that he should love Him, he will then awaken from his sleep and
his nonsense of the vanities of the time. And he will know that there
is nothing that stands for ever and ever except the knowledge of the
Rock of the world. Immediately he will return to his senses and go in
the straight path." He then shows his idea in the words of Chazal, that
a person who performs Tefilin, Tzizis and Mezuza properly will not sin
since he has many reminders. Are Chazal saying that a person that has a
kosher Mezuza has never sinned and will never sin? No person could
honestly make such a claim. The Rambam is showing us the true purpose
behind Mezuza. A person must contemplate the profound ideas that are
written on the parchment of the Mezuza whenever he sees it. These truths
will cause him to reflect on the reality of life. He will realize that
the only reality is true knowledge of HaShem. He will then be filled
with a natural desire to do that which is true and he will cease from
sin. There is no doubt that this idea is the backbone for all the
various Chazal and other Torah scholars that discuss Mezuza as a
protection. A person's soul will be protected from harmful ideas if he
has the correct concepts of HaShem that are contained in the Mezuza. A
Mezuza is not some kind of magical device designed to give a person a
sense of security.
I was amazed that Rabbi Stone could quote the Tur YD 285 as a proof to
his idea, when the Tur himself at the end of YD 288 in quoting his
father, the Rosh, states, "and you should not make seals (for the
Mezuza) that appear as if you intend to make it into an amulet for
protection. Rather, he should do the Mitzva properly to fulfill the Word
of the Creator, blessed be He, and He will watch us and He will save us
at our right hand." He does not say to do the Mitzva properly so that
the Mezuza will watch us, rather that HaShem will watch us. HaShem is
the only Protector, not a physical object. If as Rabbi Stone claims a
Mezuza was meant to protect us physically, why are we obligated to check
them twice every seven years? Should we not check them every day or
even every minute? If we didn't, we would be in constant danger.
Rabbi Stone says that claiming a Mezuza is not for our personal benefit
is contrary to Torah teaching. Yet, the Tur continued and quoted the
Rambam's halacha that Mezuzas are not for our personal benefit. How
could Rabbi Stone say that they are? Perhaps Rabbi Stone is the one who
should be checking his sources.
I would like to respond to Rabbi Stone's comments regarding Rebbes, as
well. He claims that it is a degradation to deny the miraculous powers
of a Rebbe. He seems to think that the greatness of a Rebbe lies in
miracle performing. This notion does not come from Torah. The
greatness of a Torah leader is his chachma. The Torah itself tells us
this, "You should seek out from all the people men of ability who fear
HaShem, men of truth, hating unjust profit (Shemos 18: 21)." Again in
Devarim 1: 13 we learn, "Bring from among yourselves men of chachma and
understanding, well known to your tribes, and I will appoint them as
your leaders." The Torah does not say "men of miracles". I do not know
why it is so important for Rabbi Stone to believe that Rebbes can
perform miracles. I am quite sure he has never actually witnessed a
miracle from a Rebbe. Perhaps he saw a Rebbe give a bracho to a sick
person and that person recovered. This could hardly be considered a
miracle. This type of event takes place in some of the most primitive
societies. Witchdoctors cure people all the time with this method. It
is a trick of the mind. A placebo. There are many people suffering from
all sorts of terrible diseases. If a Rebbe has the ability to perform
miracles, why doesn't he go to all the hospitals and cure them? Why
doesn't he create money and provide it to all the poor people? The
belief that a person has the inherent ability to perform miracles is an
idea that comes from the Other Nations. Let us not imitate their ideas.
Avraham B. Shimon

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