Issue 10.1 Symposium
Kol Hamevaser is excited to announce that this year, we are launching a new section featuring a symposium on issues pertinent to the Yeshiva University undergraduate community. Contributors to these symposiums will include Yeshiva University faculty members and thinkers who will share their expertise and insights on these issues. Suggestions for future symposium topics are always welcome so please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your ideas!
Contributors to the first symposium were asked to respond to the following prompt: In Halakhic Man, Rav Soloveitchik tells the following story:
Once my father was standing on the synagogue platform on Rosh Hashanah, ready and prepared to guide the order of the sounding of the shofar. The shofar-sounder, a Godfearing Habad Hasid who was very knowledgeable in the mystical doctrine of the “Alter Rebbe,” R. Shneur Zalman of Lyady, began to weep. My father turned to him and said: “Do you weep when you take the lulav? Why then do you weep when you sound the shofar? Are not both commandments of God?”
Reportedly, when told this story, R. Shlomo Zalman Auerbach was in great pain hearing about a Jew’s attempt to diminish another Jew’s emotional experience when doing a mitzva. The role of emotion in mitzva observance has become a particularly relevant topic within our community due to a variety of new developments, including the popularity of neo-hassidut. Thus, we asked the respondents to answer these two questions:
1. What do you think is the Rav’s purpose in relating this story, and what significance does it have regarding our religious experience?
2. What are your own thoughts about the role of emotion in mitzva observance?