“Rabbi, I don’t appreciate you talking about me in your drasha last week.”
“Rabbi, that drasha described my situation exactly. Thank you.”
“I am not referring to anyone here in the room. The story happened years ago, in another city.”
“If you think I am talking about you, I am. I’m also talking to everyone else.”
Wisdom is a wonderful thing. A piece of it can apply to one person, and also because of the commonality of all life, can apply to a very large number of people and things and ideas and times. I like finding the common points that a single piece of wisdom can share, amongst many people, across fields of interest, and communities, and my community.
So is this shiur, or drasha, or class, about you? Most likely it is. But I am not betraying any confidences.
About me? Well, I’m a bit of a chimera. When discussing my mesora in Hashkafa, Derech Halimud, and style of life, I see myself primarily as a product of Yeshivas Ner Yisroel, and my Rosh Yeshiva Rav Yaakov Weinberg ZT”L. And then independently over the years, with the guidance of some chassidishe Talmidei Chachomim, acquired a taste for, and a fascination with, Chassidic teachings. I am also an admirer and talmid (in a manner of speaking) of a number of greats, from Rav Yerucham Levovitz ZT”L, to current scholars such as Rabbi David Fohrman and Rabbi Menachem Leibtag.
In a very real sense, I adhere to the maxim of “Umitalmidai Yoseir Mikulam”, that I have learned so much from those I have taught, that I have gained perspectives and have become more sensitive over the years, to the concerns of my communities and congregants.