Monday, 3 January 2011

Boteach- nice guy?

I better tell you before I write this post I remember Shmuley Boteach from Yeshiva before he was the famous guy he is today- America's Rabbi no less!!
In a recent article to be found at

he attempts a Rabbi-bashing exercise in which he challenges Rabbis not to be such wimps and "nice guys" as he calls them, and to start speaking out on the issues. Start speaking out about issues like the excessive costs used by people when making a Simcha etc.
He suggests that the reason why Rabbis do not have the voice is because they are just too afraid of being controversial. Why? Maybe it's because of the guys paying the Rabbis who lean excessively on the Rabbi and emasculate his opinion.
Well- if my Shul is anything to go by, I'm given free reign and I can and do speak out on whatever I choose to speak my mind. I think there was only once when it came to Security issues that I was recently held back from saying something in the press.
But that was a one off.
That doesn't mean that I'm above reproof or criticism. I remember giving a sermon two years ago where I said something that seemingly offended a lot of people, they stood on line in the kiddush to berate me!!
However, for Shmuley it must be easy. Not having community and being "America's Rabbi", (please see website)appearing on all the talk shows you can ever dream of. You can say what you like. And you do.

But as any community Rabbi knows, there's much more to being a Rabbi than being controversial and saying things people don't want to hear.
How about looking after your community? Being there for them in sickness and in bereavement G-d forbid? Offering them pastoral support when needed?

It seems that being a nice guy is something you either have or you don't, and to be a Rabbi you have to be somebody who cares passionately about your fellow Jew.

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