You Can’t Be the Rabbi in Your Own Community

It is often hard for people to view their own children as adults, and to a lesser extent, the same is true for the children that grew up in their community.  When they have known people since they were born, seen all the things they did as immature children, recognizing that now they are now “all grown up” is hard.  I have often heard people say that this is why rabbis cannot be rabbis in the community they grew up in, as their friend’s parents are going to have a hard time going from seeing them as (insert name) to Rabbi.

I found it fascinating that this is one of the reasons that Ibn Ezra believes that Moshe had to grow up in the palace, away from the Jewish people.  Otherwise, no one would have taken him seriously.

אבן עזרא שמות פרק ב פסוק ג

ומחשבות השם עמקו, ומי יוכל לעמוד בסודו, ולו לבד נתכנו עלילות. אולי סבב השם זה שיגדל משה בבית המלכות להיות נפשו על מדרגה העליונה בדרך הלימוד והרגילות, ולא תהיה שפלה ורגילה להיות בבית עבדים. הלא תראה, שהרג המצרי בעבור שהוא עשה חמס. והושיע בנות מדין מהרועים, בעבור שהיו עושים חמס להשקות צאנן מהמים שדלו. ועוד דבר אחר, כי אלו היה גדל בין אחיו ויכירוהו מנעוריו, לא היו יראים ממנו, כי יחשבוהו כאחד מהם.

Of course, there are exceptions, as I gave a shiur that incorporated this passage in my parent’s shul, where the assistant rabbi did grow up in the shul.  I guess there are exceptions to every rule.

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2 thoughts on “You Can’t Be the Rabbi in Your Own Community

  1. Sort of a one-off; but there are many people who grew up with current gedolim, and now refer to them in a very casual manner. Incapable of making that same break.

    Rav Aryeh Lebowitz said it bothers him for example, when he will quote something from R’ Schachter; when occasionally a person trying to be cute and thinking of him from their childhood days, and say: oh, I grew up with Hershele.

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