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A Magid came to the Gaon Rabbi Meir of Tiktin, whom the Baal Shem Tov said was worthy of having the Holy Spirit rest on him as it did with Moshe, but the generation wasn't worthy. I think it had to do with Tiktin. If you've ever been to Tiktin you would understand. Tiktinites really kill your spirit. Never had a decent football team. Tiktiners are always down on themselves.
The Magid asked permission to lecture Rabbi Meir's congregation. Rabbi Meir said yes. He didn't think the Magid was going to go on for hours. He thought it would be a fifteen minute speech about how big a Sukkah should be. He figured Magids know that congregants complain about long sermons whenever they have a chance.
The Magid spoke for hours condemning the people. If you'd ever been to Tiktin you would understand. These people deserved it. They were dishonest. They barely learned Torah. And the sins went on. The Tiknites even spoke Lashon Hara about each other, as they knew how annoying Tiktinites are.
The people of Tiktin stuck around for the speech. They felt so good that a Magid finally noticed them. For years, they've been working so hard on not keeping the laws of Shabbis, and they finally got the credit for it.
He didn't stop rebuking the community. The Magid kept on going. He was on a role. He was in the zone of letting people know they had no hope and how annoying they are. It's a lot of fun to go into a community and tell them how bad they are. He even went off on one guy's hairdo. 'Look at that thing. Flying all over. Does he ever shower?'
Yona didn't want to do it, but that's because he was afraid the people of Ninveh would kill him. The Constitution and modern law don't allow people to kill the speaker.
The Gaon heard this rebuke and started crying. The Magid thought it was because he spoke too long. He came to Rabbi Meir after the lecture and asked what he thought. A little Seichel would've gone a long way here. You don't ask somebody who's crying what they think. It's like a barber seeing you cry at the end of a real bad haircut and asking, 'You like it?'
The Gaon admitted that the criticism was deserved. He had neighbors in Tiktin too. He knows about the Tiktiners and their reputation. And then the annoying ones that tiktin heir friends. The Gaon Rabbi Meir continued, 'I know I sinned and done many bad deeds, but why did you have to rebuke me in public? Couldn't you have pulled me aside and told me privately, and not embarrassed me?'
The Magid said, 'Does the master think I rebuked him? I didn't. I rebuked the community. I would never talk like this to a holy saint. But the community. Have you seen the Tiktinites? All disheveled. Get a decent suit for crying out loud.'
It was confusing, as the Magid referred to the Gaon in third person. If he would've just referred to Rabbi Meir as Rabbi Meir, that would've made it easy. The Gaon probably thought that when he said 'the people of the community' that he was talked about the Gaon. This is where talking out of respect, in third person, gets confusing.
The Gaon replied, 'Don't lie. The congregation as a whole is pure from sin.' I don't think he ever met the members of my shul. The Gaon continued, 'The nation of Israel is holy. Thus, you must have been referring to me. I don't mind being reprimanded, but not in public. You shouldn't have put me to shame in front of everybody.'
The Magid tried explaining that the talk of the general public was not about the Gaon in third person. But he explained that to Rabbi Meir in third person, which made it all the more confusing.
The story continues where the Magid didn't stop defending his argument.
'You can see. They are not. Look at the back row. Shlomi is picking his nose right now. They are not perfect.'
Lessons of What Followed
Never hang out with Tiktiners. They are troublemakers. And never tiktin your friend. That's not right.
The Magid advised the Gaon to calm down lest he have a heart attack. He told the Gaon that his congregation should pay him, and he should stop thinking about them.
Rabbis felt so bad upon hearing the story that they decided to not take blame for their communities' follies anymore. They were sick of getting greys at twenty-five. Now rabbis only take credit for their congregants' accomplishments. When a congregant makes a decent Kugel, the rabbi takes credit for being Mikarev them (bringing them closer to Torah).
Musar (moral rebuke) became a huge part of the Jewish community. And the Gaon kept on taking the blame for his community. And the Titkiners never learned their lesson.
The people of Tiktin were still annoying. For years, they were annoying.
When learning Devarim, Rabbi Meir realized that the problem was that the Magid stole his joy of putting down his own congregation. Moshe would've never let somebody else rebuke his people. From then on Rabbi Meir let his congregation know that they are the problem. And the community rabbis as a profession was developed.
And now, to get back at their congregants for being annoying sinners, rabbis give very long sermons.
***Not sure if that's exactly what happened. See Tales of Our Gaonim by Rabbi Sholom Klass page 187 to blame them.
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Others were to be blessed by Yakov and non-central flowing water. H' told him, 'By you and your offspring.'
You get it? Offspring. His children are offspring. Ot it's a spring somewhere out in the middle of nowhere. Off the path. Spring off. Offspring. It might be a spring in the bed mattress that isn't doing it's job. A spring that is off.
That's how the real Kotel Yarmulkes are made. Jewish origami. We origami with staple, because it makes sense. The same way we make our Sukkah decorations... I miss those Kippahs, they worked great for holding nachos too.