Bracha from a Rebbe

I just received an email from a good friend telling me a big-name rebbe is going to be in town, and that I should go to him to get a bracha (blessing), you know, to speed up the move and the paperwork etc.

I have to be honest, previously I would have scoffed at this type of thing. The guy is flesh and blood like the rest of us, how can a bracha even from a learned man change your life? God is in charge, He’s already planned out my year, no bracha will change it. For me it was right up there with tying a roite bendel (red string) around my wrist – it works if I believe in it, but doesn’t if I don’t.

But this email gave me pause. Should I, shouldn’t I? Couldn’t hurt, right? And then I got to thinking, it’s extremely hypocritical of me to even think I should go. After all I never believed in this kind of stuff to start off with. Now that I need extra help with my situation, it’s all of a sudden ok?

Can a bracha from a learned man really change around one’s future, one’s parnassah, one’s heavenly decree? Am I a hypocrite if I do go and ask for a bracha for me, the KoD and our family?

What are your thoughts?

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  1. batya from NJ says:

    i say it can’t hurt & if it does work (ie help your situation) then you will change your opinion on the matter. i too am not from the big believers in going to a rebbe for a bracha but if i had a reason to & he was in town i would probably feel that it can’t hurt & who knows, maybe it could even help & i don’t think i would be a hypocrite if i were to go…believe me, there are way worse things to be hypocritical about in judaism! good luck with whatever you decide :)!

  2. lady lock and load says:

    I like the idea of going to a Gadol to ask him for a blessing because that means that he is praying for me and my family. If you take your boys with you I think it would be a beautiful experience for them. I say go for it! (and while your at it, get some blessings for me too ;) )

  3. shorty says:

    if i could to to a big name Rebbe, i would totally go.

  4. Talya says:

    I don’t think it necessarily makes you a hypocrite, but I have to admit I do think it’s rather silly. We’re not Catholics who need priests as conduits to God- we can talk to Him on our own. I don’t think any rabbi, learned as he may be, has any special “pull” or powers that make his prayers any more special than yours or mine.

    Having said all that, and reiterating that I don’t really believe that this guy’s blessing will do the trick, by all means go to him if it will make you feel good. I’m not saying this mockingly- it certainly couldn’t hurt, and after all you’ve been through, if having this man’s blessing will give you some measure of comfort, than why not?

  5. Mark says:

    I would never go to a Rabbi (or Rebbe) for a bracha. I think it is a bad practice, and if it becomes too accepted, it leads to very bad things (mainly holding one group of Jews as better, or closer to God, and other groups of Jews).

  6. What could be bad about a bracha from a Rebbe? For that matter…what can be bad about a bracha from anyone? I’d take it!

  7. mrsmelissasg says:

    related question of thought: will you accept a bracha from a kallah?

    • HSaboMilner says:

      i would never refuse a bracha – there must be some sort of kabbalistic thing against that. when my girlfriend recently got married, i was with her right up until the chuppah. I gave her a bracha, from the heart, and she spontaneously gave me one too. It was truly an awesome moment, so intimate, so precious.

      So yes, I would.

      But let me add, it is one thing to accept a bracha, it is another thing to actively go looking for one.

  8. mekubal says:

    The effectiveness(or not) of a bracha have nothing to do with the person’s lamdut.

    The idea goes all the way back to the Gemarra. There are two primary posukim that lend their support the idea, on is “the righteous decree and HaShem does” the other is “the will of those who fear Him he performs”(from Ashrei). So ultimately the idea is that the tzadikut of the person is such that he is able to accomplish things that most people wouldn’t.

    That being said, I have heard it from a good number of sources(Rav Shternbuch, Rav Yaakov Hillel, and a number of others) that such people were very rare in any generation, and most especially our own.

    So for me the question would be if this person is a big name Rebbe because his father was a Rebbe, and his father before him? Is it because he is a lamdan? Or is it because he is such a pure tzaddik that he is more like an angel than a man?

    Unless you can answer without hesitation to number three, then yeah I think you would probably be wasting your time.

  9. T says:

    why don’t you put the question on a piece of paper and stick it in your tehillim. Read the tehillim in the morning, the answer will be in it somewhere!!

    just try it….can’t hurt…right!!!!

  10. lady lock and load says:

    Was just thinking about those who put notes to G-d in the Kotel (wailing wall). I do not practise this as I think that G-d hears my prayers and I don’t have to write a letter to Him (do they have e-mail up in heaven :) )
    All it does is create garbage at a holy site, before passover there is a cleaning crew that has to clean up all those notes. The practise should be discontinued.

    • Rabbi's wife says:

      LLL-they have to do it more often than that! It’s my understanding that they sweep up the fallen notes either weekly or monthly, at night when tourists won’t see, and twice a year they clean out all the cracks (erev Pesach and Rosh Hashana) and bury them all on the mount of olives. about 1000 shopping bags worth each time.
      They also take all mail addressed to G-d to the Kotel and dispose of it in the same way.

      • mekubal says:

        They burn them, they don’t bury them. It is the same custom used amongst Hasidim at Hevrei Tzadikim for the letters they write to the Tzadikim.

    • a.k. says:

      Those kwittlach in the kotel would be interesting material for sociological studies. They should not throw them away, rather keep them in a kind of “library” for the use for scientific purposes…

      • Mark says:

        That’s a great point! They should keep them and analyze how requests of Hashem change over the months/years.

      • mekubal says:

        Don’t you think that would be rather invasive. Many times those notes are people pouring out their hurts and pains, in ways that some never want another human to know. I think many would feel violated if someone were to read them for whatever purpose.

        • Mark says:

          mekubal – Don’t you think that would be rather invasive.

          Yes, it would be hugely invasive. All research into the human psyche is invasive. But when done right, in a randomized fashion, with names completely removed before any data is handled, it doesn’t affect any single person adversely.

          • mekubal says:

            The difference is that most research into the human psyche is done with the consent of the observed.

            The question is whether consent is granted here. Personally I don’t think that it is. The outrage the nation showed that a note had been read when someone leaked the contents of Obama’s note to the press shows that most people do not wish those notes read by any mortal person.

          • Mark says:

            mekubal – The difference is that most research into the human psyche is done with the consent of the observed.

            Not necessarily when it is being done over a very large population.

            The Obama “outrage” was a single note, single person, and targeted (and I still believe that it was expected [i.e. meant] to be exposed) for release. Much different than what I suggested, and completely irrelevant to what I suggested.

  11. Otir says:

    This is an interesting question. I have read some of the answers given by your readers, and I still like the question much more than their answers. “It doesn’t hurt” is the strangest reply in that matter to me: is a bracha supposed to ever hurt? what is a bracha? Don’t we always pronounce brachot that someone else has designed in the purpose of having us create some kind of vibrations that are actually changing the world?

    That is the question that comes to my mind.

    If you really want my answer, here it is: I go to see someone else, when I really feel driven to them by the same kind of vibration that change the course of things in my perceptions. In the end, what is going to be changed, is your perception of how to handle your wait for the outcome which is going to reunite you with KoD anyway.

    All this has nothing to do with feeling hypocritical.

    As for the notes, the power is not in the paper, nor even in the holes of the stones, but in the movement that drove someone to write the note and have it placed there.

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