Lee Diamond – Once upon a Rabbi
My teachers were great scholars
Indeed they were Talmidim Chachamim.
We learned well. We learned Talmud and shulchan aruch in their historical context.
We learned commentaries and history and
But we were a new generation for
Our Eastern European teachers.
It was hard for them to respect
Our somewhat limited American
But we nonetheless took them seriously.
The problem was that they took us less seriously.
How could a native born American be a Talmud chacham?
And a rabbi?
The message was that we were less then them
That we were never to be scholars of Torah.
And then we became rabbis
And now we knew more than all the congregants.
They were impressed with our knowledge and wisdom.
And they complimented us all the time
And we became their priests
And came to us for advice
And we accepted this role of priesthood
And compliments of our knowledge
And Jewish wisdom
And we stopped learning
And growing in knowledge
And we became what our teachers were
Egotistical, Arrogant priests
Of a different order
Gowns and tailored talitot
And priestly hats
And we spoke down to our fellow Jews
because we were rabbis.
And to some extent we stopped listening
But continued to preach
And we became full of our selves
And empty of our mission
To learn Torah
To understand our times
Our need to lead
With passion, understanding
Knowledge and responsibility.
They are the real Jews
We were appointed
To teach and be their guides for the
And we forgot them
And we served ourselves and not them
Every jew is commanded
To find himself a rabbi
Even the Rabbis.
We need rabbis who hear the voice of the still Small voice
To be led in order to lead.