The Greatest in Torah Do Not Become
Famous, Powerful Religious Authorities
I've been thinking about how to phrase this because I am afraid to say it. I realized: If I am afraid to say this, it is essential that I do.
The greatest in Torah do not become famous, powerful religious authorities. They have no desire or need for power. If they cannot influence by virtue of their wisdom and deeds alone, they do not resort to imposing their authority.
No one who really learns and loves Torah has any desire whatsoever to be a Rabbinical leader, get money for their learning, amass a great following and be called all kinds of superlatives. They most certainly have no desire to have masses of slavish, mindless sycophants following them everywhere and being utterly dependent upon them for all matters great and small.
If you are afraid of the authority of any Rabbi, you may be sure that Rabbi is evil.
If a Jew is so far from the God of Israel that they are able to use the Torah as a spade to dig with, that person is evil incarnate. Of such a person it is said: He has no God. For a Jew that means that they are evil itself.
No one ever did not learn Torah because they refused to follow a Rabbi slavishly.
To the contrary, it is only when we turn to God humbly and say: 'I know my weaknesses. I know I can be fooled. I know I have an ego. I know I can make mistakes and I might delude myself. For the very same reasons I do not trust myself to know if someone is a true Teacher. I trust only You to guide me' that we are led to the Source.
If your judgment is so weak that you might be deluded if you learn Torah yourself, how can you trust that same judgment to know who is a worthy teacher - because everyone says he is great and frightens you that if you do not honor him some terrible thing will befall you?
If you ask a truly God-fearing Jew, for advice will say: Let us sit down and discuss this together. I will share the benefit of my learning with you. You share yours with me and we will try to reach a deeper understanding together.
Together is the operative word in true Judaism because the Wise know that all true Torah Wisdom is Collective Wisdom and they know that everyone is privy to it in direct measure to their merits.
Those who are truly great in Torah know that there is someone who needs their message, HaShem will see to it that it gets to that person. They don't seek out fame as a "necessary evil" of getting Torah across.
A Jew who can use Torah cynically, who can put on a show of prayer while plotting devices, who can call on God's name in vain has no fear of God and no love of God. For a Jew that means he is evil incarnate.