Should a Rabbi run the risk of being expelled, by talking about matters that the congregation doesn't want to hear?
It's the job of a Rabbi to win his people over gradually. So it's not good sense that the first Shabbos that he speaks he should immediately talk about things that anger the people, because what will he accomplish when he's outside, when he's on the other side of the door? So therefore, let him first bring the people in and celebrate with them Shabbos, Shalosh Seudas, Melava Malkas, simchas Yom Tov, let him show the happiness, the good times. Little by little let them get pride in being Jews, let him explain the hashkofo of Torah. After a while these people themselves will be more
Now it might take years. I know a Rabbi who had a congregation, a
choshuva congregation, and after three years he became so disgusted that he
left and went to Eretz Yisroel. I told him he made an error; he should have
remained. It's a question of time, and you will win out.
First of all the malach hamoves is a tanya d'mesaya lei, the old ones in the
course of time will stop being members. Secondly some of the people are
going to leave, the undesirable ones will leave anyhow, they won't like your
tone; better ones will be attracted eventually. In the course of time you're
going to see what happens. I remember years ago, I was urging a young man
to go into the rabbinate, he said to me if I had a congregation like yours I'd
I told him what the Chasam Sofer said. The Chasam Sofer once urged a Jew
to go into the Rabonus, so he said if I had a kehilla like Pressburg then I
would go into it. The Chasam Sofer said, I also didn't have a kehilla like
Pressburg when I became a Rov, it became subsequently. It took a lot of
work, there were a lot of rich Jews in Pressburg, they were all leaning to the
Reform in those days; all they were interested in was Reform. The Chasam
Sofer little by little got them in the right mood and it became a Yeshiva
town. Now when you say Pressburg, you think about the Pressburger
So every Rabbi has to make it his business – of course if he could get a very
good kehilla at the beginning he should, but if he gets any kind of kehilla –
he should dedicate himself to win them over.
Of course if he has to break laws of the Torah in the beginning, there should
be no concessions, no yielding. If it's possible to come in without any open
breach of the Torah, only he has to guard his tongue for the first few years
and be diplomatic, that's his job; that's ratzon Hashem to do that.
Fundamentally, this means: think as I think. The most important part of
the personality is the mind; therefore we can most effectively emulate the
holiness of Hashem by means of emulating His thoughts. Everything in the
Torah is an example of Hashem's thoughts (as He wishes us to think) and
therefore we study His words in order to acquire (what He shows us to be)
his attitudes. He regards Man as "the image of G-d" (Breshis 1:27), and we
should train our minds to think likewise. He considers the people of Israel as
his sons (Devarim 14:1), and we must gain that same attitude. He desires
kindliness (Shmos 34:6; Micha 7:18), and so should we. He hates
immorality (Sanhedrin 93A) and so should we. He considers His world as
"very good" (Breshis 1:31) and so should we.