Reb Shlomo Carlebach zt"l
(Via Stuie Wax)
Ascend to the mountain and be there (Sh’mot 24:12)
[In the 60’s and 70's many young Jews explored their spirituality with Eastern religions, and many of the Gurus had their disciples kiss their feet.]
We Jewish people, children of Avraham Avinu have a very deep sense of paganism. We have an absolute refined sense of what idol worship is. Idol worship is if a human being takes to himself more power than he has, it’s when I make myself bigger than I am. A human being has a right to be a teacher, but if you make yourself more than you are, it’s really a bad scene.
I’m not only referring only to other religions. When I see a rabbi making himself bigger than he is, it’s also idol worship. If a teacher takes more power than he has in the classroom, makes himself more a master over the children than he has, it’s terrible.
Imagine I will tell you, “I want you to know, I have divine powers. I want you to kiss my toes and bow down before me” what am I doing to you? In order to be more than I am – I have to take away from you. I wouldn’t bow down before the holiest man in the world. I would walk up to him, shake his hand and kiss him. I respect him, but bowing down? I only bow down before G-d, nobody else. I only bow down before G-d. You can cut my throat but I’m not bowing down before a human being. When you fall down on the floor, and kiss someone’s toes, do you know what that means? I am nothing in their presence. Being nothing in someone’s presence is only by G-d, and even G-d doesn’t like it too much.
When G-d spoke to us on Mount Sinai, do you think we were lying on the floor, licking the toes of Moshe Rabbeinu? When we stood on Mount Sinai, we stood straight up.
The Ba’al Shem Tov says the difference between bowing down before a human being and bowing down before G-d is very simple. To bow down before a human being, the smaller you get, the more you bow down. The way to bow down before G-d is to make yourself as tall as you possibly can. The fact is, we only bow down to G-d one time on Rosh Hashanah and three times on Yom Kippur. How come? Because even bowing down before G-d is a heavy scene.
Now open your hearts. There are moments when I have a chance to become a master over somebody else. If you stood on Mount Sinai then you know that only G-d is a master. If you didn’t stand on mount Sinai, you make them into a slave, you keep them as a slave.
This can happen between husband and wife, and even parents and children,
The essence of yiddishkeit is that you are not a master over your children. You are not a master over anyone in the world.
The worst thing in the world is when we play G-d over somebody else. The worst thing about our school system is that a good teacher is someone whose students are afraid of him or her. It’s the worst of the worst, its idol worship school. Nebach! Those teachers did not hear G-d’s word on Mount Sinai
So you see what it is? When Moshe Rabbeinu comes down from Mount Sinai the first thing he says is, "Yidden, I want you to know one thing. If anybody here thinks to be a Master over anybody else, then they were not on Mount Sinai." because only G-d is the master.