Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Baal HaBaatim

Though we often talk about Baal ha-Baatim, and most blogs are written by Baal ha-Baatim, we don't often explicate the difference between being a Baal ha-Bus and a Rav/Rosh Yeshiva. So I would like to roughly draw the three major factors in distinguishing Baal ha-Baatim and Rabbinic Elite/Clergy:

1) Expectations:
People in Avodas Ha-Kodesh and their families are usually expected to maintain a higher level of religious and ethical standard that others within the same community. Even a Baal ha-Bus with smicha is not looked at with the same public eye as a Rabbinic figure.

2) Stability/Financial:
Though there are many notable exceptions, generally, being a Baal Ha-Bus gives one a greater degree of stability (career, financial, geographic) than a life of Avodas Ha-Kodesh. Choosing a life in Avodas Ha-Kodesh often means losing this stability for both the Rabbi and his family.

3) Power:
Rabbinic Elite have power that the laity do not. Being a Rabbi or Rav or even a Mechanaich gives one religious power and authority that a stam Baal ha-Bus lacks. Their opinion about halakhah or even Judaism in general carries more weight that a layman.

So many who choose a life of one or the other have to factor in the above three issues in their choices.

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