The Essential Function of a Rabbi

To bring people closer to the observance of the mitzvos, to help them love and fear God in the context of an existence filled with suffering and cruelty.

To provide human and humane answers to the questions people ask, taking into account knowledge of the Torah in its totality. 

To view the totality of Torah as encompassing the commandments that regulate interpersonal relationships (bain Adam LaChavero) and those that regulate the relationship between human beings and God (bain Adam LaMaKom).

To be aware at all times that there are unfortunately so many rabbis who have singlehandedly destroyed the "brand" of Judaism with their misdeeds, in particular through vile exploitation of those who trusted them blindly. 

To support those who do the opposite.

To measure the fitness of other rabbis by their results, not their restrictiveness.

To look for example at the number of people who go to the synagogue and at the increase in their level of observance. 

To be aware that one's observance level is correlated with their being labeled as good people with the potential to be better always -- not sinners from the minute they walk in the door. 

Certainly to distinguish between an actual requirement and a made-up requirement, not to mention a leniency.

To remember that they exist in a social context wherein most Jews don't even believe in God.

To bring their heads up from the books, and get out into the real world with the people.
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Posted January 10, 2018 by Dr. Dannielle (Dossy) Blumenthal, adapted from a Facebook comment posted earlier today. All opinions are the author's own. This post is hereby released into the public domain. CC0 Creative Commons photo by mig-ua via Pixabay.