Why Can’t I see the Rabbi!?
Rabbi Yehudah ben Shomeyr
For those coming out of Christianity into Judaism are often disappointedly shocked to find that the Rabbi is not as accessible as their Christian pastor was and many unnecessarily take offense to this. They sometimes falsely get the impression that the Rabbi is better than or to good to meet personally with some people. However this is by far not the case. One must understand that the culture and the structure of the chain of command in Eastern Judaism is different than in Western Christianity.
In Judaism, even in Yeshua’s day a Rabbi was surrounded by various rank of Talmidim (Disciples). He had his right hand man, his Head Talmid and then an Inner Circle of three to five Talmidim who acted as a Christian Deacon suppose to, and ministered and taught when and where the Rabbi always couldn’t. Then there were a countless number of Talmidim who simply sat under the Rabbi and his Inner Circle of Talmidim and learned.
A Rabbi, whether the head of a Synagogue, Yeshiva, Congregation, Organization, or Rabbinic Dynasty has many familial, religious and ministerial obligations and his time must be well budgeted and structured. And even some Rabbi’s have part time jobs that demand a certain part of their time as well. The Rabbi not some Gandhi type Guru of fellow available selflessly 24-7 for just anyone at anytime. He is accountable to G-d regarding the wise use of his time. His main responsibility is to teach the people. Counseling of the people is secondary to this main responsibility of teaching. If a Rabbi is able to teach properly the less counseling he will have to do. It is the whole principle of the “teach a man to fish” proverb. His physical, mental and spiritual health is important in order to maintain such a ministry. G-d comes first then his family, talmidim and then followers and the populace at large. His Head Talmid and Inner Circle of Talmidim act as a filter for the Rabbi when people come seeking an audience with him and the well trained Talmidim can actually handle many of the requests and meet many needs of the people (as is the Christian Deacon suppose to do) thus freeing up the Rabbi to accomplish his daily responsibilities, duties and tasks. And whatever the Talmidim are unable to handle it is then scheduled to be addressed by the Rabbi. We see a form of this in the account in the Brit Chadasha of the Man with the demon possessed son. We see his talmidim first try to take care of the situation before allowing the need to be brought to Yeshua (Mark 9:14-29).
We also see this well intending Rabbinic filter structure of the Talmidim to Rabbi occur when the children swarmed Yeshua and He corrected His Talmidim and told them that it was okay that the children be around him (Mark 10:13-16).
With these different leadership structures one can easily see why Christian pastors seem to burn out and have such a high turn over rate in Churches as apposed to Rabbis in Judaism who stay in leadership over a sect or congregation for years on end and some a lifetime.
So if the Rabbi cannot see you, do not be offended and trust that if his well trained talmidim are unable to help you with your issue or need that at that point you will be given an audience with the Rabbi at an appropriate time to share your need.
It is a tried and true system that has served the Jewish community well for thousands of years. You never try to fix that which is not broken.