I’m reading through Kedushah - The Abstinence of Married Men in Gur, Slonim and Toldos Ahron by Benjamin Brown, and I came across this spectacular case of a lack of self-awareness.
R’ Avrom Yitshok Kohn,the Rebbe of Toldes Aaron, wrote in his pamphlet, Divrei Kedushah, that,
The difference between the chasid and the ordinary person is that the hasid says: “That which is forbidden is certainly forbidden, while that which is permitted—I nevertheless do not have to do it.” The ordinary person, on the other hand, says the opposite:“That which is permitted is certainly permitted, while that which is forbidden—I can nevertheless seek permission to do it.”
Apparently there was an incident years ago concerning a chassid who left Toldos Aharon for Ger because he felt that the Toldos Aharon restrictions on sex weren’t stringent enough. Toldos Ahraon permits sex between married couples three times a month to Ger’s one to two times, and permits couples to hug and kiss during sex, while Ger does not.
In an unpublished letter to the chassid, R’ Kohn wrote,
Now let us consider the crux of the matter. Even if, by means of this self-sacriﬁce, he appears to be committed to maintaining him-self in holiness and purity, and his intention [appears to be] good, it is nevertheless clear from the addenda of R. Tsvi Elimelekh of Dynów to the book Turn Aside from Evil [ and Do Good ... ] 70 that if a person adopts stringencies and departs from the ways of the world [i.e., strays from the accepted norms of conduct], he draws upon himself accusations [from Heaven] [ ... ], and who knows whether he would be able to withstand them.
So which is it? Should one not do what is permitted, and take on stringencies, or should one avoid stringencies and “depart[ing] from the ways of the world” so that he won’t draws upon himself accusations [from Heaven]?
He also writes in an earlier letter concerning the same incident,
He has made a mockery [ leitsanut ] of me, and a mockery of our whole community, including his own father, as if whoever wanted to bea [good] Jew had to run away from us.
As though his community didn’t do the same in regard to everyone to their left.