Every aspiring עבד ה' appreciates the significance of the adage “קנה לך חבר”, and the terribly painful loneliness of או חברותא או מתותא. For years, I have desired to form a chaburah of individuals whose attempt to guide their life at achieve both יראת שמים and קרבת אלוקים. As members of such a chaburah, I hoped that together we could develop profound thoughts concerning avodas Hashem, both its theoretical as well as its practical elements. We would assist each other in developing the unique ideas and approaches of each member.

Over the years and in different stages of my life, I was fortunate enough to meet such individuals. With current technology, we are attempting to form this chaburah, despite the geographical distance that may separate us. We would like to invite others with whom our ideas may resonate to join us by reading, commenting, and ultimately sharing your thoughts with us. קנה לך חבר, says the Arizal, means that your pen (קנה) should be your friend – as you write, your thoughts become clearer.

The exact parameters of this blog will be defined as we develop our ideas. All entries are guided by five principles:

a) יראת שמים

b) desire for קרבת אלוקים and becoming a better עבד ה'

c) strict adherence to Halacha, including הלכות לשון הרע

d) belief in גדלות האדם, both in oneself and all other people

e) intellectual rigor
Anyone who does not feel passionately about these five principles is asked not to comment, since any comment that does not meet the above-mentioned criteria will not be posted.

About the name of the blog. “השגה” represents the intellectual grasp of any given idea, while “הויה” represents the incorporation of that idea into the person’s weltanschauung. Our goal is to merely discuss theoretical ideas and then return to our daily lives. We want to transform the ideas of the Torah into a living Torah, a תורת חיים.


Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Bein Hameitzarim Avodah

We have now entered a period of unique avodas Hashem. We face an opportunity to harvest tremendous peiros, but it's an avodah that is very complicated. For the next few weeks I hope to post various thoughts about this time period and the avodah lemaaseh that accompanies it. I invite all of the contributors to the blog to write their own pieces as well as to comment on each others ideas. I hope to hear from all of you.
Not Letting Others Bring Us Down

After David slays Goliyat, Shaul inquires who this lad is (Shmuel 1:17:58). Malbim explains that it is clear that Shaul Hamelech knows David since the previous chapter had informed us that David would play music to diminish Shaul’s depression. Nevertheless, David has undergone such a profound change that he is not recognizable as the same person.
This must have been a bitter moment for Shaul Hamelech. He himself had undergone the same change when he had become a navi, but now Shaul was filled with ruach raah which had led to his spiritual downfall. To see David on the rise must have saddened, aggravated, and angered him greatly. This may have been the nekuda that exacerbated the comments of the women that Shaul killed thousands and David killed tens of thousands.
An eved Hashem must stand on guard against this phenomenon. When someone experiences intense aliyah in avodas Hashem, inevitably, at some point, he will experience a major yerida. During this yerida the world appears so dark, so hopeless. He begins to automatically respond with cynicism or worse to any aliya that he witnesses, especially in others, especially when the aliya is reminiscent of his personal aliya. Don’t be naïve...be realistic...come back to earth.
May we never lower others with our embittered nor allow the fallen ones to bring us down.

וירא שאול מלפני דוד כי היה יהוה עמו ומעם שאול סר. ויהי דוד לכל דרכיו משכיל ויהוה עמו. וירא שאול אשר הוא משכיל מאד ויגר מפניו. (שמואל א פרק יח:יב,יד,טו)
Growing Despite the Physical – Growing Despite the Yeush

One of the signs that Shmuel provides for Shaul as a proof that Shaul has been Divinely-ordained to serve as the king of the Jewish people is Shaul’s sudden transformation into a navi. The bystanders are apparently shocked by this development, which gives rise to an expression הגם שאול בנבאים (Shmuel 1 10:1-12).
Shaul Hamelech is granted nevuah one more time, in the end of his life, during his final attempt to capture and destroy the future King David. Once again the people express their surprise at Shaul’s prophetic ability, הגם שאול בנביאים (Shmuel 1 19:24).
It may be that the first time, their surprise was similar to that of Reish Lakish upon discovery that what appeared at first as a beautiful young woman in reality turned out to be R’ Yochanan, the great Amora. How could such physical beauty be associated with such lofty ruchniyus, wondered Reish Lakish? People who are physically beautiful are more likely to be attached to gashmiyus. They are presented with more opportunities to engage in the carnal. The world beckons them. We are told that Shaul is very tall and distinguished. The people were thus surprised that he was able to reach the high madreiga of nevua, which required a major break with gashmiyus.
The second time around, their surprise was for a different reason. Shaul Hamelech was punished with ruach raah. Malbim explains that this was created by the fact that he had ruach Hashem that had left. The vacuum from kdusha itself creates that ruach raah. This person is filled with bitterness, darkness.
When a person never reached a high madreiga, for him to reach it is not as difficult of an endeavor as someone who was so high who had fallen so low. The people were surprised that Shaul Hamelech, an individual who had experienced such am incredible spiritual fall, could still attain the simcha and shleimus of prophecy. It was a true miracle.