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.


Friday, July 9, 2010

Thoughts on Shviras Haluchos

On 17 of Tamuz the luchos were broken, and the days of our aveilus begin. Midrash Tanchuma says that the luchos were very heavy, but they carried themselves. When M”R saw what was happening, the osiyos flew up to Shomayim, and the weight was too much and M”R dropped them. First of all it’s interesting that the osiyos flew up not when the Jews started worshipping the egel but when M”R realized this. See an amazing connection between M”R and the Torah.
But the main point is that the body of Torah (the laws of the Torah) is by itself very heavy. Everywhere you turn, Halacha is there. Nevertheless there is the hashkafas haTorah, the osiyos, which make the guf haTorah very light. But when those osiyos are gone, the guf haTorah becomes very heavy, and at some point there is a shvirah. M”R saw that there was a corruption in the nishmas haumah – three aveiros chamuros were in the hearts of the people, and the egel was used to engage in their hidden desire. For such people the guf of the Halacha was too much.
Sefer Hatodaah also quotes a Yalkut Shimoni that says that when the Zkeinim saw that M”R was about to destroy the luchos, they tried to stop him, and they wrestled with him for it. Chazal say that his koach was greater than theirs. Nevertheless he overcame them only after the osiyos flew up. Why not immediately? Maybe because he represented the nishmas haTorah and they represented agents of guf haTorah since they were responsible of actualizing the Torah. He wanted to show them that when the ruach is gone, there is no guf either.
Chazal tell us that when the ruchani Beis Hamikdosh was destroyed, at that very moment the physical lost its koach as well, and it was a matter of time until it would fall apart.
We spoke at a different time that Hashkafa is represented by strength while Halacha is represented by a sword. A spirit is the strength with which a sword will be wielded, but without strength the sword is a burden. When the bird forgets that wings are for flying and it tries to run with them, they just slow her down.
These three weeks are a time to understand the importance of ruchniyus. It’s a time to examine how we unify the ruach haTorah and the guf haTorah.

1 comment:

  1. The mashal of bird and its wings is an interesting one. I have found the words of Rav Dovid Gottlieb helpful in this matter, when he speaks of how to think about halacha and mitzvah performance. Many people view halacha as obstacles to “get around,” that they have an agenda and just have to make sure that no halachos get in the way. “Can you show me where it says this is asur?” they ask. Of course this is exactly backwards. Mitzvot and their halachot are only meaningful in the context of their purpose, i.e. to form a connection with the divine. In fact, argues Rav Gottlieb, one should have to give an explanation for any moment during which he is not performing a mitzvah, because why is he engaging in any activity that isn’t brining him closer to H”KBH? This may be an example of the relationship between ruach haTorah and guf haTorah.