Shabbat Parashat Lech Lecha | 5769
Excerpts from the Introduction to Ein Ayah – part VII
The wide opening to the broadening of Torah ethics, the great wellspring that emerges from the house of Hashem, is Chazal’s words of aggada. They enable us to extract pearls from the depths of Tanach and the wisdom of the soul which Hashem imbued in mankind when he blew His Spirit during our creation. Therefore, I have sought to uncover the wisdom of the Rabbis as they relate to matters of the broad field of ethics.
It is well known that there have been, over the generations, major disagreements as to the matter of the discipline of philosophy and beliefs. Some used the field of philosophy to expound on matters of ethics and aggada. Others made efforts to distance any idea that did not emerge from the Torah, but expanded the ideas of aggada based on the teachings of Kabbala and its many approaches filled with Divine, holy concepts. Others were concerned with expanding on Chazal’s words in either way and took a more purist approach. They expanded things only according to simple ideas of belief and fear of Hashem that can be taken from explicit statements of Chazal and ideas the pure soul sees in the words of Tanach.
Each one of the schools of thought has brought us much good, and we are fortunate in our generation to joyfully harvest that which our predecessors sowed with tears. After all, when each ethical concept started to spread among the nation of Hashem, it was not possible to predict how it would impact on the hearts. We find that sometimes there is a facet of a philosophical approach that has elements related to the duties of the heart that can cause mistakes for one who is not sufficiently trained in these matters. After all, “one does not become set in the ways of Torah unless he stumbled in them” (Gittin 43a). Therefore, we have found Torah giants who are concerned that the stumbling could widen to the point that the gain from the approach would be overshadowed by the loss. They would then oppose those things in which we can actually find pleasing and wise ideas. We should be thankful to those pure of spirit because their opposition, which comes from the walls of a pure heart really caused the ideas to be refined to remove impurities so that it stands clear and pure like refined gold.
We have undergone a bitter exile and dispersion, have lost our spiritual center, and have a reduction in the advisors and judges our nation needs to light the path of Hashem before us. This has caused us to feel the fulfillment of the curse, “And you shall be feeling in the daytime like a blind man feels in the darkness” (Devarim 28:29). Therefore only with great toil and despair and by following a harrowing path did we arrive at the intellectual achievements of widening the wisdom of ethics. It is impossible in the downtrodden state of our nation for the matters to be arranged properly and that there should be grain without chaff, as it was when the light of Hashem was upon us through prophecy and ruach hakodesh and holy people who are included in Hashem’s secret. Therefore the light from which we benefit nowadays comes with pain. Only after generations of experience do we know that the ideas of the sefarim of the great tzaddikim of
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This edition of Hemdat Yamim is dedicated to the memory of George Weinstein
Gershon ben Yehudah Mayer, a lover of the Jewish Nation Torah and Land.
As well as
R ' Meir ben Yechezkel Shraga Brachfeld
Hemdat Yamim is endowed by Les & Ethel Sutker of
and Louis and Lillian Klein, z”l.