[Avodah] Ben Torah for Life

Micha Berger micha at aishdas.org
Thu Aug 22 14:38:13 PDT 2019

On Wed, Aug 07, 2019 at 08:51:57AM +0000, Rich, Joel via Avodah wrote:
> My thoughts on Ben Torah for Life" by Rabbi Aaron Lopiansky
> R'Lopiansky's response is multifaceted. On the philosophical side he
> states that Yaakov must realize that while extended full time learning was
> the right thing to do and forms his core, "the vocation that hashgacha
> has allotted you" now is not less valuable if viewed correctly. He is
> an agent of HKB"H and must maintain an appropriate (for self and family)
> standard of living which reflects his ultimate goals.

Keneged kulam isn't kulam. Even if Pei'ah 1:1 means keneged the other
612, that would mean 50% of our job is learning. (But that's not mashmah
from the mishnah -- kulam would be the other mitzvos listed there.)

And we know why -- because talmud meivi liydei maaseh. It isn't that
learening has the greatest inherent valut; its valus is derived from
its making you do the other mitzvos. So, learning without the other 50%
isn't 50% either.

And then, I can't let this go without mentioning R' Shimon Shkop on
BALM vs BALC in the haqdamah to Shaarei Yosher.

1- Qedushah is commitment to vehalakhta bidrakhav. "Qedoshim tihyu ki
Qadosh Ani". Being qadosh is being consecrative to being meitiv others,
bedemus haBorei, kevayakhol.

Then he explains that rest and enjoyment can be qadosh, if one is
refreshing oneself as part of being better able to be meitiv others.

And then finally, "gam zu al kol mif'alav uma'asev shel ha'adam bam
beino levein haMaqom" -- mitzvos bein Adam laMaqom are altogether
the means of caring for the goose; the goldent eggs are leheitiv
im hazulas. (As per his opening words.)

That was taken from the first paragraph in the original print of
SY. See http://www.aishdas.org/asp/ShaareiYosher.pdf for the original
with translation, ch. 1 of my sefer.

2- Later, in par. 2 (pg 55), R Shimon describes how the measure of
a person's soul is the size of his "ani". A coarse person only thinks
of their body when they say "ani". (In my book, I call that "level 0
of human development; as it's mamash llike an animal."

One step up (level 1) is someone who identifies with body and soul.
Then there is the person who identifies with their husband or wife and
children, or other immediate family (2.0). Then more of their extended
family, more of their friends (2.1, 2.2....) until they identify their
"ani" as the Jewish People or the entirety of the beri'ah.

Notice how lowly he would describe the soul that learns and learns but
not to be better to other people, or to teach. How far that is from
usual understandings of R' Chaim Voloshiner's "Torah liShmah"!

> He must realize that the outside world is not black (it's all foolishness)
> or white (they're great). Our ethical/moral standards are key as Yaakov
> maintains his separation and sanctifies HKB "H's name. He needs to look
> for/ form a strong. Shul, Community, Rabbi, Chevra and family while he
> sets aside time for more practical, focused, inspirational and engaged
> learning. He must set aside time to set/correct course and experience
> the sweetness of every mitzvah.
> Yaakov must make tfila, Shabbat and Yom Tov different and meaningful. He
> must avoid spiritual pitfalls and use down time appropriately.
> My thoughts.
> 1) While Yaakov's problem statement (and problem) is very different from
> Jack's (my creation - his modern orthodox cousin whose problems stem
> from being reared to believe professional success is key), the advice
> is still generally on target for both of them
> 2) R'A Feldman's (Rosh Yeshiva-Ner Yisrael) approbation includes the
> following statements worth discussing: " It is a fact of our Yeshiva
> educational system that a good proportion of our students do not end
> up in Torah-related careers and therefore find themselves thrust, often
> unprepared, into an environment whose values and behaviors are radically
> different from their accustomed ones. Surprisingly, this problem has
> never been addressed by our Roshey Yeshiva."
> 3) Also worth discussing - does the response to Yaakov fully address his
> problem statement's root cause? If not, why? What other short and long
> term responses might be more effective for Yaakov or his children? How
> would they effect the rest of the community?
> 4) David Epstein in "Range" argues that "specializing" too early can be
> counterproductive and that generalists who find their path later in life
> tend to excel and be more creative, agile and able to make connections
> that specialists miss. (me-The connections part especially resonates
> with me). What are the implications for our educational systems (Limudei
> Kodesh and Chol across the orthodox spectrum?))

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger                 Nothing so soothes our vanity as a display of
http://www.aishdas.org/asp   greater vanity in others; it makes us vain,
Author: Widen Your Tent      in fact, of our modesty.
- https://amzn.to/2JRxnDF            -Louis Kronenberger, writer (1904-1980)

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