[Avodah] Shemini Atzeres as a time for Hislamdus

Micha Berger micha at aishdas.org
Mon Oct 19 12:47:15 PDT 2020

On Mon, Oct 19, 2020 at 07:41:26AM -0400, Akiva Miller via Avodah wrote:
> First and foremost, I believe it is an utter mistake to think that the goal
> of Talmud Torah is the yedios that one acquires in the course of learning.
> Rather, proper Talmud Torah affects one's neshama in some sort of other,
> much more fundamental way. RMB calls it "hislamdus" and "internalization".
> Whatever you want to call it, it is nutritious to certain neshamos, and
> tiflus to others, and woe to the person who ignores the Physician's
> prescription.

In the beginning of Nefesh haChaim sha'ar 4, RCV compares learning Torah
to dipping in a miqvah. And a person stays tahor even after they're dry.
Simiarly Talmud Torah refines the soul, and the value is there even if
the the material is forgotten.

But I think a core issue in the subsequent split among his talmidim into
Yeshivish and Mussar was at least in part -- if not mostly -- over how
to undertand this mashal.

To the yeshivish, it meant that this happens of its own. Learn gemara
and rishonim (eventually: lomdus) and one's neshamah is refined. You
don't need to work at self-refinment, this is the power of Torah.

In Mussar, these words define what Talmud Torah is. RCV is saying that
one doesn't just learn to know, one learns in a way to refine the soul.
And thus the whole invention of Tenu'as haMussar.

Hislamdus is a a reflective contruction of lamad / limeid. It's an active
effort to make Torah "nutritious" to one's neshamah. And RSWolbe sees
this idea in the Rambam, not that women's souls inherently can't gain from
learning but that the Rambam believed they couldn't engaged in hislamdus,
so they simply didn't know how to make a nutritious "dish" out of it.

I think your framing is more in the yeshivish model of my little dichotomy,
but I am not sure if you intended it to be.

Chodesh Tov!
Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger                 Life isn't about finding yourself.
http://www.aishdas.org/asp   Life is about creating yourself.
Author: Widen Your Tent               - George Bernard Shaw
- https://amzn.to/2JRxnDF

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