[Avodah] material success

Micha Berger micha at aishdas.org
Wed Jun 19 08:58:25 PDT 2024

On Wed, Jun 05, 2024 at 05:47:21AM +0300, Joel Rich via Avodah wrote:
> My comment on the most recent Tradition :
> https://traditiononline.org/wp-content/uploads/2024/04/Tradition-Spring-2024-SUMMIT.pdf
> A very sad read. I'd suggest that much of the phenomenon is due to the
> wrong frame of reference (what everyone else has) rather than
> ... 'Zusha, why weren't you Zusha?' ..."

I could only get the table of contents, so here are my thoughts on the
topic as a whole:

An aspect of our shift from striving for Ehrlichkeit to striving for
Frumkeit, was a more functionalist relationship with Hashem as well.

Parashas Emor brackets Shavuos with mitzvos that thank Hashem for what
he gave us -- Omer and Bikkurim -- on one side, and mitzvos that emulate
Him by sharing that largesse with others on the other side -- Leqet and

We are a pre-Shavuos culture. We relate to G-d like an ATM. We do the
right things, mitzvos and segulos, in hopes of connecting to the Source.
So far so good, but... With a focus on how to be happy, to get what we
want, what we *think* are our needs.

So of course we are comparing what we got with what they got.

Judaism as Ol Mitzvos and Ol Malkhus Shamayim doesn't really define our
in-practice (mimetic) culture, r"l. If it did, there wouldn't be only
discussion of Chassidishe (and Novhardiker) prescriptive Bitachon. Of the
"trust in G-d and it will all work out in a way that makes you happy" sort.
And more of what the Chazon Ish calls Bitachon; descriptively believing
that things turn out according to the Divine Plan, and if not in a way that
makes you happy, in a way that maximizes your life's purpose and meaning.

Look at what R Shimon haKohein Shkop has to say about Yismach Moshe
beMatenas Chelqo (tr. mine from Widen Your Tent sec 1.2, pg 54
<https://www.aishdas.org/ShaareiYosher.pdf#page=5>). R Shimon notes that
not only do we describe Moshe as happy with his cheileq, but "bematnas
chelqo" -- with the fact that it was given. It didn't need to be maasei

    In this way one may explain that which is said, "Moshe will be
    joyous with the giving of his portion, because You called him a
    reliable servant" [Shabbos Morning Amidah], that there is no joy in
    receiving the aspect of wisdom [9] unless he is a reliable servant who
    possesses nothing, that it is all his master's and lord's. Only then
    there is complete joy in acquiring wisdom. Without this [attitude]
    it is possible that there is no happiness in acquiring wisdom,
    for through it he is capable of reaching heresy.
    [9] Rav Shimon here is utilizing an idiom we find in the berachah
    made when seeing a Torah sage, "[shechalaq meichokhmaso liyrei'av'] --
    Who apportioned from His Wisdom to those who revere Him."

But only because he understood that his wealth is a tool for helping others,
and not just for himself. That is what it means to be an Eved Hashem.

(According to R Shimon. Other derakhim exist, of course. But I am
naturally going to post from my own perspective. Whether or not the post
itself acknowledges that fact with a paragraph like this one.)

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger                 Feeling grateful  to or appreciative of  someone
http://www.aishdas.org/asp   or something in your life actually attracts more
Author: Widen Your Tent      of the things that you appreciate and value into
- https://amzn.to/2JRxnDF    your life.         - Christiane Northrup, M.D.

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