The following words from Rav Moshe Weinberger, from Cong. Aish Kodesh in Woodmere, NY, were given over to introduce the sefer Da Es Atzmecha, which Rav Weinberger is giving a weekly shiur in (which is also available on their website) in an e-mail from the Aish Kodesh Audio Division:
On Shabbos afternoon, Parshas Kedoshim 5768, Rav Weinberger began a new series of shiurim based on the sefer "Da Es Atzmechah" (Know Yourself) by the author of the s'forim "Bilvavi Mishkan Evneh," Rav Itamar Schwartz of Yerushalayim. Rebbi repeated the shiur during the week so that it could be recorded.
In the words of Rav Weinberger, "The s'forim hakedoshim tell us that every introduction to the sefer is the neshamah of the sefer; that's the place where the author, in a few words is giving himself over in such a way that we understand who he is...and what is he trying to convey to us."
For this very reason, the members of the Audio Division decided to transcribe the first few minutes, Rav Weinberger's introduction to the first shiur, in their entirety. Hebrew words are translated following their first appearance.
Note: Other than removing repeated words of phrases, no editing was done. Nonetheless, any inaccuracies or mistakes are solely the fault of the transcriber.
"Over the past year and a half or two we've been learning here in the Beis Medrash some of the basic yesodos (fundamentals) of the kochos hanefesh (powers of the soul); we're learning different pieces from Tzaddikim (righteous men), from different sforim (books); and before that I've been giving for almost two years shiurim (talks) on the inyan (topic) of menuchas hanefesh (inner peace). It has become very clear to us over time, how, in order to achieve menuchas ha'nefesh, we really have to understand what the nefesh (soul) is.
And it's hashgachah pratis (personal divine attention), something that is very clear to me that Hakadosh Baruch Hu has sent into my personal life and into our lives, a Jew who is able to write sforim that have the most incredible way of opening up the most difficult inyanim and laying them out before our eyes in a very beautiful and clear way. Therefore I was so grateful to Hakadosh Baruch Hu, that davka (especially), as we were coming to the crossroads of this entire sugiya (specific topic) which is the sugiya of our lives, of who we are, the entire sugiya of the nefesh (soul) and of kochos hanefesh, to be able to achieve menuchas hanefesh and to live our lives in the way that each and everyone of us is supposed to, each person in her way, in his way, that exactly at the time of the crossroads, Hakadosh Baruch Hu sent this particular sefer, "Da Es Atzmechah" (Know Yourself) written by the author of "Bilvavi Mishkan Evneh" which is very different from all his other s'forim.
[Note: During the introduction on Shabbos, Rebbi also said: "I believe that klal Yisrael (the Jewish nation) has been waiting for this sefer since Ma'amad Har Sina (receving the Torah at Mount Sinai)"] Those of you who are familiar with his s'forim - we've been learning them very carefully over these past few years - will notice immediately how different this sefer is. The mechaber (author) himself discusses this in the p'sichah, in the introduction to the sefer that we are going to be learning in a minute.
Even though the sefer actually consists of two parts, and, l'chatchilah (a priori) the mechaber wanted us to begin with cheilek (part) aleph, otherwise it would be cheilek beis; so it must be that he wanted us to learn cheilek aleph; for reaons that I'm not going to go into right now, and I don't believe it's necessary, we're going to begin with the second cheilek. I personally see that the second cheilek is what is nachutz (urgent) for us right now, it's what's urgently needed for us right now, and it's the hemshech (continuation) of what we've been working on these past few years.
You know that the s'forim hakedoshim (holy writings) tell us that every introduction to the sefer is the neshamah (deepest soul) of the sefer; that's the place where the mechaber, or the author, in a few words is giving himself over in such a way that we understand who he is, and what he wants from this sefer; what is he trying to convey to us. What does he want us to learn from this sefer and how does he want us to grow from this sefer. So the second cheilek begins on page 65; and he writes a p'sichah klallis (general introduction), he writes an introduction to the second cheilek which is really an independent sefer; it could have been printed separately. So he writes a p'sichah klallis to this.
Two technical things: a) I'm going to try as much as possible, and Hakadosh Baruch Hu should help me, as much as possible to explain the sefer and to learn the sefer. Whereas in the past and even in the present when I learn other sforim with the chevreh (group of friends), I'm adding a lot of things that come to my mind as we're learning, from the Parshah (weekly portion), from the Yom Tov (holiday), from that time, things that are olim al haperek (are connected to this matter), things that are noge'ah (of concern) to that particular time; and as a result of that things can take much longer and I understand that it can often disturb or disrupt the natural flow that was intended by the author of the sefer. In this particular case, because of the nature of the limud (study), I'm going to try especially hard not to introduce outside inyanim, as much as a temptation there is to do that, because the entire Torah, and everything in Torah is connected, one to the other and that's our whole simchah (joy) in learning Torah. But it would be very counterproductive to do this. In the earlier years all the years, I'd give shiurim on Shabbos, a separate shiur each shiur on something that was noge'ah to that particular Parshah, that particular time. And then it was sort of left up to each and everyone of us to weave these inyanim together.
The author here is basically introducing us to ourselves and who we are; and as we'll see in a few minutes in this hakdamah already, without having that information, that yecholes, that ability to enter into ourselves, da es atzmechah, our avodas Hashem (divine service) and the years that we spend in this world could chalilah, chalilah (heaven forbid) be l'vatalah (a waste).
Also, at this time of the year, meaning after Pessach until after the Yamim Nora'im (Days of Awe), the shiurim are given on Shabbos, and that's really when I feel they should be given, and it's very Shabbosdig; in order that we should be able to chazer, to review, I'm going to be giving, as now, a review, a chazarah (review) during the week. The original shiur is Shabbosdig, and of course, Shabbos itself infuses every single word with the or (light) of Shabbos. So Hashem Yisborach should help that on these chazarah shiurim , that at least the yesod of what the mechaber is conveying to us, Hashem Yisborach should help me to give that over."
We hope that you will be as inspired as we were.
The Aish Kodesh Audio Division.
(Picture courtesy of a Talmid of Rav Shwartz)
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