Friday, October 31, 2008

Pre-Conversion Soul Status - Continued -


Hashgacha Pratis is awesome. You may recall yesterday's discussion about the status of a Ger's soul before conversion. One comment in particular, made by Alexander, from the V = I·R blog, quoted an idea in Lessons in Tanya (Ch. 1), that “[i]t should be noted that among the nations of the world there are also to be found those whose souls are derived from kelipat nogah [just like Jewish nefesh ha’bahamis]. Called ‘the pious ones of the nations of the world’, these righteous individuals are benevolent not out of selfish motives but out of a genuine concern for their fellow.”

I found this particularly interesting because it seemed to contradict the teachings of the Gemara Bava Basra 10b on the pasuk in Mishlei 14:34 which says , "וחסד לאומים חטאת כל צדקה וחסד שאומות <עובדי כוכבים> {העולם} עושין חטא הוא להן שאינם עושין אלא להתגדל בו ." "[And the verse,] 'the kindness of the nations is a sin' means that all of the charity and kindness that the nations do is a sin because they only do it for the prestige."

The line in Lessons in Tanya, quoted above, was commenting on the first chapter of Tanya where the Alter Rebbe says the following in regard to this topic:

כי בישראל נפש זו דקליפה היא מקליפ' נוגה שיש בה ג"כ טוב ... משא"כ נפשות אומות עובדי גלולים הן משאר קליפות טמאות שאין בהן טוב כלל כמ"ש בע"ח שער מ"ט פ"ג וכל טיבו דעבדין האומות עובדי גלולים לגרמייהו עבדין וכדאיתא בגמרא ע"פ וחסד לאומים חטאת שכל צדקה וחסד שאומות עובדי גלולים עושין אינן אלא להתייהר

In the Jewish people, this soul [the animalistic soul] comes from Klipas Nogah, which also has some good... This is not the case with the souls of the nations, [whose animalistic souls] come from Sha'ar Klipos temeos, which have no good in them at all, as it says in Eitz Chaim, 49th Gate, 3rd chapter, 'and all good things that the nations do, they do for their own sake, as it says in the Gemara [referenced above] on the verse 'And the kindness of the nations is a sin,' that the nations act, but only to aggrandize themselves.

Amazingly, this morning, only the day after this whole discussion about this topic that we had yesterday, I went to a shiur by my rebbe on Mevo Hashe'arim (found at the end of Hachsharas Ha'avreichim, by Reb Klonymous Kalman Shapiro, the holy Aish Kodesh. On page 243 (I think), he was discussing this exact topic in a footnote! I used the opportunity to as my rebbe the question I had based on this seeming contradiction between what the Lessons in Tanya said (presumably in the name of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, zt"l) and what the Tanya its self brought down from the Gemara and sefer Eitz Chaim.

I asked him, "I heard in the name of the Lubavitcher Rebbe that there are exceptions to the general rule, and that there are some goyim whose nefesh habahamis comes from Klipas Nogah, and that they are able to do pure chesed for the sake of others. Did I misunderstand what I heard?"

He answered that no, I did not misunderstand. But that this was a major topic in Kabbalah and that he wasn't capable, nor were we, without that background, capable of understanding the inyan properly right now. But as a rosh perek, headline, he said that the Lubavitcher Rebbe was speaking with regard to something found in the Kisvei Ari z"l, who brought down that there are indeed individuals from certain nations, who have a certain kind of relationship with Klal Yisroel, and Goyim who will become Gerim, who are outside the regular category of a goy, and therefore have a nefesh habahamis rooted in Klipas Nogah, like a Yisroel. He said that lu yitzuyar, it is as if they are not totally goyim (though they aren't Jewish either, obviously).

I found it interesting that this came up right after our whole discussion yesterday. Thanks Yitz and Alexander especially for your comments, and I hope this post clarifies that one point at least from the discussion.

Gut Shabbos, and if you live within driving distance of the Young Israel of Lawrence-Cedarhurst, (corner of Broadway and Cedar Ave. in Cedarhurst), that you won't want to miss the Piaczena Hillulah with Rav Weinberger and Yosef Karduner at 8:30 this Motzoi Shabbos ($10 suggested donation & there is a women's section)!

-Dixie Yid

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23 comments:

Anonymous said...

DY:
Thank you for raising this subject and bringing this to us all. This hashgach pratit might be telling us that this subject begs further discussion.

Which nations? What is the source of their merit? The sod is one thing, but I have to wonder, as Shabbat Parshat Noach approaches, about the pshat of Noach's brachot.

I will watch this thread. Shabbat shalom and I will be thinking of you all as we listen to Yosef Karduner (our children expect it) on motzei shabbat.

HaSepharadi

DixieYid said...

As to which nations have these individuals with the Klipas-Nogah rooted Nefesh Habahamis, I do not know. And I'm not really able to learn Kisvei Arizal to find out!

What exactly is your question on the Brachos of Noach?

Ask some of the people at the Hillula to introduce you to Dixie Yid. :-) There might be a few there who know me. :-)

-Dixie Yid

Ben Avraham said...

;)

avakesh.com said...

Please note my comment on the previous post from R. Hillel miParitch. Another source that is relevant is from Likkutei Torah of the Ari, Ki Teitse, where he says that the Jewish soloider, a tsaddik, can encounter a spark of holiness in a foreign woman that he finds in war, and that the Torah permitted him to inject a spirit of kedusha into her in order to strengthen it and "perhaps it will overcome and psuh away the bad.. and the woman will... convert.

David said...

Good job summarizing Rebbe's remarks from this morning. One quick clarification- he did not say that each and every goy who is outside of the "regular category of [] goy[]" will become gerim. Rather, he said that SOME will become geirim. Presumably, some of the goyim are outside of that category for other reasons as well.

DixieYid said...

David, thanks, but see what I wrote again. I did clarify that point when I wrote that he said that some goyim in this category are from certain nations that have a certain type of relationship with Klal Yisroel and the other category being future Gerim. I don't believe he said that there were any goyim with that type of nefesh habahamis, but without being part of one of those two groups. Correct me if I misunderstood on that point. Shkoyach for reading and it was nice glancing over at you this morning! :-)

-Dixie Yid

Anonymous said...

DY:

This is a fascinating torah.

I also unable to learn this Ari. I will read the sources mentioned.

With respect to those nations that have a special relationship with klal and those zoche to provide gerim, what came to mind after studying medrash and Ramban...last night is the root characteristics and destinies of the nations and of course Noach's brachot upon Shem and Yefeth.

Alas, I will not be present at the Hillula as I do not live in the Northeast. I meant that we will thinking of you all as we listen to Yosef Karduner on motzei shabbat, which has become our custom, since our small children dance around to his music before bedtime.

HaSepharadi

Menashe said...

I don't have a comment on the subject at hand except to say that you chose an amazing video. Very very emotional. Highly urge everyone to watch it.

How is it possible 30 years later we are still in golus??!!

DixieYid said...

Hasephardi,
Hope you got to see those ma'areh mekomos over Shabbos. I got to see the Ohr Hachaim that someone pointeded out to me privately by e-mail. At the beginning of Parshas Ki Seitzeh, he has two very interesting mehalchim in where the sould of Gerim come from and how they join clal yisroel. Highly recommended!

Great custom with the kids. Sounds so beautiful. Kol hakavod and Shavuah tov!

-Dixie Yid

DixieYid said...

Menashe,

Thank you! I got it from VIR, Alexander's blog, who left some comments on the origional post and had a post of his own on this. Kol hakavod!

-Dixie Yid

yitz.. said...

I happened upon Rav Avraham Sutton at a wedding, and managed to ask him about our discussion.

He said that the very definitive clear-cut perspective of Jew and non-Jew [in a non-halachic context] can be misleading and that in the world of the Ariz"l there's a lot more subtlety involved in spiritual matters and a question such as ours is really too simple to apply to the reality of the situation.

Basically the difference, He explained -- to the best of my recollection -- is in how actualized one's connection to Godliness is, and there is nothing preventing anyone from approaching Godliness and Kedushah.

[any problems people may find here are probably due to my limited understanding or my poor recall of how the matter was explained, coupled with the strain of having a long and detailed conversation shouted over the enthusiastic wedding music. clearly this should not reflect in any way poorly on Rav Sutton]

I still hope to get a specific answer (according to the Arizal) about the differences between the reshimu of a Jew prior to bar-mitzwah and a Ger prior to conversion.

Alice said...

There's hope for me it seems! Thanks DY. : )

Anonymous said...

DY:

Got the Ohr HaHaim HaKadosh. Thank you. Still working on the rest.

Yes, jumping around to Hu Abba in pajamas is now minhag for our children...

HaSepharadi

Anonymous said...

Yitz:

This is understadible, please let us know about this Arizal, if you can.

Shauva tov,

HaSepharadi

DixieYid said...

Yitz,

That does make sense based on some of what we've been seeing and talking about here, given the Ohr Hachaim (Parshas Ki Seitze at the beginning), the Degel Machaneh Ephraim and what Rav Weinberger said in the name of the Arizal. When you get the chance to speak to Rav Sutton again, please let us know the details to this idea that he clarifies.

Also, I'm not familiar with RAv Sutton, unfortunately. Do you mind giving me some background on who he is, how you know him and what/where he's teaching/learning?

Alice,

You're already well on your way, it seems to me. It's righteous Bnei Noach like you that give hope to the world!

HaSephardi,

Beutiful minhag with the children. It was beautiful last night, as you might surmize from the pictures/short videos I posted this morning. The Ohr Hachaim was very cool. I was able to go through the Degel once but not to redigest it a second time though. IY"H, I'll try this week. Kol tuv!

Anonymous said...

DY:

Rav Sutton has a website called Geulah Shelemah which is accessible here: http://www.geulah.org/. Like some of our contemporary teachers, he draws from a various sources, not entirely Sepharadi or Ashkenazi-- Arizal, Baal Shem Tov HaKodesh, Ramchal, GRA, Rebbe Nachman, Ben Ish Chai, etc. He edited R’ Aryeh Kaplan’s, z’l Innerspace — Introduction to Kabbalah, Meditation and Prophecy.

HaSepharadi

yitz.. said...

Rav Sutton (http://www.geulah.org/asutton.htm) was a student of R' Aryeh Kaplan, I got to know him through a couple of connections here in Israel, he lives in telshe stone. He has a lot to do with meditation within Judaism.

I don't really know how to summarize him, I also don't really know him well enough to do him justice.

Anonymous said...

That's very kind. Thank you.


Alice

Anonymous said...

oyveyvey is a group of girls blog. it was posted as an inspiring video of the rebbe! thank you

DixieYid (جنوب يهودي) said...

anon,

Okay, thanks!

-Dixie YId

tea mad hatter said...

Hi, i think your translation of the gemora is not accurate, and may provide an insight if i am correct. the reference to "nations" you made is from "ovdei kochavim".a more accurate translation would have revealed a category of non-jew rather than a blanket "nations". there are 4 or 5 distinct categories of non-jews from the times of the gemora, some have a quasi-jewish status even (eved cananim, samaritans for a period). so what im try to say is that,1. there is no such thing as a general "goy" and secondly the reading of the gemora as 'the kindness of the ovdei kochavim is a sin' means that all of the charity and kindness that the nations do is a sin because they only do it for the prestige." yeilds a very different and narrower pshat.

DixieYid (جنوب يهودي) said...

Tea,

Thanks for the he'orah. But in this case, "ovdei kochavim" was only one of the two girsa'os in the Gemara. The other was "umos ha'olam," meaning "nations of the world," not merely idol worshipers. Furthermore, the Gemara is explaining the pasuk in Mishlei which uses the term "l'umim," also meaning "nations" in a more general sense. I would hear what you were saying otherwise though! Yasher koach & kol tuv!

-Dixie Yid

tea mad hatter said...

Hi Dixie Yid
thanks for the clarity(well i took a shot :)).
in my books a sincere ger is uber special, and regardless of the makor of the neshama, i recon gerim are gems in our midst.
p.s. in town we have a loooot of gerim, and some are the holiest yids i have known