Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Silencing the Philosopher Within - By Rabbi Micha Golshevsky
The halacha is that if something treif (or milk in meat etc.) falls into a pot of kosher food, it is permitted if there are 60 times the amount of kosher food relative to whatever treif food fell into the pot. If 1 oz fell into the pot and there are 60 oz in the pot, it's kosher. If a second oz. of the same material fell in, we do not say that if there are 60 oz. relative to the new trief oz. alone, that both are nullified. Rather, there needs to be at least 120 oz of kosher in the pot since "matzah min es mino." The 2nd treif element combines with the earlier oz and exudes taste in the food unless there is enough in the pot to nullify the taste of 2oz of treif.
The same holds true for engaging in sophistry, philosophy or other spiritually negative endeavors. We all have some of these attributes in us already, however. According to Rav Avraham ben Rebbe Nachman, we have a built in philosopher who feels that we need not do anything except what our baser elements dictate.
If we study heretical writings or talk to people who are ruled by their inner philosopher, (each person in his own way) we need to be very vigilant that this not effect us negatively.
Rebbe Nachman says gives an antidote for such negativity (negative fire) in Likutei Moharan. He wries that through the fire of judging oneself in hisbodedus, one burns off the negativity that inevitably rubs off on him when trying to draw people who are distant to Torah closer to Hashem.
We negate the bad influences which pull us down spiritually through fiery prayer and distilling out the proper way to act in each element of our lives and asking for assistance to act the way we should. (For example: Since Hashem, our loving Father, is right there with us always, is it proper to act in such and such a way? Please help me change this etc.)
Hashem should help us truly do hisbodedus to remove the "philosopher within!"
(Picture courtesy of Wikipedia)
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