Thursday, September 20, 2007

The Biggest Chiddush - Clarification

I wanted to share a very thoughtful e-mail that I received from a very thoughtful reader. He wanted to remain anonymous so I'm not sharing his name. But I think that the different and perhaps more accurate way that he explains "The biggest chiddush" in the Bilvavi Mishkan Evneh seforim on a certain nekuda, relative to the way I explained it in this post, is a must-read:

Kirvas Elokim Le Tov.

I took yet another look back at the language, and my understanding of perakim 39 and 53 is different- it's not so much the "ta'anug" element at all, but rather more the "devaykus" component, i.e. the consciousness of Hashem with the framework of Torah, mitzvos and every element of our lives (even the "mundane"). Thus for example, in your 2nd paragraph, I would have thought it should instead read:

In volume 1, in the 39th and 53rd Perakim, the author points out that most people think that even if they do not have very much Deveikus with Hashem that comes from learning Torah and doing mitzvos, we will get the reward of Deveikus in the higher levels of the world to come. This is exactly what I thought before learning Bilvavi.

Similarly, in the 4th paragraph: He taught that the ta’anug from Kirvas Hashem that results from Torah and mitzvos that we have learned about is meant to exist DURING OUR LIFETIMES! And that if you’re neshama is so desensitized that it cannot feel the ta’anug of Kirvas Hashem in this life, you will not attain the Kirvas Hashem and hano'oh meziv Hashechina in the higher levels of Gan Eiden either.

I didn't want to contradict the host. However, I hope you might take another look at those perakim and you might agree that the emphasis is not "ta'anug" but rather devaykus. It seems that those who have responded to your post are honing in the "ta'anug" component which I don't believe is the emphasis there. Plus, "ta'anug" can mean, and manifest itself, in a lot of different ways. Sure, devaykus is a form of ta'anug and ta'anug can be a form of devaykus, but I understood the 39/53 chiddush stresses closeness to Hashem in this world and how that closeness to Hashem correlates and carries over, be'ezras Hashem, to the next world.

I'll certainly understand if you disagree and apologize if I am mistaken, but I think the true chiddush is: Elevated heights in olam habah, i.e. devaykus in olam habah, is rewarded in accordance with one's devaykus to Hashem Yisbarach in olam hazeh (as opposed to just fulfillment of mitzvos and how many mitzvos one can amass over and above aveiros per Hashem's hidden cheshbin, as most of us grew up understanding it).

(Picture is from the cover of Zev Reichman's book, collecting teachings of Rav Moshe Wolfson, Shlita, Flames of Faith)

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