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Tuesday, August 12, 2008
What are "Toros Nefulos" and How Does One Lift Them Up?
In the second piece in the Likutei Halachos Chumash in Parshas Maasei, Rebbe Noson writes that many of a Jews travels are for the purpose of being blown around through the winds of the world to be exposed to "Toros Nefulos," fallen Torahs. These fallen Torahs contain elements of truth, that must be grasped, while their chaff must be thrown away.
I was speaking about this Torah with a friend who learns a lot more Breslov chassidus than I do, and he suggested that Toros Nefulos are, for instance, Torahs taught by people who were learning shelo lishmoh, i.e. for ulterior motives. I also suggested that it might mean Torahs that were taught from an academic or historical perspective. There is much sheker, apikorsus and ga'ava in this type of perspective, but there may be true points that can be gleaned from these Torahs and thus lifted up. (See also, Rav Tzvi Leshem's answer to me on the topic of academic Torah study, which he wrote right after getting his doctorate.)
Can anyone out there give me any additional insight into what these "Toros Nefulos," fallen Torahs, are? Shkoyach!
(Picture courtesy of Me)
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I think what R' Nosson means here is not only interpretations of the Torah Hakdosha of the jewish people, but mainly things which are not coming from the side of kedusha at all, like for example folk tales and the like. Or even foreign philosophies, like those of the maskilim and the tziyoynim... All of those contain sparks of truth waiting to be extricated and uplifted.
It's davka these Torahs for which one has to go traveling, Torah lo lishma abounds in ones own neighborghood to be rectified.
There's a famous story with the Frierdiker Rebbe (of Lubavitch) which is brought in Hayom Yom I believe. He was one time traveling in Russia on a train and there was an avid discussion nearby about the advantages of various political and economic systems. At one point the group asked the Rebbe what system the Torah teaches is the true one. The Rebbe said something like "all and none of them." What he meant was the Torah is the essence of emes and perfection. The Torah includes within it all the good points of everything and none of the bad. When Moshiach will come, (bimheiro vyomeinu miyad mamosh), and ra will be removed from the earth, all the good in the world will be elevated to make a dira btachtonim for Hashem Yisboreich.
Also it's interesting you bring up shelo lishmo. You're familiar I'm sure with the chassidishe pshat of shelo lishmo. Really all learning is lishmo. Your nefesh Elokis wants to learn! That it has temporarily be garbed in shelo lishmo is a practical thing, but even this garb will be removed when you later do teshuva and all the learning you've ever done becomes lishmo mamosh.
Thank you for that insight. Certainly, it does seem more difficult to extract the truth from that kind of Torah nefulah.
Great story! I think all of those political movements and even many religious movements resonate with people because of those sparks of truth within them. Shkoyach!
You can call this one Crime does Not PAY!(its in this weeks Parsha Veschanan)
The famous story of Solomon's wisdom in threatening to split a child in half is known far and wide. There is another story of lesser, but similar wisdom that is told of the Mahral of Prague. There was a Pauper in Prague who because of lack of funds was forced to go to Hungary on buisness. On the journey home he was traveling home by foot and he happened upon a well to do citizen of Prague. The kindly man offered him a ride in his wagon. The pauper was only too happy to accept the offer. The wealthy citizen was transporting Barrels of wine back to Prague and the pauper hid his savings in one of the barrels for safe keeping for the duration of the trip. Upon arrival back to Prague the pauper went to retrieve his earnings and saw it was missing. Sensing foul play he called "The Kind Sir" to the Mahral of Prague for a Din Torah. The Mahral understood the situation and right away came to his decision. He said since the man who owns the barrels says he did not take the money I can only draw one conclusion on the trip one of the Gentile workers opened the Barrel looking for money. Then it would seem that I must rule all the Barrels to be Yayin Nesach, as he most probably went through all the barrels looking for money. Now our "Kind Sir" broke into a sweat, as the mere penance he had stolen from the pauper was hardly worth the thousands of rubles the wine was worth. The Mahral's decisions meant his shipment would be almost worthless. It was at this point the Sir made a wise decision and asked to see the Rabbi in his private study and the kind Rabbi was only to happy to oblige his request. There he admitted to the indiscrepency, but the Mahral told him that all is good and fine but I can not believe you to change my judgment because of the Talmudic law that a person can not incriminate himself.The only way he would accept his repentance and reverse his decision was if he got up publicly in the Shul and admitted in front of all to his heinous crime.
see likutei moharan tinyana 8
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