Tuesday, September 9, 2008
Sanctifying the Heart - Having Breakfast With the Bilvavi
I was just speaking to a heiligeh Chassidisher Yid from Boro Park yesterday and he shared the following vort with me, as an explanation as to what he felt the gadlus (greatness) of the Bilvavi Mishkan Evneh seforim in our generation is:
He asked a question in the name of the Bais Yisroel of Ger. Why does the pasuk say "וְלֹא-תָתוּרוּ אַחֲרֵי לְבַבְכֶם, וְאַחֲרֵי עֵינֵיכֶם," "You shall not stray after your heart and after your eyes" (Bamidbar 15:39) in that particular order? Doesn't one usually first see something that then stirs his heart to desire it? Shouldn't the verse place straying after one's eyes before the idea of not straying after his heart?
The Bais Yisroel explains that when one is working on guarding his heart, thoughts and eyes from focusing on the wrong things, it is best to first start by being mekadesh (sanctifying) his heart, his inner-most mindset, thoughts and feelings. Once his heart is purified, then that which he may see (by accident of course) will not draw him. It will not register, just as if he would be looking at a door or a mouse. (DY: This would be the pshat in the Gemara's statement that women seemed like white Geese ("קאקי חיורי") to Rav Gidel. [Brachos 20a])
My Chassidisher friend said that to him, when he learns the seforim of the Bilvavi Mishkan Evneh, they are so clear and so illuminating, that they have the effect of being mekadesh his heart, sanctifying his heart. He said that now, he feels that shmiras ha'einayim, guarding his eyes, is 60-70% easier than it was 6 months ago because when one's heart is with Hashem consciously, there's just no attraction to retzonios kozvios, false desires.
Along these lines as well, I was zocheh to have breakfast with Rav Shwartz Sunday morning, after he arrived in New York. In response to a question, the Rav's host told him that that he felt that in the past year, he had improved in the area of shmiras ha'einayim, guarding his eyes. Rav Shwartz asked him if this was because he was fighting harder, or because he didn't have to fight as hard? He explained that although it's a madreiga, a level, to fight harder against the yetzer hara (evil inclination) and succeed more, the best thing is to bring Hashem into the consciousness to the extent that one doesn't need to fight harder to win against the Yetzer Hara.
Whether it be through the Bilvavi Seforim, or whatever other method, may we all bring Hashem into our thoughts and consciousness so that our hearts will be sanctified and we will no longer desire any of the false temptations of this world!
Rav Shwartz's schedule for the rest of the week in Baltimore, Monsey, Woodmere, Far Rockaway/Five Towns, Englewood & Boro Park is available HERE.
P.S. After Rav Shwartz returns to Eretz Yisroel, I hope to post all of his shiurim online. Also, I may be able to post a couple of video recordings of some of the shiurim in the next few weeks.
(Picture courtesy of inner.org)
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