Friday, September 18, 2009

Cutting One's Self Off From Physicality - Wow

As I was picking up Rav Itamar Shwartz, the author of the Bilvavi seforim, from his host in Woodmere on Thursday night for a full night of shiurim, the lady of the house was urging him to have some dinner before he left. The Rav eats almost nothing during the week, as I have observed myself. I also tried to convince him to eat, pointing out that we had a long night ahead of us, and that his guf needed koach for that. He had a look on his face that showed me that he very much wanted to accept her offer to eat something, but that he just couldn't get himself to eat. Although he seemed to want to acquiesse to please his host and myself, he just said "Ein li koach," "I don't have the strength [to force myself to eat something.]"

This just brought home to me that it is possible to be menateik, to cut one's self off from physicality to the extent that it takes an effort to get one's self to partake of physicality. (Cf. Tanya, first perek regarding "וְלִבִּי, חָלַל בְּקִרְבִּי") For me, it's just the opposite. My natural tendency is to eat and partake of the physical world, and it takes more "koach" just to separate myself from that a bit. (Sigh) I'll get there (or somewhere close) one day!

Video of Rav Shwartz speaking in Williamsburg, Brooklyn courtesy of me. Click here to get Dixie Yid in your e-mail Inbox or here to subscribe in Google Reader.

1 comment:

Neil Harris said...

Wow is right.
Of course eating the simanim for the next two nights bridges both the phsyical and spiritual.