Maharal, Derekh Chaim 4:13 (part 3) – Relationship ep. 11

The Beyond Meaningful Relationships – Relationshipful Meaning series at the kloiz meets on Wednesday nights at 8pm EDT.

(If you missed our discussion so far, there is always the posts in The Kloiz Aspaqlaria category.)

Last Wednesday night (May 31st, 2022) we completed our study of the Maharal’s Derekh Chaim on Avos 4:13. The Maharal closes by discussing the three crowns as perfections of parts of a person — body, mind and soul, or the aspects of the soul that addresses each — nefesh, ruach and neshamah. Which the Maharal likens to the roots, branches and leaves of a tree. Parts.

Whereas the keser sheim tov is more like the essence of the tree itself. And yet also, how a person’s relationship to others is reflected back in their perceptions of that person. (Or maybe it is how they ought to be reflected back, such that the Maharal is not praising someone who hoodwinks the masses into thinking they are great, nor denigrating the person who is unfairly overlooked.)

What this identification of the essence of personhood and how others relate to them says about what it means to be a person is left as an exercise to the reader.

Next week we look at the Maharal on 4:21. That and a piece from Rav Samson Raphael Hirsch’s discussion of symbolism in mitzvos will close our discussion of threes.

Go to for links to the Zoom room, a link to join the WhatsApp group, to recordings of past shiurim, and the other posts like this one.

The resource sheet for the Maharal on Avos 4:13 is on Sefaria at

The story so far:

Pillars Torah Avodah Gemilus Chasadim
Tov Inherent /
Relationship to Soul
Relationship to Hashem Relationship to Others
Uprooting Sin Gilui Arayos Avodah Zara Shefichas Damim
Sustains the world … gives the world value. … for it was created liKhvodi … causes Hashem’s Chessed to the world
Avos Yaaqov Yitzchaq Avraham
Yaaqov/Yisrael as Synthesis Yaaqov
Rivqa’s two bracelets of 5 gold each
Rivqa’s nose-ring
Sefer haYetzirah “Mother Letters” א ש מ
Non-Intert Elements Air/Wind (אוויר) Fire (אש) Water (מים)
Element as Middah Thought
in Torah
Passion / “Hislahavus
in Avodah
Calm / Unity
in relating to other people
Protecting Torah / Anshei Keneses haGdolah Establishing many students Diligence in Law Making a siyag laTorah
(i.e. morality rather than precise Law)
Dynamic Middle
(Synthesis or Dialectic)
Truth / Law Peace / Lovingkindness
Aspect of Soul Ruach Neshamah Nefesh
Desires Ego Spiritual Physical
Time of Life (paired with desires) Adulthood Old Age Youth
Time of Night Middle – the dog barks (demanding “hav hav!”) Near Dawn –
The baby nurses, the wife talks with her husband
Near Sunset –
The Donkey Brays
Children of Adam & Chavah Hevel Qayin Sheis (bidmuso betzalmo)
World “In the Air” /
the world between our ears
Shamayim Aretz
Organ Heart Head Liver / Groin
Micha’s Miqdash Speculation
Crowns (simple take) Torah Kehunah Kingship
Crowns (according to Maharal 4:13) Torah Kingship – in the soul’s ability to rule mind and body Kehunah as the sanctification of the physical
Crowned Kelim
(see the Maharal, Avos 1:2)
Aron Mizbeiach haZahav Shulchan
Uncrowned Keilim
(deducing from the Gra)
Menorah Mizbeiach Nekhoshes Kiyor

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