Widen Your Tent, ep. 2-3 / Relationship ep. 28-29
The Beyond Meaningful Relationships – Relationshipful Meaning series at the kloiz meets on Wednesday nights at 8pm EDT.
On Wednesday October 26th and Nobember 2nd at 8pm, we continued our discussion of the introduction to Shaarei Yosher, by Rav Shimon Shkop. This meetings covered the majority of the second paragraph in the original edition (section 1.2 in Widen Your Tent).
This is the last text in the Beyond Meaningful Relationship – Relationshipful Meaning chaburah.
The source sheets are available on Sefaria at:
Introduction to Shaarei Yosher – an outline
- Thesis: The purpose of creation and of giving us the Torah was
- So that we of benefit to others
- and our greatest desire is to benefit others
- in imitation of the Creator
- This is the mitzvah of “qedoshim tihyu ki Qadosh Ani”
- “qedushah” means consecration to a higher calling, which to R Shimon means being of benefit to others
- When the Sifra and the Ramban say the mitzvah is “perushim tihyu” they cannot be defining qedushah as perishus, since “ki Qadosh Ani” can’t be referring to Hashem separating Himself from something.
- Rather, the mitzvah of becoming holy involved separation from other causes and goals
- But people need self-care, rest and relaxation. We aren’t Him. As the Sifra concludes “Qedushasi lemaalah miqedushaskhem”.
- As long as we do this in the context of being more able to fulfil that higher calling, addressing personal needs can be holy. Whether physical needs, the need to have enjoyment…
- … or spiritual needs.
- Antithesis: Hashem doesn’t want deprivation, self-love is built too deeply into the human
- As Rabbi Aqiva says in the case of one canteen in the desert “chayekha qodmin”
- It avoids the boshes lemeqablin (as the Ramchal and the Qabbalists say)
- We wouldn’t have a preference for what we ourselves make. And we would create less.
- Even though self-love grows into selfishness, the source of so many evils
- And even though the preference for what we made ourselves pushes us to grab credit, and therefore is a drive against gratitude.
- And a lack of gratitude for what Hashem provides can lead to apostacy.
- “Yismach Moshe bematenas chelqo, ki eved ne’eman qarasa lo”
- Taking credit for what we learn in secular studies must be offset with the awareness of Divine Wisdom it brings
- Credit for what Torah we learn should be mitigated by the Torah honing our middos away from taking credit.
- Synthesis: How do we merge “so that our greatest desire should be to be of benefit to others” with our self-love?