Widen Your Tent, ep. 4-6 / Relationship ep. 30-32 (end)

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

On Wednesday November 9th, 16th and 23rd at 8pm, we concluded our discussion of the introduction to Shaarei Yosher, by Rav Shimon Shkop, starting from the tail of the second paragraph in the original edition (section 1.2 in Widen Your Tent) through the end of paragraph 4 (section 1.4). The remainder of the introduction is more related to Shaarei Yosher itself, and wasn’t in scope or the chaburah.

These were the last meetings of the Beyond Meaningful Relationship – Relationshipful Meaning chaburah. Next: in January we start Derashos haRan!

The source sheets are available on Sefaria at:


Recap of the Behond Meaningful Relationships – Relationshipful Meaning chaburos:

  1. The threes: Torah, Avodah, Gemillus Chassadim — through the eyes of the Maharal and the Gra
    1. Three worlds — this one, shamayim, the world we build in our minds
    2. Three aspects of the soul — nefesh, neshamah, ruach
    3. Three categories of relationship: with others (in this world), with Hashem, with my own soul and personal development
    4. Three crowns: Malkhus, Kehunah, Torah paralleling….
    5. Three crowned keilim: shulchan, mizbeiach haqetoresaron
    6. The fourth crown — Keser Sheim Tov and the non-crown of the rising flames of the Menorah. Our relationship to ourselves as an area of work (aron) and as the means to getting any work done (menorah).
    7. What is the parallel — is Malkhus perfection in this world (Gra), or the means to bringing Shamayim down (Maharal)? Is Kehunah perfecting our relationship with Hashem (Gra) or the raising up this world (Maharal)?
    8. Consequent debate on where kin’ah, ta’avah and the pursuit of kavod come from.
    9. Is “the middle” about synthesis or dialectic? R Dessler’s “battlefront” of free will.
    10. Three uncrowned keilim – not discussed by Chazal, but do they parallel the three worlds?
  1. Olam haYedidus: Rav Wolbe (two versions)
    1. The world of Torah is a world of Yedidus – as Hillel tells the prospective geir
      1. Yedidus comes from knowing that Hashem created everything, and therefore everything has a role and a value.
      2. So our yedidus with Hashem is first, then areivus with Jews as fellow ovdei hashem, then our shalom with other people, followed by our responsibility or everything else.
      3. The focus on Yedidus stands in contrast to the role fear plays in psychological theories.
    2. The Torah is practical about it, thus the focus on halakhah.
      1. But Chassidus and Mussar emerged to remind people what the practice is for.
    3. Evil is rooted in cruelty – akhzariyus = akh + zariyus – literally: pure alienation.
      1. Personal alienation from eachother
      2. Wars: nation alienated from nation
      3. Alienation from G-d
      4. Alienation from self – which is why anger is like avodah zarah
    4. We do not uproot bad middos, we channel them constructively. (R Wolbe modernizes “Someone born under the sign of Mars” should become a shocheit or mohel.)
    5. The soul has a conscious, a subconscious, and a superconscious
      1. Note the same three aspects of the soul – deciding self / ego, a higher calling connected to shamayim and a lower calling to make sure physical needs are met for survival.
    6. Mitzvos relate directly to building yedidus: Milah – Yedid mibeten; Shabbos “mah yedidus menuchaseikh”, tefillin as an os, etc…
  2. Qunterus haChessed: Rav Dessler
    1. The Will to Give vs the Will to Take
    2. Business should be about providing value to the other
      1. “Greater is the one who enjoys the product of his own labor mmore than a yarei Shamayim. (Berakhos 8a)
    3. Receiving with hakaras hatov isn’t taking…
    4. Because the Will to Take is self-oriented, a drawing inward motion
      1. This is also why one is never satisfied: as soon as we have it, it’s not an external thing to draw in to me
    5. Giving is the source of love, not the other way around
      1. When we invest in others, our self-love gets extended to them
      2. This is also the difference between love and lust
    6. Aspiration is a focus on what I don’t have – so it is more a death than a life
      1. The only thing you can really fully possess anyway is intellectual
    7. Two tools to build the Will to Give: imagination, and habituation in giving
    8. One to reduce the Will to Take: stop the downward spiral yourself rather than pursue every desire.
    9. Hakaras haTov and Giving is the whole reason why people share a world
    10. The Will to Take is our biggest obstacle in perceiving Truth
      1. … and therefore to Avodas Hashem
  3. Introduction to Shaarei Yosher…

Introduction to Shaarei Yosher – an outline

  1. Thesis: The purpose of creation and of giving us the Torah was
    1. So that we of benefit to others
    2. and our greatest desire is to benefit others
    3. in imitation of the Creator
  2. This is the mitzvah of “qedoshim tihyu ki Qadosh Ani
    1. qedushah” means consecration to a higher calling, which to R Shimon means being of benefit to others
    2. 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.
    3. Rather, the mitzvah of becoming holy involved separation from other causes and goals
    4. But people need self-care, rest and relaxation. We aren’t Him. As the Sifra concludes “Qedushasi lemaalah miqedushaskhem”.
      1. 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…
      2. … or spiritual needs.
  3. Antithesis: Hashem doesn’t want deprivation, self-love is built too deeply into the human
    1. As Rabbi Aqiva says in the case of one canteen in the desert “chayekha qodmin
    2. It avoids the boshes lemeqablin (as the Ramchal and the Qabbalists say)
    3. We wouldn’t have a preference for what we ourselves make. And we would create less.
    4. Even though self-love grows into selfishness, the source of so many evils
    5. And even though the preference for what we made ourselves pushes us to grab credit, and therefore is a drive against gratitude.
      1. And a lack of gratitude for what Hashem provides can lead to apostacy.
      2. Yismach Moshe bematenas chelqo, ki eved ne’eman qarasa lo
      3. Taking credit for what we learn in secular studies must be offset with the awareness of Divine Wisdom it brings
      4. Credit for what Torah we learn should be mitigated by the Torah honing our middos away from taking credit.
  4. Synthesis: expanding the self
    1. From body to body-and-soul to including spouse, family, friends, community, Jewish People, humanity, and the complete soul – all of creation.
    2. Hillel: “Im ein ani li, mi li? Ukeshe’ani le’atzmi ma ani?” Narrow self vs. broader me-and-mine.
    3. The measure of a soul is the scope of one’s “ani”.
    4. Not getting one’s self-worth through the limelight (tzeni’us) but through being a critical part of a larger body or engine.
  5. Sharing: “Not or oneself, but for one’s own”
    1. Nachum ish Gamzu failed a poor person, and therefore didn’t see value in having limbs. How do we relate to that?
    2. What we own was given to us for the greater ani.
    3. Aseir te’aseir: A caretaker appointed for a small amount who does a good job is more likely to be charged with caring or more in the future.
  6. A Life of Growth
    1. Moshe broke the first luchos because a generation capable of the eigel shouldn’t have access to an unforgettable Torah
    2. Moshe turned Torah into a process. The second Luchos were carved by a person holding a Torah that can only be absorbed by someone who “carved” themselves with yir’as Hashem (as in reishis chokhmah…) and Middos.
    3. Moshe became wealthy by selling the bits carved of the luchos. And we become rich as a side-effect of working on ourselves.

Go to http://thekloiz.aishdas.org 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.

If you missed anything or just want to join mid-stream, there are always the posts in The Kloiz Aspaqlaria category, which has recordings of any chaburos you may have missed from earlier meetings!

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