A big problem, and perhaps The Big Problem, of the Orthodox community as it revived post-Shoah has been “Frumkeit”, as Rabbi Wolbe defines the term. Doing mitzvos out of an instinct that I need to be holier, rather than out of a desire that Hashem’s Will be done. It is a self-centered and self-serving orientation, as are all instincts. Rav Dessler would say it is coming from one’s Will to Take rather than one’s Will to Give. … Neo-Chassidus, with its focus on my relationship with G-d, doesn’t have many tools to fix that. Going to a kumzitz or a singing minyan to have an inspirational moment certainly don’t. All it offers is a hope that one internalizes one’s studies.
So, Adam saw the return of darkness, the same darkness the opening medrash identified with the spiritual decimation attempted by the Hellenists in the years before Chanukah. He mourned and fasted for 8 days. We have 8 days, but with an opposite theme — mourning and fasting are prohibited, and praise and gratitude dominate. And in both cases, the message was only seen in retrospect, the next year.
There is one major difference: Adam concluded that the darkness and the return of light was just “the natural cycle”. In Chanukah, we initiated the light manually, and Hashem responded with a miracle. Where Adam saw Hashem’s Light in nature, we see Him bestowing it in a covenantal union with us.
Adam was the start of this world. The Jewish People were given the Torah, handed a burning torch, to bring light to the world that follows.
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!
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).