Temimus and Deveiqus

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  1. Shmuel says:

    A couple of points.

    1) Both viz the Mussar approach as well as the Chassidus approach – each has its own subsets within their overall system that emphasize different approaches toward the end goal, which lends very different meanings to the very words you used to describe the “root” of their hashkafah. And, there is a lot of cross terminology as well between these two systems, as you’ve pointed out elsewhere when Rav Dessler has tried to synthesize the two; Chabad uses hispailus as much as deveykus, toward an ultimate goal of Bitul, for example. (This was even seen as a cause for the first Chabad split between the Mittler Rebbe and the Alter Rebbes’ disciple Reb Aharon Halevi)

    2) This essay focused on an egocentric perspective regarding man’s meaning and role in life and how he reaches certain pinnacles of greatness in the context of his relationship to God, but the other perspective that can be used to answer this question comes from His “view” so to speak. If we assume that the ultimate goal here in this plane of existence is to continuously and progressively glorify the name of God in the world, then how does this question and its answers shift?

    • micha says:

      Chabad preaches an intellectual (thus the acronym that is their name) deveiqus. So, despite their use of hispa’alus, the measure of man is still closeness to the Borei; they “just” believe that the biggest obstacle could be ego — thus the need for Bitul. And Novhardok’s sheleimus revolves around realizing dependence and partnership with the Borei. But that’s not Bitul in order to connect to the Borei, but to be like Him in doing His Work in the world. And yes, there are G-d- and world-centric hashkafos.

      Yes, the deveiqus vs temimus dichotomy is an oversimplification. But it’s true as far as any thumbnail sketch goes.

      • micha says:

        Thinking about it more… I can see a world-centric hashkafah or a Jewish People centered one. But I’m backing away from the idea of a G-d-centric hashkafah. After all, He doesn’t need anything from us. And as Rav put it (Bereishis Rabbah 44:1), “וכי מה איכפת ליה להקב”×” למי ששוחט מן הצואר או מי ששוחט מן העורף הוי לא נתנו המצות אלא לצרף בהם את הבריות — and does it matter to HQBH whether someone slaughters from the throat [as in shechitah] or from the back of the neck [as in meliqah]? The mitzvos were only given for the created [people] to connect with them.” And again, we can discuss “connect to what”, or maybe we can read it as man using mitzvos to connect other things. But mitzvos can’t be read as being about or for G-d.

  2. Neil Harris says:

    I think, based on your comment above, the real question is, how does man use mitzvos?

    This is a very over simplification, but Chassidus sees mitzvos as a vehicle to unveil the light of the neshama. While Mussar follows the Gra who saw mitzvos as a means of perfecting ourselves.

    The difference between the two is how the goal is manifested.


    • micha says:

      In my Aseres Yemei Teshuvah Reader, pp 42-44, I suggest a similar idea, but with a different read for Chassidus.

      If one puts a cup in the sink, and the cup doesn’t fill as it ought, it could be for one of at least two basic reasons.

      The first is that the cup’s mouth isn’t properly in the stream; this is the assumption that the utensil is fine, but not properly connected to the Source. Taking this approach to the human condition is suggested by the notion of the Ran … and … R’ Yosef Albo (Seifer haIkarim 4:13), who hold that the effects of sin are to dirty the soul and that the punishment of sin is that barrier blocking the soul’s access to Divine Good.

      The other approach would be to assume the cup is flawed, perhaps its mouth could be widened, or there is a hole to repair. In this opinion, the purpose of life is to give us opportunities to perfect the self. Apparently this is the position of Rabbeinu Yona…

      My focus there was that either way, the connection between sin and punishment is causal in a way that one can avoid punishment by doing teshuvah is logical.

      But when I later connect these approached to Chassidus vs Litvish, it makes Chassidus about the soul being able to receive Hashem’s “Light”, rather than the soul being able to shine outward.

      (Yes, R’ Shmuel, we’re still oversimplifying. I’m therefore adding this reminder of that fact.)

  1. March 3, 2010 – י״ז באדר תש״ע

    […] Lekh-Lekha 5757: Temimus and Deveiqus […]

  2. August 31, 2011 – א׳ באלול תשע״א

    […] Chassidus, for example, which focuses on cleaving to G-d.  For an introduction to this topic, see Aspaqlaria for Lekh Lekha 5757), and for a more complete set of meanderings, see the Forks in the Hashkafic Road category of this […]

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