Gra, Peirush al Kamah Agados #14 (part 3) – Relationship ep. 8

IMPORTANT ADMINISTRIVIA: Starting this week, May 4th 2022, we are learning on Wednesday nights at 8pm EDT.

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

Wednesday night (May 4th, 2022) 7pm EDT we continued our study of the Vilna Gaon’s Peirush al Kama Agados, agadah #14. In it, the Vilna Gaon unpacks the metaphor of an aggadita on Bekhoros 8b, where the Elders of Athens challenge Rabbi Yehoshua ben Channania to build them a “house in the air of the world”.

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 Vilna Gaon is on Sefaria at

Our first weeks at Zelmele’s Kloiz had lots of wonderful give and take, and many of us stayed on afterward for exciting discussions. (Which personally, I found quite informative.)

In this meeting we detoured to look at one chapter of Rav Dessler’s Qunterus haBechirah, as it relates to how ego and thought (such as Torah study) are associated with conflict, the dialectic in the middle of Heaven and Earth. And then returned to the Gra’s Peirush al Kamah Agaddos, aggadita #14.

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 Torah Kehunah Kingship
Crowned Kelim
(see the Maharal)
Aron Mizbeiach haZahav Shulchan
Uncrowned Keilim
(see the Gra)
Menorah Mizbeiach Nekhoshes Kiyor
  • We detoured into Rav Dessler’s Qunterus haBechira ch. 2 to show that free will and consciousness are born of conflict — it exists in “the Middle”. Notice the middle world is where we learn Torah, paralleling the Maharal’s take on the Shimon haTzaddiq’s first pillar.

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