Maharal, Derekh Chaim 4:21 – Relationship ep. 12

The Beyond Meaningful Relationships – Relationshipful Meaning series at the kloiz meets 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 (June 8th, 2022) we continued our discussion of the parts of a person — body, mind and soul, and the aspects of the soul that addresses each — nefesh, ruach and neshamah, by discussing the Maharal’s take on the flaws caused by the excesses of each.

In his commentary on Avos 4:21, the Maharal discusses the mishnah‘s list of three vices that “take one from the world” — qin’ah, ta’avah, and kavod (jealousy, [physical] desire and [one’s own] honor, as the Maharal defines them). Each of them

We concluded by starting a piece from Rav Samson Raphael Hirsch’s discussion of symbolism in tzitzis will close our discussion of threes. His discussion of the meaning of 6, 7, and 8 and of red, green and blue, will be closing our discussion of threes.

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 Maharal on Avos 4:21 and Rav Hirsch’s essay on the symbolism of tzitzis is on Sefaria at

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 (simple take) Torah Kehunah Kingship
Crowns (according to Maharal 4:13) Torah Kingship – in the soul’s ability to rule mind and body Kehunah as the sanctification of the physical
Crowned Kelim
(see the Maharal, Avos 1:2)
Aron Mizbeiach haZahav Shulchan
Uncrowned Keilim
(deducing from the Gra)
Menorah Mizbeiach Nekhoshes Kiyor

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