Rav Shelomo Wolbe, Olam haYedidus (parts 2 & 3) – Relationship ep. 15, 16
The Beyond Meaningful Relationships – Relationshipful Meaning series at the kloiz meets on Wednesday nights at 8pm EDT.
On Wednesday nights July 6th and 13th, 2021 we continued Rab Wolbe’s Olam haYedidus. Since a version published in Laniado Hospital’s Torah journal roughly 20 years later lays the foundations at greater length, we started there.
This week (July 27th) we should be completing the journal’s more detailed presentation of the opening thoughts of Olam haYedidus, and begin Rav Wolbe’s exploration of how it relates to actual Torah study and mitzvah observance.
The resource sheet with both versions of Rav Shlomo Wolbe’s essay “Olam haYedidus” is on Sefaria at https://www.sefaria.org/sheets/405067
My translation of the magazine version is available at https://aspaqlaria.aishdas.org/media/RWolbesWorld.pdf
In the beginning of the essay, Rav Shlomo Wolbe established the idea that the goal of the Torah is to build an Olam haYedidus, a World of Affection. We continue from that basis.
A few highlights from these two shiurim:
Rabbi Wolbe continues by noting that the opposite of yedidus is cruelty — akhzariyus. A word that he notes can be read “akh-zariyus — only alienation”. Cruelty comes from disconnection.
He also rounds out his model of the soul: The job of the seikhel (intellect) is to coordinate the middos, so that they are invoked in ways that build the olam hayedidus rather than hinder it. The role of the Torah is to direct the intellect how.
Rav Wolbe says that the Torah, while not describing the subconscious, presumes its existence. (And notes that Rav Yisrael Salanter was the first to address self-change in terms of the need to work on the unconscious, writing well before Freud.) But the Torah describes two sets of unconscious drives — the subconscious with its physical desires, and the “superconscious” and its drives for spirituality and meaningfulness.
Rav Wolbe doesn’t just say there are two kinds of drives. He assigns them to different aspects of the soul. These ideas of an intellect ideally being in control of sub- and superconscious desires is identified with those of ruach, nefesh and neshamah, which we have seen when studying the Maharal and the Vilna Gaon.