Rav Shelomo Wolbe, Olam haYedidus (part 5) – Relationship ep. 18
The Beyond Meaningful Relationships – Relationshipful Meaning series at the kloiz meets on Wednesday nights at 8pm EDT.
Wednesday night (August 3rd, 2022) we learned Rabbi Shlomo Wolbe’s essay Olam haYedidus. In it Rav Wolbe recorded a shiur he gave to a non-observant audience who were interested in Judaism about its fundamentals. To Rav Wolbe, the fundamental idea of Judaism is to build an Olam haYadidus, a World of Affection. Starting with the relationship a Jew has with Hashem, then how that creates a community of caring among Jews, one of peace and unity between Jews and other peoples, and our responsibilities to the world as a whole.
After looking at mitzvos that embody our relationship with Hashem last week, this chaburah looked at Rav Wolbe’s discussion of how halakhah reflects our yedidus with the rest of humanity and creation as a whole.
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
Rav Wolbe opens with a quote from the gemara (Menachos 35a):
יבא ידיד בן ידיד ויבנה ידיד לידיד בחלקו של ידיד ויתכפרו בו ידידים
Let the beloved, son of the beloved, come and build the beloved for the Beloved in the beloved’s portion, and let beloved ones achieve atonement through it.
With all that mention of yedidus, clearly the concept is central to this picture of Judaism. It’s enough for you to get lost in all the repetition! Don’t worry, Rav Wolbe explains how the gemara unpacks this sentence! This is actually a description of the Beis haMiqdash and Hashem’s relationship to the Jewish People. With all that mention of yedidus, clearly the concept is central to this picture of Judaism.
Rav Wolbe makes the point that everything that exists is there because Hashem thought it was worth existing. Everything is precious. And the world of Torah is building up the bitachon and yir’as Shamayim to feel that yedidus to the world around you.
Notably, R Wolbe describes this yedidus in widening circles of connection — the relationship between Hashem and the Jewish People, which establishes a yedidus between all Jews, one of mutual support, and beyond that acting with others in “ways of peace” and our responsibility beyond humanity to all the rest of existence.