Monday, May 9, 2011
The Impostors of Jewish Thought (part II)
See Part I
Guest post by Guravitzer
BeSho'oh SheHikdimu Te'erav, Perek 14: "And this will be understood in the higher sphere through the statement of our Sages, their memory is a blessing, 'Quiet! So arose in thought.' For it seems to mean that there is no reason at all for this. But in truth it is profanity to say so, for this is not said in stubbornness, Chas VeShalom. But this is the idea of the concealed reason that is higher than the intellect and Chochmah-reasoning. And according to intellect there is no reason for this at all, to the point that there was no room in his [Moshe Rabbeinu's] intellect for this, and he asked, 'And is this Torah and is this its reward?' And this is the idea of the light of Chochmah-reasoning as it is higher than the container of Chochmah-reasoning." BeSho'oh SheHikdimu is the series of writings and talks by the fifth Chabad Rebbe, the Rebbe Rashab, tackling the highest levels of Kabbalah according to Chassidus, published in three volumes. "This" refers to raking the flesh being Rabbi Akiva's reward for his Torah study.
In other words, there is a level of thought which rises above all other thoughts at all levels. To get the answers to questions of Emunah which challenge the Litvishe thinkers and gedolim we must rise to this level of thought, reached by Baalei Ruach HaKodesh, although never quite reached by us. At the lowest level, the light of Chochmah resides in the keli-container of our chochmah, our mind, Sechel Anoshi. Human intelligence, being a container made of the thickening of light of Elokus, can’t comprehend Elokus. The Rebbe Rashab provides examples of this distinction in the above Ma’amar. The intellect of the Nefesh-soul before descent to the body versus the intellect in the human mind. Understanding the true nature of the spiritual versus only understanding the fact of the existence of the spiritual. Understanding concepts unlimited by time and place versus understanding our limited world. In all of these, human intelligence can be told of the existence of these higher spheres by Baalei Ruach HaKodesh, and be given understandable metaphors from our world. This doesn’t negate the attempt of Sechel Anoshi to understand Elokus. We should try that as well. It breaks the natural pattern of Sechel Anoshi to lean towards the animal, as Seichel Anoshi is a subset of the Nefesh HaBehamis.
If we consider Moreh Nevuchim as an explanation of Elokus and Emunah according to Sechel Anoshi, we’re told that Chasidim as far back as the Alter Rebbe’s Chasidim were fluent in Moreh Nevuchim, as well as Kuzari, Emunos Vedeios and other Sifrei Emunah. But we must realize that Emunah of the Nefesh Elokis lies further than those explanations. This Emunah is not fed, it is uncovered, the Nefesh Elokis is incapable of disbelief. This is a two-sided coin, both Emunah Peshuta and Emunah in a realm described by Mekubalim and explained by Toras HaChasidus. In essence, a person who professes disbelief doesn’t need to be convinced of anything. The Nefesh Elokis must be revealed to overpower the subset of the Nefesh HaBehomis that is Sechel Anoshi. With Sechel Eloki firmly in control of the Sechel Anoshi, we can then proceed to let the Sechel Anoshi dabble in trying to understand Elokus at its level. A piece of Matzah at the Seder may be more effective than all the permissions to believe and receive.
At heart, these ideas are not new, they emerge from the old. Witness the Rebbe Rashab’s statement of concept as based on a Ma’amar Chazal. Toras HaChasidus reveals the deeper meaning of every part of Torah. Whatever you have isn’t taken away. What you have is shown to have depths you never knew. The Rebbe defined this clearly in the booklet The Concept Of The Teachings of Chassidus (Kuntres Inyono Shel Toras HaChasidus), that the four layers of Pshat, Remez, Drush, Sod are given more depth through Torah HaChasidus, not superseded by a fifth layer. Again, this is only about this particular article, and this article chose to quote from Litvishe thinkers and gedolim only. I want to stay focused on this article only and not other issues, worthy as they are of discussion on another opportunity. If we broaden the discussion, we lose focus. The article chose to approach this issue from the Litvishe perspective only by providing responses from Litvishe sources only. It wasn't my choice. In general, the Litvishe world is almost the only one where the twisted approach to Emunah makes all conversations fractured.
A Lubavitcher Chosid can have a conversation on this topic with a Tora U’Mada adherent, with a Sephardishe adherent of Emunah Peshuta and Kabalah, with a fellow Chosid of other streams who thirsts to add Chabad Chasidus to the Emunas Chachomim of their Rebbe’s behavior. Toras HaChasidus reveals their inner meaning, no negation, they are all sourced in holiness. Only a crooked path whose fallacy is most clearly shown in Discovery seminars full of foolish content can’t be helped, there is no inner meaning. I am writing for the children bereft of Emunah. I want you to know there are answers. This may not affect your behavior or beliefs, now or ever. But you should know that when your teacher told you to be quiet, there are no answers, the question itself is despicable - your teacher was wrong.