Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Why we learn K'tzos

This post was really supposed to be a response to XGH's post on DovBear, Kollel vs Math. But being that the thread is sort of over, I decided to make a post out of it.

The main issue of XGH's post was the following:

"Problems in the Ketzos might be beautiful and fascinating, but solving them won’t bring about any measurable benefit to the world."

My response:

There is a discussion end of first Perek Kiddushin if 'Talmud' (learning) is greater, or 'Maaseh' is greater. The Gemara concludes that Talmud is greater because "Talmud May'vee Li'day Maaseh. According to basic Gemara logic, if the 'Maskana' is that 'Talmud which brings to Maaseh' is greater, then in the 'Havah Amina', the Gemara was discussing 'Talmud' on its own - not 'Talmud which brings to Maaseh'. And yet, the Gemara had a consideration that 'Talmud although its not L'maaseh' might be greater than Maaseh.

Have you ever read any of the hundreds of Shaalos U'tshuvos Sefarim? Take Igros Moshe (R' Moshe Feinstein) for an example. I've never read through it (just a little here there), but I would venture to say that at least 60% - 70% of the Shaalos are not found in Gemara or even Shulchan Aruch (Microphone?). What it takes is, Knowledge (you can make a huge pilpul, only to discover that on the next page, the Gemara concludes otherwise), Understanding (what the Havah Amina was, how did Rashi understand vs Tosfos etc), and Binah - L'havin Dovor Mi'toch Dovor - to extrapolate the thesis and rules -the 'yesod' of the sugya from one application, and to correctly apply it to another application. And anyone who learnt Daf Yomi 7 times over won't be able to really help out here. What it entails is a very thorough grasp of every sugya by utilizing sharp analyzation, extremely precise Chakiros, and hair splitting Sevaros.

Thats where K'tzos comes into play. Its a mental exercise. Its purpose is to sharpen the mind. To train the Talmud student how to think, how to analyze, how to understand, and how to correctly extrapolate.

Now of course, not every kollelnik is on the verge of becoming a Posek. But nevertheless,

"Talmud Torah K'neged Kulam"

"Lo Yamush M'Picha" (I forget the exact wording)

"V'dibarta Bam" - Bam V'lo B'dvorim B'taylim"

Mitzvas Talmud Torah is every minute, its a mitzva which is "SHE'LO Hazman Ge'rama". Woman are Patur because "V'limad'tem Es B'naichem - V'lo B'noseichem".

All this applies to every kollelnik.

The Heter for a man to work (no jokes, it requires a Heter) is V'osafta D'ganecha. In theory, one may only work to "put bread on his table" - "Paas Ba'melach".

I once asked R' Malkiel Kotler, since a wife and kids aren't Mechuyav in Paas Bamelach, and one is Mechuyav to provide her with her needs, then this should be a Heter to work more than just to "put bread on his table".
IOW, since a woman isn't Mechuyav in Paas Bamelach because she isn't Mechuyav in Talmud Torah, she is Mutar to work, say to buy a nice piece of furniture, whereas a man might not be permitted to be Mevatel Torah simply to buy 'nice' furniture. But a married man has to provide his wife with HER needs as well.

The RY agreed that this might be a good 'Limud Zechus'.

But bottom line, Mitzvas Talmud Torah is even when one learns 'Talmud', even when its not L'maaseh. The above quoted Gemara discusses which is greater, not if 'Talmud' alone has value or not.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Please Daven

Please Daven for Ruevein Ben Tova Chaya, grandson of R' Harry Maryles.

He should be zocheh to a Refuah Shleimah B'korov.

Koach Hatorah Even Today!!!

Many of you commented on other blogs, that with the Matzav in Eretz Yisroel that our Jewish soldiers are sacrificing themselves on the front line, the people which are exempt from the army because 'Torah Um'nosom' should not break for Bain Hazmanim, since their idealogy is that Torah protects, and therefore its only right that while the physical soldiers are fighting on the physical front line, the spiritual soldiers should be fighting on the spiritual front line (Bais Midrash).

I believe I heard in the name of R' Elyashiv Shlita, that the learners do need the Bain Hazmanim break or their learning of the Winter Zman will be affected.

R' Elyashiv also came under fire from many bloggers for declaring on August 3rd, that the best interest for Israel would be a cease fire. Rather they said, Israel must keep on pounding out the enemies.

It just struck me.

On August 13, Israel accepted the ceasefire with 2 weeks of Bain Hazmanim left to go.

So R' Elyashiv's military analysis that Israel should accept a cease fire became a reality, and that, enabled the Bnai Torah to be able to truly relax on their Bain Hazmanim break so they will regain their strength for the next Zman.

Eh, happywithhis lot? What you got to say now?

Mamesh Ah Emeseh Moifis!!! Pure Koach Hatorah!!!


(PS, Over here, someone writes that hearing a story that Zechus Hatorah saves people from rockets makes him nauseas.

"Today in schul part of the Rabbis drasha was one of these stories and it frankly got me nauseated about those who were saved by a rocket missing them because of kavod they were giving the Torah."

I hope this post won't make him vomit.)

Sunday, August 20, 2006

The Koach Hatorah of the Gaon

In my previous post, I quoted:

"If the Gaon says that he could bring down kol galgal hachamah on this table and show it to Aristo – do we have a safek that what Chazal HaKedoshim said is emes?"

I've had with some of you debates if the Gaon learnt secular studies. I conceded that he did, based on the testimony of R' Baruch M'shklov etc..

But I will tell you this. The above statement of the Gaon, was NOT a result of his secular studies. Show me even one Secularist who ever even attempted to make such a claim.

It was purely from the Koach Hatorah of the Gaon.

My Hero!!

Drosha by Rav Uren Reich, Rosh haYeshiva of Yeshiva of Woodlake Village in Lakewood

(Extract from address at the Melava Malka of Agudath Israel of America's 82nd National Convention)

…If the Gemara tells us a metziyus, it’s emes veyatziv. There’s nothing to think about. Anything we see with our eyes is less of a reality than something we see in the Gemara. That’s the emunah that a yid has to have. Unfortunately, I don’t know where or why this is, but recently there’s been a spate of all kinds of publications – I don’t know where they’ve come from – questioning things that have been mekubel midor dor, that every child learns, together with his mother’s milk, al titosh Toras imecha, we learn that every word of Torah is emes, every word of Chazal hakedoshim is emes. We’re coming to hear new kinds of concepts, that we have to figure out a way to make Torah compatible with modern day science – it’s an emunah mezuyefes! There’s a tremendous emunah that these people have for scientists in the outside world – everything they say is kodesh kadoshim!

And then we have to figure out according to what they say, how to fit in the Gemara with this newfangled discoveries that the scientists have taught us?! These same scientists who tell you with such clarity what happened sixty-five million years ago – ask them what the weather will be like in New York in two weeks’ time! “Possibly, probably, it could be, maybe” – ain itam hadavar, they don’t know. They know everything that happened 65 million years ago, but from their madda, and their wissenschaft, we have to be mispoel?!

Chazal HaKedoshim – hakatan shebetalmidei Rabbeinu haKadosh mechayeh meisim! If the Gaon says that he could bring down kol galgal hachamah on this table and show it to Aristo – do we have a safek that what Chazal HaKedoshim said is emes? Ra’u mi’sof haolam ve’ad sofo – ain leharher achar divrei haGemara.

Our emunah has to be, and will continue to be, that every word of Chazal haKedoshim is emes le’amitoh! Ve’ain leharher achar divrei haGemara. And that’s the emunah that we were mekabel midor dor, and with this kind of emunah, these keriyos, this kara v’modim, when a yid like Rav Moshe, whose counterpart in Yale or Harvard is showing his great mind, his great genius, by questioning everything that there was in previous generations, and Rav Moshe with his humility and with his clarity as to the greatness of previous generations, he says ain leharher achar divrei haGemara – who knows how many kochos hatumah he shattered with that kind of kara vemodim! If we’ll be koreya vemodim, we’ll be zocheh, we’ll be mekarev rechokim, we’ll be mekarev kerovim, and we’ll be zocheh to see the ohr ha-emes when Mashiach comes…

In my previous post, I wrote that I was at a loss for words. In this post, I have no need for words.

(hattip - Lamedzayin)

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Olam Hafuch Ra'isi

Hakol Kol Yakkov, V'ha'yadayim Y'dei Eisav.

That was our slogan for thousands of years.

Not anymore.

At least according Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad:

"God's promises have come true," Ahmadinejad told a huge crowd in Arbadil in northwestern Iran. "On one side, it's corrupt powers of the criminal U.S. and Britain and the Zionists .... with modern bombs and planes. And on the other side is a group of pious youth relying on God."

I am at a loss for words.

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