Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Highlights - chaburah in R' Tzadok haKohein

The Ishbitza asks why Avraham did not perform the mitzvah of milah before it was given, considering that he observed all other mitzvos? The Ishbitza writes (see here for other approaches) that the mitzvah of milah was a chiddush, as our a priori perspective is that a perfect G-d should create perfectly formed creations – it smacks of chutzpa to suggest that G-d created mankind with a ‘defect’ of orlah. Therefore, Avraham waited for the tzivuy of Hashem. As we learned in the past, the Ishbitza sees man as placed in an existential state of “incompleteness” so that he can earn schar though his own efforts; the tzivuy of milah underscores this mission. Continuing that theme, we have been learning in R’ Tzadok that this concept of perfecting the world is the role of tzelem Elokim and can be accomplished through derech eretz, e.g. farming, physical work, or through learning Torah, which is the ideal. Just as G-d created the world through speech, through speech of Torah one emulates G-d and impacts the world. R’ Tzadok elsewhere (Tzidkas haTzadik #90) elaborates: the physical world, the nefashos of klal Yisrael, and the Torah are mapped directly to each other. The change in the nefashos of each dor causes a change in the way the chachamim of the generation perceive the Torah, which in turn alters and builds the physical world. A machlokes over whether something is a treifa or not means that for chacham X who paskens treifa the physical reality is such that the animal is a treifa, and for chacham Y who paskens kosher the physical reality is such that the animal is kosher (this is understood if you work with a constructivist theory of truth, not a correspondence theory). The gemara (Avodah Zarah 3) tells us that in the future day of judgment the non Jews will claim that all their constructive works like building bridges and markets was for the sake of Torah. In light of R’ Tzadok, we can understand this claim (see the Brisker Rav al haTorah for a similar analysis) – although the intention of the non Jews was obviously not to benefit Torah, any physical change in the world, be it a new building, an improvement in technology, etc. ultimately stems from a change in the understanding of Torah which directly remaps to a changed, improved physical reality . The non Jewish construction is just a fulfillment of the new map of Torah being expressed on a physical level. With this concept, it becomes very clear how limud haTorah brings about not just a ruchniyus benefits, but is also a building of the world and fulfillment of being tzelem Elokim.
This week: Friday night, 7:45, Tiferes Tzvi Yeshiva Minyan, 26 Columbia Ave, Cedarhurst.


  1. Chaim Dov10:48 PM

    Any chance you could give a full list of references for those of us in far off places who can't make it in person?

  2. The full list of references is usually put together about 15 minutes before the shiur : )
    For last week we did: Mei HaShiloach, last piece in chelek 2 P' Lech Lecha; Midrash Tanchuma on the parsha of milah (note Avraham's kashe - aren't I shaleim without milah); finished first page in Kedushas Shabbos of R' Tzadok; Tzidkas haTzadik #90; gemara Avodah Zarah 2b; Brisker Rav al haTorah second to last piece in the sefer on that gemara; Michtav m'Eliyahu (forgot where it is - check index) on that gemara; Netziv Harchev Davar to Braishis 15:1 (use R' Tzadok to answer his kashe).
    I don't know how much that helps, if at all.
    For this week, I plan to start with the Mei haShiloach on 'tzachaka Sarah' (chelek 1) - it has nothing to do with the Kedushas Shabbos, but is such a yesod in Ishbitz-R' Tzadok thinking that I can't pass it up (the Ishbitza writes about this torah 'amok amok hu'!) Will try to update this comment bl"n if I can add anything else before Shabbos.

  3. Chaim Dov12:06 AM

    Thanks for going to the trouble!