web analytics
December 20, 2014 / 28 Kislev, 5775
 
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
8000 meals Celebrate Eight Days of Chanukah – With 8,000 Free Meals Daily to Israel’s Poor

Join Meir Panim’s campaign to “light up” Chanukah for families in need.



Home » Judaism » Parsha »

Matters Of The Heart And Mind


Rapps-Rabbi-Joshua-logo

 The articles in this column are transcriptions and adaptations of shiurim by Rav Joseph Ber Soloveitchik, zt”l. The Rav’s unique perspective on Chumash permeated many of the shiurim and lectures he presented at various venues over a 40 plus year period. His words add an important perspective that makes the Chumash in particular, and our tradition in general, vibrant and relevant to our generation.

The Torah tells us that two distinct types of people contributed to the building of the Mishkan. They are referred to as nesa’o libo and nadvah rucho (Shemos 35:21). What distinguishes these personalities? The nesa’o libo reacted and contributed to the building of the Mishkan based on an intellectual, rational approach. When asked to contribute, many in bnei Yisrael analyzed their ability to donate relative to the needs of the Mishkan and arrived at a figure to donate. Their intellectual approach toward building the Mishkan was perfectly acceptable and legitimate. (Note: see Rashi’s comment (Shemos 35:27) regarding the attitude of the nesi’im, the tribal leaders, who adopted a wait and see approach to supplement any potential deficiencies that would remain after the people concluded to donate.)

On the other hand, the nesa’o libo reacted on a more instinctive level. Such an individual was guided by his heart and consumed with the desire to build the Mishkan as an expression of an emotional attachment to Hashem. Such people went above and beyond what was required of them, lifnim meshuras hadin.

The difference between the intellectual and emotional approach to performing a mitzvah is most noticeable when analyzing the different approaches to giving charity. A person can readily comprehend and accept the intellectual rationale behind giving charity to the poor. It is perfectly rational, for one who has the means, to support and provide for those in need. The amount that such an individual will donate will be based on his assessment of the need relative to his available resources. When one acts in such a proper, rational way he is performing an act of tzedakah.

One can also perform charity from an emotional perspective. When one is so affected by a situation to the point that it becomes etched in his mind and he takes the situation so to heart that he is constantly disturbed by it, wherever he goes and whatever he does, he will act out of an emotional impulse. Such emotional impulses cannot be suppressed by rationalization, nor can they be diminished by additional analysis and introspection. When one acts on such an impulse, it is characterized as an act of chesed.

The Gemara (Sanhedrin 104b) says that a neighbor of Rabban Gamliel would cry inconsolably every night for her son who was murdered by the Romans during the period of the destruction of the second Temple. Instinctively, Rabban Gamliel felt her pain and would cry along with her each night. It is perfectly logical for one to sympathize with a widow mourning the loss of her only son for a night, perhaps a week, maybe even a month. But Rabban Gamliel experienced the same level of empathy and emotional pain every night, just as he did the very first night he heard her-heart rending cries. The nadvah rucho, the intellectual rationalist, would have eventually grown accustomed and inured to her cries. But Rabban Gamliel, like gedolei Yisrael throughout the ages, was a nesa’o libo, his was an emotional response that he felt wherever he turned, and he continued to grieve with her as if it was his own tragedy.

The distinction between the intellectual and emotional approaches to fulfilling a mitzvah can also be seen in the mitzvah of sippur yetzias Mitzrayim, our obligation to retell the story of the exodus from Egypt on the night of Pesach.

We are commanded to reenact the events that took place at the time of the exodus, to make them come alive for us. We must not view them from a detached perspective, as events that took place thousands of years ago. We involve the children in the telling of the story because we need to capture the emotions and feelings of a child in order to make the story tangible and bring it alive for us. An adult will tell a story from an intellectual, analytical perspective that will not inspire an emotional response. When a child tells a story, he feels the events that he is retelling; each time he tells the story he relives the emotional experiences that he is recalling.

On the night of Pesach we want to experience the feeling of walking out of Egypt at that very moment. To do that, we must relive the story from the experiential perspective of a wide-eyed child who epitomizes nesa’o libo, and not as an adult who is an intellectual nadvah rucho.

About the Author: Rabbi Joshua Rapps attended the Rav's shiur at RIETS from 1977 through 1981 and is a musmach of Yeshivas Rabbeinu Yitzchak Elchanan. He and his wife Tzipporah live in Edison, N.J. Rabbi Rapps can be contacted at ravtorah1@gmail.com.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Matters Of The Heart And Mind”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Posted to Twitter in Ferguson, MO by St. Louis County Police: "Bricks thrown at police, 2 police cars burned, gun seized by police. Tonight was disappointing."  Their motto is, "To protect and serve."
Prosecutor in Ferguson Case: ‘Witnesses Lied Under Oath’
Latest Judaism Stories
Parsha-Perspective-Logo-NEW

To many of our brethren Chanukah has lost its meaning.

Parsha-Perspective-Logo-NEW

This ability to remain calm under pressure and continue to see the situation clearly is a hallmark of Yehuda’s leadership.

Torah-Hakehillah-121914

It would have been understandable for these great warriors to become dispirited.

Torah-Hakehillah-121914

The travail of Yosef was undoubtedly the greatest trauma of Yaakov’s life, which certainly knew its share of hardships.

Yosef, in interpreting the first set of dreams, performed in a manner that was clearly miraculous to all.

Chazal teach us that we need to be “sur may’rah v’asei tov,”avoid bad and do good.

When we celebrate the completion of learning a section of Torah, we recite the Hadran.

Fetal Immersion?
‘The Fetus Is A Limb Of Its Mother’
(Yevamos 78a)

Yosef proves he is a true leader; He is continually and fully engaged in the task of running Egypt

When the inability cannot be clearly attributed to either spouse, the halacha is the subject of debate among the Rishonim.

Those who reject our beliefs know in their souls Jewish power stems from our faith and our prayers.

He stepped outside, and, to his dismay, the menorah was missing. It had been stolen.

Though we Jews have deep obligations to all people our obligation to our fellow Jew is unique.

In a way that decision was the first in a series of miracles with which Hashem blessed us.

Question: If Abraham was commanded to circumcise his descendants on the eighth day, why do Arabs – who claim to descend from Abraham through Yishmael – wait until their children are 13 to circumcise them? I am aware that this is a matter of little consequence to our people. Nevertheless, this inconsistency is one that piques my curiosity.

M. Goldman
(Via E-mail)

Exploring the connection between Pharaoh’s dreams and the story of Joseph being sold into slavery.

More Articles from Rabbi Joshua Rapps
Rapps-Rabbi-Joshua-logo

If Chanukah was simply a commemoration of the miracle of the oil and Menorah, we would be hard pressed to see the connection between the reading from Parshas Nesiim and Chanukah.

Rapps-Rabbi-Joshua-logo

Jacob was well aware that the brothers hated Joseph, yet he sent him to them anyway.

He knew that the way to potentially mollify Esau was to insist that he accept his gift, which he finally did.

The Jew, from the perspective of the name Yaakov, is dependent on the non-Jewish world. This can be seen today in the relationship between the State of Israel and the United States

Ramban interprets Korban as self-sacrifice, each Jew should attempt to recreate Akeidas Yitzchak.

This complementary nature and unified destiny is the basis of the Covenantal Community.

If I appoint someone as Shatz, he is supposed to pray for me, as if I was praying.

Bris Bein Habesarim affirmed that Hashem gave the land to Avraham’s children. It does not specify for how long. It did not guarantee the Jewish people eternal ownership of the land

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/parsha/matters-of-the-heart-and-mind/2014/02/20/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: