web analytics
July 24, 2014 / 26 Tammuz, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
IDC Advocacy Room IDC Fights War on Another Front

Student Union opens ‘hasbara’ room in effort to fill public diplomacy vacuum.



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
JFK Airport, NY
FAA Lifts Ban on Flights to Israel
Latest Judaism Stories
The Yabok River

Today, we remain Hashem’s nachal.

Lenny1

Will Your brothers go to war, while you sit (in peace) here? (Bamidbar 32:6)

PTI-071814

Perhaps, just perhaps, we can relate to this: whenever we feel distant from Hashem, that is the Churban.

Parshat Matot

Over the next 2 weeks covering portion Matot and Maasei, Rabbi Fohrman will bring order to confusion.

Our home is in the center of the Holy Land, surrounded by (what else?) green hills and valleys.

“Sound fine,” said Mrs. Schwartz. “In the middle, paint their names, Shoshana and Yehonasan. He spells his name Yehonasan with a hei and is very particular about it!”

Question: I recently returned from a trip abroad and wanted to say HaGomel. When I mentioned this to the officers of my synagogue, however, they told me – as per the instructions of the synagogue’s rabbi – that I would have to wait until Shabbos to do so. I was not given any reason for this and did not wish to display my ignorance, so I quietly acquiesced. Can you please explain why I had to wait?

Name Withheld
(Via E-Mail)

We may not recognize the adverse affect of eating forbidden foods, but they leave an indelible imprint.

There are several rules that one must adhere to when making a neder.

Important message for Jews in the Diaspora: In times of need run to Israel rather than from Israel.

The negotiation between Moses and the tribes of Reuven and Gad is a model of conflict resolution.

Once again we find ourselves alone – a little lamb among wolves.

When we return to our routines, things don’t have to go back to exactly the way they were.

The Three Weeks determines the “who we are and how we live” as Jews.

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

Moshe served dual major roles for bnei Yisrael. He was their teacher and their leader.

Rapps-Rabbi-Joshua-logo

Moshe’s punishment described in the parsha is most tragic. He was chosen to redeem the people, he loved them dearly and personally sacrificed so much for them.

Scientific disciplines don’t ask “why”, a metaphysical question. They ask “how does it function?”

While Moshe was the most unique prophet, he was also alone.

The multitudes among them experienced a desire for meat and wept.

The Shulchan Aruch notes that a priest who is in mourning for one of the seven close relatives does not bless the people during the Shiva period.

Without Joseph laying the foundation for them in Egypt, they never would have survived the exile spiritually intact.

Why distinguish between parts of the Torah to say that this part came from pi Hagevurah while the other part came from pi Moshe?

    Latest Poll

    Do you think the FAA ban on US flights to Israel is political?






    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

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: