web analytics
October 22, 2014 / 28 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



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
Chaye Zisel Braun
Funeral for Chaye Zisel Braun Underway [photos]
Latest Judaism Stories
Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

Boundaries must be set in every home. Parents and children are not pals. They are not equals.

Rabbi Avi Weiss, head of theYeshivat Chovevei Torah. Rabbi Asher Lopatin will be replacing him as head of the school.

Noah and his wife could not fathom living together as husband and wife and continuing the human race

Rabbi Sacks

The Babel story is the 2nd in a 4-act drama that’s unmistakably a connecting thread of Bereishit

Bible1

Our intentions are critical in raising children because they mimic everything we parents do & think

A humble person who achieves a position of prominence will utilize the standing to benefit others.

Myth #1: It is easy to be a B’nai Noach. It is extraordinarily hard to be a B’nai Noach.

The creation of the world is described twice. Each description serves a unique purpose.

Question: I recently loaned money to a friend who has been able to repay only part of it. This was an interest-free loan. We exchanged a signed IOU, not a proper shtar with witnesses, since I have always trusted her integrity and only wanted a document that confirms what was loaned and what was repaid. Now that shemittah is approaching, what should I do? Should I forgive the loan? And if my friend is not able to repay it, may I deduct the unpaid money from my ma’aser requirement?

Name Withheld

To the surprise of our protectzia-invested acquaintances, my family has thrived in our daled amos without that amenity, b’ezras Hashem.

Shimon started adjusting the branches on the roof. In doing so, a branch fell off the other side of the car and hit the side-view mirror, cracking it.

I, the one who is housed inside this body, am completely and utterly spiritual.

Should we sit in the sukkah on a day that may be the eighth day when we are not commanded to sit in the sukkah at all?

For Appearance’s Sake
‘Shammai Did Not Follow Their Own Ruling’
(Yevamos 13b 14a)

If one hurts another human being, God is hurt; if one brings joy to another, God is more joyous.

I’m grateful to Hashem for everything; Just the same, I’d love a joyous Yom Tov without aggravation.

Bereshit: Life includes hard choices that challenge our decisions, leaving lingering complications.

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

What right do I, sinner, have to approach Hashem and request forgiveness?

Rapps-Rabbi-Joshua-logo

To choose life, you must examine your actions in the period preceding the Days of Awe as an unbiased stranger, and render your decision.

In Parshas Re’eh the Torah tells us about the bechira to adhere to the commandments of Hashem and refrain from sin. In Parshas Nitzavim, the Torah tells us that we have the choice to repent after we have sinned.

According to Ibn Ezra, the Torah was stressing through this covenant that hypocrisy was forbidden.

The inability of creation to violate Hashem’s natural law extends to inanimate object such as heaven and earth.

If there is a mitzvas minuy dayanim in the Diaspora, then why is there a difference between Israel and the Diaspora in the number of judges and their distribution?

The first prayer of Moshe was Vayechal, where Moshe’s petition was that no matter how bad bnei Yisrael were, the Egyptians were worse.

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

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: