Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Guest Posting From A Yid: Learning Likutey Moharan - How Well Do We Understand What Hisboydedus Is?

(Picture courtesy of Nachal Novea Tsfat Fund)

After we had some discussions about hisboydedus and learning Likutey Moharan, I figured out that some consider this issue pretty clear and easy to understand, while others (like myself) find it hard and complex and not obvious from written words themselves.

So I decided to refresh for myself the issue of how to approach learning Chasidus in general, and Likutey Moharan in particular.

Before speaking about it, it worth to look at one piece from hakdomo to "Likutey Amorim" of Mezheritcher Maggid zy"o written by his close talmid – Rabbi Shloyme Lutzker zy"o. You'll see how it is relevant a bit later.

In the beginning, Rabbi Shloyme Lutzker zy"o describes the chain of hidden mesoyro (of Kabolo and Toyras hasoyd) how it came from Moyshe Rabeyny o"h up to Rash"bi and other early mekubolim, until it reached the Rama"k and Ariza"l and then to Baal Shem Tov and his talmidim zy"o. And regarding the Ari haKodoysh he says:

However, Rav haKodoysh hoAri za"l being required to extend his explanations on his every word in details of details, every world by itself, and entities called partzufim, which are plesent but very long drushim, which consume [a lot of] time (as explained in introduction to seyfer hakodoysh Eytz Chaim, that them (Ariza"l's drushim) are just roshey perokim (gists), as one who "gazes through a crack", and [they are] revealing "tefach" and concealing thousands of "amoys"), he wasn't able to extend his speach more, in separating gashmius from Him, Yisborach, but also he didn't need it, because he revealed [all this] to his talmidim hakdoyshim, who were already fulled with wisdom and extra understanding and learned Daas from sforim hakoyshim of Eloyki Moreynu hoRama"k za"l...

Just note a chasidic view, that in order to understand Ariza"l throughly one has to know Rama"k very well, and that Ariza"l spoke revealing a tefach, and concealing thousand of amoys (a very colorful metaphor if you think about it).

Now let's look closely to introduction to Likutey Moharan written by Reb Noson zy"o. Here some pieces from it:

Both (qualites) are found in this holy work as one, because it reveals and conceals <...> and even though these words are revealed, and can be understood a bit according to their simple meaning, nevertheless there is more inside... because there is still an inner aspects (pnimius) of the words, concealed from everyone's eyes... because concealment is a revelation as explained in Kisvey Ariza"l...

And one who will desire to look at this [seyfer] with true eye will see himself "until where these words reach". And one whose heart is "flat" and who doesn't desire the understanding of kdusho of this seyfer, these words wouldn't help him...

And one who desires to taste the honey nectar of these pleasant words, has to contemplate deeply with true eye with deep penetration and thorough "grinding" to understand the words according to their [true] meaning, to the best ability of his mind....

...Hidden and concealed and enclosed in it are very lofty things, that aren't even mentioned inside openly, but only in a way of remez and soyd. And all Kisvey hoAriza"l, and maymorim of Zoyhar haKodoysh, and Tikunim and all ways of Kabolo hakdoysho, all as one are included in the words of this seyfer hakodoysh.

Reb Noson's introduction gives a very good explanation on the way Liktey Moharan is composed. It is megale and mechase at the same time. And it includes all ways of Kabolo. And we have to note that it includes the ways of Baal Shem Tov and his talmidim in particular! Compare what Reb Noson says, to the words of Reb Shloyme Lutzker above. Rebbe himself also said, that he brought his words to this world to the best of his ability (as we saw about Ariza"l as well). And you shouldn't go too far to understand, that Rebbe didn't have to explain to his talmidim every small detail of Chasidus, because they were very well versed in sfroim of Baal Shem Tov's talmidim (and those of the talmidey hoMaggid available at that time), as Ariza"l's talmidim were well versed in the sforim of the Rama"k.

This might differ Breslov from Chabad for example. While Chabad tends to be a self sufficient system to some degree, Breslov requires you to know a lot, to understand Likutey Moharan, and especially of Baal Shem Tov's teachings and Kabolo. That's how the Rebbe presented his teachings. We see it all the more from the Tcheriner Rov ztz"l who according to Breslover mesoyro composed "Derech Chasidim" and "Loshn Chasidim", for the sake of strengthening the learning of talmidey Baal Shem Tov and talmidey hoMaggid amongst Breslover chasidim, so these Toyroys woulnd't fall out of the focus, and really because they are more than relevant to understanding Likutey Moharan itself.

From here you can see well few important points:

1. The Rebbe speaks in a half hidden way (you can assume that hidden part is qualitively much more than revealed as in Ariza"l's case).

2. Reb Noson says, that one should learn Rebbe's words to the best of his ability, and not to be contended with superficial level.

3. In order to understand Likutey Moharan seriously one should know really a lot, and in teachings of Baal Shem Tov and his talmidim in particular.

After all this, you can see, that regarding hisboydedus all this can be applied as well. And this issue (even though it of course has a simple practical implications as well as Reb Noson says) is serious and deep, and one should really work hard to understand it to the best of his ability.


At August 23, 2006 at 2:25:00 PM EDT, Blogger ilan said...

I don't agree whit some points, but it's okey, great post Yid!
ps: are you breslover? if you are not, who is you rebbe?

At August 23, 2006 at 3:27:00 PM EDT, Anonymous A Yid said...

Ilan: I'm a Breslover. My teacher is Reb Elozer Kenig shli"ta from Tzfas.

What are the points that you don't agree? This is interesting to discuss.

At August 23, 2006 at 7:58:00 PM EDT, Anonymous Michael said...

a yid - Certainly what you say is correct about the depth of Likutey Moharan and the need to not be satisfied with a superficial understand, but to learn as much Torah as possible and to try one's best to understand.

However, Rebbe Noson is also very explicit that Rabbenu considered the simple, practical implementation to be the main thing. Ayen Sichos HaRan 131:

"...all of the words of his holy teaching, even though there is very very great and awesome depth in it and lofty mysteries and secrets of secrets broader than the sea in each utterance, nevertheless his main intention was that we hear and accept all of his holy words with simplicity, to safeguard and perform and fulfill all the words of his teaching with ingenuousness and simplicity. Like, for example, this holy teaching, as it says, "Through clapping hands and dancing judgements are sweetened," his intention was according to the simple meaning, that [we] should strengthen [our]selves to be happy on days of happiness such as Purim and Chanuka and Yom Tov or at weddings, and similarly with all types of mitzva-happiness [we] should strengthen [our]selves with great happiness until we merit awakening to dance and handclapping, and through that sweeten the judgements. For all the words of this teaching 'are not in Heaven,' to say that nobody can merit this, to sweeten judgements through clapping hands and dancing, except for the great, elevated ones; rather, every single Jew has this power when he fulfills these words with truth and simplicity. And likewise with everything that was said in that holy teaching, and likewise with that which was said in each and every teaching, 'for the expounding is not the main thing, the action is'...."

At August 23, 2006 at 8:32:00 PM EDT, Anonymous A Yid said...

Simplicity here is the key thing. Don't mistake simplicity with superficiality or lack of thought. Many think that pshitus vetmimus just mean almost short mindness, and "chochmoys" mean deeper thought. That is incorrect. Rather "chochmoys" mean crooked and perverted intellect, and tmimus and phitus mean straightfordwarness and earnestnees, but in no means foolishness. Rebe zy"o himself makes this point very clear in mayse Chochom veTam, where he says, that Tam wasn't a fool (naar), but rather simple and straightforward (i.e. he posessed tmimus and bitul), and in the end he turned to be smarter then the Chochom even, but with true and straight wisdom, not perverted with crooked "chochmoys".

This point is also illustrated beatifully in "Bney Machshovo Toyvo" (oys 15-16), of the Pyasetchner Rebe zta"l Hy"d.

Of coruse the practice is the most important, and it was my subject from the beginning of this discussion, that practice can be complex, and hisboydedus is such an issue. It has levels upon levels in complexity, and if someone says that it doesn't - he is missing the point.

At August 23, 2006 at 8:36:00 PM EDT, Anonymous A Yid said...

Just to point out - that it has also simple levels as well. I'm not arguing with that, I just pointed out that it is not "one leveled", but has a great depth.

At August 23, 2006 at 10:43:00 PM EDT, Anonymous A Yid said...

I also have heared from my Rov, that often the Rebbe speaks about some lofty things, and madregoys etc. And person should realize how far he can be from that.

So one shouldn't say right away - all this is simple to him etc. May be yes, may be no, he may be very far removed from this, but again - Rebe said that one should do what he can according to his level, even if he is far away from this.

At August 23, 2006 at 11:45:00 PM EDT, Blogger ilan said...

Sorry Yid but i have no time at this moment.
And if you study whit Rav Kening Shlita i can't discuss whit you =).
Nice to hear thar you are chasid of rabenu zal!

At August 24, 2006 at 10:56:00 AM EDT, Anonymous A Yid said...

> i can't discuss whit you =).
Why not? :)

At August 24, 2006 at 7:22:00 PM EDT, Blogger ilan said...

Rab Kening is one of gueodle anshe shelomenu, im a simple chasid you are a talmid of R. Kening.

At August 24, 2006 at 9:59:00 PM EDT, Anonymous A Yid said...

I'm a simple chosid as well, you can be sure :) But every Breslover chosid if he want to really know Breslover mesoyro has to find his teacher in Chasidus. So that's what I did. I wish you also to have a good teacher.

At August 26, 2006 at 7:50:00 PM EDT, Blogger ilan said...

I have an exelent one! im very very happy whit my rab!


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