Wednesday, July 25, 2012
To Be Spiritually Uplifted
The latest book that I am reading is called Lehitalot, which can be translated as "to be spiritually uplifted". The book was written by Rabbi Ze'ev Ginzburg, a well known rabbi and educator from Haifa.
Rabbi Ginzburg brings us the learnings of the Mussar Movement in general, and the school of Kelm in particular, in a very original fashion. The protagonists of the book are two childhood friends, Chaim and Nati, whose paths separate when they go to different yeshivot ketanot. However, they promise one another to keep in touch through letters. The book is made up mostly of their correspondence.
Since we are know in the period of the three weeks, I'll mention something that I learned from the book concerning this time of year.
It is well known that the Second Temple was destroyed because of sinat chinam, causeless hatred. Our job, particularly at this time of year, is to eradicate causeless hatred from within our midst.
Rabbi Shlomo Wolbe taught that one does not have a parve relationship with his fellow man. He loves him, or he hates him. The love or the hate may be on a very low flame, however it is impossible to be indifferent. In the same vein Rabbi Yechezkel Levenstein said that if one is not "drenched" with love of his fellow man, he is considered a hater.
Rabbi Ginzburg brings us an interesting example of how causeless hatred is rampant among us: Imagine that you are sitting in the synagogue and their is an empty chair next to you. Suddenly, a stranger, perhaps even a somewhat weird stranger, enters and sits next to you. You feel uncomfortable and you think to yourself, "Why did he sit down next to me when there are so many other empty seats available?"
But wait a minute! He is sitting in his place, and you in yours! Why does he bother you? If your father, brother of friend sat next to you would you feel the same way? This is causeless hatred!
I am really learning a lot from this book. You can see a preview of it here.