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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Asceticism

What do Chazal say about asceticism? Do they encourage or discourage prishus? The answer, as usual, is, Yes, they do. Chazal say many things on the topic of Prishus that appear contradictory, because they wanted us not to just lean back in our La-Z-Boys and read some half-baked, populist, pre-digested pamphlet about hashkafa, but instead that we spend serious time and effort investigating what underlying ideas inform our Hashkafa.

If you are hoping for a simple, satisfying, and two dimensional pshat that you can say over at a shmorg, I can't help you. Having said that, I offer some thoughts about Prishus, Asceticism in our Mesorah.

Chazal say (Brachos 7b) "gadol shimusha shel Torah yoser mi'limuda," personal association with rabbeim is greater than study." This dictum, while universally applicable, is absolutely fundamental to understanding matters of Hashkafa. Learning hashkafa only from books is certainly problematic, often futile, and occasionally dangerous. My approach is colored by my experience with the Gedolim with whom I have had a personal association sufficiently close as to give me some insight into their hashkafas hachaim. Whether I am transmitting that light faithfully, or polarizing or filtering it, is a question I certainly cannot answer.

http://havolim.blogspot.com/2007/04/kedoshim-vayikra-192-kedoshim-tihyu.html


http://havolim.blogspot.com/2008/05/kedoshim-vayikra-192-kedoshim-tihiyu.html
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3 comments:

Ariella said...

There are, certainly, suggestions for asceticism in the exhortation in the Avos, pas amelach ..., but people today far favor the chassidic idea of "tikkun" and opt to serve shnaps and cake rather than fasting in honor of a yartzheit.

Barzilai said...

I think Pas bemelach is specifically for someone that wants to acquire the Keser Torah.

Ariella said...

In that case there is a consistency in my son's behavior.