Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

"Eight Chapters"

Chapter Five (Part 5)

Even though we're to speak about things that edify us, once we come to understand that our goal in this life is to dwell upon G-d we'll find ourselves speaking less in fact. After all, what would anyone who wants to draw close to G-d have to say about anything else, other than for a good reason? Would a mountain-climber discuss the weather unless it affected his climb? Would a surgeon talk about the sea unless his patient had nearly drowned?

Not only would such a person hardly engage in small talk, he'd also never dream small dreams. He "wouldn’t be moved to adorn his walls or hem his clothing with gold" as Rambam put it; which is to say, he wouldn't dwell on inconsequentials.

But as everyone knows -- even the most serious of us, sometimes a person needs to disentangle him or herself and digress. To step away from what matters most for a while so as to come back to it fresh and bright, or to regain his composure if he'd grown discouraged. And so even someone dwelling on G-d would nevertheless need to concentrate on more trivial things once in a while to do that, to perhaps "lift his spirit", "stay healthy and avoid illness", or "to be clear minded".

In fact we're taught that “scholars should enjoy an attractive home, an attractive spouse, beautiful dishes, and a well-made bed“ (Shabbat 25B) since they “amplify one's mind“ (Berachot 57B).

For as Rambam explains it, "one grows tired and his thoughts become befuddled when he constantly delves into difficult things, much the way the body tires when one does heavy work -- unless he rests and relaxes, and allows it to return to equilibrium".

"In much the same way," he continues, "one should quiet and relax his senses by gazing upon paintings and other attractive things until he’s no longer fatigued". In such a context, he reasons, "it’s probably neither wrong nor unnecessary to decorate and adorn buildings, vessels, or clothing". Since your ultimate goal would still be lofty; you'd simply be stepping aside for a while so as to come back: your overarching passion is still be the pursuit of spiritual excellence.


Text Copyright © 2006 by Rabbi Yaakov Feldman and Torah.org


 

ARTICLES ON KI SEITZEI AND ELUL / ROSH HASHANAH:

View Complete List

Building Fences
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5772

Possessions Belong to People
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5757

Spiritual Climates
Shlomo Katz - 5773

ArtScroll

Parshas Ki Seitzei
Shlomo Katz - 5769

Starting From Scratch
Rabbi Pinchas Avruch - 5764

It's a Nice Soft Suicide…
Rabbi Label Lam - 5772

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Better Innocent than Guilty
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5756

Parshat Ki Tavo
Shlomo Katz - 5764

Love Out of Fear
Shlomo Katz - 5760

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Parshas Ki Seitzei
Rabbi Yosef Kalatzky - 5771

An Invitation to Attack
Rabbi Label Lam - 5762

Or HaChaim Retrieves Hidden Message from Mitzvah of Returning Lost Objects
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5774

> The Everyday War
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5764

Let the King Be Proud
Rabbi Chaim Flom - 5767

The Neighborhood
Rabbi Raymond Beyda - 5764

Prayer for Redemption - It's For The Birds
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5764



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information