Shabbat Parashat Chayei Sarah | 5770
Ein Ayah: Ever Growing Spiritual Aspirations; The Parts of the Body as a Parable for Spiritual Completeness
Ever Growing Spiritual Aspirations
(based on Berachot 2:66, 67)
Gemara: When the rabbis would take leave of the house of Rabbi Ami … they would say the following to him: "Your world shall you see in your life, your end in the life of the world to come, and your hope for generations to come. Your heart shall contemplate with wisdom, your mouth shall speak wisdom, and your tongue shall utter songs of praise. Your eyelids shall be straight before you, your eyes shall see the light of the Torah, and your face shall shine from the glow of the heavens. Your lips shall express knowledge, your kidneys shall be joyous in straight ways, and your feet shall run to hear the words of the atik yomin (One Who has existed for an infinite number of days).
Ein Ayah: There are different stages that are the ultimate shleimut (completeness). There is shleimut that can be grasped in the present, and there is shleimut that will come in a higher state. However, with every conception there must be an accompanying hope for something more special than that which is grasped, which makes life more pleasant. If someone reaches an unsurpassable peak, he begins to decline. There must thus be an unending shleimut, so that one will always aspire for further achievement. Therefore, in regard to the present, the gemara's blessing is that one will see his world in his lifetime with the greatest shleimut in deed and in conception. At the same time, one's end he should see in the world to come, for then there will be an even more powerful shleimut that cannot be described in this world. One's hopes will always be for something higher, so that for generations it can be striven for. This is because as time goes on and the hopes are fulfilled, it will be possible to hope for even greater, infinitely wonderful attainments, allowing constant hope and life.
The Parts of the Body as a Parable for Spiritual Completeness
(based on Berachot 2:69)
Gemara: From the above: [we will highlight each line as Rav Kook explains it]
Ein Ayah: Your eyelids shall be straight before you – the eyelids are that which hold back the power of seeing so that it does not extend to the sides at the expense of focus on that which is needed. It is a blessing that one can set the place where he can use his intellect to bring him true shleimut and not have it be scattered over matters from which he will not reap real benefits.
Your eyes shall see the light of the Torah – You will possess such a lofty level of Torah that anything you view will be in line with the Torah's view even when you have no indication from the sources regarding the case. This is what the gemara (Sukka 21b) says about the speech of talmidei chachamim, which is always educational.
Your face shall shine from the glow of the heavens – All of your physical powers will be complete and set according to the true shleimut, ready to accept the flow of wisdom.
… Your feet shall run to hear the words of the atik yomin (One Who has been around for an infinite number of days) – The loftiest conceptions of the Divine are the words of the atik yomin, things that are beyond everything that exists in the world. The idea of this blessing is that for its recipient, even the lowest elements of his shleimut will be arranged in a proper order so that he will not be missing even the smallest level and everything of his will be attached to his lofty target. That is what it means that his feet, which comprise the bottom of his body and are involved in the lowest of actions, will run to hear the words of the atik yomin. The desire to conceive the spiritual will be so great that not only will his lower elements not prevent him from shleimut but will even increase the desire to use every medium toward the goal of great shleimut.
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This week’s Hemdat Yamim is dedicated in loving memory of
ben Yehudah Mayer
a lover of the Jewish Nation Torah and Land
R' Meir ben Yechezkel Shraga Brachfeld
and Louis and Lillian Klein, z”l.