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Shabbat Parashat Shemini 5776

Ein Ayah: Keys for the Inner and the Outer Doors

(condensed from Ein Ayah, Shabbat 2:169)

Gemara: Rabba bar Rav Huna said: Whichever person has Torah but does not have within him fear of Heaven is like a treasurer to whom they handed over the keys to the inner doors, but the keys to the outer doors they did not hand over. How will he be able to get in?


Ein Ayah: The sechel (intellect) and the regesh (feelings/emotions) are the controllers of the spirit. These enable a person to, respectively, investigate every matter with logic and draw him to feel good about doing that which is upright. Pure sechel is certainly more refined and internal than regesh, which is affected by the nature of the body.

The pure divine sechel is the foundation of the Torah, and a person can embrace it when he studies Torah for the right reasons and with great effort. The foundation of fear of Hashem is pure regesh in the correct direction, in which one’s moral spirit and his good actions join together to prepare the heart for a life of sanctity. Proper regesh is called “fear of Heaven” when it is enhanced by awe that inspires a person who contemplates the wonders of nature done by the Creator, as the pasuk says: “When I see Your heavens, the work of Your fingers” (Tehillim 8:4).

The inner regesh reacts enthusiastically when it sees the sechel finding deep truths even of cold and dry logical statements. The finely tuned holy heart “hears” the result of the pure sechel in a unique way. Therefore, one who lacks pure regesh, even though it is external in comparison to pure sechel, will not be able to grasp and feel the truths involved in grasping elements of Hashem. He may have intellectual command of the philosophical ideas, but he will not reach their inner essence. This is because truths have their full significance only when they reach the person at his inner point and his sprit clings to the light of life. For this to happen in more than a superficial manner and for it to allow a person control of the power, one’s regesh needs to reach a level of sanctity and purity. Otherwise, his relationship with the truth will be theoretical and not practical.

This is what the gemara means by “How will he be able to get in?” Personal characteristics, even though they are external matters, determine whether a person will have his sechel light up the interior of his soul. This is because when they are improper, they separate between the sechel and the inner soul.

That is why one who has Torah, which is the pinnacle of the sechel, is lacking when he is missing fear of Heaven. He is like a treasurer, as he is not the owner of the intellectual attainments but one who theoretically has access to them, while they are actually foreign to him.

The situation would still be relatively good if he had actual access, in that they could impact the way he acts, even if they could not destroy the evil in his heart. However, since he is like one who has keys to the inner doors but not the outer ones, he is not able to use them at all. It is true that he will be able to do some impressive things, as is hinted by the metaphor of having received keys at all, as any type of Torah attainments makes an impression. However, they will not be able to do what they are supposed to. That is because inner morality is needed to grasp the inner element of the intellectual truths. These are the external keys that the person is missing.

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