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Shabbat Parashat Vayeitzei 5779

Ein Ayah: The Importance of the Desire to Understand the World

(condensed from Ein Ayah, Shabbat 6:12)

Gemara: One who knows how to calculate the seasons and track the constellations and does not do so – it is forbidden to speak with him.


Ein Ayah: The spiritual desire to adorn the human soul with crowning glory engraves in a person the seal of the divine form and gives the human spirit its unique character. This continues until the point that speech that breaks forth from the flow of the spirit will contain sparks of light and personal insights that display a glow that represents the person.

When a person has the means through which to bring these desires to fruition, it will inspire him to have his spiritual vision take form in the physical world. This can happen as long as his spirit has not been ruined and his emotional stability is still intact.

A person’s initial push to broaden his cognitive powers gives breadth to the spirit and enhances the mind. This shows him that his true and special natural domain is that of the knowledge of science and recognizing the secrets of the universe with all its power. This will bring him from strength to strength and from light to light. The glow of his divine form will increase its rays of light, which burst forth on a consistent basis.

On the other hand, when one’s spirit sinks and the desire for the broadest possible scientific knowledge will not fill his heart with emotion, his situation will be significantly diminished. After all, those desires give basis for the senses and for the feelings of grandeur to function along with intellectual recognitions to rise to the peaks of observation and to find complete life in the treasure houses of recognition. These are things that it is a shame to not acquire.

This is the situation of one who knows how to calculate the seasons and track the constellations, knowing their paths, their tasks, their nature, and their position, and does not do so. He does not realize or sufficiently care that these represent the grand general universal form, which is full of the glory and light of He who lives forever, which is revealed through the workings of the heavens. If one does not care, it is a sign that the nature of his spirit has strayed significantly from its proper position and his spirit has become connected to desire for poverty, evil, and coarse materialism. If this is what his spirit develops, he will just pollute the grandeur of the spirit and dim the light of the soul, the beauty of intellectual pursuit, and the desire to see what is nice in the world. This is opposed to the natural tendency, which is part of a human’s wise heart and soul, to seek out that which is connected to a good life and lofty matters.

It is important to stay away from such a person and from his influence. Although he has developed skills, [as indeed he is capable of making the astronomical calculations,] there is a danger of being damaged by his cold spirit. After all, his abilities did not succeed in having him extricate himself from the bonds of lowly desires that put him to sleep. Therefore, one should not speak to one who does not bother to make the astronomical calculations that he is capable of doing.

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