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Shabbat Parashat Vayeira | 5769

Excerpts from the Introduction to Ein Ayah part VIII (final installment)

Ein Ayah

(from the writings of Harav Avraham Yitzchak Hakohen Kook, z.t.l.)



[Last time, we discussed the ideas behind aggadic interpretation, which often need to be proved by time and/or refined by skeptics’ criticism. The resulting ideas are more safe and helpful.]

This phenomenon has arisen again in recent times when, initially a small group of holy and deep-thinking people, expanded the teachings of ethics through the principles of Chasidut. This development caused a storm in the Jewish world. Before it was possible to see the impact the new approach would have on the hearts of the masses, there was concern over it. The “brakes” applied to Chasidut due to opposition to it were necessary and helped prevent great damage that could have come from “students who did not study from their teachers sufficiently.” Even the loftiest ideas can be perverted into damaging things. After the raucous has settled, Chasidut has developed new “plants” that we can use to serve Hashem and expand the true words of ethics and aggada to light the way. The multitude of approaches helps clarify matters. As long as all are pointing toward one target, the path that leads to the House of the Lord of Yaakov, these and those are the words of the Living G-d. These add vitality and strength to Israel and honorably renew the shining face of the true Torah to make it great and widespread.

Talmidei chachamim increase peace in the world” (Berachot 64a) refers to scholars who learn seriously and also spend time emulating veteran talmidei chachamim. They delve to the depths of the Torah, extracting the correct halacha from the sources. So too in the field of aggada, a talmid chacham can enter the light-filled path and, if he knows it well, can avoid the thorns, beasts, and bandits who may frequent the path. We must strive to come to correct conclusions also in the important area of aggada, which requires a tremendous amount of work.

In the realm of halacha, we must hear the various opinions and reasoning, which emerge from the logic of the Torah that was given by Hashem to Moshe but can lead different rabbis to different legitimate decisions (see Chagiga 3b, regarding eilu v’eilu divrei Elokim chayim). Also regarding aggada, philosophy and proper service of Hashem, all of the ideas of the sages of all generations emanate from one Torah source and are focused on lighting the candle of Israel and bringing man from the ways of death to those of life. Therefore, the more distinctions there are in terms of style and content and the more knowledge that is thereby spread, the more there will be peace, brotherhood and friendship. However, to be on the level to spread such light and peace, one must work very hard studying the breadth and depth of the Torah. That which motivates people to do so is the expansion of the words of Chazal in aggada through knowledge and straight logic.

[Rav Kook then explains the sefer’s name. “Ein” is based on the sefer, Ein Yaakov, which gathers the gemara’s aggadot. “Ayah” humbly refers to a pasuk that mentions the inability of a bird of that name to see (see Iyov 28:6). We must assume that it also relates to the acronym of his name, Avraham Yitzchak Hakohen.]

It is my prayer at this time of good will to You, Hashem, who gives wisdom from His mouth, that I shall utter only truth. Save me from mistakes in the fields of halacha and aggada. May I be successful to bring to fruition that which I desire for the honor of Your Holy Name. Grant me the spirit of wise counsel, strength, and the fear of Hashem. May I merit seeing the joy of Your nation, when You will bring salvation from Zion to Your glorious nation, Israel. I end with the pasuk’s words of thanks, “Hashem, my G-d, I will thank Your Name for You have done a wonder” (Yeshaya 25:1) and pray for the future, “Even until old age, Hashem, may You not forsake me until I tell of Your strength to the generation and Your power to all who come” (Tehillim 71:18).

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This edition of Hemdat Yamim is dedicated to the memory of George Weinstein

Gershon ben Yehudah Mayer, a lover of the Jewish Nation Torah and Land.

As well as

R ' Meir ben Yechezkel Shraga  Brachfeld


Hemdat Yamim is endowed by Les & Ethel Sutker of Chicago, Illinois in loving memory of
Max and Mary Sutker

and Louis and Lillian Klein, z”l.

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