Audio Roundup Special: Uvikashtem Misham

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by Joel Rich

These are recordings of a chaburah given by R’Rosensweig on R’Soloveitchik’s Uvikashtem Misham.  I don’t know when they were recorded or if more will be forthcoming so I’m summarizing what was put up on YUTORAH a few weeks ago.
ובקשתם משם 1 (Introduction)
        One shouldn’t look at Ish Halalacha and U’vikashtem Msham from R’YBS as schizophrenic works but rather as two sides of the same coin.  Each has a view (mechanistic vs. experiential) and provides different perspectives which inform on each other.  It’s similar to the dialectics of kiyum and maaseh.
        There’s a lot of complexity in a great man (and in the Brisker approach)!
ובקשתם משם 2 (Introduction – Mesorah)
        Mesorah was very important to R’YBS in the context of the participation of chachmei hamesorah in an ongoing gilui shechina.  Public policy is an important role for the chachmei hamesorah
בקשתם משם 3 (Chapter 19 P1)
        Being part of the mesorah chain/chachmei hamesorah, one develops an instinct for the dvar hashem and a sense of responsibility (me – think morasha vs yerusha, symposium of generations)
בקשתם משם 4 (Chapter 19 P2)
        The chachmei hamesorah feel a chiyuv to transmit the ongoing giluy shechina where the past, present and future merge.  They must be given deference on more than an intellectual level and opposing them (makchisei magideha) is a bad thing.  (me – I’ve heard those that oppose this approach argue that only a Sanhedrin is due this deference.  I wonder about the practical definition of chochmei hamesorah issues)
בקשתם משם 5 (Chapter 1)
        Finishing off the discussion of mesorah and then on to an analysis of the text itself.  Bein hashmashot and shir hashirim are about a transition time and the relationship between the Jewish people and HKB”H (me – Bein hashmashot as a time created as neither day or night – inherently complex like quantam physics)
בקשתם משם 6 (Chapter 2 P1)
        Finishing off the shir hashirim analogy and moving on to the specific narutzah/mashcheini analogy – how do we establish our two way interaction in seeking HKB”H?
בקשתם משם 7 (Chapter 2 P2)
        Analysis of the four elements in the complex initiation/response cycle of seeking HKB”H.  We do it through (1) the cosmic order (2) choice vs. obligation relationship (3) appreciating HKB”H outside our experience (4) experiencing his transcendence knowing we’re bound to fail in experiencing it.  Every generation will have its own formula
בקשתם משם 8 (Chapter 2 P3)
        Science is great and provides interesting information but can’t quite reach the revelation of religious experience (Non-overlapping magesteria?)
        Given non-overlapping magesteria, Science/Religion questions aren’t bothersome (i.e. “that question doesn’t bother me” ≠ it’s not a good question).  R’YBS spent his time on the man/HKB”H relationship instead.
בקשתם משם 9 (Chapter 3)
        Even though experiential knowing is superior to intellectual it’s still not enough to give certainty in the man/HKB”H relationship.  Even prayer has an element of presumption by man and thus R’YBS felt it needed a matir.  Sin changed our trajectory and caused our separation from HKB”H
בקשתם משם 10 (Chapter 4 P1)
        HKBH reaches out and reveals himself to man unexpectedly.  This outreach was triggered by the separation caused by sin.
בקשתם משם 11 (Chapter 4 P2)
        While R’YBS appreciated general secular philosophy, he critiqued it when it wasn’t coupled with the recognition of its insufficiency without HKBH
בקשתם משם 12 (Chapter 4 P3)
        We need to recognize that the tzivui (command) of HKBH is the key in giving our actions meaning (without our acceptance of it, the same actions lack meaning)
בקשתם משם 13 (Footnote 10)
        How different thinkers looked at revelational vs intellectual approaches to HKBH.

About Joel Rich

Joel Rich is a frequent wannabee cyberspace lecturer on various Torah topics. A Yerushalmi formerly temporarily living in West Orange, NJ, his former employer and the Social Security administration support his Torah listening habits. He is a recovering consulting actuary.

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