A question about study

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Re: A question about study

Postby steve » Fri Nov 25, 2011 3:02 pm

Ess76,

Are we not duty bound to show gratitude in prayer to G-d ? ( the duties of the limbs)

Thanks.
Steve.
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Re: A question about study

Postby ess76 » Fri Nov 25, 2011 3:31 pm

steve wrote:Ess76,

Are we not duty bound to show gratitude in prayer to G-d ? ( the duties of the limbs)

Thanks.
Steve.

Of course we are. The Rabbis instituted that we pray 3 times every day. Prayer is one way we worship God. It is an awe-inspiring experience through which we speak directly to Him, without the means of a messenger. It is the opposite experience of prophecy. If only man could pray all day long....

Elazar
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Re: A question about study

Postby steve » Tue Nov 29, 2011 7:40 pm

Thank-you,
This book/ teaching is the inspiration, what I need is the courage and discipline.
I would really appreciate any insights you have as you read through the gates.

Thanks.
Steve
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Re: A question about study

Postby steve » Sun Dec 04, 2011 11:57 am

ess76 wrote:
steve wrote:I'm reading Duties of the heart ( reading slowly this time) ; In the introduction the author talks about the Duties of the limbs being associated with making a guard rail for the roof.
What is the association between the Duties of the limbs and making a guard rail for the roof ?
What does making a guard rail for the roof mean ?

Thanks.
Steve.

Believe it or not, I am also reading this book for the first time at the moment, and am also currently almost done with the introduction. Where exactly are you referring to? I am not reading it in English, so that terminology does not sound familiar to me.

For the record, Kitab al-Hidaya ila Fara'id al-Qulub and Rabbenu Bahya are not a part of the Mussar collection which developed in 19th century Eastern Europe under the auspices of Yisrael Salanter. It originates from a completely different world view--that of Andalusia during the Golden Age of Spain. It seeks to teach the individual how to develop the inner workings of himself, and use them in the worship of God in which we are all commanded. To comprehend the absolute oneness of God and how to purify the soul. These are all things that are already commanded by the Law. He himself emphasizes this right at the beginning. The source of our obligation is known through reason (al-ma'qul), the Tora (al-maktub), and tradition (al-manqul).


Ess76,
I've started reading some of the mussar writings you talk about, I now understand why some Rabbi's say a person should learn mussar first then Torah.
Thank-you, I have so much to thank Hashem for, especially the Kindness of his servants.

Thank-you.
Steve.
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Re: A question about study

Postby ess76 » Sun Jan 01, 2012 3:18 am

steve wrote:Ess76,

Are we not duty bound to show gratitude in prayer to G-d ? ( the duties of the limbs)

Thanks.
Steve.

Also note that R. Bahya includes prayer as one of the commandments of the limbs (fara'id al-jawarih), not as a commandment of the hearts (fara'id al-qulub). R. Bahya claims that the commandments of the hearts are obligatory upon all HUMANS, not only Jews. They are a part of a Natural Law that is incumbent upon all as a way to worship God. Not only Jews are obligated in the worship of God, and the commandments of the Hearts are the foundation for the worship of God.

If you want, I have an essay I recently wrote comparing the approaches to hasidhuth (piety, not to be confused with the hasidhuth of Europe begun by the Ba'al Shem Tov) of R. Bahya and R. Avraham ben HaRambam. Two incredible thinkers with remarkably similar approaches, but with some significant disagreements. Send me an email (ess76@cornell.edu) if you're interested in reading it, and I'll happily send it to you.

:-)

Elazar
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Re: A question about study

Postby Kira » Mon Jan 02, 2012 9:48 am

That sounds fascinating, Elazar.

R' Avraham ben HaRambam doesn't get nearly enough attention.

Question for the both of you: Does R' Bahya talk about the duality of prayer? That is, for us, we have a minimum requirement of standing before G-d a few minutes each day and saying certain pre-written prayers, while understanding what we are saying at least for the first handful. Is this not a "commandment of the limbs" in that case, the relevant "limb" being the mouth?

It is certainly all to easy to fulfill that requirement without putting one's heart into it ...

-Kira
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Re: A question about study

Postby ess76 » Tue Jan 03, 2012 8:18 am

Kira wrote:That sounds fascinating, Elazar.

R' Avraham ben HaRambam doesn't get nearly enough attention.

Question for the both of you: Does R' Bahya talk about the duality of prayer? That is, for us, we have a minimum requirement of standing before G-d a few minutes each day and saying certain pre-written prayers, while understanding what we are saying at least for the first handful. Is this not a "commandment of the limbs" in that case, the relevant "limb" being the mouth?

It is certainly all to easy to fulfill that requirement without putting one's heart into it ...

-Kira

Hi Kira,

Yes, he really does not. And he sheds a lot of light on his father as well. Many inaccurately portray Maimonides as a pure "rationalist" who is super-legal and anti-mysticism. Yet somehow 6 generations of Maimonides' children all produced works of mysticism. I think it shows a hint of what Rambam thought.

As for your question, I'm not sure what you mean by the "duality" of prayer, sorry. R. Bahya definitely refers to tefilla as a commandment of the limbs, not of the hearts. One of the requirements of that commandment is kawwanath halev (intention of the heart). The kawwana is not a mitswa in and of itself though. For him, tefilla is an external action.

He cares more about internal perfection. His "gates" (chapters) reflect the various levels that the pious must perfect.

I hope that answers what you were asking. If not, feel free to let me know, and hopefully I can help.

Best,

Elazar
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Re: A question about study

Postby Kira » Tue Jan 03, 2012 10:25 am

I don't know how it's possible to read the Rambam's description of how one reaches prophecy and not realize that he is talking from personal experience. Not in prophecy itself, which is a gift, but the actions that one takes to perfect himself. If one wants to call it "philosophy", one is welcome, but it makes more sense to call it "mysticism".

I do recall hearing once something quite negative about R' Avraham ben HaRambam ... I don't even wish to say in it in print. Do you know what I'm referring to, and can you put my mind at ease?

-Kira
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Re: A question about study

Postby ess76 » Wed Jan 04, 2012 5:29 am

Kira wrote:I don't know how it's possible to read the Rambam's description of how one reaches prophecy and not realize that he is talking from personal experience. Not in prophecy itself, which is a gift, but the actions that one takes to perfect himself. If one wants to call it "philosophy", one is welcome, but it makes more sense to call it "mysticism".

I do recall hearing once something quite negative about R' Avraham ben HaRambam ... I don't even wish to say in it in print. Do you know what I'm referring to, and can you put my mind at ease?

-Kira

Rabbenu Avraham was an extremely incredible man. He often struggled with his desire to live a more secluded pious life and the Eyptian Jewish community needing him as the leader of their community.

I agree with you. Calling it either philosophy or mysticism are lacking. These are not hebrew words, nor do they express hebrew thinking. I am not even sure what they mean. What are the hebrew equivalents? It is best to refer to a text or a person using the terminology that he used and was comfortable with, as that most adequately reflects his world-view.

Unfortunately, I am not sure I know what you are referring to. If you want to (and if you don't, that's fine), can you send me a message of what you are referring to, and I'll try and respond to the best of my ability?

Thanks Kira,

Elazar
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Re: A question about study

Postby steve » Sun Jan 22, 2012 5:12 pm

Elazar, thanks for the essay.
Amazing Divine Provedence that you were also able to help me with good advice.
Hashem is good and does good.

Thank-you
Steve.
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