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Does Torah learning weaken a person?
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Shiur #29 in Rav Aharon Kahn’s Hashkafah Series Based on Mishlei with Biur HaGra. Content Description: Mishlei verse 2:7. Explanations of “Torah mateshes kocho shel adam.” Possible opposite conclusion from the Zohar Chodosh; several approaches to explain the apparent contradiction. Citations: Besides the commentaries related to Mishlei, the following sources are also referenced in this shiur: Gemara Bava Metsia 84a with Rashi and Maharsha, found in the source packet on page 1, and Zohar Chodosh, found in the source packet on pages 1-2, and Chiddushei HaRitva, Maseches Yuma 28b, found in the source packet on page 2, and Teshuvos Divrei Yatziv, found in the source packets on pages 2-3, and Keren Orah on Sanhedrin 26b, found in the source packet on page 3.
Analysis of Chochmah, Binah and Da’as. Ahavas Hashem and Yiras Hashem
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Shiur #28 in Rav Aharon Kahn’s Hashkafah Series Based on Mishlei with Biur HaGra. Content Description: Further development in defining Chochmah, Binah and Tevunah. Binah is developing the original flash of an idea, and giving it shape and substance. Tanya: contemplation leads to yiras Hashem, which itself then leads to ahavas Hashem. Rambam: contemplation leads to ahavas Hashem, which is a pre-requisite to Yiras Hashem. However, the closer you approach Hashem, the more you pull away. Tanya: Da’as is attaching to Hashem every moment of your life. Citations: Rashi and Ibn Ezra on Shemos 31:3, found in the source packets on page 1, and Sefer HaTanya, 1st chelek, chapter 3, found in the source packet on pages 1-2, and the Rambam Hilchos Yesodei HaTorah (1:1, 1:6, 2:1, and 2:2) found in the source packet on pages 2-3.
Proper influences; cleaving to Talmidei Chachomim
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Shiur #27 in Rav Aharon Kahn’s Hashkafah Series Based on Mishlei with Biur HaGra. Content Description: Malbim on verse 2:2, defining chochmah. Inability of mankind to independently determine what is right and wrong; you need a transmission from Torah or Chachomim. Rashi and Rambam’s understandings of “ul’davka bo” – cleaving to Talmidei Chachomim. Teshuvas Mahari Asad regarding Talmidei Chachomim cleaving to other Talmidei Chachomim. Everyone needs proper influences. “Vi-halachta bidrachav” means personal transformation. Citations: Besides the commentaries related to Mishlei, the following sources are also referenced in this shiur: Rambam Hilchos De’os 6:1,2, and 1:6, found in the source packet on page 2.
Definitions of basic Kabbalah terminology: Chochmah, Binah and Daas
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Shiur #26 in Rav Aharon Kahn’s Hashkafah Series Based on Mishlei with Biur HaGra. Content Description: Mishlei verses 2: 2,3,6. Basic Kabbalah terminology –[1] Chochmah, [2] Binah, [3] Daas. [1] Spark/origination of the concept, [2] development and [3] concretization and transformation into the final result in life. The importance of impartial listening before analyzing and participating. The critical role of yirah as a basis for ahavah, and everything else.
The importance of knowing halachah le’ma’aseh – and of enjoying learning
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Shiur #25 in Rav Aharon Kahn’s Hashkafah Series Based on Mishlei with Biur HaGra. Content Description: Chayei Adam Hakdama Achrona on the importance of learning halachah le-ma’aseh. Nevertheless, it is the geshmak of learning that will keep a person connected to learning – the distractions and pull of the world are too great to just rely on “learning for the sake of avodas Hashem, whether exciting or dry.” The cleansing value of Torah. Citations: Chayei Adam Hakdama Achrona, found in the source packets on pages 1-3.
Classic derech ha-limud/pedagogy of Yeshivas
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Shiur #24 in Rav Aharon Kahn’s Hashkafah Series Based on Mishlei with Biur HaGra. Content Description: “Bimakom she-libo chofetz.” Biur HaGra on Mishlei 17:24 – the highest level of learning is that we intend simply to fulfill Hashem’s Will, which is that we engage in learning. Discussion of the focus in yeshivas on giving the students a ‘geshmak’ for learning, as opposed to halachah lema’aseh. Klal Yisroel has changed learning from a purely spiritual endeavor into an almost visceral enjoyment (which parallels Toras Hashem versus Toraso). Competition and excitement is important at the earlier levels of one’s development. Citations: Besides the commentaries related to Mishlei, the following sources are also referenced in this shiur: Gemara Avodah Zarah 19a with Maharsha and Ben Yehoyada, found in the source packet on pages 1-2.
Learning Torah for its own sake, and learning in order to know how to perform mitzvos
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Shiur #23 in Rav Aharon Kahn’s Hashkafah Series Based on Mishlei with Biur HaGra. Content Description: Mishlei verses 2:4,5. Torah learning for its own sake and Torah learning as preparation for performing mitzvos. Rambam’s implication that a child whose father didn’t teach him Torah is obligated me’dioraisa to teach himself as soon as he is able, even before becoming a bar mitzvah. Chayei Adam Hakdama Achrona about priorities in serving Hashem, where to invest one’s learning time. Citations: Besides the commentaries related to Mishlei, the following source is also referenced in this shiur: Chayei Adam Hakdama Achrona, found in the source packet on pages 1-3.
Teaching Torah to gentiles
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Shiur #22 in Rav Aharon Kahn’s Hashkafah Series Based on Mishlei with Biur HaGra. Content Description: Teaching Torah to gentiles. Analysis of commentaries on gemara Chagigah 13a, which focus on the pasuk brought to support the prohibition of teaching Torah to gentiles. Who ‘owns’ the Torah? Do I have a partial, but individual ownership? Or do I individually own nothing of Torah, but rather, as a part of Klal Yisroel, it is group-owned? An understanding of the word: “morasha”--nuances of ‘yerushas kehillas Yaakov’ in contrast to ‘morasha kehillas Yaakov.’ Citations: Gemara Chagigah 13a with Tosfos, found in the source packets on page 1, and Turei Even on that Tosfos, found in the source packets on pages 1-3, and Sfas Emes (Chagigah 13a) found in the source packets on page 3.
Qualifications to rule in Jewish Law and the prohibition of teaching Torah to a gentile
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Shiur #21 in Rav Aharon Kahn’s Hashkafah Series Based on Mishlei with Biur HaGra. Content Description: The ills of “poskining” when not fit to do so. The ills of “poskining” from later sources without knowing the fundamentals recorded in the Talmud. The prohibition of teaching Torah to a gentile. Citations: Teshuvos Rivash (siman 44), found in the source packet on page 1, and Teshuvos Yabia Omer (1st chelek, Orach Chaim, Divrei Psichah) found in the source packet on pages 1-2, and Gemara Chagigah 13a with Tosfos and Maharsha, found in the source packet on page 2.
Teaching unworthy students. Also, filling the role of posek
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Shiur #20 in Rav Aharon Kahn’s Hashkafah Series Based on Mishlei with Biur HaGra. Content Description: Teaching Torah to unworthy disciples. Shammai and Hillel on remembering Shabbos. Mishlei 7:26: Paskening when not fit to do so, and abstaining from paskening when you are needed to do so. Citations: Teshuvos Yabi’a Omer (7th chelek, Yoreh De’ah siman 19), found in the source packets on page 1, and Avos D’Rebbi Nosson (2nd chapter), found in the source packets on page 1, and Gemara Avodah Zarah 19b, found in the source packets on page 2, and Rambam Hilchos Talmud Torah 5:4, found in the source packets on page 2, and Kol Eliyahu (Shemos 20:13), found in the source packets on page 2.