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Relationship of Yiras Shomayim to learning Torah
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Shiur #7 in Rav Aharon Kahn’s Hashkafah Series Based on Mishlei with Biur HaGra. Content Description: Verses 1:6,7. Critical role of Yiras Shamayim in the enterprise of attaining chochmah. The consequences of learning with intent to do, and to avoid transgression. Actual effect that yiras shamayim can have on one’s mental capacity for chochmah. Citations: The relevant commentaries on Mishlei are presented in the source packet.
Hashem’s two warnings pre-Matan Torah
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Shiur #6 in Rav Aharon Kahn’s Hashkafah Series Based on Mishlei with Biur HaGra. Content Description: Discussion of Mishlei verse 1:5. Polishing oneself to become an appropriate vessel to receive Torah. The Torah she-bich’sav is a mashal, where the intent is always beneath the surface. There is a surface meaning, but the intent is in its depth. This contrasts with Divrei Chachomim, where the only understanding is in the depth; there is no surface ‘mashal’ meaning or value. Hashem’s two warnings before Matan Torah, and the Rambam’s analysis of them (Hilchos Me’ilah 8:8); the requirement to delve into the reasons for mitzvos, and the risks that such an endeavor involve. Citations: Besides the commentaries on Mishlei presented in the source packet, the following sources are referenced in this shiur: Shemos verses 19:10-25, which are found in the source packet on pages 1-2, and the Rambam Hilchos Meilah 8:8, which is found in the source packet on pages 2-3.
The positive value of suffering
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Shiur #5 in Rav Aharon Kahn’s Hashkafah Series Based on Mishlei with Biur HaGra. Content Description: Various understandings of the word ‘musar’ in Mishlei. Positive value of yisurim. Short discussion of “Vi-nishmartem mi-od li-nafshosaychem” in the Rambam. Discussion of aliyah la-Torah for the klalos of the tochachah. Citations: Besides the commentaries on Mishlei presented in the source packet, the following sources are referenced in this shiur: Mechilta D’Rabbi Yishmael (Yisro), found in the source packet on pages 1-2, and Gemara Megillah 31b, found in the source packet on page 2, and the Maharal’s Sefer Derech Chaim, found in the source packet on pages 3-4, and the Shlah HaKadosh, found on page 4.
The nature of low-intensity suffering
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Shiur #4 in Rav Aharon Kahn’s Hashkafah Series Based on Mishlei with Biur HaGra. Content Description: Gemara Erchin 16b on ‘ad haychan tachlis shel yisurim.” Ramban: Minor inconveniences are not michapper on aveiros – that requires ‘real’ suffering. Opposite opinions of the Toras HaMincha, Maharsha, and Noda BiYehudah. The spiritual risks inherent in suffering – when it is too painful, a person kicks back. Ability of Torah learning to bring about the same result (teshuvah) as teshuvas ha-mishkal/self-inflicted suffering.. Citations: [Please note: Associated with this shiur are 2 sources packets, the first containing only the Ramban Toras Ha-adam Sha’ar Hagmul references. All the other citations are in the second packet.] This shiur continues to discuss the Ramban’s Toras Ha-Adam, found in the first source packet on pages 1-5, and the gemara in Erchin 16b, found in packet 2, on page 1, and the Maharsha (Chidushei Aggados Erchin 16b) found in packet 2, on page 1, and the Toras HaMincha (Parshas Devarim – Drasha 65) found in packet 2, on pages 1, 2, and the sefer Agra dPirka found in packet 2 on page 3, and the Teshuvos Noda Bi’Yehuda (Mahadura Kama Orach Chaim Siman 35) found in packet 2 on pages 3-4.
Bitachon and Ordeals
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Shiur #3 in Rav Aharon Kahn’s Hashkafah Series Based on Mishlei with Biur HaGra. Content Description: A review of the perspective of the Brisker Rav on the reward for having bitachon – needing Hashem even more. In contrast – the Ramban on yisurim shel ahavah being a punishment for aveiros beshogeg. The concept of nisayon – that the tested one becomes a flag-bearer for avodas Hashem and undergoes some strain in performing mitzvos, earning more reward. It is only a ‘test’ from the human’s perspective, not from Hashem’s. Citations: This shiur continues to discuss the Ramban’s Toras Ha-Adam, found in the source packet on pages 1-5.
The Significance of Suffering
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Shiur #2 in Rav Aharon Kahn’s Hashkafah Series Based on Mishlei with Biur HaGra: The significance of suffering - Insights into “yisurim shel ahavah.” Content Description: Sigufim – self-inflicted physical suffering, their relationship to one’s enterprise of Talmud Torah, and to one’s teshuvah. Being mortified on account of one’s sins, is an even greater catalyst for teshuvah than sigufim. Analysis of the idea that if things go wrong, there is an obligation to examine one’s ways, even though one cannot know whether or not this is a punishment. Insights into “yisurim shel ahavah.” Brisker Rav: the botayach b’Hashem’s reward is receiving (and needing) a greater connection to Hashem, which on the surface might make it appear that things have gotten more difficult. Suffering leads to closeness and dependence upon Hashem. Citations: Besides the commentaries on Mishlei presented in the source packet, the following sources are referenced in this shiur: Ramban’s Toras Ha-Adam, Sha’ar ha-Gmul, which is found in the source packet on pages 1-5, and Maharsha (Chidushei Aggados Gemara Brachos 5a) which is found in the source packet on page 5-6, and the Biur Halacha (Siman 571) which is found in the source packet on page 6.
Introduction to the Structure of Mishlei
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Shiur #1 in Rav Aharon Kahn’s Hashkafah Series Based on Mishlei with Biur HaGra Content Description: Structure of Mishlei – (a) how to prevent the yetser hara from getting you, (b) if it gets you, how to free yourself from that jail, and (c) how to free yourself in the Torah way. This is achieved by way of chochmah, mussar, and imrei binah. Insight into “vaYelchu acharei ha-hevel, va-ye-hebalu (Yirmiyahu 2:5).” A discussion on the contradiction between “Al ti-he tsadik harbeh (Koheles 7:16)” and “kadesh atsmecha ba-mutar lach (Yevamos 20a).” Citations: Besides the commentaries on Mishlei presented in the source packet, the following sources are referenced in this shiur: Mesilas Yesharim Chapter 13, explaining “Midas HaChassidus”, found in the source packet on pages 3-6, and Zohar-Ra’ayah MeHemnah Volume 3, BaMidbar Parshas Pinchas page 247a, found in the source packet on pages 2-3.