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Maharal and the transcendent nature of Hesed

Maharal and the transcendent nature of Hesed

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Published by Avi Weinstein

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Categories:Types, Research
Published by: Avi Weinstein on Apr 13, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Maharal: The Path to Acts of Lovingkindness
Translated by Avi Weinstein for the Samuel Bronfman Foundation
Why Be Jewish
ברפס ילשמ (טז,ו')דסחב תמאו רפוכי ןוע
אלב זרל םישרפמ בותכה הזה יכ לעב תולימג םידסח יואר תרפכל אטחה,יכ לעב תולימג  םידסח שי וב בוטה רומגה אוהש ביטמ םירחאל,םדאלו ומכ הז שי ול תוכז תוקדו ירמחה  וניאו םדא ירמח רומג,יכ הרמוח וניא עיפשמ קר אוה לבקמ דימת.רבדו הז וזמר זרל המב  ורמאש (תובא פב)ןיא םע ץראה דיסח,יכ םע ץראה אוהש םדא ירמח ןיא ול תדמ תודיסח  תושעל בוטה לא רחא,יכ ירמוחה אוה לבקמ וניאו עיפשמ רחאל,ךכלו ילעב ילמוג םידסח  םישועש בוטה םיעיפשמו םירחאל וניא ירמח קר שי ול תוכז רמוחה,ליבשבו הז ךכזמ ופוג  ורמוחו ןמ אטחה רשא םה תותיחפ ירמחה.ןכו ורמא שרדמב (טוקלי עשוה כקתב)יכ דסח  יתצפח אלו חבז רמא בקהה ביבח ילע דסח םתאש םילמוג דסח הז הזל רתוי לכמ חבז חבזש  המלש ינפל ףלא תולוע הלעי המלש םעפ א'היה ר'ןנחוי ןב יאכז ךלהמ ריבםילשו היהו ר' עשוהי ךלהמ וירחא רמא יוא ונל לע תיבה אוהש ברח םוקמ םירפכתמש וב וניתונוע רמא ול  ינב לא ערי ךל יכ שי ונל הרפכ אצויכ הזב הזיאו הז תולימג םידסח ךכל רמאנ יכ דסח יתצפח  אלו חבז רמואו יכ יתרמא םלוע דסח הנבי עכ.לכו הז ינפמ יכ לעב תולימג םידסח ןיא ול  הדמ תירמחה,קר שי ול ךוכז רמוחה הזבו ךכזמ רהטמו תא ףוגה ןמ אטחה ומכ ראבתהש, ךכיפלו דסחב רפוכי ןוע.רמאו יכ דסח יתצפח אוהש תוכז לש םדא אוהש ןינק הלעמ םדאל  ומצע,אלו חבז יכ ןיא חבזה ןינק הדמ הבוט יאדובו הז תרוי ץפח שהי ןמ חבזה.המו רמאש  תמאו רל הרותה איהש תמא הב תרפכ אטח,יכ הרותה איה תרפכ אטח ירמגל ןיאו ךירצ  הלוע ןברקו ומכו ראבתנש הלעמל ביתנב הרותה עש,ןכו ורמא קרפב אמק תוכרבד (ה,'ב') ראבתיו דוע ביתנב םירוסיה.דועו יכ עי הרותה שי ול גכ ךוכז ילכשה ליבשבו הז תמאה ךכזמ  חכ ילכשה רשאכ היה ול תנומא רקש.נהוה םינש ולא תמא דסחו םהינש םעט דחא םהל  ירמגל,יכ לעב תולימג םידסח דצמ שיש ול תוכז ירמחה שי ול תוכזה ןמ אטחה ומכ ונרמאש, תמאו שי ול תוכז ילכש הזבו שי ול קולס ןועה היהש ול דצמ לכשה תנומאב רקש,רשאכו אוה  שיא תמא שיו ול תוכז ילכשה והז ךוכז אטחה היהש ול חכב לכשהי,והזו ראובמ...
קרפב אמק הטוסד (יד עא)רמא בר אחא יאמ ביתכד ירחא ה'לאםכיה וכלת יכו רשפא םדאל  ךולהל רחא הניכשה אלהו רבכ אנ'יכ ה'ךיהלא שא הלכא אוה לא אנק אלא ךולה רחא ויתודמ  המ אוה שיבלמ םימורע ביתכד שעיו ה'וגו'תונתכ רוע םשיבליו ףא התא שבלה םימורע  בקהה רקבמ םילוח ביתכדכ אריו וילא ה'ףא התא רקב םילוח בקהה רבוק םיתמ ביתכד  רובקיו ותוא איגב ףא התא ךכ בקהה םחנמ םילבא ביתכד יהיו ירחא תומ םהרבא ךרביו  םיהלא תא קחצי ףא התא ךכ עכ.המו לעש ידי הדמה תאזה טרפב רשפא תומדתהל וארובל, ינפמ תאזש הדמה איה המ השועש םדאה ומצעב.יכ טפשמה אל ךייש רמול אוהש ךלוה יכרדב  םשה ךרבתי,יכ ךלוהה אוה ךלוה דצמ ומצע השועו ומצעמ ונוצרמ ותעדמו הזו ארקנ אוהש  ךלוה יכרדב םשה בתי'רשאכ השוע רבד ותעדמ,וליאו טפשמה אוה ביוחמ תושעל טפשמ אלו  ארקנ הז ךלוהש יכרדב בקהה,קר רשאכ אוה השוע דסח םינפל תרושמ ןידה אוהו השוע  ותעדמ ונוצרמו הזב ךייש ךלוהש יכרדב םשה ךרבתי.ןכו םימחרה רשאכ שי ינע םחרמו וילע  ןתונו הקדצ ןיא לכב הז רמאיש ךלוהש יכרדב ה'תי,'יכ םא אל היה ינעה הרצב רשפא יכ אל  היה השוע.ךכלו אל רמאי הזב ךלוהש יכרדב םשה תי'קר רשאכ השוע דסח,דסחהש אוה  השוע ומצעמ וניאו בייח הזב ךכיפלו לע ידי הדמה תאזה רמאנ וילע ךלוהש דביכר ה'ךלוהו 
וירחא.רתויו הזמ יכ רבכ ראבתה תכרבב ןוזמה לצא יכ םלועל ודסח,יכ הדמה תאזה סחייתמ  לא םשה בתי'ומצע טרפב רתוי ראשמ תודמה עוש,ךכיפלו למוגה םידסח ארקנ ךלוהש רחא  םשה ךרבתי
דוע שי ךל תעדל,ףא לע יפ םדאהש השוע טפשמ תמא רשיו ןיא טפשמה אוה תדמ דאהם,יכ  יא רשפא אלש היהי םדאה רקשמ טפשמב הגגשב,ךכיפלו ןיא תדמ טפשמה תדמ םדאה,ךכלו  ןיא רמול תדמב טפשמה םדאהש ךלוה רחא בקהה,קר רשאכ אוה לעב דסח השועו דסח  אלש טפשמב,םדאהו הדמ תאז רשפא ול תושעל איהו תכייש ול,רבדו הז ראבתי ןמקל לצא  דסח תמאו ושגפנ,יכ תולימג דסח טרפב אוה תדמ םדאה אוהו ךייש םדאל אל תדמ טפשמה  אלו ראש תודמה קר הדמ תאז,ךכיפלו הדמב תאז איהש תדחוימ םדאל רמאי הזב ךלוהש רחא  בקהה הדמהו תאזה סחייתמ לא םשה בתי'ומצע םג ןכ.ללכ רבדה הדמב תאז רמאי ךלוהש  רחא בקהה,יכ הדמ תאז איה תדמ םשה תי'איה הדמ ימצעת,םדאהו גכ הדמ תאז וילא דצמ  ומצע ךכלו ךייש רמול הזב ךלוהש םדאה רחא םשה בתי'.דועו יכ שוריפ הז ומכ ונרמאש ינפל  הז,יכ עי דסחה הלעתמ םמורתמו רחא םשה בתי'ומכ ונרמאש ינפל הז,הזבו ארקנ אוהש  ךלוה רחא בקהה רשאכ םמורתמ ןמ תולפשה דע הלעמה הנוילעה ומכ ראבתהש.ומכ אצמנש  לצא םהרבא היהש ארקנ ליבשב תולימג דסח ובש םא םר ביתכדכו הזו ושרד (בר גפח)לע  םהרבא אוה םימורמ ןוכשי.ךכלו ביתכ ירחא ה'םכיהלא וכלת ובו ןוקבדת,הזו רשאכ םדאה  קלסמ הדמ תימשגה זאו הלעתמ הלעמל רחא שהי ומכ ונרמאש רבדו הז ראובמ
 In the
Book of Proverbs
With Compassion and truth sin will be atoned.
16:6). King Solomon wishes to say that it is reasonable for anyone who performsacts of lovingkindness to people, shall deserve for God to perform an act of lovingkindness by atoning his sins, and He will not scrutinize the severity of one
ssins. For just as the individual has gone beyond the letter of the law, God, too, willdo the same for him. Furthermore, we will explain that this is a unique quality of Chesed, that when one performs acts of lovingkindness and does favors forhumanity, God, too, will do this in kind, and favor him and give atonement for hissins. Furthermore,
(piety, the root of the word is
) is defined aswhen one goes beyond the letter of the law, and has internalized this way of doing things
 The Sages, however explain this verse by saying that one who is a master of lovingkindness is deserving of having his sins atoned, for such a person is a masterof absolute good because he makes good for others. Such a person has the meritfrom the material, but he is not absolutely involved in the material realm. For theabsolutely material does not have impact on others, but is constantly taking. Thesages alluded to this in Pirkei Avot, An ignoramous cannot be a Chasid. For an
ignoramous is immersed in the material does not have this quality of 
toperform favors for another, for the material cannot influence others, but onlyreceive (for himself). Therefore, those who are masters of loving kindness are notmaterial, but nevertheless gain merit from the material. It is through this processthat his body and material being is purified from sin, for they represent thedefects of the material. Thus the Midrash says on the verse:
For compassion Idesired, and not sacrifices
The Holy One said: Chesed is more beloved to mewhen you perform acts of lovingkindness toward one another than all thesacrifices that King Solomon performed before Me; one thousand sacrifices thathe ordered all at one time. Rabbi Yochanan Ben Zakai was walking in Jerusalemand Rabbi Yehoshua was following him. He said: How hard it is for us that ourHouse (the Temple) has been destroyed. It was the place where our sins used tobe atoned. He answered: My son, do not despair for we have something thatachieves the same goal, and these are acts of lovingkindness. Thus it is written:
For Lovingkindness I desired, and not sacrifices.
And it is written:
The world isbuilt on compassion
 All this is because masters of lovingkindness do not have a material quality, onlythe purification of the material, and with this he refines and purifies the bodyfrom sin as we have explained. ..In the first chapter of Sotah (14a) Rabbi Acha said: What does the verse,
Walkafter the Lord your God
mean? Can a person literally walk after the Divinepresence? Is it not written:
For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, and ajealous God.
? Rather, it means to emulate His qualities. Just as He clothes thenaked
so should you clothe the naked. Just as thE Holy One visits the sick, soshould you
Just as He buries the dead so should you
and just as He consoles themourner, so should you
 Why is it that this is the singular quality by which a human can truly emulate hisCreator? Because these are the activities that a person does of his own volition.For one cannot say that when one engages in judgment that he is walking in theways of God, because the walker is walking by his own initiative, and performsthese deeds by his own will, and his own awareness, and that is what is required

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