Thursday, August 25, 2016

Rav Soloveitchik And Rav Kotler - When You Have An Internal Sense Of Idealism And Self Importance You Don't Need External Validation

Yeshayahu [Ch. 3] continues telling us which sins caused the destruction upon which the Rabbis [Shabbos 62b] expanded.

 הלוך וטפוף תלכנה - שהיו מהלכות ארוכה בצד קצרה  

"Walking and mincing: they walked", a tall woman by the side of a short one.

THAT was a factor in the destruction?? A tall woman walked next to a short woman? What is so bad about that??? And what were they ladies thinking? Did they not have anything better to do with their time than text a girl who is either much shorter or much taller and say "Hey, let's take a walk". 

In the entire list of sins that were delineated by the Navi, we saw a common thread: Arrogance - גאוה. We already spoke about how the root of the desire to attract attention is a lacuna in one's healthy sense of self. If I am feeling whole on the inside then I don't need anyone else to look at me. But if I am feeling empty then I need others to look at me in order to feel that I actually matter. An arrogant person is empty because he wants to feel that he is a complete person and has nothing more to accomplish or improve upon. But since the reality is completely different and he is in fact FILLED with inadequacies and spiritual and emotional dysfunction [we all are], he needs to find fulfillment from the OUTSIDE.  

The girls had this feeling of arrogance and thus felt existential emptiness. What am I really worth? When a person is empty it is very difficult. In order to cope with this painful feeling the girls found a solution - they walked down the street in such a way that would attract attention. It is odd to see two people walking next to each other when one is significantly taller than the other. This attracts attention - to both of them. 

So again - the sin was arrogance. The need was to find external validation. In this case the method to achieve this was to prance down the street in an out of the ordinary way.

The lesson for us: As we already wrote, we have to find our sense of self and validation from the inside and then we won't need to resort to outside sources for a false sense of value and importance. 

The way to accomplish this is to be aware of how much growth we still have to achieve. When we are growing, we will feel tremendously fulfilled and any external validation will be unnecessary [although at times appreciated]. I recently linked an audio recording of Rav Soloveitchik publicly praising Rav Aharon Kotler at a dinner while Rav Aharon was tugging at his sleeve and crying "nisht emes, nisht emes!!" - it's not true, it's not true. When one has the Mishnas Rebbe Aharon to his credit [if you don't own one  - then buy it...] and is completely immersed in rebuilding the Torah that was lost in Europe, he doesn't need public accolades. זכותו יגן עלינו. And Rav Soloveitchik can praise him effusively because he realizes that Rav Aharon's greatness doesn't subtract from his own even one iota. That also comes from a healthy sense of self.   

In the language of the Holy Man זי"ע:

"""הלוך וטפוף תלכנה" - שהיו מהלכות ארוכה בצד קצרה"".

ההשתקעות של הגאוה הפחותה, כשהיא מחשכת את ההוד הפנימי של הנשמה בניוולה, מעקרת מקרב לב האדם את כל ערכו הפנימי, מפני שבאמת ע"י ההתמכרות אל הגאוה נעשה האדם שפל ונבזה עד שבפנימיותו הוא מחוסר ערך. ע"כ מתגברת בקרבו רק התאוה של ההתראות בעיני אחרים להסב אליו את המבטים. וכשהוא מתגבר אצל הנשים מבלה הוא את העולם בהרס הצניעות והדרת המוסר כולו. התאוה של הסבת המבט מביא שכ"א ירצה להראות איזו הצטיינות של פליאה, כדי שהאדם שמן החוץ יתבונן עליו. כאשר כך הוא הטבע הפראי היודע בעצמו שבקרבו הוא מחוסר שום השלמה. ע"כ היו מהלכות ארוכה בצד קצרה, כדי שתיפול ההשתוממות על שתיהן. ואפילו הקצרה בחרה במעמד כזה, כדי שיסבו העינים להתענין בזרותה. ובגוף האומה בכללה מביאה שפלות כזאת הנולדת מגאוה שפלה לשכוח את רוממות ערכה ואת מעלתה האלהית ולהתמכר רק להסב את העין החיצונית של האומות אליה, מה שגורם השפלה ושכחת הקדושה העליונה שע"י היא באמת סגולה מכל העמים.