R’ Mendel Kessin; Motzi shabos 11/2/2013 – the last shiur on tiferes ve’oz

  • Final shiur on oz ve’tiferes.
  • Yakov’s fight with angel of Eisav.
  • Why Yakov was found guilty of not offering Dina to Eisav and how history of the world would turn if Yakov handled the encounter with Eisav correctly. .
  • Why Yosef was buried in Shechem.
  • Yakov and Yosef succeeding in accomplishment of Eisav’s job.
  • Yosef as chatzi av.
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5 thoughts on “R’ Mendel Kessin; Motzi shabos 11/2/2013 – the last shiur on tiferes ve’oz

  1. Rabbi Kessin made a comment last night that I found fascinating and it had to do with Esav’s mission. He said that going into an uncivilized area and maintaining righteousness was an aspect of Esav’s mission and this reminded me of a discussion during Parsha Noach. Noach, I believe is the only person in Chumash called a tzadik. Yoseph is the only gadol with the title “hatatzadik”. The only commonality of could think of was that they both were tested by being alone in their righteousness among masses of degenerates. That would have been Esav’s mission too. Could there be anything good about normal frum people moving to places that lack good influences?

    1. nope, nothing good can generally come out of such an approach. not that it cannot work, but practically speaking it does not. i have no seen many exceptions to the rule. of course there are exceptions, but the rule is that such an approach is bad, hopeless, and causes loss of olam habah for those who insist on it.

      but if Hashem sends somebody somewhere – He has His reasons and His thoughts on the matter. about Eisav, and about others. Yosef did not run to Mitzraim, Hashem arranged for him special delivery there, Yosef had no chance to say “No”.

  2. Perhaps in line with the idea of righteousness, and I need to preface this – that I am a big fan of Rabbi Kessin and love his explanations of events and reality through the prism of Torah, is the observation of where we are failing. I will make this very brief, but have deep thoughts and much to say about it.

    There can be no doubt that we are the most gifted of peoples and one who studies and thinks about it enough must realize that we have the truth. Even Louis Farrakhan admits our gifts, but, along with myself, objects to the way we use those gifts. Our job is to serve G-d and elevate humanity, not to serve and elevate ourselves. There is far too much vanity and levity. A list of objective observations will clearly show where we need work; work we are ignoring. And as a big fan of defining terms, which I picked up in debate, in my studies (especially in the field of American Pragmatism- developed at Harvard and capable of solving many intellectual problems) I shudder whenever I hear about ‘needless hatred’.

    First of all, I defy those who use the term to define love (my definition is short, but exceedingly complex) and hate and I observe and therefore come to the impressionistic conclusion that those who use this explanation are usually simplistic in this matter. Plus, I question certain aspects of Chazal (though certainly not their authority in spiritual matters!!!!!!!!!!) and include in that why the destruction of the second Temple could have been a mystery and why they needed an answer to begin with.

    Secondly, as symptomized by my fist point, we are prone to mass mis-thinking and to lack of thought in some areas, especially in our behavior and our lack of intellectuals, though those who have not defined the term will react violently to this observation.

    There is much to say and much to be done which is being ignored altogether and there exists no platform, forum or cultural mechanism to generate the appropriate changes and re-directions or even to listen to and consider them. If we are to stop daily destroying the Temple we clearly need change, not to continue in the ways of what got us here in the first place.

    Our solution is to ignore the real problems and avoid the pains of growth and rectification. That leads to greater pain and degeneracy, ultimately. The real solution is to look at the problems and solve them, which is my definition of intelligence. We are a spectacularly inferior culture and if you cannot define culture or have not studied it please do not react to that statement.

    1. human history has demonstrated the following approach to succeed. as a metaphor, i will state it in the area of science, more specifically – math. there is theoretical math, and there is applied math. it is impossible to find anybody who excels in both. it is either one or another. which branch would you prefer? it does not depend on what’s needed in the society, it depends on your own natural intellectual inclinations. when an applied mathematician is looking at what theoretical mathematicians are busy with – he goes nuts. because he has no clue how in the world those subjects can be relevant altogether.

      years pass, and the time comes when applied math picks up the subjects that seemed to be insane and irrelevant, and suddenly unexpected areas of application are found, and it becomes relevant and needed. but there is always a gap – what theoretical math is busy with today, practical math will find to be relevant only tomorrow, or even after tomorrow.

      the science needs both: theoretical math and practical math. there is no contradiction here. a member of one of two branches cannot blame a member of another one that he is dealing with a wrong branch.

      so too here. it is not that R Kessin does not deal with problems. it is not his job to deal with problems. his natural inclination is to think, to analyze, to discover. he is not baal hamussar who will make reshoim to cry. but this is not a blame on him. he has his own role, and he succeeds in his own role. he is excellent at what he can do and what he does. he belongs to theoretical branch of idishkeit.

      if your natural inclination is to correct problems – you are very welcome to attempt to do so, but it does not mean that R’ Kessin must jump the same wagon. you can always find those who are great at practical problem-solving, you can get such guys together, and you can accomplish. R’ Simcha Bunim Cohen comes to my mind: if you listen to his shiurim – he does not deal with thinking, with beautiful logical structures, he simply slams people with truth, how he sees it, he focuses on the problems, tries to make people correct them, talks about the same very problems again and again – this is totally different approach. different branch of idishkeit. both branches are fully legitimate. both benefit from each other. but those who represent one branch cannot easily jump to another branch, because that’s not who they are.

      so i doubt you can make R’ Kessin arrange think tanks to solve practical problems of klal yisroel. you won’t be able to convert him and his approach.

      you wrote: ” The real solution is to look at the problems and solve them, which is my definition of intelligence.” – and i believe that this is your definition of intelligence. but this is not my definition of intelligence. there is Problem-Solving Judaism, and there is Beautiful Intellectual Conceptual Judaism, they complement each other, they do not contradict. but do not mix them up, to not replace one with the other, do not declare one primary and absolute, while another secondary and relative. this is my definition of intelligence 🙂

  3. I agree and understand the different approaches, but even the theoretician should avoid the obvious or shortcuts. Your analogy of applied and basic research is one I often use myself (in thinking about problems and from my experience with scientists, although I rarely discuss it). Applied and basic are different, theory is another branch altogether, which is an aspect of basic research and the scientific process. Professor Feynman put it more pointedly and called it guessing and saw that as the start of the scientific process. There has not been (and this is another discussion altogether) many intellectuals amongst us. My perception of real genius will be that person who can make Torah happen instead of just reading about it; that is what distinguished Abraham from Shem and Eber.

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