First Web Chabura

May 27, 2018

Main Ideas of  Inaugural Web Chabura Conference 

May 27 2018  Sivan 13/14 5778

The question that was posed to the chabura members: What do you hope to gain from this chabura?

Speaking for myself: I found within myself a very strong desire and hope to connect and "reconnect" with so many wonderful people that I've had the pleasure and privilege to have some connection with in the past, people who have given me so much in so many ways, and to expand that to many more.

Q: Could this medium really be a way to experience a true feeling of connection - the computer screen is a far cry from "being there" in person. Can there be a sense of connection engendered essentially through the sharing of ideas?

 A: My hope is yes, because the true essence of a person is their da'as, their intellect, their understanding. The peak achievement of a person as described by the the Navi (Yirmiyah 9), is "understanding and knowing Hashem." Of course this is not merely "book knowledge" it can only come through  actually acting and living according to the ways of Hashem (as Radak explains there), as the pasuk concludes "I am Hashem who does kindness, justice and righteousness in the world", but ultimately the final achievement is defined as "understanding Hashem". As such, there is hope through real exchange of ideas a real connection can be forged.

There are many sources in Chazal that indicate clearly that each person has a unique perspective and a unique share in Torah. In addition my personal experience has shown clearly over and over how each individual has something to contribute in any learning situation, at times in a manner that it sheds amazing bright light to clarify and uplift to a whole new level!

Q: But one could ask, is this even a proper goal to have in the effort to face the challenges of life and to understand the aspects of Torah that relate to them? Granted forging a real connection, a "oneness" with members of Klal Yisrael is a great spiritual achievement as the Maharal says in Avos perek 1 that the primary role of the Kohain Gadol was to unite the Jewish people to one another, and to their Father in Heaven. Clearly, the creation of that unity is a great spiritual achievement. Nevertheless, shouldn’t the goal be purely the ultimate goal, one of understanding Hashem and His Torah?

A: The Rambam in Avos perek 1 says the highest form of Ahava the one for wich the Taana exhorts a person very strongly to acquire a true close friend, is the love of "maala", of spiritual achievement, where the desire of each is for "the true good" - meaning understanding Hashem and his ways - and each wants to be helped by his friend as "the good" comes to both of them, together. Note, the Rambam doesn’t say each recognizes the need to help, and be helped by his friend, which definitely is true, as the Gemorah in Makkos 10 described the great need for Torah scholars to study together (see Maharsha there), and as Rabbeinu Yonah says in this Mishna that each person needs the direction / correction of a friend who sincerely wants his spiritual success, through which they can accomplish complete t'shuva, rather the Rambam says he WANTS to be helped by his friend, apparently even if it would be possible to achieve the goal by himself, each wants, PREFERS to achieve it via his beloved friends help.

We see, the true essential form of striving for spiritual achievement is in such a manner that it is saturated with connection, the entire striving should be for us to reach it, for us to gain the understanding of Hashem, together. As such we certainly need to gain the true sense of connection and deep feeling of love, respect, and oneness in order to be prepared for this true form of striving.

I asked myself, can I relate to this idea of the Rambam, to WANT to be helped, rather than accomplish independently? First I thought, if it would be by one of my children, for SURE, I would rather do it with them, through their help more so than by myself! Then I realized, there are a good number of people about whom I am so fortunate and so blessed to be able to say, I would prefer to be accomplishing together with them, via their help, rather than be alone, doing it by myself!

Hashem should bless us to pursue, and achieve the understanding of His Torah and His Ways of Kindness and Truth, together!  

Chat Transcript

20:58:32 From Ari Gross  to  Yehuda Shmidman (Privately) : who is concentrating? i'm busy looking at everyone

20:59:41 From Reuven Levine  to  Yehuda Shmidman (Privately) : We want it to be a way to stay connected to Rebbe

21:00:16 From Akiva Goldschein  to  Yehuda Shmidman (Privately) : for me the main thing is connection. I am not part of a yeshiva or a shul and I feel like im lacking the connection to an institution/organization that is goal oriented and looking to connect to hashem

21:00:30 From Akiva Goldschein  to  Yehuda Shmidman (Privately) : I am hoping this might serve such a purpose

21:01:11 From Dovid Shmuel Milder  to  Yehuda Shmidman (Privately) : Thank you very much! I must go to mincha at this time. Tizkiu limitzvos!

21:02:18 From Chesky Schwartz  to  Yehuda Shmidman (Privately) : I would assume we should have Rebbi say an introduction to a midda and then people should send in questions and Tachbulas on how to improve. thank you

21:05:25 From David Bergman  to  Yehuda Shmidman (Privately) : Would it be possible to have a goal to turn whatever this is into a sefer or other tangible item to look back on? (that's what I'm wondering at the moment)

21:06:31 From Menny Shmueli : what if those ideas are against Hashem? is that appropriate?

21:09:20 From Shraga Zachai : Hi Menny, Its been about 20 years. What do you mean by that?

21:09:36 From Moshe Samuels : Is there anything that’s happening in the world specifically that inspired this idea? There’s not a lot of productive conversation happening in the world generally, so is this an outlet for that?

21:10:02 From chaim summers : This chabura is important as a way to understand how Torah concepts are helpful in everyday modern life. In general religion is viewed as ancient and lagging behind modern knowledge, and it is important to appreciate how Torah can be leading modern ideas.

21:11:16 From Aryeh Goldman : Is there ever a time that something makes absolutely no sense? Or is it that we don't fully agree?

21:12:06 From Baruch Harris : Anything you can violate לא תשא with

21:14:06 From Akiva Goldschein : I think that usually means we are reacting emotionally - something they said triggers us so we become oppositional

21:14:40 From Akiva Goldschein : maybe we should then try to understand outselves? why we are reacting that way?>

21:15:06 From Baruch Harris : If I can quote Rabbi Goldman "Instead of asking 'What ARE THEY TALKING ABOUT,' ask 'WHAT ARE they talking about'?

21:15:09 From Zeke Bergida : Who asked the question?

21:15:40 From Akiva Goldschein : @Boruch Harris very nice

21:16:16 From Zeke Bergida : that’s what they all say

21:16:31 From Dovid Gottlieb : +1

21:17:11 From Shraga Zachai  to  Yehuda Shmidman (Privately) : your very admament that its not a movement, what are you so concerned about?

21:17:51 From Moshe Samuels  to  Yehuda Shmidman (Privately) : Is there anything that’s happening in the world specifically that inspired this idea? There’s not a lot of productive conversation happening in the world generally, so is this an outlet for that?

21:18:22 From Naftali Baum : I don’t know anyone in the group besides Rebbi and one other participant. Will this prevent me from getting the most out of this chaburah ?

21:19:09 From Akiva Goldschein : I'm heading out. Thanks so much Rebbi and I'm looking forward to continuing this. Take care everyone

21:22:12 From Dovid Gottlieb : thank u!

21:22:20 From Zeke Bergida : are you sure it’s a good idea for Isaac to have the controls here?

21:22:25 From Dovid Gottlieb : ur working in same school?

21:22:39 From Dovid Gottlieb : oops

21:23:44 From Naftali Baum : heading out. thank you ! looking forward to next time !

21:24:18 From Reuven Levine  to  Yehuda Shmidman (Privately) : who said that

21:24:24 From Raphael Zohn : Dave if you can say it to me privately you can say it in front of everyone