When we were in kindergarten we were taught that if you do a mitzvah – you get a lolly in Shomayim. If you do something good you build another brick in the Bais hamikdosh…
This is all true.
But we need to graduate from kindergarten.
Because if I would base my relationship w my husband on “look darling, I cleaned the garbage can today and I made you dinner and I went shopping for food,” I would have a very sorry marriage.
I took a Myers Briggs course last summer and learnt a lot of very interesting ideas there. Myers Briggs is basically a personality typing system where people are tracked according to their strengths.
One dichotomy that deeply inspired me is INTUITIVE people versus SENSING people.
Intuitive people are the ones who understand IDEAS through PATTERNS and CONNECTIONS. They are generally more imaginative than the other subtype. They look at the world through the BIG PICTURE lens.
Like if you’d ask an intuitive person how their trip to Florida was, they’d probably give you a quick response that will answer the question in a nutshell. “Good.” Or “It did the job in accomplishing what I needed it to do.” When you tell them about something they need to do, they may first need to understand why, before they go about taking care of the details.
Now let’s look at the sensors. They are the STEP-BY-STEP people. They break things down into bite sized peices so that it’s easy for people to comprehend. They are the DETAIL oriented kinds.They are usually more CONCRETE (versus the abstract intuitive people.) If you’d ask them about their trip, they may tell you how their trip in was. Then go into detail explaining about their hotel stay. Then the food, then the car ride that went a little awry…
You get the idea!
In other words, the sensors will ask WHAT, whereas the intuitives will ask WHY.
So this started to get me thinking. Hmmm… I wonder which personality type schools (specifically Bais Yakov’s) cater to. And it must be that certain towns are more prone to have a specific type as well. And what about Gedolim?
There must be a difference between what drives each of them. Some Gedolim want to focus on HALACHA (detailed step-by-step guide on how to live our lives as a Jew.) And some focus more on HASHKAFA (giving depth and meaning as to WHY we do what we do.)
Isn’t that fascinating?!?!
And then, as I’m thinking all these ideas in my head, I began reading the Sefer “Derech Hashem.” The author is R’Moshe Chaim Lazatto, an early 18th century scholar.
I was ranting and raving to my husband about what a wonderful Sefer it is! And how beautifully and eloquently he explains concepts at their core. And how he gets to the root of things…
And then I looked up in the Sefer WHY he wrote this book and I couldn’t believe my eyes! In his introduction I saw His intuition playing out at its best!
Listen to this!
“When an individual is confronted by many DETAILS and does not know how they RELATE to one another or their true place in a GENERAL SYSTEM, then his INQUISITIVE intellect is given nothing more than an unsatisfying burden….Each DETAIL will arouse his curiosity, but not having access to the concept as a WHOLE, he will remain frustrated. If one wishes to understand something….important that he be aware of other things ASSOCIATED with it as well as its place among them….”
“Since he sees it within its framework, he can go on to grasp other concepts associated with it, and his success will bring him pleasure and elation.”
“It is also important to realize that the number of individual details is so great that it is beyond the power of the human mind to embrace them and know them all. One’s goal should therefore be to ATTAIN KNOWLEDGE of GENERAL PRINCIPLES.”
“A person should be very precise in examining their concepts [Torah] RELATIONSHIPS and CONNECTIONS… Which one concept is INFERRED FROM THE OTHER…..”
“By it’s very nature, every PRINCIPLE has many DETAILS. As a result, when a person grasps a GENERAL PRINCIPLE, automatically he also grasps a large number of DETAILS…. This is what our sages meant when they taught us “Words of the Torah should always be in your hands as general principles rather than as individual details….”
“Taking all this into consideration, I have written this small book. My intent was to set forth the general principles of Jewish belief and religion….to provide a COMPLETE PICTURE…. The roots and branches are presented according to their place in the GENERAL SCHEME….”
I’m sure that if I’d go through other great people’s works I’d find the SAME IDEA.
There are BIG PICTURE people in this world and their DETAIL oriented people. This . Like everything else, is done with a plan. Some people have strength in details and some people have strength in the big picture.
So, as adults we need to transfer our relationship with Hashem from lollies to the big picture. From understanding the WHATS of YIDDISHKEIT to understanding the WHY’S. From details to general concepts.
From kindergarten to adults.