Widen Your Tent / Intro. to Shaarei Yosher II (shiurim #3-4)

The primary text we're studying in these shiurim is the Introduction to Rav Shimon Shkop's Shaarei Yosher. This is the last text in the Beyond Meaningful Relationshisps - Relationshipful Meaning.

Rav Shimon's introduction is also the basis of a sefer I wrote, Widen Your Tent. Chapter 1 of that book has the introduction we are discussing in full, along with my translation, and is available online here - https://www.aishdas.org/media/ShaareiYosher.pdf.

This sheet has sources raised when discussing sec 1.2 starting on pg. 53, the second half of the second paragraph in the original publishing of Shaarei Yosher. (Corresponding to Widen Your Tent chapter 4 sec.s 4-7, and chapter 5.)

Widen Your Tent i.4 pp. 24-26:
Let us look at how the two methodologies of study would understand the mechanics of bitul chameitz, of nullifying one’s chameitz (leaven) before Pesach. In reality, Halachah does not recognize real ownership of the chameitz, since its notion of ownership depends on rights to use, and one may not use chameitz on Pesach. What one is nullifying is created by a special biblical decree; it is an “almost-ownership” that isn’t rooted in our natural conception of ownership as rights to use. The Gemara (Pesachim 6b) compares this to a pit dug in public property. You are culpable for any harm that comes from stumbling on “your” pit, even though it is in the public domain and your ownership of the pit is not real. Rabbeinu Nissim explains that since the whole prohibition is the “almost-ownership” of chameitz on Pesach, not actual ownership, simply making a statement of nullification is enough to break those weak ties to the chameitz. (Ran ad. loc.) How can Rabbeinu Nissim draw this conclusion about chameitz, though, if the Gemara itself compares these two forms of pseudo-ownership and we can’t draw the parallel conclusion about the pit? After all, no one would claim that one could declare bitul, that they no longer have an attachment to the pit and thereby avoid payment!
This question is more typical of Brisker analysis, using a distinction to find the borders of an idea. A Brisker answer to such a question focuses on the difference between a prohibition related to an object (cheftza) and, in this case, the responsibility for an event that occurred due to someone’s action (pe’ulah). The prohibition is not to own chameitz, an object. However, the financial obligation to make restitution for someone’s damaged or injured property that fell into a pit dug in public land is due to the event of that property falling into the hole, your “ba’alus” of the hole is in terms of how it causes a consequent action. Therefore, one needs more than a simple declaration to eliminate one’s ties to the pit.
Rav Shimon gives a different answer. (Shaarei Yosher 5:24) He says that the validity of bitul chameitz rests on the fact that it is the Halachah that generates the non-reality of the ownership. Had the Torah not prohibited the use of chameitz, the person would remain the full owner. Therefore, he has the authority to renounce what remains of the ownership (which Ran tells us is slight and can therefore be eliminated by a simple formula). In the case of the pit, the “ownership” is itself the verse’s decree — the property in question is public property. Since one does not have inherent ownership of the pit, one cannot distance oneself from it using the normal mechanism of sale or of declaring it ownerless (hefker), as one is able to distance himself from an object that he owns in the conventional sense. Within Rav Shimon’s worldview, the question is whether one’s “ownership” of the object is inherent or scriptural, and from that point the discussion moves on to what this notion of inherent (perhaps I should say “pre-halachic”?) ownership means and how it impacts bitul and related matters.
To Brisk, the problem is collapsed into the cheftzah vs. pe’ulah – object vs. action – distinction. To Rav Shimon, though, it is an instance of a basic idea about the philosophy of ownership, a return to first principles.Fundamental to Brisker philosophy is the idea that Halachah has no first principles prior to Halachah itself.Halachah can only be understood on its own terms. As Rabbi Soloveitchik describes in Halachic Man, it is only through Halachah that man finds a balance between his religious need for redemption and his creative, constructive self.

גדלות האדם

ורבי יוחנן האי "וְחֵ֥י אָחִ֖יךָ עִמָּֽךְ" (ויקרא כה:לו) מאי עביד ליה?

מבעי ליה לכדתניא: שנים שהיו מהלכין בדרך, וביד אחד מהן קיתון של מים. אם שותין שניהם, מתים. ואם שותה אחד מהן, מגיע לישוב. דרש בן פטורא: מוטב שישתו שניהם וימותו, ואל יראה אחד מהם במיתתו של חבירו. עד שבא ר' עקיבא ולימד, "וְחֵ֥י אָחִ֖יךָ עִמָּֽךְ" -- חייך קודמים לחיי חבירך.

The Gemara asks: And Rabbi Yoḥanan, what does he do with this verse: “And your brother shall live with you”? The Gemara answers: He requires the verse for that which is taught in a baraita: If two people were walking on a desolate path and there was a jug [kiton] of water in the possession of one of them, and the situation was such that if both drink from the jug, both will die, as there is not enough water, but if only one of them drinks, he will reach a settled area, there is a dispute as to the halakha. Ben Petora taught: It is preferable that both of them drink and die, and let neither one of them see the death of the other. This was the accepted opinion until Rabbi Akiva came and taught that the verse states: “And your brother shall live with you,” indicating that your life takes precedence over the life of the other.

And recall, this is the same Rabbi Akiva as ".וְאָהַבְתָּ לְרֵעֲךָ כָּמוֹךָ. רִבִּי עֲקִיבָה אוֹמֵר. זֶהוּ כְּלָל גָּדוֹל בַּתּוֹרָה"

Persians and many others (including Toledos Yeishu) often call Jesus "Ben Pandera" -- son of the Roman soldier whose nom de guerre was "the Panther." So there is a theory the first opinion is being attributed to him. Elsewhere (in censored sections) he is called יש"ו בן פנטירא. Is Ben Peturah, a slurred or censor-modified version of Ben Pandera?

Is this an exercise in comparing Christian and Jewish Ethics? Or is that just a bunch of truthiness with little actual truth? Either way, the first opinion is consistent with classical Christian ethics.

מתני׳ המפקיד פירות אצל חבירו אפילו הן אבודין לא יגע בהן רשב"ג אומר מוכרן בפני ב"ד מפני שהוא כמשיב אבידה לבעלים: גמ׳ מאי טעמא אמר רב כהנא אדם רוצה בקב שלו מתשעה קבים של חבירו ורב נחמן בר יצחק אמר חיישינן שמא עשאן המפקיד תרומה ומעשר על מקום אחר

MISHNA: In the case of one who deposits produce with another, even if it is lost due to spoilage or vermin, the bailee may not touch it, as it is not his. Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel says: He sells it before the court, as by doing so he is like one returning a lost item to the owner, since through its sale he prevents the owner from losing the value of his produce. GEMARA: What is the reason that the first tanna said that the bailee should not touch the produce? Rav Kahana says that it is based on the principle: A person prefers a kav of his own produce to nine kav of another’s produce. Consequently, despite the spoilage, the owner prefers that the bailee not touch the produce. Rav Naḥman bar Yitzḥak says: We are concerned that perhaps the one who deposited the produce rendered it teruma and tithe for produce in another place, resulting in the buyer consuming produce that is teruma and tithe inappropriately.

Do we need self-love and ego in order to be creative beings, betzelem E-lokim rather than passive recipients?

(ב) רצה האין־סוף ב"ה להיות מיטיב הטבה שלמה, שלא יהיה אפילו בושת למקבלים אותו. ושיער לגלות בפועל יחודו השלם - שאין שום מניעה נמצאת לפניו, ולא שום חסרון. לכן שם ההנהגה הזאת שהוא מנהג, שבה יהיה בפועל החזרת הרע לטוב, דהיינו במה שנתן בתחילה מקום לרע לעשות את שלו, ובסוף הכל כבר כל קלקול נתקן, וכל רעה חוזרת לטובה ממש. והרי היחוד מתגלה, שהוא עצמו תענוגן של נשמות:

(2) The Eyn Sof, blessed be He, wanted to bestow complete good, so that its recipients will not even be ashamed. He planned and calculated how to reveal His perfect oneness in actuality, for before Him there are no barriers or deficiencies. Accordingly, He established the system of government that He follows, in which eventually evil actually turns back into good. Initially, He gave a place for evil to do what is in its power, but at the end of everything, all the damage is repaired and all evil turns back into actual good. And thus His oneness is revealed, and this itself is the delight of the souls.

The Right Way to Learn

וְאָמַר רַבִּי אֶלְעָזָר, מַאי דִּכְתִיב: ״פִּ֭יהָ פָּתְחָ֣ה בְחָכְמָ֑ה וְתֽוֹרַת־חֶ֝֗סֶד עַל־לְשׁוֹנָֽהּ׃״, וְכִי יֵשׁ תּוֹרָה שֶׁל חֶסֶד וְיֵשׁ תּוֹרָה שֶׁאֵינָהּ שֶׁל חֶסֶד? אֶלָּא: תּוֹרָה לִשְׁמָהּ — זוֹ הִיא תּוֹרָה שֶׁל חֶסֶד, שֶׁלֹּא לִשְׁמָהּ — זוֹ הִיא תּוֹרָה שֶׁאֵינָהּ שֶׁל חֶסֶד.

אִיכָּא דְּאָמְרִי: תּוֹרָה לְלַמְּדָהּ — זוֹ הִיא תּוֹרָה שֶׁל חֶסֶד, שֶׁלֹּא לְלַמְּדָהּ — זוֹ הִיא תּוֹרָה שֶׁאֵינָהּ שֶׁל חֶסֶד.

Rabbi Ḥama bar Pappa said: With regard to any person who has grace about him, it is certain that he is God-fearing, as it is stated: “But the kindness of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear Him.” When one sees that a certain individual is endowed with grace and kindness, one can be certain that he is a God-fearing person. And Rabbi Elazar said: What is the meaning of that which is written: “She opens her mouth with wisdom, and a Torah of kindness is on her tongue” (Proverbs 31:26)? The Gemara asks: Is there, then, a Torah of kindness and a Torah that is not of kindness? Rather, it is Torah studied for its own sake that is a Torah of kindness, as one studies it wholeheartedly; and it is Torah studied not for its own sake but for some ulterior motive that is a Torah that is not of kindness. Some say that it is Torah studied in order to teach it to others that is a Torah of kindness; it is Torah studied with the intent of not teaching it to others that is a Torah that is not of kindness.

רב מנחם מנדל מורגנשטרן, הרבי מקוצק
״לִמְדוּ הֵיטֵב״ — ״למדו להיטיב״ (ישעיה א:יז, ורש״י שם): לא מצאנו בשום מקום בתורה, שמצווה אדם להיות למדן ובקי בכל חדרי התורה. שכן תכלית הלימוד אינה להיות למדן, אלא להיות אדם טוב. לעשות הטוב ולהיטיב עם הזולת.

עלי שור, רב שלמה וולבהזצ"ל חלק ב, עבודת המוסר פרק ה' "התלמדות":

הכרת הטוב

(א) בֶּן זוֹמָא אוֹמֵר: ... אֵיזֶהוּ עָשִׁיר? הַשָּׂמֵחַ בְּחֶלְקוֹ. שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (תהלים קכח:ב) "יְגִ֣יעַ כַּ֭פֶּיךָ כִּ֣י תֹאכֵ֑ל אַ֝שְׁרֶ֗יךָ וְט֣וֹב לָֽךְ׃" "אַשְׁרֶיךָ" - בָּעוֹלָם הַזֶּה. "וְטוֹב לָךְ" - לָעוֹלָם הַבָּא....

(1) Ben Zoma said:Who is wise? He who learns from every man, as it is said: “From all who taught me have I gained understanding” (Psalms 119:99). Who is mighty? He who subdues his [evil] inclination, as it is said: “He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that rules his spirit than he that takes a city” (Proverbs 16:32). Who is rich? He who rejoices in his lot, as it is said: “You shall enjoy the fruit of your labors, you shall be happy and you shall prosper” (Psalms 128:2) “You shall be happy” in this world, “and you shall prosper” in the world to come. Who is he that is honored? He who honors his fellow human beings as it is said: “For I honor those that honor Me, but those who spurn Me shall be dishonored” (I Samuel 2:30).