Friday, March 11, 2011

Passionate Judaism

This post by Reb Ally reminded me of something wonderful I learned from Rav Kook.

In explaining Chassidus, Rav Kook examined why the students of the Ba'al Shem Tov were always engaged in purification, with their penchant for immersing in the mikvah on a regular basis, saying the Tikkun HaKlali, abstaining from material pleasures, and practicing ascetics.

Rav Kook explained that the path of chassidus is to serve God with unbridled passion, with joy, and emotional outpourings of the soul. To do that, one must stoke the fires that fuel passion, a passion that arouses the soul and brings out its fullest beauty in expression. But this passion must be handled correctly, for it is an element that can be perverted and lead to inappropriate arousal, for the wrong things.

The glass blower must work with raging fires to produce the most exquisite work of art, but he must be wise and use the right equipment, lest he ruin the delicate glass - or worse, injure himself.

In order to maintain a balance and protect themselves from the potentially dangerous misuse of passion, it is imperative to take extra measures to ensure that the fire is tempered by the waters of the mikvah, and maintain a higher level of purity.


Nate said...

That's quite astute. Do you remember the makor for this Rav Kook?

Tova said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shmuel said...

Not off-hand.

Give me a few days, and I may have it for you.