The Vilna Gaon - Series 2
מרצה Title תקציר סידרה
Rav Elyakim Krumbein Shiur 1: Returning to the Vilna Gaon Welcome to a new series of shiurim on the legacy of the Vilna Gaon (the Gra). Two years ago we were privileged to examine the personality and teachings of the Gra. We learned that this giant of a man embodies a fascinating and challenging world that impacts upon our lives to this very day. The Vilna Gaon (3)
Rav Elyakim Krumbein Shiur #02: The Vilna Gaon and Piyyutim In the previous shiur we traced the Gra's fundamental analysis of our issue. We paid particular attention to how he masterfully applies several of his regular principles. The Vilna Gaon (3)
Rav Elyakim Krumbein Shiur #03: The Vilna Gaon and Piyyutim (Conclusion) In this shiur we will conclude our clarification of the Vilna Gaon's position regarding the recitation of piyyutim. The Vilna Gaon (3)
Rav Elyakim Krumbein Shiur 4: Meet the Gra's Commentary to the Shulchan Arukh Over the course of our examination of the piyyutim issue, we made extensive use of the Gra's magnificent commentary to the Shulchan Arukh. Following this experience it is only natural that we should allow ourselves to become more closely acquainted with this work. The Vilna Gaon (3)
Rav Elyakim Krumbein Shiur #05: Reciting a Blessing Over the Five Megillot In the previous shiur we noted the fundamental paradox connected to the Gra's commentary to the Shulchan Arukh. The Vilna Gaon (3)
Rav Elyakim Krumbein Shiur #06: Reciting a Blessing over the Five Megillot (II) We saw in the previous shiur that the Vilna Gaon requires that the reading of each of the Megillot be preceded by the recitation of a blessing, just as a blessing is recited before reading the Book of Esther. The Vilna Gaon (3)
Rav Elyakim Krumbein Shiur #07: Rigor and Restraint in Halakhic Theory and Practice In this shiur we will examine a general and characteristic tendency of the Gra. The Vilna Gaon (3)
Rav Elyakim Krumbein Shiur #08: The Vilna Gaon as Halakha's Guardian At the end of the last shiur we distinguished between two aspects of the Gra's enterprise in his commentary to the Shulchan Arukh and his meticulous search for the source of every halakha. The Vilna Gaon (3)
Rav Elyakim Krumbein Shiur #09: Surveying Previous Research On The Vilna Gaon’s Commentary And Its Conclusions Before we conclude our examination of this chapter of the Gra's thought, I would like to turn our attention to earlier studies of these issues. The Vilna Gaon (3)
Rav Elyakim Krumbein Shiur #10: Chassidut – Good News or a Threat We will now begin a new chapter in our examination of the teachings of the Vilna Gaon. We will leave the world of Torah scholarship, shrouded in vibrant and refreshing intellectual serenity, and enter a tempest of conflicting world views and opinions. The Vilna Gaon (3)
Rav Elyakim Krumbein Shiur #11: Prayer and the Religious Experience At the end of the previous shiur we examined the complaints raised by the Mitnagdim against the Chassidim... Today we will continue to explore the roots of this disagreement about prayer. The Vilna Gaon (3)
Rav Elyakim Krumbein Shiur #12: Threatened Communities What are the roots of the sharpness and intensity of the Mitnagdim's response? The Vilna Gaon (3)
Rav Elyakim Krumbein Shiur #13: Kabbala, Sabbateanism and Chassidism The Vilna Gaon suspected a connection between the Chassidic movement and Sabbateanism, and he expected that the Chassidim would eventually follow in the footsteps of the messianic heretic, Jacob Frank. The Vilna Gaon (3)
Rav Elyakim Krumbein Shiur #14: The Vilna Gaon in the Eyes of the Chassidim: The Letter of Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liai The Vilna Gaon saw in Chassidism signs of Sabbateanism. While examining the background of these suspicions, we encountered one of the main areas of contention between the Chassidim and the Mitnagdim, namely, the way that God and His presence in this world are to be perceived. The Vilna Gaon (3)
Rav Elyakim Krumbein Shiur #15: Tzimtzum The theological discussion that was opened in the previous shiur can be better understood against the background of a fundamental Kabbalistic teaching of Rabbi Yitzchak Luria, the interpretation of which was a subject of dispute between the Chassidim and the Mitnagdim. The Vilna Gaon (3)
Rav Elyakim Krumbein Shiur #16: Theological Dispute with Practical Implications In light of all that we have learned about the idea of tzimtzum, I wish to open today with a quote that is a bit surprising. For the time being I will not reveal the source. The Vilna Gaon (3)
Rav Elyakim Krumbein Shiur #17: The "New Mitzvot" of Hassidism We have been following one of the principles of Hassidic practice – "worshipping God through engagement with the physical" (avoda be-gashmiyut) – which convinced the Gaon of Vilna that we are dealing here with a "new Torah." Let us now examine a source which illustrates how far the Hassidim could take this idea, which stems from their understanding of God's immanence. The Vilna Gaon (3)
Rav Elyakim Krumbein Shiur #18: The Contribution of the Chassidim to the World of Halakha As time passed and the schism became less heated, Mitnagdim and Hassidim became less defensive, and more cognizant of the other's positive contribution. We will begin to examine some Hassidic innovations in the realm of classic Torah scholarship, no longer an exclusive Mitnagdic enclave. The Vilna Gaon (3)
Rav Elyakim Krumbein Shiur #19: Ideological Disagreement Without A Social Struggle The aftermath of the Chassidic struggle allowed for cross-ventilation of the ideas of the two camps: the Chassidim renewed their appreciation of Torah study, and the Mitnagdim re-acquainted the religious experience. The Vilna Gaon (3)
Rav Elyakim Krumbein Shiur 20: The "Mitnagdi" Experience Rav Chayyim of Volozhin genuinely identifies with the empahsis of Hassidut on the religious experience. But he demands that its dangers and pitfalls be recognized and counteracted. The Vilna Gaon (3)
Rav Elyakim Krumbein SHIUR 21: ACT AND INTENTION IN "NEFESH HA-CHAYYIM" The Nefesh Ha-Chayyim values the religious experience, but ultimately subordinates it to meticulous observance. This preference later developed into an approach that virtually displaces active cultivation of religious experience altogether. The Vilna Gaon (3)
Rav Elyakim Krumbein Shiur #22: Mitnagdi Character and Chassidic Character A major result of the rift was the solidification of the personality contours of the two communities. While the Chassidim venerated religious extremism, the Mitnagdim reacted to them by adopting the traits of moderation, openness, caution and balance. The Vilna Gaon (3)
Rav Elyakim Krumbein Shiur #23: Reason and Critiscim in the Service of God While the Chassidim view human intellectual effort as an obstacle and value passive contemplation to achieve dvekut, the Gra steadfastly clung to strenuous endeavor as the only means of approaching the Divine. This tenet and its ramifications endured until recent times in the Mitnagdic worldview. The Vilna Gaon (3)