Rav Moshe Weinberger on Igeres HaMussar

After seeing Dixie Yid’s post about “Imagination Verses Intellect-Not What You Think“, I purchased the mp3 of this shiur.  As you may guess, it was excellent (in fact, there hasn’t been a shiur from Rav Weinberger that I haven’t heard, live or as an mp3, that hasn’t “hit me”).
Just to expand what Dixie Yid so beauifully posted, I transcribed a little more.  Any mistakes are mine.
Rav Weinberger says:
There is one of the most unbelievable opening sentences to anything that was ever written.  Rebbe Yisrael Salanter, the first sentence in the Igeres Hamussar.  “Ha’adam asur b’muskalo“, listen carefully, it’s a sentence for life.  But not like they have in jail.  A sentence for life to live with, to be free.  “Ha’adam asur b’muskalo, v’chofshi b’dimyono.”  In English, man is imprisoned by his mind, assur meaning imprisoned ,by what he knows, by his knowledge, by his neshama.  V’chofshi b’dimyono, but his dimyon, imagination, his delusions of his guf, free him and give him the impression that he can make any choice that he likes. 

My thanks to Dixie Yid for posting the orginal text of the shiur.  Igeret HaMussar is available in English here.  The mp3 can be purchased here.

5 thoughts on “Rav Moshe Weinberger on Igeres HaMussar

  1. Neil Harris

    True. R Weinberger goes on to that the neshama knows there is no choice but to serve Hashem and it’s the gug/dimyono that gives you the freedom to choose.
    R Weinberger continues to say that dimyono is the reason that someone can on go online after Shabbos and go to a pronographic website. Because it’s what the guf wants. The guy think that no one will find out, his kids won’t find out. And if they do, then he’ll just go to a different website at another time.

    As R Weinberger often says (my wife loves this line), “Is your neshama the Bal HaBus of the guf, or is the guf the Bal HaBus of the neshama?”

  2. Bob Miller

    Is this another way of saying that the yetzer hara has to be present in order for man to have the type of free choice associated with reward and punishment?

  3. Neil Harris

    I am pretty sure that it is the Yeter HR that plays a strong role in “free choice associated with reward and punishment”. Bechira is only Bechira when we can make a choice. R Dessler has that whole Torah about “bechira-points”.
    Sadly, I don’t have DERECH HASHEM (Ramchal) in front of me. I think he says something.

  4. DixieYid (يهودي جنوبي)

    Bob, I don’t think that was his point, but one could certainly extraoplate the concept he was talking about to explain the source of free choice/reward/punishment.

    It is a choice of whether to live in the body’s olam hadimyon versus the real world of the neshama’s consciousness, where sin is impossible.


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