4 Winds of Wealth for Happiness - Post Two
We concluded Post One with the 4 Winds of Wealth. They are that each person from childhood and certainly later should aim at achieving wealth in Torah learning, in money, in family and socially, and in understanding the world.
Let us begin here with understanding Wealth in Torah, the first of the four wealths.
Wealth in Torah means what Chazal tell us. It does not mean what it does today, that people spend years listening to some convoluted interpretation of somebody even while they are missing basic mastery of the essential Mishnehs and Talmud and Poskim.
The 4 wealths begin at the earlier age. From early age on and certainly later, everyone must begin preparing the Torah wealth, the monetary wealth, the social wealth, and the wealth of knowing what goes on in the world. But at any time that a person begins the 4 Wealths program, a person will gain. As another day goes by and another day, the person will realize what it means not just to learn and forget, but to learn and retain. And the person begins to realize that as he continues, goals he never dreamed of are coming his way.
The Avneu Nezer explained today there are few great Geonim because the way we learn is backwards. We begin with a complicated discussion about a deep topic in the Talmud, perhaps a question of Rabbi Akiva Eiger on a Tosfose. But we never learned the material Rabbi Akiva Eiger is talking about, so we have to learn it. But if we had known the Mishneh and the gemora and the Tosfose before we entered into Rabbi Akiva Eiger's question, everything would fly right into our mind. Therefore, the person rich in Torah began learning by mastering the Mishneh and then the gemora and then the Tosfose. When he finished the Mishneh the gemora came quickly to him, because the gemora is simply discussions of the Mishneh. And when we learn the gemora, and know it, we quickly understand what Tosfose is saying when he quotes these gemoras. And when we pick up an acharon or the Shulchan Aruch and they quote a Tosfose, we are there and readily assimilate the gist of the discussion.
But today, says the Avneu Nezer, we begin with the difficult question of Rabbi Eiger without a backround, and at every step, we have to stop and learn up a whole gemora and a whole mishne that is foreign to us. That leaves us without a clear picture of the learning we do, and it readily fades.
When I learned by Reb Aharon Kotler, he asked my chaveruso where he was holding. How many blot he had learned in the masechto. My chaveruso answered, five or ten blot, I don't remember exactly. Reb Aharon put down his hands and said, "Oy vay, oy vay."
There is another aspect of wealth in Torah. The rabbis taught, "Greater is one who serves his rebbe than one who learns from him." While in my time people did not learn a lot of plain gemora, but spent time delving deep into parts of it, that is "learning." But I spent a lot of time talking with Reb Aharon, Reb Moshe, Reb Yaacov, Reb Elyashev and other gedolim. When I spoke to Reb Aharon I got beaten regularly (orally) until finally I latched on and got a compliment, a backhand one to be sure, but nonetheless a compliment, that I understood how to learn with the derech of Reb Chaim and Reb Baruch Ber. Later I spent much time with Reb Moshe Feinstein, and there, discussing halacha, I went through the same pain of getting my brain rearranged. But finally, I received a very warm haskomo on my sefer in halacha, where Reb Moshe said that he knows me for many years as one who delves deeply into complicated halochose. That is the ultimate semicha to pasken hard shaalos. I pestered Reb Elyashev zt"l and with pure chutspah asked him for name for my Beth Din in Gittin and he immediately granted it. When I presented my questions to him, he recognized somebody whose brain has been beaten and rearranged, and things went very fast.
Thus, wealth in Torah means learning basics, page by page, and spending time talking to rebbes who mold you in thinking in learning. This is Wealth One. End of Post Two.