Ways of Litvaks, Chassidim & Sefardim [#6106]

Question:

1) What is the difference between the Chassidim, Litvish, and Sefardim regarding the different ways of learning the “inner dimension” of Torah?

2) What are the different ways of their avodas Hashem?

3) Which is the path that the Rav recommends?

Answer:

1) WAY OF LEARNING [The inner dimension of Torah]:

The way of learning for Sefardim is to focus on the simple meaning of the text, from deducing the meaning of the words (diyuk). (When it comes to learning the writings of the Arizal, the commentaries differ regarding how much diyuk one needs to use). In addition, the Sefardim use the ability of cheshbon [following the flow of thought of the words], and sometimes in order to answer a question or in order to fill in a missing detail which isn’t explicitly written, the Sefardim also employ the ability of sevara (logic).

The way of learning of the Litvish is to learn with understanding (havanah) and intellectualizing (haskalah), to understand the very concept of each level, and accordingly, to understand the path of the wisdom, with sevara and with cheshbon. A little bit of this is explained by the Gra, in his commentary on Mishlei, besides for what the Gra explains in his commentary to Sefer Yetzirah and mainly in his commentary on Tikkunei HaZohar.

Chassidim learn about each thing from a “soul” understanding, and from an understanding that relates to personal avodah.

2) WAYS OF AVODAS HASHEM:

The Sefardim emphasize the specific kavanos (intentions) to have when performing mitzvos. The way of the Litvish is to become completely attached by contemplating the ideals. The way of the Chassidim is to do the avodah of the soul that pertains to each detail, for the purpose of achieving d’veykus.

3) Each person needs to choose which path is appropriate for him, based on his personal soul root.