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Beit Midrash Series Ein Ayah

Condensed from Ein Ayah, Shabbat 3:6

Focus on the Internal in All Elements of Life

One who bathed in hot water but did not drink hot water is similar to one who heated an oven from the outside but not the inside.
Various RabbisShvat 23 5777
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Gemara: One who bathed in hot water but did not drink hot water is similar to one who heated an oven from the outside but not the inside.

Ein Ayah: This gemara teaches a nice moral insight related to the nature of protecting the body. It is more important to bathe in hot water for the purpose of protecting the body than for adorning himself externally. This makes one realize that external cleansing as a way to remove dirt from one’s exterior also requires that he clean his spirit, including purifying his heart from unseemly thoughts and his mind from problematic imagination.
One should always, including for external matters, turn toward the internal benefit he can receive from the matter. Then he will always choose for himself a beneficial approach to life. When focused on the internal, better things result, even in external matters, than if he intended only to improve the external. The appropriate metaphor for this is heating the oven. Heating it on the inside is more effective not only for heating the inside but even for heating the outside.
When a person loves and respects his spirit, despite the fact that he is too close to himself to be objective, this enables him to build the foundation of treating others properly. When one spreads out his efforts towards others, this behavior actually includes an element of crude love for himself, as he wants that all should love and respect him. This will not bring the desired result, as he will remain a slave to the masses without a healthy spirit in his own midst.
Regarding protecting one’s body, which relates both to the external and the internal, Hashem put into nature things that bring benefit in a way that trains people to put the emphasis on the internal. This fact should serve as the basis for concluding that the preference of the internal that he sees in nature is true also for the spiritual world. It is unwise to just bathe in hot water and not drink hot water or to heat an oven from the outside – [in the literal and metaphorical senses.]

Flexibility Until the Time for Rigidity
(condensed from Ein Ayah, Shabbat 3:7)

Gemara: If one washed in hot water and did not rinse with cold water, it is like iron put into a furnace but not followed by cold water (the latter finishes the strengthening process - Rashi).

Ein Ayah: Two powers come together in a person’s physical and spiritual structure. One is the power of action, which causes him to gain new attainments. This brings new powers and new materials to replace those that are no longer effective for their intended purposes. The second power is that of preservation, which stores that which was already gained.
One who wants to gain must be ready for changes, flexibility, and dynamism. For preservation, one must be ready for materials becoming firm. Bathing in hot water softens the body and prepares it to be more responsive to the power of life that rules it. It is excellent for the metabolism and the renewal of one’s energy. On the other hand, a person needs to create within himself the power of preserving, so that he not be too prone to softness and exaggerated metabolism. Therefore, rinsing in cold water is important. This idea has parallels in the spiritual realm.
This is similar to working with metal. Putting it in the furnace enables it to be made into a utensil. Preserving what was done, though, requires an opposite process – putting it into water, which allows the form created by the heat to be functional. Not surprisingly, opposite powers work together to reach a goal. "Everything goes to one place, and all was given by one shepherd."

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