AS: First things first — Can you tell us a little about Shaar HeBechinah? What exactly is “bechinah”?
RDK: Bechinah means to observe, reflect, and look into. It shares a root with the “bechinah” that students take in yeshivah, designed to help observe how well they are doing in their studies. The “bechinah” that this sefer is speaking about is our obligation to look into and observe Hashem’s Hand in all of creation. The perek in Chovos HaLevavos called Shaar HaBechinah is an in-depth analysis of this world through the eyes of the Chovos HaLevavos himself.
AS: The sefer is based on teachings of Rav Avigdor Miller zt’l. What was his connection with Shaar HaBechinah?
RDK: Rav Avigdor Miller spoke about this perek all his life. He said that its teachings were the greatest inspiration for his own personal avodas Hashem. Not only did he speak about it in almost every one of his 2500 recorded lectures, he also wrote about it at length in many of his sefarim.
AS: What happens to us when we learn to “open our eyes” to Hashem’s presence?
RD: When a person begins to follow the path of bechinah, it is life-changing in many, many ways. Among them, it brings a true sense of happiness and gratitude as one begins to truly focus on the endless good Hashem is bestowing upon him. It also brings a person to have a real and personal relationship with his Creator.
AS: The second part of the book looks at so many different aspects of our world — from the amazing human body to animals to the food chain — finding Hashem’s greatness and presence throughout. How did you go about researching this fascinating section?
RDK: The material in the second section of the sefer is collected from many different sources, but mostly from the Chovos HaLevavos himself, and from the sefarim that Rav Miller wrote on the subject. It also includes many of the things he spoke about often in his lectures, as well as many observations of my own.