The Wings of Morning -
A Torah Review
Yaacov Dovid Shulman
|WINGS OF MORNING
Volume V, Issue 34
B'Har/B'Chukotai 5761 April 2001
Unless otherwise noted, translations and original material copyright © 2001 by Yaacov Dovid Shulman (firstname.lastname@example.org).
* Enriching the Community of Israel
* The Society for Positive Mindfulness (Part I)
* The Youth of Rabbi Nosson of Nemirov (Part I)
* Honey and Salt
by Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak Kook
One way of learning Torah for its own sake is [to do so in order] to enrich the Community of Israel with great spiritual powers.
The more that the light of Torah increases, so that with one heart the people of Israel appreciate and respect it, the more that the fundamental power of our nation gains strength and firmness.
And the individual soul of the person who brings about this universal blessing itself grows and gains glory, gains completion and beauty, with a multitude of fresh branches. And it sends forth a multitude of powerful roots, through which it takes root amidst the roots of the Tree of true life.
To the degree of its purity and might, this soul recognizes and feels the depth of the pleasantness of the good taste of a fulfilled life. "Your palate is like good wine. It goes directly to my beloved. It causes the lips of the sleeping to murmur" (Shir Hashirim 7:10).[?] Orot Hatorah 2:4
by Rabbi Kalonymus Kalman (the Pieszesner Rebbe)
A number of young men of our circle want to form a society dedicated to the spiritual goal of uniting God and the Community of Israel. And so with God's help I am writing the following for them. And it is appropriate that this work be called "The Society for Positive Mindfulness."
"One thing have I asked of Hashem, I will request it...to view the pleasantness of Hashem and to contemplate within His palace" (Tehillim 27:4).
The Goal of This Group
Our goal is not new. It is no different than the goal and hope of every Jewish person. Our desire and goal is to serve Hashem our God, the God of Avraham, the God of Yitzchak and the God of Yaacov. [We seek] a whole-hearted service, a complete service that utilizes all the limbs of our body and spirit, so than not one sinew of our body nor one spark of our spirit will protrude beyond the holiness of Hashem that hovers upon us and surrounds us. Our Father, Compassionate Father, have compassion on us. Awaken within our heart a spark of desire and awareness, so that we will know that it is not enough to be like a mere slave, the son of a maidservant. It is true that he too serves the King, but he works behind the millstones, far from the King. He does not hear [the King's] words, nor does he ever experience any satisfaction or pleasure from the King's radiance. Instead, he serves [the King] with a closed mind and a dulled heart.
But our desire and longing is to be among those who are called "children of Hashem [our] God," so that in our service of God, whether in learning Torah, in prayer or in other commandments, we feel that our closeness to God.
We wish to be like the son rejoicing to greet his father after not having seen him for years and having suffered in his great yearnings for his father. When we serve God, we should also feel our soul racing to greet her father, our soul that has yearned for Him all day and all night. Now she races and dissolves, she dissolves as she is poured onto the bosom of her Father in heaven.
And it should not only be at times of prayer and [other] service that we feel our closeness to God and take pleasure from the radiance of His glory, may He be blessed. Rather, our thought should always be so clear, strong and connected to His holiness that it can overwhelm our senses. Then not only will our senses not be able to confuse our thoughts and turn them astray and tell us that "this world you see [is everything], and this physicality that you sense [is everything]." Instead, our senses will be subjugated to the thought of our hearts, so that [our senses] themselves will see God's holiness permeating all being.
And then, with our own eyes, we will see that we are in God's garden, Eden, standing before God's Throne of glory (may He be blessed). It is precisely this that is the goal of our group.
B'nei Machshavah Tovah
by Rabbi Avraham Tultshiner
When R. Nosson of Nemirov was no more than a small child, he began to think of the day of death.
He used to sit in the synagogue at the eastern wall together with his grandfather, R. Yitzchak Danzig. He knew all the old men who sat at the eastern wall and who used to play with him.
Once, one of these men died. R. Nosson couldn't understand it. "Where is he?" he asked his grandfather, and his grandfather explained that the man had died. R. Nosson asked him, "What does that mean, he died?" His grandfather explained. R. Nosson asked, "What will happen to him?" And his grandfather told him that the man would be placed in the ground and covered with earth.
From that time on, R. Nosson couldn't understand. What is this? Is this all there is to the world? At dos iz der tachlis fun der velt? And this question burned in his heart.
And so he began to search: What is the purpose?
R. Nosson said that from that moment on, this was his question, and that it had continued to remain his question: Is this all there is to the world?
Is this reality?
Meanwhile, as R. Nosson was growing, he acted in a simple and unsophisticated manner. Once, the melamed (teacher) was testing the children's comprehension. [He presented them with a text and asked them to explain it.] The other children sought difficulties in the text, which they then solved. But R. Nosson simply said, "What should I do if I have no questions?" Meanwhile, the questions that the other students had come up with destroyed the simple meaning of the text. In the end, the melamed said that he preferred R. Nosson's simple explanation to the questions that the other students had concocted.
R. Nosson developed and followed in the traditional path of a Torah scholar. He was married in Sharigrod to the daughter of the gaon and tzaddik, R. Dovid Tzvi, who was av beis din of Sharigrod and the surrounding communities.
R. Nosson's father was opposed to all Hasidim, and his father-in-law was also very much opposed to them. The reason for his father-in-law's opposition was as follows. At one time, he himself had wanted to join the Hasidic "sect." And so he had travelled to the tzaddik, R. Pinchas of Koritz, whom he admired. The people there spoke badly of the tzaddik, R. Michli of Zlatshov. Then, he went to R. Michli of Zlatshov, who also found favor in his eyes. But he grew dispirited, because the people there were speaking badly of R. Pinchas and his followers. Der iz by im apgepaskit, er mit zeine mentshin-- un er by dem.
He concluded, "I believe that they are both right--in all the bad things that they say about each other." As a result, he had a poor opinion of all of them. And every day, he would hold forth on the importance of keeping one's distance from Hasidim.
Still, he was a tzaddik and a gaon. As R. Nachman once told R. Nosson, Dein shver iz a tzaddik--your father-in-law is a tzaddik. But R. Nosson had some difficulty understanding this, since his father-in-law was a misnaged. [R. Nachman] told him, "Vos meinst, ehr vet chapn mit etleche shmitz mehr fun andere tzaddikim? What do you think? That he will get a few more slaps than other tzaddikim?"
R. Nosson said that until he drew close to R. Nachman, he could not imagine anyone closer to the level and righteousness of Moshe Rabbeinu than his father-in-law. For forty years, his father-in-law did not go to bed, because he was afraid he might have an unclean experience. Instead, he slept leaning against the table. As he slept next to the table, he held a candle in his hand. And when the flame reached his hand, he woke up and returned to his studies.
During the entire week, he would never eat bread, because of his stringencies regarding washing one's hands before eating bread. Instead, he would eat kisnin [?]. Only on the Sabbath would he wash his hands to eat bread--and then, only with great stringencies. He had been orphaned as a child. His deceased father appeared to him and learned Torah with him. When the matter became known, however, his father no longer came.
by Yaacov Dovid Shulman
Upon the soil of your soul
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