The Wings of Morning -
A Torah Review
Yaacov Dovid Shulman
|WINGS OF MORNING
Volume VI, Issue 33
Bahar/B'khukotai, May 2002
Unless otherwise noted, translations and original material copyright © 2002 by Yaacov Dovid Shulman (firstname.lastname@example.org).
*THE NATURE OF ISRAEL
*IN FUTURE DAYS
*SHALL A MAN CONCEAL HIMSELF?
*WORKING FOR NOTHING
*RABBI MEIR FEIST (of Lakewood Yeshiva)
by Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak Kook
Whereas the Patriarchs exert an influence on the natural aspect of the Congregation of Israel, Moses [influences] the aspect [that requires] education.
These combine and influence each other. In future days, Moses will fuse together completely with the Patriarchs, and will be manifested in the messiah in an image composed of [them] all. At the apex, he will bear the natural aspect of the Congregation of Israel. "The thought of Israel came before everything else." And everyone will see that this is the root of the entire Torah.
Parallel to the strength of this natural aspect of the [Jewish] nation, the pleasure of its life will expand, and holiness will be suffused with an infinite satisfaction and pleasure. "How beautiful and how lovely, a love greater than all pleasures" (Shir Hashirim 7:7). How elevated are the pleasures, how sweet, how beautiful, how fine. From the spices of their delicacy we smell something of the distilled good scent, the scent of the garden of Eden, and we are made edenic and filled with a holy greatness, a holy influence, a holy spirit. Sparks of the light of the messiah enter our souls.
"And he will have the sense [literally, ‘smell'] of the awe of God. He will not judge by what his eye sees, nor will he rebuke by what his ear hears. But he will fairly judge the poor and correctly rebuke the humble of the land. He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth and strike dead the evil-doer with the spirit of his lips" (Is. 11). "There will be no evil-doer" (Tehillim 37), for evil will be exterminated, and "all of Your nation [will be] righteous" (Is. 60).
A person who contains within himself the scent of purity distilled from the scent of the messiah's garden of Eden, sees no guilt in any Jew. His love for all Jews is great beyond capacity and understanding. He sees the great light in their souls, their unique beauty and the radiance of teshuvah that encompasses them constantly, the lightning flash of holiness and the light of God's Presence, which will never leave them–at any time, on any level, in any place. "I am Hashem Who dwells with them in the midst of their uncleanness" (Vayikra 15). Whatever may be, "You are children to Hashem Your God." Happy are you, O Israel.
by Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak Kook
The trait of love that rests within the soul of tzaddikim encompasses all created beings. It admits of no exception to this totality–not of anything nor of any nation and tongue.
Even Amalek is only wiped out "beneath the heavens" (Shmot 17:14, Devorim 25:19). This effects a purification, as a result of which it rises to the root of good (cf. Orot Yisrael 1:4), which transcends heaven (cf. Tehillim 108, Zohar Breishit 219). And [then] everything is incorporated into a supernal love. "He created all beings and constantly gives them life."
But to achieve this supernal unification, one requires great power and an immense amount of purity.
by M. Lipson
R. Mordechai Boysker used to speak of the power of the land of Israel–how good and wonderful it will be in future days, when Jews will return to the Holy Land and live as in the past: "each man beneath his grape vine and each man beneath his fig tree."
"Rebbe," someone once asked him, "what about sacrifices? Will we really sacrifice cattle and sheep, as they did in those days? Can that really be?"
"My dear Jew," R. Mordechai sighed, "if you knew how many worries there will be before we live to see that time, you would realize that you can set this concern of yours aside for later."
by Avraham Stern
When R. Shmelke and his brother, R. Pinchas (the children of R. Hershele Tshortkover) heard of the great holiness of R. Dov Ber of Mezeritch, they went together to see him. However, they were not pleased with their reception. Taking into account their own well-known greatness, and also having heard of R. Dov Ber's brilliance, they had thought that when they would meet, he would deliver a complex discourse involving words of Torah intertwined with ethical instruction. [Yet this did not happen.]
And so they immediately took their leave of R. Dov Ber in order to return home and lose no time from their and prayer.
R. Dov Ber asked them to first pay their respects to his wood chopper [holtz gruber], R. Zusha. When they did so, R. Zusha said, "The verse states, ‘Shall a man conceal himself in a hiding place, and I will not see him? says Hashem.'" The simple meaning of this verse is that no one can hide from God. But R. Zusha translated it thus: "If a person conceals himself in a hidden spot, engaging in hisbodedus (i.e., taking an account of himself, of what he has accomplished in the holy realms of honesty and piety) but, after all this hisbodedus, he says of himself ‘I'–he feels that he is an ‘I'–then ‘I will not see him, says Hashem.' God is still far from him and does not want to see him."
R. Zusha's interpretation penetrated deeply into their holy hearts. They grew so broken that they literally no longer felt their own "I," their own sense of self. Immediately, R. Zusha told them, "Now I will translate the verse differently: ‘If a person conceals himself in hidden places,' engaging in hisbodedus and says ‘and I, no'–meaning, I am a ‘nothing'–then ‘I will see him, says Hashem.' I will see him and take note of him."
The holy brothers were astounded at this display of divine inspiration by R. Ber's wood chopper, who had intuited their thoughts.
They asked R. Zusha the reason for their unenthusiastic welcome by R. Dov Ber. R. Zusha answered, "The Gemara states , ‘If the teacher is like an angel, seek Torah from his mouth' (Moed Katan 17a). But who has waited to see an angel before going to learn from a teacher? Rather, the meaning of this statement is this: If a teacher is so concealed that you cannot understand him any more than you could understand an angel, seek to learn from him. Our rebbe is that hidden." The brothers immediately went back to R. Dov Ber, again greeted him and stayed with him. He taught them the new [Hasidic] path in serving God, until they grew to become universally-known tzaddikim. Later, R. Dov Ber said of them, "I found a case filled with light. I did no more than touch a match to it and set it aflame."
May their merit protect us and all Israel.
by Rabbi Yechiel Moshe
I heard a parable in the name of R. Yitzchak of Vorke describing the evil inclination.
Once a poor man came to a village where a rich person lived. He asked this rich person to give him something to eat. To this, the rich man replied, "You want to eat for nothing? Take an axe and chop wood for me, and then I'll give you something to eat."
The poor person chopped wood for the rest of the day. In the evening, he went to the rich man and asked him for food. The rich person told him, "At such-and-sch a house there lives a good-hearted man. Go to him for food." The poor person yelled, ‘Why didn't you tell me in the morning to go to him? Why did I have to work the whole day for nothing?"
When a person gets up in the morning, his evil inclination advises him to go to this or that place to earn a living. At the end, when he hasn't earned anything but has worn himself out the entire day for nothing, the evil inclination tells him, "I can't help you. You'll have to talk to God, Who is good to all, and He will help you." Then the person is very sorry. He thinks, "Wouldn't it have been best if I had beseeched God in the morning? Why did I work so hard the entire day for nothing?"
by Elchanan Yosef Hertzman
Despite his suffering and weakness, Rabbi Meir was gifted in fulfilling the dicta of our sages, "Greet everyone with a pleasant countenance" (Avot 1:16), and "Greet everyone joyfully" (ibid. 3:16).
He would greet people so warmly that the beautiful experience of having spoken with him was deeply engraved in their hearts.
How much respect and pleasure there was in every conversation with him. He would listen respectfully to the other person, who would feel that someone was concentrating on him with understanding and interest.
Men's Learning Group: Hakhsharat Ha'avreikhim ("Spiritual Training"), step-by-step guidebook on how to develop an awareness of our souls and of God, by Rabbi Kalonymus Kalman Shapiro (the Pieszesner Rebbe), Sunday night. For information, call (410) 358-8771.
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