The Wings of Morning -
A Torah Review

Yaacov Dovid Shulman

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Volume III, Issue 21

B'shalach 5759 / January 99

Translations and original material copyright (c) 1998 by Yaacov
Dovid Shulman (unless otherwise noted)

* The Thought of Unity

-by Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak Kook

* Rabbi Nachman's Journey to the Holy Land (continued)

-by Hillel Zeitlin

* Everything Shall Rise

-by Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak Kook

* A New Song

-by Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak Kook

* Two Thoughts from 5741 (1981)

-by Yaacov Dovid Shulman


by Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak Kook

If you feel that the thought of unity is close to your spirit, if the image of the connectedness of all universes--in all aspects--exercises your imagination and understanding, the root of who you are rests amidst the great ones of the world, the essence of whose spiritual work is the overall connection of all being and a true peace amidst worlds.

Do not recoil from this great thought, but lift your heart in the ways of God. It may at times appear to you that you are seeking veneration and homage; still, see to it that, to whatever extent possible, you purify your thought solely for God's sake: to realize His will through your service, to reveal the light of His oneness in all worlds.

Then automatically a spirit will pour upon you from the height; and your actions and traits will be purified with an ultimate purification. Arpelei Tohar, p. 8


by Hillel Zeitlin

The next morning, an order came to bring the ship to anchor next to the town. Rabbi Nachman and his assistant celebrated the second night of Passover on the ship as well. The next morning, Rabbi Nachman's assistant went into town for prayers. When he left the synagogue, the town rabbi (Rabbi Tzvi Harker's in-law) invited him home for the holiday meal. During the meal, the rabbi spoke words of Torah, some original and some not, including teachings that he had heard in the name of Russian-Polish tzaddikim.

He asked Rabbi Nachman's assistant to repeat something of Rabbi Nachman's teachings. The assistant recited a teaching, with which the rabbi was deeply impressed. Following the meal, Rabbi Nachman's assistant returned to the ship accompanied by a rabbi of the servant, who carried food for Rabbi Nachman.

Rabbi Nachman thought that his assistant was returning sad and depressed. "What can this be?" Rabbi Nachman thought. "Who knows what might have happened? Perhaps we are again having troubles." In truth, his assistant had an upset expression because the rabbi had made him drink too much. Rabbi Nachman asked him something, but without replying he lay down to sleep. A few hours later, he woke up with a laugh: "You do not know what happened. They made me drink, and I was overcome when I was drunk."

Only then did Rabbi Nachman eat his holiday meal. On the first day of chol hamoed, the town rabbi told Rabbi Nachman's assistant to secretly remove any money they had from the ship and to bring it into town. Afterwards, the rabbi and two wealthy men of the community came to the captain and told him, "Give us the two Jews that you have with you."

"What do they have to do with you?" the captain replied. "They are mine, and I can do with them as I like. Many times, I could have had them drowned or sold as slaves. But while they sailed with us, we experienced great wonders. There must be something in that! And so I will let them free. All I ask is that you give my servants two hundred thaler."

The captain received his two hundred thaler, and Rabbi Nachman and his assistant were freed--from death to life. They came into town--but first [nadir] there was a new trouble. The Turks might take them for spies. And so, having no choice, they had to put on the local clothing. When Rabbi Nachman's assistant broke into laughter, Rabbi Nachman grew very angry: "Do you know what a heavenly accusation there is against us in the upper worlds?" And he told his assistant--as the Breslover tradition tells--"a wondrous matter, which [the assistant] did not want to reveal."

The rabbis of Rhodes welcomed Rabbi Nachman with great ceremony, recognizing his greatness and originality.

Afterwards, Rabbi Nachman entered with great joy and exclaimed, "Thank God Who has given us such a great salvation."

Rabbi Nachman wanted to pay the townspeople the two hundred thaler that the rabbi and the two wealthy men had paid the ship captain, but the townspeople did not want to take it.

Immediately following the holiday, they hired a berth on a ship for Rabbi Nachman and his assistant, headed for Istanbul. They provided them with an open letter to all the communities on the way, in case another misfortune would overtake them.

There were many Greeks on board, among whom an epidemic broke out. But the ship was carried along by a storm so powerful that after three days it arrived in Istanbul.

There, they remained ten days. And now they suffered new troubles. At the time that they had travelled from Istanbul to the land of Israel, they had not shown their passports there. In consequence, they authorities now did not want to let them go, unless they acquired new passports for a great sum of money. Where could they get such a vast sum? But the One Above had mercy and sent them an ombudsman, who obtained permission from them [aroyfsfar-shein] from a Turkish official for a small bribe.

From Istanbul, they travelled to Galicia. At one port city, they were placed in prison and had to pay four rendlech to obtain their freedom.

They spent Shavuos in Galicia. From there, they travelled to Yassi. In Yassi and on the way from Yassi to their home, they suffered much from the quarantines that had been imposed to deal with an epidemic that was raging everywhere.

Finally, after many troubles and tests, they arrived home, healthy and happy, and invigorated.

We have told you of their sea journey. But now the question presents itself: What lies behind all this? What manner of journey was this? Rabbi Nachman Braslaver


by Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak Kook

The paths of this world, its ways and customs, oppose the mighty manifestation of the secrets of the Torah.

Nevertheless, the righteous prevail over everything. They live their lives with scrupulous perfection, in accordance with the verse, "The secret of Hashem goes to those who fear Him."

In truth, the entire world is subjugated to them on an inner level--even during times of concealment. Ultimately, the honor and spiritual reign of the righteous, who stand always before God, will reach all the glory of its revelation.

The righteous themselves realize that in truth the world and all its customs, which appear so opposed to the light that is supernal and divine, and to its eternal demands, really support and sustain it, and are dependent upon it. Everything proclaims glory and song without cease to the supernal holiness of God.

Just as the praise of the Holy One, blessed be He, rises from the righteous, so does it rise from the wicked. Just as the praise of the Holy One, blessed be He, rises from the Garden of Eden, so does it rise from Gehinnom. In the end, everything shall rise, shall be sweetened and sanctified.

The wisdom of the righteous rings out before them in an exhilaration of inspired spirit. They see the future in the light of present being. In this way, they give life to the present with the light of the future, drawing the pleasantness of the world-to-come into this world. Thus, they increase peace and blessing, serenity and edenic refinement. All beings and life are blessed and refined, elevated and sanctified, saturated with the dew of life, and filled with the blessings of worlds. Arpelei Tohar, p. 79


by Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak Kook

Jealousy between scribes increases wisdom (Bava Basra 21a). But because this wisdom comes from jealousy, in the end it will disintegrate.

Everything that disintegrates has an unpleasant odor. And so the sages said that "in the end of days before the messiah comes, the wisdom of the sages will [be despised, as though it has] an unpleasant odor" (Sotah 49b).

This unpleasant odor will destroy the form that the wisdom of the sages had had.

Then it will begin to radiate the light of the soul of supernal wisdom, which transcends all jealousy and which is higher than the wisdom of the sages.

This wisdom will come to light by means of a "new song" [that we sing to God]. "A new name [for Israel] shall the mouth of Hashem designate" (Isaiah 62:2). [Then] Israel's "beauty will be like the olive tree, and its scent like Lebanaon" (Hoshea 14:7). Arpelei Tohar, p. 59


by Yaacov Dovid Shulman


"He saw their oppression when He heard their song" (Tehillim 106:44).

When we sing to God in joy (the word here for song--rinah-- implies joy), then God looks upon our oppression to help us.


"And they said: Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its head in the heavens, and let us make for ourselves a name" (Breishis 11).

The word for "name" in Hebrew is "shem." This is the name of one of Noach's sons, from whom come the Jews--the "Semites."

Thus, "Let us make ourselves a name" can be read "Let us make ourselves Jews." In other words, "Let us make ourselves uniquely holy" (for the Jews are defined as a goy kadosh--a holy nation).

What was the motivation of the builders of the tower?

"Lest we be spread upon the face of all the earth."

They decided to gather together their holiness--and be like Jews--so that their consciousness would not be scattered. They were afraid that if it were scattered, they would forget their relationship to God.

"And Hashem descended to see the city and the tower that the sons of man built."

God came to see this building and self-centering. The word for "built"--banU--may also be read as BAnu--"within us." So the verse may be rendered, "The city and the tower that are within us, the sons of man."

The tower is a migdal, based on the word gadol, large. This refers to largeness of self--pride.

These people were building within themselves the tower of ego.

They wanted to be spiritual, but they distorted that with pride.

They wanted to be entirely centered on God. And so they abandoned "the face of the earth"--all earthly pursuits and the many human talents. They wished to engage in an exclusively other-worldly service of God.

But God had other ways for them to serve Him, in the world-- through charity, through love of fellow man, through doing good deeds, and so on. So He diffracted them. He scattered them across the earth.

But now they didn't understand each others' languages. That is to say, there was no more internal communication between a person's various aspects.

Previously, they could serve God with a harmony between all their parts. But they decided to give up everything of themselves except for this one aspect. And so their spiritual pride grew.

God threw them down from that peak and sent them to act in the world, in a scattered, diffracted, self-contradictory, non- harmonized fashion. Each talent, skill and aspect of self was not in touch with the other.

This was done to prevent a person from using wrongly his powers to attempt to serve God only through unworldly holiness, which leads to pride.

It is thus each person's job to heal and fix within himself this inner dispersal--to teach all the different fragmented aspects within himself the one language of serving God.

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