The Wings of Morning -
A Torah Review
Yaacov Dovid Shulman
|WINGS OF MORNING
Volume VII, Issue 20
Shabbat Beshalach 5763(Tu Bishvat), January 2003
Unless otherwise noted, translations and original material copyright © 2002 by Yaacov Dovid Shulman (firstname.lastname@example.org).
by Yaacov Dovid Shulman
The accordion of time
by Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak Kook
From within myself, from my wellsprings, I must always take the hidden treasures.
I am always connected to the holy suffering [that results from my] search for supernal perfection.
That [search] is not fulfilled. It has no need to be fulfilled.
That is the nature of [this] ever-lasting yearning, whose foundation is divine thirst. Nothing in the world can slake [that thirst] except for what it seeks: the on-going revelation and ever-growing experience of the thirst itself.
That itself is transformed into the source of all pleasure, into the platform for all spiritual delights, into the radiance of the Almighty.
I must speak of myself a great deal.
Matters of my essential being must become extremely clear to me.
By understanding myself, I will understand everything–the world and life–until [my] understanding will reach the Source of life.
I constantly seek that which is in the midst of my soul.
Outer servitude distracts my mind from that inner search, bringing me to seek in vain at the [far-flung] corners of the earth that which has not been found in the depths of my spirit.
How can I speak to others if I say nothing to my own spirit?
How can I express an opinion about the spiritual and physical world if I do not seek a key to those treasures gathered within me?
"Gates, lift up your heads," I shall say to the chambers of my spirit, to my heart and to my source of counsel [literally, kilyotai: kidneys, adrenal glands or gonads].
My spirit longs to penetrate its own inner chambers.
The more that I strive to draw [matters] forth from the light of Torah and the light of the world, I find that all the roots of those holy things that are sought must be found in the depths of my spirit itself, whose light is taken from the light of Torah and the radiance of the world.
After I return from the midst of the Torah and from the midst of the world to the innerness of my spirit, then I am be able to re-enter the chambers of the Torah and the chambers of the hidden treasures of the world with a greater life-force.
Every bright revelation is divided into three parts: spirit, Torah, and world.
"Speak, my tongue, your words–for all of Your commandments are righteousness."
by R. Moshe Yehudah Leib of Sassov
Spiritual Guidelines to a Joyful Service of God (continued)
5. If you are certain that you are a servant of a great King to Whom praise is due, how much reason you have to rejoice.
6. Death is so evil and bitter to those who are evil; yet how precious the creation of death is to God, since through it His pious ones may arrive at an eternal tranquility.
7. This world is a very important matter to those who use it well and conduct themselves in it correctly. Through [this world,] a person can attain the life of the world to come and the indwelling of the soul, for it is called "the world of action."
8. Therefore, do not be self-destructive. And if, heaven forbid, you have experienced suffering, do not despair, for this world has nothing tangible in it. It is not real.
9. But examine your deeds and turn your heart aside from evil. And then God will have compassion.
10. But a holy man once grew angry at a man who, after his son died, who did not shed even one tear. [Therefore, respect the reality of this world.]
An Introduction to Good Traits and How to Acquire Them
1. Remove anger from your heart, for "anger rests in the bosom of fools."
2. "A soft answer turns away wrath."
3. Have equanimity before both evil and good, for "you are a sojourner in the land."
4. A groan breaks a person's body.
5. Why worry over a world that is not yours?
6. God has already stated, "By the sweat of your brow will you eat bread."
7. Be prepared for a day of suffering and do not break down when it comes (heaven forbid, God protect us).
8. Recall the words of the Godly man [Moshe], "And what are we?," and the words of the verse, "all those who dwell upon the earth..."
9. Tolerate humiliation and insult from your brother, for what are you and what is your life?
10. Recall that [humiliation] comes from God and is a substitute for death, for "he who descends a level, is called..."
11. And a holy man said to someone who insulted him gravely, "God will reward you, for you have torn the decree of death away from me."
12. There is nothing as effective in blocking uncleanness as closing your eyes.
13. "What advantage is there to one who speaks?" There is no fence around wisdom as effective as silence.
14. Trust in God together with feeling is good.
15. It is good to be apart while still being with others.
16. And a holy man said, "Be with the people in your deeds before God and in His presence. However, raise the physical things to God."
17. Be thoughtful. If you are thoughtful, you will never have cause for regret.
18. There is no one as foolish as a person who regrets his deeds.
19. Deliberation and thoughtfulness are like golden coins.
20. Everything has its place. You are put in your place, and are give what is yours. And no one touches that which is prepared for another.
21. One person rules over another for only one of the following reasons: (1) his "mazal" (fate) is the cause; (2) his deeds are evil; (3) for the sake of free will.
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