The Wings of Morning -
A Torah Review

Yaacov Dovid Shulman

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Volume III, Issue 35

Iyar 5759 May 99

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


* To Maintain the Existence of Judaism
-by Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak Kook

* A Clear Mindfulness
-by Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak Kook

* The Arrest
-by Rabbi Meir Berlin

* When the Torah is Drawn Down, Providence is Drawn Down
-by Rabbi Nachman of Breslov

* Halachah and Aggadah
-by Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak Kook

* Consanguinity
-by Yaacov Dovid Shulman

* -The Glass Bottle
-by Yaacov Dovid Shulman

by Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak Kook

To arouse people's hearts and engage their minds with elevated thoughts whose source is in the secrets of Torah becomes, in the final generation, completely indispensable to maintain the existence of Judaism. And the descent that brought about the need for the use of this elevated means is in itself an ascent.
Arpelei Tohar, p. 65

by Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak Kook

A clear mindfulness is the basis of everything. The sense of what is good and true that comes from an inner understanding, not contorted by any inclination of this world, is the path of illumination that leads everything as well as every individual to an eternal happiness, together with a temporal happiness that matches that eternal happiness.
Arpelei Tohar, p. 65

THE ARREST (continuation)
by Rabbi Meir Berlin (memoirs of a son of the Netziv)

When they arrived in Oshmina in the morning, they immediately went to the "ispravnik." He had not yet come to the office so my father occupied himself in learning mishnah. When the ispravnik arrived and saw the "criminal," he immediately brought him respectfully to his room, gave him a chair and, after a short conversation, explained that the matter must be transferred to Vilna, the governing city to which Volozhin belonged. He made no difficulties in regard to him father himself, but the chest of Torah writings was sealed and sent to the governor of Vilna.

Obviously, the informing itself led to nothing. My father had no letters regarding counterfeit money. But even in regard to the fund-raising and other yeshiva matters, the fear proved unfounded. The chest with its contents was delivered to the "learned Jew," the utshani yevrei, who was close to the Vilna governor, a very learned man from the teacher's seminary of that time called Yonah Gerstein. This Gerstein, it appears, was not an enemy of the Volozhin yeshiva, was were other maskilim of his area at that time. At the critical moment, he helped not only the yeshiva but my father himself.

Besides our fears regrading the yeshiva, there was also the danger that the writings and responsa in the chest would be sent as far as Petersburg for an inquiry. And that would mean, in actuality, that they would be lost forever.

Gerstein understood all this, and so he sent back all the Torah writings with the observation that they contained no criminal activity. He then burned all the letters referring to fund-raising and money collecting, with the explanation that they were person letters that were not even worth sending back. But he set aside seventeen responsa that my father had written to Rabbi Yaakov Reinovitz in London, to whom the informer had sent his forged letter, for further investigation. These letters never returned and remain lost to this day. The entire episode left no trace behind, besides the government stamp on the chest of Torah: "a memory of the destruction."

One reason that this episode had no lasting effect is that the informer, despite all his craft, had not forged my father's signature exactly. My father used to write one "yod" to connect his two names, Tzvi Yehudah. This "yod" served as the last letter in Tzvi and the first in Yehudah. The forger overlooked this and put in an extra "yod." At first glance, this was not discernable, but it was discovered with greater study.

Who was the informer? This remained a mystery. There were all sorts of conjectures. Some attributed it to a yeshiva student who had come to pray on Yom Kippur very late in the evening, his hair recently washed and combed. My father strongly reproached and so perhaps in this way he had taken his revenge.

Others said that it had been done by someone who afterwards became a famous journalist in Paris. Still others suspected a rabbi's son who was "going off the path" of Judaism. It is said that the informer eventually wrote a letter to my father asking for forgiveness and instruction on how to repent. As for the rabbi's son, after my father passed away, he published a eulogy filled with respect and feeling. "Much does childishness do."
from From Volozhin to Jerusalem

by Rabbi Nachman of Breslov

The soul (nefesh) is desire.
Every person who comes to the wise man of the generation brings his own desire.
This tzaddik takes all the desires and rises with them. Then "he brings down the strength of its security."

"The chayos angels raced and returned" (Ezekiel 1:14).
They "raced"--the souls rise.
"And returned"--the souls return with the revelation of the Torah.
They "raced"--that is the angel Nuriel.
"And returned"--that is Metatron, the Minister of the Face (Tikunei Zohar 70, p. 109a).
Nuriel is a blazing fire (Zohar Bereishis 23b; Tikunei 70), blazing with the heat of the desire for money.
"And returned" is Metatron, the Minister of the Face. He is called Moses--he is the acronym for "Moses." And Moses is the messiah. He is "the spirit of our nostrils," which cools down the heat. Shechachah, the word for cooled down, is numerically equivalent to Moses (Zohar Behar 111b; Pinchas 231a). He cools down the gods of silver and gold.
"They raced"--the desire, the soul.
"And returned"--that is to say, Moses, who receives the Torah.

When the Torah is drawn down, so is Providence drawn down.
The Torah is four-fold, consisting of the tune (the trop), the vowels, the crown decorations upon the letters, and the letters themselves.
This corresponds to the four parts of the eye: the three colors (the white of the eye, the red of the surrounding muscle and the iris) plus the pupil.
The eye represents God's Providence.
The Torah begins with the word, "Bereishis." This word can be divided into two other words: "rashei" (heads of) and "bas" (pupil) (Tikunei Zohar 4, p. 18a).
"Heads of" refers to the fathers, the archetypal patriarchs: "These are the heads of the houses of their fathers" (Shemos 6:14).
The three patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, are the three colors of the eye.
Then there is 'bas,' the pupil of the eye.
So when the wise man brings the Torah, he brings the power of sight of God's Providence upon us. According to how close we are to the Torah, so does God rest His providence upon us. from Likutei Moharan, 13

by Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak Kook

Halachah and aggadah must unite with each other. The necessity of engaging in both of them together will necessarily bring about their spiritual unification. The feeling of the man of halachah when he deals with aggadah--and vice versa--that he is entering another world takes away the greater portion of spiritual fruitfulness, which comes from a spiritual tranquility whose foundation is an inner unity.
We are summoned to pave roads upon the ways of learning. By means of this, halachah and aggadah will join in an intrinsic bond.

The idea of bringing distant worlds close is the foundation of the building and perfection of the spiritual world. It is a basic force that runs through all manifestations of life in all its details, and which must be constantly revealed in ever- broader form.
After making an evaluation to clarify every area within its compass, the analytical approach must allow for the approach of synthesis to appear in the light of the unifying soul. All realms of knowledge, all fields of the spirit in their various hues will by its means appear as the limbs of one body, united and strong, upon which shines one soul, united, strong and alive, great in might.
Oros Hakodesh I, p. 25

by Yaacov Dovid Shulman

The first mishnah in Yevamos lists fifteen categories of woman with whom one cannot perform levirate marriage because they are one's relations. These woman also absolve any co-wife they may have of the obligation for levirate marriage.
The Talmud attempts to understand what order governs this list. At first, it posits that the categories are listed in order of the severity of the malfeasance involved in marrying such a woman. But this theory is rejected.
The Talmud then posits that the categories are listed in order of the opaqueness of the original prohibition, and the need to present a reason based on the hermeneutic laws of the Oral Torah. Thus, one's daughter from a rape is mentioned first, because there is no explicit prohibition in the Torah against marrying such a person, and this prohibition is only learned through use of the "gezerah shavah." But this theory is rejected as well.
Finally, the Talmud states that the categories are listed in order of consanguinity: of closeness of family. And this opinion is accepted as correct.
One could say that the Talmud is teaching us about relationship with God.
One's initial thought may be to relate to God through fear-- through the severity of punishment for misbehavior.
Then one might think that one's relationship to God is through that realm of our exercising our creativity to understand God's unexplicated decree. This too is rejected.
Finally, we are told that the way to relate to God is through consanguinity--achvah--which means friendship or love.

by Yaacov Dovid Shulman

The glass bottle
Is a ship on the ocean of sidewalk.
It is traveling to an asphalt tide.

Like a satellite spinning through the sky,
The glass bottle glints beneath a galaxy of leaves.

Imagine dinosaurs feeding upon huge blue-green fronds.
Amongst them buzz dragon-flies
As fat as a glass bottle.

Every message from heaven to man
Is encased in a glass bottle.
Every message from man to God
Is encased in a shining word.

It is a glass bottle, a silvery needle that threaded a line
Through the evening air.
No one who stayed up that night
Could have remained oblivious
To its seductive lilt
Of another world.

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