The Wings of Morning -
A Torah Review

Yaacov Dovid Shulman

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Volume IX, Issue 8

Chayei Sarah 5765, Cheshvan-November 2004

Unless otherwise noted, translations and original material copyright © 2002 by Yaacov Dovid Shulman (

by R. Nachman of Breslov

Sometimes your spirit is weary, so far from her mother of glory. Revive her, heal her with the cool waters, the "cool waters upon a faint spirit" (Mishlei 28:25).

If you pray without feeling, your spirit grows distant from [her mother of glory]–...for the feeling of your heart–that is your spirit itself.

Likutei Moharan 67:8

by Yaacov Dovid Shulman

You had seen the last of men,
And the last of men
Was primitive,
Tired and uninspired,
With nothing left to take or give
And one-dimensional,
A tree become a silhouette,
Charcoal-shadow and conventional,
A ballerina robbed of her pirouette,
A card-player holding nothing to his chest,
His best
Hardly good enough
(Followed all day by a puff Adder),
Growing dimmer and madder,
Slimmer and sadder,
Without the glimmer that he had yearned for
Twenty-three years ago
When he had glimpsed the green door
That fluttered to and fro,
Exposing the glint of a garden view
Where elephants pondered and giraffes stalked.

Now the cracks were caulked
By the wood-dust crew
And nothing was left
But an apple core
And a scrap of a scroll
While the naked man, bereft,
Heard the toll
Of the bell shiver the sycamore,
Till everything grew dim
In Siam and Baltimore,
And the Pacific Rim
And points north and south,
Where the mouth
Of the ice cavern yawns
And everyone feels stressed
And slightly undressed
In those unearthly dawns.

That's when you saw the glistening black letters
Standing in the forest,
And you knew that you were in the company
Of your betters.
You bit at your fetters
With no apology
And watched the yellow-gold leaves flutter
Into shapes that no florist
Had ever created,
And you heard your lips mutter
In fragrant profusion,
In layered allusion,
Words that were weighted
But flecked like gold leaves,
And you held silver cards
Up your sleeves.

The bodyguards
Had fallen asleep at the foot of the colonnade
And you looked at the shadow
That the great tree made,
And with the shards
Of gold coins flickering in your fingers,
With the bravado
Of innocence,
Where the autumn light lingers,
Where the forest grew dense,
You looked at the pattern
Of leaves and sky
And the words rolling by,
Large and magnificent
Like the rings of Saturn,
And your mind was a firmament
And your heart a great hall
And that was all.

(Part 2)
by R. Chaim of Chernovitz

We are unable to, nor do we need to, do anything on our own to cause the [holiness of the Sabbath to flow down]. Our only task is to add to this mitzvah with our own initiative, ideas and inner generosity. And so we add from the weekday to the Sabbath, on Friday afternoon as well as after the Sabbath, on Saturday night.

Like a loving person who goes beyond his minimal obligation because he loves to do good, we add to this mitzvah, even though it does not require an "arousal of inspiration from below." We want to demonstrate to our Creator how much love we have, how much our soul yearns to take part in this mitzvah (as it does in God's other mitzvahs). So we do what we can. On our own initiative, we add a portion of Friday to the Sabbath and we continue the Sabbath into part of Saturday night. And we do so in order that we may play an active role in this great mitzvah.

On the Sabbath, we sing of "those who seek Hashem, the offspring of His beloved Avraham, who finish the Sabbath late and rush to approach it." Inspired by the trait of Avraham, which is love, the Jews add to the Sabbath. And how? They "finish the Sabbath late and rush to approach it."


This [addition to the Sabbath] is considered part of the Sabbath because, as it indicates our love of the Sabbath mitzvah, it is absorbed into the Sabbath....

I wish to remind our people, the children of Israel, to be mindful when they do this.

Besides the preparations that you have to make in order to receive the holiness of the Sabbath, receive this addition to the Sabbath with love, in order to show God your overflowing love for this beloved mitzvah... joyfully, receiving the pleasure of this addition to the Sabbath, our own contribution.

"And it shall be that on the sixth day they shall prepare" (Shmot 16:5). The phrase "and it shall be" indicates joy (Esther Rabbah Introduction 11). It is a joy and pleasure for the Holy One, blessed be He, that we add from Friday to the Sabbath and we greet the Sabbath of our own volition, with a love of holiness.

After we have done everything well in adding to the Sabbath in the two ways discussed–we receive it with love, and we prepare our soul and body by immersing in a mikvah and reciting the Friday afternoon prayers with a good heart and correct mindfulness–then the letters of the word tasheiv–return–rearrange themselves to spell Shabbat.

Now we can receive the Sabbath with great joy in the mitzvah and in a state of minimal sinfulness–for our sins have been forgiven, following our repentance.

Sidduro shel Shabbat, p. 87

by R. Kalonymus Kalmish Shapira

Therefore, even you haven't found it possible to join a group but are serving God on your own, follow the instructions that I have laid out for members of a group.

In addition, make a verbal commitment to being a "Hasid." The Rambam states (Mishkav Umoshav 10) that nowadays even a Torah scholar is not assumed to be a chaver (who keeps the laws of purity) unless he as made a specific commitment to do so. One makes such a commitment before three people.

But in regard to being a "hasid, there is no need to require that. It suffices that you make such a resolution by yourself, standing before God. (And deeper matters are involved in this.)

The Talmud teaches (Bava Metzia 84) that before Reish Lakish took on the "yoke of Torah," he jumped into the Jordan River [to save] Rabbi Yochanan. But the moment he took on the yoke of Torah [while he was still in the river], he grew weak and he could no longer return [to shore].

But why should that be? [Even though Torah saps a person's physical strength,] at that point he hadn't yet learned Torah–he had only accepted the yoke of Torah.

The answer to this is as follows. A Jew has the power to sanctify the body of an animal by stating, "This animal will be a burnt-offering." Then its flesh, bones, hide, etc., are sanctified, so that were a person to harm the beast he would be liable to karet, excision of the soul (heaven forbid), like a person who offers sacrifices outside the Temple and has desecrated them.

So if a Jew can sanctify an animal through a verbal declaration, he can certainly sanctify himself and his body in the same way.

That is the power of accepting the yoke of Torah that sanctifies a Jew. Before Reish Lakish repented, his strength stemmed from a low level. But when he accepted the yoke of Torah, he sanctified himself and his body. And so his previous strength faded, and he was unable to return [to shore].

The phrase "if you heed" is translated by the official Aramaic Targum as "if you accept." We learn in Imrei Elimelech (Eikev) that as you resolve to accept these laws, then "you shall guard and do them." You can already expect to perform them, for the word "guard" can also mean "to look forward to" (as in the verse "and his father guarded the matter"). Hakhsharat Ha'avreikhim

We all dream of writing a masterwork.
Sometimes, we just need a helping hand.

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