The Wings of Morning -
A Torah Review
Yaacov Dovid Shulman
|WINGS OF MORNING
Volume V, Issue 40
Chukas 5761 July 2001
Unless otherwise noted, translations and original material copyright © 2001 by Yaacov Dovid Shulman (firstname.lastname@example.org).
* The Shoulders of the Bay
* The Weapon of the Age
* The Youth of Rabbi Nosson of Nemirov (Part Vii)
* The Society for Positive Mindfulness (Part Vi)
* Every Tree
by Yaacov Dovid Shulman
To those to whom I might have
Missed trams, these flickering boats,
Of the multitudinous
The turning earth wrapped in the
by Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak Kook
I come to rouse you and all the young people who seek encouragement in [leading a] spiritual life--a life that is truly made honorable and perfected (with the help of God)--regarding the topic of literary expertise.
We have the obligation to acquire literary ability, a style that is alive in all its hues: prosaic and poetic. If there is a person among us who feels in his spirit a talent for song and poetry, he should not ignore that talent.
There should be training, training that will teach the children of Judah to use this bow (cf. Shmuel II 1:18).
Ultimately, my teaching (to myself and to others) is that the measure of peace and kindness must take precedence within our souls and abilities. Nevertheless, we must arm ourselves in the divine war against Amalek, who is both within us and outside of us. And we have the obligation to prepare the weapon of the age: the pen. We must translate into a modern style the entirety of our holy treasure, the treasure of the opinions and feelings of almost the entire Torah, in order to bring them close to the people of our generation.
source: I misplaced it! (which also means that some phrases are likely mistranslated)
by Rabbi Avraham Tultshiner
As a result, the Hasid didn't go home for thirteen years. R. Nachman said that when he visited R. Mordechai upon his return from the land of Israel, this man was still there. (The man was afraid that he might die as had the previous owners. After R. Nachman's five-day visit, and after R. Mordechai passed away, the man traveled home and immediately died.)
With this story, R. Nachman hinted to them that they should study his every movement and every word that comes out of his holy mouth, even if he is speaking of this-worldly matters, and not to imagine that his words contain no more than their simple meaning, heaven forbid.
The second story was about R. Shneur Zalman of Liadi. R. Nachman told that R. Shneur Zalman had a student who studied one of his teachings for eight years.
With this story, R. Nachman hinted that R. Nosson should begin studying R. Nachman's holy teachings and involve himself in creating insights into them.
The third story was about how R. Michel of Zlatshov joined the path of the Baal Shem Tov. When R. Michel first came to the Baal Shem Tov, he was filled with awe. But when this awe died down, R. Michel thought that he must be an ignoramus. As the Gemara teaches, to an ignoramus, a Torah scholar at first appears like a golden vessel, but afterwards like a clay vessel that cannot be fixed once it is broken. The Baal Shem Tov took hold of him and told him, "Michli, bist a am ha'aretz. Michli, you are an ignoramus." When R. Nosson came to R. Nachman, he had the same thoughts about R. Nachman.
And now R. Nachman told him this story, held him by his hand and said, "Michl, bist a am ha'aretz."
With this, R. Nachman made it clear that he knew what R. Nosson was thinking. And R. Nosson was overwhelmed when he realized that all his thoughts were clear to R. Nachman.
From then on, R. Nosson and R. Lipe were strongly drawn to R. Nachman (cf. Kochvei Ohr, Anshei Moharan, Section 3).
by Rabbi Kalonymus Kalman (the Pieszesner Rebbe)
A simple Jew, simple beginner who has never experienced the taste of an elevated thought and visualization might ask what appears to be a strong question: What is all this eagerness, this religious frenzy, our eager trembling to apprehend thought and imagination in order to bring them forth and perfect them within ourselves?
After all, what are our thoughts in general, and what are they fit for? Our thoughts are only suited to think of and visualize a tree, a stone--the image and thoughts of physical things. And so how will such thoughts and images help us?
[It would seem that visualization has nothing to do with serving God.] When we stand in prayer, even when our mindfulness is strong and we seek awareness of the divine, there is nothing that we may think of, for (as Maimonides states in many places--particularly in Hilchos Teshuvah and Yesodei Hatorah) it is forbidden to visualize God's glory as having any physical image. And [this is a problem, since] in this world our thought is not ready to and capable of visualizing and thinking of a spiritual, abstract form.
If this is so, why should we strengthen, broaden and perfect our thought-- a thought and imagination that can only think about and visualize houses, people, and so forth? If we broaden such thoughts, will they help raise us and set us before God's throne of glory while we are still in our body in this world?
A simple understanding might lead a person to conclude that broadening one's thought might cast a person even more deeply into fantasy and turn him into a person filled with empty delusions.
But (as was said above), this point of view is fitting only for a person who stands at the beginning of the work of mindfulness, having not yet perfected it, nor yet experienced the taste of pure mindfulness. Since this person is immersed solely in activities that serve his body, utilizing his thought as well for his bodily needs--thinking of how he will eat, drink, of his business, and so forth--and the essence of his thought is still hidden within him, having yet to emerge, it seems to him that the revelation of thought and vision (which is a spark of prophecy), of which we are now speaking is only a magnification and broadening of his type of thought. And so he entertains these questions.
To what can this person be compared?
He is like a poor beggar who goes from door to door (God have mercy), who dreamed that he had been made king. In the morning, he was very upset and he wept--for if, just to support his family, he had to beg throughout the entire town and wear himself out, now that he is king and has to support an entire army, it would not suffice if he went begging throughout the entire world. And he is not strong as a rock, he cannot go to every door in the world in order to support his soldiers?
The beggar thinks in this way because he is measuring his sovereignty with the measuring stick of poverty. He thinks that he will have to support all his troops by begging from door to door, as he supported his family in his poverty (heaven have mercy). He cannot lift himself beyond his impoverishment to understand that if he were king, the entire manner in which he would acquire provisions would be of a different order.
Nevertheless, we must leave this questioner where he is, and we must address him and deal with his error:
According to your opinion--we may tell him--thought is only capable of considering and visualizing physicality. You believe that thought is itself merely a physical power, just as the senses are.
But if that is the case, why is it that when you want to see something a mile away, you must have an unblocked view-- whereas in your mind and brain, which is no bigger than a human fist, you can even visualize ten miles? Thus, you see that thought in and of itself is not truly sensory and physical. It merely appears physical. And when, using our mind, we attempt to separate one from the other, imagination with thought from the images they create that are influenced by the senses, then there will remain a spiritual thought that we do not see and feel, that we cannot know nor give a title to.
Bnei Machshavah Tovah
as told to Chaim Lipschitz by R. Shmuel Hacohen Kook
One time Rav Kook went for a walk with his brother, R. Shmuel. They sat down to rest under a non-fruit-bearing tree, and R. Shmuel plucked a leaf. Rav Kook was taken aback and told him, "What did you do? Everything planted in the ground has value. What is planted today gives life to the earth. We have the four species that we take on Succos--chag ha'asif, the harvest festival. They represent the gifts of the earth. And the reason that one of them is a willow is to teach us that even a non-fruit-bearing tree has value."
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