The Wings of Morning -
A Torah Review
Yaacov Dovid Shulman
|WINGS OF MORNING
Volume VI, Issue 43
Shabbat Chazon, July 2002
Unless otherwise noted, translations and original material copyright © 2002 by Yaacov Dovid Shulman (firstname.lastname@example.org).
by Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak Kook
Inner piety encompasses the illumination of inner faith, the light of God pulsing in the soul with its own intrinsic, great power.
This is beside the illumination [that this light receives] from the light of Torah, of the teaching of forebears, and of sacred tradition.
This tradition accompanies the light of supernal faith, guards it from errors and straightens its path. "Your word is a candle to my feet and a light upon my path" (Tehillim 119:105).
by Avraham Stern
Incidentally, this sign that the Ari gave them explains the Gemara in Yoma 71a: "If [the man who had accompanied the ‘goat to Azazel'] came upon the cohen gadol in the street [the day after Yom Kippur], he said to him, ‘My master, I carried out your mission.' If he found him at home, he said to him, ‘May He Who gives life to the living know that I have performed His mission.'"
The Chizkuni states that man who accompanies the goat to Azazel is called a "man of the time–ish iti" because the cohen gadol used his expertise in astrology or divine inspiration to choose a man who would have died that year anyway. He is a "time-bound" man: his time has come to leave the world.
In the era of the Second Beis Hamikdash, the cohen gadol himself was not sure whether or not he would live out the year (ibid. 8b, cf. Rashi). If the "time-bound man" found the cohen gadol at home, he knew that both of them would remain alive. That is why he referred to the mission in God's name–for the good. Therefore, he said, "May He Who gives life to the living know that I have performed His mission": meaning, I obeyed the command of God as given in the Torah, and this has given life to the living, so that we will remain alive.
However, were he to find the cohen gadol in the street, this was not a good sign for himself, nor (possibly) for the cohen gadol. Since we do not mention the faithful God in relation to evil, so the "time-bound man" only referred to the mission in the name of the cohen, attributing the honor to him, and saying, "My master, I carried out your mission."
When the two representatives of the Ari entered the house of the tailor, he was at the mikvah, preparing for the advent of the Sabbath. When he arrived home, he did not say a word. He only washed his hands, greeted the guests and took a little bit of straw out from his bed. He spread this on the earth, lay down upon it with his feet to the door, and immediately passed away. (So was the custom in Poland–as it has remained to this day–that a little straw is spread out on the earth under a dead person, and he is laid with his feet to the door.)
In Lublin, the following took place. They arrived at the synagogue of the Maharshal while the congregation was in the middle of the silent Shmoneh Esrai (preceding the Welcoming of the Sabbath). They entered the synagogue and stood at the door. One of them told the other loudly, "The rabbi here is riding on a wheel in the middle of Shmoneh Esrai.'
The people next to them heard this and took these words to be an affront to their rabbi. But since the men looked so impressive, with aristocratic features, the people who had overheard them did not dare insult them. From row to row, these words were repeated, until they came to the monthly parnas (community leader), who was standing next to the Maharshal. The parnas instructed the cantor not to begin the repetition of the Shmoneh Esrai when the Maharshal finished reciting the silent Shmoneh Esrai. Instead, the parnas first wanted to repeat these men's words to the Maharshal and have the men punished for having insulted their rabbi.
When the Maharshal stepped backwards, marking the end of his recitation of the Shmoneh Esrai, the parnas told him everything. The Maharshal immediately told the cantor to proceed: to repeat the Shmoneh Esrai and then begin the Welcoming of the Sabbath.
After the prayers were concluded, the parnas asked the Maharshal why he had ignored this insult to the honor of the Torah. The Maharshal replied, "It is my custom to review my actions of the week every Friday, and I did so today. But in the middle of the Shmoneh Esrai, I remembered that I had presided at a dispute this week between two wagon drivers regarding a wheel. And I wasn't sure if I had given the correct decision after having heard both sides. Since the visitors were aware of this, they possess divine inspiration. And so how can we have them punished?"
The Maharshal invited these visitors to stay with him for the Sabbath.
He himself made Kiddush on their behalf. Then they washed their hands before the meal, and the Maharshal passed the bread knife lightly across the challahs and was about to recite the blessing over them when R. Chaim Vital quickly took out a handkerchief and passed it over the Maharshal's eyes. His vision improved a thousand times. When he had passed the knife over the challahs, he had cut a mite in half. Now it seemed to him that he had killed an enormous beast, and he was astonished.
R. Chaim took out twelve loaves of challah that he had brought form Tzefat, and he placed these before the Maharshal. The Maharshal recited the blessing of "hamotzi" over them. When he saw that these loaves were fresh and warm, he expressed his wonder. R. Chaim said, "Our rabbi's challahs have the quality of the Showbread. The verse states ‘to place bread hot as on the day of its being taken' (Shmuel I 21), and the Gemara explains that they were baked on a Friday and taken off the Pure Table the next Sabbath. And still, they retained their freshness and warmth as though they had just been taken out of the oven (Chagigah 26b).
At the end of the Sabbath, after the Havdalah ceremony, the Maharshal asked them what they wanted from him. They replied, "We were sent to you by the Ari with the request that you and the Rema not issue your excommunication against him, so that no one might get hurt, heaven forbid."
The Maharshal proposed that they engage in a debate regarding Kabbalistic matters. They agreed, eingeshstimt, with the condition that they would conduct it in the basement. During the course of this debate, the Maharshal cited a Kabbalistic statement. They replied by quoting the verse, "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth." The likeness of a sky and a new earth appeared right there in the cellar. They explained, "This is how our rabbi learns Kabbalah!"
The Maharshal then promised that he and the Rema would withdraw from their dispute against the Ari.
Meanwhile, back in Tishvitsh, the wife of the deceased Moshiach ben Yosef was asked if she had ever seen anything wondrous in regard to her holy husband. She replied that every day, when he would go to the synagogue for the afternoon and evening prayers, there would be no light in their hovel, because (due to their great poverty) they could not afford to buy candles. But eil, when her husband came home he would always bring many fine guests with him. It would suddenly grow bright in the house, and they would learn Torah the entire night. When she was asked why she had never told anyone about this before, she replied simply that she had thought that this took place in every Jew's house.
by Yaacov Dovid Shulman
Jerusalem is always
Into this gray, common dust.
The moon grazes the fields of
Loudly, the light is always
But one. The scent of incense
Entire afternoon, the
Now are Ramallah, Jenin,
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