The Wings of Morning -
A Torah Review
Yaacov Dovid Shulman
|WINGS OF MORNING
Volume III, Issue 34
Iyar 5759 April 99
Translations and original material copyright (c) 1998 by Yaacov
Dovid Shulman (unless otherwise noted)
* An Old Denunciation
* Supernal Holiness
* Natural Men
* A Great and Dangerous War
* Like Rising Water
* That Mountain Looks Far Off
AN OLD DENUNCIATION
The "rebbe's chest," the box that contained my father's Torah writings and which the yeshiva students ran to save whenever a fire broke out, was important not only for what it contained. The chest had its own importance. It had upon it the token of an extraordinary event: a government seal. This meant that it could not be opened by anyone without the permission of a government representative. This seal had been placed upon the chest because of an event that had taken place a few years before the great fire.
One morning, when my father was sitting at the table and the family members were engaged in their daily pursuits, a government committee arrived to ask questions regarding a grave matter. The "ispravnik," or mayor, had received a letter from Volozhin claiming that on such-and-such a day, the rosh yeshiva (my father) would be sending a letter of a criminal nature to someone in London, and that the government should take heed. The government examined the mail on that day and in fact found a letter signed by my father and addressed to Rabbi Yaakov Reinovitz, a dayan in London. The letter contained a receipt for a sum of counterfeit Russian bills, and an order for more.
When this letter was intercepted and delivered to the higher authorities, they brought their men to investigate. They traveled immediately to our house, surrounded it--to keep anyone from escaping--and entered the house with the letter. Naturally, they did not reveal the text of the letter. They only showed my father (of blessed memory) the signature, and asked him if it was his. The signature had been masterfully forged. My father (of blessed memory) replied that it was handwriting. They then uncovered the rest of the letter. When he read it, he said, "The signature is mine, but I did not write the letter."
Naturally, the matter was very serious. My father was ordered to appear in Oshmina, where government officials who oversaw Volozhin had their offices. The uproar and fright that seized the yeshiva and town was very great. This was not due to the charge of counterfeiting, which was silly even in the eyes of the gentiles. But the officials had seized all sorts of papers from our house and brought them to Slyedavatel, the district attorney in Oshmina. These included letters and books regarding the yeshiva's finances. Raising money for a yeshiva was strictly forbidden in Russia. In particular, the yeshiva of Volozhin did not have government approval and its existence was illegal.
Naturally, it existed with the knowledge of all government officials, great and small. But officially, no one knew of it. There was a great danger that although the government would reject the charge of counterfeiting, it would bring to bear all its power to persecute the yeshiva and to put an end to its fund- raising. The government might punish not only the rosh yeshiva, but all those who had a connection with the yeshiva, most of all the meshulachim, the fund-raisers.
But all this uproar and fright could accomplish nothing. My father (of blessed memory) had to go to Oshmina. The police and members of that committee did not have the nerve to actually arrest my father. They allowed him to travel with complete freedom, accompanied by a companion, and with no police guard. And behind his wagon, keeping a certain distance so as not to impugn his honor, rode the government officials.
to be continued...
(This piece was published last week, but with several errors in translation.)
Supernal holiness is a holiness of silence, a holiness of being, when we recognize ourselves, our own particular inner self, as nullified, and we live an all-inclusive life: a life of all. We feel the life of the inanimate, plant and animal, the life of the entire totality, of all humanity, of every individual, the life of every mind and every intelligence, everyone who strives and everyone who feels.
Then with us, existence, in its entirety, rises to its source. And the source is revealed continuously--upon itself and upon us--with great glory, in the splendor of holiness, in truth and tranquility. All happiness, all that is good and just, all strength and harmony, all might and power flow upon us. We are the light of the world, its foundation and the force of the drawing forth of its life. In our merit, the entire world is sustained. Yet in our own yes, we are entirely as nothing. We are not set aside, separate, apart. We are alive, and all of our life is a holy of holies, a life of life. The beating of our heart, the flow of our blood, the ideals of our spirit, our look and the gaze of our eyes: all of these are a life of truth, a life of divine might pouring into them and through them.
If this holiness of silence will cast itself down to a restricted serve--to prayer, Torah, the constriction of particular ethics and care--we will suffer and be oppressed, we will feel that a soul filled with all existence is being crushed in tongs, imprisoned and compressed in measurement, the designation of one specific road, at a time that all roads together are opened before us, all of them filled with light, all of them containing life.
The arrogance in the era preceding the messiah stems from an inner yearning for the holiness of supernal silence. In the end it will come, for in the future, Israel will rise yet higher than the ministering angels, who will ask: "What has G-d wrought? What is now being taught in the heavenly academy?"
The sons of the arrogant, of those who make breaches in the roads and fences, will in the future be prophets of the highest order, of the level of Moses and with the supernal radiance of Adam. The tree of life completely, in the full depth of its goodness, will be revealed in them and by them.
To bring this supernal light to the world, it is necessary to have the service of holy people filled with supernal love, who reveal in the meditation of their heart and sensitivity of their soul the treasury of goodness hidden in the most particular unique nature of the life-force of Israel. And it is also necessary to have a populace connected to the holiness of the forefathers, to the inheritance of the community of Jacob, yearning for the central point of its life with all its might, fearful and suffering regarding the destruction, recoiling from the breach of the fences, girding its strength to keep and guard every ruling written with faith and skill.
In life, there appear disputes between Torah scholars and different paths that contradict one another.
But the outpouring of light brings about its accomplishment
in the chambers of the soul, of the soul of the nation in its
great holiness. And the light of the messiah is increasingly
Holy people in truth must be natural men, for whom all the qualities of the nature of the body and spirit partake of the quality of life and health. In their ascent, they are able to raise along the world and all its being. Arpelei Tohar, p. 16
A GREAT AND DANGEROUS WAR
At times, when we struggle to cling to supernal spirituality, all the forces of spiritual life ascend in the world of supernal thought. Our body is bereft of our soul, and as a result, we are ruled by evil traits.
Afterwards, when have finished gazing and the force of life returns to its regularity, our soul finds our body broken, with all its qualities impaired. Then begins a very great and dangerous war.
And so, repentance and the desire to purify our traits must
precede the ascent of our gaze. Then these prepare some aspect
of contact between the body and soul--even in the soul's supernal
LIKE WATER RISING
The Zohar teaches that in the future the Torah of the hidden Ancient One will be revealed.
The Torah is received principally through our mindfulness. Our mindfulness is Moses. It is the messiah. It is "the wise man [who] has gone up with the city of mighty men" (Proverbs 21:22). A person who possesses this aspect of Moses, of the Messiah, is able to receive the Torah. He can draw forth the illumination of the Torah and teach it to others.
The revelation of the Torah comes from the union of [the two expressions of the Infinite One called] the Holy One, blessed be He, and the In-Dwelling. "Listen, my son, to the rebuke of your father, and do not reject the Torah of your mother" (Proverbs 1:88). "Your father" refers to the Holy One, blessed be He. "Your mother" refers to the Congregation of Israel [which is the In-Dwelling] (Zohar Yisro 85, Pinchas 213).
They are united when the spirits of Israel rise, like water rising.
And the wise man can take the souls and lift them, like water rising. "He who takes souls is a wise man" (Proverbs 11:30).
From this union, the Torah is born.
When the wise man rises with the souls, "with the city of
strong man rises the wise man," then "He brings down the strength
of its security."
THAT MOUNTAIN LOOKS FAR OFF
That mountain looks far off,
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