The Wings of Morning -
A Torah Review
Yaacov Dovid Shulman
|WINGS OF MORNING
Volume VII, Issue 35
Kedoshim 5763, May 2003
Unless otherwise noted, translations and original material copyright © 2002 by Yaacov Dovid Shulman (firstname.lastname@example.org).
by Prof. Ch. Lifschitz
A leading Diaspora rabbi who made aliyah and served as a rabbi in the land of Israel disagreed with Rav Kook on various matters, particularly in regard to the shemittah year.
One time this rabbi came to Rav Kook and said to him, "When you lived in Boisk, I knew you as a complete tzaddik. But now what has happened to you?"
Rav Kook replied, "There you had some understanding of me. But now that I have ascended to the land of Israel, you no longer comprehend the justice of my actions."
The rabbi protested, "But I too am in the land of Israel!"
To which Rav Kook replied, "I am in the land of Israel and breathe its air; but although you are here too, you are breathing the air of the diaspora."
Shivchei Harayah, pp. 101-02
by Rabbi Nachman of Breslov
Doeg's learning came from those non-essentials, or waste.
Doeg was the general who betrayed David. Interestingly enough, Doeg means literally "to worry." A state of worry and anxiety is definitely not in consonance with resonating to a tzaddik's clear apprehension of reality.
"And over there was one of the servants of Shaul ... remaining before Hashem, whose name was Doeg..." (Shmuel I 12:8). Rashi explains that the word "remaining" indicates that "he held himself back to engage in Torah learning." [In post-Talmudic Hebrew, this word for "remain," "hold back," means "constipation."] Doeg's Torah learning was in the realm of this kind of "holding back"–i.e., of waste. And as a result, he came to the conclusion that David is unfit to be a member of the community of Israel (cf. Yevamot 66b). All of this was due to the fact that his learning came from this "waste matter."
Previous discussion of "malodorous vapors rising to the brain" is now developed into shocking scatological imagery. Torah knowledge in itself does not guarantee that one has acquired "daat Torah"–a Torah consciousness. To the contrary, one's base consciousness can subsume one's Torah learning to itself. And the nadir is reached when a purported Torah scholar persecutes and rejects the greatest tzaddik and leader. Obviously, these are fighting words, continuing the denigration of unenlightened Torah scholars that began in the early teachings of Hasidism and bringing them up to date so as to refer (presumably) to R. Nachman's own opponents. If these allusions aren't specific enough, R. Nachman goes on to explicate.
There are some leaders who are called "rabbi" [or "rebbe"–specifically, a Hasidic leader] whose learning comes from those non-essentials, or waste. Not only can they not guide themselves, they certainly cannot guide anyone else. Yet they claim the right to be universal guides. It is important not to ordain such people, not to give them any authority, so that they will not be called "rabbi" [or "rebbe"]. These people themselves aren't so much to blame, because they have a strong unfortunate drive to lead other people. But it is important to be extremely careful not to give them any authority. Those who do give them authority and ordain them so that they will be called "rabbi" ["rebbe"] will have to give an accounting of themselves in the future.
And when an incompetent person is deemed "rabbi" [or "rebbe"], our handwriting is weakened, and it has no strength, and the power is given over into the hands [of non-Jews'] writings.
When the flow of divine energy is misdirected into people who will use it in a way contrary to God's intent, then this dynamic spreads into other areas of spirituality, and the energy that should enter holy writings is diverted and enters unfit documents, giving them power.
As a result, [the gentiles] issue decrees taking away the force of our documents, and leaving it only with their writings, and the people of Israel are forced to learn their writing.
I don't know the specific historical circumstances that R. Nachman is referring to (this lesson was taught in 1807), but that was apparently when the anti-Semitic governments of Eastern Europe began to impose "enlightenment" on their Jewish populations, which included forcing Jews to learn secular texts.
by Rabbi Chaim Vital
Three months later, on the eve of Shabbat Hagadol, I dreamt and I saw myself walking in a large field, and I passed by the entrance to the elevated structure that I mentioned earlier, and I remembered that I had ascended and made a vow to the Master of the universe [never to set Torah learning aside for anything else]. I climbed up the that ladder and entered through the doorway, and everything occurred as it had the previous time: I fell on my face trembling, got up and sat in the same place that I had before.
Then He said to me, "Why have you forgotten what you had promised me here?"
I said to Him, "I did learn Torah, although it is true that I didn't do so as diligently as I should have. Please tell me if Your promise [not to give this place to anyone else] has been annulled, heaven forbid."
He said to me, "Do not be afraid. Your place is still set aside for you, and our vows are still in force. Go back and keep your promise properly, and I too will establish my covenant with you, to give you this place that I have already promised you."
And He said to me further, "Chaim, My son, go to the Ashkenazi congregation, because they are now bringing a Torah scroll. Sing before it, as you do in order to show honor to the Torah scroll, and take your father-in-law, R. Moshe Sa'adiah, with you. Tell him not to neglect this mitzvah, because it is also his custom act this way, since this is a great mitzvah." I took my leave of Him and wished Him peace, and He replied to me, Peace.
I went out through the doorway of the elevated structure and found myself in this world, and met my father-in-law who was coming to look for me. He said to me, "I have been looking all over for you, so that we can go together and show our respect to the Torah scroll." I said to him, "I too was commanded in such-and-such a place to come and get you for this." We went to the [main] street in Tzefat and saw many people carrying a Torah scroll covered in beautiful fabrics with apples of gold, and walking in front of it carrying lit candles and torches. We sang songs before it until we entered the Ashkenazi synagogue, where the congregation was already reciting the Sabbath Yotzer, for (as mentioned) it was the Sabbath. I prayed the Yotzer with them (which is inserted in the Shema), and the Amidah and the prayer leader's repetition of the Amidah. Afterwards, we opened the Torah scroll and seven men read from it, as is the custom on the Sabbath day, the parshah of the week, and we prayed the Musaf prayer. After the prayers were over, I wanted to leave the synagogue, but my teacher Rabbi Moshe Alshikh and my father and my father-in-law held me up and said, "Why are you in such a rush to leave? You have to stay, because they are about to perform a circumcision here." So I stayed. They brought a baby to be circumcised and gave me the child to hold as sandek, and they circumcised him. They said to me, "This is your son." Afterwards, they brought a large, fine meal to the synagogue, and we all ate the feast in honor of the circumcision.
And I awoke.
Sefer Hachezyonot, pp. 116-18
by Shlomo Gavriel Rosenthal
The holy R. Pinchas of Koritz said that on the Sabbath, you can raise everything that is low and degraded. That's why people eat the leg of an animal, onions (which are the cheapest of vegetables), and buckwheat (which is the cheapest type of legume).
And the proof is that there are places in Russia where Jews don't live, where the buckwheat grows so high that a person could hide himself in it, and the people wear a shtreimel because it is the tail of an animal, which has now been raised up to the head.
One of the people present when he said this was a Hasid who was a wealthy and distinguished merchant, and he said to himself, "What does he know about distant places in Russia?"
And as it turned out, he went out there and saw that it was so.
When he got back, R. Pinchas said to him, "So you see that it's true. So now believe."
Sifran shel Tzaddikim
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