The Wings of Morning -
A Torah Review
Yaacov Dovid Shulman
|WINGS OF MORNING
Volume V, Issue 50
Ki Tavo 5761 September 2001
Unless otherwise noted, translations and original material copyright © 2001 by Yaacov Dovid Shulman (firstname.lastname@example.org).
* The Ten Principles of the Baal Shem Tov
* The Society for Positive Mindfulness (Continued)
* I Sought You
The following is a summary of the principles that the Baal Shem Tov taught his holy students. This precious text was found in the possession of a grandson of the Baal Shem Tov in Hamburg (copied from the holy handwriting of the Admor Moharash).
1. The entire Torah and the entire world contain nothing but the light of the Infinite One (blessed be He) concealed within them. All the verses that speak of this, such as "there is no other than He" and "I fill the heavens and the earth," are to be taken literally.
There is no act, word or thought in which the essence of divinity is not constricted and hiding.
And so when you look and see with your mind's eye, you will see the inner, life-force aspect of everything, not just its outer, superficial layer. You will see nothing but the divine power inside all things that is giving them life, being and existence at every moment.
And when you listen carefully to the inner voice within any physical sound that you hear, you will hear only the voice of God as, at that moment, it is literally giving life and existence to the sound that you are hearing.
2. The "exile of God's Presence" refers to the life-force and divine power that gives a person life and existence even at the moment that he is transgressing God's will.
3. The evil inclination and lust are agents of God. They carry out God's will to mislead a person in order that he will overcome them.
From them, you can learn to be as mighty as they are. Just as they never slacken in their work but are trying to destroy you day and night (because a person always desires what his eyes see and what his ears hear), just as they are happy and delighted to carry out God's will, it should be as clear to you that God wants you to overcome them until you will conquer yourself and all your desires will be under your control--until you transform them to good.
This idea is alluded to in the verse, "we will take from it [from the flock] to serve God" (Shmot 10:26), meaning that we will take a lesson from the evil inclination to act just as it acts to fulfill God's will. And a word to the wise is sufficient.
4. Having no [divine] source, evil does not come down from heaven. Nevertheless, evil that exists has an inner power giving it life. And this [inner power] is total goodness. So if you look at the inner aspect of evil, you will only see the good in it.
5. A person has to cling to the words that he speaks. Because each word contains a soul and divinity, when you cling to them, you are connected to divinity.
6. Everything that happens in the world, no matter how insignificant, comes from God. And so do not concern yourself with whether or not what has occurred is in accordance with your will.
7. Neither thinking about the day of one's death nor the fear of punishment in hell will arouse a person's heart to serve God. But yearning to cling to the source of life and goodness will do so. And neither fasting nor afflicting oneself will be of any help. But forgetting oneself out of the depth of one's yearning will do so.
8. Every person in his own right is [essentially] a complete spiritual Torah. If he goes in God's path, that [Torah] is absorbed into his being, according to his level.
9. When a person prays for something that he needs, he should pray for the divine life-force hiding within that thing and giving it life, which is now suffering because of whatever it is lacking. And so one should ask God to have pity on His life force that is hidden in that thing.
10. God's Providence extends to all created beings, even to inanimate
and plants. There is nothing that is not viewed from above in every detail.
Everything was made with a particular intent. And a word to the wise is
by Rabbi Kalonymus Kalman Shapiro (the Pieszesner Rebbe)
[When you read this work carefully and review it,] endeavor to become aware of its overall form. All of a person's life force cannot appear in one limb only. It appears in his 248 limbs. And only when you look at all of them together can you recognize the form his complete form. In the same way, this book consists of teachings, inspirational advice and concrete advice. When you look at only one part, you are only seeing one limb of its intent. So in your hearts and souls, you must solder together everything in this book. Then the form of our particular service of God and goal will become evident.
But this will only be the experience of those people who have already been described at the very beginning of this work in regard to the membership of our fellowship.
We have many feelings that flow shallowly and weakly. If we broaden such a feeling and bring it into full being, it will turn into a great river whose waters, with those of its tributaries, will never run dry.
But if we do not expand these feelings, they will disappear without ever having seen the light of the sun.
For instance, sometimes a person feels an inner discomfort. He doesn't know whether he needs to eat or sleep or drink a brandy. And then this feeling dissipates. But it was really an instance of the soul stretching forth a limb, wanting to experience and have a pure thought.
Other times a person has a feeling of joy or the like. Since this feeling is not contained within a physical container (because it is a limb extended by the pure soul), he doesn't know what it is and what he is feeling. His soul is knocking softly and fluttering, but he drinks a vodka or does some other this-worldly act. But this does not calm the movements of his soul. He has only diverted and aroused his physical feelings to roar and thunder. But he did not hear the voice of his soul.
In the same way, the priests of Moloch would beat on drums so that a father would not hear his son wailing admidst the flames of Moloch. A person's physical feelings are so loud that the quaking of his soul passes [unnoticed and] in vain. It is as though his soul miscarried.
Regarding this, our Society proclaims to each member: Know how to look. Know how to look at everything that is occurring within you and outside of you. "Looking" does not only refer to looking at some object. It is rather a type of birth. We give birth to and bring forth something that we look at. We bring forth and give birth to its form until it becomes a form that we can gaze at.
When you have a feeling, you must look. That is to say, you must bring forth a form [of the feeling], and look at that form.
Not only minor feelings flit through a person and are lost because he is unable to look. But even entire mitzvot flash by him, returning to where they came from. He can feel what was within him, but he is incapable of focussing and imaging and knowing what he felt. For instance, he cannot tell how his feelings on the eve of Yom Kipper differs from those of Rosh Hashanah or from those of Passover eve, and so forth.
Therefore, we advise you: Teach yourself to look.
by Prof. Chaim Lifschutz
During the riots of 5689 (1929), Jews gathered in Rav Kook's yeshiva and recited Psalms.
Rav Kook came to the large outer door at the entrance to the house, bent over slightly, lifted the heavy crossbeam and locked the door with it."
His students explained, "Rav Kook means to say that in a time of danger,
it is not enough to recite Psalms. There has to be action as well."
by Yaacov Dovid Shulman
I sought you in the quiet
Filled with the riot
Of the mouth of the sun,
And where the geckoes bob and run,
I sought you in iron and in stone,
I sought you in blood and in bone,
Only you can say
Do not let your attention stray,
Come and learn Hakhsharat Ha'avreikhim ("Spiritual Training"), a spiritual-psychological theory of the Jewish soul, and step-by-step guidance on how to develop an awareness of our souls and of God.
This work can be described as an expanded version of Bnei Machshavah Tovah ("The Society for Positive Mindfulness"), written by the same author, Rabbi Kalonymus Kalman Shapiro (the Pieszesner Rebbe).
All men invited, Sunday night at 8:30. For more details, call (410) 358-8771.
To subscribe by e-mail (free) or to
sponsor an issue ($18.00), please contact:
Back to This Week's Parsha | Previous Issues