The Wings of Morning -
A Torah Review
Yaacov Dovid Shulman
|WINGS OF MORNING
Volume VI, Issue 49
Ki Tavo, August 2002
Unless otherwise noted, translations and original material copyright © 2002 by Yaacov Dovid Shulman (email@example.com).
by Rabbi Shlomo Molcho
Of these two mountains, the one on the right (toward Tzefat and Damascus) was small, and the one on the left (next to Mt. Zion and Jerusalem) was large.
As we were there, the old man placed me upon my feet on top of the mountain to the right and said to me, "Raise your eyes toward the mountain on the left, and tell me what you see."
I said, "I see the man dressed in white, holding a scale. Above him is a man greater than he, dressed in whiter and finer linen clothing, as I had seen the previous time. The man holding the scale is on top of the mountain, and above him is the second man, as I had seen in the first vision."
As [the old man] spoke with me, the mountains came close. The great man who was [floating in the air,] suspended between the earth and heaven, stood above our heads. As for the man standing on top of the mountain on the left, since I was on the small mountain, his feet grew until my head was between his knees.
The old man said to me, "Open your mouth and speak to [the man standing on the mountain]. Ask him about the coming judgement upon the nation from which I took you."
I said to him, "My master, how can a person as unworthy as I am speak with him? What am I, what is my life, what is the righteous action of my hands and their honesty that I should come and ask him [for anything at all, whether ], large or small?"
But the man [on top of the mountain] said to me, "Do not be afraid. Peace upon you, my son. Ask of us and I will give. This is why I came."
I bowed and prostrated myself, my face to the ground. I said, "My master, may I know today that I have found favor in your eyes. My master, please speak into my ears and tell me the judgement upon the nation in whose midst I [sat] upon the bridge."
He replied to me, "This is the book, the written [document] in which are written all the events that will come as a result of all the evil that has been committed. Speak to the old man, and he will relate them to you."
He placed the book in the old man's hand. How I wish that I had permission to write down the visions of that book! [The old man] read from it and returned it to the man [on the mountain]. The man [on the mountain] said to [the old man], "Go and tell the youth who is with you what you read." [The old man] took me by my hand and said, "Let us go to where you had been." We went to the bridge and I sat upon my place as before. When I lifted my eyes, I saw a great creature in the form of a flying bird, of many colors. It had risen from the Salt Sea and landed upon the castle along the river.
I said to the old man, "What is this, my master?"
He said to me, "This is the mother of the great serpents, which dwells upon the cities of the sea. Its name is 'krum' [elevated]. It causes 'zulut' [worthlessness] to human beings ['elevating the worthless human beings' Tehillim 12:9]. It receives power from the end [the destruction] of all flesh. When this bird travels, the windows of heaven are opened, and rain comes upon all the places over which it flies. If not for the covenant that God had made with all flesh regarding when they sin upon the earth, the earth would return to chaos."
As I stood, I saw another shape of a bird, small compared to the first, colored beautifully white. It rose from the Great Sea and rested above the other one. I said, "What are these, my master?"
He said to me, "This is the creature of the field that sits upon the wondrous stones immersed in the depth (cf. Sefer Yetzirah I) from which come sweet waters, rains of blessing, life and everything good. Birds nest there to be free in the land, and to give men satiety from the fruits of the works of God. It always opposes the bird that had risen from the Salt Sea, to break its might. Beneath the two of them are animals, small and large.
"When God judges, He casts one down and raises the other up. If He judges with strict justice, He brings down the small one. If it is with compassion, He brings down the large one. Now they will rise together to perform charity and justice: charity with Israel, strict justice with all the nations–for there is a cup in the hand of Hashem that will pass over upon the land. The inhabitants of the land and amongst them all the evil of the land will drink [from it] so that all their might will be cast down and the fortune of the righteous one will be uplifted."
As the old man spoke with me, a feather of the large creature fell. A storm wind blew it and it gusted away. [The bird] remained with another feather, [black] as a raven's, in place of the first one of many colors. There was thunder and lightning, as on a day of rain. But the small bird experienced no change and no traveling. The lightning descended from the sky, separating us from the animals, and a great fear and trembling fell upon me.
I approached the old man who was with me and said, "Not even the heavens have merited to know the will of their Creator. How can a person such as myself, polluted and soiled by all sorts of contaminations and evil actions, do so? [But] it is true that God's great compassion extends to all His creations, and He will not recompense them in accordance with the work of their hands, for He is very patient, and He is called Compassionate.
"Please, my master, tell me what these great and awesome visions mean. I know that nothing is hidden from your eyes, my master, who saw everything written in the book held by the man who spoke to us upon the holy mountains. Now may the kindness of my master grow to favor me with his kindness as he has done from the day of the circumcision until now." He replied to me, "Know, my son, that the large bird that you saw is a vision of an earthquake and flood. The flood will be in this land [as occurred in Rome on October 8, 1530] and in another land to the north, the ends of the earth. The earthquake in the land of your birth [in Portugal, January 31, 1531].
"As the creature was above the earth, so will the waters be above the houses. The feathers that fell from the creature indicate the confusion in the midst of the people of the land, and the confusion of those who flee the earthquake and the flood.
"The small bird that rests higher than the other comes to protect the inhabitants of the entire world, to keep the covenant that God swore following the waters of Noah [cf. Yishaya 54:9, corresponding to the promise in Bereishit 9:14]. These miracles will be a sign for you.
"And do not stand in this place. After the flood, return here.
"In those days, there will be an earthquake in the kingdom of Portugal. When the flood is in Rome, it will also be in the north.
"The lightning that descended from the sky that separated you from the birds indicates that after the flood two great stars will be visible: one upon the castle where the birds had been, and the other over the great place that dwells in the cracks of the rock, whose dwelling place is in the heights [Rome?]. Each star will have a large, dark red tail. They will be visible to Rome for a few days, and all of the [inhabitants] will prophesy about them. The star that will appear upon the [great] place indicates that great weeping will lodge on that place and upon all its cities to the west of Turkey, for [all those cities] will be conquered by its enemies. The second star indicates that this will not last forever, but that Israel will act mightily so that there shall be song in the morning.
"The fear that you experienced as a result of the lightning indicates that when the two stars will appear before the nation, you will be very frightened, because sinners of your people will want to take your life. But do not fear, for they will not be able to overcome you.
"From that time until seven months [have passed], when you will turn thirty years old, to receive one and two supernal levels, to attain fame, as a result of having prepared yourself to die, you will have permission to go to the place for the sake of which (I know) I took you from the land of Turkey. And you will know about the earthquake of the kingdom of Portugal and the flood in the north and why they are coming."–to be continued...
by Rabbi Yosef Rosenheim
Man is Drawn to God's Oneness
A primary postulate in every area of Torah–from the Chumash to the latest Torah thoughts of a seasoned scholar–is the idea of God. God is transcendent and unique. He is the absolute unity with no equal, in relation to which the entire universe is essentially manifold. This unity is an essential quality, whereas diversity is an expressive phenomenon. The unity is an active will, whereas the diversity is, in relation to that unity, a result of action and will.
Man is, as is known, a creature unique in possessing self-consciousness. With the existence of this consciousness comes a triangular relationship between man and his environment: himself, God, and the world outside of Him. The tension between unity and diversity, between essential quality and expressed phenomenon, between will and result, is man's primal concern, one that awakens him and pushes him to ask questions.–to be continued...
Hebrew Reading Skills
Yaacov Dovid Shulman
To subscribe by e-mail (free) or to
sponsor an issue ($18.00), please contact:
Back to This Week's Parsha | Previous Issues