The Wings of Morning -
A Torah Review
Yaacov Dovid Shulman
|WINGS OF MORNING
Volume V, Issue 25
Ki Tisa 5761 March 2001
Unless otherwise noted, translations and original material copyright © 2000 by Yaacov Dovid Shulman (firstname.lastname@example.org).
* A Book of Teachings
* The Weapon of the Messiah (Part VI)
* Tchernobler Ways (Part II)
* No Longer on the Hills
by Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak Kook
It seems that we can only fulfill our obligations regarding the "duties of the heart"--[e.g., faith, love of God, and so forth]--by composing a book of teachings relevant to ourselves on the subject. This is [certainly] so in regard to particulars. But when we create our own insights, we can even understand the general principles better.
If a person is already at this stage of consciousness where he can construct structures of thought in his mind, he can achieve self-perfection only if he applies his mind to this.
Musar Avichah, Introduction
"The essence of learning--that which causes an impression on a person--is the learning that comes as a result of writing" (Maharsha on Bava Batra 10b).
by Rabbi Nachman of Breslov
In our exile, the face of the Holy One, blessed be He, is--so to speak--hidden. As the verse states, "You hid Your face" (Tehillim 30:8). [God's face] is His compassion. He has instead turned His back to us--which is His judgement.
All our prayers and requests are a result of God's having turned His back to us. We want Him to turn back His face: "Turn to me" (ibid. 86:16).
And as the verse states, "May Hashem make His face shine" (Bamidbar 6:24).
When we see the length of the exile, when, despite crying out to God every day we are not helped, some Jews come to the mistaken belief that all of our prayers are in vain.
But the truth of the matter is that the tzaddikim of every generation lift up all prayers and raise them.
As the verse states, "Moshe set up the tabernacle" (Shmot 40:18). [The tabernacle alludes to our prayer.] [These tzaddikim] raise [each part of the tabernacle, which is also] each limb [of a human being], to its place. [In this way,] they build the structure of the Shechinah--[the immanence of God's Presence]--little by little, until it is completed.
Then the messiah, who is Moshe, will come and complete it, and set it up completely.
Rabbah bar bar Channah said:
One time, we were traveling on a ship. We saw a fish with sand settled upon it, and grasses upon it. We thought that this was dry land, and we went up and baked and cooked on it. When its back grew hot, it turned over. If the ship had not been nearby, we would have drowned.
Bava Batra 73b
"We saw a fish."
This fish refers to the tzaddik of the generation (cf. M'orei Or, entry "dag"; Zohar Vayikra 42a 278b). This corresponds to Moshe Moshiach.
[Sand] refers to our prayers regarding the apparent fact that God has turned His back to us. [The Breslov Research Institution edition points out that in Aramaic, chol--sand--is similar to chila--entreat.]
"Settled upon it."
"They brought the tabernacle to Moshe" (Shmot 39:33). [The Breslov Research Institution edition points out that in Aramaic, yatva--settled--can also mean "to have brought."]
We must bring and connect our prayer to the tzaddik of the generation.
"And grasses upon it."
This refers to the souls that accompany the prayer, the "maidens after her, her friends..." (Tehillim 45:15).
Souls are called grass, as in the verse, "I have made you as numerous as the vegetation of the field" (Yechezkiel 16:7).
"We thought that this was dry land."
We thought that our prayers are [dry and] not bearing fruit.
But in truth, this is not so. Rather, "And we went up and baked and cooked."
That is to say, all the prayers go up. And the more one engages in prayer, the more is the Shechinah built and prepared for Unification.
Baking and cooking are a preparation for eating, and eating corresponds to unification. [The "bread" in] the verse, "the bread that he eats" (Breishit 39:6) [is actually a euphemism for a woman (Rashi).]
When the structure of all the Shechinah will be completed, by a preponderance of prayers, God's compassion will be "heated" and stirred up.
Then the quality of judgement will be transformed to one of compassion.
"When its back grew hot."
When God's compassion was "heated" and aroused.
[ "Its" refers to the fish, which symbolizes the tzaddik. But in this non-literal explanation, "its" refers to God's traits: first His compassion and then (in the following paragraph) His judgement.]
"It turned over."
The trait of judgement was transformed into compassion.
"If the ship had not been nearby."
[God proclaims that in all He does], "for My sake, for My sake shall I do this" (Is. 48:11).
On the verse, "who has preceded Me that I should pay him?" (Iyov 41:3), the midrash comments, "Who made me a mezuzah before I gave him a house...?"
(Vayikra Rabbah 27).
All our good deeds and prayers are from God. It is not right to consider receiving a reward for anything. Even though it appears that the redemption will come as a result of our prayers and Torah learning, we nevertheless need God's mercy, for it is with His mercy that He will redeem us.
"If the ship had not been nearby."
[The ship] symbolizes mercy. As our sages said, "Most sailors are benevolent" (Kiddushin 82a).
If not for God's mercy, "we would have drowned" in the exile, heaven forbid.
Likutei Moharan 2
by Avraham Stern
Later on, when this misnaged saw the fiery prayers of the rebbe and his Hasidim, and when he heard the rebbe's brilliant teachings, he grew humble and he acquiesced to the request of the Hasidim that he give the rebbe a kvittel.
The rebbe asked him to give a pidyon nefesh in the amount of three hundred kerblech.
The misnaged asked him, "Rebbe, all this money that you have been taking from me--is this not simply stealing?"
The rebbe answered him, "The Gemara says in Berachos 3b, 'A harp hung over the bed of King David...When the dawn came, the sages of Israel would come to him and tell him, "Our master and king, your nation Israel needs sustenance." He said to them, "Go out and earn from each other." They replied, "The handful does not satisfy the lion, nor can the pit be filled with its own sand."'
"I translate this Gemara as follows," said the rebbe. "The sages were telling King David that there are two types of Jews. One is called 'your nation,' and they are the simple people, who are busy day in night only with physical things, and who lack spiritual sustenance. The higher sort of Jews, who learn Torah for its own sake, are called 'Israel.' King David told them, 'Go out and earn from each other.' In other words, the simple people should financially support those who learn Torah, and the people who learn Torah should give spiritual sustenance to the simple people. The sages answered that 'the handful does not satisfy the lion.' In other words, the wealthy people are stingy and they do not want to support the Torah scholars, who are like lions. And so as a result, 'nor can the pit be filled with its own sand.' The coarse boor, who is compared to the pit, cannot pull himself out of his earthly physicality to come to spirituality.
"And so King David then advised them, 'Therefore, form armed bands.' Simply put, travel to the wealthy people to steal."
to be continued... Chasidishe Maasiyos
by Yaacov Dovid Shulman
And did you see me, I was
On the hills of your child years,
You are the tide of sunset
Sparks of your campfire, now my
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