The Wings of Morning -
A Torah Review
Yaacov Dovid Shulman
|WINGS OF MORNING
Volume VI, Issue 39
Korach, June 2002
Unless otherwise noted, translations and original material copyright © 2002 by Yaacov Dovid Shulman (firstname.lastname@example.org).
* NATIONAL AND RELIGIOUS CONSCIENCE–A HISTORICAL EPISODE
* I STAND BETWEEN HASHEM AND YOU (conclusion)
* IN TRUTH
* NOT ONE WORD
* PREPARED FOR THE FEAST
by Shmuel Hacohen Avidor
The British government issued a decree stating that the Moslems were the legitimate owners of the Kotel but that, since the Jews had prayed there for years, they had the right to continue doing so. Nevertheless, the administrator of the Jerusalem district directed that no more chairs and benches be brought to the Kotel, and he also forbid the beadle's customary lighting of a "Lux" candelabra in the vicinity every Sabbath eve.
Rav Kook was very upset by these developments. He protested sharply to the chief secretary, John Locke, accusing the British government of caving in to Arab agitators. He wrote bluntly to the government, "We will in no way reconcile ourselves to the thievery of this remnant of our Temple." In response, Locke telephoned him and warned him not to continue his activity in regard to the Kotel. The following conversation ensued between the two men:
Locke: I advise you to retract your letter.
Rav Kook: Until your government withdraws its statement that the Western Wall is the property of the Moslems, I will not withdraw from my position.
Locke: I regret that I must warn you that your letter will be interpreted as instigating unrest.
Rav Kook: There will indeed be no peace if we are not allowed to pray alongside the Western Wall.
Locke: If so, I will hold you responsible for anything that might occur.
Rav Kook: The only party responsible for all of this is the government that has surrendered to Arab pressure and is aiding those who rob us of our rights.
Locke: Are you aware that with this position of yours, you are liable to sow confusion amidst the Zionist leadership?
Telephone them first. Or are you acting as a lone party?
Rav Kook: I am acting in accordance with my national and religious conscience. I will not be silent and I will not rest as long as our right to pray alongside the Western Wall is interfered with.
Locke: If that is indeed your position, I can only regret it.
With this, the conversation came to an end. The arrogant British official, who had hoped to intimidate Rav Kook into ceasing his efforts, hung up the phone furiously. Rav Kook hastened to return to the letter he had been composing and began to compose new telegrams to the great Torah leaders across the world, urging them to protest against the infringements of the Mandate Government upon the Jews' right to the Kotel.
by Rabbi Kalman Kalonymus Shapira
Therefore, the way to reduce and remove the self-centeredness of one's heart and not allow it to distance one from God is to forge a close relationship with people who serve God and who are pure in soul.
This is a love of friends, people who should care for each other as though for themselves. Each one should know about his friend's worries and joys, take part in them and, most of all, join in serving God with service of the heart and with the consciousness of the mind and heart.
Then each individual will not see himself in the inner being of his soul as being alone in the world. And that will make it easier for him to uproot this self-centeredness.
by Avraham Stern
During the span of time when the Strelisker travelled from tzaddik to tzaddik and afterwards [was a disciple of R. Shlomo Karliner] for seven years, his wife worked as a maid for the Yeshuos Yaacov, who at that time was the rabbi of Lemberg. At the end of the seven years, the Strelisker wrote his wife to expect him, for he was coming home for Pesach. His wife asked the rebbetzin to allow her to leave. But since the rebbetzin of Lemberg had great trust in her as a truly pious woman capable of keeping the house kosher on Pesach, she asked her husband that a room be set aside in their home for the maid and her husband. In this way, the maid could supervise the preparations for Pesach and make sure that everything was kosher. Then, after Pesach, they would let her go.
On the seder night, the Yeshuos Yaacov brought his entire family, guests, servants and maidservants into one great hall, where two tables had been set up–one for men and one for women–and he himself led the seder.
During the meal, the Yeshuos Yaacov looked at his guest who would later be the Strelisker and greeted him. He said, "Young man, it seems to me that you are pious and something of a Torah scholar. So how can it be that you have neglected the obligations that you took upon yourself in your kesubah, your marriage contract: ‘I will give you food and clothing...as is the way of Jewish men, who sustain and value their wives'? Under the wedding canopy, you committed yourself legally to support your wife with all her needs, just as all Jewish men support their wives in a fitting manner. Yet in the end you left her alone for such a long period without supporting her, until she had to hire herself out as a maid!"
The guest replied, "Rabbi of Lemberg, the phrase in the kesubah ends with the words ‘in truth': ‘as is the way of Jewish men, who sustain and value their wives in truth.' This means that Jewish men support their wives when they honor truth. And so I travelled about, seeking truth. Thank God, I found it with my teacher, R. Shlomo Karliner. And now, as my rebbe directed me to do, I myself am ready to become a rebbe."
by Simchah Raz
Once a great Torah leader from outside the land of Israel asked Rav Kook why he so much valued R. Aryeh Levin, and what was so special about him.
Rav Kook replied, "It is twenty years that R. Aryeh has been coming to my house–and for all those years, I never heard him speak one word in praise of myself nor one word disparaging anyone else."
by Rav Avraham Yitzchak Kook
The greatness of righteousness, along with its inner delight, comes from its ability to gaze toward the good of the future. No [other] eras form a barrier before it. Everything that passes is like foam upon the water. All evil and ugliness that constrict our mind–all this passes by.
The entire universe is assured of eternalness. Even now, total goodness fills the world, and it is prepared to manifest itself openly on a variety of levels in the future.
When evolution–which is on every tongue–broadens its scope, it will be the source of all righteousness, honesty and holiness, and it will cause the divine sweetness to rest upon every soul.
The reason behind this is simple. Since everything is evolving toward goodness, everything is rising. And so everything is prepared "for the feast" and for complete goodness. Contentment with reality manifests, and supernal kindness is increasingly poured forth throughout all the fullness of the soul.
That is the goal of the tzaddikim's trait of goodness. It fills them with love of God and with love of the world and all creatures.
When the trait of goodness and kindness gains strength in the heart of the tzaddik (the foundation of the world), it arrives, with its light, to the profundity of the most distant future, the most elevated world of rectification, where all that is bitter will be sweetened, and all evil will be transformed to good and all darkness to light. This [tzaddik] transcends all the deeds and constructs of the present world.
[In this world,] the trait of judgement prevents and blocks goodness from expanding in all its fullness. But the good tzaddik always overcomes everything. He clings to his trait of goodness, which is the trait of the supernal good that is constantly being revealed to him from that light which has been hidden away for the tzaddikim in future days. This is because, due to the depth of his goodness, he does not hold himself back from pouring forth upon [the deeds and constructs of the present world] a very broad outflow that is good for them.
This accords with the good desire of his inner being to be good and of aid both to those who are evil and those who are good. [Translator's note: Elsewhere Rav Kook states that the greatest favor we can do evil is to destroy it.]
When the supernal trait of goodness gains strength within the heart, and a person is filled with kindness and forgiveness, no alien idea constricting that goodness and kindness may halt this holy process. From these moments of illumination, divine inspiration spreads throughout the world.
And from the absolute good that shines into one soul in great measure, all souls (small and great, distant and near) are tempered.
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