The Wings of Morning -
A Torah Review

Yaacov Dovid Shulman

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Volume VI, Issue 6

Lech Lecha, October

Unless otherwise noted, translations and original material copyright 2001 by Yaacov Dovid Shulman (

* An Old Breathc
--by Yaacov Dovid Shulman

* The Inner Foundation of Evil
--by Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak Kook

* A Short History of R. Yaacov Dovid Kallush of Amshinov (5574-5638; 1803-1878) (continued)
--by Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak Bromberg

* The Society for Positive Mindfulness (continued)
--by Rabbi Kalonymus Kalman Shapiro (the Pieszesner Rebbe)

by Yaacov Dovid Shulman

I have nothing left to give
You. This is good--for what I
Had to give was an old breath, a cow eating
Grass beside a road that had never moved. And what can

I receive from you? The wounds
Of the past, in my cupboards, have
Not been unwrapped, and you say, "Pour out your old
Blood, listen to the bright yellow of my thundering."

This great cat, time, licking up
With its rough tongue the skin of our
City, in whose wheels we slowly revolve, waits
For our prayer, flame, to set fire to everything, so

We are a shower of flame-
Leaves and aura. Let us fill this
Hollow expanse with our hot humanity,
This motionless home at the center of our candle.

by Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak Kook

When we gaze at the existence of cosmic evil (at its totality and its details)--whether in general or in one detail, whether on a plane of ethical thought or in actuality, in whatever form it may take--we find in it an organic structure and architecture, and we cannot attribute it to chance.

This is an axiom that leads those who see to recognize the fundamental element of evil within reality as an active force, and therefore as intelligent and alive. From this they come to recognize its details and gradations. And more than that, they see that lovingkindness and supernal goodness, divine might and ability, intelligence and the providence that penetrates everything and permeates everything will by no means allow for the existence of random evil without removing it from the world and without protecting reality from its destructiveness.

As a result, we again arrive at the conclusion that the existence of fundamental evil is a creation: "He makes peace and creates evil." And since it is a being of creation, made under the direction of the Supernal Might, we know clearly that it was created only in order to perfect the existence of goodness--both general and particular--in the highest and most wondrous form, and that without the existence of evil, the reality of goodness would not be as complete.

And in this we recognize that the inner foundation of evil is a being of good: a being of a basic and very elevated goodness. It is true, however, that its branchings and manifestations outside that elevated root are all evil. And we increasingly recognize the venom in every type of manifestation, in order to know how to protect ourselves from them, and how to increase goodness--universal and particular--so that our aim will arrive at its highest intent: the complete eradication of evil and the blossoming of good in its most complete form, lacking none of those powers that attained form within all the breadths and depths of evil--and which are, in truth, the servants of good, giving it honor and strength, once they have been sweetened of their bitterness, purified of their uncleanness, and enlightened from their great darkness.

This is the highest achievement upon the elevated path of ethics. It is the innermost state of being, attained via the most majestic feelings, the most enlightened and the most Torah-congruent, of the holiness of faith in its treasury of beauty--feelings that strengthen a person's holy spirit and raise him higher and higher, bringing him to develop his native form in its most praiseworthy and holy state, with a most wondrous and elevated wholeness, which brings him to salvation and might, and lifts him above all creatures. "If you bring forth the precious from the cheap, you will be My spokesman"(Jeremiah 15:19).

How profound, leading toward the depth of faith and the height of consciousness, is the perception that sees general evil, with all of its individual branches, as an active, structured and organized fundamental, as a bloc oriented towards a goal, aiming at its goal within its scope, and as a craftsman's tool that prepares [the world] to attain the most inclusive, holy and elevated goal, [a goal] that will come to its total completion with the annihilation and eradication of evil, and with the transformation of the character of evil to the means of attaining the highest good.

How superior is this perception to the common rationalistic viewpoint that considers general evil and its many particulars as no more than a being of chance elements, whose only fundamental consistency is its natural necessity caused by [the rules of] physicality. We can easily comprehend this after we have penetrated the structure of evil itself on all its levels, in its spiritual and universal, individual and historical processes. And how much more is this deep outlook that makes clear that the bloc of evil is a structured pillar, superior in regard to clarifying our faith-understanding, in regard to divine holiness and the totality of the supernal wholeness.

When we penetrate and descend to the depth of things, we will see that doubt and pessimism--which attacks our spirit with its superficial proclamations regarding the recognition of general evil and its place in reality--will ultimately join itself to goodness, and will be transformed to a life-giving elixir in the world.

When pessimism gains in strength and cripples a person's spirit, it necessarily comes to recognize that evil is an established power that causes evil things to flow forth from its profound nature. As a result, despair arrives, accompanied by evil, heresy and all of its evil downfalls. But in the end this outlook itself attributes a structured power to evil--not [believing it to be] merely chance and temporary. As a result, there automatically comes the recognition that the general nature [of evil] and all its branches are a deeply embedded creation. And an embedded, organized creation always testifies to an Organizer and Arranger. And then evil in its entirety, with all of its branches, will come to be revealed as a machine working to perfect the supernal good, which is itself directed at the highest aim of being. "The world is built on lovingkindness."

From this comes the highest viewpoint (one that conquers all that stands against it) and the greatness of faith and the holiness of the divine, unique rule. The unchanging pennant of Israel [expressed] in Torah, in life, and in creation, which are incorporated in the holiness of pure faith, stands forth in beauty and glory, in great loveliness and with a supernal elevation, growing ever brighter.

Orot Hakodesh, pp. 479-481

A SHORT HISTORY OF R. YAACOV DOVID KALLUSH OF AMSHINOV (5574-5638; 1803-1878) (continued)
by Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak Bromberg

At first he had seventy Hasidim. Among them were well-known rabbis and great Torah scholars such as the rabbi of Rizhan; R. Avraham Sagi Nahor of Klushin, known for his great erudition (he knew the entire Babylonian and Jerusalem Talmuds by heart, as well as latter authorities and Kabbalah texts); and R. Simchah of Suchniyov, who was also great in Torah. Amongst the admorim (Hasidic rebbes) who traveled to Amshinov was were? R. Yechiel of Alexander and the son of R. Avraham Moshe of Peshishche. Also amongst his Hasidim was R. Michale, shub of Radomsk, known for his works, Daat Hazevach, Daat Chachamim and Tikkun Hazevach (on ritual slaughtering and the lung), who received approbations from R. Yaacov Dovid for his writings, printed at the beginning of his last work, Tikkun Hazevach.

With the passage of time, the circle of R. Yaacov Dovid's Hasidim increased, until thousands of Hasidim from various places came to him for the holidays. He would lead a tisch and teach Torah to his Hasidim. His mouth was like a flowing well and many great people came in order to derive pleasure from his Torah and words of Hasidism.

R. Yaacov Dovid had very close relations with the Hasidim of Kotzk. Once when he was there, the elder Hasidim asked him to persuade their old Admor not to seclude himself from his Hasidim.

R. Yaacov Dovid went to R. Menachem Mendel of Kotzk and spoke to him in the name of the Hasidim.

The Admor of Kotzk replied, "If I had ten Hasidim like you, I would go to a tisch with them."

To this, R. Yaacov Dovid said, "My father used to say that a rebbe is like a wagon driver. If a customer comes, he takes him and gives him a ride."

While the elder Admor of Vorke (the father of R. Yaacov Dovid) was still alive, he would always take his two sons with him on his many journeys undertaken on behalf of the Jewish community. From his father, R. Yaacov Dovid learned to act on behalf of the Jewish people and to the Russian government's decrees that threatened the Jews of Poland. And when R. Yaacov Dovid became a leader and community rabbi, he like his father dedicated himself with all his heart and soul to help the Jews in their suffering. Even though R. Yaacov Dovid did not know any gentile languages--neither Polish nor Russian--he found a way of affecting the leaders of the government who held the fate of the Jews of Poland in their hands. And he always succeeded in persuading these high officials to nullify the decrees.

Migdolei Hachasidut III

by Rabbi Kalonymus Kalman Shapiro (the Pieszesner Rebbe)

There are many obstacles that keep a person from being whole-hearted and sincere. For instance, there is a type of false humility whereby a person is so intimidated by society and its mores, he so deeply values the ways of the world and the opinions of others that he bows down to them entirely. The entire essence of his heart and soul are as nothing; they are crushed, not in the least manifest. He is so "civilized" by the manners of the world that he loses the ability to sense what is good and what is evil, what he should do and what he should avoid doing. He measures all good and evil by the yardstick of the world. That which the world considers good, he considers good, and if something is reviled, then he will revile it as well.

Imagine what it would be like if you were the only person in the world, and none of what you did was for the sake of anyone else or for any ulterior motive. You would certainly not truckle to the laws, conventions and foolish things of the world. Your sole purpose would be to discharge your obligations.

And so, maintaining this viewpoint, even when you do someone else a favor, do so solely to fulfill your obligation, solely because you have a responsibility to help other people--not for any superficial design and purpose. You feel yourself impelled by a type of inner drive telling you, "This is your obligation, this is what you have to do."

If you accustom yourself to always act this way, then your heart, your soul, your independent will, and your sense of its obligation in all things will grow manifest. All your actions, thoughts and speech will be filled with your soul and its power, spreading throughout you and saying, "Grow, act, and be a constant servant of Hashem your God in all your affairs."

Bnei Machshavah Tovah

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