The Wings of Morning -
A Torah Review
Yaacov Dovid Shulman
|WINGS OF MORNING
Volume VI, Issue 21
Mishpatim, February 2002
Unless otherwise noted, translations and original material copyright © 2002 by Yaacov Dovid Shulman (email@example.com).
* What Is Hasidism? (Part I)
* Inner Certainty
* The Ohr Hachaim and the Land of Israel (continued)
* Love in Exile
* Your Ever-lasting Heritage
by Rabbi Kalonymus Kalman Shapiro (the Pieszesner Rebbe)
When the Baal Shem Tov experienced an ascent of the soul in the year 5507, he entered the palace of the messiah and asked him, "When will the master come?" To this, the messiah replied, "When your wellsprings will burst forth"(cf. the holy letter found in Porat Yosef).
Hasidism constitutes the final stage of revelation before the messiah (may he come quickly and in our days), the first radiance of the beams of light of his holiness. The essence of that messianic revelation is contained within the verse, "the earth will be filled with the knowledge of Hashem, like water covering the sea." And the foundation of the teaching of the Baal Shem Tov is contained within his explanation of the verse, "the entire earth is filled with His glory."
A great many Torah personalities engaged in a considerable amount of persecution of this holy man of Israel, claiming that (heaven forbid) his interpretation of the verse reified (or corporealized) the supernal glory. But this holy angel who descended from heaven, our holy Baal Shem Tov, knew that not only is this not the case (heaven forbid), but that, to the contrary, he is increasing and revealing God's glory. And his interpretation is not merely an explanation and an intellectual approach but with it he is awakening the dawn before the messiah. If it were not possible to bring this dawn so that people could grow accustomed to its light, they would (heaven forbid) prevent the sun of the messiah from rising.
Therefore, the Baal Shem Tov proclaimed that not only is Godliness found within everything in this world–Godliness that the physicality of the world wraps itself about and conceals–but that the physicality and earthiness itself is physicality only to our sight–whereas in truth, everything is divinity. All we need are eyes to see and a body that has sanctified itself.
Having that, when you look upon the world, you will look upon God, and God upon you.
"The entire earth is filled with His glory": even the earthiness (the "garment," the "vessels") is filled with the illumination of His glory. This is the first stage of "the earth will be filled with knowledge" that will be brought to fruition with the coming of the messiah (may it be quickly and in our days): that the earth itself will be filled with the knowledge of God.
by Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak Kook
Rabbi Zeira would avoid Rabbi Yehudah. He wished to ascend to the land of Israel, but R. Yehudah had said, "Whoever ascends from Bavel to the land of Israel transgresses a positive commandment."[Rashi: Rabbi Zeira was afraid to appear before Rabbi Yehudah...fearing that Rabbi Yehudah would command him not to go.]
A person's soul contains truths that are acquired through study and reflection. But there are other truths that are "hard-wired" into the depth of the soul, higher than any learning or teaching.
The entirety of the great relationship between rabbi and student is contained within the rubric of those teachings whose source is learning and review. But those teachings that are "hard-wired" in a person's heart and soul come from the aspect of the nature of the divine soul. This partakes of the holiness of Avraham Avinu, who had no rabbi, and whom God taught wisdom by making his inner organs like two rabbis (Bereishit Rabbah 61a).
When a person reaches this level, and in a particular area where this great power within his soul acts, he finds himself girded the power of truth, he stands higher than any influence of rabbi or teacher, for his soul shines in the divine light, which "gives wisdom to the wise" (cf. Daniel 2:21). However, even then a great person has the obligation not to forget that it is possible that this truth, which is higher than any relationship of influence through learning, is only fit for himself. The general path in which most people must be guided is the path of influence and teaching, which always requires the connection formed by the exalted relationship between rabbi and student, and the true subjugation of the latter to the former.
At that moment, this holy, elevated personality experienced a flame of a holy and supernal yearning for the land of Israel. His soul already stood at the height of the zenith of holy, inner certitude within the chambers of his heart, as the voice of God called him and the might of the hand of God was strong upon him and found him elevated and beyond any connection of learning and guidance by means of which a student is connected to his rabbi. Therefore, he determined to ascend to the land of Israel, even in contradiction to the opinion of his rabbi, Rabbi Yehudah.
However, he did not ignore for a moment the respect that must always be the foundation of the world, in all generations and at all times, with all people and in all matters.
Therefore, he handled the matter so that his respect for the great opinion of his rabbi would be clear, as well as how careful he is not to contradict his words, to the point that even at the foundation of the highest of all inclinations that he had as the center of his temporal and eternal life–his ascent to the land of Israel–he avoided Rabbi Yehudah in order that it not be inferred that he is acting disrespectfully and in opposition to the spirit of Rabbi Yehudah, whose great opinion certainly also has its place–and of course a broader place than the individual opinion of the student (which had taken hold of his heart and soul).
Therefore, Rabbi Zeira avoided Rav Yehudah in order not to be confronted, as on a narrow pathway, with a particular ruling for himself in particular, since he wished to ascend to the land of Israel.
That supernal desire lifted him beyond any general obligation. Therefore, he wished that the position of R. Yehudah should remain general and not apply to him in particular, for he found himself in this instance an exception to the rule and transcending it. "And in her love you should be intoxicated always" (Mishlei 5:19).
by Avraham Stern
In the middle of the third meal, the chacham fell into a deep and holy reverie. Emerging from this reverie, he recited a verse from the week's sedra and stated, "I have now heard in the heavenly study hall a commentary on this verse in the name of the chacham, R. Chaim ben Attar."
Repeating the comment, the guest said, "The commentator had something deeper in mind."
The chacham again fell into a deep reverie and then said, "Now in the heavenly yeshiva I learned the commentator's deeper meaning," and he gave it over.
But the guest replied, "The commentator's intent was even deeper than that."
The chacham again fell into a reverie, and then took hold of his beard and said, "You yourself are no other but R. Chaim ben Attar. I know this because in the heavenly yeshiva I was told to ask R. Chaim himself about his secret meaning in his commentary."
The Ohr Hachaim acknowledged his identity, and he remained with the chacham throughout the week until that Friday. At noon, the chacham had the Ohr Hachaim escorted to the other side of the Sambatyon and brought to a populated area.
teachings of the school of the Baal Shem Tov and R. Dov Ber
Everything is from the Holy One spreading Himself out via His attributes of love and fear. But the love is in exile, enclothed in physicality...And when a person considers that this love is a garment for G-d, and he (heaven forbid) stripped Him of His garment, he will tremble greatly...and be ashamed and abashed...
Tzavaas Harivash 120
by Yaacov Dovid Shulman
Pinchas Tukatli, eighty-
And shrapnel sprayed the air. What
In Iran, a statue shall
Her deed, if he does not see
Class for Men: Hakhsharat Ha'avreikhim ("Spiritual Training"), step-by-step guidebook on how to develop an awareness of our souls and of God, by Rabbi Kalonymus Kalman Shapiro (the Pieszesner Rebbe), Sunday night. For information, call (410) 358-8771.
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