The Wings of Morning -
A Torah Review
Yaacov Dovid Shulman
|WINGS OF MORNING
Volume V, Issue 51
Nitzavim 5761 September 2001
Unless otherwise noted, translations and original material copyright © 2001 by Yaacov Dovid Shulman (email@example.com).
* To Teach the Sons of Yehudah
* The Society for Positive Mindfulness (continued)
* To the Holy Land (continued)
by Prof. Chaim Lifschutz
Following the Hebron pogrom in 5689, Rav Kook learned from one of his students (R. Khad Sovol) that a religious division of the Haganah was being organized, which would not train on the Sabbath (as the Haganah did).
Rav Kook supported this and said that the time had indeed come "to teach the sons of Yehudah to use the bow." At that time, many of his students joined the ranks of the Haganah.
Shivchei Harayah, p. 236
by Rabbi Kalonymus Kalman Shapiro (the Pieszesner Rebbe)
In general, be the kind of person who seeks God everywhere. Perhaps you will find God Who hides Himself and the holiness of His glory. When you seek Him, you will find Him.
And where will you find Him? In yourself and in everything around you.
To attain this end, you must abjure haste, for a hasty person cannot come to understanding. But on the other hand, be careful that your deliberateness does not lead to the opposite: to lethargy and depression.
Let us take an instance [of composed mindfulness]: Shalosh Seudos.
You are sitting at the third meal, Shalosh Seudos, on Shabbos in the company of Hasidim. Don't you feel anything? The tzaddikim say that an hour of Shalosh Seudos is like the hour of which it is said, "Better an hour of teshuvah and goods deeds in this world than the entire life of the world-to-come." My holy father-in-law said in the name of the Maggid of Koznitz that Shalosh Seudos has the quality of "the righteous sitting with crowns on their heads enjoying the radiance of God's Presence." And you don't feel a thing? An experience greater than the world-to-come is passing over you--and you feel nothing!
No doubt your laziness entices you again, saying, "Stop trying to be what you are not." But I have already told you that this is the response of the evil inclination within you. The Almighty rules over everything; and if the righteous feel and enjoy His holiness in a developed way (corresponding to the head), you at least can do so in an undeveloped way (corresponding to the heel).
No doubt you also feel something at Shalosh Seudos. Your heart and mind are tossing to and fro from the mighty sound of the wheels: the wheels of the divine chariot that are passing through your soul. But you are not able to comprehend and see, and the sound and roar are lost to you, so that you barely realize that the Almighty accompanied by all His host has come.
Everyone has to learn how to see, on his level. During Shalosh Seudos, it is very simple. Shabbos has passed, a day of holiness. The heavens have been sanctified and you too have sanctified yourself. You haven't involved yourself in business, nor wasted time in idle chatter. You've sat and meditated on your Creator, and with friends you've learned Torah or conversed in matters of holiness. You've cleansed yourself from the week of every stain or speck of dust, and you've made an attempt to become attuned to your soul, as you weren't during the week. At every stage you have felt as if you were elevating yourself from one level of holiness to another, until you reached Shalosh Seudos, which is the pinnacle: the desire of desires.
Now you feel that this is neither the time nor place to eat meat and fish, but to search for God, Who hides in the glorious crevices, and to take pleasure of His radiance. You sit with your friends, who also seek God.
And you sit in darkness. This custom of Israel is Torah, because it is fitting that the body reflect the state of the soul at this moment. There are two types of darkness. From God's perspective, [darkness is not an absence of light]. It is true light. Darkness comes only from this world.
Neither the world nor its affairs appear any longer. And since for a full twenty-four hours you have distanced yourself from this world and step by step drawn closer to the desire of desires, which is God's will, your mind, soul and the senses of your body force you to physically sit in darkness.
Your heart and eyes no longer see the world or worldly matters. God is hiding in darkness. After searching and examining throughout Shabbos, you have come to the thick cloud where God is. You have sought, and you have found the beloved of your soul. Your soul draws near to Him and melts in His holiness. The whole room is full of the celestial palace, and you force yourself through this holy palace to the Holy of Holies, your soul longing to enter the innermost chamber to come to the place where God is: to hold Him and not let Him go.
And if you were to know that you were to remain in this state constantly, then your soul would be joyful with an eternal joy. But you remember that in a minute the lights will be lit, you will make Havdalah, and again you will fall into the weekdays. And your spirit is bitter: how will you fall from the darkness of heaven, the clouds of purity, to the darkness of Egypt, the darkness of sufferings, the suffering of the body and the soul together? You tremble and feel: now you feel them both: the end of days and the end of the week: from the height of the peak of holiness and the zenith of the lowliness of the non-holy. These two shades of darkness are now wrestling within you at Shalosh Seudos.
This is comparable to the son of a king who was sent away from his father and cast into prison. At the last moment before he is separated from his father he draws himself even closer to his father, he pushes forward and comes close, grasps him and embraces him, takes delight in him and yearns for him. In the midst of its delight and fear, the spirit cries out from the depths, "Even though I may walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will not fear evil, for You are with me" (Tehillim). Your hands are practically trembling and searching: "You are with me" (ibid.). "I have grasped him and I will not let him go" (Shir Hashirim).
Look and contemplate. All of this is passing through your spirit--except that you have not contemplated it and you do not know it.
Is it possible that such a state of the spirit will not leave its impression on the entire week?
In truth, in itself this means of contemplation is sufficient for you. If you contemplate and look at all the feelings that pass through you, you will gaze at all the angels of the heights, high levels and stages who are passing through the path of your heart and soul. This will suffice for you to rise and to be transformed into a man of the spirit and a person of pure consciousness. levated thought will be revealed within you so that you will see only holiness, spirit and the glory of God that fills all the earth.
But a Jew has many other senses and capabilities, and he must develop all of them for the sake of God. He has to embrace God with all the limbs of his spirit. And so we will speak further on (God willing) of the obligations and actions of the members of the Society for Positive Mindfulness.
Bnei Machshavah Tovah
by Dr. Heszel Klepfisz
At that time, well-known personalities of the Hasidic world, who had immigrated from Eastern Europe, were living in the Galilee: R. Avraham Kalisker, R. Menachem Mendel of Vitebsk, R. Yaacov Shimshon of Shepetovke, R. Israel Polotzker. They received R. Nachman with heartfelt warmth. They were certain that he would spend a long time in the land, and perhaps even decide to settle there, just as they and others of their circle had. "Even if all rivers were ink," says the notebook describing his visit, "it would be impossible to exaggerate just a part of the holy joy that R. Nachman and those with him experienced," says the notebook describing his visit.
But then they were astonished, for now in the same impatient manner, R. Nachman wanted to return home as soon as possible, back to the shtetlech from which he had just come: back to Mezhibozh, Chusyatin, Medvedevke. How could he leave their Jews behind? How could he go away from them? Was he not one of them, a part of them? He was needed in these places of exile. Jews there were experiencing suffering on top of suffering. Not long before, they had gone through the bitter Cossack revolutions, and these had not yet ended. Their weeping and their sighs, in their struggle for existence, came to him. They needed his word, his call, his encouragement.
And this was so primarily those who were no longer among the living. Could he abandon the cemeteries where so many martyrs lay, and just go? His seeking, longing soul roiled in discomfort; he heard voices demanding that he return to them.
In the journal that describes this difficult inner conflict that R. Nachman went through the author, R. Nosson Sternhartz, who so well knew and understood the spiritual drama of his teacher, wrote, "There awoke in him the concern for the Jews who had been left behind. His heart was broken. He longed for the communities that he had left. Did he not have the obligation to return to those people living there, as well as to the gravesites?"
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