The Wings of Morning -
A Torah Review
Yaacov Dovid Shulman
|WINGS OF MORNING
Volume VI, Issue 50
Nitzavim-Vayelech, August 2002
Unless otherwise noted, translations and original material copyright © 2002 by Yaacov Dovid Shulman (email@example.com).
by R. Shlomo Molcho
[The old man in my vision continued speaking.]
"Now I am going to deceive a general of Ephron and Edom. Since there is a singing bird in Ephron, it will be a present for those who dwell in Epher [or "afar"–dust], to sing upon the tree of life. Then the souls in the [Heavenly] Body will be finished [cf. Yevamot 62b-63a]. Those who are evil will no longer live to go about denigrating matters that stand at the height of the world. The living and eternal King will live and be exalted in the secret of the Vav of the Holy name, which is the staff in the hand of Yaacov, upon which the righteous members of the [Jewish] nation, which is called Man, will rest. From that day on, a day known to Hashem, they will say, ‘Blessed is Hashem today, Who gave Dovid a wise son.' Literally upon that day, a holy spirit, a spirit of wisdom and understanding that allows one to rule over a great nation, to be a light at the time of evening that illuminates the night will rest upon the messianic king. Afterwards, the eternal dead will arise from the dust, completely renewed. There will be no opponent and no evil circumstance, and Hashem will give rest to His nation."
After the old man ceased speaking these words, Shlomo awoke. He spread his hands toward heaven and said, "Hashem, God of Israel, I thank You for having treated me with kindness today for the sake of Your great compassion, not because of my righteousness; for the sake of Your kindness and not because of my merit, For who am I to inform [others] of a supernal matter, which is Your role? But all of this [divine generosity] is a result of Your great goodness, giving to those who are in debt to You, as You have given me today–not in accordance with the work of my hands, but due to Your righteousness, living God. Although I have seen [the heavenly visions] that I have seen, my life has been spared. Blessed are You, Hashem, who gives His goodness to those who are in debt [to You]."
In the morning at dawn I went to the house of the "master of the camp" and took the clothes that I had left there. Since my hands were weak and my body was very weary, I asked Hashem in my heart to make it possible for me to recognize a man of the children of Israel amidst the gentiles. I stood upon the crossroads where many people passed, and Hashem gave me what I had desired. I called to one of the passers by, distinguishing him from the other people, and asked him, "What is your name?"
He said, "Menachem."
I said, "Are there rabbis amongst you?"
He said, "Yes."
Because he responded in a low voice, I realized that [these rabbis] are corrupt.
I said to him, "Tell me their names and I will know them well." And he mentioned names.
I understood [all about] them. One of those whose name he listed was a man named Yehudah ben R. Shabtai of blessed memory, who, I recognized, possessed the merit of the forefathers.
I said, "Call him to me." He summoned [R. Yehudah], who came [to me].
I told him, "I am a servant of Shlomo, who has sent me upon his errands while he remains in the city of Pissaro with the duke. I am very weary from traveling. Please bring me to a house of Jews, where I will be fed bread and compote to restore my soul."
STATE CERTIFIED He brought me to the synagogue and told one of his friends to help me as much as he could. However, slanderers knew where I was staying and denounced me to the courts, and guards were placed at the gates of the city to capture me. Since the pope was not present, I climbed over the city walls, leaving [my] horse behind in the city, and went to meet him. After he gave me his assurances, I went to the synagogue on the Sabbath–for my return had not been noticed–and waited for the Torah scroll to be brought out. I went up to the Torah reading platform and began to speak on the verse, "Blessed is the man who trusts in Hashem" (Yirmiyahu 17:7). Every Sabbath [after that], I [spoke] in this manner, a different topic [every Sabbath]. And I did so until I left out of fear of the flood waters, as I had been commanded [from heaven].
At that time, I heard people say that Prince Dovid had come to Italy. Slanders had been spread about him as well by evil people of our nation.
by Rabbi Yosef Rosenheim
Man's intellectual soul desires to come to the oneness that hides behind the diversity of the world. He seeks to solve the problem of the world, as a sort of thought experiment, with the help of scientific investigation, based on logic and mathematics. Every systematic scheme, every scientific investigation is ultimately a desire for oneness. In the consciousness of man and the world, willful action constitutes a fundamental fact no less than logical thought. [When willful action is fulfilled,] the relationship of man to his environment becomes actualized. Beyond the dark life of physical desire, he rises to a life with a clear and purposeful will. He senses that his will is free and gives him freedom in direct proportion to the extent that he accepts the ethical authority of the supernal will, the will of God, which alone is a guarantor for his freedom before the world of superficial phenomena.
But between recognition and will is spread a third domain in the life of the human soul, a domain of emotional outlook, which is a feeling of the essential quality that transcends expressive phenomena. This is the source of man's aesthetic response, just as his rational and ethical responses stem from recognition and will.
The [fulfilled] life of the Jew presupposes an enlightened humanity. The priestly status of the Jewish people blossoms and grows on the ground of humanity. Therefore, it is impossible to simply posit that this priesthood depends on the suppression of the natural powers in the human soul. Really, in the fundamental structure of truth, the aesthetic response has equal value with reason and ethics, which have never been subject to question.
Reason leads to the unity that is behind diversity, that is, to the Creator of the world; ethics leads to the supernal and ethical will, that is, to the King of the universe. And can a Jew still stand without wonder, yearning, and a pounding heart before the beauty of the starry sky, before the dazzling, sprouting season of spring, before the verses of the singer of Tehillim or when gazing at the glowing holiness of the Cohen Gadol? At that time, shining through the phenomena, is expressed the Godly quality of the world of feelings: God's presence (the Shechinah).
Revelations of God's Honor and Holiness
The fundamentals of Jewish faith are expressed morning and evening in the K'rias Sh'ma, in the short verses from the mouth of Moshe Rabbeinu in which he explained before his death the inner meaning of a Jew's life in every generation. The oneness of the Creator ("Havayah") and Lawgiver of the world ("Elokeinu") leads to "V'ahavta": the practical decisions of a life of action. But between this first postulate of all scientific thought and ethical will and between the essentials of a life that draws meaning from it--between "Sh'ma Yisroel" and "V'Ahavta"--our tradition places an ancient and meaningful verse (one that is whispered in secret on all the days of the year and is called aloud on Yom Kippur) as though one could not proceed without it from "Sh'ma" to "V'ahavta": "Blessed be the Name of the glory of His kingdom for ever." We say that "the name of the glory of His kingship" is "blessed," meaning that it will rise and be infinitely strengthened forever.
But what is the meaning of "the name of the glory of His kingdom"? These three words, each clear in its individual meaning, are here linked together to form one concept. "Name" is the conception of a thing, an intellectual understanding. Here, it means knowing God through reason. "Kingdom" is, according to the Kabbalah, the last of God's qualities, ruling directly over what occurs in the world, require that man accept the yoke of responsibility, "the yoke of the kingdom of heaven." It is the ethical kingship of God. "Glory" is, I believe (in short) none other than the third fundamental response of the soul to the world: the aesthetic. Here it means, therefore, the aesthetic vision of God's glory.
by Yaacov Dovid Shulman
The man of light was just one
Color. Everyone walks with
Is it a dark dish in an
How different the world of bees,
Hebrew Reading Skills
Yaacov Dovid Shulman
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