The Wings of Morning -
A Torah Review
Yaacov Dovid Shulman
|WINGS OF MORNING
Volume VII, Issue 27
Shabbat Pikudei 5763, March 2003
Unless otherwise noted, translations and original material copyright © 2002 by Yaacov Dovid Shulman (email@example.com).
by Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak Kook
No one can know the essence of anyone–not his own and certainly not someone else's–not an individual's and not a nation's.
We circle around the center of knowing. We busy ourselves with inferences and conjectures, we appraise a person's actions–even though we cannot see most of them–and in particular we cannot see their complex causes.
Then, on the basis of such evidence, we speak about a particular character and distinctive soul.
In the end, we are forced to conclude that our knowledge in this area has no foundation whatsoever. Only God can judge.
Orot Hakodesh III, p. 119IV.
by Rabbi Chaim Vital
I replied to Him, "My Master, please regard me favorably. Allow me to remain here. Do not make me go back down to the lowly world, for it is clear to You that I wish to do Your will, and I am afraid that the ‘yeast in the dough' will make me sin, and I will lose this holy place."
He said to me, "You are still young, and you still have time to learn My Torah and perform My mitzvot. You must go back to perfect yourself. At the end of your life, you will come here to your place. If you are afraid to go down because you might sin, give me your right hand and swear to Me that you will never set Torah learning aside for anything else. And I will swear to you that if you do so, I will not give this place to anyone else, and it will be your place at My right hand forever."
I raised my hand and vowed to uphold all of this, and He too swore to keep His word.
He said to me, "Go in peace. Remember–do not forget–all these words."
Then I descended from that elevated structure by myself, and, while still in the dream, found myself in this low world. Nothing of all that I had sen the first time that I had ascended [the great garden, the rivers, birds and apple trees] was visible.
by Rabbi Kalonymus Kalman Shapira
Based on a verse, the midrash tells us not to neglect "your Friend" (God), Who is the "Friend of your friend" (Avraham), because neglect is the first step in the process that leads to sin. The midrash concludes by warning, that if you have neglected, you should take heed.
Take heed not to forget, not to be spiritually and mentally unfocused and out of touch, not to be immersed in foolish, empty things. Then your spirit will definitely feel the love of your Friend, Who is the Friend of your father, and the love of your spirit will without a doubt break through all its barriers and make its way through its garments that keep it isolated, and it will burn with an unending passion for God.
III. "Take heed," says the midrash–literally, "Give your mindfulness."
It is not enough to use your mind to think something. You must give your mind over to it. A person can have many passing thoughts. But here you must devote all your mindfulness and immerse your entire being in this.
Besides this, a person has many thoughts of holy things that do not apply to him, and they do not to awaken his feelings of love and fear. But here he must devote his mind, not just his thought.
The mind connects thought to the emotions to arouse them. In the same way, since "daat" (mindfulness, contemplation) is not a sefirah in and of itself but an illumination of the sefirah of Keter (the crown), it is able to connect the emotions to thought, in order to arouse the emotions.
IV. In regard to a person's service of God:
We see that our emotions are aroused only by other emotions.
For instance, if you heard that someone had been stabbed, you would have intense feelings of pity. It is not only the damage to the person that arouses your pity. The pity that he feels for himself has touched and awakened your compassion. If he had been instead given an overdose of sleeping pills, your feelings of pity would not be so aroused, because the victim would not have felt pity for himself, and so his emotions would not be arousing your emotions.
The same applies to love and fear.
And so if something does not contain the quality of might and isn't designed specifically to cause harm, such as the ocean or a locomotive, even though they can hurt us, we are not frightened by them. We merely take reasonable precautions. On the other hand, when something has some spark of the quality of might from above–such as a predatory animal, an enemy or a weapon–then our feelings of fear and terror are aroused. Sometimes we feel afraid even when we know that they cannot hurt us. Even a picture can awaken our fear. This is due to the quality of might within that thing.
The same pertains to love. As the verse states "Like water reflecting a person's face..so does one person's heart reflect another's heart" (Mishlei 27:19). Someone else's feeling of love arouses your own feeling of love.
And so pure thought by itself without imagery cannot arouse your emotions, because there is no emotion within it to arouse another emotion. Only when you use your imagination to visualize something fearful does the element of fear in your imagery arouse that emotion.
However, daat–[profound, experiential contemplation]–can arouse emotions. This is because such contemplation manifests both the essence of the "knowing soul" (thought) and the essence of the "emotional soul" (feelings).
by Shlomo Gavriel Rosenthal
On the holy Sabbath between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur in the year 1746, after the day meal, the holy Baal Shem Tov went to take his Sabbath nap, as was his custom. His pure and modest wife, Chanah, also lay down in her bed. After an hour and a half, she was awakened by the sound of her husband roaring out aloud in his sleep. She got up and rushed to his bed, and she yelled, "Yisroel, Yisroel!"
He woke up, and said, "Here I am!"
She said, "Why did you cry out so loudly and so strangely? I never heard this from you before. Why did you yell out today, on the Sabbath?"
He replied, "You did well to wake me. If not for that, I would have died right there in my bed."
The Baal Shem Tov got water, and washed his face and hands.
He said, "Call my comrades, and I will tell them what I saw in the upper worlds, as though I were awake."
All of them, the great and famed men, came at once.
He said to them:
Every Sabbath during the congregation's silent musaf prayer, I raise my soul up with mystical meditations, and I am shown supernal worlds and holy souls in the supernal yeshiva studying the inner part of the Torah, its supernal secrets. I am given permission to listen, learn and transmit these teachings in this world, and I reveal a little during Shalosh Seudos, the third Sabbath meal.
But for years I have desired to see my dear friend, the holy R. Nachman Kassiver, in the upper world.
"I sought but I did not find he whom my soul loves." Although I tried to use mystical meditations to raise my soul to his resting place, I was not give permission to do so.
So I pleaded with Hashem: "You have begun to show Your servant Your greatness, Your mighty hand and holy Names. Why am I not allowed to see the resting place of that tzaddik in the upper world?" By use of the Names that are known to me, I asked this question and received the response, "If you carry out the mystical meditations that you are being shown, you will be able to see that him."
So that is what I did today. I had an awesome vision and I came to a new place in the supernal worlds. Never in my life had I ever seen such beautiful buildings made of gold, fine gold and precious stones: nofach, sapphire and yahalom. They were contained hundreds of huge study halls, each one filled with Torah scholars, and each scholar each one had the appearance of an angel....
The following was received from "an anonymous Adar friend."
I don't really know anything.
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