The Wings of Morning -
A Torah Review
Yaacov Dovid Shulman
|WINGS OF MORNING
Volume VI, Issue 29
Shmini, April 2002
Unless otherwise noted, translations and original material copyright © 2002 by Yaacov Dovid Shulman (firstname.lastname@example.org).
*IT IS IMPOSSIBLE NOT TO LOVE
*THE RABBI OF STAMBUL
*WORDS FROM KOTZK
*AN ENTITY CALLED ISRAEL
*ALIVE AND LASTING
*THE EMBARRASSMENT OF SHIMON PERES
by Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak Kook
It is impossible not to love God. It is impossible that this power of a sweet and necessary love will not blossom into actuality, a love engaged in actually accomplishing with deeds everything that occurs for good in terms of attaining the light of God.
It is impossible not to love the Torah and the commandments, which are so much connected to the goodness of God.
It is impossible not to love decency and justice, a good and elevated order that brings good to all, that is closely connected to the true nature of reality and to the thought of the heart on its highest level–[the heart that] we refer to on its plane of greatness and beauty, and in which appears the will of God, [a will] that is higher than and uniquely separate from all this. [This divine will] spreads sweetness to the soul of every living being in a manner that no thought can rise [to understand].
It is impossible not to be filled with love for every creature, since the flow of the light of God shines within everything, and everything is a manifestation of the beloved sweetness of God.
"The lovingkindness of God fills the earth" (Tehillim 33:5).
by Avraham Stern
In Tieshevitz, I heard from the late R. Moshe (who was known as the Chelemer rabbi) that before the Baal Shem Tov revealed himself in Stambul (Istanbul), he was informed from heaven that the Stambul rabbi is a great tzaddik, and that a word of his, even a movement, even a thought, is taken very seriously in the heavenly court. So the Baal Shem Tov entered the rabbi's house for Shalosh Seudos when it was already dark, and sat down at the table. With his divine inspiration, the rabbi grew aware of him and told his servant to seat the guest next to him. Then he asked his guest in the Holy Tongue, "Mei'ayin atem? Where are you from?"
The Baal Shem Tov replied, "Mei'eretz Polonia. From Poland."
The rabbi told him, "Shamati aleichem shesarei Poilin matzikin lachem m'od. I heard that the Polish leaders oppress the Jews very much."
The Baal Shem Tov replied, "Aderaba, li'ayein mar. Well then, please look into it"–meaning that the rabbi should indeed be aware and do something on behalf of the Jews.
The rabbi lifted his hand and let it drop.
After the evening prayers and Havdalah, the Baal Shem Tov hired a wagon for himself and R. Hirsch, and they went for a ride along the seashore. As they rode, R. Hirsch grew very frightened and told the Baal Shem Tov, "I see a fiery streak falling from the sky into the sea."
The Baal Shem Tov answered, "The rabbi here is a very holy person. As soon as he let his hand fall, the heavenly minister of Poland was cast down from heaven. He has now fallen into the sea. But this happens so easily only in the upper worlds, which are beyond nature and time. In our world, where everything seems to follow the laws of nature, this will be a long process that will last seventy-five years. Finally Poland will be divided amongst its neighbors, Russia, Austria and Germany."
And indeed, so it was.
by Rabbi Yechiel Moshe (av beis din of Kamaravke and Yadimave)
I heard about a man who came to the rebbe of Kotzk to lament that he had great difficulty in making a living.
The rebbe told him, "I will tell you a story. Once there was a king who sent away his son, because his son was not acting properly.
The son was very far away, and he was hired by someone and worked for food. He didn't have any clothing; he even had to go barefoot.
One day, the king thought of his son and told his friend to go and look for him. And so the friend went out to look for him until he found him. He asked the son, "What do you want me to get you from your father?"
The son answered, "He sent me away from home. I want him to at least send me some clothing and shoes."
The king's friend told him, "You fool! You should tell me to ask your father to let you come home, and then you'll have everything! But instead, you are asking for such a small thing."
The meaning is clear. As the Talmud says, every day a voice from heaven proclaims, "Woe to the children who were exiled from their father's table." A person has to ask for the main thing: to be close to God. And then automatically he won't lack anything else.
I also heard about how someone else came to the Kotzker rebbe to lament his difficulty in making a living.
The rebbe told him, "Pray to God to help you."
The man replied, "Rebbe, I don't know how."
The rebbe answered him, "If that is the case, you have a bigger problem: that you don't know how to pray."
I also heard that someone once told the Kotzker rebbe, "I wish I didn't know so much, because ‘the more knowledge, the more suffering.'" The Kotzker told him, "To the contrary, it is good to know a lot. And let it hurt you!"
Meaning: when a person feels pain, it inspires him to act. And even if he doesn't, the pain itself is good.
The Mishnah says, "Love work and hate the rabbinate."
The Kotzker rebbe said, "And if everyone in the world will be a worker, who will answer halachic questions? But the meaning is this: ‘Love work'–the Torah, which is the work of the rabbinate. You should know how to give halachic decisions. But ‘hate the rabbinate': that is, the ego that goes along with it."
"A person who earns a living with his own hands is greater than a person who fears heaven."
The Kotzker rebbe explained, "He earns a living with his hands–but his head is in the heavens. That is why he is greater than a person who fears heaven."
Niflaot Chadashot (1896)
by Rabbi Nachman of Breslov
The essential purpose for which God created the entire world was that the world would contain an entity called Israel, which would do God's will and cling to its [divine] root, and be incorporated into God, Who is the "Necessary Existent."
When that occurs, the entire world, which was created for the sake of Israel, is incorporated into the Necessary Existent.
It is only because of this that God has an obligation to keep the universe in existence: for the sake of Israel, so that we will do His will. The more we do God's will, the more are all the worlds that depend upon our soul incorporated, together with us, into God, the Necessary Existent.
Likutei Moharan 52
by Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak Kook
Whatever there is in the words of the written or oral Torah that can somewhat weaken our love of Israel, even in regard to the most confirmed doers of evil, are tests and clarifying processes that [challenge us] to rise to the high level of loving God until we find a path amidst all the contradictions, and the love of Israel and of all beings will remain in our heart alive and lasting, without any diminishment or doubt whatsoever.
Orot (Orot Yisrael, IV:4)
by Yaacov Dovid Shulman
And you here are dying of
He is dancing with the queen
Bell. "It must be hell to have
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