The Wings of Morning -
A Torah Review
Yaacov Dovid Shulman
|WINGS OF MORNING
Volume V, Issue 24
Tezaveh 5761 March 2001
Unless otherwise noted, translations and original material copyright © 2000 by Yaacov Dovid Shulman (firstname.lastname@example.org).
* THE WEAPON OF THE MESSIAH (Part V)
* The Kvittel (Part VI)
* Tchernobler Ways
* You Have Not Learned to Hate
by Rabbi Nachman of Breslov
All the letters of the Torah that a person learns with the intention of "guarding and doing" are soul-sparks. These soul-sparks must then be clothed in prayer, where they are vivified, like an embryo in the womb.
"The heavens tell the glory of God" (Tehillim 19:2). The Torah is composed of fire and water, aish and mayim. These two words together form the word "shamayim": heavens. Thus, we see that the Torah tells the glory of God.
Th heavens also correspond to souls (which are heavenly). Thus, souls tell the glory of God.
And what is the glory of God? It is prayer.
The souls created by our Torah learning enter the realm of prayer.
What is the connection between prayer and "the glory of God"? A verse speaks of "the glory of His praise" (Tehillim 66:2). And praise is prayer, as in the verse, "For [the sake of] My praise, I will restrain..." (Isaiah 48:9).
The souls join together with prayer, which is called glory. Prayer clothes the souls. And clothing is called glory. As the Gemara teaches, "Rabbi Yochanan called his garments â€˜glory'" (Shabbat 113a).
Thus, prayer is called "the glory of God."
These souls of Torah and glory of prayer illumine one another.
Souls illumine prayer by raising them to heaven, by "raising the feminine waters."
Prayer illumines souls by inspiring people with new Torah insights. It vivifies such insights, just as an embryo gains life in the womb.
The souls that are clothed in prayer are brought to the tzaddik of the generation.
These souls are like "the maidens following [the queen], her friends, [who] are brought to you, [the tzaddik]" (Tehillim 45:15).
Likutei Moharan 2
by Menashe Unger
From where did Hasidim derive the custom of giving a kvittel to the rebbe?
In Dor Deah (Bilgoray, 593, p. 37), Rabbi Yekusiel Kamelhar claims that the source of this custom is a comment that the Ramban makes on a verse in Bamidbar (1:45).
The Ramban was a Kabbalist who was very highly regarded by the Baal Shem Tov. In the teachings of the Baal Shem Tov that are transmitted by his student, Rabbi Yaacov Yosef of Polnoye, the Ramban is often cited.
Nevertheless, giving a kvittel to a tzaddik is [explicitly] mentioned neither in the works of the early Kabbalists nor in the works of the school of the holy Ari. It is possible that a student would bring his name to the attention of the holy Ari or to other Kabbalists--but giving a kvittel is not mentioned anywhere.
We do not know with certainty whether the Baal Shem Tov took kvitlech and pidyonos. Perhaps his students did. And it is possible that this custom was introduced by the grandson of the Baal Shem Tov, Rabbi Boruch'l of Mezshibezsh (as is claimed by the scholar of Hasidism, Dr. Horodetzki).
** Giving the rebbe a kvittel was so widespread amongst Hasidim that in one instance (in 5597--1836) in Zlatshev, a rabbi allowed a kvittel to be written on the Sabbath on behalf of a sick person, and he gave permission to a Jew to carry it three miles [outside a town] to a rebbe to pray for the sick person.
R. Shlomo Kluger discusses this instance in his Shut Uvacharta Bachaim (87), where he adds that besides the above-mentioned sins, another transgression was committed, insofar as two Jews were sent to two different places with pidyonos to rebbes. R. Shlomo Kluger took strong exception to this Sabbath desecration.
More details on this case are cited by the gaon of Berzshan, R. Shalom Mordechai Schwadron, in his Shut Maharsham (III 225). In answer to a question if one may send a telegram on the Sabbath on behalf of a sick person, he told inter alia that ""in my home town of Zlatshev, there was a desperately sick person. When the Belzer rebbe, R. Shalom, was in Brod for the Sabbath, the local rabbi allowed the Jews to have a gentile write the name of the sick person and his mother's name and send this kvittel to Brod.
The gaon, R. Shlomo Kluger, â€˜aroused worlds' in protest, and the rabbi was deposed. The Belzer rebbe also protested this, and said that â€˜now I will have to strengthen myself to see to it that the sick person will get well, for if not, [these acts will have been in vain. But if he does recover,] then he will not have been the cause of a Sabbath desecration.' And so it was: the sick person recovered."
And the Maharsham rules that one may not be lenient in such a case, "in particular, in our generation" (cf Y.Z. Kahana, Baayos Halachah V'ikvos Hachasidus and his Sefer Habesht, pp. 57-59).
The Taamei Haminhagim (III p. 89) cites the Lev Sameach that "I have seen arguments against those who send a messenger on the Sabbath to a rebbe to pray on behalf of a sick person. But it is certainly permissible (as indicated by the Ran) even to send close relatives--particularly when the sick person trusts that he will recover if a kvittel is sent to the rebbe."
R. Yisroel Baal Shem Tov
by Avraham Stern
R. Mendel of blessed memory, the rabbi of Lepatin (near Brod, Galicia), told me what he had been told by a distinguished Hasid of R. Yitzchak Skver, a son of R. Motel Tchernobler and a son-in-law of the Rizhiner.
That Hasid had once asked his rebbe why he was different from his brothers, all of whom taught Torah at their ceremonial tables, whereas R. Yitzchak did not do so.
The rebbe answered him, "When I was living with my father-in-law (the Rizhiner) and being supported by him (the system of kest), every day he would go for a ride in his coach and take one of his children or a son-in-law along. One summer on a Sunday, it was my turn to accompany my father-in-law on his ride. We came to an inn near Rizhin. Outside, on the prisbe [?], sat an old Jew dressed only in a shirt and pants, with an arba kanfos, the rectangular fringed garment, over his shirt. My father-in-law commanded the coach to stop and told me to sit in front next to the coachman. He invited the old man to enter the coach with him, and we traveled to the forest.
There, my father-in-law and the old man walked deep into the forest, leaving me sitting on the coach with the coachman.
My father-in-law and the old man eventually returned, re-entered the coach, and traveled back to the inn, and the old man again sat down on the prisbe. My father-in-law told me to sit next to him and, on the way home, he told me, â€˜After I teach Torah at the ceremonial table on Shabbos, on Sunday I tell it over to this old man. If he agrees that my teaching was true, I know that it came to me from the â€˜side of holiness.'
"From then on, I myself resolved not to teach any words of Torah. If my father-in-law had to tell his teachings over to someone, he at least knew to whom to tell it. But as for me, what can I do?"
The same Skverer Hasid also told the Lepatiner rabbi that he had been summoned to bring two children to the army draft at one and the same time: a son and a son-in-law. He sent a kvittel to the rebbe, who sent back his wishes that they be freed from the draft. But the Hasid insisted that the rebbe accept a certain amount of pidyon nefesh money so that he would be sure that they would be released.
This was the custom of all the Tchernobler offspring. They would take pidyon nefesh money with almost any request to pray on someone's behalf. They had inherited this custom from their ancestor, R. Motele Tchernobler. Hasidim tell that one winter's day he traveled in a coach together with a minyan of his Hasidim to a village where he and stopped outside the window of a wealthy Jewish arendar (land or inn lessee) who was a misnaged, an opponent of Hasidism.
The misnaged didn't like this, so he came out of his house and invited the rebbe and the Hasidim into the house. The rebbe said, "That will cost ten kerblech." Although this hardly pleased the misnaged, he paid the money.
Once inside the house, the arendar offered the rebbe hot tea. Again, the rebbe asked him for ten kerblech as a prerequisite to accepting the tea. And the same thing happened when the arendar offered him something to eat. For everything that the arendar offered, he had to pay right then and there. to be continued...
by Yaacov Dovid Shulman
Gaze down the coal black corridor
And watch the invert sun produce alien
Lime and yellow acid rays that mock all flesh and hearts.
You cannot understand how
The black chador, radiance
Poor fool, your heart envelops
To subscribe by e-mail (free) or to
sponsor an issue ($18.00), please contact:
Back to this week's Parsha | Previous Issues