The Wings of Morning -
A Torah Review

Yaacov Dovid Shulman

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Volume V, Issue 10

Toldot 5761 December 2000

Unless otherwise noted, translations and original material copyright © 2000 by Yaacov Dovid Shulman (


* Redemption (Part II)
-by Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto

* Through a Lens of Bright Holiness
-by Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak Kook

* The Secret Room
-by Avraham Stern

by Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto

Know that there are many types of damage caused by the exile. They may be grouped into four categories.

The first category is referred to in the verse, "On that day, I will surely hide My face" (Devorim 31:18). This constitutes a very great secret. The Holy One, blessed be He, arranged luminaries in such a way that energy would flow into the world. Therefore, all of them shine upon each other, and they shine upon their subdivisions.

Know that all creation is a division of the luminaries: all the angels, all people and all creatures. When these luminaries set their faces to illumine the lower beings, all the windows of light and blessing are opened, and so the good increases in everything, and there is neither sorrow nor suffering in the world at all.

But when sins caused the luminaries to hide their faces so that they did not shine upon each other, nor did their offspring take sufficient sustenance to satiate them, then the power of holiness and all that is drawn after it was weakened, and the power of defilement increased in opposition to this. Understand well that all this was caused by the sins of Israel. As a result of their sin, defilement grew in strength, so much so that it stood in the places of holiness, in accordance with the extent of [Israel's] sin. And know that [defilement] grew so strong that if matters had continued any further, the world would have had to be destroyed. But out of the love of the Holy One, blessed be He, for Israel, He did not wait for them to reach that point. Instead, He sent them into exile. This is referred to in the verse, "Hashem took careful note of the evil, and He brought it upon us" (Daniel 9:14).

Understand how this came about. Had the luminaries continued to shine broadly as before, to whom would their energy flow? Would it not be to Israel? Then the nations would not have ruled over them to exile them, and they certainly would not have been able to destroy the holy Temple. But since the luminaries did hide their faces, the energy flow to Israel and the Temple was diminished, and then the nations gained strength over them and the exile began. All of this was for the good of Israel, for then the accusers received their portion and separated themselves from the holy, so that the paths would not be defiled. From then onwards, matters remained this way, for all the luminaries hid their light.

But do not say that no energy is drawn from them. If that were the case, the world could not continue to exist. The truth is that only what is absolutely needed is drawn down. And so everything is constricted. Therefore, there is no joy. In addition to that, great [heavenly] servants and many and honorable [heavenly] princes ceased their service due to a lack of energy, and they were replaced by others, smaller than they. As a result, the fruits have lost their taste, as our sages have said (Sotah 48a), and all things are small in quantity and very lowly. The first step is that the great conduit that pours forth to the Shechinah [God's immanent presence] is sealed--yet not sealed entirely, as I have explained. Rather, the opening is narrowed, and that which descends from it does so only in a very hidden manner.

And now I will explain this matter to you clearly. At first the energy descended with breadth and openly, and so the Shechinah grew strong with honor, beauty and great joy, ruling upon all her hosts and camps. And similarly, Israel grew strong with great glory to rule upon all the nations. But with the procession of crises over time, this glory was removed. [Now] the Shechinah only receives in a very hidden manner, and Israel as well. And so the rule of the Shechinah is not apparent, and Israel exercises no rulership. The Shechinah takes only from the foundation [the conduit directly above it], and Israel suckles only from the breasts of its holy mother [another conduit].

And this constitutes the first damage that caused the exile: the hiding of the lights of the luminaries and the lack of energy flow and might. As a result, the Torah was also lacking from Israel, and also all wisdom was lost. As the verse states, "The wisdom of his wise men has been lost, and the understanding of his understanding men has been hidden" (Isaiah 29:14).

Ma'amar Hage'ulah

by Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak Kook

The science of mysteries clarifies the actuality of the spiritual in all its patterns. It describes existence in all its aspects, good and evil in all their fullness.

Through a lens of shining holiness we see that the depth of goodness brings about the depth of evil, so that by means of that evil, goodness itself will grow deeper and exist in all its most perfect fullness and goodness. And this is why there exists in all being a reality of the desire for evil: evil in ethical [thought] and evil in action.

The desire for the ruination of the world exists in all the patterns of reality, just as there exists a desire for its building, elevation and perfection.

God's supernal plan is to turn aside from the stumbling-blocks of evil and to lift humanity and the world from the depths of evil to the heights of good.

The world and humanity are destined for this. And this is the destiny of evil itself--which, in the role of the character of independent being, will in its inner nature also rise and be transformed to good when it recognizes the desire for evil within it as being directed towards to the universal perfection of the good.

The branches of evil, which have turned aside fundamentally from the desire for perfection of goodness, are in truth only an illusory existence--whose appearance, even to themselves, shines only as long as the light of goodness has not been revealed. [And that light] is revealed in all its glory even from the depths of evil.

After that revelation, wickedness, which had turned aside in the essence of the depth of its character from the perfection of goodness, is revealed not to be an existing character at all. [Then] the spirit of defilement will pass from the land and the idols will be entirely wiped away, and on that day, Hashem alone will be exalted.

The spirit of man, his will, his intellect, and all his manifestations are saturated with the distillate of universal good and evil, [a distillate that] is revealed in all existence. It is impossible to describe how great is the accomplishment of man in burnishing and perfecting being.

Certainly no limited intellect can imagine the depths of this vision even in general and certainly cannot describe its details and, even more, cannot organize a orderliness of life that penetrates all the patterns of good and evil, [an orderliness] that is prepared and directed to destroy the entire structure of evil and perfect the structure of good in the soul of humanity, in its will, in its inner nature, in its specific and general yearning--and not only that, but to pour from its spirit onto the spirit of the world, onto realistic yearning and its abilities, to the point that the inner tendency in the depths of evil is transformed to the heights of good--[so that] the desire for destruction, ruination, darkness and degeneration [is transformed] into the desire for building, establishment, illumination and elevation.

Orot Hakodesh II, pp. 475-76

by Avraham Stern

Our nistar, R. Mordechai, the Leshnaver rabbi, was eager to learn the secrets of the half-nistar. It was revealed to him from heaven that there was an inn keeper in Brod who was a follower of the half-nistar, with whom the half-nistar would lodge when he visited Brod.

R. Mordechai went to this innkeeper in Brod and asked if he could stay in the room where the half-nistar always lodged. The innkeeper, a discerning Hasid, looked at him in wonder and said, "I understand that you must be one of the hidden nistarim, since it was revealed to you that the half-nistar lodges here. However, I beg you many times over not to ask me to do you this favor. When my rebbe, the half-nistar, came to stay with me for the first time, he told me to give him a separate room with a new bed, a table, a chair, and a shelf with holy books. And he told me, ?€˜Everything must stay where it is. Do not let anyone into this room, not even members of your own family. When I am not here, keep the room locked, so that when I come, I will stay here. If you obey, it will go well for you. If not--heaven forbid--understand for yourself what will happen to you. I am R. Leib Sarah's.'"

When he heard these words, R. Mordechai answered, "If that is so, I will not ask you to go against your rebbe's order, heaven forbid. But do me a favor and only open the door. I will only look in. I am the rabbi of Leshnav." And the innkeeper agreed to do this for the rabbi. A few days later, R. Leib Sarah's came to the inn. The innkeeper received him with great respect. But as soon as he unlocked the door of the room, R. Leib asked him angrily, "Whom did you allow in here?" With tears in his eyes, the innkeeper answered, "R. Mordechai, the rabbi of Leshnav, asked me to open the door for him. He said that he only wanted to look inside, and I thought that you wouldn't mind."

R. Leib told him, "I will forgive you only on condition that you take a sealed letter from me and immediately bring it to the community leaders of Leshnav."

The messenger [who was the inn-keeper] delivered this letter to the community leaders, and then went to the rabbi to tell him how upset R. Leib Sarah's was.

The community leaders convened a meeting, and they decided to read the letter in the presence of the rabbi. The letter read as follows: "Prominent community leaders of Leshnav! As soon as you receive this letter, dismiss your rabbi and immediately send him and his family out of the shtetl. [signed,] Leib ben Sarah."

The rabbi had asked the messenger [the inn-keeper] to stay with him. Now, when he heard the letter read aloud, he railed against himself: What had he brought about? Why did he have to be the messenger [of this letter]? But the rabbi himself was not at all frightened. He responded to the community leaders, "Hire a Jewish wagon driver for me and my family, and put my holy books and all my possessions on the wagon. Have him take me to the shtetl nearest Leshnav. You are not to blame. I forgive you everything, and the messenger as well. But he--the messenger--will have to travel with us." to be continued...

Chassidishe Maasiyos

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