The Wings of Morning -
A Torah Review
Yaacov Dovid Shulman
|WINGS OF MORNING
Volume VI, Issue 9
Todot, November 2001
Unless otherwise noted, translations and original material copyright © 2001 by Yaacov Dovid Shulman (email@example.com).
* The Society for Positive Mindfulness (continued)
* The Map of the World
* A Short History of R. Yaacov Dovid Kallush of Amshinov (5574-5638;
* Speaking to God
by Rabbi Kalonymus Kalman Shapiro (the Pieszesner Rebbe)
"Gaze from the peak of Amanah" (Shir Hashirim). [The word for gaze, "shuri," is cognate to "shir," "song"; and Amanah is related to "emunah," "faith."] And so the Beit Aharon renders this phrase, "Song is the peak of faith."
It is not our intent here to explicate the topic of music and the world of music, for our words here are only directed at how every individual, on whatever level he is, can draw forth living waters from the wellspring of his soul, and manifest the living voice within himself.
Do not be troubled that we see great cantors and musicians whose hearts are far from God, without faith and with no heart (heaven have mercy), and that there are musicians amongst the gentiles as well.
Music is merely a type of revelation of the soul and its feelings, which manifests itself in the words with which a person expresses his thoughts and feelings of pain and of joy, and, more than that, in his voice. Our holy texts note that when a person's sufferings overwhelm him (heaven forbid), he can no longer speak but he only cries out and moans without words. In the same way, a tune, which is comprised of sounds of joy or bitterness, arouses a person's feelings, and within these feelings the lineaments of his soul are revealed. But this does not dictate what a person will do when he is filled with emotion with the portion of his soul that has manifested itself.
One person can use his joy to increase his service of God, while another uses his joy to act wildly. There can be a person who opens up his soul so that a part of it emerges--yet not only does he not utilize it, but to the contrary, he damages it, whether by engaging in wild behavior or by indulging a broken heart of depression and despair, until at last he falls from his trust and faith in God, and engages in acts that should not be engaged in (heaven forbid).
And since our fellowship is dedicated to God, and we desire to bring forth our souls to rule our bodies, to connect our souls to God's holiness, and to nullify it and our being within the soul of the Almighty, we should accustom ourselves to spiritual singing and music–not that we need to compose new tunes, just as a person who wants to cheer himself up with wine does not have to make wine from the wine press, or just as a person who wants to inspire himself or others does not have to create a new language.
Take some part of a tune, turn your face to the wall or merely close your eyes, and (as suggested in an earlier context) consider that you are standing before God's throne of glory, and that with a broken heart you have come to pour forth your soul to God with singing and music that emerge from the depth of your heart. Then you will feel your soul emerging with joyful song. Although if at first, you were the singer attempting to arouse your soul from its slumber, little by little you will feel that your soul has already begun to sing on its own.
Bnei Machshavah Tovah
by Avraham Stern
Once, a dedicated Hasid of the Rizhiner complained before his rebbe about his this-worldly concerns. The Rizhiner answered him, "About such things you have to bother me? This you can get taken care of by ordinary Hasidim: heimishe chevra."
This was later told to the Rizhiner's son, R. Avraham Yaacov (the first Sadigerer rebbe). He commented, "We learn that a poor person is like a dead person, and a person who does not have children is also considered to be like a dead person. And someone who is literally dead is certainly a dead person. So when a Jew wishes another Jew a lechaim–to life--he means to bless the other person that he be counted amongst the living: meaning, that he should have a good life, children and income. The first letters of the phrase banei, chayei umezonei (children, life and sustenance) are beis, ches and vov.
These letters are the acronym of ‘In the language of His pious ones and servants.' This was what my father meant when he said that this-worldly concerns can be taken care of by regular Hasidim and servants of God: when they wish each other lechaim.
"The same three letters, ches, beis and vov, are also the acronym of the verse, ‘He swallowed wealth, and he will vomit it up'[which refers to how holiness is liberated from evil]. And this alludes to a rectification of the Covenant. But the Rizhiner himself concerned himself with higher matters: the rectification of souls."
Regarding R. Avraham Yaacov, I was told by R. Mendel Holzer (from Harubishoyv, Lublin district, in Poland), that R. Mendel once came to Sadigere to see the rebbe. One of the other people there was an engineer from Philadelphia, who had been born in Sadiger and who had now come to visit his Hasidic parents. In his youth the engineer had himself learned Torah in the rebbe's beis medrash in Sadiger, and so he now wished to give a kvittel to the Sadigerer rebbe, R. Avraham Yaacov.
The rebbe entered into a long conversation with the engineer (unlike his manner with his close Hasidim). He asked the engineer for many details about his studies and his present occupation.
The engineer told him that the city of Philadelphia paid him well to go to a number of streets in Philadelphia every day and to inspect all the buildings and to see whether they were structurally sound, or whether (heaven forbid) there might be any danger of a collapse. The rebbe asked if he himself lives on those streets that he inspects. The engineer answered that he lived on another street, one that was quite luxurious, and that it was in fact a bother to walk so far every day from his home to the streets that he was responsible for.
The rebbe told him, "Large cities have marketplaces on alleyways that cut between streets. When you go home, look for such a shortcut from your home to where you work."
R. Mendel Holzer told me that the next year he again came to Sadiger, and again the same engineer was there. R. Mendel went over to him and asked him the reason for his present visit. The engineer answered him that this time he had come as a believer, as a Hasid traveling to his rebbe. When he had come home the previous year, he had immediately, on his first day back, found a marketplace alleyway that led directly to the streets that he was supervising.
And now something else quite surprising took place: the rebbe did not engage him in conversation but greeted him briefly, just as he dealt with all his Hasidim. But the engineer took courage and asked the rebbe, "Rebbe! You sit here in Sadiger and know more about Philadelphia than I do, who have walked on its streets every day for years, without ever having noticed that shortcut."
The rebbe answered him, "I have a walking stick with a cap upon which is painted a map of the world. Many people have complaints about me and ask, what good is such a luxurious stick to a rebbe? But you must know that when a Jew wakes up in the morning and begins his first blessing, ‘Blessed are You, Hashem, our God, King of the world,' he must–if he can–first look over the entire world, and only then say the words, ‘King.' To increase his praise of God, he should realize how great a world God rules. And so, I know what is taking place in Philadelphia."
May their merit protect us and all Israel.
by Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak Bromberg
Like his father in his day, R. Yaacov Dovid did not rest and was not quiet neither by day nor by night, but was always traveling on the road, to help, wherever help was needed: to help an orphan girl get married, to redeem some prisoner from jail, to free a conscript from the army. And the sufferings were many and every day brought new difficulties. His hands were filled with work and he did not know how to rest. His health began to suffer.
In addition, his family also suffered my troubles. His first wife died, leaving behind a baby girl. His second wife bore him three sons. The first-born, R. Menachem, inherited his post. In the winter of 5638, R. Yaacov Dovid grew very weak, and upon medical advice traveled to the baths at Meran. But there he passed away on the fourth of Kislev, 5638, and was brought to be buried in Amshinov.
He left no written teachings. Only a few of his teachings were recorded by his Hasidim and students.
It is told that after the Admor, R. Dov Ber of Biale, passed away in 566, and R. Yechiel of Gritze was chosen to be rabbi of Alexander and was also crowned as Admor by the Hasidim, R. Yechiel came to R. Yaacov Dovid in Amshinov to first ask for his counsel. R. Yaacov Dovid told him: "Rabbi of Gritze, if your honor wishes to be the rebbe of Hasidim, you must know three things: first, when you sit on your chair, you must feel as though you are sitting on nails; second, even before you read a Hasid's note (pitka, or kvittel), you must know what is written in it; third, when you read the note, you must feel that the suffering of the person is yours. If you have these three, then you can be a rebbe..."
After R. Yaacov Dovid passed away, the first-born of his three sons, R. Menachem, continued the dynasty, for forty years and passed away at the age of fifty-eight, on the sixteenth of Kislev, 5678, in Warsaw.
Migdolei Hachasidut III
by R. Avraham Ben Nachman
[Rabbi Nachman taught Rabbi Nosson about hitbodedut, pouring out one's heart to God in one's own words.] As soon as this conversation came to an end, R. Nosson went into the great synagogue (which was empty) and began to engage in this practice.
Following Yom Kippur, R. Nosson returned home. He had deep yearnings to engage in hitbodedut correctly. He yearned in his heart to describe all of his experiences to God in great detail, and to cry out to God from the depths of his heart regarding each detail. As the verse states, "From the depths have I called to You, Hashem" (Cf. Likutei Tinyana 25).
But he had to endure great suffering in this regard. One cannot engage in this practice before other people, and R. Nosson did not have his own room. And even if he were at times to find some secluded place, usually someone would enter without warning. R. Nosson was distraught and had no idea what to do. But at last he decided that he would find some uninhabited, hidden spot outside of town. There he would be able to tell God about everything in his heart. He would be able to pray and cry out as much as he wanted, with no interference.
But he was afraid that he would be found out. Everyone knew that he had no business outside the town. He was amongst the most outstanding young men of the town, in knowledge of Torah, wealth, intelligence and good family. If a person such as he were to be seen going out of the town, people would gossip.
So R. Nosson again began to think what he should do. At last, he decided that he would go out at in the dead of night, when people are sleeping. Then he could go meditate in the fields, in a spot that he had designated for himself, and no one would be any the wiser. At home, his family would think that he had gone to the beis medrash, which was his habit.
And so this was what he did. A few young people did learn what he was up to but, because they understood that R. Nosson did not want it talked about, they kept their knowledge to themselves.
And when R. Nosson was in Breslov with R. Nachman, he did the same there a number of times.
Come learn Hakhsharat Ha'avreikhim ("Spiritual Training"), step-by-step guidebook on how to develop an awareness of our souls and of God, by Rabbi Kalonymus Kalman Shapiro (the Pieszesner Rebbe), Sunday night. For information, call (410) 358-8771.
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