The Wings of Morning -
A Torah Review
Yaacov Dovid Shulman
|WINGS OF MORNING
Volume V, Issue 30
Tsav 5761 April 2001
Unless otherwise noted, translations and original material copyright © 2000 by Yaacov Dovid Shulman (email@example.com).
* To Cling to God
* The Shtreimel (Part Ii)
* Intending to Return Immediately
* Every Wisdom Has its Own Tune
by Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak Kook
To cling to God is a person's most natural desire. Human beings have something developed within themselves, in an intellectual and emotional form, that exists in the entirety of all creation in a mute and silent form, a potential form.
And as for Israel: the nature of this people takes this desire as the basis of its national life, congruent with its historical fate.
A desire to cling completely to the living God, to the light of the Infinite Being, is something whose substitute can never be found in natural being. Just as we must live, just as we must eat and grow, so must we cling to God.
Clinging to God--this thing that is demanded of us in the entire fullness of our soul--must continuously develop within us, continuously grow ever more profound in feeling, ever more clear in recognition and understanding.
There is no way that humanity--or, for that matter, the entirety of existence--can live without the stream of desire to cling to the Divine. [This desire] lives constantly within [everything] in a hidden and concealed manner.
The childhood of humanity, the days when darkness lay thick and corporeal, placed into the world the foundations of a type of life that has preventing clinging to the Divine from emerging in its entire fullness.
It is impossible to imagine the pain of the universal, encompassing Soul, and the inner soul-pain of every living being and every human being, due to this spiritual oppression, to the blockage of goodness hidden within it, [a goodness] that shines so much and refines so much, that quickens a life of expansiveness, a life of eternity, a life of great stature and might. It must have this life. [This life] is the essence of its nature and meaning.
Orot Hakodesh IV
by Menashe Unger
Is the shtreimel made mention of in Shivchei Habaal Shem Tov? According to Shivchei Habaal Shem Tov, on the Sabbath, Hasidim wore a "hoot," or hat.
And this is what is told there (Shivchei Habaal Shem Tov, Horodetzki edition, p. 84):
"I heard from R. Folk, the av beis din (rabbinical leader) of Teitshilik, that one time after the Sabbath, the Baal Shem Tov told his step-son-in-law, R. Yosef Ashkenazi, to read to him from Ein Yaacov. As he read, R. Yosef saw the Maggid R. Yosef--who had passed away three-quarters of a year earlier--come in, wearing his Sabbath clothes with a small hat on his head."
Assuming this to be a reliable source, we see that in the days of the Baal Shem Tov Hasidim wore a "hat" and not a shtreimel. Also the Brod excommunication of Hasidim, which mentions the white clothing that Hasidim wore on the Sabbath, made no mention made of Hasidim having changed the accepted custom and wearing a shtreimel.
Also, Hasidim wear a yarmulke even under their cap or hat. We do not know when this custom arose. We only know that the czarist government delivered a decree--on February 11, 1848--that whoever wears a yarmulke will have to pay a special tax of five rubles a year.
If we cannot be sure whether Hasidim in the days of the Baal Shem Tov wore a shtreimel, we do know from Shivchei Habaal Shem Tov, that on the Sabbath the Baal Shem Tov and his students wore white gaberdines. There (Shivchei Habaal Shem Tov, p. 38) the following story is told:
"The Maggid of Mezeritsh told his student, R. Aharon Karliner, to travel to a certain town, and told his student, R. Menachem Mendel of Vitebsk, to accompany him, since he speaks Polish, and he told them to take along their white Sabbath clothes."
From this, we see that the students of the Maggid wore white clothes on the Sabbath.
Wearing a special garment for the Sabbath was already the custom in the times of the Talmud. So does the Talmud teach: a person needs two sets of clothing: one for weekdays and one for the Sabbath (cf. Shabbos 119; Jer. Peah 8:5.
The color white has always been a color of purity and forgiveness. In the Dead Sea Scrolls, we learn that the cave-dwelling sect (it has not yet been established if these were the Essenes, or a sect similar to them) wore white clothing.
In Poland, white clothes were worn on the Sabbath even before the arrival of Hasidism.
For a hundred years, the rules of the Council of the Four Lands forbid Jews from wearing expensive silk and velvet clothing, as well as "expensive white clothing" (Ha'asif, 5658, p. 171). That prohibition was issued so that the Jews wouldn't arouse the envy of their Christian neighbors. Also, the Kabbalists wore white clothing on the Sabbath. Chemdas Hayamim (I, p. 29) brings in the name of R. Chaim Vital, who writes in the name of his rabbi, the holy Ari, that "on Sabbath eve, every Jew must put on four white garments, corresponding to the four letters of God's Name."
We also see from the Brod Excommunication against the Hasidim in 5532 (1772) that the Baal Shem Tov and his students and Hasidim wore white garments on the Sabbath, There it is stated: "We also decree on pain of ban that no one may wear white clothes on Sabbaths and holidays except for the few outstanding people known to us, who are masters in Talmud and Jewish law, filled with fear of heaven and constantly engaged in Torah and mitzvos. From this day forth, if anyone wears white clothes, we will drag him through the middle of the street and he will be scorned and mocked and an object of ridicule to everyone..."
From this excommunication, we learn that the Brod kloyz had a few famous people, who wore white clothes on the Sabbath. These were the Kabbalists and scholars of the Brod kloyz. But those who issued the excommunication did not want that the "kas," or sect--meaning, the Hasidim--should wear white clothing on the Sabbath and holidays.
R. Israel Baal Shem Tov
teachings of the school of the Baal Shem Tov and R. Dov Ber
Consider at every moment that whatever there is in the world, everything is filled with the Creator, as in the verse, "I fill heaven and earth." And everything done by people and their plans--know that it is all from the Creator. Even the smallest thing is from God's providence... Consider that everything, whether of the world of wheels, the world of angels or the world of the throne, is all like nothing before Him. So why be drawn to any desire in those worlds, since they are all no more than one word of His? Better to cling above in the worlds to the Creator, Who is the main thing, and not to cling to what is secondary...
Whenever you do anything, think, "I want always to do God's will, to give Him pleasure and to serve Him always." Let your thought always cling in the upper world to Him....
When you must speak of this-worldly things, let your mind go from the upper world down, like a person going out of his house, intending to return immediately...Always consider that your true house is in God...
Tzavaas Harivash 84
by Rabbi Nachman of Breslov
Every wisdom has its own tune from which it is derived. Even heresy has its special tune. The higher a wisdom is, the higher is its corresponding tune. Ultimately, one rises to the very beginning of creation, the beginning of emanation. There is nothing higher than that level. It is surrounded by nothing but the light of the infinite God, within which is contained all creation and wisdoms.
That level also has a level of wisdom, but this level of wisdom cannot be apprehended, for the Infinite One is God Himself, and it is impossible to understand His wisdom. Only faith applies there--belief that the Infinite One's light surrounds all the universes.
Faith has its own special tune.... As for the faith that is higher than all wisdoms and other faiths--i.e., the faith in the light of the Infinite One Himself that surrounds all the world--its tune is correspondingly higher than all the tunes in the world that correspond to each wisdom and faith.
All the tunes of all the faiths are themselves drawn from this one tune that is higher than all the tunes of all the wisdoms. This is because this tune relates to the faith in the light of the Infinite One Himself, Who is higher than everything.
In the future, "The nations will have a clear speech to call together in the name of God" (Zephaniah 3:9). Then everyone will believe in God. ...[As for now, however], only the tzaddik of the generation is able to attain this tune of supernal faith. Therefore, via the tune of the tzaddik, all the souls who fell into the heresy of the "empty vacuum" rise and emerge.
This is because the tzaddik's tune is on the level of the supernal faith. Via this faith and its tune, all heresy is nullified. Then, all tunes are gathered and nullified within this tune, which is higher than everything, and from which are drawn all the wisdoms.
Likkutei Moharan 64:5
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