The Wings of Morning -
A Torah Review
Yaacov Dovid Shulman
|WINGS OF MORNING
Volume VII, Issue 29
Shabbat Tzav 5763, March 2003
Unless otherwise noted, translations and original material copyright © 2002 by Yaacov Dovid Shulman (email@example.com).
by Rabbi Nachman of Breslov
And now see wondrous things, how all this is explained so perfectly in the Mishnah.
"A person who is awake at night."
He is up at night, alone and speaking freely to God.
"And walks upon a lone path."
He is walking in an uninhabited place. This is the perfect type of hitbodedut: at night, in an uninhabited place. Under such circumstances, you can attain a level of nothingness.
"And he turns his heart to empty things."
He empties his heart of all the concerns of this world.
"To empty things."
To arrive at emptiness.
Then he is enveloped in the Being Whose Existence Must Be. And all reality is enveloped together with him into the Being Who Must Necessarily Be.
"Behold, such a person makes himself necessarily [guilty]."
Because the entire world is absorbed into the Necessary Being together with him.
The hitbodedut brought him to a level of nothingness, until he was absorbed into the One Necessary Being, and then all being was absorbed together with him into the One Necessary Being.
Then he and all of reality also become necessary being. Or, in other words:
"Behold, such a person makes himself necessary."
Likutei Moharan 42
by R. Yaakov Yosef of Polonoye
I. The purpose of all 613 commandments is to make us able to cling to God and love Him. That's why [the Zohar] calls them the 613 ideas. They are ideas for how to cling to God. Toldot Yaakov Yosef (introduction)
II. The purpose of unifying yourself [with God] is to draw a light from above to God's Presence [here below] (if one can put it that way), so that God's Presence will be able to rise up to unite lovingly with its Dear One. God's Presence contains 22 letters: "let us be happy and rejoice in You." "In You"–bakh–equals 22. From these 22 letters, words and so forth are woven together.
And just as we are flesh and spirit, so are the letters in the Torah physical and spiritual. There are the letters themselves, and the spirituality is the sefirot with the light of the Infinite One inside them. That is the soul of the letters.
When you learn Torah and pray to God, that is what you should be cognizant of.
Chesed L'Avraham (43) states that you have to intend that you are drawing spirituality from the highest levels into the letters that you are pronouncing, so that the letters can rise up to that high state and accomplish what you want.
That constitutes the rising of God's Presence and Its unification, as a result of that supernal light being drawn down to it.
III. When you unify and join your thought to God, then your 248 limbs and 365 sinews are drawn after your thought.
I heard the Baal Shem Tov state that a person is located wherever his thoughts are.
So when you perform one commandment with total faith and union and delight, all the 613 commandments are absorbed.
ibid. Chayei Sarah
by R. Yaakov Yosef of Polonoye
I. Prayer is the Divine Presence. It has fallen into exile (if one may so phrase it).
The husks–darkness and clouds–separate us from God, until we can no longer purify our thoughts enough to concentrate our heart in prayer so that our prayer will be "service of the heart." And so our prayer is not accepted. Only "when they prepare their heart, then Your ear takes heed."
The way to deal with this is to learn Torah before and after prayers, and that Torah learning should be filled with awe and love of God (the two letters of God's name, Yod and Hey).
Then the clouds' black darkness dissipates. Then you can pray focusing your heart and with a clear mind, and your prayer is accepted.
II. If you pray with a pure mind and a focused heart, you raise the Divine Presence to a very great height. ibid.
III. By forcefully performing just one commandment with all your 248 limbs, you are saved from hell. The same idea applies to speech that is proclaimed and powerfully delivered.
But whispered speech is not at all the same, and that speech remains in the exile of Egypt, where people were embarrassed to pray forcefully and raise their voices.
So do whatever you are capable of doing. It is well-known that crying out is better than all ten types of prayerful song. And when it is forceful, it splits through all the levels of reality.
by Shlomo Gavriel Rosenthal
I also heard from the grandson of R. Moshe of Pshevarsk that one time the holy R. Moshe went to Satinov, where he met the Hasid, R. Chaim, the ritual slaughterer on a Thursday.
The holy rabbi said to him, "Chaim, do you have time to spend with me?"
He told him, "Yes."
He asked him, "Can I stay with you?"
And he said, "Please do!" So he stayed with him.
And on Friday, Sabbath eve, they both went to the bath, and R. Chaim wanted to serve him and bring him hot water, but he said to him, "I don't need your help."
So the holy rabbi went himself to take boiling water from the pot, but when he put his foot down on the ground next to the pot, he yelled, "Oy!" and jumped back.
R. Chaim said, "I wanted to help you!"
The holy rabbi said, "I wasn't burned by the water, but there's a brick from the synagogue here."
So R. Chaim questioned the builder, and the builder said that when the wind knocked a brick down from the synagogue he took it and placed it there.
And on the holy Sabbath, the holy R. Moshe went to the rabbi and Torah genius, R. Sender Schorr, head of the local rabbinical court, and when he put his hand on the mezuzah at the enhance to R. Sender's house, the holy rabbi cried out, "Oy! It isn't kosher!" There was a children's teacher there with the rabbi, who, when he saw this, grew very angry at the holy rabbi, and he looked after him to find something that he could laugh at.
When the holy rabbi saw the children's teacher, he said right away, "A children's teacher who was suspected..."
But R. Sender treated the holy rabbi with great respect.
When the holy Sabbath was over, R. Sender took down the mezuzah and saw that it was unkosher from the very beginning, because the letter khof in shaarecha (your gates) was written like a vov.
So R. Sender asked the holy rabbi, "How did you know that he mezuzah was not kosher?"
He answered him, "We all know that ‘the Torah and the Holy One, blessed be He, and Israel are one.' When I put my hand on the mezuzah and saw that it isn't one with me, I thought that there is something wrong with me. So I repented. But I saw that it still wasn't one with me. So I knew for sure that it wasn't kosher."
So R. Sender said to him, "What do you have against the children's teacher? He's a good man."
He replied to him, "It's a clear verse: ‘and they gazed after Moshe.' The holy Rashi explains, ‘if they were gazing after Moshe, that teaches us that they suspected him [of wrongdoing.]' [And the word for ‘it teaches us,' melamed, also means a ‘teacher of small children.']"
As it turned out, it was eventually discovered that this children's teacher was untrustworthy.
After the Sabbath, the holy rabbi said to R. Chaim the ritual slaughterer, "Come with me to the rebbe, R. Boruch." R. Chaim, who was a Hasid of the rebbe, R. Boruch, tried to get out of it, so that he wouldn't have to go with him. But the holy rabbi pressed him to go with him. So R. Chaim said to him, "I'm afraid that you'll do something that the rebbe won't like and he'll get angry at me [for having come with you]."
So the holy rabbi told him, "And of me you're not afraid? I'm telling you to go with me, and you stand outside and I'll go in, and I'll check him out." to be continued...
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