The Wings of Morning - A Torah Review

Yaacov Dovid Shulman

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Parshas Vaera

in this issue:
1. On the Parshah: "And I Will Bring You to the Land"
I. Where are We Going?--by Simchah Raz
II. Exile and Mediocrity--by Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak Kook
2. Increase the Good--by Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak Kook
3. G-d's Love Rests Within the Torah--by Rabbi Nachman
of Breslov
4. Story: The Toddler--by Rabbi Sh.B. Shulman
5. The Challenges of a Jew--by Rabbi Dov Ber of Leva (son of R. Israel of Rizhin)
I. Honoring One's Parents
II. Being Satisfied with One's Lot
6. The Exact Opposite (poem)--by Yaacov Dovid Shulman

On the Parshah: "And I Will Bring You to the Land"

"And I will bring you to the land regarding which I swore to give to Avraham, Yitzchak and to Yaacov. And I will give it to you as an inheritance. I am Hashem" (Shemos 6:7).

I. Where are We Going?

As a child, Avraham Yitzchak Kook thought up a unique game to amuse himself and his fellow cheder-pupils. During recess, the small children would line up in rows with their bags over their shoulders, as though they were about to go on a long journey. Little Avramele would lead them. They would ask each other: "Where are we going?," and he would reply: "To the land of Israel!"
Malachim Kivnei Adam

II. Exile and Mediocrity (by Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak Kook)

We experience exile and mediocrity because we do not proclaim the value and wisdom of the land of Israel. We have not rectified the sin of the biblical spies who slandered the land. And so we must do the opposite of what they did: we must tell and proclaim to the entire world the land's glory and its beauty, its holiness and its honor.

Then, after all these praises, let us hope that we have expressed at least one ten-thousandth of the loveliness of that lovely land: the beauty of the light of its Torah, the exalted nature of the light of its wisdom, and the holy spirit that seethes within it.
Eretz Cheifetz Increase the Good
by Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak Kook

Those who are pure and righteous do not complain about evil, but increase justice.

They do not complain about godlessness, but increase faith.

They do not complain about ignorance, but increase wisdom.
Eretz Cheifetz

G-d's Love Rests Within the Torah
by Rabbi Nachman of Breslov

G-d's love rests within the Torah. And the Torah signifies measured qualities.

These measured qualities may be referred to as "days."

A verse states: "By 'day,' G-d will command His kindness" (Tehillim 42:9). So G-d's kindness correlates to 'days.' And His kindness is His love. As another verse states, "I have loved you with an eternal love; therefore, I have drawn you with kindness" (Jer. 31:3).

G-d's kindness and love permeate those measured qualities that we can relate to. The 'day' of love "accompanies all days"
(Zohar Balak 191b, Bereishis 46a).

These 'days,' these measured qualities, are constrictions of divinity. Through G-d's measured qualities, we can approach Him, "in order that He may be known to humanity" (Zohar Bo 42b). Without G-d's measured qualities, it would be impossible to approach Him.

Out of His love for Israel, out of His desire that we cling to Him and love Him from this physical world, G-d veiled (or constricted) His divinity in the measured qualities of the Torah.

This veiling constitutes the 613 commandments of the Torah.

G-d considered each commandment as a means through which we would be able to approach Him. With this aim, He constricted His divinity specifically in these 613 commandments.

For instance, He considered that the commandment of tefillin must exist in a specific manner: for instance, it must have four Torah sections within four containers, and must be bound with leather straps. G-d considered that precisely via this constriction, we would be able to approach and serve Him.

Therefore, He did not command that--for instance--the four containers be of silver or gold.

These considerations of G-d, these measurements, resulted from His love. Out of His love for the people of Israel, He veiled Himself in the measured qualities of the Torah.

And so, every measured quality contains love: the love of the Holy One, blessed be He, for the people of Israel.

When we overcome our own drives, we are able to remove the veils of the negative energies that cover up the Torah that is hidden in all worldly things.

At that point, we come close to peace. As the verse states of the Torah: "all of its pathways are peace" (Mishlei 3:17).

The Torah exists on two levels: the revealed and the hidden.

The part that is hidden is the "Torah of the Ancient, Hidden One, which will be revealed in future days" (cf. Zohar Behaloschah 152).

When this Torah of the Ancient, Hidden One will be revealed, there will be extraordinary peace in the world. "The fox will dwell with the lamb, and the panther will lie down with the kid....They will not do evil nor destroy on all My holy mountain, for the earth will be filled with consciousness of Hashem" (Is. 11:6,9).

At that time, the love within consciousness will be revealed.
Likutei Moharan I, 33

Story: The Toddler
by Rabbi Sh.B. Shulman

There was a certain man who suffered many difficulties and who had a small daughter. He brought the little girl to Rav Kook's room, tied her to his chair, and disappeared.

At that time, Rav Kook had one granddaughter, Tziporah, whom he dearly loved. Now, when Rav Kook saw this girl, he told his family: "It is our responsibility to treat this girl like our own Tziporele, without any difference whatsoever, heaven forbid."

And he did exactly as he said.

The girl stayed in Rav Kook's house, exploring and getting into everything, as toddlers do. Nights were particularly hard, because the girl would cry and wail, and Rebbetzin Kook couldn't get to sleep.

The rebbetzin complained that she was weary and no longer had the strength to take care of the child.

Rav Kook replied, "You are certainly right, and it is only fair that we hire a nurse. But since we don't have the means to do so, I am ready to help you at night. I will hold the girl on my lap and try to put her to sleep with the tune of my Gemara learning."
Malachim Kivnei Adam, p. 302

The Challenges of a Jew
by Rabbi Dov Ber of Leva (son of R. Israel of Rizhin)

I. Honoring One's Parents

Why do Jews find it particularly difficult to honor their parents? [For instance, see Kidushin 31, which tells how the sages learned about honoring one's parents from an idolater in Ashkelon.]

The reason is that a Jew is constantly at war with his evil inclinations, which pursue him his entire life. A Jew is always in danger of retreating before the enemy, heaven forbid. The danger is so great that our sages even declared, "It would have been better if man had not been created."

As a result, a Jew has a natural grudge against his parents, who brought him into this dangerous world.

II. Being Satisfied with One's Lot

Why is it that a Jew finds it hard to be satisfied with his lot? Whoever has one measure wants two. We see that non-Jews often find it easier to be satisfied with what they have, and they don't seek so many schemes to get rich.

The essence of the creation of a Jew is to develop his soul, which is a portion of divinity within him. A Jew is supposed to engage in mitzvos and good deeds every day, and rise from level to level.

But the soul is encased in physicality and a turbid body. It becomes affected by the body. It is overwhelmed and forgets why it came into this world. Now it imagines that it must work hard to rise from level to level in the areas of wealth and honor, to increase its holdings and possessions.

It is in the nature of the soul to constantly rise. But one does not understand that this elevation must be in spiritual matters, in order to raise one's soul.

The poet has written, "The needs of Your nation are many, and their minds are limited." This means: Why are the needs of Your nation so many? Because their minds are limited. They have forgotten why they came into this world--which is to rectify their souls.

May G-d awaken our souls that we may raise them and not be embarrassed or ashamed in either this world or the next.
Beis Yisroel

The Exact Opposite
by Yaacov Dovid Shulman

One hand is the exact opposite of the other.
But look how well they fit together.

I'm going to clap hard.
The sound itself
Can cause empires to fall
And strengthen the walls
Of every heart.

All translations and original material. Copyright 1998

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