The Wings of Morning -
A Torah Review
Yaacov Dovid Shulman
|WINGS OF MORNING
Volume VI, Issue 17
Va'eira, January 2002
Unless otherwise noted, translations and original material copyright © 2001 by Yaacov Dovid Shulman (firstname.lastname@example.org).
* All Evil Will Dissipate like Smoke (Conclusion)
* The Society for Positive Mindfulness (Conclusion)
* You Will Be Born
by Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak Kook
In his commentary on the mishnah at the end of Berachot, Maimonides expresses a philosophical, mystical secret. The verse states, "It is a time to act for Hashem; they have violated Your Torah" (Psalms 119:126).This [verse] corresponds to the closing of the paths of repentance before those who are absolutely evil, so that they will be obliterated in their sinfulness.
"Hashem your God has divided them to all the nations" (Devorim 4:19). [The word "divided" can be read as "smooth."] God blandished [the other nations] with smooth words, in order to remove them from the world. All this points to the universal thought that "in the destruction of the wicked there is song" (Mishlei 11:10). When they are completely sated and their measure filled, the time for their elimination arrives. The ugly form is obliterated, and from its characteristic substance, a new, perfected creation is built.
Sin annihilates and debilitates, weakens and destroys. In the depth of evil, the meaning of [the statement,] "the reward of a sin is a sin" (Pirkei Avot) gains its full meaning. Everywhere, free will is given until [the process] is completed. As long as a spark of life burns, it is possible–by strengthening the will–to bring a small spark to the most perfect form, without the necessity for annihilation.
However, sometimes the last spark of life that has a spiritual characteristic has already been lost. That which lives is nothing but the ugly form that has sucked into itself and subjugated to itself all the essence remaining of that spark of a rectified life. Then free will is annihilated, and the descent into destruction arrives.
For the good of the advancement of the perfection after destruction come smooth words–in order to remove them from the world.
Orot Hakodesh II
by Rabbi Kalonymus Kalman Shapiro (the Pieszesner Rebbe)
9. This holy society stands upon three principles: (a) the bonding of its members, (b) their love for each other and (c) their closeness to each other.
You have all joined together in loving camaraderie and you all love each other a great deal.
But in addition, every member should choose one other person to whom he will reveal all the secrets of his heart in both spiritual and physical matters: his worry and his joy, his fall and his rise. And the person who is listening to him should console him, advise him and cheer him, as much as he can–this includes spiritual matters, he should advise and guide him according to that person's state of mind and situation.
Then they should switch roles.
If there remains any person in the group whom no one desires as a partner, the group must choose a partner for him.
10. The members of the group should not speak about nor publicize this holy group, its ways and activities. They should not boast about it before others. God said of the second set of the Ten Commandments–the set which lasted– that "there is nothing finer than concealment.". The holy Zohar was revealed only in the cave of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai and in the wilderness, in a secretive manner. The entire Kabbalah is called a "secret." So also, any service of God that involves a revelation of your spirit stands in opposition to tumult and publicity, and finds concealment congenial. "Hashem is not in the uproar" (Melachim I 19:11).
But if someone wants to join, accept him warmly, and tell him about the group–as long as it is clear to you that his intent is for the sake of heaven. Also, if you see a Jew whose inclusion in your group would be good for him and for the group, you may propose to him that he join you (assuming that you have no ulterior motive).
11. If a group member works throughout the day to earn a living, he must say during his labors, several times a day, "Master of the world, at the moment I find myself in places that are dangerous to my spirit and holiness. Do not abandon me, support and guard me, Guardian of Israel." You do not have to use these exact words, but something to this effect, in whatever words work for you.
12. View every member of the group as an elevated person. Respect and honor him, for he is one of the sons of the prophets; and in addition, he has dedicated himself to holiness, so that God might rest upon him.
13. Someone from out of town may also join the group.
If you find members in your area, act in the manner described above.
But if not, you should do as much as you can [on your own]. And all the members must meet no less than once a year for a few days–not in order to hold a convention with commotion and noise, but rather to get together and spend those days in service and separation [from this world]. Discuss your practices in serving God throughout the year, how you sanctify all your actions for the sake of God's glory, and how you resolve to increase your self-encouragement and immerse yourself in the holiness of God, from this day forth.
If you have read this far, and you see that you have erred, that you have come to an area in which you have no interest–whether because you think us deluded or you think us non-productive–therefore do the following, for your own sake and for our sake: leave our group at once, go back to your miasma, and we will go forward for the sake of Hashem our God.
However, if you see that our path is your path, and that which we seek you also seek but your heart is heavy within you because, although you have read through this work once, twice or three times, you still do not have the sense that you have arrived at the place where God is, you see nothing, feel nothing, have no [elevated] thought or inspiration, you have not found anything that we have discussed, do not let your spirit within you fall. Realize that from the earth to the heavens is a journey of five hundred years. And so, not having reached it in a single leap, why should you be discouraged? I am certain that after you spend a period of time engaged in constant work of this type, God will help you sense the rays of the supernal light and the holiness of God that have entered your soul, your body, and your essence. At the very least, you will begin to act in a more refined and improved manner in all matters affecting your body and soul. Your thoughts will begin to be other than they have been until now. Afterwards, you will be inspired and have more feeling in your prayers. You will know how to make use of all the experiences of your soul, of joy and of a broken heart, in order to bring forth your soul to meet its Beloved, and to purify it with a supernal purity. You will learn how to look at every commandment from the viewpoint of the soul. You will at the least merit some measure of preparedness for self-sacrifice when reciting the Sh'ma with your entire body and soul.
And in this, you will have already risen somewhat to be a spiritual person. Then a supernal sight will already begin to spark within you, so that you will see the holiness of the "fine, beautiful One, Who is the radiance of the world" (Yedid Nefesh) in everything. Although at first these sights will be small, every time they will grow to be more clear and more frequent. Ultimately, you will not remain an uncultivated person, but someone centered in the world-to-come, even as you are still in this world.
Let us be strong and strengthen ourselves, for God is with us!
Bnei Machshavah Tovah
by Yaacov Dovid Shulman
You will be born and learn that
To live? An entire nation
How fearful this birth into
Young nation, beneath these dream
Class for Men: 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.
RECLAIMING OUR CONNECTION TO THE LAND: 2ND ANNUAL WOMEN'S SHABBATON--JANUARY 18TH–19th, in Baltimore. With Rebbetzin Chana Bracha Siegelbaum, Founder and director of B'erot Bat Ayin-Wellsprings of Jewish Learning, Eretz Yisrael. Melave Malka includes Tu B'shvat Seder and the music group Ayelet Hashachar. Contact Shoshana Shamberg (410) 358-7269.
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