The Wings of Morning -
A Torah Review
Yaacov Dovid Shulman
|WINGS OF MORNING
Volume V, Issue 27
Vayikra 5761 March 2001
Unless otherwise noted, translations and original material copyright © 2000 by Yaacov Dovid Shulman (firstname.lastname@example.org).
by Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak Kook
In order to conquer lawlessness and destructive atheism, we must educate Torah scholars who are healthy physically and in all psychological and spiritual areas. They must be properly educated to have an acute recognition of the pleasurable feelings that come from involvement with the transcendent within the beauty of song and poetry, as well as from [involvement with] the glory of nature and the beauty evident in the creations of man.
"A beautiful house, a beautiful wife and beautiful utensils--these expand a person's mind."
Orot Ha'emunah, p. 17
by Rabbi Nosson of Nemirov
On Passover, we are forbidden to eat chametz--leavened bread--a food that is allowed the rest of the year. It would be burdensome if not impossible to avoid leavened grain. Chametz is a necessary condition of existing in this world: it is gevurah. Yet there is a time to remember that although we live within nature, we are not of nature; although the mountain ranges and the seas are magnificent entities, they are expressions of a power greater than the laws that they obey. Thus, on Passover, the breaking free of bondage via nature-shattering miracles, we refrain from eating leaven--the symbol of our daily condition, a condition which we strive to transform.
paraphrased from Likutei Halachot, Netilat Yadayim Shacharit 2:6
by Rabbi Nosson of Nemirov
On the three pilgrim festivals (Succot, Pesach and Shavuot), the fact that Hashem is G-d is revealed. Malchut rises from the husks of evil (cf. OH Yom Tov 1:2). Then the husks of the four kingdoms of exile are suppressed.
When the light of the holiday shines, when one hears a mighty proclamation from heaven and one experiences regret for one's bad acts. That causes malchut to rise from the husks.
All this stems from rosh chodesh, the first day of the month. The day on which the festival falls is determined by which day constitutes the new month. At the beginning of the month, the light of the moon, malchut, was completely hidden. Out of the hiddenness was revealed the growth of a new light (cf. OH Rosh Chodesh 3:3).
That is why four people are called up to the Torah reading on rosh chodesh. When these four people are called up to the Torah, which is the receptacle of malchut and the name of G-d, the four kingdoms of exile are vanquished (cf. OH Rosh Chodesh 3:8).
The date for the Sabbath was set by G-d. But the Jewish calendar is determined on earth according to the deposition of witnesses regarding the new moon (this ceased soon after the destruction of the second Beit Hamikdash). The Sabbath is a present from G-d to man. But the quality of the festival depends on the input of human beings.
Our input raises malchut. When malchut is raised from the four kingdoms, the archenemy of mankind, Amalek, is subjugated.
paraphrased from Likutei Halachot, Reishit Hagaz 1
teachings of the school of the Baal Shem Tov and R. Dov Ber
In all that you see, remember God. If you love, remember the love of God. If you fear, remember the fear of God. Even when going to the bathroom, think, "I am separating bad from good."...And when going to sleep, think, "My consciousness is going to the Holy One, blessed be He."
Tzavaas Harivash 22
Everyone knows about the Baal Shem Tov's journey to the land of Israel, where he was hoping to meet the holy rabbi, the author of Ohr Hachaim. Bu t he was prevented from doing so from heaven, for had he gotten together with the Ohr Hachaim, the moshiach would have come, but the time was not yet ripe, due to our many sins. Therefore, the Baal Shem Tov had many troubles on his journey. Once, he grew terribly distressed, and his great spiritual attainments were taken from him. "So what!" said the Baal Shem Tov. So I will serve the Creator of the world like a simple Jew, without great spiritual attainments."
The Baal Shem Tov had with him a small volume of Psalms that he had received from the holy Rabbi Adam Baal Shem Tov. During the entire journey, as he sailed, he recited songs, praises and psalms like a simple person, until he arrived in Istanbul. He was accompanied by his famous daughter, Adil, who [later] had two sons, the two holy brothers, Rabbi Boruch of Meziboz and Rabbi Efraim of Sudulkov, the author of Degel Machaneh Efraim.
When they arrived in Istanbul, they were impoverished, without good clothing, and it was shortly before the holiday of Passover. The Baal Shem Tov went to the beis medrash, where he rested and prayed and learned like a simple Jew.
Two days before the holiday, the Baal Shem Tov's saintly daughter went to a river to wash his shirt for Passover. As she did so, she recalled her holy father's situation: that they were impoverished, and it was close to Passover, and they did not yet have matzah shmurah nor any wine for the four cups, nor anything else that is needed for the holiday. And also, when she saw that her father was sitting like a simple Jew, she grew sick at heart, and as she stood at the waterside, she wept copiously and tears poured from her eyes.
At that moment, a very wealthy man was passing by. When he saw this holy young woman crying so much, he asked her, "My child, why are you crying?"
She answered, "And if you knew, how could you help me?"
The wealthy man told her, "My child, perhaps with God's help, I will be able to help you. Tell me what is going on."
The holy young woman told him about her holy father and what they had gone through, and that he still had nothing ready for the holy Passover.
The wealthy man told her, "My child, go to your father and tell him that I will provide him with everything he needs. He should come to me immediately, and I will give him everything."
The holy daughter of the Baal Shem Tov ran to her father and told him that a local wealthy man was inviting him. On the eve of Passover, after afternoon prayers--at about two or three o'clock--the Baal Shem Tov went to the wealthy man. As soon as the Baal Shem Tov stepped upon the doorsill and saw all the fine rooms and fine furniture and beautiful utensils, his mind grew easy. He forgot everything that he had gone through and was filled with joy. And through joy, he again received all his great spiritual gifts, and his face shone like the sun in the month of Tammuz.
to be continued...
by Rabbi Nosson of Nemirov
We can free gevurah from the grasp of unenlightened forces by engaging in business in a holy manner.
Our sages say that one of the first questions one is asked in heaven after one's death is "Did you engage in business faithfully?" The Torah gives many rules on honest business practices. One cannot overcharge, make false claims, engage in illegal practices or cheat on one's taxes; one must pay an employee on time; and as an employee, one cannot misuse one's time on the job or pilfer. Acting honestly is called acting "faithfully." In giving up an immediate gain because the Torah forbids it, one demonstrates one's faithfulness to the Torah and God.
The world is filled with exiled holy sparks. It is our role to liberate as many of these as one can. Such sparks are hidden in all physical things and transactions. When our business transactions are in accordance with the guidelines of the Torah, they are sanctified and the sparks liberated.
The Talmud states that "Earning a living is as difficult as was the splitting of the Red Sea" (Pesachim 118). The Red Sea was split only when Moses raised his staff above the waters. Moses is the spiritual master who can prayer with strength. His staff is his powerful prayer. We can only earn a living from which we feel blessed when we pray with such power, and when we connect ourselves to true spiritual teachers.
The sparks that are redeemed when we engage in business faithfully are very holy. Their source is spiritual wealth, and bestow that wealth on the person who earns them (cf. HM Shutfim 3:2).
If our business dealings are flawed and dishonest, wee can earn money, but that money is not separated from the husks of evil. To the contrary, we trap the holy sparks in the husks that we are creating and strengthening.
We draw to ourselves tainted money, which is not wealth, for it cannot impart happiness and sanctity (cf. EH Ones Um'fateh).
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