The Wings of Morning -
A Torah Review
Yaacov Dovid Shulman
|WINGS OF MORNING
Volume V, Issue 12
Vayishlach 5761 December 2000
Unless otherwise noted, translations and original material copyright © 2000 by Yaacov Dovid Shulman (firstname.lastname@example.org).
* A Simple Jew
* On Our Way Home (Part II)
* Universalism and Nationalism
* Here These Lights
* The Secret Room (Conclusion)
by Rabbi Nosson of Nemirov
In our youth we must work a great deal so that when we grow old we will at least be simple but sincere Jews.
Ma'asiyos Umeshalim, p. 41
by Hanan Porat (Knesset Member)
...But this is a different topic altogether, and it isn't why I am writing to you. Therefore, in the words of Zohara Labitov, I will "place a muzzle on my racing pen that drags me in its wake."
You close your letter with a modest request: to send you a copy of the speech that I read at the thanksgiving ceremony. You promise that you will keep it in a drawer that you have set aside for "food for the soul." Therefore, you close your letter, as though seeking to conciliate me, "The price of a stamp is worth the investment in me."
It seems that you have exaggerated, my dear Anat. I am not a businessman who deals with investments; and I do not need your promise to decide whether the "deal" is worthwhile. I will gladly send you my words, for their entire purpose was to touch hearts that are open to hear them.
However, I do have one request: Study the splendid poem of Uri Tzvi Greenberg with which I finished the talk. In my opinion, Uri Tzvi Greenberg is one of the greatest poets of our age, greater than all the other writers and poets we studied in school (whom you still are studying, no doubt), though I do not disparage them.
His poem, "Far and high is the goal of man," opens a new dimension to our desire to return to K'far Etzion.
Imagine what we felt, the children of K'far Etzion, a remnant of the group that wove dreams for nineteen years since our homes were destroyed--imagine our longing for our land, "on the way to Efrat, which is Beit Lechem." Take that and multiply it by ten, a hundred, a thousand, a million. Then you can understand the yearning of an entire people for its land since the destruction of the Temple nineteen hundred years ago. The greatest drama in human history has been written in letters of fire and blood in the chronicles of the people of Israel. The chapters of destruction and exile in this drama are essentially behind us--and before our eyes the curtain is lifted before the first gleam of dawn: the return to Zion, the in-gathering of the exiles and the beginning of redemption.
I truly feel that with the outbreak of the Six Day War, a new and awesome chapter has started to be revealed. Some of it is visible behind the curtain; but its most important part is still hidden, struggling to come out and causing the curtain to tremble.
"When God brought about the return to Zion, we were like dreamers."
The dreams are knocking at the doors of reality and asking to be interpreted. And the heart shakes before them with joy and trembling, and asks: we, what is our task on the road to actualization?
The chapter of Gush Etzion, which contains in miniature the chapters of destruction and exile, yearning and return, teaches not only its own story but illuminates the entire picture. Through the chapter of Gush Etzion, it is possible that we will again hear the song of the great journey upon which the Master of the world brings us all back home: the people of Israel to the entire land of Israel and to Jerusalem, royal city of the Temple of the King.
I know, Anat, that these are matters without an end; and they certainly cannot be clarified in one short letter. I am afraid that I have already said too much, and I do not want to tire you--unless you would like to continue. I will therefore satisfy myself with these few words. I am sending you my talk, "Coming Home," with the hope that the address to which you send your next letter (if you wish to write) will be our old-new home in Gush Etzion; that the gazelle of Israel, small and red--that is, our postal service--will bring it on the road to Efrat, past the cross-roads of Gush Etzion and the "Russian hills," past the solitary tree and the hill of stones, until it reaches my home.
from Et Achai Ani M'vakeish
by Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak Kook
According to the content of the approach of the school of Shammai [in regard to lighting Hanukkah candles], even a person who is unable to rise to the heights of the ultimate goal should be taught that the goal of Torah does not rest upon a foundation of national love. The foundation [of the Torah] should rather be transmitted with profound truth. The only message to be transmitted to the entire nation of God as the ultimate foundation is the purpose of the Torah and the awe that flows from pure faith. On the other hand, the school of Hillel [argues that] there is a way to explain in a few words even to those who do not understand the depth of truth that there is a Torah basis to the goal of nationalism.
Time is divided into past and future.
The Torah approach that flows solely from the aspect of the tendency toward faith, without any admixture of what can be humanly felt, flows in its essence from the foundation of the future. "How great is Your goodness that You have hidden [in the future] for those who fear You" (Psalms 321:20). [In this view,] the past is no more than an indication of what will be. This is the content of faith regarding the future.
[But there is another approach:] there can be an admixture of a nationalist tendency felt in the heart--just as the heart has a tendency toward love of family and love of parents. [Such a feeling] is built upon the past. What has caused this feeling to be established in the heart until it may be fit to support those many actions that improve and unite well the national foundation? It is the great past that accomplishes this.
"One rabbi said: the reason of the school of Shammai [that we reduce the number of Hanukkah candles daily is that the candles] correspond to the coming days." The school of Shammai bears in mind the more supernal aspect, [the aspect] that goes beyond a national foundation, for which only the foundation of faith and Torah, without any aid of feeling, remains. "the coming days" indicates the [historic] future, which bears the seal of faith: that we have faith in His name, that He is faithful to His covenant and keeps His word. "Faith corresponds to the Mishnaic Order called Seeds." We believe in God, the Life of worlds: that His seed will sprout in the future and sprouts (Yalkut Shimoni Tehillim, Hint 674; cf. Shabbat 31a in Tosafot).
[The Jews are] "a righteous nation, keeping faith" (Isaiah 16:2)--[meaning that] "although the dead have yet to come back to life, [the Jews] already recite the blessing, ‘Blessed is He Who revives the dead'" (Yalkut Shimoni, Tehillim, Hint 617). [On the other hand,] "the reason of the school of Hillel [that we increase the number of Hanukkah candles daily is that the candles] correspond to the days that have passed." [This refers to] the [historic] past, which sets its seal upon the nation, placing its natural feeling upon us, so that we may use it as a help to set up a testimony in Israel, since its depth is built upon the purest truth.
to be continued...
from Ein Ayeh
by Yaacov Dovid Shulman
Everywhere, the gleaming lights are
by Avraham Stern
The messenger, as a loyal Hasid of R. Leib Sarah's, assumed that everything that had happened had been R. Leib Sarah's will, in order that the Leshnaver rabbi would be revealed.
So he told the wagon driver to take the rabbi and his family back to Leshnav. There the messenger, the wagon driver and the village Jew told the great miracle of how a gentile had been temporarily restored to life, and how in this way a Jew had been saved from certain death.
And so the rabbi was revealed as a great miracle worker and a healer of souls.
Later he moved to Nes'chizsh. May his merit protect us and all Israel.
from Chassidishe Ma'asiyos
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