The Wings of Morning -
A Torah Review

Yaacov Dovid Shulman

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Volume VI, Issue 25

Vayahkel-Pekudei, March 2002

Unless otherwise noted, translations and original material copyright © 2002 by Yaacov Dovid Shulman (

*WHAT IS HASIDISM? (Continued)
--by Rabbi Kalonymus Kalman Shapiro (the Pieszesner Rebbe)

--by Avraham Stern

*NOT SHADOWS (Conclusion)
--by Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak Kook

--by Yaacov Dovid Shulman

by Rabbi Kalonymus Kalman Shapiro (the Pieszesner Rebbe)

The holy Baal Shem Tov said, "When a person learns the Torah's laws relating to bartering an ox for a donkey, this is a great thing in God's eyes. And even more, when he actually exchanges an ox for a donkey, or engages in other acts of business and craft, in accordance with the Torah, he is keeping the Torah in real life–and that is great in God's sight."

From the earliest days, our holy teachers informed us that this will constitute the level of messianic worship and revelation. As the midrash says, "in this world, the spirit spreads throughout a person's mind. But in future days, it will spread throughout his entire body. ‘I will place My spirit within you' (Yechezkel 36)" (Midrash Rabbah Bereishit 26).

Since the revelation of the Baal Shem Tov initiated the radiance of the messianic shafts of light, the holiness [enkindled by Hasidism] also exists in the body and physicality–not only in the mind and one's intent.

Those supernal, holy people [who preceded the Baal Shem Tov] all agreed [that physicality must be subjugated]. This is because, until the Baal Shem Tov, [spirituality] was at best drawn down into the [superficial] "vessels," which remained mere receptacles and agents of concealment. Living in such an era, they had to cast off this-worldly matters as much as possible, for these [matters] constituted vesels of concealment.

But this was no longer the case when the Baal ShemTov initiated the drawing forth and revelation of the level of the rectification of the future days, which affects even the body of the vessels. Everything will be rectified and its holiness revealed. Thus, it is not necessary to remove any ["vessels"]–only to elevate them. Then they too shall be shining lights with which to serve God.

It is true that the inner nature of the great [spiritual] light connected to serving God in holy ways, such as learning Torah, prayer, and so forth, is incomparably greater than the holiness of the vessels and secular matters. But in the heavenly heights as on earth there are various levels of spiritual lights and sefirot, one higher than the next.

And this world, with its various factors, also constitutes one [general] level of the divine lights, the lowest level of the four universes. [And within this world as well, there are higher and lower levels, all of which must be rectified.]

Mavo Hasha'arim

by Avraham Stern

Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi once remained behind with his rebbe, R. Dov Ber of Mezeritch, after [R. Dov Ber] had [seen off] the rest of the holy company.

R. Dov Ber said to R. Shneur Zalman, "Zalmanyu! I would like you to reformulate the script used in Torah scrolls, tefillin and mezuzahs in a way that conforms with the views of the major halachic authorities and which is also in accordance with the Kabbalah."

Rabbi Shneur Zalman obeyed. And as soon as he devised the form of the letters, he summoned a scribe to write the parshiyos (the parchments) for R. Dov Ber's tefillin using the new script. Following this, R. Dov Ber saw R. Shneur Zalman off with great warmth.

On the way home, R. Shneur Zalman passed through Honipolye, home of the rebbe, R. Zusha, as well as a scribe named R. Moshe.

In the evening, Rabbi Shneur Zalman came to R. Moshe's house. It took a little while before R. Moshe answered the door, and then he immediately went back to his desk. R. Shneur Zalman stepped after him and stood behind him to see what he was writing.

How astonished R. Shneur Zalman was to see that R. Moshe was using that new script! He waited for R. Moshe to finish the parshah. R. Moshe then explained that it had taken him so long to open the door because he had been in the middle of writing God's Name, which one may not interrupt. R. Shneur Zalman asked him, "Where did you learn this new script?"

R. Moshe answered, "A few days ago, R. Zusha sent for me and told me to write new parshiyos using this script. He said that he had seen letters shaped like this in heaven, and that from now on, Torah scrolls, tefillin and mezuzahs should be written this way." And R. Shneur Zalman told him what had occurred with him at R. Dov Ber's.

A few years ago, I told this story to a distinguished Lubavitcher Hasid. He immediately told it to the rebbe, R. Yosef Yitzchak (of blessed memory). The rebbe replied, "In my youth, one of my holy teachers told me this story and said that ‘in fifty-six years, someone will tell it to you.'"

Here you have a clear instance of divine inspiration. May their merit shield us and all Israel, amen.

Chasidishe Maasiyos

NOT SHADOWS (Conclusion)
by Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak Kook

These streams stand unveiled. They come from the light of Torah, from a revelation of the foundation of being.

The first [thing] to come is the illumination of the ideal goal [of being]. This [goal] incorporates the entire construct [of the cosmos], including the foundation of evil and barbarity within existence with all its ferment, with the entire extension of its activities, with all its creations, with all [its] inferno of fury and fire, with all [its] heaviness, earthiness, laziness, madness, with all its inversions and bizarreness. The light [of this goal] shines upon everything.

How great and elevated is the light of life of the manifestation of Torah. How elevated and mighty is the powerful action that clings to the light of idealistic Torah study.

[That light] conquers, guides, teaches and refines those aspects of wickedness referred to as the evil donkey, ox and dog–whether in physicality itself, or in the world and its fullness. And all return to be the lovers of [that light]. Within the midst of everything, a spirit of wisdom appears.

The [state of being that includes] laziness, wickedness and arrogance of itself rises, frees itself from its bonds. The content of the goal hidden in the inner point [of this state of being], in the foundation of the need for its existence, grows manifest upon it. Swiftness, love and appropriate humility blossom precisely through the powers [of that laziness, wickedness and arrogance].

Tens of thousands of forces of lights gain refinement from these levels of darkness. The most bizarre clots of dross separate and fall away. Those who rise unjustly fly off and fall, are burnt and become nothing. A pure spirit from the foundation of the creation of worlds hovers over everything. The scent of Eden of the creation of the world, of the joy of creation, surrounds and penetrates.

"They sat with the King in His work" (?). [Our sages explain this to mean that God] "took counsel with the souls of the righteous in the creation of His world."

This consultation carries out its procession, brings into being its values.

With a pleasantness of love, it is manifest to lovers, with a supernal penetration. Behold, it comes and it becomes. "The word of God will stand forever."

Orot Hakodesh II, p. 495

by Yaacov Dovid Shulman

This cosmic disk, gyroscope,
My ears are confused, I feel I'm
Falling. Where is this oxcart rolling to, what
Mud, what crushing rock, hot road along the water wheels?

Here is a ladder of words.
I eat them, I climb to their top,
Nothing is holding me up. I have reached the
Invisible hoop, turning giddily upon the

Spoke of a ladder that has
Disappeared. Black hands of star screech,
Green sour ocean swell endlessly extended
Without a center, wheel scent of incense in ice-skied

Field. To the golden prayer
Palace, I bring the wounded red,
Dragging these heavy presences. I wish to
Weep here, weep here where joy is the electric sweetness.

by Rabbi Nachman of Breslov

Even if a person has fallen very low, it is forbidden to despair. Repentance is even higher than the Torah. Therefore, there is no despair in the world. One's sins can turn into something else entirely. As our sages said, "Sins can be turned into merits" (Yoma 86b). This matter contains mystic secrets.

One can easily return to God from any descents, because God's greatness has no end. One must simply never give up crying out to God, pleading and praying to Him constantly.

Sichot Haran 3

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.

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