The Wings of Morning -
A Torah Review

Yaacov Dovid Shulman

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Volume III, Issue 9

Chayei Sara 5759 / November 98

Translations and original material copyright (c) 1998 by Yaacov
Dovid Shulman (unless otherwise noted)

* The Heart of the Wise Man Knows

-by Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak Kook

* Rabbi Nachman's Journey to the Holy Land (continued)

-by Hillel Zeitlin

* Rabbi Moshe Leib's Blessing, Part I

-from a Yiddish Story Book

* Find the River in Your Dream

-by Yaacov Dovid Shulman


by Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak Kook

Feeling is swifter than intellect. In feeling, the word "God" is filled with fecundity and reality even before the smallest fraction of all the multitude of enigmas concealed with it is deciphered.

But this is not the case with intellect. Intellect requires toil. Without study and inquiry, one will find nothing.

If feeling is exchanged for intellect, if one will desire to engage one's intellect without spiritual labor, in order to enjoy the benefit of what is already prepared--as it is possible to do in feeling--one's world will swiftly grow dark. Tangled thorns will flourish in one's spiritual portion, one will constantly be entangled, and one's spiritual path will be filled with stumbling blocks.

"There is a time and judgement that the heart of the wise man knows." And that is: to enter the palace of feeling in its fullness, to take pleasure in its sweet things, and to allow the portion of the intellect to engage in its toil. Then the knowledge of God will enter one's heart in its most desirable form. Oros Hakodesh I, p. 251


by Hillel Zeitlin

In Tiberias, Rabbi Nachman visited the gravesite of his grandfather, Rabbi Nachman of Horodenka. Regarding his experience there, his students tell nothing. Rabbi Nachman, it appears, considered that experience as too extraordinary to discuss with others.

Following that, he and his companion hired donkeys, and visited the gravesites of tzaddikim. When they came to the gravesite of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, Rabbi Nachman told the young men who had accompanied him to learn Zohar. However, he himself did not do so. Instead, he went about in a very happy state and occasionally told his companion, "How fortunate you are to have come to this!"

At night, he walked about. He told everyone to learn Zohar. He himself sang the entire night and was joyful until daybreak. Then he put on his tallis and tefillin and prayed for hours.

From the grave of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, they travelled to the gravesite of Hillel. There Rabbi Nachman recited Psalms 33 and 34. When he went to Shammai's grave, he was overcome by deep sadness. Why was this? At first, Rabbi Nachman himself did not know. Later, he said that did have an answer to that--but he did not explain.

Travelling from gravesite to gravesite, they came to the top of a mountain. From there, they saw the gravesite of Rabbi Kruspedai. The donkeys could not make their way there, so they went by foot. Rabbi Nachman almost had to climb on his hands and knees to get to the gravesite.

After he remained there a little while, they returned and went to the gravesite of "the child," where a tall tree grew. People used to be afraid to enter that cave, believing that it was encircled by a snake. But Rabbi Nachman did not allow this to frighten him. And there was no snake there. From that time onwards (tells the Breslov tradition), everyone entered there without fear.

After visiting other gravesites, they returned to Tiberias. At that time, Rabbi Nachman experienced a joyous occasion. Rabbi Yaacov Shimshon of Shepetavka, student of Rabbi Pinchas Koritzer, had arrived.

Rabbi Pinchas Koritzer was one of the very few rebbes of the time who was venerated not only by Hasidim but also by the greatest rebbes. Each rebbe had his own path and rarely recognized the paths of others. Only a very few--such as the brothers Rabbi Elimelech of Lizhensk and his brother Zusha, the Seer of Lublin and Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev--were recognized by all rebbes as "pillars of the world." In this group, Rabbi Pinchas of Koritz held a unique position. He was regarded by Hasidim as being on a uniquely exalted level, almost on the level of a "rishon"; he was seen as being in the rank of the early rebbes, almost on the same level as the Baal Shem Tov. This status was transferred to his student, Rabbi Yaacov Shimshon.

It was therefore a great joy for Rabbi Nachman when Rabbi Yaacov Shimshon, on coming to Tiberias, made a meal in his honor and rejoiced exceedingly with him, speaking privately with him for a long while.

Incidentally, Rabbi Nachman succeeded in making peace between Rabbi Yaacov Shimshon and Rabbi Avraham Kalisker. Rabbi Yaacov Shimshon had previously belonged to the group that had disagreed with Rabbi Avraham. But Rabbi Nachman now brought him over to Rabbi Nachman's side.

Until he came to the land of Israel, Rabbi Nachman would from time to time fall into a lower state of consciousness. In the land of Israel, he was in an expanded state of consciousness. The land of Israel itself is, as he once noted, "greatness of greatness." There, how could one be small? But in a number of instances, even in the land of Israel Rabbi Nachman did not wish to expose his greatness. Perhaps he believed that the hour had not arrived for him to fully reveal and declare himself.

It is told that one of the great rabbis of the land of Israel, a man who knew almost the entire Talmud by heart and who was also a great Kabbalist, came to Rabbi Nachman and asked that all of Rabbi Nachman's entourage leave the room, for he had something particular to discuss with him.

Rabbi Nachman's followers left the room, with the exception of his companion, who rarely left him.

The rabbi said, "Obviously, you did not come to the land of Israel like those simple Jews who come in order to walk four cubits here and gain the world to come. You obviously came in order to attain a great awareness in serving the Creator. I would very much like to know which of the attributes of the land you have dealt with, and what you particularly wanted to accomplish in serving God, for I myself with to serve God with my entire body and soul."

"I earnestly beseech you," Rabbi Nachman replied, "do not pain me with this. It is not so easy to reveal why I came here and what I wish to accomplish. Perhaps I am also bound by an oath not to reveal such things."

But the great man pressed him to at least reveal one of his original Torah thoughts. "Believe me," he added, "I do not have the slightest unworthy motive. I only want to hear words of Torah from a holy mouth. Perhaps my heart will be newly awakened to serve the Creator, and perhaps in this way I will merit to come to your attainment regarding the land of Israel."

When Rabbi Nachman heard this, a divine fire lit his face. His hair stood on end, and to relieve himself he took off his hat. He said to the great man, "Do you know the secret of the meditations of tefillin?"

The man described a few meditations that he knew.

"No!" said Rabbi Nachman. "These are not the true meditations of tefillin. And if you do not know the meditations of tefillin, you cannot know the meditations of the four directions of the land of Israel. Now I will reveal to you a hint about that."

But as soon as Rabbi Nachman began to reveal these meditations, Breslov tradition tells that blood welled up from his throat.

"You see," Rabbi Nachman told the rabbi, "I am not permitted from heaven to reveal anything to you."

The rabbi was very frightened, and he asked Rabbi Nachman to forgive him for having pained him.

Rabbi Nachman forgave him, and the rabbi no longer urged him to speak of attainments and attributes.


from a Yiddish story-book

Part I

Once, when Rabbi Moshe Leib was still young, as he was returning home from the bathhouse on Friday afternoon he met a young man who lived in a village not far from Sassov. The young man used to come to town to chop wood, and in this way he supported himself and his wife. He had spent this past entire week in town without earning a single greitz. Only on Friday afternoon did God have mercy on him and send him some work. And in a short while, he chopped wood and earned six greitzer.

He worked it out in his head: for two greitzer he could buy two small challos for Shabbos; for another two greitzer, wine for kiddush; and two more greitzer could buy candles for Shabbos.

As he was walking and thinking these thoughts, Rabbi Moshe Leib, whom the young man did not know at all, began speaking with him. He told him, "Young man, if you buy me a glass of tea for two greitzer, I promise you the world-to-come."

The young man considered this a moment. He remembered that the Talmud says that Shabbos is a taste of the world-to-come. "So what would be so wrong if I deducted two greitzer from what I spend on Shabbos and earn the world-to-come itself? That is a better deal." He immediately heeded this good thought and for two greitzer bought Rabbi Moshe Leib a glass of tea.

"You have simply kept me alive," Rabbi Moshe Leib told him. "Now if you buy me another glass of tea, I will bless you with many blessings and salvation."

Again, the young man considered for a minute. "How can a person let such a great bargain pass him by? So many blessings for two greitzer. I will grab this bargain too." And he bought Rabbi Moshe Leib a second glass of tea.

Immediately, just as he had promised, Rabbi Moshe Leib blessed him and his entire family with all types of success, salvation and blessing.

"If you buy me a third glass of wine," Rabbi Moshe Leib told him, "I will bless you for many generations to come."

"This I cannot do by any means," the young man replied. "I must at least spend two greitzer to bring candles home for Shabbos."

Rabbi Moshe Leib blessed him profusely and asked him, "Do you have any possessions at home?"

"Yes," the young man answered him. "I have a cow, which provides us with some dairy."

"Sell the cow," Rabbi Moshe Leib told him, "and on Sunday, God willing, coming here dressed in your Shabbos clothes. Bring along the money you received for selling the cow, and look for me in the marketplace. Then you will see what I promised you come about. With God's help, my blessings to you will come true, and you will, God willing, become a very wealthy person as result of these blessings."

When he came home, the young man told his wife everything that had happened to him that day. "Don't you worry any more, my wife," he told her. "I am already a millionaire, thank God, and you are my millionairess, and our children are millionaires' children. But I must sell the cow."

"What are you saying? What are you talking about?" his wife burst out. "Are you crazy? Are you out of your mind? A cow I will let you sell? This little bit of dairy is what we live on! And who knows what that man will tell you to do next with the few rheinish you get for the cow! Maybe he will tell you to give them away, and he will pay you with his blessings. And I know you--you will certainly give him the money. But I would like to see what will come of all this."

Her husband answered her, "If a merchant will come and ask if I want to sell the cow, then I will know that this is a sign from heaven. And I will require another sign as well. Our cow, you know, is worth twelve rheinish. I will ask the merchant for forty-two rheinish. If he will give me that price exactly, I will sell the cow and be sure that this is from heaven. Then I will do everything that that Jew told me."

Very early Sunday morning, a merchant came to the young man and asked him, "How much would you like for your cow?"

"Forty-two rheinish," the young man promptly replied.

"Perhaps you would lower your price?" the merchant asked him.

"No, not even by a zekseril," the young man replied.

The merchant did not dicker much more, but paid a full forty-two rheinish.

The young man saw that the blessings were not vain. He immediately put on his Shabbos clothing, took the sum of money in his pocket and went to town. There, he looked for the Jew in the marketplace. But he could not find him.

to be continued....

Shivchei Haramal


by Yaacov Dovid Shulman

If not for the gravel you walk upon,
You would not have any feet.
Grab onto the bookcase
And then the wind will come that tries to blow you away.

You were asleep. Now you have woken
Into a broader sleep.

Find the river in your dream.
Waterwheels are turning lazily,
A hundred spaced upon the banks,
Feeding the golden fields.

Sail upon the river's broad expanse.
View from its mouth the vastness of the harbor.
Turn the other way, fight your way
To its source, a stream in the unhacked jungle.
When you can be as clean as that water,
You will be able to experience God.

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