Photo Credit:
Aug. 1993 Hachanasat Sefer Torah ceremony at the Od Yosef Chai yeshiva in Shechem.

The second is that Jerusalem needs to be complete. The Land of Israel also needs to be complete, but as was quoted, within the name Jerusalem itself is the word “complete,” “perfect.”

What then are the headlines? That, God forbid, our enemies want to make us fearful, and especially fearful in Jerusalem, and that God forbid, the nations of the world want us to divide Jerusalem (beginning from the Temple mount). This is a clear example of the principle that God sends the cure before the malady, the name before the headlines.

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Letting the Wings Soar

With these thoughts in mind we can now return to our subject of creativity. It was quoted earlier that through overcoming the most difficult test of binding his son Isaac, Abraham successfully incorporated the higher level of fear into his psyche and was able to successfully name the city Jerusalem.

Recently, I explained a practical aspect of this to a friend who is working to inspire Jewish souls. I mentioned that generally speaking, those that are the most intuitive or “on target” with their creativity are those that have overcome tests in their lives. And now, as part of a therapeutic process, they are trying to paint, compose, write, or otherwise perform to further return and connect with God. I explained that no matter what their present level of observance, the contributions coming from these souls are cherished.

While this doesn’t mean that these creative contributions fall within the realm of Torah, we can say, as Reb Shlomo did many times, that it is always good for a soul to express itself, to fly. In the excerpt brought from Rav Ginsburgh, we can call this the level of Shem that named Jerusalem “perfect” because he was inspired by the aspect of encompassing light. This was a good and worthwhile “creative contribution” that was further developed by Abraham who incorporated the aspect of encompassing light, and was thus able to give the city the true and complete name of Jerusalem.

Likewise, I explained to my friend that it is always good to encourage Jewish souls to “fly,” to offer their creative contributions. Just that while doing so, there are two pointers to keep in mind.

1. The first is to expect more intuitively on-target contributions from those that have overcome tests and trials in their lives (which is all of us in these final moments before the Redemption). And secondly, 2. Be prepared to further develop (not discredit) these creative visions and view all these submissions as therapy from Jewish souls seeking to return and connect with God.

For instance, if a sensitive Jewish soul pens a beautifully poetic metaphor, the best response is not to “clip their wings,” but to explain in greater detail their good imagery according to Torah. The hope is that this will inspire them to further develop their vision into something more precise and detailed in the future.

To conclude with a creative thought, we can now suggest that the right and left “wings” that Reb Shlomo was referring to correspond to Abraham and Isaac, the archetypal figures of loving-kindness on the right (the right “wing”) and might on the left (the left “wing”) respectively. Specifically the moment when Abraham and Isaac “soared” together, what we can call the soaring of the two “wings” of one person, was at the Binding of Isaac. As Rashi says, “they both went together with the same heart” (Rashi to Genesis 22:8).

Appropriately enough, there is a “soaring” melody for this, composed by Rav Ginsburgh, and sung here by musician Shuli Rand. Of interest is that while Genesis verses 22:6-8 comprise the words for this song, the only words that are repeated are the last three, “and they both went together” (וַיֵּלְכוּ שְׁנֵיהֶם יַחְדָּו); the soaring of the right and left “wings” together as explained above.

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Yonatan Gordon is a student of Harav Yitzchak Ginsburgh, and publishes his writings on InwardNews.com, a new site he co-founded.