Monday, January 5, 2009

#16 - The LAST Period

It's a little ironic to be calling this post the LAST period on the 10th of Tevet, the day that commemorates the FIRST major tragic event that happened to the Jewish Nation for which we fast. It is true that when the verse in Zecharia mentions the list of fast days that this one is listed last, but that is strictly according to the order of the months of the year. But this is the BEGINNING of these major troubles - which was the the enemy beseiging the wall of Jerusalem, which was the beginning of the downfall of Jerusalem & destruction of the first Holy Temple. In fact, our Rabbis tell us that if 10 Tevet falls out on Shabbat, then we have to fast on this Shabbat as we do for Yom Kippur - on 10 Tishrei - when it falls out on Shabbat, as learned out from a verse about today's fast day from Ezekiel (Note: the way our calendar is set up these days, 10 Tevet will never fall out on a Shabbat). This is unlike the other fast days when if their regular date falls out on Shabbat, then the fast is held earlier or later (only when Tisha B'Av falls out on Shabbat, we begin the fast from sunset due to a technicality as to a doubt as to when night begins). Accordingly, even though most of the burning of the Holy Temple took place on the 10th of Av, the fast of Tisha B'Av is held on the 9th of Av (unless it falls out on Shabbat so then we fast on the 10th of Av) because though the burning only started near the end of the day, yet it is the BEGINNING of the tragedy that is considered the worst part of the tragedy.

This year, 10 Tevet actually marks something most significant - it happens four times a year. This is the spring equinox, the summer solstice, the fall equinox, or the winter solstice. They are known as Tekufat/Cycle of - Nissan, Tammuz, Tishrei, or Tevet respectively. Each such period lasts for 91 days and 7 and 1/2 hours. Thus, a full solar year consists of 365 and 6 hours.
So, this coming winter solstice will be BEGINNING this year on 10 Tevet at 10:30AM Jerusalem time (3:30AM EST). It is interesting to note that it falls out on the time that is in the middle of the hour of 10 o'clock on the 10th day of the 10th month (counting the months from Nissan, the month of the Exodus - the birth of our Nation). But be it as it may, there is something much more of significance here as to THIS particular winter solstice.

In my 7th post "Countdown to Bircat HaChama" (in November), I mentioned the planetary pattern being in the same position every 28 years starting from Creation, which will occur for the 207th time this year on Erev Pesach - 14 Nissan. Now, we have four seasonal periods every year. Starting the count from the spring equinox when we recite Bircat HaChama, this winter solstice or Tekufat Tevet will be the LAST period of the 112 periods in the 28 year cycle. To get a clearer picture of this, press on this link which will show you these 112 periods of this cycle, and the 112 periods for the upcoming cycle.
(NOTE: The Hebrew date showing will sometimes actually be the next Hebrew date if the time showing is at night before 12:00AM of the next secular date. Also, the times showing does not take into account Daylight Savings Time)

As you noticed, there are exactly 112 periods in each 28 year solar cycle. To be sure, nothing is coincidence. When Ya'akov with his family came to Israel, at one point, they crossed the ford of the Jabbok - Ma'avar Yabok. Yabok are the same letters for the Hebrew number of 112, Koof-Yud-Beit. In fact, there is a holy book that is called Ma'avar Yabok, which contains liturgies for the ill and deceased. A section of this deals with the LAST period of the dying person's life - particularly the last few hours, minutes or seconds. This is the most CRUCIAL time of a person's life, and is a time for confessing and regretting one's sins throughout his or her lifetime.
If a person truly repents of one's sins, he/she is totally forgiven and these sins are not held against him/her in the Hereafter.

In Ya'akov's own name, you have the same three letters of the number 112 or Yabok, and the letter Ayin in his name is the letter that is kabalistically connected with this month of Tevet. In fact, there is a special period of repentance for sexual sins that is called Shovevim - the Hebrew word that are the beginning letters of the first six Parshiyot of Sefer Shemot/Book of Exodus - Shemot, Vaeira, Bo, Beshalach, Yitro, Mishpatim. We begin these readings in this month. Also, the word for one needing to set a fixed thing is Yikba, the same letters as Ya'akov. This word is used in Shulchan Aruch/Code of Jewish Law in reference to setting a fixed time to learn Torah everyday - especially after the morning prayers. It says that even if one is rushed to work, he should set a fixed time (Yikba Et) to learn even just one verse or one Halacha/Jewish Law, and can learn more later in the day when he has more time. Indeed, learning Torah is a greater Mitzva and has more eternal reward for each word learnt than ALL of the Mitzvot combined! But in addition, learning Torah helps one repent between learning what one has to do to serve Hashem the proper way as well as giving one the motivation and understanding of one's purpose in life without squandering it on worthless things, as money can always be replaced but time cannot be replaced - every moment counts.

In this week's Parsha Vayechi, the last Parsha of Bereishit/Book of Genesis which always falls around 10 Tevet, Ya'akov is about to reveal the date of the Redemption, but is made to forget it at the last moment before blessing his children. This period of time right before the Redemption or the time of the Redemption itself is referred to as the Acharit HaYamim "End of Days".

Speaking of end & last, there is another last in time - Shabbat. This is the weekend & LAST day of the week. But what is special about this coming Shabbat is that it falls out on the 14th of Tevet. You see, exactly 850 years ago, the famed commentator on the Torah/Chumash known as Ibn Ezra was handed a letter in which he was addressed by non other than the Sabbath Queen herself (yes, Shabbat isn't just the name of the special day of the week, there is an actual spiritual being whose name is Shabbat). In his words: "In the year 4919 at midnight , Shabbat eve of the fourteenth of Tevet, I, Avraham the Sephardi Ibn Ezra was in a city on an island at the end of the earth (London, England)... And I saw in a dream that what appeared to be a man stood before me, holding a sealed letter. And he declared to me: Take this letter that the Shabbat has sent to you... and I bowed down... And I read it, and at first it was as sweet to me as honey, but when I read the final passages my heart burned within me, and I almost lost my soul... Why did it send me this letter? Here it is: 'I am Shabbat, the crown of precious religion, the fourth of the Ten Commandments... I am the joy of men and women, and both old and young are happy with me...'
"And the Shabbat said to me: 'It has been said that yesterday your students brought to your home books with a commentary on the Torah, where it is written to desecrate the eve of Shabbat. And you should gird your loins in order to defend the honor of Shabbat by fighting the war of the Torah against the enemies of Shabbat. Do not show favor to any man.'"

Following this, the Ibn Ezra opened his door, and there is was, the version of the Bible that this student of his placed at his front door. Reading from the beginning of Genesis, when speaking about the first day of Creation where it is written as "And it was evening, and it was mourning, the first day", the commentary on this read as "When it was morning of the second day, then there was one full day, because the night follows the day", thus challenging when Shabbat begins which according to this, it would imply that Shabbat begins on Saturday morning and ends at Sunday morning instead of from Friday night until Saturday night. Upon seeing this, the Ibn Ezra became very enraged, and tore this up, even though under normal circumstances, it is forbidden to rip up something - especially with wording - on Shabbat. He then resolved that immediately after Shabbat, he would set the record straight.

For the full version of the poem of the words of Shabbat HaMalka herself in Hebrew, check it up on the following link in the paragraph in blue What follows is Ibn Ezra's letter in response to the heretical views of his wayward student. The full text is what is called Igeret HaShabbat - The Letter of Shabbat.

As you may have noticed in more recent posts, I have connected the number of the post to some theme within that particular blog. Well, I have a double wammy here with the number 16, actually three specialties:
1) The number 112 is a multiple of 16 when multiplied by 7 (we just talked about the 7th and last day of the week - Shabbat)
2) I had mentioned in a previous blog pertaining to Obama (his case challenging his supposed U.S. citizenship is pending in the Supreme Court) about the two American guys who predicted his rise to the U.S. Presidency long before he was the main candidate running on their website At this time, they have 16 shows posted on their site. And at the very end of their 16th show...
3)They mentioned the SECRET FORMULA FOR CLEANSING SINS. This is most particularly the case for sexual sins. We are referring specifically to the 10 Psalms of what is known as the Tikun HaKelali, as compiled by Rabbi Nachman of Breslov - 16, 32, 41, 42, 59, 77, 90, 105, 137, 150. Now, while we are at it, it should be mentioned that this date of 10 Tevet is the Yahrzeit of Rabbi Nosson Sternhartz, the main disciple of Rabbi Nachman, who said of his disciple Rabbi Nosson that if it wasn't for him, there would be no writings of Breslov around. In any case, the very first word of the first of these 10 Psalms, in Psalm 16, is the word Michtam/Letter (of David) which is the same Gematria as Nosson (500)! Now, add the number 112 which we associated earlier in this blog to repentance, and it comes out to 612. This is the Gematria of Brit, as in Brit Mila/Circumcision, referring to sexual purity.

Let's prepare ourselves in this LAST PERIOD before the nearing of the coming of Moshiach which is associated with the timing of Birkat HaChama which will begin a new period, a new era, the time of the new LIGHT/Ohr=207, beginning of the 207th period of physical and spiritual light which will occur on Erev Pesach, the very day that according to the Torah we are supposed to offer the Pascal lamb (called Pesach in Hebrew, the same name as the holiday) as the Jews did right before leaving the Egyptian exile in their first redemption. In our final and last period which begins in the midst of this fast day, a day that marks a time of self reflection due to the troubles that happened to us as a result of our sins, let us resolve to do it right and truly repent and make a sincere effort for the better BEFORE the coming of Moshiach to merit eternity.

(I should mention that since my last posting on the political party in Israel to vote for, a very positive change happened in which the National Union (Ichud Leumi) went through a major change when choosing Yaakov "Ketzaleh" Katz, the legend of the Yishuv movement in Israel including the founding of Bet El, to be the head of this party, and combined a few smaller parties, including Marzel's, to be united as one. Fourth on its list is Dr. Michael Ben-Ari, one of Marzel's guys and was in close contact with both Rabbis Meir and Binyamin Kahane ZTVK'L HY'D. This is the party to vote for if you want Israel to get back on its feet without compromise with the Arabs. If you can't vote if you live abroad, then get your relatives and/or friends in Israel to vote for this party).

10 Teves 5769 - Day of Beginning of Tekufat Tevet

P.S. The time mentioned for this posting is 2:06PM. Indeed, this very blog is talking about the last period in the 206th cycle of the 28 year planetary position. True Divine Providence/Hashgacha Pratit!

No comments: