Thursday, May 21, 2009

#29 - JERUSALEM: The END of Our Journey

We have finally arrived at our destination - Jerusalem. Though we have yet to experience the redemption with the coming of the Messiah and witness the rebuilt Temple, a tremendous miracle happened to us despite all odds. For all that everyone knew, it was just a matter of time before Israel as a place for Jews lived would be a thing of the past. It was 42 years ago when in the Six Day War, some 31 million Arabs were attempting to wipe us Jews off of the map in Israel. However, while we Jews, consisting of no more than a few million, incurred some losses; with the help of Hashem, we defeated the Arabs to such an extent, that we regained key parts of the land - including the holiest area in the world, which includes the Western Wall and the Temple Mount. In celebration of this, the day that Israel regained control of this area became know as Yom Yerushalayim - Jerusalem Day, which occured on 28 Iyar - which was the 43rd day of the Omer.

What makes this year's Jerusalem Day so special is because as the 43rd day of the Omer, it begins its 43rd year from that historical moment in time. As hinted to in my last post, the number 28, as Jerusalem Day is the 28th of Iyar, is the Gematria of Ko-ach/Strength which was Hashem's doing of giving us the Land of Israel, which we wrestled from the nations that were living in it at the time we first came to the land as a nation which was led by Joshua. As Jerusalem is called "The City of Peace", as in my previous blog, the last of the 28 "times" as mentioned in the Book of Ecclesiastes/Kohelet is the time of PEACE. In any case, what is the connection - if there is any - to the fact that it Jerusalem Day is the 43rd day of the Omer?

Perhaps the bridge that will shed insight to this is the 43rd Parsha of the Torah - Parshat Mas'ai.
While many other Parshiyot either talk about our ancestors living in Israel, or Hashem's promise to us that we would soon enter the land of Israel, this Parsha is a most unique Parsha. It begins listing the 42 places that the Jews traveled to from Egypt, following which we would travel to Israel. It then tells us that we need to get rid of the evil inhabitants of the land or they will be "snares in our eyes". This is followed by a detailed description of the borders of Israel.

There is in fact to parts to this year's Jerusalem Day celebration - celebrating 42 years since that most momentous day, and beginning its 43rd year since we had victory.


FORTY TWO YEARS

As we just mentioned, the Jews traveled to 42 destinations before their final destination of Israel. To note - the very first place they traveled to leaving Egypt was called Sukkot, the very name of our holiday on the opposite side of the year from Passover - the day that the Jews traveled to a place named Sukkot. More on the significance of this name as connected to Jerusalem Day later on.

The number 42 is most unique. You see, it technically refers to two different Mitzvot. The first is Talmud Torah - learning & teaching Torah, the greatest Mitzva about which each word of Torah is equal to all other Mitzvot in terms of eternal reward. As the verse says - "You shall teach them thoroughly to your children and you shall speak of them..." (Deutronomy 6:7). The first part of this phrase is the actual source of this Mitzva, and it is the next part of the phrase that is describing the first part - "You shall speak OF THEM" - the Hebrew word given for the capitalized words here is BAM - which is the Gematria of 42. Significantly, the two letters of this word hints to the beginning words of the Written Torah & and the Oral Torah respectively - the Beit for Bereishit - the beginning word of the Bible, and the Mem (Sofit) for Mei'ei'matai - the beginning word of the Mishnayot.

Now, this phrase including this word as its own independent part in the verse also refers to the Mitzva of Kriat Shma - reciting three paragraphs of the Toraht that we begins with the words Shma Yisrael- "Hear O Israel"- and includes the paragraph that includes this phrase of "You shall speak of them". This is a most special Mitzva, because unlike most other Mitzvot, the Shma paragraphs is also saying words of Torah. In any case, the very last verse of the Shma paragraphs is "I am Hashem your G-d who took you out of the land of Egypt to be a G-d for you - I am Hashem your G-d" (Numbers 15:41). Thus, there is an intrinsic connection between the number 42 as the Gematria of BAM referring to the Mitzva of Shma, and the content of its final verse mentioning the Exodus which was a process of 42 places that the Jews traveled to between Egypt & Israel.

Later on in the above mentioned Parsha of Mas'ai, it speaks of the cities of refuge that someone who killed another accidentally can run to. There were six main cities and 42 other cities in this regard. Without getting into details about the difference between the 6 & 42 cities, we see an amazing parallel to the first paragraph of the Shma as written in the Torah that includes mentioning the verse that tells us to fulfull the Mitzva of saying the Shma (The inbetween sentence of Barach Shem... "Blessed is the name..." is in fact not in the Scriptures at all). The verse of Shma Yisrael has six words, and the remaining part of the paragraph has 42 words.


BEGINNING OF THE FORTY THIRD YEAR

I could speak so to speak volumes on this as there is much significance to the number 43 as related to Israel & Jerusalem. Let's take this step by step.

The Hebrew word for ALSO is GAM. This is the Gematria of 43. Indeed, when it comes to some of the birth of the Tribes of Israel, this word is used specifically in connection with Hashem hearing cries and prayer. When Leah gave birth to her second son Shimon, she says "Hashem HEARD that I am hated, and he gave me ALSO this one", and indeed the name Shimon is based on Hashem's "hearing". When Rachel's maid Bilha gave birth to Dan, Rachel said "G-d judged me and he ALSO HEARD my voice and he gave me a son". In any case, we see a connection between the word GAM/Also and hearing - SHAMA/He Heard, in fact the very same letters as the word for Shma, the name and beginning word of the Mitzva of saying Shma which is done once in the night and the second time in the first quarter of the daytime! Thus, both the numbers 42 & 43 have a connection with this concept of hearing or more specifically to this Mitzva of Shma which ends off with the verse mentioning the Exodus. And in terms of the tribes of Shimon & Dan in relationship to Israel which was divided up according to tribes, the boundries of Israel as described seven times by the books of Judges, Samuel & Kings is "from Dan to Beer Sheba" - that is, from the tribe of Dan's territory to Be'er Sheba, which was a city among others that the tribe of Shimon lived in.

There are quite a few words that begin with the letters of Gimmel & Mem which make up the word GAM having a Gematria of 43:

GEMATRIOT - To begin with, I had mentioned in my previous blog that in the end of Ethics of Fathers Chapter Three, that Gematriot are considered deserts or additions to wisdom. Thus, as GAM means also, as in addition or adding on to something, this Hebrew word consisting of Gimmel & Mem are also the first two letters of the word Gematriot. If this was not enough, though we have the 13 Middot of the Torah/principles of the Torah as we mention in our daily morning prayers, there is in fact another set of such principles. Rabbi Eliezer Ben Rabbi Yosi HaGelili mentions a list 32 Middot of the Torah. And the 29th on the list is Gematriot, which comes in time to mention this in my 29th post here.

We have mentioned before that this word - the name of this website which is the basis of myblogspot - is the Gematria of 669 when without a second Yud between the letters Gimmel & Mem. Indeed, there are exactly 669 mentions of the word Jerusalem in the Bible - and while not mentioned even once in the Chumash/Penteteuch/Five Books of Moses - there are exactly 669 sections or paragraphs of the Chumash, as can be seen in a Sefer Torah. And it is Chapter 669 of the first part of the Shulchan Aruch/Code of Jewish Law that is about the holiday of Simchat Torah when we conclude and begin anew the reading of the Sefer Torah. Thus, just like the Mitzva of Shma, both the numbers 42 & 43 have a connection with the Mitzva of learning & teaching Torah. Significantly, while the holiday of Simchat Torah is in fact the holiday of Shemini Atzeret when only one day in Israel - it was only in perhaps around the last 1,000-1,500 years that this official conclusion of reading the Sefer Torah took place on this holiday. In fact, in Tractate Megilla Chapter Three, in its list of Torah readings for the holidays, it makes NO MENTION of the reading for Shemini Atzeret/Simchat Torah! Thus, this is a concept of GAM - also, in addition. Thus, in connection to this, the recent holiday, as you will, of Jerusalem Day, while not celebrated like the Yomim Tovim - Jewish holidays in which we don't do most kinds of work, this day is an ADDED day of celebration for the Jewish people when we regained the holiest area in the world, truly a reason to celebrate! And when did this day fall out on? The 43rd day of the Omer - in relation to which 43 is the Gematria of GAM. This leads to the second part of the Torah - the Oral Torah (in contrast to the Written Torah or the Bible), which is represented by the...

GEMARA - This is another name for the Talmud, the detailed explanation of the Mishnayot. The first two letters of this word are also Gimmel & Mem. There are in fact two parts to the Talmud - the more popular Babylonian Talmud & the Jerusalem Talmud. In fact, it was first the Jerusalem Talmud that was composed. But perhaps what is ironic with the name of this part of the Talmud is that is was not composed in Jerusalem at all, but in Tiberias! Yet, in honor of Jerusalem, it was named as the Jerusalem Talmud, showing the special significance of Jerusalem as the city of the Holy Temple. Anyways, in relationship to the Oral Torah, that is what it really is, the part of the Torah that was orally transmitted to us from generation to generation. Yet, when the Jewish people were going through hard times following the destruction of the Second Temple, and there was fear that the details laws of the Torah would be forgotten, the rabbis decided to transmit these teachings down in writing.

Now, the Oral Torah is called in Hebrew Torah Sheh-be-al Peh. The last word PEH/Mouth is the Gematria of 85. Now, the MIDDLE number between 1 & 85 is 43! Indeed, the Gemara as the detailed explanation of the Mishnayot, was an added - as signified by the word GAM/Also=43 - piece of Torah that was written down to preserve the contents of the Torah for the future generations. On top of this, the Torah says very spefically "You shall SPEAK of THEM". Thus speaking using the mouth is associated with the word BAM referring to Torah, having a Gematria of 42, thus 42+43=85!

Speaking of the MIDDLE number, the Talmud (Berachot 58a) tells us that the word NETZACH, which means eternity or victory, in a certain verse, refers to Jerusalem. Now, of the seven Sefirot/Emanations corresponding to which we have seven weeks of counting the Omer - it is Netzach that is the MIDDLE Sefira. Now, the specific Sefira combination for the 43rd day of the Omer - Jerusalem Day - is Chesed She'bi'Malchut - Kindness in Kingship. Kindness & Kingship are at opposite ends of the Sefirot. Indeed, Hashem did a tremendous Chesed/Kindness in helping us regain the holiest area of the world, displaying Hashem's Kingship. "Hashem gave me ALSO this one" "Hashem ALSO heard my voice" the comments being made upon the births of Shimon & Dan respectively. Giving is the display of the following...

GEMILUT CHASADIM - Granting of Kindnesses, this phrase beginning with the letters Gimmel & Mem. Indeed, this phrase is the very Gematria of the word Torah (611), which we already showed has a connection with the number 43. We had mentioned in a previous post that while the Talmudic Sage Rava who lived to age 40 focused primarily on learning Torah, another Talmudic Sage Abaye who lived to age 60 also spent a considerable amount of time doing kindness. Thus, it was in the merit of this ADDED Mitzva that ADDED years to Abaye's life. (Both of these Sages were from a family that were cursed with dying young and only in the merit of these Mitzvot did they have a chance to live longer). Ultimately, we have to remember that while the greatest Mitzva is indeed learning and teaching Torah, one does not get the corresponding reward without following its Mitzvot, Hashem's commands of what he tells us to do in the Torah. Speaking of which, the Talmud in Tractate Sota tells us that the Torah begins with kindess - Hashem clothing Adam & Eve, and ends with kindness - Hashem burying Moses.
Indeed, it was Abraham, the ancestor of the Jewish people who spread the belief in one G-d in an idol worshipping universe, who brought people close to the teachings of the Torah through his act of Gemilut Chasadim - doing kindness especially through inviting people to his home for a steak lunch in the midst of the Hebron & Beer Sheba deserts. Thus, while teaching Torah to others in itself is in fact the ultimate giving of eternity to other people as its greatest Mitzva, there are times that this can only be accomplished through doing acts of kindness like providing free meals to accomplish this, not strictly as a Yeshiva just giving Torah lessons. Thus, we are using some physical such as food to bring Jews to come to observe Judaism who would not otherwise have done this by seeing an advertisement of a Torah class in the neighborhood synagogue. Speaking of food, there is a type of food that is especially related to Israel which is called...

MIGDANOT - Never heard of this word? Well, this is a word in Parshat Chayei Sara which means delicious fruits, and begins with Mem & Gimmel When Eliezer, Abraham's servant traveled to find a wife for Isaac and discovered Rebecca, he gave these fruits, which Rashi points out as a wording of dainties, were fruits from Israel, to her brother and mother. Now, the question could be asked "O.K. - these fruits were from another country? But what's the big deal of calling these fruits as special treats just because they were grown in Israel?" But that's it, these fruits are something physical coming from a holy environment, a display of Abraham's act of kindness of providing food in an act of spirituality, and no doubt was the cause of Isaac marrying Rebecca who epitomized the behavior of Gemilut Chasadim in her own way by providing water not only to Eliezer who asked for it, but on her own initiative - GAM LiGemalecha Esh'av - "ALSO for your camels will I draw water for". It's interesting to note that the Hebrew word for camels here is Gemalim, a connotation of Gemilut, also beginning with Gimmel and Mem.

MIGDAL EIDER - In the Midrash HaGadol, Jerusalem has 70 names. The 43rd name listed is Migdal Eider, beginning with the letters of Mem & Gimel adding up to 43! It's based on this verse "And you, Migdal Eider - Tower of the Flock - Ophel of the daughter of Zion, they will come back to you; and the original kingdom will arrive, the kingdom of the daughter of Jerusalem" (Micha 4:8)

MAGID - Literally means telling or teller, this is the name of the 5th of the 15 parts to the Passover Seder as laid out in the Haggadah, which is the basic requirement of the Mitzva to tell over or recount the story of the Exodus. In the midst of the text for Magid, we mention another list of 15 items, which are the various favors that Hashem did for us, beginning with the Exodus and culminating with the building of the Beit HaMikdash. In short, the beginning of our spiritual journey as a nation began with the Exodus leaving Egypt, and at least in a physical sense, ended when we finally able to come to the Temple in Jerusalem, the holiest place in the world, in sharp contrast to the 49 levels of impurity that the Jews were steeped in while in Egypt, and had we waited just a little longer, we would have already sunk into the 50th level of impurity which would have made it impossible for us to ever recover from our spiritual impurity, let alone be able to attend the Holy Temple where one is forbidden to be on its holy grounds if one had an impurity which at the very least required going to the Mikvah/ritularium before being permitted to enter the Temple environs.

In terms of Mishnayot...

MEGILLA - There are in fact five Megillot in the Bible, but when we talk about reading the Megilla without specifying the name of it, it refers to the Book of Esther that we read on Purim. Indeed, one of the 63 Tractates of the Mishnayot is called Megilla, also beginning with a Mem & Gimmel. Now, the Vilna Gaon says that it is Purim that corresponds to the Sefira of Netzach. As we mentioned earlier from the Talmud, the word Netzach as written in a particular verse refers to Jerusalem, thus highlightening the connection between Jerusalem & Purim. And as Tractate Megilla begins with "We read the Megilla on the 11th, 12th, 13th, 14th or 15th (of Adar)". The Megilla is read specifically on the 15th of Adar in Jerusalem having the status of a walled city as Shushan where the Jews were able to rest from fighting on the 15th of Adar. In any case, this holiday of Purim was an holiday ADDED on to the other holidays of the Torah as instituted by the Sages. Now, there are in fact two places where Jerusalem is mentioned in this tractate. The first is at the end of the first chapter where it outlines the halachic differences between the cities of Shilo -where the Tabernacle used to reside, and Jerusalem - where the Temple used to reside. The second mention of Jerusalem in the tractate is the last word of this tractate!

In the first volume of the Mishnayot called Zeraim/Seeds which mostly consists of tractates dealing with the laws of the land of Israel, there is one tractate called Challa - refering NOT to what we eat - today's delicious Challot that Jews immensely enjoy eating especially on Shabbat, but to what we DON'T eat - the portion extracted from dough that is prepared in making bread and was given to a Cohen in Temple times but is burnt today. The word Challa is the Gematria of 43! And guess what - this tractate mentions Jerusalem in its very last Mishna in a couple different scenarios, ending off with this word in this very last Mishna of the Tractate!

In Tractate Avot - Ethics of the Fathers that is learnt on Shabbat afternoons from after Passover until Shavuot or Rosh Hashana - Chapter Five from last Shabbat, the Shabbat before Jerusalem Day, and Chapter Six of this coming Shabbat immediately following Jerusalem Day, make mention of Jerusalem. In Chapter Five - it mentions 10 miracles that occured in the Temple. Among these, it mentions that no snake or scorpion ever injured a person in Jerusalem. The question can be asked is what does this have to do with the Temple, because this was something that was in all of the city of Jerusalem? It seems that it was in the merit of the Temple that was in Jerusalem that no one ever got injured from these creatures in all of the city even if not on the Temple grounds. (It also mentions that no one ever complained from a lack of room while staying as a guest at a home in Jerusalem, but while this is not talking about the Temple per se, but this refers specially to when all Jews came to the Temple three times a year when this could have been an issue but never was the case). In Chapter Six, Rabbi Shimon Ben Yehuda quotes Rabbi Shimon Ben Yochai of good qualities that are befitting the righteous and the world, and brings a few verses in support of this. One of these verses is "The moon will be humiliated and the sun will be shamed, for Hashem, Master of Legions, will have reigned in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, and there will be honor for His elders."

Now, getting back to the 669 mentions of Jerusalem in the Bible, the very first mention of this word is ironically in reference to an evil person who was the king of Jerusalem at the time that Joshua led the Jewish people to Israel (Joshua 10:1), and started war with the Jews in an attempt to prevent them from conquering Jerusalem. While it would be some 400 years before King David would call this city the capitol of the country, and it was almost another 50 years before the Temple would be in operation, it was a key city that Joshua came to conquer from the start. Then, in the verse of the very last mention of Jerusalem in the Bible (II Chronicles 36:23-last verse in the Bible), Koresh the king of Persia gives permission to the Jews to return to Israel "Hashem has commanded me to build Him a Temple in Jerusalem, which is in Judah". Thus, in a very similar vein, we see here the attribute of Chesed She'Bi'Malchut - "Kindness in Kingship" - a kindness being performed by a king in a similar fashion to Hashem as King of the world, doing a kindness for us in reclaiming the holiest part of Jerusalem of the Temple grounds.

Making a connection between concepts we had mentioned earlier, in the beginning of the Book of Judges, the tribe of Judah asks the tribe of Shimon who had portion of land among's Judah's land, to help him fight the nations living in the land, upon which they joined forces. The combined Gematria of the names Shimon (466) & Judah (30) is the same as that of the word Malchut (496), Kingship. Speaking of the Book of Judges, which is the SEVENTH book of the Bible, we have another SEVEN to talk about...


THE SEVENTH & LAST DAY OF THE WEEK

Being that the seven weeks of the Sefira correspond to the seven days of the week, there is a deep connection between the two concepts of time here. This is perhaps most demonstrated by our prayers. You see, the blessing of Hashkiveinu that we recite following the evening recital of the Shma, ends off in one way during the week. However, on Shabbat night (as well as Yom Tov night), it ends off in a very different wording - Ufros Aleinu Sukkat...Hapores Sukkat Shalom...V'Al Yerushalayim. "Spread upon us the protective covering...The One who spreads the protective covering of peace...and on Jerusalem". (Note that Jerusalem is the last word of this blessing) Now mind you, there is NOT ONE word about Shabbat. So, while are we changing the ending part of this blessing just because it is Shabbat?

In fact, Jerusalem has everything to do with Shabbat. As the Sefirot weeks correspond to the days of the week, it thus follows that the last week of the Sefira which begins with the 43rd day of the Omer corresponds to Shabbat. Thus, the 43rd day of the Omer which is Yom Yerushalayim corresponds to the beginning of Shabbat when we recite this prayer ending off with the word Jerusalem, the only time of the week when we say this! I should note that I saw in a Breslov publication, that in the beginning verse of Psalm 92 that the Levites sang as the Song of the Day/Shir Shel Yom for Shabbat in the Temple Mizmor Shir LeYom HaShabbat "A Psalm, a song for the Shabbat Day", the middle two words Shir LeYom "Song for the Day" has the SAME letters as Yerushalayim! (This includes a second Yud though it is written this way only five of the 669 times that Jerusalem is mentioned in the Bible) This is the sole mention of Shir LeYom in the entire Bible!

(There are unfortunately "religious" sects among Jews today who ban going to the Western Wall claiming that the victory happened through the "irreligious" Zionists, claiming to be the work of Satan. After 42 years of access to the Western Wall, there have been literally THOUSANDS of Jews who have come closer to Judaism because of this victory, nothing short of Hashem's miraculous intervention of not only regaining land we had no access to for 19 years, as well as other parts of Israel which were newly reconquered, but we Jews were literally saved from a quick annihilation of the kind that Haman planned on doing which resulted in the end in the holiday of Purim. It should be noted that it is specially at the BEGINNING of Shabbat - corresponding to the 43rd day of the Omer - that Jews visiting the Western Wall who are not yet observant of Judaism are invited for a Shabbat meal - the beginning of their spiritual journey that leads them to becoming fully observant Jews!).

Remember when we mentioned that the Jews' very first stop from Egypt was a city called Sukkot? No coincidence. The holiday of Sukkot represents Hashem protecting us in the desert with the Clouds of Glory surrounding us from all sides of dangerous nature. This represents the concept of Chesed She'Bi'Chesed - Kindness within Kindness - Hashem doing kindness for us within the kindness of Hashem taking us out of Egypt, and is the first Sefira combination of the 49 days of the Omer that we count starting from the day after the Exodus from Egypt. Thus, we used the word Sukkat - the very same letters (Samech, Kaf, Sav/Tav) used for the name of the first arrival city of the Jews on their way to the 43rd place - Israel, of which Jerusalem eventually became the capital - in the blessing of Hashkiveinu that ends off with the word Jerusalem.

Now, in terms of the last week of the Sefira having a connection with the last day of the week - Shabbat, the Sefer Yetzira, a kabbalistic book describing how Hashem created the world using the letters of the Alef Beit, notes that there are seven letters - Beit, Gimmel, Dalet, Kaf, Pei, Reish & Tav that correspond to the seven days of the week. Thus, the letter Tav, also the last letter of the Alef Beit, corresponds to Shabbat. Now, if you recall in a previous blog where I wrote about the BIG letter Tav in the word VaTichtov - "Esther wrote" referring to the Megilla that Esther wrote to be read on Purim, you will see an intrinsic connection here of the letter Tav as it relates to both Purim, the holiday corresponding to the Sefira of Netzach according to the Vilna Gaon & Yom Yerushalayim which is Netzach according to the Talmud (In the Kedusha prayer for Shabbat morning, we ask Hashem when He will be "King in Zion...within Jerusalem Your city and for all eternity" - U'leNeitzach Netzachim). Thus, Tav is intrinsically related to the last week of the Sefira (Also, there are 49 letters in a verse in Psalms 67:5) that correspond to the 49 days of the Sefira. The 43rd letter of this verse is a Tav - corresponding to this 43rd day of the Sefira - Jerusalem Day!)


"JERUSALEM DAY"

Technically, this phrase is mentioned not once, but twice in the Bible.

Samuel II 24:8 - Following a census that King David ordered his main general Joab to perform which resulted in a plague among the Jewish people since it is forbidden to count them directly, it says "they (Joab and his entourage) came to Jerusalem at the end of nine months and twenty days". In Hebrew, it's worded as Tisha Chadashim V'Esrim YOM YERUSHALYIM. Question: Why wasn't it worded as such that it should read "They traveled throughout the land for nine months and twenty days and then they returned home to Jerusalem"? In another words, why focus the period of time as when they returned rather than the amount of time they spent on the road, the usual way of wording the time on a trip?

Pertaining to a regular Jewish year without an extra Adar added making it a leap year - let's count 9 months & 20 days starting with Tisha B'Av, the sadest date in Jewish history marking numerous tragedies, most sadly the destruction of both Temples, and the murder of many Jews, indeed a most sad day for Jerusalem. The date is 9 Av. Count nine months from this until 9 Iyar. Now count 20 days from 9 Iyar, and the last of the 20 days is...28 Iyar - Jerusalem Day! Joab and crew returned home "at the end" of 9 months and 20 days. Mind you, there is one more word that begins with Gimel (3) & Mem (40) - GEMAR - conclusion. Indeed the concluding day of this period falls out on the 43rd day of the Omer.

While the Bible does not specify what time of year the census actually occured, no doubt that this hints to this happy day. You see, while most of the destruction of the Temple took place on 10 Av; since it began on 9 Av, this was the date chosen by the Sages to be the fast of Tisha B'Av. Thus, while we have a sad beginning here, it started to become a very happy time for Jerusalem -though the Temple has yet to be rebuilt- at the END time of our exile starting on 28 Iyar! And as we see that during the plague that claimed the lives of many Jews following the census, King David follows the prophet Gad's orders to build an altar on the future Temple grounds and he brought sacrifices on it following which the plague stopped, the concluding verse of the Book of Samuel.

It should be noted that while Samuel the prophet passed away as recorded in the middle of the Book of Samuel, in contrast to Joshua whose passing is mentioned in the end of the Book of Joshua, the following explains why the history of King David's kingship is recorded in the Book of Samuel following Samuel's passing instead of being included in the book of Kings which basically begins with his son King Solomon's kingship even though King David was the ancestor of the Davidic dynasty. It was the prophet Samuel & King David according to the Talmud who together mapped out exactly where the Temple would be built. And indeed, Samuel's Yahrzeit is on...28 Iyar - Jerusalem Day! Speaking on this note, King David passed away on the holiday of Shavuot, the culmination of the Sefira period, which is exactly one week later than Jerusalem Day. Additionally, it was the prophet Samuel who wrote the Book of Ruth that is read on Shavuot, ending off with the last word David, mentioning his lineage, and he also was the one who anointed David to be king, the ancestor of the Davidic dynasty and the future Messiah! (It's interesting to note in relationship to the word Peh as we mentioned before having a Gematria of 85, there are exactly 85 verses in the Book of Ruth, the shortest of the 24 books of the Bible! And the Zohar equates Peh/the mouth, the part of the body that corresponds to Malchut - kingship, the Sefirah corresponding to Shabbat and the last week of the Sefira count beginning with the date of Yom Yerushalayim!)

Psalms 137:7 - "O Hashem, remember about the Edomites - THE DAY OF JERUSALEM - who said "Raze it, raze it, to its very foundation". Ironically, in this verse, the "Day of Jerusalem" refers none other than to the day of the destruction of the Temple when the Edomites/Romans of the Second Temple, as prophesized by the author of the Psalm, would destroy the Temple. Indeed, as we mentioned Jerusalem Day in refering to a period of time that begins from Tisha B'Av and ends with Yom Yerushalayim, this makes perfect sense!

Speaking of Edom, the Edom - the world empire of today - is the United States. It consists of its 50 states and Washington D.C., making it a total of in fact 51 states, corresponding to the name Edom which is the Gematria of 51. Mind you, Alaska & Hawaii became the final states of the United States in 1958 less than 10 years before the Jerusalem Day victory in 1967! At one point since, beginning with peanut farmer, failure United States President Jimmy Carter who shows his ugly Anti-Semitism to this day, who pushed for the Camp David Accords to give away the Sinai part of Israel to the blood thirsty Arabs. Now, Binyamin Netanyahu who really isn't supposed to be Prime Minister of Israel since it was the opposing Kadima party that actually won the Israeli elections by a majority vote, is continuing his agenda of giving away parts of Israel which started with giving the Arabs control of Hebron and voting to give away Gush Katif, made a special trip to the United States to speak to Muslim Arab Obama, illegal president of the United States who was not born in the U.S., to talk about giving away more land in a creation of a "Palestinian State", thus continuously caving into world pressure which is nothing new about Netanyahu, instead of following his own name of BINYAMIN - Ben Yamin "Son of Eretz Yisrael" (according to Rashi's explanation of Binyaimin's name, the only one of the tribes who was born in Israel) NETANYAHU - Hashem has given it - Israel - to the Jewish people. Very unfortunately, many Jews - including Shomer Shabbat Jews - voted for him this time instead of the real "Ben Yamin Netanyahu" party of Ichud Leumi - forgetting about his bad track record of giving Holy Land away to the blood thirsty Muslim Arabs - and only remembering his "bold" statements about the dangers of Iran developing nuclear weapons to attack Israel, G-d forbid, and now he is not even standing good by this, afraid to attack Iran because of what the United States and the rest of the world "might" say and do as a result, instead of practicing our own MIGHT fighting for our Holy Land displaying Hashem's MIGHT of His kindness displaying his Kingship, which He performed through thousands of Israeli soldiers who put their lives on the line winning the battle against 31 million Arabs from countries surrounding Israel.

In terms of Obama himself, I had mentioned in the past that Obama was politically born on Tisha B'Av of 2004 when he gave a speech of endorsing then Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry. While Obama himself may have not thought of becoming president of this country at that time, this public political speech of his opened the door to where he is at today - like it or not, legally or not. And it has been pointed out before that the middle letters of Jerusalem are USA as in JerUSAlem. Apparently, there are unfortunately many Jews who think of the United States as their Jerusalem. Well, my message is - either it is the United States or Jerusalem/Israel. Period! Yahudut/Yiddishkeit/Judaism only has true meaning in our Holy Land - NOT in Boro Park, Flatbush, Crown Heights or Williamsburg.

We are at the end of our journey - as symbolized by the 42 stops that the Jews made from Egypt on their to Israel - and after 42 years since the liberation of the holiest area in the world and what is going on in the United States which is already starting to sink financially with Obama's vein attempt to keep that country above water, it is about time that Jews in the United States realize that the comforts of exile are over, and is gradually turning to discomfort, so it is about time to leave for the PROMISED land by Hashem while it is still possible to leave the United States BEFORE marshal law sets in; and its citizens, especially Jews, won't be allowed to escape that country, G-d forbid.


ON A PERSONAL NOTE

Very fortunately, the verse I recite at the end of the Shemoneh Esrai prayer that begins with a Shin and ends with a Nun Sofit like my name Shimon, is the verse of Shabechi Yerushalayim Et Hashem "O residents of Jerusalem, praise Hashem..." This mention of Jerusalem is the 401st such mention in the Bible. The 401st section of the 669 sections of the Torah as can be seen in the Sefer Torah is the section of the sacrifices that the leader of the tribe of Shimon brought on behalf of his tribe. The Midrash Rabba tells us that the leader of this tribe had in mind that the sacrifices that he brought corresponded to different aspects of the Tabernacle, the forerunner of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. May we merit to shortly regain PERMANENT access and control of the Temple Mount which was the initial announcement of Jerusalem Day "The Temple Mount is in our hands" and have the Temple rebuilt and bring sacrifices once more. And in conclusion of my 29th blog, I want to bring here the conclusion of the 29th Psalm in honor of Jerusalem - among its meanings "The City of Peace" - "Hashem will give might to His nation, Hashem will bless His nation with PEACE." Yes, the real peace - which can only be guaranteed NOT by nations who only want our demise and ALL our Holy Land - but guaranteed ONLY by Hashem, King of the world. And indeed, the letters Mem & Gimmel begin two related words - Mashiach & Geula/redemption, which will lead to the REAL New World Order.

NOTE: Check out the beautiful life of Jerusalem at http://www.jerusalicious.blogspot.com/.
And speaking of beautiful Jerusalem, I would like to relate here a short story from the Aish HaTorah website http://www.aish.com/ as posted on http://rabbipauli.blogspot.com/.

The story is told of the great sage of Jerusalem, Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Auerbach. One evening he asked his congregation to wait to begin prayers until the street sweeper had arrived. Rabbi Auerbach explained: "This man is totally devoted to beautifying the streets of Jerusalem. I only wish that my own work would be performed with such pure intentions!" So before we look down on another person, let's remember that every human being has an important contribution to make. And in life, the only thing we truly earn is our own good name.

28 Iyar 5769, 43rd day of the Omer - beginning of the 43rd year from the victory of Yom Yerushalyim

P.S. Will post, G-d willing, about Shavuot before Shavuot. Stay tuned.

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