Thursday, October 1, 2009

#46 - BLESSING of the Tribe of LEVI

It is no coincidence that the last Parsha of the Chumash should have the connotation of goodness. It is called V'Zot HaBeracha - "This is the blessing", and also that we read this on the final day of Yom Tov - Shemini Atzeret/Simchat Torah - before returning to our normal daily schedules with regular six day weeks accompanied by Shabbat. In fact, it is only in Eretz Yisrael, and particularly this year, that this final Parsha of the Torah is read on Shabbat being that only one day of Yom Tov is celebrated here; otherwise, this is the only Parsha that is not read on Shabbat.

On a personal note, I have a little mixed feelings about this Parsha. On one hand, the Tribe of Shimon, bearing my name, is the only tribe to whom Moses did not give a particular blessing, and only hinted to Shimon in someone else's blessing, but I won't get into the reason for this at this time. However, Moses did give a long blessing to the Tribe of Levi, and being that I am a Levite, meaning that on my parental side from son to father and so on, my great, great ancestor is Levi, the son of Jacob.

It is true that Moses was a Levite himself, being a great grandson of Levi (and on his mother's side, his mother was the daughter of Levi); but the reason for the relatively longer blessing for Levi than for the other tribes except for Joseph was because of this Tribe's great righteousness and faith in Hashem that they displayed in Hashem. The Levites never fell for Pharaoh's booby
trap of slavery of the Jews so they remained free being able to learn Torah all day. They were the only tribe not to have worshipped the Golden Calf. And they were also the tribe that circumcised their children in the stormy windry desert that was a supposed threat to circumcised children; but unlike all the other Tribes, these Levites had full faith in Hashem and fulfilled this great Mitzva on the eighth day of their male children. Furthermore, unlike all the other tribes, the Levites were not cry babies when the Spies came back from Israel with their evil report, and so they all lived - at least the ones who were under age 60 at the time of that incident - for nearly 40 more years to enter the Promised Land.

And so, as this is my 46th post, the Gematria of Levi is 46. And in this Parsha, the section about the blessing of the Levites takes up most of the 2nd Aliyah of the Parsha, which is reserved for Levi'im/Levites - who are not Cohanim. (The last verse of this Aliyah is the blessing for the Tribe of Benjamin.)

Before continuing, I think it's a good idea to post here the blessing of Levi as translated by Artscroll (Deutronomy 33:8-11):

Of Levi, he (Moses) said: Your Tumim and Your Urim befit Your devout one, whom You tested in Massah, and whom You challenged at the waters of Meribah. The one who said of his father and mother, "I have not favored him"; his brothers he did not give recognition and his children he did not know; for they (the Levites) have observed Your word and Your covenant they preserved. They shall tach Your ordinances to Jacob and Your Torah to Israel; they shall place incense before Your presence, and burnt offerings on Your Altar. Bless, O Hashem, his resources, and favor the work of his hands; smash the loins of his foes and his enemies, that they may not rise.

While I am not here to explain the whole passage here, about which I wrote in an earlier paragraph about the various uniquenesses of the Levites, there is one part here where I want to get into a little more detail. This is where the Levites seem to have no mercy or pity on their family. For one thing, they would never make good politicians, at least in today's world. There are in fact a couple of interpretations on this point about the Levites. One is that they were devoted to serving in the Temple, and thus weren't always around with their wives and children. The other interpretation is that this is refering to the incident of the Golden Calf.

You see, when Moses made the call "Whoever is for Hashem, come to me!", following the big sin, it was his own tribe the Levites that heeded the call to kill the sinners by the sword. After all, they were the only tribe with no part in this sin. But what was remarkable is that they had no hesitation killing their own relatives (who were not Levites) if need be. All they knew is that Moses and Hashem wanted them killed, period! No questions asked! And after killing around 3,000 idol worshippers, what did Moses say to the Levites: "Dedicate yourselves this day to Hashem - for each has opposed his son and his brother - that He may bestow upon you a blessing - this day" (Exodus 32:29). Noting the fact that in the Hebrew, the last word of this verse is Beracha/blessing, which is the name of the last Parsha of the Torah. There are 57 letters in this verse, and of the 63 tractates of the Mishnayot - the laws forming the foundation of the Talmud, the first tractate called Berachot/Blessings, has exactly 57 Mishnayot, ending off interpreting a verse (Psalms 119:126): "It it a time to act for Hashem; they have voided Your Torah", describing the very situation that happened here with the Levites killing the idol worshippers! In any case, it was at this point that the Levites were appointed of being the ones to serve Hashem in the Tabernacle/Temple, which was something that the firstborn males were originally assigned to, but they lost this right with the sin of the Golden Calf.

There have been other examples in Jewish history of righteous people killing another Jew for doing a sin - and were also from the tribe of Levi being Cohanim, and I am not referring to the Beit Din/Jewish Court who had the legal power to do so. People today would call this "taking matters in their own hands" and "two wrongs don't make it right", but the Torah has a little different view or take on this.

Pinchas, grandson of Aharon & grand nephew of Moses, killed Zimri the leader of the tribe of Shimon for his brazen act of doing the wild thing with a Midianite princess; in return, he was rewarded with being appointed of being a Cohen, something that he was not privileged at the time that his father Elazar & grandfather Aharon were appointed as Cohanim until nearly 40 years later. He also has a big Parsha named after him, the latter half of this Parsha dealing with the animal sacrifices being brought daily, on Shabbat, Rosh Chodesh and the holidays, from which we read from at least once a month from this part.

Matisyahu, the patriarch of the Hasmoneans or Maccabbees, upon witnessing a Helenistic Jew who dared to offer up a pig on an altar, had no hesitation killing this evil idol worshipper, despite the possibility of being killed by the ruling Syrian-Greek government. Following this, he had his sons fight the enemy to take back the Jewish nation's religious rights and freedom, and take back the defiled Temple. While Matisyahu as an old man did not live to see the light of day, he was responsible for a new holiday - Chanuka, the holiday of lights - to come on the scene of Jewish festivities, to be celebrated for eight days each year. To be exact, this time period makes up over 2% of our lives, and comes out to at least 1&1/2 years of an average lifespan of 70 years. In any case, Rashi refers to the Hasmonean war in interpreting the blessing of the Levites, as the Hasmoneans were Cohanim, the elite of the Levite Tribe.

Now getting back to the Levites, we see something a little ironic here. We had mentioned earlier here how the Levites were busy studying Torah in Egypt while the rest of their brethren were enslaved for some 116 years. However, Moses himself as raised in the Egyptian palace decorated with idols and lewdness, though he had his Jewish family visit him on a regular basis, did not have the same Torah environment as his fellow Levite tribe had. And on top of this, he spent the midst of his life in Midian which was hardly a better influence than Egypt, and it was only near the age of 80 when he was first approached by Hashem. Finally, his own two sons neither qualified as the next leader of the Jewish people, and he even had a grandson who worshipped idols, while he himself exhorted the Jews countless of times not to fall into the trap of this sin. How come did Moses wind up being the leader of the Jews of his own generation, and for all generations to come for that matter?

It is true that the very reason that Moses wound up in the Egyptian palace is because of what the astrologers foresaw that there would be a redeemer to take the Jews out of Egypt, and indeed they saw that part correctly as it was referring to Moses, and so was thrown in the Nile River to escape the Egyptians outright drowning him to prevent him from being the redeemer. But what was so special about Moses was particularly the fact that despite his evil surroundings, not only did he remain steadfast to his Jewishness as Joseph did as a slave, jail bird, and then viceroy of Egypt not being tempted by women even though he was not in the holy environment with his father Jacob in Israel nearly as many years as his older brothers; but that he showed self-sacrifice for his love of his people that he barely knew as he grew up in the fancy shmancy palace. He nearly lost his life following killing an Egyptian taskmaster who was beating up a Jew, upon which Moses fled to Midian. Also, he was unique in his trait of humility. These were the type of qualities that Hashem was looking for in terms of being the leader of the Jewish people.

To make up for lost time, while Moses may have not been versed in the Torah nearly as much as his fellow Levites, Hashem taught him the whole Torah in 40 days, and even our Rabbis tell us that Moses in fact was not capable of comprehending what Hashem taught him, so Hashem gave the Torah to him as a gift, upon which he then understood everything, and had the merit to be the one to teach the Torah to the entire nation, and is in effect to all future generations, and is in fact called Torat Moshe which denotes this point. While his fellow Levites no doubt had very special people in its midst, Moses went way beyond what virtually everyone else would do in his level of self sacrifice, even as following the incident of the Golden Calf and the Levites killing the sinners, offered to have his name and merit erased from the entire Torah if Hashem would not spare the Jewish people. (Check out my post #20 about this last point pertaining to Moshe's self-sacrifice). So it makes sense that in his blessing of the Levites, he would point to the Levites' self-sacrifice as one of their good qualities.

One more thing that I want to point out here is that while the Levite Tribe consisted of mostly Torah scholars, someone who has read my past blogs may have a question, in terms of another tribe, Yissaschar whom I called the scholar par excellence, who was supported by his brother/tribe Zevulun. So, is there any difference here in their level of Torah learning?

As to who may be the greater one in actual Torah scholarship, both the Tribes of Levi & Yissaschar could have been equal; and in some ways, it could be that Yissaschar possessed greater scholarship skills as there were 200 heads of the Sanhedrin - the Supreme Jewish Court - that were from Yissaschar. However, in terms of how they reached their level of scholarship, it is the Tribe of Levi who are the greater heroes. True, Yissaschar was able to devote their full concentration to Torah study as Zevulun took care of Yissaschar's financial life. And indeed, this is what Yissaschar's name literally means - there is hire/payment/reward; that is, this tribe was paid to learn. However, the Levites did it all on their own, regardless of their financial situation. Maimonides compares one who devotes all of his time to the Torah and spiritual pursuits to the Levites, as "this one is sanctified in the Holy of Holies". Thus, they did not have to share half of their spiritual reward of Torah learning with someone else as Yissaschar did with his brother Zevulun.

Ultimately, it is the ones with the self-sacrifice for Torah, who don't take it for granted, and will do what it takes to reach to the top, with or without a full homemade meal, that are worthy of the greatest reward, and hence are most fit to be the leading examples of Avodat Hashem, as exemplified by their service in the Temple. And most of all, it was Moses from the Tribe of Levi who was chosen to be the first Torah teacher of the Jewish people to be called Moshe Rabbeinu, Moses OUR teacher, in each and every generation, the eternal reward for the Levites who were truly the most devoted ones to Torah learning. And indeed, the phrase Moshe Rabbeinu is the Gematria of 613, alluding to the 613 Mitzvot/Commandments of the Torah that he taught us.

To illustrate the contrast between the Tribes of Levi & Yissaschar, there is a story about Rabbi Yitzchak Elchanan Spector of the 1800s who in his younger years was approached by a wealthy guy who wanted the young Rabbi to contribute a share in his growing business venture. The Rabbi, who did not have a whole lot of spare cash to say the least, presented a counter offer to the wealthy man to support him in his rabbinical career, and thereby have an equal share in the heavenly reward of the rabbi's Torah study. The wealthy guy scoffed this idea as an empty business deal, and left.

Twenty five years later, the rabbi was finally able to complete writing his first Sefer/holy book, and was looking for a sponsor for the printing costs. Lo and behold, it was this same wealthy man who approached the rabbi once more. He offered to completely pay for the printing cost, but on one condition. He wanted half of the rabbi's reward of Torah study.

At this point, the rabbi recalled who this guy was and said, "Listen, my friend. Twenty five years ago, I offered this very deal to you. At the time, I had a growing family, and things were kind of tight. When you approached me, I thought that you were sent by Heaven to help me acheive success in my Torah learning and rabbinical career, so then I could devote my full energies and time to these matters. However, you didn't want to grant me your financial assistance. Well, I managed somehow over the years, and Baruch Hashem, the children are now all grown up, and I no longer have the need to support my children, and I am doing pretty much alright these days. So now, granting you half of the reward for my Torah learning is not a deal for me, because I managed without your financial assistance for all these years, and all the money you have to offer me now won't really help me significantly enough to help me better achieve my Torah learning and spiritual goals."


Now, bearing in mind that Moses was blessing his own tribe, and they had certain qualities in common, it makes sense that in Hebrew numerology - Gematria, there would be a connection here. Indeed, this blessing of the Levites - the full four verses - have a total of 54 words. And as we know, this final Parshat Beracha is the 54th Parsha. And as mentioned earlier, the very term that Moses used describing the grant that the Levites received upon their full dedication of obeying Moses' word of killing the sinners is the word Beracha/blessing.

With this being said, there is another fascinating Gematria here that has to do with a point in Jewish Law pertaining to blessings. You see, you add the Gematria of Levi, which is 46 and the number 54 being the number of words in Moses' blessing of Levi, and the total is 100. And indeed, the Hebrew word for 100 is Meah - Mem, Alef, Hei - which has the same Gematria as the word Levi! As the Talmud in Tractate Menachot (43b) notes, a person is obligated to recite 100 Berachot/blessings every day. Where do we see this? The Talmud points out to the verse (Deutronomy 10:12): "Now, O Israel, what does Hashem, your G-d, ask of you? Only to fear Hashem, your G-d, to go in all His ways and to love him, and to serve Hashem, your G-d, with all your heart and with all your soul." "Do not read the word as Mah/ "WHAT does Hashem...", but as Meah/HUNDRED". Of course the Talmud is not suggesting to actually read the word in the Torah differently, though we have cases like this, as I will point at near the end of this post. But we do learn out from here the concept of 100 daily blessings. Also, there are 99 letters in this verse; but homiletically read as 100 letters with the interpretation of the word Mah as Meah adding an Alef, it comes out to exactly 100 letters! (Interestingly, sources say that there are 100 letters in this verse, but the question is if they thought it was counted as such or they were referring to what I just wrote here)

By the way, this verse is located in Parshat Eikev, the 46th of the 54 Parshiyot of the Torah. Only a few verses earlier, there are two verses describing this Tribe of Levi, whose name has the Gematria of 46. "At that time, Hashem set apart the tribe of Levi to carry the Ark of the covenant of Hashem, to stand before Hashem to minister to Him and to bless in His Name until this day. Therefore, Levi did not have a share and a heritage with his brethren; Hashem is his heritage, as Hashem, your G-d, had spoken of him" (Deutronomy 10:8-9).

But this would not be complete without mentioning how this 100 daily blessings thing actually started. You see, in King David's time, there was a plague that killed a 100 people daily. To stop this from happening, King David instituted that 100 blessings were to be recited daily. The Shulchan Aruch/Code of Jewish Law points this out as hinted in a verse amidst King David's last words of Ruach HaKodesh/Divine Inspiration: Neum HaGever Hukam Ohl - "The words of the man who was established on high". While the regular meaning of this is referring to his rise to power from being a mere shepherd; the word Ohl/on high as demonstrated as the Gematria of 100, hints to his spiritual accomplishment of the 100 blessings-a-day that he instituted. Is there some kind of connection between the two interpretations here?

Typically, the blessings that typically begin or end as Baruch, are translated in most places as blessed, as if to say that Hashem is blessed. While this may be true in one sense, the real meaning of this word is that Hashem is the SOURCE OF BLESSINGS. Of course Hashem is everything good, but in terms of our relationship to Him, He is the One to turn to for blessings. He really doesn't need our blessings to achieve success or leadership in anything, but we are the ones who have to establish a connection to Him, and realize that anything and everything good that we have is in fact from Hashem, and not simply because we "made it in life", but to rather recognize the good that Hashem has given us, is presently giving us, and will continue to do so pending our actions. And so if we are promoted to a level of leadership, it isn't necessarily because we are so great that we got the position we strived for. Hashem put us in that position specifically for the very reason that we can accomplish more things spiritually being that we have power - not to lord over others, but to use influence to help others serve Hashem better, and hence we will have more eternal merit being in that position.

This is what King David had to be referring to. He wasn't happy to be king because now everything would be honky dory. In fact, throughout his life, King David was beset with troubles, and without knowing that he was a king, many would think that he was simply a broken man who never had a happy day in his life. In fact, it was his spiritual achievements that he was all excited about; and again, not that he was haughty about it, but he realized that whatever good he had - spiritually or physically - came ONLY from Hashem, the SOURCE OF BLESSINGS. Hence, it was most fitting that King David was the author and compiler of the Book of Psalms, which also included Psalms from other people, including Moses (Psalms 90-100, each of which was composed corresponding to another tribe, except for the Tribe of Shimon, just as his final blessings). In his position as a shepherd despised by his own family, thought to be a Mamzer (about which I will not go into detail at this time), and hence was not married until almost 30 years old, he would never have dreamed that he of all people, would be "taken from the sheepfold, from following the flocks, to become ruler over G-d's people, over Israel (Psalms 78:71). In retrospect, so was Moses a shepherd following his stint of being king of Midian for a while. But as the humble Moses, he too did not feel himself any more worthy of being the leader of the Jewish people; and that if he were to be as such, it is only because this is what Hashem wanted in order to accomplish spiritual things.

In another string of Gematriot, King David's Book of Psalms consists of 150 Chapters. The section of the Torah that is recited every morning (Numbers 6:22-27) as the very first words of Torah following the Berachot/BLESSINGS recited over Torah learning (except for Nusach Ashkenaz that includes a shorter version of this) is the section of Bircat Cohanim, the section about the BLESSINGS that the Cohanim give to Jews during the prayer services. These verses consist of exactly 150 letters & 41 words, the concluding word being Avaracheim "I will BLESS them". And as we know, the last Parsha of the Torah called with the word Beracha/BLESSING, consists of 41 verses. And what is the final verse of Psalms 41? Baruch Hashem... "BLESSED is Hashem, the G-d of Israel, from all times past to all times to come, Amen and Amen."

As a Torah observant Jew should know, the ultimate blessing is the blessing of Torah. And with this thought, I present to you...


Now, for my final thoughts here before my one year anniversary of which I began hours after the conclusion of Simchat Torah marking the conclusion & beginning of the Torah, I want to point out to another interesting find here on this last Parsha of the Torah.

Yes, counting words starting from the beginning of this Parsha, which will be read a number of times on Simchat Torah to make sure that every Jewish male above the age of Bar Mitzva (and on Simchat Torah, all the children come together to the Torah for an Aliyah) gets an Aliyah, we find something quite fascinating about the word Torah, for after all, the Torah is our spiritual and eternal lifeline. Just start counting each word, and the 40th word is presto - Torah. Before I mentioned the connection of 40 to the Torah, about which I actually wrote about several months ago; some of you, depending on what Chumash you are looking at, will tell me that the word Torah is actually the 41st word. And both of these are in fact correct. This is very similar to what I wrote in my first two posts about the word Gematriot being spelled two different ways, coming out to two different Gematriot about this very word. And yet, there is a subtle difference between these two situations here.

You see, in starting to count the words in this Parsha, it is not a matter of having one letter more or less, but rather having one WORD more or less. The word I am referring to is EishDat, which means "fiery Torah" (as translated by Artscroll, though Dat is typically translated as religion). In the Sefer Torah, this is written as one word; but when actually read, we read it as two words. (NOTE: It seems that this is where the name of the Yeshiva & organization Aish HaTorah got its name from, founded by Rabbi Noah Weinberg ZT"L who passed away several months ago. I had mentioned this website in reference to its Discovery programs that relate to Gematriot & the Hidden Codes of the Torah in my very first post). In any case, this word or these words, as mentioned by Rashi, describe how the Torah was written as presented to the Jewish people, using fire.

With this being said, both the numbers 40 & 41 are very significant in relationship to the Torah. As I had mentioned in the past about the number 40, Moshe - his letter beginning with the letter Mem which equals 40 - taught the Torah for 40 years to the Jewish people, the Mishnayot begins and ends with the letter Mem which equals 40, and Rav Ashi, the 40th generation from Moses to be teaching Torah as the leader of the Jewish people, wrote down the Talmud/Gemara. And for the number 41, this is the number of verses of the last Parsha of the Torah.

Also to note, the last segment of Moshe's life was his discourse to the Jewish people during the last 36 days of his life, as hinted as the Gematria of the first word of Sefer Devarim/Deutronomy which is Eileh/These (are the words that Moshe spoke). Another name for this 5th & final book of the Five Books of Moses is called Mishna Torah (also the name that Rabbi Moses Maimonides gave his magnum opus consisting of the details laws of the 613 Mitzvot/Commandments in the same format as the Mishna or Mishnayot) which means repetition of the Torah as it includes review of some of the Mitzvot and history mentioned in other books of the Chumash (the first part of the word Deutronomy which is Deu means double).
Dissecting the word Mishna, it can be read as Mem (the letter)=40 Shana/Year(s) hinting to the fact that Moshe spoke the contents of this final book of the Chumash in the 40th year of Matan Torah - giving of the Torah - to the Jewish people. (By the way, I am presently in my 40th year of life). As related to Sukkot, it is customary among some Jews to read Sefer Devarim on the night of Hoshana Raba, the 7th & last night of Sukkot.

We see here a very significant thing here - the intertwining of the Written Torah & the Oral Torah. You see, we said that there is a word in the midst of these verses that is WRITTEN as one word, making the word Torah as the 40th word of the Parsha, and as mentioned in the past, the number 40 relates very much to the ORAL Torah, the founding makeup of it being the Mishnayot & Talmud. And, when we actually READ the word in questions as two words, which implies that the reason we are reading it differently than it is written is because we have a tradition, which is the ORAL tradition as handed from Moses who taught us to read it as two words, and is in fact the very LAST such instance that we have of the many instances of how a word is written versus how it is read in the Torah, the Five Books of Moses. Hence, we READ the word Torah as the 41st word of the Parsha; and in fact, we refer to the reading of the Sefer Torah as Kriat HaTorah/READING of the Torah (on a personal note, this phrase is the Gematria of my present full Hebrew name Shimon Matisyahu, which equals 1327, and I used to be a Torah reader!), which is the mainstay of the WRITTEN Torah (in exclusion of the rest of the T'nach/Bible making up the other 75% of it) and this Parsha consists of exactly 41 verses! And the word Mikra, which is based on the Hebrew word for reading, which refers to the Chumash or the entire T'nach, begins with a Mem & ends with an Alef, adding up to the number 41.


Perhaps we can learn from this intertwining of the Written & Oral Torah - a unique lesson in Achdut/unity of Jews. Whether it is the seasoned Talmudic scholar who knows how to answer every single question in Jewish Law that is brought to him or the simple Jew who doesn't know much more than the weekly Parsha of the Torah that at best he reads the English translation of it that he glances at on Shabbat morning when the Parsha is read - BOTH of them have a portion in the Torah. In terms of judging Jews by their level of Torah learning, that should be left exclusively up to Hashem. However, when we face one another, ALL of us Jews - regardless of level of scholarship, receive an Aliyah on Simchat Torah; and typically, the rabbi of the synagogue is chosen as the one who is called up as the Chatan Torah, concluding the Sefer Torah, and a layman who is chosen to be the Chatan Bereishit, beginning the Torah. In fact, as I mentioned in my first post, Rabbi Moshe Soloveichik says that the main celebration of the Torah is beginning the Torah anew. Whis this being said, it is Zevulun, the supporter of the Torah, who is actually the one with the higher honor in a way, for it is thanks to his money that more Jews will become Torah scholars which may have not happened otherwise.

It is in fact the verse of the mention of the word Torah "The Torah that Moses commanded us is the heritage of the Congregation of Jacob" (Deutronomy 33:4) that is the very first verse that is customarily taught to Jewish children. In Midrashic literature, it mentions the story of a Rabbi Yanai who insulted a Jew with virtually no scholarship in Torah who retorted back to the rabbi, "It doesn't say, "the heritage of Yannai" but "the heritage of the Congregation of Jacob" referring to ALL Jews". Well, this simple Jew must have had at least an elementary level of Torah learning when young.

And on this note, the concluding words of the Five Books of Moses are Kol Yisrael - "ALL of Israel", all of the Jewish people, which includes even the rest of our Jewish brethren who do not know the first thing of Torah, living as completely assimilated Jews. We have to show them in a loving way that THEY too are part of this ALL OF ISRAEL, and it is up to us, who know a little more than they do - but nothing compared to what Hashem knows - to show them that they too have a chance to be part of our beautiful heritage - of which Rabbi Akiva, a son of a convert to Judaism and a totally ignorant shepherd until the age of 40, learned for the next 40 years until he became among the greatest Torah scholars of all time, and taught the Torah for the next 40 years until he was murdered for his beliefs at the hands of the Romans at the age of 120, the same age that Moses passed away at, as mentioned at the end of the Five Books of Moses.

Throughout my years of learning, while I did not have the opportunity to learn in Yeshiva as long as I would have liked to, though I have learned much Torah even after I left Yeshiva in my spare time - some days more, some days less; I want to suggest an excellent Yeshiva for those who may have had some Talmudic learning, but may not have felt that is was the thing for them, even for a short while until going to college. What is needed for success in Talmudic learning is the enthusiasm of teaching, reaching to every student on his level, and presenting the learning in such a format that it can't be helped but be learnt the right away taught in a way that it can be quite understood. If I were many years younger now with a choice of a Yeshiva of where I would want to learn, it would be a Yeshiva that is named Bircas HaTorah, which literally means "Blessing of the Torah", located in the Old City of Jerusalem, an English speaking Yeshiva, headed by Rabbi Shimon Green, Shlita. But even if you quite can't make it to Israel, or at least as of yet, this Yeshiva also has a long distance learning program. Check out for more information about this unique type of Yeshiva, which I have visited; and I can tell you firsthand, EVERYONE who comes there to learn, regardless of their Jewish background, is treated with the same love and care that students who are great in learning are treated with. And if you feel that this is not for you, please let someone else whom you know that might benefit from this, and you will have spiritual brownie points - eternal reward for introducing another Jew to the beauty of our precious Torah that belongs to EACH & EVERY Jew.

Chag Sameach - Happy Holidays, and may we merit the ultimate unity of the Jewish people with the arrival of Moshiach, for which we hope and pray for everyday.

CELEBRATION & CONTEST: My one year anniversary special post #47 will be written up, G-d willing, on Sunday of the week of Parshat Bereishit following the holidays, even if Moshiach comes. I'll leave you with a question. What does the number 47 in particular have to do with Gematriot? Those submitting the correct answer will have their website/blogspot (as long as it is a kosher thing not opposing our Jewish religion) posted in this special one year anniversary post, Bli Neder. (Hint: You will find the answer in my previous post #45)

13 Tishrei 5770

1 comment:

Devorah said...

I blogged your Sukkot Codes: