Thursday, October 22, 2009

#48 - Ham: Black or White?

Well, it depends on what kind of ham you are talking about. Ham, as in the form of meat, has several names, and is also known as the title of "the other white meat". I'll be writing more on this subject a little later on.

But first, for those who have been reading their English Bibles this week as per this week's Parshat Noach, Ham is listed as one of Noah's three sons. One may wonder why Ham didn't perish in the world flood with the other evil people as per his behavior as recorded in the Bible. It is true that as Noah himself was righteous, it would only be fair to him for Hashem to save at least his immediate family.

While Ham may have hid his natural instincts for a while, the Midrash has a dark secret about this shrewd character. Among Hashem's instructions to Noah, no one - human, animal, bird, etc, was allowed to have sex during their one year stay in the Noah's Flood Hotel. What happened? Most behaved except for three (to be technical it was six, but the following is how it is listed in the Midrash) - the dog, the raven, and...Ham. Ham, as in the form of animal meat, may very well be white, but this Ham's punishment for violating Hashem's command was that his skin turned black.

But wait, there is more. As we know from the Bible, upon witnessing Papa Noah's naked body as a result of drinking too much wine and was stoned drunk to sleep, Ham told his brothers of his discovery, upon which, the more righteous and decent brothers covered their father's body without looking at him.

Now, the Bible makes a little notation here. In mentioning Ham, he is described as "the father of Canaan". Now, how does Ham's son Canaan have anything to do with this?

The Midrash, along with Rashi, has more news to report here. It was Canaan who actually instigated this incident, as he was actually the first to notice Noah lying in shame, and reported this to his father Ham. So, what did Ham do so wrong if it was actually Canaan who spotted his grandfather Noah and Ham just told his brothers what he heard?

Yes, he actually did something, and the question is what? As further reported, Ham was afraid that if Noah would have a fourth son, the other three sons would only have a fourth of the world pie instead of a third. Towards this end, there are two versions of what he actually did. Some say that he castrated his pop. Others say that he performed a homosexual act on his pop. Either way, few would probably stoop to Ham's low level.

In punishment for this, along with Noah's following curse of Ham, the Midrash further reports that Ham's descendants would be destined to be black. It seems that the skin color came hand-in-hand with the slavery part of Noah's curse which turned out to be most true for many centuries.

Now, let's think for a minute. What actually makes more sense as to what Ham could have actually done? If Noah was alone in the tent, Ham could have done a quick slice off of Noah's exposed private parts. If Noah's wife would have been sleeping under the same roof, then it would seem more likely that Ham would have taken a little more time to do the beastly act as Noah was too drunk to wake up anyways, and could have stopped short if his mama would wake up, but would probably be a little more afraid to make a bloody mess with his mama nearby.

There may be a way to resolve this where both opinions could be true, as it is said of two opinions of rabbis in the Talmud "Both these and these are words of the Living G-d". But how?
While it is true that Ham wanted to prevent Noah from having more children, he could have done something to Noah to discourage him from continuing to populate the world without literal castration. This is what is called "mental castration". Doing the beastly act to Noah would make the latter feel quite dirty, seeing what would be left on him or feeling what was in him, and would not be interested in continuing having sex with his wife. Indeed, people who get raped - not just women, but also men - can have emotional problems that will prevent them from wanting to have sex or wanting to get it over with because of the trauma that happned.

Now, what does all this have to do with Gematria? O.K., here we go. First to note, Ham's Hebrew name Cham - consisting of the letters Cheit & Mem - is the Gematria of 48, and this is my 48th post. But without even thinking of numbers, reversing the two letters spells the word Moach/mind or brain.

It makes sense to say that Ham acted quite much like a beast, following his natural instincts as opposed to using his intellect, situated in the mind or brain. In another sense, it can be said that he used his mind for the reverse of what the mind is supposed to be used for in his doing evil, and towards that end, he inflicted something mentally disturbing to his own father towards his own selfish interest of making sure to own eight and a third percent more of the world pie.

Torturing others mentally is something that was used much later on in enslaving the Jews. Pharaoh, a descendant of Ham, had the Jews build towers. But part of this slavery torture was the mental anguish of building structures that would collapse as the Midrash reports. You see, as hard as someone may work on a project, at least if at the end of the day, something is accomplished, there is a good feeling knowing that it was all worth it at the end. But seeing your hard earned efforts resulting in total collapse and failure makes one ownself feel the same way.

Anyways, focusing on Ham doing the wild thing in whatever way and whenever, we don't have to go even so far as to reverse the letters of his name. The name itself means hot - Cham, and Ham heated himself in his uninhibited sexual activity. In terms of numbers, there is another connection here with the number 48 that can also spell a positive connotation. Among many ways of rectification for sexual sins, it is customary to recite Tikkun 48 of the Tikkunei HaZohar. While it doesn't mention anything about Ham, it does in fact make a reference to a descendant of his, Sara's handmaid Hagar who was an Egyptian princess, as Mitzrayim - which means Egypt when referring to the land of Mitzrayim - was one of the sons of Ham. Perhaps the lesson we can learn from this is that in case anyone thought that there is no room for improvement once you lead a wicked life; unlike Ham who did not repent, Hagar who was a descendant of Ham did in fact repent of her evil ways and is later known in the Torah as Ketura, a connotation of the Hebrew word Ketoret/incense, indicating that her later deeds were compared to delicious smelling incense.

There is one more important thing here that I want to mention pertaining to Ham. Rambam/Maimonides mentions in his magnum opus Mishnah Torah on the laws pertaining to charity for the poor that when hiring people which is the highest of the eight levels of charity, we should look only to hire our fellow Jews, and not "the sons of Ham". Interestingly, why did he refer to non-Jews specifically by this title when clearly, the majority of non-Jews are descended from Ham's two brothers Shem & Japheth? Also, why make this kind of reference specifically by the laws about charity to the poor?

There is a possibility here that in fact, Maimonides' work could have been censored by non-Jews who placed this phrase "sons of Ham" instead of other titles refering to non-Jews, as there are other parts of this work that had been censored, especially about Jesus and Mohammed in reference to non-Jews being taught falsehood. However, even if it was due to censorship, Divine Providence would have played a hand in this specifically using the title of "sons of Ham". You see, Ham wasn't just another guy feeling lust of doing the wild thing. He was very selfish, afraid of losing that eight and one third piece of the world pie, and stooped to a most low level of what he did to his pop Noah. Certainly, giving charity to the poor was the furthest thing away from his mind.

And hence, we must remember that instead of being selfish of saving a few bucks by hiring a non-Jew who may do the job for less, as so called "very religious" Jews who hire our Moslem Arab enemies instead of some needy Jews, including some who may not seem to be as religious as the ones hiring the Arabs, who not only are hiring our biggest enemies who can anytime G-d forbid attack Jews which has in fact happened on several well known occasions under such circumstances, including a few bulldozer incidents within the last couple of years and also where eight Yeshiva students of the Merkaz HaRav Kook Yeshiva were murdered, but also in fact have a lack of faith and trust in Hashem thinking that they will have more money in their own pocket when in fact, you don't gain a penny more doing something that goes against what Hashem wants, so in fact they will not gain anything anyways since Hashem has plenty of ways for people to loose money afterwards. What these so called "very religious" Jews forget is that the ultimate cash is in the eternal bank which they will have so much less of by not hiring poor Jews in Israel who desperately need a source of income to support their own families. And even if in fact the ones hiring our Arab enemies seem to have more money as a result, all it means is that in fact, they are receiving the reward for the good deeds that they have done in this world, but will find themselves with nothing in their spiritual bank for eternity.


In the Hidden Codes, Moslem Arab Obama with the spelling of his last name in Hebrew - with the letters Alef, Vav, Beit, Alef, Mem, Hei - is spelled in the Chumash as every 11th letter, the shortest distance of such lettering which is found in Parshat Vayeira, which we will read in a couple of weeks, and also is part of the Torah reading of the first day of Rosh Hashanah (this is bearing in mind that Obama's full name in Hebrew is the same Gematria as Rosh/head which is 501). This is in the midst of the story of Abraham sending away Hagar and their son Yishmael following the latter's evil deeds. In Genesis 21:13-14, starting with the letter Alef in the word El/to where it says Vayiten El Hagar - Abraham gave bread and water to Hagar, you count backwards from this letter Alef, where you count 11 letters not including the Alef, and the 11th letter is the letter Vav, and you continue this way until you reach the letter Hei in the word Ha'amah/the maidservant where it says V'Gam Et Ben Ha'amah L'Goy Asimenu - "I will also make the son of the maidservant into a nation". Yes, I guess this is what you call Obama NATION, which is really an abomination, that is, the eagerness of the United States nation who voted for Obama as though he is G-d who can change things around (NOTE: This last sentence is based on the radio shows that can be found on

And I'm not finished. I saw a video of Obama when campaigning to be president was laughing at his opponent who accused Obama of endorsing sex education in schools. And then, within a minute, he quickly said that he was for sex education in schools! But what bothered me the most is that nobody in that crowd he spoke to gave a hoot about what he had just said. Don't mind the fact that Obama is following in the footsteps of his sexually perverted ancestor Ham. But it is the United States public who voted for Obama by a majority vote who could care less of what goes on even among their own children, as long as they could vote for someone whom they think will help them get as much money as possible, following Ham's other evil character trait of selfishness of hoarding wealth, even at the expense of morality and healthy education for their own children.


Have you ever wondered why ham is refered by this title as such? After all, ham is either called or related to several other names for this same creature or meat - pig, swine, pork, bacon. Maybe some will be afraid to eat this most dirty animal, though it can be quite cheap to buy, and very unfortunately, Jews who were quite poor in the past ate this in hard times, or at least fed it to their children to be eaten elsewhere as their own kitchen was kosher. Before the honeyed ham era came along in the United States, comparing ham to chicken, the latter known to be kosher by even many non-Jews, was a good justification and advertising catchy phrase to eat the damned thing.

The truth is that everything comes from the Torah or is spiritually connected in some way to the Torah, as nothing is coincidence. Perhaps they took phrase somehow directly from the Talmud where in one context, non-kosher ham meat is refered to as Davar Acher/other thing. In Kabbalah, the phrase refering to the evil forces is called by the Aramaic phrase "Sitra Achara" - "the other side". The key word here is Achara or Acher in Hebrew, side in English. The word Acher is also used to refer to a former rabbi and teacher in Mishnaic times who turned to heresy, abandoning the Torah, whose name was Elisha Ben Avuya, who is actually quoted in Pirkei Avot/Ethics of the Fathers with a saying of his.

Perhaps one may wonder why the typical non-observant New York Jew would not eat ham, but has no problem eating shrimp, which is in fact no less kosher. In fact, eating a single whole insect, fly, bug, etc. is in fact committing a worse sin than even eating a piece of ham that is less than the size of an olive - believe it or not. But there is something about the pig that the Torah is very explicit about.

Twice in the Torah, there is list of kosher or non-kosher animals, birds and fish. Now, as pertaining to the signs of kosher animals, they have to chew their cud and split hooves. The Torah lists the only three animals that chew their cud but do not have split hooves. And the Torah lists the only animal that has split hooves but do not chew their cud - the pig.

Yes, the Torah mentions this not once, but twice. And what do we learn from this? Rashi points out from rabbinical sources that it is the pig that shows hypocracy here. It openly shows that is has split hooves. However, secretly, it is not chewing its cud. Rashi compares this to Esau, Jacob's brother, who was a master in having this type of behavior. He asked his father Isaac about how to tithe salt, which is in fact exempt from tithing, but as the Midrash tells us, when Isaac asked Esau to bring him dinner upon which he would bless him, he actually prepared non-kosher food for him, which was superceded by Jacob's kosher meal who received Isaac's intended blessings. Esau also pretended to be like his father Isaac who got married at age 40, waiting to be married at the same age, but until then, was the worldwide womanizer.

And so, getting back to the human - or rather - the unhuman Ham, as a son of his righteous father Noah, though getting drunk was a downfall for the latter, received the ultimate punishment of him and his descendants being black. However, more than just a punishment, the rules had to at least be set right to show the world that in fact, Ham's behavior was not fitting for his righteous upbringing, and it was really only because of his righteous father Noah that Ham who obviously already had an evil bug in him as he first demonstrated it in the Noah's Flood Hotel, that he and his wife who could care less either about Hashem's command of having no sex in the Ark were saved from perishing with the rest of mankind. And in terms of his selfishness, he indeed was a "pig" in acting the way he did to his father to assure himself that he would own no less than one third of the world.

At least with ham meat itself, non-Jews are not affected spiritually in any way by eating it, as they do not have the holiness of a Jew that Jews have who will be very spiritually contaminated if G-d forbid they eat it or any other non-kosher food for that matter. And while many Jews - espicially those who are non-observant Jews who mock observant Jews - exclaim that it is not important or at least not very important about what goes in one's mouth, but what goes out of one's mouth, it must be remembered that we are what we eat. Our physical bodies are actually a mere reflection of our spiritually bodies, as you will see in the teachings of Kabbalah. Accordingly, the food that we eat gets to become part of us, and hence, eating non-kosher food, G-d forbid, will make it much harder for those doing so to be spiritually connected to Hashem to have the feeling to feel closer to Him, even if eaten non-intentionally, and yes, buggies accidentally in kosher food aren't part of the kosher menu. As we learn from Kabbalah, non-kosher "contaminates the heart", and so without a spiritually feeling, G-d forbid, it is much harder to get out of the spiritual muck to do the right thing to begin with.

Perhaps as a little joke here, but a true story, I once heard an Israeli guy who later on in his life become an observant Jew, relate how in his younger years, he was preparing himself a ham and cheese sandwich, when an observant Jew approached him and told him that he should take out the cheese before eating the ham sandwich. The latter being bewildered by hearing such a thing, the observant Jew told him, "By eating both the ham & cheese, you will have two Aveirot/sins (eating meat and dairy together). Without the cheese, you will be doing only one Aveira".

Speaking of spirituality, some think that by relating to G-d in whatever form one feels like it, it is O.K. While those who dabble in such matters, who oftentimes ignore the religion aspect of it, may have good intentions, this may be good for non-Jews. However, for Jews, the Torah gives us a path of life - and while feeling spiritual, and knowing the meaning of what we do in following Jewish Law and the Commandments is very important in spiritual growth, the laws and commandments themselves have to be followed to be truly spiritually connected. You see, if we follow our own intellect without paying close attention to Hashem's intellect, which is the Torah, we can make grave errors uprooting the foundation of Judaism, G-d forbid. As Rambam/Maimonides notes, early mankind made the grave error of worshipping G-d's servants - angels, the planetary system, etc. - thinking that this was part of G-d's will when in fact only G-d is supposed to be worshipped, and this allowed for mankind to eventually worship all types of things without even knowing about G-d in future generations, which continued for the most part until Abraham our Forefather came along, and started setting the record straight.

5 Cheshvan 5770

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