Sunday, December 27, 2009

#53 - The Best Chanuka Gift That I Ever Received

"Hashem, my G-d, forever will I thank you". Quoting from the end of Psalms 30, the Psalm that is customarily recited during Chanuka, I will forever be grateful to Hashem for the best Chanuka gift that I ever received - my wife Yael. On the second day of Chanuka, the big moment that I had waited for so many years finally happened. No matter how hard I tried finding a Shidduch through endless calls to matchmakers, websites, etc. and using different spiritual ways of accomplishing this through charity, praying at the gravesites of righteous people, trying to help others find a Shidduch, etc., not to speak of the endless, wasted time, effort, energy, and money on dates who were truly not serious about getting married - both in the United States and then in Israel, it seemed for all that I knew that perhaps Hashem did not wish for me to get married for whatever reason.

For one thing, I had people pray on my behalf during three different periods of 40 days each - during the very same time periods that Moshe Rabbeinu was on Mt. Sinai with Hashem - during my 40th year, at the holiest area in the world on the grounds of the Western Wall. It was also in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem, the holiest city in the world, that I put up only one flyer about myself on a bulletin board, while almost 500 other flyers were placed in some other town. The very next day, my wife Yael, a resident of another city in Israel, was visiting the Old City when she saw my flyer, and four months later, we found ourselves under the Chupa.
For those who want prayers said on their behalf at the Western Wall for 40 days, turn to

Unlike most other people, I can truly say that my exclusive Shadchan/Matchmaker was Hashem. Aside from those who meet their spouse-to-be face to face at an event, workplace, etc., many others get introduced by friends or matchmakers. Indeed, there is a concept of paying your matchmaker, even if that matchmaker never asked for payment. In my case, since Hashem was my direct matchmaker, it is to Hashem that I have to pay. The truth is that there is no way of adequately thanking Hashem for anything that we receive in life, for whatever we can give Him Who owns everything is nothing compared to what Hashem has given us and continues to give us. One of the ways that I can pay back to Hashem is publicizing my story and encouraging others who have had a hard time finding a Shidduch to not give hope but to continously pray, and to turn to Hashem as the ultimate Shadchan, the One who set up the very first Shidduch - between Adam and Eve.

Originally, I was planning to write Post #53 during my Sheva Berachot ("Seven Blessings" which are recited under the Chupa and during the first week of marriage)/wedding week. But as many know, Sheva Berachot week means going to a daily party celebrating the marriage, and between the longer Chanuka davening in the morning which coincided with my wedding week and running to Sheva Berachot with my wife taking the bus from our residence to Jerusalem for the most part, there was not much time for else, and I didn't want to be up most of the night and have a hard time getting to synagogue during my Chanuka/wedding week as I did not want to miss the morning prayers which included the reading of the Torah for Chanuka, and then I caught up on work last week as I had to spend time preparing everything before my wedding; hence, I didn't write my blog until now.

After waiting to get married for so many years, I could not care less as to what time of the year on the Jewish calendar that I would get married. But as Hashgacha Peratit/Divine Providence had it, my Chatuna/wedding fell out on the second day of Chanuka on a Sunday. Unlike many, including many religious Jews in the United States who typically get married on a Sunday, as few work on this day (most of the more religious circles avoid marrying on this day in the States as this can be a problem of celebrating the Sabbath of the Christians), in my case, my wedding was in Israel where Sunday is just another day of work, and in fact, it was my Israeli wife who suggested this day when picking the week of our wedding. In any case, getting married involved the entire Chanuka. The first day of Chanuka which fell out on a Shabbat this year was my Ufruf - being called to the Torah on the Shabbat before the wedding, and as I got married the very next day on the 2nd day of Chanuka, my Sheva Berachot week of seven days encompassed the rest of Chanuka until the end of Shabbat on which was the eighth and last day of Chanuka. The fact that I got married on Chanuka enhanced my wedding celebration, especially as I always felt Chanuka to be a very special time.

With this being said, as the letters on the dreidel, the popular Chanuka toy, are Noon, Gimel, Hei, Pei - the beginning letters of the phrase Neis Gadol Haya Poe - "A big/great miracle happened here" (outside of Israel, it is the letter Shin instead of Pei which stands for the word Shahm - "there"), it was indeed a big miracle for me to get married as far as I am concerned. The first two letters Noon & Gimel - spelling the words Neis Gadol "Big/great miracle" - spell the Hebrew number 53, and indeed it is in this 53rd Post that I am using to thank Hashem for the big miracle that He performed for me to allow me to enter the Chupa with my wife, whose first name Yael is the Gematria of the word Neis/miracle, which equals 110! Indeed, my wife Yael is my personal Chanuka miracle.

Speaking of Jerusalem and the Western Wall in relationship as to how my wife and I met, it is really of no big surprise. After all, the verse that I recite in the end of the Shemoneh Esrei prayer corresponding to my first name Shimon, which begins with the letter Shin and ends with a Noon Sofit as my name, is the verse Shabechi Yerushalayim Et Hashem Halleli Elokayich Tziyon - "Praise Hashem, O Jerusalem, laud your G-d, O Zion" (Psalms 147:12). And it is during the entire eight days of Chanuka that we say the Hallel prayer (Psalms 113-118) consisting of psalms of thanksgiving which mentions Jerusalem - "In the courtyards of the House of Hashem, in your midst, O Jerusalem, Hallelujah" (Psalms 116:19). And if this was not enough, the Hebrew word Gadol - big/great - from the Neis Gadol - "BIG miracle" of Chanuka, is the Gematria of 43, having got married in the 43rd year from the liberation of the Old City of Jerusalem which included the Temple Mount, the grounds of the Temple in 5727/1967, now annually celebrated as Yom Yerushalayim - Jerusalem Day, which occured on 28 Iyar, the 43rd day of the Omer (see Blog #29). Indeed, a parallel can be drawn between Chanuka & Jerusalem Day besides their connections to the number 43, for both of these victory days occured in the midst of a war fighting non-Jews. On Chanuka, the Maccabbes entered the Temple in Jerusalem which was previously under the control of the Syrian-Greeks who forbade Jewish observance, and lit the Menora with oil from the seal of the High Priest that was not spiritually contaminated by the idolatrous non-Jews; in 5727/1967, the liberation of the Old City of Jerusalem including the area of the Temple took place in the midst of the Six Day War.

On another note of a personal connection, the 2nd day of Chanuka on which I had my wedding has to do with my Jewish birthday of Rosh Chodesh Iyar - 1 Iyar, the head of the Jewish month of Iyar. You see, the Torah reading for Chanuka is about the Priestly Blessing, the dedication of the Mishkan/Tabernacle, the Korbanot - animal sacrifices that the leaders of the Tribes of Israel brought following the dedication, concluding on the 8th day of Chanuka about Aaron the High Priest lighting the Menora (Numbers 6:22-8:4) (NOTE: Sephardim and those living in Israel start the Chanuka reading with the Priestly Blessing, while Ashkenazim outside of Israel begin with the sacrifices from Numbers 7:1). Corresponding to the days of Chanuka, we read on the 1st day of Chanuka of the sacrifices that the leader of the Tribe of Judah brought. On the 2nd day of Chanuka, we read of the sacrifices that the leader of the Tribe of Yissaschar brought (outside of Israel, the concluding Aliya is the reading of the sacrifices of the next tribe mentioned, but in Israel where the miracle of Chanuka happened, it is only the sacrifices of the first day of the dedication of the Tabernacle that we read on the 1st day of Chanuka, the sacrifices of the second day on the 2nd day of Chanuka, etc. that are mentioned).

And as mentioned by the Chasidic book called Bnei Yissaschar written by Rabbi Tzvi Elimelech of Dinov, the Jewish months of the year correspond to the Tribes according to the order that the leaders of the Tribes brought these sacrifices during the 1st 12 days of the Tabernacle dedication. Hence, it is the month of Iyar, on which I was born on the first day of this month, that corresponds to Yissaschar. Morever, Chanuka is nicknamed in Israel as Chag HaUrim - "Holiday of the Lights", and the name of the month Iyar is related to the word Ohr/Light. Indeed, I was born on 1 Iyar, and my Brit was on 8 Iyar - the first eight days of Iyar, just like there are eight days of Chanuka. And it was in this month of Iyar that the modern miracle of the liberation of Jerusalem took place.

As mentioned by Rashi, it was Netanel Ben Tzuar, the leader of the tribe of Yissaschar, who came up with the idea of the leaders of the Tribes to bring these sacrifices upon the dedication of the Tabernacle to begin with. While it was the leader of the tribe of Judah who was the first to actually bring these sacrifices, it was the leader of the Tribe of Yissaschar who had the great merit of coming up with this idea to begin with. And speaking of getting married during Chanuka, particularly on the 2nd day of Chanuka when we read of the sacrifices that the leader of the Tribe of Yissaschar, the one who initiated the idea of the leaders of the Tribes bringing these special sacrifices, one of the spiritual things suggested in helping one find a Shidduch is the recital of this very chapter of these sacrifices (Numbers 7).

And this would not be complete without mentioning why Rabbi Tzvi Elimelech of Dinov named his book Bnei Yissaschar. He noticed that every year on Chanuka, he felt specially spiritually elevated. Upon telling this to his Rebbe, the Chozeh of Lublin, his Rebbe told him that his soul has a spark of one of the members of the Beit Din/Jewish Court led by the Hasmoneans who brought the Chanuka miracle, as these members of the Beit Din were descended from the Tribe of Yissaschar. As mentioned in a verse from Chronicles (I Chronicles 12:33), there were some 200 heads of the Beit Din who were descended from this Tribe of Yissaschar, as there were well versed in the Torah being that they learned Torah all day while amply supported. Hence, it is from this verse where it says Bnei Yissaschar that this Chasidic Rebbe gave his book this name.

Speaking of the Torah and names, I had given myself a 2nd Hebrew name almost two years ago on Rosh Chodesh Nissan, on a Sunday - the very date and day of the week that the dedication of the Tabernacle took place and the leader of the Tribe of Judah brought his sacrifices. This name is Matisyahu, naming myself after the patriarch of the Hasmoneans/Maccabbees, who was the one who initiated the struggle against the Syrian Greeks. I first wrote about this on my 8th blog entitled Matisyahu - "Gift of Hashem", which is the meaning of this name. While he didn't live to see the day that the Jews would enter the Temple once again, it was Matisyahu who was responsible for the holiday of Chanuka, and we mention his name in every Shemonei Esrei and Bircat HaMazon/Grace after Meals during Chanuka. And it was on the 616th day from that day of Rosh Chodesh Nissan 5768 that I gave myself this Hebrew name that I had my Ufruf - Aliyah to the Torah on Shabbat for getting married the coming week. The word HaTorah - the Torah - is the Gematria of 616, and Kriat HaTorah - reading of the Torah - is the Gematria of my present full Hebrew name Shimon Matisyahu, equalling 1327! This reading of the Torah that I was called up for and I personally read on Shabbat Vayeishev, the first day of Chanuka, was the Maftir portion special for Chanuka, which is the reading of the very events of the Tabernacle and sacrifices of the leader of the Tribe of Judah that took place on Rosh Chodesh Nissan - Sunday, the very date and day of the week less than two years ago when I gave myself my Hebrew name of Matisyahu! This is bearing in mind that this name which means "Gift of Hashem" is similar to the name of the above leader of the tribe of Yissachar - "G-d gave".

Along these lines, the Bnei Yissaschar in his Sefer in which each chapter is given a special name or title, the title of Rishon Hu - "It is the First" is the title that he uses for both his chapter on the month of Nissan - which is the FIRST of the Jewish months, and for his chapter on the FIRST day of Chanuka in which the Hasmonians came to the Temple and lit the Menora after an interruption due to the Syrian Greeks.

Shortly before I met my wife Yael, it was on Tu B'Av, the annual date of finding love based on what used to place in Temple times on this date, that I wrote Blog #38 about this special date and about a Hebrew book on the subject of finding love using spiritual means entitled Mah Zot Ahava "What is this love?" authored by Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburg -, which I found on the eve of this day, the title of which in Hebrew is the Gematria of my name Shimon (466). I had also mentioned that Rabbi Shimon Lavi, who composed the famous song Bar Yochai about Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, author of the teachings of the Zohar, passed away 421 years ago on Tu B'Av 5348 (1588). What I didn't mention then is that my 2nd name Matisyahu could be used as a sign to note this 421st Yahrzeit of this Rabbi bearing my first Hebrew name Shimon. The first two letters of Matisyahu spells Meit - dead or died, and the following four letters Tav/Sav (400) Yud (10) Hei (5) Vav (6) add up to 421. Little did I know that shortly after finding this book and writing that blog piece that I would meet my wife. Amazing signs from Hashem!

And my wedding week, which occured on the remaining seven days of Chanuka beginning on Sunday when I received my GIFT OF HASHEM, was the 89th week from when I gave myself my 2nd Hebrew name of the Chanuka hero Matisyahu on Rosh Chodesh Nissan on a Sunday, and Chanuka is the Gematria of 89! Even if I weren't to get married that week, the fact alone that the 89th week from the naming fell out on Chanuka having the Gematria of 89 would be remarkable on its own, but the fact that this was my wedding week - from Sunday through Shabbat, or in other words, the first week of married life, comes to highlight the great connection that I have with Chanuka.

Indeed, the beginning of the account of the dedication of the Tabernacle, part of my Ufruf Aliyah, starts with Vayehi BeYom Kalot Moshe "It was on the day of Moshe finishing setting up the Tabernacle...". Rashi notes that the word for finishing - Kalot is spelled as Kaf Lamed Tav without the letter Vav in the middle of this word as is normally spelled, as it is similar to the word Kalla/Bride, for on the day of the setting up/dedication of the Tabernacle, the Jews were like a bride entering the Chupa.

And speaking of the word Kalla, this is the Gematria of 55. This was doubly revealed in my case. The 55th day from the day that we met in person for the first time on the 7th of Elul (5769) was the day that my wife Yael and I got engaged on 2 Cheshvan, and the 55th day from the day that we became engaged on the 2nd day of Cheshvan was our wedding day on 26 Kislev - the 2nd day of Chanuka! (And no, we didn't get engaged too soon after our initial date, and we didn't marry too soon after becoming engaged; it was about time that we started our lives together).

So the question begs to be asked - so what's with the first day of Chanuka which was not included in my 89th week since my Matisyahu naming, though it is on this very day that the miracle of the Jews entering the Temple and lighting the Menora took place? For this, I turn to the work Likutei Halachot authored by Rabbi Nathan Sternhartz, main disciple of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov, whose Yahrzeit just occured yesterday on Asara B'Tevet (10 Tevet), the name of this work having the same Gematria as HaTorah - the Torah (616) - who quotes from a Kabbalistic source that the main spiritual light of Neir/candle of Chanuka is through the aspect of the name (related to Hashem) Nachal/river, the beginning letters - Noon Cheit Lamed - of the concluding words of the first blessing recited on lighting the Menora on Chanuka - L'Hadlik Neir Chanuka (NOTE: In Nusach Ashkenaz, the word Shel (of) is part of this phrase, but is considered an unnessary word by all other textual prayerbooks), which is the aspect of THE TORAH (Orach Chaim, Hilchot Betziat HaPat 5:27). With this in mind, these letters add up to the number 88; hence, this first day of Chanuka this year was the 616th day from my Matisyahu naming, the concluding day of the 88th week from the Matisyahu naming. And as mentioned here about a Neir/candle & Torah, these two words add up to the Gematria of 861, the same Gematria as Matisyahu! Hence, this past Chanuka was the ultimate proof that it was no coincidence that I was spiritually inspired to give myself this Hebrew name of Matisyahu, and as especially related to my wedding which was connected with ALL eight days of Chanuka.

And as Rashi, an Ashkenaic Rabbi, who wrote the commentary on the Torah & Talmud which is the most learned commentary until this day, mentioned about the concept of the Chupa/wedding in relationship to the dedication of the Tabernacle and the sacrifices of the leaders of the Tribes named as Chanukat HaMizbeiach, the dedication of the Altar, which is read all throughout Chanuka, it seems appropo to mention the connection that the Rambam/Maimonides, a Sephardic Rabbi makes between Chanuka and marriage.

I had mentioned in my previous post about the Hidden Codes hinting to the Rambam, especially relating to this year 5770, it is every 5770th letter that spells equidistantly in the Chumash - the phrase Sefer Rambam (Book of Rambam), the only such phrase occuring as such in the Chumash. According to the worldwide shedule of learning one chapter a day of his magnum opus, Mishneh Torah, encompassing the laws of the entire Torah, the two chapters on the laws of Chanuka fell out on Erev Chanuka and the 1st day of Chanuka. The very last paragraph of these laws states that if a poor person has a choice between spending his last money on Neir Beito (Shabbat candles) and Neir Chanuka, or Neir Beito & wine for Kiddush, the right choice is Neir Beito - Shabbat candles, because these promote Shalom Bayit - peace between husband and wife, as the pathways of Torah are peace; hence concluding with this word Shalom/peace, the concluding word of the Bircat Cohanim/Priestly Blessing, included in the reading of the first day of Chanuka which was my Ufruf day!

Following this, it was the first chapter of Hilchot Ishut, the laws of matrimony in the Rambam's work, particularly about getting married the proper way, immediately following the laws of Chanuka, on the 207th day of the learning schedule of this work, having the Gemaria of the word Ohr/light (as mentioned earlier about Chanuka - particularly the 2nd day of Chanuka) that was learned on the 2nd day of Chanuka, the day of my wedding! Moreover, bearing in mind that the number 89 is the Gematria of the word Chanuka, Psalm 89 consists of 53 verses, corresponding to which, the volume of the Rambam called Nashim/Women, consisting of 53 chapters, immediately follows the Laws of Chanuka (and this is my 53rd post)!

Also, this is in the first year of the 207th solar cycle which began this past year on the day before Passover when we recited the once-in-28-year Bircat HaChama prayers, and it is the Chama/sun, which is the Gematria of 53, that gives us physical Ohr/light having the Gematria of 207.

And wait, there is more! The full Hebrew name of my wife, Yael Miriam, is the same Gemaria as Nashim/women - 400, the name of the 4th of the 14 volumes of this work - consisting of 53 chapters - of the Rambam beginning with this chapter about getting married properly! And indeed, the first word of the name of this work Mishneh Torah can be read as Mem (40) Shana/years, as I am presently in my 40th year. Miracle of Miracles!

And just as the first words of Torah that we mention upon the daily recital of Bircat HaTorah/Blessings of the Torah is the section of the Torah about the Bircat Cohanim/Priestly Blessing (except for Nusach Ashkenaz that mentions only the Priestly Blessing itself), this is the very section of the Torah that begins the special Chanuka reading on the 1st day of Chanuka (except for Ashkenazim outside of Israel). Hence, there is a unique connection between giving of the Torah and Chanuka - especially as it relates to the first day of Chanuka when the ultimate miracle of having free access to the Temple and lighting the lights of the Menorah, while the remaining seven days of Chanuka celebrate the miracle of the same oil burning beyond the natural time limit of one day. And indeed, the last word of the Bircat HaTorah recited both daily before learning Torah and for the Aliya right before the Torah reading is HaTorah, having the Gematria of 616, and it was on my 616th day from giving myself the name Matisyahu that I had my Ufruf beginning the Torah reading of the Bircat Cohanim, consisting of 150 letters, corresponding to which are the 150 words of Eishet Chayil, the concluding 22 verses of Proverbs recited before the Kiddush on Shabbat night praising the Jewish wife.

And for the name Matisyahu itself, the first three letters of this name - Mem Tav Tav - are the beginning letters of the phrase Mitzvat Talmud Torah - learning/teaching Torah which is the greatest of the 613 commandments, as noted at the conclusion of the Mishnaic/Talmudic piece that we recite following the Bircat Cohanim (section) recited daily after the Bircat HaTorah - Talmud Torah Knegged Kulam - the learning/teaching of Torah is equal to all of them - all of the other commandments.

Continuing on with the midst of Chanuka, the 620th day from the day that I gave myself my 2nd name of Matisyahu fell out on the 5th day of Chanuka, the day that we read the sacrifices of the leader of the tribe of Shimon. As I had mentioned in my previous post, there are 613 Mitzvot/Commandments of the Torah and seven special Mitzvot that the Rabbis instituted, under the commandment of Lo Tasuru - "Do not turn aside" from what the Beit Din command us. Hence, the last of these Mitzvot D'Rabbanan/Commandments of the Rabbis was the Mitzva of lighting the candles of Chanuka; hence, considered the 620th Mitzva, the credit of which is ultimately given to Matisyahu, grandson of Shimon HaTzadik, who started the revolution that led to Chanuka. Hence, my full Hebrew name of Shimon Matisyahu encompasses this concept of the Rabbis "adding" to the Mitzvot (one of the 613 Mitzvot is not to add to the Mitzvot but the rabbis had the power to institute actions as Mitzvot to strengthen the Torah), and in the same vein, I had added a Hebrew name that highlights the concept of Chanuka in my life, though I was not born on Chanuka, but little did I know at the time nearly two years ago that I would be getting married during Chanuka, and neither did I realize at the time that my 89th week from then would be a total Chanuka week from the 2nd to 8th day of Chanuka being that Chanuka is the Gematria of 89, let alone to be my first week of marriage!

And finally, we reach the 8th and final day of Chanuka, also known as Zot Chanuka. This was the first Shabbat of my marriage, the conclusion of the 89th week from when I gave myself the name Matisyahu. The Maftir portion of that Shabbat Mikeitz, the reading for the 8th day of Chanuka that I was called up for and I personally read, begins with the account of the sacrifices that the leader of the Tribe of Menashe brought. Indeed, the names Shimon and Menashe add up the Gematria of 861, which is also the Gematria of the name of Matisyahu! The same letters of the name Menashe are the letters of Neshama/soul, the spiritual part of the person, whose physical part is the Guf/body, which is turn has the same Gematria as Chanuka - 89!

Accordingly, this ZOT Chanuka, 8th day of Chanuka, on which the Maftir began with the Korbanot that the Nasi of the Tribe of Menashe brought, was the 616th day from the 8th of Nissan, a week after I had my new name naming, the date on which the Nasi of the Tribe of Menashe brought his Korbanot. Bearing in mind that the name Menashe also has the same letters as Mishna, the foundation of the Oral Torah, and that HaTorah is the Gematria of 616, the verse that we first recite when the Torah Scroll is open for all to see when lifted is V'ZOT HaTorah... "This is the Torah that Moses placed in front of the Children of Israel". And along these lines, the beginning words of the last Parsha of the Chumash, which is also the name of that Parsha, are V'ZOT HaBeracha "This is the blessing that Moses...blessed the Children of Israel..." which is read and concluded on Simchat Torah, the last part of which is read for whom we call the Chatan Torah, the Bridegroom of Torah.

Now, the last day of Chanuka is especially nicknamed as Zot Chanuka - "This is Chanuka" taking the word Zot from the reading of the last day of Chanuka - Zot Chanukat HaMizbeiach - "This is the dedication of the altar". Remember when I mentioned earlier in this post about the book on Jewish love called Mah Zot Ahava (having the Gematria of my name Shimon) "What is this love?" that I found right before the night of Tu B'Av? It is this very word Zot that names the last day of Chanuka which was also the last day of my Sheva Berachot week, right before getting into the normal daily living of a married life. But what was most unique about the timing of my wedding is that the Shabbat before my wedding was Chanuka and the first Shabbat following my wedding was Chanuka.

There is a similar word for the word gift in Hebrew - Matan. This word is used in the context of Matan Torah/Giving of the Torah which took place on Shavuot - which is considered the marriage ceremony between Hashem and the Jewish people, and the Torah is considered the Ketuba/marriage contract. The word Matan is the Gematria of 490, and my wedding took place in my 490th month!

There is another word in Hebrew that has the same Gematria of 490 - Tamim/complete. Indeed, while singles who think they "have it all" may brainwash themselves to think that they are complete; as far as the Torah is concerned, only one who is married is complete. In fact, regarding the Mitzva of Sefirat HaOmer - counting 49 days/seven weeks until Shavuot, it states - Sheva Shabbatot Temitot Tiyehna "There shall be seven COMPLETE weeks", using the same terminology of Tamim, except in this context, it's in plural form. Hence, it's only when we prepare ourselves with this concept of Temimut/spiritual completeness that we are ready to be in a frame of mind to learn Torah properly. This is not to say that we have to be perfect, for indeed, only Hashem is perfect, but complete in the sense that we have the proper intentions in mind to be a student of Torah - not for our own self aggrandizement - which could include honor, power, money, etc. but because we want to be students of Hashem - to learn Torah because He said so, to learn what it is that Hashem wants us to do, and to help us set an example for Jews and non-Jews as to the positive benefits that result from Torah learning. Similarly, we cannot be a complete Jew without our significant other.


Just as I had my personal Chanuka miracle in comparison to the original Chanuka miracle, so too did a "Purim" miracle happen on today's date of 11 Tevet in 5408 - 362 years ago - in the town of Mezhbuzh, the town in which the Ba'al Shem Tov would be born and raised some 50 years later. In fact, there were many such "Purim" miracles, meaning, that Jews were miraculously saved from enemies as the Jews were saved from Haman's evil schemes in the Purim story, throughout many centuries. However, this particular Purim story is unique because the miracle of this event that occured on 11 Tevet happened through a couple whose names were Mordechai & Esther as in the original Purim story.

In the Megilla/Book of Esther, there is a BIG letter Cheit near the beginning and a BIG letter Tav in the phrase VaTichtov Esther - "Esther wrote" (see Post #22) near the end. It has been said that this hints to the Hebrew Year 5408 - Hei Tav Cheit referring the massacres that happened to Jews in many parts of Europe during this year. However, this would not fit well with the miraculous story of the Jews being saved as recounted in the Megilla. I believe that these two letters hint to this year that refer particularly to the Purim miracle of 5408 in Mezhbuzh that was wrought through a couple named Mordechai & Esther.

And as a connection to Chanuka, as per the phrase pertaining to the sacrifices that the leaders of the Tribes brought following the dedication of the Tabernacle - Zot Chanukat HaMizbeiach, just as the BIG Cheit is near the beginning of the Megilla and the BIG Tav is near the end of the Megilla, so too, the Cheit is the first letter of the word Chanukat & Tav/Sav is the last letter of the word Chanukat.

And these two letters are the first two letters of the word Chatan/Bridegroom & Chatuna/Wedding. And as my first week of marriage began on a Sunday and ended on a Shabbat, so does the beginning of the Torah recount Hashem creating the world in the first week of the world's existance (Genesis 1:1-2:3) in which there are exactly 469 words, which is the Gematria of the word Chatuna/Wedding.

Yes, the Cheit is the number 8, as the 8 days of Chanuka in which my marriage is connected with from the Ufruf reading on the first day of Chanuka which I was called up to and recited in the same area of the world - at the Western Wall - as the Maccabbees entered the Temple to light the Menorah on the first of Chanuka, and then was my wedding week on the remaining seven days of Chanuka; so too, the Tav is the number 400, and the Gematria of my wife's full Hebrew name Yael Miriam is 400.

I want to conclude speaking of a verse from Shir HaShirim/Song of Songs, the lovesong between Hashem and the Jewish people. As stated in Song of Songs 4:12 (as translated and explained by Artscroll) - Gan Naul Achoti Chala Gal Naul Mayan Chatum - "As chaste as a garden locked, My sister, O bride; a spring locked up, a fountain sealed". Meaning, the beauty and charm of the daughters of Israel are guided by modesty and purity. The beginning word of the verse in Hebrew - Gan/Garden consists of the letters for the number 53 in Hebrew, the number of this post, and as the Eishet Chayil song near its conclusion states - Isha Yirat Hashem Hee Tithallal - a woman who fears Hashem is the one to be praised. Rabbi Nachman of Breslov says that the Torah is called an/Isha woman (Likutei Moharan 1:146), and the word following Isha in the Eishit Chayil song is Yirat - fear of - which is the Gematria of the word Torah - 611. Yes, my personal Matan Torah - gift of a wife, of an Eishet Chayil, in my 490th month that I received my Matan which is the Gematria of 490. (Note: The above chapter and verse in Song of Songs can be read with the numbers put together as 412 - which is the Gematria of the word Bayit/house, which is a nickname given to the wife who is the mainstay of the home, as mentioned in Tractate Shabbat of the Talmud)

Yes, the woman, along with her modesty and purity, who is supportive of the Torah learning of her husband (and sends her children to Yeshiva) has an equal share in the eternal reward that her husband receives, the same way that Zevulun receives an equal share of the Torah learning of his brother Yissaschar - the tribe whose leader brought sacrifices as read on the 2nd day of Chanuka, my wedding day. As Chazal put it - Ishto K'Gufo - one's wife is like one's own body, and Guf/body has the same Gematria as Chanuka (89). And besides the timing of my wedding on Chanuka, it happened in my 40th year. A wife - especially a bride - is called a Malka/queen, and the word Malka shares the same Gematria as the name of the supportive brother/partner of Torah learning - Zevulun (95). The word Malka consists of the letter Mem which equals 40, and the letters that spell the word Kalla/bride. Hence, it was in my 40th year that I married my bride, my queen, the love of my life, the best Chanuka GIFT OF HASHEM that I ever received.

11 Tevet 5770