Wednesday, January 6, 2010

#55 - Everything Comes from the ONE

Technically, this is a continuation of my blog from two posts ago #53 - The Best Chanuka Gift That I Ever Received. Well, it is true that my best Chanuka gift was my wife Yael whom I married three and a half weeks ago on the second day of Chanuka as my bride, or in Hebrew - Kala, which is the Gematria of 55, and this is my 55th Post. Also, my wife's name Yael is the Gematria of 110, which is two times 55.

Today is the Yahrzeit of the Rambam - 20 Tevet. As the spiritual and physical physician par excellence, he writes in his magnum opus, the Mishneh Torah, about being on the MIDDLE path - in terms of character traits and behavioral habits. The reason that I mention this particularly is because I am reminded of the two MIDDLE Parshiyot of the Torah - Tazria & Metzora - which are the 27th and 28th Parshiyot of the Torah. When you add 27 and 28, it equals 55. My past birthday beginning my 40th year was on Shabbat when these two Parshiyot were read. The beginning of the first of these two Parshiyot - Tazria, begins with Hashem's instructions to Moshe - Isha Ki Tazria "When a woman gives birth...", detailing the laws of the childbearing mother in terms of becoming pure. As Kala/bride is the Gematria of 55, it was just one out of a number of signs that I was going to marry my bride in my 40th year. And as I concluded my 53rd post, another name for a bride is Malka/queen, the Hebrew word which can be read as Mem (the letter) which equals 40 and the remaining three letters are the same that make up the word Kala. Hence, this word Malka also signifies that I married my bride in my 40th year.

Also today, according to the worldwide schedule of learning one chapter a day of the Mishneh Torah - a compendium of all the Halachos/laws of the Torah - authored by the Rambam/Maimonides, marks the conclusion of Hilchot Ishut/Laws of Matrimony, consisting of 25 chapters, which began on 26 Kislev/2nd day of Chanuka, the day that I got married.

In the Rambam's memory, it's worthwhile to point out the four Mitzvot/Commandments which form the basis of Hilchot Ishut - 1) To marry a woman with a Ketuba & Kiddushin. 2) Not to have relations with a woman without a Ketuba & Kiddushin. 3) Not to hold back food, clothing and relations from one's wife. 4) To beget children from one's wife.

Now, let me write here the first Halacha that the Rambam writes in this set of laws: "Before Matan Torah - the Torah was given - a man would meet a woman in the street, if there was a mutual agreement between the two to get married, he would bring her to his home and have relations with her, making her his wife. However, since the Torah was given, the Jewish people were commanded that if a man wants to marry a woman, he needs to first acquire her in front of witnesses, and only afterwards does she become his wife, as it says, "When a man takes a woman, and comes on her (intimate relations)" (Deutronomy 22:13)."

The Rambam in the following laws then details what the Torah means by "taking a woman" - not simply by holding her arm until coming home and being in bed with her. Perhaps this is one of the best demonstrations of why we need to follow the Torah She'be'al Peh/Oral Torah, to understand what the Torah/Chumash really means when it says something that we have to follow. You see, taking denotes possessing, which is typically done with giving money - in this case, giving a ring of at least minimal value to the bride, and/or with a document, which in this case is the Ketuba.

Noting that there are 25 chapters in Hilchot Ishut, it brings to mind what Hashem told Abraham when He promised him children - KO Yihyeh Zar'echa - "SO shall your children be" (Genesis 15:5), where the word KO - Kaf Hei - is the Gematria of 25, and the ultimate spiritual purpose of marriage is to have children.

Along these lines, the middle number between 1 and 25 is 13. Going back to the beginning of time with Adam & Eve, it states, "One will cleave to his wife, and they will be ONE flesh" (Genesis 2:24), leading to having children, and Echad/One is the Gematria of 13.

And speaking of the number 13, as can be found at the end of Shacharit/morning prayers in most Siddurim/prayerbooks, are listed the 13 principles of faith, based on the Rambam's Mishna commentary on Sanhedrin 10:1, most of which can also be found in the very beginning of his work Mishneh Torah entitled Hilchot Yesodei HaTorah - "Foundations of the Torah", which includes the Mitzva of believing that Hashem is One - with no partnerships or trinities.

And just as the creation of birth is due to the concept of "ONE flesh" where the Hebrew word for one is 13, so is the 13th and last of the Rambam's principles of faith about Techiyat HaMeitim/Resurrection of the Dead which is in essence the rebirth of the person who once lived before he passed away, and will be resurrected in the future.

Now, adding the the first and last of the above numbers - 1 and 25 - they add to 26 - which is the Gematria of Hashem's main name which we are forbidden to pronounce - the name of Yud Hei Vav Hei - which we may refer to when learning Torah as Hashem or Yud Kei Vav Kei - and as A-do-noy in our prayers. Indeed, the very beginning of the Rambam's work which begins with Hilchot Yesodei HaTorah starts with four words - Yesod HaYesodot V'Amud HaChachmot - "The foundation of foundation and the pillar of wisdoms" (referring to the belief in the existance of Hashem) in which the beginning letters spells the above name of Hashem.

And speaking of beginning with the number 26, so was the beginning of my married life - or my wedding day - on the 26th of Kislev, on which the worldwide schedule of learning one chapter of the Mishneh Torah, beginning of the volume of Nashim/women, the name of which is the Gematria of my wife's Hebrew name Yael Miriam, and more specifically the beginning of Hilchot Ishut/Laws of Matrimony.

And as I had mentioned in previous posts, the phrase Sefer Rambam can be spelled equidistantly once in the entire Chumash, where every following letter is the 5770th from the letter before that, noting that we are in the year 5770, and I am in my 40th year - bearing in mind that the word Mishneh can be spelled as a contraction of Mem (the letter) which is the Gematria of 40 and Shana/year(s)! This is bearing in mind that when people quote "the Rambam", unless specified otherwise, they are referring specifically to the Mishneh Torah, as the Rambam wrote a number of other works as well, including his commentary on the entire Mishnah.

And in the Mishneh Torah, there are 83 sections of laws. Accordingly, there are exactly 83 days from 20 Tevet - Yahrzeit of the Rambam through 14 Nissan - BIRTH of the Rambam in this year of 5770 (in some years when they are Jewish leap years, there is an extra month of Adar during this period of time). Hence, the first of these days which is the Yahrzeit of the Rambam corresponds to Hilchot Yesodei HaTorah, the laws that includes the belief in Hashem and His Oneness, as well as the belief in Moshe being the greatest prophet as well as the Torah as being handed down by Moshe which can never be changed or exchanged for a different "Torah" or "Bible".

And for those who learn the seven Aliyot of the Parsha on the corresponding day of the week, the 4th Aliya of Parshat Shemot as learned today as the 4th day of the week of Parshat Shemot mentions of Hashem calling out to Moses, using his name twice - "Moshe, Moshe" (Exodus 3:4). Being that this Parsha always falls out around the Yahrzeit of the Rambam, perhaps this double mention of Moses' name hints also to the Rambam whose name was Moshe. Indeed, there is a famous saying, "From Moshe (Moses) until Moshe (Maimonides) there was none that arose like Moshe (Maimonides)". In fact, there is a story told that on the night that the Rambam completed his Mishneh Torah, Moshe Rabbeinu appeared to him, looked at his work, and wished him well for the halachic work that he had just completed.

As the NAME of the Parsha - and as the NAME of the 2nd Book of Moses bearing the same name - is Shemot, which means NAMES, I want to point out that the phrase Sefer Rambam has a connection to this. You see, the word Sefer/Book is the Gematria of Shem/Name (340). Noting this, the work of the Rambam - Mishneh Torah - begins with hinting to Hashem's NAME using an acronym. And the NAME "Rambam" is an acronym for the words Rabbeinu Moshe Ben Maimon. And just like we never call Hashem by his real name, so too, we always refer to the Rambam by his title, rarely by his actual name. Also, the title of Hashem referring to G-d, which literally means "the NAME", can be spelled backwards to read Moshe!

In modern times, the Jewish people has been referred to by a title Am HaSefer - "nation of the book". The word HaSefer "The Book" in this context refers to the Bible. It can also be said that this word in Hebrew can be read as a contraction of Hei (the letter) which is the Gematria of 5, and Sefer, as there are the Five Books of Moses, and the word HaSefer is the Gematria of Moshe/Moses (345). Hence, we are called "Nation of Moses", or for that matter in terms of spelling Moshe's name backwards to read Hashem, we are ultimately called "Nation of Hashem"!

As I had mentioned early on in this post about marrying my wife on Chanuka, the word Am/nation shares the same Gematria as the words Nes/miracle & my wife's first name Yael (110). As we know, on Chanuka, there is a concept of Pirsumei HaNes - publicising the miracle of Chanuka, particularly by lighting our Menorahs in such a way that people from outside in the street can see them being lit in one's home or building. Accordingly, Am HaSefer can be reread as Sippur HaAm or Sippur HaNes, as Sippur/story is etymologically related to the word Sefer/book. That is, story of the nation of Israel or story of the miracle. And indeed, the Bible is full of telling the story of the miracles of the Jewish people - their existance to begin with, the miracle wrought for them, and how they survived as a nation despite what the other nations have attempted to do to us, under which the same circumstances, no other nation being defeated in the past have survived as a nation - including the Egyptians, Babylonians, Greeks and Romans, the very nations who attempted to either enslave us, hinder our progress, do away with us, change our religion, or rule us with an iron fist.

Concluding on a good note, as we mentioned the special connection of the Rambam with this Hebrew year 5770, ending with the number 70, the Rambam passed away in his 70th year. As the title of his magnum opus Mishneh Torah is also another title for Sefer Devarim/Deutronomy, it's interesting to note that the beginning of this Biblical book states that Moshe Rabbeinu "explained the Torah", upon which Rashi notes that Moshe explained it to them in 70 languages. The purpose of this of course was so that everyone would understand what the Torah is saying. Accordingly, the Rambam's ultimate goal of his Mishneh Torah, as he mentions in his introduction, is to make the laws of the Torah to be understood amidst the difficult and confusing wording of the Talmud.

And just like the giving of the Torah, which was the sole reason for the world's existance from Creation and continued existance, happened near the end of the 49th "Jubilee" cycle of 50 years (see Post #48); so too, the birth of the Rambam occurred near the end of the 49th century from the Creation of the world in 4895 (1135), who was destined to write a halachic work which is quoted by virtually all Torah scholars when discussing the Talmud or Halacha/Jewish Law, and without Halacha, a Jew cannot be a good Jew without following the Laws of the King, which are the details of the Taryag Mitzvot/613 Commandments, the basis of the laws of the Mishneh Torah.

Bearing in mind that the 20th of Tevet is the Yahrzeit of the Rambam, when Moshe Rabbeinu pleaded for forgiveness for the Jewish people for the sin of the Golden Calf, he told Hashem that if he wouldn't forgive them, then "erase me from Your book (the Torah) that You wrote". Now the Hebrew Sifrecha "Your book" can be read as two words Sefer Chaf - "Book 20" or the 20th book. While there are only five books to the Chumash as Hashem dictated to Moshe, there are a total of 54 Parshiyot, the 20th of which is Parshat Tetzave, in which Moshe's name isn't mentioned once as a reflection of what Moshe said here, but hinting to Moshe's Yahrzeit of 7 Adar which always occurs around the time that Parshat Tetzave is read (see Post #20), it begins with V'Ata Tetzave - "You (Moshe) shall command the Children of Israel, and they should take for you (Moshe) pure olive oil beaten to its finest for light to be lit as a continuous light", hence hinting to the concept of a Ner Tamid, a light continously lit in a synagogue or study hall, as well as lighting a candle for a person's Yahrzeit. Perhaps as the 20th Parsha, this is another hint to the Yahrzeit of the Rambam which was destined to occur on the 20th of Tevet.

And as it says about the birth of Moshe in this week's Parshat Shemot which is always read around the time of the Rambam's Yahrzeit - "She (Moshe's mother Yocheved) saw that he (Moshe) was good". Rashi explains that when he was born, the house where he was at was filled with (spiritual) light. This is bearing in mind that we always read this Parsha where it mentions this in the month of Tevet, the word for which is etymologically related to the word Tov/good; and as mentioned in the Midrash, his mother named him Tuvia - "Good of Hashem".

The Rambam truly lived up to his name - Rabbeinu Moshe (Ben Maimon), the first two words having the same Gematria as 613, as is the same as Moshe Rabbeinu, who was BORN and MARRIED in this week's Parshat Shemot, the one who transmitted the detailed laws of the Torah - which are based on the 613 Commandments (see Talmud Makkot 23b), from the ONE and Only - Hashem Himself.

20 Tevet 5770 - Yahrzeit of the Rambam/Maimonides

P.S. The time posted for this blog is 6:20 AM. This comes to mind the 613 Commandments of the Torah, as mentioned in this post, as well as the Sheva Mitzvot D'Rabbanan - the "Seven Commandments of the Rabbis", adding up to the total of 620 commandments.

1 comment:

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