Tuesday, January 12, 2010

#56 - TIME 4 Redemption

Imagine if we would be living on a desert island without anyone else but ourselves as the only person. How would we ever know about the various units of time - day, week, month, year?How would we know on our own as to how to classify a unit of time?

Perhaps if we would have a little patience and we were fascinated by the moon, we would see a monthly cycle of how the moon appears growing larger and then disappears as it is shrinking in size. If we would have even greater patience, we would see and feel a yearly cycle of changing seasons.

However, in terms of living a daily life of hunting for food, eating and sleeping, it would be the day of what civilization knows as 24 hours that would be the most practical way of measuring time, because this would be associated with the most basic element of survival - food. While sightseeing the moon would be a nice hobby, it wouldn't serve any practicality other than perhaps a little light, but one would feel safer inside his cave from the wild animals at night. Hunting for animal hides would be a yearly chore to protect one from the cold, but they would be useless in the summer. However, with the sun shining, or at least even if it rains it's not dark like it is at night - it wouldn't take long for the caveman to realize that it is the unit of day - with the daily cycle of the daytime consisting of natural light useful to hunt for food, and the nighttime being useful for sleeping, that is the most important unit of time.

Believe it or not, the half clothed primitive caveman seems to have far more common sense than people in the United States who used to live the American dream (the numbers of such people will be less and less as the years go on with non-born American citizen, a.k.a. President Obama permanently ruining the United States' economy) who have looked forward to do their yearly Christmas shopping only to bankrupt their pockets and lives to make a bunch of people happy most of whom could hardly care for their yearly gifts. It's only once they see the big number - at least in the four digits, that they face reality only to stuff that particular monthly credit card statement in their pockets not wanting to think that they are not living a dream except a dream of fantasies that are way beyond their affordable budget.

Speaking in terms of Torah, all units of time are very significant because all of them deal heavily with Halacha/Jewish Law - daily prayers, Shabbat, Rosh Chodesh, yearly holidays. However, the immediate survival as a Jew is in daily living - recital of the Shema twice daily, prayers three times a day, blessings on food, other necessities of life, sights and sounds. What I just described here comprises the very first Mishnaic & Talmudic Tractate Berachot, the name of which means blessings; as well as a good chunk of the first part of the first of the four sections of the Shulchan Aruch/Code of Jewish Law - Orach Chaim, which means the path of living. It's only after this that the Mishna and the Jerusalem Talmud dedicate the rest of their first volume to the laws of agriculture followed by the laws of Shabbat, and the Babylonian Talmud and Code of Jewish Law continue straight with the laws of Shabbat; and then all these Jewish works continue with the laws of Rosh Chodesh or Jewish holidays.

At this point, I would like to mention that my focus of the various units of time in this post is on the day, and the Hebrew word for day is Yom which is the Gematria of 56, and this is my 56th post.

Among the earlier laws of the Orach Chaim section of the Code of Jewish Law, it speaks of the daily obligation of learning Torah. Various rabbis offer preferences as to what should be learned, especially if one is pressed for time. However, for the serious Torah scholar, no daily session of learning goes by without studying the meat of Jewish learning and foundation of the Code of Jewish Law - the Talmud, which is the detailed explanation of the laws in the Mishna - dealing with the source of the laws in the Torah/Chumash, their reasons, how to learn out what the correct law is, the varying opionions with their logical explanations behind those opinons, etc. Aside from the aspect of laws, a significant percentage of the Talmud consists of explanations of events in the Bible, moral and ethical lessons, and other fascinating "trivia". Hence, one who is not so fascinated with one part of the Talmud won't be too bored for long, and will appreciate the Torah for what it is consisting of many different facets of learning.

Today, there are countless schedules of Torah learning - from the Bible to the Talmud to Jewish Law. They may be in a list, in a calendar, or can be found on the internet. However, aside from the yearly Chumash and weekly or monthly Psalms, few other learning schedules existed before a 100 years ago.

What seems to have broken the ice is the concept of Daf Yomi, the (double sided) daily page of the Talmud - particularly the Babylonian Talmud, which takes seven years and a few months to complete to learn 2,711 pages. This was instituted by Rabbi Meir Shapiro, and began on Rosh Hashana 5684/1923. Today, there is hardly an Orthodox synagogue that does not have a schedule of learning Daf Yomi, or some class on the Talmud.

Normally, when we quote the Talmud, we are referring to the Babylonian Talmud, compiled in ancient Babylonia/Iraq which was by far the more popular of the two types of Talmud. Ironically, while the Jerusalem Talmud was composed at an earlier time, and is relatively shorter (though it is believed that there was much more that was composed but was lost), it didn't gain nearly the same attention, except for the attention of the bigger Torah scholars. If one were to compare the two Talmuds, he will see that the Jerusalem Talmud has harder language to understand, and being that it wasn't learned all so much, many writing/printing mistakes crept up and remained over a millenium of years.

Interesting enough, while it is called the Jerusalem Talmud, it was not even written in Jerusalem, but in Tiberias. Yet, it was called the Jerusalem Talmud in honor of Jerusalem that the rabbis hoped to live in once again with the rebuilt Temple. This was also keeping in line with the verse "Torah will issue from Zion, and the word of the L-rd from Jerusalem (Isaiah 2:3).

Bearing in mind that for so many centuries, most Jews in Europe and Middle East countries were poor, few could hardly afford a big library, and few copies of the Jerusalem Talmud could be found amidst copies of the far more popular Babylonian Talmud in the local Shteitel. Yet, all through the centuries, there were those few rabbis who attempted to make sense of what the Jerusalem Talmud has to say.

In modern times, many more Jews became much more affluent - especially in the United States, many Jews from non-observant homes became observant with a thirst for Jewish learning, and various modern technologies have been quite helpful in aiding a beginning student to learn Torah, especially the Talmud in the form of Daf Yomi - starting with audio cassettes, moving on to telephones, and moving fast forward to the internet. This is besides more modern translations of the Talmud in book form in English - the most understandable and comprehensive being the Artscroll translation (refer to http://www.artscroll.com/.) Five years ago, the team working on this project celebrated the completion of this most important Jewish work after 15 years of studious labor, consisting of 73 book volumes - both in bigger and smaller sizes. (I have the complete set in the smaller size).

Getting back to learning schedules, there are daily schedules regimens of study in the Bible, Mishna, Talmud, Zohar, Code of Jewish Law, Mishne Torah of Maimonides, Chasidic & ethical works, etc. Few have the time, money, expertise, and willpower to learn all of these things based on the written suggestion of learning for any one day.

With this being said, one would wonder if there is a daily schedule of learning the Jerusalem Talmud like there is for the Daf Yomi of the Babylonian Talmud. Even if there is such a thing, how relevant could it be if one barely has time to learn the daily Daf/double sided page of the Babylonian Talmud?

Yes, my friends. There is such a thing. But while the Jerusalem Talmud was composed before its counterpart, it took some 56 years, four months and two weeks from the original Daf Yomi -until daily learning of it by few more than seasoned Talmudic scholars would begin on Tu B'Shvat 5740/1980, instituted by Rabbi Simcha Bunim Alter, the 5th Gerrer Rebbe, also known by the title of his work, Lev Simcha. No doubt that many of his Chasidim or followers learn what is now known as the Daf Yomi of the Jerusalem Talmud, but now coming close to 30 years since, there has been quite a bit of a revolution and revival of learning this almost forgotten Talmud. Aside from tractate Shekalim which is included in the Daf Yomi of the Babylonian Talmud as the latter Talmud doesn't include this tractate, only now are the Jerusalem Talmud's pages getting to be a little more familiar. Five years ago, the Artscroll team wasted no time continuing on straight from finishing the Babylonian Talmud to starting translation on the Jerusalem Talmud. Various tractates have already appeared, including the first two Mishnaic Tractates of Berachot & Peah.

In terms of learning this via the internet - turn to http://www.yerushalmionline.org/. You can listen for free to taped English lessons of the Jerusalem Talmud. Slowly but maturely, the "word of the L-rd from Jerusalem" is spreading.

So nu, what is the punchline here you may ask? Why am I focusing particularly about the Jerusalem Talmud in this post?

Well my friends, as I am writing this, tonight begins the 8th cycle of the Daf Yomi of the Jerusalem Talmud - 17 days shy of 30 years ago when it began on Tu B'Shvat and on a Shabbat, as it will also occur as this year. (On a personal note, today's date beginning the 8th cycle of this Daf Yomi instituted by the Gerrer Rebbe known as the Lev Simcha, is the 32nd day from my wedding which took place on the 26th of Kislev. The Gematria of Lev/heart is 32, besides representing the part of the body that represents love which no doubt is the word in English that is based on the Hebrew word for heart. And there is a special Mitzva in the first year of marriage for a husband to give Simcha/happiness to his wife. This is addition to the fact that the very first Mishna, as learned on this first day, mentions the story of Rabban Gamliel's sons who came back from a Beit HaMishteh - wedding feast - as translated by Tosfos Yom Tov on Mishna Eruvin 8:1)
In terms of this year, there are a couple of very significant points to point out here. Firstly, as the completion of the 7th cycle or the beginning of the 8th cycle nears 30 years of worldwide Jerusalem Talmud Daf Yomi learning, the Mitzva of Talmud Torah is described as Lilmod Torah U'Lelamda - "To learn Torah and to teach it". The Hebrew for both learning and teaching is etymologically related to the word for the Hebrew letter - Lamed, the number for which is the Gematria of 30. As we see in the Talmud, there were sages who reviewed their learning every 30 days. Also today, you have schedules for learning smaller Jewish books to be learned in 30 days, including reciting the Book of Psalms on a monthly basis.

Secondly, we are in the midst of the 43rd year from the liberation of the holiest place on earth - including the Old City of Jerusalem consisting of the Temple area of the Temple Mount and the Western Wall, which occured on 28 Iyar 5727, on the 43rd day of the Sefira count from Passover until Shavuot. Considering the fact that the 7th cycle of the Jerusalem Talmud Daf Yomi began on the last day of 5765, the day before Rosh Hashana, the fact that this new cycle of the Jerusalem Talmud occurs in the midst of the 43rd year of the liberation of Jerusalem that took place on the 43rd day of the Sefira - as a four year and four month cycle, sounds to me nothing short of Hashgacha Peratit/Divine Providence!

It's hardly surprising that Hashem allowed it to be one of the Gerrer Rebbes who instituted this learning of Jerusalem Talmud. When one of the previous Gerrer Rebbes who moved to Israel was asked in the earlier days as to why he was supportive of the Zionistic dream of living in Israel when most of the early Zionists were not religious, he replied that Israel is still the Holy Land, and it still retains its holiness. Today, the Gerrer Chasidim are one of the largest Hasidic groups. Also, unlike resistance of serving in the Israeli army from much of the more religious looking groups, there are some Gerrer Chasidim who serve in the Israeli army in following the Torah of wanting to help protect the Jewish people from our ever blood thirsty Arab enemies.

As I had mentioned as per Post #29 about Jerusalem Day & my recent Post #53, the word Gadol/BIG is the Gematria of 43; and on Chanuka, we describe the holiday miracle as a Nes Gadol - "A BIG miracle". And as it is beginning of the 8th cycle of Jerusalem Talmud Daf Yomi in this 43rd year from the events of Jerusalem Day of the 43rd day of the Sefira, it should be noted that the Maharal of Prague comments that the number eight is a number represents what is
beyond nature describing miracles, which includes the concept of the 8 days of Chanuka, as even Shabbat is still within the realm of the natural weekly cycle of seven days. However, the number eight as it represents the Brit Mila/circumcision that takes place on the 8th day of the baby boy's birth supercedes the Shabbat of the seven day week, on which day the activities of circumcision would otherwise be forbidden if not in the context of a Mitzva or is after the 8th day of the baby boy.

With this being said, it is especially the number eight that represents miracles - that is, Hashem's displays of His actions that are beyond the normal standard of living, even though nature is no less of Hashem's abilities of exercising his show of strength and power. But what this represents is that for special reasons, Hashem will go far beyond what normally happens within the realm of nature to accomplish what would otherwise not normally happen. Indeed, the Jews winning the Six Day War by gaining much territory in Israel - including the holiest area in the world - as a small clan in sharp contrast to 31 million Arabs attempting to drive us to the sea when the world media was talking about the end of the modern state of Israel was no less than one of the BIGGEST miracles that took place in perhaps hundreds of years, and this in front of the whole world much of which was Anti-Semitic.

As a quick reference to this week's Parshat Vaera, the 4th Aliyah as learned by many on the 4th day of the week begins Hashem's wonders and miracles of beginning striking the Egyptians who refused to let the Jewish leave their country. And the day that the Jerusalem Talmud Daf Yomi began in 5740/1980 was Shabbat Parshat Beshalach, when we read of Hashem's final miracles dealing with the Egyptians being given their final blow following chasing the Jews literally to the sea which happened on the 4th day of the week; and upon the Jews exiting the sea and the Egyptians drowning, the Jews sang the Shirat HaYam/Song of the Sea on that momentous Wednesday morning.

Many refer to delving deeply into learning the Talmud as diving into the Yam HaTalmud - "Sea of Talmudic learning". The Torah, as most exemplified by the Talmud, is most deep, and the more one learns it, the more new insights one will gain by learning it seriously on a regular basis.

And what can be said as the all time BIGGEST miracle besides the survival of the Jewish people is the survival of the Talmud, as there were various Talmud burnings by Anti-Semitic Europe at one point of Jewish history. Fires took their toll, but the opposite force of nature - the "Sea of the Talmud" brought out the best of Torah students who had passionate fire within themselves to learn the Talmud amidst great poverty and Anti-Semitism.

And as another connection between Jerusalem Day & the Jerusalem Talmud, just like the miraculous events of Jerusalem Day in 5727/1967 took place on the 4th day of the week, so too does this 8th cycle of the Jerusalem Talmud Daf Yomi begin on the 4th day of the week. I hesitate to say Wednesday begin the Jewish day starts at night, so the 4th day of the week on the Jewish calendar begins on Tuesday night. However, the Shir Shel Yom/Psalm of the day of the week for the 4th day is recited in the Wednesday morning prayers - which is Psalm 94. As I had mentioned in the past, while the (First) Temple was destroyed on a Sunday, the Levites did not sing the usual Psalm 24 for Sunday but Psalm 94. A few words shy of completing this Psalm, the enemies barged in to destroy the Temple.

While it may not have been obvious until today why the Levites found themselves sing a Psalm from a different day of the week except for the fact that under the pressing circumstances of the enemies on the verge of destroying the Temple while fighting the Jews, the Levites may have been confused about what day of the week it was even though it was Shabbat the day before; it seems that since the events of Jerusalem Day when the announcement was made "The Temple Mount is in our hands!" took place on Wednesday, from the very source of announcement of troubles for the Jewish people - as per the contents of Psalm 94 - was the source of salvation that was to take place some 42 years ago in the midst of masses of Jews returning to Israel once again.

Hence, this 8th cycle of Jerusalem Talmud Daf Yomi beginning on THIS SAME DAY OF THE WEEK as the number eight in particular represents the concept of miracles highlights this concept in terms of how Hashem was good to us in recent times after nearly two milleniums of suffering. The fact that Jews have been suffering much in Israel in the last some 42 years is for the most part caused by their own Jewish enemies within the Judenreit government who started capitulating to our Arab enemies from handing control of the holiest area of the world - the Temple Mount, only like a couple of years after the BIGGEST miracle of hundreds if not thousands of years took place. Until this time, it was for the most part troubles from the non-Jews who controlled us both outside and inside of Israel until we had it all in '67 which instilled fear in the Arabs, but Moshe Dayan with his physical and spiritual blindness in his eye coupled with his hatred of authentic Judaism showed goodwill to the Wafti who have since for the most part along with the Kapo/Nazi Jewish police control the Temple Mount on which non-observant Jewish tourists trample on all parts of it in violation of the Torah, while observant Jews who are careful about the parts that are forbidden to be entered due to our impurity from the dead, are forbidden to even bring a prayer book or move their lips that can denote praying in any way; and hence, this control to the Arabs who now had less fear of us thanks to this eventually led to the Yom Kippur War just a few years later.

But perhaps just as great as a phenomena is that this is the FIRST cycle of the Jerusalem Talmud Daf Yomi that that ever began on the 4th day of the week. Now normally in a schedule of learning like for the regular Daf Yomi of the Babylonian Talmud, in the course of seven cycles, each day of the week will have a chance to be the day on which the new cycle begins, unless it was scheduled as such that each cycle will always fall out on the same day of the week. However,
do bear in mind that there is one difference between this schedule of learning Jerusalem Talmud Daf Yomi and schedules suggested for other Jewish works. This Daf Yomi schedule excludes Tisha B'Av & Yom Kippur - the two big fast days of the Jewish calendar. Hence, with a variable of 8-10 days in the midst of the learning cycle that do not include learning for that day, it's possible that within seven cycles, there will be more than one that will start on the same day of the week, as indeed it happened this way. Thus, this is the FIRST TIME EVER that this schedule began on the 4th day of the week. And if this was not enough, the concluding day of this cycle (unless lost Jerusalem Talmud material is discovered after Moshiach comes) will also be on the 4th day of the week, ending on Wednesday - 23 Nissan 5774/2014, which also marks the birthday of the institutor of this Talmud Jerusalem Daf Yomi (unless we base our calendar on the monthly sighting of the moon after Moshiach comes)! Yes indeed, this 8th cycle is the learning cycle that is associated with miracles and Jerusalem.

Speaking of the Shir Shel Yom/Song of the DAY, it's fascinating to note that aside from one of the letters of Shin in this phrase, the remaining letters spell Yerushalayim & Yerushalmi (as in Talmud Yerushalmi/Jerusalem Talmud)! After all, the Levites did their singing in the Temple of Jerusalem. And as for the remaining letter Shin which is the Gematria of 300, we see an inconsistency of the count of the original Levites in the Torah where it lists them as a total of 22,000, but counting the totals of the three Levite familes, the total comes out to 22,300; hence a difference of 300. Our rabbis explain that these 300 where also Bechorim, the first-born, the category who were originally going to be the Cohanim to serve the Jewish people, but lost this right with the sin of the Golden Calf. However, these 300 Levites retains their status as ones who served in the Tabernacle, but as first borns, were not eligible to redeem some of the 22,273 firstborns from the other tribes who now would no longer be eligible to serve in the Tabernacle.
This was the first practice of the Mitzva of Pidyon HaBen, redemption of a first born who is a male whose neither parents are the children of a Cohen or a Levite, which is now performed by giving five coins of a certain value to a Cohen.

Connecting the concept of REDEMPTION and JERUSALEM in another way, a few verses earlier than what I quoted before in this post from the Book of Isaiah reads (1:27) - Tzion B'Mishpat Tipadeh, V'Shaveha B'Tzedaka - "Zion with be REDEEMED with justice, and her captives with charity". A famous Gematria from the Midrash Talpiyot - the first three words of the verse is the Gematria of Talmud Yerushalmi/Jerusalem Talmud (1076), and the last two words of the verse is the Gematria of Talmud Bavli/Babylonian Talmud (524). It has been explained that it is the Jerusalem Talmud that will redeem the Land of "Zion", and it is the Babylonian Talmud that will redeem the "captive" Jewish people. Hence, we see here a clear connection between the Jerusalem Talmud and redemption of Jerusalem as well as other parts of Israel back in '67. The truth is that the Daf Yomi of Jerusalem Talmud began since the Jerusalem Day events almost 13 years earlier, but the fact is that these two concepts of Torah & the Land of Israel are most connected with one another, because the ultimate place that is meant for us to live a Jewish life is in Israel, as recounted numerous of times, especially the Book of Deutronomy, the content of which Moses began on Rosh Chodesh Shevat, which will fall out this year on Shabbat, the very first Shabbat of the 8th cycle of the Jerusalem Talmud Daf Yomi.

It has also been explained that the total Gematria value of the verse in Isaiah 1:27 is the number 1,600, the square root of which is 40, that is, 40*40. As we know, Hashem dictated the Torah to Moses in 40 days time, and it is the Talmud that represents the Oral Tradition with its detailed laws and explanations as Hashem handed down to Moses. In the 40th year of the Jews living in the desert, Moses began his final series of sermons as the Book of Deutronomy, another name for which is Mishneh Torah - the first word Mishneh which can be read as the letter Mem=40 and Shana/year. Also, the Mishna, which is the foundation of the Oral Law, begins with the letter Mem and ends with a (final) Mem, having a Gematria of 40. And finally, it was Rav Ashi & Ravina of the 40th generation of receiving the Torah beginning with Moses who wrote down the Babylonian Talmud. On a personal note, I am in my 40th year, and I am looking forward to this Shabbat/Rosh Chodesh Shevat which marks the date when Moses began his discourse of the Book of Deutronomy in the 40th year of the Jews living in the desert.

And just when you thought it was over - the Gematria of Sefer Devarim/Book of Deutronomy is the same Gematria as each of the words Yerushalayim/Jerusalem and Yerushalmi (as in Talmud Yerushalmi) - 596! Indeed, the fact that the first Shabbat of the 8th cycle of the Jerusalem Talmud Daf Yomi is Rosh Chodesh Shevat, the very date beginning this final book of the Chumash - Sefer Devarim, highlights this point. Moreover, the word Mishna or Mishne - as in the other name for this Sefer as Mishne Torah - when this word's letters are rearranged can be spelled Shemonah/eight! Now I should note that except for five places in the Bible, the word Yerushalayim is spelled without a second Yud, making the usual Gematria to be 586; however, we normally spell this word these days with two Yuds.

It's interesting to note that in Chasidic sources, Rosh Chodesh Shevat - the NEW month of Shevat - is considered to be the Rosh Hashana - the NEW year - of Torah She'B'Al Peh/Oral Torah of which the Mishna & Talmud/Gemara form this basis. Hence, especially for those who are busy with work during the week, this coming Shabbat on which this special date falls out on and will be the first Shabbat in this 8th cycle of the Jerusalem Talmud Daf Yomi can mark a reNEWal of learning either Mishna and/or Gemara, even if not particularly in the Jerusalem Talmud.

There is another word that is similar to Shemonah/eight - it is Shemen/oil. The date of the beginning of the 8th cycle of the Jerusalem Talmud Daf Yomi is 27 Tevet. As I had mentioned in my previous post, Hashem told Moses to take for himself Shemen Zayit Zach - "Pure olive oil", the beginning of Parshat Tetzaveh in which Aaron the first Cohen Gadol/High Priest is commanded to wear EIGHT priestly garments. The word Zach/pure has the same letters as the Hebrew letters for the number 27 - Chaf Zayin. And then Psalms 133:2 reads "Like the GOOD OIL upon the head running down upon the beard, the beard of Aaron, running down over his garments". As we know, the word for this month Tevet is etymologically related to the word Tov/good. Hence we see a connection of the number eight as it relates to its similar word Shemen/oil with this date of 27 Tevet - pure & good. Wow!

And so what is the connection of the Cohanim over here? Well first, there is a hint to Asher, son of Jacob at he relates to the Mishnayot, as it states in the Midrash that Asher himself waits by the gates of Gehinnom/purgatory and doesn't allow those who learned Mishnayot to enter. As in Jacob's blessing for Asher - M'Asher Shemaina Lachmo... "From Asher will have richness (literally means fatness or oily) and he will provide delicacies of a king" (Genesis 49:20). First, his name Asher is the same Gematria as the first word of the Mishna - Mei'ei'matai - 501 ("FROM WHEN do we read the Shema in the evening"?)! Then the next word Shemaina, which literally means oily, has the same letters as Mishna. And then as a sign that can hint to Daf Yomi, as the Talmud's explanations is based on the Mishna, the following word Lachmo/his bread is the same Gematria as Daf/folio or page - 84!

Now, as the months of the years have a corresponding Tribe, it is the Tribe of Asher that corresponds to the month of Shevat, which is also the birth month of Asher! Hence, this Shabbat is the first one of the 8th cycle of Talmud Jerusalem Daf Yomi that begins the month of Shevat that corresponds to Asher, bearing in mind that the word Shemaina has the same letters of Mishna and Shemona/eight and Lachmo is the Gematria of Daf - that is, the first Shabbat of the 8th cycle of this Daf Yomi on the beginning of Shevat - Rosh Chodesh Shevat!

Now fast forwarding to Moses' blessing for the Tribe of Asher, Rashi mentions that it was the daughters of the Tribe of Asher who were married to the COHANIM GEDOLIM/HIGH PRIESTS and kings, who were annointed with olive OIL! Small wonder then that the very beginning of the Mishnayot after asking the question of the timing of the evening Shema immediately answers that the timing began from when the Cohanim entered to eat their Teruma/priestly portion of food, following having gone to the Mikva/ritularium near the end of the day due to an impurity, and waited until nighttime to eat this food. The Talmud goes into detail as to why the Mishna mentioned specifically this fact when it could have just stated that the time begins from Tzeit HaCochavim, when the stars come out!

And connecting the concept of kings, BIG, and the Shir Shel Yom for Wednesday, the concluding verse of this day's Shir Shel Yom that we say nowadays is (which concludes with the first three verses of Psalm 95) - "For Hashem is a big G-d, and a big King over all the gods". May we live to see the big day when "Hashem will be King over the entire universe" (Zechariah 14:9).


Technically, you can call it a DAY for reading this 56th Post. However, while I am posting the following in this same post as it is connected with the above theme of redemption, it is its own special topic that should trigger a worldwide interest into what may very well be the year of the end of our exile as it seems to have been mentioned by Moses himself based on a Talmudic explanation on last week's Parshat Shemot - which I discovered from learning the weekly quotations of the Talmud based on the Parsha in the Torah Temimah Chumash which I started from Parshat Mikeitz, the Parsha of my wedding week of a few weeks ago, as well as a word in the same Parshat Shemot having the very same letters as the year that I am referring to, with unusual cantillation notes.


Let's begin with the first encounter of Hashem with Moses at the burning bush. As recounted in Tractate Berachot 9b, and paraphrased by Rashi, at one point of the conversation attempting to convince Moses to go help redeem the Jewish nation, Hashem said as a name of His "I Shall Be As I Shall Be". Meaning, that Moses should tell the Jews that just as I will be with them in this servitude, so too will I be with them in future servitudes. Perhaps if it was a human being who would have said this, these would be very comforting words. However, the fact that Hashem worded it this way meant that the fact that there would be future times of sorrow for the Jews indicated that indeed their future descendants would have troubles. While Hashem indicated that He would be with them with their future suffering, Moshe would hear none of this. After all, why give them bad news in advance especially when they were presently suffering. In the Talmud's very words of Moshe's reply - Dayah LeTzarah B'SHAHTAH - "Enough suffering IN ITS TIME".

Now in response, Hashem did accept Moses' argument and agreed that Moses could just mention about Hashem's assistance in their present suffering. We can ask here "If Hashem knew beforehand that Moses would offer his argument and at the end would not reveal Hashem's full response, then why did Hashem even suggest it"? But for the moment, let's focus on the last word of Moses' response as written exactly in the Talmud - B'Shahtah "In its time".

The literal meaning of that context is referring to that present time of the suffering of the Jews in Egypt. But a little rearrangement of this word - the same way as we did it earlier in this post for the word Mishna from Shemaina and Shemona - will reveal what I believe to be the year of the end of the suffering of the Jewish people today. What year will this be in? IN - after the letters of this word after the Beit which means IN in this context, when rearranged as Hei Tav Shin Ayin - 5770, THIS YEAR! That is, Moses was in effect saying, "ENOUGH OF THE JEWS' SUFFERING - IN 5770"!

I always wondered when it states in Midrashic literature that the "first redeemer (Moses) will be the last redeemer". We know that Moshiach will be from the Davidic dynasty of the Tribe of Judah while Moses came from the Tribe of Levi. True, one of the names referring to Moshiach is Shilo which is the same Gematria as Moshe - 345, but clearly, it is NOT Moses who will be THE Moshiach?! Is it just a game of Gematriot here, or what does the Midrash really want to tell us?

While it may be suggested that a spark of Moses's soul will be in the Messiah, we also know that Moses himself as his own identity will be among the first to be resurrected in the Messianic era, but this only answers the question from strictly a kabbalistic point. However, the original source in the Midrash telling us about the first redeemer being the last redeemer is not a kabbalistic source to hint to this kind of matter, and as a source of explaining things on a different level, there has to be some other sort of connection and explanation.

No doubt, Moses as the first redeemer led the way for the final redemption. After all, if Jacob knew the time of the redemption but Hashem didn't allow him to say it to his children, then certainly Moses himself as the orchestrator of the Jews' first redemption had to have known the time of our future and final redemption. However, there was a big difference here between Jacob and Moses. For whatever reason, Jacob was ready to reveal that final date. However, Hashem did not wish for his children to know because then it would have been hard for the Jews with that knowledge to wait so long until now. In contrast, while Hashem gave the chance for Moses to reveal that information, Moses knew that it wouldn't be in the Jews' best interest to know how many thousands of years it would be until the final time.

Perhaps Hashem was testing Moses here about his sensitivity for the Jewish people. While Jacob wanted to be a good Jewish father and reveal some secrets, Moses looked at the bigger picture of not only what would be best for the present nation of Jews, but for their future descendants. In the long run, Moses felt this information would be quite harmful, and the Jews would not eagerly await for Moshiach as a Jews is supposed to as one of the 13 principles of Jewish faith as listed by the Rambam/Maimonides, whose Yahrzeit always falls around the reading of Parshat Shemot, in which this dialogue between Hashem and Moses took place. Hence, it was only after Moses raised his concern about mentioning future sorrows for the Jews -and his concern about THE MENTION OF THE YEAR OF THE FINAL REDEMPTION - as if to say, "It's enough that the Jews will suffer until the end of exile IN 5770. Why mention this?"
In response, Hashem told him only to say to the Jews "I Shall Be has sent me (Moses) to you". That is, Moses showed himself to be worthy of being sent by Hashem Who wanted to show his support for the Jews in their time of trouble, as Moses exemplified from an early age by his actions and his sensitivity for the Jews' feelings.

Now, while Rashi quotes from the above Talmudic source, he does not quote exactly the way it is worded in the Talmud. He paraphrases this as "It's enough for them in THIS suffering". The main word of B'Shahtah is replaced with the word Zu/this, not quoting the Talmud exactly as it is written. What's the deal here?

Perhaps Rashi wanted to hint to the month in which we will be redeemed. In place of B'Shahtah, he uses the word Zu - the letters Zayin & Vav. Now, in the Tnach/Bible, we see the name of the month in which construction of the first Temple began in the "Month of Ziv" (I Kings 6:1) (NOTE: Rashi was given his name Shlomo from the Haftara for Parshat Teruma which mentions the name of Shlomo HaMelech/King Solomon, as he was born in the week of that Parsha). As the Bible mentions that this is the 2nd month, and we count the months from Nissan, this is the month of Iyar (my birth month).

Now typically, the word Ziv which means shine, is spelled with a Yud in the middle of this word. However, the Bible spells this word without a Yud; hence, just spelled as Zayin & Vav, just like the word Zu that Rashi mentioned in reference to the redemption from Egypt, and as I pointed out, a reference to the time of our upcoming redemption.

Hence, as the Talmud already hinted to the year of the redemption - 5770, it seems that Rashi wants to mention the month of our redemption, which he seems to hint to the month of Iyar that is called by the name Ziv in the Bible, and Rashi spells the same word as Zu - using the same two letters for the word as without Hebrew vowels!


Following Moses' dialogue with Hashem and giving encouragement to the Jews, he faced head on with the king and enslaver of the Jews himself. Pharaoh not only did not listen to Moses' plea to "Let My people go!", but made it ever harder for the Jews who used to at least be given their daily rationed portion of food, and decreed that now would have to fetch their daily food
themselves. He mocked them for complaining that their work was too hard and that they were too lazy to work. As part of the slavery system, selected Jews were appointed to be policemen over their brethren to see to it that the remaining Jews would complete their daily work. Unlike most other situations, these Jews policemen were not only not Kapos, but they took the beating from the Egyptian taskmasters on behalf of their fellow Jews not wishing to make their job harder than it already was. In response, these Jewish policemen complained to Pharaoh stating Lamah TA'ASEH Choh LaAvadeicha "Why DO YOU DO this to your servants" (Exodus 5:15)?

While there are many instances that this word TA'ASEH is used in the Bible, and as I had mentioned in Post #45 in the beginning of this Jewish year of 5770, this word as associated with doing work on the six days of the week represent preparation for Shabbat; and that in like kind, the six thousand years of the world's existance correspond to the six days of the week, and that we are just on the brink of the redemption that will take place before the end of this time. Also, as rearranged, the letters of this word can be rearranged to be the number of this Jewish year 5770, which can also be read as HaTeisha - the nine, or an alternate way of rearranging these letters as Tisha - nine, depending on the masculine and feminine wording for the number nine in Hebrew. As mentioned in the song called Echad Mi Yodea in the Haggada, nine represents the nine months of pregnancy. And as we know, the period right before Moshiach's coming is called Chevlei Moshiach - "birthpangs of Moshiach".

So too here, the timing of this story of the Jewish policemen approaching Pharaoh was right before the end of the Egyptian exile. In fact, the final day of Hashem's dialogue with Moses as the burning bush as recounted in the Midrash was the 15th of Nissan, the date in which exactly one year, the Jews would be leaving Egypt, and it was an average of one plague a month for the Egyptians that took place, so the 10 plagues didn't take longer than a year, which happened right after the events concluding this Parshat Shemot.

Now, all of this is fine and dandy. After all, I found a second word related to this Parsha that also can have its letters rearranged to spell this year 5770. But did this just pop up in my head, or did I notice something unusual here?

Unusual is right. This very word Ta'aseh that can rearranged to spell this very year Hei Tav Shin Ayin - 5770, is found with a rare cantillation note. These are shaped like two bananas at the bottom of the word, unlike when it usually looks just like one banana. The usual note is called a Meircha. This particular one is called a Meircha Kefula/Chefula "A DOUBLE Meircha". (Note: Don't have a translation for Meircha at this time). At least in the Chumash, this is a rarity. As a past Ba'al Koreh/Torah reader for some 15 years, I can tell you that this is found no more than a handful to a dozen times in the Chumash. With this being said, this cantillation note makes this word Ta'aseh a very noticable word.

But this is only half of the story. There are five letters of the Alef Beit that are spelled a little differently at the end of a word. These are Kaf/Chaf, Mem, Noon, Pei/Fei, and Tzadi. Hence, there are two forms, or DOUBLE forms of five of the letters of the Alef Beit. The Midrash tells us that these five letters as double forms hint to the redemption using these letters spelling two similar words in five different places in the Bible. Without getting into a whole long Midrash here, we have right here in Parshat Shemot where Moses as Hashem's messenger gave the sign of the upcoming redemption from Egypt using the words Pakod Pakadti "I have surely remembered you", using the letter Pei in spelling the same basic word as a DOUBLE form, which shortly follows the part of the dialogue of Moses' not wishing to mention future troubles of the Jewish people, making him worthy of being the Jews' redeemer, with Hashem giving him the secret code that Joseph told his brothers that would indicate that it was time for the redemption from Egypt.

And so this all fits in together. The first redeemer or redemption and the last/final redeemer or redemption are in effect a double form of G-d's wonderous miracles of redemption. As stated "As in the days when you left the land of Egypt, I will show you wonders (in the final redemption)" (Micah 7:15). The Jewish policemen were in effect telling Pharaoh. "Wait a minute. You are going too far. The excess pressure that you are now applying to us belongs to the time right before the final redemption (in 5770, G-d willing), which will be the Chevlei Moshiach."
(Note: I had mentioned in the past about what I found in the Hidden Codes of the Torah in relationship with Sukkot 5770 being the time associated with Chevlei Moshiach. Indeed, Obama who has been shown in the Hidden Codes to be Gog U'Magog, was nominated for a Nobel peace prize on the last day of Sukkot - exactly eight years after the start of the war of the United States with Afghanistan which rabbis declared to be the beginning of the war of Gog U'Magog -even though he had only been president of the United States for several months without a long track of peacemaking in contrast to how most other people are selected for the prize. This may be the biggest significant factor that will give him the green light to fight Israel in the near future with the alliance of the other nations who nominated him for the "peace" prize.)

Indeed, the Jews were originally supposed to suffer in Egypt for 400 years according to Hashem's original plan, so to speak (though He knows the future and knew exactly what was going to happen). However, the Egyptians went too far as to afflicting the Jews. While in Hashem's estimation, the Jews may have deserved to have suffering, and so allowed the Egyptians to be the rod of punishment, they went way beyond what they were to do in Hashem's deserved allowance of afflictions. Hence, the Jews went only through 116 years of suffering.

Having mentioned a little earlier about working on the six days of the week as a preparation for Shabbat; a long while earlier, Moses as he was brought up in Pharaoh's palace, suggested to him to allow the Jews to have a day off from work - the Shabbat - so they could adequately rest up for another hard week of work without being totally worn out. Pharaoh in fact agreed to this, but now, he did away with this, and this is what was the ultimate complaint to Pharaoh. He wasn't even following the natural order of nature in terms of a work week anymore. Why was his old policy of the work week excluding Shabbat changed to a new format which would make it virtually impossible for constructive work to continue? But Pharaoh remained stubborn and shortly met his downfall until he felt forced to let the Jews out of Egypt.


And we see a word connected with both of the words having the same letters as the number of this Jewish year 5770. Following Moses' concern about revealing future troubles to the Jewish people, Hashem responded KOH Tomar K'vnei Yisrael... "SO shall you say to the Children of Israel..." And then in the Jewish policemen's complaint to Pharaoh - Lamah Ta'aseh CHOH (KOH) La'Avadeicha "Why do you behave SO with your servants"?

Indeed, we see in this week's Parshat Vaera - in the 4th Aliyah - that this word KOH is written twice in a row - the last word of one sentence, and the beginning of the next sentence. In the first verse - Hashem's message for Pharaoh is that he didn't listen until NOW (KOH) to let the Jews out of Egypt. Then immediately, Hashem states "KOH - SO says Hashem..." proceeding to talk about striking Egypt with the first plague of blood, the beginning of Hashem's punishment for the Egyptians until they would let the Jews leave their country.

As the word KOH is also the number for 25 - Caf Hei, could it be that the date of the future redemption as per Rashi's comment earlier will be the 25th of Iyar of this year? Only time can tell, but there is one more thing that I want to mention here regarding redemption in relationship to this year.

In the earlier part of this post, I quoted the verse from Isaiah stating "Zion will be redeemed with justice, and her captives with charity". Now, this is the concluding verse of the Haftara that is always read on Shabbat Parshat Devarim, also called Shabbat Chazon after the first word of this Haftara, on the Shabbat before Tisha B'Av, the date of the worst tragedies of the Jewish people, but also marks the birth of Moshiach. In a figurative sense, it means that the potential of Moshiach coming began immediately even with the destruction of the Temple on this date. In any case, we see that the very first words of the Haftara of the Shabbat after Tisha B'Av, Shabbat Parshat V'Etchanan, also called Shabbat Nachamu after these words of Nachamu Nachamu, the first of seven Haftarot, the last ones of the Jewish year, that are called Shiva D'Nechemata - the seven Haftarot of comfort.

As noted in the past, the word Tisha/nine as in Tisha B'Av, indeed spells this very year 5770! The following word B'Av can either be read as the literal translation, in (the month of) Av, or the 2nd of Av, and as I mentioned earlier in this post, (the potential of) Moshiach was born on Tisha B'Av upon the destruction of the 2nd Temple. In any case, while we may not be able to pinpoint the exact date of the redemption or what stages of redemption will take place when, we do have here very strong indications of this year 5770 marking the end of our suffering in exile and leading right into the redemption. Do remember that these four letters Hei Tav Shin Ayin as spelled in different orders in the words Shahtah & Ta'aseh can spell ONLY this very Hebrew year 5770 (can also spell the number 775 as Tav Shin Ayin Hei, but the year 775 from Creation was way before even the first Jew was born) in the slated six thousand years of the world's existance - the Ta'aseh Melacha - the preparation of spiritual work needed for the Messianic redemption on a global basis, and our personal service to Hashem preparing for our eternal reward.

May we live to witness the final redemption in this 8th cycle of the Talmud Jerusalem Daf Yomi representing a special time of miracles as represented by the number eight - let's hope sometime within the next eight months of this most special year 5770!

27 Tevet 5770 - Beginning Day of the 8th Cycle of the Jerusalem Talmud Daf Yomi Study.

P.S. In honor of the Gerrer Rebbe who instituted the Daily Study of the Jerusalem Talmud, I want to point out to a couple of hints in the Torah to the Gerrer Rebbe's family name of Alter and the name of Gur (the Hebrew word used for Gerrer) which are mentioned right near each other. In Genesis 26:2, Hashem tells Yitzchak/Isaac - Al Tered Mitzraima "Do not go down to Egypt". The first four Hebrew letters of this phrase in Al Tered spells Alter, the family name that the first Gerrer Rebbe used replacing the family name of Rothenberg. Then, the first words of the very next verse are - Gur Ba'Aretz HaZot "DWELL in this land (of Israel)", in which the first word is the very name of this Chasidic movement, which is presently based in Israel! While the 1st Gerrer Rebbe (Rabbi Yitzchak Meir Alter) himself never made it to Israel, he certainly set the tone for a future time when the Gerer dynasty would be relocated in Israel, which has been very influential for several decades spreading the teaching of Talmudic study in Israel.

There is a story told of Rabbi Avraham Mordechai Alter, the 3rd Gerrer Rebbe who was the present Rebbe at the time that Rabbi Meir Shapiro founded the original Daf Yomi learning of the Babylonian Talmud, that very first night of beginning this scheduled study on Rosh Hashana 5684/1923, he learned the first Daf/folio of Tractate Berachot as is the usual custom of the Gerrer Chasidim to take a brake in the middle of prayers to learn for an hour, and then gave a Chasidic sermon based on that first page of Talmud!

1 comment:

The villager said...

the two questions:

Send answer to Mordespir@hotmail.com/

Can you refer or recall a place where a chemical substance is detected- through air by :smell/sound/sight etc..?

What can be done to prevent damage to todays youth that will only be visible after 50 years because of radio waves from cellphones?