Thursday, March 11, 2010

#63 - World Peace

Though Purim was almost two weeks ago, some are still reminded of this very joyous holiday with some of the Mishloach Manot goodies - gifts of food given to one's friends in celebration of Purim - that are still left over. Between what my wife and I received, we have a challenging two weeks before final cleanup for Passover to eat the remains of the Chometz (leavened food forbidden on Passover) that make up much of these goodies.


But don't worry, it's not too late to talk about Purim, even after it's over. Purim has everything to do with Passover from even before Day One. You see, in the Book of Esther that we read on this holiday, when Haman had King Ahasuerus seal his decree to have the Jews wiped out, Queen Esther declared a three day fast that included the beginning of Passover; hence being the only Sederless Passover in history since Passover began in Egypt.

In terms of Halacha/Jewish Law, the very first thing we learn in the laws of Passover in the Shulchan Aruch/Code of Jewish Law (Orach Chaim, Siman 429) is that we begin learning the laws of Passover - 30 days before Passover. And my friends, on what date does the 30 days before Passover begin? On the 14th of Adar - the date of Purim!

And yet another connection. While I was at someone's house on Purim night, waiting a while until everyone began eating, I was looking at a couple of Seforim/holy books that both mentioned the same thing about Purim which I never saw before in all my years of learning since I was a young boy. In Hebrew, the word Purim is spelled with the letters Pei, Vav, Reish, Yud, Mem. Now, each of these letters begins the name of another holiday. Pei - Pesach/Passover, Vav - V'Sukkot (and Sukkot/Feast of Booths, which falls out on the opposite side of the year when Passover begins), Reish - Rosh Hashana, Yud - Yom Kippur, Mem - Matan Torah/Giving of the Torah, one of the names for the holiday of Shavuot. There is a significant connection between Purim and these holidays, which I will not get into detail now, but one obvious thing is that Yom Kippur as the full name of Yom Kippurim is Yom Ki-Purim, which literally means, a day that is like Purim! Though the observance of Yom Kippur predated Purim by nearly a thousand years, the Torah hints to Yom Kippur(im) as being compared to a holiday that had yet to exist! More on this later, but meanwhile, notice that the letters of the word Purim does not include Hanukka as this was a holiday of which the events that led to it occurred after the events the led to Purim.

Speaking about the word Purim, as a side note, it's most interesting to note that for the National Spelling Bee in the United States in 1983, the very word that ended the contest was PURIM!

Anyways, as the letter Pei is the beginning letter of the word for the holiday of Purim, so is it the beginning letter of the word for the holiday of Passover. And indeed, the Talmud on Tractate Megilla brings a debate about a situation when there are two months of Adar in a Jewish leap year, as to which Adar is the month that Purim is celebrated on. The view that holds that it is the 2nd Adar which is the view that we follow in Halacha, gives the reason for his opinion which is that we observe Purim which involves the aspect of redemption next to the month of Nissan when we observe Passover which also involves the aspect of redemption.

I find it to be by Hashgacha Peratit/Divine Providence that it was only in my 40th year that I discovered for the first time - not in one book, but in TWO books, in one sitting on the night of Purim - about the letters of the word Purim beginning the words of the names of the other holidays.

Indeed, the letter Pei beginning the word Purim is the Gematria of 80, which is the same Gematria as the word for the letter Mem - Mem Mem-Sofit (final Mem), of which the letter Mem is the Gematria of 40, hence a double 40.

As for Yom Kippur(im) which is compared to Purim as its very name denotes, the first Yom Kippur that the Jews observed as a nation was the 40th and final day of a period of Teshuva/repentance that began on Rosh Chodesh Elul - the 3rd and final period of 40 days that Moses was on Mt. Sinai, ending with G-d's forgiveness for the Jewish people for the sin of the Golden Calf and Moses coming down with the 2nd set of the Two Tablets consisting of the 10 Commandments (which happened on the 10th of Tishrei).

And for the final letter of the word Purim which is the Mem=40 that begins the name for Shavuot - Matan Torah, unlike the other letters beginning the words that are most commonly used for their particular holiday, this one begins a surname, as you will, for the holiday of Shavuot, focusing on the aspect of the Giving of the Torah. Indeed, the rabbis point out that unlike when the Torah was given on Mt. Sinai - it was forced upon them, at the time that Purim began - the Jews willing accepted the Torah. On a personal note, I got married in my 490th month, as the word Matan (giving) is the Gematria of 490, and the Torah is compared to a woman (as I mentioned in Blog #53), and Matan Torah - Giving of the Torah - is considered the spiritual marriage between Hashem and the Jewish people.

Perhaps this explains why Yom Kippur(im) is compared to the holiday of Purim which had yet to exist. As Yom Kippur was a day of reconciliation between G-d and the Jewish people which basically meant that the Jews were given a second chance, symbolized by Moses' coming down with the second Tablets after messing up by worshipping the Golden Calf upon which Moses broke the first Tablets containing the Ten Commandments which was pronounced by G-d on Shavuot; so too, Purim was the second chance of the Jewish people accepting the Torah - but this time doing so willingly, unlike the first time when the Jews were forced to accept the Torah which was to be officially given on Shavuot.


As I celebrated Purim in my 40th year, it was the 310th day from my birthday of Rosh Chodesh Iyar (1 Iyar). Reminiscent of this, the very last Mishna of the Mishnayot - of the 63rd tractate called Uktzin (and this is my 63rd post), as the word Mishna is a contraction of the words Mem (the letter Mem) Shana, which means "40 years", or in reverse "Year 40"- mentions the concept of 310 worlds granted in the future to all the righteous ones. It is also significant that the last chapter of Mishnayot of which this Mishna appears begins with the words YESH Tzerichin Hechsher - "THERE ARE those items that can be prepared for impurity" which occurs through the item being wet by water. Meanwhile, let's note the full text of this very last Mishna (Uktzin 3:12):

"Rabbi Joshua Ben Levi said: In the future, The Holy One Blessed Be He will cause each and every Tzadik/righteous person to inherit 310 worlds, as it says: "So that those who love me may inherit substance (YESH=310), and I will fill their storehouses" (Proverbs 8:21). Rabbi Shimon Ben Chalafta said: The Holy One Blessed Be He didn't find a vessel holding blessing except for peace, as it says: "Hashem will give strength to His people, Hashem will bless His people with peace" (Psalms 29:11).

While we have no concept of what it means by "worlds", there is a question that begs to be asked. We see in the Zohar (Volume 3, Page 128b) that the righteous will in the future inherit 400 worlds, as hinted in the verse "400 shekels of silver" (Genesis 23:16). So, who is right, the Mishna or the Zohar?

Rabbi Shimon Maryles, The Yoruslaver Rebbe (1761-1851), answers that there is a practical difference between the 310 worlds, and the 90 worlds that make up the difference. The Tzadik, whose word begins the word for the letter Tzadi which in turn is the Gematria of 90, earns 90 worlds for his good deeds (NOTE: This Rebbe lived 90 years, far longer than most Tzadikim of his time in an era of disease, poverty, wars, and progroms against Jews!). Following this, Hashem will grant an additional 310 worlds to the Tzadikim as a gift. Hence, they indeed inherit a total of 400 worlds. (NOTE: As the beginning of this last chapter of Mishnayot mentions impurity as it relates to water, the Hebrew word for water - Mayim - is the Gematria of 90!)

The number 400 is music to my ears. The Gematria of my wife's name Yael Miriam is 400, and it was in my 40th year - bearing in mind that the word Mishna is a contraction of the words "40 years" or in reverse "Year 40", that I married her. (NOTE: The name of the 3rd of the six orders of the Mishna is called Nashim/Women which is also the Gematria of 400!) Her first name Yael has the same first & last letters - Yud & Lamed - as the LAST word of the Torah/Chumash Yisrael/Israel (Deutronomy 34:12) of the Parsha that is named V'Zot HaBeracha/This is the BLESSING. Her name Yael also spells the LAST three letters of the Tanach/Bible (Yud, Ayin, Lamed) - V'Ya'al "and let him go up (to the land of Israel)" (II Chronicles 36:23). (NOTE: My wife is Israeli). And her second name Miriam has the same first & last letters - Mem & Mem Sofit - as the FIRST letter of the FIRST word of the Mishnayot - Mei'ei'matai (From when) & the LAST letter of the LAST word of the Mishnayot - Va'Shalom (with PEACE).

What keeps a marriage lasting a lifetime is the concept of Shalom Bayit/marital harmony, which literally means "peace of the home/house". The Talmud on Tractate Shabbat mentions Rabbi Yose calling his wife "my home", because it is the wife/mother who is the mainstay of the home raising the children physically and spiritually while her husband is at work. Indeed, the very FIRST letter of the Torah/Chumash is Beit - and as an enlarged Beit, the same wording as the word Bayit/home, rather than the first letter Alef, because as the Midrash & Zohar state, the letter Beit begins the letter Beracha/BLESSING, which is part of the very LAST message of the Mishnayot (and the name of the FIRST tractate of the Mishna is Berachot/BLESSINGS). Another way that this phrase - Shalom Bayit - can be read, is Shalom Beit (the letter Beit), which are the very letters of the concluding word of the Mishnayot!

It should also be noted that in both Rabbi Joshua Ben Levi's statement & Rabbi Shimon Ben Chalafta's statement, Hashem is referred to as "The HOLY One BLESSED Be He". In Hebrew, Kadosh/holy is a connotation of the word Kiddushin, used for the word marriage, and is the final tractate of the volume of Mishnayot that is called Nashim/women, which in turn is the Gematria of 400, the same as my wife's name Yael Miriam. And as part of the marriage ceremony that allows the husband and wife to live together, there are seven BLESSINGS that are recited under the Chupa/wedding canopy, called Sheva Berachot/"The Seven Blessings".

And as a connection between the Chumash and the last word of the Mishnayot - V'Shalom "with peace", each of the 54 Parshiyot of the Chumash is divided into SEVEN Aliyot. Hence, there are a total of 378 divided Aliyot. Correspondingly, this last word of the Mishnayot - V'Shalom (B'Shalom), is the Gematria of 378! And as I had mentioned in a previous blog, the last word of the account of the SEVEN days in which Hashem created the world and rested on Shabbat is La'asot "to make", having the Gematria as the word Mishnayot - 806!

Similarly, as in connection with Purim, the last verse of Megillat Esther speaks of Mordechai's praise, where it concludes with V'Doveir Shalom L'Chol Zar'o - "He spoke for the welfare - literally means peace - of all his seed (the Jewish people)". And in the Jewish calendar, Purim is the last holiday in the year when counting the months from Nissan, the month in which we observe the holiday of Passover, celebrating the birth of our nation.


As I had mentioned the final Mishna of the Mishnayot which consists of 63 Tractates in my 63rd Post, as well as the Land of Israel in a parenthetical note, there is in fact a significant fact about the number 63 in relationship to the Land of Israel.

It has to do Rabbi Abraham Isaac HaCohen Kook, who was among those rabbis who encouraged Jews to make Aliyah, and Jerusalem Day. It was on 28 Iyar 5664 (1904) when Rabbi Kook first arrived on the shores of what was then known as Palestine to be the Chief Rabbi of Jaffa, who later on became the Chief Rabbi of Israel for the final 16 years of his life. And it was on 28 Iyar 5727 (1967) that the holiest area in the world was liberated, including the Temple Mount & the Western Wall, which became known as Yom Yerushalayim/Jerusalem Day. Yes, it was exactly 63 years from when Rabbi Kook who was responsible for much of the religious life that goes on today in Israel (though sadly not acknowledged to say the least by many in the "Ultra-Orthodox" camp who look down on Rabbi Kook as a "Zionist") took his first steps in the Holy Land to be a rabbi of a city of Jews in Israel until the Jews had full access to the holiest area in the world - both events occuring on the special date of 28 Iyar.

And this would not be complete without mentioning that the very name of Jerusalem includes the connotaion and letters of the word Shalom/Peace. Indeed, the conclusion of the final blessing that we recite before the Shemoneh Esrei on Shabbat night concludes with "The One Who spreads the booth of PEACE over us, over all of Israel (the nation) and JERUSALEM".

For those who reading this and feel offended by me writing good things about Rabbi Kook - a true main of PEACE who not only didn't start fights or take revenge against even enemies of his who hated him for his views, but he treated them as friends - because they don't like him for having associated with the secular "Zionists", I want to let them know something right here and now. In the biography of Rabbi Kook called Malachim K'Venei Adam "Angels Among Men" written by Simcha Raz (there is also a translation of this in English), (NOTE: My wife introduced this book to me) there is a story about the Chofetz Chaim (Rabbi Israel Meir HaCohen Kagan) who attended the first Agudat Yisroel convention. Upon hearing some rabbis bad mouth Rabbi Kook, the Chofetz Chaim protested their Lashon Hora/evil talk of the "Chief Rabbi of Israel", and stormed out of the room, and refused to attend the rest of the convention meetings for which he had made a special trip in his advanced age of over 80 years old. When these rabbis later came to meet with the Chofetz Chaim, he refused to even greet them.

And then there is mentioned in this book - a story about Rabbi Kook who granted a letter to help a known opponent of his. When his family, including his own father who was a rabbi in his own right, protested his action, Rabbi Kook declared, "In order to show that I am not putting my honor in front of Hashem's (which he was falsely accused of in terms of his Zionist activism), I want to show that I am not concerned with my own honor". The late Rabbi Isaac Hutner, head of a Yeshiva called Yeshivas Chaim Berlin in Brooklyn, N.Y., who heard this story, commented at a later time that he gained much fear of G-d as a result of this story.

Shortly before being introduced to this book, I came across a website from someone who calls himself a rabbi (I never heard of him before) as a result of a past blog that I wrote abour rabbis. I do not want to write here any key words that will lead to anyone finding this guy's website, because in it, he writes Lashon Hora, evil talk of various rabbis who were associated with Zionism, including Rabbi Kook. Following writing to him protesting what he wrote in his website, he responded to me claiming that certain rabbis considered Rabbi Kook to be evil. You see, anyone can claim that such and such a rabbi said that someone else is evil, but even if it were to be true and saying this would not be considered Lashon Hora, this guy has yet to mention even ONE source to back up his vicious claims, as he does with other writings about his very religious sounding opinions claiming that he doesn't have the time to bring sources.

Well, if you know whom you are that I am talking about and you are reading this, I have one thing to say to you. If you do not have the time to show sources to back your hocus pocus claims, then stop writing your spiritual filth spewing venom on anyone whom you call a "Zionist"! And stop showing your Sinat Chinam/baseless hatred for types of Jews whom you consider as "not as religious" as those who have been in college level Yeshiva for many years, by mentioning stories, for example, of such Jews who have been looked down upon by a certain rabbi for not wearing the type of head covering that those in the Yeshiva world wear, and didn't receive his blessing!

While I myself come from a more religious type of background that didn't delve into the Zionism that Jews who are looked down upon by some in the Yeshiva world are into, one thing that I have learned from the Torah about Ahavat Yisrael/love for a Jew and Ahavat Chinam/loving a Jew just because he is a Jew, is just that. One who wants to fool himself thinking that because he is leading a more "religious" life by wearing a black Kipa instead of a Kipa Seruga/knitted Kipa, and a black hat and jacket looking like a rabbi, while looking down at Jews for not looking religious as he does or believe in what is known as religious Zionism, has completely missed the boat. In fact, he is one who is causing the delay of Moshiach coming if anything, because it was due to hating other Jews for racial and biased reasons that caused the destruction of the Second Temple, and it is this very Aveira/sin that is keeping back the works. Oh sure, there is a deadline for Moshiach to come, regardless of what is happening at that time, but the ones who held Moshiach back from coming sooner because of these types of reasons are ultimately the ones who are just the opposite of what is called religious or frum.

While I cannot say that I agree with everything that what is known as the religious Zionist camp has to say, I can assure you that many of these good Jews, most of whom live in Israel, are very sincere Jews, many of whom have shown self sacrifice either moving to Israel or fighting for their right to live on every inch of the Holy Land that is possible. Yes, the qualities of Ahavat Yisrael & Mesirut Nefesh, sacrificing of oneself, are the very ingredients of what will bring our along awaited redemption . Yes, both Rabbis Meir & Binyamin Kahane, may G-d avenge their blood, living each day knowing that that day could have been their last, were Jews who truly understood what Hashem REALLY wants, and unlike many in the Yeshiva or Ultra-Orthodox camp who have taken hush money from the Israeli government giving land to our Arab enemies, the Kahanes position was NO COMPROMISE.

When both of these rabbis were brutually murdered by Arab beasts, in each case, some 100,000 Jews of all sectors of religious and policital streams attended their funerals, which can be said of very few other rabbis of today. Why? Because deep down in their hearts, Jews know who are the REAL representatives of Torah, the Jewish people, and the Land of Israel. Some Jews, while they may not want to think or talk about it, know that Kahane and the likes of Kahane are the true ones who love Jews, and feel the pain of the Jewish people when suffering at the hands of our enemies to whom a Jew is a Jew - regardless of religiousity or political stream.

Yes, Binyamin Kahane who attended the Yeshivat Merkaz HaRav which was founded by Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook, knew what the true meaning is of Jew who lives as a Jew, which isn't necessarily represented by color of skin or clothing. Yes, Yeshivat Merkat HaRav was the very Yeshiva in which two years ago, eight Yeshiva students were brutually murdered by an Arab in the Yeshiva, which ironically should have been the last Yeshiva that damned Arab should have started with, because students in that Yeshiva also get training in the army to fight Arabs, unlike most Yeshivot who would never be prepared for such an onslaught. Yes, even an Arab can understand where the crux of a Jew is at. Yes, the Arabs knew that the assassination of Kahane was killing "the BIG Jew".

And the liberation of the holiest area in the world, which took place on the 43rd day of the Omer almost 43 years ago, was the BIG miracle that took place in modern times when we truly "had it all", until Moshe Dayan who failed to see the BIG picture, started the process of giving back land by handing control of the Temple Mount to the Wakf.

Yes, the word Gadol/BIG is the Gematria of 43, and is also the Gematria of the word Gam/also, beginning the word Gamliel/G-d provides. And it is G-d who provides the BIG miracles, giving us things beyond our wildest expectations - "ALSO" - following an attack of 31 million Arabs who, for all that the world believed, was going to wipe out Israel; but unfortunately, most fail to see the big picture - including those who pretend to be so religious mocking those who don't look quite the same as they do, not looking at Jews as one BIG family. Unfortunately, it sometimes takes tragic events for us to remember this; but hopefully, when we have reasons to celebrate as one BIG family, and we can start having peace among ourselves, then the ultimate peace will come, and after the final war of Gog U'Magog, there will indeed be at the END of time, as hinted in the LAST Mishna that mentions the final two words of this 63rd blog - the title of this post -in the respective last two comments of the rabbis of the Mishnayot - WORLD PEACE.

26 Adar 5770


Asher said...

I love what you wrote about Rav Kook. People are free to disagree with specific decisions he made, but even his detractors should be honest enough to recognize how much he cared for ALL Jews. If only they emulated his Ahavat Yisrael, we would finally achieve the world peace the rabbis of the Mishnayot talked about!

shimonmatisyahu said...

Dear Asher, thank you very much for your commment here. It's interesting that you first commented on my 63rd post, because as mentioned in a Sefer called Beit Asher, Asher Ben Yaakov brings one who learned Mishna during his lifetime into Gan Eden, and the Mishna consists of 63 Masechtot. Interesting to note, the very first word of the Mishnayot - Mei'ei'matai - is the same Gematria as Asher - 501!

Yishar Koach to you for your blogspot - from what I started reading, it is an excellent source of learning what is the true meaning of Ahavat Yisrael.