Tuesday, August 31, 2010


Describing today, the 679th day from when I began www.gematriot.blogspot.com - as the very word Gematriot is the Gematria of 679 - the one word I could think to describe such an accomplishment is the word milestone. Among the definitions of this word - "One of a series of numbered markers placed along a road or boundary at intervals of one mile, or occasionally, parts of a mile" and "the end of a stage that marks the completion of a work package or phase, typically marked by a high level event such as completion."

I started this Gematriot blogspot spontaneously nearly two years ago, when I was sitting down with the computer on Motzoei Simchat Torah in Yerushalayim Ir HaKodesh, though that is not where I was living at the time in Israel. Had I still chosen to live in the Galut/exile as I had for almost 35 years, it would have been nearly 30 hours before I would have been permitted according to Halacha/Jewish law to begin writing as first of all, my residentual state Florida is like six/seven hours behind Israel's time, and there is a second day of Yom Tov outside of Israel. And chances are, I would not have had the divine or spiritual inspiration outside of the Holy Land of Israel to ever write such a post.

During the course of nearly two years, I have written a little more than a bunch of interesting Gematriot. My underlying purpose of my Gematriot blogspot is help make a difference in people's lives, among our Jewish brethren, to encourage them to do more in the way of Judaism, to take a more active role in Jewish activism, in realizing the importance of living in Israel. While I have strong criticism for individuals who have endangered the lives of the Jewish people, especially in the Israeli government, there are times that I will criticize behaviors of particular groups primarily to make aware of certain behaviors that are not acceptable in the practice of Judaism. It's true that no one is perfect, and I can't say that I am always perfect about whatever subject that I may be writing about, but at least everyone should have a conscience of what they are doing.

More than looking to be someone to preach being strict when it comes to Jewish law, because there are many loopholes given within this framework; as one reads some of my posts, I leave NO room for anything that contradicts the Torah when it comes to what is called the political arena, especially in Israel. There is NO compromise when it comes to how things are dealt with in what is called the State of Israel, because the Torah laws are what count, and any decisions made in the Knesset or the unSupreme Court that contradict these Torah laws mean absolutely nothing, and there is no sin whatsoever in disobeying anything that they declare. In fact, unless they declare anything that the Torah says to also do or not do, like following the laws of automobile safety since according to the Torah, we are obligated to watch our health and our lives, there is no sin whatsoever if one does not wish to obey the Knesset, Israeli court, or Israeli police (and also the IDF when it give orders that contradict the Torah, including when it says not to shoot "civilian" targets such as Arab women and children, putting Israeli soldiers in danger) because they operate on a system that goes against the Torah. I do realize that some who consider themselves religious or Zionist/Charedi Leumi Jews may disagree with me, but all I know is what Rabbis Meir & Binyamin Kahane, may Hashem avenge their blood say. So while I did not originally intend for my blogspot to be dealing with what are called political issues, as what I discuss is Torah related, I wound up writing about them as I write some of my posts.

Now getting back to the subject of Gematriot, one who reads my first two posts on Gematriot will see that in fact, there are two different Gematriot of this word, depending on whether there is only one or two letter Yuds in the word. This means that with only one Yud - Gimel, Mem, Teit, Reish, Yud, Aleph, Vav, Tav - its Gematria
is 669, and with another Yud between the Gimel and the Mem, it is 679.

While both Gematriot are in fact true, I have chosen this 679th day rather than the 669th day from the founding of this blogspot to be designated "GEMATRIOT Day", for quite a few reasons.

As brought down in Sefer Gematriot by Rabbi Yehuda HaChosid, the very source for the authenticity of Gematriot is from the verse Ki Lo Davar Reik Hu Mikem "for there is not a thing that is empty for you" (Deutronomy 32:47) the original text refering to the words of Torah, as this phrase is the very Gematria of the word Gematriot - 679, demonstrating that Gematriot are indeed not just a nice game of number trivia, but part of the Torah truth demonstrated in virtually every facet of the Torah, from Halacha to Kabbala.

This above quote which is the Gematria of the word Gematriot is in next week's Parshat Ha'azinu, the name Ha'azinu being the Gematria of 79, which is also the number of this very 79th Post which is entitled "GEMATRIOT Day".

There is a Sefer that many Jews learn daily that includes portions from the three parts of the Tanach/Bible - Chumash (from the weekly Parsha), Nevi'im/Prophets, Ketuvim/Writings along with their Aramaic translation, Mishna, Gemara (the Halachic part of it) and Kabbala (most notably, the Zohar). This Sefer is called Chok L'Yisrael "statue for Israel", arranged based on the Torah prescription of the Kabbalist Rabbi Isaac Luria, who said that one can only fulfill the minimum requirement of the daily set schedule of Torah learning by learning from these sections of the Torah (for the first five days of the week, and then reading 26 verses from the weekly Parsha on Thursday night, and then reading the Parsha twice with its Aramaic translation once on Friday before Shabbat, and then listening to/reading the Parsha and Haftara that's read in the synagogue). Bearing this in mind, the title of this Sefer has the same Gematria as the word Gematriot - 679. My point here is that learning Gematriot as part of Torah learning is no less important
as far as fulfilling the Mitzva of Torah study, so long as one learns the minimum as set out in this Sefer Chok L'Yisrael. To begin learning this today for free on the web, turn to http://echok.com.

Writing about the importance of Torah study, the whole theme of writing on www.gematriot.blogspot.com is technically based on the last Mitzva of the Torah - the writing of a Sefer Torah/Torah Scroll, which is mentioned in this very week's Parshat Vayeilech (actually, we will be reading two Parshiyot this Shabbat - Nitzavim & Vayeilech). Fulfilling this Mitzva today, while in the early days, it was the literal fulfillment of this for every Jew to have a Torah scroll written on his behalf so he would have what to study from as the Oral Torah at that time was forbidden to be written down; today's primary fulfillment of this according to the Rosh (Rabbeinu Asher) who lived several hundred years ago is to buy basic Sefarim - the Bible, Mishna & Talmud for the purpose of learning from them, though one who is able to also have a Sefer Torah written on his behalf is most praiseworthy. In any case, writing original Torah thoughts, called Chiddushim - "new" words of Torah - is part of the fulfillment of this Mitzva. Hence, I find it very significant that this "Gematriot Day" falls out during this very week that this very Mitzva of writing the Sefer Torah - the END of the 613 Mitzvot - is going to be read.

Noting the source for this last Mitzva, it begins saying "Now write for yourselves this song..." Our Rabbis explain that this is actually refering to Shirat Ha'azinu/ the Song of Ha'azinu, the first 43 Pesukim/verses of the following Parsha, but since the Sefer Torah is not able to be written in sections to have the holiness of a Sefer Torah, the Mitzva ipso facto is referring to writing the entire Chumash in the Sefer Torah.

More than just the fact that the instrument of writing is with an Eit/pen which also spells the Hebrew number - Ayin, Teit - 79, is also the same Gematria as the name Ha'azinu, the name of the song that the literal meaning of the verse of the Mitzva of writing a Sefer Torah tells us, it is this very song, as it is called, that reminds us of our purpose of living in this world, and according to our actions, Hashem sends us feedback through reward, or G-d forbid, through punishment.

Hence, both definitions of the word milestone as I wrote in the beginning of this post are applicable here. "One of a series of NUMBERED markers" as Gematriot are all about NUMBERS, the name of the fourth book of the Chumash, the beginning of which mentions by Jewish/Hebrew birthday "the first of the second month" - 1 Iyar - twice. "The end of a stage that marks completion" describes the last Mitzva of the Torah, writing a Sefer Torah - the completion of the 613 Mitzvot - based on which is the concept of writing Chiddushim.

And as this is my 79th Post, on the note that the Hebrew number for 79 also spells the word Eit/pen, as this is the very instrument used for writing, the count of the number of words in the Chumash/Sefer Torah, as found at the end of many Chumashim, are 79,976 words, very close to the round number 80,000, but the fact that this number begins with 79 is most significant in terms of mentioning the amount of words that are WRITTEN in the Torah scroll. As a mnemonic for this to remember the amount of words, a phrase is quoted from Psalms 45:2-3 Eit Sopher Mahir Yafyafita M'Bnei Adam "my tongue is like the pen of a scribe who is skillful. You are more handsome than other men" which according to Rashi is refering to Torah scholars. In any case, it is a Sopher Stam, a certified scribe according to the Torah who writes holy writings that includes the Sefer Torah, Tefillin & Mezuzot.

Getting back to how this verse hints to the number of words in the Torah, the word Eit is the Gematria of 79, and particularly in this case is 79,000 as the beginning number(s) in Hebrew can sometimes denote the numeral in thousands, the same way that the Hei in our present Hebrew year Hei Tav Shin Ayin is 5,000, adding the total to this year 5770. Now, Sopher is the Gematria of 346, add the first letter of the next word Mahir which is Mem=40, and the next word Yafyafita is the Geamtria of 590; hence, 79,000+346+40+590=79,976. How fitting is it that this very verse hinting numerically to the number of words in the Torah is describing "the pen of a skilled scribe who is most handsome".

Speaking of the number of words in the Torah, the Chofetz Chaim in reference to the greatest Mitzva of the Torah which is learning/teaching Torah, the eternal reward for each word of Torah being greater than ALL of the other Mitzvot combined, states that it is possible to recite 200 words in one minute. Now, I thought of doing something very mathematical here. Theoretically, if one were to recite 200 words of the Chumash a minute, it would take 399.88 minutes to accomplish this feat. This is nearly 6 hours and 40 minutes.

Now, as each day of the week corresponds to another millenium of the world's existance, matching the hours of the day with the timing of our present millenium, we had just reached the point of 6 and a half hours into the daytime (of Erev Shabbat), which according to Halacha, is the earliest time of the day, called Mincha Gedolah, when the Mincha/afternoon prayer may be recited. This is most significant in terms of this point in history when according to today's Kabbalists and autistics, Moshiach is so close to coming, and so we need to prepare ourselves spiritually while we still have the chance to repent before it's too late, the same way that Erev Shabbat is the time when we are supposed to be just about ready to accept the Shabbat. In fact, according to some versions of the Siddur/prayerbook as found in Nussach Sephard, there are special prayers for Erev Shabbat that are the first prayers recited before the regular afternoon service. There are those few who are already spiritually ready for Shabbat at this time of the day already starting with these prayers.

With this being said, we can now perform the rest of the math here. 399.88 divided by 720 minutes of an even 12 hour daytime equals 0.5553889. Now, taking the last
500 years of this millenium corresponding to the daytime hours between the years 5500-6000, 277 divided into 500 is .554, and 278 divided into 500 is .556. Hence, we can safely say that no later than the year 5778 of the last 500 years corresponds to the time of day in which if one were to theoretically recite exactly 200 words a minute (though according to Halacha, there is an obligaton to recite the morning prayers which include the morning time Shema) he would be finished at the 6 hours and 40th minute mark. While I am not here to predict the exact year that Moshiach will actually arrive, we do know that there will be other things happening around this time, including the close of the final Gog U'Magog war. Noting the 40th minute of the seventh hour, it took 40 days for Hashem to teach the Torah to Moses, whose name begins with a Mem=40, the Mishna - the foundation of the Oral Torah - which explains the Mitzvot of the Chumash, begins with a Mem=40 (the word Mei'ei'ma'tai - "From when")and ends with a Mem Sofit (the word V'Shalom - "with peace"), which in simple Gematria, also equals 40, and Rav Ashi, the compiler of the Babylonian Talmud,
was the 40th generation from Moses (not in a physical sense as descending from Moses, but in terms of generations who were represented by their respective Torah leaders who received the Torah from the previous Torah leader all the way back to Moses) to receive the Torah.

In another form of Gematria, there are five letters of the Alef Beit when spelled at the end of a word, are shaped a little differently, bearing a Gematria of higher numbers than the last of the 22 letters of the Alef Beit which is Tav=400. Each of these letters are additionally called Sophit - ending letter, which are Chaf, Mem, Noon, Pei, Tzadi, with the corresponding Gematria numbers of 500, 600, 700, 800, and 900. Hence, the Mem Sophit can bear a Gematria of 600.

In the Talmud (Chagiga 14a), there is a view that before the Mishna was written down, there were some 600 volumes of Mishna, meaning, that their learning was organized under 600 different topics - unlike now when it is only six (Shisha Sidrei Mishna), when they were yet to be written down. With this being said, dissecting the number 679 - the Gematria of the word Gematriot - you have the 600 orders of Mishna as it was before being written down, and then the remaining part of the number is 79, which spells the word Eit/pen; meaning, that the 600 orders of Mishna were eventually written down in order that the Torah would not be forgotten, because it was during that period of time that there was much oppression for the Jews, especially from the Romans who burnt down the Second Temple, "so there should not be
anything empty for you" paraphrasing the above verse which is the Gematria of the word Gematriot.

And as for the future year 5778, it was Rabbi Ashlag, author of the Sulam commentary on the Zohar who associated this year with the redemption. As I say again, I am not here to predict anything, and even after Moshiach comes, he has things to accomplish, which may mean that it will be the everlasting Third Temple that will established in this year. In any event, one thing that I did read pertaining to this
is that the Parshiyot Behar & Bechukotai - the last two Parshiyot of the Book of Leviticus, sometimes read together on one Shabbat, deals with the topics of redeeming the land & redeeming the value of people, respectively, and have 57 & 78 verses, respectively. There are other things in nature that are related to this number 5778, but today is not the time to delve into all these things. But as we mentioned this year corresponding to the number of words in the Chumash, the final verse reads "Or any of the mighty acts or great sights that Moses performed in front of the eyes of all of Israel", which in effect describes Moshiach's similar feats in the upcoming redemption.

So as it turns out, the number 679 being the Gematria of the word Gematriot, ends with the number 79, the number of this "Gematriot Day" post. In dissecting the number 79, we have two numbers here describing this very Hebrew year 5770. Well, this year does end with 70, or the Hebrew letter Ayin, which I will be writing about shortly as it relates especially to today - the 21st of Elul. And for the number nine, we know that this year, the Hebrew year Hei, Tav, Shin, Ayin spells the word HaTeisha - "THE NINE", the title of my 45th Post, the first post that I wrote in this year of 5770. And today - the 21st of Elul, is the NINTH day from the end of this Hebrew year that reads "The Nine".

One more way of playing with this number as it relates to the timing of this 679th day is to take the first two numbers of this to read 67, which is the Gematria of the name of this month Elul, and then again we are left with the number nine that hints to this very year 5770 as we had just mentioned. Amazing!


Today's date - 21 Elul - marks the Yahrzeit of Rabbi Jonathan Eibshutz (5524/1764). A prolific author and rabbi of his town called Metz, he once faced a challenge pertaining to the ruler of the area who decreed that the Jews of the town should be expelled. Rabbi Eibshutz wasted no time meeting with the ruler, and having an intellectual conversation together, the rabbi mentioned during one point of the conversation the phrase Am Yisrael Chai L'Olemei Ad "May the nation of Israel live for everlasting ever". The ruler then asked him how many Jews were living in the greater Metz area, to which the rabbi replied - 45,760. Upon this, the ruler gave the rabbi a challenge. If the rabbi could write within the hour an amulet the size of a Mezuza scroll with this phrase written 45,760 times, then he would cancel the expulsion decree. In response, Rabbi Eibschutz wrote a total of 285 letters (19*15), writing this phrase to be able to be read mathematically 45,760 times. Unlike most other stories of Jews being threatened to be expelled or some other evil decree to be cancelled through prayers and repentence, this was a most unusual way of doing the same job. To see what it looks like, check it out here -

The reason why I write this is that the middle letter of this amulet is Ayin, which as the name or word for Ayin, means eye. In terms of the Jewish people, we see that the last few words of the Chumash reads - L'Einei Kol Yisrael "in front of the EYES of all Israel". It should also be noted that the word Ayin is the same Gematria as Sinai - 130, the name of the mountain where we received the Torah. And in terms of the beginning of the Torah as the letter Ayin is the Gematria of 70, Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai (Rashbi) composed 70 Tikkunim, explaining the first word of the Torah - Bereishit, in 70 ways, as there are Shiv'im Panim L'Torah, 70 facets to the Torah.

Speaking of which, the first time in the Torah that the letter Ayin is written is the 49th letter of the Torah. Indeed, the preparation of the Jews receiving the Torah was a seven week or 49 day period following the day of the Exodus. It was only then - on the 50th day - that they could receive the Torah, most associated with the letter Lamed, which is cognate of the word Limud/learning or teaching, the 50th letter of the Torah; the letters Ayin and Lamed spelling the word Al - "ON the face of the deep". As mentioned in Genesis, there was darkness on the face of the deep, but it would be the 70 faces or facets of the Torah that the Jews would learn that would change this world from a place of darkness to a place of light, highlighted by the 70 Tikkunim that Rashbi would teach the world.

And before concluding on the immediate subject on the number 70, to note, on this final Shabbat of this year 5770 that ends with the number 70, we will be reading the double Parshiyot of Nitzvim-Vayeilech that have a total of 70 Pesukim/verses, which includes the last Mitzva of the Torah to write a Sefer Torah that ends with the words
L'Einei Kol Yisrael "in front of the eyes of all Israel", as the word Ayin/eye is the name of the letter which is the Gematria of 70.

And the final word of this Shabbat's Haftara, which is always the last Haftara of any given Jewish year, begins with the letter Ayin, in the phrase Kol Yemei Olam -"all through the years". Noting the final word, the word Olam which literally means word is also used in terminology of doing Tikkun Olam "fixing up" or "making the world a better place to live in". Before people do things that they think are helping the world instead of hurting it spiritually, they ought to realize that Rashbi did more in the way of Tikkun Olam by his 70 Tikkunim, than what Jews who are ignorant of their heritage do as to what they think is making the world a better place without asking a local Orthodox Jewish rabbi as to the best way of doing real Tikkun Olam (sorry, Conservative or Reform rabbis do not count, despite the good intentions of some of them). Certainly, if anyone knows how to do such a thing, isn't it the ones who learn and teach the Torah?

And the final word of the Torah - Yisrael, as the nation of Israel, having the Gematria of 541, adding to this the number 70, equals 611, the Gematria of the word TORAH!


Speaking of Rashbi, as mentioned in the Talmud (Succot 45b), he once said, "I have seen the Bnei Aliyah (term describing the ones on the highest spiritual level) and they are few. If there are 1,000, my son and I are included. If there are 100, my son and I are included. If there are two, they are my son and I." Now, in more recent times, making Aliyah is associated both with receiving an Aliyah, being called up to be read on one's behalf - a section of the Torah, as well as making Aliyah - moving to Israel. Bearing in mind that the one who made this statement is Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, my namesake, Ben or Bar literally means son of, but in another sense, means the characteristic of; and hence, his father's name Yochai can be interpreted here as meaning the Gematria of 35. Well, it was in my 35th year, a few months close to the age 35, when I made Aliyah to Israel.

And pertaining to a very recent Gematria discovery of mine, another famous rabbi in the times of the Mishna was Rabban Yochanan Ben Zakkai who was the leader of the Sanhedrin at one time. He also made a number of institutions following the destruction of the Temple addressing the issues of the time. Anyways, as recounted in the Talmud (Succot 28a), he was among Hillel's 80 students, and as I mentioned about Hillel in a special post of March of this year (Post #65), he was the one who started the dynasty of leadership of the Sanhedrin in his family for many generations (Rabban Yochanan Ben Zakkai, who was not of this family, took over the leadership during the time inbetween the passing of one of the dynasty family members until the son of the next generation grew up). Anyways, this rabbi's full title Rabban Yochanan Ben Zakkai, is the same Gematria as my first name Shimon - 466! To think that I never thought of this before, especially coming across his name many times while learning the Mishna and Gemara, may not be so amazing, but thank G-d, I thought of this in time for this most special post.

What I do what to point out about this rabbi is that he is praised in the Talmud about knowing everything possible - both in Torah and nature. But the punchline here as far as this post is concerned, is that this long list includes - Gematriot!
Certainly, there are so many different categories of Torah learning, but the fact that this one is included shows its most special purpose in Torah learning, because without it, we wouldn't be clear on many laws of the Torah, including the amount of forbidden labors on Shabbat, which are 39, learned out from the wording of a particular verse. Now, on a personal note again, the same way as I showed my age in reference to Rashbi's father Yochai; so too here, Ben Zakkai means in one sense - the characteristic of Zakkai, being that Zakkai is the Gematria of 38. Well my friends, I was 38 years old - closer to being 38 years than 39 years - when I began my Gematriot blogspot - www.gematriot.blogspot.com!

And getting back a little earlier where I mentioned the end of the Torah, where the last word of the Chumash is Yisrael/Israel, referring to the Jewish nation, there was a most special rabbi with this name who was born 312 years ago on the 18th of Elul, which was this past Shabbat - Rabbi Yisroel Ba'al Shem Tov. As especially connected this year with the number 312, the first letters of the phrase Yisroel Ba'al Shem (Ba'al Shem Tov literally means owner of a good name) are Yud-Beit-Shin which are the same letters as the Hebrew number Shin-Yud-Beit, which is 312! Also when mentioning his name as Yisroel Ben Sara, the first letters of this is also Yud-Beit-Shin equalling 312.

Now taking the number 312, it is a multiple of 26 & 12, that is 26*12=312. As the Ba'al Shem Tov's title denotes the concept of a good NAME, Hashem's main name YKVK is the Gematria of 26, and the name Yisrael in the last verse of the Torah is the
12th word of this verse. Also, it was Jacob whose name was also Yisrael who had 12 sons; and as the beginning of the Book of Exodus states, "These are the NAMES of the sons of Israel", after which the Book of Exodus is named Shemot/names, and as the Midrash tells us, each of the names of the 12 Tribes signified another aspect of the redemption from Egypt; and in the same way, it was the Ba'al Shem Tov who founded the Chasidic movement that helped pave the way for the imminent redemption, as in a revelation that he once had when he met Moshiach who told him this.

And as special to this post, the root word of the word Chiddushim - original or "new" Torah thoughts - is Chadash/new, which in turn is the Gematria of 312.

There is a Sefer called Ein Ya'akov, which is a compilation of the Aggadic (non-Halachic) parts of the Talmud, put together by Rabbi Jacob Ibn Chabib over 500 years ago. Anyways, this phrase is taken from a verse in the last Parsha of the Torah in the context of describing the Jews living securely in Israel, which can literally mean "EYE of Jacob", hence, the word Ayin is used here as part of the name of this very Sefer. But what else...this phrase Ein Ya'akov is also the Gematria of 312! Hence, the date marking 312 years from the birth of the Ba'al Shem Tov fell out in the year that ends with the letter Ayin, the word for which is part of the phrase Ein Yaakov which is the Gematria of 312.

The connection between this Sefer and the Ba'al Shem Tov is that this Sefer was compiled as a means to get Jews who were not all that learned and weren't able to follow the Halachic parts of the Talmud, loosing their interest from learning, to be able to learn more fascinating part of the Talmud - including stories, ethical and moral lessons. This Sefer became a very popular book among the masses, and so much so, that the Ben Ish Chai taught a regular class in this every day, and every four years, held a public feast commemorating the completion of this, for which he paid from his own pocket. In a similar vein, the Ba'al Shem Tov became popular among the masses, because unlike most other scholars of his day who seemed to only be able to relate to others of like kind, while the hard working, poor Jews who weren't much learned in Torah were not only looked down upon, but were of depressed spirit due to the constant programs and massacres of Jews from not long earlier. It was the Ba'al Shem Tov who gave hope and spirit to these simple Jews, and as a result, totally changed the face of world Jewry, despite the early years of strong opposition to his newly found movement, which was nothing more than stressing the parts of the Torah to encourage Jews to serve Hashem in happiness, instead of remaining depressed. And noting the name of the compiler of the Ein Ya'akov - whose name was Ya'akov, and the name Yisroel of the Ba'al Shem Tov, these were the two names of the Biblical Jacob, the ancestor of the 12 tribes and the Jewish people. For more on the Ba'al Shem Tov, you can refer to my 70th Post (May '10).


In connection with the Ba'al Shem Tov who became popular for his Ahavat Yisrael, his love for all Jews regardless of their level of scholarship, as all Jews are called by the name Yisrael, as was the literal name of the Ba'al Shem Tov, I have a special connection with the name of this most special Mitzva, of which Rabbi Akiva said that this is the great principal of the Torah. You see, rearranging the letters of this phrase Ahavat Yisrael, it spells the date of my very birth Aleph (the letter Aleph) B'Iyar Hei Tav Shin Lamed - the 1st of Iyar, 5730! I wish I would have come up with this many years ago, but maybe it was only recently when it was meant for me to discover this.

Even as late as today, looking on the sheet from last week featuring the times for the beginning and ending of Shabbat in Jerusalem, its weekly message for this Shabat 18 Elul - "Through Ahavat Yisrael and acts of kindness, we can bring the redemption closer", indeed, a most fitting message for this past Shabbat marking the birthday of the Ba'al Shem Tov, my eyes were focusing on this phrase Ahavat Yisrael, and I thought of other phrases making up these same letters that blew my mind.

This phrase consisting of nine letters are also the same letters as the first word of the Book of Genesis - Bereishit, and the first word of the Book of Deutronomy - Eileh. Bereishit marks the beginning of Hashem's creation of this world. The beginning of the Book of Deutronomy marks the beginning of Moses' final series of sermons shortly before his passing. Another way hinting to the first and final books of the Chumash goes like this. The Aleph in Ahavat, which is the number one, refers to the first book of the Chumash, and the following letter Hei in Ahavat, which is the number five, refers to the fifth book of the Chumash. Then the remaining two letters Beit/Veit and Tav/Sav are the first and last letters of the first word of Genesis - the first word of the Torah. And then the second word Yisrael is the final word of Deutronomy - the final word of the Torah.

Now, note that the word Bereishit marks the first Parsha of the Chumash - Bereishit, and the word Eileh of the beginning of the Book of Deutronomy marks the beginning of the 44th Parsha of the Chumash - Parshat Devarim. Now, take the name Adam, refering to both Adam, and as noted in the Talmud, especially to the Jewish people. The first letters of Adam's name is Aleph, and the remaining two letters - Dalet & Mem - together spells the Hebrew number 44. This is also bearing in mind that the first and letters of the name of this 44th Parsha - Devarim - are also Dalet & Mem. And indeed, this Parshat Devarim is always read on the Shabbat before the fast of Tisha B'Av, the date commemorating the destruction of both Temples.

The latter Temple was destroyed particularly because of Sinat Chinam - baseless hatred, the opposite of Ahavat Chinam, baseless love, a synonym for Ahavat Yisrael. And it was a result of this Sinat Chinam that Lashon Hara/evil speech was spoken to the Romans about the Jews that lead to the destruction, and indeed, the letters of the first word of this Parshat Devarim begin the words Issur Lashon Hara - prohibition of evil speech, reminding us of what we need to do to prevent the opposite of Ahavat Yisrael. It was also the Lashon Hara of the 10 evil Spies who were sent to Israel to check out the land who came back with an evil report, following which the Jews cried their faces off on the 9th of Av, for which Hashem said that as a result of crying for nothing then, they would be given a reason to cry in the future on this very night of Tisha B'Av.

And in Adam's case, who is mentioned particularly in Parshat Bereishit - the FIRST Parsha, it was the Lashon Hara of the snake in the Garden of Eden who got Eve to eat of the forbidden fruit by telling her that Hashem was afraid of competiton as to the reason why He didn't want her or her husband to eat of this fruit from the Tree of Knowledge, who in turn got Adam to eat of it. Following this, Hashem confronted Adam with the word Ayeka - "Where are you?" That is, where are you now following your spiritual demotion as a result of disobeying My orders? This Hebrew word Ayeka is spelled the very same way, howbeit with different vowels, beginning the Book of Lamentations chanted on Tisha B'Av beginning with the word Eicha. And in terms of Gematria - the words Eileh - the FIRST word of Sefer Devarim, of which the first Parsha is read on the Shabbat before Tisha B'Av, and the word Eicha - the FIRST word of Megillat Eicha which is read on the night of Tisha B'Av, bear the same Gematria of 36.

As I wrote in my 36th Post, I mentioned both the negative and positive sides of the number 36 as related to Tisha B'Av & Chanuka respectively, as we light 36 lights during the course of Chanuka, and with an extra candle on each night which lights the regular lights of Chanuka, the total amount comes out to 44. In another twist from negativity to positivity, the first word of Deutronomy - Eileh, also spells the Hebrew number 1,035, as the Aleph in the beginning of this word as a number becomes the Gematria of 1,000. You see, the FIVE times that the word Ohr/light is mentioned in the account of the first day of Creation, add to a total of 1,035=207*5, and this is bearing in mind that the word Eileh begins the FIFTH book of the Torah. And as connected with the Ba'al Shem Tov, he is refered to in Chasidic writings as the Ohr Shivat HaYomim "Light of the Seven Days (of Creation)", for the light of the week of creation will be revealed in the future for the righteous, and the Ba'al Shem Tov came to this world as a sample of this future spiritual light.


In conclusion of this 79th post, the PEN post, as you will, being that the word for pen in Hebrew - Eit is the Gematria of 79, just as I mentioned in my very first post of the conclusion of the Torah - the end of the fifth book of the Torah, and the beginning of the Torah - the first book of the Torah, there is one more thing I would like to mention here about the beginning of the Torah - as it relates to my first name Shimon. As I mentioned earlier in this post, there are five letters of the Alef Beit that are written a little differently at the end of the word, which also have a higher Gematria form. Hence, the letter Noon Sophit, as the last letter of my first name Shimon, bears the Gematria of 700, making my name Shimon the total Gematria of 1,116. Lo and behold, the Gematria of the first two words of the Torah -Bereishit Bara "In the beginnning, (He) created" is also the Gematria of 1,116! In all honesty, I think the Torah is referring to Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, the one who Kabbalisticly explained the beginning of the Torah in 70 diffferent ways. After all, the letters in Shimon's name, when counting the position of the particular letter of the 22 letters of the Alef Beit: Shin - 21st, Mem - 13th, Ayin - 16th, Vav - 6th, Noon (Sophit) - 14th, these five numbers add up to 70!

And the Gematria of the word Gematriot - 679, when you add the numbers of this number as 6+7+9, the total is 22, as the 22 letters of the Alef Beit what make up the
writing of the Sefer Torah and Gematriot. And when you multiply these numbers
6*7*9, the total is 378, which is the Gematria of the last word of the Mishnayot - V'Shalom (with peace), and also marks the total amount of Aliyot in the Chumash, as each of its 54 Parshiyot are divided into 7 Aliyot, hence the fusion between the foundation of the Torah She'Bechtav/Written Torah - the Chumash, and the foundation of the Torah She'B'Al Peh/Oral Torah - the Mishnayot.

Noting the last word of the Mishnayot, it is mentioned as the ending of the verse quoted from the concluding verse of Psalms 29, "Hashem will give strength to His people, Hashem will bless His people with peace." And speaking of Psalms 29, in the list of the 32 Midot or methods through which the Torah can be expounded as listed by Rabbi Eliezer the son of Rabbi Yose the Galilean, the 29th method listed is Gematriot! Hence, how fitting that the concluding word of Psalms 29 - V'Shalom - should be the Gematria (378) that is the sum of the three numbers - 6,7,9 - of the Gematria of the word Gematriot when multiplied with each other, as Gematriot is the 29th on the list of the 32 ways that the Torah is interpreted. Coincidence?

And yes, G-d willing, I will continue writing my Gematriot blogpost, continuing past my milestone; in fact, I plan my next one this coming Friday, more on the theme of this year 5770 as it come to a close.

21 Elul, 5770

Sunday, August 29, 2010

#78 - Holy Marriage - Part 2

Normally, unless I am continuing a theme from my previous post, I do not put a "Part 2" to the new post that I am writing, but rather, a new title. In this case, I am continuing a theme that I began a year ago from my 41st Post (Aug '09) which is called "Holy Marriage". The same title of this post is no less relevant to this post as it was for my first Holy Marriage post which contained quite a bit of Gematriot.

While intermarriages between Jews and non-Jews have been nothing new - as even some of the exiled Jews in Babylonia following the destruction of the First Temple had non-Jewish wives besides their own Jewish life, and only got rid of them in fear of being ostracized from the newly formed Jewish settlement in Israel after leaving Babylonia among some 40,000 Jews. But at least then, there was no attempt to make anything that wasn't Jewish to appear as Jewish.

And this is the thrust of this post - in contrast to my previous post where I lamented about Jews who are supposedly living an observant Jewish lifestyle who include materialism and other distractions that take them away from the essence of what it is all about, as it happened with the Jews in Babylonia who intermarried; today, those Jews who virtually do not observe anything in the way of Judaism - except maybe a quick circumcision for their newborn by a Jewish doctor who doesn't perform the ancient rite in the kosher way, and to appear at a temple on Yom Kippur night for Kol Nidrei while having no concept of what this Kol Nidrei prayer is really about, want to make things that aren't Jewish to appear as Jewish.

I've already touched on this subject before. For example, the food establishments who have the chutzpa to say that they are a "kosher style" restaurant which only means that they serve things like gefilte fish, matza ball soup, and corned beef sandwiches as though this is supposed to sound like Jewish food, while the meat - chicken, turkey, beef, etc. are not kosher because they were not slaughtered the kosher way, and their blood and forbidden fats weren't removed from them; the only difference being is that they don't have names like ham, pork, or bacon.

Then of course, you have the so called Jewish conversions of non-Jews; and whether it's a small minority and a big majority of the time, these non-Jews go through this bogus conversion ceremony so they can marry their boyfriend or girlfriend to please the in-laws. But even some of these non-Jews know that this is all bogus, and they are 100% right, because they will hardly be observing anything more of Judaism afterwards than they did before when they just celebrated Christmas with their own family and friends, besides the fact that their "conversion" does not conform with Halachic standards, which automatically means that these non-Jews do not have the holiness that a Jew has, and aren't obligated to observe any more Mitzvot than what non-Jews are obligated to perform.

Of course I don't expect too much more from Jews who are virtually ignorant of their own religion as they weren't educated or brought up to know what it is really about, even if they had some kind of Bar Mitzvah ceremony, including reading from the Torah. And as being one who was raised as observant, it is very hard for me to rightfully judge others who weren't lucky to have the religious background that I had. However, what does bother me is when Jews who are ignorant of their heritage make Judaism sound like one big joke, which can at times even arouse anti-Semitism.

Take Adam Sandler for instance. He composed a song about Chanuka. Perhaps if he would have left it with matching words that rhyme with the name of this holiday, it wouldn't have been so terrible. But in the midst of this song, he starts mentioning how non-Jews have only one day to celebrate - Christmas, while we Jews have eight days to celebrate. Now, while it is true that many non-Jews take a whole long vacation week from Christmas Eve until after New Years, and they even have a song about 12 days of Christmas which is actually based on the first 12 days from the dedication of the Tabernacle when the leader of one of the 12 Tribes of Israel brought sacrifices representing his tribe, lyrics such as Mr. Sandler's can only stir much hatred towards Jews from Christians, as though it's not enough how Jews have been murdered in the name of Christianity for nearly 2,000 years. And then the ultimate Chutzpa (and of course he got well paid for his song), Mr. Sandler wound up years later marrying a non-Jewish woman who went through a bogus Jewish conversion. I guess that's what he meant in his "Chanuka" song where he mentions "half-Jewish". Sorry, Mr. Sandler, stop fooling yourself! Not only is the woman whom you married truly a gentile, no matter how good of a person she may be, as you broke a 3,500+ year old chain of Jewish generations, but she is not even "half-Jewish", because there is in fact no such thing; as one who has a Jewish mother is 100% Jewish, and one who has a non-Jewish mother is 100% not Jewish. Period!

And before continuing, in case anyone is wondering here if any Gematriot will be mentioned in this highly emotional post, it is true that when Joseph was sold as a slave thanks to his brothers' hatred of him that he wound up being in charge of the affairs in the household of Potiphar, who had a high position working for Pharaoh. As the verse describes the managerial position of Joseph, Potiphar left all household affairs in Joseph's hands, and didn't know of anything "except for the BREAD that he was accustomed to eat". While this can make sense very well literally, Rashi points out that in fact, the word bread in this verse (Genesis 39:6)
refers to Potiphar's wife, the reason being "for it (the Torah) speaks in a clean language". A little later on, I will show the connection between the aspect of bread and a wife, but what I want to point out now is that the Hebrew word for bread - Lechem, is the Gematria of 78, and this is my 78th Post.

In my opinion, while a non-observant Jewish couple who are getting married may not live an observant way of life following marriage, let alone the laws of family purity, the fact that each looked to marry someone Jewish to begin with is certainly a starting point showing that they have some form of Jewish pride. In some of these cases, they feel that at least their Jewish marriage should be done the kosher way, and many of them even have an Orthodox Jewish rabbi perform their ceremony. Yes, they may continue living the same non-observant way after marriage as they did before, but in many cases, it has been proven sooner or later that either they looked to give their children some sort of Jewish education, one or more of their children have come closer to Judaism, and sometimes, they themselves eventually look for what the inner meaning of what Judaism is about, which leads to them keeping a completely religious Jewish life as a unified couple.

Unfortunately, in stark contrast, the opposite of what I describe in the previous paragraph shows its respective results. Quite often, one can already tell with some people where their heart is really headed. It is true that some Jews who had some sort of Jewish education as they are in their teens or early twenties in college may strike it up with a non-Jewish partner; and though they know that their significant other isn't Jewish, they don't feel that they can tear apart their feelings for each other; there are others who to begin with have no feelings of Jewish pride whatsoever, as sometimes evidenced by how they feel about the poor "Palestinians" and how the Jewish state is "brutally" treating them, in short, what is called left-wing/liberal Democratic politics.

Yes my friends, I think it's about time that you know to whose recent wedding that I am referring to here. Now, I'm not writing this so that the bridegroom of Clintons' daughter will be reading this, because even if he were to read this post, I highly doubt that it will lead to anything positive constructive in terms of reawakening his Jewish roots. You see, this was not just another wedding of an intermarried couple between Jews and non-Jews that we are talking about here. It was real obvious that this was a major news item, and they were even mentioning in the news that it would be a little challenging to find a rabbi willing to perform the ceremony being that this was a high profile case. So if the "lucky" bridegroom had a chance to think about how he was about to turn his back to his 3,500+ year old Jewish ancestry, then was the time to think twice before breaking the Jewish knot.

Of course, the Jewish liberal Democrats had a field day. If they ever wanted to prove that the Clintons "love" Jews to other Jews who know the truth about the Clintons, this was their ultimate chance as far as they were concerned. After all, if the Clintons' only child was going to marry someone Jewish and with her parents' blessings, then who is to say otherwise?

Well, as we know from the Torah, one who causes someone else to sin is even worse than someone who is an axe murderer, because while the murderer takes someone's life only from this world, the one who causes others to sin takes takes someone's life from the world of eternity, being cut off spiritually, G-d forbid. While to those whose sense of Jewish religion includes speaking all about the Holocaust who eat the non-kosher corned beef sandwiches, Christian missionaries who sneakily attempt to lure non-suspecting Jews into their cult are not as evil as Hitler, the Torah's opinion is what counts. True, Hitler was a very evil person, even as he wanted to do away with the Jewish conscience as he wrote in his book Mein Kampf; but going not far back in Jewish history in Europe, Christians used all types of methods in their vicious attempt to convert Jews to their idolatrous religion, which included murder and torture, but if the Jew indeed converted which did happen unfortunately at times, to them, he was like gold, because they were able to show how even a Jew can be a Christian, in the guise of "saving his soul".

And so, anyone who is as honest as Phillip Berg, Esq., though a lifetime Democrat, on a campaign to dethrone Democratic Obama from the presidency based on what it really states in the United States Constitution - www.obamacrimes.com, can take one look at the Clintons' record to see them for what they really are.

To many liberal Democratic Jews, the Oslo Accords where President Clinton presided over Rabin and Arafat making "peace" is viewed as a sign of Mr. Clinton's love for Jews and the Jewish State. Along the same lines, few of them had disdain for Clinton in the Monica Lewinsky affair. After all, he first denied any sexual contact with the White House Jewish intern, so of course, you can't accuse him of anything unless he admits it. Then later, he expressed regret and remorse, which I believe was real, because it was over doing something that made him look bad, not about the fact that he actually did wrong, aside from the fact that he caused a Jewess to perform Aveirot/sins by doing lewd acts to him. In fact, he even read a prayer at a function since the affair, composed by a reform rabbi on the topic of repentance. And so, since he "repented", he wasn't the worst president after all, and the fact that the White House intern happened to be Jewish wasn't much of a concern to his loyal followers, as it didn't involve hard core politics or Israel.

And so, Bill Clinton causing Jews to sin didn't end there. Now it is true, there are some anti-Semitic leaders of countries who would never dream of allowing their son or daughter to marry someone Jewish, unless maybe the new Jewish family member would convert outside of his or her faith. However, at least this means that one less Jew will be marrying out of the faith. In sharp contrast, even as Chelsea is the Clintons' sole child, it didn't seem to bother them that a "Jew-boy" will be the very one to marry their only beloved child. After all, they probably know by now that in fact, their grandchildren will be no more Jewish than they are, and the chances of them wanting to become Jewish and living as such will be virtually null. And so, besides the actual marriage ceremony of a Jew marrying their daughter; every time the son-in-law Marc Mezvinsky sleeps with their daughter, they are causing a Jew to sin, even as they think in their hearts that unlike the "fanatical" Jewish settlers who are the "troublemakers" in the Jewish-Arab conflict, Mr. Mezvinsky is a "good" Jewish boy. In fact, this may very well be a first in the United States history where a child of a U.S. president married someone Jewish.

Of course, this is not even to speak of the "good" Jewish boy being a left-wing radical, fitting perfectly with the Clintons' attitude towards how they view the Jewish State should be like with their vain dream of a two state solution. And perhaps what it most disturbing of the Clintons' stance of Jews and "Palestinians", is how New York Senator Hillary Clinton was once together with Itamar Marcus, founder and director of Palestinian Media Watch - www.palwatch.org, an organization which tracks down how our enemy nation looks to demonize Jews in various media outlets, by translating their Arabic to English. Anyways, as I saw on video, following Mrs. Clinton watching how the "Palestinians" are educating their children to hate Jews and Israel, robbing them of all sense of human decency and constructive education, including praising suicide bombers, she spoke about how terrible this is, and that things need to be done to change this around. Well, the next thing you know, she was back with her old tactics of pushing for our enemies to have their "Palestinian" state at our expense.

It's scary to think how someone like Mrs. Clinton after seeing the stark truth should continue with her politics showing her real hatred of Jews and Israel was able to be of the top two running Democratic candidates just a couple of years back along with Obama. At that point, it was clear that something was going to be a first in United States history, even if neither of them would succeed in actually being the next president. The leading party candidate was either going to be a woman, or someone who is black (Jesse Jackson was also a running candidate up to Election Day, but he wasn't the sole runner for the presidency in the Democratic party). And the truth is, putting aside the fact that she is a woman, her husband was president for two terms, and she was presently a New York Senator. It also would have been a first for a First Couple to return living in the White House because it would be the other spouse who would be president, though under all other circumstances according to the Constitution, it would be realistically impossible for any given president to live no more than eight years in the most famous house in the world.

Now getting to the Clinton-Mezvinsky wedding, all the wrong combinations took place, including the fact that this took place on the HOLY Shabbat. It's interesting to note that according to Jewish law, weddings do not take place on this holy day, primarily because it could involve writing a document such as the Ketuba/marriage contract. But I don't mean that because it's forbidden to hold a wedding on Shabbat, because this was not a Jewish wedding anyways; it's the fact that a Jew marrying out of the faith took place on the holiest day of the week, violating the Shabbat both physically and spiritually by doing such a terrible sin on this holy day. And as for the reform rabbi who performed the ceremony, well, was it money, his connectons with the Clintons, or both? But the Sheva Berachot, the blessings that are recited under the wedding canopy that he chanted not only involved saying G-d's name in vain many times, but that the whole theme of these blessings is that it is a HOLY MARRIAGE, which can only be truly blessed if not only both of the marrying parties are Jewish, but if they are performed according to Halacha/Jewish law. Indeed, too many Jewish weddings performed by Conservative and Reform rabbis are not in fact valid marriages according to Halacha, including the fact that there weren't two kosher witnesses - who cannot be relatives of each other or to the marrying parties and who are G-d fearing which includes being Sabbath observant.

These Sheva Berachot, along with Marc Mezvinsky donning a skull cap and prayer shawl while holding hands with Chelsea - featured in the middle two pages of the Yediot Acharonot, a left-wing Israeli paper with the caption in Hebrew, "Chelsea, behold you are betrothed" - was a true mockery of anything and everything that Judaism stands for. It reminds me of how in a book about Jewish laws and customs written by a Conservative Jewish couple who may have meant well, they have drawings of dogs and pigs wearing a skull cap. To note, the words after Chelsea's name in the Yediot Acharonot are the beginning words of the line that the Chatan/bridegroom tells the Kala/bride as he puts the ring on her finger, "Behold, you are betrothed to me with this ring according to the religion of Moses and Israel". In the sea of ironies, the Hebrew word for betrothed is Mekudeshet, which comes from the word Kedusha/holiness. That is, the marriage or wedding is not just a great way to celebrate the beginning of a committment of a lifetime partnership of both sexes. The marriage as performed according to Jewish Law makes a Jewish couple bound together spiritually with Kedusha, and without this means, an unmarried couple who are shacking it together or sleeping with a non-Jewish person is doing the opposite -adding impurity to one's holy Neshama/soul. Incidentally, this paper which I picked up on an Egged bus, I used afterwards as part of the cat liter for our cat, putting this disgusting picture of an intermarrige taking place on the bottom part of the liter pot, rather than on the top, not wishing to see this horrible picture for as long as it would take for our feline friend to use it instead of doing her thing outdoors.

In Hebrew, the word Kadosh can actually be spelled in a similar way - Kadeish or Kedeisha, which means a harlot or prostitute, as the verse states "There shall not be a prostitute or homosexuality among Jews" (Deutronomy 23:18). In other instances, the Hebrew word used, at least for a female, is Zonah. Now the question can be asked, of course the Torah is speaking to Jews, even if some its laws, including some of the laws of sexual unions, also apply to non-Jews. After all, when Moses was speaking in the narrative in Deutronomy, he was speaking only to Jews. So, why does the verse have to specify here as translated literally "from the daughters of Israel" or "from the sons of Israel", mentioning the name of our nation specifically with this prohibition?

To answer this, we first have to note Rashi's translation for Kadeish or Kedeisha - being given over or prepared for prostitution. But the important part here is what Rashi notes "Kiddushin (Jewish marriage) does not take effect with this". You see, there is nothing holy about something that one does not intend to serve Hashem by. In fact, being a pimp is serving one's personal desires, and is not even making any committment of being the prostitute's husband or agreeing to support her after giving his money for sleeping with her once.

The bottom line is that the lack of the holiness here has to do with one's personal interested in contrast to serving Hashem's interest. You see, in a Jewish marriage, it's not simply an allowance to marry a particular woman as opposed to just sleeping with her; his marrying a Jewish woman is part of serving Hashem - beginning with the very first Mitzvah given in the Torah "Be fruitful and multiply". Of course, if one is Jewish, Hashem expects him or her to marry someone who is likewise Jewish, not only because they spiritually match as opposed to a Jew marrying a non-Jew which is the case even if they are not going to have children, but because they have to create the next generation of Jews who will be serving Hashem as well. And even though a Jewess who marries a non-Jewish guy in fact bears Jewish children, what are the chances of them living a Jewish life if half of their family influence is not Jewish? And so, marrying a non-Jewish woman is in fact like sleeping with a prostitute, because he is stamping and spitting on his own Kedusha/holiness changing it to a Kedeisha, where there is no committment to serving Hashem by marrying someone who will not be his life partner in serving Hashem and certainly will not bear children who will serve Hashem the way that He wants to be served by Jews.

In spiritual terms, Clinton has also endorsed sexual spiritual contamination in the past. The proof - since his presidency, he had endorsed John Kerry, the Democratic nominee who was up against George Bush, Jr. Now, while I am not one to say that Mr. Bush was a friend to the Jews, but at least as a Republican, along with his personal Christian background, he was against abortions and gay rights. In contrast, though Mr. Kerry was a supposed avowed Catholic, as Catholicism is supposed to be the strictest form of Christianity, he was supportive of abortions and gay rights as Clinton was. But the punchline here is - what Kerry's family name is in Hebrew. You see, the word Kerry in Hebrew, spelled as Koof-Reish-Yud, is the very word for sexual impurity! And of course let's not forget, Obama got his foot in the political world by his endorsement speech of Kerry in the summer of '04.

Yes, it is the wife, the Akeret HaBayit, the mainstay of the home, who is the BREAD of the home. While this term may be used as a euphemism in Potiphar's case, it is the wife, who not only through her cooking and baking skills, but her sense of Jewish pride and identity, who can truly hold a Jewish home together. In normal situations, especially in the old days, the husband worked much of his time outdoors while his wife did everything indoors. It was she who is/was the main one to train their children not only to eat, but to speak and learn much of the basics of Jewish learning, including through songs and games. And as we know, for a meal that concludes with the recitation of Bircat HaMazon/Grace after meals, it begins with bread, and continues with other courses with meat being the highlight. In a similar vein, the bread is the Chumash/Five Books of Moses, and the meat is the Talmud. You start a Jewish child with the bread, the Chumash, the text of the Sefer Torah, which even women who don't learn the Talmud, can also learn, which includes speaking about the weekly Parsha. It is the woman who sets the tone for how the Jewish child will take Jewish education seriously for the rest of his life, beginning with the bread of Jewish learning. And of course, this is only possible if a Jewish man marries a Jewish woman; otherwise, his children aren't Jewish; unlike a Jewish woman who marries a non-Jewish man whose children are Jewish, even though a Jewish woman is forbidden to marry out of the faith either.

In conclusion, having mentioned about intermarriage and a Sefer Torah, I must mention the true story of one rabbi recounting how he prevented Jews from marrying out of the faith. Typically, following a meeting with the parents of a Jewish boy wishing to marry his girlfriend, he met the young fellow in his synagogue during one afternoon in the week in his synagogue. Upon arrival, the rabbi asked the guy to open up the Holy Ark. "Now?" he asked. "Yes" replied the rabbi. Upon opening the Ark, the rabbi asked him to take out the Sefer Torah. "Now?" the guy repeated. "Yes" was the rabbi's return reply. Following the guy holding the Sefer Torah, the rabbi told him, "I want you now to throw the Holy Scroll on the floor, spit and step on it." "You got to be kidding" exclaimed the guy. Following this, the rabbi took the Holy Scroll from him, and told him back, "By marrying out of the faith, you are throwing, spitting and stepping on the Holy Scroll, and everything that it represents."

G-d willing, I will be writing again in a couple of days of a milestone in the history of my Gematriot blogspot.

19 Elul, 5770

Friday, August 20, 2010

#77 - The Right SERVICE

When it comes to writing a composition, there are times that the hardest part for me is designating the name for it. Especially in this case, as I will be writing about negative issues, I wanted to name this post with a rather positive connotation. On a more universal level, it is quite important to give one's child a name that he or she will be proud of one day, whether it is because of the meaning of the name itself, or after whom one is named.

Ironically, when it comes to various names of Parshiyot of the Chumash/Penteteuch and tractates of the Mishna/Talmud, some names are either names of evil people, such as Korach & Balak, or names of negative topics that are named as such. Indeed, the fourth Seder/order or volume of the Mishnayot is called Nezikin/damages, which includes a couple of tractates whose names also have negative connotations - Makkot, which literally means beatings as it refers particular to lashes as administered by the Jewish court, and Avoda Zara, one of several names or phrases used to refer to idolatry, which literally means "strange service".

Now one may ask, true that the Torah needs to clear on what its laws are and that it means serious business. But at the same time, doesn't it need to set a prime example, and instead of naming Parshiyot after evil people and tractates after sins, especially the sin of idolatry that repudiates, so to speak, G-d as the sole ruler of the world, shouldn't the Torah instead give alternate names that will at least help avoid mentioning names of sins and evil people any more than necessary, and perhaps give a more positive spin on the topic being studied, as the Torah is supposed to be something that can attract people to G-d in a loving way?

Perhaps part of the answer can be found in the above question that was just asked here. More than once, the Psalms exhorts us to "Turn away from evil and do good". You see, one can believe in G-d and still worship supposed deities as gods, as the Jews in the times of Bible did. While denying G-d as the sole power of the world, some Jews still justified worshiping idols believing that Hashem is also G-d. You see, "doing good" isn't simply enough at times. Without removing the evil, the spiritual disease, from amongst ourselves and our immediate surroundings, the good that we perform will G-d forbid be tainted with the sins that beclouds us and prevents us from focusing on the ultimate good that we need to strive for. This is why Psalms prefaces its statement with "turning away from evil" and only afterwards "doing good".

As a prime example of this in everyday living, at times we find ourselves facing a sign that reads "Danger!" or "Poison!" Indeed, when someone of a half decent rational thinking is truly alarmed about the dangers about something via a harsh warning such as a sign like this, there will be no questions as to what he or she will do, or rather, not take part in whatever the dangerous situation may be.

On the second day of this week, on 6 Elul, the worldwide study of Tractate Avoda Zara of the Daf Yomi, daily study of a double sided folio of the Babylonian Talmud, began. Oftentimes, the name of this tractate, Avoda Zara, is marked by the first letters of these words - Ayin Zayin - which also spells the number 77 in Hebrew, and this is my 77th Post.

There is other names for idolatry, one of which is Avodat Cochavim U'Mazalot, which literally means service or worship of the stars and constellations. It seems that the reason for this terminology being used is because in fact, this is how idolworship began. As related by the Rambam/Maimonidies in the beginning of Hilchot Avoda Zara in his work Mishneh Torah, people started getting into this bad habit of worshipping so called deities other than Hashem, because they felt that as the planetary system consists of servants of Hashem, especially the sun and the moon, they should also be worshipped. Though this may have begun with good intentions, besides the fact that it was wrong itself to worship anything other than Hashem, the next generation who were raised worshipping the planetary system only know of this as gods which led to worshipping non movable items consisting of wood and stone. To note, the singular for the word Mazalot/constellations is Mazal, which in today's terminology is translated as good luck, or in wishing someone Mazal Tov. In any case, the word Mazal is also the Gematria of 77.

If this was not enough, there is something else this week that is also related to the number 77. The Maftir, the end part of this week's Parshat Ki Teitzei which is read for the one who receives Haftara, a selected portion of the Prophets as related to the Parsha, and also read as the Maftir on Shabbat Zachor, the Shabbat before Purim, is about remembering the evil that the Amalekite nation did starting war with the Jewish people following the Exodus, and erasing this evil nation's memory. This involves three of the 613 Mitzvot/Commandments of the Torah - remembering the evil that Amalek did to us, erasing his memory, and not forgetting what he did to us.

Today, in the absence of the Holy Temple, we are unfortunately left with far fewer Mitzvot to perform. Whether vegetarians like it or not, there are many Mitzvot pertaining to the animal sacrifices that were brought in the Temple. Additionally, there are also many Mitzvot related to ritual purity that we are not observing today, as they also relate to the Temple where being free of spiritual contamination of the dead and non-Kosher animals was a must. And while indeed there is a special thing about studying particular the laws of the Divine Service in the Temple and the sacrifices, for which one is credited not only for the greatest Mitzva of Torah study, but one is considered also as though he performed these very Mitzvot, even the ones that only Cohanim could perform, since the Cohanim performed the Divine Service in the Temple which was also on behalf of the entire Jewish people, as we are all in fact one spiritual body.

This section of Torah study was especially promoted over a century ago by the world renowned Rabbi Yisroel Meir Kagan, known by the title Chofetz Chaim which he named his first Sefer, Jewish book, a compilation of the laws of the prohibition of forbidden speech. A most worthy Cohen in his own right, he felt it his was obligation to exhort Jews worldwide with studying the Talmudic tractates on these subjects in preference before other tractates , and suggested that the Cohanim to get together to study these sacrificial laws, since if the Temple were to be in existance at any time following the coming of the Messiah, they would have to be ready immediately to follow what these laws are, and if they wouldn't know how to perform the Divine Service in the Temple, who would?

With this being said, aside from the Mitzvot that are related to Eretz Yisrael, our homeland country where even today in the absence of the Temple, there are still some Mitzvot that are performed such as the famous Mitzva or Mitzvot of Shemitta, allowing the land to rest and not working the land every seventh year; according to the count of the Chofetz Chaim, there are only 271 Mitzvot, which he compiled together under the name Sefer HaMitzvot HaKatzeir "The Concise Book of Commandments", the last Sefer that he composed in his lifetime of his writing numerous literary works.

This Sefer is divided into two parts - 77 Mitzvot Asei/Positive or Active Commandments and 194 Mitzvot Lo Ta'aseh/Negative or Non-Active Commandments. Ah, so we mentioned here 77 Positive Commandments. And what is the final one of these?

Before answering this question, I would like to note that Tractate Avoda Zara of the Babylonian Talmud is related to the consecutive numbers 75, 76 and 77. There are 75 Dafim/double sided pages of this tractate, and being that each such tractate begins with Daf Beit/Two, the tractate ends on Daf Ayin Vav - Page 76, and the first letters of the name of this tractate spells the number Ayin Zayin - 77. We will get back to the number 75 a little later on.

With the above being said, the final two Mitzvot of these 77 Active Commmandments as listed by the Chofetz Chaim is - remembering the evil deed that Amalek did to us Jews
and wiping out his descendants. Let's write here what the Chofetz Chaim has to say on these two Mitzvot:

#76 - Remembering the deed that Amalek did to us, as it says: "Remember what Amalek did to you", meaning, to mention orally - his evil deeds and his ambush of us, in order to arouse our hearts to hate him. This applies in all places and all times for both males and females.

#77 - Wiping out the descendants of Amalek, as it says: "You shall surely erase the memory of Amalek". We don't know who is Amalek until Elijah the Prophet comes and informs us as to who this is, and then we will wipe out his memory from this world (literally "under the heavens"). May Hashem cause us to merit to see the coming of Elijah the Prophet and our righteous Messiah speedily in our days. Amen.

Now, one may ask, what in the world does Amalek have to do with idolatry. True, all the nations of the world worshipped idols besides Jews in those days. So, it's nice to play games with the numbers 76 & 77 and say that both of these topics have to do with these numbers. It's also true that both the names Amalek & Avoda Zara begin with the letter Ayin. Also, Amalek & El Acher, which means another god - as opposed to Hashem, have the same Gematria of 240. But, how do these two topics directly relate to each other?

To begin with, the reason why the Jews were attacked by Amalek is because Amalek, as cousins to the Jews as descendants from Esau, brother of Jacob, patriarch of the Jews, were most jealous of us and was the very first nation to attack us when we were freshly redeemed from Egypt. As far as Hashem was concerned, the reason why He allowed Amalek to begin attacking the Jews was because as Rashi notes, it says right before the attack as originally recorded in the Bible that there were Jews who doubted among themselves "Is Hashem among us or not"? To answer this question, Hashem sent Amalek to remind the Jews that nothing happens without Hashem calling the shots. Along these lines, the word Safek/doubt also has the same Gematria as Amalek & El Acher.

At one level, it's not that the Jews doubted if Hashem exists or that if there other gods to turn to. Their problem was that they had a doubt as to what extent Hashem was in control of the universe. Hence, even when the Jews did worship idols within two months following this with the Golden Calf, the root of their problem was not that they didn't believe that G-d existed to begin with; but rather, they doubted G-d to be in total charge and control of everything. With that being the case, perhaps then there could be other spiritual forces for all that they knew, that could also have a say as to how things are run in this world.

Getting back to the name of the current Talmudic tractate being studied, this is indeed the most often name used to refer to idolatry. But, when translated literally, it doesn't mean idol worship, or worshiping of other gods, but rather "strange worship". In fact, there are at times other phrases used that means
"idol worship", such as Avodat Elilim, so why use an obscure meaning?

Why I wrote a little earlier about the concept of removing oneself from evil before focusing on the good, the name given to something by the Torah can teach more than one lesson. You see, idols don't have to necessarily take the form of a statue, a part of the planetary system, or even flying angels. One can be obsessed with money, television, smoking, fancy vacation packages, or other distractions taking our mind off of what our purpose of being in this world is for. One may seem to lead a fine "religious" Jewish life - going to synagogue in the morning and evening making the Minyan, quorum of 10 male adults which allows for certain prayers to be said that aren't said with less than this. One can be very strict about eating only in restaurants that are certified as being "strictly kosher". One may even pat himself on the back for attending the daily Daf Yomi class. But...one can entirely miss the boat of what it is really about.

The proof, what is one's mind preoccupied about all the time? Is it about what one's children are doing aside from homework - anywhere from studying a Sefer outside of obligatory studies to watching T.V., or about raising prices in one's set of chain stores which are above the prices that are permitted according to Halacha/Jewish Law? Is one thinking about how one's Tzedaka/charity can benefit the most for the Jewish people, such as supporting the good Jews in Israel and Jewish education instead of the big plaque in one's synagogue showing off his name, or how to make the most of the left over food not even served on the guests' plates from one's catering business for which the family of the Bar Mitzva or wedding paid in full - only to be used as part of the next catering event for which the second family is also paying for, that is, payment from two families for some of the same food - which I highly doubt is permitted according to Jewish law, after both families have already paid top bucks for their catered occasion?

Indeed, one who is supposed to be an observant Jew can truly live a double standard life, when one's thoughts are far more occupied with materialism than spirituality, as illustrated by the loud voices of congregants talking about anything from business affairs which are forbidden to be spoken about on Shabbat to saying Lashon Hara/evil things about another Jew or community of Jews while the Kadish is being recited or when the Parsha is being read on Shabbat morning. Indeed, why bother going to synagogue if one will walk out of there full of Aveirot/sins instead of Mitzvot/commandments? Indeed, the term Avoda Zara - "strange worship" most aptly describes these very scenarios. Yes, Hashem is treated as a total STRANGER by some of these congregants who are going through the motions to maintain that "Modern Orthodox" title and lifestyle while boasting of their master's degrees from Yeshiva University (some of whom will not even marry a woman without a "good" college degree, showing their lack of faith and trust in Hashem) which while it may be a college where Talmud is taught, it has openly approved forums of gay issues and rights. How disgraceful!

I'll never forget one Purim when I was young when I heard the Megilla, or whatever part of it without excess noise, in a synagogue packed with people of all ages. As is customary when the name of Haman, a descendant of Amalek, is mentioned in the Megilla reading, all kinds of noise was made to booo this lowlife creature. Anyways, there were this group of Modern Orthodox teenagers or college students that were echoing over and over again "Where's the beef?", mimicking an old lady in a then recent commercial who made this remark in the midst of it. Perhaps even more than the fact that NO TALKING IS PERMITTED whatsoever according to Halacha in the midst of the Megilla reading as one is not allowed to speak anything even if there is a break in the Megilla reading until it is over, "Where's the beef" represents the materialism that many get caught up with despite their observant background with keeping Shabbat and avoiding eating non-kosher food. After all, this is hardly different than the Jews in the desert who asked for meat despite their daily dose of manna. As I heard one young Modern Orthodox professional talk about himself, gone are the years where he has concentration in his prayers.

While I can't say of myself that I am a perfectionist in concentrating on my prayers, not even trying to get closer to Hashem than one's present level - at least on Shabbat when one isn't supposed to be talking or even thinking about his business affairs - while focusing on making a good living to maintain the lifestyle of two cars and a swimming pool is just one more example of what can truly be called Avoda Zara, strange worship, strange service, estranged from what Hashem wants from us, because if we can't even put Hashem's wishes on our regular what-to-do list, let alone on the priority list, why should Hashem do anything special for us, unless we feel that whatever we earn is because WE earned it, when we forget that it is HASHEM who has given us everything up to today? The LEAST we can do is to thank Hashem for His past favors, and perhaps we will then be motivated to do a little more than what we have been doing until now, especially in this month of Elul, the month immediately preceding the High Holidays, described by the phrase Ani L'Dodi V'Dodi Li, the first letters of this phrase spelling this month of Elul, saying "I am to my Beloved (Hashem), and my Beloved is to me". Then, at least we have a fighting chance of doing things right, even if we don't get everything right the first time, even if we loose concentration during one point of our prayers, but at least we are keeping in mind that we have to make some effort, and that Hashem is not just another part of the day, but that He is the One we look forward to meeting with every day.

There is one more connection to be noted here between Avodah Zara & Amalek. The Tribe of Dan, who looked to conquer additional territory in Israel, were much more into idolatry than other tribes. Perhaps due to their nature from day one, it was especially this tribe, as our rabbis tell us, who was attacked by Amalek. While there was nothing wrong in itself to conquer more territory in Israel - in fact, not doing so was a shortcoming in other tribes that led to all kinds of troubles for them; the Tribe of Dan was apparently more of a materialistic type of group. As evident from Sefer Shoftim/Book of Judges, they stole an idol for worship on their way to conquer more land.

And in case anyone thinks that I am just trying to pick bones with anyone without knowing what I am talking about, we see in the Torah that the term Zar/stranger or Zara/strange is describing the models of these above situations. In the Temple, there were certain areas that were off limits to anyone who was not a Cohen. In fact, the Holy of Holies was off limits to anyone but the Cohen Gadol/High Priest and even he was only allowed in there only at certain times on Yom Kippur. In any case, in the context of those forbidden to enter certain parts of the Temple, the Torah calls someone of this category which is anyone who is a non-Cohen, a Zar/stranger; and any such person - and it doesn't matter if he is the greatest Torah scholar alive - who dares enter such areas in the Temple is liable to death by the hands of Heaven. In another context, when the two older sons of Aaron, on the day that their family was inaugurated as Cohanim, made a fire on the altar which was not included among Hashem's orders as it was supposed to be a fire coming from Hashem, their were immediately smacked dead like if it was a bolt of lightning that would have struck them. About this, the Torah says that they brought an Eish Zara/strange fire.

My point is that even when someone is trying so to speak to get closer to Hashem or do an action that shows his or her devotion to Him, BUT...not done according to the way that Hashem wants it, he or she is following a STRANGE path, a path that goes contrary to what Hashem wants, which will result sooner or later with going completely against the Torah. Some who are not observant may not quite understand this when they say "G-d understands" or "G-d will forgive". However, in following the ways of the Torah, we have to realize our place and position, and not attempt to change it, the same way that if one is given a part in a play, attempting to play the part of someone else or substituting/adding words that he or she feels will be (more) appropriate without the approval of the writer of the play can ruin the entire play by this one change and throw the audience totally off base.


Soon, I will get back to write about serving Hashem, but first, there are amazing similarities between evil nations and people whose names begin with the letter Ayin.
Actually, I've written in the past in my blogs about the 70 nations, and the letter Ayin is the Gematria of 70. But today, especially as I mentioned Amalek & Avoda Zara as both beginning with this letter; it's noteworthy to at least briefly mention the list of evildoers beginning with this letter.

AZA & AZAEL - The fallen angels who boasted to Hashem that if they were to live on earth, the wouldn't sin with the women like people do. Hashem took them up on this challenge, resulting in them bearing children who became the world's giants. One of these famous descendants was...

OG - A survivor of Noah's flood, he lived on for many hundreds of years. He informed Abraham of the capture of his nephew Lot in the hopes that Abraham would die and then he would marry his wife Sara. His evil intentions to Abraham didn't stop there, because when his descendants the Jews were travelling in the desert at one point, Og came out to fight them, and Moses ended Og's life by hitting him in his ankle.

EPHRON - Pretended to be nice to Abraham by what seemed to be his generous offer of land which would allow Abraham to bury his wife Sara. When it came to the price, he demanded 400 coins of a grade that few could afford. While Abraham was happy to pay for what he knew was far spiritually more than mere burial plots, we see in the Torah that unlike before the transaction took place, his name was last spelled without a Vav, making his name spelled last to be the Gematria as the phrase Ayin Ra/evil eye - 400, which Ephron displayed towards Abraham. It's interesting to note that the phrase Ayin Ra both begins and ends with the letter Ayin.

AMON U'MOAB - Amon & Moab were two seperate nations, descended from Lot's two daughters. More than just cousin nations, both of these nations hired Bilam to curse the Jews. Though Bilam didn't quite accomplish what he was hired to do, the Torah in this very week's Parshat Ki Teitzei forbids a Jewish woman who is not a convert to marry a male from either of these nations even if he converts to Judaism.

ESAU - Born into the holiest family in the world at the time to his parents Isaac & Rebecca, along with his twin brother Jacob, he prefered the wild life. Part of his evil behavior was pretending to his father Isaac that he cared about performing Mitzvot very meticulously by asking seasoned questions, but they were just a front for his real way of life. Among his many evil descendants who followed in his evil footsteps, it was his grandson...

AMALEK, ancestor of the first nation who dared attack the Jews, making it easier for other nations to want to attack the Jews in the future. For this, Hashem gave this nation the worst treatment of all. Hashem gave especially three of the 613 Mitzvot devoted to remembering & not forgetting his surprise attack on the Jews, and wiping out his every last descendant, even the "innocent" babies. Saul, the first king of the Jews, had his chance to have the tremendous merit to fulfill these three Mitzvot once and for all, but he blew it when he left its very king alive who slept with a woman that one night between his capture and being killed by Samuel the prophet. This resulted in numerous evil descendants, including Haman. It will only be in the future, as mentioned earlier, when we will be able to fulfill these Mitzvot in their entirety.

ARAVIM - Yes, our distant related cousins through our great, great uncle Ishmael, half-brother of Isaac. While they were a long nomadic Arabic race, it was in the latter part of history that they became unusually violent thanks to their Koran, calling them to punish the infidels, especially the Jews. Of course, what is so surprising when the first script of the Koran was written by a Jew who was forced to write it by Mohammed and his followers, only for his body be cut into pieces by these sub-human creatures afterwards? It includes the account of Abraham attempting to sacrifice his son, as it is in the Bible or Old Testament, but with one difference - the Koran claims that it was Ishmael - not Isaac - who was the one to be sacrificed. I guess this says it all.

As a side note, the Jews in its early history were known as IVRIM, the Hebrews, using the same letters in fact as the Hebrew word for Arabs, also beginning with an Ayin. This was taken from Abraham's original title - HaIvri, coming from the word Eiver, the other side; meaning, that when the whole world was worshipping idols, he was on the other side of what they were doing, believing in only G-d, the only G-d. In time, this title to describe the Jews at one time when Hashem wanted Moses to tell Pharaoh time and again "the G-d of the Hebrews", was dropped once the Jews left Egypt, as now, it wasn't simply that they were of a different religion, but that they had a unique way of life, being a "Holy nation". We see that since then, the same letters of the word is written in the Torah as a verb - Ovrim/crossing over, where we see especially in Deutronomy over and over again where Moses addresses the Jewish people, telling them about how things will be when "you will cross over the Jordan", that is, when they come to Israel to live as a nation.

EREV RAV - "Mixed multitude" The term given to insincere converts to Judaism who joined the Jews in the Exodus wanting the benefits of being Jewish, but not living up to its demands. Moses pleaded with Hashem to let these people be included in the Exodus, and though Hashem tried dissuading Moses from letting them go, Moses insisted on bringing them "under the wings of the Divine Presence". This resulted in making major trouble for the Jews, resulting in the first official idolatry that the Jews worshipped called the...

EIGEL HAZAHAV - "Golden Calf". It even seemed real as it was moving around, a result of a trick of the black magic that the Erev Rav performed. The Sages tell us that the impurity that left the Jews right before they received the Torah which as a result would have allowed the Jews not to ever die, returned to them when they worshipped this, besides the immediate deaths that resulted among the Jews. Also following this, they weren't able to see Moses' face for the rest of his life, as they were now in a far less spiritual level to be able to see Moses' holy face. Also, unlike before when it would have been just Hashem who was going to travel with them to Israel, He sent an angel instead to directly travel with them. Finally, any punishment that befalls the Jewish people includes a little bit of the punishment that was not used for this sin.

AZAZEL - Yes, the famous scapegoat. While this term has been used in post Biblical times to refer to the Jews who were blamed for the non-Jews's and world's problems, it was a goat especially designated in Temple times that was thrown off a cliff on Yom Kippur to atone for the Jews' sins.

ARAFAT - Spelled in Hebrew beginning with an Ayin, though not his actual last name but referred to as such by the public, he wasn't a leader of any country, or even leader of whatever he called Palestine, but only president of an organization called the Palestine Liberation Organization, with the sole intent to throw Jews into the sea to declare Israel as Palestine. But perhaps what is more shocking is how the world viewed him as an important leader, honoring him the same way as they would for a president of a country. I'll never forget the time when they spent time in the news (tell me one non-Jewish news outlet that is not anti-Semitic) talking about the birth of his so called daughter (as he was a homosexual, and having a wife in France when he didn't live there was just a cover up of his base lifestyle due to which he died of AIDS), as though it was a major accomplishement for an older man like Arafat, giving the impression that he was a very important person. While the Israeli government was covering its eyes from reality as he shook hands at the Oslo Accords, he said straight out from day one that ALL of Israel is really Palestine; and as far as he was concerned, he attempted to get what he could through the means of "peace", and then he would fight for the rest.


Now, let's get to what all the letters of the name Amalek stand for. A few years ago, as I was walking on the street in a very religious section in Jerusalem, I saw on some sort of poster as to what this name of Amalek alludes to. Each of its four letters - Ayin, Mem, Lamed, Koof - begins the name of one of the political parties in the Knesset. They are Avoda - Labor, Mem - Meretz, Lamed - Likud, and Koof - Kadima.

While this is not a blogspot to get into detailed discussions about each of these left-wing parties in the Knesset, because as far as I am concerned, even ALL of the "religious" parties - with the exception of the present HaIchud LeUmi/National Union party that follows in the footsteps of Kahane - are ALL against the Torah, because they let money and politics get into the way without focusing on the root issues that can change the Knesset into a Beit HaKnesset, which literally means a synagogue. In more practical terms, without all of the "religious" parties if they can really be called as such would truly want to do the right thing, they would all get together to be one big party, which would eventually lead to being the majority in the Knesset, and then once and for all, there would be a leadership that would be based on Torah, and we would have none of these problems with the Arabs, just as it was between wars in the earlier history of the Jewish State.

However, to seperate "the men from the boys" so to speak, the above four parties which are represented by the letters of the name Amalek represent four different tactics of how to give the land away to our present biggest enemies who can well be compared to Amalek. And while Jews let themselves be naive or be ignorant of the facts until today when it comes to Likud, still thinking that it is a right-wing party, and even some who call themselves religious Jews voted for its leader Bibi Netanyahu despite his past, tarnished record of giving in to the Arabs, Rabbi Meir Kahane, may Hashem avenge his blood, warned how this party is in fact the WORST party. It's very simple - as it seems to be a right-wing party with its clever tactics which include the typical promises to the people who vote for the politicians solely on their promised word, Likud with its Mr. Netanyahu has done terrible damage, including the latest of a 10-month curfew of construction in Israel,
which of course is for "its benefit", to show the Arabs that we are "sensitive" to their complaints, while we - the ones who believe in the truth - know that ALL of our Land belongs ONLY to us.

But what is most significant here is that it was only nearly five years ago that we finally realized what the letters of Amalek stand for. You see, the Kadima party, represented by the last letter of Amalek's name - Koof, was founded by none other than past Prime Monster Ariel Sharon, who may have shown vistages of being right-wing even as of just a few years earlier when he assisted with putting down the foundation stone for a synagogue in Gush Katif which would be declared "Ground Zero" by him only a few short years later; but as evil as he did with throwing some 9,000 Jews from 25 communities, his biggest Chutzpa was that SINCE THEN, he founded a clear cut left-wing party with the name Kadima, which in modern Hebrew, is used to mean "Let's go forward", adding insult to injury to most of the former residents of Gush Katif and four other towns in Gaza who were not even left with half-decent temporary dwellings, who were clearly punished by the evil Israeli government for not leaving their hard worked for homes before their expulsion, who would have otherwise received good benefits like the few who did leave beforehand. We see that Hashem allowed Mr. Sharon to found this party in the short period of time between the Disengagement and his sudden stroke a few months later.

To understand why the Kadima party started this way, it was Hashem who was attempting to awake the Jewish people to realize that by allowing money and politics - today's Avoda Zara - to get in the way, which included rabbis in what is called the Charedi world to be paid hush money for their Yeshivot, while they scream about every other injustice that affects their immediate community, or cry bloody murder about Jewish graves elsewhere being dug while maintaining absolute silence when it came to removing the Jewish deceased from the Gush Katif graveyards. It was through this indifference that the ultimate fulfillment of Amalek came to be. It doesn't have to be the literal meaning of the actual nation of Amalek, but imitating this nation's evil deeds. Former Prime Monster Ehud Olmert, who quickly grabbed hold of Kadima's reins the moment that its founder Sharon received his stroke, wasted no time in confiscating all sorts of items from Kahane books to dogs trained to save Jewish lives from Kahane followers who are based in Kfar Tapuach and an office of theirs in Jerusalem -the very day that Olmert started being dictator. This was followed shortly with the bloody bath of some 200 protestors in Amona when he sent armed police and soldiers to empty out nine homes from there while beating up men, women, and children, including two Knesset members. He felt that this would help him get elected as the official Prime Minister of Death as he was showing "strength" which very unfortunately proved to be correct.

And as in this case, the Ayin in the name of Amalek begins with the word Avoda, referring in this case to the Labor party, its ultimate fulfillment of it is allowing what is called Avoda Zara, which as I wrote, literally means "strange service". In this context, it means "foreign service", being peformed by our Arab enemies, who are making a living by being paid a little less money by their Jewish employers than supporting our own flesh and blood. But this is not only being done by the government who are currently employing Arabs to build this railroad trick in the midst of what was at one time the beautiful street of Jaffa in the heart of Jerusalem, the lunatic idea of Prime Monster Ehud Olmert when he was the crooked mayor of Jerusalem, shedding Jewish blood when a couple of Arab employees used tractors to murder and injure Jews. This is being done even by some so called Charedi Jews who think that they will save a few Shekalim by hiring Arabs, or once in a while will do a favor for their own click, but would hire Arabs anyday BEFORE hiring observant Jews who don't look as "religious" as they are, because they don't dress in black and who what they are called Tziyonim/Zionists with a philosophy that differs from the views of the Charedim. which is also a violation of the Torah's command of "Thou shalt not hate your brother in your heart", which we call in short Sinat Chinam/baseless hatred, hating another Jew simply because he is or looks different from you in some way, the very sin that caused the destruction of the Second Temple, and it is this very Aveira/sin that has been holding back the arrival of the Messiah and the rebuilding of the Temple until today.

The prime fault of these so called religious Jews hiring Arabs is that they lack the Emuna/faith and Bitachon/trust in Hashem that He can provide the same amount of livelihood - if not more so - if they would hire ONLY Jews, even those who are called Chilonim, secular Jews (and yes, it is a Mitzva to support and hire even non-observant Jews, so long as they do not openly look to mock Judaism). Besides, by hiring Arabs, while concerned about their own immediate pocket, they will forever loose out in the eternal reward for hiring needy Jews - the highest of the eight forms of Tzedaka/charity, some of whom are begging for Tzedaka in the form of free handouts in the Jerusalem streets as a result of the evil of these so called religious Jews, as though you and I reading this are supposed to be the ones to support these Jewish beggars when it is others who clearly have the Mitzva to support them by providing them with a livelihood. The truth is that at the end of the day, you see that the Arabs take their time working, and the ones hiring them are paying them for more time than necessary as a result, which means that had they hired honest Jews instead, even if paying them more money per hour, the work would have been completed sooner, showing that in fact, one does not make one penny or Agura more if what one is doing goes against Hashem's wishes.

Indeed, Avoda Zara, while not in the literal sense of idols today for the most part, is allowed to be performed in the sense of "foreign work" in Israel, for in fact, as Rabbi Meir Kahane put it best, ALL of the Arabs - including their babies - are trespassers when living or working in Israel. According to Halacha, we have no right to allow the Arabs, who not only do not accept the seven Noachide laws on themselves in lieu of the Koran, but openly have shown as an entity that they only wish for our destruction, to live - and certainly not to work for us - ANYWHERE in what is called Eretz Yisrael. Period!


Well, it is true that I received an Aliyah this past Shabbat Parshat Shoftim - the
2nd or Levite Aliya. This is all about the rights, rules and responsibilities of a Jewish king, including having written on his behalf an additional Sefer Torah/Torah scroll to the one that all Jews are commanded to have written, and it is this second Torah scroll that is supposed to be with him at all times outside of impure places or when asleep. This is called Mishne HaTorah "second Torah". Interesting, as the sole mention of this phrase in the entire Tanach/Bible, it is also the alternative name of Sefer Devarim/Book of Deutronomy, and ALSO, the name of the very work (but without the prefix Hei of the word HaTorah), the magnum opus of the Rambam/Maimonides, which is a compilation of all the laws of the Torah, much more detailed than the Mishna, which is supposed to serve the same purpose.

It's interesting to note that of the fourteen volumes of the Rambam's work, the name of the last volume - Shoftim, is the same name as the name of this Parsha in which this phrase Mishne HaTorah is mentioned, and the last section of laws of this volume is entitled Hilchot Melachim, the laws of kings. And as I had mentioned in previous blogs, in the Hidden Codes of the Torah, the phrase Sefer Rambam "Book of Maimonides" is spelled equidistantly only once in the entire Chumash - every 5770th letter, as the number of this Hebrew year 5770! How interesting to note that this phrase Mishneh HaTorah, located in the Levite portion of Parshat Shoftim, is read only once a year in the Sefer Torah, and as a Levite, I was lucky to receive this Aliyah in this year of 5770.

There is one more special thing that happened to me on this very Shabbat. You see, noting that my second Hebrew name Matisyahu is the Gematria of 861, this past Shabbat Parshat Shoftim was the 861th day from when I gave myself my second Hebrew name Matisyahu on Sunday, Rosh Chodesh Nissan 5768. It was also on a Sunday, Rosh Chodesh Nissan that Aaron and his sons became inaugurated as Cohanim, and I named myself after Matisyahu Ben Yochanan Cohen Gadol, the post-Biblical hero who was responsible for the holiday of Chanuka.

Believe it or not, the two things that happened to me this past Shabbat - are related to each other.

First things first - the worldwide daily study of one chapter of the Mishne Torah of the Rambam on this past Shabbat was the very chapter about the role of the Levi'im/Levites in the Temple! Moreover, in this chapter studied on this Shabbat Parshat Shoftim, it mentions the very source of the Levites singing in the Temple from this very Parsha that was read on the same day, "He (the Levite) shall serve in the name of Hashem his G-d" (Deutronomy 18:7) "What is the type of service that is in the name of Hashem? This is song." (Laws of Sanctuary Vessels 3:2). (Though a parenthetical note, Tefilla/prayer and Shira/song have the same Gematria - 515). Now, turning to Divrei Hayomim/Book of Chronicles where the list of the 24 watches of the Levite singers are mentioned (I Chapter 25), we see that there was a Biblical Matisyahu, the name of the fourteenth watch! Yes, there was an earlier Matisyahu was who a Levite, as I am. (I mentioned my story of how I got to name myself Matisyahu as relating to singing on my 8th Post).

To note, the following two chapters in this section of the Rambam is about the services of the Cohanim and the Cohen Gadol/High Priest in the Temple, respectively. As it turns out, the very first word of this chapter about the Cohen Gadol is the word Cohen - the Gematria of 75, which was learned on the day that the Daf Yomi of Tractate Avoda Zara - consisting of 75 Dafim, began! It should be noted that this section of the Rambam is in the midst of the eighth volume that is called Avoda - (Divine) Service, referring spefically to the service that was performed in the Temple. Indeed, the verb for the word Cohen is L'Chahen - to serve, being like a synonym for the word Avoda or L'Avode - to serve.

Shimon HaTzadik/Simon the Just, who was one of the few righteous Cohanim Gedolim/High Priests of the Second Temple, who served in his post for 40 years, notes that there are three pillars on which the world stands - the Torah, the Avoda, and doing acts of loving kindness (Pirkei Avot/Ethics of the Fathers 1:2). Avoda in this instance can refer either to the Temple Service or one's prayers. Now, the main prayer that we say at least thrice daily is called the Shemoneh Esrei, which literally means eighteen, as there used to be 18 blessings that were recited until an additional one asking Hashem to obliterate certain evildoers was added, making this presently nineteen blessings. In any case, the 17th blessing that begins with Retzei "Be pleased..." asking Hashem to be satisfied with our prayers and a request to return the Divine Service in the Temple. You see, our Torah learning about the sacrifices and our prayers today take the place of the Temple Service, since it is not around presently, but we still want and yearn for the real thing - the Mitzvot that Hashem gave us pertaining to the Divine Service. And it was the Cohen Gadol, the head of the Cohanim, who was the Jews' representative to have everyone's prayers answered. And as connected with the name Shimon, my first name, the name of the previous blessing in Shemoneh Esrei is called Tefilla/prayer, as we tell Hashem, Shma Koleinu "Hear our voice", bearing in mind that Shma is the root word of the name Shimon, and as we continue in this blessing, we ask Hashem to accept our prayers. And it was another Shimon in Pirkei Avot - Shimon Ben Netanel, who says that we should be especially careful with saying the Shma (starting with Shma Yisrael "Hear, O Israel") and the Shemoneh Esrei.

And in another special connection to this Hebrew Year 5770, the title of the EIGHTEENTH chapter of the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch/Concise Code of Jewish Law, composed by Rabbi Shlomo Ganzfried, is Hilchot Tefillat Shemoneh Esrei "Laws of the prayer of Shemoneh Esrei (literally means EIGHTEEN)". This chapter details the manners that we are supposed to display when saying this most important prayer as imagining speaking to a king of flesh and blood, certainly we we approach the King of Kings. In any case, the first letters of the name of this chapter - Hei Tav Shin Ayin - spells this very Hebrew Year 5770!

Now, getting back to the Aliyah that I received this past Parsha (Deutronomy 17:14-20), there are exactly 137 words. Accordingly, there are exactly 137 laws in the Rambam's Hilchot Beit HaBechira (Laws of the Temple), the first section of his volume called Avoda, and it has been said that this corresponds to the 137 years of the life of Levi, the ancestor of the Levite tribe who served in the Temple. The connection between these two concepts of 137 seems to stem from the reason that Levi's mother Leah named him as such - Atah Ha'Pa'am Yilaeh Ishi Eilai "Now this time, my husband (Jacob) will attach himself to me, for I bore him three sons". On a spiritual level, serving Hashem, as represented by the Tribe of Levi, is attaching ourselves to Hashem. And though the Rambam uses the term Beit HaBechira for the Temple, the usual term Beit HaMikdash is indeed the same Gematria as the name Matisyahu - 861!

Moreover, in the midst of counting the words in this Aliya, the words Mishne HaTorah are the 88th & 89th words respectively. Kabbalistically, a Chatan/bridegroom is compared to a Melech/king, the theme of this very Aliyah. With this being said, as a Chatan/bridegroom is supposed to receive an Aliyah both on the Shabbat before and after marriage - the 88th & 89th Shabbatot from when I was first named Matisyahu were the very Shabbatot before and after my marriage, respectively. The 88th word of this Aliya is Mishne, the Gematria of 395, and adding this number 395 to the Gematria of my first name Shimon - 466, is presto! - the Gematria of the name Matisyahu - 861! And indeed, the name together Shimon Matisyahu is the same Gematria as Kriat HaTorah - reading of the Torah (1327)! Now, noting that the 88th Shabbat from when I was given the name Matisyahu was the Shabbat before my marriage, it was the 616th day from the day that I was given this name, and the 89th word of the Aliyah that I received last Shabbat - HaTorah, is the Gematria of 616! This is also bearing in mind that that 616th day was the first day of Chanuka, and the name Chanuka is the Gematria of 89.

Noting this, the day that I gave myself the name Matisyahu - on a Sunday, Rosh Chodesh Nissan - was the very day and date that the Inauguration of the Tabernacle and Cohanim began. But also, it was the first of 12 consecutive days that one leader or another of a tribe brought sacrifices on behalf of his tribe. On this very day of the inauguration, Nachshon Ben Aminadav, brother-in-law of Aaron, leader of the tribe of Judah brought the sacrifices on behalf of his tribe. And the Maftir for the 1st day of Chanuka which fell out on the Shabbat before my marriage - which I was called up for - ends off with this very section of the Torah about the sacrifices of the leader of the tribe of Judah. And in reference to the Aliyah in Parshat Shoftim about the Jewish king, it is the Davidic dynasty descending from the Tribe of Judah that is supposed to be the ruling kings of Israel for the rest of time, including the Messiah.

Now, on the 89th Shabbat from when I was given my name Matisyahu, I was given the Aliyah - Maftir for the last day of Chanuka, the name Chanuka having the Gematria of 89 - beginning with the section in the Torah about the sacrifices that the leader of the Tribe of Menashe brought. Now, the name Menashe and the word Mishne - the 88th word of the Aliya that I had last Shabbat, have the same letters! Hence, you can see that there is a fusion here between these two words - Mishne HaTorah, and the number position of these words - 88th & 89th - in more than one way.

And as I mentioned the years of Levi's life, I should mention that Aaron, from whom Matisyahu was descended from parentally, lived 123 years. Correspondingly, Matisyahu's Gematria of 861 is a multiple of 7 & 123 which equals the sum total of 861. Hence, being on this Shabbat, the 123rd Shabbat from when I was named Matisyahu, representing the aspect of Cohanim from Aaron to Matisyahu, on the day that the chapter of Rambam was about the Mitzvot of the Levi'im, and the Aliyah that I received is all about the Mitzvot of the Jewish king or Melech, we can take the first letters of these words - Melech, Levi'im, Cohanim - which spells Melech/king. And by the way, the ancestor of the Jewish kingdom which is supposed to be eternal was King David, whose name David is the Gematria of FOURTEEN, as the last of the FOURTEEN volume of the Mishne Torah of the Rambam is about the laws of Jewish kings, and was the one responsible to setting up the 24 watches of the Cohanim and Levi'im, and the ancestor and name of the FOURTEENTH watch of the Levite singers was Matisyahu!

In connection with the about, our Rabbis tell us that when the Jews came to Israel, they were given three special commandments related to the establishment of the REAL state of Israel - appointing a king, wiping out Amalek, and building the Temple.

Ultimately, this leads to remembering the King of Kings, and the sole purpose of the respective positions of the Jewish king, Cohanim and Levi'im was to represent Hashem and set a prime example for the rest of the Jewish people, NOT as a means of its own.
Unfortunately, there were some Jewish kings who worshipped idols, and some Cohanim Gedolim/High Priests of the Second Temple who paid for the high status as Cohen Gadol
even if not worthy and was proven by the fact that they died in the Holy of Holies on Yom Kippur as they were not worthy High Priests. We have to always remember that if we have a position of power, that this power is SOLELY from Hashem for the SOLE purpose of serving Him, and it's only an honorable position if we remember that it is to Hashem that we give the honor to and not to ourselves; and as related to a position in the community, as a means to serve the people, even those who are supposedly less than ourselves, NOT as a means to use the people to make ourselves look taller. Though the letter Ayin is the beginning letter of major evil people and nations, this letter as the Gematria of 70 is the number of the years of King David's life, who made use of every day of his life that was given to him as a gift from Adam, who saw that it was destined for King David to live for only three hours.
And my name Matisyahu, which means GIFT OF HASHEM, represents the continuance of life and my wife Yael that Hashem has given me as I am still in the midst of my first year of marriage, which was last represented by the Aliyah that I received this past Parsha about the Jewish king, which is today represented by the Chatan/bridegroom. And to note, the letter Ayin is the middle letter of the first names of my wife & mine.

And speaking of Parshat Shoftim and Sefer Shoftim of the Rambam, I would like to point out to the beginning of Sefer Shoftim/Book of Judges of the Bible, where in the beginning of it, the Tribe of Shimon, as having a portion of the land of Israel within Judah's territory, joined with the Tribe of Judah in fighting the nations around to conquer the land.

Today, I declare my thanks to Hashem. Twenty three years ago, on Shabbat Parshat Shoftim, the 4th of Elul, the same as it was this year, Hashem performed a big miracle for me. I was walking a long distance from synagogue towards home, when in the midst, I was met up by a huge dog ready to attack me. My immediate response was to scream "Help me, Hashem!" and I ran across the street where cars from opposite ends were driving. As I could see behind me, even as I was running for my life, I could see the dog attempting to cross this wide street. In the middle of this happening, it somehow got stuck for at least a few moments between two cars travelling in opposite directions. By the time that the dog was out of that situation, I was way ahead, and the dog not seeing where I was stopped attempting to chase after me. Yes, I lost my Kippa/skull cap, and though I wasn't too happy either about the tremendous scare that I received, Hashem clearly saved my life, at well as whatever injuries that could have resulted G-d forbid, as I heard a few years back of a boy around town whose leg was amputated because he was bitten by a dog with rabies.

And today - 10 Elul - I am up to reading the middle chapter of the Chumash/Penteteuch - Leviticus Chapter 4 - of its 187 chapters, which I began on Shavuot, celebrated in the month of Sivan, marking exactly 1,000 years from when the first Tanach, complete with vowels and singing notes, was completed during the month of Sivan, over 500 years before the Bible would first touch the printing press. This very chapter speaks of the various sin-offering sacrificial animals brought in the Temple, a reminder to one who sinned that really, he should have been the one killed, but Hashem in His infinite mercy rather wishes for one to realize to better his ways when he sees what happens instead to his sin offering that he brings to atone for his sin. Interestingly, it mentions the sacrifices when a High Priest or Jewish king brings when they sin accidentally, who take responsibility for their sin rather than placing the blame on others. Today's Jewish leadership, or whatever is left of it - which is supposed to be "without turning from the right or left" (and I don't mean literally right-wing or left-wing politics in this quote), has much to learn from this middle chapter of the Five Books of Moses.

As a quick note on Sefer Vayikra/Book of Leviticus, it is called Torat Cohanim, the Torah or laws of the Cohanim, making up the majority of this Sefer, the THIRD of the Five Books of Moses, consisting of 27 Chapters, which is most significant, because the number 27 is THREE times THREE times THREE, and as represented by their ancestor Levi, whose name has THREE letters, and the THIRD son of Jacob and Leah! And as the number three represents the concept of peace as being a third party to resolve a fight between two parties, which the ancestor of the Cohanim - Aaron, displayed so well, the THIRD word of the THIRD Chapter of Leviticus is Shelamim - PEACE offerings, and the THIRD word of the THIRD verse of the THIRD Chapter of Leviticus is HaShelamim "The PEACE offerings"! And as the concluding verse in Psalms 29 states, "Hashem will give strength to his people, Hashem will bless his people with peace." The Hebrew word for strengh is Oz, also spelling the number in Hebrew for
77, and in this context, Oz/strength refers to the Torah, which is the ultimate guarantee for peace.

And today being the sixth day of the week of Parshat Ki Teitze, corresponding to which is the sixth Aliyah of the Parsha, this section begins with the verse "When a man marries a new woman, he shall not serve in the army or do anything related to it, but be free for his household for the first year, and make happy the woman whom he married" (Deutronomy 24:5). The underlying purpose of this is there should Shalom Bayit - translated literally as "peace of the home", tranquility in one's marriage, starting off on the right foot with their marriage, giving considerable time to one another, which will set the tone for their lifetime marriage. Indeed, this verse is most appropriate for my first year of marriage.

Concluding my 77th Post on the note of Chai=EIGHTEEN, which is life, mentioned in this Post as the 18th Chapter of the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch about the laws of Shemoneh Esrei, which literally means EIGHTEEN; as the Chofetz Chaim, at the conclusion of his list of the 77 Active Mitzvot writes as a sign to remember that there are 77 such Mitzvot that we observe today as the Gematria of 77 - V'Chayu Bahem, "You shall live by them" with Hashem's Mitzvot which give us eternal life, and as the concluding verse about the Jewish king states "Without turning his hear aside from his brethren, and without turning from the commandment - right or left, in order that his days will be prolonged for his kindgom - he and his children in the midst of Israel." Yes, not necessarily as the right service as opposed to the left service; but as opposed to the WRONG service of Avoda Zara as unfortunately quite common today without physical idols, the RIGHT way of performing Avodat Hashem - the SERVICE OF HASHEM.

P.S. In this coming week, I plan, with G-d's help, to write more about the subject of Jewish marriage, though it is most related to this week's Parshat Ki Teitze, but enough writing for one post.

10 Elul, 5770