Thursday, September 30, 2010

#84 - A New DAY = A New PAGE

With this post, I begin my third year of writing at following the conclusion of Simchat Torah.

One year ago, while I already was dating the woman who is now my wife, I was still a single man. This year, it was my first Simchat Torah being married to my wife. I am still in what is called my Shanah Rishonah - the first year of marriage, about which the Torah tells us that we must spend our first year of marriage together without leaving town without one's spouse, unless the other one gives permission.

The other holiday that is especially connected to marriage is Shavuot because this is when the Jewish people was so to speak became married to Hashem through the Torah
- the marriage contract. In fact, the beginning of the last Parsha of the Torah that we read on Simchat Torah mentions that momentous occasion of Hashem giving us the Torah.

And so, it is hardly surprising that both the one who is called to the Torah for the final reading of the scroll and the one who is called to the Torah for the first reading of the scroll are called Chatan Torah "Bridegroom of the Torah" & Chatan Bereishit "Bridegroom of Bereishit" respectively. While we do celebrate Shavuot as the day of the Giving of the Torah by learning Torah all night and reading the Torah which speaks in detail of this occasion, it is particularly on Simchat Torah that makes it evident to all that we celebrate this by singing, dancing, and marking this day as when we conclude the Torah, and immediately begin it anew. Similarly one getting married celebrates both the fact that he has ended his years of being single and is now beginning a new era in life.

In my case, especially in my first year of marriage, there was another very significant matter here regarding today's Kriat HaTorah/reading of the Torah. First, I want to point out as I have done in the past that the phrase Kriat HaTorah is the Gematria of my full Hebrew name, Shimon Matisyahu - 1,327. And the last Parsha of the Torah - V'Zot HaBeracha - that we read on Simchat Torah, has 41 Pesukim/verses, this year in my first year of marriage, which was my 41st year of life. And while I did not wind up being called as the Chatan Torah or Chatan Bereishit, but the usual Levite reading, the main thing is that I am now married, and so I especially had one more reason to celebrate this year.

Though we have Kriat HaTorah a minimum of four times a week - twice on Shabbat, Monday & Thursday, the Shulchan Aruch (428:3) equates Kriat HaTorah specifically to Simchat Torah. You see, it mentions how to remember what day of the week that a particular holiday will fall out on based on the days of Passover of that particular year. Using the Gematria method of AtBash in which Alef, the first letter of the Alef Beit, is equated with Tav, the last letter of the Alef Beit, and then working similarly with the rest of the Hebrew letters where Beit, the second letter, is equated with Shin - the second from the last letter, and so on, corresponding to Alef which is the 1st day of Passover, Tisha B'Av which begins with Tav falls out on the same day of the week as the past first day of Passover. Similarly, Shavuot which begins with a Shin falls out on the same day of the week as the past second day of Passover represented by Beit.

And so, the day of Simchat Torah, which the Shulchan Aruch calls Kriat HaTorah as this phrase begins with the letter Koof, the fourth to the last letter, corresponds to the past fourth day of Passover represented by a Dalet. Now, someone may ask here, "Wait a minute, what day of the week is or was Simchat Torah this year. I know that the first day of Passover this past year began on a Monday night continuing until Tuesday night. And so, the fourth day of Passover had to have begun
on a Thursday night continuing until Shabbat. That being the case, Simchat Torah began tonight - Thursday night, not Wednesday night. Are you a Reform Jew, or perhaps I am not quite knowledgeable as you are, but I thought that it is forbidden to write on a Jewish holiday as Simchat Torah, so how can you write this today even though you are writing Torah?"

The truth is that the only kind of person who will ask such a question is someone who may at one time been what you call a Reform Jew and just recently started becoming observant of what is loosely called Orthodox Judaism who does not realize that in Israel, Simchat Torah is the same and only day of Shmini Atzeret, the original name of the holiday, where I am presently living. To the best of my knowledge, Reform Jews observe only one day of Jewish holidays outside of Israel even though this is a violation of Jewish law as it is only in Israel that we observe the original one day. While ironically, the author of the Shulchan Aruch, Rabbi Joseph Karo, lived his later years in Israel, he addressed the majority of Jews at the time who were living outside of Israel, and so it may be considered a little irony that I am writing this on the very day - 23 Tishrei - that is called Kriat HaTorah or Simchat Torah as observed outside of Israel, but for me myself writing this, it is no longer the holiday that Jews outside of Israel just started celebrating a short time ago in the East Coast of the United States where I come from.

In any case, there is another connection between the fourth day of Passover and Simchat Torah. You see, as each day of Passover has a Torah reading from a different section in the Torah, the reading for the fourth day of Passover, unless the day before is Shabbat, begins with Im Kesef Talveh Et Ami "If you lend money to My nation..." (Exodus 22:24) where the first word Im/if is the Gematria of 41, the number of the verses of the last Parsha of the Torah that is read on Simchat Torah!

And as this last Parsha of the Torah concludes with its 41th and last Pasuk, it would be most noteworthy to mention that in the section of the Torah about the Mitzvah for the Cohanim to bless the Jewish congregation (Numbers 6:22-27), the very first words of Torah that we recite following the daily morning blessings for learning Torah, it consists of exactly 41 words, and 150 letters. Accordingly, there are 150 Psalms, and 150 words to the Aishet Chayil "woman of valor" paragraph -which refers to the Jewish woman of the house, the Shabbat, and the Torah - the conclusion of Proverbs (31:10-31) recited every Shabbat night before Kiddush. So speaking of LAST, and the first Simchat Torah of my marriage falling out in my 41st year, the last letter of the Alef Beit is Tav, the Gematria of 400, and my wife's full Hebrew name - Yael Miriam - is the Gematria of 400. And this would not be complete if I didn't mention that the word Torah begins with the letter Tav, the very first word of Torah that a child learns as part of the verse Torah Tziva Lanu Moshe Morasha Kehilat Ya'akov - "Moses commmanded us the Torah, it is a heritage of the congregation of Jacob", the fourth verse of Parshat V'Zot HaBeracha that is read on Simchat Torah.


And so, bearing in mind that the phrase Kriat HaTorah is the Gematria of my name Shimon Matisyahu and that Simchat Torah is called Kriat HaTorah, it may seem logical that my name may be hinted somewhere in the final Parsha that is read on this most special day. In fact, it was only today on Simchat Torah, not the first time on this holiday in the past that I have come up with special Torah treats, that everything came together for me.

You see, when Moses gave his blessings to the Tribes of Israel, the only Tribe that he did not bless individually was Shimon. It seems that even though this is not the only Tribe that ever sinned, Moses was quite upset to the last day of his life that it was chiefly 24,000 members of this tribe who had sinned just in the past year with
the Peor. You see, it is mentioned in the Midrash that Moses was buried right near there to atone for this sin. And so, it is not surpirising that whatever atonement that he would have to go through as a result, he knew it was primarily this tribe who was the cause for it. And so, while he loved his own Jewish people so much to the extent that when it came to the sin of the Golden Calf that some Jews worshipped,
that he was willing to give up his entire spiritual merits to the extent of not even being mentioned in the Torah to save the Jewish nation from extinction, he was not so forgiving with this one tribe. And so, he only hints to this tribe within his blessing for the Tribe of Judah as the tribe inherited land within Judah's portion - Shema Hashem Kol Yehudah - "May Hashem hear the voice of Judah", as the word Shema/hear is cognate to the name Shimon.

But here is where it really gets interesting. Near the end of the Parsha/Torah, it mentions this root word again - VAYISHMEU Eilav Bnei Yisrael "The Jews HEARD him (Joshua)". And as I had mentioned in the past, a discovery of Rabbi Michoel Dov Weissmandl, the name Matisyahu, the name of Matisyahu Ben Yochanan Cohen Gadol, the partriach of the Maccabbees who was responsible for the holiday of Chanuka, is hinted here where every 50th letter spells another letter of this name, beginning with the letter Mem of Moshe's name when it states that "Moshe died there". Anyways,
it is in the midst of this matrix of the spelling of this name that the word Vayishmeu/they heard is written. Is the Torah hinting to me here? It is true that I was a regular Torah reader for like 15 years before I moved to Israel.

And as the name Matisyahu is the Gematria of 861, I should note that the first 41 numbers - 1 through 41 - also equals 861. And as I had mentioned that there are exactly 41 ones in the Parsha about the Mitzvah of Bircat Cohanim, it was on the date of Rosh Chodesh Nissan - marking the very first time that Aaron and his sons performed this Mitzva - that I gave myself the name Matisyahu as my second Hebrew name, also noting that the one that I named myself afterwards - Matisyahu Ben Yochanan Cohen Gadol - was a Cohen as a direct parental descendant of Aaron.


Also today, looking in the Artscroll Siddur, I saw the phrase Kriat HaTorah L'Simchat Torah "The Torah reading for Simchat Torah". Lo and behold, looking at the first letters of this phrase, they spell to read the word - Kohelet (Koof-Hei-Lamed-Tav/Sav).

Just this past Shabbat, we read the Book of Kohelet/Ecclesiastes, which is one of the five Megillot of the Tanach/Bible. This is always read on Shabbat during Succot. According to the Midrash, King Solomon wrote this in his older years when he already learned the lessons of life. However, at one point in time later in history, the Sages almost did not include this in the Bible, because there seemed to be inconsistencies with this book of 222 verses. However, one of the factors that convince the Sages to let it be part of the Holy Bible is the next to the last verse "The end matter has been heard. Fear G-d and observe His commandments, for this is the purpose of mankind". It's intersting to note that this verse begins with an unusually BIG letter Samech - Sof/end. Indeed, the very last time in the Chumash that the letter Samech is used is in the END Parsha V'Zot HaBeracha, read as part of the Kriat HaTorah for Simchat Torah, is where it says - Samach Moshe Et Yadav Alav "Moses leaned his hands on him (Joshua)". The verb Samach/leaned also spelled the name of the letter Samech. Indeed, Moses leaning his hands on Joshua, transmitted to him who would be the next Jewish leader - the Torah.
It is this authentic Jewish tradition that would teach the Jews to "fear G-d and observe His commandments".

On the flipside, in the beginning of Bereishit which is read on Simchat Torah, all the other letters of the Aleph Beit are included, except for the letter Samech. You see, in the beginning of Creation, things didn't quite work out right. Adam & Eve sinned on the day that they were created, and so, they obviously didn't fear G-d so much or keep daily tabs on what commandments had to be observed. It took nearly 2,450 years for Jewish tradition to be transmitted "The end matter is fear G-d and observe His commandments".

Aside from this, there are times that the reading of the Torah of Simcha Torah - the conclusion of the Sefer Torah/Torah scroll is performed on the same day that Kohelet is read. In a year when (the first day of) Shemini Atzeret falls out on Shabbat, Kohelet is read on this outside of Israel while the Torah reading for the day as Simchat Torah is performed today inside of Israsel. However in Israel, Kohelet is not read on Shemini Atzeret, but on the first day of Succot when it falls out during Shabbat.

Another connection between Kohelet and the conclusion of the Torah is the Midrash on the beginning of Kohelet - Kohelet Rabba - where it notes that we learn out from King Solomon who made a feast following Hashem's promise to him that he would be granted special wisdom that no else had ever been granted, that we too make a feast for finishing the Torah - the greatest book of wisdom that exists - as this is Hashem's wisdom that is contained with the Chumash, whose words come from non other than Hashem Himself, Who dictated to Moses the exact wording that we have read since for over 3,300 years.

It seems that the Book of Kohelet is hinted to in the verse quoted above - Torah Tziva...KEHILLAT Ya'akov - "...CONGREGATION OF Jacob," for indeed, it is in the midst of the period of time that we start reading from the beginning of this last Parsha of the Torah, anywhere from Shabbat Shuva - the Shabbat between the High Holidays - which was on the 3rd of Tishrei this year to a couple of days before Succot on the 13th of Tishrei through Simchat Torah, that we read the Book of Kohelet sometime during Succot. And as pertaining to Jacob especially this year, we read the Book of Kohelet on Shabbat occuring on the 3rd day of Succot which corresponds to the Ushpizin/Heavenly Guest - Jacob of the seven Ushpizin corresponding to the seven days of Succot. And as this verse states - Kehillat Yaa'kov; since in the Sefer Torah/Torah scroll, there are no vowels so the word Kehillat spells exactly the same as Kohelet, and the immediate word after this is Jacob's name. Hence, the first letters of the phrase Kriat HaTorah L'Simchat Torah spell a word in a most special verse that indeed is part of the Kriat HaTorah L'Simchat Torah - the reading for ths very day of Simchat Torah. Amazing!


As we know, the last word of the Torah - the last word of the 41st verse - is Yisrael, the name of the Jewish people. In a book authored by Simcha Friedman -
"Simcha's Torah - Making Torah Yours" which includes 17 techniques for discovering Torah insights, he mentions in the third chapter called Gematria of the difference of the Gematriot of the two names of the patriarch Jacob - Ya'akov & Yisrael. Now, considering the name Ya'akov to include the letter Vav which is written as such in five places in the Bible though usually it is spelled without it, it is the Gematria of 188; and when subtracted from the Gematria of Yisrael - 541, the difference is the number 353, the Gematria of Simcha/happiness. The significance of this is that Jacob's original name Ya'akov is based on the word Ekev/heel, the bottom part of the body; and later on, he was granted the new name Yisrael, which includes the letters of the word Rosh/head, the name having a Gematria of an additional amount of 353. The lesson to be learned from here is that the ultimate way for a Jew - called a Yisrael - of reaching the highest spiritual level is through Simcha.

Indeed, both the holy Kabbalist Rabbi Isaac Luria and the Vilna Gaon testified about themselves that it was through this trait of Simcha, as especially demonstrated during Simchat Torah, that they reached the high spiritual levels that they did (I don't know exactly who said what, but no doubt that being that they rejoiced learning Hashem' Torah that they were especially able to reach such high spiritual plateaus.

As another connection between these two names, the Ba'al Shem Tov, the founder of the Chasidic movement whose name is Yisroel, was born 312 years ago. In this final Parsha of the Torah which ends with the name Yisroel, there is a phrase Ein Yaakov "eye of Jacob" describing the Jewish people in very affectionate terminology. It is this very phrase - the Gematria of 312 - that is also the name of the collection of the Aggadic (or non-Halachic) part of the Talmud, compiled by Rabbi Ya'akov Ibn Chaviv who passed away over 500 years ago. This part of the Talmud
has been widely studied in the past five centuries by Jews, many of whom may have not been all that learned in Torah, but weren't overhelmed by the complex Halachic parts of the Talmud that could have otherwise turned them off from Torah study altogether, but felt comfortable enough to sit down to a Torah lecture of Ein Ya'akov
while still learning the basic Halachot/Jewish laws they needed to know to live as observant Jews. This is most reminiscent of the holiday of Simchat Torah when even simple Jews who don't know much Torah still rejoice until today, feeling that they too have a part in the Torah, even if they relate more to the spiritual level of Ya'akov, as the bottom part of the body, rather than the spiritual level of the heads of the Jewish people, the Torah scholars who are represented by the name Yisroel, the name of the founder of the Chasidic movement who brought hope to the simple Jews of his time who otherwise felt shunned by the scholarly element to whom they felt that they could not relate to.


In any synagogue or Yeshiva, the Sefer Torah is placed inside what is called the Aron/ark. Apparently, we learn this out from where the very first Sefer Torah that Moses wrote from what Hashem told him, was placed. Rashi (on Deutronomy 31:26) quotes the Talmud (Bava Batra 14) mentioning a disagreement about the Rabbis as to where this placed. Some say that there was a board protruding from the Ark on the outside, and it was there that it was placed. Others say that it was placed beside the Tablets of the Ten Commandments inside the Ark.

In any case, quoting from the first opinion, the board protruding from the Ark is called in Hebrew - Daf. This word is the number 84 in reverse - Pei Dalet - which is also the number of this post.


This two letter word became a daily word in the mouths of world Jewry some 87 years ago when the Daf Yomi - the daily study of a double sided page of the Babylonian Talmud began on Rosh Hashanah 5684/1923. Since then, all types of Torah learning schedules were invented, including the more recent Daf Yomi of the Jerusalem Talmud.

In past posts, I have written about the concept of learning a Daf of Talmud study every day. Today, I will write focusing on the concept of the Daf - the (double-sided) page of Torah studyand not necessarily just Talmud - , in contrast to studying a Perek/chapter of Torah learning.

You see, there is a very practical difference between sitting down to learn a page of something and a chapter. With studying a chapter, you don't know sometimes how long it will take to learn. Some chapters may be relatively short and easy while others will be quite long containing study material that is far harder to comprehend.

Take for instance the daily learning of the work Mishneh Torah of the Rambam/Maimonides, as suggested by the late Lubavitcher Rebbe. He devised more than one way of studying this. For some who have plenty of time and able to study well, he suggested three chapters of this halachic work every day, thus completing this work within one year. For those who don't have so much time or such easy brains, he suggested to learn one chapter a year, which will be completed within three years.

My friends, if you can keep up with even a daily chapter of this, let me know. Even for those who have good brains and had a very good Yeshiva education, when it comes to marriage, children, and making a living, the only way this is possible for all too many is if they can recite the words of the chapter, but it does little good without spending the time of not only understanding the literal meaning of the words - in Hebrew or English - but comprehending the concept of each Halacha. And at times, this involves the intricate laws of the sacrifices, the laws of purity or impurity, which aren't even applicable these days until we get the Temple back one day, and so most won't be familiar with these laws well as they are with the basic laws of daily living, such as prayer and the holidays.

What happens with many is that they eagerly learn the beginning of the Rambam, which involves not only easier concepts, but interesting ones at it, but when they get even into the details laws of Shabbat, some of which is even not so applicable these days, like the types of ovens that we don't use these days, or the details laws of the forbidden labors on a farm as most aren't farmers these days, it's easy one day to come home late one evening only to open up the text, see the general hard content of the particular "chapter of the day", turn a couple of pages to see where the chapter ends, and hence feel too tired to go through much of the chapter, and when starting to fall asleep on the book, close it for the evening, and the next thing he knows, he is several chapters behind, and then he wonders if he should try to catch up when he has a little extra time, or continue on with the "chapter of the day" which momentarily seems to be a little less challenging.

My friends, for those who have much study time and know how to learn well, the study of Rambam can be quite beneficial. But most need to be realistic, and if they truly want to learn something major Torah text from cover to cover, they have to follow a schedule that fits THEIR needs, not based on what someone else thinks they should do which will most likely fail, despite whatever noble intentions the one who invents such a regular study course have in mind.

What is needed in Torah learning today, more than ever, is equality. You see, the Daf Yomi, though it will involve many challenging days to those who study the Talmud, some of whom even who will not stay with the study program, is a very set thing - ONE PAGE ONLY. No need for flipping pages, because one knows that is it ONLY this page that he is studying today. Hence, he knows that it is only up to himself to step to the plate and make a concentrated effort to learn the Talmud page to the best of his ability. Perhaps there are some days where there is more material than others, but the negativity of feeling it's too much one evening by turning a few pages to see where the difficult chapter ends is not applicable here.

Apparently, Rabbi Meir Shapiro of blessed memory, who founded this concept of Daf Yomi, has been 87 years right. Yes, it will take more than seven years to complete the Babylonian Talmud, but the main thing is that there is a set amount of space that one needs to be concerned about - whatever is on ONLY one page - and that is it. Perhaps if there would be a standard Rambam text that everyone would know that it is only one page or column or whatever physical limited standard for the day, even if it would mean starting from a middle of a chapter and concluding in the midst of another chapter, it would still be easy for many more, and who knows how many more Jews would be learning Rambam today if such a thing would have been devised instead of even just one chapter a day. For after all, what is the point of learning something if one will not have sufficient time to comprehend it well?

Even studying the Mishnayot, which is far less material than the Rambam who follows his pattern after the Mishnayot, can still be a little challenging. But first of all, much of this Mishna is already in the Talmud that many learn, and many follow the study cycle of learning two Mishnayot a day, taking nearly six years to complete, which is far less material than one chapter. There is in fact a daily course of learning one chapter of Mishnayot a day, but at least one is given more reasonable choices as to how much Mishnayot one can learn a day - from one Mishna to one or two chapters a day to complete the 525 chapter work in one year.

The bottom line here is - learn something that is within one's timeframe and learning ability that one will be able to keep up with. Some find that learning only one side of the Talmud page, which is called an Amud, half the amount of the Daf, works better for them, as well as a little more chance to go over the material instead of just studying new material when they didn't fully comprehend the first part.

The Vilna Gaon notes that the largest Babylonian Talmudic tractate in the amount of words is the first one - Berachot. Now mind you, this is one of the easiest tractates in the Talmud, for more than one reason - full of relevant material about the reading of the Shema, prayers, and blessings, as well as being full of Aggadic material. Yes, there are some who eagerly learn this first tractate of the Talmud, and then wonder off target between the next tractate or two - either tractate Shabbat with some 156 Dafim, or the next tractate Eruvin, which is known to be one of the three hardest tractates, with also over 100 Dafim. In all fairness, the majority of tractate Berachot, as only 63 Dafim, are full of the Talmud text in contrast to the amount of commentary surrounding it, as it is not so hard to understand, but there is a lot of material to the Talmud text. But it has to be understood that in whatever study program one commits to, there has to be some serious effort to be made to understand the material. And now more than ever, between the excellent translation of Artscroll and free downloaded lectures of the Talmud, such as on, or for that matter, the local class in one's synagogue, or people to learn with, there is no shortage today of various ways of studying "the Daf".


One course of study as the "daily Daf" that appeals to me quite well is that of the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch, "The Concise Code of Jewish Law", compiled by Rabbi Shlomo Ganzfried. I have mentioned this work before, and also the importance of studying Jewish law everyday, but today, it will be within the context of studying "the Daf".

A word on Rabbi Ganzfried from the 1800s, while a great scholar in his youth, he was involved in the business world until the age of 39 when he accepted a rabbinic post. Additionally, he wrote other works, including Kesset HaSofer, a work on the writing of Hebrew letters for Torah scrolls, Tefillin, and Mezuzot, about which the Chasam Sofer (Rabbi Moshe Sofer) mandated for all Torah scribes to learn to qualify for the position.

Now, I own in Hebrew a Kitzur Shulchan Aruch that is formatted as such that one will be able to study exactly one Daf of this every day that can be completed in the course of one year, beginning exactly from today - 23 Tishrei, as this is the day that begins the new learning cycle of the Chumash from Bereishit immediately following the day of Simchat Torah when we finish the cycle of Chumash. Hence, it only makes sense to begin something else as well on the same day that will also be completed in one year. In addition, it is divided as such that one learns about the particular holiday before and during the holiday, which while may not be in the original ordered text, the part of knowing what to do right before any particular holiday will stay in one's mind rather than learning the same thing during some other time of the year when it will clearly not be applicable.

To be sure, the very beginning of the Shulchan Aruch and Kitzur Shulchan Aruch write of one's obligation to be "bright and early" (my paraphrase of the general concept). One should not be too lazy staying in bed whether it is because of the cold in winter or the insufficient amount of sleep in the summer. We have to remember to "place Hashem in front of me always". (Well, not necessarily in this order, but I think you get a bit of the picture here). In my case, this is not exactly applicable to me today, because I am in fact writing this now when I was awake virtually the whole night, writing this post in the latter half of the night.

And so, a new day, a new PAGE. In fact, every day of our lives is a new page in our life. In contrast, a new chapter denotes a new phase in life, hopefully, for example, from bachlerhood to marriage, and not the reverse.

And so, today I had already begun learning the Daf L'Yom, "Page per day", a play on the phrase Daf Yomi - "Daily Page", as it is called for this Kitzur Shulchan Aruch. An alternative phrase given for this daily study is called HaKitzur HaYomi, "The daily digest", refering to the fact that this is the Kitzur, the digest or concise form of the relatively longer Shulchan Aruch, Code of Jewish Law. Indeed, the true "Reader's Digest", for after all, isn't everything based on the Torah, Hashem's wisdom?


In the first Parsha of the Torah - Bereishit - that we will be reading this Shabbat,
we see two individuals who are named Chanoch - one who is the son of Kain, the world's first murderer, and the other who is the father of the righteous Metushelach.

The Zohar comments on this phenomenon that there is a good Chanoch and a bad Chanoch.
When this name/word is sometimes spelled with a letter Yud between the Chet and a Noon, it means education; hence pointing out to the fact that even though when education is a subject that is always brought up as a positive thing, an evil education training children to hate everyone else or disbelief in G-d is even worse than no education at all, pending enough knowledge to make a living that will prevent one from stealing from other people or murdering them.

Anyways, as this is my 84th Post, I would like to point out that the name Chanoch is also the Gematria of 84. This name itself has the translation of the verb word - educate or train. As quoted from Proverbs 22:6 - Chanoch L'Na'ar "Train a child according to his way, so that even when he is old, he will not turn away from the right path". While it so happens that in that verse itself, the word Chanoch is without a Vav, the word means the same with or without this letter.

While some when speaking of education are referring specifically to the academic studies of a school, education begins and ends at home where a child is first taught the basic by his or her parents, and continues after returning home from school and being finished with homework assignments from the teacher. While certainly, academic studies in school from Torah to secular subjects help develop a child's mind, it has to be backed with Derech Eretz, proper manners and behavior that show and reflect the education one has at both home and school. Thus, education includes the training aspect, from being trained to make in the toilet instead in one's diapers to speaking with others in a nice tone.

The Chanoch that we read about as the seventh generation from Adam and Eve was one of the few righteous people living in his day. Had he been a Jew in later times, no doubt that he would have sought to be a Kabbalist based on what the Midrash tells us about him. But unlike his immediate ancestors and immediate descendants who lived closer to the 1,000 year mark, he lived for a total of 365 years.

While there are reasons given for his early departure from this world, from the possibility of him turning to evil in the future to making others looking bad by his righteous behaviour, I find out very hard to say that it "so happened" that he lived exactly 365 years. As we know, it takes 365 days and a fraction to make up a solar year. And as his name means "to educate", the Torah tells us that education is a wonderful thing for both Jews as well as non-Jews who follow the solar calendar. After all, Chanoch himself was not a Jew anymore than Adam or Noah. However, he was a strong believer in G-d, and trained his son Metushelach to also live a righteous life, who in turn was the last righteous to live besides Noah and his family right before the big flood took place.

And then there is the "Yiddishe" Chanoch - the name of the firstborn of Reuben, who in turn was the firstborn of Jacob. This certainly cannot be dismissed with the wave of hand as mere coincidence. Just when everyone thinks that the only reason the Torah mentions the names of the first members of the Jewish people who came down to Egypt with Jacob as "seventy souls" is in order to point to our Jewish genealogy, they should realize that there is much to be learned from the names of the first Jews who descended to Egypt, from whom descended millions of Jews who experienced the Exodus. Following this, before Hashem gave them the Torah, He asked them for a guarantee that they would always keep the Jewish faith. Rebuffing other offers such as the Patriarchs, He finally accepted the guarantee of the new Jewish nation - their children; for if the children do not learn about their Jewish faith and heritage, G-d forbid, then Judaism would no longer be practiced.

Very unfortunately, many if not most of the early "observant" Jewish immigrants arriving in the United States - speaking the Yiddish language - were only concerned about having synagogues, while sending their own children to public schools. Their Jewish education outside of the home was limited to preparatory Bar Mitzvah lessons, and after being "Bar Mitzvahed", that was the end of their practicing being Jewish.
Their parents, while speaking the Yiddish language, and enjoying the prayers - which for many were mere performances as in an opera - of Yiddishe Chazanim/cantors, failed to realize that the Yiddish language doesn't have any more Jewish value than German, Polish or Russian, if their children weren't taught the REAL Yiddish language - the words of Torah, though Hebrew, as the Holy Tongue, is the language of at least the Tanach. In time, Yiddish was used to mock the real Yiddish way of living - the Torah way of life, in the "Yiddishe" theaters; and today, most of the ones speaking Yiddish are those who are very meticulous living the REAL Yiddishe way of life - the Torah way of life.


Making the connection between the words Daf and Chanoch both having the same Gematria of 84, by one learning the daily Daf - whether the Talmud, Halacha, or some other area in Torah study, one educates oneself with the particular learning AND trains oneself to stick to the daily regimen of one Daf a day. It takes practice and discipline to make priorities and stick to the learning plan before other things come in the way. For some, it may mean sitting down to learn the Daf before starting to feel tired or watching T.V. For others, it may mean a few extra minutes before sitting down to a scrumptious dinner after a hard day's work. And above all, to make as part of one's spiritual diet - for certainly, one doesn't forgo eating for a day just because he/she has no time. Accordingly, Torah learning has to be viewed the same way. Of course, there are occasions where emergencies, G-d forbid, get in the way, especially when one has a family of a few young ones, but one's attitude about Torah learning is certainly a big factor in maintaining one's pace despite the regular routine of one's daily activities at home and work. Whatever the amount of Torah learning - whether much or little - the main thing is that it is an amount that one knows he can stick to, and not to add too much that will make oneself loose hope of catching up after being a few days behind because the amount of material to catch up on was too much on the day after the emergency. Remember, the sun of its cycle of 365 days a year never misses a day; and so the spiritual sun, the Torah, which is eternal, deserves far more attention. In short, a new day EQUALS a new page of Torah.

Yes, education, training and discipline. With this, we can hope that every DAY with its challenges - will indeed be another PAGE of our fruitful life that we can be proud of, especially as Jews who not only learn Torah because Hashem tells us to, but also to learn how to fulfill our mission as G-d's servants; and then hopefully, we can hope to have the same eulogy one day as what the Torah says of Moshe Rabbeinu, immediately upon his passing - "Moses, SERVANT OF HASHEM, died" (Deutronomy 34:5).

Yes, the physical Moses of flesh and blood may not be around today. However, his Torah teachings and behavior of his humility and Ahavat Yisrael/love for Jews are well and alive. As we sing on Simchat Torah - Moshe Emet V'Torato Emet "Moses is true, and his Torah is true".

P.S. Will write next, G-d willing, sometime in the week following the Shabbat of the coming week; or otherwise put, after Rosh Chodesh Cheshvan.

23 Tishrei, 5771

Sunday, September 19, 2010

#83 - The THREEFOLD Mitzvah

Some may be scratching their heads here to figure out as to what Mitzvah does the title of this post refer to. Well, it is true that yesterday, at least in Israel, the Mitzvah of Bircat Cohanim, consisting of the THREE verse blessing that the Cohanim bless the congregation with (Numbers 6:24-26), was performed THREE times yesterday on Yom Kippur - during the prayers of Shacharit, Mussaf, and the once-a-year Neilah. In fact, the Bible chapter that I read yesterday on Yom Kippur, starting from a chapter a day from this past Shavuot, as I wrote about in past blogs - Numbers 6 - concludes with the very section of the Torah about Bircat Cohanim.

This is among other Mitzvot that I have in mind that are connected with the number three. And fast fowarding a few days from now, we will be celebrating the holiday of Succot, which is the THIRD of the Shalosh Regalim, which is the title given for the THREE pilgrimage festivals, when all male Jews capable of traveling were obligated to appear in the Temple, and offer animal sacrifices - Passover, Shavuot, and Succot.

But before continuing on what this upcoming holiday has to offer us, the letter Gimel, which is the Gematria of THREE - when this word is spelled out as Gimel, Yud, Mem, Lamed - is the Gematria of 83, and this is my 83rd Post.

Among the various spiritual goodies of this most joyous festival, which includes the Mitzvah of Succah - the outdoors booth, and the "Four Species", this is the time of the year when we remember the greatest Biblical figures that we read about in the past year when beginning the reading of the Chumash following this holiday. Including King David who lived following the events of the Chumash, we invite seven of these Bible figures, called Ushpizin/Heavenly Guests in our Succah during the course of the seven days of this holiday.

Aside from this, there are also parallels between the Jewish holidays and the Biblical figures. As mentioned in the Midrash, the Shalosh Regalim correspond to the three Patriarchs: Passover - Abraham, Shavuot - Isaac, Succot - Jacob. And according to the Zohar, calling the above Ushpizin as Shiva Ro'im "Seven Shepherds", bearing in mind that a few of them were in fact not only spiritual shepherds of the Jewish people, but were also physical shepherds, which in fact qualified Moses, to be the leader of the Jewish people, the corresponding one to Succot is Aaron.

Needless to say, both views as to who corresponds to Succot are true, and perhaps even complimentary to one another. Let's take one step at a time.


To begin with, just like Succot is the third of the three pilgrimage festivals, so is Jacob the third of the three patriarchs. But even without this, there is a very obvious connection between the two. The verse "Jacob traveled to Succot (name of a city) and he built there a home, and he made Succot (booths) for his livestock; therefore, he called the name of the place Succot" (Genesis 33:17).

And what do we see here - the verse manages to mention this name of Succot - THREE times in one verse. After all, it could have just said that Jacob came to a place where he made booths for his livestock, after which the place where he settled was named.

And in the very next verse, where it mentions Jacob moving on to the city of Shechem,
it notes that "Jacob came COMPLETE to the city of Shechem". Rashi points out THREE meanings of this word - 1) Complete with his body, for he was healed from the hip injury that he incurred from his fight with an angel. 2) Complete with his money, for he wasn't hurt financially by the gift that he provided his brother Esau in attempting to prevent his brother from attacking him. 3) Complete with his Torah learning, for he didn't forget anything that he learned while residing in his uncle Laban's home.

Indeed, it is this very holiday of Succot that most resembles this above theme of being complete - emotionally, financially, and spiritually:

1) Emotionally - as we say in the special holiday prayers calling Succot - "The time of our happiness". As noted at the end of Parshat Re'eh which is about the THREE pilgrimage holidays, though all of these three holidays are supposed to be special times of happiness celebrating our closeness with Hashem on the grounds of the Temple, it doesn't mention the word happiness even once in the section about Passover, happiness is mentioned once in the section about Shavuot, and hapiness is mentioned THREE times in the section about Succot.

2) Financially - The Torah calls this holiday, "Holiday of the Gathering", for this was the time of the year when the harvest of the past year, the result of a year of hard work in the fields, was finally able to show its fruits.

3) Spiritually - Besides the holiday period itself, being a time of relaxing instead of working which means a little more time for Torah learning, it also concludes with the holiday of Shemini Atzeret, nicknamed Simchat Torah in more recent times, to celebrate the conclusion of the annual cycle of reading the Sefer Torah/Torah scroll,
and immediately begin it anew. Jews of all walks of life and levels of Torah learning rejoice while dancing with the Sifrei Torah, and all males above the age of Bar Mitzvah are called up for an Aliyah. We also see in the Torah that when Israel had a monarchy, the king read from the Sefer Torah every seven years during the festival of Succot in the Temple, the Mitzva of Hakhel - gathering of the entire Jewish people - men, women, and even babies, to hear the Torah being read.

And as for the Ushpizin for the holiday of Succot, it is Jacob who is the specially designated Succot guest for the THIRD day of the holiday.


The Talmud in Tractate Ta'anit tells us that the Jews had THREE special goodies in merit of the THREE siblings (though the Talmud doesn't word it like this) - Miriam, Aaron, and Moses: water in the merit of Miriam, the Clouds of Glory in the merit of Aaron, and the manna in the merit of Moses.

There are two opinions that are mentioned as to why we observe the Mitzvah of Succah;
one view is that this is in commemoration of the Succot/booths that the Jews lived in while in the desert, and the other view is that this is in commemoration of the Clouds of Glory that protected the Jews while in the desert. It is based on this latter view, bearing in mind that the Jews were protected with these clouds in the merit of Aaron, that the Zohar says that Succot among the other holidays (including the High Holidays, Shabbat and Rosh Chodesh) corresponds to Aaron of the Seven Shepherds.

We know that Aaron excelled in the trait of peace. And as a connection between the concept of peace and Succot, we mention at the end of one of the blessings that we recite on Shabbat night - Ufros Aleinu Succat Shlomeicha...HaPoreis Succat Shalom "Spread upon us the booth of Your peace...The One Who spreads the booth of peace". I wrote about this part of the blessing as it relates to Jerusalem in my 29th Post (May '09). But today, the focus is on Aaron, the ultimate representative of peace who was the cause of much continued friendship among Jews, mending their friendship from arguments. Indeed, the Clouds of Glory, provided to the Jewish people in merit of Aaron, were these very Succat Shalom - "Booths of Peace". Ultimately, our greatest protection from being attacked from the outside is the peace that reigns between us.

The rabbis tell us that when Amalek, the first nation to attack the Jews following the Exodus, came to attack, the Clouds of Glory were not protecting the ones whom Amalek was able to attack. The reason that these Jews were attacked is because they doubted about Hashem being "among us". This perhaps explains why until the Jews came to Mt. Sinai following this, there was much bickering and quarelling among each other. It was only following the war with Amalek that the Jews came to Mt. Sinai "as one person, with one heart" which qualified them to receive the Torah. The Jews came to realize through that war that the only way we can survice as a nation is if we maintain a peaceful equilibrium, because anything that disturbs this equilibrium can threaten everyone's lives, as evidenced from the Clouds of Glory -
"Booths of Peace" - were removed, allowing for the opposite to happen. Then, when there is peace between themselves, then they can indeed feel that Hashem is among them, with both His spiritual and physical protection, unlike some of the Jews who earlier felt that perhaps Hashem was not among them.

And as also connected with the number three, the concept of peace is that "THIRD party" that resolves disputes and maintains relationships. It seems that even the Bible itself needs peace to be a Torah that we can learn from. Indeed, it is the very last of the 13 principles of how the Torah is interpreted, the list of which is first mentioned as the introduction to the Midrash called Torat Cohanim "Laws of the Cohanim", bearing in mind that Aaron, as the role model of peace, is the ancestor of the Cohanim, and is also recited in the daily Shacharit/morning prayers following the section of the prayers about the offerings in the Temple, that shows this concept. Speaking of differences in views, there is a question as to how we even read the first word in Hebrew of this 13th principle. V'Chein - "And so...", as concluding the list of 13 principles or V'Kan - "Here..." "...there are two verses that contradict each other, until a THIRD verse comes and resolves the difference between them".

And on the concluding verse of the Bible chapter - Numbers 7 - that I am reading for today - 11 Tishrei - (NOTE: This is the LONGEST Chapter of the amount of verses (89) in the entire Chumash of 187 chapters!), Rashi points out a prime example of this principle. One verse states at the very beginning of the Book of Leviticus "Hashem spoke to him (Moses) from the Tent of Meeting", which is outside of the area of the Ark cover. Then another verse states (Exodus 25:22) "I (Hashem) will speak to you (Moses) from above the Ark cover" (indicating an area right above the Ark cover). It is a THIRD verse - the last verse of today's Bible chapter of the writer of this blogpost - that states that when Moses came to the Tent of Meeting to speak with Hashem, "he will hear the Voice speaking to him, emanating from above the Ark cover on the Ark of Testimony from between the two cherubim, and He (Hashem) spoke to him."

So we see that with Jacob, the strong feature that kept him going physically and spiritually is the concept of Shalem/being complete; while with Aaron, it was the concept of Shalom/peace that he excelled in. Noting the similarity between these two words, there is only Shleimut/completeness when there is Shalom/peace, because even the most water mouthing food amidst arguing and bickering will hardly be enjoyable, as noted by King Solomon when he was once kicked off his thrown by the head of the demons, and find himself wandering for a while, experiencing being in a rich home with fighting all around him, and in a home with little to offer in the way of nourishment, but being in a peaceful environment.

And perhaps it is no coincidence that the words Shalom/peace and Shalosh/three begin
with the same two letters - Shin & Lamed. Indeed, these first two letters spell the word Shell/of, which is a word denoting that an object belongs to someone. Of course, there are times that there are fights as to whom certain things belong to - just ask any class of schoolchildren. And so, when this happens, a THIRD party has to interfere to make PEACE. In some cases, it may be a painful decision to one of the arguing parties, but if a correct decision is made that sounds rational and depending on the attitude of the losing party should there not be an even compromise,
it is possible that life will continue on for both parties equally afterwards; but more importantly, it is this type of decision making - more than solving that particular case - that maintains a peaceful equilibrium among society. Without some type of "interference" that can at least possibly make things more peaceful; because otherwise, before you know it, everyone will be claiming something that belongs to someone else.

Prime examples of these concepts can be found among the first three tractates of the Order of Mishnayot called Nezikin/Damages. These tractates are called Baba Kama "First Gate", Baba Metzia "Middle Gate" and Baba Batra "Last Gate". Originally, these three tractates were one long tractate; and hence, it was divided up accordingly. In the very beginning of Baba Metzia, we see a case where two people
are holding a garment, each claiming that it is theirs. Without variables that can determine if this garment belongs to one over the other, they split the value of the garment. And then in the very beginning of Baba Batra, we learn that when partners of a courtyard want to make a partition for each to have their own space, they have to build a wall in the middle.

And so while peace is the special characteristic trait of Aaron, we see a similar concept of being the "third party" and "middle party" in relationship to Jacob. You see, the THREE patriarchs each represent a different concept: Abraham - Chesed/Kindness, Isaac - Gevurah/Severity, Jacob - Tiferet/Beauty. While Jacob is the THIRD of the Patriarchs, he is in essence the MIDDLE in terms of the Patriarchs' respective character traits. Jacob is the beauty that makes harmony between unlimited kindness and unlimited severity, both of which can do harm in each one's respective ways. Typically, in dealing with oneself and other people, the MIDDLE road, of which the Rambam/Maimonides - spiritual and medical doctor - in his Mishneh Torah (Hilchot Dei'ot), speaks about extensively, is the path which can ensure a proper balance of proper human behavior which works best in society.

And as the Rambam spoke in terms of the body about healthy eating and proper regimen,
the Tikkunei Zohar in its second introduction points out that "kindess is the right arm, severity is the left arm, beauty is the body". Although the Aramaic word is used for the word body in the original, the Hebrew word for body is Guf, which is the Gematria of 89. And as I pointed out here, the final verse of Numbers 7 is the verse that makes peace between two other verses in clarifying as to where Hashem spoke to Moses. It is the 89th verse - the Guf/body=89, the beauty that brings harmony between two other verses, so people won't say that the Torah contradicts itself (of course, there will always be those Bible deniers who will look for fault who certainly will never believe in the Oral Torah that directs the interpretation and laws of Jewish living), the ONLY 89th verse of a chapter of all the 187 chapters of the Chumash!

And along these lines, being that the Mishkan/Tabernacle where Hashem spoke to Moses was the forerunner of the Beit HaMikdash/Temple, as per Talmud Berachot 58a, as quoted from Rabbi Akiva, it is the Sephira/Divine Emanation of Hod/Glory which represents the Temple. And as pointed out by the Vilna Gaon, Hod corresponds with the holiday of Chanuka, the holiday which came into being thanks to the Hasmonian family, the Maccabbees, Cohanic descendants of Aaron, who in turn corresponds with the Sephira of Hod. And the name Chanuka, during which most of the special holiday reading is Numbers 7, is also the Gematria of 89. Pertaining to the spiritual meaning of Chanuka, the Syrian Greeks, who worshipped the body, wanted the Jews to follow this lifestyle as well, and hence, a new Jewish holiday appeared on the horizon which represents the fight of the brave Maccabbees, headed by Matisyahu ben Yochanan Cohen Gadol, whose name Matisyahu has the same Gematria as Beit HaMikdash/Temple - 861, who faught both physically and spiritually against this "body" concept.

And as this is my 83rd Post, while I am writing about Aaron, the Torah mentions that when Moses was given his mission to speak to Pharaoh to release the Jews from his country, Moses was in his 80th year and Aaron was in his 83rd year. (Note that while the verse is normally translated as Moses being 80 years old, and Aaron being 83 years old, we know that Moses passed away exactly at 120 years old, and spent his last 40 years in the desert, and it was a year earlier when he first was given his mission to speak to Pharoah; hence, being in his 80th year. Similarly we see that Aaron passed away in the 40th year in the desert when he was 123 years old; hence, 41 years earlier, he was in his 83rd year.)

And just as Aaron was the ultimate peacemaker for the Jewish people, it was most appropriate for him to be his brother Moses's spokesman to speak to Pharaoh as part of his own assistance for the general good of the Jewish people. The fact that the Torah mentions his age at this point of his life along with Moses' tells us that this was a turning point in his life in being a leader of the Jewish people, just as it was for Moses'. Even though Moses was actually the main leader, the fact that Aaron is mentioned here along with his brother Moses, and as Rashi points out, the Torah mentions the holiest brothers as both "Aaron & Moses" and "Moses & Aaron" to tell us that both were equal. And what Aaron did at this point towards the release of the Jews was a preparation for him to be the first Cohen Gadol/High Priest of his people, which would take place two years later.


Being that the holiday of Succot is the THIRD of the three pilgrimage holidays, and as connected with Jacob & Aaron as per the concept of the number THREE, it seems that the root of all this is embedded in the word Succah itself - spelled
Samech-Kaf-Hei (though at times, it is also spelled with the letter Vav in its midst).

You see, it concerns about how many walls that a Succah can be built with to be a kosher Succah. With this being said, there are THREE categories of kosher succahs.

Samech - This letter has four sides to it, totally encovering the space within its midst, representing the Succah built with four sides, the premium way of fulfilling this Mitzva, just as the Samech is the first letter of Succah.

Kaf - This letter has THREE sides to it. Similarly, a Succah can also be kosher with THREE sides to it, allowing plenty of people such as in a synagogue to come right into it without a long wait of people entering to make Kiddush before going home.

Hei - This letter has two complete sides and a partial THIRD side to it. Accordingly, even a Succah with just two complete sides and a partial THIRD side to it technically makes it a valid Succah, though you will hard pressed to find such a Succah.


To come to think of it, there is hardly a blogspot in which I do not write about a particular Mitzva/Commandment or about Mitzvot/Commandments in general. After all, as the Zohar notes, the Torah is the food for the soul while the Mitzvot are the garments for the soul.

First, as it relates to the Mitzva of Succah, the word itself means covering. Similarly, clothing covers our bodies, serving THREE functions - 1)Covering our nakedness, 2)Protecting us from the elements, 3)Commanding respect by how well one is dressed. (NOTE: There may be a fourth objective of fooling others, like hiding from the authorities, but the objectives are for living standards in a behaved society).

In a more literal sense, the title of this post is refering particularly to one Mitzvah - Mitzvah #333. But before I tell you what this Mitzvah is, let me tell you what led to me to writing about this mystery Mitzvah, more than just the fact that this 83rd Post is about the number three.

You see, unknown to too many unfortunately, along with the popular daily study programs of Daf Yomi, Mishnah Yomit, and Halacha Yomit, to name a few, there is a study program called Mitzvah Yomi - the daily learning of one of the 613 Mitzvot of the Torah, that began nearly fifty years ago. I first accidentally came across this from a calendar from the Yeshiva of Ungvar in Brooklyn whose head rabbi instituted this. I searched the internet now about this program. Aside from the institution from which this began, there is hardly anyone else who makes mention of this most important development of Jewish learning, even having received a signed approbation from some 20 rabbis.

Anyways, it was just a few days ago when I came across three small booklets from this institution comprising the 613 Mitzvot for three cycles, spanning a few years. Hence, what I saw for the first time now, is the number of the cycle of learning the daily Mitzvah. We are presently in the midst of the 30th cycle, which is very interesting, because the letter Lamed, the root of the name of this letter which means learning and teaching, is the Gematria of 30.

Doing my math on this, figuring out on the Hebrew/English calendar as to when this learning program began, the date that this program began was the THIRD of Adar 5721/1961. Hence, we are presently in the FIFTIETH year from when the learning of Mishnah Yomit began.

Now, before I go on with my answer as to what the 333rd Mitzvah is, there seems to be two basic versions of the 613 Mitzvot that are followed today. There is the list based on the Rambam's count, based on which is his Mishneh Torah, encompassing the laws of the Torah that are the details of the Mitzvot. And then, there is the count of the Sefer Hachinuch "Book of Education", whose Sefer focuses on detailing the reasons for the Mitzvot.

While some will argue that both are right,as is noted by arguments in the Talmud between two or more rabbis; in this case, I beg to differ. Why these lists are different basically hinge on whether it is one Mitzvah or another Mitzvah that is included among the 613. Without getting into all kinds of details, as there can be only ONE set of Mitzvot that is the correct version, I say that it is the Rambam's list that is THE CORRECT LIST OF 613 MITZVOT. I say this for at least three reasons:

1) He writes 14 qualifiers as to what can be part of this 613 Mitzvot, which he calls Shorashim (roots), something that no other Mitzvah codifiers do, or at least to the extent that he does. He criticizes previous codifiers who were not very cautious as to what qualifies to be part of this Mitzvot list.

2) His Mitzvot list forms the basis of his Mishneh Torah, which has been a major source of Jewish law for over 700 years. This is coupled with the story of his father (Rabbi Maimon) and Moses (yes, Moshe Rabbeinu himself) who appeared to the Rambam on the night that he completed his magnum opus, and when Moshe Rabbeinu himself saw his halachic work based on his list of the 613 Mitzvot that Moshe Rabbeinu himself received from Hashem on Mt. Sinai, he verbally gave him his approval. Aside from this; the Sefer HaChinuch, in contrast, never became such a mainstay source of Jewish law beyond its basic mentions of Halachic aspects related to the Mitzvot.

3)A few years ago, I came across a Sefer, called Simanei HaMitzvot "Signs of the Commandments" that points out how to remember the 613 Mitzvot based on the number of the Mitzvah; meaning, that each number in Hebrew spells words (from one to four words based on the numerals of the number) that spell the basic content of that particular Mitzvah. Unlike most other Seforim on the 613 Mitzvot that follow the Sefer HaChinuch, this one follows the list based on the Rambam. I was absolutely convinced that it is the Rambam who has the correct Mitzvah list when I saw that it is Mitzva 420, rather than Mitzvah 419, that is the Mitzva of Talmud Torah/learning & teaching Torah. Besides its own words to remember this Mitzvah (Torah Kulah/Torah in its entirety, beginning the letters Tav-Kaf, which is 420), I came up with a few other mnemonics or Gematriot that PROVE beyond any shadow of a doubt that the most important Mitzvah of the Torah - Torah study - is the 420th Mitzvah listed in the Torah.

Unfortunately, this schedule of Mitzvot coming from the institution founding the concept of Mitzvah Yomit follows the Sefer HaChinuch, which I say is not a complete correct list, or put more bluntly, is an incorrect list, as it is the Rambam who has the correct list. Other than this, this is a very beautiful concept.

With this being said, according to the CORRECT list of the Rambam, Mitzvah #333, the Number Mitzvah for this day - 11 Tishrei 5771 - is for the Beit Din/Jewish court to declare the Jubilee Year - the year following seven cycles of seven years each, the seventh of each cycle being the Shemitta year of allowing the fields in the last of Israel to rest from work - the FIFTIETH year of the Shemitta cycle - to be holy. And being that I found these booklets from the institution of the Mitzvah Yomit only a few days ago, though I have to admit that I didn't always follow through with the schedule that I saw from the institution several years ago, I believe that it is nothing short of Hashgacha Peratit/Divine Providence that this happened to me!

Noting this Mitzvah of the FIFTIETH year as Mitzvah #333, this is a parallel to the holiday of Shavuot, which is called by the Torah the "FIFTIETH Day" - from the day that the Omer/barley offering was brought. It was on this holiday that the "threefold Torah was given to the threefold people through a third-born on the third day in the third month" (Talmud Shabbat 87). Hence, we see a multiple of the number three in relationship to Shavuot being the "Fiftieth Day". And just as on Yom Kippur of the FIFTIETH year, the Shofar was blown, so too was the Shofar blown at Matan Torah/Giving of the Torah which took place on Shavuot - the "FIFTIETH Day".

To note, I wrote my 50th blogpost nearly a year ago called "FIFTY in FIFTY" (when it was the 49th year of the Mishnah Yomit cycle), but this is perhaps the most important FIFTY in FIFTY that I ever came across - the learning of the daily Mitzvah, which is the Jewish court declaring holy the FIFTIETH year of the Shemitta cycle (though not applicable these days until the Jubilee year is instituted once again) in the midst of the FIFTIETH year of the learning of Mishnah Yomit. This is bearing in mind that unlike some other learning programs where a Sefer such as learning three chapters of Mishneh Torah can be completed within one year, it takes nearly 21 months to learn a Mitzvah a day, so it could have happened theoretically than this Mitzvah would not fall out during the fiftieth year if it was a different number on the list.

And on another note of FIFTY in FIFTY, today - the day of the Mitzvah about the FIFTIETH year - is the beginning of the FIFTIETH week from when the new cycle of learning the Parshiyot of the Torah began on 23 Tishrei, on a Sunday, of this past year (following the day of Simchat Torah when we completed the reading of the Sefer Torah). Just a mere coincidence?

And if this was not enough, the Mitzvah of yesterday - Yom Kippur: Mitzvah #332 - which works out perfectly following the Rambam list - is the Mitzvah of blowing the Shofar on Yom Kippur of the Jubilee year (this is where the Minhag/custom of blowing the Shofar at the end of every Yom Kippur comes from) to signal freedom for Jewish servants to leave their masters, and to returned acquired land to its original owners, which took place once in 50 years. Amazing, the learning of the Mitzva of blowing the Shofar on Yom Kippur of the Jubilee year on the day of Yom Kippur! (Trust me, it is the Rambam who has the correct list of the 613 Mitzvot). Moreover, as the Shofar is a ram's horn, and a ram is Ayal in Hebrew, Ayal is the Gematria of 41, and this Yom Kippur was during my 41st year of life.

Speaking of 50 years, these two special Mitzvot took place even less frequent than the rare Bircat HaChamah ceremony, based on the planetary position of the sun, which takes place every 28 years which just happened a year and a half ago. These days, one with exceptional longevity beyond a hundred years, but less than 120 years, might be fortunate to live with four cycles of Bircat HaChama which also depends when he was born in the course of the 28 year cycle if he can even remember the first time as a youngster, but it is much more likely that there are those who have lived through three such cycles if they live into their eighties. However, this once in a 50 year event is more like a two in a lifetime event for many, and a three in a lifetime event for the rare few who are bit beyond a hundred years old, based on when they were born during the course of 50 years, making the statistics even more rare for three times because it is once in 50 years rather than once in 28 years.

Meanwhile, for those who think this may be a little hard to open the page on the book every day to see the daily Mitzvah, there is an alternative that I can offer you here - In practical terms, today's Mitzvah on the blogspot is about putting fencing around one's roof, in short, removing obstacles from one's property that can do damage to someone (without seeing this beforehand, I already wrote here about the tractate dealing with Nezikin/damages!). This is to note that unlike many of the other Mitzvot that deals with the subject of damages, this is the one that deals with PREVENTING damage, just like preventing onself from getting sick is far preferable to curing oneself only once he/she is already sick. Perhaps the connection of this Mitzvah of preventing damage in connection with today - the day immediately following Yom Kippur - is that now we are supposed to be in a clean state, we should look to prevent ourselves from falling into the hands of sin, rather than worrying about repenting for our sins after letting ourselves being spiritually careless. And the previous Mitzvah that is written on that blogspot is about the prohibition of inventing a new Mitzvah.

Yes my friends, there is no sin to be an inventor in other areas; in fact, inventors have created great products that can turn out to help us serve Hashem better doing Mitzvot, like the internet for some whose lives changed to become observant Jews now doing Mitzvot as a result of Torah that they learned online. However, it is very important to learn the CORRECT set of Mitzvot, and with the approbation of Moshe Rabbeinu himself, one cannot go wrong learning the Rambam's list of Mitzvot, unlike other lists which obviously include at least one Mitzvah that is not among the 613 Mitvot that Moshe Rabbeinu received from Hashem Himself. If any of these other codifiers can come to me in a dream and tell me that they also got the approval of Moshe Rabbeinu himself, then maybe we can talk about learning the list as it comes from Sefer HaChinuch or other such sources (though the content of these Mitzvot in these other Seforim, such as their reasons, should not be downplayed).

And one more thing on the number FIFTY before closing on this subject, in observing the names of the leaders of the tribes who brought their offerings on behalf of their tribes following the dedication of the Mishkan, the theme of today's daily Bible chapter - Numbers 7 - we see that the name of the first leader who brought his offerings is Nachshon, which begins and ends with the letter Noon (to be exact, it is a Noon Sophit at the end of a word) which is the Gematria of 50. Accordingly, the last letter of the last of these leaders, when spelling his full name as Achira Ben Einan, the final letter of his father's name is also Noon (Sophit)=50. And this, on the day that I learned the Mitzva of the Day - Sanctifying the 50th Year - declaring the Jubilee year holy! And speaking of Nezikin today, as also being the name of the fourth order of the Mishnayot, this word also begins and ends with the letter Noon.

At the far end of this - at the Mincha/afternoon prayers of Yom Kippur at the conclusion of our personal Shemoneh Esrei prayer, we recite the special Viduy/confession prayers, the same thing that we say several times during Yom Kippur.
The reason for this is that should one choke to death, G-d forbid, on a meat bone eating during the big meal that is eaten before Yom Kippur, he/she will be in a clean spiritual state if one confessed his/her sins right beforehand. But the reason why I mention this specially in this post is because my daily Bible chapter that I read for 9 Tishrei, the date on which we say these Viduy prayers, is Numbers 5, the very chapter where the Mitzvah of doing Teshuva/repentance comes from "They shall confess their sins".

While confession itself is not the MAIN part of repentance, as if anything, it accomplishes the opposite purpose of what it is supposed to represent if one still hangs on to the sin just the same, it is a bold step for one who is serious about making a change by openly admitting that "Yes, I have sinned, and so now I have to take responsibility for myself and do something about changing my ways so I will not repeat my sin(s) again". While it may take a while for some to change bad habits, making a sincere effort on improving, whether it means less of the amount of sins, or less time spent on the sin, is at least one step towards full repentance, and at least one can tell Hashem the following year that indeed, he/she did something to prove towards meaning to do the right thing. In fact, one should not attempt to do everything right overnight, because doing so for most will lead to being back to the way he/she was beforehand if not being worse afterward. This is bearing in mind what Rabbi Yisroel Salanter, founder of the Mussar movement, once said, "It is easier to master the entire Talmud, than change even one bad characteristic trait".


Today - 11 Tishrei - is the date that the materials of the Mishkan started to be donated by the Jews. Perhaps the custom of starting to build the Sukkah immediately following Yom Kippur, the beginning of 11 Tishrei, is based on this. In any case, it was just in a matter of days that everything got assembled to begin construction.
Though it is forbidden today to build a structure on a Jewish holiday just like Shabbat; according to the Vilna Gaon, construction of the Mishkan began on 15 Tishrei, the date of the first day of Succot. Perhaps the fact that when it mentions in the Torah about Moshe Rabbeinu telling the Jews not to work on Shabbat right before detailing the items of the Mishkan, it may hint to the fact that while they didn't build the Mishkan on Shabbat, they did indeed start building this on the very day that the holiday of Succot begins, which since then became a holiday when we don't do most of the labors that were performed in the Mishkan. And as I mentioned about Chanuka earlier in this post, the Mishkan was completed on 25 Kislev, the future date of the beginning of Chanuka.


And continuing on the theme of the Mishkan, following the construction, Moshe made an accounting of the monies and material used for its construction. Among this, there were 1,775 shekels used to purchase hooks, caps, and hoops for the pillars of the Mishkan.

Does the fact that the number of this Hebrew Year 5771, when spelled backwards, hints to some aspect as related to the pillars of the Mishkan as per this year 5771?
I didn't think much about it yet, but give me time, and perhaps by the time we reach Parshat Pekudei, where this number 1,775 is mentioned, I will have an answer for you if not sooner, G-d willing. Perhaps we need some time to observe the current events happening in this world, especially in Israel, to make some connection between the two numbers.

There is in fact a separate observation that I made on the number 1775. Noting the average amount of days there are in the solar calendar, being aware that every four years, it requires a extra day, and then every century ending on the double zero, there is no leap day, except for every 400 years as it was in the year 2000 when there was a leap day, you work it out like this (365*400)+97 leap days = 146097 days.
Now, divide 146097 by 400 to have an average of 365.2425 days a year. Now, divide 365.2425 by 7 to get the amount of weeks in a year, yielding 52.1775.

OK, you see the point here? Let's read this last number backwards - 5771.25. So, in this Hebrew year of 5771, consisting of 385 days, where does the first quarter (25 out of 100) fall out on? Each quarter of this year amounts to 96.25 days. So, we know that the first three months of 5771 each has 30 days, and then after counting the first six days of Tevet, we reach the first quarter of the 7th of Tevet - six hours coming out very close to Chatzot/midnight. Noting all this, considering the fact that the previous months each consist of 30 days, the moon will certainly be in a position at that time to be the beginning of the second quarter of the month, the period of time that Kiddush Levana/sanctification of the moon prayers are recited - bearing in mind that it is the moon that represents the Jewish people. Hence, we see two things coinciding around the same time - the timing of the end of the first quarter & the beginning of the second quarter - for both the timing of the year 5771 and the timing of the month of Tevet. To note, Tevet is based on the word Tov/good(ness). Will we see something earth shattering happening at this time of the year - hopefully something good? Stay tuned.


Noting the leader of the Tribe of Benjamin who brought his offerings on the "Ninth" Day (from the dedication of the Mishkan), I saw a scary resemblence to Netanyahu and his evil plans of how he wants to dish out our Holy Land.

As we know that last year 5770 - Hei Tav Shin Ayin - HaTeisha "The Nine", and as I mentioned in my previous post how this year 5771 is also especially connected with the number nine, we know that Netanyahu began his "peace" talks with Abu-Mazen, sworn Arab enemy of Jews and Israel, one week before the end of 5770. With this being said, let's look at the name of the leader of the Tribe of Benjamin who offered his offerings - Avidan Ben-Gidoni. The name Avidan is very similar to the word in Hebrew which means Aveida/lost; and speaking especially about Mitzvot today, there is a Mitzvah of Hashavat Aveida/returning a lost object (the subject of the second chapter of Baba Metizah, the very first chapter of Gemara that I learned). Now, looking at his father's name Gidoni, it can be read as two words - Gad Oni, which can literally mean "poor luck"!

The first name of "Bibi" Netanyahu, whose nickname spells twice the number of this secular year 2010 - Bet-Yud, Bet-Yud, coinciding with the Hebrew years 5770 & 5771 that are related to the number nine, is Binyamin, the name of the tribe whose leader Avidan Ben-Gidoni brought his offering on the "NINTH day". Now this leader himself was presumably a righteous person. However, Hashem has his ways of hinting to other people and events, even if they evil or unpleasant through any and every word in the Torah. Hence, Binyamin "Bibi" Netanyahu, instead of living up to his name Binyamin as Ben-Yamin "son of the right" or in today's slang as "right-wing" and instead of acknowledging that Netanyahu "Hashem gave" the Land of Israel to the Jews without any rights of giving it away, as we are the rightful owners, which is made clear by the signaling of the Shofar on Yom Kippur of the Jubilee year for acquired land - even by another Jew - to be returned to the ownership of the original Jewish owner, he is looking to make, G-d forbid, the Land of Israel LOST to us Jews, by OFFERING it to our enemies; hence, giving us POOR LUCK, as proven as it has been many times before, with the murders and injuries by our enemeies who don't want these "peace" talks to occur (noting that many of the offerings that the leaders of the tribes brought were PEACE offerings), as it happened less than three weeks ago when five Jews were murdered including a nine month old fetus, and two other Jews who were injured, the OFFERINGS that unfortunately have been made due to evil people's decisions called by the anti-Semitic world as "politically correct".

I wish better news for the Jews in this coming year. Hopefully, with the message of peace and happiness of this coming Succot festival, the new start of the annual reading of the Torah, and following more of the 613 Mitzvot when applicable, we can help reverse the ongoing tide of the present dictatorship that exists in Israel. Wish you all a Chag Sameach - Happy Holiday!

NOTE: G-d willing, I will be writing my next post on the day after Simchat Torah, beginning my THIRD year of my blogpost -

11 Tishrei 5771

Monday, September 13, 2010

#82 - Calling Out from the BOTTOM

Shana Tova to all my followers and readers of my Gematriot blogspot!

As per this post's title, we say in the opening verse of Psalm 130 that is recited on the Aseret Y'mei Teshuva/The 10 Days of Repentance in the midst of Shacharit/morning prayers "...from the depths, I call out to You, Hashem."

In a very literal sense, Yonah/Jonah the Prophet indeed called out to Hashem from the bottom - he was in the innards of a big fish swimming in the depths of the sea when he called out to Hashem, as he begins his prayer (Jonah 2:3-10): "I called out in my distress to Hashem..."

In connection with the Aseret Y'mei Teshuva, we chant the section of Jonah (part of one Sefer in the Tanach/Bible called Trei Asar/The Twelve "Minor Prophets") as the Haftara for the afternoon of Yom Kippur, usually a scant two hours before the end of this most holy day of the year.

And speaking of this end period of Yom Kippur, perhaps the fact that we read this Haftara that includes Jonah's bottom of the sea experience at the BOTTOM end of the Ten Days of Repentance is to remind us that in fact, we don't have much time left at this time of day of Yom Kippur before Hashem seals our fate for the coming year - both physically and spiritually. Perhaps if we would feel at least some sort of inkling as to how it feels to reach a bottom low, and realize that we have very little to offer in terms of spiritual merits, then we would come to our senses and resolve right there and then on the spot to do something more in the way of Mitzvot/Commandments & Middot Tovot/Good Character Traits that could very well tip the Heavenly scales in our favor.

In fact, in some synagogues, this very Haftara reading is auctioned for big money as a Segula, good luck source for having Parnassa, making a good living moneywise. While I don't quite see the connection between these factors, and for I know, the stories that some claim that have happened to people financially as a result of purchasing the rights to be called for the reading of this Haftara have yet to be proven to me. In any case, it wouldn't matter to me, at least as far as purchasing this for myself. You see, I am a Levite, and bearing in mind that the Haftara is for the one who is called the third to the Torah for the Yom Kippur afternoon Torah reading, the Levite in this instance can only either be called second to the Torah, or first if there is no Cohen.

Now to note the number of this new Jewish year - 5771, the name Yonah/Jonah is the Gematria of 71, the ending part of the number of this year. And besides being the name of a prophet, the name itself means a dove, and the Jewish people is compared to a dove. As hinted with the Gematria of this word, the Jewish people is in essence the 71st nation following the formation of the 70 nations of the world.

We don't have to look far in the Bible about the existance of doves. Already in the second Parsha of the Chumash - Parshat Noach, we see Noah sending out the dove from Noah's Ark to spot for dry land. It took a couple of times until the dove returned with an olive leaf in its beak to signify that indeed there was dry land, following which Noah sent out the dove a week later, never to return back to the ark.

In comparison, Hashem sent Jonah - whose name means dove - twice to fulfill his mission to come to the city of Nineveh to warn its residents to repent or else Hashem would punish them. Following being commanded the first time, Jonah did not wash to fulfill Hashem's commandment, for he felt that if he were to do so, and the non-Jewish residents of this town would repent, then it would look bad on the Jewish people in a non-repentant state.

Now, before anyone criticizes Jonah for disobeying Hashem's orders the first time around, it must be remembered that not just anyone could become a prophet. According to the Rambam/Maimonides, it was a big spiritual process to become a prophet, which involved both fulfilling Hashem's commandments and being of high moral character. So, Hashem did not just pick anyone for this mission. While certainly, Jonah was supposed to obey Hashem to begin with, his love for his people cannot be denied. He truly felt that if the Jews, as quite often in Biblical history, were not quite up to par to say the least, then non-Jews repenting of their sins would be used as a example for the Jewish people, in which case if they wouldn't repent, then Hashem would have one more excuse to punish them A.S.A.P.

In fact, we see in contrast with another prophet named Hoshea, that when Hashem told him that he was quite dissatisfied with how the Jewish people was behaving and were deserving of punishment, Hoshea showed much indifference, telling Hashem to do what He wants with them without as much as offering even the slightest defense for them. In response, Hashem told him to marry a prostitute, and following Hashem's orders, his prostitute wife had since given birth to three children. Later, Hashem told him to get rid of the children from his home. Upon this, Hoshea questioned how Hashem could tell him to get rid of his children, following which, Hashem thundered to him, "Wait a minute! You don't even know if your prostitute wife bore these children from you, and yet you don't want to get rid of them. So, how could you tell Me to do away with MY CHILDREN?!" Realizing his error, Hoshea prayed to Hashem to reverse the original decree of punishment for the Jews, to which Hashem agreed to.

The bottom line here is that despite Jonah's original disobedience of the order of the King of Kings, we see his good side here of not wishing to do anything that could possibly make it worse for his beloved Jewish brethren down the road. As it turns out, the people of Nineveh did in fact repent, and it is from this very section
of the Tanach that the Sages in the Mishnah learn out a very key principle of repentance, "It doesn't say of the residents of Nineveh - "G-d saw their sackcloths and fasting" but "G-d saw their actions, for they returned from their evil ways"" (Jonah 3:10) (Ta'anit 2:1).

The Sefer called Sha'arei Teshuva/Gates of Repentance, authored by Rabbi Yonah of Gerondi - bearing the same name as the prophet Jonah - about whom I wrote about in my recent 80th blogspot, mentions 20 some steps in the Teshuva process. However, more than just the main part of Teshuva, THE KEY STEP OF TESHUVA IS - NOT REPEATING THE SIN. Now for many of us, this is quite easier said than done, whether because we were not raised with an observant lifestyle, or we got into a bad habit - like the obvious sin of smoking which is performed even by some Ultra-Orthodox or Hasidic people, endangering their own lives and health, as well as others' due to second hand smoking, or we have other natural base desires from food to sex.

As with any bad habit like smoking, it just won't cut it for many to tell them to immediately quit it and that's it. If it were that simple, perhaps we wouldn't have been put on this planet to begin with to earn our eternal heavenly reward. But there is a concept of starting with something small - at least some step towards that shows that we are sincere about doing the right thing. Perhaps it may take many years until we totally eradicate our bad behaviors, manners, and sins; but trying which is translated into some action towards the better is a must. And indeed, several decades back, when many former smokers found out how terrible smoking is to the body, they immediately quit smoking "cold turkey" with no turning back, despite their natural body craving for more of the same addictive habit.


With this being said, there is another evil that is out there, even among some (hopefully, not many) observant Jews of the basics of Shabbat, Kashrut, and daily prayer. Yes, homosexuality. In fact, the VERY BEGINNING of the third Aliyah of the Torah reading of Yom Kippur afternoon begins with the prohibition of this very sin. And it is the one who is called for this Aliyah who is the one who gets the read the section of JONAH for the Haftara.

The reason why I put the words VERY BEGINNING & JONAH in caps is because there is a practical connection between the two. The connection - as shown in this link, shows there is indeed hope for people to be cured of this sin of homosexuality, which by the way is also applicable to non-Jews as part of their seven Noahide Commandments. In this instance, the name JONAH is an acronym for "Jews Offering New Alternatives to Homosexuality". Now, I do want to make it clear, I am not hear to endorse this as any testimony that I know from homosexuals who have gone through this program. Perhaps the program offered by this organization may not be the answer for all homosexuals attempting to get rid of their spiritual disease. However, if this will be the answer for even one person who may be reading this, or for someone whom the reader of this post knows, it is most worthy of posting.

There is one thing that I want to get across here regarding a misconception of homosexuality. The atheist scientists who are no better than the philosopher Hypocrates who excused his behavior of sleeping with a prostitue by saying "Normally, I am Hypocrates the philosopher; today, I am Hypocrates the man", want to excuse the behavior of homosexuals by claiming that they have a gene that allows them to tend more towards this behavior. Now, it is true that quite often, homosexuals became they way that they are because they had a poor male model, such as their own dad, who either forsook them when they were young, or didn't treat them right. In response, these youngsters growing up are looking for a male model that they can feel attached to, which translates into having a sexual relationship with him. However, what the scientists claim regarding these genes is nothing short of total falsehood.

Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, ZTVK"L, the leading decider of Jewish law in the previous generation, states in his Igrot Moshe that homosexuality is an abomination, and not a base sexual desire the way that it is for women. Hence, it is not the type of attraction with is a result of their nature, but basically, PURE EVIL. Yes, some may become this way as a result of the way they were raised, but NOT NATURALLY. And even if this were to be the case, Hashem gives us all curve balls for us to overcome,
and it is our job to overcome them, though it may take quite a while for this to happen, but not to even try is the ultimate evil. I also have a good friend of mine who is an observant Jewish psychologist who told me that 90% of homosexuals either have been or are presently also heterosexual. Hence, if it were to be a purely sexual thing of desire like it is for women, the high percentage of them also having some attraction to women wouldn't exist.

And addressing the gay marches of the last several years in Israel, particularly in the holiest city of the world - Jerusalem, as though they can't pick any other country to have their annual gay parade march, it is very clear as per what our rabbis tell us, where there is more holiness, there is a greater evil inclination. Besides this, the gay community, feeling that they are doing a terrible evil with their guilty conscience, living a baseless life which includes wasting their semen which could have been used instead in creating another life, feel that they have to get together to assuage their guilty feelings. It's just like the times that I have been offered a cigarette by smokers when I wasn't smoking and I didn't ask for a cigarette, but the reason that they offer one even though they know themselves that it's life and health threatening is because they feel guilty about it, so they attempt to get as many as possible to do the same evil thing to "share" the burden of their guilty conscience. I'll never forget hearing on the news that there was a dentist who advertised periodically of himself being free of AIDS - the disease having started in this world as a result of homosexuality - to ensure his patients of having a safe dentist to turn to. This resulted in making the local gay community being very angry as a result. I guess that in the homosexual version of the Bible, a dentist displaying being free of a disease which comes from homosexuals is a tremendous sin.

Several years back, there was a documentary made of observant Jews - male and female - living the double life of being homosexual or lesbian. I don't want to bring here any titles or names to bring the Jewish homosexual community, any attention that is not wanted according to the Torah. Very unfortunately, there have been at least a couple of Jewish gay temples, and in more recent years, one who claims himself to be the first - read this - Orthodox Jewish gay rabbi. Actually, the one in question here in fact may not be able to claim this title so quickly. You see, a few years ago, a single rabbi who was principal of an Orthodox Jewish school in a major Jewish area quit being principal all of a sudden on his own as he wanted to maintain or continue having a homosexual lifestyle. At least to his credit, he left being principal without continuing on his lifestyle while being caught on the job. But who is known as the first Orthodox Jewish gay rabbi obviously has no shame, as he wants to justify his position. Ultimately, the one(s) that I am after is Yeshiva University who gave him his rabbinic ordination, who not only have not removed his rabbinic ordination, but have allowed gay forums to take place on its campus. Shame on the ones who put on the mask of following G-d's commandments when they encourage the opposite of this! As far as I am concerned, an Orthodox Jew wishing to pursue a college career is far better off going to a non-Jewish university in his hometown while learning Talmud in the local Yeshiva or synagogue, instead of going to a place that promotes something that G-d most hates!


As I had mentioned in my 71st Post (May '10), the Sanhedrein as the largest Jewish court during Temple times, and the recently formed Sanhedrin which was formed over five years ago, consists of 71 Dayanim/judges. Also, the Sanhedrin is compared to the Yonah/dove - which is the Gematria of 71; since just as a dove is loyal to its mate, so is the Sanhedrin loyal to Hashem. For that matter, when the Jews are loyal to Hashem, they are also compared to a dove; as indicated by the Jews being the "71st nation" who are compared to the Yonah/dove whose Gematria is 71.

The dove isn't just another kosher bird. It also was used at times as a bird offering in the Temple, whether as an offering by a woman who had recently given birth, or as an alternative for one who could not afford to bring an animal offering.
In terms of the laws of Shabbat, one is permitted to maintain heated food on Shabbat with certain products, includes the wings of a dove. And as I wrote earlier, the Tefillin has a connection with dove's wings. Hence, we see that in major observances of Jewish law - whether with Shabbat, Tefillin, or Temple offerings - the dove seems to be a popular item; bearing in mind that the Jews are indeed compared to a dove, especially when observing Hashem's commandments.

And now back to the prophet having the dove's name, Jonah is probably the only person ever in history to have ever been in the insides of a fish and survive. In any case, the eight verses (JOnah 2:3-10) consisting of the prayer that he recited while in the fish, have a total of 82 words - and this is my 82nd Post. Technically, there are exactly 81 words to the prayer, but is introduced with the word Vayomer "He said".

Another significant thing to mention regarding this prayer is as noted in the second chapter of Mishna Ta'anit (2:4), on a communal fast day that was called for when there was no rain for a while, there used to be an additional seven blessings added into the midst of the main Shemoneh Esrei prayer. These blessings were based in order of Jewish history of different righteous people being answered when they prayed. We see that for the sixth such blessing, it's the one for Jonah's prayer -"He Who answered Jonah from the insides of the fish, may He answer you and listen to the voice of your crying out. Blessed are you Hashem, the One Who answers in a time of trouble", and the seventh and last blessing was the one for King David & King Solomon. The Talmud notes that though these kings lived in history before Jonah, Jonah is mentioned first in order to conclude these special blessings about the Land of Israel and Jerusalem which is associated with these kings.

Now, as quoted in a verse that we say in conclusion of all our prayers - the Aleinu prayer - "Hashem will be King over all the earth" - Melech Al Kol Ha'aretz. Hence, we see that the concept of land or the word is especially associated with the seventh of the Sephirot of action - Malchut/Kingship. And corresponding to the mouth part of the body, it was none other than King David himself who compiled the Psalms, praising Hashem with our mouths.

Hence, it can be said that the sixth blessing that mentions Jonah's prayer corresponds to the Sephirah of Yesod/Foundation, and corresponds to the sexual organ part of the body, part of the lower half of the body - the BOTTOM part of the body. And when Jonah prayed his prayer, it was from the BOTTOM, or the depths of the sea. And this goes hand-in-hand with the Torah reading of the afternoon of Yom Kippur which focuses on the various forbidden sexual unions.

And speaking of the SIXTH Sephirah, let us mention something about the SIX orders of the Mishna, or known as Shisha Sidrei Mishnah. Over sixty years ago, Rabbi YONAH Stencil instituted the learning of two Mishnayot a day. In a little under six years, the entire Mishnayot is able to be learnt. Upon closer observation, one will see that this comes out to virtually 71 months. This means, the name of the rabbi who instituted the daily learning of two Mishnayot that takes a total of SEVENTY ONE months to learn - YONAH - is also the Gematria of SEVENTY ONE! Amazing!

This would not be complete if I didn't mention that in the future, when Hashem will ask all the nations as to who is in possession of His Torah - all the other nations of the world will come racing to show that they have the Torah - if they are smart, they will show only the Old Testament (as opposed to the New Testament). But then we Jews - the SEVENTY FIRST nation - will show that we also have the Torah She'B'Al'Peh - the Oral Torah, of which the Mishnah is the foundation of it. It is THIS part of the Torah - which details for us how to live as Hashem's servants - in singular, the word Oveid/servant which is the Gematria of 82, and this is my 82nd Post - something that the non-Jews of the world are not in possession of, or at least hasn't made a difference in their lives as per their relationship with Hashem.

As I mentioned in my 71st Post (June '10), along the lines of the Sanhedrin being compared to a Yonah/dove=71, there are exactly SEVENTY ONE Mishnayot in the Mishnaic Tractate of Sanhedrin. As the largest body of Torah scholars that spanned thousands of years, it was the Sanhedrin who interpreted, taught, and enforced the Oral Torah, without which, we Jews - the SEVENTY-FIRST nation - outside of the realm of Halacha/Jewish law, would be no better than the other nations of the world who claim to be followers of the Bible, but for the most part, follow their base desires,
and ignore what the Bible says about Israel when it comes to Jews.


Today, the 5th of Tishrei, marks the birth of Naftali, head of one of the twelve Tribes of Israel. His name is one of the more popular names among Jews, including in Hasidic circles. In fact, speaking of birthdays, the Chasidic Master Rabbi Naftali Tzvi of Ropshitz, was born on the day that the founder of the Chasidic movement, the Ba'al Shem Tov passed away - 6 Sivan (Shavuot) 5520/1760.

Noting the letters of his name, they are the same Hebrew letters as those of the word Tefillin/phylacteries. Now noting what are in the Tefillin, there are scrolls consisting of four different sections in the Torah that mention this Mitzvah - which consist of the final two sections of Parshat Bo, and the first two paragraphs of the Shema. Kabbalistically, these correspond to the four Sephirot/spiritual emanations -Chochma/Wisdom, Bina/Understanding, Chesed/Kindness & Gevurah/Severity, respectively.

As I mentioned in my recent 80th Post, Rabbi Moshe Cordovero mentions that the Ten Sephirot correspond to the Ten Days of Repentance. Hence, today - 5 Tishrei - corresponds to the Sephirah of Gevurah/Severity. And as we know Kabbalistically of the Sephirot corresponding to the various part of the body, as mentioned in the second introduction of the Tikkunei Zohar, Gevurah corresponds to the left arm, the very arm that we wrap around the Tefillin Shel Yad/"Hand Tefillin" (by the majority of people who write with their right hand, those who are lefties put it on their right arm). Hence, Naftali, whose name has the same letters as the word Tefillin, was born on the day amidst the Ten Days of Repentance that corresponds to the Sephira of Gevurah, which in turn corresponds to the left arm on which the Tefillin Shel Yad is put on.

Now, as per the Sephira of Gevurah, the corresponding section of the Torah on the Tefillin scroll, the second paragraph of the Shema, is about the acceptance of the Mitzvot. And it was right before Shavuot (the birthday of Rabbi NAFTALI Tzvi of Ropshitz), that Hashem threatened the Jewish people to accept the Oral Torah on themselves - which are the details of the 613 Mitzvot - using the aspect of Gevurah.

And speaking of Gevurah, Naftali's very name denotes this concept - Naftulei Elokim Niftalti - "I have been twisted around with my sister through all of G-d's roundabout ways", as Rachel was saying in terms of her rival Leah who already bore for sons to Jacob while she had yet to bear any, except that the new baby boy Naftali was born by Rachel's handmaid, representing the fact that there was tension involved here, representing a sense of negativity, just like Gevurah/severity. Also, we see here that Hashem's name representing Gevurah - Elokim - is used. Besides the translation here for this phrase which is based on Rashi's meaning of the wording of the root word forming the name Naftali, the second wording in the phrase - Niftalti, is translated by Rashi as "my prayer has been accepted". Hence, the acceptance in terms of both of accepting the Oral Torah and Hashem accepting Rachel's prayers after much contention were through the aspect of Gevurah.

And as I mentioning here about Tefillin, in connection with another of today's theme about the Yonah/dove, there is a story in the Talmud (Shabbat 49a) about the time that the Romans worked on a particular campaign to prevent Jews from wearing Tefillin, threatening to smash anyone's skull caught with the Tefillin on the head.
Anyways, there was a Jew named Elisha who earned the nickname Ba'al Kenafayim (owner of wings) because of his fearless stance of wearing Tefillin in public. When seen in
a distance by a Roman officer, the latter chased after him, when in the interim, Elisha took off the Tefillin and held it in his hand. When finally approached, the officer demanded to know what was in his hand, and Elisha replied that is was dove's wings. A miracle happened, and that is indeed what appeared when Elisha open his hand for the officer. And as the Gemara asks, why particularly dove's wings? Because the Jewish people is compared to a dove; since just as its wings protect it, so too does the Mitzvot protect the Jewish people.

Now, another thing that is mentioned about the Ten Days of Repentance is that they correspond to the Ten Commandments. Hence, the 5th day of Tishrei - Naftali's birthday - corresponds to the Commandment of Kibbud Av V'Em/honoring one's father & mother. As the rabbis tell us about Naftali among Jacob's sons, he was the one whom his father sent on missions as he was a quick runner; hence, having his fill with this Mitzva of Kibbud Av. This is exemplified by the blessing that Jacob gave to his son, "Naftali is a hart that is sent, who gives words of beauty" (Genesis 49:21) (As a side note, the Hebrew number for 21 as the number of this verse is Kaf Aleph, which is the acronym for Kibbud Av.) As we see in the Midrash about his father Jacob's burial, it was Naftali who started his run towards Egypt to fetch the deed to prove to Jacob's brother Esau who challenged Jacob's rights to the burial plot, that it was indeed Jacob's. As the story ended, between Dan's son Chushim & Judah, they did away with Esau before the document could be brought to prove the facts. By the way, one of the Seforim that the Chasidic Master Rabbi NAFTALI Tzvi Ropshitz wrote was called Ayalah Shelucha "Sent hart".

Now speaking of birthdays, the daily chapter of Tanach/Bible that I read for today -
5 Tishrei - is the beginning chapter of the Book of NUMBERS/Sefer Bamidbar - my favorite chapter of the Bible, that I began learning on a daily basis, since this past Shavuot, marking exactly 1,000 years since the first complete Tanach was completed being written down with vowels and cantillation notes during the month of Sivan 4770/1010. Anyways, this first chapter of NUMBERS begins its first verse mentioning my birthday of "the first day of the second month" - 1 Iyar, and is repeated later on in this chapter. This chapter mentions the count of the number of men from 20 years up among the 12 Tribes of Israel (which in this instance includes Joseph's two sons as tribes in lieu of the "Tribe of Joseph" or the Tribe of Levi).
In any case, the bottom of the list of Tribes, both in the list of the leaders of the Tribes, and the count of the number of men in the Tribes, it is the Tribe of Naftali who is mentioned at the BOTTOM of the lists, even though it wasn't Naftali who was Jacob's youngest, but Benjamin.

Now, getting to the section of the count of men in Naftali's tribe, we see that unlike the mention of the other Tribes where it says Livnei - "For the descendants of..."; regarding the Tribe of Naftali, it says B'nei - "The descendants of..." without the prefix letter in Hebrew for the word "for". And of course, the big question is WHY?

The Ba'al HaTurim explains that unlike the other Tribes, this Tribe of Naftali had more women than men. This is hinted in Jacob's blessing to Naftali in the words - Ayala Shelucha HaNotein "Naftali is a SENT HART WHO GIVES words of beauty". Now, the first letters of the words in Hebrew - Aleph, Shin, Hei - spells the word Isha/woman.

Unfortunately in society, women have been treated as the "bottom". Despite their beauty, it's their weakness compared to women that allows men to take advantage of them, especially in the non-Jewish society. Women's rights in recent times may have seemed to have helped women gain a few more bucks, but in their personal daily lives or marital status when as a result of working out of home and feeling financially independent, it has led to many divorces in which in the long run, is a lose-lose situation. Even in very observant Jewish circles, while many do in fact treat their wives with loyalty and royalty according to what is detailed in the Talmud and Jewish Law, there are those who unfortunately treat their wives as "baby machines", who seem to be non-existant when it is the men who occupy the main Shabbat eating table. While I certainly do respect Hasidic circles where many are careful as far as not looking at other women to avoid forbidden sexual looks and feelings, I personally cannot imagine a Shabbat table for myself except where the family is supposed to be all together, even if having guests over.

And as our rabbis state - Acharon Acharon Chaviv - "The LAST is the most beloved". Without the woman who is called in Psalms by the title Akeret HaBayit - "mainstay of the home", Judaism would simply not be the same. Without the women who instill in their children basic prayers and blessings while feeding them, waking them up and putting them to sleep, the children would not have quite sufficient education to begin Yeshiva studies at the age that they do. And the word Chaviv/beloved is the Gematria of 22, and the final 22 verses of Mishlei/Proverbs is what is known as the Eishet Chayil "Woman of Valor" paragraph recited at the Shabbat table right before the nighttime Kiddush. These verses begin in order of the 22 letters of the Alef Beit. And as we see in Creation, Chava/Eve was the last creation during the week of creation, following the creation of Adam, as mentioned in the Chumash. And to note, Chava having the Gematria of 19, along with the three letters of her name, add up to 22.

Hence, Naftali being listed as the last tribe, along with the omission of the prefix letter in Hebrew for the word "for", denotes that the women who are Chaviv/beloved, are the BOTTOM line - as the foundation stone which supports the building that is built on top of it - of how Jews are brought up beginning with their children's early Torah education. It is the women's prayers as they recite Tehillim/Psalms and other prayer books with tears that their children should grow up and remain living Jewish lives is what keeps Judaisim well and alive. There is a story of the Chofetz Chaim who was once brought his mother's Tehillim sometime after her passing, when he commented, "Do you know how many tears that my mother shed into this Tehillim, asking Hashem to have a G-d fearing son?" Well, we all know today the results of the Chofetz Chaim's mother's prayers and tears.

And to note, the count of the amount of men in the Tribe of Naftali in the Divine ordered census on 1 Iyar was 53,400. And in relationship to women who were more than men in this tribe more than all the others, my 53rd Post - the first post that I wrote since I got married, was about my marriage and the Gematriot related to it. In my opinion, the most significant one is the fact that my wife's full Hebrew name Yael Miriam is the same Gematria as Nashim/women - 400. Hence, the number 53,400 as per the Tribe of Naftali is a nice way to remember what my 53rd Post is about.


As I ended off my previous blog with my final thoughts on the past year of 5770, I mentioned that this year is also connected with a word that means nine.

A word that means nine - with a little twist. Basically, the Aramaic word for nine is Teshia'ah - Tav, Shin, Yud, Ayin, Alef, Hei. When moving the letter Hei from the end of this word to the beginning, aside from the letter Yud in the middle, it spells this present Hebrew year 5771 - Hey Tav Shin Ayin Alef.

So technically, this Hebrew year is also a "Nine" year. Along with this, you have the letter Yud, which is the Gematria of 10, in the middle of this number. Does this signify something? Could it be that this is the year that we will see the results - the birth - of the Chevlei Moshiach/Birthpangs of MOshiach, just as a Jewish mother after her NINE months of pregnancy finally gives birth to her little one, just as the letter Yud is the smallest of the 22 Hebrew letters. And in Yiddish, a Yid - after which the langugage Yiddish is named after - which means a Jew, is etymologically related to the letter Yud=10. And as we know, it takes 10 adult men (from Bar Mitzva age and up) to have a Minyan, a quorum gathered for prayers that allows them to recite certain prayers that they cannot recite with even one less person - nine simply does not count - which include the Kaddish and reading of the Torah. The reason for this is that these functions are only allowed to be performed in the presence of the Shechinah/Divine Presence, which only appears when there is a minimum of 10 adult men.

The Shechinah appearing is also applicable to such a minimum group of 10 who are learning Torah together. As noted in Pirkei Avot/Ethics of the Fathers 3:7, we learn this from the verse "G-d stands in the congregation of G-d", which denotes of G-d's presence in a congregation, this last word being learned out from other verses in the Torah that it refers to a group of 10 men. It should be noted that this verse quoted here is in the beginning verse of Psalm 82 - and this is my 82nd Post.

Now getting back to the Aramaic word for nine that spells this current Hebrew year, it should be noted that the Zohar, whose basic language is Aramaic, includes the Tikkunei ZOhar, the "70 Rectifications of the Zohar". So of course, the NINTH Tikkun
is called Tikkuna Teshia'ah. Unlike most of the other Tikkunim, this is only one paragraph. But one key thing here is the mention of Sarah's handmaid Hagar, princess of Pharaoh, mother of Ishmael and ancestor of the Arabic nation, who exclaimed to an angel who appeared to her following her making fun out of Sarah which resulted in her being kicked out by Sarah, "Because of Sarai (Sarah) my mistress, have I run". Before I continue father with what the Zohar says on this, her statement is most reflective of the "Palestinian" Arabs who hide or fail to mention to the world of their misdeeds against the Jews, but exclaim that it is we Jews who are the cause of them being mistreated when in fact, it is the 22 Arab countries who don't want to reclaim their own people, while the Israeli government bends backwards to give them food, shelter, electricity, education, exemption from the army, and look the other way to the 99% of these Arabs who don't pay taxes, hoping that these ingrates will be happy.

Continuing on in the Zohar, Hashem said "Although Hagar is the daughter of a wicked person (Pharaoh) who is worthy of punishment, despite the fact that Sarah chased her away from home, I will have pity on her and her son." Nevertheless, Hashem continues telling us that we shouldn't behave the same way, but eradicate the evil kingdom from the world, and there won't be happiness for Him until the wicked are eradicated from the world, and only then will there be happiness for Him, as it says "Upon the destruction of the wicked, there will be rejoicing" (Proverbs 11:10).

So there are two questions to be asked here. First, why did Hashem allow Hagar and her future son Ishmael to live if they would be nothing but trouble to the Jews and the world? Secondly, if we are supposed to follow in Hashem's ways, then why did He do one thing, and tell us to do the opposite? This is not quite typical of how Hashem instructs us in following in his ways. In fact, we know from the Torah that when we are merciful to the cruel; at the end, we wind up being cruel to the merciful, as exemplified by King Saul up to today's Israeli government who helps the Arabs in every which way, but devoted Jews to Israel are threatened, beat up, and imprisoned for daring its anti-Torah & anti-Zionist policies.

The truth is that everything that happens in this world is because of us Jews. We have to remember that as a result of Sarah not bearing any children with Abraham, Abraham eventually mated with Hagar, which resulted with the birth of Ishmael. What we find most unusual is that it was Hashem Himself (through the message of an angel)
who ordained that the ancestor of the Arab race should be named Ishmael, which means G-d will hear.

While it is true that after a wild period in his life, Ishmael in fact repented and died as a righteous person, his descendants did not follow in his eventual righteous ways. With or without Islam, or Christianity for that matter, the Arabs weren't exactly the Jews' friends, and as we see amidst the Babylonian captivity of the Jews following the destruction of the first Temple, the Arabs approached the Jews giving them salty food, and then provided them with leather containers of what the Jews thought was water inside, only to put their mouth to them and die of utter thirst as they were in fact empty.

In any case, Hashem has the nations around us to remind us of our duties to Him. If we would always be in good behavior, there wouldn't be concern about the other nations, because they would in fact help us if they knew that good bounty comes to the world when the Jews behave right. But nevertheless, evil people are just that, and while in former times, Hashem allowed the Arabs to live these thousands of years,
NOW that a good percentage of Jews are back on their own land, NOW is the time for us to put an end to their shenanigans. In this year of 5771, whose Hebrew letters form the Aramaic word nine, which in fact signifies even a greater darkness for this number, as the meaning of Aramaic is trickery, as the nationality and behavior of another cousin member of the Jews - Laban, whose Gematria by the way is 82 - and this is my 82nd Post, is when the ultimate test of what will happen between the Jews and the Arabs will take place.

As Netanyahu ended the previous Jewish year 5770 with the beginning of his official consent to give in to the Arabs, we are in the potential greatest danger that is yet to exist. You see, Abu Mazen isn't really happy making peace with Netanyahu, even though Netanyahu called him "our partner in peace". Abu Mazen wants the same thing as his predecessor Arafat wanted - ALL OF ISRAEL, which they call Palestine. Period!

Meanwhile, unlike Abu Mazen's demands, Netanyahu said that he will not continue the construction freeze, but will merely "not build as many buildings" in Judea and Samaria. And so, this is all the Arabs need to hear to advance with their next step of war. But the real reason why this will happen is simply because Netanyahu's real problem is that he doesn't fear Hashem, and not only does he say no to the Arabs, but being slow to build in Israel, especially after the damage that he did in declaring the construction freeze, as he will build not so quickly to "please" the Arabs which will not work, most angers Hashem.

The only reason why we Jews may still be victorious is because it is not so much the people who are in support of these wishy wash ways of so called placating the Arabs, because most of them realize by now that the Arabs really do not want peace; but it is Netanyahu and his cronies who think they will fool Obama and the world, none of whom will respect Netanyahu at the end anyways. We sure hope that Hashem will not allow us Jews to be endangered because of the few dictators of the Holy Land. However, we Jews as in the midst of the Chevlei Moshiach are in a most endangered position in this time - the year 5771, as indicated by the message of the Zohar in Tikkun NINE about the Arab descendants of Hagar. It will take only a full blown war now to eradicate these blood thirsty Arabs - hopefully, with not many lost Jewish lives in battle, as noted at the end of this Tikkun NINE.


In my previous post concluding 5770, but writing about Rosh Hashanah as it falls out on a Thursday as it happened at the beginning of this year 5771, I mentioned that the month of Ramadan is the NINTH month of the Arab lunar (or rather lunatic) calendar. This year's Ramadan fell out on Elul, the last month of the Jewish year.

What few people will now is that upon the conclusion of the Ramadan month, the Moslem Arabs have a three day feast, which is the beginning of the tenth month of the Moslem calendar. And when did this happen exactly this year?

Well, the Moslems weren't able to tell the world when they would be having their three day feast because you see, they follow their lunar calendar according to when they see the sighting of the new moon, as we Jews used to do it. And so, based on this, they began their new month on the second day of Rosh Hashanah. Though I didn't know myself until the other day of this three day holiday/feast, I did hear in the early morning of that day that sounded like shoutings of joy from the Arabs who live in the nearby villages. I figured that this marked the end of their Ramadan month.

Now in the Torah reading for Rosh Hashanah, the first day is about Hagar and Ishmael being kicked from the home as a result of endangering Isaac's spiritual and physical wellbeing. As the story continues, Ishmael became sick out of thirst in the desert, and Hashem miraculously saved their lives by showing them a well that they didn't see earlier.

Now, being that this year's Moslem feast fell out on the Jewish calendar beginning the second day of Rosh Hashanah, it is most significant to note the connection of Ismael as it especially relates to these very days this year.

2 Tishrei - The reading of the 2nd day of Rosh Hashanah is about the Akeidat Yitzchak, the binding of Isaac on the altar of the future Temple Mount by his father Abraham, who was stopped one step short of actually slaughtering his son. On the way to the Temple Mount, Abraham asked his son Ishmael and his servant Eliezer if they saw anything in the distance, which was what he and his son Isaac saw - the Divine Cloud. When they both answered in the negative, he replied to them that they should remain with the donkey, while he and Isaac move on. What he really was telling them is that just like the donkey can't see anything (spiritual), so neither do they". Of course, the Koran has a simple solution about denying this part of the story. It claims that it was Abraham's other son Ishmael who was the proposed offering. Makes sense.

3 Tishrei - This year, this date coincided with Shabbat Shuva/Parshat Ha'azinu, when we read in the Parsha "I (G-d) will be unfaithful to them (the Jews) with a non-nation, provoking them with a nation that is without gratitude." Indeed, the "Palestinian" Arabs are a so-called nation who claim that their country is Palestine, and since this isn't true, they are a non-nation in relationship to this. And of course, they have shown their lack of gratitude plenty - especially to the Israeli government who gives them all the nice commodities of life, while Torah scholars and large religious families in Israel don't have sufficient means to even have a decent meal a day, let alone have enough to pay the rent, electricity, etc., who turn to others for assistance, most of whom are lucky to have just enough to pay all their own bills themselves. No wonder why G-d is so upset. Another major example of this is that when the Jews of Gush Katif, some of whom hired Arabs in the past (which they shouldn't have done to begin with) were thrown out of there some five years ago, the Arabs who used to work for them didn't wish to sue the Israeli government who caused these Arabs to be out of work to begin with due to the Disengagement. Instead they decided to sue their former Jewish employers who were thrown out of self-employement beyond their control, even though these ungrateful Arabs know full well that they no longer had work thanks to the Israeli government, and not their former employers many of whom still have no work, and don't have the money to recompensate their former Arab employees for for lost wages. These ingrates would rather forgo rightfully deserved money from the Israeli government as per being laid off, just in order to make life harder for Jews who already had their lives messed up who will certainly not have what to pay to their former employees, except to have a lean put on whatever new housing they may be granted in the future if it even comes to that.

And as a connection to the solar calendar, one does not have to go far looking at the famous English date coinciding with this day of Shabbat Shuva - 9/11, a bitter taste of Moslem Arab terrorism, this year being NINE years from the fearful events of that day. And while we are at it, nearing NINE years from that fateful date, Moslem Arab Obama gave his approval for a mosque to be built in the physical shadows of Ground Zero - the BOTTOM that should remind us of calling out to Hashem in times of trouble.

4 Tishrei - In this year, we observed the fast of Tzom Gedaliah on this date. Normally, when Shabbat doesn't fall out on the day after Rosh Hashanah, we observe this fast on 3 Tishrei. The truth is that the events leading to this fast took place
on Rosh Hashanah, but since we don't fast on Rosh Hashanah, we always fast afterwards. In any case, it was a wicked Jew by the name of Ishmael ben Netanya ben Elishama who murdered Gedaliah, governor of the remaining Jews in Israel following the destruction of the Temple by the Babylonians. It seems that someone with the name Ishmael who was the one to have murdered Gedaliah, caused the remaining Jews to leave Israel, leaving this Holy Land desolate for 52 years, and causing an annual fast day for Jews to take place, is hardly short of Hashgacha Peratit/Divine Providence (though this evil person had a choice not to murder), shows that there is a connection here in relationship to the Arab race who are descendants of the first Yishmael.

By the way, as Ramadan does not always fall out during this time of the Jewish year as the Moslem calendar doesn't add time to its calendar in relationship to the solar calendar, it doesn't happen that often that the Moslem month immediately following Ramadan will begin on Rosh Hashanah, which includes its three day feast. And so noting the events of these three days of the Jewish calendar in relationship to Ishmael/Arabs with the fact that these very three days were celebrated by the Moslem Arabs this year of NINE in ARAMAIC, shows that G-d forbid, we can be in big trouble here this year, as they lie to the world about who was the one offered as a sacrifice on the Temple Mount - the mount that they claim is theirs and the world wishes to believe in, even though the Bible clearly states that King David purchased this very site. As they lie to the world about the so-called country of Palestine, which there is no such thing - not in the Old Testament, the New Testament, or the Koran. And all they wish to do is to murder us all, take over our land after throwing us into the sea.

And so, as the Moslems celebrated the first tenth of their tenth month; we Jews, as represented by the number 10, have to be ready to physically fight or be prepared for the upcoming war with the Arabs this year. The world is fooled and wishes to be fooled by these Arabs who represent the number NINE, who claim respect for their religion by their long NINTH month of daytime fasting, and then they go out attacking Jews in Israel at night following the break of their fast, something that the world wishes to avoid writing about. And hence, the Arabs claim victory with the number TEN, which in Hebrew is Eser, but when spelled backwards, is the word Rasha/wicked one, the very word that the Torah calls to one of the brothers Dathan & Abiram, when one proceeded to hit the other, when Moses asked him, "Why are you hitting your friend?"

And speaking of the first tenth of the tenth month of Islam, the Bible chapter that I read on the 4th of Tishrei, the conclusion of these three days of Moslem feasting, concludes with the Mitzva of tithing the animals by counting them - Ma'aser Beheima, in the concluding chapter of Leviticus - which is followed by the first chapter of Numbers which begins with the counting of people - specifically the Jewish people.
In any case, every tenth animal that left the animal pen was marked with red paint to identify which was the tithed animal.

I think that the Torah has a lesson to teach here about placing the sections of the Torah of counting animals and counting people - Jews, next to each other. One needs to be able to recognize his true enemies, who are certainly non-Jews who have shown long ago of their disdain for Jews and Israel. These should have been marked with the color red - which represents sin, long ago. This color also represents blood, which means that these Arabs should have been killed and done away with long ago when they challenged Israel. However, since the more current governments of Israel looked to please, placate and peace the situation instead of telling these Arabs where to go or just fight them, they unfortunately had to instead count the dead ones among Jews as a result of suicide bombings, stabbings, shootings,
and more wars.

Easing up on the amount of constructon in Judea and Samaria will simply not do it, and most Israelis will certainly not be happy with this. In fact, Netanyahu is following his last name in the opposite way - Natan Hashem, he is, so to speak, giving Hashem away, saying that it doesn't matter what Hashem says what to do in the Torah about our Holy land, or our blood-thirsty enemies. And unfortunately, he is using his first name Binyamin - which is a contraction of Ben Yamin "son of the right" as a so called right-winger when he has clear shown in more than one term of prime ministry and in between that he is nothing but a cold harded leftist who is in disguise of a right-winger.


Unlike Netanyahu who is living the opposite of his name, at least someone else who also lived an evil lifestyle was living according to his own name. His name was Naval, which means the word "disgusting", as his own righteous wife Abigail admitted.

Anyone who is familiar with the story in the Book of Samuel, will know that King David, in pursuit from his jealous father-in-law King Saul and fighting enemies at the same time, came with a group of fighting men to a place where Naval, who had much in the way of wealth, was residing. Upon King David asking Naval for assistance, Naval barely gave the starving group a morsel of bread, and refused to do anything more them. King David practically threatened to do away with Naval when at the last moment, Naval's wife Abigail arrived with a bunch of goodies for King David and the troops, convincing King David not to wreak revenge or killing Naval for his stinginess.

In fact, King David did not have to do anything to Naval, because right afterwards, Hashem struck Naval with a sickness over a period of 10 days, and then he died. Our Rabbis states that these 10 Days were in fact the Ten Days of Repentance.

It's interesting to note that Naval, spelling backwards the name of Jacob's crooked father-in-law Lavan/Laban - is the Gematria as 82, the number of this 82nd Post, which I am writing during the Ten Days of Repentance, the very period of time that Naval was stricken with a sickness. Apparently, Naval did not repent from his evil ways, and died right after Yom Kippur. Following this, David married Abigail, about whom our Rabbis say that she was one of the most beautiful women of all time.

Yes, Naval had it all - wealth, wife who was more than a model - and wickedness. But
the following question can be asked. When Abigail came with her goodies to King David, she noted that she saved him from murder of her husband. Now, King David, who was in fact a very righteous person, certainly realized that if Naval said "no", even though he had free choice, that it was from Hashem. In fact, when many years later, King David fled from Jerusalem when his son Absalom rebelled against him, there was someone with the name Shim'i who was cursing him, and while King David's men suggested to him to kill this guy, he refused to, saying that it was Hashem who told him to curse him. So, what's the difference here, and why could it have been wrong for him if he would have killed Naval?

In this case, it wasn't just King David himself involved, it was his group of men who came along to fight the enemy. Hence, even if his own honor and hunger was involved, it wasn't easy for him to wave how others were affected by Naval's selfishness with a mere wave of a hand. This was virtually a matter of life and death for lots of other people, and so it would have been most fitting for King David to be rid of Naval. However, as King David quickly came to realize, if this really was from Hashem, then he wouldn't accomplish anything more by killing Naval. The proof is that Hashem provided for him and his men from another source - Naval's own wife, whom he even married shortly afterwards.

It was during this very period of the Ten Days of Repentence, when we highlight Hashem's kingship - climaxing on Yom Kippur, which corresponds to the Sephirah of Malchut/Kingship - as exemplified by the fact that we end off the third blessing of the Shemoneh Esrei during these 10 days with the words HaMelech HaKadosh - "The Holy King" instead of HaKeil HaKadosh "The Holy G-d", that Hashem struck Naval with an illness. While King David would shortly show how he was the best representative of Hashem being the King of Kings, it was not up to King David to kill Naval. True, Naval did a most disgusting thing, but the same way as King David was supposed to believe that what happened to him was from Hashem - from being refused basic food supplies to being provided with dainties - the same way was it possible for the King of Kings to show Naval that he was living an errant lifestyle, who refused to repent even during the Ten Days of Repentance while struck with an illness, specifically during this time. Yes, some will not repent for the life of themselves, even if they were to trip over repentance with the gates of Hell being opened beneath them, as our Rabbis note in the Talmud.


Mentioning the number ten in Hebrew as Eser, this word is also the Gematria of the name of Naftali, Jacob's son - 570. And as I mentioned earlier, Naftali's birthday of 5 Tishrei corresponds to the Sephirah of Gevurah/severity. Hence, since dealing with the Arabs hadn't been done the right way for the longest time, it seems that we Jews will have to act according to the trait of Gevurah, and fight the Arabs head on.

The Rambam/Maimonides, begins his magnum opus, the Mishneh Torah, a composium of all the Halachot/laws of the Torah, begining with the section that is called Yesodei HaTorah "Foundations of the Torah", and concluding with the section that is called Melachim U'Milchamot/Kings and Wars. Now, the final two Sephirot - the NINTH and TENTH Sephirot are Yesod/Foundation & Malchut/Kingship, respectively.

So as you see, in order that the foundation of Judaism, which is the belief in Hashem, which includes believing that He could do what He wants, as when we faithfully follow what Hashem tells us to do in the Torah, remain in place, we have to believe that by following what Hashem wants, we ultimately have nothing to loose in the long run, and Hashem will fight our battles for us. However, if G-d forbid, we loose track of how things are supposed to be, and when we do things on our so called logic instead of relying on Hashem's logic, not believing that Yishma E-l -"God will listen (to us)", then we run into trouble with the nation that is called Yishmael, because at least this nation truly believes in what it is called by the Koran, except that the Koran tells them to treat infidels, especially the Jews, as vermin. Then unfortunately, we have no choice but to fight in a full blown war, which wouldn't have happened if we made it clear long ago since the Six Day War when we won virtually all the land possible that there will be no giving back of anything.

And so the year of NINE - representing Yesod, the foundation of the Torah, belief in Hashem is our ultimate protection; otherwise, we will only encounter even worse darkness. The only way then to fight this darkness is through the number TEN - representing war. If we truly trust in the King of Kings - representing the 10th Sephirah of Malchut/Kingship, then the soldiers in the IDF won't follow orders when told to ease up on fighting and not shoot at "civilian" targets, and not shoot at women and children when used as human shields. It is imperative that soldiers who may be called all of a sudden to fight realize that they are fighting Hashem's war, and that doing anything to suggest weakness to our Arab enemies will only invite more bloodshed among Jews, G-d forbid. If only they would read and internalize Binyamin Kahane - may G-d avenge his blood - 's final letter addressing soldiers in the IDF and not be afraid to fight the Arabs in war as necessary, and not be afraid of holding back their arms despite orders.

And now for the name/word Yonah. I came to realize the other day that this word Yonah - Yud, Vav, Noon, Hei - when rearranged, is the acronym of the last four Sephirot, which are Netzach/Eternity, Hod/Splendor, Yesod/Foundation & U'Malchut/ and Kingship. Now, in terms of the body, Netzach and Hod correspond to the two legs, Yesod corresponds to the sexual organ, and Malchut corresponds to the mouth.

As the title of this post - "Calling out from the BOTTOM", we are calling out to Hashem with our mouth while standing on our two feet from a low point - especially from a sense of humility and humbleness, and submit our desires, represented by the sexual organ, to Hashem, noting that the parts of the body corresponding to Netzach, Hod, and Yesod are the lower half - or BOTTOM - part of the body. And as the Haftara of Yonah is read on the afternoon of Yom Kippur when the Torah reading is about the list of forbidden sexual unions, we have to remember to be like the Yonah/dove who returned after searching for dry land for a second time, arriving with an olive leaf in its beak as if to say to Noah "I would rather be fed bitter food from Hashem, then sweet food by you." (Talmud Eruvin 17). Especially in this Hebrew year 5771 that ends with the number 71, the Gematria of Yonah, we have to follow the message of the Haftara of Yonah to REPENT NOW before it's too late, and behave like a Yonah/dove who is loyal to its mate, and accordingly be loyal to Hashem, our ultimate spiritual Mate. Then, when we do call out to Hashem, calling him from the bottom - with a spirit of lowliness and humility -we can hope that Yishma E-l, that G-d will indeed listen to us.

And remember, Yom Kippur, the last day of the Ten Days of Repentance, corresponds to the tenth and last Sephira of Malchut/Kingship. If we make a firm resolution on this holiest day of the year, especially this year when it falls out on Shabbat which also corresponds to Malchut, to have more of a conscience in our daily activities that we have to follow the orders of the King of kings, even if we can't quite get all our acts together overnight, this will be a major step in following in Hashem's ways, a sure part of the Teshuva process, starting to RETURN - the real meaning of the word Teshuva - to the way that Hashem wants us to live, without giving in to compromise to others, in a firm belief and trust in Hashem. Then, with G-d's help, we will merit to live to the day when "Hashem will be King over the entire world; on that day, Hashem will be One, and His Name will be One." Amen.

NOTE: G-d willing, will write again before the coming holiday of Succot, about the message of this coming holiday.

5 Tishrei, 5771 - Birthday of Naftali, son of Jacob