Saturday, January 15, 2011

#96 - The SHOFAR of Today

Even someone of a limited Jewish background who attends High Holiday services will know what the word Shofar means. Certainly, writing here about the Shofar at this time of year when it's not the High Holiday season may raise eyebrows, just like I wrote about Purim in my previous post, though it is true that Purim is the next major holiday following Tu B'Shevat - the Jewish New Year for trees - in a few days. For those who will be reading the Parsha of this week - Parshat Yitro - will realize before long that the word Shofar is in fact mentioned in this Parsha, but this is not my immediate reason for writing about the Shofar, though it is most connected with my original reason for writing about it today.

But first, I must mention that today - 11 Shevat - is the birthday of one of our most mentioned rabbis of our Gematriot post - known most popularly as the Chofetz Chaim, who hardly needs any introduction here. In fact, I have written in the past two years around the time of his Yahrzeit of 24 Elul of this legendary rabbi. But this year, his birthday of 11 Shevat has an added significance.

It has to do with the the Sefer/Jewish holy book whose title Chofetz Chaim gave him this nickname, for a lack of better wording. As with many works of Jewish learning, there are schedules for learning a piece of such Sefarim/Jewish holy books on any particular day. Among the most popular of these is the daily/weekly learning of the Parsha of the week - which is the Five Books of Moses, and the Daf Yomi schedule of learning a Daf/double sided page of the Babylonian Talmud, instituted by Rabbi Meir Shapiro, a contemporary of the Chofetz Chaim who very much praised Rabbi Shapiro's innovation. And speaking of birthdays, both Moses & Rabbi Shapiro were born on 7 Adar. Coincidence? I hardly doubt that - this is nothing short of Hashem's Hashgacha Peratit/Divine Providence.

O.K., so let me get to the point here, the Sefer Chofetz Chaim, which is a compilation of the laws of forbidden speech, mostly involving speaking badly about another Jew or Jews to others, is also apportioned for daily learning. Unlike most other Jewish works that take a year or longer to learn - the Chumash is a yearly thing and the Daf Yomi takes over seven years - this Sefer is divided up to be learned three times a year.

Now, for a regular Jewish calendar year consisting of 12 months, it is divided up accordingly beginning with the Rosh Chodesh or first of the months of Tishrei, Shevat, and Sivan. However, for a leap year consisting of 13 months, such as this year, it is divided up a little more finely. This means that this year, the second cycle of the year does not begin on Rosh Chodesh Shevat, but on...the 11th of Shevat - the birthday of the Chofetz Chaim!

I would be remiss here if I would not mention who the rabbi behind this institution is. His name is Rabbi Yehudah Zev Segal, may the righteous be for a blessed memory, who passed away on 22 Shevat 5753 (1993). Having met the Chofetz Chaim in his youth, he was most impressed by him, and would later be the cause latter for this rabbi to institute a daily learning session from this Sefer, which began with his students of the Yeshiva that he was the head of. Today, this is a worldwide thing, and one can learn this for free over the internet, including audio and daily E-mails. (Check out www.chofetzchaimusa.org for details on this). He requested that in being buried, that he should be buried with a calendar of the Chofetz Chaim learning schedule, as his ticket to Heaven.

Anyways, I would like to mention the very beginning of this Sefer, which we begin learning anew today on the Chofetz Chaim's birthday. He begins with the words Baruch Hashem Elokei Yisrael - "Blessed is Hashem, the G-d of Israel" (Note: The Chofetz Chaim's Hebrew name is Yisrael Meir), continuing with stating that Hashem separated us from the other nations, gave us His Torah, and entered us into the Holy Land in order to merit to fulfull all His commandments. He then proceeds about our later Jewish history in which the Second Temple was destroyed because of the sin of Sinat Chinam/baseless hatred, which included the sin of Lashon Hara/evil speech about others.

Now, if one were to count the amount of times in the Chumash that the first two words that the Chofetz Chaim writes - Baruch Hashem "Blessed is Hashem" is mentioned, there are exactly five mentions of this phrase. The fifth and final time that this is mentioned in the Chumash is in the first Aliyah of this very week's Parshat Yitro (which is learned by many on the first day of the week), coinciding with 11 Shevat, the very day that we begin learning the Chofetz Chaim's work beginning with these very words! In the context of the Parsha, Yitro/Jethro, Moses' father-in-law who converted to Judaism, thanks Hashem for saving the Jews from Egypt & Pharaoh.

On a personal note, as the first four words of the Chofetz Chaim's work is Baruch Hashem Elokei Yisrael, this phrase can be found in the Tanach/Bible (not mentioned once in the Chumash) eight times. Among these times is the beginning of the final verse of Psalms 41 - Blessed is Hashem, the G-d of Israel, from (this) world to (the next) world, Amen & Amen. The reason why I say on a personal note, is because I am presently in my 41st year, and there is a custom among many Jews to say the number chapter of Psalms corresponding to one's age.

Of course, this should be of no big surprise. The very phrase Chofetz Chaim comes from Psalms 34:13 "Who is the person WHO WANTS LIFE, who loves years to see good" Continuing into the next verse "Guard your tongue from evil, and your lips from speaking deceitfully". In fact, I will dare say that the birthdate of the Chofetz Chaim is hinted in this very verse (34:13) - The Hebrew begins Mi HaIsh HeChofetz Chaim. The letters of the word Ish/person - Aleph, Yud, Shin - begin the words of the date of 11 Shevat like this: Yud Aleph Shevat. Hence, these verses can in fact read something like this - "Who is the Chofetz Chaim who was born on 11 Shevat? He is someone who loved years to see good. His message was "Guard your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceitfully"". Indeed, the Chofetz Chaim lived into his mid nineties. He was born in 5598 (1838) and he passed away on 24 Elul 5693 (1933), who lived as a prime example of someone who was most careful with his speech, and lived a long life. It would not have looked good for the one who lived and preached the laws of the Sefer that he compiled not to have lived a long life, even in this world. As you can see, he lived into his 96th year - and this is my 96th Post!

Also, as per Psalm 41, there seems to be another hint to the Chofetz Chaim as per his birthdate and compositions. Verse three begins - Hashem Yishmerahu Vichayehu VeUshar Ba'aretz "May Hashem protect him (the poor person) and allow him life and be fortunate on earth..." The Hebrew word VeUshar "AND be fortunate" is actually spelled in the text beginning with a Yud instead of a Vav; however, as with many other words in the Tanach, they are written one way and read another. Of course, there is a reason for each one of these. In this case, the reason for this word in this fashion seems to be in order to hint to the Chofetz Chaim. You see, when spelled beginning with a Yud, the first three letters of this word begin the words for the birthdate of the Chofetz Chaim, like this - Yud Alef (the numbers in order to spell the number 11) Shin - Shevat; however, linguistically, it only makes sense to pronounce this word beginning with a Vav instead of a Yud. Now, looking at the previous two words, they are similar to the titles of the Chofetz Chaim's two main words on the prohibition of Lashon Hara - Shemirat HaLashon "Guarding the Tongue" & Chofetz Chaim "Wants life". A mere coincidence here?

At this point, I would like to mention that there is a story about the Chofetz Chaim when he was given his late mother's Tehillim/Book of Psalms. Crying emotionally, he remarked to the one or to those present, "Do you know how many tears my mother shed into this Book of Psalms to have a son who would grow up to be a good Torah Jew?" Her tears and prayers of the Book of Psalms no doubt had a most literal answer from Hashem - her son would write the Sefer Chofetz Chaim named after a phrase from the very book that she prayed from!

O.K., this is all very nice, but what this have to do with a Shofar, other than the fact that the Shofar is also mentioned in this Parshat Yitro?

Ah, so this is where Gematria comes into play here. Indeed, the phrase Sefer Chafetz Chaim has the same Gematria as the word Shofar - 586! Shocking, isn't it? On an incidental note, the first of the three times that the Sefer Chofetz Chayim is learned begins on Rosh Hashanah, the holiday on which we blow the Shofar. Now, think about it for a minute - the sin of Lashon Hara, which involves the mouth, is in the long run the worst sin, as our Rabbis tell us, because first of all, EVERY SINGLE WORD of Lashon Hara is another sin, just like EVERY SINGLE WORD of Torah - the Mitzvah that is equal to all the other Mitzvot of the Torah - is another Mitzvah. Actually to say that every word of Lashon Hora is another sin is an understatement. You see, the Chofetz Chaim mentions that one can violate up to 14 Negative Commandments and 14 Positive Commandments for EVERY SINGLE WORD of Lashon Hara, equaling a total of up to 31 Commandments that could be violated for every single word of Lashon Hara. Imagine how someone who absentmindedly can committ hundreds if not thousands of sins in one short conversation! Quite scary indeed.

Now, there are quite a few commandments that can be performed by mouth besides the Mitzvah of Torah learning. The Mitzvot of reading the Shema, prayer, grace after meals, recounting the story of the Exodus on the Seder night, counting the Omer, etc.
Now, blowing the Shofar, though it does not involve speech, it does involve using the mouth. And this Mitzvah of blowing the Shofar is actually related to another Mitzvah - the commandment of Teshuvah/repentance, as the Shofar is supposed to arouse us to repent.

And so, the Shofar is mentioned in this Parsha in the context of Hashem sounding the Shofar as the signal for the Jews to arrive at Mt. Sinai to receive the Torah. However, if one looks at the three mentions of the word Shofar in this Parsha, it is not in fact spelled as the usual spelling of Shofar with the letters - Shin, Vav, Fei, Reish - because in this Parsha, it is spelled without the letter Vav. So, how come is it spelled without a Vav here, if the usual spelling is with a Vav, or is it?

Actually, there is exactly one place in the Chumash that the word Shofar is spelled in full (spelled twice as such in the same verse). This is located in Leviticus 25:9 "You shall sound the Shofar of Teruah on the seventh month on the 10th of the month, on Yom Kippur, you shall sound the Shofar in all your land". This is the 332nd Mitzvah of the Torah to sound the Shofar on Yom Kippur of the Jubilee year, the 50th year following seven cycles of six years work and one year rest from agricultural work on the land of Israel. I had mentioned this particular Mitzvah in my 83rd Post (Sep '10) as the daily Mitzvah to be learned for this very past Yom Kippur!

Is there in fact a connection between the blowing of the Shofar in this week's Parshat Yitro & the Mitzvah of blowing the Shofar on Yom Kippur of the Jubilee year mentioned in Parshat Behar Sinai (literally means "On Mt. Sinai", though the usual name of the Parsha is just the word Behar, but I mentioned Sinai here because this was the mountain on which we received the Torah as mentioned in our week's Parshat Yitro)?

Besides the fact of the connection about Mt. Sinai as I mentioned in parenthesis, I would like to point out to something that the Chofetz Chaim mentioned in the beginning of his work. As I wrote a few minutes earlier "(Hashem) entered us into the Holy Land in order to merit to fulfull all His commandments." With this being said, though the ultimately stage of spirituality had yet to be fulfilled - the Holy Temple, we did have the Tabernacle which served the same basic functions. However, in terms of the wholeness of the Land of Israel, it was this very act of blowing the Shofar on Yom Kippur of the Jubilee year that was the final Mitzvah relating directly to the Land of Israel that was fulfilled for the first ever since the Torah was given. This took place in the Hebrew year 2552, over a hundred years since the Torah was given (the Torah was given in the year 2448). The point that I want to make here is that even though the Torah, upon which the world's existance depended upon for the Jews to accept for nearly 2,450 years; yet, it is only with the mention of the final Mitzvah that took place relating to the land of Israel that the Jews were commanded to settle in that the word Shofar is spelled with a Vav, and not once, but twice in the same verse - the only such spelling of the word Shofar in the entire Torah - to teach us that we are not complete with learning Torah except in the land of Israel. The repetition of the word Shofar with the full spelling in this verse emphasizes this concept. (NOTE: The Mitzvah of blowing the Shofar on Rosh Hashanah as mentioned in Parshat Pinchas ironically does not even mention the word Shofar!)

Anyone who is honest about what it says in the Torah, it is very clear that not only are we Jews supposed to live in Israel, but that the ultimate purpose of living in Israel is to fulfill ALL the Mitzvot of the Torah, which is not possible outside of Israel, as there are many commandments related not only to the agricultural land, but also all the commandments related to the Temple services and offerings.

And while the Chofetz Chaim never wound up even visiting Israel, though at one point in his life, he attempted to do so, but things happened beyond his control preventing him from traveling, it must be remembered that the Chofetz Chaim, like so many great rabbis before him who never stepped foot in Israel either living in the poor towns of Europe, he accomplished tremendous good for the Jewish people, and much of the results of his righteous life, learning, and writing Sefarim have a tremendous impact in the Holy Land today. However, he was a very strong believer in the possible coming of the Messiah in his days, and towards this, he promoted the learning about the Temple service and offerings, so that if the Messiah were to come anytime soon, the Jewish people, especially the Cohanim such as himself, would be prepared to know all the laws they would need to know once the Messiah would come and the Temple would be rebuilt.

Now, there is in fact another very significant word that has the same Gematria as Sefer Chofetz Chaim & Shofar - Yerushalayim! While in English, Jerusalem is always spelled the same way, except for five places in the Tanach, the Hebrew word Yerushalayim is spelled as such without a second Yud - 664 times - making this word to be the same Gematria of 586.

Well, being that Jerusalem is the capitol of Israel, it should be noted that during Temple times when the Jubilee year was in effect, the Shofar was blown by the great Sanhedrin/Jewish court which was located in a section of the Temple in Jerusalem, noting the same Gematria between the words Shofar & Yerushalayim. And as the Chofetz Chaim notes in today's portion of his work, the Temple - which was in Jerusalem - was
destroyed as a result of Lashon Hara.

I should note that in recent times, though the Temple has yet to be rebuilt, there was a tremendous miracle pertaining to the Temple area - the holiest area in the world. On 28 Iyar, 5727 (1967), the Temple Mount & Western Wall areas became available to Jews once again after 19 years of being in the hands of our Arab enemies. Rabbi Shlomo Goren, former Ashkenazic Chief Rabbi of Israel, as a paratrooper at the time, blew the Shofar to announce that the "Temple Mount is in our hands". This day, which became Yom Yerushalayim/Jerusalem Day, was a day of great rejoicing among the Jewish people. Even those of the very religious sector of Jews who don't believe in celebrating Yom Ha'Atzmaut "Independence Day" of Israel, do not have an aversion to this day for the most part.

In any case, it should be noted that it was in this very year of 5727 that Rabbi Segal started a learning session of the Sefer Chofetz Chaim among his Yeshiva students (though then, it was arranged to be learned once a year, it would only be official later among worldwide Jewry of learning this three times a year). Also, the portion of learning of the Sefer Chofetz Chaim for Yom Kippur (both in a regular & leap year), the beginning of the Prohibitions violated for speaking Lashon Hora, is the same portion that is learned on 28 Iyar when it falls out on a leap year, the same way that 28 Iyar on which the miracle of the return of the holiest areas in the world to the Jewish people, the owners of this and all of Israel, occured on a leap year, when the Shofar was blown for this announcment; just as the Shofar was blown on Yom Kippur of the Jubilee year which was the offical announcment for land in Israel that was purchased at one point had to be returned to its original owner. Truly amazing!

Now, there is in fact another Sefer that is also the Gematria of Yerushalayim - Sefer Devarim/Deutronomy. Now mind you, I did not say the same Gematria as Shofar or Sefer Chofetz Chaim. In this case, the phrase Sefer Devarim being the Gematria of 596, Yerushalayim is also the Gematria of 596 when there is a second Yud in the word.

So in short, Yerushalayim without a second Yud has the same Gematria as "Sefer Chofetz Chaim", and Yerushalayim with a second Yud has the same Gematria as "Sefer Devarim". So the question can be asked, is there in fact a special connection between the Sefarim of Deutronomy & Chofetz Chaim?

In fact, Sefer Devarim begins with the words Eileh HaDevarim - "These are the words that Moses spoke to all of Israel..." There is in fact mentioned that the first word Eileh - using the letters Aleph, Lamed, Hei - begin the words Avak Lashon Hara - "dust of evil speech" referring to a situation where for example, one says to someone looking for a place to eat that Mr. Fresser always has food to eat, saying it in such a way making the guy look bad for being too much into food. Though one may have accomplished helping someone finding a place to eat, he is spoiling such a Mitzvah by saying something that sounds derogatory about another Jew. Certainly, there is a better way of putting it, by presenting the householder as someone who has guests over (with this also, caution has to be taken for the nice guy not to have countless people showing up at his door at one shot).

Well, I thought of something similar. You see, the Aleph of the first word Eileh can begin a different word Issur/prohibition, that is Issur Lashon Hara - "Prohibition of Lashon Hara". Certainly, this was the number one issue in Moses' mind. The proof, it was thanks to the Lashon Hara of the Spies about the Land of Israel (mentioned in the learning portion of Chofetz Chaim for the following day) that the Jews were delayed in the desert from coming to Israel for almost 40 years. He wasted no time in the very first chapter of Deutromony speaking about this incident.

And so, there is a very strong connection between the Book of Deutronomy and the Jewish holy book called Chofetz Chaim - also having to do with the word Yerushalayim being spelled two different ways in terms of Gematria. But additionally, the date as mentioned in the beginning of Deutronomy that Moses spoke to the Jews as his final round of sermons for the following 36 days until his passing was on Rosh Chodesh Shevat, the very same date that the Sefer Chofetz Chaim is learned anew for the second time in a regular Jewish calendar year of 12 months. Certainly, there is no shortage of Divine revelations here.

And speaking of the letter Aleph, the birthdate of the Chofetz Chaim is 11 (Yud Aleph) Shevat. The Gematria of the name of the month of Shevat is 311, ending with 11 as is the number of the date. And the Book of Deutronomy begins with Moses speaking to the Jews on the "first day of the 11th month", and this final book of the Chumash consists of 11 Parshiyot. Now, just focusing on the last number of 311, as the letters Shin (300), Yud (10), Aleph (1), we also see the date of the month, the 11th of Shevat - as the letters Yud & Aleph. And this Hebrew year is 5771 - which is Hey (5,000), Tav (400), Shin (300), Ayin (70), Aleph (1), hence this year ending with an Aleph. So thus, this year's birthdate of the Chofetz Chaim in essence ends with an Aleph - directly or through Gematria - three times! (Note: This is the very first time since the thrice-a-year worldwide learning of the Sefer Chofetz Chaim that the Hebrew year ending with an Aleph is a leap year in which the learning of this Sefer begins on 11 Shevat - the birthday of the Chofetz Chaim!)

If this was not enough, both Hebrew names of the Chofetz Chaim - Yisrael Meir, as well as the two names of his father - Aryeh Ze'ev - ALL consist of the letter Aleph!

And among the numerous compositions of the Chofetz Chaim, one that begins with the letter Aleph is called Ahavat Chesed "Love of Kindness", this phrase which is also borrowed from the Tanach (Micha 6:8). This other Sefer of the Chofetz Chaim has also been divided up to learn three times yearly; and hence, the portion of learning for today - 11 Shevat, birthday of the Chofetz Chaim - is also the beginning of this Sefer.

And speaking of using Gematriot to include the word Sefer/book as part of the phrase of the name of a Sefer, the following may be even more incredible that want I wrote earlier here. Hold on to your seat for this one - the phrase Sefer Ahavat Chesed shares the same Gematria as a most popular phrase and Mitzvah in the Torah - V'Ahavta L'Reicha Camocha "You shall love your neighbor as yourself" (Leviticus 19:18) - 820! What I believe the ultimate punchline here is that it is not merely doing kindness in itself that shows love for another, for even a cold hearted doctor may do a few deeds of "kindness" in a show pretending that he cares for his patients when the only thing that he is thinking of is the big dollar sign. It is LOVING kindness, and if one is doing a favor for another simply due to his love and care for him/her, then it can truly be said that such a person LOVES to do kindness - at least for that individual.

One such person who could be described as a living loving kindness was Bernard Hochstein, may his name be for a blessing, who passed away a couple of years ago at the ripe age of 96 (and this is my 96th Post). He believed what the Torah tells us that if one gives charity, one can get back up to ten times as much as one gives - the one thing that we are permitted to test Hashem on. There are incredible stories of this happening to him, who became quite wealthy from the business that he started and ran until he sold it and moved to Israel where he lived for the last 34 years of his life. But it didn't just stop with his huge contributions to Jewish institutions and poor people. He believed that one should also be involved in the organizations that one supports.
To note, the famous outreach program & Yeshiva Aish HaTorah is only where it is at financially today thanks to this individual, who saw to it that this organization would have a building facing the Kotel/Western Wall. Another significant contribution that he had done during his lifetime, as mentioned in the Sefer Ahavat Chesed, was setting up a loan Gemach, that is, a fund for people to borrow money from (of course interest free as per the Torah's instructions) which is based in Jerusalem, regardless of how "religious" or not any Jew is, and is not asked any questions pertaining to his/her finances, only requiring one to own and bring in his/her credit card. For more on this individual, check this link - http://www.aish.com/jw/s/48939877.html.

And speaking of Aish HaTorah, today would be a prime day to write about the founder of this amazing institution - Rabbi Noah Weinberg, may the name of the righteous be for a blessing. You see, today - 11 Shevat - is his 2nd Yahrzeit, who passed away just a few months after his main philanthropist Mr. Hochstein passed away. Just as the Chofetz Chaim who was born on this date worked on various ways on bringing Jews closer to the Torah/Judaism, so was Rabbi Weinberg intent on doing just this, especially at a time that this was not popular or believed that it could happen that Jews who were totally non-observant and unlearned about Judaism would be willing to make the change. He was truly a pioneer of bringing Jews closer to their heritage in his days when few others cared to do the same. I believe that it is hardly coincidental that he passed away on the same date as the birthdate of the Chofetz Chaim.

Now, before continuing on with a word in this week's Parsha that begins with an Aleph, this is the one letter in the Aleph Beit that is a silent letter - that is, it does not have a sound to it. (NOTE: Though most of us do not have a sound for the letter Ayin either, in fact, this letter has a sounding, which Yemenite Jews seem to have a grasp on, but it had been lost for most Jews due to a change of accent based on the climate of where they were living - probably somewhere outside of Israel). From the fact that the Aleph - the silent letter - is the FIRST of the letters, we can learn a very valuable lesson. BEFORE we begin speaking in a conversation with someone else, FIRST we need to be SILENT and think of what we will say BEFORE saying it. All too often, problems occur when we say something so to speak absentmindedly, while in the meantime, we have either hurt the feelings of the one we are speaking to or have spoken Lashon Hara about someone else, or we may have said something from someone who wanted it to be kept a secret.

Isn't it interesting that the name of Megillat Esther which is read on Purim - which is the name of Esther, based on the word for being hidden, begins with an Aleph? We have to keep our thoughts hidden long enough so that we finally speak, our words will not do damage. And speaking of Purim, there was an incident where in the Yeshiva of the Chofetz Chaim in the town of Radin, his students were having a good time on Purim, but it started leading to saying Lashon Hara. Realizing that the jolly mood of Purim had the students being a little unaware of what they were saying, the Chofetz Chaim calmly told them that even on Purim, one is forbidden to speak Lashon Hara.

Now, in this week's Parshat Yitro, we have a most significant word that begins with the letter Aleph - the very first word of the Aseret HaDibrot/The Ten Commandments - Anochi - "I AM Hashem your G-d who took you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of slavery". The Midrash in the beginning of Yalkut Shimoni tells us that when all the other letters attempted to be the first letter of the Torah, and it was the letter Beit that begin the Torah with the word Bereishit (Note: The Sefer Chofetz Chaim also begins with a Beit beginning the word Baruch/Blessed), the Aleph was silent. When Hashem asked it why it was silent, it replied that it is the only letter without a plurism, as Aleph is one, while Beit is two, etc. Hashem replied that just as He Himself is One, so the Aleph being the numerical value of the number one will begin the Aseret HaDibrot, beginning with the word Anochi, which refers to Hashem.

Yes, we have a new beginning here, beginning with the first letter of the Aleph Beit - from the Aseret HaDibrot, the first words of Torah that we received from Hashem at the Giving of the Torah, which literally (and actually) means The 10 Statements/Words beginning with the first letter Aleph - to the final Book of the Torah, Moses' final set of discourses, starting with Eileh HaDevarim - "These are the Words/Statements" that also begins with the first letter Aleph. Now is the time to begin anew, learning the laws about the prohibition of evil speech about other Jews and putting them into practice - bearing in mind that the final word of the Book of Deutronomy, the final word of the Chumash, is the word Yisrael - the first name of the Chofetz Chaim, referring to the Jewish people. It is the last word of the final Parsha of the Torah - V'Zot HaBeracha - "This is the Blessing", which consists of 41 verses, just like the final verse of Psalms Chapter 41 that reads "Blessed is Hashem, the G-d of Israel, from (this) world, until the (next) world, Amen and Amen." And as far as the name Meir, the second name of the Chofetz Chaim is concerned, his title by whom he is known as "The Chofetz Chaim" - HaChofetz Chaim - the way it is worded in the verse in Tehillim, indeed shares the same Gematria as his second name Meir - 251!

Indeed, the Sefer Chofetz Chaim is THE SHOFAR OF TODAY - the Jewish book that should arouse us to repent of what is in fact the worst of sins. One meaning of the word Shofar is related to "make improvement/make beautiful". Indeed, instead of putting down other Jews because we think less of them for whatever reason, we should look forward to, if anything, making them sound good, especially with all the Anti-Semitism that surrounds us (which would decrease if we were to decrease the amount of Lashon Hara - and not by forming Jewish-Christian alliances, which is forbidden according to the Torah in any event). And then, when we improve ourselves, Hashem will look to improve our living standards - both physical and spiritual - the latter by rebuilding the true Jerusalem, not as the capitol of the "State of Israel", but as the holiest city in the world where we will have the Temple rebuilt, with no more Arab predators on our holiest spot - the Temple Mount - may it happen speedily in our days.

11 Shevat, 5771 - Birthday of the Chofetz Chaim & day of beginning Sefer Chofetz Chaim according to the schedule of learning this Sefer three times a year; 2nd Yahrzeit of Rabbi Noah Weinberg, founder and Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivat Aish HaTorah.

1 comment:

afinkle221 said...

For full explanation, of Shofar, its influence on prayer and its historical antecedents going back to the Temple sacrifices,
go to:


Hearing Shofar

http://www.hearingshofar.com


Shofar Blog

http://hearingshofar.blogspot.com