Saturday, March 12, 2011

#100 - Attitude & Blessings

Yes my friends, I have finally reached my 100th post. It seems quite challenging that when you want to accomplish something good, that things get in the way. But I do know that you have to push for time if you want that time for yourself and for what you want to accomplish.

And so, after two and a half years of writing on www.gematriot.blogspot.com, this 100th post is indeed a milestone. I thought of writing this post a little sooner, but even as of a few days ago, I discovered crucial information that will be part of this post.

First, I want to mention that today's date of 7 Adar is known both as the birthdate & passing of Moses. As this year, there are two such dates of 7 Adar, the question may be asked is on which one we commemorate what? But the truth is that in fact, both his birthdate & passing are each connected with both. While we do not know as a certainty as to whether the year in which he was born was a leap year consisting of two months of Adar or not, there is a difference of opinion in the Talmud that could point to either direction. But we do know for a fact that the year in which Moses passed away was a regular year with only one month of Adar, as this month followed the month of Shevat when Moses began his final series of discourses with the beginning of the Book of Deutronomy, and the month of Nissan was the conclusion of the 30 day mourning period for Moses, upon which they immediately embarked to Israel in time to celebrate Passover.

And so, I would like to begin with a passage from Deutronomy that is especially timely for my 100th post. In Moses' address to the Jewish people, he tells them "Now Israel, what does the L-rd your G-d ask of you, but only to fear the L-rd your G-d, to walk in all His ways, and to love Him, and to serve the L-rd your G-d with all your heart and with all your soul." (Deutronomy 10:12) Our Rabbis in Talmud Berachot ask on this, "Is fear of G-d really an easy thing (by saying "...ASK of you, but ONLY to fear...")?" In a surprising way, they exclaim "Yes! For Moses, it was a small thing; but for everyone else, it's a big thing".

Perhaps what is more amazing is that virtually all of us in life do things that in fact, we know we really shouldn't do. In fact, if we in fact would think about fearing G-d, at least in terms of punishment, no doubt that most of us at least would behave a little different. However, this isn't by any means the highest form of fearing G-d. It is feeling His presence, not wanting to dare disobey G-d, not because we are afraid of getting punished, but because of G-d's high exalted level, doing something against His wishes wouldn't even begin to be thinkable.

There is another message in this verse - in fact, a hidden message. You see, this verse hints to the 100 blessings that we recite daily. As the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch (Concise Code of Jewish Law) 6:7 states - "Do not read the word as Ma/What but Meah/Hundred." Another words, it's the 100 daily blessings that Hashem asks of us.

Now one may ask a question here. In the list of what Hashem asks of us, we see that first is mentioned to fear Hashem, and then to love Him. Yet, the hint to saying 100 blessings is noted right before fearing Hashem. But as we know that blessings stem from loving someone, rather than fearing someone, wouldn't it make more sense to juxtapose blessings with loving Hashem, or mention loving Him before fearing Him?

Well, first we have to realize, that in fact, Hashem doesn't need our blessings or anything else from us for that matter. This may not be so obvious from most translations of the word Baruch, the beginning word of many blessings, which is provided as "Blessed" as stating "Blessed are You, Hashem..." While I am not stating that this is not true about Hashem; however, this is not the real intent of the meaning here. In fact, what we are really saying is that Hashem is the SOURCE of blessings. That is, rather than praising Hashem per se, it's that Hashem is the source for US to RECEIVE His blessings.

The blessings that we recite is in fact ultimately for OUR benefit. We have to feel that we are in a position that we have to turn to Hashem for all our wants and needs, and that they come from Hashem alone (though we are supposed to show gratitude to people who help us as well). When we understand this to be the translation and meaning of the word Baruch; then and only then can we truly understand why we are saying blessings. Hence, with the proper concentration and intent, we cannot help but eventually feel some level of fear of G-d, as we continue on in some blessings "King of the world". Now, when we think of a king, do we think more of love or of fear? So yes, we need to first feel a level of fear of Hashem to have the proper reverence for Him. Then, we can hope to develop a level of love for Hashem, as we feel more of His bounty that He grants us. As it is in a true love relationship, where both parties are giving, one feels the love of the other and in turn reciprocates that.

To note, there are exactly 99 letters in this verse. By interpretating the word Ma to read Meah which means 100, it is the hidden meaning of the letter Aleph that makes this verse to be considered as having 100 letters.

So for our 100th blogpost, we have a verse here that becomes 100 in TWO different ways - how to read a word, and the count of letters. In fact, we do not read it literally in the Sefer Torah or Chumash as the word Meah, but is strictly an interpretation of a word; and hence you will still see only 99 letters.

Now, before I go on with my questions on this verse, there is a Sefer/Jewish book called Tanya Rabbati, first printed in 5274 (hundreds of years before the famed Lubavitch book Sefer HaTanya would appear), written by Rabbi Shimon HaLevi Horwitz (my first name is Shimon and I am a Levi). This book consists of exactly 100 chapters. The very first chapter is entitled "Subject of One Hundred Blessings", just as the name Blessings/Berachot is the name of the very first tractate of the Mishna. And in the beginning of this first chapter, the author first quotes from the Talmud (Menachot 43b) where Rabbi Meir states that one is obligated to recite 100 blessings a day, quoting the above verse, as mentioned above. And in the Jerusalem Talmud, it has the version of Rabbi Meir stating that there isn't a Jew that doesn't do a 100 Mitzvot/commandments a day, mentioning the list. Continuing on, the author mentions a few Gematriot as related to the concept of reciting 100 blessings a day:

1)The letters of the word Mah - Mem & Hei, interpreted homiletically to read Meah/hundred, in the method of Gematria via the AtBash method - where the first letter Alef is interchanged with the last letter Tav, the second letter Beit is interchanged with the next to the last letter Shin, etc. and vice verse, the corresponding letters are Yud=10 & Tzadi=90, which adds to the sum of 100.

2)In King David's final praise to Hashem recited with Divine Inspiration shortly before his passing, he states Neum HaGever Hukam Ol "The words of the man who was established ON HIGH" (II Samuel 23:1). The word Ol - on high" is the Gematria of 100 - letters Ayin=70 & Lamed=30, hinting to the fact that at one point during his kingdom, 100 people used to die every day, and so King David established reciting 100 blessings a day.

3)In King David's psalms (Psalms 128:4), it states: Hinei Chi Chein Yevorach Gever Yerei Hashem "Behold, FOR SO is blessed the man who fears Hashem." The words Chi Chein is the Gematria of 100 (Chi - Chaf=20 & Yud=10, Chein - Chaf=20, Noon=50), and as we see, the very next word is Yevorach/blessed as related to blessings; and hence similarly patterned to the verse in Deutronomy where it first hints to the 100 blessings and is then followed by stating to fear Hashem.

Now that we are back on the verse from Deutronomy, a couple of questions may be asked here. Why does this verse state three times "the L-rd, your G-d" when it could have stated this only once, and then refer to Hashem as Him, just as mentioned by loving Hashem "and to love Him"? Also, why specifically does it mention the three mentions of "the L-rd, your G-d" with everything else - "what does...ask of you", "to fear...", "and to serve..." but not with the mention of loving Him?

In today's society, quite too often, love relationships which seem on the surface that they no doubt seem to be great bonds wind up breaking apart to the surprise of many. This is especially applicable, or at least no less statistically as such, pertaining to Hollywood stars, singers, etc. where at least as far as the man is concerned, he married a top notch attractive lady who is world famous and wealthy. What in the world could go wrong? Boy, I think that if I was in such a position, I would be happy to keep my mouth shut if I knew it would create problems, because I would not want to loose such a lucky relationship.

Of course, many of us think of these things in theory, but the reality is that this simply does not happen for the most part. We certainly are not in a position to criticize others if we aren't ready to make sacrifices and swallow our pride in our marriages either. But the stark truth is that we live in a world full of fantasies, lies, and cover ups. The rich and famous relationships in which they marry each other usually fool themselves thinking that it was real love, when to begin with, they married each other for the money, fame, or other materialistic or convenient reasons. Their relationships last as long as the fancy shmancy make up used on these stars, some of whom really aren't exactly the most attractive on the block, but is just due to their image as a famous person by a public who made him or her that way because they spend money watching his or her movies, concerts, etc. But when the day is over, or when the movie or music video has been filmed, that makeup eventually fades or is removed, reality sets in, and if going in public with the family, it's done incognito, and the real colors of the greedy and materialistic famous couple surface. In fact, if I were to have placed bets on some of the famous pop stars that first appeared a little over a decade ago that all of them would have gotten divorced from an eventual marriage, I would not have made bad money.

My point here is that the problem in most of these failed marriages, is that their focus was on their love for each other. You read right, my friends. You see, these people ignore what their real mission in life is supposed to be, ignore their respect for each other, and ignore the realities of life - including making a hard living despite making tons of money and fame doing it. In a larger scale, the Torah is not focused just on "loving Hashem". The Torah already mentioned this earlier in the first paragraph of the Shema in relationship to particular Mitzvot where it is mentioned there "You shall love Hashem your G-d". But in this verse of today's post mentioning other factors in our relationship with Hashem, it is easy for some to say that because they love Hashem, stating "G-d will understand," "G-d will forgive".

Yes, Hashem understands very well. In fact, Hashem understands us better than we understand ourselves, because many if not most of us want to fool ourselves that because we do certain things right that we are pretty much "OK". But the Torah makes it very clear that someone or a group having such an attitude is the very room for failure and punishment from Him "he will bless himself saying "there will be peace for me..." Hashem will not agree to forgive him..." (Deutronomy 29:18-19).

And so, the Torah want us to first think "What does the L-rd your G-d ask of you?" What does Hashem really want? Perhaps if we put a little thought to this question, we would realize at times that our words and actions do not exactly much Hashem's expectations - whether it involves our relationship with Hashem in terms of ritual or how we deal with other people. While fear and respect aren't exactly the same thing, they do resemble one another, and so what is respect for one another in a relationship is what fear is in our relationship to Hashem. And finally, at the end of the day, did we serve Hashem to the best of our capabilities and efforts? Or is it just another day that we basically feel the "same ol' same ol' thing".

It's easy to say to love someone. But how can we prove it unless we give the other party a reason to love us? Without basic respect and knowing what the other party or significant other wants, before long, tension will start being felt, fights will start breaking out. The wealth recently earned goes only so far, and that's assuming that the rich and famous couple don't spend too much time apart from each other due to their conflicting schedules not allowing for them to see each other when one or both may fly around the world giving concerts or spending long hours making the film just right. For that matter, you can truly love someone without making a lifetime committment, and it doesn't have to have anything to do with sex for that matter either. But perhaps the ultimate factor that leads to how we get along in life with other people is our...


ATTITUDE=100

Attitude. The way we view things in life is in essence the number one factor that determines where we live, who are relationships are, our inner tranquility or lack of it. Do we in essence think only of ourselves, or how our behavior will effect others? Do we have the self discipline and humbleness to accept advice that will get us through the door? Or, do we feel that we can't allow others telling us how to live our lives no matter who or what the issue is?

And so, the attitude of the guy who says that there will be peace for himself without regard to what Hashem really wants is doomed both spiritually, and sometimes materialistically as well. Such an attitude will sooner or later totally tear apart whatever Jewish values one was raised with which will eventually lead to someone saying the most irrational things - even when it comes to their professed love of Israel while claiming that we are oppressing the poor "Palestinians" by not providing a platform of "land for peace", no matter how illogical this can be, both from a security and military viewpoint. The reason for this - is for one reason, and one reason only - the Evil Inclination. Psychology will claim, especially in the words of Sigmund Freud, an assimilated Jew, that this is the psyche in one's mind. The practical difference in these two statements is that while in the Torah - we talk of the Evil Inclination as enticing mankind to sin, as indeed it is a real angel believe it or not, who is also known as Satan or the Angel of Death; one's psyche as described in psychology does not necessarily determine what is a good or evil deed. After all, if one did something to the unliking of others, perhaps he can hardly be blamed because he supposedly thought that he was doing the right thing.

And so, psychologists easily rationalize adulterous relationships because the marriage wasn't working right; while according to Jewish law, once a woman commits adultery, she is forbidden to both her husband and her lover, regardless of what was wrong in the marriage that led to her sinning with her body. No matter what fix up is done afterwards to ensure that the lady will never sleep around again, the Torah makes it crystal clear that it is now too late. Yes, she can repent, but she has to accept responsibility of her actions, even if it was due to her husband not treating her right by his words and actions against her. If she really doesn't like him anymore, she has any and every right to request for a divorce; but as long as she is married, she has no right to excuse herself because of her husband's misdeeds or misactions.

Just last week, I came across a most fascinating mathematical video. As Gematriot involve the numerical value of the Holy Hebrew letters, l'havdil, the English alphabet is provided with numerical values from 1 to 26 corresponding to the 26 letters of the alphabet. And so, in an amazing discovery, attitude when counting the numerical values of its letters in this fashion, it comes out that attitude equals the number 100! Yes, attitude is the single biggest factor that determines virtually everything else, because the mind is an amazing tool that Hashem created. Our mind, which is in our head, the Hebrew word for which is Rosh, as it is the leader of the body, that controls one's actions. Yes, animals also have heads, they also have brains, but their main way of communication is with their bodies for their immediate selfish needs as Hashem created them as such, with the brains serving their bodies telling them to eat whenever they are hungry, end of story. But human beings are supposed to be way beyond this. We have responsibilities both to Hashem, society, and our families. But the only way that we will carry out our responsibilities in the appropriate manner is based on our attitude.


WOMEN'S TRUE ROLE IN SOCIETY

March 8 of last week marked the 100th anniversary of International Women's Day. To come to think of it, why is there a special women's day to begin with? After all, they make up half the race. Why isn't there a special men's day? After all, at least in the United States, you have a Mother's Day and a Father's Day. So why the difference here?

The truth is that there really isn't supposed to be such a thing to begin with. You see, the reason this started is because men weren't exactly treating the women so well. At best, the women throughout society were treated as second class citizens, even though they are the ones who bear all our children, who cook for the most part, who breast feed crying babies. And so, women eventually came to the realization that unless they distinguish themselves, they will always be treated less well then the men.

Has anything changed much? Both ways for the worse. The women working in the public has led to far more divorces due to insufficient time for husband and wife to spend time together with each other or with their kids. Women who feel quite independent with their high paid professional job who have at least half their friends who are divorced want to feel part of the club. And at the other end of the spectrum, women at times pay more for the same exact service that are provided for men, such as at the cleaners. You see, clothes on women are viewed as more sexy in society, and so automatically, servicing their clothes demands more money than for the same amount of cleaning work on a man's suit.

In Judaism, it is all in reverse. Sure, some non-observant Jews may want to project "Orthodox" Jews as treating women as second class citizens, and unfortunately there are those observant Jews in the guise of movie actors who treat their wives as baby machines, but for the most part, we know that it is the woman who causes their child to be Jewish as she is the one who bears the child. So, if women aren't any less important according to this, if not more important, then how come we can't include women in the minimum quorum of 10 in the synagogue? You see, if whenever a 10th person would be needed, women would be able to be included, think of what would happen. Women who are mothers with young children at home no doubt would be bothered at times, and at times could be distracting from taking care of their children properly.

Yes, men and women have their own respective missions in life. Attempts to change the two is in essence no different than the situation of the Egyptians enslaving the Jews which included having each gender perform work that the other gender normally performs. In such situations, it is ultimately only a lose-lose situation. If neither party can perform their job correctly, it leads to a breakdown in society.

In any case, there are no coincidences. You see, the Hebrew year that this International Women's Day started was 5671 (1911). In Hebrew, this number make up the letters Hei, Tav, Shin, Ayin, Aleph. The last two letters - Ayin, Aleph - is the number 71. And of the six volumes of the Mishna, the name of the third one is Nashim - Women. And yes indeed, this order of the Mishna consists of exactly 71 chapters!


WHY ONLY ISRAEL? HASHEM CREATED A BEAUTIFUL WORLD!!!

On a positive note, women do in fact surpass men at times. When the men fell for the Spies' evil report about Israel, upon which they became cry babies, preventing them from being allowed to enter Israel, their wives remained righteous, believing that Hashem wanted them to move to Israel and that everything would be safe. This is one time that the men could have well benefited listening to their wives!

Along these lines, we see in the Book of Numbers that the five daughters of Tzelaphchad of the Tribe of Menashe requesting a piece of the land of Israel as an inheritance being that their late father did not leave behind any sons, as the men are the inheritors of the land. In fact, Hashem agreed to their well deserved point, being the icons of women who are Zionistic.

And speaking of Zionism, a few days earlier, I had come across a list of 100 reasons to live in Israel, written by a newcomer to Israel from the United States. While there was a few points that he wrote that I didn't agree with, I do wish to state his 100th and last reason for living in Israel: "If you're Jewish, why on earth would you want to live anywhere other than the land that Hashem gave you?"

Now let's play the devil's advocate for a minute. Hashem created a beautiful world. One would think that if this is the case, we should have a right to live wherever we want, provided that we live according to the righteous dictates of the society and government living there. If so, why should there be a special country for Jews to live in other than the fact that Hashem designated some place for the Holy Temple, but other than this, since Hashem is everywhere, it shouldn't really make a difference as to where we live. If anything, since Hashem put us in this finite, challenging world, then it would seem that the whole idea of observing Hashem's laws and commandments is to perform them specifically where one's way of life will be challenged by society but he or she will nevertheless be strong, proving that Hashem's Torah goes beyond whatever rationale people come up with?

This is where the aspect of living in Israel comes in. True, one can also perform G-d's commandments outside of Israel. However, the ideal place to live a Jewish life is in a Jewish land. While our Rabbis tell us to perform good deeds of kindness even to non-Jews due to the ways of peace, and at times, we need to do business with non-Jews to make a living, our ultimate challenge is not to live as a good Jew among non-Jews, but...to live separately as a good Jew. Rabbi Meir Kahane, HY"D, may G-d avenge his blood, points this very clearly on the verse "Israel will live in safety, ALONE in a land of grain and wine" (Deutronomy 33:28), among Moses' final blessings to the Jews. We know all too well what happened and happens when Jews living in the Diaspora became assimilated and intermarry. At least in the Holy Land of Israel, just about all of even the biggest secular, left-wing Jews will marry within the faith (so much for the left wing Jewish tolerance of Arabs if they won't marry them!). Even without a point blank statement from the Torah, the facts speak for themselves.

And while Israel is not all an hour's walk to the Temple or Temple Mount or Western Wall, the holiness of Israel is something that is not to found outside of Israel. It is worthwhile mentioning from the end of Tractate Ketubot of the Mishna which states that if either husband or wife want to move to Israel but the other one doesn't which leads to divorce, it is the spouse who wants to move to Israel who wins the upper hand in court. The same thing applies in terms of moving to Jerusalem, which is the city that seats the Holy Temple. Regardless of what rabbis held in terms of the Mitzva of living in Israel, there are none who disagreed with this statement in the Mishna.

And speaking of the Temple, it had the dimensions of 100 cubits long and 100 cubits high. Yes, the ultimate level - 100% level of serving Hashem, was in the Temple, the place where we turn to in all of our daily prayers wherever we are in the world. And as we mention in the Passover Haggadah - the list of 15 spiritual accomplishments that the Jews acquired over time, the final one on the list is "The House of Choosing (Temple) to atone for our sins".

Yes, it was the righteous 100% attitude of the women in Moses' time that allowed them to remain alive for nearly 40 more years regardless of their age to merit entering Israel, many of whose husbands unfortunately fell for the Spies' evil report. The women had full faith in Hashem like the dove, representative of the Jewish people whose Gematria (Yonah) is the Gematria of 71, as the number of chapters in the volume of Mishna that is called women. The dove as we see in Noah's time faithfully followed Noah's orders of seeing if the land was dry following the world's greatest flood of all time. And what did the dove come back with? It was an olive leaf giving the message to Noah that it would rather eat bitter food coming from Hashem than eat sweet human food (see Talmud Eruvin 18b). For immigrants to Israel such as myself, while you don't always have the same comforts of living as in the United States (no driving a car these days), this is the real "Land of the Living" (Psalms 27:13) as King David calls it.


100 TIMES 100

As Purim will be here in a week, let's focus on a part of the Purim story that led to this most special holiday. When Haman submitted his proposal to murder all the Jews on one day, he offered King Achashveirosh - 10,000 silver talents for this. While the king turned down this offer, showing his own bitter hatred for the Jews, the question can be asked - why specifically the amount of 10,000 silver talents?

Perhaps one can answer that this is the first number consisting of five digits, so it would be an impressive number to offer the king. But perhaps there is a more burning question here. Why should Haman needed to even offer any money up front? Perhaps the king would be willing to give in to him without needing to give away any money to begin with? The worse that could have happened is if the king would not be willing to or be hesitant about the matter, then Haman could have offered something.

Haman was no stranger to Jewish history. How he determined the lots as to when to murder the Jews was based on his knowledge as of such, and not just what was written in the Bible. No where in the Bible does it mention directly as to what month that Moses passed away on, based on which Haman played the lottery. With this being said, perhaps there was something significant here about offering specifically 10,000 silver talents.

Let's ask a mathematical question here: What is the square root of 10,000. Answer: One hundred. Hence, it takes 100*100 to yield the number of 10,000. So now, the question can be asked here, does the number 100 in itself have something to do with Haman's offer to murder the Jews?

Kabbalistically, each of the 12 months of the year are represented by one of the letters of the Aleph Beit. As we know, Haman picked the month of Adar for his evil attempt to do away with the Jews. And so, what is the letter that represents Adar? The letter Koof, which is the numerical value of 100. (Note: While in a leap year consisting of two months of Adar, it is the first Adar that is represented by the letter Koof, while we celebrate Purim in the second Adar. The truth is that the main reason why we read the Megilla on the second Adar rather than the first is to juxtapose the redemption of Purim in the month of Adar II right next to the redemption of Passover in the coming month of Nissan. Otherwise, it seems that most likely from Halacha that if it weren't for this, that we would in fact celebrate Purim in Adar I).

Basically, what Haman was attempting to do here is basing his month on the fact that Moses passed away on this month, he felt that this month would be the prime time to take FULL advantage of to plan the evil deed. Accordingly, for his money offer, he multiplied 100 times itself, realizing and representing the full potential of the "unlucky" month of Adar. While there are a number of words in Hebrew for the word lottery, it is the word "Pur" based on which is the name of the holiday Purim. Now, noting the letters of this word - Pei, Vav, Reish - reverse the last two letters to have the word read as Pru - "Be fruitful" as in the phrase Pru U'rvu "Be fruitful and multiply", the first Mitzva/commandment of the Torah. In another words, Haman used the number 100 representing the "unlucky" month of Adar to give FRUIT and in fact MULTIPLIED this number the same amount of times as this number itself - 100*100 - to be the amount of money to offer the king.

There is a view among the rabbis that Haman had 208 children, proving this from the Gematria of the word V'Rohv - Vav, Reish, Beit/Veit. While this may not be such an unlikely feat, it has to be remembered that Haman wasn't always the wealthiest guy on the block. In fact, according to a Midrash, he was a mere barber for 22 years in some village, who just made a living to pay the bills like you and I if he was even lucky at that, so the chances of him having numerous wives to bear so many children whom he would need to support was highly unlikely. And so, what this probably means when it says that he had 208 children is that this is referring to the fruit of his labors. You see, in the phrase of Pru U'rvu, the word U'rvu can in fact bear the Gematria of 208 twice - the first three letters spelling the same word as V'Rohv, the word that is used as a Gematria to state that Haman had 208 children, and then the last three letters "rvu" - the same three letters of the Aleph Beit, which means MULTIPLY. And what was the fruit of Haman's labors? Bearing in mind that his present labor was his vicious attempt to have all the Jews murdered, the fruits in this case was his offer of the 10,000 silver talent based on his multiplying 100 times itself to represent what he thought was the worst unluckiest month of the Jewish people.

Now, the significance of Haman offering money to begin with to do away with the Jews was in order to so to speak counteract the Shekalim, the annual monetary collection from Jews in the month of Adar to pay for the daily offerings in the Temple. Now, every year when reading the Torah, there are four special sections in the Torah that we read at the end of the weekly Parsha, taking place in or around the month of Adar. The first of these is the section in the Torah about the Shekalim, which we read the other week, and on this coming Shabbat, we will be reading from the second of these which is the section in the Torah called Zachor/Remember, remembering and not forgetting what Amalek - Haman's ancestor - did to us in starting war with us, as well as the Mitzvah of wiping out the memory of Amalek.

With this in mind, one of the phrases naming these four special sections is called Dalet (the letter Dalet which is the numerical value of four) Parshiyot. The Gematria of the phrase Dalet Parshiyot is 1,000. In terms of multiplication, this number is in between 100 & 10,000, for 100 times 10 is 1,000 and 1,000 times 10 is 10,000. Now, one of the purposes of the Shekalim, the first of these four Parshiyot, was to count the Jews in form of counting the number of coins that the Jews donated as opposed to counting them directly to avoid an evil eye leading to a plague, G-d forbid. And as we know, the minimum number of male Jews needed for a Minyan/quorum is 10. And as for the theme of the second of these four Parshiyot, the nation of Amalek, from whom Haman was descended, dared to attack the Jews. Our rabbis tell us that this particularly the Tribe of Dan who was behind the rest of the tribes when travelling. In fact, in the order of the tribes travelling, the Tribe of Dan was 10th in place. Hence, Haman's playing of numbers wasn't just a nice trick up his sleeves, he really knew what he was doing (except for the fact that the Jews repented at the end, so everything boomeranged back to Haman).

Now, let's focus for a moment on the exact date that Haman chose from his lottery - 13 Adar. You see, Haman chose this month knowing that Moses passed away on this month. But was is noted is that in fact, he didn't realize that Moses was also born on this month. It seems from this that the fact the Moses was born in this month had something to do with the victory of the Jews at the end. In fact, assuming that Moses had his Brit Mila/circumcision on his eighth day, this day - 14 Adar - would be the future date of Purim!

With this being said, in which Parsha of the Torah is the birth of Baby Moses mentioned? In Parshat Shemot - the 13th Parsha of the Torah! And as especially as it relates to this year - this coming Shabbat, which falls out on the 13 day of Adar II, which is in effect the 13th month counting from Nissan which is the first of the months, we read the 13th Parsha from Parshat Shemot of Moses's birth - Parshat Tzav. Now, when we write the word Tzav in cursive Hebrew, it looks just like the number 13!
So, especially in this year, you have the "unlucky" number 13 in the highest combination possible in the Jewish calendar. You see, for non-Jews, this may very well be an unlucky superstitious number. But for us Jews, this is the number that represents the 13 Divine Attributes of Mercy that Hashem has for the Jewish people.
I should note that the date of 13 Adar II marks the Yahrzeit of Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, the top Poseik HaDor, leading decider of Jewish law of the previous generation, and was born on 7 Adar - the same birthday as Moshe Rabbeinu after whom he was named for this very reason. Could it be that Haman forsaw through the powers of impurity (black magic) the passing of Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, one of the last top leading Torah scholars before the coming of Moshiach, would occur on this very date of 13 Adar, and hence having picked this very date rather than 7 Adar being the Yahrzeit of Moshe Rabbeinu, without knowing that he was also born in this month, sharing the same name and birthdate as Moshe Rabbeinu?

I should note that the Hebrew year of the passing of Rabbi Moshe Feinstein - 5746 - the letters Hei, Tav, Shin, Mem, Vav - is spelled in the same word (backwards) twice in the entire Tanach/Bible - one of these times in Megillat Esther! This is the verse (9:19) where it mentions that the Jews will now celebrate the 14th of Adar in the future - a day of "happiness and feasting". The Hebrew word for "and feasting" is U'Mishteh - and when spelled backwards, reads this Hebrew year of 5746! This is most significant, because Rabbi Moshe Feinstein passed away on the night of 13 Adar (II), he was then flown to Israel for burial about which there was a delay in the flight, and then he was buried during the daytime of 15 Adar, the date that Jews in Jerusalem celebrate Purim. But in this year, 15 Adar in Jerusalem was also a day of great mourning among some 300,000 Jews attending his funeral on Har HaMenuchot in Jerusalem, the largest funeral in Israel in a millenium! Hence, 14 Adar - the date in between the two dates of 13 Adar of his passing & 15 Adar of his burial - was the HAPPIER day in contrast to 15 Adar IN THAT YEAR (5746); 15 Adar normally being celebrated as the happiest day of the year in Jerusalem, the holiest city in the world. Yes, Rabbi Moses Feinstein's passing and burial was predicted in the Megillah nearly 2,350 years earlier!


THE FIRST OF ONE THOUSAND THREES

Today, we encountered quite a few things with the number three. Well, the number 100 is the first of a 1,000 THREE digit numbers. In the verse that we begin this post with that is related to the number 100 in two different ways, the phrase "the L-rd, your G-d" is mentioned THREE times. And Moses, the star of today - 7 Adar, was the THIRD one born of his siblings, as he is called the "third one" in relationship to the giving of the Torah which consists of three parts (as mentioned in Talmud Sabbath 87). But perhaps what is interesting here is that Moses was the third born counting from Miriam, a most righteous woman, who looked after Moses of the age of THREE months who was placed in a reed basket on the Nile to prevent being kidnapped and murdered by the Egyptians, in effect saving his life, along with Batya, princess of Pharaoh, who behaved and eventually lived as a Jewess in stark contrast to her evil father's ways, who took baby Moses in her loving arms, who is actually the one who provided Moses with his Hebrew name Moshe. Yes, women do count for at least 50% of the world race.

In praise of Moses, we see the last letter of the first word of Sefer Vayikra/Book of Leviticus of which we just read the first Parsha this past Shabbat - is a little letter Aleph. Among many explanations for this, this signifies the fact that Moses felt humble in being called by Hashem. He felt that there were those more worthy than him to be the one to be called out to by Hashem - Vayikra "He (Hashem) called out to Moses", the first word Vayikra ending with that little letter Aleph. We see in the Midrash that Hashem granted him a thousand points of light, which was in fact taken away from him following the sin of the Golden Calf, but still merited to have this on the Sabbath and other holy days. You see, the word Aleph for the letter Aleph which is the Gematria of one, can also be read as the same letters to read Eleph/thousand. Indeed, in the beginning of Sefer Devarim/Book of Deutronomy, Moses blesses the Jews that Hashem should bless them a thousand times over. By the way, as we wrote about the English alphabet today in relationship to Gematria, just as the word for Aleph of which the equivalent is the letter "a", can also be read to read Eleph-thousand, the very first time that the letter "a" appears in the spelled out numbers - one, two, three, etc. is the word for the number thousand! Coincidence?

Yes, with the right ATTITUDE, comes the BLESSINGS. As we see from Moses' blessings to his people on the final day of his life on today's date of 7 Adar, his blessings primarily consists of the bountifulness of the land of Israel, what we read on Simchat Torah, virtually the happiest day on the Jewish calendar when we conclude reading the Torah, and then we begin it anew. It was following the conclusion of this day - two and half years ago, that I began www.gematriot.blogspot.com. And as I conclude my 100th post on www.gematriot.blogspot.com, I write with the hopes of the next 100 posts being able to accomplish much more - with more followers; but most importantly, with much more action. Along these lines, I began this past week a new daily blogspot for the first five days of the week (relatively short) dedicated to learning the part of the Torah that is especially meritious to learn - the Holy Temple Service & Offerings - as it is considered as though we brought the offerings in the Temple that we learn about especially in absence of the Temple, as especially emphasized by the Chofetz Chaim - www.toratcohanim.blogspot.com. And then for learning how to keep Shabbat properly as there are numerous laws for keeping Shabbat , even for observant Jews who may learn something that they may have never come across before, I have a once-a-week post entitled www.shabbatlaws.blogspot.com.

Actions accompanied with the right ATTITUDE will lead to many BLESSINGS.


7 Adar II, 5771

2 comments:

Moshe Sharon said...

In the building of the Tabernacle as described in the the last four Parashahs of Shemos (Exodus) G-d commanded that Shittim (Acacia wood) be used for the Ark, table, carrying poles and support beams. Since the Jews were in the desert where nothing grows, as Rashi points out, the only way they could have had the wood available was if they carried it from Egypt. Thus, Rashi concluded that Jacob brought seedling Acacia trees from Canaan and transplanted them in Goshen in anticipation of the need to fulfill the Mitzvah of building the Tabernacle. So it appears that Shittim wood was part of the plan and when called for, the lumber was prepared and ready. The Acacia tree has a rough exterior with a thick homely bark and long sharp thorns growing out of its branches while sporting lush green leaves and beautiful flowers at certain times of the year. Thus in order to make this tree suitable for such Holy service the rough exterior has to be peeled off and the wood must be smoothed over with an abrasive cloth. This procedure is called refinement and it indeed is a painful process. But, when we apply this principle to ourselves we can see that every hardship we endure individually and as a nation is a gift because with every moment of suffering HaShem brings us closer to the eternal rapture of basking in His G-dly light.

Creed Of Noah said...

In these critical times, when nations are challenging one another and violence is increasing in an unbelievable manner, the Jews have the power to bring about peace in the entire world.
In order that the entire world should be orderly, it is essential that each and every one of the "seventy nations" should be influenced so that they will work on settling the world through spreading the Seven Mitzvos & influencing the nations to keep their mitzvos, in order to assist our task of making the world into a dwelling place for G-d, and help bring about the arrival of Moshiach. Every individual must do everything possible to hasten his coming. In order to bring awareness of these Seven Mitzvos to the world I have recently created a blog for this sole purpose

http://creedofnoah.blogspot.com

Please add this to your blogroll (& encourage your fellow bloggers to add my blog or add it to their social networking sites) to help spread the awareness of the existence of these Noahide Commandments.
Appreciated.