Friday, October 21, 2011

#120 - Renewed Strength

Yes, my friends. This blogpost on www.gematriot.blogspot.com celebrates three years since I began blogging on this site exactly three years ago following Simchat Torah in Israel. While other blogs come and go, I have had much motivation to continue writing despite time challenges at times. Ultimately, it's the feeling knowing that I'm writing Torah which can be used to both educate and teach others how to be better Jews and human beings. My last post for this past year 5771: #119 - "22 Ways to a Peaceful Marriage" is a perfect example of this.

In Judaism, the number three signifies the concept of something this is assured to be an ongoing thing. The rabbis learn from the verse "They (the words of Torah) will not depart from your mouth, or from the mouth of your children, or from the mouth of your children's children, says Hashem, forever", that once there are three generations in a family that are learned in Torah, the Torah will remain in the family, as has in fact happened many times. To begin with, it was the Patriarchs from Abraham to Isaac to Jacob that set the way for the 12 Tribes of Israel to live a Torah way of life, even though the Torah had not yet officially been given to the Jewish people.

In Jewish law, the number three plays quite a significance, as we see about someone who observes a custom or a stringency in Jewish observance for three times that it is considered like a vow which would need to be absolved by a group of three people should the person not wish to continue the particular observance.

And of course when it comes to Gematriot, the first letter of Gematriot is a Gimel which is the numerical value of three.

To note, the number 120, the number of this post, is a very significant number to say the least. It is quite common to wish someone to live Ad Meah V'Esrim Shana "until 120 years", as long as Moses lived, though not many Jews since Moses' time have lived even this long. In fact, Moses himself in Psalm 90 notes that the average lifespan of mankind is 70 years, and if he has strength, then 80 years. Nevertheless, this is one wish that is never disputed by rabbis, unlike when it comes to almost any other issue that is not openly endorsed by Jewish law.

Just yesterday in Israel, and today as I am writing this when outside of Israel, Jews (have) read the final Parsha of V'Zot HaBeracha in the Sefer Torah (Torah Scroll) which ends with mention of Moses' accomplishments following the mention of his passing and his age of 120 years.

There is a word that relates to both the concept of the number three and Moses' age.
Technically, it's two words but carry the same basic meaning, just depending on how the word is used. It is either Chazak "Be strong" or Chazaka "strong" as an adjective. The final verse of the Torah begins with U'lechol HaYad HaChazaka "For all the STRONG hand..." in the midst of describing Moses' accomplishments. The word Chazaka is the Gematria of 120, hardly a coincidence being used in the final verse of the Torah describing Moshe who just passed away on his anniversary of his birthday of 7 Adar making this exactly 120 years. Now, at the very end of the reading of the Torah (which is also done for the first four books of the Chumash/The Five Books of Moses), the congregation exclaims out loud Chazak Chazak V'Nitchazeik "Be strong, be strong, and be strengthened" based on the fact that the word Chazak=115 times three yields the total Gematria of 345, which is the Gematria of Moshe's name. For Moshe himself, he was the third born in his family, and was the lawgiver of the "threefold Torah" as described in the Talmudic Tractate Sabbath. And some say that his lifetime of 120 years can be divided into three parts - his first 40 years were spent in Egypt, his middle 40 years were spent in Midian, and his final 40 years were spent being the leader of the Jewish people.

Speaking of strength as related to the last verse of the Torah, we see that the concept of strength is also related to the first verse of the Torah. However, as related to the first verse of the Torah, it is a synonym of the word strength - Koach, consisting of the letter Kaf & Cheit, which also spells the number 28. Indeed, the first verse of the Torah consists of 28 letters, and Rashi in his very first comment on the Torah in explaining this first verse quotes from Psalms 111:6 (his very first Biblical quote) Koach Ma'asav... "The strength of His actions he told to His nation, to give them the inheritance of nations".

By the way, as this verse describes the land of Israel that Hashem granted to us, it was on 28 Iyar, 5727/1967 that Hashem showed the highlight of His strength in recent times with the recapture of the holiest area in the world in Jerusalem, declaring openly to the nations of the world that Israel, and especially Jerusalem with the grounds of the Temple Mount, belong to the Jews, as evidence by the miracle of the Six Day War when 31 million Arabs of surrounding countries attempted to "wipe Israel off the map", fighting against a total population of a few million Jews; and for all that the world knew, this was going to be the end of Israel for Jews. And in case anyone thought that United States loves Israel, despite the double standards that it displays towards Jonathan Pollard who should not have legally been in prison for more than four years, who is been rotting in prison for virtually 26 years, you should know that the U.S. government to this day refuses to recognize Jerusalem as part of Israel on passports for those born in Jerusalem to U.S. parents, despite a law stating that it should do so. The ultimate root of these problems lies with us when the Israeli government refused to grant asylum to Mr. Pollard and let him be captured by the FBI despite his courageous work on behalf of Israel; when Moshe Dayan, traitor to the Jewish people, sanctioned control of the Temple Mount to the Wakf following Hashem regiving this holiest area in the world to us; and Jews residing in the United States live in the comforts of JerUSAlem in lieu of being bothered of its double standards against Jews and Israel, especially the ones who are more concerned about gay and abortion rights.

Now, speaking of the connection between the last & first verses of the Torah, there is another well known connection between the two - the last letter of the Torah: Lamed, and the first letter of the Torah: Beit. These two letters spell the word Lev/Heart. Indeed, it is the Torah that is the heart or heartbeat of a Jew, for without it, a Jew cannot survive spiritually. And it is on Simchat Torah, the day that we conclude AND begin anew the reading of the Sefer Torah, that we not only feel closest to the Torah in our spiritual heart, but we also relate to it in our physical heart when dancing in celebration of the Torah. And while the Torah calls this day Shemini Atzeret, in time, the rabbis coined this day with the additional name of Simchat Torah (Note: Outside of Israel, where two days of Shemini Atzeret are observed, it is the second day that is called Simchat Torah). And in terms of Gematria between this new name of the holiday and the reading of the Torah, the name Simchat Torah is the Gematria of 1,359. Kriat HaTorah (Reading of the Torah), which is a surname given for this day as noted in Shulchan Orach Orach Chaim (428), is the Gematria of 1327 (Note: This is also the Gematria of my name Shimon Matisyahu), and when you ad the Gematria of the word Lev which is 32, which consists of the last and first letters of the Torah, the total comes out also to 1,359! And since it is the Sefer Torah that comprises of the Chamisha Chumshei Torah - the five Chumashim of the Torah, another phrase that we can coin here is Torat Chamisha "Torah of Five" that we conclude on Simchat Torah, which is also the exact Gematria of 1,359! And to note, this is similar to the phrase Torat Moshe, which excludes the letter Cheit as the first letter of the word Chamisha (five), and in English, the Chumash is called the Five Books of Moses (Moshe) as one of its names. Or another way of looking at this is that we conclude the Torat Moshe on Yom Cheit "Day Eight", on Shemini Atzeret, as it is called Shemini/Eighth being the eighth day from Succot. Hence, this is another application of the same total number of 1,359 being used.

The Zohar, consisting of the teachings of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, points out the special significance of the number 32, being both the number of the pathways of wisdom (Netivot Chachma) and also a composite of the 22 letters of the Alef Beit and the 10 Statements of Hashem, both through which Hashem used in creating this world. To note the 10 statements of Hashem that were used to create this world are mentioned in the first chapter of the Torah, and it is the 22 letters of the Alef Beit that makes up the letters of the Torah. And it is only because of the Jews accepting and learning the Torah that is the cause of the world's continued existance.

Now, in another way of using these numbers, the Zohar notes that when you combine the 32 pathways of wisdom with the 10 Sephirot, this comes out to 42, as there are 42 letter name of Hashem at one level, as hinted in the Ana B'Koach prayer, as well as the 42 mentions of Hashem's YKVK name in the scrolls inserted in the Tefillin - 21 for the arm Tefillin and 21 for the head Tefillin. The Zohar also quotes a verse from Psalms 91:14 in relationship to this - Ki Bi/Vi Chashak "Because for Me, he (the Jew) has yearned..." The first two Hebrew letters of this verse is the Geamtria of 42. Also, it is the Gematria of the word Libi - my heart, as if to say that "My heart has yearned".

In connection to the Torah itself, we don't have to go far. In the first two paragraphs of the Shema - the Mitzva of reciting it being called Kriat Shema "Reading of the Shema" - the commandment of learning/teaching the Torah is mentioned using the word Bam "in them", which is the Gematria of 42. And in terms of beginning the Torah, the letter Beit in this word begins the word Bereishit - the first word of the Chumash which is the foundation of the Written Torah, and the letter Mem begins the word Me'i'matai - the first word of the Mishna which is the foundation of the Oral Torah. Also, the Mitzva of laerning/teaching Torah (as mentioned in the first paragraph of the Shema) is the 420th Mitzva of the Torah - a multiple of 42 & 10. Personally, I am presently in my 42nd year of life which occurred on this Simchat Torah.

Just yesterday, we learned the news that took place on this very day of Simchat Torah in Israel when Qaddafi, ruler of Libya, was killed after nearly 42 years of dictatorship. Now, as a cousin of his who resides in Israel was interviewed, she made is clear that he is in fact Jewish. Whether he was actually Jewish or not, the point is that there is a clear connection here to the number 42, especially on the day that we rejoice with the Torah that is very connected to the number 42. Also, the Hebrew of the name of this country includes the three main letters of the country name - Lamed, Beit, Yud - spelling the word Libi "my heart" in order of these letters!

Now, while one may be wondering about the direct connection between Qaddafi, Libya, and the Torah or Simchat Torah, we have to refer to Moshe about whose passing we read about particularly on this day of Simchat Torah. First, as I noted several months ago following the stepping down of the Egyptian dictator Muhammed Hosni Mubarak, this occurred on 7 Adar (I) of this past year 5771, the annual date of the birthday/passing of Moshe who was born and raised in Egypt. Mubarak had 30 years of dictatorship, and Lamed - the final letter of the Torah - is the numerical value of 30, and is also cognate of the word Limud - learning/teaching as related to the Torah. The announcement of Mubarak's resignation in Egypt took exactly 49 seconds, which forever changed Egypt history.

In an amazing parallel, the Jews when they left Egypt were entrenched in 49 levels of spiritual impurity, and as our Sages tell us, if they would have remained in Egypt just a little longer, they never would have been able to have been freed from their spiritual impurity as they would have been in the 50th level of it, from which it would have been impossible to get out of, which can be symbolized by the fact that the Gematria of Tamei/impure is 50. In relationship to Moses in his final walk of his life, he took one leap from the mountain of Arvot Moav to Mount Nebo (a miraculous feat, not just for a 120 year old, but considering the not so close distance between the two). The word Moav, the final place where Moses was residing before he walked to the place where he would leave this world, is the Gematria of 49. Also, during his lifetime, he was granted 49 levels of understanding, and it was only on his final day that he was granted a glimpse of the 50th level of understanding.

Now, on the day that we actually read of Moses's passing in the Sefer Torah, the killing of Libyan dictator Muammar Qadafi took place. And while indeed, there are similarities between the first names of the leaders Moses, Muhammed, Muammar all beginning with the letter M; the difference between Moses and the other two is more than the difference between day and night, for at least the day and night are connected either with sunrise or sunset. However, the motivations of being in power between Moses and the other two were diametrically opposed.

With dicators such as Mubarak & Qadafi, they thrived on power and strength. And while Mubarak may have been an official president instead of coming into power by force such as Fidel Castro, he behaved in a very dictatorial way, keeping billions for himself and his family while allowing a good percentage of his country to barely live on $100 a month. And of course with power, comes bloodshed of others who are either threats or potential threats to one's power and rulership. So, it is quite obvious that one who behaves in this type of fashion is in power to please oneself as opposed to pleasing the citizens of his country.

In sharp contrast, Moses was the furthest away from wanting power and control. In Hashem's first talk with Moses at the Burning Bush, it took a week for Moses to agree to take on the role as leader of the Jewish people, feeling that others, such as his brother Aaron, would be more qualified or deserving of the position. Subsequently, Moses showed that not only he wasn't looking for self aggrandisement, but put his eternal future on the line in his attempt of procuring Hashem's forgiveness of the Jewish people for their recent sin of worshipping the Golden Calf. He was willing to his name be ommitted from the entire Torah if this would not happen, feeling that if he failed in his mission of a reconcilement between Hashem and the Jews, then there was no point of himself being a leader any further. This is aside from Hashem promising Moses to have a "great nation" be descended from him when Hashem was first angry about what the Jews did and was ready to obliterate them right then and there. However, Moses would not hear of it, and spent 40 days pleading with Hashem to get back in good terms with the Jewish people. And then we see that when his cousin Korach challenged Moses' leadership, exclaiming that he took all the good positions for himself, his brother Aaron, and other close relatives, Moses made it clear that it was Hashem Who decided who would be who. In fact, according to the holy book "Sidduro Shel Shabbat", Moses was telling Korach that it wasn't even a situation where Moses wanted certain positions for himself and close relatives, and that Hashem simply agreed to it, but that it was all from Hashem to begin with. Indeed, the Torah testifies about Moses that he was "the humblest of all people" (Numbers 12:3).

While all this may have been true with Moses, there were many times that some of the Jews were always at it against Moses, blaming him for what went wrong to the point of nearly stoning him, accusing him of various sins, etc. But at the end of his 40 year leadership, we see that just the opposite happened. Rashi notes that the Jews were saying that when Moses was going to leave his nation once and for all in departure of his passing, that they would do what it takes to prevent this from happening. While this did not happen as Hashem saw to it that Moses would pass away when it was time, we see that at the end, what happens in life is a result of one's intentions and actions. Surely, if Moses would have wanted power and declare himself to be above the law as the Egyptian and Libyan dictators behaved, the Jews wouldn't have felt like attempting to prevent him from dying at the very least.

Anyways, continuing on with the number 42, the very first (hypothetical) Molad - the monthly reappearance of the moon - is hinted by the acrostic Baharad - consisting of the letters Beit, Hei, Reish, Dalet - which means that it "appeared" on the 2nd day of the week (Beit), on the 5th hour (Hei) and at 204 parts (out of 1,080 parts) of the hour (Reish, Dalet). This is mentioned by Rabbeinu B'Chayei pointing out that counting every 42nd letter from the letter Beit of the word Bereishit, beginning the Torah, it spells the following letters. This acrostic Baharad is the Gematria of 42, which hints to the 42 letter name of Hashem. (Note: This was the starting point of Rabbi Michael Dov Weissmandl with finding Hidden Codes of the Torah several decades before this would begin with computers, whose life and accomplishments in relationship to the Hidden Codes of the Torah has been mentioned before on this Gematriot blogspot #52- Nov '09).

As you can see, Gematriot discoveries sometimes fall right on my lap, especially as has happened with the number 42. Now, let's combine this with the number 41, which is especially associated with the last Parsha of the Torah, as it consists of 41 verses. To note, the word Shemini/Eighth, as the first word of the Biblical name of this holiday Shemini Atzeret, is the Gematria of 410, a multiple of 41 & 10; just as mentioned a little earlier in this post of the number 420 - as the Mitzva of Talmud Torah is the 420th Mitzvah of the Torah - is a multiple of 42 & 10. Moreover, the word Kadosh or Kodesh (holy) is also the Gematria of 410, and Parshat Shemini - the 26th Parsha of the Torah - Shemini - consists of 91 verses, and Seder Kedoshim (which means holy in plural) consists of 91 chapters, and as we know, the number 91 is the combined Gematriot of Hashem's names YKVK=26 and A-do-noy=65, the latter being how we pronounce the former name since it is forbidden to directly pronounce the name YKVK.
Now, 41 & 42 equals 83, which is the Gematria of the name of the letter Gimel, which is turn is the numerical value of three.

And the name of the letter Gimel in connection with this Hebrew year 5772 is very obvious. You see, the final two letters of the Hebrew number for this year - Ayin, Beit (72) - is the same Gematria as the word Chesed. Now, the term in Hebrew for doing acts of kindness is Gemilut Chasadim - the first word being a cognate of the word Gimel. Moreover, the phrase Gemilut Chasadim is the same Gematria of the word Torah - 611! The lesson to be learned from here is that ALL Jews count - the Torah scholars and the ones who constantly perform deeds of kindness. There are some who combine both of these things very well, but virtually all Jews who look to do the right thing have something to offer to the rest of the Jewish nation.

Speaking of the number 72, this is the combined amount of the dictatorship years of Mubarak and Qadafi, leaders of Arabic countries, which was in essence years of Chesed/kindness for themselves and the closest ones to them, the Chesed of the Sitra Achara "Other Side" as associated in Kaballa with the Arabic race as the descendants of Yishmael, whose father Abraham was the epitome of the Chesed as it related to to the side of holiness. And at least when it comes to Egypt, Hashem's 72 word name is hinted in three consecutive verses (Exodus 14:19-21) in the midst of the story of the splitting of the Reed Sea for the Jews to escape the Egyptians who were chasing after them following the Exodus, another major open miracle displaying Hashem's kindness for His newly formed nation.

In relationship to kindness as it relates to non-Jews, the Torah lists a number of non-kosher birds, including one called the Chasida, a word based on the word Chesed, for as the rabbis state in the Talmud of Tractate Chulin 63a, it does kindness with its friends. Knowing that the criteria of what species is kosher or not to eat is based on their characteristic traits, the question is asked is that if this bird does kindness, why is it considered a no-no to be considered non-kosher? The answer is in this very statement "because it does kindness with its friends". In other words, its kindness is limited only to those to whom this bird is considered a friend, but will not do kindness for any birds that the Chasida does not have a connection with. While this may be OK for non-Jews, this is NOT the Jewish way!

Sure, we all have our friends that we will go out of our way for, for after all, if we did the same for everyone, maybe we won't have any time left for our families for whom we have the greatest obligation to take care of. But maybe we should go for the extra mile for "others". At the very least, even if we don't have so much time, money, or other resources, the least we could do is to do SOMETHING for whomever we encounter that truly needs our help. If not money, a kind word. If not a lot of time, to make connections with someone who will spend that time. But the point is that we Jews are not creatures who refuse to help someone else simply because "they are not one of us." Fortunately, there are many who will volunteer time, money, and resources for other Jews whom they never heard of before or probably will never meet.


ONE HUNDRED TWENTY YEARS

The number 120 is a number that comes up quite a few times in the Torah reading during these last two months. In the beginning of Parshat Vayeilech, the last Parsha that was read before Rosh HaShana, Moses states that "I am 120 years old today", amidst his final address to the Jewish nation on the day of his passing.

Meanwhile, we celebrate the holiday of Succot. In the times of the Beit HaMikdash/Holy Temple, during the nights of this holiday, they held wine libation ceremonies. Among the details of this set of festivities, the Mishna in Tractate Succoth (5:2) states that "four teenage Cohanim had pitchers of 120 lugin of oil in their hands." And indeed, of the Seven Heavenly Guests (Ushpizin) corresponding to the seven days of Succot, it is Moses who is the special guest for the middle of these seven days.

Following Succot is the holiday of Shemini Atzeret/Simchat Torah, when we finish reading the final portion of the Sefer Torah, the only day of the year when we read of Moses' actual passing, along with the mention of his age of 120 at the time of his passing. Immediately after we finish reading this last Parsha of the Torah - V'Zot HaBeracha, we read the beginning of the Sefer Torah which is the beginning of Parshat Bereishit.

It follows that on the first Shabbat following the Simchat Torah holiday, we read the first Parsha of the Torah, which will take place tomorrow which is especially called Shabbat Bereishit after the first word of this week's Parshat Bereishit. Near the conclusion of this Parsha, speaking of the depravity of the generation of Noah, in the midst of bemoaning this, Hashem states that he will give them 120 years chance to repent, during which time, Noah built the Ark so people would see that he is building it and then he would tell them why he was doing it to give them a chance to repent knowing that the Flood was going to occur. Anyways, the verse in the mention of these 120 years "Hashem said: "My spirit will not continue to judge mankind forever since he is flesh, and his days (years) will be 120 years" (Genesis 6:3), uses an unusual word Beshagam. Now, the English translation of this "since" hardly does justice in explaining why this word is used. Rashi notes that this is a contraction of the words Bishvil Shegam Zot Bo "BECAUSE THIS, ALSO, IS TRUE OF HIM that he is flesh; but nevertheless, he doesn't humble himself in front of Me. Certainly, if he would have been made up of fire (a much stronger substance), he wouldn't had humbled himself in front of Me."

Anyways, the Talmud in Tractate Chulin 139b notes that the hint to Moshe in the Torah is this very word Beshagam, and as explained by commentators, it is the same Gematria as Moshe's name - 345, and is immediately followed in this verse by the mention of 120 years, the amount of years that Moshe lived. Now, this is all very nice, but what is the connection between giving these evil people a chance to better their ways and Moses' life? In fact, it would be another several hundred years before he would even be born; and certainly, he did not even live yet to be a good example to them?

While it is true that Hashem doesn't expect everyone to be as righteous as Moses, He does expect us to be as righteous as our own potential allows us to be. As the Chasidic Master Reb Zushe of Anipoli put it "In the Heavenly Court, they will not ask me how come I wasn't as great as Moses, but why I wasn't as great as Zushe." In other words, he was saying that if the Heavenly Court were to take him to task for not living up to his potential, it would be up to HIS potential - not anyone else's potential. Hashem gives us all the tools - including so many years time - as a base for using the tools and time to serve Him instead of wasting our potential and time on baseless actitivites.

Perhaps not all of us come from the most righteous or religious backgrounds. However, based on our circumstances, we are expected to make the best of our potential as all of us have something to offer. Not all of us may necessarily be great Torah scholars, but Hashem does expect us to learn the basic laws of Judaism and practice it correctly. He doesn't necessarily expect us to sit down learning for 8-16 hours a day, as many of us have to work and tend to our families, but He does expect us to use some spare time everyday to learn at least a little Torah both because there is a Mitzva to learn Torah and learn what the Jewish law says, so we don't wind up doing Aveirot/sins, such as violations of the Sabbath day by doing work that we will not realize without learning Halacha/Jewish Law that it is a violation. And of course, we are expected to treat our fellow Jews well both by performing various acts of kindness and not hurting their feelings or pockets in any way.

To note, there is actually another Gematria associated with this word Beshagam with a little twist. It is true that Rashi on this word in Tractate Chulin notes the Gematria of this word as 345. Well, it seems that the Chatam Sofer (Rabbi Moshe Sofer) has a little difference of opinion here (mentioned in his Sefer Torat Moshe on Exodus 2:10, the verse where Moshe is given his name). You see, he points out a technicality, noting that Moshe was not given his name (though he had other names but this one was given to him by Bathya) until after he was weaned off of breast feeding at the age of two. Hence, he had the name Moshe for only 118, and so the hint here about Moshe according to this is not that Beshagam is the Gematria of 345 as Moshe's name and then as it says afterwards "His days will be 120 years." Rather, dropping the prefix which is the letter Beit=2 of Beshagam, we are left with the Gematria of 343 of the remaining letters, as this hints to the level of the brightness of the sun in Messianic times, as the word used for this in the Tanach/Bible hinting to this is Shivatayim (loosely translated in English as sevenfold) which is seven times seven times seven (7*7*7) yielding the total of 343, and as our Rabbis tell us, Moshe's face was compared to the face of the sun, since it was that light that was born with him, as it states about Moshe's birth "She (Moshe's mother) saw him that he was good"
(Exodus 2:2 - Note: The first mention in the Torah about Moshe is in the SECOND verse of the SECOND chapter of the SECOND book!) upon which our Rabbis tell us that the house was full of light. It is on this Shagam=343 refering to Moshe in relationship to the light of the sun in future times, that it states afterwards that "his days were 120 years." Of course, you can hardly blame the Chatam Sofer, who lived several hundreds of years after Rashi, to differ with him, since after all, his own Hebrew name is also Moshe.

Also interesting to note is that the word Shagam when rearranged can be spelled as Geshem/rain. And indeed, on Shemini Atzeret/Simchat Torah, the day on which we conclude the reading of the Torah that mentions Moshe's age of 120, we begin right afterwards in the Mussaf Shemoneh Esrei to start making mention of rain until Passover with the words Mashiv HaRuach U'Morid HaGeshem "The One who returns the wind and brings down the rain".

Now, there is one more thing in this verse that I would like to comment on. Hashem states that He will not judge mankind FOREVER. In certain contexts, such as in the laws of the Hebrew servant who refused to leave his master, he was allowed to remain "and he shall serve (his master) forever" (Exodus 21:6). This may be the literal translation of the verse, but the rabbis explain that means only until the Jubilee year, the 50th year of the Shemitta cycle, (consisting of seven periods of seven years each in which each seventh year, the farm land of the Land of Israel is forbidden to be worked on, as well as the Jubilee year) the long length of time used in Jewish Law. Now, as we know, the world is slated to be in existance for 6,000 years. Hence, 120 years out of this total is 1/50th of the world's existance. Hence, in effect, Hashem was saying that He would not put up with mankind's evil behavior forever, but only one unit of a 50th of the world's existance symbolizing the Jubilee year which is the 50th year of the Shemitta cycle. In fact, it was in the beginning of the Jubilee year when the Hebrew servants returned to their homes and the ancestral lands that were temporarily sold were returned to their owners. So in effect, Hashem was saying that he would give mankind these 120 years as related to the Jubilee year to give them a chance to RETURN to Hashem, for in fact, the root of the word Teshuva actually means returning (the English word repentance is in fact not a very good translation of this Hebrew word). Hashem wanted mankind to turn back to Him, the owner of the world, and realize the real purpose of living in this world, in this temporary home so that afterwards, they can return to their permanent home - the World to Come, from which their souls came from to begin with in order to serve Hashem in this world.

In history, there have been quite a few other Tzadikim (righteous people) who lived for 120 years, including Shimon (the only one of the 12 sons of Jacob to have lived this exact amount of years), Hillel the Elder, Rabban Yochanan ben Zakkai (whose full title like this is the same Gematria as my namesake Shimon - 466), and Rabbi Akiva.
In fact, just like with Moses, both Rabban Yochanan ben Zakkai and Rabbi Akiva have their lives divided up into three periods of 40 years each. In both of these rabbis' cases, the middle part of their life was devoted to learning Torah, and the last part of their life was devoted to teaching Torah. For their first 40 years, Rabban Yochanan was into business, and Rabbi Akiva was an ignorant shepherd who used to hate Torah scholars as he testified of himself. Nevertheless, at one point, they both realized their potential, and the rest became history.


TORAT MOSHE - THE FIVE BOOKS OF MOSES

Since this is the "Year of Moshe", it would be most appopriate at this first post since Simchat Torah following the conclusion of the reading of the Sefer Torah which is the Five Books of Moses, to point out the following interesting observation. While Moses is not mentioned at all in Sefer Bereishit/Genesis, it is not for naught that all five books of the Chumash are named after him. As we just mentioned, he is hinted to near the end of the first Parsha of Genesis. Then, we see that his birth is mentioned in the first Parsha of Sefer Shemot/Exodus, as well as the sole mention of his name written twice in this Parsha. Now, it is the following three books of the Chumash that shows an amazing parallel here, at the beginning of these books:

Sefer Vayikra (Leviticus) - Vayikra El Moshe "He (Hashem) called out to Moses". His name is the THIRD word of this THIRD book of the Chumash.

Sefer Bamidbar (Numbers) - Vayidaber Hashem El Moshe "Hashem spoke to Moses". His name is the FOURTH word of this FOURTH book of the Chumash.

Sefer Devarim (Deutronomy) - Eileh HaDevarim Asher Diber Moshe "These are the words that Moses spoke". His name is the FIFTH word of this FIFTH book of the Chumash.

As you can see, there is a pattern here. Though it seems quite simple, and perhaps some may dismiss this as "coincidence", we know that the Gematria of his name is 345,
and his name is mentioned as the third, fourth, and fifth words of the respective third, fourth, and fifth books of the Chumash. And bringing this all together, his name is hinted to or spelled out in distinction in each of the first books of the Chumash. Yes indeed, these books are THE FIVE BOOKS OF MOSES.


OTHER USES OF THE NUMBER 120

Getting back to Noah's generation, it seems that not even one person took Noah seriously, and believing in the idols of their time, continued their base and baseless lives, and so, it was only Noah, his wife, his sons and their wives who survived the Flood in the Ark. Following this, Hashem gave Noah a series of commandments to ensure that mankind would not completely fall apart spiritually. This became known as the Sheva Mitzvot Bnai Noach "Seven Laws of the Children of Noah", referring to mankind who is all descended from Noah, and it is only the Jews who have many more laws to observe. It is of particular interest that mankind in this context is called Bnai Noach, for in fact, this very phrase is the Gematria of 120! Hence, Hashem is hinting to mankind that it has the same chance as the generation of Noah had, except that now, they would have less of an excuse, because now they have who to learn from, as when we don't do the right thing, G-d forbid, there is punishment - both in this world and in the next world. Speaking of which, the Rambam/Maimonides notes that non-Jews who observe the Sheva Mitzvot Bnai Noach as it was handed down from Moses (Note - not all the rabbis agree with this point about Moses) are considered Chasidei Umot HaOlam "the pious of the nations of the world" and are worthy of a share in the world to come.

Vendyl Jones, originally a Christian pastor, noticed anti-Jewish statements of the Gospels that were omitted in ancient manuscripts, based on which, he came to eventually realize the folly of Christianity in his study of the Jewish religion, and not only became a Noahide, but led others to be the same. In the midst of this, he moved with his family to Israel to study Judaism in the Hebrew University, assisted Israel in the Six Day War, and eventually discovered what is believed to be the Anointing Oil & Incense of the Temple. Additionally, two of his five children converted to Judaism and live in Israel today. In this past year, he passed away on the Yahrzeit of Maimonides (20 Tevet) - the one who coined the definition of a Noahide, although the concept of a Yahrzeit is exclusive to Jews. But what we see here that not only Mr. Jones became a Noahide which is something that Hashem expects ALL non-Jewish mankind to be, but he also turned out to be a good friend of the Jewish people, setting a prime example to both non-Jews and Jews. For those wishing to learn about the Seven Laws of the Children of Noah, click on this http://www.bnainoah.net/Noahide/NoahideHome.html.

It is interesting to note that the first verse of the following Parsha - Parshat Noach, begins "These are the accounts of Noah, Noah was a righteous person (Tzadik)..." To note, this is the first time in the Torah that the word Tzadik is used. Adam was also a righteous person, despite his sin of the forbidden fruit, but this is used especially with Noah. The reason that I bring up this point is because in this coming week, we have coming up the Yahrzeit of Shimon HaTzadik on 29 Tishrei.
Every year, either we read Parshat Noach on the Shabbat following this Yahrzeit; or it falls out on Shabbat Bereishit, when on Shabbat afternoon, we begin reading Parshat Noach which begins with the verse telling us that Noah was a Tzadik.

While Shimon HaTzadik may not have necessarily lived 120 years, he has a unique connection to the number 120. He was one of the few righteous Cohanim Gedolim/High Priests serving in the times of the Second Temple (most of the following High Priests were evil, acquiring this position through bribery, and then died in the Holy of Holies of Yom Kippur for being unworthy of the position, showing their disbelief in Hashem despite seeing what happened to past such High Priests), as well as being a member of the Anshei Knesset HaGedolah "Men of the Great Assembly" which convened upon the rebuilding of the Second Temple, and instituted many Jewish laws, blessings, and prayers, consisting of 120 members. Shimon HaTzadik was the last surviving member of this group, passing away as the last of the 120 members. To note, the Knesset in Israel today is similar to this original Knesset only in the amount of members, but mocks just about everything that the original Knesset stood for, including the fact that some of the members are Arabs who are Jew haters, who oppose even the secular Zionism of today, wishing all of Israel to be Palestine. As far as I am concerned, the only four members of the Knesset who have a Halachic right to be receiving pay checks as members of the Knesset are the four members of the National Union party, for whom I voted in the last election nearly three years ago, as they stick to the truth of Kahane of non-compromise when it comes to the nationality and safety of the Jewish people in Israel. All the other "religious" parties - if they really wished to make a change in the government for a Torah based country, would all unite instead of maintaining their particular agendas - had their pockets stuffed from the Israeli government to keep silent in the face of the Disengagement of Gush Katif and Gaza.


THE FOURTH YEAR & TRIPLE SEVEN

Noting that I have been writing three years on this Gematriot blogspot, this is now beginning its fourth year. There is a Mitzva in the Torah not to make use of fruits for the first three years of the tree's produce, having the status of Orlah "uncircumcised", and then in the fourth year, they are "holy to Hashem" and can be eaten once they are redeemed by money (Leviticus 19:23-25). It is based on this that there is a custom for Jewish boys not to have their first haircut until they turn three years old, when at such time, they receive their first "upsheren" (haircut), and is followed in some circles to this day of being taken to Cheder (Jewish school) where they learn the Alef-Beit amidst celebrating their birthday on a good start of being indoctrined to the learning of Torah.

As it turns out, when I began this blogspot, it was at virtually the beginning of a new Shemitta cycle; hence, this is now the beginning of the fourth year of this blogspot as this is also the beginning of the fourth year of the Shemitta cycle.

Accordingly, as it relates to the seven Ushpizin/Heavenly Guests of Succot, it is Moshe who is the FOURTH of the seven Ushpizin. And so, there is room to state that this fourth year of the Shemitta cycle corresponds to Moshe.

If anyone has noticed lately, there has been much discussion from bloggers about this year 5772 being the year that Moshiach will come.

Let's begin. According to the Vilna Gaon, the books of the Chumash/Five Books of Moses corresponds to the slated 6,000 years of this world's existance. He notes that the story of Ma'asei Bereishit/Creation of the word corresponds to the first 1,000 years, and the remainder of Sefer Bereishit/Genesis corresponds to the next 1,000 years, Sefer Shemot/Exodus corresponds to the 3rd millenium, etc. So according to this, Sefer Devarim/Deutronomy corresponds to our present and final millenium.

Now, based on the Vilna Gaon's words, each Parsha of Sefer Devarim corresponds to 100 years. For this purpose, the Parshiyot of Nitzovim-Vayeilech, the only Parshiyot of this Sefer that are sometimes combined on Shabbos, count as one Parsha, making a total of 10 Parshiyos for this Sefer. Indeed, this Parsha/Parshiyos corresponds to this century 5701-5800. To note, there are 70 Pesukim in Nitzavim-Vayeilech (40 in Nitzovim & 30 in Vayeilech); and hence, each year corresponds to 0.7th of the Parsha.

With this said, what Posuk corresponds to our year 5772? The 0.7th for this is the 49.8th thru the 50.4th Posuk. In other words, they are the 50th & 51th of the 70th Pesukim. Now, the first of the Pesukim is (Devorim 31:10) - "Moshe commanded them (the Jews) saying: At the end of seven years, at the appointed time of the year of Shemitta on the holiday of Succot".

To briefly explain, this is the Mitzva of Hakhel of the Jews gathering in the Beis HaMikdash every seven years immediately following the year of Shemitta on Succot to hear parts of Sefer Devarim being read by the king. Now, in terms of Moshiach coming, the Babylonian Talmud notes that Moshiach will come on Motzoei Shevi'it, the year immediately following the Shemitta year while the Jerusalem Talmud notes that it will be the Shemitta year itself. Both Talmuds mention their respective statements in connection with the reason as to why the Beracha of Re'eh Na B'Anyeinu about redeeming the Jewish people is the seventh of the Berachot of Shemonei Esrei.

This is all very nice, but this year 5772 fits neither of these categories, and is in fact the middle year of the Shemitta cycle, so how can we prove from here of the possibility of Moshiach coming this year? You see, the letters of this Hebrew year are Hei-Tav-Shin-Ayin-Beit. Now, noting the midst of this Posuk where it says Miketz Sheva Shanim "at the end of seven years", first - the word used for "at the end" is Mikeitz, instead of Sof or Acharit, as it is related to the word Keitz which is associated with the Geula, and second - the last three letters of this Hebrew year spells Sheva. I saw it explained that while this year may not be a Shemitta year, it is (or may be considered) a Shemitta year in the spiritual worlds (Note: The way that we observe Shemitta nowadays, it is not an unbroken chain of Shemitta observance due to the past destruction of Bayit Rishon/First Temple. Moreover, unlike in the past, we do not observe Yovel/Jubilee these days, which would otherwise change the year of the Shemitta being observed every 50 years). So, in case anybody thought that they would have a chance to sneak a few Aveirot/sins before Moshiach comes, well, it may not be such a good idea now because if Moshiach comes this year, it will be too late to do Teshuva/repentance when he arrives...

So as we see here, there is a strong corelationship here between the holiday of Succot and Shemitta, especially when it comes to the Torah, and specifically here to the reading of parts of the Five Books of Moses. But just when you thought this was good enough, this Hebrew year bears a most special Gematria. But wait a minute you may ask, do you mean the number 5772? Well, maybe you can come up with something else with this exact Gematria, but let's look at the letters used for the number of this year once more - Hei, Tav, Shin, Ayin, Beit. Now, it is true that the Hei in this context is used as the Gematria of 5,000 being that is used as the beginning of a number to denote this, as opposed to its regualar Gematria of five. But this is where this comes in - the letter in itself in the regular order of the 22 letters of the Alef Beit does have the numerical value of five. Hence, Hei=5, Tav=400, Shin=300, Ayin=2, Beit=2, and presto, the total of these numbers is 777! And as we mentioned earlier, the total of 7*7*7 refers to Moshe; and indeed, was born and passed away on the SEVENTH of Adar, and the SEVENTH generation from Abraham the first Jew in parental lineage.

Now, connecting the dots between the numbers four and seven, we know that while the Jews were yet enslaved in Egypt, Moshe spoke on their behalf to Pharaoh that he should give them a day of rest, to which Pharaoh agreed, which was the day of Shabbat, the SEVENTH day. And as we see in the middle blessing of the Shemonei Esrei for Shabbat morning, it starts off with Yishmach Moshe "Moses rejoiced...and two tablests of stone did he bring down with his hands, and the observance of Shabbat was written in it..." Hence, just as Moses has a connection with both the numbers of four and seven; so too, Shabbat the SEVENTH Day is listed as the FOURTH of the Ten Commandments.

And the connections of four and seven, as mentioned earlier, is also applicable to THIS YEAR OF ALL YEARS, as 5772 is Number 777 in its simple form - seven units of hundred, seven units of tens, and seven units of ones. And the fact that this number is three consecutive sevens also indicates the concept of Hazaka, something that now becomes a regular thing when it occurs for three times as mentioned in the beginning of this post. But this is not all - aside from the letter Hei in the number of this Hebrew year, when rearranging the letters, it reads Shivat, which is a form of the word seven! And while there are many hints given for the possibility of Moshiach coming this year in various blogs, while I am not here to list them all now, aside from what I wrote earlier; however, I will note that the letters of the name of Batsheva, the wife of King David & and the mother of King Solomon - about which the Rambam/Maimonides writes that Moshiach is a descendant of these two kings - when rearranged, can read B'Shivat - in Shivat, or in Shin, Beit/Veit, Ayin, Tav/Sav! Also, the Gematria of King David's name is 14, a multiple of seven, and as connected to the number four, his name begins and ends with a Dalet=4, he is a descendant of Judah, the FOURTH son of Leah & Jacob, in whose name the fourth letter is a Dalet=4, and at times, King David is called Dovid Malka Meshicha - David King Messiah.

(NOTE: We see that in secular subjects such as mathematics, science and history that the numbers four and seven are related to each other more than just a few times. Speaking of years, the year of the Declaration of Independence of the United States,the country that that would later house a good percentage of the Jewish world population in the final period of our long exile, took place was 1776. While it is true that the goyishe year is based on the timing of the birth of the Christian god, the fact that it happened this way may sometimes prove that this is not merely coincidental. In Hebrew, if we were to spell out the letters of this year - Alef, Tav, Shin, Ayin, Vav - and as you can see, the three middle letters are the same as the three middle letters of our present Hebrew year, while Alef as the beginning of a number is used here as the Gematria of 1,000, in its simple form in the order of the letters of the Alef Beit, it equals one. Hence, Alef=1, Tav=400, Shin=300, Ayin=70, Vav=6, and again, we have the exact total of 777! Moreover, the date of this Declaration of Independence was the FOURTH of July, the SEVENTH month of the secular calendar! Indeed, the concept of independence is the very concept used with slaves returning to their homes free of their masters, just as with the concept of Shabbat the SEVENTH day in which we are free from the work of the mad workweek. And as the Rambam notes at the end of his magnum opus the Mishneh Torah, the ultimate wish of the Sages with the coming of the Messiah is that we will be free from the subjectation of the nations in order that we will be free to learn Torah and serve Hashem without distractions. As it seems, what happened in the United States with colonists wishing to brake away from the rulership of Great Britian was a prelude to what we wish for in Messianic times)


THE LAST OF THE 120

Before I conclude this 120th Post, I would like to note, that a considerable section of the Torah are events and announcement of Mitzvot that took place in the LAST of the 120 years of Moses. For this, we turn to Parshat Chukat in the midst of Sefer Bamidbar/Book of Numbers where it mentions the passing of Moses' sister Miriam which took place on 10 Nissan, exactly one year to the date of the Jews entering Israel under the leadership of Joshua following a month's mourning for Moses. So, there are virtually 16 Parshiyot, close to 30 percent of the Torah, and encompassing 213 Mitzvot - more than one third of the 613 Commandments, that have to do with the last year of Moses' life! This is bearing in mind that the contents in close to half of the Parshiyot of the Torah (there are 54 Parshiyot in total) took place in just within THREE YEARS from the appearance of Hashem to Moses at the Burning Bush until after the incident of the Spies that kept the Jews lingering in the desert for close to 40 years. (The only question is when the story of Korach took place).

Making the parallel between the LAST of Moses' 120 years and Shimon HaTzadik who was the LAST of the 120 surviving members of the Anshei Knesset HaGedolah, the latter who has the unique privilege of having his name begin the second Mishna of Pirkei Avot/Ethics of the Fathers, following the first Mishna that begins with Moshe's name,
we see that sometimes, it is not as we think that when someone becomes old, he is no longer so useful. That may be true for those who didn't spend their life wisely to begin with, so all they are really doing is taking up space, stuffing their face, and being a nuisance to others who are helping them in their last period of life, and then the appointed rabbi who is at the funeral chapel to gave his eulogy is basically parroting what the family tells him, not having a whole lot of substance to it to begin with. However, for those who had a fulfilling life serving Hashem and helping others do the same, no doubt that with each passing year, even if not all of these righteous people have the strength to do everything as they used to in their earlier years, serve as an inspiration to others just by being in a room with just their presence, aside from the fact that looking at a righteous person (in sharp contrast to things that are forbidden to be looked or stared at) have a positive spiritual effect on the soul. As Rabbi Meir Kahane once put it, a Jewish Gehinnom/Hell is a life not being spent wisely, wasting it on things that have no bearing on what our purpose in life is supposed to be. And a Jewish Gan Eden/Heaven is a life that was wisely spent on our purpose in life that Hashem sent us in this world for to accomplish.

To note what Shimon HaTzadik stated in Pirkei Avot (though not the first time that I have mentioned this; in fact, I began a blogpost with this very statement): On three things does the world stand, on the Torah, the Avodah, and Gemilut Chasadim.

Earlier in this post, I noted the connection between Torah & Gemilut Chasadim, even as their phrases have the same Gematria. The only question is what is this Avodah - Divine service. For certainly, everything that we do in serving Hashem can be called Avodah. In fact, this is referring to one of two things - Prayers and the Temple service. Moreover, the first of the final set of blessings in the Shemoneh Esrei is called Avodah, for in this blessing, we ask Hashem to return to us the Avodah - the Temple service that we are presently lacking. Today, our prayers are in lieu of the Temple service, in which we pray that we should have the "real thing", though prayers were of course also recited in the Temple. In fact, the Shemoneh Esrei with the particular Berachot/blessings was arranged by the Anshei Knesset HaGedolah which was in operation at the beginning of the Second Temple period. And in terms of Torah learning, learning the laws of the Temple service which includes the sacrifices is considered as though we fulfilled these laws and Mitzvot. The Rambam's Mishneh Torah devotes two of his 14 volumes to these laws, named Avodah & Korbanot. In relationship to this year, the first two letters of this word Avodah - Ayin, Beit, are the last two letters of this Hebrew year.

And as we already mentioned the unique connection of the number 120 to Shimon HaTzadik, the word Omeid (stands) in his statement in Pirkei Avot is the Gematria of 120! Note, there are only 12 words in Shimon HaTzadik's statement. Tell me, what is the mathematical percentage chance that one of these words could have the same Gematria as a number that is unique to the author of the statement? No doubt that there are hundreds of numbers that any given word could be equal to in numerical value. But the ultimate connection here is that this world is standing in place ONLY because we Jews accepted the Torah at Mt. Sinai and have continued following the Torah throughout the generations (even when there were generations when most of the Jews didn't behave right, there are 36 righteous people in any given generation in whose merit, the world continues to exist).

As a side note, we have what is called Daf Yomi, this phrase used most frequently for the daily study of the double sided page of the Babylonian Talmud, and then there is what is called the Amud Yomi - one sided page that is studed daily for those who don't have a whole lot of time to grasp so much material. To note, the word Amud - which means pillar - has the same letters as Omeid. In other contexts, we mention the phrase Amud HaTorah - Pillar of the Torah, a title sometimes used to honor people who financially support Torah institutions, without whose support, these institutions may not be in existance, or at least not be such good quality institutions. The bottom line here is that whether we are able to learn more Torah or less Torah, the main thing is that we apply ourselves accordingly, and stick to our daily learning plan, and make the best use of what we learn. For even if we don't learn so much Torah in one day, the Torah that we do learn can be reviewed in our mind during the daytime, and we can always sneak a few extra minutes here and there to make sure that we understand what we learned earlier in the day (don't forget to take your Gemara or whatever Torah book you learn to your work); for if we don't understand or remember the material well, it won't do us too much good except for the fact that we learned Torah instead of wasting our time, but in fact, the Torah tells us to be careful not to forget what we learn, especially if we have it in our power to remember it.

Indeed, immediately following Simchat Torah is a time of RENEWED STRENGTH, a time to make a recommitment to learn Torah on a regular basis - EVERY DAY, even if on one day it may mean a few minutes, and on another day, it may mean a few hours, for the Torah is the lifeline of a Jew, both in terms of fulfilling the greatest Mitzva of the Torah, and teaching us how to observe the Mitzvot - the Commandments of the King.


23 Tishrei, 5772

P.S. Noting the time of the posting of this blog - 3:48 PM, the first three letters of the word(s) Simchat Torah spells the Hebrew number for 348, bearing in mind that this is the first post written since Simchat Torah.

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