Monday, January 16, 2012

#130 - Mazel Tov: My Righteous Palm Tree Baby!

Today, on the birthdate of the Biblical figure Shimon, son of Jacob & Leah, my namesake, I'm beginning to write about the birth of my first child Tamar Tzadika. I had intended to write about this a little sooner, but as virtually all parents know, it is very hectic with timing, especially in the beginning weeks of a child's birth, including shopping for all kinds of items, and being awake at all times of the night at one point or another when the baby is crying for food or to have its diapers changed.

But before I continue writing about my daughter, I wish to write a bit about the significance of the number 130, the number of this post, as related to the theme of birth. Reading the first Parsha of the Torah - Bereishit, we see that Seth, son of Adam and Eve, was born when his parents were 130 years old (Note: It was at the same age of 130 that Yocheved gave birth to Baby Moses, as mentioned in last week's Parshat Shemot!). But perhaps what is most striking, something that we do not see with the birth of anyone else in the entire Tanach/Bible, in describing Seth's birth, the verse states "he was born in his (Adam's) form, like his (Adam's) image" (Genesis 5:3). While one may begin to say that Seth was the first generation that was born to parents unlike his own parents who were created directly from Hashem, Seth was not the first one to be born. A chapter earlier, the births of Kain & Abel, the first children to be born from a womb, are mentioned, but doesn't say anything there about forms and images, so why is this mentioned specifically about Seth?

Although usually, Rashi comes to the rescue for logical questions, for whatever reason in this case, Rashi makes no comment on this, or if he ever wrote anything on this, we have no copy of it. However, several reasons are given for this, starting from the Talmud to relatively recent commentators on the Torah. While I am not here to mention every reason, there is one reason, one of the ones mentioned by the Ohr HaChayim commentary, that is very relevant. He states that it was through Seth that the world became established, and indeed, we see that the Torah mentions the continuing generations from Seth until Noah, as it was only Noah, his wife and their children who survived from the whole world later on (though Rashi mentions Noah's wife Na'amah as a descendant of Kain, but the Torah mentioning specifically Seth as having Adam's form and image, rather than Eve's or both of his parents', has to do with paternal generations, and as evidenced today, the family name that is passed down throughout generations comes specifically from the father's side). I should mention another reason given by the Ohr HaChaim, especially as it relates to me since I am a Levite, is that Seth was the third son born to Adam & Eve, just as Levi was the third son born to Jacob & Leah, who was sanctified with serving Hashem in the form of Kehuna/Priesthood. (Note: Today, as some learn the seven Aliyot of the Parsha on their corresponding day of the week, many learn the second Aliyah of Parshat Va'era, which is all about the the generations of the first three sons of Jacob - Reuven the firstborn, Shimon, and Levi, focusing especially on the generations of Levi, with the ultimate focus on Moses and Aaron the first official Cohen Gadol/High Priest of the Jewish people).

OK, so with no further ado, I want to tell you about the amazing "coincidences" that surrounded the birth of my baby daughter and her most special name.

To begin with, my baby was born a little premature, with the original expectation of the due date of over a month later. In fact, she was born in the midst of my wife's ninth month of pregnancy. (A friend once told me not to let anyone tell me differently, but the doctors count 300 days from when the wife thinks that she became pregnant. I learned on my own that the "countdown" begins from the day that the woman had her last period, since in the non-religious Jewish world, having a period doesn't necessarily stop couples from having relations. But what bothers me is that in Israel, where Judaism is supposed to be most practiced, that this is the same standard being used, regardless of the religiosity of the couple). In any case, we expected our baby to be born clearly after Chanuka, not before Chanuka.

So, as it turned out, our baby was born on our wedding month of Kislev - nearly two years after our wedding day. No doubt that the month of Kislev will always be a special month in our family.

And the Hebrew date of our baby's birth - 15 Kislev. Now, I can tell you that she was born at 4:37PM (or 16:37 Israeli time). But, this in itself won't tell you much, and believe it or not, I have nothing to comment on the significant of the numbers of the timing. However, if I were to tell you that she was born at 4:37PM in Jerusalem, this is of major significance. Oh sure, she was born in the holiest city in the world. And in fact, on my side of the family, my daughter is the first one to be born in Israel in nearly 2,000 years since the destruction of the Second Temple when around that time, a good percentage of the Jewish population was exiled to Babylonia, Rome, and various other countries. Few Jews left Israel from the not so big Jewish population that remained in Israel since then.

In any case, the great significance of the timing of my baby's birth in Jerusalem is that it was only two or three minutes before sunset which was at 4:40PM in Jerusalem on that day. Had she be born just five minutes later, it would clearly have been a question as to which Jewish date my baby would have been born on, since the period of sunset until nightfall is a question of whether it is still considered daytime or already nighttime, which is why we observe the laws of Shabbat and Jewish holidays on both Friday and Saturday during the period of sunset, so there won't be any chances of violating the holy day being that we do not know exactly when the night begins.

But this is not the whole story. In other parts of Israel, such as in the area of Tel Aviv/Bnei Brak - it was already sunset like a minute earlier at 4:36PM, and in Haifa - at 4:34PM. This is to say that if everything else would have remained the same pertaining to my daughter's birth, except that it would have taken place in Tel Aviv or Haifa, it already would have been sunset. But being born in the holiest city of the world, there was still a little time remaining of the day to know what Jewish date she was born on. Amazing Hashgacha Peratit (Divine Providence)!

If this Hebrew date of 15 Kislev had no special significance, the above would remain true. But although it may not be a holiday like Passover, Succot, Tu B'Shevat, or Tu B'Av, which all fall out on the 15th of their respective months, this is a day that marks the Yahrzeit of one of the most illustrious rabbis in history - known either as Rabbi Yehudah HaNasi/Rabbi Judah the Prince, Rabbeinu HaKadosh (our holy rabbi) or simply as Rebbe. He is the one who compiled the first official Jewish book outside of the Tanach called the Mishna, a composite of the Jewish Laws in 6 volumes/63 tractates/523 chapters/4,176 Mishnayot (Mishna paragraphs). In fact, up to that point in time, it was forbidden by the Torah to write down what is known as Torah She'B'Al Peh/Oral Law as was orally transmitted from Hashem to Moshe, as was passed down from generation to generation likewise. However, since the situation of the Jewish people going through hard time with the evil dominion of the Roman empire, exile, massacres, etc., there was great fear that the laws of the Torah would be largely forgotten, and so to preserve the Torah, Rebbe wrote down the Mishna.

I will get back to this subject about the Mishna a little later on here, but first, let me tell you about the name that I gave her - Tamar Tzadika. I did not know until the night before the birth when my wife was already in the hospital that this is the name that I was going to give her. You see, I named my baby Tamar after the righteous woman Tamar in Parshat Vayeishev, the Parsha of that week; and in fact, this the sole Parsha of the Chumash/Penteteuch in which this righteous woman is mentioned. Now, I don't know what impression that Christians have from Genesis Chapter 38 of the events between Judah and Tamar of their one night stand (or one day stand), but as we know from our rabbis, this union was meant to be because it was from this union that Moshiach is supposed to be descended. People can deny what the rabbis say if they so wish, but as we learn from Midrashic sources, Judah had an especially strong desire to sleep with Tamar, although for all that he knew despite his own righteousness that Tamar was a prostitute. Tamar's part in all this is that since Judah was hesitant in giving his son Sheilah to her as a husband following the deaths of his first two sons to whom Tamar was married, she in her divine inspiration (since Moshiach is destined to be descended from this union) wished to be intimate with Judah, and so she veiled herself as such so that Judah would not recognize her.

Well, even if Tamar would have been an outright prostitute, our rabbis show a good side to her. You see, for all that Judah knew since his one time stand, she was a prostitute presently pregnant, and not knowing that it was her that he was intimate with, had her sentenced to death for being a prostitute. Now, of course Tamar wanted to prove that it was none other than he himself who impregnated her. However, not wishing to outright embarrass him, she hinted to him without making obvious to others that he was the one responsible for the unborn baby (which turned out to be unborn twin babies). When Judah heard from the messenger that she sent of the items that he deposited with her for her "services", he then realized that he was the father of her unborn one(s) and declared Tzadka Mimeni (Genesis 38:26). Now, those who are more like professors than rabbis translate this as "more righteous than me", but this clearly contradicts the Torah truth of Rashi's interpreation which notes that Judah stated "SHE IS RIGHT with her words that it is FROM ME that she is pregnant". Now, Tamar's righteousness in all this is that she took a chance of being burned at the stake rather than embarrass him on the chance that Judah would not admit the truth. It is from this that the Talmud (Bava Metzia 59a) notes that better for a person that he should fall into a burning furnace rather than embarrass someone in public (as one who does embarrass another Jew does not have a share in the world to come). Now mind you, the story of Tamar took place before the Torah was given to the Jewish people, so the commandments of the Torah outside of the seven commandments of the Noahides which does not include the prohibition of embarrassing someone were not necessarily obligatory, especially if it would have involved a situation of life and death.

And so, a perfect name companion for the name Tamar in this case is the name or word Tzadika - righteous one (the feminine form of Tzadik), which I based it on the statement that Judah made in his confession - Tzadka Mimeni. But aside from this, Tamar was indeed a righteous woman, so much to the extent that she risked her life not to embarrass the one who not only sentenced her to die, but was the very one responsible for her being pregnant to begin with. And the fact that it was from this union that Moshiach came out of also shows that Tamar had to have been worthy of being an ancestor to such a spiritual human being, as well as the Davidic dynasty that was started by King David.

And so, as you can see, the timing of my daughter Tamar's birth was both on 15 Kislev - the Yahrzeit of Judah the Prince, and in the week of Parshat Vayeishev which includes the story of Judah & Tamar. Hence, the timing here has a connection to TWO people who names were Yehudah. Now, I will mention more about this later, but my daughter's birth happened in virtually the very middle of the 515th month from my birth. And as I mentioned here about the special connection of the birth timing to the name of Yehudah, the word Tehillim, the name of the composition of King David, a parental descendant of Yehudah son of Jacob and ancestor of Yehudah HaNasi, is the Gematria of 485, and adding 30 to this, being that the name Yehudah is the Gematria of 30, the sum of these two numbers is 515. Based on this, noting Tehillim/Psalms Chapter 30, this is the chapter that is especially recited during the eights days of Chanuka that begins in the month of Kislev, the month of my daughter's birth.

Now mind you, the Yahrzeit of Rebbe of 15 Kislev does not necessarily fall out every year during the week of Parshat Veyeishev. In fact, we have a tradition that it was on an Erev Shabbat/Friday afternoon that Rebbe passed away, and on our calendar, we see that when 15 Kislev falls out on Erev Shabbat, it is during the week of Parshat Vayishlach, the Parsha before Vayeishev, and so the fact that the connection of the name Judah as it relates to Parshat Vayeishev and 15 Kislev is not necessarily a connection that is noted every year.

Getting back to my daughter's two Hebrew names, there is a very direct and strong connection between these two names, not all people give two Hebrew names have a relationship between each other, or at least not for the obvious reasons. For example, some are named after two different people, who in turn may have never met or even known who the other was. But as you can see here, both of my daughter's names are very related to one another as they are both based on the same story.

But this is not all. You see, the name Tamar itself means date as the fruit date or palm tree. And in Perek Shira, a composite of the verses that the various parts of creation recite in praise of Hashem, it is the Tamar - palm tree that declares: Tzadik KaTamar Yifrach K'Erez B'Levanon Yisgeh- "The righteous are like a date palm which sprouts..." (Psalms 92:13). And as the Talmud (Ta'anit 25a) notes on this verse, just as the date palm produce fruit, so do the righteous. Now, noting that Tzadika is the feminine form of the first word of this verse - Tzadik, both the name Tzadika and this verse begins with the letter Tzadi and ends with the letter Hei. Moreover, the verse beginning with the letter Tzadi begins the word Tzadik, and as related to the name Tamar, the name Tamar is mentioned in this verse and is the very verse that the Tamar tree recites in praise of Hashem.

As I have mentioned in past posts, there is a custom for one to recite the verse(s) that begin and end with the same letters as one's name(s) at the end of the main prayer of Shemoneh Esrei. Hence, this verse fits my daughter's second name Tzadika just like a sliding glove on one's hand.

And what about a verse for the first name Tamar? Well, there are exactly six verses in the entire Tanach/Bible that begin with the letter Tav and end with the letter Reish as the name Tamar. And of these six, there is one that stands out as especially significant - the first verse of Chapter 90 of Psalms that begins with Tefilla L'Moshe... "A prayer of Moses, man of G-d, O L-rd, You have been a shelter for us from generation to generation."

A little background is needed here. The Book of Psalms, while under the general editorship of King David, was not entirely composed by him. In fact, there are a total of ten authors involved, and it was none other than Moses himself who composed 11 psalms from Psalm 90 through Psalm 100. Hence, both verses that I have chosen for my Tamar Tzadika come from these psalms - the one for my daughter's FIRST name Tamar coming from the very FIRST verse of Moses' composition of Psalms. Moreover, there is a Midrash that notes that Moses composed these 11 Psalms corresponding to one or another of the 12 Tribes except for the Tribe of Shimon, just as Moses in the last Parsha of the Torah blessed all the Tribes except for Shimon. In fact, the first verse (Psalms 90:1) is a bit of a parallel of two parts of this last Parsha of Moses' blessings - "This is the blessing that MOSES, MAN OF G-D blessed the Jewish people before his death (Deutronomy 33:1). And then, the VERY FIRST WORD that begins the Aliyah read for the Chatan Torah "Bridegroom of the Torah", the one honored with the final Aliyah of the Torah on Simchat Torah, is Meonah - "Shelter..." (which refers to Hashem) - (Deutronomy 33:27), the feminine of the word Meon "Shelter" of the verse in Psalms. And mentioning Chatan/Bridegroom, my Chatunah/wedding as a Chatan, which obviously led to the birth of my daughter, took place in the 490th month from my birth. And as connected to my daughter Tamar Tzadika, the first letters of her name - Tav, Tzadi - spell the Hebrew number of 490. Coincidence?

And speaking of the amount of months that I have lived, the FIRST word of this verse is Psalms 90:1 is Tefilla/Prayer, which is the Gematria of 515, another hint for me being my daughter was born in the midst of the 515th month from my birth.

Anyways, the reason why I had in mind to begin with to mention about these Psalms corresponding to the Tribes of Israel is because the verse pertaining to the date palm is located in Psalm 92, which according to this Midrash, corresponds to the Tribe of Judah. So, though while there is a another connection here between the name of Tamar and the word for righteousness, where the word Tamar is NOT referring to anyone whose name is Tamar in this context but to the date palm tree; there is ALSO another connection between Judah and (the name) Tamar! And as the name of Judah is also the name of Judah the Prince, who was the SEVENTH parental generation from Hillel, the patriarch of many generations of the top leaders of the Jewish people; so too, this psalm in which the above verse is mentioned was the Shir Shel Yom/Daily Song that the Levites sang on Shabbat - the SEVENTH day - in the Beit HaMikdash/Holy Temple, and as especially indicated in the first verse of this psalm - it is a "psalm song for the day of Shabbat".

Now, as another connection to my birth, the verse for the name Tamar BEGINS the group of psalms that many customarily recite for the FIFTH day of the week, and as Tehillim is divided into five sub-books, this verse is the BEGINNING of the FOURTH sub-book of Tehillim. Correspondingly, as both verses for my daughter's name are found in the group of psalms for the fifth day of the week, I was born on the FIFTH day of the week (Thursday). But what is most striking is that my Hebrew birthdate of
1 Iyar is mentioned twice in the very BEGINNING of the FOURTH BOOK of the Chumash - Sefer Bamidbar/Numbers - "on the first day of the second month." So, while Moses wasn't too happy with the Tribe of Shimon, my namesake, it seems that there are major connections here between the concepts related between my birth and my daughter's birth, though not necessarily related to my name per se.

But actually, there is a connection here to my name, but for this, we will need to turn to Psalms 18:24-25. The end of verse 24 reads VaEshtameir MeiAvoni "I will watch myself from what is a sin for me". Looking in the Hebrew word VaEshtameir, we see that putting vowels aside, the last three letters of this word spells Tamar. Now, taking these letters out, and placing the next word MeiAvoni to this first word without the letters Tamar, you see that again ignoring the vowels, the letters beginning with the letter Shin spells my name! Hence, my daughter's first name is spelled within my first name in a figurative sense. But this is not all! The immediate next verse begins with Vayashev Hashem Li Ch'Tzidki "The L-rd returned to me (payment) according to my righteousness..." As you can see, the word Tzidki "my righteousness" is cognate with my daughter's second name Tzadika, this following the spelling of her first name Tamar in the immediate previous verse. Moreover, the first word Vayashev "He returned", aside from the vowels, is the VERY SPELLING of the word Vayeishev, the name of the Parsha of the week in which my daughter Tamar was born, and in which the story of Tamar is mentioned. Amazing!

And speaking of Parshat Vayeishev, in the list of Psalms corresponding to the Parshiyot of the Torah, it is Psalm 112 for Parshat Vayeishev, which in turn which consists of 112 verses! But aside from the significance of 112 as related to this Parsha on two accounts, Psalm 112 mentions Tzikato "his righteousness" twice and Tzadik "righteous one" twice, a total of FOUR mentions of the cognate of this word in merely 10 verses! And this is of course bearing in mind, why I gave the name Tzadika as the second name for my daughter to begin with, is because in this Parsha, Judah states TZADKA Mimeni! It seems that Judah loved this concept of righteousness, because at the end of Parshat Mikeitz when Joseph confronts his brothers about the "stolen" goblet, Judah is the spokesman for his brothers who declares "What shall we say to my master, what shall we speak and how can we JUSTIFY ourselves (Nitztadak)..., and it is on this Hebrew word in the parenthesis, based on the word Tzedek/justice, that Rashi concludes his commentary on Parshat Mikeitz.

Now, aside from the connection of Tamar with the name Yehudah, which includes the name of the one who compiled the Mishna, on whose Yahrzeit my daughter Tamar was born, though my reason for naming her Tamar was specifically from Parshat Vayeishev, the Parsha of that week, there is another strong connection between this name Tamar and the Mishna.

For this, we need to turn to the psalms for the third time (I think), but you won't have to turn two many pages for this one. In fact, my next factoid comes from the following psalm - Psalm 19. But more than just a mere factoid, there is a major significance here between a few verses in this Psalm and the Shisha Sidrei Mishna/Six Volumes of the Mishna. The lucky verses are verses 8-10. In fact, let us write these verses out in full, though this will be in English:

The Torah of Hashem is perfect, it restores the soul;
the testimony of Hashem is faithful, it makes the foolish wise.
The precepts of Hashem are straight, they make the heart happy;
the commandments of Hashem are clear, they brighten the eyes.
The fear of Hashem are pure, standing for everlasting;
the judgements of Hashem are true, they are all righteous.

While there are three verses here, there are six phrases here, all using Hashem's name. It is mentioned that these six phrases correspond to the six volumes of the Mishna. With this said, let us take the first letters of these six phrases, and see what the total Gematria of these letters add up to. Torat- Tav (400), Eidut- Ayin (70), Pikudei- Pei (80), Mitzvat- Mem (40), Yirat- Yud (10), Mishpetei- Mem (40). So, adding these six numbers together yields the total of...640, which is the Gematria of my daughter's first name Tamar! And by the way, the total cost of the bill of my very first shopping for my newborn daughter came out to...640 Shekel (and 20 Agurot)!

And in connection with the Gematria of Rebbe's name Yehuda=30, these three verses/six phrases corresponding to the six orders of the Mishna have a total of 30 words. And the tractate with the most chapters - Tractate Keilim (literally means utensils, the first tractate of the sixth order Taharot) consists of 30 chapters. So you see, for someone so special as Rebbe, it only makes sense that these type of Gematriot will appear in reference to Rebbe's name.

Now, there is one part of these verses/phrases that I want to zero in on. In the last phrase, we have the word Tzadku "they are righteous", again, another cognate for my daughter's second name Tzadika. Now, this particular phrase corresponds to Seder Nezikin, the fourth volume of the Mishna that deals with the laws of damages, court rulings and proceedings, oaths, and idolatry. There are two Masectot/tractates that are related especially to my name - Bava Metzia & Makkot.

Tractate Bava Metzia, which deals with claims of ownership, lost items, and workers rights, begins with the word Shnayim (two), the word being the same Gematria as my wife's name Yael Miriam (400). And just as my first name Shimon begins with the letter Shin and ends with the letter Noon, so does this tractate begin with the letter Shin, and ends with the letter Noon - both in the Mishna where the last word is Tachton (below), and in the Babylonian Talmud where the last word is Shimon (referring to Rabbi Shimon who gives a statement mentioned in the very end of this last Mishna), the ONLY Babylonian Talmudic tractate where the last word is Shimon!

The name for Tractate Makkot, which deals with false witnesses, exile for accidental killers, and lashes, is the same Gematria as my name Shimon (466). Moreover, just as the two middle letters of the name of this tractate Makkot are Kaf and Vav; so too, this tractate begins with the letter Kaf (in the word Keitzad - How) and ends in the Babylonian Talmud for this tractate with the letter Vav (in the word Nechamtanu - You have comforted us). But the connection in my case aside from the name of this tractate being the Gematria of my name in this tractate is also related to my marriage, as the date of my wedding was Kaf Vav Kislev (26 Kislev), and is the ONLY date in the entire Jewish calendar where the date of the month AND the first and last letters of the month are the same - being that the first letter of the month of Kislev is a Kaf and the last letter is a Vav! Hence, as related to BOTH Tractate Makkot AND the date of my wedding, the letters Kaf Vav are mentioned TWICE! To mention, of all the tractates of the Mishna/Talmud, this is the tractate that I study the most, as my Masechet that I am working on memorizing to be labeled my tractate in the world to come (more on this in a future post, G-d willing).

So as you can see here, my name, birthdate, and wedding date are all related to my daughter and her names in one way or another.

But I am not quite finished yet. You see, I want to focus now on the Gematria of my daughter's full Hebrew name - Tamar Tzadika. This carries the same Gematria as the phrase Motzoei Shabbat (849), which literally means "the going out of the Sabbath", for while Shabbat is over, we treat this period of time in our weekly goodbye to the Shabbat. According to Jewish law, first mentioned in the Talmud, we set our dining table after Shabbat even if only to eat a minimal about of bread upon which we recite Bircat HaMazon/Grace of Meals (see Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim Siman 300). Now, the question raised is - how long is this period called Motzoei Shabbat?

There are in fact various views, which affects the time period that we eat the meal of Melave Malka, which literally means "escorting the queen (Queen of Shabbat, an actual spiritual being)" as to how long this time period lasts - one hour, a few hours, until midnight, all night, and even a view that states that the entire first day of the week is termed Motzoei Shabbat. In fact, there are stories in the past of Hasidic Rebbes who hosted their official Melaveh Malka meal during the daytime of Sunday!

As it turned out in my daughter's birth, it was only on Motzoei Shabbat that my wife first realized that she needed to go to the hospital, and while I was with her in the hospital that evening is when I came up with my daughter's Hebrew name, not knowing at the moment that it is the same Gematria as the timing that I thought of it - Motzoei Shabbat! And considering the closeness of the conclusion of the Hebrew date, she was born within the last two or three minutes before sunset of the first day of the week!

Now, there is a custom among many Jews on Motzoei Shabbat to recite various verses of blessings that are scattered throughout the Tanach. Spelling the Hebrew number for the Gematria of my daughter's name - 849 as consecutive letters - Tav, Tav, Mem, Teit, there is one such mention of this number in the entire Chumash, within the midst of one of these verses- "Hashem will open up for you his good treasure house, TO GIVE RAIN to your land in its time, and to bless all the work of your hands..." (Deutronomy 28:12). The Hebrew words in which spells the number 849 is LaTeit Metar "to give rain." I sure hope that the birth of my daughter is a good sign for future good livelihood!

Aside from the regular use of Gematria, there is another popular method of Gematria used known as Atbash, which I wrote about in my previous post #129. So, going through the letters of my daughter's name Tamar Tzadika, I will list here between the commas - the first letter being the actual part of the name and the second letter being the corresponding letter in the Atbash system with the numerical value of the second letter in parenthesis: Tav-Aleph (1), Mem-Yud (10), Reish-Gimel (3), Tzadi-Hei (5), Dalet-Koof (100), Yud-Mem (40), Koof-Dalet (4), Hei-Tzadi (90). The total sum of these numbers is 253, for which the Hebrew number is spelled as Reish, Noon, Gimel. Now, rearranging these letters, this can be spelled as Neir (candle) Gimel (the letter); meaning, the third candle, which can be used in reference to Chanuka. You see, the first night of our marriage was indeed the third night of Chanuka. And it is the normally at nighttime when couples are intimate. So while my wife did not become pregnant for over a year since our wedding, everything has its origins in one way or another. And in another sense, on the third day of Chanuka, we read in the Torah of the offerings that the leader of the Tribe of Zevulun brought. And as we know, it was the Tribe of Zevulun who gave financial support to its brotherly Tribe of Yissachar.
Of course, this comes hand-in-hand with what I mentioned a little earlier about the concept of livelihood as demonstrated through the Gematria of my daughter's name. And as connected with my mother, she was born on 3 Nissan, the actual date that the leader of the Tribe of Zevulun offered his sacrifices.

Now, taking the Atbash method forward one step - applying the Atbash method to the resultant Atbash letters here, applying the formula the same way that I used it in the previous paragraph: Reish-Gimel (3), Noon-Teit (9), Gimel-Reish (200), the total sum of these numbers is 212, the Gematria of the word Rebbe, one of the titles of Rabbi Judah the Prince whose Yahrzeit is my daughter's birthdate! Now, we will apply the Atbash method once more - to the letters of the word Rebbe, like this: Reish-Gimel (3), Beit-Shin (300), Yud-Mem (40). The total sum of these numbers is 343. And the special significance of this number is that this is seven times seven times seven (7*7*7), and bearing in mind of my daughter's birth in this Hebrew year 5772, which is spelled with the letters Hei, Tav, Shin, Ayin, Beit - when the Hei which is used here to represent the unit of thousands making its numerical value as 5000 rather than its regular value of the number five; when we add up the Gematria of these letters considering the letter Hei as its regular numerical value of five, the total Gematria (Hei-5, Tav-400, Shin-300, Ayin-70, Beit-2) is 777! Now, referring to Tikun 48 of the Tikkunei Zohar, it mentions the word Shevi'i (Seventh) three times, quoting from the paragraph about Shabbat that we recite at the Kiddush on Friday night in which this word is mentioned three times, and then shortly after this, this Zohar mentions the words Tzadik Shevi'i, which literally means "righteous one - seventh", which is explained here as meaning that the Sephira (spiritual emanation) Yesod/foundation which is represented by the concept of Tzadik is the seventh Sephira from Bina/understanding. In turn, the word Bina has the same Gematria as the word for number seven - Zayin (67). And getting back to Rebbe, he was the SEVENTH in parental line from Hillel who began the dynasty of Jewish leadership in Israel which lasted for hundreds of years over a period of many generations. Also, the word Shevi'i is related to Seviah/satisfaction as is related to having sufficient financial means, and as we know from the Talmud, Rebbe was both rich in Torah and worldly possessions. Moreover, the word Geshem/rain which consists of the same letters spelling the number 343 in Hebrew that leads to the number seven/satisfaction concept is a synonym of the word Matar which was part of the phrase spelling the numerical value number of my daughter's name. In any case, as we know, when something is mentioned three times, it signifies a strength of the concept, and as we have seen so far in Israel, there has been more rain in this year represented by the triple seven than there has been in the last several years since Hashem became angry with the Israeli government back in 2004 which started making plans to throw the Jews out of Gush Katif.

Now, as I mentioned earlier in this post of the connection of Tamar with the verses of Tehillim corresponding to her names, which are part of the series of psalms composed by Moshe Rabbeinu, the word Tamar of which its corresponding verse mentions Moshe's name, the letters of Tamar's name can begin the words as the phrase Tefillat/Tefillot Moshe Rabbeinu (Prayer(s) of Moses our Teacher) or Torat Moshe Rabbeinu (Teachings of Moses our Teacher), for indeed, it was Moshe to whom Hashem gave the unique privilege of being the one to whom Hashem transmitted the entire Torah to teach the Jewish people. On my end, my father's name is Moshe, and my second name Matisyahu that I added a few years ago is the same Gematria as the combined names of Moshe Rabbeinu's two sons Gershom and Eliezer (861).

As I had mentioned in a previous post, the Chatam Sofer (Rabbi Moshe Sofer) notes about the Gemara that mentions the hint of Moshe Rabbeinu in the Torah as the word B'Shagam, that the hint is particularly the Gematria of the letters of this word without the Beit - 343 (rather than 345 which is the Gematria of Moshe's name), as this relates to the sun to which Moshe is compared which in the future will be 343 times stronger in heat than it is now, learning it from the word in Tanach in the verse about the sun's future strength as Shivatayim, a wording of seven which suggests a multiple use of this number, which means not just seven times seven, but taking this a step further as seven times seven times seven. In any case, these same letters which hint to Moshe Rabbeinu are the very Atbash letters for the title of Rabbi Judah the Prince - Rebbe!

So, this leads us to Pirkei Avot/Ethics of the Fathers where the beginning word of its first chapter is Moshe, where it states Moshe Kibel Torah M'Sinai "Moses received the Torah from Mt. Sinai" and the beginning word of its second chapter is Rebbe, the compiler of the Mishna! It's indeed interesting to mention Pirkei Avot in reference to the birth of my daughter, because as we know, females do not have the Mitzva of learning Torah like males do being that they are exempt from many Mitzvot/commandments of the Torah in order that they can raise our Jewish children properly without hindrances. However, women still need to learn the parts of the Torah that will teach them the laws that they need to observe - which includes all the laws of Shabbat, keeping Kosher, and family purity. For this, they do not need to learn Mishna or Gemara like men do, as this part of the Torah involves the process of how we arrive at the laws, but the women just need to learn what the actual Halacha/Jewish law is. Additionally, especially nowadays with the Beis Yaakov movement when Jewish girls learn in Yeshiva as well, howbeit with a different schedule of Torah learning than it is for meaning, many if not most of them learn Pirkei Avot - the one tractate in the Mishna which is full of Jewish ethics (Mussar) rather than the halachic parts or issues that comprise the rest of the Mishnayot. And so, while my child may not be a male who would be obligated to learn the whole Torah, which most definitely includes the Mishnayot, there is no doubt a special connection between females and Pirkei Avot, especially my daughter who was born on the Yahrzeit of Rebbe who not only was the compiler of the Mishnayot, but has special mention in Pirkei Avot, beginning the second chapter.

Now, I want to devote my following post to the Mishna from Pirkei Avot that I am about to quote from a bit. But for Gematria purposes as related to this post, I will quote the beginning of what Rebbe says here. This chapter begins "Rabbi says: What is the STRAIGHT way that a person should choose for oneself?" Now, the Hebrew word for straight is Yeshara. And indeed, the Gematria of Yeshara is 515, just as my daughter was born in the midst of the 515th month from my birth! And then in the very next Mishna, there is a quote from Rebbe's son Rabban Gamliel, starting off like this "Rabban Gamliel the son of Rabbi Judah the Prince says "Beautiful is the study of Torah with a livelihood." Now, the phrase used for livelihood in this instance is Derech Eretz, which literally means "way of the earth." And indeed, this phrase Derech Eretz is also the Gematia of 515!

Another part of the Mishna which is important to mention is that the last Mishna of Tractate Megilla mentions Tamar as referring to Tamar of the Chumash (there is more than one Tamar in the Tanach), where it mentions that "we read and translate the story of Tamar." But, this will also be part of my next post, which will be sort of a continuation of this post, but in this post, I wanted to focus on things that are related in Gematria to my daughter's birth and name.

Nearly in conclusion, I want to note that the Parsha of the week in which my daughter was born - Parshat Vayeishev, is the NINTH Parsha of the Torah, which is always read in the NINTH month (Kislev) of the Jewish calendar in which we begin counting them months from Nissan. And this is in this Hebrew year 5772 using the letters Hei, Tav, Shin, Ayin, Beit. When rearranged, these letters spell the word B'Tisha "with NINE" or B'HaTeisha "with the NINE." Noting my daugher's name Tamar Tzadika, its Gematria (849) ends with the number NINE. And counting the Sefirot starting from the first Sephira Keter/Crown, Yesod/foundation as connected to the concept of Tzadik is the NINTH Sephira. And as related to myself, the corresponding Tribe and Letter for the month of Av is the Tribe of Shimon and the letter Teit (=NINE). Not all so surprising - my daughter, unlike the average baby, was born in the NINTH month of my wife's pregnancy.

And in connection with the Mishna compiled by Rebbe whose Yahrzeit is my daughter's birthdate, its first tractate Berachot (Blessings) consists of NINE chapters. And it is at the very end of this tractate that quotes the verse Eit La'asot L'Hashem Hefeiru Torateicha "It's a time to act for Hashem, they annulled your Torah" (Psalms 119:126), the very verse from which Rebbe learned that it was time to write down the Mishna due to the increasing troubles of the Jewish people, which was not permitted to be done until this point in time. As can be seen in Gematria, the first word of the verse is Eit (time) which is the same Gematria as the word Tanach/Bible (470). The next word in this verse is La'asot (to act) which is the Gematria of the word Mishnayot (806). The word after this is L'Hashem, showing that just as the Tanach was previously written down in accordance with what Hashem wanted, the Mishnayot was henceforth permitted to be written down, for the same purpose of learning Hashem's Torah via what would be written.

The Vilna Gaon states that the Books of the Chumash correspond to the 6,000 years of the world's slated existance. Now, the question can be asked - there are only five books of the Chumash, so where is the accountability of one of the milleniums? But the Vilna Gaon tells us that the story of Creation (Genesis 1:1-2:3) is considered in a way as one Book, so in essence, the first book of Bereishit/Genesis corresponds to the first two milleniums. Also as we know, each of the six milleniums correspond to another one of the days of the week. With this said, my daughter was born at the very end of the first day of the week which corresponds to the first millenium, corresponding to which is the story of Creation. And the LAST word of the story of Creation is La'asot, which as we just mentioned in the previous paragraph, has the same Gematria as Mishnayot (806)!

And indeed, my daughter born at the end of this first day of the week was born at virtually the end of the date of the Yahrzeit of Rebbe - 15 Kislev, the compiler of the Mishnayot. And in today's calendar, this date can fall out on any of the six workday weeks - except for Shabbat. And Kabbalistically, the six volumes of the Mishna correspond to the six days of the week. With this said, Seder Zeraim (seeds), the first of the six volumes, corresponds to the first day of the week, and so per the timing of my daughter's birth, the corresponding Mishna is the last one of this volume, the conclusion of its final tractate Bikkurim (first fruits). And as we know, the first fruits were the Shiva HaMinim/Seven Species of Israel which includes the Tamar/date(s), my daughter's first name, and she was born as our FIRST born! And traditionally, the Bikkurim were first were able to be offered to the Cohen in the Beit HaMikdash on Shavuot, which is Zman Matan Torateinu "the time of the Giving of the Torah", and the word Matan in this phrase is the same Gematria as the initials of my daughter's name - Tav, Tzadi (490)! And being the firstborn, the first letter of Tamar's name - Tav is the same numerical value (400) as my wife's name Yael Miriam. Indeed, like mother - like daughter.

In conclusion, noting the time of this post - 6:13AM, aside from the fact that there are Taryag Mitzvot/613 Commandments of the Torah, which is first mentioned in the Talmudic tractate Makkot, whose name is the Gematria of my name Shimon (466), the writing of Torah which includes the Oral Torah nowadays, which begin with writing down of the Mishna, is related to the 613th and FINAL Mitzva of the Torah - the writing of a Sefer Torah. And indeed, Moshe Rabbeinu - whose title of Moshe Rabbeinu is the Gematria of 613 - wrote 13 Torah Scrolls on the day of his passing (a major miraculous feat). Also, there is a tradition that before Rashi writing his commentary on the Chumash, he fasted 613 times in preparation for this most important work since the days of the Talmud being written down.

In another connection to myself regarding the 613 Mitzvot, there were exactly 613 days from the marriage of my parents until (but not including) the day of my birth, and then I had seven days of living until the day of my Brit Mila/circumcision on my eighth day. And as we know, there are what are called the Sheva Mitzvot D'Rabbanan, the seven "commandments" of the rabbis. Indeed, our rabbis tell us that the reason that the baby boy needs a week waiting period until the Brit is in order that he will absorb the holiness of one Shabbat as preparation for the Brit. In a similar vain, so to speak, I had 613 days of preparation for my birth corresponding to the Taryag Mitzvot, and seven days of living since birth corresponding to the seven Mitzvot D'Rabbanan. And connecting the birthdate of my daughter to the Mishna as per the above, our rabbis tell us in the Talmud (Berachot 5a) that when the verse states that Hashem tells Moshe that "I will give you the Tablets of Stone, the Torah, the Mitzva", Mitzva refers to the Mishna. And so, my daughter, just like me, is also very related to the number 613.
But in my daughter's case, there is one more special connection to the number 613. You see, she was born at the end of Yom Rishon - first day, meaning the first day of the week, and the phrase Yom Rishon is the Gematria of 613. And as per the 613rd and final Mitzva of the Torah, which is writing a Sefer Torah (see my previous post #129 where I mentioned that nowadays, this Mitzva can be fulfilled by buying the Tanach, Mishna, Gemara, and learning them), the very end of the day of its 1440 minutes (if we start the count from sunset at the end of Shabbat) which was at least two minutes and so many seconds, can be said to correspond to this final Mitzva of the Torah, reminding us of the Mishna, the first piece of the part of the Torah previously forbidden to be written down, which was written by Rebbe.

See you soon in my next post...

21 Tevet 5772, Birthdate of Shimon son of Jacob & Leah