Sunday, February 19, 2012

#132 - Are we in Hashem's Holy House or in a Club?

Today, we begin the week of Parshat Terumah, the Parsha in which the construction of the Mishkan/Tabernacle is described in detail. While Jews whose observance of Judaism is very minimal, and looking at this Parsha, will wonder how reading this Parsha is relevant in our lives when we no longer have the Mishkan or Beit HaMikdash/Temple for that matter, reading all the numbered measurements, not understanding how this is relevant in their lives, a Jew who learns Torah understands that first of all, everything in the Torah is somehow relevant in our lives; and even if we don't understand how it does, we know for a fact that the Mitzva of learning Torah alone is the greatest Mitzva, but between Rashi, the Talmud, the Midrash, the Zohar, etc., one cannot help but see that we have plenty to learn from Parshiyot such as this one.

I will get back to this topic a little later on in this post. But first, I want to mention something in the way of Gematriot that I was well able to relate to, especially this year.

As an introduction, these past six weeks, the weeks of the Parshiyot Shemot through Mishpatim, are known in Kabbalistic circles as the weeks of Shovavim, this word being the acronym of the first letters of the names of these six Parshiyot - Shemot (Shin), Va'era (Vav), Bo (Beit/Veit), Beshalach (Beit/Veit), Yitro (Yud), Mishpatim (Mem). Now mind you, the word Shovavim isn't just a word as an acronym of these Parshiyot - this is an actual word that you will find mentioned three times in the entire Tanach/Bible, particularly in Sefer Yirmiyah/Book of Jeremiah (3:14,3:22,50:6), which means wayward or faithless, in the context referring to the Jewish people who were well misbehaved in the times of Jeremiah, who was the prophet that announced and was around for the destruction of the first Beit HaMikdash. The particular place in Jeremiah which is quoted as per the weeks of Shovavim is where it states "Return, O wayward sons, I (Hashem) will heal your waywardness..." (3:22). While it hardly did any good in Jeremiah's days, the Tanach, especially the prophecies of the Tanach, are no less relevant in our days, both in the way of learning how to be better Jews and in terms of the prophecies that were stated then are prophecies for the End of Days, which has already begun with the present war of Gog U'Magog, which I have mentioned before in this Gematriot blogspot.

This is all very nice you may note, though the word Shovavim is a negative connotation, and in fact, may be of a wonder to some, being that some of the greatest accomplishments of the Jewish people took place in these Parshiyot - the Exodus and the Giving of the Torah. But when we start reading the beginning of Parshat Shemot, we see that it didn't take long for the Jews to become slaves, which didn't involve just physical slavery, but also was a spiritual slavery. In fact, the spiritual slavery began before the actual physical hard work, because the Jews to begin with, aside from the Tribe of Levi who were always involved with learning Torah and hence never became slaves to Pharaoh, were looking more or less to be part of the cultural Egyptian society. This mistake cost them 116 years, and it was only thanks to Hashem's graciousness that He freed them as early as He did, for technically, they were really supposed to be slaves for 400 years according to the literal Divine decree.

In our own lives, we also experience the slavery of Mitzrayim, as we read this word as Meitzarim, the same word but just with different Hebrew vowels, which means straits or limitations. When we don't live our spiritual lives properly, as we let distractions get in the way, we are indeed enslaves to our base desires and temptations. And as the Kabbalists note pertaining to these six weeks of Shovavim, this is especially an opportune time to repent especially of our sins that are related to sexual immorality, not only in deed, but also in speech and even - and especially - thought, for it is the thought that brings us to do either good or evil to begin with. And hence, it is only when we take the step of our own personal Exodus from our spiritual slavery, and make a concerted effort to do better, it is then and only then that we are truly accepting the Torah on ourselves, though we in fact did accept the Torah thousands of years ago (even the souls of those who weren't born yet were present at the Giving of the Torah).

There have been many Gematriot noted in relationship to this whole Shovavim period. However, a few key ones will highlight the points that I want to make today.

To first note, in Jewish leap years, the "Shovavim" weeks are extended for two more weeks. What I mean by this is that although the entire year is a time of repentance at any time that we want to seriously repent of any and all sins that we may have committed, though the Ten Days of Repentance beginning with Rosh Hashanah and ending with Yom Kippur is the most important time because this is the period that we are judged in, these Shovavim weeks are practical to people who also fast, give extra charity, learn extra Torah, etc. Now while I don't quite get the extra two weeks in terms of being a leap year, for if Shovavim is the acronym for the Parshiyot of six weeks, then this is the way it should be for every year. In any case, since this year was not a leap year, the total amount of days in this auspicious period were 42 days.

With this said, the Shovavim period of this year was in my 42nd year of life. And so, there is something that I have to offer to the table here. You see, to begin with, the very first word of Parshat Shemot, the word that precedes the word Shemot, is V'Eileh ("these"), which is the Gematria of 42. Moreover, the first word of the last of these six Parshiyot - Parshat Mishpatim, which precedes the word HaMishpatim, is also V'Eileh. As especially pertaining to yesterday, Shabbat Parshat Mishpatim, the 42nd and final day of this Shovavim period, the Torah reading began with the word V'Eileh which is the Gematria of 42.

Perhaps one lesson that we can learn from here is that regardless of what point in our lives we decide to do the right thing and get rid our desire for sins that only hold us back spiritually, which could be something eternal if they don't repent, even if it is late in our short and fleeting lives, as long as we can still breathe and are conscious, we can still repent. Each and every day of this 42 day period is not only part of one set of time, but each and every day of this period has its own unique qualities as part of this period of time, and so even the last day of this period if one hasn't done anything sooner, especially with the holiness of Shabbat, can be a springboard for one to resolve to repent.

Now, in earlier times, the typical expression of repenting of certain sins, especially for sins related to sexual immmorality, was fasting. According to Kabbalah, one needs to fast 84 times for each such sin committed. However, in the more recent generations when our strength isn't the way it was for people at one time, fasting in the sense of not eating can be more spiritually harmful than helpful, for if one doesn't have the strength that one has on regular days from eating, then one may be lax in doing Mitzvot/commandments, or not doing them so well or properly, including learning Torah. Around a hundred years ago, a Sephardic rabbi instituted what is called Ta'anit Dibur, fasting through speech, that is, not talking anything mundane other than words of Torah. In fact, there are booklets of various prayers and Torah passages to be recited when a Ta'anit Dibur is observed, in repentance for one's sins, aside from the positive benefit of holding back from saying Lashon Hara/slander or Rechilut/gossip, among the worst of sins. Other forms of atonement in lieu of not eating is giving extra Tzadaka/charity, and of course Limud HaTorah, learning Torah, especially when one learns the parts of Torah that help one quick his bad spiritual habits, being made to realize that this world is a temporary place, and whatever one accomplishes spiritually good is what he takes with him forever, and nothing else.

More on this last point shortly, but I do want to point out to an amazing find in relationship to Shovavim that I discovered in the Hidden Codes of the Torah. Spelling the word Shovavim equidistantly in the Chumash, the SHORTEST spelling of this word in the Chumash is in the first Aliyah of Parshat Shemot, which is customarily learned on the first day of this week (Exodus 1:11-14), every 29th letter being spelled to form this word (spelled in reverse). Taking a closer look, these are THE VERY VERSES DESCRIBING THE DETAILS OF THE HARD BREAKING WORK OF THE JEWS' EGYPTIAN SLAVERY! Hence, the message of Shovavim is loud and clear for all to hear - and see. For in fact, the Torah is telling us that the Egyptian slavery that the Jews endured is a hint to the spiritual slavery that we find ourselves in, and so right from the first day, as soon as we realize this message, we need to immediately start internalizing it, because after all, we never know what day will be our last in this earth, and then, all the excuses in the world won't help upstairs if we didn't even begin to do something towards the righteous path.

In terms of the shortest equidistant spelling of the word Shovavim in all of the Tanach, we see that this occurs in Psalms 97, verses 6-8 (also spelled in reverse), being spelled every 14th letter. As we know from a Midrash, the Psalms 90-100 were composed by Moses, each psalm in honor of one of the tribes. Psalm 97 corresponds to the Tribe of Joseph. And as we know about Joseph himself, he avoided a major sexual temptation, and hence, earned the title of HaTzadik - The Righteous, as a result of this. Coincidence?

Now, getting back to learning of Torah that can have an influence on us to better our ways; while in fact, ALL parts of the Torah is supposed to influence us in some way to better our spiritual lives, whether it is Chumash with Rashi, the Tanach, the Talmud, Halacha - Jewish law in which we learn how we observe the Mitzvot the proper way, etc., the part of the Torah that teaches us how to live our Jewish lives spiritually, more than just mere ritual, but getting rid of our bad habits, and working on acquiring good habits, realizing that this world is temporary, that we can be either lower than animals or higher than angels depending on our actions, and that we have to realize that we have to live with the realization that there is another world, which is eternal, where we will live according to our actions in this world, is called MUSSAR. This is often translated as ethical instruction or chastisement.

In the entire Chumash, this word Mussar appears exactly one time "the Mussar (chastisement) of Hashem your G-d" (Deutronomy 11:2). In the entire Tanach, Sefer Mishlei/Book of Proverbs mentions this word some 30 times, more than all of the other books of the Tanach, for indeed, this book, a composition of the wisest of all men - King Solomon, makes us aware of the futility of life, instructing us on how to better ourselves, in effect, is the first Mussar Sefer in existance. Since then, many are what called Mussar Seforim (Mussar books) have been written.

This concept of Mussar is especially relevant to this Shovavim period. But more than just this, I want to point out to a Gematria find that I found in Parshat Mishpatim. But first, I want to note that this year, Shabbat Parshat Mishpatim, the last day of the Shovavim period, fell out on the Yahrzeit of Rabbi Yisroel (Lipkin) Salanter - 25 Shevat(5643/1883), founder of the Mussar movement, who emphasized the study of Mussar in Yeshivot whose primary learning was the study of the Talmud. However, while all parts of the Torah help us become better Jews, Rabbi Salanter realized that without the study of Mussar, one could study the Talmud merely as an intellectual exercise without thinking of the ultimate purpose of learning Torah as the Torah of Hashem, rather than some findings as of some professor or scientist. In fact, he said that it is easier to master the entire Talmud than changing one character trait.

With this said, let's turn to the seventh Aliyah of Parshat Mishpatim, which many learn on Shabbat as the seventh day of the week. Now, while Matan Torah/Giving of the Torah, took place in the previous Parsha of Parshat Yitro, the end of Parshat Mishpatim relates some more details surrounding this period of time. The day before the Torah was given, it mentions at one point that "He (Moses) took the Sefer HaBrit (Book of the Covenant) and he read it for the nation to hear, who declared (after hearing this) "All that Hashem has spoken, we will do and we will hear"" (Exodus 24:7). While various rabbis and commentators debate as to exactly what this Sefer HaBrit consisted of, the fact that this book was called "The Covenant", the same wording as used not only for the Torah, but also for the Brit Milah/circumcision, highlights the point that in fact, one of the requirements that the Jews needed before the giving of the Torah was circumcision, just as a non-Jew who converts to Judaism goes through circumcision as one of the ways of becoming officially Jewish.

Along the lines of repenting of sexual sins is the concept brought of Shemirat HaBrit "Watching the Covenant"; for while the beginning of this process is circumcision which curbs a bit of the sexual desire, this is done to us when are only eight days old. However, our life long job is to maintain our level of purity and go even higher, instead of doing things that will contaminate the spirituality as related to our sexual organ which, aside from our restroom needs, is supposed to be used solely for being with one's mate primarily for the purpose of having children. Aside from this, satisfying our sexual lust in other ways are strictly forbidden, however tempting it may be. However, even for those who have sinned in these matters, there is also room for repentance, not only in making the change for oneself, but to spread this awareness to others to counter effect, and at times, to convert to good, the spiritual damage caused by such sins.

So, in terms of Mussar and the Brit, the word HaBrit "The Covenant", has the same Gematria (617) as one of the Mussar Seforim that is called Sheivet Mussar (Rod of Mussar), authored by Rabbi Eliyahu HaCohen. And believe it or not, this author's name and title Eliyahu HaCohen is the Gematria of the number of this post - 132! As far the name of this Sefer, this is a phrase that appears once in the entire Tanach - in the Biblical Book of Mussar - Sefer Mishlei (Proverbs 22:15). In fact, the Sefer "Sheivet Mussar" mentions this verse in Proverbs once in his Sefer, so let me quote here the paragraph in this Sefer that quotes this verse from which he derived the name of this Sefer, which will also, by the way, give you a taste of what this Sefer is like:

"Some say that one's evil nature rules; and hence, Mussar won't do any good for a person! However, this is nothing short of vain words and falsehood. Addressing this very issue, King Solomon, may peace be upon him, stated (Proverbs 22:15): "Foolishness is tied up in the heart of a lad, but the ROD OF CHASTISEMENT will keep it far from him". This means to say that even though this evil nature (of foolishness) is tied up in the heart of a lad; nevertheless, all it takes is a little rod of chastisement to keep it far from him. It is also mentioned (earlier in the same chapter in Proverbs 22:6): "Educate/Train a lad by his way, for even when he gets old, this education/training will not depart from him". Similarly, we see many places in Proverbs where King Solomon warns about chastisement of children. If so, what we see that it is habit that is the ultimate thing that controls a person - not nature. For if one will not be trained with awe of authority and chastisement when young, then even when he grows up (physically, but not necessarily with maturity or spirituality), he won't grant awe and honor either to his Father in Heaven, or to his parents, so how will he merit length of days (Note: this could possibly refer to both in this world and the next)" (Shevet Mussar 17:4)

Anyways, we see that with the word Sheivet, aside from the Hebrew vowels, it is the same word as the name of this month Shevat in which we always read Parshat Mishpatim, the conclusion of this Shovavim period (in a non-leap year such as this one), the month in which the founder of the Mussar movement passed away. And so, perhaps the Torah is hinting to this very Sefer via Gematria when it mentions the Sefer HaBrit.

Another point as related to the Gematria of the name of this Sefer relates to the dual parts of human beings - man and woman, which in Hebrew is Ish & Isha. As it turns out, these two Hebrew words, which are related to each other as we see in Genesis Chapter when Adam's wife Eve was created from his rib, are the respective Gematriot of the two words of the name of this Sefer: Sheivet-Ish (311) & Mussar-Isha (306). But perhaps what is even more amazing is that these two words Ish-Isha are written as consecutive words exactly three times in the entire Tanach - and of all places, in Parshat Ki Teitze, the Parsha with the most Mitzvot of the Torah - 74, which mentions various Mitzvot as related to marriage. Additionally, Parshat Ki Teitze is the 49th Parsha of the Torah, and the day that Moses read the Sefer HaBrit, whose phrase is the Gematria of the Ish-Isha wording, took place on the 49th day of the original Sephira count of the Jewish people following the Exodus (the date of 5 Sivan)! And what is so special about this number 49? It is the square root of the number seven. Accordingly, just as the Jewish people counted seven weeks following the Exodus in their preparation of receiving the Torah when they went to the Mikva (ritual bath) right before the Torah was given in their final purification process, so too does a Niddah (menstruant woman) following the days that she is bleeding, count afterwards seven clean days, following which she goes to the Mikva to be pure once again for her husband, resuming the full Ish-Isha relationship.

In terms of repenting of sexual sins and attaining sexual purity in the terms of Shmirat HaBrit - watching of the Holy Covenant, the Brit Mila, and Shmirat Einayim - watching of the eyes from seeing things that tempt us to sin, the only permitted type of sexual activity is between the Ish & Isha, who are called particularly with these wordings for man & woman rather than other terms in Hebrew, because it is these terms specifically that refer to the husband and wife, as we see with the first marriage of the first couple in the world - Adam & Eve.

We see that the Mitzva of learning/teaching Torah comes from the phrase of V'Shinantam L'Vaneich V'Dibarta Bam "You shall teach them diligently to your childen and you shall speak of them", where the word Bam (of them) consists of the letters that spell the number 42 in Hebrew. And so, it is this last day of the Shovavim period, the 42nd day, on which Parshat Mishpatim ends about some of the details pertaining to the Giving of the Torah when we mention this Sefer HaBrit and the famous declaration that the Jews made with their official acceptance of the Torah "Na'aseh V'Nishma" - We will do and we will hear (Note: The word V'Nishma "we will hear" has the same letters as my first name Shimon), that especially relates to the Mitzva of Torah learning. In fact, the word Shovavim itself is the Gematria of the acronym Shas (360), which are the letters for Shisha Sedarim, the Six Orders (of the Mishna) which is used primarily in reference of the Talmud, which includes the Gemara. Moreover, on Shabbat Mishpatim of this year, we especially read for the Maftir, the section of the Torah called Shekalim (Exodus 30:11-16) referring to the half-Shekel that every Jew gave for the needs of the Mishkan, which is always read on Shabbat Mishpatim in a non-leap year except when Rosh Chodesh Adar falls out on Shabbat when we read this special section then after the Torah reading of Parshat Terumah. And as we know, Torah study in this world survives thanks to the generous donation of other's monies. Accordingly, the word Shekalim is the same Gematria as the word Talmud (480).

Now, aside from the fact that the Shovavim period is now over, though it is never too late to repent as long as we are still breathing and conscious in this world, you may ask, "This is all very nice. But, what does it have to do with the title of this post?

For this, let's take a look at the first Rashi of last week's Parshat Mishpatim: Wherever in the Torah - it states the word Eileh "These" without the prefix Vav (which literally means "and"), it doesn't relate to the previous subject just mentioned. V'Eileh "And these" on the other hand, adds to the previous subject, telling us in this instance that just as the Mitzvot from the end of the previous Parsha - Parshat Yitro - was given to Moses on Mt. Sinai, so are these Mitzvot that will be stated here. More particularly, why are the laws of justice in this Parsha placed next to the laws of an altar in the previous Parsha? To tell us that the Sanhedrin (the Supreme Court of Justice) is located on the Temple grounds".

So as we see, there is an intrinsic connection between the Temple and Torah learning, as indeed, the verse tells us "for from Zion will Torah will go out forth, and the word of Hashem from Jerusalem" (Isaiah, 2:3; Micah 4:2). And as far as atonement of sins is concerned, we see that both Torah learning and the Temple were in the forefront of this. Torah learning: When the sons of Eli the High Priest were misbehaving with the Divine Service in the Tabernacle, Hashem announced that never again would they or their descendants be atoned for through the sacrifices that they so despised, using them for their own pleasure of eating rather than follow the Jewish laws carefully pertaining to the meat of these sacrifices. However, the rabbis learn out from this that they can be atoned for through Torah learning. The Temple: We see in the Passover Hagada in the list of favors that Hashem did for us from time of the Exodus, the final one of the 15 is the Temple "to atone for our sins".

Getting back to our Parsha which is about the details of the building of the Mishkan, the verse states "You shall make for Me a Sanctuary so I can live within them" (Exodus 25:8). Question: What does the verse mean by the word "them"? Is the Sanctuary a plural type of building that this is referred to as "them"? Or, perhaps the Torah is referring to something else that means "them"? And to the rescue, the Midrash states that Hashem will live "within the midst of each and every Jew". Yes, we may have the physical Sanctuary, as nowadays, our synagogues and study days have the classification of being called a mini-Sanctuary (Tabernacle, Temple) "Mikdash Me'at", but the ultimate place of Hashem's holiness has to be felt within each and everyone of ourselves. To illustrate this a bit, once the Ba'al Shem Tov, among his many journeys with his disciples, chanced upon a big synagogue smack in the midst of a town. However, though it was time to pray, the Ba'al Shem Tov would not step foot in it. (Nowadays, this may happen with some "Orthodox" Jewish rabbis who won't pray in a Conservative or Reform "temple" being that their structure and basis of their existence is based on going against Jewish tradition and laws). So of course his disciples asked him why we wouldn't enter this big synagogue. The Ba'al Shem Tov replied: "It is full of prayers that never made it upstairs as they were not proper prayers".

Now, a Jew who learns Halacha/Jewish Law, will know that there are several qualifications for both preparedness for prayers and the prayers themselves. Needless to say, or rather, we need to say, that if we are talking to the King of Kings, we should be well aware of what we are saying to him when we pray - to both understand and thinking of what we are saying to Him, and not speaking as robots without any feeling or meaning of these words just because they happened to be the words presented in the Siddur/prayer book. Of course, as human nature may seem to dictate, we don't always get it all right, and we let ourselves get distracted from various factors in life, thinking of what's going around us. However, along the lines that I mentioned a little earlier about habit vs. nature in training youth to follow the right way, we can hope that eventually, we will get it right for the most part, but it starts with the belief that we can make the change if we sincerely believe that it is possible. While we may not have full concentration on our prayers 100% of the time, certainly some of the time is better than none of the time.

In terms of communal prayer in a house of worship, there are very strict rules about not talking - especially in the midst of these prayers. While occasionally, we may forget ourselves for a moment, especially when we see a good friend of ours enters the synagogue, whom we haven't seen in a while; blatant talking to another not only is sinning oneself, but is causing the one to whom he is talking to also sin by causing him to talk, as well as distract other worshipers who are attempting to hear the cantor or Torah reading, when at times, certain holy words such as Amen, Yehei Shemei Rabba, etc, are recited. Rabbi Yosef Karo, author of the Shulchan Aruch (Code of Jewish Law) states outright (Orach Chaim Siman 127) about such a person who has total disregard of Hashem's house of worship "his sin is greater than can be borne, and we shout at him to stop". Now normally, it is forbidden to shame a Jew in public, even if he committed a sin such as eating non-kosher, and need to be approached rather in a way that won't be embarrassing to him so long as he doesn't show to be openly mocking the Torah. However, someone who talks freely as if in a social bar or club openly mocks the Torah, having the great Chutzpa to be behaving the way as he is in Hashem's Holy House in public preventing not only himself from being attentive to the prayers or Torah reading (which is in effect Hashem speaking to us), but preventing one or more people from doing the same. And along these lines, the Chofetz Chaim notes that quite often, these types of conversations are not merely just any words, but words that are the greatest of sins - slander and gossip about other Jews, in which each and every word is anothe sin, or rather, consists sometimes of many sins (up to 31 sins! - See the beginning of the Sefer Chofetz Chaim). And so, the ultimate Chutzpa of such a guy causing not only himself, but at least one other Jew with speaking and hearing conversation in the midst of prayers that are often filled with slander on the holy Shabbat; indeed, there is no end of Gehinom/Hell for such a person. Of course the guy didn't just murder someone, but in certain ways, he is even worse than a murderer who just took someone else's physical life; for causing others to sin, murdering someone spiritually is EVEN WORSE than murdering someone only phsyically.

Many years back in South Florida, I was the Torah reader for a synagogue that was called the "California Club Shul", for although this was in Florida, the area in which this Shul was located was called California Club. I'll never forget the time that an elderly cantor who performed services for this Shul during the High Holidays commented that we should change the "numen" (means name in Yiddish) of the Shul, for it is not proper that such a place should be called a club. Don't know how aware he was of the reason why this Shul was named as such, but certainly, better that a Shul that is named "Club" where there is respect for a Shul, then a Shul with some "heilige numen" (holy name) in which big "Machers", the ones who support the Shul with their big money feel that because of their financial status, it is OK for them to say what they want and when, since after all, so one will "dare tell them" to keep quiet during the prayers. Very unfortunately, this is what happens in some synagogues, but in Hashem's eyes, it is the simple Jews, the ones who care about Halacha who have respect for a Shul, who while they don't have a whole lot of money to give to help support Hashem's Holy House, their respect for the Shul means MILLIONS OF TIMES MORE to Hashem than the easy money that these Machers throw for the Shul's upkeep and the herring Kiddush at which they stuff their faces and speak freely about other Jews who aren't of their financial standing.

Interestingly, the word CLUB in Hebrew can be technically spelled as Koof, Lamed, Beit, the very number in Hebrew for the number of this post - 132! In fact, this was the very spelling of this word on the Sefer Torah cover for the first Sefer Torah that was donated to the California Club Shul. In another use of this number, some recite the following verse as the first thing that they recite as they enter a synagogue "How goodly are your tents, O Jacob, your dwelling places, O Israel" which are rabbis say refer to the synagogues and the study halls. But what is ironic is that this verse was recited by none other than the evil Bilam, who sought to curse the Jews; but instead, found himself blessing the Jews, as Hashem directed his mouth. And this takes place in Parshat Balak, a Parsha that is named after Balak, the Moabite king who hated the Jews so much, that he hired Bilam to curse them. Anyways, the name Balak, when spelled backwards in Hebrew, also spells the number 132! Perhaps Hashem is hinting to us that the synagogue and places where Torah is learned are supposed to be just the opposite of what a club represents which is total looseness of oneself, laughing and mocking of others. In short, it has to be one or the other - you can't have your cake and eat it too, not if you want to treat a house of prayer and Torah learning as a holy place, for there is nothing holy or spiritual about the behavior of a "club" type of life.

But this is not the end of Balak. You see, he had a descendant named Ruth who converted to Judaism, whose story is the Book of Ruth, the shortest of the 24 books of the Tanach, and her great grandson was Dovid HaMelech/King David. And of the 150 psalms of Tehillim/Psalms under his authorship, what is Psalm 132? It is one of the few psalms in Tehillim that show his unique relationship with Hashem, including his quest for finding Hashem's House and resting place, which of course refers to the future Temple that he sought to build. As it turns out, it was meant for his son Shlomo HaMelech/King Solomon to be the one under whose kingship it would be built, but we see that credit is still given to King David for being the one responsible for the building of the Temple, since after all, it was him and Shmuel HaNovi/Samuel the Prophet who together discovered exactly where the Torah wanted the Temple to be built. To note, this psalm is the longest of the 15 Song of Ascents (Psalms 120-134).

Now, on a personal note before I conclude this post, being that my daughter whose Hebrew name Tamar Tzadika was born just like a couple months ago, I have been using the Hidden Codes of the Torah to see about any hints regarding her or her name. Knowing that the name Tamar in Hebrew which consists of only three letters, can be spelled equidistantly tens of thousands of times, I figured that I would play a bit with her second name Tzadika which consists of five Hebrew letters, and additionally, the letters Tzadi, Dalet, and Koof are among the lesser used letters in the Torah; hence, zeroing on a possible place in the Torah where an equidistant spelling of this name can be found. In fact, it can't be found even as a consecutive letter spelling in the entire Chumash. So, using the Chumash, I found an amazing discovery.

I looked for the least spelled equidistant spelling of this name. And where is this? In the seventh Aliyah of Parshat Mishpatim (in verses 6-12 of Exodus Chapter 24), the major subject of this post in relationship to the 42nd and last day of the Shovavim period! In my case, my daughter Tamar Tzadika was born in my 42nd year. Is this coincidence? Certainly my daughter's name is not, and the proof is that the one thing that people have Ruach HaKodesh/Divine Inspiration for nowadays, as our rabbis tell us, is for naming their children. But wait, this is not all. Her name Tzadika spelled equidistantly in the least amount of letters is spelled every 81st letter. And mentioning a little earlier here about square roots, the square root of 81 is nine. And Yesod/Foundation, the ninth Sephira of the 10 Sephirot, represents sexual purity as well as the righteous person/Tzadik, and the feminine form of this word is Tzadika! This is found in the very section of the Torah which speaks of the final preparations that the Jews made in their readiness of receiving the Torah, representing the concept of being Tahor/pure, and the sixth and final volume of the Mishnayot is called Taharot/Purities, which corresponds to Yesod as the sixth of the active Sephirot. Speaking of which, within the midst of these verses, read what it says (verse 10) - K'Ma'asei Livnat HaSapir U'Chetzem HaShamayim LaTohar "like the work of a sapphire brick and like the purity of the midst of the sky", the description of what the elite of the Jewish people saw when they were starting to ascend Mt. Sinai with Moses. As we see in the Hebrew, the words Sapir and Tohar are very similar to the words Sephira/Sephirot and Tahor/Teharot.

However, this would not be complete without noting the following in relationship to this. The letter Tzadi of the name in the equidistant spelling is found in the very verse in which the various parts of the Torah that Hashem says that He will give to Moses, is mentioned (see Talmud Berachot 5a). The letter Tzadi is found particularly in the word V'HaMitzva "and the Commandment", which our rabbis tell us refers to the Mishna, noting that my daughter Tamar Tzadika was born on 15 Kislev, the Yahrzeit of Rebbe, the compiler of the six orders of the Mishna! (Note, the Mishna that Hashem gave over to Moses was not allowed to be written down but only to be passed orally from one generation to the next. It was only in Rebbe's time when he feared what would happen to Torah learning with the suffering of the Jewish people, that based on a verse, knew that it was the correct thing to write down the teachings of the Mishna at that point and time to prevent the Torah from being forgotten).

And as connected with the following Parsha, which is called Parshat Terumah, my daughter's first name Tamar are all in the name of the Parsha of this week, immediately following the end of Parshat Mishpatim with the closest equidistant spelling of my daughter's second Hebrew name Tzadika. Coincidence? We know that everyone and all events, as mentioned by the Vilna Gaon, are hinted to somewhere in the Chumash. Indeed, the words Terumah/donation or contribution - which includes the letters of the name Tamar, and Tzedaka/charity which is closely resembled by the name Tzadika which just includes the Yud in them middle of this name, are most related to each other to the concept of donating charity, and are used very frequently when speaking of Tzedaka in Israeli society today. Truly amazing! And as mentioned earlier, Tzedaka is mentioned as one of the ones of atoning for sexual sins, mentioning earlier about giving charity in lieu of 84 fasts, and the number 84 is twice the number of 42. Moreover, we call giving Tzedaka in lieu of fasting as a substitution, which in Hebrew is called Temurah, using the same letters as the word Terumah. In fact, the word Temurah is even closer to the name Tamar because it is using the same letters as Tamar - in order of its letters.

So, now that we are in prepare mode of praying in a holy place, my next five posts will be dealing with the group of Jews who are the role models for the rest of the nation serving Hashem in the House of Hashem - the Tribe of Levi which includes both Cohanim and Levites. Stay tuned shortly...

26 Shevat, 5772

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