Monday, May 28, 2012

#145 - The Ultimate SEVEN

Today is a most unique day, for it is the SEVENTH day of the Hebrew month Sivan, which Kabbalistically is related to the letter Zayin which is the numerical value of SEVEN, in the Hebrew year whose letters - Hei (though in the context of the Hebrew year it is the numerical value of 5,000; its regular numerical value is 5), Tav (400), Shin (300), Ayin (70), Beit (2) add up to the number 777 - TRIPLE SEVEN.

Note that the observance of this day - 7 Sivan - in Judaism in not equal in all Jewish circles. You see, while in Israel, the holiday of Shavout, which is set on our present calendars to be observed on the 6th of Sivan, is only one day - the way it is in the Torah; outside of Israel - the 7th of Sivan is observed as the 2nd day of Shavuot, in commemoration of how it used to be outside of Israel in the old days when it took time for messengers of the Jewish court in Israel to let everyone know when the New Moon was spotted. In some places outside of Israel, it sometimes took up to two weeks to find out when this was; hence, not always knowing when the new month started, people had no choice but to observe two days of the given holiday out of doubt. In time, though this reason was no longer applicable as the Jewish calendar was set without the monthly moon sighting; the rabbis ruled that in order not to decrease in holiness, two days of any given holiday (except for Yom Kippur so people won't have to fast for two days) would be observed instead of the Biblical one day, the second day being called Yom Tov Sheini.

However, if one understands when the holiday of Shavuot is supposed to be celebrated according to the Torah, it wasn't dependent on when Rosh Chodesh Sivan - the first day of the month of Sivan, was supposed to occur. In fact, unlike for all the other Biblical holidays, no calendar date is given for this. Rather, it is called the "fiftieth day", for it is the 50th day from the day that the Omer offering was brought in the Beit HaMikdash (Temple). With this said, the holiday of Shavuot was ultimately dependent on when Rosh Chodesh Nissan, beginning of the month that the Omer was brought, took place. Hence, in Biblical times, depending on the amount of days in any given month based on the sighting of the new moon, Shavuot could fall out either on the 5th, 6th, or 7th of Sivan. Hence, in this particular instance, the reason of not knowing when the New Moon occurred to celebrate Shavuot was not applicable. Nevertheless, the rule of observing two days of holiday outside of Israel was applied to Shavuot by the rabbis in any case; because otherwise, Shavuot would look like a less important holiday than the rest of the holidays.

So from here, we see that the rabbis have the power to set rules based on what the Torah says. And while the Torah enjoins us as one of the Taryag Mitzvot (613 Commandments) not to add to the Mitzvot of the Torah, we are permitted - via our Torah scholars - to declare rules and regulations to uphold the Mitzvot of the Torah. And so, while we have what are called the Sheva Mitzvot D'Rabbanan "The SEVEN Commandments of the Rabbis", aside from the particulars of these observances which were ruled to strengthen the Torah, and not to add to the Torah per se, they are part of observing the Mitzvah of the Torah - Lo Tasur "Do not turn astray" from what the Jewish Court tells us to do. And as we see hinted in the Ten Commandments, there are exactly 620 letters in the Ten Commandments (the original layout in the Book of Exodus) - hinting to the 613 Mitzvot that come directly from the Torah, and the SEVEN Mitzvot of the Rabbis.

Hence, the SEVENTH of Sivan is very related to the concept that is behind the making of the SEVEN Mitzvot of the Rabbis as being declared a second day of holiday, EVEN THOUGH THE REASON BEHIND THE OBSERVANCE OF A SECOND DAY OF HOLIDAY BEING BASED ON THE CONCEPT OF BEING IN DOUBT AS TO WHICH DAY IS THE HOLIDAY WAS NEVER APPLICABLE TO SHAVUOT. Hence, EVEN IN THIS CASE, or rather, ESPECIALLY IN THIS CASE, we see the importance of listening to our rabbis/Torah scholars via the number SEVEN in more than one way.

Now, in some years (it occurred last three years ago in 5769, and the next time...I don't want to say because I expect Moshiach to come shortly and then before we know it, we will be observing Rosh Chodesh once again based on the sighting of the New Moon rather than our fixed calendar), the SEVENTH of Sivan occurs on Shabbat - the SEVENTH day. And so in this particular instance, even though in Israel it is no longer Shavuot, it is Shabbat, and not just another work day in the Jewish calendar. But perhaps the whole irony in this is that even as we see in the Talmud in Tractate Shabbat about the events of the Giving of the Torah on Shavuot, the rabbis state that this momentous occasion occured on the sixth of Sivan, while Rabbi Yose states that this took place on the seventh of Sivan; it seems that Rabbi Yose's line of reasoning is far more logical. Now, everyone agrees that the Torah was given on the holiest day of the week - the SEVENTH day - Shabbat. But without getting into all the details of how they arrive at their respective conclusions, the Talmud does state that Moses did three things on his own that Hashem agreed to. One of these three things was that Moses added an extra day for the Jews to be spiritually prepared to receive the Torah. And so, unless one were to say that this was made up, it comes to reason that while Hashem on His own was going to give the Torah on the sixth of Sivan - and is fact hinted as such in the words Yom HaShishi "THE sixth day", rather than leaving out the suffix "the", the way it is mentioned for the first five days of Creation, being the final words of the first chapter of Sefer Bereishit (Genesis); hinting to the fact that the world's existance up to that time and from that time on hinged on the Jews accepting the Torah on this date. And so, the conclusion, though not openly mentioned in the Talmud, is that the Torah was in fact given on the SEVENTH of Sivan, which occurred on the SEVENTH day of the week; even though ironically, we read about the events of the Giving of the Torah in the Sefer Torah (Torah Scroll) on the sixth of Sivan, and in Israel, we don't celebrate this date, the actual date of the giving of the Torah, as a holiday.

This is all fine and dandy, but questions can still arise. First, if Hashem knew on exactly what date He was going to give the Torah, since after all, Hashem knows the future no less than He knows the past, then why even hint about the previous date - the sixth of Sivan, as being the proposed date of giving the Torah? But at the end, it didn't happen on the sixth of Sivan, so why even mention it as a hint, unless Hashem were to be a human being who changes his mind? Second, if Hashem knew that in fact He was going to give the Torah on the seventh of Sivan, why did He indicate otherwise until Moses suggested to wait another day? Couldn't Hashem just said straight out about which day without waiting for Moses to suggest it? Third, though it wasn't Moses' reason per se, it seems that to begin with, it would make more sense for the Torah to be given on the holiest day of the week, and so why didn't Hashem make it clear from the outset that He felt that the Torah should be given on Shabbat, which occurred on the SEVENTH of Sivan, rather than on the previous day? We see that this seems to have been Hashem's main reason for when He gave the Torah to the Jewish people, because both the rabbis and Rabbi Yossi in their disagreement, all agree that the Torah was given on Shabbat.

In my step on answering these questions, I want to point out to a famous piece of Zohar, something that is recited by some Jews on a regular basis. It is in what is called Tikun 48, part of the Tikkunei Zohar, which is the holiest part of the Zohar, which consists of 70 Tikkunim, based on the first word of the Torah - Bereishit. In any case, it mentions in Tikun 48 the word Shevi'i (seventh) three times in a row. Now, on the simple level it is referring to the three mentions of this word in the three verses following the account of Creation which is about Hashem resting on the Seventh day. On a mystical level, this is referring to the Shelosha Avot, the three Patriarchs - Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. As for the Seventh day itself, the Zohar calls this the Amuda D'Emtzaita "Middle Pillar", and as explained by the Matok M'Devash commentary on the Zohar, this refers to the Sephira of Tiferet (Beauty) within the Middle Pillar that is called "The Seventh Day" since it has an influence on the SEVENTH Sephira, which is Malchut (Kingship).

Now Kabbalistically, Jacob - the third of the Patriarchs, corresponds to Tiferet, and of the three Patriarchs, was the one who especially represented the concept of Torah learning. Moreover, the Talmud in Tractate Shabbat (119) notes that the reward of our observance of Shabbat resembles what Hashem promised Jacob in reference to the Land of Israel, in contrast to what was promised to his father and grandfather - "You shall spread west, east, north, and south" (Genesis 28:14).

Speaking of the Middle Pillar, let's turn to the verse in the Torah from where mentions the 420th Mitzvah of the Torah - learning and teaching Torah: V'Shinantam L'Vaneich V'Dibarta Bam "You shall teach them (words of Torah) diligently to your children and speak of them...". Now note, the first two letters of the word L'Vaneich "to your children" - Lamed & Beit, spells the word Lev (heart), which also spells the Hebrew number 32. As we know, there are 63 tractates of the Mishna, the foundation of the Torah She'B'Al Peh (Oral Torah/Law). Now, the MIDDLE - "the HEART of the matter" - tractate of the Mishna, is the 32nd tractate called Bava Metzia "MIDDLE Gate" (which isn't called as such because it is the middle tractate of the Mishna on the simple level, but because it is the middle of three tractates that were originally one). Now, the word Bam as in "speak of THEM", are the initial letters - Beit & Mem - of the name of this tractate Bava Metziah.

Noting that Tikun 48 is in the midst of Daf Pei Hei (Page 85 - as it was on the original printed manuscript of the Tikunei Zohar), which also spells the word Peh "mouth", as used to decribe the Oral Torah, I want to combine here the concepts of the "Middle Pillar", the Torah, and Shabbat, to how I am going to answer the above questions.

Before the Torah was officially given to the Jewish people, though individuals from the Patriarchs to the time of Moses learned Torah, it was basically Hashem's Torah. This means that everything that was observed up to the time of the Giving of the Torah was all strictly from Hashem. However, once the Torah was given to the Jewish people, it became OUR Torah - as we call the holiday of Shavuot - Z'man Matan Torateinu "The Time of the Giving of OUR Torah".

Now, while the Torah was not given until the month of Sivan, a little before this, while still yet in Egypt, Hashem already gave some Mitzvot to the Jewish people via Moses. The very first of these Mitzvot was Kiddush HaChodesh "Sanctification of the month", which is declaring when the New Moon would be based on the sighting of the moon. Up to this point in time, there were no official Jewish holidays, regardless of how the Jewish months were reckoned for nearly 500 years from the time of Abraham. However, the concept of determining time was now handed over to the Jewish people, to be officially declared by the Jewish court. THIS WAS THE BEGINNING of Hashem relegating power to the rabbis/Torah scholars who would from henceforth have the power - especially after the Torah would be given, to set rules and regulations to ensure compliance of the Taryag Mitzvot. This is the ultimate demonstration of the concept of the Torah She'B'Al'PEH, as it is not strictly what it says "in the Bible", the way that the nations of the world look at it as far as observance of their religion is concerned.

In a deeper sense of what the rabbis and Rabbi Yossi were arguing about - part of the answer lies on what they agreed about. The practical difference between the two is whether a "change" was made about the date of the giving of the Torah or not. On the simple level, the 6th of Sivan was the date meant for the Torah to be given, according to both opionions. However, while the rabbis maintain that the 6th of Sivan fell out on Shabbat, and so, there was no concept of Moses adding on an additional day of spiritual preparedness to the amount of time that Hashem gave the Jewish people; Rabbi Yossi maintains that in fact, the Torah was supposed to have been given on the 6th of Sivan, which according to his view, fell out on the 6th day of the week. This means assumingly that had Moses not spoke up to give an additional day, the Torah would have been given not on Shabbat, the 7th of Sivan, but the day before.

So as we see here, as especially demonstrated from Rabbi Yosi's view of the timing of events, that this concept of the Jewish people's power over time, which includes when Rosh Chodesh will occur based on the testimony of witnesses as to when they saw the New Moon, is what rules at the end, even if in Hashem's Celestial Court, everyone - the departed souls of past Torah scholars, the angels, and Hashem Himself, would rule differently if it came to deciding when Rosh Chodesh or a holiday would occur. We know this for a fact, because as we see in a story in the Talmud in Tractate Bava Metzia of two rabbis arguing about a point of Halacha (Jewish Law) where one of them was insistent on his opinion to the point that with his spiritual powers, was able to have the Bat Kol (Heavenly voice) declare that the Halacha follows him. However, the rabbis present witnessing this heated debate who also heard the Bat Kol were not impressed with this, because the Torah itself says about the Torah that Lo BaShamayim Hee - "It is not in heaven" (Deutronomy 30:12); and in the aftermath following the debate, Elijah the Prophet appeared to one of the rabbis telling him that Hashem declared happily that "My sons defeated Me, My sons defeated Me"; for in fact, Hashem gave the power to decide Jewish Law, other than what Hashem directly commanded, to the rabbis to decide if something is kosher or not, spiritually pure or impure, permitted or forbidden, etc.

Sure, Hashem knew exactly what was going to happen before it happened. But unless Moses would have spoken up, Hashem had no problem giving the Torah on a day other than the Shabbat, at least as far as giving it on the sixth day was concerned. Now, as far as the rabbis arguing with Rabbi Yossi are concerned, Hashem had it all planned out that THE 6th day of Sivan, as planned from the time of the creation of the world, which only existed up to this point in time on condition that the Jews would receive the Torah on this date, would fall out on Shabbat, even though the sixth of Sivan is hinted in the words Yom HaShishi "the sixth day", which in the original context, is referring to the original sixth day of creation, the day before Shabbat. However, Rabbi Yossi takes this literally, aside from what we would call the coincidence of the date of the SIXTH of Sivan, as hinting to the SIXTH day of the week that the Torah was originally meant to be given on.

Going back in time, we see that Adam & Eve, the ancestors of mankind, were created on Friday, the sixth day of Creation. At least in Adam's case, he was created by the last of Hashem's Ten Statements - corresponding to which are the Ten Commandents that were given on Shavuot - Na'aseh Adam "Let us make man". It was on this selfsame day that they were commanded not to eat of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge. Well, we know what happened next, but what is important to know is that after they ate the non-kosher fruit, they received a spirit of impurity which allowed death in the world.

Now, fast forwarding to Matan Torah (Giving of the Torah), when Hashem gave the Torah to us on Shabbat, He removed this impure spirit from us, which meant that the Jewish people would not be prone to die. This state of the Jewish people remained true only for the next 40 days until they screwed up with the sin of the Golden Calf which then allowed this spirit of impurity to return to them once more. However, the point that I making here that is that at least according to the rabbis, the only way this was going to work for the Jewish people to have the spirit of impurity removed is if the Torah would be given on Shabbat, the day of the week which is beyond the impurities of the weekda as discussed in detail in the Zohar. And so, while for Adam, so long as he didn't sin yet, there was no problem about him living without dying since this spirit of impurity has not yet been introduced; for the Jewish people, since this impurity was already in existence, the only way this could disappear is if the Torah would be given on Shabbat, the day of the week which itself has no connected to this impurity.

However, according to Rabbi Yossi, it was not necessarily necessary that the Torah would need to be given on Shabbat for this to happen. For after all, if the Torah would have been given on Friday morning, the same time of the week that Adam was created, it would have been no worse than when Adam was created, and would have lived without dying if not for his sin. For after all, all of creation, with its purities and impurities, were all based on the Jewish people receiving the Torah. And so, if the Jewish people, the raison d'etre of the world's existance, would receive the Torah, they would be beyond the confines of the limitations of this world, at least as far as death was concerned. Despite this, Moses wanted to make sure that the optimum amount of time would be given for the Jewish people to be spiritually prepared, especially in view of the fact that if they would wait one more day, it would be on Shabbat that the Torah would be given. And so, even though as far as Hashem Himself was concerned, it wasn't necessary for this extra day; despite the importance of receiving the Torah, Moses felt that it would be better to wait one more day for the optimum spiritual existence as far as time was concerned. Hence, Hashem agreed with Moses, for as we see in the observance of Jewish law, while there are certain things about which that we don't necessarily have to be so strict about, there are those Jews who want to go beyond what is called the "letter of the law", and perform things strictly, showing their total devotion of observing Hashem's Mitzvot, even though they would technically do no sin by being less strict.

Regardless of how the story played out, since although the Torah was given on Shabbat after all, the Jews still fell prey to sin only 40 days later, we do see here about the importance of both the Jewish people's power of deciding time and the importance of following what our rabbis tell us (I can't speak for every situation where rabbis today declare something forbidden for everyone if someone has his own rabbi who tells him something different, but the rabbis from the Mishnaic and Talmudic times must be listened to, even if their rulings don't seem applicable anymore due to modern technology, such as the use of vehicles and media communication, which would have taken away the issue of people not knowing for two weeks sometimes as to when Rosh Chodesh occured).

And this is the concept of Torah She'B'Al Peh. True, there are many things that Hashem told Moses as part of our observance of the Mitzvot that are not mentioned in the Bible. However, some of this Oral Tradition that would not be written down for a good 1,500 years was meant to be interpreted by the rabbis to decide, which includes the application of the 13 rules by which the Torah can be interpreted, which includes how a verse or a part of a verse can be interpreted based on these rules in determining what the Jewish Law will be. Aside from this, the rabbis declared certain things which while on the surface may seem to be adding to the Torah, is in fact part of what the Torah says, including the observance of the Mitzvot of the holidays of Purim and Chanuka which first started a long while since the Torah was given, but is included in the concept of thanking Hashem for the miracles that Hashem has performed for us. But what is even more of a novelty is that they can declare a date in the Jewish calendar with the same stringencies of a Jewish holiday that was originally an ordinary day as the Biblical mandated date in the form of Yom Tov Sheni, even though the original reason was no longer applicable due to the fixed calendar that they themselves decided to propose, which was in effect abolishing the direct monthly Mitzvah of deciding the months according to the sighting of the New Moon.

It is crucial for today's Jews to understand that there is a vast difference between the rabbis of our past who seemed to have "changed" things in the Torah, and who are known as reform rabbis or the Reform/Enlightment movement who wanted to "reform" Judaism to what they perceived for the needs of the Jewish people. You see, between 1,500-2,000 years ago, as foreign oppression made it harder for the Jews both in Israel and in the Diaspora, there was a great fear among the rabbis that G-d forbid, the Torah would be forgotten to the extent that Judaism would fall about without having a solid structure. This began with the writing of the Mishna, which was beforehand clearly forbidden to be written for the public since Hashem told Moses that these teachings of the Oral Torah were meant to be just that - orally, and not written. However, due to the increase of arguments on Jewish Law, partly due to foreign oppression which included the destruction of the Temple, the murder and exile of mass amount of Jews, there was a fear that soon, the Torah for the most part would be forgotten in terms of its basic observance.

And so, in order to preserve the Torah, with the powers that the Torah had given them, they ruled that it would be necessary now to write down the Torah, though the original way of transmitting the Torah mostly by word of mouth, which would ensure better memory as opposed to writing it down in a book which people could "always refer to", was to begin with the preferred method, but at this point, they had to follow what we would call "the lesser of two evils". And along these lines, they applied the same logic not only to writing down the Talmud, Midrash and other halachic and aggadic works since then, but as well to the determination of the new month, since they never knew when the Jewish court would be disbanded by the foreign powers who were constantly seeking ways to disrupt the Jews of their Jewish life. And so, though this meant that a Mitzva of the Torah - Sanctification of the New Month - would no longer be observed until the coming of Moshiach, they felt once again that in order that there would not be a problem later in terms of determining when Rosh Chodesh and the holidays would occur, since this can only be decided by a Jewish court following the testimony of witnesses, as the Jewish court, they arranged the Jewish calendar that could be used until the end of the year 6000 when the world is expected to cease to exist, in order that there would not be a problem later of when a holiday is to be observed, even if this meant abolishing a Mitzva for the time being, to preserve the Torah in the long run.

In sharp contrast to this, the Reform movement, or the Enlightment movement as it was originally known as, was created by whom were called intellectual Jews, looking at Judaism strictly in a "logical" manner. In their pursuit of this, they wasted no time creating "Jewish" schools to ensnare precious Jewish souls of children to abandon the traditional ways of their ancestors, some of whom were executed in their staunch refusal to renounce the Jewish faith in the anti-Semitic Europe of the Middle Ages in the midst of the blood libels, massacres, crusades, inquisitions, etc. that the "loving" Christians performed on us to "save" our souls. And most unfortunately, a few too many souls were spiritually trapped in this "logic" garbage, spewed by these Jewish intellectuals in their seething hatred of authentic Judaism and the rabbis representing it.

The tragic results of this is felt all ever more today, especially in the United States, where it is not enough that those who are called reform rabbis sanction phony conversions and declare the children of only a Jewish father to be no less Jewish, but we see that non-Jewish children as a result of this are raised as "Jewish", having a lavish Bar-"Mitzva" party being spent on them, a COMPLETE TOTAL waste of money since these children are not even Jewish, when both the Jewish father and reform rabbi want to fool themselves that they are doing the right thing. And all this my friends, is the tragic result of those intellectuals who wanted to make Judaism "easier" or "more compatible" for the masses, souping the essence of Judaism until no solid ground was left for the young Jewish children to realize what authentic Judaism is really like. It is these same intellectuals who despised the Talmud, claiming it to be made up, or having a bunch of strict rules not mandated by the Bible, when they refused to even keep the literal meaning of the Bible, using the Bible merely as "Bible stories", mimicking how the Christians teach the Bible to their little ones, leaving out the essence - the Commandments, and having more use for the Ten Commandments in the form of a movie than the actual observance of these Commandments.

Now, there is one more point that I want to make about Shavuot. You see, the date of its observance is actually rooted on when it became Rosh Chodesh Nissan, since Shavuot, according to the Torah, is the 50th day from when the Omer barley offering was brought in the Temple during the month of Nissan. With this said, this would explain why even though the Torah had yet to be given, the Jewish nation was already given the power to determine time from Rosh Chodesh Nissan, BECAUSE THE HOLIDAY OF SHAVUOT WAS DEPENDENT ON ROSH CHODESH NISSAN. As it was with the original Shavuot, the Jews counted seven weeks from after the day of the Exodus in anticipation of receiving the Torah. In commemoration of this, we annually count seven weeks in the form of the Mitzvah of counting the number of days starting from the day that the Omer barley offering was offered in the Temple, the day after the first day of Passover, for a period of seven weeks, or 49 days, until the holiday of Shavuot, the name which itself means "weeks" which is based on the number seven - Sheh'va or Shiv'a. Ac. cordingly, the SEVENTH of the month of Sivan which is Kabbalistically represented by the letter Zayin who numerical value is SEVEN, the actual date on which we received the Torah, is the ultimate representation of this concept of SEVEN TIMES SEVEN which occurred on the SEVENTH day of the week on that momentous occasion. Hence the concept of the word SHEVI'I - SEVENTH day being mentioned three times in the section of the Torah about the first seventh day from Creation, hints to the fact that the SEVENTH of Sivan was the ACTUAL date of receiving the Torah, immediately following the words Yom HaShishi - the SIXTH day, hinting to the original proposed date that Hashem originally planned on giving us the Torah. Indeed, in our weekly Mitzvah of KIDDUSH HaYom "Sanctification of the day (of Shabbat)", which is performed on the night of Shabbat, we include this very paragraph about the first Shabbat of creation - Vayechul HaShamayim..., but not before mentioning the words Yom HaShishi; and as we see, the words Yom HaShishi - the last two words of the account of the sixth day of creation, and Vayechulu HaShamayim - the first two words about the first Shabbat day since Hashem created the world, have their initial letters spelling Hashem's main name of YKVK, noting the special connection between these two days, through which are hinted the dates of the SIXTH and SEVENTH days of Sivan.

This is perhaps what is meant when it says in the Talmud about Moses deciding to add an extra day of spiritual preparedness for the Jewish people before receiving the Torah - Hosif YOM ECHAD M'Dahto "He added ONE DAY of his own". As we see in the account of the days of Creation, the particular words used for the first day of Creation is YOM ECHAD (Day One) - rather than the standard description of the day as Yom Rishon (First Day) - thus hinting to the fact that the first seven days of Sivan parallel the first seven days of the world's existence - Creation week, of which the first day is described with the same words which is used in reference to Moses adding an extra day - the Sixth of Sivan, which led to receiving the Torah on the Seventh of Sivan. And in a similar vein, we count the first day of the Omer as Hayom YOM ECHAD LaOmer "Today is DAY ONE of the Omer", the first day of seven weeks as the beginning of the general spiritual preparedness to receive the Torah (the spiritual preparedness about which is mentioned that Moses added one day to it was a special three day period of the men separating from their wives, so there would be no chance of being spiritually impure on the momentous occasion of receiving the Torah).

And having mentioned earlier in reference to the of the SEVENTH day about the "MIDDLE pillar" and the MIDDLE Tractate of the Mishna, the foundation of the Oral Torah, this Mitzvah of counting the Omer is the MIDDLE Mitzva of the Torah. And as for the month of Nissan, about which the Mitzvah of KIDDUSH HaChodesh is learned from the verse that describes Nissan as the "first of months", of which the two MIDDLE days of Nissan are the most important days of it in terms of Mitzvot - 15 Nissan which contains numerous Mitzvot related to both sacrifical and Seder observances & 16 Nissan which begins performing the MIDDLE Mitzva of the Torah, which is actually based on another Mitzva of offering the Omer.


Noting this post to be the 145th Post, I want to write about Psalm 145, the most repeated psalm in our prayers which we call by the word Ashrei, which is ironically called such from a verse (actually two verses) that begin(s) with this word from a different psalm - saying this three times daily. This originates from the Talmud in Tractate Berachot, where it is mentioned that one who recites this three times daily is one worthy of a share in the world to come.

One uniqueness of this psalm is that each verse of this psalm begins another letter of the Alef Beit - in order of the letters of the Alef Beit. But the main reason, though not the only reason, of reciting this psalm three times a day, is that it mentions Hashem providing sustenance to the world.

Now the Hebrew word describing Hashem as the One who sustains is HaZan, which is etymologically related the letter Zayin, which is both the SEVENTH letter of the Alef Beit, and whose numerical value is SEVEN. Hence, as I mentioned earlier in this post about the word Shevi'i - SEVENTH day - being mentioned THREE times in the part of the Torah about Hashem resting on the SEVENTH day; so too, we recite the psalm that is especially related to the concept of sustenance as hinted by the letter ZAYIN=Seven, by reciting this time THREE times daily. Moreover, the fourth of the Ten Commandments includes the Mitzvot of performing Kiddush on Shabbat night and the prohibition of working on Shabbat, begins with the letter Zayin - Zachor Et Yom HaShabbat L'Kadsho "REMEMBER the Sabbath day to sanctify it" from which we learn the Mitzvah of making Kiddush from this.

In the Talmud (Beitza 16), we learn an additional thing from this verse of Zachor to REMEMBER Shabbat from the first day of the week. There was actually a difference between Hillel and Shammai about how they treated the workday week in terms of food. Shammai used to shop from the beginning of the week already for Shabbat (noting that both his name and the name Shabbat begin the letter Shin); however, if he found a better food item than the one that he already purchased, such as a higher quality animal that he could use as meat for the holy day, he ate the original meat that he originally purchased for Shabbat during the week and saved the better cut of meat for Shabbat. However, Hillel with his special emphasis in having faith and trust in Hashem, though of course there is a special concept of preparing special foods for Shabbat, planned one day at a time as far as his food needs were concerned, just like the Jewish people were reliant on Hashem to provide the daily manna in the desert, as it says in Psalms: Baruch Hashem Yom Yom - "Blessed is Hashem day by day" (Psalms 68:20). Now, before anyone wants to criticize Shammai for what may have seemed to be a lack of faith and trust in Hashem that He would provide for his Shabbat food needs, it must be remembered that the Sabbath day itself is the "Source of Blessing" (Lecha Dodi in the Kabbalat Shabbat prayers) which if kept properly, is the source of blessing that also provides physically for the following work week. And so in fact, it was just a difference of approach as to how Hillel and Shammai observed these concepts of relying on Hashem for their sustenance both on the weekdays and on Shabbat.

In any case, there is another concept of something mentioned THREE times, which takes place in this psalm - Psalm 145. As we know, we count the final day of the Omer - the SEVENTH day of the SEVENTH week since the start of the Omer count - as Hayom Teisha V'Arba'im Yom She'heim Shiv'a Shavuot LaOmer "Today is 49 days which are seven weeks of the Omer". Now, the Kabbalistic Sephira for this day is Malchut She'B'Malchut "Kingship within Kingship". And as we see in this psalm that the wording of the word Malchut is mentioned three times ...Malchuto. Malchutcha Malchut... "...His KINGSHIP. Your KINGSHIP is the KINGSHIP..." (verses 12 & 13). To note, the letter MEM begins the word Malchut, and in this case, also begins the verse in this psalm beginning with Malchutcha "Your Kingship".

In a similar vein, during the Aseret Yemai Teshuva "Ten Days of Repentance", we make various changes in the Shemoneh Esrei prayer. The most significant change, which if forgoten, means that we repeat the Shemoneh Esrei, is that at the end of the THIRD blessing that begins Atah Kadosh "You are holy", we end off the blessing as HaMelech HaKadosh "The Holy King", instead of HaKeil HaKadosh "The Holy G-d". Now Kabbalistically, these first ten days of the Jewish year (though we count the months of the Jewish calendar starting from Nissan), which begin the SEVENTH month of Tishrei counting from Nissan, correspond to the 10 Sephirot - the three Sephirot as related to the mind and the seven Sephirot as related to the body. With this said, the last of these Sepirot is Malchut, which is related to the part of the body which is PEH (mouth). And as we mentioned earlier, there is a rooted connection between Torah She'B'Al PEH (Oral Torah) and Shavuot, for we received the Torah which not just the Written Word, but also the part of the Torah that was transmitted orally originally from Hashem to Moses, to be taught just that way for the next some 1,500 years until the Mishna was first written down.

We see that Malchut is especially related to both the day before Shavuot which corresponds to the Sephira Malchut She'B'Malchut and the holiday of Shavuot, on the day that "we want to see our King" declared by the Jewish people in their desire of receiving the Torah, when we received the Ten Commandments which begins with the Mitzva of the belief in the existence of Hashem, representing the fact that first we have to accept our King, and then accept His Mitzvot, for without accepting Hashem as King, there is no reason why we would want to observe what He commands us. Similarly, both High Holidays of Rosh HaShana and Yom Kippur of the Ten Days of Repentance are especially related to Malchut. As far as Yom Kippur is concerned, it is the final day of the Ten Days of Repentance which automatically corresponds to Malchut, the last of the Ten Sephirot. And on the first Yom Kippur since the Torah was given, it was the 40th and final day of Moses' third time of being on Mt. Sinai for 40 days, and the numerical value of the letter Mem beginning the word Malchut is 40. And as far as Rosh Hashana is concerned, we mention the concept of Malchut in another part of Shemoneh Esrei especially on this FIRST day (actually the first two days nowadays) of the Ten Days of Repentance in the Mussaf prayer which is unique on Rosh Hashanah when we especially mention the three concept of Malchuyot, Zichronot and Shofarot, reciting 10 verses each related to the concepts of Kingship, Rememberances, and the Shofar, which corresponds similarly to the FIRST of the Ten Commandments which is related to the concept of Kingship in our belief in the existance of Hashem.

In a similar vein, we see a major connection between the creation of man and the numbers 1 & 10. As we know, it was on Rosh Hashana, the FIRST of Tishrei that the Creation of man took place. And how did this take place? It was via the TENTH and last of Hashem's Ten Statements - Na'aseh Adam "Let us make man" that created Adam.

Now, getting back to Psalm 145, this number 145 is made up of two numbers - ONE (1) and FORTY-FIVE (45). And as we know, Adam is called Adam HaRishon - "The FIRST Man". The Gematria of his name Adam is 45. Now, Adam was supposed to have lived for 1,000 following his sin of eating from the forbidden fruit, but seeing that his future descendant King David was going to live for only three hours, he provided him 70 years from his own life. And as we see in Adam's name, the letters of his name spell the beginning of the words Adam (Alef), David (Dalet) and Moshiach (Mem).

And so, King David, who is the ancestor of the Davidic Dynasty which will soon continue with Moshiach his descendant, is most related to the Sephira of Malchut, the SEVENTH and last of the Sephirot as related to the body. And as we know, he was both born and passed away on Shavuot, which is very related to the concept of Malchut. And it was none other than King David who composed the psalms (though there were several others who also composed psalms, it was King David who assembled them to compose what is now known as Tehillim - Book of Psalms). THIS IS MOST REPRESENTED BY PSALM 145 - for this psalm begins with the words Tehilla L'David, the ONLY such phrase in Tehillim. The reason that I say this is that the word Tehilla is the root word of the name of the Book in which this psalm is contained. Certainly, it is not merely coincidental that this is the most recited psalm in our prayers. This is also bearing in mind that this psalm is all about praising Hashem for sustaining the world, which is especially related to the letter Zayin whose numerical value is SEVEN. Moreover, as we see in Halacha, there is one verse in this psalm that must be recited with concentration, or we have to go back to this verse even later on in our prayers - Poteiach Et Yadeicha U'Masbia L'Chol Chai Raton "You open Your hand and satisfy the desire of all living creatures" (verse 16). This verse consists of seven words. Additionally, with this verse, the MIDDLE word U'Masbia "and satisfy" has a connotation of the word Sheva - SEVEN. Coincidence?

Now, how are people sustained physically? Of course, through the mouth, the part of the body that corresponds to Malchut. And as we see in relationship to King David who most represents this Sephira of Malchut, the shortest of the 24 books of the Tanach (Bible), which is the Book of Ruth, named after King David's great grandmother, consists of 85 verses, and the word Peh (mouth) also spells the Hebrew number 85. And the very last word of this book where it ends off with the generations from Judah's son Peretz, is King David's name. Speaking of which, his name is the Gematria of 14, which also spells the Hebrew number that spells the word for another part of the body - Yad (hand), and as mentioned in the above verse Poteach Et Yadeicha "You open Your HAND", which begins with the letter Pei, whose wording is most similar to the word Peh. Moreover, the mention of the word Shevi'i (SEVENTH day) THREE times in a row is mention in Tikun 48 of the Tikunei Zohar, which is on Dad PEI HEI - Page 85!

Remember when I mentioned earlier that the three mentions of the word Shevi'i, as mentioned in this Zohar, corresponds on a deeper level to the three Patriarchs? Well, in terms of the Merkava - the spiritual chariot which consists of Aryeh (lion), Shor (ox), Nesher (eagle) and the FOURTH and final Adam (man) - this also corresponds to the three Patriarchs and King David, the FOURTH and final one of these four. Moreover, his own name David BOTH begins and ends with the letter DALET which is the FOURTH and numerical value of FOUR. In a similar vein, Shavuot - the holiday on which King David was BOTH born and passed way, wound up being the FOURTH day from the three days of spiritual preparation, which became as such particularly because Moses added an extra day of special preparedness for the Jewish people to receive the Torah in purity.

Now, there is one thing that people reciting Psalm 145 may notice. Yes, each verse begins with another letter of the Alef Beit in order of the letters. However, there is no verse that begins the letter Noon. Now, the Talmud explains the reason for this is that this letter begins the word Nefilah (falling down), and mentions a verse with thAnd is wording in reference to the Jewish people; hence, a verse begining with this letter was left out of this psalm. And after this, the Talmud notes that there is a hint to the letter Noon in the verse that begins with the next letter Samech - Someich Hashem L'Chol HaNofilim "Hashem supports those who have fallen".

This is all nice; however, an obvious question can be asked. Is this the ONLY letter that begins a word with a negative connotation? Certainly, one only needs to open a Bible, and before long, will come across words that will describe unfortunate situations; so why then single out the letter Noon?

We must remember that as king, though not the King of Kings, King David represented the Jewish people. Now, as I mentioned a little earlier, Adam provided King David with 70 years of life, because he foresaw that otherwise, King David would have lived for only three hours. Now in Hebrew, a stillborn is called a Neifel, which is based on the wording of Nefilah (falling down). And while it is true that King David wasn't going to be dead at birth, but actually live for three hours; for all practical purposes, he might as well as have been considered with the statuf of a Neifel. And so, while he did in fact live longer after this, as the representative of the Jewish people, he didn't want the slightest negative connotation to be applicable to the Jewish people. And so, it was particularly this letter Noon, rather than any other letter, that he felt he had to leave out.

But I think there is a little more to this - in a good way. You see, just as the letter Noon is the 14th letter of the Alef Beit whose numerical value is 50, so is King David's name the Gematria of 14 and was born & passed way on the "50th day" which is Shavuot. Now, while normally, when the Torah wants to hint to something in a big way, there are times that an bigger or smaller letter than its normal size will be written as such, or an extra letter in a word will be written as such. However, the hint here particularly to King David via the letter Noon is left out. This represents the concept of Rosh Chodesh, which is especially represented by King David, and as has been noted, the phrase David Melech Yisrael Chai V'Kayaim bears the same Gematria as the words Rosh Chodesh - 819 (although in the entire Tanach, the word Chodesh is spelled without a Vav which helps makes the Gematria in this case). But more than just this, we know that the moon at this time of the month is either hidden or barely visible to the naked eye. And hence, it is the sighting of the New Moon, howbeit being tiny in size, is what causes the Mitzva of Kiddush HaChodesh to take place, noting that this is the FOURTH Mitzva of the Torah, just as King David represented especially the number FOUR as I mentioned in this post. This represents this little glimmer of hope that though things may seem to be bleak, it is this little ray of hope that makes all the difference in the world. Similar to this, King David didn't seem that he would have much of a chance of living. However, thanks to Adam's gift of 70 years, this was made possible, and became one of the most accomplished people of all time, whose psalms who have perhaps more influence on mankind than any other book of the Bible, including the fact that some of his psalms are incorporated in our daily prayers. In any case, the fact that a verse beginning with the letter Noon is left out of this most recited psalm represents the moon that is for a brief moment in time not visible to the naked eye around the time of Rosh Chodesh, as hinted to in Psalm 81 - Ba'Keseh L'Yom Chageinu "Covered (refering to the moon) on the day of our holiday" (Psalms 81:4) referring to Rosh Hashana which is always Rosh Chodesh Tishrei, beginning the month of Tishrei.

And speaking of the psalms, there are 150 psalms. Having mentioned the letter Noon as the numerical value of 50, THREE times the number 50 is 150, it is also related to Malchut, as mentioned in the first chapter of Likutei Moharan, the magnum opus of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov, whose first wife passed away on the day before Shavuot, the last day of the Sephira, the SEVENTH day of the SEVENTH week of the Omer period, which is represented by the Sephira combination of Malchut She'B'Malchut. Accordingly, King David's wife's name was Bat Sheva, which literally means "Daughter of SEVEN", and the wording of Malchut is written THREE TIMES IN A ROW in the most recited Psalm 145.

Now, I would like to discuss about another psalm that is especially related to Shavuot - Psalm 19. However, I think that this post has been long enough; and so, I will leave this discussion for my following post. Stay tuned.

7 Sivan, 5772

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

#144 - LAST of the TWELVETH

Today, the 2nd Day of Sivan, called Yom HaMeyuchas "Day of Genealogy", marks the event of Hashem's opening words to the Jewish people "You will be a Segula to Me from among all the nations, for the earth belongs to Me" (Exodus 19:5).

As you noticed, I did not immediately translate the word Segula in the verse that I just quoted. You see, many refer to this word when it comes to something that is performed or recited in order that Hashem will bless them with money, health, children, marriage partner, etc. I don't know how this word started to be associated with this concept. However, what I do know is that this word in the context of this verse means "beloved treasure", as Rashi explains in detail in comparing the Jewish people to the type of treasure that kings store away because of its preciousness. And while the whole world - all of mankind - belongs to Hashem - the rest of the world, with all of its wisdom, arts, skills, the fantasy Hollywood movies, etc. is considered nothing as far as Hashem is concerned, especially in sharp contrast to the Jewish people.

This is not to say that if this is the case, that all Jews are superior to all non-Jews. In a way, it is true only in the sense that a Jew is born with a special holiness that a non-Jew is not born with. However, it is only the end result that justifies saying that a Jew is lucky to be a Jew. For it is the Torah - Hashem's wisdom, though in fact all wisdom comes from Hashem, that distinguishes a Jew from the rest of the world. Oh sure, a non-Jew can read the Bible and feel inspired to come a little closer to Hashem. However, honest look at the Bible from a non-Jew will tell him/her that Hashem's Commandments are meant specifically for the Jewish people; and at best, will be lucky if left to live to be among the ones who will declare Hashem's praises, realizing that the Jewish people are Hashem's Chosen Nation.

So, what is the difference between the Torah and all other wisdoms if they all come from Hashem? The practical difference is that the Torah comes with holiness, with instructions of serving Hashem properly, with the chance to receive eternal reward with every word of Torah that is learnt. And so, while a Jew can live a long life, contribute to society with his expertise in business, science, computers, the big cure for cancer, etc., all this, despite all the help that these factors accomplish which includes saving lives, pales in insignificance to the learning of Torah. Yes, all these secular accomplishents can be good things, they provide a good living for some, but all these accomplishments can only be truly called that if they help with the purpose of Hashem's creating the world.

Now make no mistake. While the learning and teaching of Torah is the ultimate spiritual accomplishment; at least in this world, it is not an end in itself. For in fact, if one just is involved in Torah, but does not communicate with the world at least in a minimal way of doing deeds of kindness when the need arises, then it only defeats the purpose of learning Torah, for in that case, we are hardly better than most non-Jews who don't live a saintly life just because they read the Bible. While there are many Gematriot to illustrate our point here, perhaps the number one Gematria that stands out is that the words Torah & Gemilut-Chasadim (performance of kind deeds) have the same Gematria of 611.

Now it is true that as far as the Mitzva of learning Torah is concerned, it is the men who are specifically commanded to do so. It is true that women have to also learn Torah - but this is not because it is a Mitzva to learn Torah in itself, but because from this how to observe the Mitzvot (Commandments), most especially, the laws of family purity (Taharat HaMishpacha) - which women must be very fluent with in order to be spiritually pure after nearly two weeks from her monthly cycle and going to the Mikva (ritualarium) before resuming being together with her husband. This does not mean that Jewish women are of a lower status than the Jewish men - quite the contrary, the Yiddishe Mama is quite often the main one who begins the Jewish education of her baby singing Jewish songs to the little one while the husband is at work. In fact, our Jewish wives share the Mitzvah of our Torah learning as a 50%-50% deal, provided that she does her part encouraging her children to learn in Yeshiva as well as her husband to learn some Torah. In fact, if the husband likes to rather spend his time playing cards and watching football games every Sunday on the couch potato tube despite his wife's encouragement to learn Torah, she will still receive her full reward on her part, but he is the one who will eternally loose.

With this said, let's turn to today's message - the first words that Hashem told Moses on 2 Sivan following the Jews' encampment at Mt. Sinai - Ko Tomar L'Beit Ya'akov V'Tageid L'Bnei Yisrael "So shall you say to the House of Jacob and say to the Sons of Israel" (Exodus 19:3). While parts of the Bible may be claimed to be poetic, Hashem is not just throwing words at Moses for this purpose. Yes, it is true that Jacob had two names - Jacob & Israel, but Hashem wording his description of the Jewish people in these terminologies as "House of Jacob" and "Children of Israel" is a little more than noting various names. For why is the word "house" being used in addition to the regular usage of the word "children" in reference to the Jewish people?

Rashi notes that "House of Jacob" in fact refers to the women. But how he infers such a thing is that typically, the Hebrew word for "say" being used is Tomar - based on the usage for "saying" that is used in reference to speech that is of a soft nature, in contrast to something being said in a harsh manner. By nature, women are more delicate, and as such, should be spoken to in a more soft manner than the way we speak to men, though of course, we are supposed to talk nicely to everyone; but sometimes, we have to speak to people "in their language" to get the point across.

It's interesting to note that Hashem used the phrase in referring to the women as BEIT Yaakov "HOUSE of Jacob", for in fact, the date that Hashem said His message was on BEIT Sivan (2 Sivan). For while the usual usage of the word for house in Hebrew is Bayit - in an instance where it is used as part of a phrase - "house of" - the vowels for the word changes to be the exact word for the name of the second letter of the Alef Beit. And to note, Hashem FIRST addressed the women, and only afterwards - the men "Children of Israel". Similarly, we see in both the blessings of Jacob and Moses for the Jewish people, that in blessing the particular tribes, they first mentioned the younger brother Zevulun before the older brother Yissaschar. For while it was Yissaschar who did the Torah learning while Zevulun was so to speak an accessory to him by supporting him, it was only due to Zevulun's support of Yissaschar that made the all day Torah learning possible for Yissaschar. In the same way, it is ONLY due to the Jewish woman who creates the atmosphere that a Jewish HOME is supposed to represent that everything can be put in place. For while a Jewish child can learn Torah in Yeshiva all day, it is only at home that he or she receives the base of what Jewish living is like. And as we see in the Talmud in Tractate Shabbat, the Jewish wife is called a Bayit - and NOT because she is merely a Beit - "Number Two". For as we see in the Torah, while it was the letter Aleph that began the Ten Commandments - Anochi "I am", the letter Beit is the letter that begins the whole Torah - Bereishit "In the beginning"; and moreover, unlike the Aleph beginning the Ten Commandments, this Beit - the first letter of the Torah - is written in the Sefer Torah (Torah Scroll) as an extra large letter. Hence, it is most clear that it is the BAYIT of the Jewish people - the Jewish woman, who sets the tone for not just the immediate Jewish family, both for the entire Jewish people who is one family.

It is at this point that it is most worthy to note the chain of Jewish schools for girls called Beis Yaakov (using the Ashkenazic pronounciation for the typically pronounced word Beit as these schools started in an Ashkenazic environment and is pronounced as such in the observant Jewish world), founded by a seamstress, Sarah Schenirer in 1917 in Krakow,Poland in response to the sad plight of young Jewish girls/women who, because they didn't go to Cheder or Yeshiva like the boys did in Europe, were left to their own quite often, being exposed to non-Jewish ideas and philosophy, which resulted in many Jewish females most unfortunately leaving, rather than living, the Jewish fold for a totally Goyishe lifestyle, especially in the wake of the Enlightment movement in Europe which looked to cheapen Jewish observance. In her own experiment, Mrs. Schenirer taught a bit of Torah to Jewish women, but quickly realized that the only ones who were long term interested in what she had to say were the younger girls who were not yet tainted with the non-Jewish world. And so, nearly a hundred years later, a good percentage of girls/women from observant Jewish homes have been forever influenced to continue the beautiful Torah lifestyle that their parents wished for all their children to have. Imagine the terrible loss it would have been for the Jewish people if no such innovation would have been made (most rabbis at the time when the Beis Yaakov school began were skeptical of openly teaching Torah to women), aside from the eventual lack of observant Jewish women for the observant young men looking to get married!

To give you a glimpse of what one Jewish woman can accomplish, at the time of Mrs. Schenirer's passing in 1935, there were some 35,000 girls in the over 200 Beis Yaakov schools at the time, which became some 300 schools until the time of the Holocaust. Thank G-d, some of the greatest Torah scholars of her generation - including the Chofetz Chaim, the Gerrer Rebbe and the Belzer Rebbe gave their approval and blessings for her Beis Yaakov idea. This stemmed from when she was working in her earlier years as a seamstress to help support her poor family (her parents and siblings), she saw how particular women were in their insistence on how their dresses should be made, she wrote "People are perfectionists when it comes to clothing their bodies. But are they perfectionists when it comes to the needs of their soul?" Indeed, she can be compared to the first Jewish woman - Sara Imeinu, of whom Rashi notes that while Abraham brought men close to serving Hashem, Sara his wife did the same for the women.

In this year, the date of 2 Sivan takes on another special siginificance, and is related very much to the Jewish woman. Today begins the daily learning of Daf Yomi (double-sided page of the Babylonian Talmud) of the final tractate of the Babylonian Talmud - Tractate Nida. No, the word Nida is not another Hebrew name for women, though it may sound similar to some other Jewish female names. This word is used to refer to a menstruating woman who is in this halachic state for nearly two weeks until dipping in the Mikva. Now, in all honesty, this word is actually based on the Hebrew word Niddui, which means banishment or excommunication. Now, while there are women from an observant Jewish home or lifestyle who have had rather a negative experience with Judaism and felt this issue to be demeaning for women; it is more of a warning for men not to be over doing with their love/romance for their wives, and though they are forbidden to even touch each other being that she is in a spiritually unclean state (which doesn't mean that she is full of sins, which Christian philosophy would love people to believe), this is ultimately meant for men to respect their wives by not using them as s** toys, but rather to be a best friend to them. The fact that in some Hasidic homes (though this is hopefully not the majority of cases), the women are made to feel as mere children factories, their husbands having little use for them otherwise, especially when the women are in their Nida state, hides what this is really about, for even in Modern Orthodox homes having rather few children, and the woman is an educated, career stud, and aren't so strictly dressed as in Hasidic circles, the couple observe the same basic laws - it is only how they view it and relate to it, so the woman doesn't feel that she isn't wanted or looked down upon.

With this said, the question can be asked. Couldn't the ones who gave the names for the Mishnaic tractates have found a better word for this tractate, such as the later used term of Taharat HaMishpacha "family purity" that is used in the text of Halacha (Jewish law)? In fact, we see in the Torah that at times, it goes out of its way to say that something is "not pure" rather than "impure", using extra letters or words in doing so. If we truly don't want to give the impression of looking down on our wives for this sensitive time period for them, couldn't we find some better word, the same way that the Order or Volume of Mishnayot that includes this tractate is called Taharot "pure things" in reference to items that are "impure"?

Now, before I give my take on this, I have to note that while this is the last tractate of both the Babylonian and Jerusalem Talmuds, this is not the last tractate of the Mishnayot. Now, bear in mind that at the time that both Talmuds were written down, it was already centuries since the destruction of the last Temple; and as such, the laws of purity and impurity were not relevant the way that they were in Temple times when Jews had to be spiritually pure before entering the Holy Temple or eating sacrificial food. Hence, the main concentration of the rabbis writing their detailed explanations on the Mishna was on subjects that were relevant at that time (though we see that there is the Babylonian Talmud on Seder Kodoshim which is all about the Temple offerings, though they were obviously not brought at that time, but because of the special quality of being considered as if these offerings are being offered by learning about them). And so, so for the most part of the volume of Mishnayot dealing with pure and impure items, it is Tractate Nida that was most relevant to explain in great detail, and most crucial for the proper observance of the laws of Taharat HaMishpacha.

With this said about Tractate Nida being the LAST tractate of the Gemara/Talmud, let's take a look at the Hebrew word Nida - consisting of the letters Noon, Dalet, Hei. When rearranging these letters, putting the letter Hei in front of the Noon & Dalet, this can be read as Ha Noon Dalet - THE 54th. Does this ring a bell?

Now, turning to the Chumash (Penteteuch), we know that this consists of...54 Parshiyot! And what is the 54th and LAST Parsha? It is called V'Zot HaBeracha "This is the blessing..." What a sharp contrast to the name of the LAST tractate of the Talmud!

But this is what it is all about. You see, it is true that what happens to the woman being menstrous and all is the result of the sin of the first woman - eating of the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden. However, even in bad things, one can find the BLESSING if we but look for it. For if a woman would always be in close proximity and touch to the man, quite often, she is made to feel as a toy that men use for their own selfish, sexual purposes, rather than being respected for the times that she is not in a mood to be treated as such. And so, when the Jewish woman who goes through the whole process and is finally spiritually pure upon using the Mikva, she is like a renewed bride to her husband; and as we just noted that the word Nida is a rearrangement for the word "the 54th", the word Kalla (bride) is the Gematria of 55, which doesn't need an introduction of the word "the" as needed for the word Nida to remind the man that his woman is not someone to use, or rather, misuse; but is rather like a newled wed that he will feel fresh with, not taking their love for granted, as something too familiar with being described by the word "the", being used to describe something that one knows about.

Indeed, in the very LAST Mishna of the FIRST tractate of the Mishnayot called Berachot "BLESSINGS", it states that a person is obligated to thank Hashem for the bad just as he thanks Hashem for the good. For in this world that Hashem made, though things may seem to be bad, whatever is truly bad or evil is performed by ourselves, and we have only ourselves to truly blame for this. However, when something happens that seems to happen on its own - like a bad car accident due to a mechanical problem, or forces of nature wreaking destruction, although these things happen from Hashem's will and is because of man's sins, what comes from Hashem Himself only appears evil on the surface; but aside from the atonement of sin that these things accomplish sometimes, they sometimes lead to good things, though not necessarily immediately apparent.

And so, the fact that a woman is in a Nida state, looking like she is banished from even being physically touched by her husband, and not even like business partners who at least shake hands, the ultimate BLESSING is what comes out of this at the end when we learn not to take life for granted, and that everything, including our loved ones, come from Hashem. And when we celebrate the conclusion of the reading of the Sefer Torah on Simchat Torah with the reading of the 54th and LAST Parsha of the Torah called BLESSING, we immediately start the reading of the Sefer Torah with Bereishit "In the Beginning" as a new beginning, though we are simultaneously continuing our reading and learning of the Torah, as if the beginning of the Torah is the 55th Parsha, the same way that the woman formerly called a Nida is a Kala=55 "bride" once again in her newly spiritual pure state. Indeed, the one who is honored with the last Aliya of the Torah is called Chatan Torah - the Torah Bridegroom, and the one who is honored with the first Aliya of the Torah immediately following this is called Chatan Bereishit - the Bereishit Bridegroom.

Noting the beginning of the learning of Tractate Nida of Daf Yomi today, this is the last tractate being learned in the 12th cycle of the Daf Yomi cycle that began nearly 90 years ago on Rosh HaShana 5684 (1923). And as we see in the two phrases describing the women and men respectively in Hashem's first message to the Jewish people at Mt. Sinai, only days away before Hashem gave us the Torah, the first letters of both the phrases - Beit Yaakov & Bnei Yisrael - are Beit & Yud, these two letters spelling the number TWELVE. For indeed, the Jewish people consists of TWELVE Tribes, who were blessed by Moses in his last day of life as mentioned in the LAST Parsha of the Torah. And the LAST Chapter of the Torah - Deutronomy 34 which begins with Moses' ascent to Mt. Nebo where he passed away, there are TWELVE verses.

And in case you noticed the number of this post - 144, the square root of this number is TWELVE. Now, noting that the observance of the laws of Nida/Taharat HaMishpacha is the foundation of the purity and holiness of the Jewish family, which is what comprises the Jewish people which consists of the Beit Yaakov & Bnei Yisrael, comprises of the TWELVE Tribes, this is what is the ultimate level of the number 12 within the number 12, the same way as we speak of the Kabbalistic Sephirot that we refer to in our count of the Sephirah during the 49 day period - seven times seven days - between the first day of Passover and Shavuot, representing the time period that the Jews counted in their spiritual preparation for the Torah, just as the menstrous woman counts seven clean days prior to going to the Mikva. For each of the seven Sephirot - Chesed, Gevurah, Tiferet, Netzach, Hod, Yesod, Malchut - have an aspect of the seven Sephirot, making for a total combination of 49 types of Sephirot. And so too in this case, the ultimate spiritual level of the 12 Tribes of Israel - via the men or the women who are each represented by the concept of twelve as the mnemonic of their respective phrases describing their gender within the Jewish people, is represented by the number 12. For in this case, it is not simply 12 plus 12, but 12 TIMES 12, for it is the Jewish children that result from the holy union that represents multiplicity, which is mentioned in the first section of Bereishit that is read on Simchat Torah - the FIRST Mitzva of the Torah "Be fruitful and MULTIPLY" Pru Ur'vu, mentioned in the SIXTH day of Creation on which mankind was created.

And in the SIXTH (and last) chapter of Pirkei Avot (Ethics of the Fathers), there are five things mentioned as a Kinyan - something that is acquired, as a Kinyan of the Holy One Blessed Be He - the first on the list being the Torah, quoting the verse "Hashem has acquired me (the Torah) the first of His way, PRIOR to his actions of old" (Proverbs 8:22). The word of focus in this verse KEDEM (prior) has the same letters of the Hebrew number 144. And as we know from the Midrash, the Torah is the blueprint of the world, Hashem having used it in creating this world. And in the FIRST verse of the Torah mentioning G-d creating the heavens and earth, the word HASHAMAYIM (the heavens) is the FIFTH word of the seven worded verse, the same way that the word KEDEM is the FIFTH of the seven worded verse describing the Torah as Hashem's Kinyan. The connection? The word HASHAMAYIM is the same Gematria as the word Mishna - 395. For it is the Mishna that is the foundation of the Torah She'B'Al Peh (Oral Torah), which parallels the FIVE books of the Chumash, the foundation of the Torah She'B'Ketav (Written Torah) which comprises the holiest object of Judaism - the Sefer Torah. And in the learning of the Oral Torah, though the Gemara which is the detailed explanation of the Mishna is the meat of Torah learning, one has to learn the entire six orders of the MISHNA - PRIOR to the learning of the Gemara for the maximum understanding of the Gemara, because as one will see as he goes through the entire Talmud, the Gemara quotes from all sorts of places of the Mishna, and it is crucial that one understands the source that the Gemara is quoting in order to have at least a basic understanding of the Gemara (this doesn't mean though that if one didn't wind up learning all of the Mishna in one's younger years that one shouldn't learn Gemara at all; this is just the ideal for a youngster who is learning one thing at a time, but one should make every effort possible to learn the entire six orders of the Mishna, besides the fact that not all of them have the explanations of the Gemara, which is not included in the cycle of the Daf Yomi learning).

And on a final note, the letters consisting of the Hebrew number 12 - Beit & Yud, can be read as Beit Yid - the Yiddishe Home. That is, the Jewish woman who is the Bayit of the Jewish home; and for the Jewish men who learn the Talmud, the mainstay of Jewish learning, the word Bayit consists of the letters Beit, Yud, Tav. And it is these letters that are the first letters that begin the phrases Talmud Bavli (Babylonian Talmud) and Talmud Yerushalmi (Jerusalem Talmud). And as for the phrase Beit Yaakov - this is the same Gematria as the word Tzadeket (righteous woman) - 594. For it is only with the Tzadeket, that a Jewish man can truly be a Tzadik, fulfilling his role as part of the Jewish people in bringing up the next generation of Torah scholars and righteous children.

2 Sivan, 5772

Monday, May 21, 2012

#143 - The LEVITE Connection

If you are a vivid reader of my Gematriot blog, you probably know by now that Jerusalem is one of my favorite topics. While this is certainly most true, and I will be discussing Jerusalem once again in this post as we have just celebrated Yom Yerushalayim - Jerusalem Day just yesterday celebrating 45 years since the liberation of the Old City of Jerusalem which included the holiest area of the world - the Temple Mount, being the beginning of the 46th year, this was far from the only area in Israel that was liberated during the Six Day War. But what I just learned myself just days ago, it was particularly on the following day - the 29th of Iyar, today's date, that Hebron, the oldest Jewish city since the time of Abraham the first Jew who lived there, was liberated, which included the Mearat HaMachpela "Cave of the Patriarchs (and Matriarchs)".

In fact, the numbers 45 and 46 in particular have special significance to the two holiest cities - Jerusalem & Hebron. Without mixing apples and bananas together, I will first discuss about the significance of the number 45 to these cities, and then proceed to the number 46, and then finally, the significance of the sum total of these numbers.


While there may be those among what is called the "Ultra-Orthodox" camp who will deride the significance of Jerusalem Day because the Six Day War was fought for the large part by "secular" or "irreligious" Jewish soldiers, thank G-d, this is only a small percentage of this category of Jews. Even among the rest of this camp who aren't by any means what you would call "Zionist" rabbis, even many of them admit that this is a day that we should give thanks to Hashem for the great miracles that took place that not only allowed us access once again to the holiest area in the world, but that Jews were miraculously saved from annihilation. For all that the world knew with the advancement of some 31 million Arabs converging to get rid of the unwanted inhabitants of "Palestine" once and for all, Israel was going to be finished. However, there are numerous stories proving that Hashem wrought great miracles in this war, and though unfortunately, there were some Jewish soldiers who perished in the midst of fighting, the announcement of "The Temple Mount is in our hands" says it all. Most Jews today of virtually every sort of sect within Judaism from Hasidic to the intermarried with a non-Jew know where to stop by for the ultimate spiritual experience. And while the Temple Mount is a Halachic issue because there are certain parts of it that we are forbidden to tread upon because we are all impure of contact with the dead in one way or another, between the fact that for no apparent reason, Moshe Dayan who undid the good that he accomplished during the Six Day War by handing over the key of the Temple Mount to the wakf and the Israeli police who are forever defending the Moslem Arab's rights over Jews' rights, especially the observant Jews who are forbidden until today to even bring a prayer book or to even dare move their lips for fear of the great "crime" of praying, our happiness of the great event that happened is not complete, aside from the fact that the police, despite an Israeli Supreme Court ruling in 2007 permitting Jews to bring the Pascal sacrifice on Passover eve on the Temple Mount, prevent Jews from doing so.

At this point, I am going to mention a few significant points of this particular year 5772 in relationship to the year 5727 that Hashem revealed His miracles, allowing us to have access once again to the area of the world that all Jews praying turn their faces to, though the Israeli police have a great Yetzer Hara (evil inclination) to prevent particularly the observant Jews from praying at that very place. But first, I do want to point out something that those who have as of late read some Torah blogs will know about many sources pointing to this year being the year of our Redemption. There is even one rabbi who said that he heard from the mouth of Rabbi Yitzchak Kaduri, ZT"L, the senior leading Kabbalist who passed away six years ago, that Moshiach is coming in the month of Av of this year, just a mere two months from now. While I will not be getting into all kinds of discussions or proofs about this year being the "Messiah Year", there is no doubt that this is a most special year for a few reasons.

First, as you may have noticed already, looking at the last two digits of these two years - 5727 & 5772, they are the same numbers, but just in reverse order. Now in Hebrew, this may not be evident because these two years are using totally different letters for the last two digits; however, in terms of units of singles and tens, only THIS YEAR will have the IDENTICAL NUMBERS to the year of Hashem's great miracles that the world at large uses.

Second, as some may already be aware between information that they may have read on the subject of our upcoming Redemption and the Bible at the end of the Book of Daniel, there are two sets of amount of "days" (that is sometimes translated as years for the word in Hebrew that usually means days) as associated with the End of Days. "From the time of the placing of the desolate abomination - 1,290 years. Fortunate is the one who awaits and reaches for 1,335 years." (Daniel 12:11-12)

As proven in history, the year 5727 (1967) was 1,290 years from when the accursed Dome of the Rock was first placed on the most holy Temple Mount. At this time in Jewish history 45 years ago, we virtually had it all. Has the Israeli government done the right thing, that dome thing would have been off in no time. However, as we know in following the Torah, you are either getting better or getting worse, and not just being a "moderate". And so, as a result of not getting rid of the abomination which it had free choice to do so, it wound up authorizing handing the key of the Temple Mount to the wakf.

Now, simply subtracting 1,290 years from 1,335 years will show a difference of 45 years. And indeed, it is now exactly 45 years since that fateful time in Jewish history. There have in fact been a couple of recent significant things or changes that happened on the Temple Mount lately. First, after the longest time, the police stopped collecting the identification cards of observant Jews who wished to ascend the Temple Mount as "security" that they wouldn't pray on the Mount. And then what seems to have been a first for Jerusalem Day, Dr. Michael Ben-Ari - Knesset Member and staunch Kahane follower, came up the Temple with a couple of other people, and openly prostrated himself without fear of getting arrested and neither was he arrested, while the police did manage to arrest a few other activists who did the big "crime" of praying.

Third, considering these 45 years, the Gematria of the name of the first human being - Adam - is 45. And as the Talmud/Misdrash tells us, the dust that was used in his creation was gathered from the grounds of the future altar on the Temple Mount (this is to note that in sharp contrast, Eve was not created directly from the same source but rather as created from Adam's rib though was also created directly by Hashem). This signifies that the altar would in the future serve to atone for a person's sins when he would bring an animal sacrifice as an atonement.


While everyone always mentions the Mearat HaMachpela as the place where the Patriarchs and Matriarchs are buried, they seem to forget that this is also where the ancestors of mankind are also buried - Adam & Eve. In fact, there is even a story of a rabbi in Tractate Eruvin of the Talmud who came to Adam's grave to do some measurements so the Cohanim who are forbidden to make themselves impure for the dead except to bury their closest relatives would know how far back to stay away from the gravesite. Personally, I have been to the place a few times, and I don't even know who to ask as to where is the area of the gravesites of Adam & Eve, unlike the clearly marked off places for the other six who are buried.

While we may not know where Adam & Eve used to live following their expulsion from the Garden of Eden, they obviously didn't live too far away from the famous burial site in Hebron at the time of their passing some 930 years later, which means that they were living in Israel for some period in their lives. To think of it, the ancestors of all mankind used to live in Israel out of all places in the universe, and for all that we may know, we could be troding on the same paths nearby as they did (Note: The burial place of their righteous son Seth is also in Israel whose location is known).

So there you have it, Adam's origins is from the holiest city in the world, and he is buried in the second holiest city in the world. And by the way, King David, who according to the Midrash was granted his 70 years of life from Adam, first reigned as king in Hebron for seven and a half years, and then transferred to Jerusalem for the next 33 years. So in 1,000 years - the combined years of Adam & David (as Adam was originally slated to live 1,000 years following eating the forbidden fruit), this was a one thousand year turnaround. And as we see that Adam's name begins with an Aleph which is the numerical value of one and the first letter, the name of Adam HaRishon, the first of mankind, begins the 24th and final book of the Tanach (Bible) called Divrei Hayomim where the first letter Aleph is an unusual BIG letter, signifying that this letter Aleph can also be the numerical value of 1,000 as the first of letters in any given Hebrew number (from 1,000 through 1,999). And in terms of the name of the letter, Aleph (1) and Eleph (1,000) is spelled as the same lettered word, the only difference being the vowels. And so, it was King David, whose dynasty is the basis of this final book of the Bible that begins with the BIG Aleph signifying the number 1,000, ended the 1,000 years of Adam-David living as king in Jerusalem, and is the only Jewish Biblical king who is buried in the Old City of Jerusalem, also called Ir David (City of David). And in connection with this, Adam's name is the acronym of Adam, David & Moshiach, for it will be Moshiach, King David's descendant, who will make the ultimate rectification of Adam's sin, being Hashem's messenger in bringing the world to the state once again the way it was before Adam's sin.

Oh, and before I forget, the Gematria of the Hebrew word for Redemption - Geula - is 45. I think this says it all.


Mentioning above that 45 is the Gematria of the name of the first human being, the following number 46 is the Gematria of the name of the ancestor of the tribe that is closest to Hashem serving Him in His holy abode on earth. The name Levi is among the most common last Jewish names that exist today, for this transcends the particular cultural groups called Ashkenazi, Sephardi, that have last names unique to that particular culture(the majority of last names with this name are spelled at the end with a "y" rather than an "i", but in virtually all Bible translations and quotes, it is the letter "i" that is used). Actually, this is probably even a more common family name than the name Cohen, for there are more Levites than Cohanim, bearing in mind that they both come from the same Tribe of Levi except that the Cohanim are all parental descendants of Aaron, who in turn was the great grandson of Levi.

It should be noted that when Israel was divided up among the tribes as to which tribe would live where, the Tribe of Levi was not assigned any particular land, being that "Hashem is their inheritance". Nevertheless, there were 48 cities that were set aside for Cohanim and Levites to reside in.

Though Jerusalem was amidst the boundaries of both the tribes of Judah and Benjamin as was the Beit HaMikdash (Temple); as the capitol of Israel and seat of the Sanctuary, it was not a private city like all other cities in Israel, aside from the cities of refuge which were the Levitical designated cities. Hence, any Jew who wished to live in this most holy city had a right to, but on condition that he would have an open home for Jews coming from other places who needed a place to stay during the Shalosh Regalim - the three pilgrimage festivals of Passover, Shavuot, and Succot.

But one thing was for sure. At any given time, approximately 1/24th of all Cohanim & Levites were staying in Jerusalem, because both the Cohanim & Levites were each divided up into 24 watches, as enumerated in the midst of the 24th and last book of the Tanach - Divrei HaYomim (Chronicles). And though the Cohanim were the main players in offering the sacrifices and other holy duties in the Temple and certain places in the Temple were off limits to anyone who was not a Cohen, the rest of the Tribe of Levi, being called Levites, also had certain functions in the Temple - some of which were exclusive to them, such as singing psalms during the offering of the daily or holiday sacrifices.

You know, Hebrew is such a beautiful language. But the reason I say this is because as the language of Lashon HaKodesh (and not Yiddish which some think is more holier to speak even in Israel, but don't realize that they are forfeiting some eternal reward for not speaking this Lashon HaKodesh "The Holy Tongue" as mentioned in Tractate Sota of the Talmud, despite their reasons of claiming that this Modern Hebrew has nothing to do with Lashon HaKodesh), there is so much Torah that can be gleaned from this language, as perhaps most evident from the Zohar, the main book of Kabbalah. You see, if you take a look at the Hebrew word of Yerushalayim, whether if it's spelled with a second letter YUD or not, notice the letter LAMED, skip over one letter backwards and you see the letter VAV, and then once more skip over one letter backwards and you see the letter YUD. Lamed-Vav-Yud = LEVI! Coincidence? The ultimate reason why Jerusalem is the capitol of Israel, which is not the same reason why a capitol is designated in all other countries, is specifically BECAUSE the Holy Temple is located in Jerusalem. It is true that King David reigned for 33 years in Jerusalem before his son King Solomon built and designated the Temple therein, but what some may not be aware is that King David together with Shmuel HaNovi (Samuel the Prophet), they located the exact spot of where the Torah wants the Temple to be located.

With this said, as I have mentioned in a past post about Jerusalem Day, the Yahrzeit of Samuel is the same date of 28 Iyar! And while in Israel, the ones attending the gravesite of Samuel, which is on the outskirts of Jerusalem, and the ones visiting the Kotel HaMa'aravi (The Western Wall) are almost exclusive, it is certainly nothing short of Hashgacha Peratit (Divine Providence) that the great miracle of full access to the Temple grounds after a 19 year hiatus occurring on what is now called Jerusalem day happened on the very date as the Yahrzeit of Shmuel HaNovi.

However, this year, I have an extra dimension to add here. You see, just like myself, Shmuel HaNovi was a Levi. In fact, in the very beginning of Sefer Shmuel (Book of Samuel), it mentions the genealogy of his father Elkanah and of his annual pilgrimages to the Mishkan (Tabernacle) in Shiloh. In fact, our Sages tell us that it was in the merit of Elkanah who mobilized the rest of the Jewish nation to come to the Mishkan that he merited to have a son who would not only be the leading judge of the Jewish people, but would also anoint the first king Saul as well as King David, ancestor of the Davidic dynasty and Moshiach, and as well as being the one, along with King David, who discovered the exact spot of where the Temple was meant to be built.

And so, the LEVITE connection to Jerusalem goes way beyond the fact of the Tribe of Levi serving in the Temple. Fifty percent off the imput as to exactly where the holiest place in the world would be designated came from a Levite, and the fact that the name of his ancestor Levi is embedded within the name of Yerushalayim shows that it is the Cohanim and Levites comprising the entire Tribe of Levi who are the designated servants of Hashem representing the rest of the Jewish nation. And as for the other fifty percent imput coming from King David, parentally descended from the Tribe of Judah, he represented the concept of Hashem as the King of Kings, Whose presence was most evident in the Temple, as well as being the ancestor of Moshiach, who will shortly be Hashem's representative from the outside to bring the Jews back to the greatest spirituality possible in this world with the rebuilt Holy Temple, where the Tribe of Levi is suppposed to serve Hashem from the inside.


In the Chumash, the name Hebron is mentioned a total of nine times. However, many if not most will know that out of these nine times, two of these times is not used as the name of the city Hebron, but rather, the name of a person. In short, he was a parental grandson of Levi, son of Kehath, brother of Amram, and uncle to Miriam, Aaron, and Moses. However, not a word is mentioned about him having any children. Whether he was named after the city Hebron, or was given the name for another reason - we may never know. However, the fact that the Torah considers it important enough to mention his name, even though he obviously didn't have at least any male children to have them mentioned along with the children of his brothers, shows that there may be an inner connection between the city of Hebron and the Levite tribe, even though this city was located within the territory of the Tribe of Judah, just as a part of Jerusalem was also within Judah's territory.

In fact, as we see in Sefer Yehoshua (Book of Joshua), Hebron was one of the six main refuge cities that was also a Levitical city. Even though as I mentioned earlier, the Levite tribe did not receive an inheritance in Israel like the other Tribes, which was designated by a lottery system; nevertheless, the lottery system was also used to determine which part of the Tribe of Levi would reside in which city or cities of the total of 48 cities of refuge.

The first lottery used for this purpose was for the Cohanim. It's interesting to note that when mentioning this, the verse states "the sons of Aaron, from the Kehathite family of the sons of Levi" (Joshua 21:10). But the question can be asked like this. we all know that the Cohanim all come from Kehath, because he was Aaron's parental grandfather. True, the Levites from the rest of the descendants of Kehath were also assigned portions of land, as mentioned further on, but if this is the case, then the text should have mentioned something like this, "Of the Kehathite family, the first were the sons of Aaron..." instead of writing in reverse "the sons of Aaron from the Kehathite family" as though we wouldn't know otherwise from which of the sons of Levi they were descended from. So why the wording the way that it is?

You see, the very next verse mentions the first of a number of cities designated for the Cohanim, and this was none other than "Kiryat Arba...which is Hebron in the mountains of Judah". Now today, there is a city in Israel called Kiryat Arba which is located right outside the Biblical city of Hebron, but this does not necessarily mean that there was a city in Biblical times called by this name that was separate from Hebron, because this name which means "City of Four" either refers to the four big giants that were living there at the time, or the four pairs who were buried or were to be buried in Me'arat HaMachpelah of Hebron, as mentioned by Rashi at the beginning of Parshat Chayei Sarah. In any case, after mentioning earlier about Hebron being a name of one of the sons of Kehath, this would seem to explain why the text words the verse as "the sons of Aaron, from the Kehathite family"; for in fact, they were memorializing Great Uncle Hebron by taking up residence in the very same town bearing the name of their great uncle, who never had male children to carry on his name.

So the bottom line is - Hebron both in name and residents is heavily connected with the Tribe of Levi, whose name is the Gematria of 46, noting that it is now the beginning of the 46th year since the liberation of Hebron by Israel. And just as it is with Jerusalem, the Tribe of Levi is also very connected with the Tribe of Judah. In fact, this is borne out, as mentioned in the Zohar, within the blessing granted to Judah by his father Jacob on his deathbed - Ad Ki Yavo Shilo V'Lo Yikhat Amim "...until Shilo (referring to Moshiach) will come, and to him will be the assemblage of nations" (Genesis 49:10). Shilo is the Gematria of Moshe (345), and then mentioning Moshe's parental ancestors, in order of descent - Levi spelled in consecutive letters within the words V'Lo Yikhat, Kehat which is the last three letters of the Hebrew word Yikhat, and then the next word Amim bears a close resemblance with the name Amram, the only difference being the respective letters of Yud & Reish. And so, while one may wonder for a moment while the first four generations starting from Levi is hinted within Judah's blessing, what we can learn from here is that everyone has a function in serving Hashem - just as the Tribe of Levi produced Cohanim & Levites, and the Tribe of Judah produced the Jewish kings and Moshiach. Aside from this, Moshe's brother Aaron was married to Elisheva, brother of Nachshon who was the parental ancestor of King David & Moshiach, and Moshe's sister Miriam was married to Caleb who was also a parental descendant of Judah, as well as inheriting a part of Hebron of all cities in Israel as a reward for not going along with the rest of the Spies (aside from Joshua) who slandered the land of Israel to the Jewish people, resulting in their languishing in the desert for nearly 40 years until the older generation, aside from the Levites who had full faith in Hashem not believing the slanderous Spies report and so lived to an old age, died out.

As you can see, just as the name of the Tribe of Levi is spelled within the name Yerushalayim, so too is the main name of Hashem - YKVK - spelled within the name of the Tribe of Judah - in order of the spelling of the name YKVK. Indeed, BOTH the tribes of Levi AND Judah were the main ones instrumental in representing Hashem's awesome Presence and Majesty in the Holiest City of Jerusalem.

And now that I have mentioned the special significance of the numbers 45 & 46 in relationship to both Jerusalem & Hebron, adding these two sums yields the total of 91. Even among Jews who don't know how to read Hebrew all that well, it seems that virtually all of them when they see the Tetragrammaton name of YKVK - which was only pronounced by the Cohanim in the Temple, they know to pronounce it as A-do-noy (which literally means "my Master"). There are Kabbalistic explanations of the name YKVK being the higher form and the name A-do-noy being the lower form; but in short, the combination of these two names - YKVK (26) & A-do-noy (65) add to 91, which is also the Gematria of the word Amen that we answer after the end of blessings and at various parts of the Kaddish prayer. Moreover, the word HaLevi'im, which at times refers to the entire tribe of Levi consisting of both Cohanim and Levites, is the Gematria of 91; the middle letters spelling "Levi" being the Gematria of 46, and the outer letters of HEI ("the") and MEM SOPHIT (used in this instance as a letter to denote plurality) being the Gematria of 45.


As I begin this post, it was only days ago that I learned of the exact date that Hebron was liberated. But what I do want to stress here is that this took place on the 44th day of the Sephirah.

And while we just celebrated 45 years of the liberations of the Old City of Jerusalem and Hebron, though I didn't stress this in my past post on Jerusalem in relationship to its 44th year or its 44 years, as my focus was more on Obama being the 44th President and how he has or will oppose all of Jerusalem being part a Jewish city, being that the Temple is located in Jerusalem, it is associated with the number 44 in more than one way.

The name of the Mishnaic tractate that is all about the measurements of the building of the Temple is called Midot (measurements), and its first two letters is Mem-Dalet, which spells the Hebrew number 44. Also, the Hebrew word for blood is DAM, whose letters when spelled in reverse spells the number 44. In terms of the service in the Temple, if the blood of the slaughtered animal was not handled the proper way, it invalidated the animal sacrifice. There are FOUR parts of sacrificing the animal of which if one of them wasn't done the proper way, including if there was an improper intention, such as even just intending to eat the sacrificial animal beyond its allotted time, the sacrifice was invalid. These are - 1)Shechita- Slaughtering, 2)Kabbala- Receiving the blood in a vessel, 3)Holacha- Walking with the blood to the altar, 4)Zerika- Throwing the blood at the altar. As you can see, the main subject of these Divine services in the Temple involved blood - DAM, the word being the Gematria of FORTY-FOUR (44), using the number FOUR twice in the spelling of this number.

But in this year, Jerusalem Day is associated with the number 44 once again, but in a very different way. You see, the Daf Yomi (daily learning of the double sided page of the Babylonian Talmud) for on the four middle days marking the Six Day War from 26 Iyar through 2 Sivan is the learning of Tractate MIDDOT (Dafim 34-37), though ironically, this has no Gemara but only Mishnayot but is nevertheless learned as part of the Daf Yomi learning to complete the learning of the entire Seder Kodoshim (Order of Holy Items), the fifth of the six orders of the Mishna. Aside from the fact that the first two letters of the name of this tractate spells the number 44, the first and third letters of word Mikdash, the main word used for the Temple, are also the letters Mem & Dalet.

In our prayers for the rebuilding of the Temple, we pray SheYibaneh Beit HaMikdash B'Meheira B'Yameinu "May the Temple be built speedily in our days..." Now, in terms of Hebron, we see a statement in the Torah in the story of the Spies checking out Israel which makes a sudden incidental statement about Hebron that it didn't mention earlier in its mention of it several times in Genesis when Abraham the first Jew as living there - "Hebron was BUILT seven years before Zoan in Egypt" (Numbers 13:22). Without getting into all kinds of details as to how Rashi knew not to take this verse literally, he does explain this in terms of the value of the land of Hebron being seven times more worth than even Zoan, the best place in Egypt. It seems that the reason that the Torah mentions this fact about Hebron specifically here rather than far earlier in Genesis is because it wants to stress the beauty of Israel, which the Spies only used in their report only as a base to afterwards slander the beautiful land that Hashem prepared for us.

Now, one more point that I want to make about Hebron as connected to the number 44, aside from the fact that it was on the FORTY-FOURTH day of the Sephira that it was liberated in 5727, is that Hebron's other name is Kiryat Arba "City of FOUR"! As I mentioned early of the TWO reasons why it was called the "City of Four", perhaps it hints to the fact that it would in the future be liberated on the day of the Sephira that has TWO FOURS in it. Additionally, it is TWO COUPLES OF FOURS - Adam & Eve, Abraham & Sara, Isaac & Rebecca, Jacob & Leah, who are buried in Hebron, which is the "City of FOUR", literally named after these people via the number FOUR. Ohm, change the "maybe" to "it is no coincidence that..."

And as especially related to THIS YEAR, Obama who has been explained in the past as the reincarnate of the Pharaoh, king of EGYPT, who refused the orders of "Let my people go", is presently in his FOURTH year as the FORTY-FORTH president of the United States. And in terms of the secular calendar, since this is what Obama goes by - Hashem Yispor B'Ketov Amim "Hashem counts according to the writing of the nations" (Psalms 87:6), which there are those who say that this alludes to the secular calendar, May 20 is the secular date which corresponded this year to Jerusalem Day (the miracle of the liberation in Jerusalem took place in the morning, even though the date on the Hebrew calendar begins the evening before, unlike in the secular calendar that begins from 12:00 AM), marking exactly FOUR months in his FOURTH year from when he took office on January 20, 2009. I have mentioned in the past about DAM (blood) being the first of the ten plagues in EGYPT, in relationship to its Gematria of 44 and Obama being the 44th president, and his connection to Egypt. And while we are at it, his FIRST public speech overseas was in Cairo, EGYPT, where he freely and truly spoke his mind of his support of the Arabic people.

At this point, I want to mention that there has been a custom in recent years to visit the gravesite of Joseph particularly on the date of the Kabbalistic Sephirah of Yesod She'B'Yesod, as it relates most to Joseph. Now, this Sephira date (41st day of the Omer) in our calendar nowadays is the 26th of Iyar, the date that the Six Day War began. The reason that I mention this is that the gravesite of Joseph is located in Shechem, which the Arabs and the rest of the anti-Semitic world call Nablus. And it is particularly these very three places - the site of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, the Cave of the Patriarchs (and Matriarchs)in Hebron, and the plot of land in Shechem that includes the gravesite of Joseph, that were paid for by King David, Abraham and Jacob, respectively. Yet, it is most ironic that it is THESE THREE PLACES that have the strongest resistance to our claims to these places! And in this, there are three players - the Moslem Arabs of course, the rest of the anti-Semitic world - including the United States which claims that the big issue is the "settlements", and the "Zionistic" Israeli government dictatorship that is busy either filling out "peace" forms or is begging on its knees to make peace with our Arab enemies who want nothing less than the same thing that they showed that they wanted 45 years ago when they attempted to throw us into the sea, though they tell the world that the only problem is about the presently Jewish occupied "'67 borders".

Shechem was almost shut down for the Jewish Israeli public back in 1995, when (at the time that I visited Israel for the first time) in the Israeli government's attempt to appease the Arabs, members of the Israeli army bombed the Mikvah at the Od Yosef Chai Yeshiva. It would be a few more years until Shechem was indeed shut down from Jewish attendance in the year 2000, at which Hillel Liberman, may his blood be avenged, attempted to save the day, but was murdered by the Nablus Arabs, who were not controlled by the elements of the Israeli army who followed Nazi orders in sealing the fate of Shechem.

Hebron used to be a little more occupied by the right kind of people - Jews who were only beginning to resettle the land after a long hiatus since the murder of 67 Jews in the town in 1929. There were major struggles in the earlier years of the State of Israel when a former dictator of the Israeli government, Menachem Begin (though better compared to today's Prime Minister dictators, it was under his leadership who threw Rabbi Meir Kahane in prison), caving in to pressure, refused to help the Jews who were still living under Arab threats and attacks, which resulted in more Jews being murdered. And then the present prime dictator of Israeli, Bibi Netanyahu, also the dictator back in 1998, gave autonomic control of Hebron to the Arabs, as though there weren't enough problems there already, leading to still more murder of Jews. Today, only 3% of Hebron is occupied by Jews, living in a virtual ghetto in a small concentrated area near the Me'Arat HaMachpelah which in itself has more parts of it that is used by Arabs than by Jews, and there are even days that soldiers of the Israeli army following Nazi orders don't allow Jews to come on Moslem holidays to the site. Moreover, the Arabs receive constant funding from Germany to continue building in this second holiest city of the world.

Jerusalem, the "City of Peace", is already a hesitant issue in terms of giving control of "East Jerusalem", which includes the Temple grounds, to the Arabs. There are some hypocrites in the Knesset, who while had no problem voting to throw Jews out of Gush Katif and parts of Gaza, which was also recaptured by Jews in the Six Day War, make a distinction- "Jerusalem is an undivisible capitol". But even at this, the former dictator of Israel - Ehud Olmert, unlike when he used to be mayor of Jerusalem when he was very supportive of the city that he was mayor of, changed his tone even about Jerusalem. Luckily, he wasn't able to finish his term (I'm just not sure if it was officially or non-officially), so he didn't have enough time to buy a new pen to put his evil plans in writing for Islam control of the Temple grounds area that is symbolized by the "Kipa" - the Dome of the Rock.

Now, back to the United States, both George Bush, Jr. - the 43rd President of the United States, and Barack Hussein Obama - the 44th President of the United States, pressured Israel to continue the peace scam, beginning with the "settlements", which technically includes Hebron and Shechem as part of the "West Bank", with hopes of the eventually division of East & West parts of Jerusalem. Now, we see a striking resemblance here - for in the Six Day War, Jerusalem was captured by Jews on the 43rd Day of the Omer, and Hebron was captured by Jews on the 44rd Day of the Omer. Without needing to associate a particular city as per a particular president, what is true is that both President 43 & President 44 have been associated as Gog in Gog U'Magog.

Now, while it has been shown in the Hidden Codes of the Torah that Obama is Gog via an equidistant spelling of his family name Obama, consisting of six letters in Hebrew, in Ezekiel Chapter 38 about the Gog U'Magog war, as you will see at, Bush is far more associated with Gog than Obama because his last name Bush is spelled as consecutive letters in the same Ezekiel Chapter 38. Moreover, the first two letters of the word Magog is Mem-Gimel, spelling the number 43; hence, representing the 43rd President. Now, the ultimate battle of Gog U'Magog is going to be particularly against Jerusalem, which was captured in the Six Day War on the 43rd Day of the Omer. There are additional connections of Bush as associated with Gog, but it seems that when he found out from others about the Bush-Gog association that were being made, it seems that he refrained from continuing what could have been his ultimate plans of fulfilling the role of Gog as predicted in the Bible.

Now, as we know from the Midrash, it will be ESPECIALLY AFTER MOSHIACH COMES that Gog will be fighting us in his final attempt to conquer Israel. And so, the fact is that Obama is the present president of the United States, and as per predictions in the Book Of Daniel about a leader in terms of three and a half years, it will be exactly that amount of time in the secular calendar for Obama at the eve of this Rosh Chodesh Av, the month that is being talked about of the month of Moshiach's coming this year.

As a hint to both the numbers 43 and 44 in terms of the number of this post, the number 143 can be divided as ONE (1) and FORTY-THREE (43), and so when you add up 1 & 43, the total is 44 - having mentioned both Jerualem Day (43rd Day of the Omer) and Hebron Day (44th Day of the Omer). Ending off on a good note (aside from the previous paragraph), having mentioned earlier about Jerusalem Day & Hebron Day falling out on the days of the midst of learning Tractate Middot of the Daf Yomi, the new cycle of the Daf Yomi cycle (the 13th) will begin on this coming 15th of the month of Av, a date that is traditionally marked as a day of several happy events during the course of Jewish history. And it is on the topic of Daf Yomi in terms of the following and final tractate of Gemara that will shortly be learned that will be the topic of my next post...

29 Iyar 5772 - 44th Day of the Sephira, Hebron Day