Wednesday, May 2, 2012

#141 - Middle Day, Middle MITZVAH, Middle Mishnah


While some may be aware that today - the 25th day of the Sephirah - is the MIDDLE DAY of the Sephirah, that is probably how far as it goes. In fact, I attempted a little research on the internet, and as far as I can see, at least in English, there is zero discussion about this date of the Sephirah being the middle day of it, or other middles of the Torah that I wish to write about it today.

Halachicly, I could not tell you that if for some reason, someone counted today's Sephirah as - "Today is the middle day of the Sephirah" if he would have at least, ipso facto, fulfilled the daily count of the Sephirah. This is aside from the fact that part of the Mitzvah is also to count the weeks of the Sephirah starting from the seventh day of the Sephirah. In fact, if one would take the literal meaning of the verse in the Torah about counting the Sephirah, it states "You shall count 50 days" when in fact, we count only 49 days. This is explained by some that it is Hashem who counts the 50th day, which is Shavuot, when He gave us the Torah. But at least as far as our counting in concerned, the Mitzvah is to count only 49 days - and so there is an exact middle day of the seven times seven timestable.

While the Mitzvah to count today's Sephirah goes like this: "Today is 5 and 20 days which are are 3 weeks and four days from the Omer", rather than, "Today is Day Kaf Hei (25)...", thus using words, rather than letters having a numerical value, for the numbers, there is no doubt that the letter for the number that is related to its particular day of the Sephirah is also of significance for that day. And so, with this said, I want to point out significant uses of the number Kaf-Hei, which is also a word that is used in the Torah - Koh "So". Examples of this is Ko Amar Hashem "So says Hashem", the phrase used in many prophecies. Ko Tevarechu Et Bnei Yisrael "So shall you bless the Jewish people", referring to the 379th Mitzvah of the Torah for the Cohanim to bless the Jewish people, part of the very first Torah that we recite every morning immediately after Bircot HaTorah, blessings thanking Hashem for giving us the Torah. Koh Yihyeh Zarecha "So shall be your seed (children)", Hashem's blessings to Abraham that he would have children after not having any following many years of marriage.

I will get back to one of these examples later, but for now, suffice it to say that the fact that the word Koh is the beginning word of Hashem's relating of a prophecy has to be very significant. Perhaps we will be able to see a connection a little later on between this concept and the middle day of the Sephirah as related to this number/word.

Another connection of the concept of MIDDLE as related to this MIDDLE DAY OF THE SEPHIRAH as that there are 49 letters of the Biblical verse (Psalms 67:5) that we bear in mind when counting the Sephirah - one letter corresponding to its respective day of the Sephirah. Hence, the letter for this 25th/middle day of the Sephirah is the letter Mem, which is the MIDDLE letter of the 27 letters of the Aleph-Beit when we include the five forms of the letters that appear only at the end of a word.


Many may define the definition of a good Jew in the observant world as one who prays and attends the daily Daf Yomi (daily double sided page of the Babylonian Talmud) class in the synagogue. Indeed, the greatest Mitzvah of the Torah is learning/teaching Torah, which I have mentioned a number of times in my posts, as this is such a crucial Mitzvah. Aside from the pulpit rabbi, who himself has a busy schedule, and aside from teaching Torah classes, may not have a whole lot of extra time to learn by himself sometimes, how many others, especially the married ones with children at home and working a regular job that doesn't allow for much learning brakes aside from lunch and small coffee brakes, learn any other Torah than the daily Daf Yomi class, or at least on Shabbat? How many of them open up a Sefer (in this case, a Torah book) at other times, whether in the synagogue (aside from the Chumash for the Torah reading) or at home, and spend some additional time learning Torah? To be sure, there are some, a little more or a little less; and indeed, there are those who spend quite a few hours every day - some learning with a learning partner as it was in the good ol' Yeshiva days. Of course, now people can access all kinds of Torah classes on the internet, palm reader, etc., many of which are totally free in contrast to just some 20 years ago when you had to pay a fee to listen to the Daf Yomi class on the phone.

But here is my punchline. How many have spent some time learning the Taryag Mitzvot/613 Commandments? To be sure, there are those who at least go through the Mitzvot related to the present Parsha of the Torah. But in doing so, how many of them have thought of at least checking out what is the MIDDLE MITZVAH of the Torah? In fact, if you were to ask an observant Jew as to what the middle Parsha/Parshiyot of the Torah are, even if he knew of this at one time, how soon could he shoot back an answer? In fact, you will see within the midst of Sefer Vayikra/Leviticus of some middles - the middle letter, the middle words, and the middle verse of the Torah, all of which happen to not be literally true, but it's not for discussion in this post.

Now, before I can tell you what it is, not all lists of the Taryag Mitzvot are the exact same Mitzvot, believe it or not. This is not the first time in my blog that I have mentioned this, but without getting into detail, there is only ONE set that is able to be correct, for it states very clear in the Talmud in Tractate Makkot 23b that "613 Mitzvot were told to Moses", and so it is impossible that more than one list of this is able to be correct. While it many not make any practical difference as far as how the Mitzvot are observed, it is important to learn correct Torah. And so, proving that the Mitzvah of Talmud Torah is the 420th Mitzva based on various Gematriot, I know what the correct list, and it is not from the famous Sefer HaChinuch, though it may have been the first Sefer HaMitzvot in order of the Parshiyot of the Torah. Rather, though not the only source of the correct list, it is the Sefer "Mitzvat Hashem" which I personally learn on a daily basis. But I do have to admit that the Sefer that caught my attention to the correct list is called Simanei HaMitzvot "Signs of the Mitzvot" which uses the number of the Mitzvah to be an acronym for words that describe that particular Mitzvah which is an absolute incredible feat, but a way for some to be able to remember all 613 Mitzvot, which I am personally working on using this Sefer.

With this said, the MIDDLE MITZVAH of the Torah is...Mitzvah 307: To count the days and weeks of the Omer! How interesting! But, even if we remember now that this is the middle Mitzvah of the Torah, how will we remember that this is the 307th Mitzvah, or if asked another time, what is the 307th Mitzvah? So for this, the Sefer called Simanei HaMitzvot uses the number 307 - Shin, Zayin - as Shavuot Zayin, Seven (the letter Zayin being the numerical value of seven) weeks. Wow, how simple! Now, not all of the Mitzvot are able to be memorized so simply like this, but the fact that the letters of the number of this Mitzvah can spell it like this, (unlike if we were to follow the list of the Sefer HaChinuch who places this as the 306th Mitzvah in which the number seven would obviously not be able to be used when there are seven times seven days to the Sephirah count), tells us of the special significance of SEVEN WEEKS, which the Torah describes in one place as Shiva Shavuot, and in another place as Sheva Shabbatot, using the word Shabbatot as weeks based on the word Shabbat. For in fact, at least as far as time is concerned for an observant Jew - the Shabbat is the MIDDLE or CENTER of one's life; and the more one is aware of one's purpose in life as an observant Jew, even if he is a medical doctor or lawyer, will base his life more towards the spiritual, more towards the Torah, more towards the Shabbat, who will be one whom people can observe that what is most important in the Torah is important to him as well.

Indeed, the fact that this Mitzva of Sephirat HaOmer is the MIDDLE MITZVA is no coincidence, for the ultimate purpose of this Mitzvah is to be aware of our finite time in this world, and to use our time wisely to the best of our ability, and that just like the Jews counted 49 days from after the day of the Exodus until the giving of the Torah, since it was something that they eagerly looked forward to; so too, as we are in effect doing the same thing towards the holiday of the anniversary of Matan Torah/Giving of the Torah, we are in effect supposed to be living our "49 years" from when we become a full fledged man at the age of 20 until our retirement time (if Hashem grants us extra years) to prepare for our ultimate eternal spirituality in Olam HaBa/World to Come, where we will enjoy bliss that is unimaginable in our present physical state, learning Torah all the time. Of course, part of this is dependent on how much Torah a person learned in his lifetime, though everyone is not judged equally depending our their circumstances. However, as Rabbi Tarphon states at the end of Chapter Two of Pirkei Avot (Ethics of the Fathers) "It's not necessarily upon you to finish the work, but neither are you free to be exempt from it".

Noting the wording of the word SEPHIRAH which literally means COUNT, there are two other words in Hebrew that are similar to this one - SIPPUR (story) and SEFER (book). It won't take long to figure out that the word SIPPUR is especially related to the first night of Passover when we have the 21st Mitzvah of the Torah to tell over or recount (Note that in English, a synonym of recalling something from the past is including the word COUNT in the word, a translation of the word SIPPUR/story which is related to the word SEPHIRAH/count!) the story of Yetziat Mitzrayim/Exodus. on Shavuot, we were given the Torah which is represented by the word SEFER (book), and the holiest object in Judaism that we currently use today is the Sefer Torah (Torah scroll), related to the 420th Mitzvah of the Torah.

Now, noting the root of these three words using the letters Samech, Pei, Reish, multiplying the Gematria of this root word - 340 by three representing the three concepts which are represented by the three words using this word, the total is 1,020, which in Hebrew, this number is spelled as Aleph & Kaf. In this instance, the Aleph is used as the number 1,000; however, when used as its regular numerical value of one, we see that these two letters when spelled in reverse - Kaf, Aleph - is the number 21, and as we noted, the 21st Mitzvah is Sippur Yetizat Mitzrayim, the first usage of its root word!

Note that I mentioned the number of the placement of the Mitzvot in the Torah related to Pesach/Passover and Shavuot. As you can see counting the amount of Mitzvot from the 21st Mitzvah that is especially performed on the first night of Passover through the 420th Mitzvah of learning/teaching Torah that is especially related to Shavuot, the holiday on which we received the Torah, there are exactly 400 Mitzvot. And as we know, Hashem told Abraham that "your seed will be strangers in a land not belonging to them and will be enslaved therein for 400 years" (Genesis 15:13). The truth is that the Jews were enslaved in Egypt for only 116 years, but as far as living in "a land not belonging to them", this was exactly for 400 years from when Abraham's son Isaac was born on the first day of Passover in Year 2048, until the Exodus of the few million Jews from Egypt on the first day of Passover in Year 2448. And it must be remembered that while Abraham promised the Land of Israel to his descendants, it was not yet theirs, so even though Abraham was living in Israel at the time, Isaac was indeed born in "a land not belonging to them". With this connection of the number 400 as both the amount of years that Jews were strangers in a land until the Exodus and the amount of Mitzvot from recounting the Exodus through the Mitzvah of Talmud Torah, the word Torah representing the 400th Mitzvah from the Mitzvah of Sippur Yetizat Mitzrayim begins with the letter Tav, the last of the letters of the Alef Beit, which is the numerical value of 400. Additionally, while the Mitzvah of learning/teaching Torah is the greatest of the Mitzvot in and of itself, recounting the Exodus on the first night of Passover is also reciting words of Torah obviously, so in fact, one is ALSO fulfilling the Mitzvah of Talmud Torah as related to the number 400, ESPECIALLY on the day of the year that marks the Exodus following exactly 400 years of exile.

Now, looking at the list of the Taryag Mitzvot, we see another major parallel here as related to Pesach-Sephirat HaOmer-Shavuot. The FIRST Mitzvah of the Torah - Pru Ur'Vu "Be fruitful and multiply" (Genesis 1:28) having CHILDREN is related to the Mitzvah of SIPPUR Yetziat Mitzrayim, for as we see, the source for this Mitzvah is V'Higadta L'Bincha "You shall tell your CHILDREN on that day saying "Because of this, Hashem did (miracles) for me when I left Egypt"" (Exodus 13:8). Now, while even one who doesn't have children still has a Mitzvah of Sippur Yetziat Mitzrayim, the main aspect of this Mitzvah is recounting the Exodus is telling it to one's children (by the way, this verse is the source for the word Haggadah, beginning with V'Higadta "You shall tell..."). This is especially evident in the beginning of Psalm 78 in Tehillim where the wording SIPPUR is used three times in reference to telling over to one's children/the next generation, where afterwards, events of the Exodus is mentioned in this psalm. Now, as we know from this post (many will already know what the first and last Mitzvot are, but not necessarily the middle Mitzvah, especially when there is a discrepancy in the Taryag Mitzvot lists), the MIDDLE Mitzvah is the SEPHIRAH count. And the LAST Mitzvah of the Torah is writing a SEFER Torah for oneself, which is obviously related to the Mitzvah of learning/teaching Torah, for without the information of the Sefer Torah which is the source of the Taryag Mitzvot, we would have no original written information about the Mitzvot, because even the list of the Taryag Mitzvot that we have today as a list is part of the Torah She'B'Al Peh (Oral Torah) which was forbidden to be written until the rabbis came to the conclusion that because of the troubles of the Jewish people which was leading to a decline in Torah learning, it was necessary for the sake of the Torah to write down the Oral Torah. So as you can see here, just as you have the concept of SIPPUR/SEPHIRAH/SEFER as related to Pesach/Sephirat HaOmer/Shavuot respectively, so too does SIPPUR/SEPHIRAH/SEFER relate to the FIRST/MIDDLE/LAST Mitzvot of the Torah respectively.

As we can see, all three Mitzvot of 1)SIPPUR Yetziat Mizrayim, 2)SEPHIRAH - Sephirat HaOmer, 3)SEFER as the Mitzvah of Talmud Torah are done with the mouth. Now, the word SEFER is also related to the last Mitzvah of the Torah, whose source is "Write for yourselves this song (HASHIRA - which is the Gematria of 520, and I am presently in my 520th month of life, noting that writing Torah thoughts on this blog is part of this last Mitzvah of the Torah of WRITING a SEFER Torah!) and teach it to the Jewish people, place it in their mouths..." (Deutronomy 31:19). The Hebrew word for "place it" is Simah which is the same Gematria as the word SEPHIRAH - 355, as if to say "COUNT it in their mouths", thus hinting here in the source of the last Mitzvah of the Torah - the MIDDLE Mitzvah of the Torah! Additionally, the word Shanah/year is also the same Gematria, for as related to the Sephirah period, it is a unit of time that represents the whole year, and the Sefer Torah is read in its entirety annually - with one variable. The ONLY Parsha of the 54 Parshiyot read in the Sefer Torah that is either read before Rosh HaSHANAH (New YEAR) OR after Rosh HaSHANAH is Parshat Vayeilech, the source of the last Mitzvah of the Torah of writing a Sefer Torah where the word Simah "PLACE IT in their mouths" is the same Gematria as SHANAH - YEAR!

I almost forgot, though I think that this is the most appropriate place to mention the following, is that the word Mitzvah is the Gematria of 141, and this is my 141st Post. And as some, having read this post until now, may be curious to know - what is the 141st Mitzvah, being that the word Mitzvah is the Gematria of 141? Well, it is to perform the rituals for the Korban Asham/Guilt Offering, though offhand, I don't see a direct connection between this particular Mitzvah and the concept of a Mitzvah. But on second thought, looking at the source for this Mitzvah "This is the Torah (law) of the Guilt Offering..." (Leviticus 7:1), the Rabbis do note in the Talmud at the end of Tractate Menachot on the words "This is the Torah of the Chatat (Sin Offering)...This is the Torah of the Asham..." that one who learns the Halachot (laws) of the Chatat is as though he brought a Korban Chatat, and that one who learns the Halachot of the Asham is as though he brought a Korban Asham. And as the Chofetz Chaim points out, this is ESPECIALLY TRUE TODAY when we presently don't have the Beit HaMikdash (Temple) in which we can offer our sacrifices, for in the times of the Temple, if one was obligated to bring one of these particular offerings, he couldn't learn the Torah about the laws of that offering in lieu of actually offering that sacrifice, though of course we are supposed to be well learned in the Halachot pertaining to any particular Mitzvah that we perform. However, nowadays when this is impossible to fulfill the Halachot literally, learning these laws in considered as though we offered the particular offering to atone for our sin (provided of course that we resolved not to repeat the sin, and make every effort possible not to do so even accidentally, for usually, these offerings were brought when the sin was done accidentally). And hence, the same concept of being considered as though one performed the Mitzvah is applicable to ALL Mitzvot that we learn about, even if we are able to perform them as well; and especially for those Mitzvot that we aren't able to do ourselves, but we still receive the reward as though we have performed the particular Mitzvah that we are studying about. Not a bad deal!


Some 14 years ago, the last time when the middle day of the Sephirah fell out on the middle day of the week - Yom Revi'i (4th day of the week), I had yet to use the internet, let alone know anything about blogging, when blogging began around this time in 1998. And today, after a 14 year hiatus, the same timing takes place is quite significant - for more than one reason.

But before I elaborate on the significance of the middle day of the week as it relates to the Sephirah, it is most noteworthy to point out that that all the letters of the number of THIS HEBREW YEAR 5772 - Hei,Tav,Shin,Ayin,Beit - are included in the phrase used in the Torah - Shiva Shavuot "Seven Weeks" in relationship to the holiday of Shavuot. Virtually no other year in the 6,000 years of this world can claim this (except for Year 2775 in which the letters Beit and Hei are at opposite sides of the number of this Hebrew year). To briefly note, there are major speculations about this Hebrew year being the year of Moshiach's coming, and to think of it, the holiday of Shavuot whose name is most similar to the letters/numbers of this year marks the birthday and Yahrzeit of King David whose descendant is King Moshiach. However, going into detail about this will distract us from the topic of this post, but suffice it to say, that this year may be the very last time to prepare ourselves properly for Shavuot before Moshiach's coming, the concept of which is mentioned in detail in the Zohar.

Another point about our present Hebrew year as related to the number seven, adding up the numerical values of the letters of this year, bearing in mind that the letter Hei that is used at the beginning of the number of the year as the numerical value of 5,000 is the normal numerical value of 5, adding this up with the rest of the number of this year - 772, the total yielded is 777. Hence, this Hebrew year that is related to the words Shabbat, Shiva, and Shavuot is hinted to by the regular Gematria of the letters of this Hebrew year as well as connected particulary with the number SEVEN.

Now, as we know about the seven active Sephirot - Chesed, Gevurah, Tiferet, Netzach, Hod, Yesod, Malchut - aside from the Sephirah combination for the particular day of the Sephirah count of seven-times-seven days, they also correspond to the days of the week - from Yom Rishon through Shabbat. Thus, this year, the way that is was the last time 14 years ago, the Sephirah of the particular day of the Sephirah, for example, taking the Sephirah of my birthday as an example, which is Gevurah She'B'Tiferet for the 16th day of the Sephirah - the 2nd day of the 3rd week as Gevurah is the particular Sephirah part of the given Sephirah of the week which in this case is Tiferet for the 3rd week; in this year, this Sephirah day fell out on Yom Sheni which corresponds with Gevurah. And so, today's Sephirah for the 25th day of the Sephirah - which is Netzach She'B'Netzach - falls out on Yom Revi'i which corresponds to Netzach. And so, today is THE ultimate day that is charged with the maximum spiritual power of Netzach, which means either victory or eternity, the latter word as related to time, the eternal time that we all work which is most illustrated by the Mitzvah of Sephirat HaOmer.

To note, the counting of the Sephirah in fact parallels the days of the week in any case. To prove this, though many call the first day of the week as Yom Rishon, the Torah in the account of the Creation calls it Yom Echad - Day One. Accordingly, when we count the Sephirah on the first night, we call the first day with this same phrase - Yom Echad. It is true that the Omer barley meal offering, which was harvested and offered on the first day of the Sephirah count, went through 13 siftings, and the word Echad is the Gematria of 13, but the fact is that when we count the Sephirah, we are supposed to be reminded of our purpose in life in both time and place; and just as Hashem prepared the world in six days for the world to be ready for mankind and serve Him, as well as the preparation for Shabbat when Hashem so to speak rested from the work that He performed; so too we prepare ourselves spiritually to be proper receivers of the Torah, to refine our animalistic traits and desires, signified by the barley (the grain that animals eat) offering that was offered in the beginning of the Sephirah period, and hence, we count any particular day "...of the Omer", a daily reminder to improve our ways, so that by the time that Shavuot comes along, we will be similar prepared the way that our ancestors were when they received the Torah on Shavuot.

The truth is that regarding Shabbat, though technically, the first six days of the week are more of a physical preparation for the Holy Day; we actually begin the main part of our spiritual preparations on the fourth day of the week. As explained in Kabbalah, the last three days of the week before Shabbat is being in touch with the three levels of our soul in ascending order of Nefesh, Ruach and Neshama, and then the first three days of the week following Shabbat is when we have a decline in our touch with our soul in the declining order of Neshama, Ruach and Nefesh. And so, the way that is was the previous two years, the MIDDLE DAY of the Sephirah fell out on Shabbat.

But based on our strict count of the Sephirah the same way that the days of the week as recounted in the story of Creation in the beginning of the Torah, we have an exact parallel with the NUMBER count, aside from the particular Sephirah for the day of the week or day of the 49-day Sephirah. And so, as especially shown with this MIDDLE DAY OF THE SEPHIRAH which is NETZACH WITHIN NETZACH, and in this year - on Yom Revi'i which parallels NETZACH, in the middle of a unit of time that is supposed to remind us of our purpose in life in preparation for ALL ETERNITY (NETZACH), which is counted daily as per the MIDDLE MITZVAH OF THE TORAH of the 613 Mitzvot of the King which is our ticket to the WORLD OF ETERNITY, this is mostly illustrated today.

In fact, in reference to the Creation on Yom Revi'i, the Torah states that the luminaries (sun and moon) will serve as "signs, holidays, days and years" (Genesis 1:14), and as Rashi points out, that the word holidays in the verse refers to the Jewish people who in the future would be commanded about the holidays, and would use the monthly Molad (literally means "birth" referring to the new appearance of the moon after its disappearance) to determine when the new month begins, hence establishing the Jewish holiday of that particular month. So as we see here, the Jewish people were given the power by Hashem to use TIME towards serving Him, which is mentioned SPECIFICALLY in the Creation account for YOM REVI'I. And in reference to Mitzvot, as Yom Revi'i is the FOURTH day of the week, so is the Mitzvah of Kiddush HaChodesh that Hashem gave to the Jewish people in determining when to begin the new month and leap months is the FOURTH Mitzvah of the Torah!

But I am not finished. If there was nothing more to this, it would still be an incredible lesson to learn here. But let's not forget - Parshat HaShuva. You see, in some years when this same combination of the day of the week with the Sephirah day as it is this year, we don't read the same Parsha as it differs in a leap year when we have two months of Adar before Passover. However, being that THIS YEAR AS A REGULAR YEAR with the usual 12 months, the Parsha that is read this week - PARTICULARLY IN ERETZ YISRAEL, WHERE JEWS BELONG, about which the Talmud states that Israel is in the MIDDLE of the world, though I am not sure if it is referring to it specifically spiritually or physically (unlike outside of Israel where they are behind a Parsha or two since the Shabbat on which we read Parshat Shemini in Israel was the last day of Passover there when they read a Torah reading relating to Passover instead) - is Parshat Emor. With this said, let's take a look in the FOURTH Aliyah of this Parsha, which many learn today on the FOURTH day of the week. Lo and behold, what do we see? The source of the Mitzvah of Sephirat HaOmer - Usfartem Lachem "You shall count..." (Leviticus 23:15)! And so, IN THIS YEAR, not only does the FOURTH day of the FOURTH week of the Sephira, the MIDDLE DAY of the Sephirah, fall out on the FOURTH & MIDDLE day of the week, but the MIDDLE MITZVAH OF THE TORAH WHICH IS SEPHIRAT HAOMER, is found in the FOURTH ALIYAH of THIS WEEK'S PARSHAT EMOR which many learn TODAY AS THE FOURTH DAY OF THE WEEK! After all, nothing is better proof that such a Mitzvah exists than the original source itself!

Now, having mentioned earlier about the last Mitzvah of writing a Sefer Torah, I want to mention the next to the last Mitzvah of the Torah - Mitzvah 612 - of the king reading from the Sefer Torah in the Temple during Succot once in seven years, for a reason. For this Mitzvah, the king didn't just read any part of the Sefer Torah that he felt like, but it was rather selected portions from Sefer Devarim/Deutronomy (from the beginning through the first paragraph of the Shema, the second paragraph of the Shema, and then from Aser Te'aser "Tithe, you shall tithe..." in Parshat Re'eh through the verse Eileh Divrei HaBrit "These are the words of the covenant..." in Parshat Ki Tavo). Now, taking a look at the Mitzvot that we learn from these particular sections of the Torah that the king read once in SEVEN years, there are exactly 148 Mitzvot. You see, the word of the Sephirah that is most related to today - Netzach, is the Gematria of 148! In fact, a way to remember this is KEMACH MATZOT, which is a play on words, as the word KEMACH, which spells the Hebrew number 148, means FLOUR; and the word MATZOT, using the exact same word, aside from the vowels, as MITZVOT, is translated as "Matzah flour" for what also means "148 Mitzvot"; though ironically, Succot - when the king read from the Sefer Torah that included 148 Mitzvot - is the other side of the year from Pesach when we eat Matzot.

Perhaps what we can say here is that on Pesach, when we first left Egypt, we were in a very animalistic state, as represented by the barley, animal's food that was offered on the second day of Pesach as the Omer barley meal-offering, and on Succot - when we show our appreciation for what Hashem has done for us in having a good harvest season, being above animal level in appreciating for what is done for us instead of behaving like animals just being takers, we don't even live in our own homes, but rather in a rather temporary structure called a Succah, foregoing physical comforts, feeling far more spiritual as this point, and instead of stuffing ourselves with so much yummy food made of MATZAH FLOUR as many do on Pesach (especially the ones who aren't strict as far as not eating "gebruchts" are concerned, a well accepted stringency among Jews who care to perform the Mitzvot the correct way who don't want to take a chance of even the slight possibility of eating foods on Passover that might become Chametz/leavened due to Matzah flour ingredients in foods), we are immediately reminded of our temporary state not only in time that is begun when we count the Sephirah, but also in PLACE, aside from attending the Beit HaMikdash (Temple), the HOLIEST PLACE in the world, where all Jews gathered to especially hear words from the Sefer Torah, the holiest object in Judaism being read from the king during the holiday of Succot that is so named after the temporary structures that we reside in during this holiday.


I just mentioned that the Sefer Torah is the holiest object in Judaism. But think for a moment, while looking back in Jewish history. Believing in the Bible, knowing everything that Hashem created, what is the MOST VALUABLE ITEM ON THIS PLANET TODAY?

We may not know its exact whereabouts or be able to access it today, but before snooping to scroll down, I will give you a hint - it's a name of a movie. Want to count 10, 9, 8, etc. as they do when the space craft is ready to take off? Perhaps I gave you the answer by now, at least with a couple of hints here?

Perhaps you started thinking of the number 10 when you saw the countdown here. And in terms of Judaism, what would we say is the NUMBER ONE item for the number 10? Of course, the Ten Commandments! Actually, I am referring to what the Ten Commandments was written on. Perhaps the first version of the Ten Commandments movie may have been the most expensive movie every produced, but then again, we have to remember that whatever happens physically is only a reflection of what has happened spiritually. Now of course the question may be asked, which set of the Ten Commandements tablets - the broken ones which were totally from Hashem Himself, or the intact ones which only consists of Hashem's writing, but the sapphire tablets themselves were carved rather by Moses?

Perhaps this questions parallels the question in Halacha of whether when we recite a blessing on bread, in a choice between reciting it on a broken loaf of superior quality, or on a whole loaf of lesser quality, which one is the prefered bread for saying the blessing over? But if one were to ignore the fact that the original Tablets coming totally from Hashem Himself are broken, then of course you would want to own something that Hashem Himself carved. Now of course, technically everything is from Hashem. However, the value of an item as it would be auctioned off would be worth far more if it came from a place outside of this earth, especially if we knew that Hashem sent it down Himself, even though we can't ascribe to Him physical activity the way that is ascribed to humans. But regardless, the writing of BOTH sets of Tablets come from Hashem Himself which He "wrote", aside from the miracle of being able to read the same exact thing in the front and back (I'm not quite sure if I understand this miracle myself).

Now, while the Torah, including the Ten Commandments, was given especially to the Jewish people, at least Christians having read the Bible, L'Havdil, will also have a great appreciation of the Ten Commandments, even if they themselves don't follow its laws. But if today, these Ten Commandments Tablets were to be theoretically found and auctioned off...wait a minute, I don't know if they would be auctioned off, unless the ones selling them would be atheists. Aside from being made out of sapphire, which itself is a most precious gem, the main value would be the fact of where these Tablets, especially the handwriting, originate from - from G-d Himself! Indeed, all the money in the world wouldn't be worth the value of the ORIGINAL TEN COMMANDMENTS!

Now, the runner up in value I would say are the 13 Sifrei Torah (Torah Scrolls) that Moses wrote on the day of his passing. These too are hidden away somewhere under the Temple grounds, like the two sets of the Ten Commandments tablets. But imagine if we were to discover the FIRST Sifrei Torah written by Moses himself, upon G-d's dictation, which were written miraculously in one day! In fact, there is something that we need to find out, because there is indeed one letter in the Torah that is doubtful whether it is supposed to be an Aleph or a Hei, and finding out what the correct letter is wouldn't take long once we would get our hands on one of these 13 Sifrei Torah. Indeed, Christians, L'Havdil, would have a field day if they would have access to these Torah Scrolls, and so forget about owning one of these, even though there are 13 of them, rather than just one, because each one is an ORIGINAL one that Moses the Lawgiver wrote himself!

I wrote the above for a reason. Being aware of the fact that the Sefer Torah - the Chumash - is the original source of the 613 Mitzvot, we will relate this to the "Ten Commandments". Now I must tell you, this is actually a MISTRANSLATION of what they are called as ASERET HADIBROT (called Aseret HaDevarim in the Chumash) - the Ten Statements. For in checking out the Mitzvot of the "Ten Commandments", there are in fact 14 Commandments from the list of Taryag Mitzvot in the "Ten Commandments". Now, Rashi does mention on his commentary on Parshat Mishpatim that ALL of the Taryag Mitzvot are INCLUDED in the "Ten Commandments" and that Rabbeinu Seadya wrote down showing the parallel of the Taryag Mitzvot with their respective part of the "Ten Commandments".

And there is another parallel of the Mitzvot to the "Ten Commandments". It has been noted that there are exactly 620 letters in the "Ten Commandments". You read right - but notice that I did not mention here the TARYAG (613) Mitzvot. In fact, while Hashem gave over to Moses exactly 613 Mitzvot, there are seven more from the rabbis that became developed over time. Now make no mistake, one of the 613 Mitzvot is the prohibition of adding Mitzvot to the Torah, so the question begs to be asked, how could we say that the rabbis "added" Mitzvot when we know that this is forbidden. But the answer is actually quite simple. In the powers vested in them, they had the right to add safeguards for us to keep the Torah without the chance of making errors or being lax in our observance. And where it seems that they "added" Mitzvot, such as reading the Megilla on Purim or lighting candles on Chanuka, for these holidays were not in existance when the Torah was given, these actually stem from our obligation to give thanks to Hashem for miracles having been wrought for us, and it this through these symbolisms that we do so. Nevertheless, since these seven Mitzvot or ordinances are unique in their own right, they are called just that. For in fact, Hashem intended for this to happen since the beginning of time, but it was just a matter of time until these Sheva Mitzvot D'Rabbanan, would be instituted by the rabbis.

With this said, while the last Mitzvah of the Torah remains as the 613rd Mitzvah of writing a Sefer Torah, the Mitzvot of the rabbis are a dimension of the Torah that is not immediately obvious from the Chumash, the source of the Taryag Mitzvot. However, there are hints to these "added" seven Mitzvot. For the last two words of the "Ten Commandments" - Asher L'Reiecha, consists of seven letters, which correspond to the Sheva Mitzvot D'Rabbanan.

In recent times, there was a rabbi, known as Rabbi Yitzchok Isaac Yehudah Yechiel of Komarna who wrote a Sefer which includes the list of 613 Mitzvot, the same correct list as in the other Mitzvah books that I refer to personally, - actually the total of 620 Mitzvot as corresponding to the letters of the "Ten Commandments", meaning, that for each Mitzvah, he has listed the corresponding letter of the "Ten Commandments".

To note, the Yahrzeit of this rabbi/author is today - 10 Iyar (5634/1874), which was the 25th day of the Sephirah, the MIDDLE day of the Sephirah. Having mentioned this, there is something that I have yet to mention about the Ten Commandments Tablets - both sets were made out of sapphire stone - in Hebrew being called SAPIR. Yes, this word is related to the above three words SIPPUR/SEPHIRAH/SEFER. In consonance with I wrote earlier pertaining to the last Mitzvah of the Torah which is WRITING a SEFER Torah, the Tablets bearing the WORDS THAT INCLUDE THE TARYAG MITZVOT beginning with the concept of SIPPUR and ending with SEFER were made out of SAPIR. And the rabbi/author who wrote a SEFER paralleling the letters that were written on the Tablets of SAPIR with the sum total of 620 Mitzvot beginning with the concept of SIPPUR passed away on the MIDDLE DAY OF THE SEPHIRAH, part of the MIDDLE MITZVAH OF THE TORAH OF SEPHIRAT HAOMER! Moreover, as having written such a Sefer as related to the "TEN Commandments", the date of his passing is the TENTH of Iyar.

With this said, let us note the four names of this rabbi (there are those with four Jewish names, but we don't meet people everyday with four Hebrew/Yiddish names)- Yitzchok Isaac Yehudah Yechiel. We already have seen two connections of the number 10 with this rabbi. Now, looking at these four names in Hebrew, ALL four names have at least one letter YUD, which is the numerical value of TEN. His second name Isaac is spelled with three YUDs (I can't think of a Hebrew or Yiddish name with this many YUDs at the moment) and his fourth name has two YUDs; hence a total of SEVEN YUDs in this rabbi's full Hebrew name. Of course this would not be complete if I didn't mention that the first letter of his first name Yitzchok begins with a YUD, and as mentioned in Kabbalah, the first letter of a word is the dominant letter of that word, for it is the head of that word. Accordingly, it would seem that the first of whatever amount of names is the dominant or head name of all the names. In fact, Rashi, who is noted for his commentary as giving the simple meaning of verses rather than getting into all kinds of these type of factoids, himself notes that the letters of the name of Yitzchok, son of Abraham, each represent another concept based on the numerical value of that particular letter, mentioning that the letter YUD represents the "TEN Commandments". It is no wonder then that this rabbi whose first of his four names is Yitzchok wrote a Sefer that is based on the "TEN Commandments".

And on a personal level, especially as it relates to this year, and particularly to my 520th month of my life, let us note the Gematria of the four names of this rabbi - 435. Yes, the numbers 520 and 435 are two different numbers, but in a minute, you will see the obvious connection. Well, since this rabbi wrote a Sefer of his listing of the 613 Mitzvot, let us see what is the 435th Mitzvah, in his words "To connect with the Torah scholars, to unite his whole heart with them, and to constantly be in their assemblages. Included in this is eating and drinking with a Torah scholar and supporting him with food, clothing, and possessions that are nicer than one's own, as it says "To Him (though in its literal sense is referring to Hashem, its ultimate meaning is associating with those who are learned in His wisdom) shall you cleave" (Deutronomy 10:20). Now, I personally do not know where this rabbi got this exact definition of this Mitzvah, as I have learned about the same Mitzvah in other places, and I did not see all these details. However, as I mentioned earlier in this post in relationship to Sephirat HaOmer, you can't get better than the original source of the Mitzvah. With this said, the Gematria of the words of the source of this Mitzvah - U'Vo Tidbak - add up to 520, and I am presently in my 520th month. Wow!

Of course, once a Torah scholar/righteous person passes away, we can no longer fulfill this Mitzvah in its literal sense, especially when it comes to eating with such a person. However, one learning this person's Torah teachings is a sure way of at least spiritually cleaving to such a person. In fact, the Talmud in Tractate Berachot notes "Rabbi Yochanan said in the name of Rabbi Shimon Ben Yochai: Whenever a Torah scholar's teachings are mentioned in his name, his lips move in his grave". However literal this statement may or may not be taken, we do see that there is a reaction of our Torah learning not just in the "Heavens", but even with the Torah scholar whose name we quote in learning his teachings.

Oh yes, before I forget, this is the 138th Yahrzeit of this Rabbi of Komarna. And this rabbi's second name - Isaac (which is virtually the same pronounciation in Yiddish as it is in English) - is the Gematria of 138, which is the name with three YUDs. Well one thing is for sure - this Gematria post is a sure way of honoring and commemorating the Yahrzeit of this rabbi.


To begin with, in case anyone thought that I counted half of the 4176 (or 4192 if one counts the two chapters found in the Mishnayot which are really Beraitot which weren't composed as part of the Mishnah) Mishnayot, or using the lists of the amount of Mishnayot in each tractate to come to this conclusion, this is one thing that I did not do. In fact, there is technically, or at least literally, no middle Mishnah if the amount is an even amount, but would rather have to be two middle Mishnayot in question. Perhaps I will point out what the literal two middle Mishnayot of the Six Orders of the Mishnah one day. But for today, I have better news. There IS a MIDDLE Mishnah of the entire Mishnayot, despite the even amount of total Mishnayot.

Well, it works out like this. First, we know that there are 63 Masechtot/Tractates of the Mishnah. As we see an odd number of tractates, we know that there is one middle tractate, and this tractate is called Bava Metziah, which literally means MIDDLE Gate, as it is the middle of three tractates of the beginning of Seder Nezikin (Order of "Damages"), which were originally one large tractate, but was divided up into 10 chapters each according to each tractate's particular common theme. So to begin with, you see that there is no coincidence here, as the fact that the MIDDLE tractate is itself called MIDDLE based on another reason is nothing short of Hashgacha Peratit (Divine Providence).

With this said, while the MIDDLE Mishna Masechta is staring us in the face, let us see what the total amount of Mishnayot are in this tractate - 101. What a significant number! I wrote about this number in the past in my 101st Post (March '11), but in short, while for the non-Jewish world - this number represents learning the basics of a particular subject, such as in college courses; in Torah Judaism, this number represents the ultimate opposite - the ultimate level of knowing Torah knowledge by heart to the fullest extent possible, having learnt it 101 times, as opposed to learning it even 100 times - just one time less. Now, we see that the initials of the name of this tractate are the letters Beit and Mem. Lo and behold, we see that these two letters form the word BAM, which is used in reference to the Mitzvah of Torah learning - V'Shinantam L'Vaneicha V'Dibarta BAM "Teach them diligently to your children and speak of THEM" (Deutronomy 6:7) and V'Limadtem Otam Et Beneichem L'Dabeir BAM "Teach them to your children to speak of THEM" (Deutronomy 11:19), and on the first word of the first phrase - V'Shinantam, Rashi notes that one should be diligent enough in Torah learning, that if one is asked a Torah question, that he should know it well enough that he shouldn't even need to stammer in his attempt to be able to answer the question. While few of us are capable of this in all subjects of Torah learning, we do see that the fact that the initials of the MIDDLE tractate of the Mishnah (while noting that the majority of the tractates only have one word/name to them) spells a word that is most associated with Torah learning is just one more proof of Hashgacha Peratit in the order and layout of the tractates of the Mishnah.

Now, the next step in locating the middle Mishnah is locating the middle Mishnah of this middle tractate. But before getting to this, we already mentioned the word Metziah as meaning "middle". This is in fact the Aramaic word for "middle". But in Hebrew, the language of the Mishnah text (unlike the Gemara/Talmud which is largely Aramaic based), the word for "middle" is Emtza - consisting of the letters Aleph, Mem, Tzadi, Ayin. The reason that I mention this now is, aside from the fact that there are an even amount of chapters in this tractate, so there would be no chance of finding the middle Mishna based on the middle chapter, this word Emtza is the Gematria of 201. Now, counting the numbers from 1 to 201, the MIDDLE number is 101 - the amount of the Mishnayot of the MIDDLE Tractate! So, while in fact, the Aramaic word, rather than this Hebrew word, is used as part of the name of this tratate, it is so named based on a different reason, as it was the Talmudic scholars, the ones who used Aramaic in composing the Gemara, that so named this tractate as such, the word Emtza represents the Mishnayot in their entirety. So in terms of Gematria, the number 101 is the MIDDLE number of the Hebrew word that means MIDDLE.

Anyways, with no further ado, the MIDDLE Mishnah of the MIDDLE Masecta is the eighth Mishnah of the fifth chapter. Now, more than just merely talking ABOUT this MIDDLE Mishnah, allow me to tell you what this Mishnah is, before proceeding with an outstanding discovery I made about this Mishnah. Note that while the Mishnah may not seem to be so long, I am using a few extra words within the translation of the text of the Mishnah to have a clear understanding of what this is about, considering the fact that this is a Mishna smack in the middle of a chapter.

"A person is permitted to lend wheat to his sharecroppers to be paid back by them with the same amount of wheat after the harvest. However, this is so provided that he stipulated that the wheat that he is lending them is to be used specifically as seed for his field; however, this is forbidden if lending them the wheat to be used as food, because this latter scenario would represent a case of Ribbit (interest), which is forbidden from the Torah, as it would wind up that the sharecroppers would be paying the lender back with more substance of wheat than what he originally lent it to them in its original state. We see this Halacha from an actual case involving Rabban Gamliel (who incidentally was either the grandfather or great-great grandfather on parental line of Rebbe, the compiler of the Mishnayot) who was strict about observing this, who lent wheat to his sharecroppers, specifying that it was to be used specifically as seed. Even at this, whether at the time of the loaned wheat, it was more expensive but became cheaper before the due return date, or cheaper at first but more expensive before payback time, he would only take the wheat back from them at the cheaper price. Now, even though according to Halacha, one would be permitted to accept back his loaned wheat even though it would now be more expensive, even though in money terms, this would otherwise be considered interest, since it is the same amount of wheat being returned; Rabban Gamliel wished to be strict on himself, so there would be not even a semblance of what would appear to be accepting interest."

Now, while my Gematriot blog is obviously based on Gematriot, my ultimate purpose of writing my blog is to write things from which one could learn to be a better Jew. As we see in this particular Mishnah, there is a concept of observing Jewish law to such an extent, as we see from Rabban Gamliel, that we don't do something that could even look like we are doing something wrong called Mar'it Ayin. Now, there are in fact laws in Halacha that forbid us from doing certain things because doing so may look like we are doing an Aveira (sin), but for some reason in this instance, the rabbis don't forbid us from accepting back the same amount of wheat, even if we were to be able to sell it now for more money following being paid back the wheat, than what it was worth when we lent it out; for in fact, it is the same amount of wheat without the borrower adding anything more than the actual substance that was originally lent to him. However, there is also the concept of what is called Lifnim M'Shurat HaDin, going beyond the letter of the law. Now, while it is not expected of the common public to observe Jewish law to such a strict extent, those Torah scholars/righteous people who diligently follow what the Torah says care more to avoid even what would look like a sin, even if it is not a sin in itself; than whatever monetary gain that they are foregoing or the monetary loss that they are incurring.

So here we go. Looking at this MIDDLE Mishnah, I see that this consists of a total of 37 words. In fact, there are 37 tractates of Mishnah that have Gemara explanation on them in the Babylonian Talmud. Wait a minute, there are an odd number of words in this Mishna, which means that there is a middle word here - the MIDDLE word of the MIDDLE Mishnah of the MIDDLE tractate of the 63 Mishnaic tractates. The word is - L'Zera "as seed", mentioning the stipulation that Rabban Gamliel lent his wheat to his sharecroppers for. Now, looking at this word (sorry, there is no one middle letter), the Gematria of this word is 307. A little familiar? Of course, the MIDDLE Mitzvah of the Torah is the 307th Mitzvah (Sephirat HaOmer). And as we know from the Talmud (Berachot 5a), when Hashem tells Moses that he is going to give him the "Tablets of stone, the Torah, the Mitzvah...", the word Mitzvah refers to the Mishnah (the basic law without the details interpretation or explanation).

So, while this is all nice that the MIDDLE word of the MIDDLE Mishnah of the Middle tractate is the Gematria of the number that represents the MIDDLE Mitzvah of the Torah, one may wonder of the connection of this Mitzvah to the Mitzvot, or for that matter, the middle Mitzvah of the Torah. But before long, the connection seems to be kind of obvious. You see, Hashem put us in this world to observe his Mitzvot, as in the verse about Adam, "Hashem place him in the Garden of Eden to work it and to watch it" (Genesis 2:15) which our rabbis tell us refer to observing the Active (Positive) & Non-Active (Negative) Mitzvot respectively (to work & to watch). Now, as we all know, to have a good looking garden, one has to plant SEEDS to bear fruits and vegetables; otherwise, there is no reason why it should be called a garden. And so, being in this world, we plant the spiritual SEEDS, the Mitzvot, so that when it's our time after our well spent physical life, we will have a beautiful spiritual garden waiting for us, thanks to us planting the SEEDS in our service to Hashem in this world. And in particular connection to Sephirat HaOmer, the MIDDLE Mitzvah of the Torah, we are also in effect planting spiritual seeds by counting the Omer in our preparation for the Torah. In fact, while the concept of the Mitzvah of Sephirat HaOmer is based on another Mitzvah - offering the barley Omer offering, we count 49 days from the date that the Omer barley was offered in the Temple in our preparation for the Torah that was officially given to us on the Shavuot holiday. And it is on this holiday that we offer a special WHEAT offering - more superior to barley - consisting of two loaves of bread, the final product of the base wheat. In fact, it has been said that the Gematria of the word Chitah (wheat) is 22, representing the 22 letters of the Aleph Beit, the letters of the Torah. And so, while in fact in our physical life, we can only return back only the same amount of wheat that we borrowed because it is forbidden to give interest, notwithstanding the fact that there are times that it may be worth more now in its return than when we borrowed it; in our spiritual life, we give to Hashem the FINISHED PRODUCT of what He originally lent us, represented by the wheat that we offer in the Temple as loaves of bread on the holiday that celebrates our receiving of the Torah, and then in return for this, we will be amply rewarded in Gan Eden. Not a bad deal!

And while we are at it, I should mention that perhaps it is the concept represented by the wheat whose Hebrew word being the Gematria of 22 representing the 22 letters of the Aleph Beit that formed the basis of the custom in ancient times of Jewish children being brought to a Melamed (teacher of Torah) on the holiday of Shavuot, who taught the Aleph Beit which were written or etched on a tablet smeared with honey for the children to lick it, to give them a sweet feeling of learning Torah, starting off on the right foot. For in fact, the children are our seed, and if we want these seed to grow right spiritually, we have to look for the best way possible for these children seed to grow as such. And as we see before the Torah was given, Hashem wanted a guarantee from us, and after initial choices that Hashem did not wish to accept, it was the guarantee of our Jewish children for receiving the Torah that Hashem gladly accepted.

And as we see with this middle word of this Mishnah - L'Zera, the first letter Lamed which is used as an adjunct for the word Zera "as seed", whose name Lamed is the root word which means learning/teaching, no doubt that this word L'Zera, especially in the position of the number of words in this Mishnah, represents this very concept of teaching Torah to our Jewish children/seed. Moreover, the letter Lamed, having the numerical value of 30, represents the concept of a Jewish month consisting of a maximum of 30 days, which also begins the words Luach (calendar) and Levana (moon), as the days of the Jewish month is based on the moon. And the fact that the beginning of a Jewish month begins off with the moon just beginning to appear until its full blossom in the middle of the month, until it renews itself once again at the beginning of the next month, so too, we learn the concept of learning Torah every day as though we were just given the Torah, as Rashi notes on the beginning verse of the Torah reading for the (first day of the) holiday of Shavuot - Bayom HaZeh - "On THIS day, the Jews came to the Sinai desert" where they received the Torah, for every day is supposed to feel as if it is THIS day that we received the Torah. And in terms of a monthly cycle, we see in the Talmud, that Rav Yehudah (whose name is the Gematria of 30) used to pray once in 30 days, because of his diligent learning of reviewing the entire Torah monthly; and hence, was exempt from the Mitzvah of praying on a daily basis because he was so involved in the greatest Mitzvot of learning Torah, for there is a rule that one who is involved in one Mitzvah is exempt from another (however, we are not permitted to do the same as Rav Yehudah because few of us total are on such a level of Torah learning that would permit us to be exempt from praying). And finally, there are exactly 30 mentions of the wording L'Zera in the Chumash!

With all this said, relating how strict Rabban Gamliel (who by the way has the letter LAMED twice in his name!) kept Halacha and the importance of raising our children with a good Torah education, we can combine these two important lessons to tell us that though we may not all feel ourselves to be a such a spiritual level to be so to speak overly strict in our observance of Jewish law when we keep the basics, one thing that is for sure is that we don't dare sacrifice or cut corners to make it "easier" on our children in terms of Jewish education. On the contrary, if anything, we should sacrifice our own comforts to fit the spiritual tailor needs of our precious Jewish children. For some, it may mean sending them to a school that has a far better Torah education even with a half an hour drive each way daily by bus or our own vehicle and time spent driving them rather than to the "Modern Orthodox" school that they can walk to in five minutes, which doesn't stress Torah so much, especially Gemara, and has co-ed classes or programs. For others, it means moving into a community that has a Jewish school nearby, even if the daily commute to and from work will be far more than they are used to. Still for others, the money for tuition which will make or brake acceptance of their child to a certain Yeshiva means that they will have to do without cool air conditioning in their homes and cars during the hot summer months. In fact, there is a story of a rabbi, known as the Ridbaz, who wrote a commentary on the Jerusalem Talmud, who, when was a young boy, his father, barely having enough money even for basic food, took apart the warm furnace used for the freezing winter in Europe, and sold the wood to pay for a special tuitor to maximize the Torah education of his son, the future Ridbaz. What a terrible loss it would have been to the Jewish people if the father would not have had made such a sacrifice that resulted in having a son that would benefit the Jewish people writing a commentary to understand an essential piece of Torah learning that is difficult to understand by itself!

Speaking of which, as we know that the Seder night is a prime time to tell/teach our children about the Exodus, which is one of the Mitzvot that I discussed early on in this post, the 10th and final chapter of Tractate Pesachim is about the Seder night, which consists of nine Mishnayot. The MIDDLE Mishna of these nine (Pesachim 10:5) again mentions...Rabban Gamliel! In fact, this particular Mishnah is one of the most familiar Mishnayot to even simple Jews who pray and read the Haggadah on the Seder night - "Rabban Gamliel used to say that whoever doesn't discuss the following three things on Passover, has not fulfilled his obligation (the Mitzvah of Sippur Yetziat Mitzrayim): Pesach, Matzah, Marror..." the rest of the Mishnah partly forming the basis of the final part of Magid, the part of the Seder during which we fulfill this Mitzvah. As we continue on in this Mishnah we see that one is obligated to feel as though he himself had left Egypt. And so, one feeling the enthusiasm for this will no doubt make a most important impression on own's children to feel that they too are part of something special, even if they don't understand the full significance of this.

Ultimately, it's all about our Jewish children, the CENTER of our lives as far as our focus and priorities are, and the MIDDLE of our lives as far as per the middle time frame of our lives when we raise them between our premarriage years and our final years following the last child moving out of the home - from the beginning of Passover when the children ask the "Four Questions" at the Seder, to our guarantee of our children for Hashem giving us the Torah on Shavuot, represented by the first Mitzvah of the Torah of having children to the last Mitzvah of the Torah of writing a Sefer Torah, respectively.

And as far as my children our concerned - well, my daughter Tamar for now, I am reminded of what Rashi notes on the verse about the seasons following the Flood in the times of Noah (Genesis 8:22), which he mentions as to which months correspond to which season, noting that ZERA "seed" refers to the months from the middle of Tishrei until the middle of Kislev. Interesting, my daughter was born at the very end of the day of 15 Kislev - the Yahrzeit of Rebbe, compiler of the MISHNAYOT, literally two or three minutes before sunset (because sunset is a time which we aren't sure as to when exactly the day ends and the night begins) in Jerusalem, noting that in this year, unlike some other years in which Kislev has only 29 days, this month of Kislev on which my daughter, MY FIRST CHILD, was born had 30 days. Hence, she was born at the VERY END of this time period called ZERA, being that the 15th day of the month of Kislev in the year that she was born was the last day of the half-way of the month of Kislev. Amazing!


After mentioning that the first day of Passover corresponds to the first Mitzvah of the Torah, and Shavuot corresponds to the last Mitzvah of the Torah, the middle period - the Sephira period, is a most opportune time to learn what the 613 Mitzvot are. For beginners or those without much time, at least learning what these Mitzvot in the quick Taryag Mitzvot list are is something better than nothing. For those who are more advanced or have more time, learning the details of these Mitzvot is especially good timing in our preparation for the holiday on which we received the Torah and Mitzvot. For while our ancestors who physically received the Torah weren't commanded as of yet before the momentous occasion on Shavuot of all 613 Mitzvot (though they did keep some Mitzvot), we have the advantage of learning what these Mitzvot are as an additional preparation for the most important holiday of the Jewish year, for without Torah, nothing else matters; and as we learn, the existance of this world for nearly 2,450 depended on the future acceptance of the Torah by the Jewish nation.

With this said, I will list here the schedule of learning the 613 Mitzvot during the 49 day Sephira period that I personally follow. But don't worry, if you haven't begun yet and it is late in the Sephira period, at worst scenario, you can at least learn the list of the Taryag Mitzvot in your Tikkun Leil Shavuot on the holiday night before the morning, the time of day of the holiday when the Torah was given. Also, noting that there are at least 50 weeks in the Jewish year, you can follow this same schedule at any time of the year of learning 12 or 13 Mitzvot a week, or learning like two a day in more detail with a basic weekly review on Shabbat, hence learning the entire Taryag Mitzvot in one year (this will be easier rather than learning the Mitzvot of the Parsha of the week for some, since the amount of Mitzvot vary from zero to 74 for any given Parsha). As you will note, every day alternates between 12 and 13 Mitzvot, beginning and ending with 13 Mitzvot coming out to exactly 613 Mitzvot being learnt during 49 days. This is also to note that the first day of the Sephira, counting this day as Yom Echad "One day", in which the word Echad is the Gematria of 13, we learn the FIRST 13 Mitzvot. Here we go:


1: 1-13

2: 14-25

3: 26-38

4: 39-50

5: 51-63

6: 64-75

7: 76-88

8: 89-100

9: 101-113

10: 114-125

11: 126-138

12: 139-150

13: 151-163

14: 164-175

15: 176-188

16: 189-200

17: 201-213

18: 214-225

19: 226-238

20: 239-250

21: 251-263

22: 264-275

23: 276-288

24: 289-300

25: 301-313

26: 314-325

27: 326-338

28: 339-350

29: 351-363

30: 364-375

31: 376-388

32: 389-400

33: 401-413

34: 414-425

35: 426-438

36: 439-450

37: 451-463

38: 464-475

39: 476-488

40: 489-500

41: 501-513

42: 514-525

43: 526-538

44: 539-550

45: 551-563

46: 564-575

47: 576-588

48: 589-600

49: 601-613


Noting the number of this post, as well as the Gematria of the word Mitzvah - 141, dissecting the number into two parts, we can read it as ONE (1) and FORTY-ONE (41), and adding the two sums equals 42, the Gematria of the word BAM which is most associated with Torah learning, as mentioned earlier in this 141st Post.

Earlier, I mentioned that the wording of L'Zera is written 30 times in the Chumash. Now, how many times does the wording of Zera (without the prefix of the letter Lamed) is mentioned in the Chumash? The answer to this is in my next post...

10 Iyar, 5772 - 25th/MIDDLE Day of the Sephirah

P.S. Noting the time of this post 5:54 AM, having mentioned in this post of the first and last Mitzvot of the Torah, the last one being writing a Sefer Torah which is the text of the Chumash, the Chumash consists of 5 Seforim (Books) and 54 Parshiyot.

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