Sunday, December 23, 2012

#166 - Is It Purim Today?

In the last 2,000 years, non-Jews never seemed to have enough working on getting rid of us once and for all,   unless in some cases - we would, G-d forbid, convert to their religion.   But in many cases, like in the Purim story, too many of them hated us so much, that they seemed to have too much impatience to even attempt to murder us spiritually.  One who is very familiar with Jewish history will know that over the course of time, there have been various Jewish communities who had their own date, aside from the regular Purim, that they called Purim as well for having salvation from their enemies.  While these other dates of salvation never had the official status of Purim in Jewish law, we are obligated to thank Hashem for His miracles for saving us from danger, and there is a concept of celebrating the annual date that this happened on by having a meal celebrating the occasion.

Perhaps the one such "Purim" that must resembles THE Purim of the Jewish people is that of the town called Mezibuz which would in the future be the town in which the Ba'al Shem Tov would lead his Chasidim.  This event of the Jews being saved took place in the year 5408 in the midst of the Cossacks murdering Jews in hundreds of towns in Europe, but this town was saved thanks to a couple named Mordechai and Esther.  To this day, there are groups of Chasidim who will not say the usual Tachanun (supplicatory prayers) that are normally recited on a regular day, being that this is considered a day of happiness.  

It has been noted that the year 5408 is hinted in the Megilla (Book of Esther) in which the letter Cheit=8 of the word Chur (hangings of white) - (1:6) and the first letter Tav=400 of the word VaTichtov (she (Esther) wrote) (9:29) being unusually large, adding up to the number 408.  While there are those who say that this year, as the year of the Cossacks murdering Jews, is hinted in the Megilla, I beg to differ.  For first of all, why would a tragedy such as this one be hinted in the Megilla like this when the Purim story is about salvation of the Jews from our enemies, quite the opposite of a tragedy?  And besides, what is the connection between the two?  However, noting the salvation of the Jews in Mezibuz through the help of a Jewish couple in the year 5408 having the same names as the two heroes of the Megilla that brought about the original Purim, it makes sense to say that this particular event of salavation is hinted in the Megilla.

Anyways, the reason that I mention this now is because it was on today's date - 11 Tevet - that this event in Mezibuz took place.  In fact, I had first mentioned this three years ago on this date, at the end of the first post that I wrote following my marriage.  But today, I have something else to add to the table in relationship to this.  

First, mentioning the month of Tevet, this month is mentioned in the Megilla as the month in which King Achashveirosh married Esther.  Though normally, it is forbidden for a Jewish women to live with a non-Jewish person, even on pain of death, this was a most unusual set of circumstances which happened to allow for the salvation of the Jews as we read further on in the Megilla.  The reason that it happened in this fashion is because it reflected the unworthiness of the Jews, who indeed not only participated in the feast of Achashveirosh beforehand which was forbidden according to Jewish law even if the food would have been all Kosher, but to make matters worse, they disobeyed Mordechai when he told them not to do so, and to top it off, there were some of them who even had the Chutzpa to first blame Mordechai for being threatened with total annihilation of the Jews by Haman following Moredechai's refusal to bow down to Haman.  It was eventually thanks to Esther's declaration of a three day fast with Mordechai's approval, leading to the Jews to sincerely repent, that things changed, which led to the reverse situation of instead of the enemies of the Jews prevailing over the Jews, the reverse happened - V'Nahafoch Hu - "It was turned around - the Jews prevailed over their enemies" (9:1).

Now, it has been customary on Purim to joke around, and some give over what is called "Purim Torah" which may at times involve Gematriot that may not make much sense.  But in all seriousness, I have something to mention here based on this concept of V"Nahafoch "being turned around" that is used on Purim.

You see, the number of this post is 166.  Now, turning this number around, the number is 661 - the Gematria of the name Esther.  And after all, it is not only the name of the woman of the Purim story, it is also the name of the Megilla - Megillat Esther or Book of Esther.  Next, we will employ a method used in Gematriot called AtBash, in which the first letter Aleph is substituted for the last letter Tav, the second letter Beit is substituted for the next to the last letter Shin, etc.  Hence, taking the four letters of the name Esther - Aleph is reversed to Tav, Samech is reversed to Cheit, Tav is reversed to Aleph, and Reish is reversed to Gimel.  Now, let us note the numerical values of the reversed letters - Tav=400, Cheit=8, Aleph=1, Gimel=3, and so 400+8+1+3=412.  First, you will notice that the first two letters here Tav and Cheit are the same two letters that are enlarged in the Megilla hinting to the year 5408 in which the salvation of the Jews of Mezibuz took place.  Now, the perfect word that is the Gematria of the sum total of 412 is Bayit (house/home) which is also the name of the letter Beit, as well as having the same letters that spell the Hebrew number 412.  

The word Bayit especially relates to women, for they are the mainstay of the Jewish home - Akeret HaBayit, and as a rabbi in Tractate Shabbat in the Talmud noted, he called his wife - his house.  And so, in this case, it is most appropriate to call Esther with this appellation, for she is indeed the Akeret HaBayit whose call for fasting and repentance led to the salvation of the Jews, and in effect, was both the spiritual and physical mother of the Jewish nation, being that she also saved them from physical annihilation.  

And in case those who are non-observant Jews who want to pick on "Orthodox" Jews for looking down on women, there could not be nothing further from the truth.  True, there will always be individuals who don't treat their wives right, or look down on women in other ways.  But in Judaism, one is born Jewish ONLY due to his or her Jewish mother.  And the reason why women are not included in the 10 person quorum for communal prayer services is not because they are of lesser status, but because they have the most important job of raising our Jewish children, because if they would always be called to help "make a Minyan" in the synagogue, how well could they take care of their young ones who need constant care.  This is why they are also exempt from most Mitzvot (Commandments) that are dependent on time, including the hearing of the Shofar on Rosh HaShana, believe it or not.  If anything, it is "Conservative" or "Reform" Judaism, which should not be called Judaism, that looks down on women, because its rabbis, who are only called as such because their congregations know less than they do, as Rabbi Meir Kahane, HY"D was wont to say, allow for one who is born only from a Jewish father to also be considered Jewish.  And the fact that they allow men and women to sit together in prayer services in stark contrast to how it is in even Modern Orthodox circles where the genders sit separately at such times does not show that they believe in equal rights for women, but if anything, quite the contrary.  You see, how well can the men concentrate on their prayers when they are seeing women in front of them, aside of them, especially in such circles where the women aren't even dressed modestly for prayers in the temple?  In such surroundings, women are treated more like sex objects, at least in the minds of the men who are supposed to be in temple to pray.  However, in Jewish law, this is all completely forbidden, as we are supposed to have all our thoughts concentrating on the King of Kings to whom we are supposed to be talking to.  

To set the record straight, we see that when the Jews first came to Mt. Sinai, the very first words that Hashem said to Moses on BEIT Sivan (2 Sivan) following their encampment were - KO Tomar L'Beit Ya'akov "So shall you say to the HOUSE of Jacob" (Exodus 19:3) which the rabbis say refer to the women, who were addressed even before the men in preparation to receive the Torah.  And notice the word used here in reference to the women - BEIT (house) which is the exact pronunciation of the name of the letter Beit.  And as we see in the Sefer Torah - the very first letter of the Torah, which is a Beit, is enlarged.  

And as we see in many salvation stories of the Jews, the women are involved in one way or another.  As in the redemption from Egypt "It was in the merit of the righteous women", which included both Moses' mother Yocheved and sister Miriam who helped Jewish mothers give birth despite orders from Pharaoh to murder the Jewish baby boys.  In the story of the Jews being saved in the times of Judge Devorah, it was a woman named Yael who killed Chief General Sisera.  And in the Chanuka story, Yehudis daughter of Matisyahu killed the general with whom Jewish women before getting married were forced to sleep by orders of King Antiochus.  And how can I forget?  When Sara saw how Hagar's son Yishmael taking a shot at her son Isaac, in which he used his bow and arrow in his vicious attempt to get rid of Isaac "as a game", even as Abraham was hesitant to throw out his older son Yishmael from home, Hashem told Abraham to "listen to her (Sara's) voice, for it will be through Isaac that your descendants will be established".  


To note, I am presently in my 43rd year.  The Hebrew number for 43 is Mem-Gimel.  These are the first two letters of the word Megilla, which is also the beginning word of Tractate Megilla.  And noting that today's date is 11 Tevet, the date of the salvation of the Jews in Mezibuz due to the help of a couple named Mordechai and Esther as in the original Purim story, this tractate begins with Megilla Nikreit B'Yud Aleph "The Megilla is read on the 11th, 12th, 13th, 14th, and 15th, not earlier or later".  

Now, while today, we only read the Megilla on the 14th or 15th of Adar, depending on where we are living; in former times, being that Jews in villages were not always able to be in the city where a Megilla would be readily available, there were given a special allowance to read the Megilla up to three days before the holiday of Purim, depending on the closet market day beforehand which was always on a Monday or Thursday.  For them, the 15th of Adar was never an option because this date to read the Megilla is reserved strictly for those who live in walled cities, unlike villages, and the Megilla was never read on Shabbat. 

In observation, we see that when the tractate begins noting the dates on which the Megilla could be read, it doesn't mention the dates as being of the month of Adar, as the Mishna always does in other places, such as the beginning of Tractate Shekalim when it mentions that the annual coin collection for the Temple funds began on the first of Adar, rather than simply saying on the first of the month, even though this was the only month of such collections.  Is there a reason for this?

I never saw an answer to this, but it seems that Tractate Megilla may also be hinting to the salvation event that happened in Mezibuz that took place on the 11th of a month, and as the Mishna begins, "The Megilla is read on the 11th..." though in fact, we only read the Megilla publicly during the month of Adar, but the hint to the year of the more recent salvation is hinted in the actual Megillat Esther.  

Now, in the Babylonian Talmud, just as the first letter of the Tractate is a Mem, the very last letter is a Gimel, hence, spelling the Hebrew number 43 just as the first two letters of the word Megilla.  And how does this Tractate conclude in the Talmud?

""Moses spoke the matters about the holidays of Hashem to the Children of Israel" (Leviticus 23:44).  This tells us that it is a Mitzva to read the section of the Torah about each holiday in its own time.  Our rabbis taught in a Baraita (other teachings that were like the Mishna, but not included in the Mishna): Moses instituted for the Jews that they should inquire and expound about the matters of the day, which includes the laws of Passover on Passover, the laws of Atzeret (Shavuot) on Atzeret, and the laws of the Chag (Festival, referring to Succot) on the Chag."

Now, let us go back to the Atbash letters corresponding to the letters of Esther's name: Tav, Cheit, Aleph, Gimel.  Taking the letters Tav and Aleph, they begin the words Ta'anit Esther - which is the Fast of Esther which is observed the day before Purim (unless it is Shabbat in which case it is observed on the Thursday before) and the letters Cheit and Gimel which spell the word Chag, as in Chag Purim "holiday of Purim" on which we read Megillat Esther.  Moreover, as in the final words of Tractate Megilla in the Talmud which is Chag B'Chag - the word Chag is the Gematria of 11 and the word B'Chag is the Gematria of 13.  And as we see, the two possible dates for Ta'anit Esther are the 11th and 13th of Adar, and the word Chag (festival/holiday) being the Gematria of 11, concludes the Tractate in the same way that it began the Tractate stating that the Megilla is read on the 11th...Coincidence?

I would like to conclude with something that is mentioned in the Chasidic Sefer B'nei Yissaschar about the beginning of Tractate Megilla (Chodesh Adar, Ma'amar 6, 1st paragraph).  He notes that these five possible dates of reading the Megilla is comprised of a total of 120 hours, corresponding to the 120 days that Moses the lawgiver was on Mt. Sinai.  And as it states in the Megilla - Keemu V'Keeblu HaYehudim "The Jews fulfilled and accepted" on themselves, which in the immediate context of the Megilla, refers to the Mitzvot as related to Purim, but in a more general way, that they reaffirmed their commitment to the Torah that began from Mt. Sinai at which they accepted the Torah.  And as we see in Jewsh law, the Megilla needs to be arranged in a line writing format in the same way as it is with a Sefer Torah, the Five Books of Moses.  To add to this, Moses lived for 120 years, and as he was born on 7 Adar, his Brit Mila (circumcision) had to have taken place a week later on 14 Adar, the very date of Purim on which most Jews read the Megilla!  Moreover, the words Megilla and the name Moshe both begin with a Mem and end with a Hei, the same that the name of the month of Purim - Adar, and Esther's name both begin with an Aleph and end with a Reish.  

The bottom line here is that we see that just as the women were first addressed before the men upon their arrival at Mt. Sinai, and it is the letter Beit that represents the woman of the house that begins the Torah, so too do we see in Jewish law how the laws of the writing lines for the Megilla which is named after a woman - Esther, are the same as for writing a Sefer Torah.  

And indeed, the name Esther hints to the modesty of the Jewish woman, for "all the glory of the King's daugher is inside" (Psalms 45:14), just as the name Esther is based on the meaning of something that is hidden, just as the miracles that took place in the Purim were hidden miracles, in order that the Jews, though at first unworthy, would merit the salvation that they badly needed, but was ultimately in the merit of Esther who knew what it would take to save the day.  And as we call the Megilla as Megillat Esther, as the word Megilla is based on the word that means revealing, we are revealing the hidden miracles of Hashem through reading the Megilla on Purim, the same way that by reading the Sefer Torah, we are making aware to the Jewish people of their obligations to Hashem.  And by following in Hashem's ways, instead of being worried about politics from King Achashveirosh's feast to the political party in the Knesset to vote for without being "fanatical", then and only then will we merit Hashem's salvation, for a human being can only acccomplish what Hashem allows him to accomplish, but part of it is based on our behavior, which includes having full faith and trust in Hashem, despite the current trend of behaving the opposite.  Yes, Esther was hesitant in approaching the king to help save the Jews, though he was her husband, for fear of being killed if she came to him without being called, but after Mordechai explained to her about her important mission, facing the truth, she was willing to do what it took to save the Jews, even if it would mean her immediate execution.

Before concluding, there is a connection with this week's Parshat Vayechi with Purim.  In Jacob's blessing to his youngest son Benjamin "Benjamin is a devouring wolf'; in the morning- he will devour spoils, and in the evening- he will split the booty" (Genesis 49:27), Rashi notes that the morning time refers to King Saul, first king of Israel who was parentally descended from Benjamin who won war after war, and the evening time refers to his descendants in turn, Mordechai and Esther, who took over Haman's possessions as given to them by King Achashveirosh.

One thing that we see here is that the one verse in this Parsha that has a reference to the story of Purim is in the verse that begins in Hebrew - Binyamin Ze'ev.  Does this sound familiar?  It should to anyone caring Jew who doesn't live in a box - this is the Hebrew name of Rabbi Meir Kahane HYD's son and successor who took over from his father following his assassination, who faithfully continued spreading the Kahane teachings and activism on behalf of Jews and Israel for 10 years - noting that his second Hebrew name Ze'ev is the Gematria of 10, until he was also assassinated by one or more cursed Arabs, which resulted in his wife Talia being killed as well in the vehicle that they were in at the time that this happened some 12 years ago on the 5th of Tevet, 5761 (Dec. 31, '00).  You would think that after this happened, noting that their funeral(s) were among the most attended in recent Jewish history, that a good percentage of at least the "religious" or "right-wing" Jews would wake up as to who is the only ones who represent the truth in the Knesset.  Never mind the ones who don't want to vote for anyone seeing the big sham and shame that has happened over the years with all the crooked politicians, but many who supposedly want to vote for those who will claim will help Israel aren't truly sincere - including those who vote for parties from Likud (except for some who vote for Feiglin's party within Likud, but I won't get into this now) to the Jewish Home.  A true sincere Jew who knows about Kahane and what he represented - which is 100% unadulterated Torah - will vote ONLY for one, or the party who includes one who truly represents the Kahane idealism.  And for this coming election - the ONLY one who truly represents Kahane - with ZERO compromises, including as per the issue as to what one would do if one were given orders from the army to evict Jews - is Dr. Michael Ben-Ari, Shlita (along with Dr. Aryeh Eldad, but I am pinpointing on someone who is an observant Jew who can truly represent Kahane), and so it is ONLY his party - "Strength to Israel" - that one is permitted, and OBLIGATED, to vote for according to Jewish law (I am not talking about the ones in the Hasidic world who only know of their Rebbe and never even heard of Kahane).  This means that one who knows this - even in the back of their mind which was pushed there because of avoiding "fanaticism", but one does not want to vote for a "fanatic" or doesn't want himself/herself to be labeled as such, will one day have to give a reckoning to the Boss upstairs as to why he or she chose to have a part in the continuous murdering and injuring of Jews by our Arab enemies that is constantly inspired by the concessions that the rotten apples of the Knesset offer them, being that everyone else or all other parties in the Knesset are compromising in one way or another - EXCEPT for a Kahane based party.

I know, I may sound a little more than a bit "fanatical", but one must remember that Rabbi Meir Kahane, as much as he may be labeled as such, NEVER advocated killing the Arabs in Israel, but merely to transfer them to one of their 22 countries.  But the problem with the ones who are against Kahane is that when push comes to shove, they would for the most part exile Jews from their homes before daring to do the same to Arabs, just as it happened in the disgraceful Gush Katif expulsion named with the sly term "The Disengagement", which was performed by some who would never dream of eating non-Kosher, breaking the Sabbath in a non-life threatening situation, or even removing their skullcaps, but had different standards when it comes to our Holy Land of Israel and treatment of our fellow Jews, some who did so for fear of either going to prison or loosing their army benefits and all, forgetting or not believing that Hashem is not going to give them a thing less if they do the right thing, and that it is far better to suffer a bit in this world, then to be damned to hell for eternity.  

Yes indeed, we have much to learn for the women of our Jewish history.  But instead of doing the opposite of what Hashem wants in fear of what the non-Jews will complain about us, let us do what Hashem wants so He will do the opposite of what our enemies want to do to us, the same way that Mordechai & Esther, and Kahane & Kahane, Inc. did, and then, we will not even feel that we will have the need to worry about what "the world will say" when we go full force forward to occupy every part of Israel following the banishment of our Arab enemies from "the West Bank" which is 100% part of the Holy Land of Israel, including around 80% of Jordan which is also part of Israel but apportioned by the evil British as part of  "Palestine" to the Arabs, without any apologies to the world.

11 Tevet, 5773

P.S.  Noting the timing of this post - 4:37 PM, this is the very time of the 24 hours or 1,440 minutes, and on the same day of the week - Sunday, that a Jewish girl was born - none other than my daughter Tamar, who was born some 54 weeks ago.  I pray and hope for my daughter Tamar to grow up and be the courageous woman that Esther was in her spiritual and physical help of saving the Jewish people.   And as mentioned within the last Mishna of Tractate Megilla, the story of Tamar in the Torah, which involves her one time affair with Judah, is both read and translated, unlike other parts in the Torah that are shameful for the Jewish people or the person mentioned in the context of the story that were not translated in public, for Tamar's act of being with Judah was for righteous reasons, which in turn lead to her being the ancestor of King David and Moshiach, may he come speedily in our days, our ultimate salvation.  Amen!

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