Tuesday, June 11, 2013

#179 - Breaking the Trend: THE LIVING TORAH

Today's date of the 3rd of Tammuz marks a very joyous occasion in recent history for the Jewish people.  Perhaps some may think of this date as the Yahrzeit of one Tzadik (righteous person) or another, but virtually all dates of the year mark the Yahrzeit of some Tzadik, though the one joyous Yahrzeit of the year is that of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, whose passing is celebrated annually on Lag BaOmer (33rd day of the Omer).

As it turns out, the following as it pertains to today's date is also connected to the number 33 - at least this year.  You see, exactly 33 years ago, Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan, may the memory of the righteous may for a blessing, completed his English translation of the Chumash (Penteteuch), called The Living Torah, on 3 Tammuz in 5740 (1980), as well as the fact that this date in this year falls out on the same day of the week as  it did in 5740.

Though many may admit about the good translation of Rabbi Kaplan, a few words have to be noted about the significance of the timing of this translation - including the Haftarot (selected portions of the Prophets corresponding to the weekly Torah reading or holiday), aside from the various charts, maps, and the numerous notes that he assembled, which was all done in a period of nine months.  To appreciate this, we have to note how it was a mere 35 years ago.  There were few half-decent translations of the Chumash/Tanach in English, most of which were the old English style, which has long since been abandoned in daily speech, at least in the United States, but the old timer translators thought that it would be "more impressive" if the old English was used, without hardly giving any thought about how well their translation would be understood.  Personally, I don't even remember seeing a normal modern English translation until The Living Torah came out, because I remember reviewing my Chumash studies from school in some old English translation Chumash until I was around eleven when The Living Torah was brought home.

Moreover, this translation of The Living Torah was not just another translation translating literally verse by verse.  You see, if you notice in the Chumash, not all verses sounds exactly like one sentence.  Some verses may technically according to the standards of sentences, be only like half a sentence, while other verses can consists of two or more sentences.  Indeed, it was in this fashion that Rabbi Kaplan, in his vision of an understandable translation, followed; truly a revolutionary idea in his time.

Another distinguishable feature that Rabbi Kaplan used was to divide the amount of verses as paragraphs based on how it is done in a Sefer Torah.  As I had spoken of in the past, especially in my very first post on www.gematriot.blogspot.com, there are 669 such divisions in the Torah.  Though others may not necessarily see the Torah to be divided this way, including the early Christians who divided the books of the Tanach according to chapters which have no reflection on the Mesoretic (traditional) way of how the Tanach is divided, the ultimate purpose of this is to reflect on the orderly fashion of how the Torah is meant to be presented by Hashem.

Since the publication of The Living Torah, other very good translations of the Torah/Tanach have come out, including the famous Artscroll, along with its excellent notes and commentary.  But clearly, it was Rabbi Kaplan who broke the ice, breaking the trend of the same type of English translation that did little more good than to remind a child student of what certain words mean in order to ace it on the test, giving little joy in reviewing one's studies.

If this literary work of Rabbi Kaplan would have been the sole authorship of his, calling it his "tenth child", being that he already had nine children, he would still be famous and well appreciated.  Interestingly, in his 15 some years of authorship between original compositions based on the Talmud, Midrash, Kabbalah, Chasidism, etc. and translations, most of which he authored before The Living Torah, he was already well famed for many other fine works, including being a key translator of the Me'Am Loez - the 45 volume The Torah Anthology commentary on the Tanach, which was originally written in Ladino (language iin the Sephardic world like Yiddish combining Hebrew with other languages) by Rabbi Yaakov Culi along with other Torah scholars since his passing.

It was only two and a half years after Rabbi Kaplan's authorship of The Living Torah that he passed away from a sudden heart attack at the age of 48.  Imagine if he were to have lived until now in good health; no doubt, we would have seen at least three times the amount of Torah works from him as he composed and translated.  To note, he was born on 14 Cheshvan 5695 (1934) and passed away on 14 Shevat 5743 (1983).  As you can see, he was born and passed away on the same date number of a month.  But especially specific to him, the Hebrew number for 14 - Yud, Dalet - also spells the word Yad (hand), for indeed, the hand is the part of the body that writes.  As it can be said of Rabbi Kaplan, he was born to write books on Torah.

Noting that Rabbi Kaplan's mission in life was to write Sifrei Kodesh (Torah/holy books), this is comparable to writing a Sefer Torah, which is the 613th and final Mitzva of the Torah.  This is most reflected in the Gematria of his full Hebrew name - Aryeh Moshe Eliyahu, which is 613!  Whether he realized this earlier or not; no doubt that his name either had a spiritual influence on him, or was a hint of Divine inspiration of his destiny in life, fulfilling his particular life's mission.

Interestingly, it was his studies in physics, following his rabbinical studies, having received a Master's Degree, that helped him focus on systemizing concepts from something abstract into easy digestible parts for people's understanding in his numerous literary works.  No doubt that many in his position would have opted for the lucrative promising career following receiving a Master's Degree, especially in those days some half a century ago when one had it very easy finding work and being paid well in these circumstances.  However, with a Torah background that he was raised with, he knew that at most, secular things are meant at best to serve Torah, which he was a master example of, the same way that Rabbi Meir Kahane, may Hashem avenge his blood, used his law degree to benefit Jews more than a professional lawyer career for Milton Kahane, Esq.

Speaking of the Chumash, the very end of it is about the passing of Moshe Rabbeinu and his accomplishments, which begin with the final eight verses that start with - Vayamat Sham Moshe Eved Hashem... "Moses, servant of Hashem, died there..." (Deutronomy 34:5).  There is an issue that is debated in the Talmud (Bava Batra) as to who wrote these final eight verses, since it was Moshe who wrote the entire Torah as per Hashem's dictation (which means for those who don't want to believe in the authorship of the Torah, that it was not man made, but all from Hashem), and it would not make sense that Moshe would write something that had yet to take place - his passing away - as though it already happened.  Some rabbis say that he wrote these final verses in tears, while others say that it was his successor Joshua who wrote these verses.  In fact, as I had mentioned in a past post, the Chasam Sofer (Rabbi Moshe Sofer) asks why this debate is not centered from the beginning of Chapter 34 where it begins with VaYa'al Moshe "Moses went up on Mt. Nebo..." since it was at that point that Moshe went up to the place where he was just about to pass away, which he would not have written as something that happened already.

Anyways, I had my thoughts on the Chasam Sofer's unanswered question in the past.  But today, I will present a hint that the Chasam Sofer could not have thought of.  You see, the Gematria of Vayamat "He died", beginning the final eight verses, is the same as the date 3 Tammuz (the name of the month Tammuz being the Gematria of 453) - 456.  And as we know, Moshe Rabbeinu wrote 13 Sifrei Torah on the day of his passing.  And though the date of his passing was on 7 Adar, and Rabbi Kaplan - whose middle Hebrew name is Moshe - did not pass away on 3 Tammuz, the fact that he completed his unique and revolutionary translation in the universal language of English of the very part of the Torah that is contained in a Sefer Torah on this date is no doubt hinted in the word Vayamat as the same Gematria as this date of 3 Tammuz.  Hence, it was specifically on the last eight verses beginning with this word, rather than the beginning of Chapter 34 in Deutronomy where Moshe went up Mt. Nebo only to die there, that the rabbis were debating as who wrote this.

There is a rule in the Torah that states about the various debates between rabbis - Eilu V'Eilu Divrei Elokim Chayim "Both these and these are the words of the LIVING G-d".  Although typically, this refers to the halachic debates between the rabbis, and though the opinion of only one side is possible to be followed, though there is a spiritual reason for the other opinion though not followed in Halacha (Jewish law); this rule can also be applied in historical fashion.  You see, chances are is that if Rabbi Kaplan would have lived much longer, he would have wound up translating the rest of the Tanach in like fashion.  But since he did not have a chance to do so, it was eventually left for others to translate the rest of the Tanach, beginning with Sefer Yehoshua (Joshua), in like style.

Now, we can see the two opinions of the rabbis as to who wrote the final eight verses in a new light.  Some say that Moshe wrote these verses in tears.  I won't get into the literal meaning of this, whether Moshe had tears in his eyes writing these verses or whether he wrote the words in tears rather than in ink.  But as per Rabbi Kaplan, there is a hint in these rabbis' words to the fact that it would only be his translation of the Chumash, which he completed on 3 Tammuz, that would take place.  In the words of the other rabbis who state that Joshua wrote these verses, this hints to the fact that there would be a successor that would translate the rest of the Tanach, beginning with the Book of Joshua, in the same style as Rabbi Kaplan's translation.

Speaking of Joshua, there is in fact another special thing that happened on this date of 3 Tammuz in benefit of the Jewish people.  As mentioned in Joshua (10:12-14), he was in the midst of war fighting some kings in the midst of conquering Israel, when shortly before becoming dark (some say that it was shortly before Shabbat), he ordered the sun and moon to seize moving "Be silent, O sun in Gibeon, and O moon in Ayalon Valley", hence ordering a cessation of the planetary system allowing the day to continue without the sun setting.  Some say that this was for 24 hours, others say for 36 hours; but the important thing here is that this was not a miracle noticed just in the immediate area where it was called for, but a worldwide thing that everyone could see was most unusual; hence, eventually spreading the news of the Jews fighting and winning a war as Hashem's Chosen People in His Chosen Land.  But perhaps even greater than this was the fact that this miracle was not called for by Hashem Himself, but rather, on Joshua's initiative, in fighting a war that was called a Milchemet Mitzva - a war as a commandment of Hashem, in eradicating the Canaanites of the land as Hashem already ordered in the Torah.

In short, we see that Rabbi Kaplan, in following suit as Joshua who took a bold step to help complete a war successfully, was not afraid to translate the Torah the way that he felt should be done, even though he could have possibly expected objections to it for more than one reason.  For example, if a verse of the Torah is set as the verse is, how could anyone dare to translate it differently by dividing it as two verses, or as half a verse?  Or, how could he refer to non-Jewish sources to identify certain places for example, when it could be argues that non-Jewish sources have no place in a book of holiness.  In fact, major Torah works, such as the Mishneh Torah, a composite of the laws of the entire Talmudic literature, compiled by the Rambam (Maimonides) were severely objected to by some rabbis, and at one point, were even subject to book burning.  Luckily, for Rabbi Kaplan, his well needed and overdue translation was most welcomed in the Torah world, as he was already long known for his mastery of Torah through his multitude of compositions and translations up to this point in time.

Just one example of his notes, showing his collected information from numerous sources - where it states
Vayigdal Moshe "Moses grew up", following which, he ran away to Midian after Pharaoh's attempt to have him beheaded upon hearing of him killing an Egyptian taskmaster, Rabbi Kaplan brings as many as nine different suggested ages as to when this happened.  Now, in what other commentary on the Torah will you see such varied notes on one phrase of the Torah?


Having already mentioned that the total Gematria of Rabbi Kaplan's three Hebrew names is 613 in reference to the 613th and final Mitzva of the Torah, which is the writing of a Sefer Torah, we also see a hint to this via his three individual names.

Aryeh, which means lion, was the name that Rabbi Kaplan used all the time.  It is true that in some synagogues, one will see the design of two lions on the curtain covering the ark of the Sefer Torah.  We know that Hashem is compared to a lion in terms of strength, and is mentioned in Kabbala in terms of the Holy Chariot, in which of the four directions, the lion is on the right side.  And we see in the encampment of the Tribes in the wilderness, it was the tribes of Yehuda, Yissaschar, and Zevulun that were on the right side, and were especially associated with the knowledge of Torah, and were the closest tribes to the residences of Moshe and Aharon.  Moreover, in the list of verses that the various facets of creation recite in song to Hashem as found in Perek Shira (Chapter of Song), the lion states "Hashem is like a warrior...He will be strengthened over His enemies" (Isaiah 42:13).  The final word of this verse Yitgabar "He will be strengthened", can be rearranged by its letters to read B'Taryag "With 613", which is a most similar word to the very first word of the Shuchan Aruch (Code of Jewish Law) - Yitgaber "One should strengthen himself like a lion..." in reference to getting up in the morning to serve Hashem with enthusiasm.  For in fact, the Halachot (Jewish laws) in the Shulchan Aruch that are the details of the Mitzvot (Commandments) that we are to perform, though we may not be able to fulfill all 613 of them, but by studying even the ones that we are not able to fulfill, it is considered as though we fulfilled them.

Moshe - It was Moshe Rabbeinu who was the very first one who wrote a Sefer Torah.  Moreover, his full title as Moshe Rabbeinu is the Gematria of 613, reflecting both the fact that he was Rabbeinu - our teacher of the Torah that consists of 613 Mitzvot both in his generation and in all future generations, as well as having been the FIRST one to fulfill the LAST Mitzva of the Torah, on the LAST day of his life.  Similarly, Rabbi Kaplan can rightfully be called Rabbeinu, at least for the English speaking population, even if his only Toral literary composition would have been The Living Torah translation, but having written and translated numerous other writings, reaching both the seasoned Torah scholar to the beginner in Judaism, including a few Breslov Hasidic book translations, he indeed reached numerous Jews from all walks of life teaching Torah to them via his writings Torah books, which is a segment of the Mitzva of writing a Sefer Torah.

Eliyahu - First, we see in the conclusion of the Nevi'im (Prophets) section of Tanach in Malachi where it states - Zichru Torat Moshe Avdi "Remember the Torah of Moses My servant" and shortly after this, it mentions Eliyahu (Elijah) as being the heralder of the Redemption "on the great and awesome day", continuing with "He (Eliyahu) will return the hearts of fathers with the children, and the hearts of the children with the fathers", which indeed reflects the Ba'al Teshuva (return to Judaism) movement in which not only individuals become observant Jews from non-observant homes as individuals, but many times influence part or the entire family to do likewise, at least to some extent, something that has not happened in mass numbers in Jewish history until very recently.  In similar fashion, Rabbi Kaplan was involved as well in outreach, despite his most busy schedule of writing Torah books which was his means of support of his wife and nine children, including his affiliation with the well known outreach program NCSY and had an open house for guests eating at his home on Shabbat.  Moreover, the Gematria of this name Eliyahu is 52, and lo and behold, the last Mitzva of the Torah of writing a Sefer Torah is in Parshat Vayeilech, the 52nd Parsha of the Chumash!  In fact, though I have seen different numbers given for the amount of works that Rabbi Kaplan wrote, according to Rabbi Pinchos Stolper, who sponsored him to write a Sefer for NCSY, he wrote 52 compositions during the LAST 15 some years of his life.  Truly amazing!

We see another phenomenon pertaining to Rabbi Kaplan's full Hebrew name.  You see, the first letters of his three names - Aleph, Mem, Aleph - spells the word Imma, which means mother.  Accordingly, the name of the one who wrote down the teachings of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai (Rashbi) as recorded in the Zohar is Abba, which means father.  In a sense, just as the sage Abba was Rashbi's secretary; so was Rabbi Kaplan one of the secretaries of Moshe Rabbeinu, or actually, technically one of Hashem's secretaries, for in fact, the Chumash is really totally the words of Hashem, and it was Moshe Rabbeinu who simply wrote it down.  And in Kabbala, there are mystical concepts that include Abba and Imma, but the explanation of these concepts is beyond the scope of this post.

Now that I have mentioned the source of this last Mitzva of the Torah, let us note that the verse in which it is mentioned (Deutronomy 31:19) is the 5741st verse of the Chumash.  Noting that there are hints to the number verse in the Chumash as corresponding to its respective Hebrew year, though Rabbi Kaplan wrote The Living Torah translation particularly in 5740 from the beginning of this year for nine months, we have to admit that this is pretty close in terms of the number verse in the Torah, as well as his passing which was not long afterwards in 5743, and in the midst of the 5743rd verse, it states in reference to the Torah "for it will not be forgotten from his descendants" (in similar fashion to what I mentioned above "Remember the Torah of Moses My servant"), and in the next verse, the 5744th verse, it is written "Moshe wrote this song on that day and taught it to the Children of Israel".

Now, "this song" refers to Shirat Ha'azinu, which is the first 43 verses of the following Parsha named Ha'azinu, and noting the amount of verses in "this song", Rabbi Kaplan passed away in 5743, noting that the last two digits of this Hebrew year is 43, in which his life of writing Torah ceased!  Moreover, the Gematria of the name of the Parsha - Ha'azinu is 79, which spells the Hebrew number Ayin-Teit, which can also be read as Eit (pen), the instrument used in writing, which consists of exactly 613 words in its 52 verses!  And as mentioned above in reference to Rabbi Kaplan's LAST Hebrew name Eliyahu which is the Gematria of 52, the 613rd and LAST Mitzva of the Torah is in the 52nd Parsha of the Torah; hence showing that there is a unique connection of the number 52 with 613 in quite a few ways.

Having said this, the FIRST word of Parshat Ha'azinu is the word Ha'azinu, whose Gematria word equivalent Eit (pen) hints to the LAST Mitzva of the Torah, and the LAST word of this Parsha - Yisrael, which is also the LAST word of its following Parsha, V'Zot HaBeracha, the LAST word of this Parsha, and hence, the LAST word of the Sefer Torah - hints to the FIRST Mitzva of the Torah - Pru Urvu "Be fruitful and multiply", which is hinted by the name Yisrael, as also in the phrase the way it is at the end of Parshat Ha'azinu - B'nei Yisrael "Children of Israel".  And as we know in Kabbala, "the beginning is rooted in the end, and the end is rooted in the beginning".

Now, as I mentioned earlier that Rabbi Kaplan wrote The Living Torah translation particularly in Year 5740, let us note the its corresponding 5740th verse "I will hide My face on that day..." Now, while this verse may seem to be noting a rather negative connotation as to what will happen with the Jewish people, if G-d forbid, they don't follow in Hashem's ways, the Talmud notes in Tractate Hullin that this is the very phrase - Haster Astir - that hints to the name of Queen Esther, whom Hashem used in His hidden ways by having certain things happen - as HIDDEN miracles - to bring about the events that led to the holiday of Purim, on which we read Megillat Esther.  Now, while there are five different Megillot that are read on various holidays of the year, this phrase Megillat Esther can be translated to mean "revealing the hidden", as indeed very aptly describes Rabbi Kaplan's multiple compositions that indeed involved taking abstract and composite subjects, breaking them down into easily understood ideas that ordinary people could relate to, even in Kabbala.

And speaking of Kabbala, let's turn to the 5743rd verse, being that Rabbi Kaplan passed away in Year 5743.  Rabbi Nachman of Breslov (who passed away on the 4th day of Succot that celebrates Moshe Rabbeinu of the Ushpizin, the Heavenly Guests of the Succah, and some of his writings were translated by Rabbi Kaplan) mentions in the immediate introductory paragraph to his magnum opus, the Likutei Moharan, that Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai (Rashbi), author of the teachings of the main book of the Kabbala, the Zohar, is hinted in the phrase Ki Lo Teshachach MiPi Zar'o "for it will not be forgotten from the mouth of his children", in which the last letters of these five words - Yud, Aleph, Cheit, Yud, Vav - can be rearranged to spell the name of Rashbi's father Yochai, and it was his child Rabbi Shimon, who stated in the Talmud (Shabbat 138), in a debate among the rabbis, that the Torah will not be forgotten in the future, quoting this very phrase, which is found in the midst of the 5743rd verse of the Torah.

And speaking of letters, we see that Rabbi Kaplan is especially related to the FIRST letter Aleph.  Both his FIRST and third Hebrew names begin with Aleph, and as I noted earlier, as pertaining to his middle name Moshe, it was Moshe Rabbeinu who wrote the FIRST to write a Sefer Torah.  However, there is major difference between Moshe Rabbeinu and Rabbi Kaplan - pertaining to their burial plots.  Unlike Moshe Rabbeinu about whom it is written that "no one knows where he is buried until today", Rabbi Kaplan's burial spot is not only known, but can easily be remembered.  You see, he is buried on Har HaZeitim (Mt. of Olives) in the section that is named Agudas Achim Anshei America - Cheilek Aleph.  As you can see, besides the immediate burial grounds which is termed Section Aleph (One), each of these four words in Hebrew - Agudas Achim Anshei America begins with the letter Aleph!  As it turns out, Rabbi Kaplan was no stranger to Israel, as he learned in Yeshivas Mir in Jerusalem in his rabbinical learning days, and though he spent most of his life in the United States, it is most fitting that someone like Rabbi Kaplan who contributed so much in the way of the greatest Mitzva of the Torah - Torah learning via writing numerous Seforim, should be buried in such a hallowed area, the most respected burial site for Jews which is located on the grounds of Jerusalem, close to the site of the grounds of the Beit HaMikdash (Holy Temple).

As I mentioned earlier, Rabbi Kaplan called his The Living Torah his "tenth child".  As related to the 613rd Mitzva of the Torah as well as the Gematria of his name, the number 613, when adding the individual numbers 6,1,3, this adds up to TEN, (known as the Mispar Katan "small number" in Gematria) bearing in mind that the Aseret HaDibrot "Ten Commandments", as mentioned by Rashi and shown by the Sa'adya Gaon, includes ALL 613 Mitzvot.  Moreover, the very first letter of the Aseret Hadibrot is an Aleph, which begins the word Anochi "I AM Hashem your G-d..."

And as related to the number of this post - 179, while in fact, the Aseret HaDibrot contains 172 words, the introductory verse "G-d spoke all these words saying" contains seven words; hence a total of 179 words as immediately related to the Aseret HaDibrot.  And while this introductory verse is not part of the writen Aseret HaDibrot on the Luchot (Tablets), it is compared to the FIRST verse of the Torah - Bereishit "In the beginning of G-d's creating the heavens and earth", as both consists of seven words and 28 letters.  And speaking of the number 28, there are 22 regular letters of the Aleph-Beit, and five letter forms that are spelled specifically at the end of a word, making the total of 27 different letter forms, and in terms of Gematria, in one sense, the five ending letters have the corresponding numerical values from 500 to 900; and following this, the letter Aleph becomes 1,000, also pronounced as Eleph; noting the special significance of the letters of the word for the letter Aleph that are the same, only changing its vowels for pronounciation when the number ONE becomes ONE-THOUSAND as Eleph, being so to speak the 28th letter, but still looking as the same letter ALEPH.

In connection to the above concepts of the Chumash and the Aseret HaDibrot, there is one more thing to note about Rabbi Kaplan's full Hebrew name.  Each of these three names have one letter in common - the letter HEI, the numerical value of five.  We see something very similar in Parshat Naso, pertaining to the identical Korbanot (offerings) that each of the 12 Nesi'im (leaders) of their respective tribes brought on behalf of their tribes - "FIVE rams, FIVE goats, FIVE sheep".  Rashi notes from Rabbi MOSHE HaDarshan that each of these three FIVEs hints to one of three things as related to the Torah - FIVE books of the Chumash (or known in English as the FIVE Books of Moses), FIVE of the Aseret HaDibrot written on one side of the Luchot, and FIVE of the Aseret HaDibrot written on the other side of the Aseret HaDibrot.  And of course, the FIRST letter of both the name of Parshat Ha'azinu and the first letter of this Parsha (which is the same word), as related earlier to Rabbi Kaplan, is the letter HEI.

And before concluding this post, especially in terms of names, let us note Rabbi Kaplan's family name, which in fact was a different name before his grandfather came to the States.  In Hebrew, the name Kaplan begins with a Koof, which is the numerical value of 100, and the name of the writing instrument - Eit, which spells the Hebrew number 79, as especially related to Rabbi Kaplan, together spells the number 179, the number of this post.  Moreover, if we dissect the number 179 as One (1) and Seventy-Nine (79), this can be used as a way to remember Parshat Ha'azinu, as the FIRST word of this Parsha - consisting of 613 words as especially connected to Rabbi Kaplan - is Ha'azinu, the Gematria of 79.

Indeed, it was Hashgacha Peratit (Divine Providence) that saw to it that Rabbi Kaplan's The Living Torah took exactly nine months to be composed, comparable to the nine months that the fetus spends in its mother's womb.  As our rabbis tell us, the fetus learns the entire Torah, only to be forgotten upon birth, and is one of the reasons why the baby cries at birth, in effect mourning its loss of his memory of the Torah, and is only regained when we learn the Torah as soon as possible in our youth.  Moreover symbolically, Rabbi Kaplan dispelled the darkness of the good-for-nothing past English translation, noting that the number nine especially connotes darkness, such as the ninth plague of Egypt which was darkness, and the darkness of the saddest day of the Jewish calendar, the ninth of Av (Tisha B'Av), when we are forbidden to learn most parts of the Torah as they lead to happiness, except for a few things such as Eicha, one of the Megillot of the Tanach whose name is also the first word of this book, which begins with the letter Aleph.  On the contrast, darkness is dispelled by Ohr (light), which also begins with the letter Aleph.  And as I mentioned earlier about the connection of the number FIVE as related to Rabbi Kaplan, in the FIRST FIVE verses of the Torah which is the account of the FIRST day of Creation, the word Ohr is mentioned FIVE times, which correspond to the FIVE books of the Chumash.

And as Rabbi Kaplan first had NINE physical children, noting that the fetus spends NINE months in the womb, and Rabbi Kaplan's "tenth child" also took NINE months in formation; at least symbolically, we have a total of 90 months.  Accordingly, the name Mahn (manna), the spiritual food in the desert that the Jews ate for 40 years, which rained down in the merit of Moshe Rabbeinu, is the Gematria of 90, bearing in mind that "the Torah was given to those who ate the Mahn".  And the day on which Rabbi Kaplan passed away, which was the sixth day of the week of Parshat Beshalach, corresponds to the sixth Aliyah of Parshat Beshalach, which mentions the very events of the giving of the Mahn to the Jewish people!

As per the Hebrew year 5740 in which Rabbi Kaplan wrote The Living Torah, his "tenth child", it was a Shemitta year, a year in which the land in the Land of Israel is not worked on as per Hashem's commandments to us to let the land rest and not work on it every seventh year as a Sabbatical; hence, being a holier year in terms of the Holy Land.  And as connected to the number 10, we see in the Mishna (Keilim 1:6), there are ten levels of holiness as related to Israel, going up the ladder to Jerusalem, the Temple, and the holiest being the Temple room of the Kodesh Kodoshim (Holy of Holies) in which only the Cohen Gadol entered on Yom Kippur, the TENTH day from the beginning of the year, aside from being the TENTH day of the SEVENTH month when counting the months from Nissan.  We also see that the concept of holiness is related as well especially to the number seven, aside from the fact that the root of it all is Shabbat, the holiest day of the week as the SEVENTH day, as per Parshat Kedoshim - the SEVENTH Parsha in Sefer Vayikra (Leviticus) in which there is a parallel to the "TEN Commandments", and Tractate Kiddushin - the SEVENTH and last tractate in Seder Nashim, the third volume of the Mishna, whose final chapter begins with the word TEN - "Ten groups of lineages..."

On 3 Tammuz, 5740, the final stroke of Rabbi Kaplan's pen as the finishing touches on the English translation of the Chumash may have been sounded quite silent.  But in the heavens, it made a major impact on the Jewish people eternally, read and learned by English speaking Jews worldwide for the last 33 years.  If only we most appreciated this major breakthrough work, which was Rabbi Kaplan BREAKING THE TREND of the old standard English translations, perhaps this date of 3 Tammuz would be celebrated in similar fashion to Simchat Torah, the holiday on which we rejoice over the completion of the reading of the Sefer Torah, only to begin it anew, paralleling the happiness of the holiday of Purim and that of Lag BaOmer - 33rd day of the Omer, the Yahrzeit of one of the biggest Torah mystics and Kabbalists of Jewish history - Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai.  There is in fact a basis for me writing this, because typically, when a Yeshiva or synagogue purchases or has written a Sefer Torah, there is what is called Hachnassat Sefer Torah, which literally means "the entry of a Torah scroll", with festivities similar to those performed on Simchat Torah, and is accompanied under a Chupa (wedding canopy) following the completion of the writing of the Sefer Torah if it is a new one, being escorted to its destination in the holy ark to be read in the future.

It is with the help of Torah scholars like Rabbi Kaplan that the Torah will never be forgotten from the Jewish people - as per the words of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai - who was among the foremost Torah scholars who showed the Torah to be a most practical way of life, exemplifying the Torah as THE LIVING TORAH.

3 Tammuz, 5773 - 33 years from the completion of Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan's The Living Torah

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