Friday, July 5, 2013

#182 - From YAAKOV 2 YAAKOV

Beginning this post on Erev Shabbat Mevorchim Chodesh Av, when tomorrow, we will be blessing the coming month of Av, whose meaning means "father", this comes in time for this post; for the number of this post - 182, is the Gematria of the name Yaakov, the last of the three Avot (fathers); bearing in mind that the singular word for father - Av - is the Gematria of three.

We find a little irony here.  You see, while Yaakov (Jacob) is one of the three who are called Avot of the entire Jewish nation, the meaning of his own name is based on the word Eikev (heel), the very bottom of the body. Now  it is true that Jacob's later acquired name Yisrael include the letters of the word Rosh (head), the name Yaakov is still used very often, both in the Torah and in our prayers.  In fact, in the first blessing of the Shemoneh Esrei, the main prayer that we address Hashem with at least three times a day, is called Avot, for we address Hashem as Elokei Avraham, Elokei Yitzchak, V'Elokei Yaakov "the G-d of Abraham, the G-d of Isaac, and the G-d of Jacob".  So, at least if we are calling our forefathers as "fathers", we should treat them with the greatest respect, calling them by their most exalted name, as Yisrael is a name of higher status than Yaakov (Note: When we address our own parents or grandparents, we never call them by their names according to Halacha.  However, when we learn the Torah about our righteous ancestors, we call them by the names that the Torah uses in the course of learning, since anyways, we are not addressing them directly).  If this is the case, why are we referring to Yaakov by his name of lesser status in the blessing that is named after our Avot, while in several other Berachot (Blessings) of the Shemoneh Esrei, we refer to Jews as Yisrael, as though it is an exclusive name that belongs only to the Jews as a whole without acknowledgment that the source of our name is that it is Yaakov's other name?  Moreover, the Avot blessing is the most important blessing in the Shemoneh Esrei, and the proof is that the Halacha (Jewish law) dictates that in order to fulfill the basic requirement of saying the Shemoneh Esrei prayer, one must has concentration on this blessing (though of course, one should have concentration on the following blessings as well if he prays sincerely).  Hence,  it is ironic that Yaakov's lesser status name is used specifically in the most important Shemoneh Esrei blessing, even though it is referring to him specifically and not his descendants, the Jewish people.

Most certainly, the fact that we mention these three righteous people at least three times a day in the most important prayer in the Siddur (prayerbook) comes to show that they had to have been among the most righteous people of all time.  Nevertheless, it is very clear that we are addressing specifically G-d.  But at that, there is a much bigger question that begs to be asked - why do we address G-d as "the G-d of Abraham, the G-d of Isaac, and the G-d of Jacob", as if - perish the thought - there were three gods that we are addressing, instead of making it simple and without confusion as "the G-d of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob"?  And at this, we see that if the main subject of this blessing is G-d, then rather than naming this blessing specifically as Avot referring to human beings, regardless of how righteous they were, perhaps we should at least refer to this first and most important blessing as the "G-d of the Patriarchs"?

The truth is, as much as we pray and learn about G-d, some of the information that we know about Him is about what He is not.  He is not more than one god such as the Trinity (excuse me, the word should be spelled as trinity without the capital T, for there is nothing holy about idol-worship), there is no other independent god, He does not have a gender, and He does not have a body.  And aside from the Bible beginning with G-d as the Creator of the universe, we know in general terms that He is everywhere, He knows the past, present, and future, He knows exactly what we are thinking or happening in the midst of our bodies, and He can do whatever He wants whenever and wherever He wants, without anything stopping Him.  But whatever other information we will learn about G-d from the Talmud to Kabbala, the truth is that we know all too little about Him, and very few of us have experienced Him.  The sole time that the Jewish people heard Him, whatever that means, was when G-d recited the Ten Commandments at the Giving of the Torah.

With this said, if we are going to relate to G-d at some minimal level, there has to be some common ground that can bring us to this point.  The creatures who are closest to G-d in holiness are the righteous people, who surpass the angels who are always at the same spiritual level, because while a human being who is living on Planet Earth is not experiencing the spirituality that the angels are being very close to G-d's Divine presence - even though G-d is in fact everywhere - he still has the chance to surpass the spiritual level of the angels if he so chooses to live a holy life the way that Hashem wants him to live.  And it is the first Jews - Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (aside from their righteous wives), and from whom most of Jews are descended from (aside from converts), who were among the closest to G-d in terms of spirituality and holiness (yes, this does exclude Adam and Noah who were not Jewish, though these two were also righteous).  Hence, in order that we can feel that we can somehow relate to G-d, even though we can't see or hear Him at least in our physical state, we describe G-d as the G-d of these Avot.  And part of this experience is that we should feel Hashem as our Father and King, which is in fact describing Hashem in male terms, even though Hashem in fact does not have a gender.  But the obvious reason why this is so is because in nature, males are of a more stronger nature than women, and hence, people fear men more than women; and hence, even though the wives of the Avot were most righteous as well, we mention the Avot specifically in terms of G-d.

Now, knowing a bit about our Avot, our ancestors, we know from the Torah that each had different personalities.  Abraham was the man of kindness, par excellence.  Isaac, though of course was raised by his father Abraham to do kindness as well, he didn't go out of his way to invite guests as Abraham did, but was much more of a judgmental nature, since after all, he saw that his father's outreach efforts didn't create too many Jewish families, and hence, reserved his spiritual energies as home, making sure that his own two sons received the best Torah education possible without being influenced from the outside world - although it didn't help his son Esau at the end (there are times that one must choose not to be too liberal, but focus on the ones who show true sincerity in outreach efforts, but this is beyond the scope of this post), and devoted himself with the majority of his time in prayer.  Jacob, whose father was Isaac and his grandfather was Abraham, combined the above two traits of kindness and judgement/strictness, and excelled in Torah learning - even more than Abraham and Isaac.

Hence, after making the distinction between the three Avot, even though they were all very righteous people, we can see why we mention G-d as the G-d of each individual Patriarch rather than as the G-d of one lump sum; for in fact, there are various ways of relating to Hashem, and one should not feel that since he is no "Abraham, Isaac or Jacob", it won't matter all that much to Hashem as to how hard he tries serving Him.  In fact, the Midrash tells us that a Jew should ask himself "When will my deeds reach the spiritual level of the Avot?", for even if one doesn't became a great Torah scholar due to his being a business man, let's say, he can still learn Torah in some spare time every day, using his circle of influence to bring other Jews close to Judaism, and perform great deeds of kindness by supporting Torah institutions while choosing whom he supports wisely by making sure that the institutions whom he supports are in fact following the Torah way and not behaving otherwise.  Thus, here is an example of a Jew, even though not one whom may be called a Torah scholar, who is relating in some way or another to ALL THREE AVOT.

As particularly the name Yaakov being used, rather than his more illustrious name Yisrael that Hashem Himself gave him, we see a couple of distinctions between the two names used in reference to Jews.  First, as mentioned by commentaries at a number of places in the Tanach (Jewish Bible) where both names are mentioned in the same verse as referring to Jews, Jacob refers to the layman while Israel refers to the Torah scholar.  And then, shortly before the Torah was given, Hashem tells Moses "So shall you say to the House of Jacob and tell the Children of Israel" (Exodus 19:3), where it is explained that Jacob refers to the women
while Israel refers to the men.  And as our rabbis tell us, women receive merit, even though they don't have the specific command to learn Torah - the greatest Mitzva of the Torah - as men do, by sending off their husbands and children to learn in Yeshiva and await their returning home.  Similarly, the ones who are successful more in their careers can earn merit by supporting those who study and teach Torah, thus acquring a share in the Torah learning.

Thus, even if one is not a Torah scholar in any way close to the way that Jacob was, by his support of Torah, he too can feel a connection to Jacob.  In fact, there is a verse that describes our special connection to the Torah, that is read in the midst of the last Parsha of the Torah that we read on Simchat Torah, the day on which all Jews feel a special connection to the Torah through rejoicing (and all males above the age of 13 get an Aliyah to the Torah) - Torah Tziva Lanu Moshe Morasha Kehilat Yaakov "The Torah that Moses commanded us is a heritage to the Congregation of Jacob", (Deutronomy 33;4) noting that the name Jacob - rather than Israel - is used in a verse that writes specifically about the Torah.  For in fact, as we see, there are relatively few rabbis compared to the majority who are layman, because the Torah - more than just meant to be learnt or taught, is meant to be observed with its 613 Mitzvot (Commandments), via the Halachot (Jewish Laws) that explain how these Mitzvot are performed, and can be relatively understood in terms of following the laws of the Torah correctly, even without knowing how the Gemara/Talmud, for example, arrives at the conclusion via the give and take discusssions, arguments, etc., though thorough knowledge is needed of this to arrive at the proper Halachic decision to tell others.  This is aside from the story in the Talmud in which one rabbi made a sarcastic remark to an unlearned Jew based on the latter's lack of Torah knowledge, who in turn quoted to the rabbi this verse, showing that the Torah, as a heritage, is for EVERY JEW, and not for a particular Torah scholar.

And so, while the Jews are usually called Yisrael as a whole, as reflected in later blessings of the Shemoneh Esrei, an individual Jew has to feel his own personal worth as a Jew, with the potential of being able to at least reach the level of the GOOD DEEDS of the Avot, even if one didn't have the opportunity, time, or brains of being a Torah scholar, so long as one bases his life on Torah standards, being reminded no less than three times a day that one has the potential to have his life based on G-dliness, the same way as each of the three Avot did in their own way of serving Hashem.  And hence, it is this most crucial point that a Jew begins with and must realize when having his most direct audience with Hashem via the Shemoneh Esrei; and it is then, and only then, can one have the proper reverence for Hashem, knowing that it is not simply enough to praise Hashem with various titles, but that one must treat Him as King in observance of His Commandments as the Avot did (even though the Torah wasn't officially given yet in their days), and in the midst of this blessing, we recite "KING, Helper, Savior, and Shield".


Before I continue on with this part of the post, one unique characteristic that must be mentioned about Yaakov Avinu (Jacob our Forefather) is that he especially represented the quality of truth.  For certainly, only one who is concerned about what the truth is and wants to live a life of truth can hope for Hashem's Seyata D'Shemaya (Divine Assistance) in becoming an accomplished Torah scholar - both in terms of quantity and memory.

While today, there have been some rabbis, who while they may be quite knowledgeable in Torah, have made statements that clearly are against the Torah, or cause arguments between different factions of Jews, they may have acquired their wealth of Torah knowledge at a young age when they weren't corrupted at the time, or due to some special merit such as self sacrifice living in poverty.  Whatever the case, only one who knows Torah and isn't afraid of the truth, especially if he says the Torah truth the way it is, regardless of the potential harmful consequences in this false world ruled by crooked and corrupt politicians and media, can truly be called a Talmid Chacham (Torah scholar); otherwise, one who is simply famed for his Torah scholarship but his statement and/or deeds do not reflect the Torah that one knows is certainly at the very least no better than a professor of Judaic studies who feels that he can be a critic and commentator of how he views the Torah that he teaches to his students simply as a college course that they are studying for credit.

There have been a number of Torah scholars since Yaakov Avinu's time with the name Yaakov who have made significant contributions to the literary library of the Torah.  This includes, first of all, a number of rabbis whose statements made their way in the Talmud and Midrash.  In later times, we had Rabbeinu Tam - grandson of Rashi and among the scholars whose statements are part of the Tosafot commentary on the Talmud.  Then there is the Ba'al HaTurim, one of the early works of Halacha which formed the basis of the Shulchan Aruch (Code of Jewish Law) written by Rabbi Yosef Karo.  Then, in terms of Midrashic contribution, there is Rabbi Yaakov Culi, who began the Meam Loez commentary on the Tanach, which was completed by others since his passing in the midst of his writing.  And, we don't want to forget Rabbi Yaakov Emden, a scholar of more recent times who wrote an extensive commentary, somewhat of a Kabbalistic nature, on the Siddur.

And in our generation, we had a Torah scholar who for some forty years, taught Torah on a regular basis in various places in Israel, aside from his own Yeshiva - Rabbi Yaakov Yosef, may the memory of the righteous be for a blessing, who passed away a few months ago following a period of suffering from cancer. Now, there have been a number of Torah greats with the Hebrew name Yaakov Yosef; but in this particular case, the name Yosef happened to be his last name, being the son of the former Sephardic Chief Rabbi of Israel - Rabbi Ovadia Yosef.  In any case, his concentration of his teachings were in the area of Halacha.

But to many, Rabbi Yaakov's fame was partly due to his strict stance on certain issues, especially as related to Israel in that he was strictly against giving away any part of Israel to our sworn enemies even for the sake of Pikuach Nefesh "saving lives".  While his views did not necessarily always correspond to his own father's views in earlier times in the hopes that giving land away would appease the Arabs to prevent further bloodshed of Jews, we see that quite the opposite happened of these hopes, resulting in even more Jews being murdered, maimed, and injured after the Oslo Accords than before it, about which Rabbi Ovadia's Shas party refrained from voting against it.  Meanwhile, Rabbi Yaakov, as Rabbi Ovadia's son, who ruled such a "fanatical" Halachic ruling not to give in to Arabs, was treated along with his immediate family with disrespect for a while, but not only he would not dare say anything that he knew was against the Torah, he openly said what he believed in as the Torah truth, even though he could have easily justified himself by saying that he didn't want to contradict his famed father.  And a few years ago, he showed no less strength not only by writing an approbation  to a Sefer (holy book) which deals with the Halachot of fighting non-Jews who live in Israel who don't respect the rule of Jews whose rightful land is Israel, but also refused police orders to be questioned about his "crime" of showing "racism" against non-Jews who treat us as racists, until the police forcefully arrested him to question him.

At one point, when Rabbi Yaakov's father started the Shas party who had his son Rabbi Yaakov head it, this was during the very period that Rabbi Meir Kahane, may Hashem avenge his blood, started his Kach party and got his foot in the door of the pro-Arab Knesset, to be the voice of truth on behalf of Jews.  As it turned out, when Rabbi Kahane spoke, one by one of the Knesset members walked out on him, but it was always Rabbi Yaakov Yosef, though the head of the newly formed Shas party that his father founded, who stayed in the room being intrigued by what Rabbi Kahane had to say.  After a year, Rabbi Yaakov felt that politics was not for himself, and resumed teaching Torah which was his mainstay in life.  Speaking of which, there was the time early on when the Gabbai (the one who makes the arrangements in the synagogue) of one synagogue complained to the rabbi that as a result of him teaching Torah classes there, it was costing it more money for electricity.  Perhaps if the Gabbai would have realized that the main thing in a Jew's life is Torah, or if he would have cared to find out if the rabbi was even receiving any money for teaching, he would have approached others instead to help defray the electricity costs.  However, despite the rabbi's meager living quarters at that time and didn't receive any money for teaching classes, Rabbi Yaakov - who realized the eternal value of teaching Torah - gave whatever little money he had in his pocket to the Gabbai who could care less, in order that he should be able to continue teaching the Torah class in that synagogue without interruption.

While many hoped that Rabbi Yaakov Yosef would survive his cancer, since after all, his own father was living having already reached the age of 90, it was not meant to be.  He passed away on 2 Iyar, Erev Shabbat.  But, unlike some others who are unconscious for some time before passing on, he was alert virtually to the time of his passing, even wearing Tefillin (phylacteries) while praying, despite his weakness. Now, to note the significance of his passing on this date, it has to do with the Sephira count of 49 days that takes place between Pesach (Passover) and Shavuot (Pentacost), and the date of 2 Iyar falls out on the 17th day of the Sephira.  We know that in the beginning of Parshat Vayechi, the final Parsha of Sefer Bereishit (Genesis), it states "Yaakov lived in the land of Egypt for 17 years", which were the last 17 years of his life.  But more significantly, it pertains to its corresponding Kabbalistic Sephira - Tiferet She'B'Tiferet (Beauty within Beauty).  Among the Sephirot as corresponding to the Seven Shepherds, or known as the Ushpizin (Heavenly Guests) of the Succah, it is Tiferet that corresponds to Yaakov Avinu.  Moreover, Tiferet relates especially to the concept of Tefillin, being the Pe'er, the beauty of Jewish uniform, and unlike others who are unconscious for a while before passing on, and hence, can't perform Mitzvot right before passing on, Rabbi Yaakov was able to perform this very important Mitzva of Tefillin in full consciousness on the day of his passing.  We also know from the teachings of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov referring to the Tzadik (righteous person) as Pe'er (Likutei Moharan II:67), in which he was referring specifically to the Chasidic master Rabbi Levi Yitzchok of Berdichov who had passed away right before Rabbi Nachman delivered this teaching, referring to the departed rabbi as the Pe'er of the generation; and hence, decided to have his own Tefillin, which are called Pe'er, checked for any possible blemish as related to the rabbi's passing.

Ultimately, the most important thing pertaining to Rabbi Yaakov Yosef is that he lived the full potential of his name, following in the same TORAH OF TRUTH that the first Yaakov followed.  But the fact that he passed away on the very Sephira day that is most connected to Yaakov - as the ultimate level of Tiferet, one inside the other of its own Sephira, comes to show that indeed, this was one rabbi, one Torah scholar, one Tzadik, who was one of the few who didn't fall for politics and lived his entire life sticking to his principles of Torah truth without compromise, just as Rabbi Kahane, in his own way - and despite the challenges of his difference of opinion from that of his own famed father, living the characteristic trait that most resembled the first one with his namesake.  And while there have been many great rabbis with the name Yaakov in between, it would not be a mistruth to describe Rabbi Yaakov Yosef as "from Yaakov to Yaakov, there was none who rose up as Yaakov", for in a generation in which a few too many rabbis are blinded by falsehood who are the ultimate ones to be the cause of much bloodshed of Jews giving in to the whims and bribes of the pro-Arab anti-Torah Israeli government, Rabbi Yaakov shone out as one of the few beacons of truth in this final generation of exile who will shortly be witness to the coming to Moshiach.


In a recent post #179, I wrote all about Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan, may the memory of the righteous be for a blessing, on the date (3 Tammuz) on which 33 years earlier, he completed his his translation on the Chumash (Penteteuch) called The Living Torah.  Little did I know that on that very morning, a well known rabbi passed away -  Rabbi Yehoshua Yeshaya Neuwirth, may the memory of the righteous be for a blessing - since I didn't even check the news being that I wanted to focus on writing my post that day as being the date of the completion of The Living Torah.

Rabbi Neuwirth accomplished quite a few things in the area of Halacha, including Taharat HaMishpacha (family purity) and Shemitta (letting the land of Israel rest from working on it once in every seven years).  But perhaps, his most famous accomplishment was his Halachic work on the laws of Shabbat entitled Shemirat Shabbat K'Hilchato "Observance of the Sabbath according to Jewish Law", which is both in Hebrew and English (the latter in four volumes), divided into a total of 68 chapters, including the laws of Yom Tov and Chol HaMoed.  His work is unique in that the chapters are divided into categories in easy breakdown and explainable terms, accompanied with a very thorough index, considering the fact that there are numerous laws of Shabbat, along with the Halachic decisions as related to today's modern technology.  Indeed, the Chofetz Chaim quotes the Ya'aros Devash (Rabbi Yonasan Eibschutz) as saying that unless a Jew constantly goes over all the laws of Shabbat, one can always come to make some Sabbath violation.

Anyways, I want to first make mention of the significance of his two Hebrew names as related to Shabbat, and then relate this to Yaakov Avinu.  As for this Rabbi's first name Yehoshua, it was on this very date of his passing - 3 Tammuz - that the first Yehoshua, Moses' successor, and who led the Jews to Israel, who commanded the sun and moon to cease their functions until he was finished fighting the enemy (Joshua 10:12-14).  As a result, he was able to continue fighting without the sun setting on him until the end of the battle.  While there is a disagreement in the Talmud as to how many hours this wait time of the planetary system took place, what is most significant here is the reason for this - so the Jews could finish the battle BEFORE THE START OF SHABBAT.  Now, even though this was a Mitzva war, in which the Jews would not only be permitted to fight on Shabbat, but even would have obligated to do so despite violation of Shabbat, Joshua did not want the holy Shabbat coming up to be treated any less than any other Shabbat, and hence, called for a miracle, a cessation of nature until the immediate needs of the Jews were completed so Shabbat could be observed and celebrated properly.

As for the rabbi's second name Yeshaya, this is the name of the prophet whose book that is named after him, consisting of one of the largest books in the Tanach, includes quite a few places in which he mentions about Shabbat - especially the observance of this day.  One such passage is recited by many in the daytime Kiddush of Shabbat, which is the following: "If you draw back your foot because of the Sabbath, if you will restrain  yourself from doing that which you desire on My holy day, if you call the Sabbath a joy, if you call Hashem's sanctified day honored, and respect it by not following your usual ways, by not pursuing your business and by not speaking about forbidden matters, then shall you rejoice in Hashem and I shall make you ride over the heights of the earth and shall feed you the inheritance of Jacob, your father; for the mouth of Hashem has spoken" (Isaiah 58:13-14).  In practical terms, this passage is the very rabbinic source (meaning, not included in the laws of Shabbat as handed down from Hashem to Moses in explanation of the 39 categories of work as derived from the Chumash) for various that we do in honor of Shabbat, as well as refraining from certain activities that though they themselves aren't work as per the 39 categories of forbidden work on Shabbat, they take away from the spirit of Shabbat.

As it turns out, Chapter 29 of Rabbi Neuwirth's Sefer on Shabbat deals with this very topic, entitled "Laws Derived from Isaiah: Running, Walking Commerce, Measuring, Reading, Speaking".  You can check out the details for yourself in this Sefer, but perhaps what makes this most interesting, is that there are exactly 66 numbered paragraphs, just as there are 66 chapters in the Book of Isaiah? Coincidence?  I believe that somehow, the rabbi managed to find a way to get this arranged according to the exact number of chapters in Isaiah.  In any event, the topic in this chapter is unique, because it is this chapter, in which its laws are based on two verses in Isaiah, that focuses on THE SPIRIT OF SHABBAT.  You see, one can indeed be a good abiding Sabbath observant Jew, not technically violating any Shabbat laws; but aside from the obligatory prayers, eating three hearty meals, and sleeping half of Shabbat, while conversing with friends in the synagogue for the remaining time, one could easily loose track of what Shabbat truly represents - spirituality, holiness.  In fact, there is a story about my first Gemara Rebbe, Rabbi Zev Leff, Shlita, presently the Rav of Moshav Matityahu (in Israel of course), who was the rabbi of a synagogue many years ago back in my hometown of North Miami Beach who was among those who installed the Eiruv, a device involving strings attached around an area that allows Jews to carry things in what is normally considered in the public domain , but is Halachicly legalized as being in a private domain .  Following this, there were those who took advantage of this and started playing basketball in public places on Shabbat, hardly keeping with the spirit of Shabbat, and certainly an activity that takes away from the study of Torah.  In reaction to this, Rabbi Leff threatened that if this would not stop, he would take the Eiruv right down.

On the other hand, for many, especially for those who didn't have much time to learn Torah during the week, if anything, it is on Shabbat on which not only they hear the Torah portion being read, but will go to Torah lectures or learn from Seforim (holy books) as part of the spirituality of the day in which they don't have to report to work.  For Hasidic Jews especially, the Sabbath is truly a day that is compared to the bliss of the world to come, praying at length without the pressures of the workweek for some, and many of whom attend their Rebbe's Tisch (table in Yiddish) who eats his Shabbat meal in the presence of his Hasidim, and delivers words of Torah.

Anyways, back to Rabbi Neuwirth, as per his second name Yeshaya, the LAST Shabbat in his life in this world was also Rosh Chodesh, in which we read the Haftara that pertains especially to a Shabbat that coincides with Rosh Chodesh, which is the LAST Chapter in Sefer Yeshaya, as it concludes with "It will be on every Rosh Chodesh and on  every Shabbat (in Messianic times), that all flesh will come to bow down to me, says Hashem".  Certainly, in the case of this rabbi who wrote a well used Sefer on the laws of Shabbat, whose name includes the name of the prophet who mentions Shabbat in his book many times, this can't be dismissed as mere coincidence.

As for Yaakov, well, his name is mentioned in the above Isaiah verses.  But to understand what his special connection is to Shabbat, we must turn to the Talmud (Shabbat 117b) in which it states: "Rabbi Yochanan said in the name of Rabbi Yose: Whoever delights in Shabbat will be given an inheritancc without boundaries, as it states "Then shall you rejoice in Hashem...the inheritance of Jacob your father".  Not like Abraham...Not like Isaac...But like Jacob about whom it is written "You shall spread out to the west, east, north, and south" (Genesis 28:14)", this verse indicating that one's inheritance will be compared to Israel in all directions, which was promised specifically to Jacob.

And being that Shabbat is the SEVENTH Day, it should be noted that the above verse is in Parshat Vayeitzei, the SEVENTH Parsha of the Torah.  Additionally, both the chapter number 28 and the verse number 14 are multiples of SEVEN.  As this verse is particularly about Israel's boundaries, bearing in mind that its land is granted rest every SEVENTH year, it was Yehoshua who led the Jewish people to fight the enemies to win uncontested takeover of Israel, consisting of a total of 14 years, which included SEVEN years of fighting, and SEVEN years of dividing the land between the tribes, half of Yehoshua's total of 28 years of leadership until his passing, which took place entirely in Israel.  And as mentioned earlier, we see Yehoshua's devotion to Shabbat, particularly in not wishing that the Jews should have to fight a war on Shabbat, even though it would have been obligatory under the circumstances, but was concerned that the Jews would not otherwise feel the spirit of Shabbat if the would have to fight.  And as for Yaakov himself, the Gematria of his name - 182 - is a multiple of the numbers 26 and 7, bearing in mind that Hashem's holiest name, which can only be written (consisting of the letter Yud, the letter Hei, the letter Vav, and the letter Hei) but forbidden to be pronounced, is the Gematria of 26, and the holiest day of the week is Shabbat, the SEVENTH day.  And in additional support of this, there are 26 times that the phrase Yom HaShabbat (Day of the Sabbath) is written in the entire Tanach.


And finally, as Yaakov Avinu's special characteristic trait was truth, it has been noted that the last letters of the first three words of the Torah - Beeishit Bara Elokim (Tav/Sav, Aleph, Mem) - can be rearranged to spell the word Emet (truth).  Accordingly, the last letters of the final three words of the section about the first Shabbat following the Creation - Bara Elokim La'a'sot (Aleph, Mem, Tav/Sav) - which can be read directly as Emet.  Now, while in both instances, we are treating the Mem Sophit (the way that the Mem looks specifically as the last letter of a word) as a regular Mem.  However, when including the five letters that are spelled only as the last letter of a word within the 22 regular letters, making the total as 27 letters, it turns out that the word Emet consists of the first letter, the middle letter being that when we include the Chaf Sophit immediately after the regular Chaf, that the letter Mem comes out to be the 14th and middle letter, and Tav is the last letter.  With this said, there are a total of 27 letters or forms, and when multiplied with the Gematria of Hashem's main name - 26, the total is 702 - the Gematria of the word Shabbat (27*26), as mentioned in beginning of the Chasidic book Bnei Yissaschar about Shabbat, quoting the Zohar that the word Shabbat is a name of Hashem, and it can multiply evenly with another number that yields the total that is the Gematria of the word Shabbat.  And just as Shabbat is the end, or the seal of the week; so too is truth the seal of Hashem, as mentioned in the Talmudic tractate of Shabbat (31a) of all tractates.

And speaking of the truth, I recently came across a Jewish blog whose owner cares very much about the truth as it pertains to Israel.-  This is a regularly updated post, exposing and specializing on what is REALLY happening in Israel.  This includes a four part video somewhere on the right hand side of the immediate post page, which exposes the traitors in the expulsion of some 9,000 Jews from Gush Katif, including both rabbis and some members of the Yesha council which included leaders of the "settlement" movement, who are clearly among the Eruv Rav who will perish for eternal punishment in the soon to come Messianic days, which is no differenent than the evil Spies who returned from visiting Israel with their slanderous report which caused the death of nearly a whole generation of Jewish men who believed the fairy tale lies about Israel, who cried like babies on the night whose date of Tisha B'Av became a future date of crying for Jews as a result.

And speaking of Tisha B'Av, let's turn to the midst of the Haftara (selected reading of the Prophets that's read publicly in the synagogue that is read as a related theme to what was just read in the Torah) for the morning of Tisha B'Av - Ki Chol Ach AKOV YA'KOV "for every brother acts crookedly" (Jeremiah 9:3), noting that the double wording for "crookedly" most resembles Jacob's name ironically; and then followed by the following verse mentioning further about how the Jews in Jeremiah's time were misbehaving in other ways, including "they don't speak the truth, they train their tongue to speak falsehood'; traits that diametrically oppose the good traits of pure truth of Yaakov.

In fact, Yaakov's very name was based on the very fact on holding on to his twin brother's heel - EIKEV - as they were exiting the womb.  Some 63 years later, when Yaakov wound up be blessed from their father Isaac instead of Esau, and Esau realized this, he exclaimed Hachi Kara Shemo Yaakov VaYakeveini Zeh Pa'amayim  "So that is why he is called YAAKOV for (alluding to the future) he TRICKED me twice" (Genesis 27:36), the first time being when Yaakov received the privileges of the birthright from Esau the firstborn, who in fact sold it to him for a bowl of beans.

In least in Jacob's case, while he is described as Ish Tam "man of simplicity" (Genesis 25:27), and when the Hebrew letters of Ish Tam are rearranged, they can also be read as Yesh Emet "there is truth", there are times that one has to deal crookedly - not with just anyone who expects you to deal honestly with him in business who doesn't have an agenda, but with someone who is clearly out to crook out someone, whether it is you or someone else; otherwise, the evil of corruption will be allowed to fester and spread.  Of course, one who is truly honest and can read people will smell a rat.  The Talmud relates that when Jacob first met Rachel his cousin, whose father Laban was the crook of town, she warned Jacob of her own father as she knew that Laban would do everything in his power to see to it that he would have Leah, Rachel's older sister, to be married first.  Jacob then assured Rachel that he is "Laban's brother in trickery", for as the verse in Tehillim (Psalms) states "with the crooked, You act perversely" (18:27), for even Hashem, so to speak, has to act the same way as the crook to bring him down.  For if one were to say "Well, two wrongs don't make it right", in this type of case where one can potentially hurt others financially or otherwise G-d forbid, not taking action that is necessary to nip it in the bud will cause much heartache, and hence, there are times that one must speak the same language, so to speak, as the one who looks to harm others for his own selfish gain, which will be the only language that he understands if he doesn't want to know what's good for himself.

Ultimately, while the functions of Yaakov are well needed in this world of falsehood, the time will come at the End of Days that the concept of the name of Yisrael, the END word of the Torah, will stand out, being that unlike Eikev (heel), the root of Jacob's name, represents accomplishing what needs to be done via the backdoor at times without revealing the good deed to all to "get away with it" in a world in which the good is despised; the name Yisrael that includes the letters of the word Rosh (head) - Reish, Aleph, Shin - is what will define the Jewish nation at the end of time when it will be obvious to the nations of the world that we will be the "head of nations", who will be able to serve Hashem without fear of anyone or nation protesting the good that we will do, including repossessing the ENTIRE LAND OF ISRAEL, including additional land parts.

27 Tammuz, 5773

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