Wednesday, October 30, 2013

#194 - JUSTICE Prevails, Or Does It?

After a long unexpected delay, I am back here posting.  And while the content in this post is related to the week following Sukkot, beginning from 25 Tishrei in this year- the week of Parshat Noach, as per my previous post, there is a connection here to today's Hebrew date - 27 Cheshvan - as I will soon point out.

First, the number 194 in Hebrew are the same letters that spell the word Tzedek (Tzadi, Dalet, Koof) - Justice, just as the number of this post.  In fact, Tzedek is a favorite word in the Torah, as we see that it is mentioned twice together - Tzedek Tzedek Tirdof  "You shall pursue justice" (Deutronomy 16:20), for indeed without it, without a court deciding what the right thing should be, society would not be able to function properly.

Now, for the uniqueness of the number 194, the Chofetz Chaim, in the final Sefer that he wrote in his lifetime called Sefer Mitzvot HaKatzer "Abbreviated Book of Commandments" which is a compilation of the Mitzvot that are able to be fulfilled today, he lists 77 Positive/Active Mitzvot and 194 Negative/Non-Active Mitzvot. The LAST Mitzva of the 194 Negative/Non-Active Mitzvot is not to forget what the evil Amalek nation did to the Jewish people following having left Egypt.  Now, there are two other Mitzvot that have to do with Amalek - remembering what Amalek did to us and wiping out the Amalekite nation.   And as pertaining to this latter Mitzva, the Torah states Timche Et Zecher Amalek "Wipe out the memory of Amalek", which is immediately followed by Lo Tishkach "Do not forget", the LAST words of this section of the Torah about Amalek, and the LAST words of Parshat Ki Teitze, which begins with Ki Teitze L'Milchama Al Oiveicha "When you go out to war against your enemies".  In any case, we see in Parshat Noach, the Parsha of the week following the week of the final days of Sukkot and Shabbat Bereishit, in which aside from Noah, his immediate family, and selected creatures - Vayimach Et Kol HaYekum "He (Hashem) WIPED out all of existance..." (Genesis 7:23).  For indeed, when it comes to true justice, justice is only served when the practitioners of evil are done away with it.

It took one full solar year, which ended on 27 Cheshvan - today's date, for Hashem to tell Noah that everyone should exit the ark to begin life anew, for it was on this day that the land totally dried from the flood that began a year before to wipe out the wicked race from the universe.  And while on the surface, it may seem that Hashem did a cruel thing that He even allowed all the babies in the world to die a chocking death; in fact, this was really no different from the treatment that is needed in wiping out Amalek.  For as we see when Hashem instructed the prophet Samuel to have King Saul wipe out the entire Amalekite nation, this came with clear instructions to kill even the suckling infants.  Now, while one may wonder what Hashem wanted from the babies if they can't do any wrong, it was in fact a big kindness to these babies, so they would not wind up doing evil when growing up.  So rather than doing something later that would wind them being damned in Gehinom (Purgatory), Hashem in fact did a great kindness for these babies, since after all, the main place of reward or punishment is the next world.

Now, the word Netzach, the fourth of the seven Sephirot, has both the meanings of eternity and victory. And at least when it comes to a Jewish court (Beit Din), the ultimate purpose of its decisions is related to the fact that it is only through our good deeds and following Jewish law in this world that will gain us eternity.  And in terms of victory, this is the result of a case decided by a court who decides who is the victor of the two parties, sorting out right from wrong.  And as we see in the word Netzach, the middle letter is a Tzadi, which begins the word Tzedek.

With this said, there is an amazing connection between Noach's name and Netzach, the name of the fourth Sephira.  For one thing, both names/words begin with the letter Noon and end with the letter Cheit.  For while for centuries, most people did whatever sins they wanted to do and seemed to get away with it, Hashem finally put His foot down and demonstrated the victory of good over evil in this world without waiting to punish the evildoers in the next world, even though they were going to be punished in the next world anyways since they never repented.  And as related to Noah, after he built the Ark for 120 years and and was almost ready to enter with whatever family and creatures were going to be saved, people were saying that when the time comes, they would brake into the ark with axes and hatches, since at least if they weren't going to be saved from the big Flood, they didn't want Noah to be saved either, showing how evil they were, instead of repenting of their evil ways which could have also saved themselves from being killed. Well apparently, their evil scheme could't work, because lions and bears were guarding the Ark, preventing these evil people from even attempting to dare come close to the Ark.

Now, the fourth of the 49 Sephira combinations is Netzach She'B'Chesed.  And as we see, the first letters of these Sephirot - the Noon of Netzach and the Cheit of Chesed (Kindness), spells the word/name Noach, for indeed it was with Hashem's great kindness that Noah and his immediate family were spared, for as some say, it was only with great merit that prevented even Noah from perishing in the Flood, for he himself needed help from Hashem to remain faithful to Him, unlike other righteous people who worked on themselves without needing Hashem's special assistance.  And ultimately, Hashem utilized here the concept of Netzach via His great kindness of maintaining the world without being wiped out of the universe, without bringing it to the state of chaos before Creation, and just wiped out the evil creatures who accomplished the opposite of what the world was created for to begin with, showing that JUSTICE PREVAILS.

As mentioned especially by the Vilna Gaon, the Sephirot correspond to the various Jewish holidays.  Hence, the Sephira of Netzach corresponds to the holiday of Purim, which is the holiday that highlights the commandments as related to Amalek, being that Haman, the villian of the Purim story, was descended from Amalek.  And while at the time of the miracles that happened to the Jews that led to Purim, Amalek was not wiped out, this Mitzva will be entirely fulfilled after the coming of Moshiach, after which, Amalek history will be a distant memory.  This perhaps explains why the Megilla or Book of Esther, as mentioned by the rabbis, will never be nullifed, just like the Chumash that will always be read, unlike the other books of the Tanach (Jewish Bible), for Purim celebrates our total VICTORY (Netzach) over our worse enemies who will be abolished for ETERNITY (Netzach).

Accordingly, the Sephira of Chesed corresponds to the holiday of Passover (to note, the Vilna Gaon was born on the first day of Passover).  And we see in the Talmudic tractate of Megilla a debate in a situation when there are two months of Adar in a leap year as to when we celebrate Purim.  The Halacha (Jewish law) dictates that we celebrate Purim in the second month of Adar, because the redemption of Purim is related to the redemption of Passover that is celebrated in the next month of Nissan.  In fact, a proof of this is that the name of both holidays begin with the letter Pei, and this letter begins the words in the phrase Pakod Pakadti "I (Hashem) will surely remember", the password that the sons of Jacob had as a tradition as to when the redemption from Egypt would take place, and so when Moses came to the Jewish people with these words as he heard them from Hashem, they know that their time of Redemption was coming close.

I would leave this post the way that it is, but today, I found something most disturbing on the front page of the B'Sheva newspaper (a publication of Arutz Sheva/Israel National News for the week showing a picture of "Palestinians" rejoicing over the newly released 26 terrorists on orders of Prime Monster Bibi Netanyahu who caved in to pressure from the evil, anti-Semitic John Kerry, with the headline - Eipho HaTzedek? ("Where is the Justice?").  As I have mentioned many times in the past of the concept of Hashgacha Peratit "Divine Providence", the fact that I saw this today in the wake of writing my post on the concept of Tzedek, highlights this concept that nothing is truly coincidental.  With this said, this word Tzedek as part of this headline begs to be further addressed.

Isn't it ironic? There are so many who question the existance of Hashem following the Holocaust in which six million Jews were brutually murdered in various ways, claiming that if Hashem is a "good" G-d, then how could He allow it to happen?  But it is these same liberal self-hating Jews who accuse Israel of mistreating the "poor Palestinians", when this evil anti-Torah godless Israeli government not only gives all kinds of free aid to these so called tortured people, but they imprison good Jews who are technically the closest followers of Theodore Herzl's Zionistic dream, because in this generation, these good Jews are Torah observant who are labeled "right-wing fanatics", due in part to opposing rights of Arabs on our G-dly promised Jewish homeland.

Justice?!  Has there ever been in world history a time that a government, even if it ever acted against its own people in terms of taking their money away, released enemy prisoners belonging to another nation for the hopes of "making peace"?  Nay, in many if not most cases, these enemy prisoners would be shot to death or executed at the gallows.  But you see, these Arab organizations - PLO, Hamas, Fatah - aren't stupid.  They know that the Israeli government is a most weak entity who will make crazy deals to show the world that it wants phantom peace, and will pay almost any price for it, even as the world winds up laughing and mocking Israel, ignoring its contributions as the first country in world emergency crises to fly over to give medical and financial aid.  When is the last time that any country released over a thousand enemy/terrorist prisoners for ONLY one of its own as Israel did for the release of Gilad Shalit?

Of course, Jews who follow the Torah know the real reason that this government, which will be disbanded with the arrival of Moshiach only to damn most of its members to eternal Hell, makes these crazy deals.  It is simply following the Yetzer Hara (Evil Inclination), which gets this government to do so many things against the Torah, even if it is totally illogical, including in terms of Israel's security.  This also explains why Dictator Netanyahu, who while he knows well how to dictate Jews from what they may say against this truly anti-Zionistic government to what religious Jews can open their mouth for excluding prayer on our Temple Mount, the holiest spot in the world; seems to be very concerned about what is going on in Iran in terms of telling other countries what to do to prevent Iran from continuing its nuclear program, but will not lift a finger to attack Iran himself for fear of what the world will say, do, sanction, etc. against Israel.  But you see, the world doesn't really care or aren't really afraid of Iran as Netanyahu imagines, so long as they know that Iran is planning to attack Israel, even if it means that there will be a possibility that other countries will be attacked too, because the world for the most part is also anti-Semitic, but just a little less brutal in its hatred or mistreatment of Jews than Iran is.

Of course, this post would not be complete if I didn't mention of the gross UNjustice of Dictator Netanyahu's empty promises to Esther Pollard, wife of hero Jonathan Pollard, to have the United States free him, when at least if he was already going to release terrorists upon requests and/or demands from the United States government via John Kerry, he could have made this conditional upon the release of Jonathan Pollard who revealed secrets to Israel that the United States was supposed to reveal to Israel for which he is serving a life sentence, when legally, the one charge of revealing secrets to an ally country carries a maximum sentence of 2-4 years prison time, and the ONLY reason that the anti-Semitic U.S. government is keeping Mr. Pollard in prison, which is already 28 years, is because he is a Jew, as a U.S. politician admitted.

True, Hashem still runs the show, and over time, His justice becomes apparent.  But the burning question remains - where is the justice on our part when Amalek - whose four Hebrew letters (Ayin, Mem, Lamed, Koof), the first letters of the Knesset parties Avoda (Labor) - Shimon Peres (I mean Parasite)'s party, Meretz (another anti-Torah party), Likud (Netanyahu's party), and Kadima (founded by Prime Monster Ariel Sharon and continued by Prime Monster Ehud Olmert), reigns without a massive rebellion from the public to overthrow this government, rotten and evil to the core, unlike in other countries in the Middle East where enough people take to the streets to overthrow their respective government to another one to their better liking?

But don't worry, it won't be long before the prophecy of our final Redemption will take place, because when it does, and our enemies are finally defeated by Moshiach, Hashem's justice will be apparent to all, especially in looking in retrospect of how many others did not follow the path of justice.   For it is only in a system that follows justice, can we both help and serve one each other, subduing our enemies, rather than caving in to them, that will help this world be a better and safer place to live in.

27 Cheshvan, 5774

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

#193 - The All-Encompassing Unity

First, I should note that celebrates five years of  Gematriot based Torah content since I started this immediately following the Simchat Torah holiday on which we conclude the last portion of the Sefer Torah (Torah Scroll).

Speaking of the number five, the word Simcha (happiness), the basis of the name of the holiday Simchat Torah, has the same letters as the word Chamisha (five) or HaChamesh (the five), noting that the letter Shin in the word(s) Chamisha/HaChamesh and the letter Sin in the word Simcha is essentially the same letter - aside from its exact pronunciation - as written in the Sefer Torah.  For indeed, it is on Simchat Torah that we conclude the reading of the FIVE books of the Chumash - this word based on the word Chamesh (five).

To note, the name Simchat Torah is another name for the holiday Shemini Atzeret (outside of Israel, it is the second day of Shemini Atzeret that is called Simchat Torah), which immediately follows the seven days of Sukkot.  And as for the connection of Sukkot with the number five, the Hebrew letters of the word Sukkah-
Samech, Kaf, Hei - which is the hut that we reside in during this holiday, resemble the three different types of Sukkot (in this context, the plural for Sukkah) that may be constructed according to Halacha (Jewish law). The Samech is an enclosed letter from all four sides, and so is the Sukkah with its maximum of four sides. The Caf has three sides to it, and so can a Sukkah be constructed as with only three walls  And finally, the letter Hei - the FIFTH letter of the Alef-Beit and the numerical value of FIVE - consists of two sides and a part of a third, and so too, can a Sukkah can have two sides and a part of a third to meet the minimum requirement of a walled Sukkah.  

In terms of various parts of the Torah in relationship with the number five, the Mishnaic tractate of Sukkah consists of FIVE chapters. Also, the Maftir reading of the first day of Sukkot (Numbers 29:12-16) as well as the Maftir of Parshat Re'eh (Deutronomy 16:13-17) which is also the FIFTH Aliyah of the reading of the last day of Yom Tov (Jewish holiday) outside of Israel when it doesn't fall out on Shabbat - each consist of FIVE verses.   Additionally, of the five Megillot (from the Ketuvim/Writings part of the Tanach/Jewish Bible) that are read during the course of the year that begins with the reading of the Sefer Torah anew, Megillat Kohelet (Eclesiastes) is the FIFTH of the Megillot.

And then on Simchat Torah, the first FIVE Aliyot - consisting of the first 26 verses - of the last Parsha of the Torah that is called V'Zot HaBeracha are read over and over again to give a chance for every Jewish male from the age of Bar-Mitzvaz and up to have an Aliyah on this most joyous day of the Jewish calendar. In similar fashion, the Kabbalistic Rabbi Isaac Luria, or else known as the Arizal - who passed away on the FIFTH day of the FIFTH month (Av) - instituted reciting of the first 26 verses of any given Parsha during the course of the first FIVE days of the week, reciting each verse twice with the accompanying Aramaic Targum translation, divided as 6-4-5-6-5 verses for the corresponding five days.

Now, as for the word Simcha, it is the Gematria of 353, and there are a minimum of 353 days that occur in a Jewish calendar year.  Noting that Simchat Torah is the final day in the annual cycle of the reading of the Sefer Torah, as it occurred particularly this (past) year, Simchat Torah was the 353rd and final day of this past year of the cycle of the Sefer Torah reading, the day on which we conclude the reading of the FIVE book of the Torah - CHAMISHA Chumshei Torah, bearing in mind that the words Simcha and Chamisha have the same letters!

And speaking of the MINIMUM amount of days in the Jewish calendar in relationship to the number FIVE, as I mentioned a little earlier here, the MINIMUM required for a Halachic or Kosher Sukkah is its wall resemblance to the letter Hei=FIVE.  Perhaps this hints to the concept of even an "empty" Jew, who practices a MINIMAL standard of Judaism, is full of commandments as a pomegranate (Talmud Eruvin 19a).  For indeed, the Sukkah represents Hashem's protection of the Jewish people as He provided in the desert even for the wicked ones; and on Simchat Torah, all Jewish men are given a chance to have an Aliyah in the Sefer Torah, which concludes with the word Yisrael, which refers to the Jewish people, consisting of FIVE letters.  And speaking of letters, the total amount of letters in the Sefer Torah is 304,805.  Hence, after 3,048 units of 100 letters in the Sefer Torah, the final five letters that comprise the name Yisrael are the beginning of the 3,049th unit of 100 letters.

So as we see here, the concept of unity is especially connected to the holiday of Sukkot in which the Mitzvot of this holiday represent Jews of all levels of observance or non-observance.  In a way, this is in sharp contrast to the holiday of Passover when we read of the "Four Sons" at the Seder, who while they are all at the Seder, the wicked son is castigated for his bad attitude.  However, it is the holiday of Sukkot that relates in an embracing way to ALL Jews in terms of Judaism.  This is also reflected in the Mitzva of the Arba Minim "Four Species" which represent four basic types of Jews: the Etrog - the scholarly and those of good deeds, the Lulav - those who are only scholarly,  the Hadas - those who are only of good deeds, and the Arava - those who aren't scholarly or of good deeds.  And if you notice the names of the Four Species in Hebrew, you will notice that the letter Hei (5) is the last letter of the last of these species that represents the worst elements of our Jewish brethren, just as mentioned a little earlier here about the form of the letter Hei being the minimum requirement of a Kosher Sukkah.  For so long as a Jew lives and breathes, he always has the chance to repent as represented by the shape of the Hei in which figuratively, those who wish to repent can climb up at the open space of the bottom of this letter (see Rashi on Genesis 2:4).

As we see in the Zohar, the holiday of Sukkot is especially connected to Aaron of the Seven Shepherds; or in the context of the holiday of Sukkot - the FIFTH of the Ushpizin or the Seven Heavenly Guests (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Aaron, Joseph, David).  And it was especially Aaron who went out of his way to make peace between two fighting Jews or Jewish couples; who was in fact mourned by more Jews than even Moses following their respective deaths due to his outreach peace making efforts.  In any case, on every Shabbat night in the Beracha (blessing) that we recite right before the Shemoneh Esrei prayer, we conclude it with HaPoreis Sukkat Shalom "The One Who spreads the Sukkah (booth) of PEACE over us, over the entire Jewish people, and Jerusalem.

Also, it should be noted that there are only two Mitzvot that are performed with our entire bodies - living in the Sukkah, and living in Eretz Yisrael (Land of Israel), representing the unity of our entire bodies in contrast to the other Mitzvot that are performed with a specific part of the body.  This represents the concept of all Jews having an equal opportunity to be servants of Hashem, since after all, Judaism is not reserved for the select scholarly few, but for all Jews who are bidden to listen to the weekly Parsha being read in the Sefer Torah regardless of whether they may be Talmudic scholars or those who wouldn't know what a Chumash (Penteteuch) is if they fell over one.  And speaking of which, in the times of the Beit HaMikdash (Temple), there was a special ceremony called Hakhel, the 612th Mitzva of the Torah, which took place once every seven years following the Shemitta year during Sukkot in which the king read from the Sefer Torah to the entire Jewish people, including the women and children; once again, showing how Sukkot is especially related to the unity of the Jewish people.

And as related to Gematria, during the course of the seven day Sukkot holiday, we encircle the Bima (platform on which the Sefer Torah is read) once each day for the first six days, and then seven times on the seventh and final day which is called Hoshana Raba, resembling what Joshua and the Jews did with encircling Jericho for an entire week prior to conquering the first city in Israel.  In total, the Bima is encircled 13 times during Sukkot, and the number 13 is the Gematria of both the words Echad (one) which is related to the word Achdut (unity) and Ahava (love) which is related to the concept of Chesed (kindness).

And now, of the 49 Sephira combinations, the third one is Tiferet She'B'Chesed.  For Tiferet (beauty) - the THIRD of the seven basic Sephirot, represents the concept of various factions being combined as one, just as something multicolored, in contrast to being just one color, makes the masterpiece a beautiful object to be viewed.  And it is especially the holiday of Sukkot - the THIRD of the Shalosh Regalim "Three Pilgrimage Festivals", more than any other Jewish holiday, that represents the concept of unity and beauty.  In short, we display the beauty of Sukkot via the concept of the oneness and unity of the Jewish people - not in spite of the differences among us, but precisely BECAUSE of our differences, for it is only when everyone has something else, something different, to offer to the table, can there be a sense of completion, as demonstrated with the word Tiferet that both begins and ends with the letter Tav, the LAST letter of the 22 letters of the Aleph-Beit; and hence, it is on the 22nd day of Tishrei (in Israel), the holiday of Shemini Atzeret/Simchat Torah which immediately follows Sukkot, that we read the LAST Parsha of the Sefer Torah, the one Parsha of the Torah in which ALL Jews (male from the age of Bar Mitzva) receive an Aliyah every year.

28 Tishrei, 5774