Monday, December 30, 2013

#204 - "Light Is Sown For The RIGHTEOUS"

Continuing on with the combination Sephirot, this post will be discussing the 13th one, which is Yesod She'B'Gevurah (Foundation within Strength).  It is with this one that this is passing the first quarter of the 49 combination active Sephirot.  The reason that I mention this will be clear a little later on here.

But first, looking at the corresponding week or time period of the full Jewish calendar year to this Sephira, it is the holiday of Chanukah, eight days that are included in the dates of 25 Kislev- 2 Tevet or 3 Tevet.  Now, the reason that I wrote 2 or 3 Tevet is simply because that depends on when Chanukah ends.  For in some years, Kislev consists of 30 days, such as this year, and hence, the last day of Chanuka is on 2 Tevet; while in other years, Kislev consists of 29 days, and hence, the last day of Chanukah is on 3 Tevet.

And as I have mentioned before about the special connection of light to Chanukah, which is fact called Chag HaUrim (Festival of Lights) in Israel, I am not going to go through everything once more about it.  However, there is one thing that I do what to mention that is related especially to this post.  You see, this is my 204th Post, and the Gematria of the word Tzadik (righteous) is 204, which is related to Chanukah - in more than one way.

First, in terms of Gematria - For the eight days of Chanuka, multiply the first eight numbers by their own number, such as 1*1, 2*2, etc.  After this, add up the eight totals, and the grand sum is 204.  Now, I will mention something else here in connection of the word Tzadik with Chanuka that I didn't mention before. There are 192 hours in the eight day holiday of Chanuka.  The difference between these two numbers - 192 and 204, is 12 (204-192).  And how is the number 12 related to Chanuka?  During these eight days, we read the section in the Torah about the various sacrifices that the leaders of the 12 tribes (including the Tribes of Ephraim and Menashe, but excluding Levi) offered duiring the course of the respective 12 days from the dedication of the Mishkan (Tabernacle), in the latter half of Parshat Naso (Numbers Chapter 7), consisting of 89 verses, which correspond to the Gematria of the name Chanukah, which is 89 (Actually, the first day of Chanuka in many circles includes the six previous verses which is the section of Bircot Cohanim (Blessings of the Cohanim) and the last day of Chanuka includes the following four verses which is the section about the Cohanim lighting the Menorah - Numbers 8:1-4).

Second, in terms of the Parshiyot of Shabbat that we read during Chanukah.  In any give year, Chanukah falls out either during the weeks of Parshat Vayeishev and Parshat Mikeitz, or Pashat Mikeitz and Parshat Vayigash.  It this these very three Parshiyot that focuses on the life of Joseph, who is sometimes called Yosef HaTzadik (Joseph the Righteous), due to his resisting the sexual temptation of the wife of his master Potiphar, having overcome, or as it can be said in Hebrew was Gover (overpowered) his Yetzer Tov (Good Inclination) over his Yetzer Hara (Evil Inclination).  And indeed, this fits perfect with the Sephira of Yesod She'B'Gevurah, for it is the Tzadik, who is the foundation of the world, as it written in Mislei - Tzadik Yesod Olam "The righteous are the foundation of the world" (Proverbs 10:25) who control their base desires, not allowing themselves to cave in to them.  As it says in Pirkei Avot (Ethics of the Fathers) "Who is STRONG (Gibor, upon which the name of the Sephira of Geverah is based on)? One who conquers his (evil) inclination".

In fact, there are a couple of more interesting aspects of Yesod She'B'Gevurah.  The first letters of the words Yesod and Gevurah are Yud-Gimel, which is the Hebrew number for 13, and this is the 13th Sephira combination.  And as related to the number 13, the Mitzva of Brit Mila (circumcision) consists of 13 Beritot (covenants), and as we see in the Torah, the wording of Brit is mentioned 13 times in the section of the Torah pertaining to Hashem telling Abraham to fulfill this Mitzva, the source of this Mitzva (Genesis Chapter 17).  For it is the Tzadik who is one who is Shomer HaBrit (Observer of the Covenant), who guards himself from sinning in terms of sexual matters, just as was Joseph, and that is why he is sometimes referred to as Yosef HaTzadik (Joseph the Righteous One).

Moreover, the Gematria of "Yesod She'B'Gevurah" - 598, is the same exact Gematria as "Netzach She'B'Netzach" (Victory within Victory), the Sephira combination of the middle day of the 49 days of the Sephira period, which is the 25th day of the Sephira.  And just as the number 25 is the middle number between one (1) and forty-nine (49), so is the number 13 the middle number between one (1) and twenty-five (25).  And the connection between these two Sephirot combinations is evident by the fact that the Tzadik achieves the ultimate spiritual victory by conquering his evil inclination, especially when it comes to sexual matters, which are the strongest physical temptation.

And as related to Chanuka, Day One of Chanuka - bearing in mind that the Hebrew word for one "Echad" is the Gematria of 13 - falls out on the 25th day of Kislev.  Moreover, the name of the Sephira of Netzach has the same Gematria as the name of the holiday of Pesach -148, and as per the Sephira combination of Netzach She'B'Netzach, the plural for Pesach is Pesachim, which is the name of the Tractate that is all about the Mitzvot and laws of Pesach, which consists of 89 Mishnayot, just as the name of the holiday of Chanuka is the Gematria of 89.  Also, bearing in mind that the Jews were considered to have been enslaved in Egypt for 400 years as it was really supposed to be (but they only actually lived in Egypt for 212 years, and were slaves there for 116 years), counting the years from the birth of Isaac who was the first person to be born Jewish and have his Brit Mila at the age of eight days, the prime time for this Mitzva, until the Exodus when right before, many Jews had their Brit Mila to qualify to eat from the Korban Pesach (Pascal Sacrifice); adding 400 to the Gematria of the name/word Pesachim, which is 198 - the sum total is 598, the same Gematria as the above two Sephirot combinations!

This year, Chanuka fell out in the midst of the learning Tracate Yoma of the Talmud, the tractate about the Mitzvot and laws of Yom Kippur, of the worldwide Daf Yomi study. And at the very beginning of the Yom Kippur services commencing with Kol Nidrei, while all the Sifrei Torah (Torah Scrolls) are being held by members of the congregation right before the start of Kol Nidrei, the Chazan (cantor) recites a particular verse seven times - Ohr Zarua LaTzadik... "Light is sown for the righteous, and happiness for the straight of heart" (Psalms 97:11).  While there are obviously good reasons for this verse to be recited at this time, this is in the midst of Psalm 97, which is among the 11 Psalms (Chapters 90-100) that Moses compiled corresponding to one or another of the tribes, and this psalm corresponds to Joseph, who is called Yosef HaTZADIK.  In fact, according to the Book of Jubilees, the selling of Joseph by his brothers took place on the future date of Yom Kippur.  Indeed, this may well explain why particularly during the Chazan's repetition of the Mussaf prayer of Yom Kippur, we recite a solemn poetic piece about the murder of 10 Torah scholars by the Roman government, which was to atone for the sin of selling Joseph, aside from the fact that Rabbi Akiva, one of the ten, was murdered on Yom Kippur evening; and according to Kabbala, these 10 were in fact reincarnates of the 10 brothers involved in the selling of Joseph (including Joseph, but excluding Reuben and Benjamin).

As explained by commentators, this part of the verse that states that light is SOWN for the righteous indicates that the seed, the reward for the good deeds, are SOWN, rather than being used or merely stored. For instead of eating the seed (some are edible), if we plant it in the ground, it allows whole trees to grow which in turn will consist of fruit, each which will consist of one or more seeds.  And so, it is the spiritual light which will grow in abundance over time, which will be reserved and waiting for the Tzadik after his time on this earth.

Now, among the blessings that Bilaam - who intended to curse the Jews, but Hashem forced him to say blessings instead - he stated U'Mispar Et Rova Yisrael "Count the seed of Israel" (Numbers 23:10).  In this context the word for seed is Rova.  Now, we know for a fact that the word Rova means a quarter, or one-fourth, because today, we refer to the section of the Ir Atika (Old City) of Jerusalem as the Rova "Quarter", being that the area is divided up into four sections, which include obviously, the Jewish Quarter.  In any case, why is the word Rova used here in this context as meaning "seed"?

Well, as we know, while we all know that the Children of Israel are divided up into 12 tribes; in the desert, they were grouped into four groups of three tribes each, and hence, each direction in the desert camp consisted of three tribes.  Hence, Bilaam was in effect saying, in praise of the abundant amount of Jews, Bli Ayin Hara (without an evil eye), that even counting ONE QUARTER of the camp seemed to be pretty numerous.

And being that the first word of this verse is Ohr, I should note that this is also the first word of Tractate Pesachim.  For it was the slavery of Joseph, who corresponds to Psalm 97 that includes this verse, that eventually led for his family to come to Egypt, and they finally left Egypt on the date of the first day of Pesach.  And even at this event of the Exodus, it didn't happen without somehow being directly related to Joseph.  For first of all, before he died, he gave a sign to his brothers and family as to how they would know when the redeemer would come to take them out of Egypt, and it was Moses who gave the Jews the sign - Pakod Yifkod "He (Hashem) will surely remember".  Secondly. he made them swear that they would take his bones out of Egypt to be buried in Israel.  Now, when the time came, Moses came to where Joseph's coffin was hidden, and it was only after Moses beseached Joseph to come up from where he was hidden at the bottom of the Nile River, did it surface up.

On a concluding note relating Joseph to Chanuka, the reading of the Torah in Parshat Naso for the last two days of Chanuka begin each with the offerings of the leaders of the Tribes of Ephraim and Menashe, the sons of Joseph, respectively.   And as we see here, one-fourth, or a QUARTER of the eight days of Chanuka, are related especially to Joseph as per the reading of the Torah.  And as we see with the name of Ephraim, Joseph's Torah scholar son, he was so named by Joseph "for Hashem made me FRUITFUL in the land of my affliction".

And as especially related to Ephraim, his paternal descendant Joshua is the one who led the Jews to Israel, and his very first war with the Canaanite nations was in the city of Jericho, whose wall he encircled for seven days, and it was on the seventh day when the wall "came tumbling down", and then the Jews were able to successfully win this fisrt war in Israel.  According to tradition, this week war took place during the dates of 22-28 Nissan, immediately following the week of Pesach.  And as for that final day that signaled VICTORY (Netzach) for the Jews - 28 Nissan - it is also the 13th day of the Omer, whose Sephira combination is Yesod She'B'Gevurah that is most related to Chanuka, as well as Joseph - whose descendant is Joshua - in terms of the Sephira of Yesod.  And though the main aspect of Chanuka is the spiritual victory of freedom of religion as demonstrated by the Menorah being able to be lit in the Beit HaMikdash (Temple) once more, the Hasmoneans/Maccabees won a series of wars, the physical VICTORY, that led to the spiritual VICTORY (Netzach She'B'Netzach).

Finally, looking at the word Rova - consisting of the letters Reish, Beit/Veit, Ayin - it can be dissected into two words - Rove (majority) and Ayin, the letter Ayin being the numerical value of 70.  And so, the majority of 70 is 36, and on Chanuka, we light a total of 36 mandatory LIGHTS.  And as I mentioned early on this post, relating the connection of the Gematria of the word Tzadik to the first eight numbers which is the result of mulitplying each of these numbers by their own same number, the sum of these first eight numbers is 36. Hence, OHR - hinting to the 36 lights of Chanuka, ZARUA LATZADIK - sown for the TZADIK, for the seed, which begins with the concept of the number 36, the reward - the spiritual light - for the Mitzva that we do, as represented by lighting  the Menorah on Chanuka, is sown for us Jews - V'Ameich Kulam Tzadikim "All of you (Jewish) people are righteous", and this LIGHT at the end will represent the concept of the number 204, the ultimate reward for the TZADIK, the ones who faithfully keep the Mitzvot of Hashem, and it is the lighting of the Menorah on the EIGHT days of Chanuka which is the LAST of the Sheva Mitzvot D'Rabbanan "The Seven Commandments of the Rabbis" which was instituted.

28 Tevet, 5774

P.S.  Noting that the timing of this post is 6:20 PM, as I ended of this post with the Mitzva of lighting the candles of Chanuka which is the last of the Sheva Mitzvot D'Rabbanan; adding these seven Mitzvot (though the Torah forbids us to add Mitzvot, the rabbis were empowered to add these as enactments, but are the beyond the scope of this post) to the Taryag Mitzvot (613 Commandments), making a total of 620 Mitzvot, the Mitzva of lighting the Menorah is the 620th and LAST Mitzva that was instituted.

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