Thursday, January 30, 2014

#208 - The first Jewish STRENGTH

Presently, we are in the midst of the week of Parshat Terumah, the first Parsha mention about the Mishkan (Tabernacle) for it is in this Parsha in which the details of the various measurements and placements are found.

Now, counting the 54 Parshiyot of the Torah, it winds up that Parshat Terumah is the first of the second of three sets of 18 Parshiyot each.  This means, that there are 18*3 Parshiyot, and as 18 is Chai (life) times three signifies the lives of our three Avot (Patriarchs) - Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  Hence, it winds up that Isaac is the corresponding Patriarch to the second set of 18 Parshiyot.  Moreover, being that Parshat Temurah is the BEGINNING of the second set of 18 Parshiyot, this corresponds with the beginning of Isaac's life.

This is all nice, but is the connection here between the Mishkan and Isaac, particularly the beginning of his life?  You see, we learn this from when the dedication of the Mishkan took place.  Now, the building of the Mishkan became completed on 25 Kislev, the future date of the first day of Chanuka.  However, Hashem wanted the dedication of the Mishkan to take place on Rosh Chodesh Nissan.  Why?  As the Midrash (Shemot Rabba 52:2) tells us, it was because Isaac was born in the month of Nissan.  Again, I say that this is nice, but what is the connection between the two, and why particularly in the month of the birth of Isaac, and not during the months of his father Abraham the first Jew or his son Jacob who is the "choicest of the Patriarchs" being that he was the greatest Torah scholar of the three?

Well first, Isaac was actually the first one to be born a Jew, unlike his father Abraham who only became this way when he repudiated the idolatry of the home and surroundings that he was living with.  And so, he was also the first to have his Brit Mila (circumcision) on the eighth day as proscribed by the Torah.  And as unique to Isaac, he was the only human being to be bound on the altar at the future site of the Beit HaMikdash (Temple) as per Hashem's instructions to Abraham, and until this day, is considered as though Isaac was offered as sacrifice, serving as a constant merit for his descendants the Jewish people.  And so, it was only fitting that the dedication of the Mishkan, the forerunner of the Temple, took place in the same month as the birth of Isaac took place as a symbol of how a Jew should live to begin with, including with Mesirut Nefesh (self sacrifice) that Isaac displayed in his willingness to be slaughtered and burnt for all he knew as Hashem's wishes until Abraham was told of a change of plans at the last moment when he was just about ready to end his son's life.  But one part of this emphasis relates to the month of Isaac's BIRTH, and accordingly, although Isaac himself was born on Pesach (Passover) in the middle of this month, the dedication was held at the beginning of this month, on Rosh Chodesh Nissan, which is called the head of the months - "This month (Nissan) will be to you the head of the months, it will be to you the first of the months of the year" (Exodus 12:2), the reason being is that the birth of the Jewish nation was to take place in this month on Pesach, Isaac's birthdate (15 Nissan), and so even though Rosh Hashana, the New Year, starts from the other half of the year at the beginning of Tishrei, we count the months - Month 1, Month 2, etc. - starting from Nissan.  This is also to note that the first letters of Rosh Chadashim "Head of the months" is Reish and Cheit, which spells the number 208, the Gematria of the name Yitzchak, which is also the number of this post.

And by the way, continuing on with the weeks of the Jewish calendar as they correspond to the 49 days of the Sephira, the 17th Sephira combination is Tiferet She'B'Tiferet, whose corresponding week includes Rosh Chodesh Shevat, which sometimes falls out during the week of Parshat Bo in which we read about the Mitzva of declaring new months as it does this year; or at other times, during the week of Parshat Vaeira (noting that when Rosh Chodesh Shevat falls out on Shabbat, we always read Parshat Vaeira); bearing in mind that the name of this Parsha - Vaeira - has the same Gematria as Yitzchak's name.

And there is another connection between the concept of the months beginning with Nissan and Isaac, or at least as related to the name Isaac (Yitzchak).  You see, the very first Rashi on the Torah (from Bereishit Rabba 1:2) begins with quoting a Rabbi Yitzchak (although he is quoting from the Midrash, interestingly, both Rashi's father and two of his Torah teachers' names was Yitzchak) of saying that really, the Torah should have began with "This month will be to you..." because this is the first Mitzva that the Jews were commanded.  It then proceeds with explaining why the Torah begins with Bereishit "In the beginning.." pertaining to the creation of the world; for although the Torah begins in order of history, the whole purpose of the Torah are the Mitzvot that we are bidden to follow as Jews, the purpose of our being in this world, and this world being created, to begin with.

Now, this Midrash continues with explaining why the Torah begins with Bereishit, by quoting a verse from Tehillim - Ko'ach Ma'asav "The strength of his actions He told to His people, to give them the inheritance of the nations" (Psalms 111:6).  Aside from today's date, which is 28 Shevat, being that the word Ko-ach (Strength) also spells the Hebrew number 28, it is interesting to note that this is the very FIRST FULL VERSE that Rashi mentions in his commentary, bearing in mind that there are 28 letters in the FIRST VERSE of the Torah.  And having mentioned here Rabbi Yitzchak, who has the same name as Abraham's son Isaac, it was Isaac who was Abraham's FIRST Jewish Ko'ach, as we see that Jacob, in the blessings to his children, calls his firstborn Reuben - Kochi "my strength" (Genesis 49:3).  This is to note that the Gematria number of the name Yitzchak is 208, which, when we remove the middle number zero, is the number 28.  Also, as we see with the Gematria of his name, it is composed of the sum totals of the number 28 and 180, the latter being the amount of years that he lived.

Another theme that relates to the number 28 is what we see in Kohelet (Ecclesiastes), at the beginning of Chapter 3, that there are a total of 28 "times", the last one being "a time of peace".  However, this is not the first time that we see that the concept of peace is related to the number 28.  In the beginning of Parshat Pinchas, after Pinchas, following in the footsteps of his grandfather Aaron the first Cohen Gadol (High Priest) the master peacemaker, killed the evil Zimri who dared took a Midianite princecess in front of Moses to sleep with her, which afterwards warded off Hashem's anger at the Jewish people for falling into temptation with idol worshipping and sleeping with the Midianite/Moabite women, Hashem rewarded him with an everlasting Kehuna (being that beforehand, Pinchas did not have the status of a Cohen), stating "Behold I have given him My covenant of PEACE".  Now, while in this context, Pinchas is not mentioned here for the first time in the Torah, it outlines his geneology as "Pinchas son of Elazar son of Aaron HaCohen", since from here, we clearly see that Pinchas was the 28th generation in parental descent from Adam.

To note, both the names of Yitzchak and Pinchas have the same Gematria of 208, the latter who is first mentioned in Parshat Va'eira, the name of this Parsha which also has the same Gematria of 208.  Indeed, Pinchas showed fearless courage killing Zimri, not just because of taking a chance of Zimri fighting back, but being that the latter was leader of one of the Tribes, there was the chance of being majorly criticized for daring to kill a Jewish "leader" (in comparison to what even some Modern Orthodox rabbis will be quick to criticize a Jewish guy doing a little mischief against Arabs, or their insistance of Yigal Amir being the assassin of Prime Monster Yitzchak Rabin, when it is clearly shown in video that Rabin received the fatal shot by someone else who got away with it).  Certainly, if Pinchas would be living today, without Hashem's open approval of his actions killing Zimri, he would certainly be viewed as a fanatic even by some lip service practicing Jews.

And so, while Yishmael - whose mother Hagar's name is also the Gematria of 208 - ancestor of the Arabs, may have been Abraham's first physical son, his first physical "strength", it was Isaac who was Abraham's first spiritual "strength", for indeed, it was Isaac who ultimately represents the TRUE peace, and not what Yishmael's descendants want the world to think.  For it is ONLY when we Jews live on, and allowed to live on, the land on which Hashem has granted us that the non-Jews who read the Bible know very well, that there can a chance of TRUE peace.  And as we see with the Gematria of Isaac's name Yitzchak which is 208, it is composed of the sum totals of the number 28 and 180, the latter being the amount of years that Isaac lived.

However, the key to having true peace is certainly not concessions with our sworn Arab enemies or our so called allies such as the United States who are only keeping Jonathan Pollard in prison way beyond the legal amount of  years for which he is supposed to be in prison ONLY because he is a Jew, even as this country via the evil John Kerry have the Chutzpa to demand that Israel releases more and more Arab terrorists from the zoo jail (and of course, Prime Monster Bibi Netanyahu who paid lip service to JP's wife Esther not long ago that he would do his best to have him released after his failure to do so from many years ago at the Wye Accords continues releasing terrorists without making Mr. Pollard's release being a condition); but rather, by maintaining our Jewish STRENGTH, stepping up to the plate - NOT only with words such as the Prime Monster's lip service words - but rather with fighting back, beginning with the IDF immediately striking back at the Arabs following the first rock being thrown at them by the latter, rather than waiting "for orders" to defend their lives and the lives of the entire Jewish people.  For the only language that these Arab animals understand is strength, and AUTHENTIC Jewish strength, and NOT the image that the Israeli government wants the IDF to display to the world as having mercy on "poor" Arab families by sending them food and medicine especially during war time, although of course the Arabs are at constant war with us, being that they know that the IDF fighting them is for the most part a joke, so long as the dictatorship in Israel wants to show goodwill to our biggest sworn enemies to "show the world" that we are humane people after all, which in the long run not only does not serve this purpose, but if anything, gets the world to laugh at us, and still criticize us as being aggressors.

And so, if we are going to ultimately be blamed and criticized anyways, we might as well just fight it all out, we might as well just attack Iran, and we might as well just do the same thing that all other countries would do if and when threatened by their enemies, following in the footsteps of the first Jew born in Israel - Isaac, who was willing to sacrifice himself on the altar, even though he wasn't even commanded by Hashem to do so, and was only told so by Abraham who was the one given the order to bring Isaac up on the altar (and not Yishmael as the Koran wants us to believe), at the very spot in the midst of the present Temple Mount, the ultimate source of Jewish strength, and NOT Masada - the fortress that the IDF brings all the soldiers to - to swear their allegiance at, where the Jewish zealots in the times of the Romans committed suicide (which is an unforgivable sin especially since one cannot repent of this sin being that one is dead already), rather than using their remaining strenth in fighting the Romans, not trusting in Hashem to do the right thing (no wonder why the IDF has such problems!).  If we read the Tanach well enough, if we analyze authentic Jewish history well enough, we will realize the source of THE FIRST JEWISH STRENGTH.

28 Shevat, 5774

No comments: