Tuesday, February 25, 2014

#212 - Kosher RABBI

When Rabbi Shmuley Boteach came out with his book Kosher Jesus a couple of years ago, there were many who were with an uproar about the title of his latest book.  Regardless of what this rabbi himself thinks about the false Christian god who was the cause of millions of Jews being murdered in his name in the last nearly 2,000 years, no doubt that he thought of this title as a good advertising gimick to make more sales, especially among Christians.  But whatever I personally think of Rabbi Boteach, two things that I will note off the bat is that Jesus was not kosher in terms of Jewish observance - including encouraging his followers to eat ham, and certainly, he was not a rabbi.

The truth is, regardless of how the dictionary may define the word rabbi, aside from whether it may coincide with the Torah definition of it or not, not everyone has the same way of defining who a rabbi is.  You see, a rabbi in the literal sense is one who teaches Torah to others.  However, it is clear that when we say an ordained rabbi, even though it may at first sound redundant, it makes it clear that one was actually ordanined as a rabbi, which is usually confirmed with a certificate, which in Hebrew is called Semicha, based on the wording used when Moses ordained Joshua, which was not done in writing, but rather, Moses LEANED his hands on Joshua; the word in caps which means Samach in Hebrew

You see, these days, there are all kinds of religious looking Jews who pose as rabbis, which begins usually with some sort of black attire, in order to collect money and/or receive fame, honor, and power. Technically, anyone who wants to be listed in the phonebook as a rabbi, at least in the States, can just inform the phone company before its next edition of the book list of residences and businesses, that they have the title of rabbi, and no one at the phone company will even question it.

Today, many have the title of rabbi that they rightfully earned, but don't practice a rabbinical position usually because they make a living some other way.   However, there was a time in Jewish history when the title of rabbi was worth a lot more.  You see, at one time, you had to know the teachings of the entire Talmud and Jewish laws to legally qualify for the title; otherwise, you were just a student in training.  But at one point, mastering the entire Talmud was either not attainable at a relatively young age, or making a living somehow couldn't wait forever until one could quality as a rabbi since one already had several mouths to feed as most in those days got married at a relatively young age.  And so today, even without knowing all the Talmud and all, one who is learning in Yeshiva for so many years can qualify for the title by studying a particular part of the Talmud and Jewish laws, mostly in the laws of Kashrut (kosher food and related laws), which is the basic level of the title of rabbi, which is dubbed with the title Yoreh Yoreh.  And then, there are advanced rabbinical degrees, such as the laws of courts, judging, etc. which qualifies one to be a rabbinical judge, which is dubbed with the title Yadin Yadin.  And nowadays in Israel, there is the Semicha what is known as the Rabbanut Reishit which involves learning like half the Talmud and half the Shulchan Aruch (Code of Jewish Law) to qualify for this title, which allows one to be paid well as a rabbi of a synagogue, neighborhood, city, etc. who is appointed by the Israeli government.

And in more recent times, there are what are called private Semichot (plural for Semicha) which are given by rabbis who may or may not necessarily be the rabbi of a synagogue or Yeshiva, but the ones who typically receive this Semicha, which is the same basic Yoreh Yoreh one, are quite often those who already have either left Yeshiva, never had the chance to learn in Yeshiva, or is presently working for a living   Personally, I received Semicha from such a rabbi, Rabbi Mordechai Friedman, Shlita, who is a very talented rabbi by the way, but if you or someone you know might consider studying to be an ordained rabbi,  you can check out details on his Semicha program, or contact him via his website at http://www.vaadharabbonim.com/

In any case, one who has Semicha does not necessarily become more holy because of it.  If anything, one who has this title has to be ever more careful with how he behaves, or he will G-d forbid profane himself, and most certainly, Hashem's name.  But typically, I think it's safe to say that many if not most who have rabbinic ordination are those with fine characters, as Torah learning does have a positive influence on people who study Torah for the right reasons, or those who study it day and night, since after all, part of the Torah relates to both how we relate in our interpersonal relationships, as well as our character or behavior traits.  However, one thing that is certain is that rabbinic ordination is no guarantee as to how an individual will behave.

And this is where I come in.  Yes, there are some rabbis who aren't exactly the nicest people in the world, but then again, most of us have our days when we wake on the wrong side of the bed.  But in other ways, there are those who have gotten into trouble with the law - which can be either with the Torah Law and/or the legal system, which can vary from money fraud to inappropriate sexual advances.  Now mind you, while there have been quite a few rabbis with rabbinical positions who have been in trouble with law enforcement and/or fired by the institution that they worked for; one needs to know that not all of them were necessarily who are labeled as Orthodox (title for Jews who observe Shabbat, Kosher, and laws of family purity), but some who were Conservative or Reform (who are rather lax in some of the main laws of the Torah).  In fact, there was a Reform rabbi who was the very first one featured in a television program in which sexual predators are caught meeting with whom they think is a minor following chatting online, which has had hundreds since coming for the same purpose, and mind you, he came to meet with whom he thought was a boy, showing himself to also be homosexual, or wishing to have a homosexual relationship.  Oh yes, there is even an ordained Orthodox rabbi who is public about being homosexual, and believe it or not, he even went to far as to officiate at a Jewish gay "marriage ceremony".  What fifty years ago would have been at least shameful for an Orthodox rabbi to be public of such matters, is today being public about this without shame of openly violating one of the 613 Commandments of the Torah, which is the prohibition of a male having sex with another male.

Now, the part that bothers me more is not necessarily the rabbi who is the crook or predator himself, but rather at times, the ones protecting him, such as his comrades or school in which he works.  Regardless of the particular rabbi's accomplishments in terms of good deeds, some of his victim children down the road either leave the fold of Judaism or commit suicide as a result of feeling their whole life shattered, which is thanks due in part to the ones protecting the rabbi in question.  While some may feel that it will be a greater Chilul Hashem (desecration of Hashem's name) with everyone knowing that a particular rabbi did certain crimes that will either have people look down at Jews or increase anti-Semitism, or that it is forbidden by Jewish law to report these type of crimes to the police without first speaking to a rabbi, nothing could be further from the truth.  For in fact, these childrens' lives were greatly endangered - physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually; and ultimately, if these predators aren't reported, chances are (which is virtually 100%, pending strength of age) is that they will continue wrecking the lives of more Jewish children, which has already been agreed upon by some notable rabbis.

Now, there are other types of rabbis, while they may not necessarily be crooks or predators, preach teachings that go clearly against the Torah, which is especially felt in Israel, though there are also sentiments of Modern Orthodox rabbis in the States whose words are nothing short of politics in the guise of some Torah teaching.  You see, the Torah does tell us about us being kind and nice not just to Jews, but even at times with non-Jews, at least for the reason of "ways of peace", such as greeting him in the street even before the non-Jew greets us, as one rabbi in the Talmud did, or providing non-Jewish poor people with money at the same time as we provide our own poor Jewish brethren.  However, in a national situation in which non-Jews are clearly out to get at us, or steal parts of our Holy Land, that is another story.

And neither is everything a black or white issue, or at least on the surface.  You see, you have the teachings of Rabbis Meir and Binyamin Kahane, HY'D,  may Hashem avenge their blood, who clearly show from the Torah that we have to throw out the non-Jewish elements (excepting non-Jews who accept certain laws on themselves and agree to pay taxes) from the Holy Land, or "they will be snares in your eyes"; and no government, run by Jews or non-Jews, are to be listened to when it gives orders violating what the Torah says.  And then, you have other rabbis on the other end of the spectrum who, while they won't necessarily deny what the Torah says, but somehow, they want to convince everyone that we are forbidden to disobey orders from the Israeli government, even if it seems that these orders contradict the Torah.  Now, please bear in mind that typically, the rabbis who do say these things are politically motivated, because after all, if they are being paid by the government, then what are chances that they will speak against it?  And while when the Torah states that bribery "blinds the eyes of the wise, and twists the words of the righteous" is a scenario that seems to be referring to the judge, it is quite logical to say that one receiving money from a source that is providing his income will most likely feel indebted to that source, and find ways to at least not criticize, if not openly praise it.

To be sure, Rabbi Meir Kahane was a member of the Knesset at one time.  And while such a position gets him or her to be paid by the government, Kahane was never swayed by blood money; for after all, his interest was for the people who voted him into power to begin with to intercede and help pass legislation on their behalf; while in stark contrast, most politicians "forget" their promises they made to the public who voted them into office begin with, since some of their promises are simply not politically correct, showing that they used, or rather misused, the votes of the people to get themselves to be above them, and then pretend that they are doing something that will benefit the people, when quite the opposite is happening.  And also, unlike Kahane who wasn't afraid to say the Torah truth even on pain of imprisonment, being locked away from family, these other government paid rabbis have no such worries, if not paid a bonus from the Israeli government allowing it to continue its pro-Arab/anti-Jewish stances.

And then, there is what is called, or so called, a gray area here.  You see, there are many rabbis who are thought of being right-wing.  However, if these older rabbis have had no connections with Rabbi Kahane at a time that he needed rabbinical support, especially in Israel, then chances are, these rabbis, including some in the "settlement" movement, wanted nothing to do with someone who was branded a fanatic or racist. Sooner or later, the truth comes out from these rabbis.  A classic example of this just happened recently, when over a 100 Zionist rabbis signed a letter criticizing Jews who supposedly sought revenge against Arabs in the form of what is called "price tags", or a similar letter several years ago after the Jews were thrown out of Gush Katif, that settlers shouldn't use violence against soldiers or police if something similar happens again.  Now, after seeing how the Jews from Gush Katif suffering immensely from lack of care, including housing and employment, from the government, where is the mercy for Jews suffering from this tragedy, or from similar tragedies in the future, that these rabbis go out of their way to defend the rights of a dictatorship who are clearly against the Torah?  And what is perhaps most ironic here is that for the most part, it is the Arabs who pretended to make it look like that we Jews did these price tags attacks by burning trees, and even doing the grafetti thing writing the words "price tag" in Hebrew.  However, this was totally ignored by these rabbis, ever so afraid of looking like they have some connection with a few fanatic Jews who may have done such things. Yes, they may technically be rabbis, but they are certainly not righteous people to say the least, who are more concerned that their pockets don't dry out of tainted government money.

How fortunate was it that Rabbi Yisrael Ariel, Shlita, who was a paratrooper in the Six Day War who had the great merit of taking part in making the holiest spot in the world, which includes the Temple Mount and the Western Wall, be available to Jews once again, who criticized the above rabbis pertaining to the price tag incidents, when at the same time, discussions from the government are being made about dividing Jerusalem to give parts of it away to other nations, which these rabbis were not criticizing.  This is stark contrast to another rabbi-paratrooper in the Six Day War, who declared a Jew who killed an Arab on the Temple Mount as being no longer considered a part of the Jewish people for doing such a shameful thing.  O.K., let us say for a moment that this was not the proper manner of asserting our rights and ownership of our holiest piece of real estate in Israel.  But if a lone Jew does such a thing that can cost him his freedom or life, at worst scenario, this rabbi could have at least given him the benefit of the doubt, as the Torah mandates, of having some kind of mental condition, which would not brand such a person as someone "who no longer belongs to the Jewish people".  However, what about Jews who murder other Jews - why aren't they considered as such in the same category - because this didn't arouse Arab or world anger?  So as almost anyone can see, there are quite a few double standards employed by these political rabbis.

The truth is that this is nothing new.  We see in the Talmud (Shabbat 33a) that there were a few rabbis who were having a discussion about the Romans, the leading rulers of the Jews following the destruction of the Temple by this nation, of the day.  One rabbi praised the Romans' physical contributions, another rabbi who didn't say anything, and then a third - who openly criticized the Romans, stating that whatever they accomplished was only for their own selves, or do sins with them.  In short, after the Roman government was informed of the details of this conversation, the first rabbi got a speaking engagement promotion with a rule that he was supposed to be the first to speak among other rabbis, the second rabbi was exiled for keeping his mouth shut from similarly praising them, and the third rabbi - well, he was on Rome's Most Wanted.  This led to this rabbi and his son hiding in a cave for some 12-13 years until it was safe to be out in the world again.

O.K., I will let you know in a minute who this third rabbi is.  But first, in case you were wondering what this post has to do with Gematriot, the Hebrew word for rabbi - Rebbe, the subject of this post, has the same letters as the Hebrew number for 212, the number of this post.  Now, there is another famous Hebrew word that has the same Gematria - the word Zohar, which literally means brightness, but is usually used within the context naming the secrets of the Torah which is the collection of teachings of Rabbi Shimon ben Yochai, also known as Rashbi (acronym of his name) who is the third rabbi in the above story of the Talmud, who obviously wasn't afraid of stating the Torah truth about these evil Romans.  Indeed, we see a connection here, that the one who wasn't afraid to reveal the Torah truth, even taking a chance of being imprisoned or killed by the ruling enemy nation, was the very rabbi to merit to learn and reveal these Kabbalistic secrets of the Torah, whose Yahrzeit on Lag B'Omer, the 33rd day of the Omer, is celebrated by observant Jews worldwide as a day of happiness as per this rabbi's last wishes, even by the ones who don't learn the Zohar. In fact, I have heard that the grounds of Rashbi's gravesite is the second most visited place in Israel, being topped only the place of the Temple Mount/Western Wall.  And by the way, it has been pointed out that the about story about Rashbi, who passed away on the 33rd day of the Omer, is on Daf 33 of Tractate Shabbat of the Talmud.  Moreover, there is a rule that whenever it states Rabbi Shimon in the Mishna, without mentioning the father's name or titles, refers to Rashbi, who was one of the main students of Rabbi Akiva, who in turn was among the greatest scholars of all time.

And in the teachings of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov, the letters of the word Rebbe - Reish, Beit, Yud - can begin two phrases that are diametrically opposite to one another.  The one that refers to Tzadikim (righteous people) are the words Rosh Bnei Yisrael (Head of the Children of Israel), this phrase taken from the beginning of Parshat Ki Tisa, where it states Ki Tisa Et Rosh Bnei Yisrael "When you will take a census of the heads of the Jewish people..." which by the way, will be read this coming Shabbat Shekalim as the special Maftir about donating coins to the Sanctuary which was typically done in the month of Adar before Nissan (Note: This year, being that there are two months of Adar, it is for the second Adar that this is read for).  Now, for the phrase that refers to Reshaim (wicked people), it states Reshaim BaChoshech Yedamu "the wicked are stilled in darkness",  which seems to hint to the fact that those who pretend to be righteous as a rabbi, but say or do things against the Torah, will eventually be silenced forevermore, for Hashem doesn't want his Torah to be misrepresented, especially by those who are perceived or supposed to be perceived by others as being a good example or need to be a good example in the position that he is in. (See Likutei Moharan I:111)

Now, the following may seem to be an interruption of thought here, but in a minute, you will see the connection with the theme of this post.  We are presently up to the 21st Sephira combination - Malchut She'B'Tiferert (Kingship within Beauty).  Now, in our present Jewish calendar, this falls out on the 6th of Iyar, which is the Yahrzeit of a dear rabbi-friend of mine, as he was to thousands, especially in the South Florida area - Rabbi Dovid Bryn, ZT'L of blessed memory,  Despite an illness that he had for the latter half of his 40 year life, it was precisely during these years that he worked with outreach, having had a most positive effect on thousands of Jews, many who came closer to Judaism as a result.  The truth is that originally, he had in mind to do only outreach, but circumstances led to him founding a synagogue in an area which needed one, and a good spiritual leader such as himself.  Fortunately, he met his wife after many years of being single due to his illness, being married for the last two and a half years of his life, though leaving this world without physical children.  However, he has left here hundreds, if not thousands, of spiritual children, whose lives will never be the same without this special rabbi.  Indeed, he was meant to live in this world for only so long, and accomplished far more in this short time, despite the weakness of his illness, than most rabbis do in their long, comfortable lifetime - at least in the area of outreach to other Jews.

And as per the Sephira combination of the day of his passing, Rabbi Bryn treated Jews - regardless of religious, financial, or cultural standing - as kings or princesses, aside from the fact that he had the same Hebrew name as King David who especially represents the Sephira of Malchut (Kingship), bearing in mind the statement of Rabbi Shimon (who is Rashbi) at the end of the 14th chapter of the Tractate Shabbat of the Mishna (bearing in mind that the Hebrew name David is the Gematria of 14) that "all Jews are the sons of kings (princes)" stating his opinion on a halachic issue pertaining to the laws of Shabbat.  And even though in this case, the Halacha does not follow Rabbi Shimon, his statement about Jews is certainly not for naught, for indeed, we are all considered sons of the King of kings as His chosen nation.  And so, Rabbi Bryn's mission in life was to relate to Jews in a kingly manner, bringing out the best from them, showing them their good points in encouraging them to come closer to Judaism, or in other words, showing them their Jewish beauty (Tiferet) and presenting to them the beauty of Judaism - indeed, Malchut She'B'Tiferet, Kingship within Beauty.  For more information on the life of this most special rabbi - HaRav Chayim Dovid ben HaRav Nachman - whose love for Jews was unconditional, untainted by money or politics, please check out this following website www.rabbidovidbryn.org

Now, relating the Sephirot combinations to the weeks of the Jewish calendar beginning from Rosh Hashana, the corresponding week to the 21st Sephira of Tiferet She'B'Malchut is approximately the week that includes the date of 7 Adar, the birthday and Yahrzeit of the first rabbi - Moshe Rabbeinu, who is called Moses our Rebbe/Teacher, being that he wasn't the teacher of just his immediate generation, but of all future generations.

And so, it isn't enough to be a rabbi to declare food kosher or not, the typical type of cases that rabbis in the times of Jews living in Europe received, when a chicken which may have had a problem with its body that could possibly disqualify it from being kosher to eat was brought to him for inspection.  Most importantly, a rabbi needs to make sure that his words are all kosher talk, without twisting the words of the Torah.  And as we ask Hashem in our daily morning prayers (in the blessing immediately preceding the Shema) "Enlighten our eyes in Your Torah, and attach our hearts to Your Commandments, and unite our hearts to love and fear Your name, so that we won't be ashamed forever. For we have trusted in Your holy, great, awesome Name, may we be glad and rejoice in Your salvation." Amen!

26 Adar I, 5774

Thursday, February 20, 2014

#211 - Blessed is the Brave One

Purim 5754 (1994) in Hebron.  It was the day and place which was meant by Heaven for Jewish blood to be sacrificed.  However, the only question or variable would be - would Jews sit around silent and let it happen, or would one take "matters into his own hands" and have to sacrifice himself in lieu of many other Jews.

Perhaps if enough Jews would have known of a planned attack on Jews in Hebron on that fateful day on the Moslem Sabbath (Friday) in the month of Ramadan, massive prayer by Jews worldwide could have possibly averted this.  But for Dr. Baruch Kappel Goldstein, ZT'L HY'D (May Hashem avenge his blood), time was of the essence, and as a resident of the general area, he knew what was being planned, including flyers for the Moslem Arab community informing everyone to stock up on food and supplies for an upcoming curfew from the Israeli government following their planned attack.  But, he didn't just simply enter the Me'arat HaMachpela, the burial place of our Patriarchs and Matriarchs in Hebron, to gun down 29 Moslem worshippers who were chanting "Slaughter the Jews" without telling anyone first.  He informed the Shin Bet, the secret service agency in Israel, of what was being planned, but no one else wanted to do anything themselves.  So, realizing that time was of the essence, and he didn't wish to see what would happen next, G-d forbid, he took the ultimate step of killing human life, or in this particular case, sub-human life; knowing full well that for all that he knew, he would either be killed or at best, be imprisoned by the pro-Arab Israeli government for life.

In fact, Dr. Goldstein had everything to live for.  An observant Jew who believed in living life in this world to serve Hashem, a married man with six children, an accomplished doctor who was very good in saving lives, especially Jewish lives (though he also had to treat Arabs in his hired position, which comes to show the lack of gratitude from these Arab beasts).  And in case anyone thought that he was simply a Kahane follower and lover, which he was; following his medical studies in the States from where he was born and raised, he moved to Israel, and though he was only obligated to serve in the Israeli army (IDF) for a year and a half instead of the standard three years for born Israelis, he insisted on serving three full years. Of course, especially in his position, being a doctor would be quite useful in an army in which most of its beginners have just finished high school.

If there was any one person who could have justified not taking matters in their hands in an attempt from preventing Jews from being murdered, it was Dr. Baruch Goldstein, who could have instead sit back and lived on afterwards and continue using his skills to save many more Jews in the future.  However, first of all, we don't know what the future holds, as it is Hashem who decides what will be, as none of us know how long we will live, or how our lives will end.  Secondly, according to the Torah perspective, which I heard from one of Kahane's close followers known to some as Yekutiel ben Yaakov, we learn a lesson about the urgency of helping our fellow Jew(s) from Moshe Rabbeinu who took matters in his hands in slaying the Egyptian taskmaster for beating up a Jew.  Now, Moshe could have easily justified not doing so to avoid taking chances of being imprisoned or killed, since after all, looking long term, he could possibly help many more Jews in the future in the midst of their slavery.  However, we see from the greatest Tzadik (righteous person) who ever walked the planet and lover of Jews - whom we call Moses our Teacher, as he is our teacher too - that when it comes to helping and saving Jewish lives, there is no accounting to be done as to what the "preferred way of doing things", what will be best long term, etc.  If we see a Jew who is suffering NOW, then NOW is the time to do something about it - and without any personal or political agendas - because after this short frame of time, it could be too late, and we don't know what the future will hold in terms of helping other Jews.  True, Moshe saved only one Jew from being beaten to death, following which, he was himself nearly executed by Pharaoh, and subsequently fled to Midian, but the Torah in the form of the Chumash (Penteteuch or the Five Books of Moses) doesn't just pick any story to write about in the Torah.  For indeed, there are numerous stories about our Biblical figures in the Midrashim.  However, if the Torah writes only about certain incidents, there is a reason for this, and of course, the general reason is for us to learn a lesson from these incidents.

In fact, this is the very concept of what is called Kiddush Hashem (Sanctification of Hashem's Name), which is one of the 613 Mitzvot (Commandments) of the Torah.  An aspect of this is for a Jew to give up his life when threatened to violate the prohibitions of idolatry, adultery, and murder, or any commandment under certain circumstances.  Now, one can rationalize that if he does give in to the threat, his sin won't be so bad since he is only doing it to avoid being murdered and not because he wants to do it, and then afterwards, he will be able to live long afterwards to perform many more Mitzvot.  However, if this Mitzva of Kiddush Hashem would be left for us to decide how to go about this, no doubt that many more Jews in history would have converted to other religions and would have died that way without repenting of leaving the fold of Judaism.  But even if were to know in advance that we would be able to live henceforth with religious freedom, it would still be a violation of this Mitzva, as well as a violation of the prohibition of Chillul Hashem (Desecration of Hashem's Name), another Mitzva of the Torah, if we would be obligated to give up our lives or be tortured for that matter.  That is why if a Jew is murdered as a Kiddush Hashem, he is granted a special place in Heaven where most other Jews, even the greatest righteous ones, aren't permitted to enter. Now, this is not to say that we are permitted to purposely place ourselves in such a position to die under these circumstances to be rewarded as such in Heaven, as this may very well be considered as committing suicide, which is forbidden from the Torah, and one is not able to repent for such a sin since repentence only works to our benefit as long as we are living in this temporary world.  But, if we serve Hashem in earnest, then ultimately, we don't need to worry about how Hashem will take care of us in terms of Heavenly reward, but rather, we do things for the sake of Hashem because He says so, and then we will get our just reward.

Now, while the Torah clearly defines what is called a Kiddush Hashem or a Chillul Hashem, some who have agendas have their views of what these terms refer to.  To illustrate here, if a Jew, G-d forbid, does something that is not very appropriate, which results in people looking down on Judaism and Jews, then generally, this is what the Torah calls a Chillul Hashem, which by the way, Rabbi Meir Kahane, ZT'L HY'D (May Hashem avenge his blood) defines as Challal, a hollow, an area which has, so to speak, emptiness of Hashem, as for example, when Jews are derided and defamed by non-Jews believing that Hashem isn't in the picture.  However, if a Jew does perform a Mitzva the way that it is supposed to be performed, then even if it doesn't look good in some people's eyes, then not only is it not a Chillul Hashem, but it is a Kiddush Hashem, for Hashem's will was being performed, and the only problem is with the ones who don't believe in keeping Judaism the right way, being that they have a twisted sense of what the Torah wants, because of their political agendas.

To this day, there are even a few among the observant Jewish community, including one Modern Orthodox rabbi who writes a blog online (I don't want to say what it is so he won't get attention) who still think that what Dr. Goldstein did on that Purim morning 20 years ago was nothing short of a Chillul Hashem, and for all that they are concerned, Dr. Goldstein went to Hell for this.  After all, we are not supposed to take human life of those who didn't hurt us.  True, but obviously, these few who think they have learned the Torah conveniently forget a statement that our Talmudic rabbis have made "Someone who comes to kill you, arise up and kill him".

This is sure in sharp contrast to the standards of the ones running the Israeli army (which by the way, was praised by another Modern Orthodox rabbi for their humane treatment of our avowed enemies) who give orders not to start attacking Arab kids who are throwing rocks at them, and it is only permitted in other circumstances to actually attack ONLY AFTER our army starts gettting attack; otherwise, as far as the pro-Arab Israeli government, this is nothing short of murder.  So basically, according to this, soldiers who are being trained to fight in war, are supposed to take a chance being murdered before fighting back, and if what is hurled at them isn't necessarily deadly, then at best, our soldiers are only allowed to shoot in the air, and if G-d forbid, they shoot in the air before the first rock is hurled at them, they could face army trial and imprisonment.  Now, the only problem with this is that WE ARE IN A WAR WITH OUR ARAB ENEMIES.

In fact, this war hasn't stopped in many years.  The only practical difference is that at times, there is a lot of more action that goes on.  But as long as there is daily news of Arabs attacking Jews somewhere in our country, then we have every obligation at the very least to feel that something is very wrong here, especially since the dictatorship in our country looks to literally turn the other cheek in appeasing the Arabs, appeasing the so called ally the United States who have kept Jonathan Pollard in prison for over 28 years, when his actions should not have warranted prison for more than a few years maximum according to the U.S. law, appeasing the United Nations who sole reason of being formed to begin with, under the guise of world peace, was to hate Jews and do its best to allow us Jews to have the least amount of land possible, with the possibility of eventually the Arabs taking it over from us and driving us to the sea.

Actually, this is hardly surprising.  You see, in the film Herzel and Zionism, which you can see on Youtube, it was the very founding Zionist leaders of the new State of Israel who were in the position to save MILLIONS OF JEWS from the Holocaust, but because of their political agenda in terms of who could help the Zionist entity, they even turned down an offer, via the Jewish Agency, from the Nazi leader Eichmann himself who offered them Jews in return for barter of tea and coffee.  And so, if the present Israeli government, who is continuing the work of their fathers and grandfathers whose turning the other cheek literally caused millions of more Jews to die in the Holocaust, has the nerve to critcize Dr. Goldstein's heroic actions, then this clearly shows who are the true murderers here.  In fact, if the government would have given a damn to Dr. Goldstein's warnings to begin with, his own blood would not have neither be needed to be shed to say the least.  And what actually happend is that the Shin Bet wanted this issue to be taken care of, but didn't want to look as the ones responsible for the "terrible crime" of gunning down the Arabs shouting "Slaughter the Jews!", and so, the Shin Bet (which should be called the Sin Bad) let Baruch Goldstein in the door with the praying Arabs - and then locked the door behind him so Goldstein wouldn't be able to escape, hence not making it "look bad" on the Shin Bet as per this pro-Arab Israeli government, pretending that it was strictly the doings of Dr. Goldstein (which was the case for he was the one who actually shot the Arabs, it's just that the Shin Bet accompanied him to the door of the room that it locked on him).

And so, after all is said and done, if anyone wants to still criticize Baruch Goldstein, they need to also criticize the whole political Israeli government scene, but not because of its "poor treatment" of our Arab enemies, which the media wishes for everyone to believe; for if anything, it's quite the opposite; even as our Arab enemies are laughing at this government who are begging on its knees for the world to accept us, but typically has the world laughting at it instead.

With this all said, with an ever greater appreciation of Dr. Goldstein's heroic deed that clearly saved Jewish lives, who could have otherwise be a "good Jewish doctor" somewhere in the good ol' U.S.A., buy himself a big beautiful home with the money as a physician, have his spouse and three children as many if not most in the Modern Orthodox world have as the maximum amount of children, and being a doctor would have been just something that he could make a good living with without making any special mark in Jewish history, I will now get into some Gematriot pertaining to this most special Jew who is still being written about 20 years later - for the better or worse.

To be clear, the timing of Dr. Goldstein's heroic act was on Purim in a regular Jewish year.  However, in some years when there are two months of Adar, like this year, the Yarhzeit - at least according to Ashkenazic rite, and Dr. Goldstein was Ashkenazic - is observed on the first Adar, as noted by the Rama (Rabbi Moshe Isserleis) on the Shulchan Aruch (Code of Jewish Law).  Hence, it was last week on Purim Katan, the date of 14 Adar I, which was his Yahrzeit, which happened to fall out on the sixth day of the week, the same day of the week as that fateful day that cost Dr Goldstein his life - but only in this temporary world, but earning himself tremendous eternal reward that even most of the greatest righteous Jews don't merit.

His full Hebrew name is Baruch Kappel, the second name actually being Yiddish for believe it or not - what is called Kipa in Hebrew, Yarmulke in Yiddish, or beanie in English.  The reason that I mention this is that his second name is the Gematria of 211, and this is the number of this post.  But part of my point here is the meaning of the word Yarmulke, which is based on the Hebrew phrase Yarei M'Elokim "having fear of G-d", and the word Yarei "having fear" is also the Gematria of 211.  So, what observant Jews typically wear on their heads is named after the Mitzva of the Torah to fear Hashem.  Indeed, Reb Baruch Kappel Goldstein's life was based on what the one Above, as what we wear on our heads is supposed to remind us of, wants us to do, and being a physician wasn't just a means for Dr. Goldstein to make a living, for he could have made far more money in the States, than in the medical system in Israel, in which most doctors working in the system from which they get paid either make peanuts, or have to work their butt off tons of hours to make half decent money.  Rather, Dr. Goldstein chose a profession that he was able to use to help Jews in the best way possible as his top priority, and then whatever money he could make from it would justify him continuing on working in the same field to continue his holy work.

This is in stark contrast to some doctors who take on as many patients as legally permitted. let's say in a hospital, and since they don't have much time to spend on each patient, some of the patients aren't treated right, such as receiving an infection as a result of let's say an I.V. being placed in the armpit which is full of bacteria, leading to the patient's death, which happened to a young Jewish woman of 32 years of age whom I knew. Or, a seemingly observant Jewish dentist who carelessly or purposely takes out a tooth from one side of the mouth of a patient that didn't need to be removed, while on the other side of the mouth, there was an infection which needed to be tended to, and then after being summoned to a Beit Din (Jewish court) and told to pay back the money to the patient and doesn't pay it anytime soon, the patient has to pressure the Beit Din to have him pay it.  Oh yes, the patient in this case was my mom, but ultimately, what angers me most is that these professionals in the Orthodox Jewish community who crook others or look down on others who don't begin to compare to their financial standing, make themselves look like the biggest Tzadikim (righteous people) of town (except maybe for the rabbi) by giving lots of Tzedaka (charity) within their community as a cover up for what they do wrong, which is no less evil in terms of intent as far as I am concerned, than an owner of what is supposed to be a kosher plant who sneaks in non-kosher meat who gives lots of Tzedaka in the Jewish community so that even the rabbis won't open up their mouths.

Now, another word that is the Gematria of 211 is Gibor "strong one".  Now, the true definition of a Gibor is what the Torah defines as such, particularly in the first Mishna of the fourth chapter of Pirkei Avot (Ethics of the Fathers): "Who is a Gibor? One who conquers his (evil) inclination."  Perhaps in more practical terms, it is one who has excessive desires when it comes to food, sex, etc., but uses self control to not let himself go overboard; and at times, not only when it comes to non-kosher food or forbidden sex, but even when it comes to things that are permitted, he doesn't let himself get mentally consumed with the desire at hand, but rather, uses it in serving Hashem without benefiting from it any more than necessary.  For after all, the ultimate spiritual pleasure is what we receive from doing Torah and Mitzvot, and so, if one is focused on what Hashem wants rather than thinking of his own pleasures and desires, this is a person who can truly be called a Gibor.  In fact, in a way, he is imitating Hashem who is also called a Gibor.  Interestingly, the FIRST word of the FIRST blessing of the main prayer called Shemoneh Esrei is Baruch (Blessed), and the SECOND word of the SECOND blessing of Shemoneh Esrei is the word Gibor - in the context stating "You are forever a Gibor, my Master" - which is the Gematria of Baruch Goldstein's second Hebrew name Kappel.

In fact, there was a Sefer that was published commemorating Dr. Goldstein's life with Divrei Torah (words of Torah) on various subjects including Kiddush Hashem and Mesirut Nefesh (giving up one's own life) which is called Baruch HaGever, the word Gever being etymologically related to the word Gibor .  This phrase is taken from the text from Sefer Yirmiyahu (Jeremiah 17:7) "Blessed is the man (Gever) who trusts in Hashem, and Hashem will be his trust", which is recited both in our daily morning prayers and in Bircat HaMazon (Grace after Meals). But perhaps what is a little less known, as that this verse is also mentioned in Perek Shira, a compilation of verses of praise of Hashem that the various forces of creation recite.  In this case, it is the lucky goose, which is the wild goose, that recites this verse when it finds food.  Now in Hebrew, it is called Avaz HaBar.  Most amazingly, these two words has the respective Gematriot of the two words in the Hebrew date of Baruch Goldstein's Yarhzeit Yud-Dalet B'Adar (14th of Adar), as the word Avaz (goose) is the same Gematria as the Hebrew number Yud-Dalet (14) and the word HaBar (of the wild) is the same Gematria as the word B'Adar (of Adar) - 207.  Coincidence?!

Based on this, what seems to be the ultimate lesson that we can learn from Baruch Goldstein's life is the trait of Bitachon (trust in Hashem).  This may seem to be similar or the same as Emuna (faith).  However, there is a vast difference between the two.  And the best explanation that I have come across as to the difference between the two is again from the above Yekutiel ben Yaakov.  You see, almost anyone can have Emuna in Hashem, even Prime Monster Bibi Netanyahu, behaving indifferently towards Jews, though ironically, saying just the opposite of Pharaoh, for while the latter refused to "Let My people go", Bibi has done just this when he voted for Jews to be thrown out of Gush Katif and when he allows (oops, I made a mistake, I mean which he authorizes) Jews to be thrown out of their homes or have their homes destroyed which just happened a couple of weeks back to one who is in the forefront of helping prevent this happening to other Jews in the "settlements".  You see, even someone who is cruel to good Jews as Bibi while pocketing good money will believe enough in having a Seder on Passover night, say a few good words to the Jewish nation wishing us a Happy Passover, and then it's back to business, literally, with our sworn enemies who naturally refuse to even recognize Israel as our state, which includes construction freezes, releasing terrorists, and his ultimate long-term project of throwing out more Jews from homes in areas that he plans to eventually hand over to the Arabs, just as he handed autonomy of Hebron, Israel's second holiest city, to the Arabs, perhaps in due part in revenge for what Dr. Goldstein did to the Arabs in this town a few short years earlier, to appease the rest of the Arabs.

However, Bitachon involves far more in relating ourselves to Hashem.  This is the ultimate trust in Him with doing the right thing, even if it is not popular, not appreciated, or makes us far less financially than doing something different.  Such a person can truly be called a Gibor, or a Gever; in short a man/person who reports to a Higher Authority, who has the self control even with matters that are permitted to one.  In fact, even in the secular Jewish world, we have had people like Joel Brand, who desperately attempted to save Jews from Eichmann when the latter gave him a proposal, but flatly turned down by the Jewish Agency, and then Mr. Brand scrambled from one office to another in Jerusalem in an attempt to find even one agency who would prevent Jews from being murdered but to no avail, and subsequently had no better luck finding work, being branded as one who was working against the best interests of the Zionist movement, and later on, even turned down an offer from the evil Teddy Kollek (a former major of Jerusalem who seethed with hatred of observant Jews) which would have been a prestigious position in the Weizman Institute in lieu of going ahead with his book to write exactly what happened in the events of the Zionists as per the Holocaust, and was even threatened to be put in an insane asylum.


Noting that this has been 20 years since a most holy Jew has left us physically, while the lesson of his heroic life remains with us, or at least with the ones who are truly interested in Torah truth, this number 20 is most associated with the concepts of Kiddush Hashem and Mesirut Nefesh.  For details on this, one can check my past post "Letter of SELF SACRIFICE" (March '09).  But for today, I will be adding a detail or two pertaining especially to Baruch Goldstein as per this, as well as a short recap of what I wrote then.

Well first, the last letter of his first name Baruch is a Chaf Sophit, which in simple Gematria (in contrast to the upgraded numerical value of the five "final" letters) is the numerical value of twenty.

From the beginning of Jewish history, the number twenty has played a crucial theme.  You see, Abraham the first Jew, was the 20th generation in parental line from Adam and Eve, but was not only the first Jew, but the first one who have self sacrifice for the right principles; in his case, in the belief in one G-d, in opposition to the idols of his day, for which he was thrown into a fiery furnace, which is hinted to in the Torah as Ur Casdim, the "light" or "fire" of the Casdim, the name of the nation in the area that Abraham lived in, which begins with the letter Caf.

Next, we see with Moses that when he saw how angry Hashem was with the Jewish people for the sin of the Golden Calf, he offered himself to be totally erased from the Torah if Hashem would not otherwise forgive the Jewish people.  And while Hashem did eventually forgive us, at least in terms of not destroying the Jewish nation which He initially said that He was going to do, since even a conditional statement of a Tzadik (righteous person) has to be fulfilled in some way, Moses' name doesn't appear in Parshat Tetzaveh, the 20th Parsha of the Torah.  In fact, the story of the Golden Calf in which Moses offered of himself is in the following Parsha that is named Ki Tisa, this name which begins with the letter Kaf.

The following year, Moses sends 12 spies to the Land of Israel in request of the Jewish people, which showed their lack of Bitachon in Hashem after promising them to bring them to a "land flowing with milk and honey".  Now, while 10 of the 12 spies came back with a slanderous report which landed up the Jewish male adults outside of the Tribe of Levi crying their faces off which earned them wandering in the desert up to nearly 40 years, only to die before making it to Israel, two of these two spies - Joshua and Caleb - refused to join the evil club, and were nearly stoned for speaking words of encouragement to the Jews.  Now, while both of them were rewarded - Joshua who became Moses' successor and led the Jews to Israel, and Caleb who was awarded a peace of Israel in the environs of Hebron; the Torah seems to especially praise Caleb for "having a different spirit".

Now, why does the Torah focus on Caleb and not also on Joshua, other than mentioning that these were the only two of all the Jewish male adults (of the older generation who did the crying) who remained alive to come to Israel?  You see, Joshua already received his blessing from Moses in advance which made it easier for him not to give in to the tempation of the journalism of the evil spies.  However, Caleb had to work on his own to behave the same as Joshua, having prayed especially at the Me'arat HaMachpela for Divine Assistance so he wouldn't sin.  So, it was hardly surprising that he should get a piece of Hebron land in the environs of the place at which he prayed that he should remain a good Jew who has Bitachon on Hashem. But perhaps what is most interesting here is that first, his name Caleb begins with a Caf, and when it was time for the land to be apportioned following the Jewish people under the leadership of Joshua fighting the nations in Israel for a good seven years, we see that Caleb requested Joshua of the piece of land that he wanted, stating Ke'Chochi Az U'CheChochi Atah "Just as my strength was then (in the time of the Spies), so is my strength now for war" (Joshua 14:11).  Now, the word for strength in Hebrew is Ko'ach, which also begins with the letter Koach.  But the most intriguing part here is that in the text, the letter Kaf in the word Ke'Kochi - JUST as my strength - is ENLARGED.  No doubt, this is another MAJOR hint as the letter that represents Mesirut Nefesh, which in Caleb's case, was going against the trend of the Spies, who while may have first been as Rashi called them Kesheirim (Kosher ones), this word which also begins with the letter Kaf, they eventually turned sour.  And it seems that as part of Caleb's reward, he had the same strength at the age of 85 when he received his just reward of land following his own participation in fighting the enemies at his advanced age, as he had at the age of 40 when he went with the Spies - both in physical strength and spiritual strength (actually more, for the righteous increase in greatness in serving Hashem), with no less spiritual strength as when he started off with "JUST as my strength was then", not ever wavering in his trust in Hashem.

Now, this is not the only time in Tanach (Jewish Bible) in which the letter Kaf is enlarged.  In Tehillim, the verse states V'Chana Asher Nat'ah Yeminecha V'Al Ben Imatzta Lach "The foundation that Your right hand planted, and for the son that you made strong for Yourself" (Psalms 80:16).  In  the word (V')Chana "Foundation", the letter Caf/Chaf is ENLARGED.   Now, for an appreciaton of what this verse is saying, we have to turn to the Metzudat David commentary "Place your Divine Watch on the Land of Israel, and on the Jewish people whom You have strengthened".  So as we see here, the word Ben (son) refers to the Jewish people.  Now, in terms of Gematria, this word has the same numerical value as Caleb's name, and in this context, is also mentioned the concept of strength, howbeit using a different word.  But in Caleb's case, whose name begins with the letter Kaf, the word for strength that he used was Ko'ach which also begins with the letter Kaf.  As a side note, when Baruch Marzel, a resident of Hebron, one of Kahane's close followers who headed the Kach movement at one time - this word Kach (SO shall it be) which consists of the letters Kaf and Kaf Sophit - ran to be a member of Knesset in 2006, the letter that represented him/his party was the letter Kaf, though unfortunately, he wasn't able to succeed to even have one seat in the Knesset, but I am proud to say that this was the first time that I voted in Israel, having voted for the one party, based on Kahane ideals, that is not full of politics.

Then, in the Mishna, the 20th tractate is called Ta'anit, refering to the various fasts of the Jewish calendar.  Now, when we fast, we are diminishing some physical strength, as we don't have the food, the fuel, to continue on very well.  However, the idea of fasting in Judaism is more than this, for generally, one needs strength to serve Hashem.  But when we are obligated to fast, the idea is to pick up some more spiritual strength.  Most notably, this is felt with the 24/25 hours of  the fast of Yom Kippur, and as many have attested, they don't even feel the need to eat on this day, unlike with other fast days even with far less hours of fasting that aren't mandated from the Torah but from the rabbis, as they feel a special spiritual strength. Now, the full name of Yom Kippur is Yom HaKippurim.  In any case, the base of this word Kippur or Kapara (atonement), begins with the letter Kaf.  And with the word Kippurim, we see that it can read as K'Purim - which literally means "just as Purim".  Now as we know, the story of Purim had yet to take place, and so is not mentioned as a holiday in the Chumash.  However, everything is hinted in the Torah, and most amazingly, not only is the name of a future holiday hinted in a name of a holiday in the Torah, but ironically, this reads that Yom Kippur is like Purim, and NOT vice versea, as if to say, that Purim may have been a holiday before Yom Kippur.

Perhaps the ultimate lesson that we can learn here is that in truth, the ultimate level in reaching spiritually really should be elevating the physical world to spirituality, including the food that we eat, giving us the strength to serve Hashem in this physical world.  In fact, this was Hashem's intention with Adam and Eve, with the proviso not to eat from one particular tree, but failed the test.  And so, this world became a world full of troubles and sins, and so, we need a holiday like Yom Kippur to cleanse ourselves of the base desires of this world that we may have benefited from not in the service of Hashem, and so, with this holiday, we are supposed to accomplish the same spirituality as we can do with Purim which involves a special Mitzva of eating a festive meal, which includes feasting with wine and happiness, the spiritual state that Hashem meant for us to begin with to attain without the need of fasting.  But when we do fast in accordance with Hashem's wishes not only with the fasting itself, but to accomplish the ultimate purpose of the fasting in bettering ourselves, we are performing a form of Mesirut Nefesh that is related to the letter Kaf/the number 20, just as Tractate Ta'anit, about the laws of fasting, is the 20th tractate of the Mishna, as well as the concept of Kiddush Hashem, which means making Hashem's name holy (so to speak, but we are in effect advertising His holiness to the world), and it was only on Yom Kippur that the Cohen Gadol entered the Kodesh Kodoshim "Holy of Holies" room in the Temple.  And as we see in the last Mishna of Tractate Ta'anit, the two days of the year that are mentioned as the happiest days of the year, in which the young ladies danced in hope for a Shidduch (matchmate), are Tu B'Av - the words of this date being the total Gematria of 20 (Tu is 15 and B'Av is 5), and Yom Kippur.

Also, the fifth of the six volumes of the Mishna, called Seder Kodoshim (Holy Things), begins with Tractate Zevachim, which can be translated as offerings or sacrifices.  And what does this tractate, beginning the fifth volume of the Mishna, start with? Kol HaZevachim "All sacrifices...", which begins with the letter Kaf. Coincidence?

And along these lines, in the series of the combination of Sephirot, we are up to the 20th, which is Yesod She'B'Tiferet "Foundation within Beauty".  Most interesting, both the words Yesod and Chana (made up of the letters Chaf, Noon, Hei; not to be confused with the Hebrew name Chana that begins with the letter Cheit) are synonyms of the meaning of foundation, just as there are synonyms in Hebrew for the meaning of strength or power.  And as per the Yahzeit date of Baruch Goldstein, the 14th of Adar, the first and last letters of the word Yesod - Yud and Dalet - spell the Hebrew number 14.  Also, as the seven active Sephirot correspond with the seven days of the week, Yesod corresponds to the sixth day of the week, and it was on this day of the week that Baruch Goldstein gave up his life on behalf of the Jewish people "the FOUNDATION that Your RIGHT hand has planted", noting that it is only the views of Kahane - whose last name starts with the letter Kaf - which Goldstein followed, that can truly be called RIGHT-wing, the terminology that is used today to refer to our full rights to Israel in contrast to the Arabs; and all the other Knesset factions that are thought of as right wing are actually the fake right, as hinted to in another verse in Tehillim "Their mouths speak falsehood, and their right hand is a right hand of falsehood" (Psalms 144:8). How true today! This is especially noting that just days ago, the Shaked Commission, named after Ayelet Shaked, a secular Jewess within the "Jewish Home" party that was endorsed for voting by Zionist rabbis who despised Kahane and the Kahane based party "Power to Israel" whom they should have endorsed instead to vote for,  is about to endorse a bill to punish, nay criminalize, young Ultra-Orthodox Jews who wish to learn in Yeshiva full time as they have done until now, instead of entering an army that is self-defeating, the only such insane army in the world that is extra careful with not hurting its enemies, nay, even running away from them at times, instead of showing the true strength that Israel is fully capable of showing in knocking our avowed Arab enemies to the ground once and for all.

Now, the name of the Sephira called Tiferet in this Yesod She'B'Tiferet combination, begins and ends with the letter Tav, the numerical value of 400, and the square root of 400 is 20.  How fitting then, after what I have wrote, that the 20th Sephira of the 49 Sephirot combinations should be so closely related to the number 20.

It's interesting how I mentioned the documentary "Herzl and Zionism" earlier on in this post.  You see, the date in the Sephira period to which corresponds Yesod She'B'Tiferet is 5 Iyar, the famous, or as far as some are concerned, the infamous date, of the signing of the Declaration of Independence for Israel, penning this day as Yom Ha'Atzmaut "Independence Day".  This declaration was pronounced by non-other than David Ben-Gurion, who was among the Zionists who believed that we shouldn't mess with saving most of the Jews perishing in the Holocaust, but only the young ones who could be an asset to the Zionist dream, as he didn't want a bunch of loafers consisting of old people, or in his opinion, a bunch of observant Jews, just taking instead of providing.  Perhaps if this rule of thumb would have been applied to his own parents or grandparents, he would have felt a little differently, but after watching this film, you will see that the State of Israel was built not only on the blood of the Jews who directly fought for our rights to our land, but bloodstained with the blood of Jews who perished in the Holocaust because David Ben-Gurion and his fellow gang members who felt that these murdered Jews, especially the old timer religious ones with the long black coats and beards, would not serve a purpose in his view of what the Zionist dream should be about. And then, everyone wonders why non-Jews pretend not to be anti-Semitic when they claim that they are just against Zionism, believed to be a ploy to take over land that was once occupied by who are called Palestinians.  Indeed, Hashem works this world as a two way street, because if we don't have mercy on our own, why should others have mercy on us?

In conclusion, I would like to quote from Psalm 20, which is based on the concept of relying on Hashem, even when it seems that everything else is helpless, especially in wartime.  Let me quote here the final verses, "Some are with chariots, others are with horses, but we will mention the name of Hashem our G-d. They kneel and fall, but we will arise and be refreshed.  O Hashem, save us, the King will answer us on the day that we call".  In this LAST verse of Psalm 20, we refer to Hashem as King, which in Hebrew is Melech, ending with the LAST letter of Chaf Sophit, just as the LAST letter of Baruch Goldstein's first name is a Chaf Sophit.  For ultimately, it is the King of Kings that we have to worry about serving, and not the interests of world opinon, the so called Torah opinion of some Modern Orthodox rabbis who live quite confortably with six digit figures who dare criticize righteous people as Goldstein, the true BRAVE Jew, or the opinion of some so called Zionist rabbis who claim that we have to obey the orders of the Israeli government or the heads of the IDF, even if it means throwing out Jews from their homes.  Ultimately, there will come a time when everyone will see the truth, when it will be too late for the anti-Semites and rabbis who use Judaism for their self interest to repent, that "Hashem will be King over the entire world.  On that day, Hashem will be One, and His name will be One".  Amen!

20 Adar I, 5774

Sunday, February 16, 2014

#210 - My Experience on THE Mountain

Many people, including myself, can relate to mountains, at least in name.  You see, I was born in a hospital named Mt. Sinai. In fact, there are quite a few hospitals in the States with this name.  I once heard that the reason for this given name for a hospital is because as our rabbis tell us, when the Torah was given on Mt. Sinai, everyone was healed of their bodily deficiencies, so everyone would be able to see, hear, and speak in time for the Giving of the Torah.  Hence, the name Mt. Sinai would be most appropriate for a hospital which has the purpose of healing people.

But buildings and places that are named after mountains aren't limited to hospitals.  There is a cemetery in Miami that is called Mt. Nebo, the name of the mountain upon which Moses passed away.  And of course, one of the states in the continental United States is called Montana, which is based on the word mountain.

However, regardless of the Jewish history of these mountains, there is no special holiness attached to them. It may seem paradoxical that Mt. Sinai, the very place on which Hashem began giving the Torah to us with the Ten Commandments, the moment in time which was the cause for the world to remain in existence since it only exists in the merit of Torah learning, should have no more holiness attached to it today than any other mountains, at least outside of Israel.  But then again, this is not so new.  You see, the site of the Mishkan (Tabernacle) that we learn about in this week's Parshat Vayakheil (as well as detailed in Parshat Terumah) which was located for hundreds of years in the city of Shilo in Israel, does not have any more special holiness on its grounds than other places in Israel today, since, just like the location of Mt. Sinai, it only served its purpose for a period of time, but now it doesn't serve this purpose anymore.  Imagine, there was a time that all Jews, our ancestors were all in this town of Shilo to worship and offer sacrifices on the Shalosh Regalim (Three Pilgrimage Festivals), but today, it's a ghost town with perhaps a thousand residents in stark contrast to what it was at one time housing the greatest spot of holiness in this world.

However, there is one mountain that is given attention by the Torah early on - Mt. Moriah.  In fact, the Torah doesn't introduce us to this mountain as Mt. Moriah per se, but rather as "the land of Moriah" where there was "one of the mountains" at which Abraham was to bring up his son Isaac on an altar upon Hashem's commands.

As it turns out, this was not the first time in history that sacrifices were offered at this part of the world.  The Midrash tells us that both Adam and Noah offered sacrifices, and it was the same place at which Jacob stopped by after he left his parents' home before he proceeded to Haran where his uncle Laban lived.

In any case, it was only after nearly three millenium since Creation that the Beit HaMikdash (Temple) was built in this part of the world.  But once this happened, there was no turning back - this remained the holiest spot in the world, even after the Temple would be destroyed.  In fact, as we learn in the final chapter of the Mishnaic Tractate Zevachim (Offerings) Chapter 14, unlike in the past when private altars were permitted to be built and certain sacrifices were able to be offered at them, at least in the absence of the Mishkan; once the Temple was built, never again would private altars be allowed to be built, regardless of whether the Temple would be in existance or not in the future.

Now, a question can be asked, what is the practical difference here between the times following the destructions of the Tabernacle in Shilo and the Temple on Mt. Moriah in terms of private altars?  We can't offer sacrifices on the grounds of the past Temples anyways.  In fact, we are not even allowed to go up to Mt. Moriah, which will be called henceforth in this post by its popular name of Har HaBayit (Temple Mount).

Actually, I just wrote two myths here.  First, unlike the political opinion of some rabbis, including the Chief Rabbinate in Israel which in recent times has been used more for politics than for the right causes, there are some areas on the Temple Mount that are permitted to be tread upon, and we know this for a fact, because the Rambam (Maimonides), when he visited the Temple Mount, declared the date that he visited as an annual day of personal celebration, having been at the greatest area of holiness in the world.  So long as one goes to the Mikva (ritualarium) beforehand, and goes up with a religious group in which one will be led only at the areas that are permitted to be walked on, excluding the most holy areas that we are presently not permitted to enter because of our spiritual impurity of contact with the dead that can only be rid of from the ashes of the Para Aduma (Red Heifer), not only does one not have a sin for treading on this part of the Temple Mount, but one actually fulfills the Mitzva of Mora Mikdash, having awe of Hashem Who commanded us about respect in this holy area (some of today's rabbis will claim that this Mitzva applies to our synagogues and Torah study halls, but the main part of this commandment refers SPECIFICALLY to the Temple Mount that many of not most of them will claim that going up on any part of the Temple Mount is committing a grave sin).  In fact, Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi (Judah the Prince) could not be more clear about this in his compilation of the Mishna, mentioning near the end of the final chapter of the first tractate of the Mishna - Berachot - which is about the Shema, prayers, and blessings - the guidelines of being on the Temple Mount, including not entering with certain items to avoid showing disrespect at this most holy place. Now mind you, when the Mishna as we know it today was composed, this was already after the destruction of the Second Temple, so if it would be totally forbidden to be present even at a part of the Temple Mount, the Mishna would not been worded as such to give us a misimpression to make us think that there would be no prohibition today.

How unfortuante that so many observant Jews, who sincerely want to fulfill all of the Torah's commands that are able to be fulfilled today, noting that we presently don't offer sacrifices in absence of the Temple, are misled to think that it is forbidden to ascend even the part of the Temple Mount that is permitted to be walked upon, missing out on the MAIN part of the Mitzva of Mora Mikdash, even as they led to believe that it is the Western Wall that has all this special holiness.  Well, as Rabbi Chaim Richman, Shlita of the Temple Mount Institute, www.templeinstitute.org, puts it, that while the Western Wall is very holy, it had absolutely no significance at the time of the existance of the Temple, other than of course, being the western wall of the grounds of the Temple Mount, as its name implies, but at the time of the Temple, no one came to pray and bow down at this wall.

Oh, the second myth, that sacrifices are forbidden to be offered on the Temple Mount. While we are restricted as to certain areas on the Mount due to impurity of the dead, there is a certain area in the permitted area where we can build an altar and offer sacrifices - most especially, the Korban Pesach, the Pascal Sacrifice, which is the most single important sacrifice that we are obligated to offer, one of the two Positive or Active Commandments that one incurs the penalty of Karet (spiritual extinction) for violation thereof (the other such commandment being circumcision); quite contrary to the claim of certain rabbis that one incurs Karet for entering even on part of the Temple Mount, or that we may "accidentally" enter a part of the Mount that is forbidden to enter since today, "we don't know where the boundaries of the differences lie", which is a lie, since it is clearly laid out in the Talmud and Halacha that clearly matches what is seen on the Mount (while in Temple times, individuals were forbidden to offer or eat of the Korban Pesach in an impure state, the rule is that where the majority of Jews are impure, then the condition of being in a pure state is waived).  Moreover, contrary to what some want us to believe, we don't need to wait for Moshiach to come before building the Temple. If there is any question as per building the Temple, the only question is pertaining to the exact spots that everything is supposed to be built upon.  And by the way, today's Sanhedrin, which was formed some nine years ago, ascended the Temple Mount once as a group; bearing in mind that this rabbinical court consists of some of the most brilliant Torah scholars of today, who not only aren't paid by this pro-Arab Jewish government, unlike the Chief Rabbinate as well as other appointed rabbinical positions, but even one of its members, Rabbi Yisrael Ariel, Shlita, who heads the Temple Institute and a former paratrooper who had the great merit to be among those who liberated the Temple Mount, was arrested at one point and interrogated for his strict right wing beliefs, including recently for the great "crime" of bowing on the Temple Mount, noting that he was the second on the Kach party list which was headed by Rabbi Meir Kahane, may Hashem avenge his blood.

However, there are other questions to be asked here.  What are the politics involved here that gets rabbis to say things that are clearly against what the Torah says?  And, why aren't Jews offering even the Korban Pesach when the Supreme Court in Israel issued a ruling that allows us to do so - not that we need the Supreme Court's approval for a commandment in the Torah, but that we have been given the green light to do so without being allowed to be hindered even according to Israeli secular law?

You see, so long as the Al Aksa mosque, which houses the grounds of the Kodesh Kodoshim (Holy of Holies), the holiest room in the world, is in existance, many rabbis don't want to appear that they are making trouble, especially since many if not most of them in Israel are paid by the pro-Arab, anti-Jewish Israeli government, and so, it is easy for them to make these types of claims.  A case in point - when Rabbi Meir Kahane, was a Knesset member, another Knesset member who was a rabbi, a member of the Ultra-Orthodox community, was attemping to downplay the problem of the Moslem Arabs occupying the Temple Mount with their mosque.  Upon this, Rabbi Kahane told him that he was saying this because he was afraid. The rabbi, in defense, was claiming that we Jews are forbidden to ascend the Temple Mount.  "In that case" exlaimed Rabbi Kahane, "neither of us will ascend the Mount; but for that matter, neither should we allow the Chillul Hashem (Desecration of G-d's Name) of these Arabs being on the Mount".  And as for the Supreme Court ruling allowing the Korban Pesach to be offered here, the police pretend to be using a loophole in the law claiming that they can not allow this taking place due to "security reasons".  So much for the secular laws promoting religious rights of Jews in Israel!

However, the above rabbinal rhetoric didn't stop me from ascending the Mountain of Hashem (phrase from Psalms 24:3 which refers to the Temple Mount) a couple weeks ago on 5 Adar I, a Wednesday morning. The truth is that I did attempt once before to ascend the Temple Mount several years ago, but despite the fact that some were waiting an hour and a half to ascend, the police stopped the visit short in appeasement of the Arabs, in order to discourage Jewish visitors from coming in the future.  For me, it was far easier in the past to come to the Western Wall, pending only a quick security search, and then no problem.  But to come to the Mount, which has FAR LESS people visiting than the grounds of the Western Wall, there is FAR MORE security, restrictions, and chances of being turned away, despite spending time with the spiritual preparations of going to the Mikva and making the trip.

As it turned out, I joined several others from the town that I reside in that early morning which began for me outdoors at 5:00 AM when it was still night out, being well dressed with my backpack in the cool weather, walking for a good 40 minutes to where I was going to join others in this van.  The funny thing is that it was less than 48 hours before on that past Monday that I saw a flyer about this intended trip, which there have been many of like this one since I first moved to the town that I reside in some three and a half years ago; but this time, something inside of me told me that it is about time that I get out of my comfort zone, and make that call (to reserve a spot not only in the van, but typically, there is a group restriction of how many can join together ascending the Mount).

But this time, I was in good company.  In fact, the leader of our group, who visits the Mount on a weekly basis, was even having a nice chat with one of the policemen in front of the security area while we were waiting our turn to enter.  To note, under this Israeli government dictatorship, an observant Jew who dares opens his lips in prayer or bows down can immediately get arrested for "disturbing the religious rights of the Moslem Arabs" at the site that all praying Jews, wherever they are in this universe, turn to when speaking to the King of Kings.  Accordingly, no holy books or religious effects are allowed entry.  Fortunately, this is not only applicable for Jews, but even for Christians, as I witnessed while awaiting; and I say this, not only because Christian idolatry isn't allowed in this most holy area, but perhaps ultimately most importantly, everyone can see the great prejudice and misjustice of allowing these Moslem Arabs free reign OCCUPYING THE HOLIEST PLACE IN THE WORLD THAT BELONGS TO US.  You see, any honest Christian who knows the Bible well, especially after visiting the Temple Mount, can only wonder why Moslem Arabs have more rights to this place than Jews.  Of course, Christians being challenged with entry to holy places in Israel is nothing new - we can go back in time to nearly one thousand years ago in the time of the Crusades when Christians came to the Holy Land to fight the Moslems to claim title to the land that the Christian false god was born and lived in; and this is bearing in mind that the Koran admits to this Christian god being a prophet (though not a god or Messiah in their book).

Anyways, getting back to our trip, when we first arrived, I noticed a sign in front from the Chief Rabbinate claiming that it is forbidden to visit the Temple Mount, which bothered me not so much because it is their opinion, but that it makes it look like that this is the viewpoint of the Torah without even suggesting that there could be a difference of opinion in the context of Halacha, which the police of course have no problem allowing to be displayed, hoping that less Jews will visit the Mount.  Anyways, after waiting for like an hour, we were finally allowed through, but not before our outer coats were throughly examined - both in the security machine and manually, and I had to leave my backpack which contained by prayer effects and holy books at a corner right outside of the security area, and the police gave instructions - mostly about what we are not allowed to do.  We then proceeded towards the Temple Mount area, with some in the group reciting a couple of psalms beforehand.  And then, at last - my breathtaking moment of entering the same holy spot that my ancestors of thousands of years ago entered during Temple times.  Time to say the special blessing of Shehecheyanu that is customarily recited on special occasions when we are about to perform a special commandment or ready to eat a new fruit or wear a new garment. Only kidding, though technically, I could be halachicly correct, but it wouldn't make any practical difference here, because moving our lips in prayer could mean an immediate arrest, unless I would be willing to risk my freedom and face grueling questioning for the next many hours, which friends of mine dealt with not long earlier.

But today, I wasn't ready to take chances, being first of all, I am no longer single and so I didn't want to have to deal with upsetting my wife, and secondly, this was my first time on the Mount after all; and so. I just wanted to enjoy my time here and soak up what I was seeing, accompanied with a tour guide, freely quoting the Talmudic and Halachic texts describing the various parts of the Temple and areas of the Temple Mount, part of which being occupied with shouting Moslem Arab women, about which my wife told me later that they are paid to be there to make disturbances for us Jews, along with a few policemen and Arabs following us to make sure that we wouldn't dare violate the rules, or else.  In the midst of this, the tour guide pointed to the area where the Israeli army, which liberated parts of Israel, including the holiest area in the world, entered on the Temple Mount during the Six Day War to declare this to be our land once more.  Finally, after nearly circling the whole general area (the holiest area that we are forbidden today to enter is more like in the center in the elevated areas which are led up to with steps), we were bidden by police to exit through a different way than where we entered, being that it was close to 10:00 AM when the occupying Moslem Arabs want the place to be only for themselves (actually, they want it all the time like this, but let tourists visit for a set period of time, though at times, they will riot or use other attempts once in a while not to let others visit, who are usually listened to by the Israeli Jewish police who show an obvious weakness when it comes to these matters).  Once outside of the Temple Mount grounds, we danced and sang a couple of minutes, singing the prayer that the Temple should be rebuilt speedily in our days.

Now, this is all nice, but what does this have to do with Gematriot?  You see, the Hebrew word HaHar - THE Mountain, is the Gematria of 210, the number of this post.  And as I mentioned myself going on the Temple Mount for the first time, the words Har (mountain) and Adar, the name of this month, have the same Gematria of 205.

However, it doesn't end here, at least in terms of the number 210.  In fact, Rashi, who especially focuses on Peshat, the simple meaning of the text, makes an obvious exception in the story of Jacob's children going to Egypt for the first time to purchase food in the beginning of a famine, when Jacob told them - REDU Shama "Go down there" (Genesis 42:2).  On this, Rashi asks why Jacob didn't use the more common wording of Lechu Shama, "Go there" without mentioning the dirction, as the grownup brothers certainly knew in what direction Egypt was.  Rashi answers that the word Redu is the Gematria of 210 corresponding to the 210 years that the Jews were enslaved in Egypt.

However, a red flag should go up here.  How could Rashi say that the Jews were enslaved for 210 years when this is only how long they spent living in Egypt, but the slavery actually lasted for only 116 years following the passing of the last of the Tribes (sons of Jacob)?  But no doubtedly, this slavery is refering to the most significant part of it - the spirituality decline while sojouring for this period of time.  And the proof is what lead to the physical slavery; for it was only after King Pharoh himself participated in building to get the Jews working and then have them be slaves, since instead of learning the Torah as the Tribe of Levi sid who was spared the physical slavery, these Jews were looking to enjoy themselves and feel part of the culture that they were presently l;ivijng up.  And of course, this resulted from a spiritual DECLINE on their part.

In stark contrast, the ultimate spiritual ascent in terms of physicality is GOING UP on THE MOUNT, the Temple Mount, and as we mention in the Haggada of Passover in which we recount our freedom from our slavery in Egypt, we mention a list of 15 different favors that Hashem did for us, the final one being granting us the Holy Temple.

There is one important point that I want to note here.  Especially today, with the Moslem Arabs' claim of the Temple Mount being their "third holiest spot", even though the Koran doesn't mention Jerusalem even once, it is crucial that we Jews make a difference, showing our support of OUR ownership to our Land, and MOST ESPECIALLY, THE HOLIEST PLACE ON THIS EARTH THAT HASHEM HAS GRANTED TO US, which was returned to us in the Six Day War, except that the evil Moshe Dayan who despised Judaism gave over the key of the Temple Mount to the Wakf, without even any pressure to give it away. And so, we must make a supreme effort that at least if we are not going to defy the dictatorship of the Israeli government and police by praying and bowing on the Temple Mount, that we at make a showing which will assert OUR ownership to the place, and all the Barack Obamas and John Kerrys in the world cannot change that or will be able to stop this.  True, it is only at the Western Wall that we are not forbidden by the government to pray at, but it is about time that especially observant Jews stop using the WALL as a coverup for claiming that it is forbidden to ascend the Temple Mount at all, which is tantamount to denying a holy piece of the Torah, which in effect is denying a Mitzva of the Torah that still exists to this day which is called Mora Mikdash, that refers SPECIFICALLY to this most holy spot, and has not ceased with the destruction of the Temple.


What kind of connection could there be between the Temple Mount and Purim, let alone Purim Katan, naming the date of 14 Adar I, a few days ago, being that it is not on this first 14th of Adar that we read the Megilla on (as well as the other Mitzvot of Purim), but on the second 14th of Adar, and so, this first 14th Adar is called the "Small Purim"?  At least Halachicly, fasting and eulogies are forbidden on the 14th and 15th of the first Adar, as is the case on the second Adar, or on Adar in a regular non-leap Jewish year.   The only question that is asked about Purim Katan, at least on 14 Adar I, is if we celebrate this date by eating delicious food as we do on a regular Purim.  While there are those Halachic authorities who state that this is the case, while the Rama, the Ashkenazic viewpoint on the Shulchan Aruch that is composed by Rabbi Joseph Karo who was Sephardic, states that there is no Mitzva to have a festive meal per se, he does note that it is customary to add something to one's regular meal in commemoration of this once in two or three years occasion.

Now note, the laws of Purim Katan is the very last chapter of the Orach Chaim section of the Shulchan Aruch (Siman or Chapter 697).  This year, I made sure to learn the various commentaries on this chapter in my Mishna Berura set. And let me tell you what I discovered - the Temple Mount.

No kidding.  You see, one of the Halachic commentators, known as the Ba'er Heiteiv, authored by Rabbi Yehuda Ashkenazi, in his very last note on this part of the Shulchan Aruch, on the final word of this Shulchan Aruch - in the followup words of the Rama - which is the word Tamid (always), writes a wish that "Our House of Beauty should speedily arise, we will serve Him in fear of Him, the HAR HABAYIT (Temple Mount) will be positioned on the top of mountains forevermore."

Now, this is a most beautiful wish/prayer, using nice poetry language.  But, what does Purim have to do with the Temple or Temple Mount for that matter?  After all, the holiday of Purim evolved specifically outside of Israel where the miracles that led to this holiday took place; while ironically, the holiday of Chanuka, which came about a nice couple hundred of centuries later, took place not just anywhere in Israel, but on the very grounds of the Temple Mount pertaining to the lights of the Menorah in the Temple lasting for eight days instead of just one day until new pure olive oil that wasn't spiritually contaminated by the Syrian Greeks was able to be made available.

Well first, as I had mentioned in a recent post, in the Purim story, King Achashveirosh, who was a rotten anti-Semite from beginning to end, offered his queen Esther any part of his 127 country kingdom - except for the middle part which was the very site of the Holy Temple.  And so, it makes only sense that since at that time, at least as long as this king was alive, when construction on the Temple which began a little before his reign was halted thanks to the "good Samaritans" (dubbed by the Christian Bible which is full of anti-Semitic statements and implications), one could only wish for the Temple to be rebuilt "speedily in our days".

And  we can certainly use this wish/blessing now, more than ever.  In fact, the final words used in this Ba'er Heiteiv are Adei Ad, loosely translated as forevermore.  Both of this words are using the letters Ayin and Dalet - the final two letters of our Jewish year 5774 - which consists of the letters Hei, Tav, Shin, Ayin, Dalet.  And this thing about the phrase Adei Ad is most significant for another reason, because in the opening verse of the Shema - Shema Yisrael Hashem Elokeinu Hashem Echad "Hear O Israel, Hashem is our G-d, Hashem is One" (Deutronomy 6:4), the last letters of the first word Shema and the last word Echad - Ayin and Dalet - are written extra large in the Sefer Torah (Torah Scroll), howbeit in a different context of these two letters as a word reading Eid (instead of Ad) meaning witness, as in the Shema, we bear witness to Hashem being One, Who by the way, will be in existence forevermore (Adei Ad) just as He was always in existence before the creation of time (hard to understand how time can be a creation, but this is beyond human comprehension).

With this said, Purim corresponds to the Sephira of Netzach, which means both eternity and victory.  In terms of eternity, our rabbis tell us that in the future, when all the other Jewish holidays will be nullifed (may not necessarily mean that they will be abolished, but that they will pale in significance to other holidays), the holiday of Purim will never be nullifed.  And in other contexts, this is similarly stated in terms of Megillat Esther (Book of Esther), that while in the future, the other books of the Nach (Nevi'im - Prophets and Ketuvim - Writings) will be nullified, Megillat Esther will never be nullified.  And in terms of victory, the Jews won wars against their enemies that led to this holiday of Purim.  However, this was not a complete victory, because Israel was still under Persian rule when at that time, the ban on Temple construction wasn't lifted followed lies from the "Good Samaritans" about the Jews, and so in a sense, it can be said that Purim should be called Purim Katan "Small Purim", for it was a small victory in terms of the Jews' spirituality in terms of what the Jews were able to accomplish.  Hence, this could well explain the connection between what is in actuality Purim Katan as in the context of the last chapter of the Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim and the Temple Mount, the grounds of the Temple.

Also, just as the Sephira of Netzach is the middle of the seven active Sephirot (Chesed, Gevurah, Tiferet, Netzach, Hod, Yesod, Malchut), so in certain leap years in which there are the maximum 385 days a year, as it is this year, Purim is the middle day of the year, which I have touched upon in the post in this Gematria blogspot, and will be expounding into greater depth, G-d willing, before Purim in the next month of Adar II. And in relationship to this concept of the middle, noting that the Talmud states (Berachot 58a) quoting Rabbi Akiva that in the context of a verse, Netzach refers to Jerusalem, this is the part of the world that King Achashveirosh was avoiding to give to Queen Esther "I will give you up UNTIL HALF of the kingdom", noting that Israel, or more specifically Jerusalem, home to the grounds of the Temple, would not be granted to her people, the Jewish people (While King Achashveirosh did not technically know yet of Esther's Jewish origins; subconsciously, he was such an anti-Semite, that he automatically said this).

And before conclusion on this post, in the series of the combinations of the Sephirot, we are up to the 19th Sephira - Hod She'B'Tiferet.  As per this post, Hod refers to the Beit HaMikdash and as I quoted earlier from the Ba'er Heitev commentary on the Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim, he refers to the Temple as Beit Tifarteinu, "Our House of BEAUTY".  So basically, this Sephira combination focuses on the Temple being the aspect of Tiferet.

Oh yes, there is one more connection of the number 210 to Purim or Purim Katan.  You see, the date of Purim - 14 Adar - is the Yarhzeit of Dr. Baruch Goldstein, may Hashem avenge his blood.  In a leap year, according to Ashkenazic customs, as he was an Ashkenazi, the Yarhzeit is supposed to be observed on the first of the two Adars; and hence this year, his Yarhzeit was on Purim Katan.  This year marks 20 years since he was the Purim hero of the day having shot 29 Moslem Arabs as the Mearat HaMachpela, the burial place of Adam, Eve, the Patriarchs and Matriarchs in Hebron, who were among many planning to murder Jews on that fateful Purim which fell out on the Moslem Sabbath (Friday) in the month of Ramadan - hence a most "holy" time for these beasts to pick to murder Jews, which was well known by the Israeli government beforehand, including the fact that the Arabs posted fliers telling everyone to stock up for an upcoming curfew which they felt would be imposed on them by the Israeli government following their planned attack.  More on this in my upcoming post, but the point here is that since the murder of Dr. Goldstein, a Sefer was published about his life and Torah on themes of Kiddush Hashem (Sanctification of Hashem's name) and Mesirut Nefesh (giving up of oneself) called Baruch HaGever, which means "Blessed is the man", or "Blessed is the strong one", and the word HaGever is the Gematria of 210.  So, stay tuned for this upcoming post commemorating 20 years from the murder of this most special Jew who had everything to live for, but gave up his life to save many other Jews' lives.

17 Adar I, 5774

P.S.  It is with great sadness to note the passing of another very special Jew that just happened today on this Hebrew date - Rabbi Meir Tzvi Schuster, ZT'L, may the memory of the righteous be for a blessing. Known as the "Man of the Wall", he spent some 40 years on a daily basis at the Western Wall attracting young Jews visiting to the beauty of Judaism, bringing them to their first class on Judaism or arranging for their first Shabbat meal, having literally brought thousands to the fold of Judaism, including some who are today noted rabbis.  While this post focused on the Temple Mount in start contrast to the Wall, it was this rabbi's exceptional good deeds at the Wall, among others who have also done outreach at the Wall, that made a huge impact on the Jewish people for eternity.  There is perhaps no one today who has done as much Jewish outreach with the accomplishments that Rabbi Schuster had performed.  For more information on his incredible life, especially as testified by many who were brought back to the fold of Judaism, you can refer to http://www.rebmeirschuster.org/

Monday, February 10, 2014

#209 - The Righteous One

The truth is, the ultimate righteous One is Hashem.  However, those who follow the righteous path, following in Hashem's ways, are also called righteous.  In fact, the 611th Mitzva of the Torah is to be similar to Hashem, as the Talmud (Shabbat 133b) states: "Just as Hashem is compassionate, so too must we be compassionate. Just as Hashem is merciful, so too must we be merciful", being derived from what the Torah states "You shall walk in His ways" (Deutronomy 28:9).  Small wonder then that it is the 611th Mitzva of the Torah, for the Gematria of the word Torah is 611.

While there have been many righteous Jews, as well as some righteous non-Jews, throughout the generations, there have been a few that particularly bear the title of HaTzadik (the righteous one), most notably Joseph and Shimon HaTzadik, the latter being the Cohen Gadol (High Priest) for 40 years, and the last surviving member of the Anshei Knesset HaGedolah (Men of the Great Assembly).

Now, the big question is, who was the most righteous person to walk this planet?  Well, if we go through the Chumash (Penteteuch), the greatest star of this five book series is Moses, whose birthdate/Yahrzeit was just a few days ago on 7 Adar I.  Ironically, he is not mentioned even once in Genesis, the first book of the Torah, but that is because he wasn't born yet until the beginning of the book of Exodus.  But as believers of the Chumash, what is written in the Sefer Torah (Torah Scroll), that it comes from Hashem, rather being a man made written material (Moses just transcribed what Hashem told Him to write), we can see that Hashem spends most of His time with the greatest righteous ones, as is evidenced from the amount of material that is written on them in the Torah.  Similarly, in this physical world, the business people who are wealthy don't just spend the majority of their time, outside of their families, just with anyone, but with other similarly minded people, ultimately helping them reach their goals of being financially successful.

Now, while with Moses, who is typically known as Moshe Rabbeinu, is called HaTzadik many times in the Midrash, it seems that he is given this title only once in the entire Talmud, particularly in the Mishna (Nedarim 3:11), where it states: Rabbi Yehoshua Ben Korcha says, Great is circumcision, to the extent that (even) Moshe HaTzadik was not held back from punishment for even a moment over it.  Now, the particular context of this is when Moses delayed circumcising his second son Eliezer on his trip to Egypt, even though going to Pharaoh telling him to let the Jews go was on Hashem's orders.  Nevertheless, he was nearly killed because this Mitzva of circumsion to be performed on the eighth day is so great, it supercedes virtually all other Mitzvot, even Shabbat, unless the child's health could be endangered.  Now, the reason why Moses delay his son's circumcision was for this very reason, or at least supposed reason, being afraid that the travel would have an effect on his son's health.  However, he was blamed nevertheless because Moses spent time staying in a motel instead of going as quickly as possible to follow Hashem's orders, and so, if he already was going to delay following Hashem's orders, then he had no excuse not to circumcise his son.

Now mind you, the various Midrashim are also part of the Torah She'B'Al Peh (Oral Torah).  However, the Mishna and Gemara, making up the Talmud, is the most important part of the Oral Torah, being that this comprises all the basic laws, and discussions thereof, of the Torah.  And so, if this is the only instance in the Talmud that Moses is referred to as Moshe HaTzadik, there has to be a good reason for this.

As we know from Kabbala, the Sephira of Yesod represents the sexual organ part of the body, representing the Brit Mila, the Holy Covenant; and accordingly, it is the Tzadik who is called the Yesod HaOlam "Foundation of the world", especially because it is the righteous one who is careful to guard the Covenant. This means that not only he doesn't misuse his sexual organ for pleasures that are forbidden from the Torah outside of marriage, but he doesn't do anything that can arouse himself, aside for his wife, that could lead to misusing it, including improper thoughts.  Indeed, while we may very well know what the Torah wants and expects of us, undeniably, sexuality is very tempting, and without the proper controls, one can easily be led astray after it, especially in this day and age when more than ever, girls and women walk around more immodestly dressed, or undressed, then ever before; which was not always the case even a hundred years ago.  And so, it is in the particular context about the Brit that Moses is referred to by the title of HaTzadik, noting that despite his own great righteousness, especially in this area of controlling himself from sexual temptations, just as Joseph did that earned himself the title of HaTzadik, all his merits did not save him from being nearly killed for not circumcising his week old infant, and it was only when his wife Tzipora who realized what was happening and circumcised their infant herself, was Moses then released from being punished.

Now typically, righteous people do the type of heroic deeds that few others would do.  A prime example is in this week's Parshat Ki Tisa, in which is recounted the story of the Golden Calf that unfortunately, some Jews fell prey in worshipping it.  Now, while Moses himself told his Tribe of Levi to go out and kill the sinners, he still had a love for the Jewish people as a whole, to the extent, that not only when Hashem told him that He was going to destroy His nation and make a new nation from Moses, that he turned it down, not wishing for the Jewish people to be killed (but Hashem's offer of Moses having a nation descended from him became fulfilled in having a multitude of descendants); but knowing how Hashem was still very upset and angry over what some of the Jews did, Moses told Him that if He would not forgive them, then He should remove his name from the entire Sefer Torah that was destined to be written (which was also fulfilled in a way by the lack of his name being mentioned in last week's Parshat Tetzaveh, even though Hashem said that He forgave the Jewish people).  For even though certainly, if Hashem was upset and angry at the Jewish people, it was for good reason, Moses did not find this justifiable in terms of letting the Jewish nation being destroyed or not remaining on good terms with Hashem, and even though Moses of all people could have had it easy and not worry about the rest who weren't as righteous as he was, he would not hear of this, and was willing to even give up his own spiritual merits if this is what it would taken to secure the Jewish people's future.

At this time, I would like to note that my daughter Tamar's second Hebrew name is Tzadika, which has the same letters as HaTzadik, which by the way, is the Gematria of 209, the number of this post.  And indeed, the Biblical Tamar in the Chumash was one of the 22 righeteous women mentioned in the Tanach (Jewish Bible).  And while on the surface, it may seem that Tamar was simply looking to have a one night stand, and for a prostitue fee, with Judah her former father-in-law, following the death of her past two husbands who were both sons of Judah, her intentions were for the sake of heaven, which I will not discuss in this post, as the discussion of this is beyond the topic of this post.  However, what is important to note is Tamar's willingness to take a chance being burned in the furnace following being judged to death by Judah who didn't realize that it was Tamar whom Judah made pregnant; and it was only when Tamar sent him the items that Judah placed with her as a deposit until he would pay her the prostitute fee, with the hope that Judah would get the hint without being embarrased, that it reminded him of what happened which prompted him to confess, saving Tamar from death.  In fact, the Talmud praises Tamar in more than one place for her heroic deed of not wishing to embarrass Judah, even if it would mean that she would be burned to death otherwise; and it is from this very incident that the rabbis learn out that it is better for one to even be thrown into the furnace than the sin of embarrassing another Jew.  In essence, Tamar, just like Moses, went the extra mile to save face for someone else who condemned her to death, and she could have easily made him look bad, especially after Judah refused to give over his third son Shela over to her for marriage.  Truly, it could be said of Tamar that her actions of sleeping with Judah was full the sake of heaven.  In fact, the Midrash tells us that it was meant to be from Hashem that it would be from this very union that the Davidic dynasty and Moshiach would be descended from.  Interestingly, the letters of Tamar's name - Tav, Mem, Reish - are beginning of the words Torat Moshe Rabbeinu - the Torah of Moses our Teacher, for it is both through the teachings AND the actions of the righteous that we learn from.

And before I conclude, I would like to point out to the next Sephira combination in posting, Netzach She'B'Tiferet, the 18th one in line.  Kabbalistically, it is Moshe Rabbeinu of the Seven Shepherds who represents particularly the Sephira of Netzach (Eternity or Victory), who indeed, secured the eternity of the Jewish people in the incident of the Golden Calf, in the midst of Tiferet, which is the combination of Chesed representing pure kindness and Gevurah representing pure strictness, which was displayed among the Jewish people in punishing the rotten apples while letting the rest of the Jewish people remain alive in this incident.

There is one more personage that I would like to mention here bearing the same name as Moshe Rabbeinu, Moshe ben Yaakov from Coucy (a town in France), known as the Semag, an acronym for the name of his work Sefer Mitzvot HaGadol, an early work on the list of the Taryag Mitzvot (613 Commandments).  The reason that I mention him here is because his name is Moshe, just like Moshe Rabbeinu who represented the Sephira of Netzach; and his father's name is Yaakov, just like the name of the Biblical Jacob who represents the Sephira of Tiferet.

Having dedicated a recent post #207 (Jan '14) to the Chofetz Chaim, whose birthdate (11 Shevat) - which falls out during the week of the Jewish calendar that corresponds to the Sephira of Netzach She'B'Tiferet - in this year fell out on the FIRST day of the week of Parshat Yitro, it is most interesting to note that the Hebrew word for "from Coucy", in terms of the Semag, is M'Kutzi, which has the same Gematria as the title of the Chofetz Chaim, which is also the name of the Chofetz Chaim's first Sefer.  Having mentioned this, the work of the Semag is divided up into two parts - the 248 Mitzvot Aseh (Positive or Action Commandments) and the 365 Mitzvot Lo Ta'aseh (Prohibitive or Non-Action Commandments).  Now, the first of the Mitzvot Aseh in the list is the Mitzva in the belief in Hashem, and the first of the Mitzvot Lo Ta'aseh in the list is the Mitzva of not believing in a god other than Hashem - the FIRST two Mitzvot of Parshat Yitro (which are the first two of the Ten Commandments).

Indeed, it is most fitting that Moshe Rabbeinu, who was the greatest one in emulating Hashem's ways as per the 611th Mitzva of the Torah, should be the one after whom the Torah - this word being the Gematria of 611 - be named after, as mentioned in the END of the prophecy of Malachi, the LAST of the prophets - Zichru Torat Moshe Avdi "Remember the Torah of Moses My servant", and in English, the Chumash, the material of the Sefer Torah that was first written down by Moses who miraculously wrote 13 Torah Scrolls on the LAST day of his life, corresponding to the 13 ways that the Torah can be interpreted and the 13 Divine Attributes that we are supposed to emulate, of which the END of it mentions his passing, is known as the Five Books of Moses,.

10 Adar I, 5774