TIME FOR ATONEMENT

It was two years ago, when on 8 of Tishrei 5774, after mincha/afternoon prayer in the erev-erev/two days before Yom Kippur, I first thought of studying the parshas Vezot HaBracha (yom chamishi/fifth day). The time of the shkiah/sunset was approaching and soon we were going for kaparot – the ancient Jewish ritual for atonement of sins, performed before Yom Kippur. However, before leaving I was moved strongly to study the first pasuk/verse of this parshas’ fifth reading, which says: ולדן אמר דן גור אריה יזנק מן הבש U’leDan amar Dan gur ariye yezanek min-haBashan, “And of Dan he said: Dan is a lion’s whelp, that leapeth forth from Bashan” (Devarim 33:22, Vezot HaBracha). Therefore, I was instructed to investigate the rashei tavot of דן גור אריה Dan gur ariye, being the letters dalet-gimel-alef with gematria 8, just as today’s date, 8 of Tishrei. Moreover, I saw that the gematria atbash of this rashei tavot was equal to 700, that being the same numerical value as the word כפרת kaparot. Immediately, I was filled with a spirit of awe of G-d and exclaimed: “Truly, today is a time for atonement”, baruch Hashem.

 

THE SWORD

And it is written: אם-שנותי ברק חרבי ותאחז במשפט ידי אשיב נקם לצרי ולמשנאי אשלם Im-shanoti barak charbi vetochez bemishpat yadi ashiv nakam letsarai velimsanai ashalem, “If I sharpen my glittering sword, and My hand take hold on judgment; I will render vengeance to Mine adversaries, and will recompense them that hate Me” (Devarim 32:41, Ha’azinu). I was meditating in this pasuk/verse, when my thoughts took me to מתושלח Metushalach/Methuselah (Bereshit 5:21). On these ancient pre-diluvian times, the forces of evil were totally revealed, and the earth was amply populated by Nefilim/Fallen Angels, giants and shedim/demons. Metushalach was a righteous and holy man who knew the secrets of the universe passed onto him by his father חנוך Enoch: an extremely holy and singular man who “walked with G-d” (Bereshit 5:22) and kept the secrets of the world passed onto him since Adam. In fact, we see the great blessing of Metushalach in the gematria atbash of his name, with the numerical value of 173, the same as the verse אנכי ה’ אלקיך Anochi Hashem Elokecha, “I am the L-rd your G-d” (Shemot 20:2). In time, Metushalach transmitted the spiritual realities of the Torah to his grandson Noach (Bamidbar Rabah 4:8). Truly, Metushalach was an agent of G-d used to subjugate the revealed evil on earth. His own name announced his holy function: מתו Metu/Death ושלח Shalach/Messenger – he was the “Messenger of Death” for the wicked, like an angel. See, the gematria albam of מתושלח Metushalach plus one for the kolel equals 214, the numerical value of the word ruach/spirit (reish-vav-chet, 200 + 6 + 8 = 214). The ancient Midrashim relate that he possessed a sword with the Divine Name of G-d (the “Tetragram“) inscribed in it on both sides of the sword’s blade. In his great kedusha/holiness, he used this blessed weapon to slaughter millions of demons, only stopping with the killing after a long time and destruction of these plagues. This happened when the king of the shedim himself (a name I will not reveal) implored to be spared from being killed, promising that the shedim would hide far away from the cities, in the seas, rivers and caves. At last, in respect of Metushalach‘s mourning, who passed away at 969 years of age, Hashem delayed for seven days the Mabul/Deluge in the generation of Noach (Bereshit Rabah 3:6; Talmud, Sanhedrin 108b).

Now, the rashei tevot/acrostic of Im-shanoti barak charbi, “If I sharpen my glittering sword” (alef-shin-bet-chet, 1 + 300 + 2 + 8) has gematria absolute 311, the same as איש ish/man and האשה ha-ishah/the woman. And the sofeit tevot/end letters (mem-yud-kuf-yud, 40 + 10 + 100 + 10) have gematria 160, the same as צלם tzelem/shadow (tzadik-lamed-mem, 90 + 30 + 40 = 160). The Ari”zal explains that “The feminine tzelem is the force – meaning the states of gevurah – that guard the soul from damage. However, opposite to this shadow there is the shadow of evil” (Sefer HaLikutim, Bo). Thus, I understand this: the reference to the feminine shadow of evil means the forces that seek to abduct the vital energy from the “seeds” of men, as they may be spilled inappropriately, in vain. We see that the “glittering sword” that is guarded represents to the Jew, the zeal with his Brit Kodesh (and to the Nations, although in a lesser degree, the keeping of the mitzva of “not having illicit relations”). Thus as the masters teach, “Be ye afraid of the sword… that ye may know there is a judgment” (Shemot Rabah 30:24 citing Iyov 19:29), where the sword – here pronounced shadun/judgement, but written shedim/demon – is a symbol for decrees. The sword with the Tetragram possesses the Brit Kodesh spiritual power, in this way slaughtering the shedim with its shadun. Thus, when this shechita, the Torah‘s ritual slaughter is mystically performed on the shedim, their “blood” – to wit, their vital energy – are also shedim; in the same way and manner that in the Makah/Plague of the Tzefardeah/Frogs in Mitzrayim/Egypt – when someone would hit them, they in turn multiplied (Rashi on Shemot 8:2). However, metaphorically, if the sword is “sharp” (that is, is there is zeal with the Brit, again, a subject strictly Jewish), all of these “sons of the demoniacal plague” die as well. Now, if there is a mistake in the shechita, because the sword had flaws in the blade (for the Torah ritual slaughter blade must be perfect in order to validate the shechita*) or in the kavanot/mystical intentions at the time of the act, this can bring tza’arot/problems with the shedim that survive in the vital force from the minute drops spilled in vain. This is so, because as it is known, a wounded animal is always more dangerous. See, the sword is glittering and deadly to the evil forces, because the sparkling lights of holiness annul and destroy the inferior light of evil. This barak/glitter from the sword is like a “flash of light” (ref. Ezequiel 21:15; see Rashi on Devarim 32:41, Ha’azinu). In the same manner, the demons are a flash of light for those who unfortunately come to glimpse at them. Therefore, it is written in this parsha,  מזי רעב ולחמי רשף וקטב מרירי Mezei raav ulechumei reshef veketev meriri, “They will sprout hair from famine, attacked by demons [reshef] excised by Meriri, etc.” (Devarim 32:24, Ha’azinu). In fact, another translation for רשף reshef is “fiery bolt [of light]”. These plagues fly upwards (see Iyov 5:7) in the appearance of rays, but the glittering sword voids them completely. As such, we see that the barak charvi which is the Brit Kodesh proper, can be used for good – through the appropriate marital relations that care for the procreating organ – or to evil, if it is profaned (and in the case of the Nations, although there is no Brit, the illicit sexual relations, profane the person). Incredibly, the gematria atbash of חרב cherev/sword is 363, that being the same numerical value as HaMashiach/The Messiah, or the world’s “nemesis”, HaNachash/The Serpent. All in the world depends on orientation: if to evil, delaying Mashiach and giving strength to the side of the Serpent, chaz v’shalom, or to good – speeding up the coming of the true Mashiach, very soon in our days amen.

 

*  The actual knife used for shechita is called a חלף hallaf by Ashkenazim or a סכין sakin by all other Jews. Mystically, we see the power of judgement in the essence of the knife, as the gematria atbash of חלף is 86, the same as the Elokim, the Divine Name associated with judgement. Moreover, this knife is the tool for kosher ritual slaughter for Torah all permited animals (such as cattle etc.). A hint to that, the gematria albam of hallaf is 107, the same as for כל הבהמה kol habehema, “all the cattle”. The sakin also has inner meaning and secrets, for its gematria albam is 707, the same numerical value as ‘תרומה לה teruma la-Hashem, “The L-rd’s offerings”, referring to the ritually slaughtered sacrifices brought to the altar.

 

AMEN!

It is written in this holy parsha: וחרה אפי בו ביום-ההוא ועזבתים והסתרתי פני מהם והיה לאכל ומצאהו רעות רבות וצרות ואמר ביום ההוא הלא על כי-אין אלקי בקרבי מצאוני הרעות האלה ,ואנכי הסתר אסתיר פני ביום ההוא על כל-הרעה אשר עשה כי פנה אל-אלקים אחרים “Then My anger shall be kindled against them in that day, and I will forsake them, and I will hide My face from them, and they shall be devoured, and many evils and troubles shall come upon them; so that they will say in that day: Are not these evils come upon us because our G-d is not among us? And I will surely hide My face in that day for all the evil which they shall have wrought, in that they are turned unto other gods” (Devarim 31:17-18).

Now, to turn unto “other gods” is a code for any disconnection from Hashem. This can occur in its most revealed manner in any kind of idolatry – a perversion of Divine consciousness – or in the disdaining of His laws, ordinances and guidance. All matters and nothing is left without accountability. Each act, emotions and thoughts are registered Above. Each aspect of a being is seen and judged by its merits or fault. And the celestial scale is perfect, for His is the Judge of Truth. Even a “simple” Amen* has incalculable weight. See, “We have learnt that he who descends to אבדון Avadon, the place [in Gehinnom/Hell] also called תחתית Tachtit, ‘bottom’, never ascends again, and he is called ‘a man who has been wiped out from all worlds’. And we have learnt that to this place they take down those who scorn to answer Amen [when they hear a legitimate Torah bracha/blessing], and for all the Amens which they have neglected they are judged in Gehinnom and taken down to that lowest storey which has no outlet, and from which they never ascend” (Zohar 286a, Vayelech). And I saw that the gematria of Avadon (alef-bet-dalet-vav-nun, ou 1 + 2 + 4 + 6 + 50) is 63, that being the same numerical value of the letters samech and gimel (60 + 3). These two letters together form the root of the word for “dross” [SiGim], as in the verse, “Everyone is dross, completely foul” (Tehillim 53:4).

Now, it is the individual’s gas ruach (“crude spirit”) that makes him scorn Hashem and His Torah, as in the fundamental act of testimony and sanctification of His Name: saying Amen for a bracha. And the Zohar is so forceful about this, thus we can infer that to deny saying Amen to a bracha is the quintessence of an arrogant man’s crude spirit. The proud man is one who prostrates to other gods, particularly to the biggest of them all: his “interior god”. Hence, the reason for his punishment being so severe, as described in this terrifying verse of the Torah. Behold, the only tzeruf/anagram of SaG is GaS; and the gematria albam of Avadon plus the kolel is 214, the same gematria of ruach (reish-vav-chet = 200 + 6 + 8 = 214), meaning spirit. Avadon is truly the place for those with a gas ruach. And for those that dare not to believe that these punishments will follow him even beyond the grave – a time of retributions – the Torah reveals it is otherwise. As the Torah is a Divine message, each letter and verse are infinite portals of understanding. All truths of the universe exist therein. Regarding those who ignore Hashem, the pasuk/verse says, ומצאהו רעות רבות וצרות umetsauhu raot rabot vetsarot, “and many evils and troubles shall come upon them”, with gematria albam 728: the same numerical value of the expression חיים אחר המות chayim achar hamot “life after death”. There is life even after the physical life, and the Divine Reckoning will follow as promised in the Torah. And even when we treat something that seems to be so “minor”, as a simple Amen, if this is scorned, then “many evils and troubles shall come upon them”, incredibly, with gematria katan 91: the same numerical value of the word Amen (alef-men-nun, 1 + 40 + 50 = 91); and the gematria atbash is 1309, the same as מהתחתנות mehaTachtonot, “from the bottom”. It is time to awaken!

* Amen is a reshei tevot/acrostic of KEl Melekh Ne’eman (Talmud, Shabbat 119b).

 

YOUR THRONE OF KINGDOM

And it is written: וישב ה’ לי כצדקתי כברי לנגד עיניו Vayashev Hashem li ke’tsidkati kevori leneged einav, “Therefore hath the L-rd recompensed me according to my righteousness/tzedakah, according to my cleanness in His eyes” (Shmuel II 22:25). And the ordinal gematria (mispar siduri) of Vayashev Hashem li ke’tsidkati is 187. This is the same numerical value as the expression כסא המלוכה Kise hamelucha, “Throne of kingdom” (Melachim I 1:46). This needs to be explained, with the help of Heaven. Each person is supposed to give strength to the Kingdom of Heaven, so in this way he can help subjugate the Kingdom of the Other Side (sitra achra). This occurs when the person fulfills and studies Torah with enthusiasm and sincerity. When the individual gives strength to the side of kedusha/sanctity, his own “personal kingdom” – his malchut – is strengthened by the brachot/blessings from Hashem. As it is written, “The way of Hashem are righteous, and the righteous walk in them, whereas the sinners stumble in them” (Hoshea 14:10). When the person walks in righteousness and makes justice/tzedakah (where righteousness, justice and charity, in Hebrew, all have the same root), he is allowed to sit in his own “Throne of kingdom”, that is, he is permitted to have a blessed life, balanced and with peace. Those distant from Hashem walk in remorse, chaos e interior emptiness. Their lives never have peace. This pasuk of Shmuel also teaches that kevori leneged einav, “According to my cleanness in His eyes”. In giving tzedakah, the person rectifies himself, and in this way purifies his soul, which is completely seen by Hashem, singularly in Rosh Hashana – the Day of Judgment – when all creatures pass by the Supreme Judge: one after another, to be judged if to be inscribed in the Book of Life or not. And the gematria of this pasuk (187) also equals the name אליועיני Elioenai, which means: “To G-d [spelled Yud-Kei] my eyes” (Ezra 10:22). As such, the person that gives “his eyes” to Hashem, seeking a dignified path, avoiding to look at forbidden things, is positively seen by the “eyes of G-d”, as said in the pasuk of Shmuel. Moreover, our holy sages teach, וישב ה’ לי כצדקתי “Nullify your will before His will…”, כדי שיבטל רצון אחרים מפני רצונך “So that He should nullify the will of others before your will” (Pirkei Avot 2:4). The eyes represent the entire “capturing” of material reality, filled by the sitra achra. When the person nullifies his eyes and only seeks to look at what is holy and correct, he in fact lowers the evil inclination and gives strength to the Kingdom of Heaven – to the King of World Himself. As such, the sinners do not damage his life, and his kingdom/malchut is care for and allowed to exist by Hashem Himself. Behold, the ordinal gematria of “Nullify your will before His will” is 210, the same numerical value for the name וצדק Iohtzadak, “Kah is righteous” (Ezra 5:2), and the gematria katan of “So that He should nullify the will of others before your will” is 105, the same as the name מלכיה Malkiah, “Kah is King”.

כְּתִיבָה וְחֲתִימָה טוֹבָה

K’tiva ve chatima tova

May you all be inscribed in the Book of Life, amen.

שָׁנָה טוֹבָה וּמְתוּקָה

Shana Tova u’metuka – A good and sweet year.

 

SPIRITUAL WINTERS

Sometimes a person feels a lesser connection with the Torah. Indeed, there are “spiritual winters”. It is as if the inner fire for Torah has diminished somewhat, creating confused feelings of guilt and sadness, chaz v’shalom. Now, it is a spiritual law that kedusha/sanctity and tumah/impurity cannot occupy the same place. If in the heart of the yid the fire for Torah has lessened, chaz v’shalom, this means that a “strange fire” of tumah – of low self-esteem, secular ideas, heretical thoughts etc. – is burning therein. Therefore, it is imperative to quickly extinguish and annul the impure fire which depresses the person. Sometimes, a segulah/spiritual remedy can help. Truly, there are countless segulot. Now, it is written: ואשריהם תשרפון באש Vaashereihem tisrefun baesh, “And burn their Asherim with fire” (Devarim 12:3, Re’eh). Truly, holy fire is needed to burn away the negative energy – the Asherim/idolatrous trees – that afflicted your own fire, in order to strengthen again your resolve for kedusha. Now, to help reignite this inner fire for Torah one can meditate on this pasuk: ידעתי ה’ כי-צדק משפטיך ואמונה עניתני Yadati Hashem ki-tsedek mishpateicha veemuna initani, “I know, O L-rd, that Thy judgments are righteous, and that in faithfulness Thou hast afflicted me” (Tehillim 119:75). Behold, both ואשריהם תשרפון באש and ידעתי ה’ כי-צדק משפטיך ואמונה עניתני have the same gematria 1901. There is a powerful hint to the effectiveness of this segulah. The sofei tavot (“end lettes”, which semantically means “at the end of matters”) of this Psalm is יהיקךהי, with gematria atbash plus the kolel of 335. This is the same numerical value of parah adumah, “red heifer” (pei-reish-hei alef-dalet-mem-hei, or [80 + 200 + 5] + [1 + 4 + 40 + 5] = 335), whose purifying ashes completly remove all tumah.

 

HOLY LEFTOVERS

A certain frum yid (“Torah observant jew”) I had visited to ask for tzedakah told me, when I asked him if he could help me: “Today until Friday there are critical meetings about my portion in Parnasah/financial sustenance for me to help you and others”. I wished him hatzlacha rabbah/great success and left him. He did not help me this time, but I went on my way, happy and confident Hashem would care for me. On the way out, after thinking on our conversation, I wrote him a note and left it at his office’s entrance desk: Dear Reb Fivish, the millui (“spelling out”) of צדקה tzedakah is צדי דלת קוף הא, which has gematria 730. This is the same numerical value as what is said in the verse of parashat Toledot: מטעמים כאשר matamim kaasher, “savoury food” (Bereshit 27:14). Now, I will be praying for you to be served this most “savory food”. And since you have fear of G-d, I know you will serve holy shirayim* to us all, for this is something אהב אביו ahev aviv, “his ‘Father in Heaven’ will love”**.

* A popular Chassidic custom to endeavor to obtain food from which a Rebbe has partaken from. This practice is referred to as shirayim, meaning “leftovers”.
** The pasuk mentioned ends: מטעמים כאשר אהב אביו matamim kaasher ahev aviv. The last part is here interpreted (and the verb tense changed) as meaning that Hashem (Av/Father in Heaven) approves of this sharing in the food/money.

 

BE A PROMOTER OF PEACE

It is written: “For whoever promotes charity promotes peace, both in the upper world and in the lower world” (Zohar 200b, Mikets), that is, here in the Olam HaAsiyah (our material reality), where all things happen. As such, we learn that although giving tzedakah clearly helps the “receiver”, this act goes much further, to wit, it promotes peace in the world through the beauty, the greatness and the light that means giving to one who needs. As such, a person who fulfills this mitzva of tzedakah directly participates in the Tikkun/Rectification process of the world. This also implies on the “sweetening” of the severe decrees (in Hebrew, gevurot) that afflict us all in this most troublesome time and world. This “sweetening” is particularly important in the place the person lives: in one’s country, state, city and even neighborhood, where there can be many severe decrees, chaz v’shalom. Now, the holy Zohar brings a Psalm to speak on the subject of tzedakah: צדקתו עמדת לעד Tsidkato omedet laad, “His righteousness endures forever” (Tehilim 112:9). Here, we are taught something even greater than observed before: not only the person receives merits and divine kindness for his practice of charity – which helps his own environment, the world at large and even the “spiritual worlds” – but the effects of the tzedakah last forever. It is a mitzva with eternal value, always giving merit in the lifetime of the person and even his descendants. Behold, when we investigate the ordinal gematria (mispar siduri) of צדקתו עמדת לעד Tsidkato omedet laad, the result is 156, that being the same as gematria of the word Yosef. Truly, he was called Yosef HaTzadik/The Righteous, where tzedakah/charity, tzedek/justice and tzadik/righteous all are correlate words. Yosef the tzadik is intrinsically connected with tzedakah, as the Torah is teaching us on another level that the person who gives charity is like a tzadik. Moreover, we can see the “seal” of Hashem in these holy words, because 156 is also the gematria YKVK (26, known as the Tetragram) times six (26 x 6 = 156). And six is the numerical value of the Hebrew letter Vav, which in the reality of our soul, represents the person’s character. A person desirous of true character rectification in all of its major components (which are six, for “six sefirot“) is one who merits to be called a tzadik, for he has Hashem (26) directing and healing all of his personal traits (6). The path of righteousness (156) is truly a blessed one.