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).

 

CHOOSE LIFE

And it is written: העדתי בכם היום את-השמים ואת-הארץ החיים והמות נתתי לפניך הברכה והקללה ובחרת בחיים Haidoti vachem hayom et-hashamayim veet-haarets hachayim vehamavet natati lefaneicha haberacha vehaklala uvacharta bachayim, “I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that I have set before thee life and death, the blessing and the curse; therefore choose life etc.” (Devarim 30:19, Nitzavim). Now, the prophet says: כי הלבישני בגדי-ישע מעיל צדקה Ki hilbishani bigdei-yesha meil tzedaka, “For he has clothed me with the garments of salvation, he has covered me with the robe of righteousness” (Isaiah 61:10). Avraham avinu was the prototype of chesed/kindness, of giving tzedakah. He was the moral pillar the world stood on. His life was one of caring and giving tzedakah* for others, and that in turn raised and enlivened him to incredible levels. Thus Hashem considered all his righteous acts as pure tzedakah (ref. Bereshit 15:6) and endowed him with a spiritual meil tzedakah: a holy robe of righteousness to crown the “fullness of his years” (ref. Bereshit 25:8). In atbash, מעיל צדקה “robe of righteousness” has the same gematria as חיי אברהם “Avraham’s life”. Truly, tzedakah is life! Furthermore, בחרת בחיים vacharta bachayim, “Choose life”, has gematria atbash of 814. This is the same as the milui (“spelling out”) gematria of G-d’s Name Sha-dai (shin-yud-nun, dalet-lamed-tav, yud-vav-dalet, or [300+10+50] + [4+30+400] + [10+6+4] = 814). The Name Shad-dai also corresponds to a level in Divinity called the Shekhinah (“Divine Presence”). When the person gives tzedakah he literally chooses life, for he becomes directly connected to the the Shekhinah, the Source of all life in the universe. And so it was with Avraham avinu**, and so it can be with anyone, amen.

* In all truth this is not a word best translated from Hebrew as “charity”, but as justice. When we help someone with tzedakah, we are in fact making use of the “robe of righteousness/justice”.
** In the first contact Hashem made with Avraham (Bereshit 15:1), the Torah uses the Holy Name Sha-dai/Almighty (see also Zohar 88b, Lech Lecha).

 

SITTING DOWN TO WALK

“Said Rabi Shimon… ואשב בהר ארבעים יום וארבעים לילה לחם Vaeshev bahar arbaim yom vearbaim laila lechem, ‘Then I stayed in the mount [har in Hebrew] forty days and forty nights’ [Devarim 9:9].  Truly, wisdom is not acquired by a man save when he sits and rests, as it says of Moshe that he ‘sat on the mountain forty days’ (ibid.). As said, ‘I dwell’, in fact ‘sit/yeshev‘. So they all sat down” (Zohar 223a, Vayechi). I have always endeavored to teach about the importance to fight against restlessness and how it is like a “thermometer” on spirituality. However, to sit is something spiritually elevated if and when in the performance of a mitzvah. For instance, ישראל וישב על-המטה Yisrael vayeshev al-hamita, “Israel strengthened himself, and sat upon the bed” (Bereshit 48:2, Vayechi), to bless Yosef. Moreover, וישבו לאכל-לחם Vayeshvu leechol-lechem, “And they [Yosef‘s brothers] sat to eat bread” (Bereshit 37:25), etc. Now, when seating is vain and futile, it is considered like seating in judgment. Behold, the word for mount is har, written hei-reish, and its absolute gematria is 205. This is the same numerical value of the regression of the Shem Elokim (alef-lamed-hei-yud-mem): alef, alef-lamed, alef-lamed-hei, alef-lamed-hei-yud, alef-lamed-hei-yud-mem. Then, we see that the numerical value for this regression is: 1 + (1 + 30) + (1 + 30 + 5) + (1 + 30 + 5 +10) + (1 + 30 + 5 + 10 + 40) = 5(1) + 4(30) + 3(5) + 2(10) + 1(40) = 5 + 120 + 15 + 20 + 40 = 200. Finally, we add 5 for the value of the 5 letters of the Shem Elokim for a total of 205. As it is known, the Shem Elokim is always associated with gevurah – the Divine attribute of judgment and severity – and its “withdrawal” (implicated by the regression of the actual Shem), means a situation especially negative, in which the Divine beneficence is severely limited. The Divine consciousness implied by such a situation is not sufficient to “sweeten” (i.e., rectify or even “civilize”) reality, and therefore leaves reality outside its own realm a “desert” or “wasteland,” devoid of Divine consciousness. This is to do nothing, just sitting down. As such, to sit down without doing something to foster the Divine consciousness that can rectify reality – to perform a mitzvah – or care for the body (a mitzvah as well) etc., makes the person simply “sit on the mount”, that is, to sit against the regression of the Shem Elokim: the severe judgment. Any action that contributes for the elevation of reality has the power to “sweeten” this reality. While sitting, the person can and should elevate reality, that is, to raise the 288 Holy sparks from the sefirot of Tohu that fell and became entrapped in the lower worlds (the subject of the Shevirat HaKelim). Incredibly, the ordinal gematria of Vaeshev bahar arbaim yom vearbaim laila lechem, “Then I stayed in the mount forty days and forty nights” is 288. This is something that needs further explaining in another opportunity, with the help of G-d.

 

THE DANGER OF STRESS

It is written: ולא שמעו אל-משה מקצר רוח Velo shamu el-Moshe mikotser ruach, “But they hearkened not unto Moshe for impatience of spirit” (Shemot 6:9, Va’era). The Rashi here says, “But they did not listened to Moshe. They did not accept the consolation. That is, they [the people] got completely desperate over being redeemed at any time due to their shortness of breath. Anyone who is under stress, his wind and breath are short, and he cannot breathe deeply”. The lack of air to breathe is what a person feels when drowning. She can only have a few short respirations, not enough to sustain her. This is what the moment of stress causes in the individual. Behold, the gematria katan of this pasuk is 78, the same as Mabul (the “Deluge”): mem-bet-vav-lamed = 40 + 2 + 6 + 30 = 78. Mystically, the word mabul alludes to the removal of the vital Divine force. This is why the sense of desperation occurs, because the “turbulent waters” from stress rise and “flood” the person’s mind, so to speak. And when we calculate the “regression” (the vision of the posterior/achorayim) of the 3 Divine Names (the manner in which the Tetragram/YKVK is spelled) – the 72-letter Name (Shem Ayn Bet), the 63-letter Name (Shem SaG), and finally the 45-letter Name (Shem MaH) – we have a total of 78 letters, indicating (by the regression of these iterations of the Divine Names) a “withdrawal” of the Shem Havaya (YKVK) from the world, signifying in the global scale the earth’s “drowning” and its demise. Now, we can understand why stress is so dangerous!