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).
Shiur on the parshas Bereshit.
Click here for PDF file.
“Consider a rasha/evil person that in some manner finds himself in Gan Eden, going and coming amongst the tzaddikim/just people that sear in the splendor of their crowns of glory, bathing themselves in the light of the Shechina. The tzaddikim experience there indescribable pleasures, while he suffers incommensurably. Completely unaccustomed to spirituality, for the rasha, this Gan Eden is an incomparable discomfort. As such, this is the essence of the makat choshech [‘the plague of darkness’]. And thus Moshe brought the darkness below, for he ‘extended his hand above the Heavens’ [Shemot 10:21] and Egypt fell in a darkness like never seen before” (the Slonimer Rebbe, Netivot Shalom, Parashat Bo).
The makat choshech meant a tzimtzum (“contraction and restriction”) of the light of Hashem and its physical manifestation. Truly, first a tzimtzum occurred at the spiritual level, in the degree of נטה ידך על-השמים Nete yadecha al’hashamayim, “Extend your hand to the Heaven” (Shemot 10:21), which was the command Hashem gave to Moshe to begin this plague on Egypt. And the ordinal gematria (mispar siduri, in the sofit version) of this pasuk is 166. This is the numerical value for the “regression” (i.e., the posterior/achorayim vision) of the Shem SaG (Name of Hashem spelled with 63 letters, being that the gematria of SaG equals 63). The Shem SaG is associated to Binah, and in man, it means the power of rational intellect. When the Holy Name is “regressed”, this indicates a diminishing or immaturity in the rational understanding – a state of contraction and restriction of the consciousness. In a level, the darkness indicates exactly the incapacity to see, hence rationally understand, resulting from the withdrawal of Divine light. Now, in the physical level, the material darkness is the actual result of this spiritual regression. This is the reason that immediately following the verse says, “That there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, even darkness which may be felt”. Now we can understand something more. For the talmid/student still distant from Torah, everything is strange, uncomfortable and devoid of meaning. The light of Torah, through the words of the rebbe/master, is so strong that the students close their eyes and hid themselves with fear from the great intensity of this Divine irradiation. Then, in this period, they still exist against a thick darkness, in a state of rational immaturity. With the eyes completed closed, they fear opening them to then experience the restrictive reality of their own (private) Egypt. In time and great patience from the master, as they begin opening their eyes so unaccustomed to see the spiritual truths, the light finally begins to enter them, at least to some degree. Finally, they begin perceiving that there is אור במושבתם Or bemoshvotam, “Light in their dwellings” (Shemot 10:23). In fact, the gematria of the millui/spelling of this pasuk is 997, with two for the kollel for each one of the two words we have 999 – the same numerical value of the Holy Name Kel Shakai (“G-d Almighty”), which refers to the level of “Creator of the world”*. Now, more illuminated, they can be cured and redeemed, and in this way begin revealing the aspect of Mashiach that exists in each and every one, G-d willing.
* The Sages note that the word shakai can be interpreted as meaning “He who [sha-] said ‘enough’ [-dai] for the expansion of the world, at the end of the week of creation” (Talmud, Chagigah 12a).
It is written: תמים תהיה עם ה’ אלהיך Tamim tihye im Hashem Elokecha, “You shall be pure/perfect with the L-rd your G-d” (Devarim 18:13, Shofetim). The gematria absolute (mispar hechrachi) of this pasuk/verse is 1112. I saw that this is the same gematria of the pasuk ‘ונח מצא חן בעיני ה Ve-Noah matsa chen be’einei Hashem, “And Noah found grace in the eyes of the L-rd” (Bereshit 6:8). Moreover, the next verse says: נח איש צדיק תמים Noah ish tzaddik tamim, “Noah was a just man and perfect etc.” Now, the gematria avgad of the cited verse (from Shofetim) is 421, the same as the expression לישועה L’yeshuah (“For salvation”). And this is my understanding: as Noah was a righteous tam, he found the Divine grace that saved him from the mabul/deluge, while all other human beings perished. To have pure and simple faith – to be a tam – is something that can save a person from his “personal deluge”. Moreover, the tzaddik helps “sweeten” the deluge of others. When the person comes to the tzaddik b’tzedaka (meaning, “giving a tzedaka”), of gematria 201, this mitigates (“sweetens”) the five states of gevurah (corporified in the sofit/final letters mem-nun-tzaddi-pei-chaf), being 201 x 5 = 1005, the gematria of ish tzaddik tamim. Perhaps this can better understood as 1005 / 201 = 5. The righteous takes the tzedaka and “distributes” (divides) it in order to sweeten the gevurot/severities. There is a difference between the ish tzaddik and the ish tsadik tamim, because the gematria of the first is 515, the same as yesharah (“straight”, see the Ari”zal, Sefer HaLikkutim, VaEtchanan), but the attribute of tamim/pure gives a degree yet superior to the tzaddik. In this manner, the wholeness of being comes through righteousness (being “straight”) with the purity and simplicity that honors e makes the tzelem Elokim/Divine image shine. We see that מי כה’ אלקינו המגביהי לשבת Mi ka’Hashem Elokeinu hamagbihi la’shavet, “Who is like the L-rd our G-d, who dwells on high” (Tehillim 113:5) has gematria 1005.