LOT’S OF PROBLEMS

As it is written: הפרד נא מעלי Hipared na me-alai, “Separate thyself, I pray thee, from me”[1]. Avraham knew that his nephew Lot was evil. He had an unstable character that could not be redeemed. In fact, the gematria of the reshei tevot (הנמ) is 95, the same numerical value of פחז pachaz, “unstable”[2]. Lot failed to admonish his herdsmen, he wanted to give away his daughters in Sodom, and ultimately because of his drinking he had illicit relations with them. Therefore, Avraham thought with his great wisdom how to rid himself of this rasha, who was thwarting his path to perfect himself. This is hinted in the gematria of הפרד נא מעלי being 490, the same numerical value of תמים tamim, “perfect”, as if to say: “Leave, so I can be perfect with G-d”[3]. He then proceeded saying: הלא כל-הארץ לפניך “Is not the whole land before you?”[4]. The pasuk’s gematria hides Avraham’s feeling about Lot, for its numerical value is 572. And this is the same gematria as ברשע Birsha[5], the name of the evil king of Gomorrah, which means “with wickedness/iniquity”. So, the verse can be understood as if saying: “You, who is filled with iniquity, see what is there for you!”[6]. Now, when Avraham then said אם-השמאל ואימנה ואם-הימין ואשמאילה “If you will take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if you depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left”, he was gracefully suggesting a way out for Lot, so as to be free from this evil. Beyond the pshat, this is also hinted in the gematria albam of this pasuk’s reshei tevot (אהווהו) being 410, the same numerical value as דרור dror, “freedom”. More specifically, this is the “freedom not to be under the domain of others and to dwell wherever one sees fit”[7]. Thus, Avraham spoke in a manner suggesting Lot’s freedom from his “stifling” ways. Truly, righteousness was a domain not fit to have Lot nearby, for while being close to Avraham, the rasha derived spiritual nourishing from him. This was so, because in order to exist, every form of evil must cling and derive its sustenance from some form of kedusha, of which it is a fallen and corrupted version. However, he had to convince Lot to voluntarily separate from him, for otherwise he could have insisted in remaining at his side to continue deriving material and spiritual benefits. More so, since the patriarch had gone to Eretz Israel, and only there he could arouse the supernal unions of Z’eir Anpin and Nukva, it became imperative that Lot part from him now, to avoid hindering Avraham’s new spiritual heights[8] and the beneficence to be brought to the world through these holy unions. Continuing, Lot then looked up וירא את-כל-ככר הירדן Vayar et-kol-kikar haYarden, “And beheld all the plain of the Jordan[9]. The gematria atbash of the reshei tevot (אתלרן) is 433. This is the same numerical value as גלת galut[10], “exile”, and משפחה mishpacha, “family”. And what did Lot see? Since his uncle’s path was already discarded from his heart, he then chose the “other” (evil) path, as he consulted his idols[11]. And so they fooled him[12] into seeing two futures: one, with the harshness of exile yet rich in material possibilities, and another, with the wellbeing of building a family and its rewards. He then decided to take his chances and go to the East. Now, in doing so he completely rejected the ways of Hashem taught by his uncle and mentor Avraham. A hint to that, the ordinal gematria of ויסע לוט מקדם Vayisa Lot mikedem, “And Lot journeyed east”[13] and the gematria absolute of מלחמה milchamah, “war/conflict” have both the same numerical value of 123. Moreover, the word mi-kedem, “from the East” is equivalent to mi-Kadmono, “[distancing] from the Ancient One”[14]. Ultimately, he met his ill fate[15] finding both futures, to wit, galut through his family[16]. And so Lot was no more[17] in the Torah.

THE TEXT CONTINUES IN THE NEW UPCOMING BOOK…

[1] Bereshit 13:9, Lech Lecha. This was a moment of great tension as hinted in the verse’s ordinal gematria being 112, the same numerical value as יבק Yabok, the river symbolizing the struggle of good and evil (Bereshit 32:25).

[2] As in פחז כמים pachaz k’mayim, “unstable as waters” (Bereshit 49:4).

[3] Later echoed as התהלך לפני והיה תמים “Walk before Me, and be perfect” (Bereshit 17:1).

[4] Ibid. Bereshit.

[5] Bereshit 14:2.

[6] Similarly, “Surely such are the dwellings of the wicked, and this is the place of him who does not know Kel/G-d” (Job 18:21).

[7] Rashi on Vayikra 25:10.

[8] There are other issues which are beyond the scope of this text. See the Ari”zal, Sefer HaLikutim, Lech Lecha.

[9] Bereshit 13:10.

[10] This word is spelled haser, “defective” (without the letter Vav).

[11] See Zohar 84a, Lech Lecha.

[12] See Jeremiah 10:14.

[13] Bereshit 13:11.

[14] Ibid. Zohar. In fact, Lot’s journey towards the East is a code to his desire to further his knowledge of sorcery and witchcraft. This is hinted in the Zohar, which says: “It was said that those who teach sorcery to men are found in the east mountains. And from the east country came לבן Lavan,  ובעורBeor,  ובלעם בנוhis son Bila’am and all the sorceress” (133b. Chayei Sarah). The gematria of ובלעם בנו ובעור לבן is 572, incredibly, the same as ברשע Birsha, the evil king of Gomorrah, as before mentioned in association with Lot. And its reshei tevot is לווב, which with the kolel has gematria 45, that being the same numerical value as לוט Lot.

[15] We could say he had a “taste” of his idol’s falsehood, as a tzeruf/anagram of the sofei tevot (semantically meaning, “at the end of the matter”) of Vayisa Lot mikedem spells טעם taam, “taste”.

[16] Referring to the illicit relationships with his two daughters (Bereshit 19:32).

[17] Save for his name being referenced in parashat Devarim, chapter 2, verses 9 and 19.

 

THE MATRIARCH’S ABDUCTION

And as it is written: וינגע ה’ את-פרעה נגעים גדלים ואת-ביתו על-דבר שרי אשת אברם “And the L-rd plagued Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai, Abram’s wife”[1]. As the Torah brings in this holy parsha, due to a severe famine in the land, Avram and his family had to travel to Egypt where there was an abundance of resources. The patriarch Avram was a wise and righteous man, and he had already had contact with Hashem, which spiritually elevated him even more so. His perception of reality was advanced, so in order to prevent possible problems before entering Egypt, he requested his wife Sarai to affirm being his sister and not his spouse. Avram knew that the Egyptians were idolaters and that they were not guided by any moral code that would stop them from kidnapping Sarai if they knew she was Avram’s wife. Now, as his sister, perhaps they would leave her alone. However, when the Egyptians saw Sarai’s extraordinary beauty, she ended up being taken captive to Pharaoh. And he desired her. Still, ולאברם היטיב בעבורה Ule’Avram heitiv baavura, “And he dealt well with Avram for her sake”[2], for he presumed[3] that such kind dealings would be enough to calm the patriarch’s feelings, so he would judge him positively, although his wife had been captured. In fact, Pharaoh gave Avram much cattle and slaves in the hopes to bribe the feelings of the holy man. Yet, Avram knew from divine inspiration who in fact was this evil master of the occult. A hint to that, the gematria of this pasuk is 600, the same numerical value as שקר sheker, “lie”. The Torah narrates that it was then that Hashem punished the Pharaoh and his house for having just thought of touching the holy matriarch, chaz v’shalom. And Rashi explains על-דבר שרי al-devar Sarai, “because of Sarai etc.”, as such: “Through her word [came the punishments]. She instructed the malach/angel: הך hach, ‘Strike!’, and then he would [obey and] strike them”. See, Pharaoh was connected to the “forces of externality” (“Evil”) which only exist through a minimal nourishment given “behind one’s back/posterior” (אחוריים achorayim) of Holiness[4], as hinted when he begins speaking to Avram: ויקרא פרעה Vayikra Faro, “And Pharaoh called …”, with gematria atbash 633, the same as achorayim. And the Torah continues revealing Pharaoh’s astonishment, who then said: מה-זאת עשית לי Ma-zot asita li, “What is this that thou hast done unto me?”[5], with the reshei tevot/acrostic (מזעל) that forms the expression ע מזל ayin mazal, signifying “the ‘Divine Nothing’ [Hashem] is the spiritual root”. And the end of this verse למה לא-הגדת לי כי אשתך הוא Lama lo-higadta li ki ishtecha hiv, “Why did you not tell me that she was your wife?” has the sofei tevot/final letters האתייךא, with gematria 927, the same as ממקור ישראל mi-mekor Israel, “from the fountain of Israel”. As such, Pharaoh’s perplexity hid his understanding about Avram and Sarai, that “Hashem is the spiritual root from the fountain of Israel”. Although Pharaoh was terrified by the plagues that afflicted him, still he did not recognize Hashem, the G-d of Avram. Quickly, he sent them to be escorted out of Egypt, as the Torah relates[6]. Now, the reshei tevot of the verse וינגע ה’ את-פרעה נגעים גדלים ואת-ביתו “And the L-rd plagued Pharaoh and his house with great plagues” is ויאפנגוב, with gematria albam 589. This is the gematria (sofit version) of ואבימלך ve’Avimelech, “And Abimelech”. Moreover, in the sequence of this pasuk, the reshei tevot of על-דבר שרי al-devar Sarai is עדש, with gematria atbash 109, the same as gematria of ואבימלך ve’Avimelech, “And Abimelech”! In a secret level, the Torah alerts us about a character that until now had not appeared: Abimelech. More so, another hint regarding the future appears here, as the gematria of הך hach, “strike” is 505, that being the same numerical value of שרה Sarah, but not שרי Sarai – the matriarch’s name up to this point in the Torah’s narrative.

And so time passed, and after the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah[7] Avraham and Sarah journeyed again[8]. Therefore, they went to Gerar, in the land of the Philistines. However, before entering this land, Avraham sensed that something needed to be done to prevent, hopefully, his wife Sarah form being approached by this people. The Philistines (Heb. Pelishtim) were known by their great sensual indulgencies and adoration of the entire Canaanite pantheon. Now, the name פלשתים Pelishtim derives from the Hebrew root pei-lamed-shin, signifying “overdoing it”. Over-indulgence in the sensuality of this world renders a person spiritually closed and “clogged up”, impervious to Divine inspiration and insensitive to the inner reality of life and its experiences. Avraham knew this, for Hashem was at his side, divinely inspiring him. And it was then thatאבימלך מלך גרר Avimelech melech Gerar, “Abimelech king of Gerar[9] sent his men to take and bring Sarah to him. The gematria of this verse is 598, the same as איש-מרמה ish-mirmah, “deceitful man”[10], a secret regarding his nature. Although Avraham again could not stop the abduction of Sarah, Hashem was with him and his wife. Therefore, Hashem appeared in a dream to Abimelech saying he would die for having taken Sarah against her will. In fact, “Abimelech never came close to her, המלאך מנעו ‘because he was hindered by an angel’”[11]. The king of Gerar then spoke to Hashem claiming his Noachide righteousness, which kept him away from transgressions. However, Hashem told to him that without His intervention, indeed he would have sinned. Hashem then orders Abimelech to return Sarah to her husband, and He calls Avraham a prophet, saying he would pray for Abimelech so the plagues would cease. As such, perturbed with these experiences, Abimelech tries with wisdom and reason to defend and gain favor for his position with Avraham, thus affirming his purported righteousness: ויקרא אבימלך Vayikra Avimelech, “And Abimelech called…” with gematria albam 1200, the same numerical value as two times שקר sheker, “lie”. The Torah continues revealing the astonishment of Abimelech, who then said: מה-עשית לנו Me-asita lanu, “What have you done unto us?”[12], with reshei tavot לעמ la’Am, “to the people”, for Abimelech was very much bothered that Avraham suspected that his people had taken his wife, being that this was forbidden by the Seven Laws of Noach – a capital crime. Thus responds Avraham: כי אמרתי רק אין-יראת אלקים במקום הזה Ki amarti rak ein-yirat Hashem bamakom haze, “Surely the fear of G-d is not in this place”[13]. The reshei tevot of this verse (כאראיאבה) has gematria avgad 365, prophetically revealing the number of negative mitzvot given to Israel at Sinai. For a place where the fear of G-d really exists, none of these commandments are transgressed. Therefore, Avraham, a name with gematria 248 (as the number of positive mitzvot), represents the completeness in the Divine service that only a prophet has, as alluded by 365 + 248 = 613 mitzvot. The Torah brings Abimelech’s the wisdom and reason, however Avraham does not concede to it, because he knew that despite these inferior wisdoms, Abimelech and his people did not have fear of G-d. In fact, the holy Zohar says, “Abimelech and his people worshiped the stars and constellations. And Abimelech was an astrologer”[14]. He and his people were not true Noachides, although they thought of themselves as such. It is for this reason the pasuk ends: והרגוני על-דבר אשתי Vaharaguni al-devar ishti, “And they will slay me for my wife’s sake”, with gematria ordinal 172, the same numerical value as two times the Name אלקים Elokim, which is associated to the severe judgments. Everyone that finds himself in a dangerous situation, his merits are examined[15]. Since they were not Noachides, then Avraham feared for his life.

At last, the moral here is that, where the fear of G-d is absent, wisdom and abstract knowledge of the law are not enough to overcome the evil inclination. And for a truly righteous man, all of these realities are revealed and he always influences them, even while keeping a calm and peaceful posture, for ה’ ילחם לכם ואתם תחרשון Hashem yilachem lachem veatem tacharishun, “The L-rd shall fight for you, and you shall hold your peace!”[16], with gematria ordinal (plus five for the kolel of each word) equal to 243, the same numerical value of אברם Avram.

 

[1] Bereshit 12:17, Lech Lecha.

[2] Bereshit 12:16.

[3] Since common woman were devalued in his society.

[4] As if throwing food to an enemy from the back.

[5] Bereshit 12:18.

[6] In verse 20.

[7] Bereshit 19:24-25, Vayeira.

[8] To distance themselves from Lot (Rashi in loco).

[9] Bereshit 20:2.

[10] Tehilim 43:1.

[11] Rashi on Bereshit 20:4. This hindrance came in the form of a deep darkness, hinted by the milui gematria of מנעו being 328, the same as חשך ”darkness”.

[12] Bereshit 20:9.

[13] Ibid. 20:11.

[14] 140b, Toledot.

[15] Talmud, Shabbat 32a.

[16] Shemot 14:14.

 

ALL ISRAEL IS INTERCONNECTED ONE WITH ANOTHER

Our Sages of blessed memory have taught us that כל ישראל ערבים זה בזה Kol Israel Aruvim Zeh BaZeh, ‘All Israel is interconnected one with another’ (TalmudShevuot 39a). What this interconnection means is that we all originate from the same source, that being a Source of benevolence associated with the glory of the Name Kel, which is the Shechina (Zohar 8a, Prologue). Moreover, the Ari”zal (Sha’ar HaPesukim, Lech Lecha), explains that: “Avraham personifies the attribute of chesed, which is signified by the Divine Name Kel, this being the mystical meaning of the verse, ‘The chesed of G-d [Kel] is all day long’ [Tehilim 52:3]”. This means that, the fact that the Name of G-d used in this verse is Kel indicates the association of this Name with chesed.

Now, it is interesting to note that the gematria ordinal (sofit version) of Kol Israel Aruvim Zeh BaZeh is 185. This is the same numeric value of the millui of the Name Kel: (alef-lamed- pei lamed-mem-dalet = [1 + 30 + 80] + [30 + 40 + 4] = 185).

The connection of Name Kel and Avraham, is further seem since “There are 8 Names Kel in the supernal faces of Arich Anpin [which is Keter, and corresponds to the psychological power of will]. All of these are contained within the name Avraham, whose numerical value is 248, the numerical value of these 8 Names” (Sha’ar HaPesukim, Chaye Sarah).

Kel: alef-lamed = 31. 31 x 8 = 248.
Avraham: alef-beit-reish-hei-mem = 1 + 2 + 200 + 5 + 40 = 248.

In this “face” of Arich Anpin, the source of the five states of chesed, are expressed 8 Names Kel whose numerical value is the same as that of Avraham, who personifies this level.

Furthermore, I noticed that the mispar Siduri/ordinal (174) + mispar Katan/reduced (57) + 17 letters (from Kol Israel Aruvim Zeh BaZeh) = 248. This is a poweful connection. And that the gematria atbash is 1495. This is the sum of all values from alef to tav. Alef-tav spells “Et“, the Zohar’s codename for the Shechina. And the complete span of the alef-beit indicating Her divine speech that vitalizes all of creation. In fact, the Shechina is the root of all neshamot, as it is known.

As chazal teachs us, the Jewish People are rooted in chesed, which we see is a direct link to Avraham avinu and mystically, the inner realms of the Shechina. Our people’s interconnections have enormous significance for our own and for the world at large, whereas the most important is the way each and every jew does affect the other spiritually. Hence, the need for Ahavat Israel as the means to preserve the “body” of Israel whole and intact, holy e focused on its evolutionary path culminating on Mashiach, speedily in our days.

On Sushan Purim 5774