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.
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