Friday, December 31, 2010

Vaera - Lesson of the frogs

Why were the first two plagues the only ones the magicians could replicate? Is there a significant difference between Moshe's miracle of the frogs, as opposed to the magicians'? Why did the plague begin in the water? Why didn't Moshe just make frogs on the land? What is the understanding of the word "צפרדע" - and what does it teach us? What is the connection between the frogs, "הצפרדעים" and the Jewish people, the "צבאות השם"? Why is it that all the frogs remained, as opposed to every other plague, where the plague was completely removed, including the locusts, as per the medrash? What is the significance of the parallel between the frog's transformation and the fetus' transformation into a baby at birth?

Find out in this week's Parsha Podcast.

Running time: 18:54

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

I'm imperfect

I wrote this song this morning. I was having fun. Enjoy!

I'm imperfect

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The thirteenth tribe

In Parshas Vayechi, the Torah describes the bracha that Yakov Avinu gave to Yosef's sons Efraim and Menashe. There are two important points that require explanation. The first is that Yakov says that the Jewish people will always bless their children by saying that Hashem should cause them to be like Efraim and Menashe. What is the deeper significance of this? Why do we specifically bless our children this way? It is also interesting to note that when Yakov gives them their bracha, he says that they should be like fish, multiplying greatly in the land. Why does Yakov refer to fish in this bracha?

The Maharsha in Sanhedrin (12A) gives a very beautiful explanation of this passuk. He points out that there are twelve tribes in the Jewish people, and a thirteenth hidden tribe, when Yosef splits in two. Still, when the tribes are counted, there are always twelve, because when Levi is counted, Yosef is counted as a single tribe; whereas when Efraim and Menashe are counted separately, Levi is not included in the twelve. Similarly, the Maharsha points out, there are twelve months in the year, with a thirteenth 'hidden' month during the leap year. The month that is always repeated is the month of Adar, whose mazal is the fish. Here we have the theme of fish being repeated again. What is the deeper message here?

The concept of the hidden number the thirteen, and the fact that it corresponds to fish, hints to the idea that beyond the reality that we see, there is a deeper root of spirituality animating that reality. Just as fish remain beneath the surface, too numerous to count, so too the spiritual realm is completely hidden, yet it is the multi-faceted life force at the root of all we experience.

This perfectly corresponds to the character of Yosef, who was hidden in Mitzrayim, appearing to be no more than all of the Egyptians for whom he was a leader. And yet, beneath the surface of this Egyptian ruler was a son of Yakov, who remained faithful to the Torah of his father. It was this faithfulness, despite the dangerous spiritual waters of Egypt, that earned him the first-born rights that resulted in his double portion in the Jewish people. Efraim and Menashe were the 'fish' who represented the spiritual power of Yosef, one who is hidden beneath the surface, and at the same time is the spiritual force guiding and supporting his brothers, both spiritually and physically, during their sojourn in Mitzrayim.

This is why we give the bracha to our children that they should be like Efraim and Menashe. We daven that Hashem should infuse our children with that hidden spiritual light that Yosef had, which shone through his Egyptian facade, through his children, and through the Jewish people as a whole. We ask Hashem that our children find that hidden spiritual capacity that may at first be hidden, but has the potential to illuminate their own individual lives, as well as the lives of the entire Jewish people. "May Hashem make you like Efraim and Menashe... may they be like fish, multiplying greatly in the land."

Friday, December 24, 2010

Shemos - Moshe and names

What is the significance of the fact that this book is called Shemos - 'Names?' What is the significance of the numerous mention of names in the parsha - the names of Hashem, the names of the tribes, the name of Moshe? What is the significance of the fact that Moshe was named after the fact that he was 'drawn from the water?' What is the significance of the fact that the first story of Moshe's interactions as an adult is to murder the Egyptian? What is the significance of Moshe's long stay in Midian? Why does Hashem begin His interaction with Moshe by calling out his name? What is the significance of the name Ehkyeh asher Ehkyeh?

Find out in this week's Parsha Podcast.

Running time: 17:54

Friday, December 17, 2010

Vayechi - Modesty and blessings

What is the significance of the fact that Menashe and Efraim are the paradigm which is used to bless all the children of the Jewish people? Why are they blessed to multiply like fish? What is the deeper significance of fish? How do we understand the fact that Yosef is split into two tribes? Why are they blessed before the tribes themselves? What is the secret behind the thirteen/twelve tribes? How does this correspond to the thirteen/twelve months? What is the significance of the fact that the mazal of Adar is fish?

Find out in this week's Parsha Podcast.

Running time: 20:43

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Understanding ourselves

In trying to understand our minds, we find this phenomenon where the mind obsessively repeats a destructive thought, magnifying and distorting it way past the point of normalcy, until that thought completely occupies the mind and overwhelms one with its intensity. Why does our mind work this way? Is there a constructive reason that Hashem programmed us like this? What is the effective way of dealing with these types of thoughts?

With Hashem's help, I have come to understand that these types of thoughts are analogous to a child who is distressed by a certain illogical fear or deep feeling. As they are told that their feeling has no rational basis, and the emotion is quashed instead of first being acknowledged, the pitch and frenzy of their illogical assertion rises in frequency. The intensity of their insistent repetition comes not from a belief of their correctness, but rather, from a deep need for the helplessness of their emotional state to be recognized and acknowledged. The louder and more intense the cry, the greater the need for reassurance before a voice of reason can be heard.

Similarly, when the mind encounters a situation it finds emotionally disturbing - a situation that seems out of control - the pitch and frenzy of its need for acknowledgment rises, to the point where, if not properly addressed, it completely occupies the mind with its distorted emotional view. The underlying subconscious intent is no different than a child who is screaming something illogical, but is really saying, "Acknowledge my feelings." We need to acknowledge our own feelings and release the tension and helplessness that is at the root of it.

This ideas starts to release its true power when we understand that one of the most fundamental needs of a human being is that he feel that his situation is under control. One of the most difficult sensations a human being can face is a sense of helplessness. The human being will do anything in his power to escape this feeling. The healthy person will begin taking action to ameliorate his situation. The emotionally unhealthy person will use any number of unhealthy means to escape into a fantasy world where the lack of control is no longer in the forefront of his mind. This feeling is what causes the mind to scream the distorted and magnified helpless thoughts to the point of obsession. It is rooted in a childlike thought process that says, "If I scream louder and make it sound worse, perhaps then my intellect and conscious mind will take this issue seriously!" This is why acknowledging the feelings is so important, and this is why the approach to their acknowledgment must be delicate. The subconscious, emotional aspect of ourselves is fully aware that its beliefs are unfounded and illogical. All it is looking for is a recognition of its feelings of helplessness and lack of control. Then it needs to be gently shown how the distressing issue can be dealt with and brought within the safe boundaries of some semblance of control. This does not per se mean that it needs to actually be actively manageable, but it is to say that it needs to be emotionally manageable. This could be through an acceptance that everything is from Hashem and all that occurs is truly for our best, though we may not be able to see it at the time. It could also be that, in our overly emotional and distorted state, we overlooked a way that we can actively better our situation. This awareness of the ability we have to actually improve our situation can also have a positive effect on our emotional state.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Ari Goldwag Sefer/Book

Hashem has helped me so much over the last few years in creating Torah that is both inspirational and deep. He also helped me to find wonderful venues to broaden the audience of listeners through itunes, blogger and facebook. I have merited to receive numerous emails with feedback from people whose lives were deeply affected by the Torah that Hashem gave me as a gift. I am gratified that the Parsha podcast garners between 500 and 600 downloads a week, and the daily podcasts get up to 100 or so downloads a day.

Recently, I have decided to take the past three years of Parsha podcasts, as well as the current year's podcasts, which I am working on now, and to create a book that would have the ability to reach a broader audience. The book will iy'H include many inspiring and elsewhere unexplored concepts, including Moshiach ben Yosef, many kabbalistic ideas, and many deep ideas mostly inaccessible to the English speaking public.

Putting together this work involves many expenses, from typing out the shiurim, to editing them for printed form, to final editing and proofing, to a cover and printing costs, as well as advertising costs. It is a tremendous merit to be involved in bringing a deeper level of Torah to the Jewish people, and although I wish I could personally take it on monetarily myself, I do not have the funds to do so. It is not my personality to ask others for money, but in this case, I feel that there is a gift I want to share with the Jewish people, and I can not stand idly by at this time. I therefore am turning to you and offering an opportunity to be involved in this project. Any donation will be accepted, from the smallest to the greatest. I truly believe that the merit for being involved in this project will be very great for anyone who takes it upon themselves.

This is a special donate button for the Sefer/book. If you decide to donate from my website or elsewhere, please make note of the fact that your intent is for the sefer.

Thank you!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Vayigash - Climax and culmination

How do we view the tikkun of the reunification of the family of Yisrael? How do we understand the dichotomy of the redemptive qualities of this event, as opposed to the fact that it is the start of the Egyptian exile? Why does Yakov return to Beer Sheva on the way down to Egypt? Why is the topic of conversation in Paroh's interaction with Yakov all about his difficult life? What is the background behind the location of Goshen being a safe haven for the Jewish people? Why are the Jewish people counted at this time?

Find out in this week's Parsha Podcast.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Miketz - Chanukah and Yosef

What is the connection between Yosef and Chanukah? What is the 'great miracle' of Chanukah? What is the concept of 'advertising the miracle?' Why does the name of the Maccabi's consist of an acrostic that speaks only of Hashem? What is the contrast between Greece and Yisrael? Why does the story center around the Beis Hamikdash?

Find out in this week's Parsha Podcast.

Running time: 16:02

Friday, November 26, 2010

Vayeshev - Shimon and Yosef

Why was it specifically Shimon that wanted to kill Yosef? What was the difference between the roles of Shimon and Levi? How was that reflected in Zimri and Pinchos? Why did Dina want to specifically marry Shimon? Why was it specifically Shimon that was incarcerated when Yosef accused his brothers of being spies? What is the significance of the fact that the tribe of Shimon provided the teachers of children for the Jewish people?

Find out in this week's Parsha Podcast.

Running time: 14:58

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Ramchal on MBY, MBD and Binyomin

What follows is a beautiful piece from the Ramchal, which I 'happened' across last week while flipping through the fourth volume of Otzros Ramchal. This is the fourth of the Igros which can be found toward the back of the book. The main text is the Ramchal, and my own thoughts are separated by asterisks and different looking text.

Behold, all of the concepts that we find in the root need to be revealed below in the branches. This is the people of Israel, for whom the world was created. Behold, the Shechinah (Divine presence) itself is the root of Israel, and it has two aspects. These, themselves, are the secret depth of the concept of the inner aspect (pnimiyus) and outer aspect (chitzoniyus). These two are Leah and Rachel, and the secret depth is heh-heh, for Bilhah and Zilpah are just the backs of Rachel and Leah. Behold, from there come the tribes, whose secret depth is vav-vav, which are the twelve permutations of the Tetragrammaton, six on the right, and six on the left.

Behold, this is the secret depth of the concept of the two Moshiachs, for they are the perfection of rectification. This is a very great secret depth. For all of Israel are branches of the Shechinah, however the king is the revelation of the root itself. Since there is a dual aspect in the root (inner and outer), correspondingly there must be a dual aspect to the Moshiachs (Moshiach ben Yosef and Moshiach ben Dovid). The rectification is the secret depth of the verse, "And they will be one in your hand," for there were numerous times that the rectification was almost accomplished and was, so far, unsuccessful until the end of the matter in the days of Moshiach. We thus find that the king is the revelation of the root itself, and he therefore includes all the branches. This is the concept of the verse, "And a king was in Jeshurun with the gathering..." This indicates that the king gathers them and they are all included within himself. At the beginning, however, the people of Israel did not merit to have a king, for they had not accomplished the appropriate rectification. Rather, they had judges who arose for them from the aspect of Yesod, for this was necessary for their leadership. Afterwards, the kingship began, in the days of Sha'ul, who was from the tribe of Binyamin.

And the concept is that Yosef was fitting to receive kingship from the aspect of Rachel, and Yehuda from the aspect of Leah. And I already stated that the rectification is accomplished when these two aspects unite. Now I tell you who connects them - it is Binyamin who serves this function. Yosef is from the aspect of Yesod, and Yehuda is the aspect of Malchus. Binyomin, however, is the secret depth of 'the spirit left in her by her husband.' He is the one who connects the male and female aspects. It was for this reason that the first kingship was taken [by the tribe of Binyamin], for this would serve to connect the two of them [Yosef and Yehuda]. Then the kingship would be given to Dovid, who is the secret depth of the female concept, for it is this concept that rules over the lower realms, and it also includes within it the male concept, which is the kingship of Yosef. This was to be the rectification at that time, however, since Shaul himself, who was the one who was responsible for this rectification, did not accomplish it as he was meant to, this caused Dovid to stumble, when he said, "You and Tziva should apportion the field." This ultimately caused the kingship to be split between Yeravam and Rechavam, who represent Yosef and Yehuda, respectively. This was from Sha'ul, for the matter devolved through his son.

The final rectification will occur when these two aspects reconnect at the time of the two Moshiachs, as the verse says, "And they will be one in your hand." Moshiach ben Dovid will be the main one, in the secret depth of the statement, "Who is the main one? The son of Yishai is the main one." It comes out that this all extends from the root, which is the connection between the male and female aspects. This is "I am" - Malchus, "Kel Shakai" - Yesod, "Be fruitful and multiply" {*} - to bring about a result/offspring through this secret depth, which is Binyomin who connects the two branches, in the secret depth of Efraim and Yehudah through the two kings, in the secret depth of the two Moshiachs. This is the concept of "A nation and a congregation of nations," as well as "kings."

{*} This is the verse that contains the promise of Hashem that Binyomin is about to be born. This was concurrent with Yakov receiving the name Yisrael, and coincided with his return to Israel. Binyomin was the only one of the tribes that was born in Israel, and was the only one that did not bow down to Esav. This represents his superior status - his job as the one who accomplishes the final rectification.

Behold, we have a great, deep secret here, for after this, in the time of Achashverosh, our sages tell us that "they reaccepted it [the Torah] in the days of Achashverosh" - through Mordechai. The concept is that the original destruction was in this secret depth, which is the sin of Adam Harishon with the tree of knowledge, in which he separated between the two trees [the tree of knowledge and the tree of life], and caused the darkness of the outer [evil] forces, upon which the klipos (encrustments) take hold. Then the body was darkened in the secret depth of "leather clothes." At the giving of the Torah, the matter had reached its rectification, which is the depth of the verse, "Hashem came from Sinai..." For all the klipos are included in two, which are Yishmael and Esav, the inner and outer aspects, both of which are [together] the outer aspect of the outer aspect of Holiness, which is the Left side. Behold, at that time, the rectification began from below to above, and the Good of Esav, which is the outer aspect, was included in Yishmael {*}, which is the inner aspect of the Other Side [i.e. the forces of evil]. For this reason, the verse says, "...shined from Se'ir [which is a reference to Esav], appeared from the mountain of Paran [which seems to be a reference to Yishmael]." The two became the outer aspect of Holiness. Then, "And it came from the ten-thousands of Holiness," at which point the Holiness itself found the Left to be included in the Right. Afterwards, from this Right side, which now contains the Left - the Torah was given to the people of Israel, in order that they complete this rectification as one, and the secret depth of the verse, "From His Right, a Law of fire to them." This is what [Rabba bar bar Channa] saw [in reference to Sinai], "A scorpion with a white mule." And this is... [There is something difficult to read here in the original manuscript] ...around the mountain of Sinai.

{*} This idea gives new meaning to the midrash that talks about Hashem going to the nations and offering them the Torah, which they rejected. The midrash speaks of Him going to Edom and Yishmael and asking them each, to which they respond, "What is in the Torah." When Hashem answers, they reject it. This would seem to be a birur process, where Hashem removes the dross of the evil parts of Esav and Yishmael, which leaves only the Good of each, which are then brought to be contained within the other's aspect. Subsequently, they are then contained within the Right side of Holiness, allowing for the revelation of the Torah, as the Ramchal says. It would not be a far stretch to say that we are currently seeing an identical birur taking place in preparation for the revelation of the Torah of Moshiach's times, as the dross of Esav and Yishmael is slowly but surely removed, leaving only the the Good of each, which will then be contained within the side of Holiness.

And behold, if the people of Israel could have withstood the entire length of the exile of Egypt [instead of leaving after 210 years, leaving after a full 400], all would have been rectified. However, since they did not complete it in its entirety, the Erev Rav came out without being rectified. It was for them that there was an aspect of force in the giving of the Torah, as a result of which, the evil came out of them. However, since this matter was done with force, it did not last long, as a result of the deterioration of the Erev Rav. This brought the deterioration of Adam back into its place and resulted in the shattering of the tablets, which is the separation of these levels [the tree of knowledge and the tree of life], and the result was that the concept of death returned. This matter continued until the destruction of the Beis Hamikdash, for the rectifications that were intended in the interim did not take effect. Then, when they wanted to build the second Beis Hamikdash, which is the secret depth of the lower letter heh [which represents Malchus and Shechinah], the Outer aspect, an accusation was aroused in the secret depth of the original blemish. This was with Haman, in the secret depth of "המן העץ" - [when Adam sinned and Hashem asked Him,] "Was it from the tree..." This was because he was drawn from the tree of knowledge. Mordechai, however, who was from the tribe of Binyomin, returned the rectification of the connection of Yehuda and Yosef {**}. The truth is that Binyomin comes through the power of Yosef, which is the secret depth of the verse, "Let Hashem add on (יוסף) another child for me." {***} Mordechai was referred to as "Mordechai the Jew [Yehudi]" in reference to the fact that he was involved in the rectification of connecting Yehuda to himself {****}. The truth is that this concept began long before, for Binyomin was given into the hands of Yehuda to be brought to Yosef. I can not speak about this at length now. Mordechai, however, certainly rectified this connection, and Haman was hanged on the gallows (עץ), which is the tree of knowledge, which he wished to overcome, but ended up humbled by it {*****}. The tree was fifty (נ) cubits high, in the secret depth of the lower letter heh that we mentioned. Then, "they accepted it [the Torah] again," for the original rectification which had been accomplished at the original giving of the Torah - had already been weakened, and now was strengthened again. In truth, however, the second Beis Hamikdash did not complete this rectification. Rather, at the end of days, the matter will reach its true rectification with the two Moshiachs. This is all the secret depth of the verse, "A nation and a congregation of nations," which we mentioned.

{**} Yosef would seem to correspond to the tree of knowledge (דעת) , as this is the connecting Male aspect, which is also the concept of Yosef as the Tzaddik Yesod Olam. Yehuda would then correspond to the tree of life, which would then be the female aspect (Malchus). Their reconnection through the liaison of Binyomin would serve (and will serve in the future) as a rectification of the sin of Adam Harishon. As is generally the case in Kabbalistic thought, it could also be thought of from another perspective, where the tree of knowledge of Good and Evil corresponds to the female aspect, which is the aspect of separation and judgment, the Left side. This would still seem to correspond to Yosef and Moshiach ben Yosef, who are the aspect of dealing with the physical world, a more natural Moshiach process, one that seems separate from Hashem, as it were. The tree of life would be the Male aspect, the Right side, which is the greater unifying concept, corresponding to Yehuda and Moshiach ben Dovid, whose advent is typified by a more miraculous, all encompassing and overarching characteristic.

{***} This was the prayer of Rochel when Yosef was born, where she used Yosef's name as part of the prayer, and asked for another child, who was to be Binyomin.

{****} Here it seems that Mordechai, who is from Binyomin, actually includes Yosef, and therefore connects all three aspects - Yosef, the Left; Yehuda, the Right; via Binyomin, the center.

{*****} Mordechai is the tree of knowledge, or Da'as, because he represents Binyomin who is the center column, the connector between the Left and Right. Haman tried to overcome Mordechai, but instead, ended up falling to him, and was hanged on the tree which corresponds to Mordechai.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Vayishlach - Yakov, Rochel and Binyomin

Why is Yakov given another name? What is the significance of the name Yisrael? Why is it given immediately before Binyomin's birth? Why does Rochel die as Binyomin is born? What is the secret spiritual power of Binyomin?

Find out in this week's Parsha Podcast.

Running time: 24:12

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Rochel, MBY and MBD

Guest post by R' Daniel Krentzman

"ותהר ותלד בן ותאמר: אסף א-לקים את חרפתי,

ותקרא את שמו יוסף לאמר: יסף ה' לי בן אחר"

The birth and naming of Yosef is a very significant event in the Torah. In the Torah, it is a general concept that the beginning of something usually includes within it everything that it will come to manifest. Because Yosef is the spiritual head-runner of Mashiach ben Yosef and all his associative qualities, this verse, hints at various aspects of the qualities of Mashiach ben Yosef and his mission in this world.

Firstly, Kabbalah teaches us that Rachel, the mother of Yosef, symbolizes the collective soul and destiny of the Jewish people. In this verse, Rachel’s conception and birth of Yosef is described, wherein she names Yosef and predicts the birth of another, un-named, son.

“Rachel”, the soul of the nation, “conceives and gives birth”; which represents the realization of the light of Mashiach and the Redemption. The first son, “Yosef”, is Mashiach ben Yosef, who will achieve the initial stages of the Redemption process. The future “son” who will be born, in addition to “Yosef”, represents the subsequent arrival of Mashiach ben David and the full Redemption.

Let us explore some more of the concepts in this verse which relate to this process of Redemption:

Rachel declares: "אסף א-לקים את חרפתי", literally: “G-d (Elokim) has brought in (or gathered in) my disgrace”. First, the name "א-לקים", is used; then, when she names Yosef she says: "יסף ה' לי בן אחר", “May Hashem (י-ה-ו-ה) add on another son for me”. What is the significance of the progression from Elokim to Hashem, a verse later?

Part of the deeper meaning behind this is that Elokim represents G-d’s attribute of “Din”, “Strict Judgment”, while Hashem represents G-d as He manifests His attribute of “Chesed” and “Rachamim”, “Kindness” and “Mercy”.

“Din” is related to Mashiach ben Yosef because his contribution to the Redemption process is dictated by “Strict Judgment”; the natural law and order which demands human effort and worthiness in order to achieve the Redemption.

“Rachamim” is related to Mashiach ben David because he ushers in the era of miracles and transcendence of nature, where we receive the bestowal of Hashem’s reciprocal spiritual and material kindness; in return for our human efforts and self sacrifice, which have made us worthy of it.

We also see that: "חרפתי" (which follows the name “Elokim”) is made up of the letters which form the words: "פרת" and "חי" , both of which relate to Yosef, and by extension, qualities related to Mashiach ben Yosef; as it says (Bereishis 49:22): "בן פרת יוסף בן פרת עלי עין", and (Bereishis 45:28):

"עוד יוסף חי".

"אסף", which means “gather” is also used in relation to Yosef and Mashiach ben Yosef because of their relationship to the sefirah of “Yesod”, which is the sefirah that “gathers together” as it were, the light of the five upper sefiros before channeling them into Malchus. This also expresses the relationship between the two Mashichim, where Mashiach ben Yosef prepares the world for the realization of the Redemption and Hashem’s revelation, achieved fully through Mashiach ben David.

Mashiach ben Yosef’s mission also includes the “ingathering of the exiles” to Eretz Yisrael, which is also hinted at by the usage of: "אסף", “gather in”, here in this verse.

"אסף", also denotes “concealment”, which is its meaning in this verse’s usage of it (Rashi to Bereishis 30:23). This also relates to the quality of Mashiach ben Yosef’s efforts being “hidden” and “concealed” in order to avoid opposition against the spiritual and physical forces who work to prevent the Redemption (see Kol HaTor 1:14).

Regarding the words: "יסף ה' לי בן אחר", which, in reality, refers to the subsequent son of Binyamin also supports its deeper implied reference to Mashiach ben David; for Mashiach ben David is from the tribe of Yehudah and many times throughout the books of the prophets we find that when the tribe of “Yehudah” is described, in implies both the tribes of Yehudah and Binyamin. They not only bordered each other and shared the area of the Beis HaMikdash, but were also spiritually rooted together; which is why the initial kingship of Shaul, which preceded that of David from Yehudah, could be from the tribe of Binyamin. Thus the "בן אחר", which refers to Binyamin, can appropriately allude to Mashiach descended from David and Yehudah, as well.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Vayetzei - Catalyst for Good

Why do we find that Esav's anger is the catalyst for Yakov being sent to Charan to begin his family? Why is there so much emotional difficulty surrounding the relationships of Leah, Rochel and Yakov? Why does Yakov face the challenges of Lavan? Why does Yakov decide to return when Yosef is born?

Find out in this week's Parsha Podcast.

Running time: 18:40

Friday, November 5, 2010

Toldos - Beginnings and Ends

How do we understand the unusual fact that Yakov is named for the heel (ekev)? What is the significance of the fact that Yakov was holding Esav's heel as they were being born? Why is Yakov so intent on purchasing the first-born rights and getting the blessings of the firstborn? Why does the Torah interrupt the story of Yakov and Esav with the story of Yitzchok digging the wells in Gerar?

Find out in this week's Parsha Podcast.

Running time: 17:38

Friday, October 29, 2010

Kiddie Parsha Podcast

I would like to introduce you to the newest addition to the podcast world - the Kiddie Parsha Podcast, by Moshe Dov Goldwag.

This week's podcast talks about Eliezer's journey to find a wife for Yitzchak.

Running time: 2:20

Chayei Sarah - passing the mantle

What is the connection between the death of Sarah and the marriage of Yitzchak and Rivka? What is the progression from the akeidah to the purchase of land in Chevron to their marriage? Why do our chazal seem to paint a picture of Rivka taking the place of Sarah? What is the deeper meaning of the fact that Hashem blessed Avraham with 'everything?' What does it mean that he gave 'everything' to his son Yitzchok? What were the seeds that Avraham was planting with his purchase of the cave?

Find out in this week's Parsha Podcast.

Running time: 19:45

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Vayera - Times of transition

Why does Hashem send the same group of angels to inform Avraham and Sarah of Yitzchak's birth and cure Avraham, who continue on to destroy Sodom? Why do these two events occur concurrently? Why does Rashi say that Hashem 'took the sun out of its sheath?' What is the connection to the time before Moshiach when Hashem will 'take the sun out of its sheath?' Why does the future sun cure the righteous and destroy the evil? What is the connection to the exodus from Egypt?

Find out in this week's Parsha Podcast.

Running time: 16:16

Friday, October 15, 2010

Lech Lecha - Beauty and spirituality

What is the significance of Sarah's beauty? Why does Avraham only tell her to refer to him as her brother when they go down to Egypt? Why does the Torah seem to place great significance on the fact the matriarchs of the Jewish people were exceptionally good looking? What is the parallel between Yosef's descent to Egypt and Sarah's? What is the significance of Yosef's physical beauty?

Find out in this week's Parsha Podcast.

Running time: 14:54

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Noach - The flood and the dispersion

What is the deeper story behind the generation of the dispersion? What was their sin? What did they mean when they said, 'Let us make a name for ourselves?' What is the contrast between their sin and the generation of the flood? Why is the name Elokim used in the story of the flood, as opposed to the story of the dispersion, where the Essential name of Hashem is used? What is the deeper concept of names, in general, and more specifically, The Name of Hashem?

Find out in this week's Parsha Podcast.

Running time: 20:22

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Rav Shimon Schwab on Moshiach, et al

One of my most favorite sefarim in the world is a sefer by Rav Shimon Schwab on the parsha, entitled Mayan Beis Hashoeva. It recently dawned on me that he makes reference in his introduction to a book that he had written at the behest of Rav Elchanan Wasserman many years earlier. This first work was entitled simply "Beis Hasho'eva," and its purpose was to bring together the many statements of chazal about the period of Ikvisa d'mishicha (the footsteps of Moshiach), and to clearly demonstrate how the time period we find ourselves in has all of the signs our sages enumerated.

I went to, which is a wonderful resource for free seforim, and I searched for the book, and lo and behold, it was there. It was remarkable to me that Rav Schwab had written the book in 1942, smack in the middle of the war, and had published the book anonymously. His writing is so beautiful and poetic, constantly weaving fragments of psukim into the theme he is conveying. I have not gone through the whole book yet, but I wanted to share a thought or two.

On the title page, Rav Schwab has the following short introduction:

"This is a book of inspiration for those who await salvation. It does not deal with the hidden, but only with those things that are revealed and obvious to all. And it does not come to reveal that which the Ancient of Days covered, nor to calculate the end of days which is concealed from the eyes of all living creatures."

With that said, he begins the book with an introduction as to the greatness of Eretz Yisrael and living in the land, warning, however, that living here carries with it the weight of great responsibility to keeping the Torah.

He also gives us a word from the Chofetz Chaim:

"When I merited to see the tzadik of the generation, the teacher of all of Israel, the author of the Chofetz Chaim, of blessed memory, and to visit in his home, I heard the following with my own ears, 'explicitly from the mouth of the Kohen Gadol.' He said that the current time, without a question, is the period of the footsteps of Moshiach, and the signs that our Chazal gave us have been fulfilled. In later years, many of his students heard this same statement from him, as he repeated it often. We have also heard in the name of the rest of the leaders of the generation that we are currently living in the final time period before the coming of the redemption. It is clear, however, that we can not know how long this period of the 'footsteps of Moshiach' will extend, and Hashem has not revealed how long the 'birthpangs of Moshiach' will last. May we be saved from them, and I pray that Hashem will bring our redemption speedily."

The book also provides a very interesting window into the thoughts of a religious Jew in 1942, while the Nazi murder machine was in full swing. The fact that Rav Schwab had recently moved to Baltimore from Germany is also an important backdrop to the context of the book. Many years later, Rav Schwab would author the Kinah on the holocaust that many of us say on Tisha B'av. Here we see him struggling to understand the Holocaust at the very moment that it was occurring. He does not question Hashem's judgment, and musters the courage to shoulder the blame for the Holocaust through his understanding of the distance that the Jewish people had created between themselves and their Creator over the previous one hundred and fifty years.

As Rav Schwab gets into the meat of his discussion on the period of the 'footsteps of Moshiach,' he brings numerous quotes from chazal, as well as many psukim that speak of this time. It was very interesting to see how he quoted the famous piece that we have seen from the yalkut shimoni that speaks about the nations of the world fighting with each other, ultimately leading to a situation where the Jewish people are confused and do not know where to turn. What was humorous to me was that he skips the part that speaks about Persia and Arabia and Aram (or Edom) having altercations, and he also skips the part that Persia 'destroys the whole world.' Based on this omission, it was obviously clear to Rav Schwab that World War II was a fulfillment of the 'nations fighting with each other,' but the involvement of Persia (Iran) was just not there at the time.

So far, this is all I have seen of note, and perhaps I will share more as I continue reading it.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Bereshis - The snake and the Satan

Why does the snake cause man to sin? What does it mean that the spiritual being, the Satan, that 'rode' on the snake was jealous? How does an exalted spiritual being experience jealousy? What was the 'meat' and 'wine' that Adam ate in the Garden? What was the significance of naming the animals?

Find out in this week's Parsha Podcast.

Running time: 20:24

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Succos - Beyond relationship

What is the deeper concept of Lulav and succah? How are they connected? Why don't we perform these mitzvos on Shmini Atzeres? Why is the concept of Succah related to shade? Why is our Succah connected to the future Succah of the righteous in the times of Moshiach?

Find out in this week's Parsha Podcast.

Running time: 19:41

Friday, September 17, 2010

Yom Kippur - Bribing the Satan

What is the secret of the goat that was sent to the wilderness? How can we conceive of the concept of a bribe for the Satan? What is the parallel to the story of Yakov and Esav? How does this apply to our unique times?

Find out in this week's Parsha Podcast.

Running time: 22:39

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Haazinu & Rosh Hashana - Bearing witness

How can the heavens and earth bear witness? Why is the Torah referred to as a song? How can a song bear witness? Why is Rosh Hashana on the only holiday on the first day of the month? Why was Adam created on this day? Why do we blow the Shofar on this day? What does the Shofar represent?

Find out in this week's Parsha Podcast.

(Running time: 20:16)

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Nitzavim-Vayelech - Hashem is close

Why does the Torah stress that the commandments are not far away? What does it mean that they are in 'your mouth and your heart to do them?' What is the deeper concept of Teshuva - repentance - and why does it begin on Rosh Hashana, the day we crown Hashem our King? What is the deeper understanding of this coronation of Hashem?

Find out in this week's Parsha Podcast. (16:08)

Leshem on the time of Moshiach

This piece of Leshem is found in the Hakdamos v'she'arim on page 86B, paragraph beginning v'hinei. It gives a deeper understanding of the concept of b'itah achishena.

...This [that was previously spoken of] is the secret of the days of Moshiach at the end of the sixth millennium, which is the time of the ruling of the crown [of yesod, corresponding to Moshiach ben Yosef], which in our context became a king unto himself. Similarly, he will will shine and rule until the times of Moshiach [ben Dovid] because he is a separate king at his root, and the yesod was split into two parts, therefore the sixth millennium, which corresponds to yesod, will also split into two parts. The time that corresponds to the yesod itself will be characterized by continuing exile and destruction, but the time that corresponds to the crown [of yesod] will then see the advent of Moshiach. The measure of the crown in proportion to the yesod is known to all who taste the taste of the Eitz Chaim [which is one third], for the crown is the covenant with Israel that was given to Avraham Avinu...

...For the crown (עטרה) is the crown (כתר) of kingship (מלכות), [meaning that the last third of the sixth millenium is the cross-over time into the seventh millenium,] and therefore the revelation of His kingship will begin then, but the actual dominion of Kingship itself will not be revealed until the seventh millenium, the seventh day, the day that is all Shabbos. In all of the six days it says "it was evening and it was morning," whereas, on the seventh day it does not. This hints to that which it says about the seventh millennium in Zechariah 14, "And one day will come, known to Hashem, neither day nor night." This is when Kingship itself will reign, which is after the days of Moshiach, in the seventh millennium, about which our sages spoke when they said there will be one millennium of desolation. This is when all will be rectified in preparation for the life of the world to come, which is after the seventh millennium and onwards...

In the back of the book, the Leshem adds the following note:

The length of the crown of yesod [that is, the last third of the sixth millennium] is known to all who have tasted the taste of the Eitz Chaim, and is also a lengthy amount of time. That whole period of time [from 5666/1906 until 6000/2240] is included in the the end-time of בעתה, 'in its time.' This is the simple understanding of the verse (Yeshaya 60:22) "אני ה' בעתה אחישנה" - "I am Hashem, in its time I will hasten it." This means that the verse promises that Moshiach will not wait the entire length of 'in its time' in order to come, rather it will be hastened within this time period. Nevertheless, the 'hastening' will only be within this time period of 'in its time.' In this way, both 'in its time' and 'hastening' will be fulfilled at once. This is also the understanding of the verse (Chavakuk 2:3), "If he will tarry, wait for him, for he will surely come without delay." This means that he will not wait until the end of the period of 'in its time' heaven forbid, but rather, he will hasten to come, as well, as we explained. This, however, is only when the crown reaches its lowest point, as I wrote in chapter 42. This is what it means in the verse when it says (Zecharia 14:7), "And it will be at the time of evening [or sunset - לעת ערב], there will be light."

The bottom line here is that "In its time" refers to a period of time from 1906 until 2240. Within this time, Hashem promises He will hasten Moshiach's arrival, and we need not worry that it will come at the end of this period, but rather, closer to the beginning of this period. 1906 was the beginning of the fifth hour, within which we saw the two World Wars which culminated in the sixth hour, which began in 1948, with the establishment of the state of Israel. Let us pray for the speedy revelation of Moshiach ben Yosef, who will infuse this country and this forlorn people with a new spirit and sense of purpose, בב"א.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Ki Savo - Choosing Hashem

Why does the Torah speak extensively about the curses that befall those who violate the Torah? What is the contrast between the initial accepting of the Torah at Sinai, as opposed to the second acceptance in the time of Purim? How do these two stages play out in our own relationship with Hashem?

Find out in this week's Parsha Podcast.

(Running Time: 16:41)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Ki Seitsei - Rejoicing in marriage

Why does the Torah place the onus of bringing about marital harmony on the man? What is the connection between marriage and prohibition of taking collateral from the debtor's means of livelihood? What is the difference between the Torah's view of marriage and the Western view of marriage?

Find out in this week's Parsha Podcast.

(Running time: 15:58)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Shoftim - Trusting the sages

Why are we enjoined to follow the words of the sages? What is the secret of why Hashem trusts them? Why are we to follow them even if they tell us something that seems to be against Hashem's will?

Find out in this week's Parsha Podcast.

(Running time: 19:15)

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Re'eh - Understanding idolatry

Why is it so essential to uproot idolatry as a prerequisite to fulfilling the Torah? Why do our sage say that one who denies the validity of idolatry is considered as if he has fulfilled the entire Torah? What is the significance of the mountain in spiritual practice? Why were the blessings and curses placed on mountains?

Find out in this week's Parsha Podcast.

(Running time: 22:03)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Ekev - Two types of relationship

What are the two different types of relationship with Hashem that the Jews had in the wilderness? What is Moshe's advice for each? How does this play itself out to this day?

Find out in this week's Parsha Podcast.

(Running time: 16:21)

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Watching movies

Rabbi Goldwag- I listen to many of your podcasts and find them insightful. I have a hashkafa question that i was wondering if you can answer for me. I know that watching movies that are inappropriate is bad - espescially for the neshama. But what about movies that are not inappropriate... I know that there are people who stay away from movies altogether and I was wondering why that is...? I'm not sure what's wrong with watching movies if it's just something that will give you a good laugh. It's a level I would like to strive for but I won't be able to get there if I don't understand what the problem is with it.

I appreciate your thoughtful question. I want to preface my thoughts by saying that it is extremely hard for me to give a good personal answer because the answer really should be tailored to the person asking, and I don't know you. Despite that, I will try to give you something to think about, and you can apply the ideas on your own, at your pace.

The power of movies and media is extremely strong, as a person is a combination of spiritual and physical forces. The most active force in our lives is our deep subconscious self, though most people are not consciously aware of this. When we say something like, "I wish I could get myself to do that," we are really acknowledging that although consciously we understand it is something we should do, our deep subconscious, which is the root of our actions, is not interested in doing it. Part of the reason that stories and music are so powerful is because they both speak very deeply to our subconscious awareness. That is why reading a book like "One small word: Amen" is extremely powerful. The message underlying all the stories is the importance of Amen. As we read the stories, that message is repeated over and over, and enters deep into our minds. The fact that the message is being conveyed in a story also means that our guard is down - our subconscious has very limited resistance to instruction that is indirect. This is why reading a book like that is so powerful. I remember hearing of a certain young woman who was extremely modern, but nevertheless was exceedingly careful about saying her brachos out loud, most likely as a result of reading a book like this, or having imbibed the importance of brachos from some other powerful source.

A movie has the same power over our subconscious. Our guard is down and we are extremely impressionable. There are many subtle messages that are conveyed in a movie, even if it is 'kosher,' that are far from the hashkafa of the Torah. It is natural for us to think that we will not be adversely affected by watching a show that contains interactions and jokes that are antithetical to the Torah, because we honestly believe that we are greater than that. The truth is that on the conscious level, we are indeed greater than that. However, the subtlety of the message and the fact that our guard is down means that we will unconsciously begin to see the world through the prism of the story we are watching. Human beings learn the most through mimicry. Children as young as one year old learn the arts of human interaction completely through imitation. People of every age are no different. What we see is what we become. This is why our chachamim have told us that we should surround ourselves with people who are moral and sensitive to the Torah, and to live in a place where Torah is the guiding light of life. If you have ever seen the contrast between religious communities in Israel as opposed to their counterparts in America, you can see the subconscious effects of the surrounding culture, despite its conscious rejection.

The bottom line is that the things that we see, the stories we experience, the things we laugh at, and the people we surround ourselves with have a powerful impact on the deepest levels of our consciousness. These levels of consciousness are the very parts of ourselves that we were placed on this Earth to rectify. If we fill our lives with Torah experiences and Torah surroundings, we can raise our lowest selves to the highest heights. If we plant seeds of decadence in our mind by filling it with stories and art forms that are antithetical to Torah, we will dull our spiritual sensitivities, drawing ourselves in a downward direction, instead of drawing ourselves up. We need to daven for Hashem to help us and guide us to see and hear things that are productive and aid us in spiritual growth. We need to be consciously aware of what has a positive effect on this deep level and what does not.

If one honestly seeks the truth, as I see you do, Hashem will help find it.

All the best,
Ari Goldwag

Friday, July 23, 2010

Va'eschanan - Hashem and Israel's love

What is the foundation of Hashem's love for the Jewish people? What does the Torah mean when it says that the Jews are few/small? Why does the Torah specifically speak of this love in contrast to his relationship with the nations of the world? What is the secret of the Jewish people's continued success? What is the cause of downfall of the nations of the world?

Find out in this week's Parsha podcast.

(Running time 23:24)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Thoughts on Tisha B'av

A few years ago on Tisha B'av, a member of my shul spoke, Mr. Stimler z'l. He was a holocaust survivor, married to a holocaust survivor. I distinctly remember the first time I met him, when he made a 'tikun' after davening. Usually there is a name to mention when you say your brachos. The paper next to the snacks and drinks listed five names; the names of his mother and sisters who were killed on one day in the town where he grew up. When he spoke that Tisha B'av, he went through his history and his experiences during war times. I believe it was in response to someone's question that he described the feeling people had before the war. There was a sense that everything would be fine, and that the storm clouds would pass. That belief couldn't have been more naive.

I don't know if the question was asked at the time, but it definitely began to whirl around in my own mind over the next few months. Here in Israel, there is a sense that everything will be fine, and that the storm clouds will pass. It seemed to be that very same belief that the Jews of Europe so foolishly held. Was it ludicrous and dangerous to keep my family in a country that was explicitly threatened with another holocaust?

On a trip to America, I asked this question to a number of Rabbis who I greatly respect. One of those I asked was my Rosh Yeshiva, Rabbi Yechiel Perr. His response puzzled me. He asked me what my friends think. I didn't know. When I came back to Israel, I started asking around, and the response I got was that we are protected here in Eretz Yisrael; Hashem is watching out for us here.

I was uneasy with what I felt was a somewhat tenuous resolution to my question, but I convinced myself that this feeling of safety wasn't just based on naivete, rather it was founded in fact. Since the Jewish people have returned here to the land of Israel and stood up as a nation, we have experienced miracle after miracle that have clearly shown Hashem's protecting hand. This has been our continuous experience throughout the decades since World War II. To believe that He would protect us and help us so openly, only to forget about us in the end, did not seem likely.

Recently, through the vehicle of my Parsha Podcast, I became deeply aware of a much more beautiful and satisfying answer to my question.

In this past week's Parsha, Moshe reviewed how the Jewish people had sinned with the negative report of the land of Israel, distrusting that Hashem would be in their midst, and instead choosing to believe that Hashem's hatred led Him to take them out of Egypt, to destroy them at the hand of the Emorites of Canaan. This feeling was rooted in the Jewish people's sense of inadequacy. They felt unworthy of Hashem's presence, and felt that it was a fleeting moment of grace, one that could easily be lost at a moment's notice. This lack of faith in their own worthiness led them to send the spies to see if they could take the land of Israel on their own, in a natural manner. The negative report of the spies reinforced their low self-esteem, and they began to believe that not only were they unworthy of Hashem's Divine assistance, but just the contrary, they were the subject of Divine hatred, heaven forbid.

This lack of self confidence led Hashem to indeed recognize that they were not yet ready to enter the land, for they could not be a vehicle for Hashem's Presence if they indeed felt unworthy. Their low self-esteem started a cycle ending with the realization of their very fear.

Hashem accentuated this when He said, "וְטַפְּכֶם אֲשֶׁר אֲמַרְתֶּם לָבַז יִהְיֶה וּבְנֵיכֶם אֲשֶׁר לֹא יָדְעוּ הַיּוֹם טוֹב וָרָע הֵמָּה יָבֹאוּ שָׁמָּה וְלָהֶם אֶתְּנֶנָּה וְהֵם יִירָשושׁוּהָ." - "Your children who you said would be plundered, your children who do not yet know Good from Evil, they will come there, to them will I give it, and they will inherit it."

The midrash points out that there are three different statements here in regards to the Jewish people getting the land of Israel. The first is that "they will come there." The second is that "to them I will give it." The third is that "they will inherit it." The midrash explains that each of these three correspond to three different points in history. The statement that "they will come there" corresponds to the first time the Jewish people entered Israel with Yehoshua. The statement that "to them I will give it" corresponds to the return of the Jewish people to Israel with Ezra, after the seventy year Babylonian exile. The last statement, that "they will inherit it" refers to the end of days, when the Jewish people will finally return, once and for all, after the long exile we now experience.

What is the difference between the first time, when the Jewish people only "entered the land," as opposed to the third time, when they will "inherit the land?" The difference is that the Jewish people at that time had not yet developed a true sense that Hashem was with them, and that Hashem was protecting them. They could not truly inherit the land because they did not yet believe in themselves enough for Hashem to indeed bring them the supernatural success that was necessary to conquer the spiritual plane of the land of Israel. This would only be possible after the Jewish people had gone through the most difficult and grueling process of intense exile, difficulty after difficulty, pogrom after pogrom, crusade after crusade, inquisition after inquisition. These difficulties are meted out upon the Jewish people because of the very fact that we represent Hashem in the world, and we represent the light of truth and good. The more we have suffered for Hashem, the more we could begin to believe that we truly deserve His Presence to indeed dwell in our midst.

I realized that this is what we are witnessing today. The Jewish people stands here on the holy soil of the land of Israel, ready to metaphorically walk into the land of Israel, not just in a physical sense, but in a spiritual and Messianic sense. This is coupled with the fact that we truly believe that Hashem will protect us from a physical holocaust. This is in stark contrast to the Jewish people who stood poised to enter the land 3300 years ago. They did not yet believe in themselves, nor in their connection to Hashem, and they therefore could not 'inherit the land.' They could only 'enter the land.' Through the blood and tears of an exile that has seemed like it would never end, the Jewish people today senses that Hashem will be in its midst and protect it from harm, come what may.

May we indeed be the generation that finally merits to 'inherit the land.'

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Devarim - Tisha B'av and the spies

What was the story of the spies from the perspective of the Jewish people? How could the Jewish people say that Hashem 'hated' them if He had shown them so many miracles and was constantly providing for them? Why does Hashem seem to confirm their fears and remove His presence from them? Why does the crying of Tisha B'av necessitate a crying for generations? Why do we go through a litany of seeming complaints on Tisha B'av? What are we supposed to be thinking and feeling on Tisha B'av? Why is Tisha B'av called a 'moed' - a meeting time with Hashem?

Find out in this week's Parsha Podcast.

(Running time: 20:30)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Matos-Masei - The Midyan war

Why is the war with Midyan prefaced with the laws of vows? Why is Moshe told that he will die immediately after this war? Why does Pinchas lead them in battle, and not Yehoshua? Why did Pinchos bring back so many Midianites and why did Moshe adamantly demand their death? Why does the Torah give us such a detailed description of the spoils in this war? What is the significance of the fact that all of the spoils were passed through either fire or water?

Find out in this week's Parsha Podcast.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Pinchas - The Pinchas-Eliyahu connection

Why does Eliyahu/Pinchas appear and disappear throughout history? Why is Eliyahu involved in giving over the secrets of the Torah through all generations? What is the deeper message of the genealogy of the daughters of Tzelafchad that is recorded all the way back to Yosef? What is the deeper connection of this idea to the story of Eliyahu/Pinchas?

Find out in this week's Parsha Podcast.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Balak - The mystery of Bilam

How could Bilam, an evil lowlife, be able to merit such a lofty level of prophecy? Why does his donkey speak? Why is he able to speak about the end of days, which only Yakov and Moshe speak of in the Torah itself? What is the deeper connection between the story of Bilaam and the story of Pinchas?

Find out in this week's Parsha Podcast.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Chukas - The death of Miriam

Why did Miriam die just as the Jews were about to enter Israel at the end of the forty years? Why is the matter of her death not discussed by any commentaries? What is the connection between her death and the Red Heifer? Why was her special death, which was similar to the death of Moshe and Aharon, not mentioned explicitly? Why did the Jews merit to have a special well of water as long as she was alive? What was Moshe's sin in striking the rock instead of speaking to it?

Find out in this week's Parsha Podcast.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Please help II

Sincere thanks to those who have donated already. Anyone who wishes to donate and needs a tax-deductible receipt, please contact me at and I will tell you what can be done.

Thanks so much.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Tamuz, Av and Yosef

Once a week, the Yated Ne'eman is in my mailbox, as it is distributed for free to everyone. Sometimes it goes straight into the trash, other times, like today, I will peruse through it a bit. It was striking to me that the front page news all had to do with the secular courts of Israel trying to subjugate the Charedi world to its whims, whether in areas of chinuch or others. The inside of the paper was filled with the world trying to subjugate Israel to their whims, whether in the areas of the Gaza blockade (EU demands that Israel lift the blockade), or another set of flotilla ships, or the Israeli government giving up its better judgment and creating a committee to evaluate the previous flotilla incident. The first thought that went through my mind was that it is interesting that all the headlines in this charedi paper have to do with charedi issues, which is rather unusual. My second thought was that it is such a remarkable parallel between the way the Erev Rav of Israel (read: government/media/secular courts) is treating the religious world and the way the world at large is treating Israel. The cogs in my mind started turning and I thought about the fact that it is not a coincidence that these two things are occurring simultaneously, and that they are reaching a crescendo right now, as we begin the month of Tamuz and head into Av.

As I mentioned in the previous post, Yosef was born on Rosh Chodesh Tamuz. As I thought about this more, I realized that what this really means is that the concept of Yosef is conceived on Rosh Hashana and incubates for nine months and is delivered on Rosh Chodesh Tamuz. What does this mean as far as the connection between Tishrei and Tamuz? Tishrei is the beginning of the winter, when the world goes into hibernation, and the rain begins to fall, sending all of the world's growth underground. It is all about the potential that is dormant in creation, that will be revealed in Nissan with the coming of the spring. When we get to Tamuz, there is another revelation of that same capacity. The world is sent back into a state of dormancy, although this time, it is within the revealed half of the year. This means that although the fruit is being harvested and the world is in full bloom, we enter into a place of concealed revelation.

This is analogous to another idea that we discussed in regards to Nissan and Iyar. Nissan is the open revelation of Geulah, whereas Iyar is a concealed version of that very same revelation, albeit in a form that must be revealed by human effort. In a similar way, the three month chain of Nissan-Iyar-Sivan constitutes an open revelation of Geulah, and a development of that open revelation, whereas the following three months of Tamuz-Av-Elul constitute the concealed version of that same revelation that needs to be unlocked through our concerted efforts.

If we take this to its logical conclusion, this means that Nissan parallels Tamuz. Nissan is the open revelation, and Tamuz is the concealed-open revelation. This, as we saw, is the month of the harvesting of the grapes, and the time that the spies were walking through Israel, potentially preparing for the Jewish people to enter Israel. Iyar, then, parallels Av. This means that just as Iyar is the concealed revelation within the revealed, Av is the concealed revelation within the concealed. Av is the month that has gone the deepest into concealment.

It is important to understand that the greater the concealment, however, the greater the potential light. This is because the light that one experiences is always a study in contrast. Our generation, which is the lowest generation that has ever existed, in spritual terms, is specifically the generation that will experience the light of Moshiach, because the revelation is meant to be as powerful as possible, and here we will have the greatest contrast. This is the secret of Av, and why world events always seem to peak during this time of year. This is the time of the greatest concealment, and ultimately will be the time of greatest revelation. This precisely parallels the phenomenon we see occurring now, where the nations of the world are at Israel's throat, and the Erev Rav is at the throat of the Charedi world. This is the greatest darkness and lack of relationship, which really reflects the deeper truth that the Jewish people are meant to be in a truly wonderful relationship with the nations of the world, as are the Charedim meant to be in a relationship with the secular part of the Jewish people, where we radiate light out to them. Since we are still in the fallen state of concealment, however, everything looks like the opposite, and specifically takes on this characteristic in these months of Tamuz and Av.

Now, what is interesting is that the month of Sivan parallels the month of Elul. Sivan is the month of completion of the relationship between Hashem and the Jewish people, when we received the Torah after our invested efforts through the month of Iyar. Elul, it would seem, will be the month of the celebration of the relationship between the Jewish people and the nations of the world, in the future.

This gives us a great depth in understanding why Yosef was born in Tamuz. Tamuz is the time of potential for a cementing of the relationships that seem to be broken, in their current state. Yosef is all about relationship, as he is the one who is the master over his sexual passion, and he also is the one who consistently understood that the hatred of his brothers - the lack of relationship - was truly for the ultimate good, and was the plan of Hashem, in order to bring about a tremendous salvation. The Maharsha in Sanhedrin (12a) brings down that Moshiach ben Yosef works in the month of Av to accomplish his goals. Yosef is all about concealment - the brothers do not recognize him, but he recognizes them. Yosef does not have open revelations like Avraham, Yitzchak and Yakov. His revelations come to him in a dream, which is a much more concealed method of communing with the spiritual worlds. Nevertheless, through all the dreams, Yosef is able to discern that the Hand of Hashem is constantly guiding him. He is always able to see the Divine Providence, even within the evil itself!

When we look around and try to disperse the darkness of all that goes on, we can take chizzuk from the fact that Hashem reveals His plan and His actions to us in this way, even from within the darkness of exile. We must look at the hatred of the world for the Jew, and the hatred of the secular for the religious, and understand that somehow, just as Hashem used the hatred of the brothers to bring about a salvation through Yosef, so too, Hashem is creating a scenario, through the very hatred that so insidiously surrounds us, all in order to bring about the ultimate salvation of the Jewish people.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Please help

It is not my way to overtly ask for tzedakah, however, the case I am about to present is one that I know intimately, and involves very close friends of mine. I am changing all names and any identifying information for the sake of the family's privacy.

About four years ago, Mrs. Goldberg called me to tell me that her son, who was then about 15, was in need of some tefilos, as he had some kind of issues with his back. It became clear that these were not minor issues, but rather, her son had weakness in his arm that was a result of a tumor in his spine. The removal of the tumor required that they fly to Belgium and their son underwent a seven to eight hour surgery that was both complicated and extremely dangerous. The expense was also incredible, but through much hashgacha pratis, their difficulty was passed and their son returned to normal life for the last few years. The situation has been constantly monitored, and MRI's recently showed that the tumor has unfortunately returned. This young man, who is also a budding young Torah scholar, must now return to Belgium to face the surgery again, and the price for the operation has risen to $46,000. This is a sum that is not covered by the family's insurance, and is well beyond their means. I am, bl'n, donating as much as I can to this cause, and I ask you to do the same. The money you donate will help to save this young man's life and his future, as well, be'H. What follows is a letter from R' Zev Leff, the rav of Moshav Matityahu, and a close friend of the 'Goldberg' family.

Rabbi Zev Leff
Rabbi of Moshav Matityahu
Rosh Hayeshiva-Yeshiva Gedola Matityahu

D.N. Modiin 71917 08-976-1138

כ סיון תש"ע
June 2, '10

Dear Friends,

Our friends the Goldbergs have need of your help. As you know, four years ago, their son was flown to Belgium for emergency surgery to remove a large benign tumor in his spine. B'chasdei Hashem the surgery was a success and his follow up of MRI's since then had shown everything to be in order. The latest MRI has shown that the tumor has regrown and has begun affecting his arm strength indicating that it needs to be removed. Since this is an extremely complex and dangerous surgery, it needs to be performed again in Belgium and is scheduled for June 24, 12 Tammuz.

The cost of the surgery is $46,000 and is not covered by their Israel health insurance. Due to the sensitivities involved I advised them that the information be shared only with close friends and family and those already familiar with the situtation. This, of essence, limits the direct collecting of the money needed and the surgery cannot be done until payment is made. I am therefore, turning to you to share the burden with them using you ma'aser money and your contacts.

This is a quality mitzvah and I commend you in advance for you involvement.

With Torah Blessings
Rabbi Zev Leff

If you can, please donate generously. Any and all donations will be appreciated, no matter the sum.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Yosef's Yahrtzeit

Today, the first day of Tammuz is the birthday and yahrzeit of Yosef Hatzadik. The Gemara in Rosh Hashana (11A) says that Rachel conceived for the first time on Rosh Hashana. This conception was Yosef, who was born exactly nine months later, on the first of Tammuz. Tammuz, as we noted in the Parsha Podcast, is the time of the harvest of the grapes in Eretz Yisrael. This was the time of the spies entry into Eretz Yisrael, and their opportunity for the tikkun of the sin of the brothers in selling Yosef. Yosef understood the concept of the grapes - that the Jewish people are a single cluster, composed of many different types and styles, each person with his or her own unique talents to donate for the betterment of the Jewish people. He typified one who could see his special role in the Jewish people, and he brought about the tikkun of Yehuda, who was ready to give up his own freedom to save his brother Binyomin. Tammuz was to be the time of tikkun for the entire Jewish people, via the spies, one from each tribe, and this was to be the final rectification before the days of Moshiach which would have began, had Moshe brought the Jewish people into the land of Israel and built the Beis Hamikdash. The light of the redemptions of Nissan, Iyar and Sivan would have paled in comparison to the greater revelations of Tammuz, Av and Elul. Indeed, in the future, these months will be months of joy, as the prophet tells us that the fast days will become holidays in the future. This is due to the inherent light that is contained within these days, the light that fell and has been hidden away for the future. Despite the fact that it is hidden, this is the very aspect of Yosef, who was born on the first of Tammuz. He represents the concept of the hidden process of Geulah, a process that is covered by seemingly natural events. Just as the brothers did not recognize Yosef, although he recognized them, we also do not recognize the Moshiach ben Yosef process, unless we try to see beneath the facade. The key to seeing the truth is by looking at points in reality that seem to make no sense. Just as the brothers could not make sense of the strange behavior of the Egyptian ruler that seemed to know so much about them, so too, we can see Yosef's process in the events that occur to the Jewish people that do not seem to make sense. When a president is elected to head the Western world, who so virulently disdains the Jewish people and her homeland, and it is against all odds that such a person should wield such power, we can see Yosef. When the Jewish people seek to defend themselves and are condemned by the countries of the world and portrayed in a malicious light in the media, we can see Yosef. When the media within Israel tears apart the religious world and ignores the positive aspects of their system that can so clearly be learned from, we can see Yosef. He hides from his brothers, but his goal is to bring out their best. Wherever the Jewish people are, Jerusalem can not be forgotten, nor can the name of their homeland, Israel. If they are honest seekers of truth, they have no choice but to stand up to defend the injustices that are rained down upon her. They must be like Yehuda, standing up for a Binyomin who is wrongfully accused of a crime he could not have committed. Soon, very soon, Yosef will reveal himself, and he will take off the mask and declare, "I am Yosef, is my father still alive?" Some will stand in shock, for they will see the folly of not having seen him all along. Others will have recognized him long before, and will have a deep sense of satisfaction in having known the truth all along. יהי זכרו ברוך

Friday, June 11, 2010

Korach - Understanding the female aspect

What is at the root of Korach's rebellion? Why does Korach come with the argument that a garment which is completely Techeles (blue wool) need not have the tzitzis hung on its corners? What is the significance of the fact that Korach's name means baldness? What is the significance of the Gemara's assertion of the importance of the wife of Korach and Oan ben Peles? What is the deeper concept of hair? Why are married women obligated to cover their hair? Why is the hair of the metzora as well, as the Levi'im at their appointment, removed?

Find out in this week's Parsha Podcast.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Shelach - Transcendent Jewish Unity

Why does the Torah seem to imply that Hashem initiated the sending of the spies, if in fact, as Rashi says, it was initiated by the Jewish people themselves? What were the spies expected to accomplish, and what was their fundamental failure? How did the spies know they would lose their positions of significance when the Jewish people entered Israel? What is the significance of the fact that their mission spanned months of Sivan, Tamuz and Av? Why does Moshe finish off his instruction by telling the spies to 'be strong and take from the fruit of land?' Why does the Torah stress that this occurred during the time of the harvest of grapes? Why does the Torah stress that their forty days of spying culminated with their taking of the אשכול, the cluster of grapes?

Find out in this week's Parsha Podcast.

Again, as I mentioned in regards to last week's podcast, there are deep ideas here that touch on the core of some Geulah concepts, including the significance of Tamuz and Av, which are now upon us. I invite you to download the .doc file which contains more than I could say in twenty or so minutes on the podcast.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Beha'aloscha - Revealing Hidden Light

Why was the mitzvah of Pesach Sheni revealed through the question of the impure individuals? How can one 'make up' the korban Pesach (Passover offering) in a different month? What is the spiritual power of Iyar? Why is Pesach Sheni only one day? Why can the Pesach sheni be eaten when one has Chametz in his home? Why were the Jews specifically counted on the first day of Iyar? Why did the Mon begin to fall on the fifteenth of Iyar? Why could the Mon only fall after the Jews requested it?

Find out in this week's Parsha Podcast.

P.S. This podcast is very connected to the whole Geulah concept, and although I did not directly speak about the recent events that have occurred in Iyar, you will gain a very deep understanding of them here. I am also making the document that I typed up available here, and it contains a piece that I left out of the audio due to time constraints. There is a lot more to talk about based on the principle here, which I hope to write about in a future post.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Thoughts on 5770 and Geulah

Before I begin this post, I want to preface it with a thought on the Gemara in Sanhedrin (97b) which was recently learned in the Daf Yomi. The Gemara quotes the statement of R' Shmuel Bar Nachmeni in the name of R' Yonasan, "Let the bones of those who calculate the end blow up." This is based on the passuk in Chavakuk which says, "כי עוד חזון למועד ויפח לקץ ולא יכזב אם יתמהמה חכה לו כי בא יבא לא יאחר" - "There is another vision of an appointed time, the final redemption, which will not be found false; If it takes a long time in coming, wait for it, it will come, it will not be late." Here the drasha is on the words "ויפח לקץ" which literally mean "the end that is spoken of of." The word "ויפח" can also be translated as blow up (as in blowing up a balloon). This would seem to discourage us from trying to figure out the end. Nevertheless, the second half of the drasha explains that the reason why the 'bones of those who calculate will blow up,' is because by doing so, when the time that they have calculated passes, people will give up hope from continuing to wait. Thus, the passuk is telling us that we can't make a calculation such that people will give up on Moshiach's arrival. Rather, if a calculation is made, it must not discourage people from continuing to wait, and they must still know that, no matter what, he will arrive at the very moment that is intended by Hashem.

With that said, the following ideas are my own observations and they may or may not have deep significance. Furthermore, as I believe I have mentioned in the past, I once heard from a certain Rav in my neighborhood that the Ramban says that every year has a hint in the Torah that Moshiach will come, because every year has the potential for Moshiach's arrival. Thus, we must be assured that even if the following turns out to be insignificant, we must not give up hope from waiting. In any event, I believe that the year we are currently in may be a significant turning point in the Geulah process, as I will try to demonstrate.

The basis of the thoughts that follow is the year we are currently in, תש"ע - 5770. If one looks at the places where this number (תש"ע - 770) appears in the Torah, there are some extremely interesting findings. I first took notice of this in last week's parsha, Parshas Nasso, where the number 770 (תש"ע) appears fourteen times. Thirteen of these times is in the word קערת, which is repeated in the offerings of the nesi'im which were brought in the dedication of the mishkan. This would not seem to have too much significance until one looks carefully at the midrash. There it goes through the special intent that was completely different for each of the seemingly identical offerings brought by the nesi'im. The midrash deals with the significance of every facet of the offerings, as well as the measures of each offering and what the numbers represent. The focus of the offering of the nasi of the tribe of Reuven completely centered around the fact that Reuven attempted to save Yosef from the anger of his brothers. Thus, the midrash reads the word קערת as עקרת, a reference to Reuven being the main (עיקר) one who saved Yosef. This is the first hint that the number 770 has to do with Yosef. This hint can also be found in a Rashi in Tehillim on the verse (113:9) "מושיבי עקרת הבית אם הבנים שמחה" - "He places the barren of the household to be the joyous mother of children." Rashi there says that this 'barren woman' is reference to ציון, another name for Yerushalayim, which is desolate and empty of her children. The word ציון and יוסף share the gematria of 156 (as is noted in Kol Hator), and thus we find that the midrash states that whatever happened to Yosef happened to Tzion, and vice versa. Thus, we again see that Yosef is connected to the number 770. What is even more interesting is that the midrash, in explaining the word כסף, which is next to קערת, brings an interesting verse to explain it. The verse is from Mishlei (10:20), "כסף נבחר לשון צדיק" - "Choicest silver is the tongue of the righteous." Thus, all of the thirteen times that the Torah mentions the word קערת, the value of which is 770, in this context, it is directly followed by the concept of silver which is associated with the צדיק. Yosef is the one who is always referred to as the צדיק יסוד עולם, the righteous one who is the foundation of the world, and thus we see an important connection between the year we are currently in (קערת = תש"ע) and Yosef hatzadik (hinted to in the word כסף). It is also significant that this theme is constantly repeated in the very psukim that are talking about the initial dedication of the mishkan, and the Shechina that accompanied it. Another interesting point is that the midrash says that the combined gematriahs of the two words קערת כסף is 930, which corresponds to the length of the life of Adam Harishon. Yosef is also intimately connected to Adam Harishon's lifespan, because the very fact that Adam's life was limited to this amount of time was a result of the sin, which also created the necessity for there to be a Moshiach ben Yosef who would rectify that sin. Based on this, it is interesting to note that the word תשע, nine, which also has the numerical value of 770, first appears in the enumeration of the lifespan of Adam in Beraishis (5:5).

Now, let's move on to the other place in Parshas Nasso where the number 770 appears. It is found in chapter 5, verse 7. There the Torah is speaking about the concept of someone who was acting as a guardian over an item that belonged to his friend. He claimed that the item had been lost or stolen, and then swore to that fact. Afterwards, it became clear that he had actually misappropriated it for himself. In such a case, the Torah states that the thief must now return the value of the stolen object and also add on a fifth of its value as well. The numerical value of the word "וחמישתו" - "a fifth" is also 770. This would not seem to be so significant until we actually read the pasuk inside. There we see that word that follows "וחמישתו" is the word "יסף" which, in context, means to add on. Again, Yosef is next to the word that hints to the year we are currently in. Another interesting thought is that the passuk could be read "וחמישתו" - in the fifth millenium - "יסף עליו" - add on the value [of the word וחמישתו, which is 770, and brings us to 5770]. It is also significant that the Ba'al Haturim mentions that in the previous passuk, the Torah refers to this sin as "חטאת האדם" - the sin of Adam (see there). Again, as we saw in the previous disussion of the nesi'im, Moshiach ben Yosef is a rectification of that sin of Adam.

Now we will turn to earlier places in the Torah where this number appears, and we will see some extremely interesting connections and hints to Yosef. The first place the number 770 appears is in the word תמשל, "you shall rule," which appears in Beraishis 4:7. This is the passuk that is Hashem's exhortation to Kayin to be careful not to fall into the trap that awaits him with his relationship with Hevel. In speaking of the sin that potentially awaits him, Hashem says, "ואתה תמשל בו" - You will rule over it. This sin, as we have noted in a previous post, was the classic sin of a fallen Moshiach ben Yosef, and the imperative of the verse seems to be stating that in the end, the final Moshiach ben Yosef will overcome and dominate the destructive force that was unleashed in the world through Adam's sin, which resulted in Kayin's sin.

Even more significant, however, is the second place where the word תמשל (whose numerical value is 770) occurs. This is in Beraishis (37:8). This verse is right in the middle of the story of Yosef, where he has just told his brothers about the dreams that he had. As is noted in Sefer Kol Hator, this was the very moment that Yosef stepped into the role of Moshiach ben Yosef. The response of his brothers is recorded in that verse, "המלך תמלך עלינו אם משול תמשל בנו" - "Will you be king over us, or will you rule over us?" The very word "תמשל" - "rule over us" has the gematria of 770, seeming to imply that this year has a deep connection to Yosef's rule over the Jewish people.

Another significant place that we see a word with the gematria of 770 is found in Beraishis 38:29. This is found in the following chapter which took place right after Yosef was sold, when the Torah records the story of the birth of Yehuda's two sons Zerach and Peretz. There, in speaking of the birth of Peretz, the Torah tells us the words that were said when Peretz 'burst forth,' being born first, though it initially seemed his twin would be first. The passuk says, "ותאמר מה פרצת עליך פרץ" - "And she said, how have you burst forth!" The word פרצת, 'burst forth,' refers to the nature of Moshiach which bursts forth, and has the numerical value of 770. Although this passuk is clearly speaking of the concept of Moshiach ben Dovid, nevertheless, we find that Moshiach ben Yosef always contains an aspect of Moshiach ben Dovid within him, and ultimately, the process of Geulah involves a joining of Moshiach ben Yosef and Moshiach ben Dovid.

This is particularly significant because we find that every period of time that involves Moshiach ben Yosef actually splits into two halves (and this occurs on multiple levels), the first being of a more external or superficial revelation of Moshiach ben Yosef, the second being a Moshiach ben Dovid type of revelation, that is, a more internal and miraculous type of revelation. Thus, the sixth millennium (from the year 5000-6000) is the millennium of Yosef, who corresponds to the sixth Sefirah of the lower seven, which is Yesod (as we see in the passuk צדיק יסוד עולם). This millennium is broken down into two halves, the first of which is the 'night' of the sixth day (from 5000/1240 until 5500/1740 which corresponds to 6 PM Thursday night - 6 AM Friday morning). This is the concealed aspect of the sixth day. The second half of the millennial day, from 5500/1740 until 6000/2240, corresponds to the revealed aspect of the sixth millennium, or the Moshiach ben Dovid aspect within Moshiach ben Yosef. This second half of the millennium further breaks down into two parts as well, one of which is more hidden, and one of which is more revealed. Thus, the period of time between the years 5500/1740 and 5750/1990 constitutes a more concealed aspect (the aspect of Yosef), whereas the years from 5750/1990 until 6000/2240 constitute the revealed part (or Dovid aspect of Yosef) of this half millennium.

[It might be illustrative to think of this in terms of Yosef himself, in his external or superficial aspect, as the leader of Egypt. This is what is revealed to the masses, and what the world sees. On a deeper level, there is a hidden aspect of Yosef, a פנימיות which could be referred to as צפנת פענח, the revealer of secrets. This is the deeper aspect of Yosef, or what we could call the Moshiach ben Dovid aspect of Moshiach ben Yosef. This distinction is referred to in Kol Hator as the aspects of Yosef ben Rochel and Yosef ben Yakov.]

This last point explains the significance of something else that we discussed, which is the advent of Mincha Gedolah on Rosh Chodesh Av of this year. We saw that Mincha Gedolah is the time that corresponds to the counterforce against the Erev Rav. The question is, Why? We saw that the Erev Rav gains power at noon, so why do Chazal wait, as it were, to unleash the power of our tefillah until twelve thirty? It could be possible to explain that since the second half of the hour always denotes the more inner dimension - the Dovid aspect - of the spiritual potential of that time, it is only through that inner dimension that one can overcome the forces of evil. This would also explain why the publication of the book Kol Hator could not occur until 1968. Although there was an incredible revelation that occurred at the beginning of the sixth hour, which corresponds to the year 1948, it was only able to be seen on the external level of Yosef 'the ruler of Egypt'. The Dovid aspect within Yosef 'צפנת פענח', or the inner dimension of the revelation that occurred in 1948, was not to be revealed until 1968, with the publication of Kol Hator. Similarly, 5750/1990 was the beginning of the seventh hour in which we now stand, but all of the revelations that have been occurring have been in the external aspect of Yosef, the incredible scientific and technological breakthroughs that are the external aspect of the deeper dimension of the new Shefa that is pouring down from heaven. This is a result of the fact that we have entered the second half of the second half of the millenium. We are now about to pass the mid-hour point, which means that we are entering into the deeper dimension of this hour, when the Dovid aspect of Yosef (צפנת פענח) will be revealed. This is when the power of Yosef rises, on the wings of its inner dimension, and can finally begin to do battle with the external forces of the Erev Rav and Esav, who he is destined to vanquish.

With this in mind, we can see a possible explanation as to why the word פרצת, "bursting forth" has the gematria of our year. It refers to the Dovid aspect of Yosef which comes into play in תש"ע - 5770, on Rosh Chodesh Av.

We can further see this dual relationship, where the first half is an external/superficial (Yosef) aspect hiding the inner dimension, and the second half is the internal (Dovid) aspect, in the following observation. We have previously seen that the millennium can be divided into twenty four hours. These hours each consist of forty one and two-thirds years. The division of the millennium can also be done into twelve hours, where each hour will be eighty three and a third years. This is because every two hours are really components of a greater hour. Thus, each of the 41-year hours is also half of an 83-year hour. We can thus see that the fifth hour (1907-1948) and sixth hour (1948-1990) are two parts of a larger hour. The first period is thus the exterior aspect of the inner dimension that is revealed in the second period. During the first period, the world experienced the most wrenching transformation that it has ever known. It was characterized by two world wars, and millions upon millions of deaths. It also saw the incomprehensibly brutal murder of over six million Jews, and the events that would lead up to the creation of an official homeland for the Jewish people. I will leave it to your own minds to develop this deep idea to its fullest, but suffice it to say that the fifth hour was the hour of a certain redemptive process developing in an external and hidden way, while the sixth hour was the hour of the revelation of the inner dimension of that process. This repeats itself with the sixth and seventh hours, as well, where that which was revealed in the sixth hour (1948-1990) is, relatively speaking, the external aspect of that which is to be revealed as the inner dimension in the seventh hour (1990-2031).

With this idea, we can also understand something else that was mentioned in a previous post, which is the statement of the Gemara in Sanhedrin (38b) that the seventh hour of the original sixth day of creation was when Hashem married Adam to Chava. It was during that hour that Adam was made to sleep so Hashem could separate Chava from him, and thereby bring them back together, marrying them as man and wife. This was the external aspect of what was to occur in the following hour, where they would actually have relations and thereby bring children into the world. This aspect also corresponds to what the Zohar says is the purpose of the current seventh hour (1990-2031), which is the rebuilding of the Beis Hamidash, which is the rejoining of the Jewish people with the Shechina (the Divine presence), as well as the aspect of הקדוש ברוך הוא with שכינה. This is the outer dimension of Yosef, which will be followed in the eighth hour by the inner dimension of Dovid, whose job is Techiyas Hameisim, revival of the dead, which the Zohar says occurs in 5790/2030.

The final place that we will discuss where we find a word with the value 770 is at the end of the story of Yosef and his brothers, when they have completed the tikkun and Yosef has revealed himself. As described in Beraishis 45:22, Yosef gave each of them חלפות שמלת, new clothing. The numerical value of שמלת, clothing, is 770, as we discussed at length in a previous post. It is extremely interesting that before the story reached this climax, when the brothers took out their sacks to prove that they did not contain Yosef's goblet, they tore their clothing when the goblet was found in Binyomin's sack. There (Beraishis 44:13), the Torah uses the same word for clothing and says, "ויקרעו שמלתם" - "They tore their garments." Paradoxically, this tearing of their garments in grief was the beginning of the final revelation of Yosef. Yosef would replace those garments in the passuk mentioned above. [By the way, it is interesting that the word referring to Biyomin's sack is "באמתחת" has a gematria of 851, the same as the value of the words בעתה אחישנה, in its time I will hasten it.]

Again, as I wrote at the beginning of this post, although these ideas are extremely powerful and exciting, it is important to remember that the Geulah process is just that - a process. It is likely that Rosh Chodesh Av will come and go with no discernible difference before and after. However, I firmly believe that we will look back at the date and see that a cosmic shift occurred that moved us ever closer to our final redemption, במהרה בימינו אמן.