Saturday, November 22, 2014

Week 10 (From the Book): To Trust in G-d’s Mercy

 
The bat is saying, "Comfort My people, comfort them, says your Lord." (Isaiah 1:40)
 
Rabbi Shimon would say: Be meticulous with the reading of the Shemah and with prayer. When you pray, do not make your prayers routine, but [an entreaty of] mercy and a supplication before the Almighty, as is stated ``For He is benevolent and merciful, slow to anger and abundant in loving kindness, and relenting of the evil decree'' (Joel 2:13). And do not be wicked in your own eyes.
 
Tiferet shebeGevurah (balance and beauty within the context of discipline and judgment)
 
On the tenth week, the bat reiterates G-d’s words, asking that His people be comforted. (Isaiah 40:1) In this week, we fully enter into the month of Kislev, which is represented by the tribe of Benjamin. Benjamin is known for its ability to preserve Jewish values for future generations and for its great capacity for self-sacrifice.[1] The bat has the ability to see in the dark, an important trait in this month of long and cold nights. Yet it is also on this month, during Chanukah, that we feel that G-d does indeed comfort us. On Chanukah, the Jews defeat the spiritual darkness of the Greeks, and the light of the Temple is restored.
The number ten represents a complete unit, an intensification of the concept of unity reflected in the number one. Ten represents the Ten Commandments, the ten sefirot, as well as the ten Divine expressions.[2] In Pirkei Avot, ten is also associated with ​​mercy. G-d waited ten generations from Adam to Noah before punishing humanity. The generations after Noah also sinned, and G-d also mercifully waited ten generations from Noah to Abraham, who then began the process of returning humanity back to the belief in One G-d.[3]
In Pirkei Avot, Rabbi Shimon states: "Be careful with the reading of the Shemah and with prayer. When you pray, do not act as if this were routine, but rather a plea for mercy and supplication before G-d… Do not be evil in your own eyes." The Shemah is the greatest expression of monotheism and of the acceptance by the Jewish people of G-d as One, and as the King of the Universe. Similarly, the prayer shows our intimacy with our Creator. These concepts are exactly what the Greeks wanted to destroy. They had a problem with the people’s monotheism. They even accepted the concept of a Cosmos - cold and indifferent to human behavior - but not of a G-d that was a Merciful Father and King.
For Rabbi Shimon, in order to follow a righteous path, it is very important to see what lies ahead, and to avoid not paying back loans. He states that one who borrows from his friend is as if he borrows from G-d. To be able to see what is about to happen (literally, “seeing what is being born”) is one of the Talmudic definitions of being truly wise, and achieving Chochmah. The Greeks were known for their wisdom. However, wisdom it and of itself, is not sufficient. Wisdom must be tied to the ethics of monotheism and to a firm relationship with a Merciful G-d. Not paying back loans, for example, is not only unethical, it is a rejection of the great mercy someone had towards us, an ultimate reflection of G-d’s mercy. Giving interest-free loans to our neighbors is a Divine commandment from the Torah.
The sefirah combination for this week is tiferet shebegevurah: beauty and balance within strength and discipline. As explained above, tiferet also is known as rachamim, mercy. While we are more distanced from Tishrei, we still remember the beauty of our Torah, we ask Hashem for mercy, in order for us to maintain our strong our dedication to the spiritual resolutions we had made on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.
An important teaching of self-improvement to be drawn from the words of the bat is to always pray for mercy, and to remember to support our fellow, especially the needy and the oppressed.

[1] Ryzman, pp. 64, 232.
[2] Pirkei Avot, 5:1.
[3] Pirkei Avot, 5:2-6
 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Table for 32 Paths of Wisdom, Sixteen 22-Day Cycles of the Year




Number
22-day Cycle
32 Paths

(Hebrew Letter / Sefirah)

Perek Shirah Element
King Conquered by Joshua
Family of Kohanim (Priests)
Chapter from the Book of Proverbs
Acrostic
Psalm 70
Time of Day
Time of the Year









1
1st Cycle
Alef
Heaven
The king of Jericho, one;
Jehoiarib
Proverbs, Chapter 1
Psalm 9-10
1. A prayer of Moses, the man of God. O Lord, You have been our dwelling place throughout all generations.

11:35 PM
Three weeks from Selichot to Sukkot
2

Beit
Earth
 the king of Ai, that is beside Bethel, one.
Hezir
Proverbs, Chapter 2
Psalm 119
א. תְּפִלָּה לְמֹשֶׁה אִישׁ הָאֱלֹהִים אֲדֹנָי מָעוֹן אַתָּה הָיִיתָ לָּנוּ בְּדֹר וָדֹר:
11:47 PM

3
2nd Cycle
Gimmel
Garden of Eden
10. The king of Jerusalem, one;
Harim
Proverbs, Chapter 3
Psalm 25
2. Before the mountains were born, and You brought forth the earth and the inhabited world, and from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.
11:59 PM
Three weeks from Sukkot to Cheshvan
4

Dalet
Gehinnom
the king of Hebron, one;
Happizzez
Proverbs, Chapter 4
Psalm 119
ב. בְּטֶרֶם | הָרִים יֻלָּדוּ וַתְּחוֹלֵל אֶרֶץ וְתֵבֵל וּמֵעוֹלָם עַד עוֹלָם אַתָּה אֵל:
12:11 AM

5
3rd Cycle
Heh
Wilderness
11. The king of Jarmuth, one;
Malchijah
Proverbs, Chapter 5
Psalm  34
 3. You bring man to the crushing point, and You say, "Return, O sons of men."

12:23 AM
Three weeks from Cheshvan to Rosh Chodesh Kislev
6

Vav
Fields
the king of Lachish, one;
Pethahiah
Proverbs, Chapter 6
Psalm 119
ג. תָּשֵׁב אֱנוֹשׁ עַד דַּכָּא וַתֹּאמֶר שׁוּבוּ בְנֵי אָדָם:
12:35 AM

7
4th Cycle
Zayin
Waters
12. the king of 'Eglon, one;
Hakkoz
Proverbs, Chapter 7
Psalm  37
4. For a thousand years are in Your eyes like yesterday, which passed, and a watch in the night.

12:47 AM
Three weeks from Rosh Chodesh Kislev to Chanukah
8

Chet
Seas
 the king of Gezer, one;
Jehezkel
Proverbs, Chapter 8
Psalm 119
ד. כִּי אֶלֶף שָׁנִים בְּעֵינֶיךָ כְּיוֹם אֶתְמוֹל כִּי יַעֲבֹר וְאַשְׁמוּרָה בַלָּיְלָה:
12:59 AM

9
5th Cycle
Tet
Rivers
13. The king of Debir, one;
Jeshua
Proverbs, Chapter 9
Psalm 111
5. You carry them away as a flood; they are like a sleep; in the morning, like grass it passes away.

1:11 AM
Three weeks from Chanukah to Mid-Tevet
10

Yud
Wellsprings (last water)
 the king of Geder, one;
Jachin
Proverbs, Chapter 10
Psalm 119
ה. זְרַמְתָּם שֵׁנָה יִהְיוּ בַּבֹּקֶר כֶּחָצִיר יַחֲלֹף:
End of 2nd Watch (2/3) (1:23 AM)

11
6th Cycle
Caf
Day
14. The king of Hormah, one;
Eliashib
Proverbs, Chapter 11
Psalm 112
6. In the morning, it blossoms and passes away; in the evening, it is cut off and withers.

1:35 AM
Three weeks from Mid-Tevet to Yud Shvat
12

Lamed
Night
the king of 'Arad, one;
Gamul
Proverbs, Chapter 12
Psalm 119
ו. בַּבֹּקֶר יָצִיץ וְחָלָף לָעֶרֶב יְמוֹלֵל וְיָבֵשׁ:
1:47 AM

13
7th Cycle
Mem
Sun
15. The king of Libnah, one;
Huppah
Proverbs, Chapter 13
Psalm 145
7. For we perish from Your wrath, and from Your anger we are dismayed.

1:59 AM
Three weeks from Yud Shvat to Rosh Chodesh Adar
14

Nun
Moon
the king of 'Adulam, one;
Delaiah
Proverbs, Chapter 14
Psalm 119
ז. כִּי כָלִינוּ בְאַפֶּךָ וּבַחֲמָתְךָ נִבְהָלְנוּ:
2:11 AM

15/16
8th Cycle
Samech/Ayin
Stars (last of sky)
18. The king of Aphek, one;
Bilgah
Proverbs, Chapter 15
Proverbs 31:10-31 (Eshet Chayil)
8. You have placed our iniquities before You, [the sins of] our youth before the light of Your countenance.

End of 3rd Watch (3/4) 2:23 AM
Three weeks from Rosh Chodesh Adar to 24th of Adar
 the king of Lasharon, one;
Maaziah
Proverbs, Chapter 16
Psalm 119
ח. שַׁתָּה עֲו‍ֹנֹתֵינוּ לְנֶגְדֶּךָ עֲלֻמֵנוּ לִמְאוֹר פָּנֶיךָ:
2:35 AM

17
9th Cycle
Peh
Thick Clouds
19. The king of Madon, one;
Jedaiah
Proverbs, Chapter 17
 Lamentations 1
9. For all our days have passed away in Your anger; we have consumed our years as a murmur.

2:47 AM
Three weeks from 25th of Adar to Pessach
18

Tzadi
Light Clouds
the king of Hazor, one;

Proverbs, Chapter 18

 ט. כִּי כָל יָמֵינוּ פָּנוּ בְעֶבְרָתֶךָ כִּלִּינוּ שָׁנֵינוּ כְמוֹ הֶגֶה:
2:59 AM

19
10th Cycle
Kuf
Wind
16. The king of Makkedah, one;
Seorim
Proverbs, Chapter 19
 Lamentations 2
10. The days of our years because of them are seventy years, and if with increase, eighty years; but their pride is toil and pain, for it passes quickly and we fly away.

3:11 AM
Three weeks from Pessach to 9th of Iyar
20

Resh
Lighting Bolts
the king of Bethel, one;

Proverbs, Chapter 20

י. יְמֵי שְׁנוֹתֵינוּ | בָּהֶם שִׁבְעִים שָׁנָה וְאִם בִּגְבוּרֹת | שְׁמוֹנִים שָׁנָה וְרָהְבָּם עָמָל וָאָוֶן כִּי גָז חִישׁ וַנָּעֻפָה:
3:23 AM

21
11th Cycle
Shin
Dew
17. The king of Tappuah, one;
Mijamin
Proverbs, Chapter 21
 Lamentations 3
11. Who knows the might of Your wrath, and according to Your fear is Your anger.

3:35 AM
Three weeks from 10th of Iyar to 2nd of Sivan
22

Tav
Rain (last of clouds)
the king of Hepher, one;

Proverbs, Chapter 22

יא. מִי יוֹדֵעַ עֹז אַפֶּךָ וּכְיִרְאָתְךָ עֶבְרָתֶךָ:
3:47 AM

23
12th Cycle

Kaf Sofit
Chochma

Wild Trees
20. The king of Shimron-meron, one;
Abijah
Proverbs, Chapter 23
 Lamentations 3
12. So teach the number of our days, so that we shall acquire a heart of wisdom.

3:59 AM
Three weeks from 3rd of Sivan to 24th of Sivan
24

Binah
Vine
the king of Achshaph, one;

Proverbs, Chapter 24

יב. לִמְנוֹת יָמֵינוּ כֵּן הוֹדַע וְנָבִא לְבַב חָכְמָה:
4:11 AM

25
13th Cycle

Mem Sofit
Daat

Fig
21. The king of Ta'nach, one;
Shecaniah
Proverbs, Chapter 25
 Lamentations 3
 13. Return, O Lord, how long? And repent about Your servants.

4:23 AM
Three weeks from 25th of Sivan to 16th of Tammuz
26

Chesed
Pomegranite
the king of Megiddo, one;

Proverbs, Chapter 26

יג. שׁוּבָה יְהֹוָה עַד מָתָי וְהִנָּחֵם עַל עֲבָדֶיךָ
4:35 AM

27
14th Cycle

Nun Sofit
Gevurah

Palm (Date)
22. The king of Kedesh, one;
Jakim
Proverbs, Chapter 27
 Lamentations 4
 14. Satiate us in the morning with Your loving-kindness, and let us sing praises and rejoice with all our days.

Alot Hashachar (dawn) 4:47 AM
Three weeks from 17th of Tammuz to Tisha B’Av
28

Tiferet
Esrog (Tapuach) (last tree)
the king of Jokne'am of Carmel, one;

Proverbs, Chapter 28

יד. שַׂבְּעֵנוּ בַבֹּקֶר חַסְדֶּךָ וּנְרַנְּנָה וְנִשְׂמְחָה בְּכָל יָמֵינוּ:
4:59 AM

29
15th Cycle

Peh Sofit
Netzach

Sheaves of Wheat
23. The king of Dor of the regions of Dor, one;
Jeshebeab
Proverbs, Chapter 29
 Lamentations 5
 15. Cause us to rejoice according to the days that You afflicted us, the years that we saw evil.

Earliest Shmah,Talit & Tefilin 5:11 AM
Three weeks from 10th of Av to Rosh Chodesh Elul
30

Hod
Sheaves of Barley
 the king of the nations of Gilgal, one;

Proverbs, Chapter 30

טו. שַׂמְּחֵנוּ כִּימוֹת עִנִּיתָנוּ שְׁנוֹת רָאִינוּ רָעָה:
5:23 AM

31
16th Cycle

Tzadi Sofit
Yesod

Other Sheaves
24. The king of Tirzah, one; all the kings thirty-one.
Immer
Proverbs, Chapter 31
Nachum
16. May Your works appear to Your servants, and Your beauty to their sons.

5:35 AM
Three weeks from 2nd of Elul to 23rd of Elul
32

Malchut
Vegetables of the Field
Sichon, Melech Cheshbon

David's Song regarding Shlomoh (Psalm 72)

טז. יֵרָאֶה אֶל עֲבָדֶיךָ פָּעֳלֶךָ וַהֲדָרְךָ עַל בְּנֵיהֶם:
5:47 AM

33  (Half)
Vowels
Keter
Grass
Og Melech HaBashan
Tzadok – Kohen Gadol
David’s final advice (Melachim I, Chapter 2)
Psalm 150
17. And may the pleasantness of the Lord our God be upon us, and the work of our hands establish for us, and the work of our hands establish it. 

יז. וִיהִי נֹעַם | אֲדֹנָי אֱלֹהֵינוּ עָלֵינוּ וּמַעֲשֵׂה יָדֵינוּ כּוֹנְנָה עָלֵינוּ וּמַעֲשֵׂה יָדֵינוּ כּוֹנְנֵהוּ:
5:59 AM
23rd of Elul to 6th of Tishrei

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Rabbi Daniel Kahane and Ann Helen Wainer have recently launched a new book, which promises to change the way scholars and laymen understand the Jewish calendar as well as the structure of central Jewish texts. 

The book shows how the 52-day period spanning from Passover to Shavuot (Pentecost) is in fact a microcosm of the 52 weeks of the year. Additionally, it demonstrates how 52 rabbis and 52 animals listed in the sacred works Pirkei Avot (“Ethics of the Fathers”) and Perek Shirah (“Chapter of Song”) parallel the year’s weeks as well. Finally, the book explores the kabbalistic meaning behind the numbers and divine attributes (sefirot) related to each day from Passover to Shavuot known as the Counting of the Omer.

The Counting of the Omer has always been one of the key tools used by the Jewish People as a basis for spiritual development. The book expands its use to the entire year and shows amazing and eerie connections between how the weeks of the year and the days of the Omer parallel each other. “The basis for the entire book is one simple idea,” Rabbi Kahane says, “Just as the culmination of the Counting of the OmerLag Ba’Omer, falls on the 33rd day of the Omer, so too the week of Lag Ba’Omer falls on the 33rd week of the year. 

“The book’s use as a weapon against sadness should also not be underestimated,” exclaims Ann Helen Wainer, “its uplifting ideas and its connectedness to the song and harmony of nature, as well as the wisdom and foresight of our ancestors, is a true gift.”
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