THE KABBALAH OF TIME:
Kahane and Wainer explain that the calendar is the master key to unlock the hidden rationale behind the formal structure of ancient sacred texts, as well as to understand basic mystical concepts. When comprehended within the context of the Jewish calendar, these works reveal the spiritual energy of each week, serving as a practical guide for self-analysis and development.
Hayom Yom: With three instruments of service - love of G‑d, love of Torah and love of Israel - must young students of Torah approach their Avoda in the vineyard of the L-rd of Hosts,to bring the hearts of their brothers closer to observing practical mitzvot and to designating regular time for Torah study. They must do this without paying any attention to the affliction of factions. The absolute truth is that the heart of Israel is a wellspring, a source of living waters, and there is a "covenant" with effort and publicity - that they shall never be fruitless. -- All that is sacred to the nation of the G‑d of Avraham and is fundamental to the house of Israel - in establishing and rearing an upright generation, kashrut of food, the sublime pure holiness of Shabbat, was entrusted by awesome and revered G‑d - for preservation and development - to the woman of Israel. The woman who fulfills her obligation and destiny in the life of the family, in conducting the home, and in seeing that the education1 be according to Torah, this woman is the subject of the verse, "The wisdom of women constructed her home."
In Memory of My Grandmother, Chanah Miriam bat Pinchas Sefirot Combination (Cycles of Seven Weeks):
2nd day of Week 26 and the 30th day of the cycle of Netzach (Victory/Endurance), Gevurah shebeHod shebeNetzach, Might/Discipline within Glory/Acknowledgement within Victory/Endurance.
Alef-Bet/Psalms (Cycles of 22 days):
1st day of the 9th cycle. Aleph within the cycle of Peh and Tzadik: Aleph-Peh, Peh-Aleph
anger, wrath; also, even; nose
sidelock, sidecurl; sideburn ; wig ; side, face ; (biblical) corner, edge ; (Jewish law) a form of charity - the corner of a field, vineyard or orchard left unharvested for the poor to come and take what they need
O how has the city that was once so populous remained lonely! She has become like a widow! She that was great among the nations, a princess among the provinces, has become tributary.
Hayom Yom: Hoshi'einu (p. 76) is said after the Song of the Day on weekdays, Shabbat, Festivals, Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. --
The chassid, R. Mordechai Horodoker, related: The first aphorism we heard from the Alter Rebbe when we arrived in Lyozna was: What is forbidden is forbidden, and what is permitted is unnecessary. For some three or four years we labored with this until we integrated this manner (of service) into the various aspects of our lives. Only then did we enter into yechidus, to ask for a path in avoda. Comments/Perspectives: Much of the theme of the texts and words for today seem connected to Gevurah - Hashem withholding kindness from us, and we knowing how to withdraw from the pleasures (and property) of this world.
The 25th of Adar begins the ninth set of 22 days of the Jewish calendar, which parallels the letters Peh and Tzadik, as well as the Thick and Thin Clouds in Perek Shirah. This 22-day period begins during the time of Passover preparations, and runs through the first days of Passover. Peh means "mouth," which is one of the primary symbols of Passover itself. Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev states that Pesach stands for Peh - Sach, a mouth converses, as it is a special mitzvah to recount the miracles of our liberation during the Passover Seder. The Megaleh Amukos states that Pharaoh stands for Peh Rah (evil mouth). (Raskin) The shape of the letter Peh is a combination of the Kaf and a Yud. The Yud stands for G-dliness, and therefore the Peh symbolizes the revelation of G-dliness. Also, the Yud is like a tooth inside the mouth. In the Haggadah of Passover, we learn that the we must "break the teeth" of the evil son, so that he may become a Tzadik, revealing his potential. The next letter, the Tzadik, stands for righteousness. The Tzadik is also a combination of letters: a bent Nun and a Yud. The bent Nun symbolizes humility, the trait most associated with Moshe, of whom the Torah testifies that he was the most humble of men. Humility, destroying one's spiritual Chametz (leavened bread, ego) is certainly one of the main themes of this time as well. It is also through humility that we reveal the Yud, G-dliness.
A similar theme can be found in the Perek Shirah verses of the Thick and Thin Clouds:
The Thick Clouds are saying, “He made darkness His secret
place; His pavilion around Him was dark with waters and thick clouds of the
skies.” (Psalms 18:12)
The Light Clouds are saying, “Also He burdens the thick
cloud with overflow; the [light] cloud scatters its light. (Job 37:11)
The thick, usually dark, clouds symbolize the potential for tremendous rain. This overflow of water (which is always a metaphor for the Torah itself) is very much connected to extensive recounting of the Passover story, as well as the potential the evil son has to bring tremendous good and blessing to the world.
The light clouds also spread the knowledge of G-d, "scattering His light." The clouds' lightness also appears to symbolize humility. It is their very lightness that allows them to have such strong reflective powers. The same is true for all Tzadikim and the Jewish people as a whole. They are a reflection of G-d's light.
In Hebrew, light clouds are called Ananei HaKavod, "Clouds of Glory," the term used for the clouds that protected the Jewish people during the the time of the Exodus from Egypt and the Passover story. The clouds were given to the Jewish people in the merit of Aharon's righteousness. After Aharon passed away, the clouds disappeared. They were later reinstated in the merit of another Tzadik, Moshe Rabbeinu.
The sheep [and goat] is saying:
"Who is like You among the might ones, G-d, who is like You, mighty in
holiness, awesome in praise, worker of wonders." (Exodus 15:11)
Yishmael would say: Be yielding to a
leader, affable to the black-haired, and receive every man with joy.
and gratefulness within the context of victory and endurance)
In the twenty-sixth week, that of Rosh Chodesh Nissan, in Perek Shirah, the small pure (kosher)
domestic animal proclaims that no one is as strong, awesome and miraculous as Hashem (Exodus 15:11). The small pure
domestic animal is a reference to the sheep (the month of Nissan corresponds to the zodiac sign of Aries), as well as to the
goat. Rosh Chodesh Nissan marks the
inauguration of the Mishkan, the
Tabernacle, in which sacrifices of pure kosher animals, such as the sheep and
goat, were brought.
Nissan is the
month of redemption and miracles. The relationship of shepherd and flock is one
of the most important metaphors for the relationship between G-d and the Jewish
people. G-d is far above our comprehension, just as the shepherd is also
completely beyond the understanding of his flock. At the same time, like sheep,
we have total humility and faith that our Shepherd will lead us in the right
path, despite perhaps having to face foxes and lions along the way.
The goat is also used a symbol for
the Jewish People in the famous song that is sung by many Jews on Passover
night, Chad Gadya. The song’s name
means “One Goat,” and also appears to be phonetically similar to the word Haggadah, the text that is read during
thePassover Seder. Chad Gadya is
similar to Perek Shirah, in that it
also includes many animals and natural elements. The animals in Chad Gadya function primarily as symbols
for various exiles we have endured and the different nations that conquered the
Land of Israel.The cat that eats the
goat is a reference to Assyrians; the dog that eats the cat is a reference to
Babylon; the stick is Persia; the fire is Macedonia; the water, Rome; the ox,
the Saracens; the slaughterer, the crusaders; the Angel of Death, the Turks. At
the end, G-d saves us from all these enemies and returns us to our Land.
The two zuzim, the coins used to
purchase the goat are said to be a reference to the two tablets containing the
Ten Commandments given to Moses at Mount Sinai,
but also appear to be a reference to the two Temples that were destroyed, and
its people exiled. Zuz means to move,
to change places. The Third Temple, however, will not move, it will be
Similarly, each animal in Perek Shirah that sings during Nissan represents a different exile, as
well as a redemption from it. Sheep were G-ds to the Egyptians, our first
exile, and the goat, Seir in Hebrew,
is a reference to Esau, our last. It was in this month that we were redeemed
from Egypt, and it is in this month that we will be redeemed in the future.
The Torah states unequivocally that Nissan is the head of all months, Rosh Chodashim. It is therefore
represented by the Tribe of Judah, who was the leader of his brothers, and from
whom King David descends. All legitimate kings of the Jewish people - including
Mashiach – are descendants of King
David and therefore of Judah. The word for Judah in Hebrew, Yehudah, comes from the word hoda’ah, which means acknowledgement.
This is the same root of the word Modeh,
as in the prayer we make when we first get up in the morning, the Modeh Ani, in which we acknowledge G-d
as our King and thank Him for returning our soul. The tribe of Judah is
characterized by self-sacrifice, acknowledgement, and thankfulness.
Because the Egyptians idolized sheep,
it is extremely appropriate that it be the one to proclaim the absolute
greatness of Hashem. The Sheep is the
animal used in the Passover sacrifice, showing the Egyptians that G-d is far
greater than any other god. On Shabat
HaGadol (the “Great Shabbat,” which takes place right before Passover), we
celebrate the miracle of how the Egyptians did not react negatively toward the
Jewish people, when they tied sheep to their bedposts, and told the Egyptians
that they were about to sacrifice their gods in the coming days.
Nissan is the
month of Passover, and it is therefore appropriate that this week’s song be
from the Song of the Sea, which was sung after the miracle of the splitting of
the Sea of Reeds.
The number twenty-six is the gematria of G-d’s name, “Hashem.” Twenty-six also equals two
times the number thirteen, the gematria
of the word echad, one, as well as ahavah, love.
Rabbi Yishmael in Pirkei Avot teaches us this week that we
must submit to a superior (literally “the head”), and be courteous to a younger
person, greeting every person with joy (III:12). Among the kohanim, Rabbi Yishmael was the head, the Kohen Gadol. In addition to his close connection with Hashem, Rabbi Yishmael, as Aaron before
him, had a great love for each member of the Jewish people, independent of his
or her status or stature. This verse also has a clear connection with Nissan, the head of the months.
The sefirot combination for this week results in hod shebenetzach. With humility and gratitude, self-sacrifice and
acknowledgement, we achieve the miraculous victory and redemption that takes
place during this month.
We learn from the sheep and the goat
that our work of improving ourselves physically and spiritually must be based
on our strong belief that only Hashem
can truly redeem us.
 While Rabbi Slifkin
translates this animal only as sheep, Rabbi Lazer Brody includes goats as well.
The Hebrew term can be translated literally as “small/thin pure animal.”
Comments/Perspectives: Tav means a "sign" and Samech, "support." What is a sign and support that a woman (or a man) is just? You look at her fruit (children, students, those she influenced) and you look at their deeds. Similarly, what is a sign or support that a person is lost and needs redirection? G-d's commandments.
Hayom Yom: To R. Hillel Paritcher's question whether to review Chassidus even in towns where the people have no conception of Chassidus, the Mitteler Rebbe responded: "The soul hears words of Chassidus." It is written, "Flowing from Lebanon." Lebanon is spelled (in Hebrew) l'b nu'n. "Lebanon" thus represents chochma and bina of the soul. When the soul hears, from thereissues a "flow", a "stream of droplets" into that "radiance" or ha'ara of the soul which vitalizes the body; this results in a strengthening of "do good" expressed in the 248 positive mitzvot, and of "turn from evil" expressed in the 365 prohibitions. -- When saying Ana b'choach, look at - or picture in thought - the sheimot (Divine Names) formed by the acronyms of the words, but do not pronounce them.
Comments/Perspectives: Rabbi Hillel Paritcher's question arises from times in which a person is not given any sign that their actions are having the desired effect (kind of like this blog :) ), and the Miteller Rebbe comes to tell him that "the soul hears," and that there is a strengthening to do good and to turn from evil (Sur M'Rah - connected to the Samech-Reish combination from two days ago). Similarly, the Ana B'choach has Divine Names that are not to be pronounced, yet they still have their desired effect.
Comments/Perspectives: The verses for today have much to do with appearances. Superficial qualities fade away with time, but moral and spiritual qualities are what G-d desires most, and those are always apparent to Him, and are what will ultimately be praised by others as well.
Ayin literally means "eye" and Shin means "tooth." The eye is used for seeing, but is also a "window" into the soul, while teeth are more superficial, used for biting and chewing, but also for smiling.
[As an aside, th verse from the Torah, famously mistranslated as "an eye for an eye," "tooth for a tooth," which in truth is about monetary compensation for losing an eye or a tooth.]
Hayom Yom: Rabbis and scholars are called the "eyes of the community" and "heads of the thousands of Israel," and when the head is healthy, the body is then also healthy.
-- My father once said to a Rav, who labored in avoda and was an especially diligent scholar: A Rav must remember at all times and at every moment that he always stands on the threshold between being one of those who bring merit to the public and, G‑d forbid, one of those who cause the public to sin - the threshold between the loftiest of heights and the most abysmal depth. All issues must touch him at the innermost core of his soul, literally, because his very soul is at stake. Comments/Perspectives: The Hayom Yom fits the same theme as above. It is about appearances. Actions that rabbis and scholars must take in order to "see" (and judge) things from the right perspective, and also appear to others in the same light as well, so as to be a sanctification of G-d's name, and not, G-d forbid, the opposite.
It's also worth noting that that the Hayom Yom includes "Ayin" (eye) and "Reish" (head/Rosh)