Monday, September 30, 2013

Parallels Between the Five Books of the Torah and the Sefirot, As Well As Between the Torah Stages of Development and the Months of the Year

It appears that the Five Books of the Torah generally follow the pattern of the 7 emotional sefirot during the year, with the Book of Bereshit falling in the weeks of Chesed and Gevurah; Shemot including the weeks of Tiferet and Netzach; Vayikra, Hod; Bamidbar, Yesod; and finally Devarim, Malchut.

The twelve stages of Torah development set forth by Pinchas ben Yair, elucidated in the Ramchal's (Rabbi Moshe Luzzato) Mesilat Yesharim (Path of the Just), also appear to parallel the twelve months of the year:

TorahTishrei  - month filled with holidays and Torah related activity;

Zehirut, watchfulness  – Cheshvan - month of the flood, care not to sin so close after Tishrei;

Zrizut, alacrity Kislev - is the quality that defines the Kohanim, the heroes of Chanukah and this month as a whole);

Nekiut, cleanliness – Teveth (Ramchal explains that Nekiut means cleanliness from all sin, including those that we rationalize; Teveth is known for sins related to the tribe of Dan; Shimshon, from Dan, is an example of rationalization gone awry.

Prishut, "separateness"Shvat - Ramchal explains Prishut means abstinence from pleasure, even those permitted, if they could eventually lead to sin; Shvat is related to pleasure of fruits, etc.;

Taharah, purity – Adar - Ramchal explains Taharah means purity in our desires and emotions; in Purim we get drunk and let our emotions and desire come out - hopefully they will be pure;

Chassidut, pietyNissan - Ramchal explains Chassidut, piety, means going above and beyond to serve Hashem in every way possible to the best of our ability; the best example of this would be cleaning on Pessach, where every effort is praiseworthy;

Anavah, humility – Iyar - Ramchal explains that anavah means humility before G-d and others; the problem of Iyar, month of counting of the omer, is that the students of Rabbi Akivah did not respect one another - they each thought too highly of themselves in comparison to their fellow students - this showed a lack of humility; on Lag Ba'Omer we celebrate Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, who had this quality;

Yirat Chet, fear of sinSivan - Ramchal explains that Yirat Chet, fear of sin, in this context, means fear connected to the realization of Hashem's greatness and magnitude; as we realize this greatness we are literally ashamed of in any way going against G-d's desires; this was exemplified at the Giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai;

Kedushah, holiness – Tammuz - Ramchal explains that Kedushah means clinging to G-d at all times, and completely disconnecting from physicality; this is represented by Reuven, who was in a constant state of Teshuvah after the sin that took place regarding his father's bed;

Ruach haKodesh, the holy spirit – Av - Ruach haKodesh, is most associated with Mashiach, who is called Ruach Apeinu, the spirit of our nostrils, and who will be endowed with the spirit of G-d;


Tchiat haMetim, resurrection of the dead – Elul - in Elul we repent for our sins and prepare ourselves to be given new life for the coming year. A sinful person is called "dead" even while alive, while a righteous person even after death is called "alive."

Sunday, September 15, 2013

More on the 22-day cycles of the year: Acrostics and Priestly Guard Shifts

There are 8 acrostic psalms in Tanach. Chapter 119 has eight verses for each letter. Furthermore, the last chapter of the Book of Proverbs is also an acrostic. It is known as Eshet Chayil (the woman of valor) and said to be composed by Abraham, our Patriarch, in honor of Sarah.

Chapters 1 through 4 of the Book of Lamentations are in acrostic form. The first verse starts with an Alef, the second with a Bet, etc. Chapter 5 has 22 verses, but is not in alphabetical order. All but one chapter is composed of 22 verses. Instead of 22 verses, Chapter 3 has 66, 3 x 22. Chapter 1 of Nachum appears to have at least half an acrostic, the other half hidden within the text. 

Counting Chapter 3 of Book of Lamentations three times, and Psalm 119 eight times times there are a total of 24 texts that are composed in acrostic fashion, 16 of which are from the Psalms and Proverbs and 8 of which are from Lamentations and Nachum. 

We split the year in two halves, the first for the Psalms and Proverbs (16), and the second for Nachum and Lamentations (8).

This parallels the guards of Elazar and Ithamar in the times of King David. There were 24 families – 16 for Elazar and 8 from Ithamar. In the times of Aharon, it used to be split exactly in half, 8 for each. We therefore join 2 of Elazar for every 1 from Itamar.


1
Psalm  9-10
1st Cycle
Jehoiarib
11:35 PM
 Three weeks from Selichot to Sukkot
2
Psalm 119
Hezir
11:47 PM

3
Psalm 25
2nd Cycle
Harim
11:59 PM
 Three weeks from  Sukkot to Cheshvan
4
Psalm 119
Happizzez
12:11 AM
5
Psalm  34
3rd Cycle
Malchijah
12:23 AM
 Three weeks from Cheshvan to Rosh Chodesh Kislev
6
Psalm 119
Pethahiah
12:35 AM

7
Psalm  37
4th Cycle
Hakkoz
12:47 AM
 Three weeks from  Rosh Chodesh Kislev to Chanukah
8
Psalm 119
Jehezkel
12:59 AM
9
Psalm 111
5th Cycle
Jeshua
1:11 AM
 Three weeks from Chanukah to Mid-Tevet
10
Psalm 119
Jachin
 End of 2nd Watch (2/3) (1:23 AM)
11
Psalm 112
6th Cycle
Eliashib
1:35 AM
Three weeks from Mid-Tevet to Yud Shvat
12
Psalm 119
Gamul
1:47 AM
13
Psalm 145
7th Cycle
Huppah
1:59 AM
Three weeks from Yud Shvat to Rosh Chodesh Adar
14
Psalm 119
Delaiah
2:11 AM
15/16
Proverbs 31:10-31 (Eshet Chayil)
Psalm 119

8th Cycle
Bilgah
Maaziah
End of  3rd Watch (3/4) 2:23 AM
2:35 AM
Three weeks from Rosh Chodesh Adar to 24th of Adar
17
Lamentations 1
Jedaiah
2:47 AM
Three weeks from 25th of Adar to Pessach
18
 
9th Cycle

2:59 AM
19
Lamentations 2
Seorim
3:11 AM
Three weeks from Pessach to 9th of Iyar
20
10th Cycle

3:23 AM
21
Lamentations 3
Mijamin
3:35 AM
Three weeks from 10th of Iyar to 2nd of Sivan
22
11th Cycle

3:47 AM
23
Lamentations 3
Abijah
3:59 AM
Three weeks from 3rd of Sivan to 24th of Sivan
24
12th Cycle

4:11 AM
25
Lamentations 3
Shecaniah
4:23 AM
Three weeks from 25th of Sivan to 16th of Tammuz
26
13th Cycle

4:35 AM
27
Lamentations 4
Jakim
 Alot Hashachar (dawn)   4:47 AM
Three weeks from 17th of Tammuz to Tisha B’Av
28
14th Cycle

4:59 AM
29
Lamentations 5
Jeshebeab
Earliest Shmah,Talit & Tefilin  5:11 AM
Three weeks from 10th of Av to Rosh Chodesh Elul
30
15th Cycle

 5:23 AM
31
 Nachum 
Immer
5:35 AM
Three weeks from 2nd of Elul to 23rd of Elul
32
16th Cycle

5:47 AM
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