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.
Wednesday, December 7, 2016
Week 11 (from the Book): Fighting Evil and Heresy, Yet Knowing How to Forgive
stork is saying, "Speak to the heart of Jerusalem, and call to her, for
her time has arrived, for her sins have been pardoned, for she has taken double
from G-d's hand for all her sins." (Isaiah 40:2)
Elazar would say: Be diligent in the study of Torah. Know what to answer a
heretic. And know before whom you toil, and who is your employer who will repay
you the reward of your labors.
shebeGevurah (victory and endurance within the context of discipline and
eleventh week, in Perek Shirah, the stork sings to the heart of Jerusalem,
repeating G-d’s words that the time of punishment has ended, and that the city
will be rescued from iniquity: the city has received a double punishment for
its sins. (Isaiah 40:.2) This week marks the Chassidic holiday of Yud Kislev,
when the second Rebbe of Lubavitch, the Mitteler Rebbe, was released from
imprisonment. He had been briefly arrested on purely fabricated charges of
seeking a rebellion against the government, which were strikingly similar to
the accusations made against his father (discussed in Week 12). The life of the
Mitteler Rebbe was a great example of purity, righteousness, and wonders - the
prevailing characteristics of this month.
The verse of
the stork is the continuation of the verses of the bat, and is also closely
connected with Chanukah and the month of Kislev. The stork sings to the heart
of Jerusalem. However, we must first ask ourselves, what is the heart of
Jerusalem? As noted in week thirty-two, Jerusalem itself is called a heart. The
heart of Jerusalem is most likely none other than the Temple itself, the Beit
haMikdash. It was on Chanukah that the Temple in Jerusalem was liberated,
cleansed of impurity, and rededicated to the service of G-d. The word Chanukah
itself means "dedication."
eleven is also associated with kelipah, impurity, which consists of eleven
attributes, known also as sefirot or crowns. In the Temple, that incense (ketoret),
which consisted of eleven ingredients, was used in order to cleanse the people
of Israel of their sins. Additionally, the incense functioned as a powerful
remedy in the face of death, the greatest source of all impurity. The Torah
states that Aaron “placed the ketoret [in the pan] and atoned for the people.
He stood between the dead and the living, and the plague was halted.”
numbers five and eight, eleven is also connected to the idea of being above the
natural order, this time represented by the number ten. The power to purify and
cleanse from spiritual impurity, and even to prevent certain death, is
certainly such an above-nature quality.
One of the
basic teachings behind the ketoret is that among the required spices used was
the chelbena, which had a very foul odor. However, when it was mixed with the
other ten elements, the ketoret’s aroma was sublime. The same can be said about
us: even though individually we may not all be perfect, as a group, we atone
for one another, and have a “good smell.”
dream, eleven stars (eleven sheaves of wheat in the other dream) bowed down to
him, each representing one of his brothers. When Joseph told the brothers about
the dream, they were outraged. The idea of his brothers bowing to him appeared
to be heretical and presumptuous. However, this was not heretical on Joseph’s
part – he simply saw things more deeply. Joseph’s dreams represented the
concept of self-nullification before the tzadik (in this case, Yosef HaTzadik)
both in spiritual matters (stars) as well as material ones (wheat). Through
this nullification, the tzadik is able to properly bind and blend and bring out
the best in all eleven elements, very much like the ketoret.
Avot lesson for this week is taught by Rabbi Elazar, who states that one must
be diligent in Torah study and know how to answer an epicurean (or heretic, apikores
in Hebrew). This lesson is directly related to Kislev and the festival of Chanukah,
because it is in these days that we celebrate our success in combating aspects
of Greek philosophy that run counter to Jewish values. Epicureanism in
particular, with its focus on worldly pleasures, is most likely the kind of
Greek philosophy that is most antithetical to the Torah, and one that had
particular appeal during the time when Chanukah took place.
also advises: “Know before Whom you toil, and Who is the Master of your work
that will pay your wages.” The emphasis again is on our direct connection with
G-d, and His involvement in our struggles, a concept the Greeks simply could
not fathom or accept.
Elazar, in order follow the righteous path, it is very important to have a
“good heart,” and avoid a “bad heart” at all costs (this is reminiscent of the
song of the stork, which is also about the heart). Rabbi Yochanan Ben Zakai
states that within the words of Rabbi Elazar are contained the words of all
Weinberg points out that the difference between the Hebrew word Tzion (Zion,
Jerusalem) and Yavan (Greece) is just a single letter, the tzadik.The difference between Judaism and Greek philosophy is
the tzadik: the need to act justly before G-d, with a good heart, as well as
the ability to be bound to G-d and to the righteous individuals of every
generation. (It is no coincidence that the Midrash states that the Greeks
demanded that a heretical statement be written specifically “on the horn of an
ox,” a reference to Yosef HaTzadik).
the combination of sefirot results in netzach shebegevurah. Therefore, we
should be inspire ourselves in the Mitteler Rebbe, a great tzadik, and be
disciplined and determined in our pursuit of Torah and mitzvot. The first
chapter in the Code of Jewish Law, the Shulchan Aruch, teaches that the main
place of gevurah is in the heart, where we can defeat (lenatzeach) our internal
enemy, the yetzer harah, the evil inclination.
As to a
lesson in self-improvement, we should follow the example of the stork. We must
learn how to humbly ask for forgiveness, and also to truly forgive. After all,
we are only alive due G-d’s daily forgiveness.