Wednesday, September 20, 2017
Additional Half Set : the Vowels and the Grass (Zadok, the Kohen Gadol)
The 24th of Elul, begins an additional set, containing 12 days, which parallels the Hebrew vowels, as well as "the Grasses" in Perek Shirah. These twelve days include the first days of creation, as well as those of Rosh Hashanah of the coming year, up to the 6th day of Tishrei.
As previously explained, the Grasses were not an original part of Perek Shirah. They were added by Rabbi Yaakov Emden. The verse was "found in an incorrect location" in some versions of Perek Shirah, and therefore transferred to an appropriate location the end of the Chapter 3, based on Talmud in Chullin 60a. (Slifkin, p. 199)
Similarly, it would not appear necessary to discuss the Hebrew vowels. Nevertheless, the twelve vowels bring the total count of the calendar to 364 days, which equals 52 weeks, the number of weeks in a solar year. There are 52 animals in Chapters 4 - 6 of Perek Shirah, one for each week of the year. (See Book I of the Kabbalah of Time)
The Hebrew vowels parallel the Kabbalistic sefirot. They give additional sound to the letters, allowing for a much greater diversity of sounds and words.
Similarly, the song of the Grasses is about diversity: The Grasses are saying, "May the glory of G-d endure forever; may G-d rejoice in His works." (Slifkin, p. 198)
As mentioned previously, this verse is derived from a passage in the Tractate of Chullin (60a). This passage is closely linked with Creation, which took place during these days:
"May the glory of G-d endure forever; may G-d rejoice in His works," - this verse was uttered by the angel of the world. At the time when the Holy One said "according to its kind" to the trees, the grasses reasoned a fortiori: "If the Holy One wants intermingling, then why did He say 'according to its kind' for the trees? And furthermore, if with trees, which do not usually grow intermingled, the Holy One said, 'according to its kind,' then how much more so does this apply to us!" Immediately each emerged according to its kind. The angel of the world opened with, "May the glory of G-d endure forever; may G-d rejoice in His works."
The song is sung at the time of creation, sung by the "angel of the world" itself. The song is about G-d's glory, His Kavod. Pirkei Avot concludes by stating that the entire world was created solely for His glory:
Everything that G-d created in His world, He did not create but for His glory. As is stated (Isaiah 43:7): "All that is called by My name and for My glory, I created it, formed it, also I made it." And it says (Exodus 15:1): "G-d shall reign forever and ever." (Chapter 6:11)
After mentioning the 24 families of Kohanim that composed the year-round shifts, this count also would appear to be complete. Yet it is worth also adding the name of the person at the head of every shift: Zadok the Kohen Gadol.
In this world, Hashem’s glory is expressed perhaps most clearly in the Kohen Gadol himself:
The [Kohen Gadol’s] garments were to be “for honor and glory” (Shemot 28:2). The Kohen Gadol wearing these garments would be a symbol to the people of the glory of God. Wearing these, he would command the people’s respect, a respect for the office, and a respect for Temple, and a respect for God.
Hashem’s glory was particularly revealed through truly righteous Kohanim Gedolim, as was Zadok, who served in the times of King David. The name Zadok, from the word Tzedek (justice) also reflects God's perfect justice and (hopefully) our being judged as Tzadikim (righteous) and inscribed in the Book of Life.
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