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Sunday, November 23, 2014

Jerusalem in the Parasha, the Torah Portion of Vayetzei



This week's Torah portion begins with the description of Jacob's journey outside the Land of Israel. It also describes the tremendous revelation he had while on the way:

10. And Jacob left Beer Sheba, and he went to Haran.          
11. And he arrived at the place and lodged there because the sun had set, and he took some of the stones of the place and placed [them] at his head, and he lay down in that place.   
12. And he dreamed, and behold! a ladder set up on the ground and its top reached to heaven; and behold, angels of God were ascending and descending upon it.      
13. And behold, the Lord was standing over him, and He said, "I am the Lord, the God of Abraham your father, and the God of Isaac; the land upon which you are lying to you I will give it and to your seed.  (...)
17. And he was frightened, and he said, "How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven."
18. And Jacob arose early in the morning, and he took the stone that he had placed at his head, and he set it up as a monument, and he poured oil on top of it.     
19. And he named the place Beth El, but Luz was originally the name of the city.

There are many many questions regarding these verses, and incredible interpretations and commentaries, particularly from Rashi. For example, why do the verses state that Jacob gathered "some stones" to place on his head, but then state that "he took the [single] stone that he had placed at his head?" What exactly do the angels represent, and why are they ascending and descending?

One question that seems to particularly intriguing is perhaps the most basic of them all: where did Jacob have the dream? Was it in a town known as Beth-El (a city in the area of the tribe of Benjamin)? Was it at Mount Moriah? Be'er Sheva itself? Opinions vary, with even one commentary stating that the place of the dream was actually Mount Sinai.

Furthermore, if the place of the dream is one of the above, why does Jacob give the place another name, "Beth El," the House of G-d, and why the Torah go through the trouble of telling us that the original name of this place is also none of the above, but is in fact "Luz?"

With so many questions, Rashi's commentary is probably the best starting point. He first states that "The Holy One, blessed be He, folded the entire Land of Israel under him.” He later brings a Midrash that explains that the bottom of the ladder stood in Be'er Sheva, while its top stood in Beth-El, the boundary between the territory of Benjamin and that of the "sons of Joseph." The middle of its incline was opposite the Temple, on the boundary between Judah and Benjamin.  

Rashi goes on to state that he believes that Mount Moriah was "uprooted from its place," and came to where Jacob was, in Luz.  Additionally, he brings a statement that Jacob went all the way to Haran, and then regretted not praying where his father and grandfather had prayed. He therefore went back in the direction of Jerusalem, and that it was on his way there that Mount Moriah, came to him, in Beth-El, which is close to Jerusalem. 

Rashi concludes with another statement from the Talmud (Pes.88a) [concerning the verse] (Micah 4:2):“ ‘Come, let us go up to the Mount of the Lord, to the House of God of Jacob.’ [It is] not [called] as did Abraham, who called it a mountain, and not as did Isaac, who called it a field, but as did Jacob, who called it the House of God.” 

The first of Rashi's comments above makes clear that Jacob's physical location is not as crucial as his spiritual one, because the entire land was "under his head" while he was dreaming. It was as if he was in the entire land at the same time. 

Rashi’s other sources seem to be related to the spiritual qualities of Jerusalem as much as its physical ones. The first Midrash brought by Rashi shows Jerusalem's role as a unifying force among the Tribes. The ladder goes from the lower boundary of Judah (Be'er Shevah) all the way to the upper boundary of Benjamin (Beth-El), just like Temple itself was built on the boundary between these two tribes. The ladder ties together the different dimensions of the Jewish people, the descendants of Leah (Judah) and those of Rachel (Joseph and Benjamin) 

Rashi's comment regarding the fact that Mount Moriah met Jacob on his way back to Jerusalem, points to the idea that as much as there is a physical Jerusalem, there is also the Jerusalem inside each one of us, and that a person is where his mind is. If a person's every desire is to be in Jerusalem, this is where he/she is. Where a person places their head, this is where the head of the ladder is as well. We can go by the physical Jerusalem and not feel it, but the spiritual one, we can feel even when we are not there physically.

Regarding the third part of Rashi's commentary, there is a clear progression (heard once from a rabbi at Yeshiva University). Abraham called the Temple Mount a mountain, Isaac called it a field, and Jacob called it a house. We go from a place of complete "wild" (mountain), to one in which nature is present in a more subdued form, tamed by mankind (field), to one that is completely "civilized" (home). By connecting back to previous generations, and by our own efforts, we make a greater and greater home for G-dliness in this world. And as stated in Midrash Tanchuma, and as often stated in Tanya and Chabad Chassidic philosophy, the whole purpose of this world is because G-d desired a dwelling in the lower realms.

We are told that Beit-El, the Home of G-d, was originally called Luz. Before we make a dwelling place for G-dliness, G-d's light is hidden. Hidden inside each one of us, and hidden inside each part of creation. 

The Talmud teaches that when Hashem created the world, for the first 36 hours of Adam’s life, he had clear vision in which he could see from one end of the world to the other end. This light, which was connected to the Sabbath, lasted from the time Adam was born (Friday at noon) until Saturday night. 36 in Hebrew is written Lamed Vav. The Sabbath, the 7th day, is connected to the 7th Hebrew letter Zayin. Lamed Vav Zayin spells Luz.

Because of Adam and Eve's mistake, the original 36-hour light had to be hidden, and death was introduced into the world. However, each of us has a Luz bone, an indestructible part of us from which we will be resurrected when Mashiach comes. This bone is nurtured solely from the food that we eat on Melaveh Malkah. Rav Dessler explains that because this bone did not derive any nurture from the forbidden fruit (eaten on Friday), it never tasted death, and that is why it is indestructible. 

With the coming of Mashiach, Luz, the little hidden bone will be built into an everlasting body, our own personal temple. The original city of Luz, the hidden Divine light of creation, will be built into an everlasting House of G-d.

All of this is connected to the month that has just begun, Kislev. Kislev stands for Kis (Hidden) Lamed Vav (36). This is the month of Chanukah, in which we light 36 candles, deeply connected to the original 36 hours of Divine light. Chanukah means dedication, literally, the dedication of the Temple in the times of the Maccabees. It is on this month that we dedicate ourselves to the idea of the Temple and Jerusalem. We also dedicate ourselves to purifying our minds and bodies of all impurity, so that the light can be fully revealed. 





Saturday, November 22, 2014

Week 10 (Book 2): Samuel and Purity



HAAZINU: He found them in a desert land, and in a desolate, howling wasteland. He encompassed them and bestowed understanding upon them; He protected them as the pupil of His eye. (Deuteronomy 32:10)
HAFTARAH: And He bent the heavens and He came down; and thick darkness was under His feet. (II Samuel 22:10)
QUALITY FOR ACQUIRING THE TORAH: Purity
PROPHET: Samuel
LEVITICAL CITY: Gibeon

In Week Ten, now fully in the month of Kislev, Haazinu’s verse speaks of how G-d protected and gave understanding to the Jewish people when they were in dire circumstances. The verse is speaking about spiritual desolation, very much like the state in which the Jewish people found themselves during the times of the miracle of Chanukah. In their confrontation with Greek culture and civilization, G-d not only protected them for assimilation, but gave them the tools of logic and understanding, present in Greek philosophy, so that the Jews could apply them to the Torah. Much of the logical debate and discussion found in the Babylonian Talmud is a product of this encounter. The Talmud contains many Greek words, and in fact the name of the Greek king at the Ptolomy (Talmai in Hebrew) has the same numerical value (gematria) as the word “Talmud.”

The Haftarah’s verse also appears to be connected to Chanukah. The verse speaks of G-d coming down and bending the laws of nature, as well of “thick darkness.” During Chanukah, the Jewish people saw open miracles that defied the laws of nature. Furthermore, it is well known that the Greek exile is compared to darkness, while Chanukah is the festival of light. The comparison between Greece and darkness is noted in the Midrash cited in the previous week.

The quality for this week is purity (Taharah). Last week’s quality, joy, and purity are probably the two quintessential qualities associated with Chanukah. After the Greeks defiled the Temple, the holy Kohanim purified and rededicated it. The miracle of Chanukah is related to the pure oil with the seal of the Kohen Gadol, which lasted for eight days.

Similarly, this week’s prophet, Samuel, is also the quintessential representation of purity. A Nazir from before birth, Samuel was raised in the Holy Tabernacle by the Kohen Gadol himself. G-d spoke to Samuel from a very young age, and his greatness is compared to that of Moshe and Aharon combined.

This week’s levitical city is Gibeon. This city as well, represents how G-d’s protection of the Jewish people is above nature, and how it is through these “above-nature” qualities that we are able to defeat our enemies. The following is a passage from the book of Joshua:

Then Joshua spoke to the L-rd on the day when the L-rd delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel [in the city of Gibeon], and he said in the sight of Israel, “Sun, stand still upon Gibeon, and Moon in the valley of Ayalon.” And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. (10:12-13)

This miracle also represents the victory of light over darkness. Joshua and the Children of Israel were on the verge of a major victory, and as nightfall was approaching it would have been impossible to continue pursuing the Amorites. That is why it was so important that that the sun stand still, giving the Jewish people sufficient light and time to defeat the enemy. This was an amazing miracle, witnessed by the entire world. It was a sanctification of G-d’s name and an opportunity to spread the knowledge of His miracles, similar to what takes place during Chanukah.

An important lesson that we learn from this week’s quality is that in order to receive the Torah, the mind must be pure and receptive to it. If we are distracted by a million other pieces of useless and/or even debasing images and information, then we cannot absorb the Torah properly. If one's animal tendencies are running wild, it will be very difficult not only to concentrate, but to be able to appreciate the Torah's holiness. Without purifying oneself to the best of one's ability, the actual lines between purity and impurity, between the sacred and the profane, become so blurry that nothing appears to be special in one's eyes. If everything is holy and worthwhile, then nothing is. A "Yes" is only worth something, if sometimes a person also knows when to say "No."


Week 10 (Book 3): Noah and Seeking Comfort, Compassion

SONG OF THE SEA:
I will overtake, I will share the booty; my desire will be filled from them; I will draw my sword, my hand will impoverish them.

HAFTARAH:
When they chose new gods,
then there was war in the cities; was there seen a shield or a spear

Talmud Sotah: Daf 10 – The need for proper upbringing.

GENERATIONS FROM ADAM TO THE LAST KING OF JUDAH: Noah

JOURNEYS IN THE DESERT: They journeyed from Dophkah and camped in Alush.

On Week Ten, now firmly within the month of Kislev, the verses of the Song of the Sea also now focus completely on the enemy’s persecution of the Jews. This again appears to be a reference to the Greeks, who at first were quite confident in their ability to defeat what appeared to be a simple and small Jewish rebellion.

The Haftorah’s verses also now clearly focus on the problem of assimilation, idolatry, and physical persecution, all which were present during the Greek exile as well.

Daf Yud (Folio 10) of Sotah continues to be about Samson, Judah and Abshalom. Its general theme is a discussion of licentiousness and of children having a bad upbringing and going against their parents. These are all themes related to Chanukah, which comes from the word chinuch, education.

The 10th generation from Adam is Noah. Noah lived in a society that had become completely corrupted. This is similar to the corruption faced by the Jews in the times of the Greeks. (Pirkei Avot explains that G-d, out of his infinite mercy and patience, waited ten generations before bringing the Flood). 

In the tenth week, the Jews journey from Dophkah and camp in Alush. Alush means power. The danger of power is that it can easily corrupt. [1] The journey for this week is to take the amorphous feeling of knocking, and have the power to be able to apply it in a positive, powerful way in our daily life.

An important lesson we learn from Noah in our approach to prayer and Divine service is the importance of asking for mercy, comfort. In many ways, that is the very essence of prayer. Noah’s name comes from the verb Lenachem, which means to comfort.  This is related to the Bat in Week 10 of Book 1, who sings: “Comfort (Nachamu), comfort my people, says Hashem your G-d.” It is also related to the words of Rabbi Shimon, also in Week 10 of Book 1:

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.

Imagine the kind of comfort Noah must have sought, after seeing the entire world destroyed.


Week 10 (Book 4a): Prayer out of Fear of G-d


STORY OF CHANNAH: 
10 and she was in bitterness of soul--and prayed unto the LORD, and wept sore.

QUALITY OF THOSE THAT STUDY TORAH FOR ITS OWN SAKE: and fear         

PROVERBS: Chapter 10

TZADIKIM: Rabbi Aharon Kotler (3rd of Kislev) and Rabbi Chaim Micheol Dov Weissmandl

On Week 10, we are now definitively tied to the month of Kislev. The verse from the story of Hannah is about praying and weeping out of a sense of bitterness. It brings to mind the song of the Bat in Week 10, Book 1, which speaks of Hashem bringing comfort to the Jewish people. The verse states that Channah prayed “Al” (upon) Hashem, above the level of Divine revelation known as Hashem. In Kislev also, we connect to G-d in a way that is very high indeed.

The Pirkei Avot adjective associated to this week is that Torah enclothes him with “fear,” a continuation of last week’s adjective, “the Torah enclothes him with humility.” Fear of G-d and humility are key attributes when it comes to learning Torah for its own sake. As we saw in Book 2 (Week 7 and 8), in the list of 48 the qualities needed for acquiring the Torah, fear (yirah) and humility (anavah) are also mentioned together. The struggles and revelations of Kislev and of Chanukah are related to both this humility and this fear.

Hannah’s bitter weeping and praying is also connected to Yirah. Hannah was made to feel so humble and insignificant, that it brought her to an even greater fear G-d, which enabled her to pray with such utter devotion and self-effacement. Her self-effacement was such that no words even came out of her mouth. She was completely nullified before the Master.

Chapter 10 of the Book of Proverbs contains many of the above themes. It speaks directly and somewhat harshly about the wicked, in contrast with the righteous, evoking fear of G-d with every word. The chapter also focuses particularly on the power of speech (and when it is wise to withhold it):

1. Proverbs of Solomon: A wise son makes his father happy, but a foolish son is the grief of his mother.                      
2. Treasures of wickedness will not avail, but charity will save from death.           
3. The Lord will not starve the soul of the righteous, but the destruction [wrought by] the wicked will cast [them] down. (...)
6. Blessings [shall come] upon the head of a righteous man, but violence shall cover the mouth of the wicked.          
7. The mention of a righteous man is for a blessing, but the name of the wicked shall rot. (...)
18. He who covers up hatred has false lips, and he who spreads slander is a fool.    19. In a multitude of words, transgression will not be avoided, and he who holds back his lips is wise.                     
20. The tongue of the righteous is choice silver; the heart of the wicked is worth little.(...)
27. Fear of the Lord will add days, but the years of the wicked will be shortened. (...)
32. The lips of a righteous man know how to please, but the mouth of the wicked [knows] how to distort.

The contrast between the righteous and the wicked is also one of the themes of Chanukah, in which the “righteous few” overcame the “wicked many.” (See Additions to the Amidah prayers during Chanukah) Interestingly, the Chassidic holidays this month, Yud Kislev and Yud-Tes Kislev, celebrate the redemption of both the first and the second Rebbes of Chabad of imprisonment due to slander.

This week includes the yahrzeits of two pioneering Jewish non-chassidic leaders in Europe and in America: Rabbi Aharon Kotler (3rd of Kislev) and Rabbi Chaim Michoel Dov Weissmandl (6th of Kislev). They offered two different models of how to adapt to the new country, which at first did not seem at all hospitable to religious Jewish Life.

Rabbi Aharon Kotler was born in Russia. Orphaned at a very young age, he studied in the renowned yeshiva of Slabodka in Lithuania. He studied under great Torah scholars, including the Alter of Slabodka, Rabbi Nosson Tzvi Finkel, Rabbi Moshe Mordechai Epstein and others. (Wikipedia) In America, he was the founder of the Yeshiva of Lakewood, today one of the greatest centers of Torah study in America and in the world. He was also the leader of various religious organization including Agudath Israel, and esteemed as one of the greatest Torah scholars of the generation.

Rabbi Chaim Michoel Dov Weissmandl was born in Hungary. During World War II, he did his utmost to contact various political authorities and try to save the Jews of Slovakia, but was ultimately unsuccessful. He also lost his entire family in the Holocaust, and was saved by managing to saw off the lock of a carriage and jumping off a moving train. In America, Rabbi Weissmandl founded the Nitra Yeshiva, along with a self-sustaining agricultural community that followed all applicable Torah agricultural laws.

Other yahrzeits this week include those of Rabbi Yaakov David Kalish (4th of Kislev), son of Rabbi Yitzchak of Vorka, and  founder of the Amshinov dynasty, and (sometimes) Rabbi Aharon of Chernobyl (8th of Kislev), Rabbi David son of Rabbi Shmuel Bornstein of Sochatchov (8th of Kislev), Rabbi Pinchas David son of Rabbi Shmuel Shmelker Horowitz, the first Bostoner Rebbe (8th of Kislev) and Rabbi DovBer Schneerson, the Mitteler Rebbe of Lubavitch (9th of Kislev).


Week 10 (Book 4b): Connecting to Holiness

SONG OF SONGS:
11. For behold, the winter has passed; the rain is over and gone.  
12. The blossoms have appeared in the land, the time of singing has arrived, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land.   
13. The fig tree has put forth its green figs, and the vines with their tiny grapes have given forth their fragrance; arise, my beloved, my fair one, and come away.
                       
70 SOULS THAT DESCENDED TO EGYPT: Jachin

TALMUD SHEVUOTH: Daf 10 - Holiness

BOOK OF JEREMIAH: Chapter 10

Week 10 in the Jewish calendar is more definitively related to Kislev, sometimes including Rosh Chodesh Kislev. The Song of Songs verses for this week are still all from the perspective of the Jewish people. The theme of the verses is also G-d’s salvation, from spiritual “winter,” to spiritual “spring.” Rashi draws a greater parallel between the exile of Egypt and the Passover redemption – the redemption of Chanukah has many parallels with that initial redemption as well.

The opening verse states that the rain has passed (Cheshvan again being related to the Flood). The second verse describes how it is now the time of pure devoted singing (like that of the turtledove) associated with the singing and praise of the pure Kohanim, and the Maccabees. The third verse is associated with a certain cleansing and defeat of those that wished to assimilate, associated with “darkness” (one of the names of the exile of Greece). Rashi states:

Another explanation: “The fig tree has put forth its green figs” -These are the transgressors of Israel, who perished during the three days of darkness.   

and the vines with their tiny grapes gave forth their fragrance: Those who remained of them repented and were accepted. So it is interpreted in Pesikta (Rabbathi 15:11, 12; Pesikta d’Rav Kahana, p. 50).

Figs and grapes are two fruits for which the Land of Israel is praised. After our salvation and the defeat of the Greeks, life and in the Land of Israel started to return to normal.

Of the seventy souls of the Jewish people that descended to Egypt, the tenth mentioned is Jachin. Jachin means “to establish,” or “to prepare,” a verb which is actually part of our prayer for the restoration of Jerusalem.

This idea is expressed in our daily prayers. In the [blessing] of rebuilding of Yerushalayim, we petition God "return and dwell in Yerushalayim" and then we add "ve'chise David meheira le'tocha tachin" - “and install within it soon the throne of David”. Though there is a separate beracha which pertains to the reestablishment of the kingdom of David, we mention it alongside the return of God in the petition to rebuild Jerusalem. The Mikdash and the throne of David mutually make up the ideal Jerusalem. Jerusalem is a city united by worship of God and governance of Am Yisrael.[1]

Jachin was also the name of one of the pillars of Solomon’s Temple. The other pillar’s name was Boaz.[2]

Daf Yud (Folio 10) of Shvuot continues to discuss the atonement of the goat offered during festivals, as well as Rosh Chodesh and Yom Kippur. The daf also includes a discussion of whether the holiness of certain items of the Temple can vanish. These discussions are all connected to Kislev as already discussed above.

Chapter 10 of the Book of Jeremiah contains a similar theme to the above. It continues to draw a distinction between the idolatrous ways of the nations and Israel’s portion in G-d. It also describes G-d’s vengeance for the desecration of His Temple:

16. Not like these is Jacob's portion, for He is the One Who formed everything, and Israel is the tribe of His inheritance; the Lord of Hosts is His name."

(…)

25. Pour out Your wrath upon the nations that do not know You and upon the families that have not called in Your name, for they have devoured Jacob and consumed him and destroyed him, and have wasted his dwelling.

These last verses of this chapter are also quite famous, verses we state during the reading  of the Passover Hagaddah.





Week 10 (Book 5): Reviewing the Second Week of Kislev - Psalms 28-30; 41:9-11; 89:11

PSALMS

Chapter 28

1. By David. I call to You, O Lord; my Strength, do not be deaf to me; for should You be silent to me, I will be like those who descend to the pit. 2. Hear the sound of my pleas when I cry out to You, when I raise my hands toward Your holy Sanctuary. 3. Do not draw me along with the wicked, with evildoers who speak of peace with their companions, though evil is in their heart. 4. Give them according to their deeds, and the evil of their endeavors; give them according to their handiwork, render to them their just deserts. 5. For they pay no heed to the acts of the Lord, nor to the work of His hands; may He destroy them and not rebuild them. 6. Blessed is the Lord, for He has heard the voice of my pleas. 7. The Lord is my strength and my shield; in Him my heart trusted and I was helped; my heart exulted, and with my song I praised Him. 8. The Lord is a strength to them; He is a stronghold of deliverance to His anointed. 9. Grant salvation to Your people and bless Your heritage; tend them and exalt them forever.

Chapter 29

1. A psalm by David. Render to the Lord, children of the mighty, render to the Lord honor and strength. 2. Render to the Lord the honor due to His Name; bow down to the Lord in resplendent holiness. 3. The voice of the Lord is over the waters, the G-d of glory thunders; the Lord is over mighty waters. 4. The voice of the Lord resounds with might; the voice of the Lord resounds with majesty. 5. The voice of the Lord breaks cedars; the Lord shatters the cedars of Lebanon. 6. He makes them leap like a calf, Lebanon and Sirion like a young wild ox. 7. The voice of the Lord strikes flames of fire. 8. The voice of the Lord makes the desert tremble; the Lord causes the desert of Kadesh to tremble. 9. The voice of the Lord causes the does to calve, and strips the forests bare; and in His Sanctuary all proclaim His glory. 10. The Lord sat [as King] at the Flood; the Lord will sit as King forever. 11. The Lord will give strength to His people; the Lord will bless His people with peace.

Chapter 30

1. A psalm, a song of dedication of the House, by David. 2. I exalt You, Lord, for You have uplifted me, and did not allow my enemies to rejoice over me. 3. Lord, my G-d, I cried out to You, and You healed me. 4. Lord, You have brought up my soul from the grave; You have kept me alive, that I should not descend to the pit. 5. Sing to the Lord, you His pious ones, and praise His holy Name. 6. For His wrath endures but for a moment, when He is conciliated there is [long] life; when one retires at night weeping, joy will come in the morning. 7. In my security I thought, "I shall never falter.” 8. Lord, by Your favor You have made my mountain stand strong; when You concealed Your countenance I was alarmed. 9. I called to You, O Lord, and I made supplication to my Lord: 10. What profit is there in my death, in my going down to the grave? Can dust praise You? Can it proclaim Your truth 11. Lord, hear and be gracious to me; Lord, be a help to me. 12. You have turned my mourning into dancing; You have undone my sackcloth and girded me with joy. 13. Therefore my soul shall sing to You, and not be silent; Lord my G-d, I will praise You forever.


TIKKUN HAKLALI

Chapter 41

9. "Let his wickedness pour into him; now that he lies down, he shall rise no more.” 10. Even my ally in whom I trusted, who ate of my bread, has raised his heel over me. 11. But you, Lord, be gracious to me and raise me up, and I will repay them.


PSALM 89

11. You crushed Rahav (Egypt) like a corpse; with Your powerful arm You scattered Your enemies. 


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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