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Sunday, March 27, 2016

The Frog is saying (Song(s) for Week 25)

The Frog is saying,

Zebulun is a people that jeopardized their lives to die,
As did Naphtali, upon the high places of the field.
Blessed is the Name of the honor of His Kingdom for all eternity.

The people complained against Moses, saying, What shall we drink?
I will set his hand upon the sea, his right hand upon the rivers.
His eyes are like doves beside rivulets of water, bathing in milk, fitly set.

There He gave them a statute and an ordinance, and there He tested them.
So he cried out to the Lord, and the Lord instructed him
Concerning a piece of wood, which he cast into the water, and the water became sweet.

I meditate on all Your works, and speak of Your deeds.
His jaws are like a bed of spice, growths of aromatic plants
His lips are [like] roses, dripping with flowing myrrh.

You are the G-d Who works wonders; You make Your might known among the nations.
His hands are [like] wheels of gold, set with chrysolite
His abdomen is [as] a block of ivory, overlaid with sapphires.

And the Lord has recompensed me according to my righteousness;
According to my cleanness before His eyes.
O G-d, Your way is in sanctity; what god is as great as G-d?

From outside, the sword will bereave, and terror from within;
And when the bullock was slain, the child was brought to Eli.
Young men and maidens, suckling babes with venerable elders.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

In Order to Teach

And here
I thought
That I
Had found it.

And that
My balance
Had been 
Reached.

The offer
Came and
I sure 
Took it.

To pray
And study,
Work and ...
Teach.

And now
I see
How much
I've grinded

And how
My energy
Has 
Peaked.

I long
To fit
In every
Part of me.

In every
Day and
Every
Week.

I must
Admit
I've thought
Of quitting

But then
A voice
Keeps me
Upbeat.

Keeping
It up
Will not
Be easy

Yet the
Reward
Is worth
The risk.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

The Fish are saying

The Fish are saying

The voice of G-d is upon the waters
Asher dwelt at the shore of the seas,
Moses led Israel away from the Red Sea 
And they went out into the desert of Shur;

I said, "It is to terrify me that the right hand of the Most High changes.”
Has G-d forgotten mercy? Has He in anger restrained His compassion forever?
Indeed, My faithfulness and My kindness shall be with him.
And I was single-hearted toward Him and I kept myself from my iniquity.

They came to Marah, but they could not drink water from Marah 
Because it was bitter; Therefore, it was named Marah.
They will sprout hair from famine; 
Attacked by demons, excised by Meriri

They walked for three days in the desert but did not find water.
I will incite the teeth of livestock upon them
The G-d of glory thunders; G-d is upon many waters.
And through my name his glory shall be exalted. 

I remember the deeds of Yah, 
When I remember your wonders of long ago. 
With three bulls, and one ephah of meal, and an earthenware jug of wine
With the venom of creatures that slither in the dust.

My beloved is white and ruddy, surrounded by myriads.
His head is as the finest gold; His locks are curled, black as a raven.
And she brought him to the house of the Lord, to Shiloh, 
And the child was young.

What is your beloved more than another beloved, O fairest of women? 
What is your beloved more than another beloved, that you have so adjured us?
And she brought him with her when she had weaned him
And by his breaches he abides.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

The Leviathan is Saying

All the verses of the songs in Week 23 (Books 1-5), rearranged and combined into a single song:


The Leviathan is Saying

I opened for my beloved,
But my beloved had hidden and was gone.
Is it for eternity that my Lord forsakes me?
Nevermore to be appeased?

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good,
For His kindness is eternal.
Sing to the Lord, for exalted is He
Horse and rider He cast into the sea.

During the night I recall my music,
I meditate with my heart and my spirit searches.
My soul went out when he spoke,
I sought him, but found him not.

Has His kindness ceased forever?
Has He sealed the decree for all generations?
For all His ordinances were before me
And as for His statutes I did not depart from them.

The watchmen who patrol the city found me
They smote me and wounded me;
I will link evils upon them,
I will use up my arrows on them.

The watchmen of the walls took my jewelry off me.
And I will crush his adversaries before him
And will strike down those who hate him.
Only may the Lord fulfill His word.

Gilead abides beyond the Jordan
And Dan, why does he gather into ships?
I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem,
If you find my beloved, what will you tell him?

I called him, but he did not answer me.

And Elkanah, her husband said to her,
Do what seems good to you,
Stay until you have weaned him,
For I am lovesick.

Miriam, the prophetess, Aaron's sister,
Took a timbrel in her hand.
And the woman stayed and
Nursed her son until she weaned him.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Week 23 (Book 2): Hosea and Slowness to Anger (Erech Apayim)


HAAZINU: I will link evils upon them. I will use up My arrows on them. (Deuteronomy 32:23)

Positive light: I will gather the evil that was over them, and destroy completely my arrows (such as Amalek, which I had used in the past against my people).

HAFTORAH: For all His ordinances were before me; and [as for] His statutes, I did not depart from it. (II Samuel 22:23)

QUALITY TO ACQUIRE THE TORAH: With Slowness to Anger (Erech Apayim)

PROPHET: Hosea

LEVITICAL CITY: Hamoth-dor

The twenty-third week of the year is the week of the seventh of Adar, which is both the day of Moshe’s birth as well as of that of his passing. The verse in Haazinu continues to makes reference to the destruction inflicted on the Jewish people, and the passing of Moshe is perhaps one of the greatest examples of such loss.

Again, if understood more positively, the verse could be a reference to the destruction not of the Jewish people, but of Amalek, a continuous theme of the month of Adar. Rashi’s commentary hints to such an understanding, since it notes that the arrows that attack the Jewish people are the ones that are diminished, not the Jews. The Haftorah continues its positive tone, showing how we actually maintained our faith and obedience to G-d’s laws. Interestingly, the word for “before me” used is Lenegdi, which can also be read as Lenegdai, “towards those against me.” The verse therefore can be read as stating that the Torah’s commandments are a protection against the attackers of the Jewish people, such as Amalek.

The quality of this week is slowness to anger, erech apayim. This is a very appropriate quality for the week of Moshe Rabbeinu’s yahrzeit, because it was through his pleading on behalf of the Jewish people that G-d revealed this quality of His, one of the thirteen attributes of mercy. During his plea to Hashem, Moshe stated that if G-d would not forgive the Jewish people, “erase me from Your book.” Because of this statement, Moshe’s name does not appear in the Torah portion of Tetzaveh, which usually occurs on the week of his yahrzeit.

It was also due to Moshe’s lack of this attribute, a relative quickness to anger (at Moshe’s level, of course, which is something we cannot even fathom), that led to his castigating the Jewish people and striking the rock instead of talking to it. This mishap is what prevented Moshe from entering the the Land of Israel and passing away.

This week’s prophet is Hosea. Hosea’s prophecies recorded in the Tanach center around G-d’s unending mercy and slowness to anger, his love for the Jewish people despite their sins.[1]

The levitical city for this week is Hamoth-Dor, which means the springs of Dor. Interestingly Hamoth has the same root as the word Hamath, anger. Springs represent the idea of anger/heat being contained, just as the springs of Tiberias are said to come from an opening in the gates of Gehinnom ("hell") created in the time of the Flood. It was an opening that came from anger and was now contained and turned to positive use. (Dar comes from the word for home, a “domesticated” anger). 

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