Thursday, October 20, 2016

From the Sunrise to the Next

From Sunrise to the Next

After a period of focus and tranquility, the man now felt haunted by all sorts of dilemmas, lack of direction and confusion. Everything felt stagnant and repetitive. Health-wise, his situation was also far less than ideal. He was constantly tired and could not seem to focus. It was not clear how he was able to accomplish anything at all. 

In many ways it seemed like there was nothing to do but to stay put and work hard, and perhaps stop thinking so much. Yet there was something inside that was eating away at him. The feeling of wasting time, of not fulfilling his potential. There was hardly ever any feedback from anyone, and the man was afraid he wasn't growing enough. Perhaps he was demanding too much of himself... 

When he felt down, he would remember an insight he had as he was about to leave the Land of the Sheep: a certain period of 5 years in the distant future (almost 15 years away at the time) in which important redemptive events would take place. Now that time was just around the corner.

When the time arrived, the first thing he did was to travel to the grave of a second Great Lion - one whom he had always admired and also felt very connected. He was also supposed to meet his friend the Lamb but could not find him. Also his friend the Angel was supposed to be there, but didn't make it. Even his own son also wasn't able to come. The trip was filled  with great expectations, but his time there was marked by extreme confusion.

Eventually, things started becoming clearer. Six months later, he made it back to the land of the second Great Lion, and this time with his son. He also made it to the Promised Land along with his family, and he saw his friend the Angel as well as the Lamb. He visited the resting places of his ancestors, and later returned with a sense that he had somewhat regained the spirit of when he first returned there.  He then also visited the grave of the first Great Lion with his son, which was in the Land of the Dogs. This trip as well was extremely inspiring.

He then remembered the first message he received from the first Great Lion, in which he said that the man should be a teacher. He also remembered what he had momentarily understood when his son was born, a lion cub fiery as the sun: "The man finally understood the true meaning of what it meant to be a lion – to transmit everything he’d learned until now." 

Back in the Land of the Sweet Waters, all of a sudden things began improve significantly. He had more energy, and was given more interesting work. He was also given an opportunity to teach at a school of young cubs. The more he taught, the more he realized that he was always meant to be a teacher: to learn in order to teach and in order to do. 

Once again there was repetition, but things did not feel stagnant. On the contrary, the highest growth would come in finding consistency. That was now the challenge. In fact, it had been the challenge all along, the message received at the very beginning of his journeys and transformations. 

Key to this old new approach was being able to look not only at each month and each week individually, but also at each day and each moment. Every day was a whole year, beginning with Rosh Hashanah and ending with the repentance of Elul. Every day, the Book was received anew and transmitted to the next generation.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Hayom Yom, Daily Tehilim and Tanya

7th of Tishrei: Hashgacha Pratit (Seeing G-d's Hand in Creation)

Hayom Yom (7th of Tishrei): "A person who sets his heart and mind to observe all that happens to him and around him, will perceive G‑dliness tangibly in evidence... This form of the service ofteshuva comes from one's perceiving hashgacha p'ratit, (particular Divine Providence)."

Tehilim (39-43): "Behold, like handbreadths You set my days... Then I said, "Behold, I come with a Scroll of the Book written [about] me... May You, Lord, not withhold Your mercies from me; may Your kindness and truth constantly guard me....  By day the Lord ordains His kindness, and at night His song is with me, a prayer to the God of my life... Send Your light and Your truth, they will guide me; they will bring me to Your holy mountain and to your sanctuaries."

Tanya (Iggeret HaKodesh, middle of Epistle 20): "Likewise,“There is no place — or spiritual level — devoid of Him,” even in this physical world. [The Divine light is present,] however, [only] in an “encompassing” and “encircling” manner — not in a palpable indwelling, but in a concealed transcendence,as this concept (i.e., makkif, or Sovev Kol Almin) is explained in Likutei Amarim."

8th of Tishrei: Modesty/Humility

Hayom Yom (8th of Tishrei): "H - Hatznei'a..., "Walk discreetly with your G‑d," One must take care not to be conspicuous or ostentatious in the slightest... The artfulness lies in seeing that his piety not be noticed at all."

Tehillim (44-48) "... all day long my humiliation is before me, and the shame of my face covers me ... Is it not so that God can examine this, for He knows the secrets of the heart... All the glory of the princess is within; her clothing surpasses settings of gold. In embroidered garments she will be brought to the king; the maidens in her train, her companions, will be led to you."

Tanya (Iggeret HaKodesh, middle of Epistle 20): "... the manner in which both these levels of illumination ultimately radiate within created beings,demonstrates its power and ability, inasmuch as it is a G‑d-ly radiation descending from Malchut of Atzilut, in the Element of the physical Earth in an immense manifestation surpassing [that of] the elements (viz., Fire, Air and Water) that transcend it, and even the heavenly hosts. (...) This is so only because the “feet” of Adam Kadmon culminate at the lowest level of Asiyah, and “below His feet,” i.e., below the lowest levels of Adam Kadmon, radiates the [infinite] Ein Sof-light which encircles (i.e., transcends) all worlds, at the very “place” at which there ceases the indwelling Divine illumination that permeates all the worlds, there begins the “encompassing” degree of Divine light that transcends all the worlds."

9th of Tishrei (Erev Yom Kippur): 

Hayom Yom (9th of Tishrei): "On Erev Yom Kippur the avoda is remorse for the past; on Yom Kippur - resolve for the future."

Tehilim (49-55): "Why am I afraid in times of trouble? [Because] the sins I trod upon surround me... but [all] will praise you if you better yourself... Offer confession as a sacrifice to God, and fulfill your vows to the Most High, and call to Me on the day of distress; I will free you, and you will honor Me... He who offers a sacrifice of confession honors Me; and to him who sets right his way, I will show the deliverance of God... Be gracious to me, O God, in keeping with Your kindness; in accordance with Your abounding compassion, erase my transgressions. Cleanse me thoroughly of my wrongdoing, and purify me of my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against You alone have I sinned, and done that which is evil in Your eyes; [forgive me] so that You will be justified in Your verdict, vindicated in Your judgment. Indeed, I was begotten in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me. Indeed, You desire truth in the innermost parts; teach me the wisdom of concealed things. Purge me with hyssop and I shall be pure; cleanse me and I shall be whiter than snow. Let me hear [tidings of] joy and gladness; then the bones which You have shattered will rejoice. Hide Your face from my sins, and erase all my trespasses. Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew within me an upright spirit... I will teach transgressors Your ways, and sinners will return to You... The offering [desirable] to God is a contrite spirit; a contrite and broken heart, God, You do not disdain."

Tanya (Iggeret HaKodesh, middle of Epistle 20): "There are, though, some [plants, trees and fruit] that result from a [prior] “elevation of mayin nukvin,” i.e., whose seeds serve as the above-mentioned arousal from below which calls forth the power of vegetative growth within the earth, namely, those which are sown and planted.

Nevertheless, these [too] are like yesh me’ayin, for the planted seed is of no estimation whatever in relation to the fruit, nor in relation to the whole tree with the branches and leaves.

Now, these fruits that [grow] by means of an “elevation of mayin nukvin,” i.e., by sowing and planting, are far, far superior to those that come up independently, only from the vegetative property in the soil.

And from this we will be able to understand [the concept of] the elicitation of the Supernal orot, the Divine illuminations, [that are drawn down] in the Worlds of Atzilut, Beriah, Yetzirah and Asiyah, (which is the ultimate purpose for the creation of man), as is explained elsewhere."

10th of Tishrei (Yom Kippur):

Hayom Yom (10th of Tishrei): On Yom Kippur it works out that we actually fast 26 hours.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Haazinu as a Reflection of the Torah Portions from Bereishit until Haazinu Itself

1. Bereishit. "Give ear O heavens... may the earth hear." (portion describes creation of heaven and earth)

2. Noah. "May my teaching drop like rain... dew... storm winds... raindrops (portion describes the Flood)

3. Lech Lecha. "When I call out the Name of Hashem, ascribe greatness to our G-d." (portion describes Avraham, first to call out the Name of Hashem, and influence others to ascribe greatness to our G-d).

4. Vayeira. "... perfect is His work... a G-d of faith..." (Isaac was a "perfect offering," and Abraham and Isaac were tested in their faith by the Akeidah)

5. Chayei Sarah: "Corruption is not His - the blemish is His children's, a perverse and twisted generation." (portion describes Sarah's death and difficulty with burial, which could make Abraham question Hashem's promise, but he doesn't. It also describes Ishmael (blemish in Abraham's children) and the generations of Ishmael (perverse and twisted).

6. Toldot. "... O vile and unwise people? Is He not your Father, your Master? ... created you and firmed you?" (vile and unwise is a reference to Eisav in this portion, who foolishly gave up the birthright and then lost his father's blessing. The portion also describes how Isaac became established, and the establishment of Yaakov through the blessing he received.

7. Vayetzei. "Remember the days of yore... Ask your father and he will relate to you..." (portion contains the story of Yaakov, which serves as a sign and for a guiding point for all subsequent generations.

8. Vayishlach. "When the Supreme One gave the nations their inheritance, whe He separated the children of man, He set the borders of the peoples according to the number of the Children of Israel." (portion contains meeting between Yaakov and Eisav, and the division of the land. Eisav goes to Seir, and Yaakov remains in the Land of Israel.)

9. Vayeshev. "For Hashem's portion is His people; Jacob is the measure of His inheritance." (portion describes Yaakov settling in the Land of Israel, His inheritance. It also describes how Yaakov's inheritance would develop, through Yehudah and Yosef).

10. Miketz. "He discovered him in a desert land, in desolation, a howling wilderness, He encircled him, He granted him discernment, He preserved him like the pupil of his eye (Joseph is protected by Hashem, Who finds him in desolation; Hashem gives him discernment to interpret Pharaoh's dream and rise to power)

11. Vayigash. "He was like an eagle arousing its nest, hovering over its young, spreading its wings and taking them, carrying them on its pinions." (Portion describes how Yaakov and his sons come down to Egypt, carried by Hashem.)

12. Vayechi. "Hashem alone guided them, and no other power was with them." (Before passing away, Yaakov gives blessings to his sons. Immediately prior to this, the Schinah leaves him temporarily, and the Midrash states that Yaakov is concerned that perhaps they are not all serving Hashem. They say to him "Shmah Yisrael, Hashem Elokeinu, Hashem Echad." Hashem alone guides them. At this point, Yaakov says "Baruch Shem K'vod Malchuto L'Olam Va'ed and blesses them.)

13. Shemot. “ripe fruits from the field, honey from a stone, oil from a flinty rock” - this is a reference to the suffering and work of Jews as slaves (children taken from stones of birth stools; embittered life through mortar and bricks (1:13 - 1:15)

14. Vayera. cattle and other animals, blood of grapes "Dam... chamer" (plagues: blood, due to the mortar (Chomer), wild beasts, and plagues also inflicted animals)

15. Bo. became fat and kicked, contemptuous of the Rock of its salvation (Pharaoh, whose name is related to “overgrown.” He had a tremendously overgrown ego)

16: Beshalach. They would provoke His jealousy with strangers, they would anger Him with abominations. (the complaints of the erev rav, amalek)

17. Yitro. they would slaughter to demons without power, G-ds whom they knew not, newcomers recently arrived... (Yitro worshipped every possible idol, but then later he was a "newcomer" joining the Jewish people at Sinai.)

18. Mishpatim. You ignored the Rock Who gave birth to you, and forgot G-d who brought you forth (the Jewish people make a pact with Hashem, "Na'aseh VeNishmah," which basically represents the birth of the Jewish people, and even includes with "Dam Habrit" - reference to a circumcision. Nadav and Avihu and the elders see the Throne of Hashem (likeness of saphire brickwork), yet eat and drink. This was a big offense.   

19. Terumah. Hashem will see and be provoked by the anger of his sons and daughters (the giving to the Mishkan, which came from the people's heart, provokes Hashem to act kindly towards his children)

20. Tetzaveh. I shall hide my face... what their end will be, a generation of reversals - this is the only portion since Moshe is introduced that his name does not appear (this is also usually parasha before Purim, which is deeply connected to this connected of Hashem hiding his face, a story connected to the end of days, and one in which there is a major reversal, for the good)

21. Ki Tissah. "They provoked me with a non-G-d, so shall I provoke them with a non-people, with a vile nation shall I anger them." (Story of the sin of the golden calf; this was actually started by the erev rav - this non-people which Moshe brought out of Egypt with the Jews)

22. Vayakhel. "For fire will have been kindled in My nostrils and blazed to the lowest depths. It shall consume the earth and its produce, and set ablaze what is founded on mountains." (The portion describes the construction of the mishkan, which included the altars for incense and burnt offerings; the mishkan was the revelation of Hashem into the lowest depths, and later founded on the mountains of Shiloh and Jerusalem)

23. Pekudei. "I shall accumulate evils against them." (The portion describes the accumulation/accounting of the monies given to the Mishkan)

24. Vayikra. "bloating of famine, battles of flaming demons, cutting down by the noontime demon... the teeth of beasts... the venom of those that creep on the earth." (reference to all the different kinds of sacrifices, which sacrficied different beasts (same word), had specific times, and also involved flour, oil, salt, and blood)

25. Tzav. "On the outside, the sword will bereave, while indoors there will be dread, even a young man, even a virgin, a suckling with the gray-haired man. (description of different sacrifices, some brought indoors others outside; consecration of kohanim, every young man son of Aharon, and Aharon himself, a gray-haired man)

26. Shmini. "I had said, "I will scatter them, I will cause their memory to cease from man" (Nadav and Avihu are killed after entering the Mishkan and offering a foreign sacrifice)

27. Tazria. were it not that the anger of the enemy was pent up, lest his tormenters misinterpret; lest they say, 'Our hand was raised in triumph, and it was not Hashem Who accomplished this!" (woman delivering baby has pent up pain and feels tormented; portion also describes tza'aras, the spiritual disease that greatly humbles those that felt too haughty)

28. Metzorah. "for they are a nation bereft of counsel, and there is no discernment in them"  (this portion also describes tzara'as, and the cure for it, which was must be performed through the counsel and discernment of another, the Kohen)

29. Acharei Mot. "were they wise they would comprehend this, they would discern it from their end, [lit. "Acharitam"] (the importance of proper Yom Kippur service is discerned from the deaths (ends) of Nadav and Avihu.

30. Kedoshim. "For how could one pursue a thousand, and two cause 10,000 to flee, if not that their Rock had sold them, and Hashem had delivered them?" (the portion speaks of performing comerce and business (sales and deliveries) with proper ethics)

31. Emor. "For not like our Rock is their rock - yet our enemies judge us" (the portion describes how Kohanim are separate and must behave differently; furthermore, the portion describes how a son of an Egyptian judged how the show-bread was offered in the Temple, and ended up "blessing" Hashem.

32. Behar. "For their vineyard is from the vineyard of Sodom, and from the fields of Gomorrah; their grapes are grapes of gall, so clusters of bitterness were given to them." (The portion talks about how fields [and vineyards] have to be put to rest during the Sabbatical years and the Jubilee years)

33. Bechukotai. "Serpents'' venom is their wine, the poison of cruel vipers." (portion contains blessings and a series of curses; if the Jews obey, then wine and other products will be obtained with little difficulty; if they don't obey, they receive punishment after punishment, that would appear to be cruel, were it not for the fact that they were necessary)

34. Bamidbar. "Is it not revealed [hidden? - internet translation] with Me, sealed in My treasuries?" (portion describes census - we are counted because we are dear to Hashem, we are his treasuries.

35. Nasso. "Mine is vengeance and retribution at the time their foot will falter, for the day of their catastrophe is near, and future events are rushing at them." (the portion contains the story of the Sotah, which contains vengeance, retribution, foot-faltering, catastrophe and threats of future events; events "rushing" could also be a reference to the Nazir (who creates vows to avoid negative future events) as well as the princes of each tribe that rushed to bring offerings to Hashem during the inauguration of the Temple)

36. Beha'aloscha. "When Hashem will have judged his people, He shall relent regarding His servants, when He sees that the enemy power progresses, and none is saved or assisted." (Moshe despairs from the people's complaints, and Hashem seeing that he is alone, provides for 70 elders to assist him in judging the people; similarly Miriam is judged but Hashem relents and lets her back in the camp)

37. Shelach. "He will ask where is their G-d, the rock in whom they sought refuge." (portion of the spies; instead of focusing on what Hashem commanded them, they sought refuge and desired to stay in the desert; portion also describes unintentional idolatry)

38. Korach. "the fat of whose offerings they would eat, they would drink the wine of their libations? Let them stand and help you! Let them be a shelter for you!" (portion describes Korach and other Levites' desire to offer sacrifices and libations in the place of the Kohanim; Moshe makes a meeting time the next day for them to offer incense sacrifices. They are all consumed; Korach and his group are swallowed by the ground)

39. Chukas. "See, now, that I, I am He - and no G-d is with me. I put to death and I bring life, I struck down and I will heal, and there is no rescuer from My hand. (portion describes red cow, which is the only was Hashem prescribes for purification from contact with the dead; portion also contains Miriam's death, lack of water, punishment of Moshe and Aaron, and attack from Amalek; portion also contains plague from fiery serpents and cure from looking at copper fiery serpent, whose healing power came from Hashem)

40. Balak. "For I shall raise My hand to heaven and say, "I live forever." (portion describes Balaam's attempt to destroy the Jewish people, which Hashem prevented, a sign of the eternality of the Jewish people; Pinchas also raised his hand to heaven and saved the people from the plague caused by the sin of Bal-Peor.

41. Pinchas. "If I sharpen My flashing sword and My hand grasps judgment, I shall return vengeance upon My enemies and upon those that hate Me shall I bring retribution (portion describes the great act of Pinchas, who avenged Hashem's vengeance.

42. Mattos. "I shall intoxicate My arrows with blood and My sword shall devour flesh, because of the blood of corpse and captive, because of the earliest depredations of the enemy." (portion describes war against Midian, exacting revenge for their previous actions)

43. Maasei. "O nations - sing the praises of His people, for He will avenge the blood of His servants; He will bring retribution upon His foes, and He will appease His Land and His people. (portion describes journeys in the desert, as well as the conquering of the Land of Israel and the apportioning of the Land. It also describes the Levitical cities and the Cities of Refuge)

44. Devarim. "Moses came and spoke all the words of this Song in the ears of the people, he and Hoshea son of Nun." (portion starts "These are the words that Moses spoke to all Israel..."; in this portion, Moshe reprimands the people, like in Haazinu)

45. Vaetchanan. "Moses concluded speaking all these words to all Israel." (in this portion, Moshe goes over many of the fundamental parts of the Torah, including the Ten Commandments and the Sh'mah)

46. Ekev. "He said to them, "Apply your hearts to all the words that I testify against you today, with which you are to instruct your children, to be careful to perform all the words of this Torah (in this portion, Moshe urges us to perform the entire Torah, even those commandments one might step over with one's heels; portion also contains the verse, "It shall be that if you forget Hashem, your G-d, and go after the G-ds of others... I testify against you today..." (8:19))

47. Re'eh. "For it is not an empty thing for you, for it is your life, and through this matter shall you prolong your days on the Land to which you cross the Jordan to possess it." (portion describes blessings and curses related to mitzvot; sanctity of the land; and many mitzvot related to daily life and the Land.)

48. Shoftim. "Hashem spoke to Moses on this very day, saying." (portion describes appointment of judges, a king, prophecy, all things that indicated that we will have important people to function like Moshe in every generation)

49. Ki-Tetzeh. "Ascend to this mount of Abarim, Mount Nebo, which is in the land of Moab, which is before Jericho, and see the Land of Canaan that I give the Children of Israel as an inheritance. (Moab represented evil qualities, which Moshe, by being buried opposite it, would counteract. Moshe seeing the Land of Israel also brought tremendous blessing to the Land. The portion begins by laws related to when a soldier "sees" a beautiful captive; the Torah formulates a way in which to counteract a desire for sin; the portion also contains the most commandments, including the commandment to remember to destroy the memory of Amalek, who is quintessential evil).

50. Ki Tavoh. "and die on the mountain where you will ascend, and be gathered to your people, as Aaron your brother died on Mount Hor, and was gathered to his people" (the portion contains many curses, associated with death and destruction)

51. Nitzavim. "because you trespassed against Me among the Children of Israel at the waters of Meribath-kadesh, in the wildereness of Zin; because you did not sanctify Me among the Children of Israel. (the portion begins with the entire Jewish people being present before Hashem [and before Moshe], and contains also warnings against idolatry and other transgressions; the people are responsible for revealed sins (those performed in front of others) and must combat them)

52. Vayelech. "For from a distance shall you see the Land, but you shall not enter there, into the Land that I give to the Children of Israel." (In this portion, Moshe says, "I can no longer go out and come in, for Hashem has said to me, "You shall not cross this Jordan. Hashem, your G-d, He will cross before you..."

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Week 52 (From the Book): To Crown G-d as Our King

The dogs are saying: "Come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before G-d our Maker." (Psalms 95:6)

Rabbi Elazar HaKapar would say: Envy, lust and honor drive a man from the world.
He would also say: Those who are born will die, and the dead will live. The living will be judged, to learn, to teach and to comprehend that He is G-d, He is the former, He is the creator, He is the comprehender, He is the judge, He is the witness, He is the plaintiff, and He will judge. Blessed is He, for before Him there is no wrong, no forgetting, no favoritism, and no taking of bribes; know, that everything is according to the reckoning. Let not your heart convince you that the grave is your escape; for against your will you are formed, against your will you are born, against your will you live, against your will you die, and against your will you are destined to give a judgment and accounting before the king, king of all kings, the Holy One, blessed be He.

Daat/Keter (knowledge/crown)

Finally, we come to week fifty-two, when the dogs cry out for all to worship and prostrate themselves before G-d our Maker. (Psalm 95:6) This week coincides with Rosh Hashanah of the following year. On Rosh Hashanah, man was created. The question then arises why do we celebrate Rosh Hashanah on this date, and not on the 25th of Elul?

The Midrash also relates that when Adam was created even his heel (the lowest and least sensitive part of his body), outshone the sun, so holy was he. In fact, he was so full of light that all of the animals came and bowed down to him, believing that he was their creator. But Adam told them, “Come let us bow down together and worship the One Who created us all.” This was his function and purpose — to bring all of the world to the service of Hashem.[1]

The words of the dogs in Perek Shirah are Adam’s exact words on the day of Rosh Hashanah, recalling the desire for all of Creation to bow before G-d and worship Him. It also describes the main purpose of Rosh Hashanah: crowning Hashem, our Creator, as our King. What a remarkable conclusion for this awe-inspiring text.

The song of the dogs echoes that of the rooster, as we start the yearly cycle over again. Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are the two times of year when Jews kneel and completely bow before G-d during prayers. By lowering our heads all the way to the ground, we submit our intellect to the Divine King, who is infinitely greater than us and beyond our comprehension. The dog has this same characteristic, as the word for dog in Hebrew, kelev, means kuloh lev, it is “all heart” - its heart completely dominates its intellect. In our daily lives, it is a basic principle in Chabad Chassidism that the intellect must always rule over the heart. However, when we stand before Hashem, our Father, King and Judge, we know that our intellect is nothing compared to Him.

In Kabbalah, the dog also represents the concept of kelipah, impurity. The very image of Satan, also known as the Angel of Death, is that of a dog with many eyes. The dog is all heart, and it is specifically by way of our emotions that the evil inclination attacks. The conclusion of Perek Shirah contains an explanation given by an angel to Rabbi Yeshaya, a student of Rabbi Chanina Ben Dosa, as to the reason for the inclusion of the dog in Perek Shirah. The angel explains that the dogs behaved very well and remained silent during the Jewish people’s departure from Egypt. The angel also mentions how the dog’s feces are used in tanning leather for tefillin and other holy writings. As with the redemption from Egypt, in the final redemption and the messianic era, even the deepest impurities will be nullified, and will be elevated for the fulfillment of Torah and mitzvot.

The number fifty-two has the gematria of the Hebrew word kelev (dog) and also the word Behemah (animal), which also represents a form of kelipah. Moreover, the number fifty-two is the number of one of the names of G-d, B"N, which is connected to the kabbalistic concept of raising the divine sparks that are stuck in the kelippot. When we finished raising all these sparks, G-d finally send our Mashiach. Fifty-two is also the gematria of Eliyahu (Elijah), the name of the prophet who will announce Mashiach’s arrival.

Week 52 represents the total transformation of the dog, from being associated with impurity to holiness, marking the time of the coming of Mashiach, announced by Eliyahu HaNavi. The Talmud on Bava Kama 60b states that, “When dogs ‘cry’ the Angel of Death has come to town.  When they ‘laugh’ Elijah the Prophet has come.” 
We already see today, just how much dogs themselves have changed. They are no longer usually associated with impurity. Instead, they are man’s loyal companions, and demonstrate enormous positive, healing behaviors.

The letters nun and beit together form the word ben, which means son. There is a verse from the Book of the Prophets saying that before the great final day, G-d will send Elijah, who will bring back the hearts of parents through their children.

Rosh Hashanah is a day of judgment, and we relate to G-d as our King. However, it is also a day in which we relate to Hashem as His children. Children are an important theme in the Torah readings of Rosh Hashanah. We read of how Sarah was barren for 90 years until she gave birth to Isaac. We also read of a similar story regarding Chanah.[2] Both of these events took place on Rosh Hashanah. The story we read about Hagar, Abraham’s maidservant, is also about saving the life of her son, Yishmael. On the second day of Rosh Hashanah, we read about the sacrifice of Isaac, and the Haftorah is about Rachel weeping for her children, and of Ephraim, described as Hashem’s dear and beloved son. Moreover, perhaps the story most associated with the blowing of the shofar is about a lost prince who after many years even forgets his mother tongue, yet when he sees his father the King, he calls out in a deep and loud cry.

Fifty-two is also the gematria of the word “bakol,” which means “in everything.” The Torah states that by the end of Abraham’s life he had been blessed with “bakol.” There are many interpretations of what bakol means (especially given the fact that Isaac was blessed with “mikol” (“from everything”) and Jacob with “kol” (everything)). 

Nevertheless, one of the main interpretations of this verse is that Abraham was blessed with a daughter. This is also appropriate for this last week, as we complete “everything” in the year, and begin again.[3]

When the letters of the word “bakol” are spelled out, their numerical value is the same as the gematria of the word “shofar.”[4] This appears to be another connection between Week 52 and Week 1.

This week in Pirkei Avot, Rabbi Elazar HaKapar teaches that envy, lust and the pursuit of honor take a man out of the world. (IV:21) Rabbi Elazar’s statement captures the idea that we must be in control of our emotions. Ultimately, feelings of envy, lust and pursuit of honor are irrational, given that it is Hashem who runs the world and that everything He does and commands is for our own good.

There is also a more positive way to understand this teaching. If we direct these desires toward G-d, in “holy” envy (also known as the envy of scholars), desire to be close to G-d, and to honor Him, our relationship with G-d will be so strong that it will take us out of the concealment and illusion that is this world. As mentioned previously, the Hebrew word for world is olam, which comes from the word ehelem, which means illusion and concealment.

He also states as follows:

Those who are born are destined to die, those who are dead are destined to live again (in another version to be resurrected), and those who live (again) are destined to be judged. To know, to make it known and to have knowledge that He is G-d, He is the Maker, He is the Creator, He is the Comprehender, He is the Judge, He is the Witness, He is the Litigant, and He will judge. Blessed be He, before whom there is no iniquity, no forgetfulness, no favoritism or bribery, and know that everything is done according to the reckoning. Let not your evil inclination convince you that the tomb is a place of refuge for you, for you were created against your will, against your will you were given birth, against your will you live, against your will you will die, and against your will you are destined to provide accounts before the Supreme King of kings, the Holy One, blessed be He." (IV:22)
This second part of Rabbi Elazar’s teaching is a perfect description of what Rosh Hashanah is all about. With these words, we recommence the yearly cycle, as well as life’s cycle in general.

Rabbi Elazar HaKapar’s lesson is closely connected with the judgment of Rosh Hashanah, as well as with the sefirah of da'at, the application of knowledge to the reality of everyday living. Notice how the word da'at (knowledge) appears repeatedly in Rabbi Elazar’s words: "to know, to make known and to have knowledge" in Hebrew are written as leidah, lehodiah, le'ivadah, all verbs that have the da'at as their root.
This week is connected to Shavuot and the sefirah of da'at, also referred to as keter, crown. As mentioned previously, during the week of Rosh Hashanah, we crown G-d as our King. We must understand that we are nothing compared to Him. He alone decides, judges and creates. He is   G-d, King of Kings, Blessed and One. There is nothing besides Him.

A lesson we can derive from the dogs is that it is our duty to reach out to those who are suffering and distant from Judaism, to raise them so that they too can praise their Creator.

[2] The very last day of this week, the last day of the entire cycle, is the 6th of Tishrei, yahrzeit of Rebbetzin Chanah Schneerson, the mother of the Rebbe.

[3] Noam Elimelech; Rabbi Ginsberg

[4] Vedibarta Bam - And You Shall Speak of Them, Volume I - Bereishit; Chayei Sarah, available at:

Halachot Connections

(Work in Progress) Connections are based on the following study calendar:

Week 36

Choshen Mishpat sections for this week are about the different ways of acquiring land. It then also speaks of acquiring non-Jews and acquiring servants. This all seems very much related to our acquisition of the Torah, as well as G-d's acquisition of us as his servants (previously in the status of non-Jews, at least to some extent). (The last chapters of the Tractate of Erchin (next week) also relate to issues involving the acquisition of land and the Jubilee, year 50, like Shavuot, the 50th day.)

Week 37

The chapters of Choshen Mishpat of this week continue to focus on Kinyan, many of them focusing additional secondary items related to the property acquired. Often, the secondary items are included in the original sale, although at times those items need to be separately identified. Similar to what was mentioned above, the acquisition of the Torah is meant to be expansive, leading to the sanctification of "secondary" items, as well. bringing them from the realm of the mundane into the realm of the holy.

Week 40:

The chapters of Choshen Mishpat of this week continue to focus on Kinyan, many of them focusing additional secondary items related to the property acquired. Often, the secondary items are included in the original sale, although at times those items need to be separately identified. Similar to what was mentioned above, the acquisition of the Torah is meant to be expansive, leading to the sanctification of "secondary" items, as well. bringing them from the realm of the mundane into the realm of the holy.

Tanach Table

 (WEEK 1)
Joshua 1-2
Joshua 3-4
Joshua 5-6
Joshua 7-8
Joshua 9-10

Joshua 11-12

Joshua 13-14

(WEEK 2)
Joshua 15-16
Joshua 17-18
Joshua 19-20
 Joshua 21-22
 Joshua 23-24
 Judges 1-2
 Judges 3-4
(WEEK 3)
Judges 5-6
Judges 7-8
Judges 9-10

Judges 11-12

Judges 13-14

Judges 15-16

Judges 17-18

(WEEK 4)
Judges 19-20
Shmuel I 1

Shmuel I 2-3

Shmuel I 4-5

Shmuel I 6-7

Shmuel I 8-9

Shmuel I 10-11

 (WEEK 5)
Shmuel I 12-13
Shmuel I 14-15
Shmuel I 16-17
 Shmuel I 18-19
Shmuel I 20-21
 Shmuel I 22-23
 Shmuel I 24-25
26(WEEK 6)
Shmuel I 26-27
Shmuel I 28-29
Shmuel I 30-31
 Shmuel II 1-2
Shmuel II 3-4
Shmuel II 5-6
 Shmuel II 7-8

 (WEEK 7)
Shmuel II 9-10
Shmuel II 11-12
 Shmuel II 13-14
 Shmuel II 15-16
 Shmuel II 17-18
 Shmuel II 19-20
Shmuel II 21-22
(WEEK 8)
Shmuel II 23-24
Kings I 1-2
Kings I 3-4
Kings I 5-6
Kings I 7-8
Kings I 9-10
Kings I 11-12
 (WEEK 9)
Kings I 13-14
Kings I 15-16
Kings I 17-18
Kings I 19-20
Kings I 21-22
 Kings II 1-2
Kings II 3-4
 (WEEK 10)
Kings II 5-6
 Kings II 7-8
 Kings II 9-10
 Kings II 11-12
Kings II 13-14
 Kings II 15-16
Kings II 17-18
 (WEEK 11)
Kings II 19-20
 Kings II 21-22
 Kings II 23-24
 Kings II 25
Isaiah 1
 Isaiah 2-3
 Isaiah 4-5
 Isaiah 6-7
 (WEEK 12)
Isaiah 8-9
Isaiah 10-11
Isaiah 12-13
Isaiah 14-15
Isaiah 16-17
Isaiah 18-19
Isaiah 20-21
 (WEEK 13)
Isaiah 22-23
Isaiah 24-25
Isaiah 26-27
Isaiah 28-29
Isaiah 30-31
Isaiah 32-33
Isaiah 34-35
 (WEEK 14)
Isaiah 36-37
Isaiah 38-39
Isaiah 40-41
Isaiah 42-43
Isaiah 44-45
Isaiah 46-47

Isaiah 48-49
 (WEEK 15)
Isaiah 50-51
Isaiah 52-53

Isaiah 54-55
Isaiah 56-57

 Isaiah 58-59
 Isaiah 60-61
 Isaiah 62-63

 (WEEK 16)
Isaiah 64-65
 Isaiah 66
Jeremiah 1
 Jeremiah 2-3

 Jeremiah 4-5
 Jeremiah 6-7
 Jeremiah 8-9

Jeremiah 10-11
 (WEEK 17)

Jeremiah 12-13
Jeremiah 14-15
Jeremiah 16-17
Jeremiah 18-19

Jeremiah 20-21
Jeremiah 22-23
Jeremiah 24-25
 (WEEK 18)
Jeremiah 26-27
Jeremiah 28-29
Jeremiah 30-31
Jeremiah 32-33
Jeremiah 34-35
Jeremiah 36-37
Jeremiah 38-39
 (WEEK 19)
Jeremiah 40-41
Jeremiah 42-43
Jeremiah 44-45
Jeremiah 46-47
Jeremiah 48-49
Jeremiah 50-51
Jeremiah 52
Ezekiel 1
(WEEK 20)
Ezekiel 2-3
Ezekiel 4-5
Ezekiel 6-7
Ezekiel 8-9
Ezekiel 10-11
Ezekiel 12-13
Ezekiel 14-15
 (WEEK 21)
Ezekiel 16-17
Ezekiel 18-19
Ezekiel 20-21
Ezekiel 22-23
Ezekiel 24-25
Ezekiel 26-27
Ezekiel 28-29
 (WEEK 22)
Ezekiel 30-31
Ezekiel 32-33

Ezekiel 34-35
Ezekiel 36-37
Ezekiel 38-39
Ezekiel 40-41
Ezekiel 42-43
(WEEK 23)
(Ezekiel 44-45
Ezekiel 46-47
Ezekiel 48
Hoshea 1

Hoshea 2-3
Hoshea 4-5
Hoshea 6-7

Hoshea 8-9

 (WEEK 24)

Hoshea 10-11
Hoshea 12-13
Hoshea 14
Joel 1
Joel 2-3
Joel 4
Amos 1
Amos 2-3
Amos 4-5
 (WEEK 25)
Amos 6-7
Amos 8-9
Obadiah 1
Yonah 1

Yonah 2-3
Yonah 4
Micha 1
Micha 2-3

Micha 4-5

 (WEEK 26)
Micha 6-7
Nachum 1-2
Nachum 3
Habakkuk 1
Habakkuk 2-3
Tzefanaiah 1-2
Tzefanaiah 3
Chaggai 1
Chaggai 2
Zechariah 1
 (WEEK 27)
Zechariah 2-3

Zechariah 4-5
Zechariah 6-7

Zechariah 8-9

Zechariah 10-11
Zechariah 12-13
Zechariah 14
Malachi 1
 (WEEK 28)
Malachi 2-3
Psalm 1-2
Psalm 3-4
 Psalm 5-6
 Psalm 7-8
Psalm 9-10 
 Psalm 11-12
 (WEEK 29)
Psalm 13-14
Psalm 15-16
 Psalm 17-18
Psalm 19-20
Psalm 21-22
Psalm 23-24
Psalm 25-26
 (WEEK 30)
Psalm 27-28
Psalm 29-30
Psalm 31-32
Psalm 33-34
Psalm 35-36
Psalm 37-38
Psalm 39-40
 (WEEK 31)
Psalm 41-42
Psalm 43-44
Psalm 45-46
Psalm 47-48
Psalm 49-50
Psalm 51-52
Psalm 53-54
 (WEEK 32)
Psalm 55-56
Psalm 57-58
Psalm 59-60
Psalm 61-62
Psalm 63-64
 Psalm 65-66
 Psalm 67-68

 (WEEK 33)
Psalm 69-70
Psalm 71-72

Psalm 73-74

Psalm 75-76
Psalm 77-78

Psalm 79-80
Psalm 81-82
 (WEEK 34)
Psalm 83-84
Psalm 85-86
Psalm 87-88
Psalm 89-90

Psalm 91-92
Psalm 93-94

Psalm 95-96
 (WEEK 35)
Psalm 97-98
 Psalm 99-100
Psalm 101-102
Psalm 103-104
Psalm 105-106
Psalm 107-108
Psalm 109-110

 (WEEK 36)
Psalm 111-112
Psalm 113-114
Psalm 115-116
Psalm 117-118
Psalm 119-134
Psalm 135-136
Psalm 137-138
 (WEEK 37)
Psalm 139-140
Psalm 141-142
Psalm 143-144
Psalm 145-146
Psalm 147-148
Psalm 149-150
Proverbs 1-2
 (WEEK 38)
Proverbs 3-4
Proverbs 5-6
Proverbs 7-8
Proverbs 9-10
Proverbs 11-12
Proverbs 13-14
 Proverbs 15-16
 (WEEK 39)
Proverbs 17-18
Proverbs 19-20
Proverbs 21-22
Proverbs 23-24
Proverbs 25-26
Proverbs 27-28
Proverbs 29-30
 (WEEK 40)
Proverbs 31
Job 1
Job 2-3
Job 4-5
Job 6-7
Job 8-9
Job 10-11
Job 12-13


 (WEEK 41)
Job 14-15
Job 16-17
Job 18-19
Job 20-21
Job 22-23
Job 24-25
Job 26-27
 (WEEK 42)
Job 28-29
Job 30-31
Job 32-33
Job 34-35
 Job 36-37
Job 38-39
Job 40-41
 (WEEK 43)
Job 42
Shir HaShirim 1
Shir HaShirim 2-3
Shir HaShirim 4-5
Shir HaShirim 6-7
Shir HaShirim 8
Ruth 1
Ruth 2-3
Ruth 4
Eichah 1
 (WEEK 44)
Eichah 2-3

Eichah 4-5

Kohelet 1-2

Kohelet 3-4

Kohelet 5-6

Kohelet 7-8

Kohelet 9-10
 (WEEK 45)

Kohelet 11-12
 Esther 1-2
Esther 3-4
Esther 5-6
Esther 7-8
Esther 9-10
 Daniel 1-2
 (WEEK 46)

Daniel 3-4
Daniel 5-6
 Daniel 7-8

 Daniel 9-10
Daniel 11-12

Ezra 1-2
 Ezra 3-4
 (WEEK 47)
Ezra 5-6
Ezra 7-8
Ezra 9-10
Nechemia 1-2
Nechemia 3-4
Nechemia 5-6
Nechemia 7-8
 (WEEK 48)
Nechemia 9-10
Nechemia 11-12
Nechemia 13
Divrei HaYamim I 1
Divrei HaYamim I 2-3
Divrei HaYamim I 4-5
Divrei HaYamim I 6-7
Divrei HaYamim I 8-9

 (WEEK 49) Divrei HaYamim I 10-11
Divrei HaYamim I 12-13
Divrei HaYamim I 14-15
Divrei HaYamim I 16-17
Divrei HaYamim I 18-19
Divrei HaYamim I 20-21
Divrei HaYamim I 22-23

 (WEEK 50)
Divrei HaYamim I 24-25
 Divrei HaYamim I 26-27
Divrei HaYamim I 28-29
Divrei HaYamim II 1-2
Divrei HaYamim II 3-4
Divrei HaYamim II 5-6
Divrei HaYamim II 7-8
 (WEEK 51)
Divrei HaYamim II 9-10
Divrei HaYamim II 11-12
Divrei HaYamim II 13-14
Divrei HaYamim II 15-16
Divrei HaYamim II 17-18

Divrei HaYamim II 19-20
Divrei HaYamim II 21-22

 (WEEK 52)
Divrei HaYamim II 23-24
Divrei HaYamim II 25-26
Divrei HaYamim II 27-28
Divrei HaYamim II 29-30
Divrei HaYamim II 31-32
Divrei HaYamim II 33-34
Divrei HaYamim II 35-36