Sunday, May 28, 2017

Sunday, 3rd of Sivan

Sefirot Combination (Cycles of Seven Weeks):

5th day of Week 35 (the "Wild Animals") and the 47th day (the "Snake") of the 5th cycle ("Hod"), Hod shebeMalchut shebeHod, Glory/Acknowledgement within Kingship within Glory/Acknowledgement.

Alef-Bet/Psalms (Cycles of 22 days):

1st day of the 12th cycle ("Trees of the Field and the Grapevine"), Alef within the cycle of Kaf Sofit  

Lamentations:

He has led me and made me walk [in] darkness and not [in] light.

אוֹתִי נָהַג וַיֹּלַךְ חשֶׁךְ וְלֹא אוֹר:

Song of Songs:

I arose to open for my beloved, and my hands dripped with myrrh, and my fingers with flowing myrrh, upon the handles of the lock.

קַמְתִּי אֲנִי לִפְתֹּחַ לְדוֹדִי וְיָדַי נָטְפוּ מוֹר וְאֶצְבְּעֹתַי מוֹר עֹבֵר עַל כַּפּוֹת הַמַּנְעוּל:

Hayom Yom

Whoever ponders the approach of Tosafot in his comment beginning "Torah etc..." (Shabbat 89a) will understand that the festival of Shavuot is an auspicious time Above. On that day G‑d confounds the "supernal accuser" of Israel, similar to His confounding the accuser during Shofar-sounding on Rosh Hashana and on the holy day of the Fast of Yom Kippur.
Tanach
Psalms 105 & 106

Mishnayot/Tosefta
Bechorot 3-4

Halachot
Orach Chayim 485-486

Twelfth Set of 22 Days: Kaf Sofit, Trees of the Field and the Vine (the Priestly Family of Abiyah)

Twelfth Set of 22 Days: Kaf Sofit, Trees of the Field and the Vine (the Priestly Family of Abiyah)

23
12th Cycle

Kaf Sofit
Chochma
Trees of the Field
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


The 3rd of Sivan begins the twelfth set of 22 days of the Jewish calendar, which parallels the letter Kaf Sofit, as well as the Trees of the Field and the Vine in Perek Shirah. This 22-day period runs from the Shlosha Yemei Hagbalah (three days of separation) and Shavuoth to close to the end of the month of Sivan.

The previous set of 22 days marked the last two letters of the Jewish alphabet, Shin and Tav. However, it is also common to include separately in the Aleph Bet the final letters: Kaf Sofit, Mem Sofit, Nun Sofit, Peh Sofit and Tzadik Sofit. These letters appear stand for the five parts of the mouth related to speech, which are connected to the "Five Gevurot" and the five primary vowels. (See Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan's translation and commentary to Sefer Yetzirah)

The twelfth cycle of 22 days appears related to the letter Kaf Sofit. As mentioned previously, the Kaf stands for Keter, which is the part of the soul that is associated with that which is above intellect. Kaf literally means the palm of the hand and/or a spoon, which is bent like a receptacle. Unlike the regular Kaf, the Kaf Sofit is not bent, but instead goes straight down.

The giving of the Torah came straight down in a way that penetrated the world, to the extent that on Mount Sinai the words of the Torah did not have an echo (ie. they did not bounce back from what they touched - instead they were absorbed).

The following is from Rabbi Michael Munk's, "The Wisdom of the Hebrew Alphabet:"

The Kaf Sophit, "a long straight letter, indicat[es] that one who succeeds in bending his primitive impulses and controlling them... Exodus 33:22 says, "VeSakoti Kapi Aleicha," I will shelter you with my hand (Krias HaTorah)."
The shape of the shofar, which calls us to repentance on Rosh Hashanah, must - according to halachic tradition - have a bent shape to indicate that a person's evil spirit must be bent as a prerequisite for repentance. However, the shofar blown in the Temple every fifty years to announce the Yovel, Jubilee Year, is long and straight as a symbol of freedom (Rosh Hashanah 26b)...
"The Talmud (Yoma 35b) teaches that when Joseph withstood the enticements of Potiphar's wife, she threatened him with imprisonment, and exclaimed, 'Ani Kophephet Komatech," I will bend your [moral] steadfastness.' Joseph responded, 'Hashem Zokeph (with a final Kaf) Kephuphim,' Hashem straightens the bent. (Psalms 146:8)."
(Munk, the Wisdom of the Hebrew Alphabet, p. 136)
This period also marks the end of the Counting of the Omer, in which we worked tirelessly on our animal inclinations, "straightening ourselves out," and preparing ourselves to receive the Torah on the fiftieth day, like the fiftieth year of the Yovel.

The Perek Shirah elements of this week are also related to Shavuot. Shavuot is known also as Chag HaBikurim, the Festival of the First Fruits, when the first fruits of the seven species with which the Land of Israel is blessed were harvested and brought to the Temple. It is therefore quite appropriate that in include the Trees of the Field in general as well as the Vine, which is the first (and arguably the most important) of the seven species. Shavuot is also called Chag HaKatzir, the Harvest Festival, and the third Chapter of Perek Shirah, which begins with this cycle, is all about the vegetable kingdom.

It is also fascinating that just as the period immediately prior to Shavuot begins a new section of Perek Shirah, transitioning from the mineral kingdom to vegetable kingdom (beginning with a general category, entitled “Trees of the Field” (Ilanot HaSadeh), so too in Book 1, Week 35 transitions from domesticated animals to wild ones (beginning with a general category entitled “Wild Animals of the Field” (Chayot HaSadeh). These “collective” categories immediately prior to Shavuot seem to point to the general theme of unity associated with these weeks.  Furthermore, the emphasis on the Sadeh, the field, seems to relate to the fact that the Torah was not given in a home or in a city, but in the wilderness. The fields are also a place for meditation, prayer and closeness with G-d, also very much associated with this time of the year.

The verses of these two elements read as follows (translation from Rabbi Slifkin):

The Wild Trees are saying, "Then shall the trees of the forest sing out at the presence of G-d, because He comes to judge the earth." (Chronicles I 16:33)

The Vine is saying, "So says God: As the wine is found in the cluster, and one says: Do not destroy it, for a blessing is in it - so shall I do for the sake of my servants, so as not to destroy everything." (Isaiah 65:8)

The trees sing out in when they experience the presence of G-d, just as we celebrate our encounter with G-d on Mount Sinai.

Rabbi Slifkin explains that the Vine takes much labor to plant and to harvest, and to later produce its final outcome: wine. Yet, the greater amount of work brings about an even greater reward. ("Nature's Song, p. 170) Similarly, on Shavuot, we are repaid for all the hard work that took place during the Counting of the Omer.

Both verses also contain a strong element of judgment, tempered by Hashem's mercy. As much as Shavuot is a day of celebration, the unfortunate events that took place immediately following the giving of the Torah (ie. the sin of the golden calf), required Hashem's great mercy, as well as Moshe's begging on our behalf "not to destroy everything."

The Temple guard for these 22 days is connected to the priestly family of Abiyah. This priestly family was given the eighth portion, and Shavuot is connected to the "eighth week," which is closely connected to the number fifty as well.

Abiyah is also the name of the King of Judah (son of Rehoboam, and also called Abijam) connected to Week 36 of the year, the week of Shavuot. (See Book 3) As explained in Book 3, just as on Shavuot we received the Torah through unity, so too Abiyah sought to reunite the kingdoms of Judah and Israel. Despite his military victory, however, he was unable to reach his goal. Abiyah, the king of Judah followed in the wicked ways of his father, and the Jewish people were steeped in idolatry (perhaps related to the events following Shavuot, mentioned above). Interestingly, like Rehoboam, Jeroboam, the king of Israel also had a son named Abiyah. The child became critically ill, died and was eulogized by all of Israel. [1] (The eulogy, even if for the son of an evil king, also shows the theme of unity connected to Shavuot)

Regarding, Abiyah the son of Jeroboam, Ahiyah the prophet stated that of all the house of Jeroboam, only in the boy Abiyah there was found "some good thing toward the Lord." (Kings I 14:1-8) This seems parallel to the verse of the Vine in Perek Shirah (which speaks of G-d finding a good cluster of grapes among others that deserved destruction) as well as the events following Shavuot mentioned above.

The verse from Psalm 90 for this period appears to refer to the counting of days experienced during the Omer, which culminates with the acquisition of "a heart of wisdom" and the giving of the Torah. The word for acquiring used here is “Navi,” which is the same as the word for prophet. At Mount Sinai, the entire nation reached the level of prophecy.


_______

[1] http://www.chabad.org/library/bible_cdo/showrashi/false/aid/15898/jewish/Chapter-14.htm

The Wild Animals say (Song(s) for Week 35)

The Wild Animals say,

One thing have I sworn by My holiness,
That I will not fail David.
He trains my hand for war,
So that mine arms do bend a brass bow.

She put forth her hand to the pin,
And her right hand to strike the weary;
For the appointed day of their reckoning is near,
And what is destined for them hastens.

The Lord impoverishes and makes rich.
He humbles; He also exalts.
Vengeance is poised with Me,
And it will pay at the time their foot stumbles.

O, that you were like my brother,
Who sucked my mother's breasts!
I would find you outside, I would kiss you,
And they would not despise me.

And the children of Israel did so
They gathered, both the one who gathered much
And the one who gathered little.
And they measured [it] with an omer.

I would lead you, I would bring you to the house of my mother,
Who instructed me; I would give you to drink some spiced wine,
Of the juice of my pomegranate. And whoever gathered much
Did not have more, and whoever gathered little did not have less;

Each one according to his eating capacity, they gathered.
The pots [of figs] have given forth [their] fragrance,
And on our doorways are all manner of sweet fruits,
Both new and old, which I have hidden away for you, my beloved.

Blessed is the One Who is good and bestows good.
The seed of Abraham His servant, the children of Jacob, His chosen ones.
He is the Lord our G-d; throughout all the earth are His judgments.
He remembered His covenant forever, the word He had commanded to the thousandth generation,

Shabat, 2nd of Sivan

Sefirot Combination (Cycles of Seven Weeks):

4th day of Week 35 (the "Wild Animals") and the 46th day (the "Prolific Creeping Creatures") of the 5th cycle ("Hod"), Netzach shebeMalchut shebeHod, Victory/Endurance within Kingship within Glory/Acknowledgement.

Alef-Bet/Psalms (Cycles of 22 days):

22nd day of the 11th cycle ("Dew and Rain"), Tav within the cycle of Shin and Tav (Tav-Shin) 

Lamentations:

Requite them, O Lord, according to the work of their hands.

תָּשִׁיב לָהֶם גְּמוּל יְהֹוָה כְּמַעֲשֵׂה יְדֵיהֶם:

Song of Songs:

My beloved stretched forth his hand from the hole, and my insides stirred because of him.

דּוֹדִי שָׁלַח יָדוֹ מִן הַחוֹר וּמֵעַי הָמוּ עָלָיו:

Hayom Yom
In the year 5589 (1829) the Shabbat of Parshat Bamidbar was on 5 Sivan. Before the kindling of the Shabbat candles, the Tzemach Tzedek delivered the maamar, S'u et rosh...avotam. Following the commentary of Ibn Ezra, he interpreted the word S'u in the sense of elevation, as in "Ki tisa et rosh," (lit. "When you take up the head.") The implication is that through avoda of the radiance of the soul within the body, an elevation is effected in the head (rosh) and essence of the soul as it is Above. In this vein he then explained a number of Torah-verses and statements in Zohar and Midrash.
At noon on Shabbat the Rebbe delivered the maamar V'eirastich and its elaboration as printed in Likutei Torah. The next day, the first day of Shavuot, he delivered the maamar Us'fartem and its elaboration as printed in Likutei Torah. During the festival meal of the second day of Shavuot, the Rebbe delivered the maamar V'hachachma mei'ayin timatzei which is the second elaboration on the subject of tisp'ru chamishim yom printed in Likutei Torah.
Tanach
Psalms 103 & 104

Mishnayot/Tosefta
Bechorot 1-2

Halachot
Orach Chayim 483-484

Friday, 1st of Sivan

Sefirot Combination (Cycles of Seven Weeks):

3rd day of Week 35 (the "Wild Animals") and the 45th day (the "Creeping Creatures") of the 5th cycle ("Hod"), Tiferet shebeMalchut shebeHod, Balance/Beauty within Kingship within Glory/Acknowledgement.

Alef-Bet/Psalms (Cycles of 22 days):

21st day of the 11th cycle ("Dew and Rain"), Shin within the cycle of Shin and Tav (Shin-Tav) 

Lamentations:

You have heard their insults, O Lord, all their plots against me.

סאשָׁמַעְתָּ חֶרְפָּתָם יְהֹוָה כָּל מַחְשְׁבֹתָם עָלָי:

Song of Songs:

"I have taken off my tunic; how can I put it on? I have bathed my feet; how can I soil them?"

פָּשַׁטְתִּי אֶת כֻּתָּנְתִּי אֵיכָכָה אֶלְבָּשֶׁנָּה רָחַצְתִּי אֶת רַגְלַי אֵיכָכָה אֲטַנְּפֵם:

Hayom Yom

"Throw a stick into the air; it will fall back on ikrei, its root-side." Our fathers, the holy Rebbes, bequeathed a boundless heritage to the first chassidim, that their sons' children and their daughters' children throughout the generations, in whatever country and environment they may be, will have that "root" - which is the attraction of their "inwardness of heart" to the rock from which they were hewn. At times this element is covered and concealed in a number of garbs. This, then, is the avoda of whoever desires life - to remove these coverings, to establish for himself periods for the study of Chassidus, and to conduct himself in the manner of the Chassidic community.


Tanach
Psalms 101 & 102

Mishnayot/Tosefta
Chulin 11-12

Halachot
Orach Chayim 481-482

Friday, May 26, 2017

Thursday, 29th of Iyar

Sefirot Combination (Cycles of Seven Weeks):

2nd day of Week 35 (the "Wild Animals") and the 44th day (the "Mouse") of the 5th cycle ("Hod"), Gevurah shebeMalchut shebeHod, Might/Discipline within Kingship within Glory/Acknowledgement.

Alef-Bet/Psalms (Cycles of 22 days):

20th day of the 11th cycle ("Dew and Rain"), Reish within the cycle of Shin and Tav (Reish-Tav) 

Lamentations:

You did plead my cause, O Lord; You did redeem my life. רַבְתָּ אֲדֹנָי רִיבֵי נַפְשִׁי גָּאַלְתָּ חַיָּי:

Song of Songs:

"I sleep, but my heart is awake. Hark! My beloved is knocking: Open for me, my sister, my beloved, my dove, my perfect one, for my head is full of dew, my locks with the drops of the night."

אֲנִי יְשֵׁנָה וְלִבִּי עֵר קוֹל | דּוֹדִי דוֹפֵק פִּתְחִי לִי אֲחֹתִי רַעְיָתִי יוֹנָתִי תַמָּתִי שֶׁרֹאשִׁי נִמְלָא טָל קְוֻּצּוֹתַי רְסִיסֵי לָיְלָה:

Hayom Yom

The ascent of the soul occurs three times daily, during the three times of davening. This is particularly true of the souls of tzadikim who "go from strength to strength." It is certain that at all times and in every sacred place they may be, they offer invocation and prayer on behalf of those who are bound to them and to their instructions, and who observe their instructions. They offer prayer in particular for their disciples and disciples' disciples, that G‑d be their aid, materially and spiritually.

Tanach
Psalms 99 & 100

Mishnayot/Tosefta
Chulin 9-10

Halachot
Orach Chayim 479-480

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Wednesday, 28th of Iyar (Yom Yerushalayim)

Sefirot Combination (Cycles of Seven Weeks):

1st day of Week 35 (the "Wild Animals") and the 43rd day (the "Cat") of the 5th cycle ("Hod"), Chesed shebeMalchut shebeHod, Kindness within Kingship within Glory/Acknowledgement.

Alef-Bet/Psalms (Cycles of 22 days):

19th day of the 11th cycle ("Dew and Rain"), Kuf within the cycle of Shin and Tav (Kuf-Shin) 

Lamentations:

I called on Your name, O Lord, from the depths of the pit. קָרָאתִי שִׁמְךָ יְהֹוָה מִבּוֹר תַּחְתִּיּוֹת:

Song of Songs:

"I have come to my garden, my sister, [my] bride; I have gathered my myrrh with my spice, I have eaten my sugar cane with my sugar, I have drunk my wine with my milk. Eat, friends; drink, yea, drink abundantly, beloved ones."

בָּאתִי לְגַנִּי אֲחֹתִי כַלָּה אָרִיתִי מוֹרִי עִם בְּשָׂמִי אָכַלְתִּי יַעְרִי עִם דִּבְשִׁי שָׁתִיתִי יֵינִי עִם חֲלָבִי אִכְלוּ רֵעִים שְׁתוּ וְשִׁכְרוּ דּוֹדִים:

Hayom Yom

In one of the nocturnal visions in which the Tzemach Tzedek saw the Alter Rebbe (his grandfather), during the Thirty Days of Mourning for the Alter Rebbe, the latter recited for him the maamar, Al shlosha dvarim. After the maamar the Alter Rebbe said, "If the man emits seed first, she bears a female" - that is your mother; "if the woman emits seed first, she bears a male" - that is you.


Tanach
Psalms 97 & 98

Mishnayot/Tosefta
Chulin 7-8

Halachot
Orach Chayim 477-478

Week 35 (From the Book): To Thank G-d in Unison




The wild animals say: "Blessed is the One Who is good and bestows good." (Talmud, Brachot 48b)



Rabbi Tzadok would say: Do not separate yourself from the community. Do not act as a counselor-at-law (when serving as a judge). Do not make the Torah a crown to magnify yourself with, or a spade with which to dig. So would Hillel say: one who make personal use of the crown of Torah shall perish. Hence, one who benefits himself from the words of Torah, removes his life from the world.



Malchut shebeHod (kingship within the context of glory and gratefulness)



On the thirty-fifth week, in Perek Shirah, the wild animals sing “Blessed is G-d, who is good and bestows good.” (Talmud, Brachot 48b) This week includes both Yom Yerushalayim as well as Rosh Chodesh Sivan. The song of the wild animals is the blessing that is made to G-d according to Jewish law when something substantially good happens. This blessing is called HaTov veHaMetiv, and is used when the level of perceived good is even greater than that of the more familiar blessing of She'ychianu, because it is made when the good affects not only the individual but also others.



The fact that all wild animals, despite their strong and ferocious instincts, are able to sing in unison a song that shows concerns for others, is directly linked to a special quality we find in Rosh Chodesh Sivan. Sivan is marked by the giving of the Torah, which was made possible by the unity within the Jewish people at that time. The Torah relates that it was on Rosh Chodesh Sivan that all people camped at Mount Sinai "as one man with one heart."[1]



The month of Sivan is connected to the tribe of Zevulun, which was known for its merchant skills and its ability to survive in the outside “wild jungle” that is the capitalist world. Zevulun’s commercial prowess also benefited his brother, the tribe of Issachar, which had a more insular lifestyle, dedicating itself completely to the study of Torah. Zevulun fully supported Issachar financially.



The Torah also explicitly compares the Jewish women in Egypt to wild animals, and Rashi further explains that the entire Jewish people are referred to as wild animals, since Benjamin is called a wolf, Judah a lion, Dan a lion cub, etc.[2] Despite our strong personalities and diverse ways of thinking (two Jews, three ideas, as the traditional saying goes), we nevertheless all manage to get along. This closeness and unity, both among Jews and between us and G-d, is also symbolized by the zodiac sign of this month: Gemini (twins).



On Yom Yerushalayim, we celebrate Israel’s miraculous victory during the Six-Day War, when Jerusalem was reunited. There is also a deep connection here with the song of the wild animals, as this day marks the time when something substantially good happened to all of the Jewish people. As mentioned earlier. Nowadays, we only say the blessing of HaTov veHaMetiv when something very good happens. When something substantially bad happens (or at least perceived to be bad in our eyes) we make the blessing Baruch Dayan Emet (Blessed be the True Judge). The Talmud teaches that in Messianic times we will say the blessing of HaTov veHaMetiv (Blessed is G-d, Who is good and bestows good) in all circumstances, because we will understand that even what we once perceived to be bad is ultimately for the good. The same holds true for Yom Yerushalayim. The term Yom Yerushalayim is mentioned in the Psalms as a reference to the destruction of the Temple and of Jerusalem, an event perceived as being very bad, perhaps the worst in our history. After 1967, the term Yom Yerushalayim now refers to the day Jerusalem became liberated, a very good and happy day indeed, in the spirit of the blessing HaTov vehaMetiv. While it is still difficult to understand the meaning behind the great tragedy of the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple, at least we now know that the new use of the term Yom Yerushalayim could not have come into being were it not for the first.



Finally, it is worth noting that the song of the wild animals has a double tov, good (HaTov veHaMetiv). As explained in the previous week, the gematria of tov is 17, and twice that amount is 34. This week appears to further build upon this concept.



The number thirty-five is the gematria of the term yehudi, which refers to all Jews, even though the root of the word comes only from the tribe of Judah. The name yehudi appears related to the ability of all the Tribes of Israel to be able to unite behind a single tribe. The first time yehudi appears in Tanach is in Megillat Esther, as a reference to Mordechai, who himself was from the tribe of Benjamin. The entire Jewish people are referred to in the Megillah as “Am Mordechai,” a “Mordechai Nation.”



Thirty-five is formed by the Hebrew letters lamed and heh, the only two letters in the word Hallel, a song of praise sung on Rosh Chodesh Sivan, and also sung by many on Yom Yerushalayim.


The Pirkei Avot lesson for this week comes from Rabbi Tzadok, who states that we must neither separate ourselves from the community, nor act as an advocate (when sitting as a judge); one should neither make the Torah a crown to glorify oneself, nor a spade with which to dig. (IV: 5) The words of Rabbi Tzadok are directly linked the concept of ​​Jewish unity emphasized on Rosh Chodesh Sivan.


It is worth noting that Rabbi Tzadok fasted for forty years to prevent the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem. Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakkai commented regarding Rabbi Tzadok that if there were one more tzadik like him Jerusalem would not have been destroyed. How appropriate therefore is it for Rabbi Tzadok’s words to fall on the week of Yom Yerushalayim!



This week we also complete one more cycle of seven weeks. The sefirot combination results in malchut shebehod. Malchut represents the concept of taking abstract ideas and applying them in the real world. This week, we bring our service of G-d and our pursuit of peace into complete fruition.


A lesson in self-improvement that can be drawn from the song of the wild animals is that everything that G-d does is for the good. Events that appear to be bad for us will ultimately prove to be for our own good.






[1] Rashi


[2] Exodus 1:19; Rashi

Monday, May 22, 2017

Tuesday, 27th of Iyar, Erev Yom Yerushalayim

Sefirot Combination (Cycles of Seven Weeks):

7th day of Week 34 (the "Ox") and the 42nd day (the "Hound") of the 5th cycle ("Hod"), Malchut shebeYesod shebeHod, Kingship within Foundation within Glory/Acknowledgement.

Alef-Bet/Psalms (Cycles of 22 days):

18th day of the 11th cycle ("Dew and Rain"), Tzadi within the cycle of Shin and Tav (Tzadi-Tav) 

Lamentations:

My enemies have hunted me like a bird, without cause. צוֹד צָדוּנִי כַּצִּפֹּר אֹיְבַי חִנָּם:

Song of Songs:

"Awake, O north wind, and come, O south wind; blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof may flow out; let my beloved come to his garden and eat his sweet fruit."

עוּרִי צָפוֹן וּבוֹאִי תֵימָן הָפִיחִי גַנִּי יִזְּלוּ בְשָׂמָיו יָבֹא דוֹדִי לְגַנּוֹ וְיֹאכַל פְּרִי מְגָדָיו:

Hayom Yom

My father related that he heard from his father quoting his father (the Tzemach Tzedek), who heard the Alter Rebbe refer to himself as the son of the Maggid (his Rebbe), and as the grandson of the Baal Shem Tov.


Tanach
Psalms 95 & 96

Mishnayot/Tosefta
Menachot 10-13
Chullin 1

Halachot
Orach Chayim 475-476

The Ox is saying, (Song(s) for Week 34)

The Ox is saying,

Remember the wonders that He has wrought
His miracles, and the judgments of His mouth
Let us arise early to the vineyards
Let us see whether the vine has blossomed

Come, my beloved, let us go out to the field
Let us lodge in the villages. Glory in His holy Name
May the heart of those who seek the Lord rejoice
Search for the Lord and His might; seek His countenance always

There I will give you my love
When the children of Israel saw [it]
They said to one another, "It is manna"
Because they did not know what it was

This is the thing that the Lord has commanded
I will not abrogate My covenant
Nor change that which has issued from My lips
Is it not stored up with Me, sealed up in My treasuries?

And Moses said to them
The tiny grapes have developed
The pomegranates have lost their flowers
It is the bread that the Lord has given you to eat

Then Moses and the Children of Israel sang this song to G-d
And they said, "I shall sing to G-d, for He has triumphed
He has thrown the horse and its rider into the sea"
He makes my feet like hinds; And sets me upon my high places

I am my beloved's, and his desire is upon me
Gather of it each one according to his eating capacity
An omer for each person, according to the number of persons
Each one for those in his tent you shall take

Water he requested, (but) milk she gave him
In a lordly bowl she brought him cream
The Lord kills and makes alive
He brings down to the grave and raises up

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Monday, 26th of Iyar

Sefirot Combination (Cycles of Seven Weeks):

6th day of Week 34 (the "Ox") and the 41st day (the "Fox") of the 5th cycle ("Hod"), Yesod shebeYesod shebeHod, Foundation within Foundation within Glory/Acknowledgement.

Alef-Bet/Psalms (Cycles of 22 days):

17th day of the 11th cycle ("Dew and Rain"), Peh within the cycle of Shin and Tav (Peh-Shin) 

Lamentations:

All our enemies have opened their mouth wide against us. פָּצוּ עָלֵינוּ פִּיהֶם כָּל אֹיְבֵינוּ:

Song of Songs:

A garden fountain, a well of living waters and flowing streams from Lebanon.

מַעְיַן גַּנִּים בְּאֵר מַיִם חַיִּים וְנֹזְלִים מִן לְבָנוֹן:

Hayom Yom

The command "You shall rebuke" is preceded by the words "You shall not hate your brother," for this is a precondition for the rebuke. The Torah continues, "...and you shall not ascribe sin to him," for if the rebuke was ineffectual, you are certainly the one responsible, for yours were not words coming from the heart.


Tanach
Psalms 93 & 94

Mishnayot/Tosefta
Menachot 6-9

Halachot
Orach Chayim 473-474

Week 34 (from the Book): To Work in a Focused Manner and without Ego

The ox is saying, "Then Moses and the Children of Israel sang this song to G-d, and they said, I shall sing to G-d, for He has triumphed; He has thrown the horse and its rider into the sea." (Exodus 15:1)

Rabbi Yishmael the son of Rabbi Yossi would say: One who learns Torah in order to teach, is given the opportunity to learn and teach. One who learns in order to do, is given the opportunity to learn, teach, observe and do.

Yesod shebeHod (foundation and firmness within the context of glory and gratefulness)

In week thirty-four, as we approach the end of the month of Iyar, in Perek Shirah, the ox declares that Moses and the Children of Israel will sing this song to the Lord, and say: I will sing to the Lord, Who exalts Himself gloriously, horse and rider He has thrown into the sea (Exodus 15:1). It is worth noting that the month of Iyar is linked to the zodiac sign of Taurus.

The ox is the last of the farm animals to sing in Perek Shirah, and its verse is from the introduction to the Song of the Sea. The sheep and the goat, the first farm animals in Perek Shirah, also sing a verse from the Song of the Sea, on Rosh Chodesh Nissan. The cow, the second farm animal mentioned after the sheep and the goat, sings a verse that refers to the Jewish people as Jacob, which reflects a more fragile and humble side of our people (Yaakov comes from the word Ekev, heel). The ox, on the other hand, uses the name Israel, which represents a stronger side. The ox sings as we near the end of the Counting of the Omer. During this journey of liberation, from the beginning of Nissan until now, we make a full transformation Jacob to Israel. The Hebrew word for ox is Shor, which is related to the word Shir (song) and Yashar (upright). This is connected to the very name, Israel, which can be read as Yashar-El (upright one of G-d) and, with a simple inversion of the letters, can mean Shir-El (song of G-d) and even Li-Rosh (to me is the head). As is well known, the song of the ox is in the future tense, a reference to the World to Come.

There is a similar journey within the month of Iyar itself (Taurus in the Zodiac). The first animal this month to sing was the horse, and now at the end of the month, the ox sings about how G-d threw the horse and its rider into the sea. Both the horse and the ox represent strength. However, while the horse’s power reflects somewhat unrestrained military might,[1] the ox is characterized by its humble acceptance of its yoke. The ox’s meat is kosher, while the horse’s meat is not. The ox’s firm acceptance of the yoke of Heaven is what is most precious in the eyes of Hashem.

The ox is also connected to the conquest of the Land of Israel, a general theme of this month of Iyar: “Moab became terrified of the people, for they were numerous, and Moab became disgusted because of the children of Israel. Moab said to the elders of Midian, ‘Now this assembly will eat up everything around us, as the ox eats up the greens of the field.’”[2] As further discussed below, Joseph is called an ox, and Joshua was a direct descendant of Joseph.

The number thirty-four is twice the value of 17, the gematria of tov, good. It is the combination of the first 17 years that Jacob lived with Joseph in Israel, and an additional 17 that he lived with Josef in Egypt, the best years of his life. 34 is also the gematria of Vayechi, the Torah portion that describes Jacob/Israel’s passing. The number 34 therefore also represents this journey from Yaakov to Yisrael, as well as the healing that Jacob experienced after being reunited with Joseph and living the best years of his life in Egypt. Thirty-four is also the gematria of ga’al, “redeemed” in Hebrew.

The Pirkei Avot lesson this week is from Rabbi Yishmael, who teaches that one who studies the Torah in order to teach, is given the opportunity to study and teach; those that study in order to practice, are given the opportunity to study, teach, observe and practice. (IV:5) The words of Rabbi Yishmael are related to the passing of Rabbi Akiva’s students during the days of the omer. Rabbi Akiva’s students died because they did not respect one another sufficiently. Those that thought they knew more than others believed that they should be the one receiving respect instead of giving. The most important aspect of learning is to do so in order to teach and practice, not in order to feed one’s own ego. The latter leads a person to think that his or her Torah knowledge makes them superior to others, defeating the whole purpose of learning in the first place.

On this week, the combination of sefirot results in yesod shebehod. Joseph, who represents the sefirah of yesod, is called an "ox" by Jacob in his blessing to Joseph on his deathbed, which can be found in the weekly Torah portion of Vayechi.

A lesson we may learn from the ox is that we must work on ourselves in a very concentrated and humble way, remembering G-d’s omnipotence. We must always keep in mind that Hashem saved us from our enemies in the past, and does so again in every generation. Therefore, we have nothing to fear.






[1] Psalms 20:8, 32:9, and 147:10
[2] Bamidbar 22:3-4

Sunday, 25th of Iyar

Sefirot Combination (Cycles of Seven Weeks):

5th day of Week 34 (the "Ox") and the 40th day (the "Wolf") of the 5th cycle ("Hod"), Hod shebeYesod shebeHod, Glory/Acknowledgement within Foundation within Glory/Acknowledgement.

Alef-Bet/Psalms (Cycles of 22 days):

16th day of the 11th cycle ("Dew and Rain"), Ayin within the cycle of Shin and Tav (Ayin-Tav) 

Lamentations:

Till the Lord looks down from the heavens and beholds. עַד יַשְׁקִיף וְיֵרֶא יְהֹוָה מִשָּׁמָיִם:

Song of Songs:

Spikenard and saffron, calamus and cinnamon, with all frankincense trees, myrrh and aloes, with all the chief spices.

נֵרְדְּ | וְכַרְכֹּם קָנֶה וְקִנָּמוֹן עִם כָּל עֲצֵי לְבוֹנָה מֹר וַאֲהָלוֹת עִם כָּל רָאשֵׁי בְשָׂמִים:

Hayom Yom

Among the Alter Rebbe's maamarim of 5555 (1795) in Lyozna: "The reward of a mitzva is the mitzva." The mitzva in its ultimate essence - state is the reward. The revelation of this essence will take place in the Time to Come. This is the "enduring principal of the mitzva." However, man also "eats of its fruits in This World," each mitzva according to its particular nature; i.e. when man has that particular need, he is answered.

Tanach
Psalms 91 & 92

Mishnayot/Tosefta

Chullin 5 & 6

Halachot
Orach Chayim 471-472

Shabat, 24th of Iyar

Sefirot Combination (Cycles of Seven Weeks):

4th day of Week 34 (the "Ox") and the 39th day (the "Bear") of the 5th cycle ("Hod"), Netzach shebeYesod shebeHod, Victory/Endurance within Foundation within Glory/Acknowledgement.

Alef-Bet/Psalms (Cycles of 22 days):

15th day of the 11th cycle ("Dew and Rain"), Samech within the cycle of Shin and Tav (Samech-Shin) 

Lamentations:

Let us search and examine our ways, and let us return to the Lord.

מנַחְפְּשָׂה דְרָכֵינוּ וְנַחְקֹרָה וְנָשׁוּבָה עַד יְהֹוָה:

Song of Songs:

You have enveloped Yourself with anger and pursued us; You have slain without mercy.

סַכּוֹתָה בָאַף וַתִּרְדְּפֵנוּ הָרַגְתָּ לֹא חָמָלְתָּ:

Hayom Yom


"If you go in My statutes." Our Sages interpret the word "if" as a plea, in the sense of "if only you would go in My statutes." G‑d's pleading (as it were) with Israel to keep the Torah, in itself aids man and gives him the ability to remain steadfast in his choice of the good. Moreover, "...you go in My statutes" - the soul then becomes a mehaleich, it progresses.
* * *
With the advent of Mashiach, there will be revealed the superior quality of the traits of simplicity and wholeheartedness found in the avoda of simple folk who daven and recite Tehillim with simple sincerity.

Tanach
Psalms 89 & 90

Mishnayot/Tosefta

Chullin 3 & 4

Halachot
Orach Chayim 469-470

Friday, 23rd of Iyar

Sefirot Combination (Cycles of Seven Weeks):

3rd day of Week 34 (the "Ox") and the 38th day (the "Lion") of the 5th cycle ("Hod"), Tiferet shebeYesod shebeHod, Balance/Beauty within Foundation within Glory/Acknowledgement.

Alef-Bet/Psalms (Cycles of 22 days):

14th day of the 11th cycle ("Dew and Rain"), Nun within the cycle of Shin and Tav (Nun-Tav) 

Lamentations:

Let us search and examine our ways, and let us return to the Lord.

מנַחְפְּשָׂה דְרָכֵינוּ וְנַחְקֹרָה וְנָשׁוּבָה עַד יְהֹוָה:

Song of Songs:

Your arid fields are as a pomegranate orchard with sweet fruit, henna and spikenard.

יגשְׁלָחַיִךְ פַּרְדֵּס רִמּוֹנִים עִם פְּרִי מְגָדִים כְּפָרִים עִם נְרָדִים:

Hayom Yom


The beginning of one's decline, G‑d save us, is the lack of avoda in davening. Everything becomes dry and cold. Even a mitzva performed by habit*becomes burdensome. Everything is rushed. One loses the sense of pleasure in Torah-study. The atmosphere itself becomes crass. Needless to say, one is totally incapable of influencing others.

Tanach
Psalms 87 & 88

Mishnayot/Tosefta

Chullin 1 & 2

Halachot
Orach Chayim 467-468

Thursday, 22nd of Iyar

Sefirot Combination (Cycles of Seven Weeks):

2nd day of Week 34 (the "Ox") and the 37th day (the "Elephant") of the 5th cycle ("Hod"), Gevurah shebeYesod shebeHod, Might/Discipline within Foundation within Glory/Acknowledgement.

Alef-Bet/Psalms (Cycles of 22 days):

13th day of the 11th cycle ("Dew and Rain"), Mem within the cycle of Shin and Tav (Mem-Shin) 

Lamentations:

Who has commanded and it came to pass, unless the Lord ordained it?

מִי זֶה אָמַר וַתֶּהִי אֲדֹנָי לֹא צִוָּה:


Song of Songs:

A locked up garden is my sister, [my] bride; a locked up spring, a sealed fountain.

גַּן | נָעוּל אֲחֹתִי כַלָּה גַּל נָעוּל מַעְיָן חָתוּם:


Hayom Yom


Several of the early chassidim had a farbrengen sometime between 5544-47 (1784-87) and the core of the discussion was this: The Rebbe (the Alter Rebbe) had accomplished something novel - that we are not alone. At one time, the Master - Rosh Yeshiva or Talmudic sage - was "alone" and his disciples were "alone." The chassidic way instituted by the Rebbe is a tremendous Divine achievement, that the Rebbe is not alone, nor are the chassidim alone.

Tanach
Psalms 85 & 86

Mishnayot/Tosefta

Menachot 12 & 13

Halachot
Orach Chayim 465-466

Wednesday, 21st of Iyar

Sefirot Combination (Cycles of Seven Weeks):

1st day of Week 34 (the "Ox") and the 36th day (the "Deer") of the 5th cycle ("Hod"), Chesed shebeYesod shebeHod, Kindness within Foundation within Glory/Acknowledgement.

Alef-Bet/Psalms (Cycles of 22 days):

12th day of the 11th cycle ("Dew and Rain"), Lamed within the cycle of Shin and Tav (Lamed-Tav) 

Lamentations:

[Or] crush under His feet all the prisoners of the earth. לְדַכֵּא תַּחַת רַגְלָיו כֹּל אֲסִירֵי אָרֶץ:

Song of Songs:

Your lips drip flowing honey, O bride; honey and milk are under your tongue, and the fragrance of your garments is like the fragrance of Lebanon.

נֹפֶת תִּטֹּפְנָה שִׂפְתוֹתַיִךְ כַּלָּה דְּבַשׁ וְחָלָב תַּחַת לְשׁוֹנֵךְ וְרֵיחַ שַׂלְמֹתַיִךְ כְּרֵיחַ לְבָנוֹן:

Hayom Yom


Every person must know that G‑d, through His individual Providence, gives each person the ability to bring G‑d's supernal Will from the potential state to the actual. This is done through fulfilling the mitzvot and strengthening Judaism and our holy Torah at all times in every place. All depends solely upon one's avoda.

Tanach
Psalms 83 & 84

Mishnayot/Tosefta
Menachot 10 & 11

Halachot
Orach Chayim 463-464

Monday, May 15, 2017

Tuesday, 20th of Iyar

Sefirot Combination (Cycles of Seven Weeks):

7th day of Week 33 (the "Donkey") and the 35th day (the "Wild Animals") of the 5th cycle ("Hod"), Malchut shebeHod shebeHod, Kingship within Glory/Acknowledgement within Glory/Acknowledgement.

Alef-Bet/Psalms (Cycles of 22 days):

11th day of the 11th cycle ("Dew and Rain"), Kaf within the cycle of Shin and Tav (Kaf-Shin) 

Lamentations:

For the Lord will not cast [him] off forever. כִּי לֹא יִזְנַח לְעוֹלָם אֲדֹנָי:

Song of Songs:

How fair is your love, my sister, [my] bride; how much better is your love than wine, and the fragrance of your oils than all spices!

מַה יָּפוּ דֹדַיִךְ אֲחֹתִי כַלָּה מַה טֹּבוּ דֹדַיִךְ מִיַּיִן וְרֵיחַ שְׁמָנַיִךְ מִכָּל בְּשָׂמִים:

Hayom Yom


There is no one for whom to pride oneself. We must toil strenuously. With patience and friendliness we can prevail in all things, with G‑d's help. With a denigrating attitude toward others and inflating our own importance we lose everything, G‑d forbid.

Yahrzeits
Rabbi Mordechai ("Mottel") of Chernobyl 

Tanach
Psalms 81 & 82

Mishnayot/Tosefta
Menachot 2-5

Halachot
Orach Chayim 461-462

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