Wednesday, May 1, 2019

41 Day Cycles / Mivtzoyim


Shabat Candles (Elul/Tishrei/Cheshvan)
Kashrut (Cheshvan/Kislev)
Home filled with Torah books (Kislev/Teveth)
Education (Shvat/Adar)
Tzedakah (Adar/Nissan)
Tefilin (Nissan/Iyar/Sivan)
Mezuzah (Sivan/Tammuz)
Ahavat Yisrael (Tammuz/Av)
Taharat HaMishpacha (Elul/Tishrei)

Monday, July 16, 2018

Cycles of 41 Days


9 cycles of 41 days. 7th cycle is from Shavuot (6th of Sivan) to the 17th of Tammuz. The 8th cycle from the 18th of Tammuz to the 29th of Av. The 9th, from Rosh Chodesh Elul to Yom Kippur.

A microcosm of the 41 days within the 7th cycle itself would be from Gimmel Tammuz, the 3rd to the 8th of Tammuz. The microcosm of the 8th cycle would be from 8 to 12.5. And the 9th from 12.5 to the 17th.

Within the period from 3rd to the 8th of Tammuz. The period representing 7/9s would fall within the 7th day of Tammuz, which is the birthday of Yosef HaTzadik.

More on these cycles, usually associated with 40 days:

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Tenth Set of 22 Days: Kuf and Reish, Wind and Lightning Bolts (the Priestly Family of Seorim)

The 18th of Nissan begins the tenth set of 22 days of the Jewish calendar, which parallels the letters Kuf and Reish, as well as the Wind and Lighting Bolts in Perek Shirah. This 22-day period comes in the middle of the Passover holiday, and extends until the 9th of Iyar, halfway through the counting of the Omer.

Kuf means "monkey," which is one of the primary symbols of impurity, Klippah, which itself begins with a Kuf. The Kuf is shaped like an imperfect Heh (which represents holiness), just like a monkey is an imperfect imitation of a human being. At the times that we behave properly, the Torah states that five (gematria of Heh) of us will chase one hundred (gematria of Kuf). 

On the other hand, Kuf can also stand for holiness itself, Kedushah, which also begins with the letter Kuf. We therefore see that the Kuf has potential for both holiness and unholiness, and represents the process of transformation from unholiness to holiness, just as during these days between Passover and Shavuot the Jews went from the 49th level of unholiness to the 49th level of holiness. Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh in his book, The Hebrew Letters, states that the Kuf represents the kabbalistic concept of "Redemption of Fallen Sparks." (p.280) In Kabbalah, redeeming the holy sparks is the very reason for our existence (Tikkun Olam, "fixing the world"), and the rationale behind our exile(s).

The next letter, the Reish, also represents a similar dual concept. It can stand for Rash (poor) or Rosh (head), just as the month of Nissan itself is both the head of all the months and yet a month of humility in which we eat the bread of poverty. Nissan represent Judah, the head of all the tribes, and yet someone who was humbly willing to accept his shortcomings and transform them. Similar to the Kuf, Rav Ginsburgh states that the Reish stands for Avodat HaBerurim (the service of clarification), which is also very much related to the redemption of the sparks mentioned above. Once the Avodat HaBerurim is completed, Mashiach (son of David, from Judah) will come and bring about the ingathering of the exiles and redemption.

Furthermore, the Zohar mentions that two letters Kuf and Reish together also have a connotation of poverty. They form part of the word Sheker, a lie. Kuf and Reish by themselves spell Kar, coldness, also associated with impurity (Raskin). Kuf and Reish are also the first two letters of the word Keri, a strong form of impurity associated with seminal emission, as well as with Amalek. Yet, when the last letter of the word Keri, the yud (which, like the Heh, stands for G-dliness) is placed in the beginning, in front of the Kuf and the Reish, it forms the word Yakar, which means "dear." Here too, we see that impurity can be transformed into a feeling of dearness and closeness to G-d.

A similar theme can be found in the Perek Shirah verses of the Wind and the Lightning Bolts:

The Wind is saying, “I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, Do not withhold; bring My sons from far, and My daughters from the ends of the earth.” (Isaiah 43:6)

The Lightning Bolts are saying, “He causes the vapors to ascend from the ends of the earth; He makes lightning for the rain; He brings forth the wind from His storehouses." (Psalms 135:7)

The verses above are clearly related to the ingathering of the exiles. Both verses speak of the "ends of the earth." This is related to Passover, but also to Yom Ha'Atzma'ut. (See here, how theoretically Yom Ha'Atzma'ut could be celebrated as late as the 9th of Iyar, the 24th day of the Omer). 

Wind in Hebrew is "Ruach," which also means spirit. It is a word specifically connected to Mashiach, and the Haftorah we read for the last day of Passover. The miracle of the splitting of the sea, celebrated on the 7th days of Passover, also is connected to the wind.
The verse of the wind specifically addresses two kinds of exile, north (Assyria) and south (Egypt), telling the forces of impurity to "give up" and "not withhold," elevating the sparks and transforming them into holiness.

The Lightning Bolts also bring to mind the miracles of Egypt and the giving of the Torah at Sinai (marked by both thunder and lightning). The verse also speaks of the Lightning Bolts making "vapors" ascend, which seems very much parallel to the concept of elevating the fallen sparks back to their source. In fact, Rav Ginsburgh mentions "vapor" as an aspect of elevating fallen sparks, related to both the Reish itself and the form of the Reish within the Kuf itself (made of a Reish and Zayin). Interestingly, the verse of the Lightning Bolts also mentions the wind.

The Temple guard for these 22 days is connected to the priestly family of Seorim. Seorim means sheaves of barley, which is exactly the material used for the Omer offering. The Omer is referred to in the Torah as 'Minchat Seorim," an offering of barley. This is connected to the Counting of the Omer done at this time of year. 

Nachshon (Sétimo dia de Pessach)

As vezes me sinto só
E não vejo solução

São nesses momentos então
Que sei que são passageiros

Que abraço o mundo inteiro
E nos lanço com as mãos

a D'us.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Tractates and 32 Paths (11-day cycles)

Brachot and Rosh Hashanah

Kriat Shemah (accepting the yoke of G-d's kingship)

Shabbat and Yom Kippur

Teshuvah is a two-way process. We are knocking on G-d's door as poor people bereft of mitzvot. If both us and Hashem participate in the Teshuva process (Hashiveinu Hashem Elecha veNashuva), then both are pturim.

Eruvim and Sukkot

- Gemara discussion compares it to Sukkah.
- Aravah; mixing, shaking together the arbah minim

Pesachim and Cheshvan

Or L'Arbah Asar Bodkim et HaChametz L'Or HaNer.
This is the beginning of Avodat HaBerurim. We move from G-d as Creator to G-d as redeemer. We redeem the chametz through engaging in mitzvot (Ner Mitzvah Torah Or)
We go from "Or" (light, the first act of Creation) to "the 14th" (gematria of Yad). And mitzvot elevate the chametz back to the Or, the source of Creation.
My revered father, [the Rebbe Rashab,] once told a chassid at yechidus: “From the time the Holy One, blessed be He, told Avraham, ‘Go forth from your land,’5 and thereafter ‘Avram journeyed on, continuing to travel southward,’6 the mystical mission of beirurim began. [This term signifies the task of sifting materiality, and elevating the Divine sparks that are embedded within all permissible entities and activities, by using them with spiritual purpose.] 

Shekalim and Cheshvan

Temple, elevating the physical (two halves - male and female - see Heh and Vav

Yoma and Cheshvan/Rosh Chodesh Kislev

Yahrzeit of Matisyahu Kohen Gadol

Sukkah and Kislev/Chanukah

8 days paralleling Sukkot; siyum is the story of Miriam bat Bilgah, at the time of Chanukah, who had assimilated and married a Greek guard, who kicked the altar.

Beitzah and  Kislev/Chanukah

Egg that was born on Yom Tov is something that was concealed that is now revealed

Rosh Hashanah and Chanukah/Teveth

- Rosh Chodesh was mitzvah Greeks wanted to abolish. The calendar is the source of Jewish wisdom in the eyes of the nation.
- Machloket regarding Nissan and Tishrei reflects Machloket Yehudah and Yosef

Ta'anit and Teveth/Fast of Teveth

Ta'anit is all about fasting (connection is pretty obvious). (In the division of the Mishna, it also falls here). Also, the Tractate begins with the time we begin to ask for rain in our prayers. This cycle falls around the time of the 4th of December, when outside of Israel we change our prayers to ask for rain

Megillah and Teveth

Law of Blessing before the Torah / Torah Sh'Bichtav

Moed Katan and Yud Shvat (day of Siyum)

Mourning for the Friediker Rebbe

Chagigah and Tu B'Shvat

Trees singing (Chagigah 14b)

Yevamot (and Seder Nashim) and 22nd Shvat

Yahrzeit of Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka (she was childless, although all Chabad Chassidim were her children

Ketubot and Adar/Purim

Ketubot starts by speaking about a young virgin that is to get married, like the beginning of Megilat Esther.

Nedarim and Adar

Mitzvah of Half-Shekel/obligations to the Temple needed collecting by the end of Adar

Nazir and Nissan/Pessach preparations/Omer

We don't cut our hair during the Counting of the Omer; we also take on extra stringencies related to chametz (the Nazir is told to avoid "Chometz Yayin"; we also go to the mikvah and, in order to eat the Korban Pessach, we would have to avoid contact with the dead.

Sotah and Pessach/Omer

It is customary to study the tractate of Sotah during the Counting of the Omer, as it has 49 dapim (folios) and the sacrifice brought by the Sotah was of barley, like the omer.

Gittin and Pessach/Omer

Free oneself from Egypt/Ba'al

Kedushin and Iyar/Omer

Preparing for the Wedding with Hashem

Nezikin (Baba Kama, Baba Metzia, Baba Basra) and Lag Ba'Omer

Main laws of Bein Adam L'Chaveroh

Sanhedrin (Sanhedrin and Makkos) and Omer/Rosh Chodesh Sivan

Shvuot and Shavuot


Avodah Zarah and Sivan 

Chet HaEgel

Horayos and Tammuz

Zevachim and Tammuz

Menachos and the Three Weeks

Chullin and Tisha B'Av

Bechoros and Av

Arachin-Temura and Av/Rosh Chodesh Elul

Arachin: Mesirat Nefesh - dedicating one's whole being in accordance to the Torah (Av). Making and accounting of one's worth (Elul).

Temura: Mistakenly "switching" a holy object/endeavor for something not holy, and by doing so ultimately making both of them holy - Teshuva, elevating the fallen sparks.

Kerisus and the first days of Elul

Cheshbon HaNefesh
Talmud starts with the enumerating of major major sins
Why give a number? To explain to you that each one has to be atoned for separately, even if it was all one big "forgetting." In Elul, there is a tendency to think, "You know, let me just do a "general" Teshuvah, that should be good enough." The Talmud comes to teach us, "No, each separate action requires its own atonement, even if it was all one great forgetting."

Meilah-Tamid and Elul

Two kinds of Teshuvah
1) for using holy instruments for non-sacred purposes (Meilah)
2) to implement consistency and constant dedication (Tamid)

Niddah and Rosh Hashanah

7-day and 11-day cycles

Week 28 (from the Book): To Recognize our Limits in order to Free Ourselves from Them

The pig [and rabbit] is saying:[1] "G-d is good to the good, and to the straight-hearted." (Psalms 128:2)

Rabbi Eliezer the son of Azariah would say: If there is no Torah, there is no common decency; if there is no common decency, there is no Torah. If there is no wisdom, there is no fear of G-d; if there is no fear of G-d, there is no wisdom. If there is no applied knowledge, there is no analytical knowledge; if there is no analytical knowledge, there is no applied knowledge. If there is no flour, there is no Torah; if there is no Torah, there is no flour.

He would also say: One whose wisdom is greater than his deeds, what is he comparable to? To a tree with many branches and few roots; comes a storm and uproots it, and turns it on its face. As is stated, "He shall be as a lone tree in a wasteland, and shall not see when good comes; he shall dwell parched in the desert, a salt land, uninhabited" (Jeremiah 17:6). But one whose deeds are greater than his wisdom, to what is he compared? To a tree with many roots and few branches, whom all the storms in the world cannot budge from its place. As is stated: "He shall be as a tree planted upon water, who spreads his roots by the river; who fears not when comes heat, whose leaf is ever lush; who worries not in a year of drought, and ceases not to yield fruit" (ibid., v. 8).

Malchut shebeNetzach (kingship within the context of victory and endurance)

On this twenty-eighth week, which includes the first night of Passover, in Perek Shirah, the small impure (non-kosher) domestic animal sings that, “G-d is good to those that are good, and to those that are upright of heart. (Psalm 125:4) Some translations believe this to be a reference to the pig, while others to the rabbit. This week also includes the yahrzeit of the Third Lubavitcher Rebbe, Menachem Mendel (the Tzemach Tzedek), and the birthday of the Seventh Rebbe, who carries the same name of the Third, his ancestor through direct patrilineal descent.[2]

The pig is considered by the sages to be a hypocrite, because it proudly displays the external characteristics of being kosher, split hooves, but internally, its intestines, make it a non-kosher animal. The physical makeup of the rabbit and other animals of its kind (such as the hare and the hyrax) is the exact opposite. These animals do not have split hooves, yet their intestines are that of a kosher animal. Internally, they are "upright of heart," but their actions and external characteristics are clearly not so.

Aside from the pig and the camel (Week Thirty), the hyrax and the hare are the only other two animals explicitly mentioned in the Torah as not being kosher. The Midrash in Vaikra Rabbah 13:5 explains that the hyrax represents the Persian exile, while the hare represents the Greek one. The pig represents the Roman exile, connected to Esau and his descendants. This is the exile we are currently in. The song these animals sing is a reference to the final redemption, when even the pig will be "upright of heart,” and all these animals will be kosher.

The Tzemach Tzedek and the Rebbe represent the main thrust of the message of Passover: redemption. The name “Tzemach Tzedek” is actually one of the names of Mashiach, as is also the name “Menachem.” As we see from the animals above, redemption has two major aspects: internal traits (intellectual, emotional) and external ones (material, physical). In relation to “internal” redemption, both the Tzemach Tzedek and the Rebbe introduced very important new concepts in Chassidic thought and were finally able to publish and disseminate the works of previous Rebbes. At the same time, both were extremely successful externally, in the realm of action. The Tzemach Tzedek established agricultural settlements that saved many Jews from dire poverty, and also rescued thousands upon thousands of children forced to enlist in the Russian army. Similarly, the Rebbe was able to establish Jewish centers all over world, and helped save thousands of Jews trapped in the "iron curtain" of the Soviet Union.

The number twenty-eight represents twice the value of fourteen, yad, a reference to the strong and outstretched arm of G-d that took us out of Egypt. (See Week 14) Here, that concept is doubled, representing two outstretched arms. On Passover, we celebrate that Hashem saved us then, while fully believing that He will soon save us again, in a way that is even more miraculous than what took place in Egypt.

Twenty eight is formed by the letters kaf and chet, forming the word koach, which means strength. Koach also means potential energy, that which is yet to be revealed. The pig seems to have the possibility and potential to be kosher, but ultimately it is not – at least not yet. As mentioned earlier, the pig represents Esau, the brother of Jacob, who had enormous potential; that potential made Isaac believe that Esau would ultimately be worthy of the rights and blessings of the firstborn. Like the pig, Esau would also pretend to be a tzadik before his father, so much so that the Midrash relates that Esau would ask Isaac how to tithe salt and straw. Salt and straw do not need to be tithed, and therefore Esau’s request made him look like he was ready to go beyond the letter of the law. The Rebbe explains that salt is an example of potential energy. Salt by itself is just salt, but when combined with other food it can enhance its flavor, and even preserve it from spoiling.

This week, the lesson from Pirkei Avot comes from Rabbi Elazar the son of Azariah. Interestingly, rabbinical discussion in the Passover Haggadah begins with this rabbi’s remarks. In Pirkei Avot, Rabbi Elazar teaches us that without Torah there is no work (also translated as proper social conduct), and without work (or proper social conduct) there is no Torah. Without wisdom there is no fear of G-d, and without fear of G-d, there is no wisdom. Without knowledge, there is no understanding, and without understanding, there is no knowledge. Without flour (sustenance) there is no Torah, and without Torah there is no flour.  Rabbi Elazar also states that anyone whose knowledge exceeds his good deeds is like a tree with many branches and few roots, but one whose good deeds exceed his knowledge is like a tree that has few branches but many roots.

In Rabbi Elazar the son of Azariah’s words we also see the duality and relationship between required internal and external kosher characteristics. Knowledge requires action, and vice versa. Rabbi Elazar does make clear, however, that action must take priority. This was also something emphasized by the Rebbe, who stressed that the main thing is action, “HaMa’aseh Hu HaIkar.”

The flour mentioned here is perhaps also reference to matzah and also to the custom of providing flour to the poor (Maot Chitim, literally “wheat” money), so that they can also properly celebrate Passover. Furthermore, in order to prepare for Passover, we must rid ourselves of our own chametz, both the external leavened (self-inflated) bread, as well as our “internal” chametz, our inflated ego.

This week we complete one more cycle of seven weeks. This week’s sefirah combination is malchut shebenetzach. During the Passover Seder, we experience victory, humility, and redemption, all expressed openly in this physical world. Through the song of the pig and rabbit, we learn to aspire to a life of complete integrity and complete redemption.

[1] The Artscroll translation, by Rabbi Nosson Scherman, includes a picture of a rabbit, not a pig. The Hebrew term can be translated literally as “small/thin impure animal.”
[2] It is worth noting that their respective wives also carry the same name, Chayah Mushka.

Ninth Set of 22 Days: Peh and Tzaddik, Thick and Light Clouds

The 25th of Adar begins the ninth set of 22 days of the Jewish calendar, which parallels the letters Peh and Tzadik, as well as the Thick and Thin Clouds in Perek Shirah. This 22-day period begins during the time of Passover preparations, and runs through the first days of Passover.

Peh stands for Pedut, redemption. Peh literally means "mouth," which is one of the primary symbols of Passover itself. Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev states that Pesach stands for Peh - Sach, a mouth converses, as it is a special mitzvah to recount the miracles of our liberation during the Passover Seder. The Megaleh Amukos states that Pharaoh stands for Peh Rah (evil mouth). (Raskin) 

The shape of the letter Peh is a combination of the Kaf and a YudThe Yud stands for G-dliness, and therefore the Peh symbolizes the revelation of G-dliness. Also, the Yud is like a tooth inside the mouth. In the Haggadah of Passover, we learn that the we must "break the teeth" of the evil son, so that he may become a Tzadik, revealing his potential. 

The next letter, the Tzadik, stands for righteousness. The Tzadik is also a combination of letters: a bent Nun and a Yud. The bent Nun symbolizes humility, the trait most associated with Moshe, of whom the Torah testifies that he was the most humble of men. Humility, destroying one's spiritual Chametz (leavened bread, ego) is certainly one of the main themes of this time as well. It is also through humility that we reveal the Yud, G-dliness.

A similar theme can be found in the Perek Shirah verses of the Thick and Thin Clouds:

The Thick Clouds are saying, “He made darkness His secret place; His pavilion around Him was dark with waters and thick clouds of the skies.” (Psalms 18:12)

The Light Clouds are saying, “Also He burdens the thick cloud with overflow; the [light] cloud scatters its light. (Job 37:11)

The thick, usually dark, clouds symbolize the potential for tremendous rain. This overflow of water (which is always a metaphor for the Torah itself) is very much connected to extensive recounting of the Passover story, as well as the potential the evil son has to bring tremendous good and blessing to the world.

The light clouds also spread the knowledge of G-d, "scattering His light." The clouds' lightness also appears to symbolize humility. It is their very lightness that allows them to have such strong reflective powers. The same is true for all Tzadikim and the Jewish people as a whole. They are a reflection of G-d's light.

In Hebrew, light clouds are called Ananei HaKavod, "Clouds of Glory," the term used for the clouds that protected the Jewish people during the the time of the Exodus from Egypt and the Passover story. The clouds were given to the Jewish people in the merit of Aharon's righteousness. After Aharon passed away, the clouds disappeared. They were later reinstated in the merit of another Tzadik, Moshe Rabbeinu.