THE KABBALAH OF TIME:
The Jewish Calendar is the master key to unlock the hidden rationale behind the formal structure of ancient sacred texts, as well as to understand and experience the most profound mystical concepts, which reveal the spiritual energy of each week, serving as a practical guide for self-analysis and development.
Sunday, February 25, 2018
Week 45 (Book 2): Malachi and the Quality of "Asking and Responding"
HAAZINU: And Moses
finished speaking all these words to all Israel. (Deuteronomy 32:45)
HAFTORAH: Strangers lie to me; as soon as their ears
hear, they obey me. (II Samuel 22:45)
PIRKEI AVOT QUALITY: Asks And Responds (Shoel Umeshiv)
LEVITICAL CITY: Debir
The forty-fifth week of the year is
that of Tu B’Av. In the verse of Haazinu, Moshe finishes speaking “all”
the words to “all” of Israel. The word “Kol”
(all) appears two times in the verse, and is also the root of a third word “Vayichal,” completed. The completion
mentioned in the verse can be understood as a reference to Moshe himself, the
words of the song, and/or even the Jewish people itself. It hints to the
complementary relationship between these three entities: Moshe, the Torah, and
the Jewish people. It is also reminiscent of the “Creeping Creatures,” the
animals of Perek Shirah for this week
in Book I, who are humble and nullify themselves before G-d. This humility
allows for peace and wholeness/completion. (Shalom
and Shlemut) Wholeness and completion
is also the theme of Tu B’Av, which
is connected to marriage, as well as the concept of all of Israel being
together as one (it was on this date that the tribes were allowed to
intermarry). Furthermore, is was on Tu
B’Av that the decree that had taken place on Tisha B’Av (that the entire generation would die in the desert
because of the sin of the spies), as well as many of other later decrees, were “completed.”
The Haftorah is also about hearing properly the key rectification (tikkun) of this month. It is also about
the power of teshuvah and of words spoken
by the leader of the generation. At first, those mentioned by King David were lying
strangers; however, as soon as he spoke to them, they obeyed, changing their
The quality of this week is “asks and responds” (shoel umeshiv). This quality also
reflects the importance of listening properly. It also brings to mind the
conversations that would take place between the single women and men in Tu B’Av mentioned in the Talmud (See Week 45, Book I). Relating to the study of Torah, there is a famous Jewish
proverb that states, “there is no greater joy than the resolution of doubt” (ein simchah k’hatarat hasefeikot). Tu B’Av, along with Yom Kippur, is the happiest day of the
Similarly, after Tisha
B’Av, we are left with many questions – how could G-d do such things to His
own people? We answer each others questions to the best of our ability, like
the words of Rabbi Nehorai in Pirkei Avot
for the previous week (also in Book I): “…your colleagues will help you [learn
properly]... rely not on your own understanding.” Ultimately, even the words of
our colleagues may not prove sufficient, we have no choice but to return to the
words of Rabbi Yannai, the Pirkei Avot lesson
for this week in Book I: “We have no comprehension of the tranquility of the
wicked, nor of the suffering of the righteous.” The answer is emunah, faith. We must know that
everything that happens to a person is for his or her own good. This notion,
Rebbe Nachman states, is an aspect of the World to Come.
One of the best responses to witnessing death and destruction
is redoubling our efforts in rebuilding and creating life. One might even say
that ultimately the best response to the Holocaust has been the tremendous physical
and spiritual growth and prosperity that is now taking place, particularly in
the Land of Israel.
prophet is Malachi. His prophecy comes right after the destruction of the
Temple. Malachi speaks of how G-d loves Jacob and hates Esau. Esau cheered the
destruction of the First Temple and would be the nation responsible for destroying
the Second. Malachi prophecizes that Esau may say that it will rebuild, but G-d
will demolish. Not so regarding Jacob. The Book of Malachi is also full of
“back and forth,” asking and responding, the quality to acquire the Torah for
this week. Here are a few examples:
6. A son honors a father, and a slave his master. Now if I am
a father, where is My honor? And if I am a master, where is My fear? says the
Lord of Hosts to you, the priests, who despise My name. But you said, "How
have we despised Your Name?"
7. You offer on My altar defiled food, yet you say, "How
have we defiled You?" By your saying, "G-d's table is
8. When you offer a blind [animal] for a sacrifice, is there
nothing wrong? And when you offer a lame or a sick one, is there nothing wrong?
Were you to offer it to your governor, would he accept you or would he favor
you? says the Lord of Hosts.
9. And now, will you pray before the Lord that He be gracious
to us? This has come from your hand. Will He favor any of you? says the Lord of
14. And you will say, "Why?"-Because the Lord
testified between you and the wife of your youth, that you dealt treacherously
with her, and she is your companion and the wife of your covenant.
15. Now did He not make one who had the rest of the spirits?
Now what does the one seek of the seed of G-d? Now you shall beware of your
spirit, that it shall not deal treacherously with the wife of your youth.
16. If you hate [her], send [her] away, says the Lord G-d of Israel.
For injustice shall cover his garment, said the Lord of Hosts, but you shall
beware of your spirit, and do not deal treacherously.
17. You have wearied the Lord with your words, and you say,
"How have we wearied [Him]?"-By your saying, "Every evildoer is
good in the Lord's sight, and He desires them," or, "Where is the G-d
7. From the days of your fathers you have departed from My
laws and have not kept [them]. "Return to Me, and I will return to
you," said the Lord of Hosts, but you said, "With what have we to
8. Will a man rob G-d? Yet you rob Me, and you say,
"With what have we robbed You?"-With tithes and with the
13. "Still harder did your words strike Me," says
the Lord, but you say, "What have we spoken against You?"
14. You have said, "It is futile to serve G-d, and what
profit do we get for keeping His charge and for going about in anxious worry
because of the Lord of Hosts?"
15. And now we praise the bold transgressors. Yea, those who
work wickedness are built up. Yea, they tempt G-d, and they have, nevertheless,
Malachi’s prophecy also has Messianic aspects characteristics
of the month of Av:
23. Lo, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming
of the great and awesome day of the Lord,
24. that he may turn the heart of the fathers back through
the children, and the heart of the children back through their fathers-lest I
come and smite the earth with utter destruction.
It is also worth noting that our
sages state that Malachi is actually Ezra the Scribe. It was Ezra that led the
Jewish return to the Land of Israel, the rebuilding of the Temple, and the
canonization of the Tanach, the Five
Books of Moses (Torah), the Prophets (Nevi’im)
and the Writings (Ktuvim). It was an
incredible “response” to the tragedy of Tisha
levitical city for this week is Debir. Debir means the Temple itself! It is
also a name used for the inner courtyard of the Temple and the Holy of Holies.