Weekly Cycle

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The Twelve Stages of Pinchas ben Yair and the Twelve Months of the Year

For those familiar with the book Mesilat Yesharim, the Path of the Just, the twelve stages mentioned there, set forth by Pinchas ben Yair, appear to parallel the twelve months of the year:

TorahTishrei  - month filled with holidays and Torah related activity;

ZehirutCheshvan - month of the flood;  care not to sin so close after Tishrei;

ZrizutKislev - Zrizut, alacrity, is the quality that defines the Kohanim, the heroes of Chanukah and this month as a whole);

NekiutTeveth - The Ramchal, Rabbi Moshe Luzzato, explains that Nekiut means cleanliness from all sin, including those that we rationalize; Teveth is known for sins related to the tribe of Dan; Shimshon, from Dan, is an example of rationalization gone awry.

PrishutShvat - Ramchal explains Prishut means abstinence from pleasure, even those permitted, if they could eventually lead to sin; Shvat is related to pleasure of fruits, etc.;

TaharahAdar - Ramchal explains Taharah means purity in our desires and emotions; in Purim we get drunk and let our emotions and desire come out - hopefully they will be pure;

ChassidutNissan - Ramchal explains Chassidut, piety, means going above and beyond to serve Hashem in every way possible to the best of our ability; the best example of this would be cleaning on Pessach, where every effort is praiseworthy;

AnavahIyar - Ramchal explains anavah means humility before G-d and others; the problem of Iyar, month of counting of the omer, is that the students of Rabbi Akivah did not respect one another - they each thought too highly of themselves in comparison to their fellow students - this showed a lack of humility; on Lag Ba'Omer we celebrate Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, who had this quality;

Yirat ChetSivan - Ramchal explains that Yirat Chet, fear of sin, in this context, means fear connected to the realization of Hashem's greatness and magnitude; as we realize this greatness we are literally ashamed of in any way going against G-d's desires; this was exemplified at the Giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai;

Kedushah – Tammuz - Ramchal explains that Kedushah means clinging to G-d at all times, and completely disconnecting from physicality; this is represented by Reuven, who was in a constant state of Teshuvah after the sin that took place regarding his father's bed;

Ruach haKodeshAv - Ruach haKodesh, is most associated with Mashiach, who is called Ruach Apeinu, the spirit of our nostrils, and who will be endowed with the spirit of G-d;

Tchiat haMetimElul - in Elul we repent for our sins and prepare ourselves to be given new life for the coming year. A sinful person is called "dead" even while alive, while a righteous person even after death is called "alive."

Monday, February 4, 2013

Mishnayot & Mishnah Torah Connections

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


Week 2

The Mishna Torah chapters for the week of Yom Kippur (usually for Erev Yom Kippur or Yom Kippur itself) include Hilchot Teshuvah, the laws of repentance.

Week 36:

Shavuot is Chag HaBikurim. The Torah reading for the chag (when it doesn't fall on Shabbat) starts with the laws of Bechorot. The Mishnayot chapters for Shavuot and the days leading up to it are the ones for Bechorot. Shavuot is also the culmination of the redemption process that began on Pessach, where we were called, Beni Bechori, Yisrael. The remaining Mishnah chapters relate to Erchin, which is about offering ones' "worth" as a donation to the Temple; it is a kind of "giving over" similar to what happened at Mount Sinai, when the Jewish people said, Na'aseh veNishmah. Erchin is also a topic in the Torah reading of Bechukotai, at the very end of Vayikrah, always read before Shavuot).

Week 37:

Temura is about someone who tries to switch the holiness of one animal for that of another. When doing so, while the first one does not lose its holiness, the second now becomes holy is as well. This represents an important lesson for the week following Shavuot and the Shiva Yemei Miluim. After acquiring the Torah and experiencing such a high, we now switch back to the mundane, and the pull of the Klipot is much stronger. The Torah comes to teach us that during this switch, not only does the "first animal" (one's earlier Shavuot state) not lose its holiness, the "second animal" (this new stage, of involvement in the world) becomes holy as well.

Memorizing Mishnayot:

Gittin: Perek 1, Mishnah 1:

Kiddushin: Perek 1, Mishnah 1:

Bava Kamma: Perek 1, Mishnah 1:

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Psalm 119 to fight COVID-19

In honor of the upcoming 11th of Nissan, in which all Lubavitch Chassidim will begin saying Psalm 119 on a daily basis, and for the Refuah Shleimah (healing, as well as the prevention) for all of those suffering from the Coronavirus (COVID19), I hope to write about each verse of Psalm 119, going in the order of the Alef-Bet (for 8 cycles of 22 verses; for more on the cycles of 22 days, click here):

1Praiseworthy are those whose way is perfect, who walk with the law of the Lord.אאַשְׁרֵ֥י תְמִֽימֵי־דָ֑רֶךְ הַ֜הֹֽלְכִ֗ים בְּתוֹרַ֥ת יְהֹוָֽה:
The Roshei Tevot (the first letters) of each word in this verse are: Alef Tav Heh Beit Yud - Atah Bi - "You are in me." 

The Sofei Tevot (the last letters) of each word of this verse form the word: Tav Mem Chaf  Yud  Heh  -  Tomcheiah, as in the verse,

18It is a tree of life for those who grasp it, and those who draw near it are fortunate.יחעֵץ־חַיִּ֣ים הִ֖יא לַמַּחֲזִיקִ֣ים בָּ֑הּ וְֽתֹמְכֶ֥יהָ מְאֻשָּֽׁר:
RASHI: for those who grasp it: Heb. למחזיקים for those who hold onto it, as in (Ex. 4:4): “and he extended his hand and grasped (ויחזק) it.”
and those who draw near it are fortunate: Heb. ותמכיה, those who draw near it. Likewise, every expression of תמיכה in this Book means that he holds onto it.

This opening verse, which is also the opening of the Rambam's Mishnah Torah and also the opening of Rebbe Nachman's Likutei Moharan, emphasize the foundational attribute of all of Torah, all of Judaism: Emunah, faith. We must be Tamim, pure in our trust in G-d:

13Be wholehearted with the Lord, your God.יגתָּמִ֣ים תִּֽהְיֶ֔ה עִ֖ם יְהֹוָ֥ה אֱלֹהֶֽיךָ:
Be wholehearted with the Lord, your God: Conduct yourself with Him with simplicity and depend on Him, and do not inquire of the future; rather, accept whatever happens to you with [unadulterated] simplicity and then, you will be with Him and to His portion. — [Sifrei]תמים תהיה עם ה' אלהיך: התהלך עמו בתמימות ותצפה לו ולא תחקור אחר העתידות, אלא כל מה שיבא עליך קבל בתמימות ואז תהיה עמו ולחלקו:

The opening verse of Psalm 119 is stating that our derech, our ways should be pure, to trust that Hashem has a path for each of us, and that he is taking us on that path. We follow Hashem on that path by drawing near to his Torah, by grasping this Tree of Life and holding onto it with all of our might.
During this time of crisis, may we merit to hold on to our faith, hold on to the Torah, and hold on to each other. We may merit to see the Coronavirus defeated, and the Crown Of DaVID, restored, immediately, in our days.


9In what manner should a youth purify his way? To observe according to Your word.טבַּמֶּ֣ה יְזַכֶּה־נַּ֖עַר אֶת־אָרְח֑וֹ לִ֜שְׁמֹ֗ר כִּדְבָרֶֽךָ:
The first verse for the Hebrew letter Beit focuses on an "Orach"  (way/road) of a Na'ar ("youth," sometimes also understood as "fool") as opposed to a "Derech" of Temim ("pure/wholehearted") mentioned in verse 1, for the Hebrew letter Alef.

The difference between an Orach and a Derech is a subject of much debate, but at least according to the Vilna Gaon and the Malbim, Derech is a more well traveled wider path (which would also conform with the use of Temim in the plural) while Orach is a more narrow, less accessible, more individualized path. (https://ohr.edu/8004) This reading would fit with the term Na'ar, youth, as in one's youth one is more prone to seek more individualized, non-conformist, ways.

Regarding both ways, both that of the Derech-Temimim and that of the Orach HaNa'ar, the essential aspect remains the same: following the Torah. In verse 1, this is termed as HaHolchim B'Torat Hashem (those that walk in the Torah "guidance" of Hashem), while in verse 9, that is called "Lishmor K'Dvarecha" (observing/guarding according to Your word).

There also appears to be a significant difference here: while the Derech of the Temimim immediately leads to walking in the Torah of Hashem, the Orach of the Na'ar must be purified (Lezakot), which appears to be also related to Lizkot (merited). There is more preparation involved, as well as less certainty as to whether one is indeed following the correct, as verse 9, unlike verse 1, uses the term "KiDvarecha" which means "according to," or "like" your ways. Nevertheless, the reward is a relationship with G-d that is more personal, as what is sought is not the "Torah of Hashem" in general, but Your word. A youth's foolhardiness can sometimes lead him astray. However, hubris in the service of G-d can also merit great rewards.

Yosef is called a Na'ar. As explained in the writings of Rabbi Matis Weinberg, Yosef represents a service of Hashem that focuses on the individual. Yehuda's service is that of the Klal. We find the duality of Yehudah and Yosef throughout much of Jewish history, from Yehudah and Yosef themselves in Parashat Vayigash, to King Saul and King David, the Kingdom of Judah and the Kingdom of Yisrael, all the way to Mashiach Ben Yosef and Mashiach Ben David. Ultimately, these two ways will become one, as written in the Book of Ezekiel. May we merit this already, may it be soon, may it be now.


17Bestow kindness upon Your servant; I shall live and I shall keep Your word.יזגְּמֹ֖ל עַל־עַבְדְּךָ֥ אֶֽחְיֶ֗ה וְאֶשְׁמְרָ֥ה דְבָרֶֽךָ:
RASHI: Bestow kindness upon Your servant: A thing with which I shall be able to live, through the bestowal of your kindness.

The first verse for the Hebrew letter Gimmel expresses the primary characteristic of that letter: kindness. The relationship expressed here is not that of a Tamim or that of a Na'ar, but that of an Eved, a servant. This servant realizes that his life itself is a gift from his Master. The reward is the ability to have a relationship with G-d in which one is keeping the Torah not just "KiDvarecha," "like Your word," but simply "Eshmerah Dvarecha," I shall keep Your word.


25My soul clung to the dust; revive me according to Your word.כהדָּֽבְקָ֣ה לֶֽעָפָ֣ר נַפְשִׁ֑י חַ֜יֵּ֗נִי כִּדְבָרֶֽךָ:

The first verse for the Hebrew letter Dalet also emphasizes the main characteristic of this letter: poverty (Dalut). The Dal (poor person) "clings to dust" and is extremely humble, and like the servant in the verse for the letter Gimmel, humbly asks for life. Here also, however, the term used is KiDvarecha ("like" or "according to" Your word) as opposed to simply "Dvareicha." Here too, there is a deep and personal relationship with the Creator. However, as with the first verse for the letter Beit, there is a substantial risk to this approach, which is sadness. Clinging to the earth is a characteristic of the snake, and the primordial snake (sin), feeds on earth/sadness, as noted by the Rabbi Chayim Yosef David Azulay, the Chidah, on his writings regarding the month of Elul. It is crucial that we stay happy. It is a great mitzvah (as Rebbe Nachman writes) and a quintessential aspect of Judaism in general and Chassidism in particular.


33Instruct me, O Lord, [in] the way of Your statutes, and I shall keep it at every step.לגהוֹרֵ֣נִי יְ֖הֹוָה דֶּ֥רֶךְ חֻקֶּ֗יךָ וְאֶצְּרֶ֥נָּה עֵֽקֶב:
and I shall keep it at every step: Heb. עקב. I shall keep it in all its paths and the steps of its paths, an expression of “heels” (עקבים) , traces in French, footsteps.

The first verse for the Hebrew letter Heh relates to G-d as a teacher of the path to His Chukim, laws that cannot be understood by the human intellect. It also emphasizes the process of following Torah: step by step. The verse also serves as a response to those caught up in sadness and depression. There is certainly a way out of the darkness, however the light often comes in gradually, one step at a time. It also often requires a leap of faith, "getting out of one's head," and following a path that is above reason and our logical limitations. It is what is called in Chabad Chassidut "Shtut diKedusha."


41And may Your acts of kindness befall me, O Lord, Your salvation according to Your word.מאוִֽיבֹאֻ֣נִי חֲסָדֶ֣ךָ יְהֹוָ֑ה תְּ֜שׁוּעָֽתְךָ֗ כְּאִמְרָתֶֽךָ:
And may… befall me: May Your salvation befall me according to Your word which You promised me.

The first of the Hebrew letter Vav expresses a relationship with G-d, in which He both shows kindness and faithfulness. It is reminiscent of a marriage in which G-d is the husband and we are his bride. The letter Vav does in fact represent male characteristics. In Kabbalah, the male is defined as the "giver," the female, the "receiver." In a Jewish wedding, it is the groom that promises to give and take care of the wife's needs. When a husband gives, he does so according to his word. There are times when redemption is not step by step, and is not even "earned." Sometimes salvation is simply a gift, a keeping of a promise, and it can take place even in a split second.

Today is the first of Nissan, associated with the Nassi (prince) of the tribe of Yehudah (which in turn is associated with the first month of the year, Nissan). Yehudah represents Malchut, which, as a feminine attribute, "receives" from the other ones. Leah gave the name Yehudah because she perceived that the merit to give birth to a fourth tribe of Israel was a "gift," for which she did not pray.


49Remember a word to Your servant, through which You gave me hope.מטזְכָר־דָּבָ֥ר לְעַבְדֶּ֑ךָ עַ֜֗ל אֲשֶׁ֣ר יִֽחַלְתָּֽנִי:
RASHI: Remember a word: through which You gave me hope, through Nathan the prophet to your servant.

In this verse as well, we ask G-d to remember His word to us, his servants. As we noted earlier, to be a servant of G-d is a very high level. Interestingly, Rashi notes that this verse refers to the Prophet Nathan's word to King David that gave him hope. Perhaps this is referring to the prophecy in which he promise to establish for him an everlasting dynasty, one in which his son would build the Temple. These words came before the episode with Batshevah, and the same prophet's sharp rebuke, after which King David does Teshuvah (repents). The letter Zayin is associated with sustenance, and sometimes it is the Neshama (the soul) that needs to be sustained. After the destruction of the Temple and the exile of our people, is has been G-d's promise to rebuild it and usher in the Messianic Era that has sustained us over close to two millennia.

Today is the second of Nissan, associated with the Nasi of the tribe of Issachar (which in turn is associated with the month of Iyar). Issachar's name comes from the words Yesh Sachar, there is a reward, a reference to the Messianic Era and the World-to-Come.


57"The Lord is my portion," I said, to keep Your words.נזחֶלְקִ֖י יְהֹוָ֑ה אָמַ֗רְתִּי לִשְׁמֹ֥ר דְּבָרֶֽיךָ:
to keep Your words: the fulfillment of your words, with which You gave me hope, in that You are my portion.

Rashi's comment for the first verse for letter Chet suggests that he too saw a way of reading this Psalm in alphabetical order. Here we see that G-d's words not only sustain us with hope, but that the fulfillment of His word is our entire portion - it is all we could ever need and ever want. The totality of a Jew's portion in this world is his/her connection to G-d and the fulfillment of His covenant with us. The latter part of the verse can be read two ways: it can refer to G-d's fulfillment of His word towards us (as Rashi reads it), or it can refer to our keeping His words/commandments to us, as noted above regarding the first verse for the letter Gimmel.

Today is the third of Nissan, associated with the Nasi of the tribe of Zevulun (which in turn is associated with the month of Sivan). Sivan is the month of the giving of the Torah, the quintessential example of how Hashem is our portion.


65You have done good with Your servant, O Lord, according to Your word.סהטוֹב עָשִׂ֣יתָ עִם־עַבְדְּךָ֑ יְ֜הֹוָ֗ה כִּדְבָרֶֽךָ:
This verse emphasizes the need to always see the good. This is also the essence of the letter Tet. Tet in aramaic means snake, which is associated with the Yetzer HaRah, which, according to our sages when Hashem calls the world, Tov Meod, very good. Everything Hashem does is for the good, and a good source of gratitude and reassurance that Hashem will keep his word is that He has done so until now.

Today is the fourth of Nissan, associated with the Nasi of the tribe of Reuven (which in turn is associated with the month of Tammuz). The fast of the 17th of Tammuz is a primary example of how the Yetzer HaRah overtook us (similar to how it overtook Reuven himself) but that ultimately, through Teshuvah, everything is for the good. The gematria of the word Tov, good, is 17.

73Your hands made me and fashioned me; enable me to understand, and I shall learn Your commandments.עגיָדֶ֣יךָ עָ֖שׂוּנִי וַיְכֽוֹנְנ֑וּנִי הֲ֜בִינֵ֗נִי וְאֶלְמְדָ֥ה מִצְו‍ֹתֶֽיךָ:
Yud also literally means Yad (hand). The Yud is also a small dot on the page, almost fully spiritual, completely nullified to G-d, like the soul itself. This verse emphasizes that relationship with G-d. We are a part of Him, which he made and fashioned. It is out of this position of relationship, as His children, that we ask for understanding in order to perform His commandments.

Today is the fifth of Nissan, associated with the Nasi of the tribe of Shimon (which in turn is associated with the month of Av)Av literally "father," and it is through that "father and son" relationship, which often requires strict discipline (done out of love), that we nullify ourselves and are able to truly connect to G-d's commandments.


81My soul pines for Your salvation; for Your word I hope.פאכָּֽלְתָ֣ה לִתְשׁוּעָֽתְךָ֣ נַפְשִׁ֑י לִדְבָֽרְךָ֥ יִחָֽלְתִּי:
pines: Heb. כלתה, desires.

The Hebrew letter Kaf literally means the palm of one's hand, or a spoon. It is also the first letter in the word Kli, vessel, and represents the idea of being a recepient. Kalah also means bride, and as explained in verse 41, the Jewish people have a relationship with Hashem in which He is the husband and we are the bride. Used here as a verb, Lechalot means to be consumed. We are all-consumed by our love for Hashem and in our hope and desire for His salvation.

Today is the sixth of Nissan, associated with the Nasi of the tribe of Gad (which in turn is associated with the month of Elul). Elul is associated with the zodiac sign of Virgo. In Elul, it is again the relationship of the Jewish people as Hashem's bride that is emphasized. 


89Forever, O Lord, Your word stands in the heavens.פטלְעוֹלָ֥ם יְהֹוָ֑ה דְּ֜בָֽרְךָ֗ נִצָּ֥ב בַּשָּׁמָֽיִם:
The first verse for the Hebrew letter Lamed speaks of Hashem's eternal relationship with the world. L'Olam can mean "forever," but also "to the world."  Not only did He create the world through his words, but that act of creation is ongoing, as explained in Tanya in the name of the Baal Shem Tov. Lamed is associated with learning and teaching, which is done by constantly connecting to Hashem's words.

Today is the seventh of Nissan, associated with the Nasi of the tribe of Ephraim (which in turn is associated with the month of Tishrei)Tishrei is the month of Rosh Hashanah, which marks the creation mankind, and of the world as a whole five days earlier.. Tishrei and Ephraim are also associated with primarily spiritual pursuits, such as the study of Torah.


97How I love Your Torah! All day it is my conversation.צזמָֽה־אָהַ֥בְתִּי תֽוֹרָתֶ֑ךָ כָּל־הַ֜יּ֗וֹם הִ֣יא שִֽׂיחָתִֽי:
The Hebrew letter Mem is connected to Mayim, water, which in Torah is a reference to the Torah itself. Mem, which has the numerical value of 40, is also associated with Mikvah, which requires 40 units of water to be valid. The Mikvah also represents nullification, and true love for Hashem and his Torah starts with the Mah (what) the sense of "What am I after all?" - as Moshe, even after having received the Torah directly from Hashem himself for 40 days and 40 nights, said about himself and Aharon: Nachnu Mah ("What are we?")

Today is the eighth of Nissan, associated with the Nasi of the tribe of Menasheh (which in turn is associated with the month of Cheshvan)Cheshvan (the month in which the Flood began, for 40 days and 40 nights) is also the month in which we take all the Torah and spirituality internalized during the month of Tishrei and use it to elevate the world, elevating its sparks through day-to-day business pursuits. That idea is hinted in the verse above, in which the love of Hashem's Torah is described in terms of conversation.

The following excerpt from Hayom Yom exemplifies this idea:

In terms of scholarship and aptitude the Chassid Reb Elyeh Abeler was a simple man. Once, when he came into yechidus, my grandfather said to him: "Elyeh, I envy you. You travel to various fairs, you meet many people. Sometimes, in the middle of a business transaction, you get into a warm discussion about a Jewish saying, a saying from the Ein Yakov etc., and you arouse the other fellow's interest in studying nigleh (Talmudhalachaetc.) and Chassidus. This causes joy On High, and the A-lmighty rewards such "trade" with the blessings of children, health and sustenance; the larger the fair the more work there is and the greater is the livelihood earned." https://www.chabad.org/therebbe/article_cdo/aid/5763/jewish/Hayom-Yom-Iyar-16-31st-day-of-the-omer.htm


105Your words are a lamp for my foot, and light for my path.קהנֵר־לְרַגְלִ֥י דְבָרֶ֑ךָ וְ֜א֗וֹר לִנְתִֽיבָתִֽי:
Your words are a lamp for my foot: When I come to promulgate a decision of law, I look in the Torah and it separates me from [transgressing] the prohibition, like a lamp which saves a man from [falling into] the pits.

The Hebrew letter Nun is connected to the Kabbalistic Sefirah of Malchut. Malchut is the lowest of the Sefirot, and represents our connection to this physical world. In this verse, it is represented by the feet. Rashi references another aspect of Malchut, Kingship, which is the application of Torah law to the world's reality. Nun also stands for the word Nefilah, falling, and Rashi explains that the Torah prevents us from such falls.

Today is the ninth of Nissan, associated with the Nasi of the tribe of Binyamin (which in turn is associated with the month of Kislev). Kislev is the month of Chanukah, and the verse depicts Torah  as a candle as well as a light. This is the essence of Chanukah.


113I hate those who harbor iniquitous thoughts, but Your Torah I love.קיגסֵֽעֲפִ֥ים שָׂנֵ֑אתִי וְֽתוֹרָֽתְךָ֥ אָהָֽבְתִּי:
I hate those who harbor iniquitous thoughts: Those who think thoughts of iniquity, like (Job 20:2): “Therefore, my thoughts (סעפי) answer me” ; (I Kings 18:21), “between two ideas (הסעפים).” When you read סְעִפִים, it concerns the thought, but when you read סֵעֲפִים, the language refers to those who think it.

The letter Samech is a closed circle - it represents forces (such as support, Somech) that are closed off and hidden, as in the word Sod (secret). In this verse it represents those that harbor secret sinful thoughts.

The tenth of Nissan is associated with the Nasi of the tribe of Dan (which in turn is associated with the month of Teveth). At the time of the Exodus, some individuals in the tribe of Dan harbored sinful thoughts, which resulted in Pesel Micha, the first deviation towards idol worship once the Jewish people settled in the Land of Israel. Dan also represents the zealous fight against the enemies of Israel that approach them with deceit and hidden evil intentions. This is exemplified by Chush the son of Dan, who, according to the Midrash killed Eisav, and Shimshon (Samson) who fought valiantly against the Philistines.


121I performed justice and righteousness; do not leave me to my oppressors.קכאעָשִׂיתִי מִשְׁפָּ֣ט וָצֶ֑דֶק בַּל־תַּ֜נִּיחֵ֗נִי לְעֹֽשְׁקָֽי:
The Hebrew letter Ayin means "eye." The verse for today brings to mind the following excerpt from Hayom Yom for the 23rd of Adar I:

Rabbis and scholars are called the "eyes of the community" and "heads of the thousands of Israel," and when the head is healthy, the body is then also healthy.

הרבנים ובעלי תורה נקראים עיני העדה וראשי אלפי ישראל, וכשהראש הוא בריא אזי גם הגוף בריא.

The main role of the eye is to be able to see what is on the surface, and also what is beyond it, just as the eye itself is on the surface but is a "window to the soul." The eye's role, and how much more so those that are the eye's of the community, is to judge with justice and righteousness, and to see the positive and focus on it, thereby pushing aside the negative forces that judge us negatively.  (This is also taught in Rebbe Nachman's famous teaching 282, Azamra) The verse also emphasizes the need to act on that justice and righteousness - thought and speech alone is not sufficient.

Today is the 11th of Nissan, the date of birth of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, who served as "the eyes of the community" for a good part of the 20th century. The Rebbe always saw the good in people, and their tremendous potential. He thereby inspired thousands upon thousands of followers, and his message of hope and warmth, and Messianic redemption, is still very much alive today, 118 years after his birth and 70 years from when he took over the mantle of leadership of the Chabad movement (Ayin has the numerical value of 70). The quintessential aspect of the Rebbe's leadership was also the focus on action: HaMa'aseh HuHaIkar: the main thing is the action. 

The eleventh of Nissan is associated with the Nasi of the tribe of Asher (which in turn is associated with the month of Shvat). Asher was blessed with having children that would be the "eyes of the community"" "The Ramban observes that in the Book of Chronicles, Asher’s children are noted as being leaders, mighty men of valor, and chiefs of the princes. In other words, they filled important leadership positions." (http://www.mesora.org/asher.html) Asher's land is also blessed with oil, which not only is associated with leadership (annointing of the king, the high priest, and others), it is also an element that enhances the appearance ("the surface" and the taste (the "essence") of what it imbues. 


129Your testimonies are hidden; therefore, my soul kept them.קכטפְּלָא֥וֹת עֵֽדְו‍ֹתֶ֑יךָ עַל־כֵּ֜֗ן נְצָ֘רָ֥תַם נַפְשִֽׁי:
Your testimonies are hidden: They are covered, and your testimonies are hidden from the sons of men. There are easy commandments for which He gave a large reward, such as sending away the nest.
therefore, my soul kept them: All of them, because it is not known which is better.

The first verse for the Hebrew letter Peh speaks of how G-d's commandments are hidden. The job of the Peh, which literally means "mouth," represents the concept of revealing G-d's hidden (and not so hidden) miracles. Reward and punishment for our actions are also hidden and it is a test of our faith to stand strong in our commitment to them throughout our lives, particularly in difficult times.

The twelfth of Nissan is associated with the Nasi of the tribe of Naftali (which in turn is associated with the month of Adar). Adar, the month of Purim, is associated with how G-d's ways are hidden, and His redemption following particularly difficult times (such as regarding Haman's decree) often comes in miraculous ways that are enclothed within nature and the natural order of things.

Naftali's name comes from Rachel's battles with her faith, in which she "wrestled" with her sister Leah, and also emerged victorious.


137You are righteous, O Lord, and Your judgments are upright.קלזצַדִּ֣יק אַתָּ֣ה יְהֹוָ֑ה וְ֜יָשָׁ֗ר מִשְׁפָּטֶֽיךָ:

The primary meaning of the letter Tzadi is the first word of the verse for today, Tzadik, righteous. Today, the 13th of Nissan, is the yahrzeit of the Third Rebbe of Chabad, the Tzemach Tzedek. Today can also be thought of as being doubly associated with the letter Tzadik, because we are in the 9th cycle of 22 letters, associated with the letters Peh and Tzadik.

The verse refers to Hashem's righteousness, and hints to the idea that when we recognize that righteousness (and hopefully emulate that righteousness in our own lives) our relationship with G-d becomes that much closer, referring to G-d directly, as "You." Another concept very close to be a Tzadik is that of being a Yashar, an upright person.

Today is the last day of the Nasi, in which we describe the completion of the offerings. That completion, the totality of our contributions, is in fact what the Tzadik, the righteous person, represents.


145I called with all my heart; answer me, O Lord; I shall keep Your statutes.קמהקָרָ֣אתִי בְכָל־לֵ֖ב עֲנֵ֥נִי יְהֹוָ֗ה חֻקֶּ֥יךָ אֶצֹּֽרָה:

The letter Kuf represents the transformation of Kelipa (the shells of unholiness) into Kedusha (holiness). On Erev Pessach, the main service is the search and burning/nullification of the Chametz (leaven, which represents unholiness/ego). The nullification has to be complete. We cry out, "Kol Chamira... All leaven... should become like dust of the earth."

The first verse for the letter Kuf has the same general idea. We cry out to Hashem with our whole heart, and asked to be answered in order to be able to properly keep the laws of Passover. Aneni, "answer me," has in it the word, "Ani," poor person. Matzah, unleavened bread, is the "bread of poverty" (Lechem Oni). It is also called the "bread of faith," and the "bread of healing."


153See my affliction and release me, for I have not forgotten Your Torah.קנגרְאֵה־עָנְיִ֥י וְחַלְּצֵ֑נִי כִּֽי־ת֜וֹרָֽתְךָ֗ לֹ֣א שָׁכָֽחְתִּי:
The letter Reish, like the Kuf, also contains with in it the transformation, in this case, from Rash (poor) to Rosh (head). On the first night of Pessach, the night of the Seder, the verse of the Reish describes this uplifting process, asking G-d to see our poverty/affliction and to release us from this bondage. On Passover, we celebrate our freedom, and as mentioned above, Matzah is the bread of poverty" (Lechem Oni).


161Princes pursued me for nothing, but my heart feared Your word.קסאשָׂרִים רְדָפ֣וּנִי חִנָּ֑ם וּ֜מִדְּבָֽרְךָ֗ (כתיב וּ֜מִדְּבָֽרְיךָ֗) פָּחַ֥ד לִבִּֽי:
The Shin is an intense and fiery letter. The second day of Passover marks our journey into the desert, which was desolate and fearsome. After allowing the Jewish people to leave, Pharaoh then changed his mind and followed us into the desert, in a pursuit that culminated in the Jewish people feeling locked in between Pharaoh's chariots and the Sea of Reeds. In one of the most terrifying moments in Jewish history, Hashem's command was for the Jewish people to keep moving forward, until the sea split.

The first verse for the letter Shin describes being pursued by "princes," and the intense fear of Hashem's word.


169May my song of prayer draw near before You, O Lord; according to Your word, enable me to understand.קסטתִּקְרַ֚ב רִנָּתִ֣י לְפָנֶ֣יךָ יְהֹוָ֑ה כִּדְבָֽרְךָ֥ הֲבִינֵֽנִי:
according to Your word, enable me to understand: the words of Your Torah; according to their law and in the order in which they stand.

The first verse of the letter Tav, which completes the first set of 22 letters in Psalm 119, speaks of drawing close to G-d through song. On Passover, we sing the Hallel in the evening and in the morning of the first festivals days, and every morning afterwards.


2Praiseworthy are those who keep His testimonies; who seek Him wholeheartedly.באַשְׁרֵי נֹֽצְרֵ֥י עֵ֜דֹתָ֗יו בְּכָל־לֵ֥ב יִדְרְשֽׁוּהוּ:
The second verse for the letter Alef starts with the same word as the first: Ashrei, "praiseworthy." It also contains the same phrase "B'Chol Lev" (wholeheartedly). This represents the level of service attained on Passover, after the total search and destruction of the Chametz, as mentioned in the first verse for the letter Kuf.


10With all my heart I searched for You; do not cause me to stray from Your commandments.יבְּכָל־לִבִּ֥י דְרַשְׁתִּ֑יךָ אַל־תַּ֜שְׁגֵּ֗נִי מִמִּצְו‍ֹתֶֽיךָ:
The second verse for the letter Bet contains the same expression as the second verse for the Alef, Lidrosh B'Chol Lev, to search wholeheartedly, the only significant difference here is that it it stated in the first person. In the verse, King David also calls out to G-d to not cause him to stray from G-d's commandments. This more individualized connection to G-d, and the dangers related to it, were also  emphasized in the first verse for the letter Bet

On Chol HaMo'ed our schedule is more flexible and we are more free to engage in activities that bring us closer to a more personal relationship with G-d. Unfortunately, this additional freedom and fun can lead us astray. We must be responsible with our time, and make the most of it, both in our connection with G-d and in our connection with others. 


Uncover my eyes and I shall look at hidden things from Your Torah.יחגַּל־עֵינַ֥י וְאַבִּ֑יטָה נִ֜פְלָא֗וֹת מִתּֽוֹרָתֶֽךָ:
hidden things from Your Torah: Hidden things in it, which are not explained therein.
(from Your Torah): Wonders from the explanations of your Torah which are not explained therein.

On the 6th day of Passover, as we approach the 7th day of Passover, in which the Sea of Reeds miraculously split and we experienced a state of national prophecy, we asked Hashem to open our eyes,  we ask Hashem to open our eyes to observe the wonders of His Torah. This day also marks the Sefirah combination of Hod shebeChesed. Just as Lag Ba'OmerHod shebeHod, represents the revelation of the hidden secrets of the Torah (by Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai), this day has an aspect of that as well. The letter Gimmel, which symbolizes giving to the poor, here represents an extremely high form of giving, which is the teaching of Torah (the only true form of poverty, is poverty in Torah knowledge).


27Make me understand Your precepts, and I shall speak of Your wonders.כזדֶּֽרֶךְ־פִּקּוּדֶ֥יךָ הֲבִינֵ֑נִי וְ֜אָשִׂ֗יחָה בְּנִפְלְאוֹתֶֽיךָ:
On the 7th of Passover, again the emphasis is on Hashem's wonders. We speak of them, as we read the Torah reading of the Splitting of the Sea, and  retell the miracle that occurred on that day. There is also an emphasis on Hashem's precepts, as the custom is to spend the entire night learning Torah.

The Dalet represents the Dal, the poor person. Here it is the first letter of the word Derech, path. That is how Psalm 119 starts, speaking of a path of Pikudeicha (which, along with precepts, also means Hashem's "rememberings"). We remember what Hashem did for us, how he remembered us in our moment of despair, stuck between the Sea of Reeds on one side and the advancing army of Egyptians on the other.


34Enable me to understand and I shall keep Your Torah, and I shall keep it wholeheartedly.לדהֲבִינֵנִי וְאֶצְּרָ֥ה תֽ֜וֹרָתֶ֗ךָ וְאֶשְׁמְרֶ֥נָּה בְכָל־לֵֽב
We enter the last day of Passover (Isru Chag in Israel), with the same spirit of serving Hashem wholeheartedly we had in the beginning of the holiday. The focus becomes on keeping/staying connected to the lessons of Passover, yet also continuing to work on our heart/our emotions during the Counting of the Omer. Heh is connected Herayon, pregnancy, and we remain "impregnated" with the lessons we received.


42And I shall answer a word to those who disgrace me, for I trusted in Your word.מבוְאֶֽעֱנֶ֣ה חֹֽרְפִ֣י דָבָ֑ר כִּֽי־בָ֜טַחְתִּי בִּדְבָרֶֽךָ:
In the Omer Count, this day begins the week of Gevurah, judgment/discipline/might. It can be quite a difficult week, full of challenges, but also full of reward. To be able to answer to those that disgrace us takes might and courage. Sometimes the greatest answer is to withstand the disgrace and not to respond in kind, simply trusting in Hashem. Vav represents this quality of standing firm in the face of adversity.


50This is my consolation in my affliction, for Your word has sustained me.נזֹ֣את נֶחָֽמָתִ֣י בְעָנְיִ֑י כִּ֖י אִמְרָֽתְךָ֣ חִיָּֽתְנִי:
With the harsh moments also comes consolation. Our main consolation is the Torah itself, which is what gives us life. The Zayin, which is a "crowned" vav, represents this concept.


58I entreated You with all my heart; favor me according to Your word.נחחִלִּ֣יתִי פָנֶ֣יךָ בְכָל־לֵ֑ב חָ֜נֵּ֗נִי כְּאִמְרָתֶֽךָ:
I entreated You: Heb. חליתי, from the expression of (Lam. 3: 24): “‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul; ‘therefore, I will hope (אוחיל) to Him.’”

This verse again emphasizes the idea of serving G-d with all our heart, as we continue to work on our emotions during the counting of the Omer. We also serve G-d out of hope, trusting and confident in His salvation.  Tomorrow, the 26th of Nissan, is the yahrzeit of Yehoshua Bin Nun. Yehoshua had complete trust in G-d, and as he went to spy the Land of Israel, he received the blessing and prayer from his teacher Moshe, changing his name from Hoshea to Yehoshua, "Hashem will save." It was this entreaty that saved Yehoshua from the bad influence of the other spies (except for Calev), and guaranteed his portion in the G-d of Israel. It was a salvation that was above nature, and that is what the letter Chet symbolizes.


66The best of reason and knowledge, teach me for I believe in Your commandments.סוט֚וּב טַ֣עַם וָדַ֣עַת לַמְּדֵ֑נִי כִּ֖י בְמִצְו‍ֹתֶ֣יךָ הֶֽאֱמָֽנְתִּי:
The second verse for the letter Tet is also connected to the essential aspect of the letter Tet: good, which is often hidden. We often go through so much pain in our lives, but what makes things ten times worse is that we don't understand why this is happening. It is as if we feel betrayed by it - that this is not the way things are supposed to be. The moment we know and understand the reason and the purpose behind the pain, the pain does not go away, but it becomes more manageable.

Today is Erev Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Memorial Day, and the pain of the murder of 6 million Jews has not abated. It is hard if not impossible to see how all that happened was somehow for the good. However, that does not lead us to abandon our faith. On the contrary, like King David, we know that it is through the belief in Hashem's commandments that we will ultimately gain reason and knowledge to understand the "Tov."


74Those who fear You will see me and rejoice for I hoped for Your word.עדיְרֵאֶיךָ יִרְא֣וּנִי וְיִשְׂמָ֑חוּ כִּ֖י לִדְבָֽרְךָ֣ יִחָֽלְתִּי:
Those who fear You will see me: in prosperity and rejoice, because what was bestowed upon me will be bestowed upon them, for I am among those who fear You, and I hoped for Your word.

The second verse for the letter Yud contains an interesting poetic device, "Yireichah Yiruni,both words have the first three letters: Yud, Reish, Alef. Interestingly, as explained by the Alter Rebbe, Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi, seeing represents closeness, which is connected to love, while fear is usually connected to a more "distant" sense - hearing.

How can those that fear G-d also feel a sense closeness to G-d and feel happy? That connection often comes through "seeing"/connecting to the Tzadik (righteous individual), someone who has the humility of the letter Yud, which is just a dot on the page and represents pure spirituality and nullification to G-d. Yud also represents Chochmah, wisdom. The Tzadik is on such a level, someone who constantly hoping for Hashem's word. (This word for hope was also used two days ago as the second verse for the letter Chet)

As we approach the end of the month of Nissan, with the moon waning almost to the point of disappearing and are saddened by the fact that redemption has still not come, we look to the spiritual rewards bestowed upon the Tzadik, and those rewards are then bestowed upon us as well. Yesod represents the Tzadik, as in the phrase, "Tzadik Yesod Olam" (Proverbs 10:25) - the Tzadik is the foundation of the world. https://www.kabbalahoftime.com/2020/03/psalm-1191.html


82My eyes pine for Your word, saying, "When will You console me?"פבכָּל֣וּ עֵ֖ינַי לְאִמְרָתֶ֑ךָ לֵ֜אמֹ֗ר מָתַ֥י תְּֽנַֽחֲמֵֽנִי:
My eyes pine: Heb. כלו, lit. fail. My eyes look constantly until they fail.

The second verse for the letter Kaf starts out with the same verb as the first: LeChalot, to desire, to pine. LeChalot can also mean to extinguish, diminish, in the sense of becoming nullified, similar to the letter Yud. As mentioned previously, the Kaf represents a Kli, a vessel, and in this verse we cry to G-d to "fill" us with His consolation.

We are practically at the end of the month of Nissan, and the moon has all but completely waned. We continue to look to G-d for our consolation, given that the redemption has not yet arrived. The Sefirah of Malchut is poor, and is often compared to the moon because it has no light of its own. It depends on the other Sefirot to fill it up, just as the moon depends on the sun, and we, the Jewish people, depend on G-d. 

We're in Day 6 of Week 30 in the "yearly count." Book 6, Week 30: https://www.kabbalahoftime.com/2014/04/week-30-book-5-reviewing-fifth-week-of.html


90Your faith is to every generation; You established the earth and it endures.צלְדֹ֣ר וָ֖דֹר אֱמֽוּנָתֶ֑ךָ כּוֹנַ֥נְתָּ אֶ֜֗רֶץ וַֽתַּֽעֲמֹֽד:
The second verse for the letter Lamed also contains the idea of transmission. The transmission mentioned here is that of faith itself, Emunah. Faith is required primarily in moments of difficulty, when logic alone does not point to the correct step forward. In the case of the Jewish people, we are called Bnei Nevi'im, children of prophets. Faith is transmitted from generation to generation. It is part of our spiritual DNA. Our Emunah stands firm, just like the world itself.
Today is the 14th day of the OmerChesed shebeTiferet (kindness within balance/beauty), and Erev Rosh Chodesh Iyar, and the verse is also extremely reminiscent of the opening for the Haftorah that is read on Shabat Rosh Chodesh:

1So says the Lord, "The heavens are My throne, and the earth is My footstool; which is the house that you will build for Me, and which is the place of My rest?אכֹּה אָמַ֣ר יְהֹוָ֔ה הַשָּׁמַ֣יִם כִּסְאִ֔י וְהָאָ֖רֶץ הֲדֹ֣ם רַגְלָ֑י אֵי־זֶ֥ה בַ֙יִת֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר תִּבְנוּ־לִ֔י וְאֵי־זֶ֥ה מָק֖וֹם מְנֽוּחָתִֽי:
Rosh Chodesh, like Shabat, is a testimony to Hashem's creation. It is a time of forgiving and starting anew. The world becomes filled with a new energy, a whole new way of seeing things, of relating to G-d and to the world.


98Each of Your commandments makes me wiser than my enemies, for it is always mine.צחמֵאֹֽיְבַי תְּחַכְּמֵ֣נִי מִצְו‍ֹתֶ֑ךָ כִּ֖י לְעוֹלָ֣ם הִיא־לִֽי:
Each of Your commandments makes me wiser than my enemies: Concerning Doeg and Ahithophel they [the Rabbis] said that their final conclusions did not agree with adopted practice. The secret of the Torah is in my hands forever, for I gained understanding from all my teachers; I learned a little from this one and I learned a little from that one (after I learned from my distinguished teacher).

The second verse for the letter Mem describes the stabilizing power of Hashem's Mitzvot, commandments. The Mem, particularly the final Mem, is similar to the shape of a square, and represents calmness and stability. As explained earlier, Mem also symbolizes water, Mayim. The sound of the Mem, "mmmm" is peaceful in and of itself.

We are constantly being pulled in various directions, by our external "enemies" and also our internal ones. The Torah, particularly Hashem's practical mitzvot, provides us guidance to stay firm and focused on the goal. In that way, we are able to harmonize opposing forces and bring us back to a solid middle ground.

Today is the 15th day of the Omer, beginning the week of Tiferet (balance/beauty). This week symbolizes the idea of being a "passionate moderate," pulling together all of the seemingly opposing forces into a balanced oneness. That is also the idea behind the month of Iyar. Iyar is known as a month of healing, and stands for Ani Hashem Rofecha, I am G-d your Healer. Medicine is primarily about restoring balance to the body.

We're in Day 1 of Week 31 in the "yearly count." Book 1, Week 31: https://www.kabbalahoftime.com/2014/04/week-31-from-book-to-be-proud-of-our.html


106I swore and I fulfilled, to keep the judgments of Your righteousness.קונִשְׁבַּ֥עְתִּי וָֽאֲקַיֵּ֑מָה לִ֜שְׁמֹ֗ר מִשְׁפְּטֵ֥י צִדְקֶֽךָ:
The second verse for the Nun speaks about fulfilling an oath. In most cases, Judaism is against taking oaths due to the severity of breaking one. There is one oath, however, that the Jewish people took as a whole at Mount Sinai, which was to fulfill the Torah. Also, as explained in the opening lines of the Tanya, the Talmud teaches that before coming down to this world, every soul is made to swear that it will be a Tzadik (righteous individual), and not a Rasha (evil person). These oaths give us the strength necessary to face the many moral challenges of this world.

As mentioned previously, the Nun is connected to the Kabbalistic Sefirah of Malchut (kingship), which is the lowest of the Sefirot, and the application of Torah law to the world's reality. We turn back to these oaths when facing our greatest challenges and call out for G-d's mercy.

We're in Day 2 of Week 31 in the "yearly count." Book 2, Week 31: https://www.kabbalahoftime.com/2014/04/week-31-book-2-rock-of-israel.html


114You are my protection and my shield; I hoped for Your word.קידסִתְרִ֣י וּמָֽגִנִּ֣י אָ֑תָּה לִ֜דְבָֽרְךָ֗ יִחָֽלְתִּי:
The second verse for the letter Samech is also an indication of a hidden protective force. The word Sitri comes from the verb Listor, which literally means to hide. The verse is stating, "Hashem, You are my hiding place and my shield." The shield also protects by hiding, and in a way that protection is more personal and individualized than that of a hiding place.

We're in Day 3 of Week 31 in the "yearly count." Book 3, Week 31: https://www.kabbalahoftime.com/2014/05/week-31-book-3-obed-and-working-hard.html


122Be surety for Your servant for good; let the willful sinners not oppress me.קכבעֲרֹ֣ב עַבְדְּךָ֣ לְט֑וֹב אַל־יַֽעַשְׁקֻ֥נִי זֵדִֽים:
Be surety: Heb. ערב, garantis in French, to vouch for. Be a guarantor for me against the evil (i.e., be a guarantor that I keep Your precepts).

As mentioned previously, Ayin literally means "eye," and the main role of the eye is to be able to see what is on the surface, and also what is beyond it, just as the eye itself is on the surface but is a "window to the soul." As also previously mentioned, the eye's role is to judge things properly, to see the positive and focus on it, thereby pushing aside the negative forces that judge us negatively.  (This is also taught in Rebbe Nachman's famous teaching 282, Azamra)

In the second verse for the letter Ayin, we ask Hashem to look at us in a way that guarantees that we will be on the right path. As in the first verse, we ask to be saved from oppressors, sinners who would  hurt us and/or cause us to do evil.

Today is the 18th day of the OmerHod shebeTiferet (glory/acknowledgement within balance/beauty). Today is Erev Yom HaZikaron, the day of remembrance of Israel's fallen soldiers. When we think about the loss of life, especially those taken from us at very young age, it could sadden us to the point of depression, which is rooted in the evil inclination. Our brokenheartedness must be based in Emunah, belief in Hashem and that everything he does is for the best, no matter how difficult and unfair things may seem in our eyes. We must know that we do not have the full picture.

The fallen soldiers of Israel have served as our guarantors, defending our borders and preventing those that would otherwise oppress us, in Israel and around the world.

We're in Day 4 of Week 31 in the "yearly count." Book 4, Week 31: https://www.kabbalahoftime.com/2014/05/week-31-book-4a-accepting-greatness.html


130The commencement of Your words enlightens; You make the simple understand.קלפֵּ֖תַח דְּבָרֶ֥יךָ יָאִ֗יר מֵבִ֥ין פְּתָיִֽים:
The commencement of Your words enlightens: The beginning of your words enlightened the heart of Israel, that You understated the simple, by Your statement (Exod. 20:2): “I am… Who took you out.” You let them know the favor that You did for themthat You acquired them from the house of bondageto know that You are their Master, and they should accept Your kingdom upon themselves. (Exod. 20:3): “You shall not have another god, etc.” and afterwards You made Your decrees (Cf. Mechilta ad loc.). Another explanation:
The commencement of Your words enlightens: The beginning of Your words in the Creation was (Gen. 1:3): “Let there be light.”
You make the simple understand: From there, everyone will understand and will commence with words of Torah. Tanchuma (Vayakhel 6).

Peh literally means mouth, and the verse describes the beginning of speech. Rashi explains it as the beginning of the Ten Commandments, or as in the beginning of the Torah and Creation.

There is also a parallel here to the Hagadah where we are told to start/open/introduce the question for the son that is Tam, At Ptach Lo. 

Today is the 19th day of the OmerNetzach shebeTiferet (victory/endurance within balance/beauty), Yom HaZikaron/Erev Yom Ha'Atzma'ut.  Yom Ha'Atzma'ut is a beginning. It is also arguably a redemption "from the house of bondage" brought about by people that were "simple" in their knowledge of G-d and Torah. With time, those people have become more and more enlightened with the words of our Torah, the words of G-d that make the simple understand.

Today is Day 19 of the Omer. Book 1, Week 19: https://www.blogger.com/blogger.g?blogID=620706085429561463#editor/target=post;postID=3744437544378039809;onPublishedMenu=allposts;onClosedMenu=allposts;postNum=4;src=link

We're in Day 5 of Week 31 in the "yearly count." Book 5, Week 31: https://www.kabbalahoftime.com/2014/05/week-31-book-4b-strong-and-praiseworthy.html


138You commanded Your testimonies, [which are] righteousness, and they are exceedingly faithful.קלחצִוִּיתָ צֶ֣דֶק עֵֽדֹתֶ֑יךָ וֶֽאֱמוּנָ֥ה מְאֹֽד:
As mentioned previously, the primary meaning of the letter Tzadi is Tzadik, and also Tzedek, justice. Another quality closely tied to the Tzadik is Emunah, faith: Tzadik b'Emunatoh Yichyeh.

Closely connected also is word Letzavot, to command. Today is Yom Ha'Atzma'ut. The ultimate redemption will come through the fulfillment of the commandments, in righteousness and faith.

Today is the 20th day of the Omer, Yesod shebeTiferet (balance/beauty within foundation). As previously explained, Tiferet can also be understood as Rachamim, mercy. By bringing them back to the Land of Israel, G-d had mercy on His people. His mercy endured and established a foundation (Yesod) for the nation that was to reemerge from the ashes of the Holocaust.


146I called to You; save me and I shall keep Your testimonies.קמוקְרָאתִ֥יךָ הֽוֹשִׁיעֵ֑נִי וְ֜אֶשְׁמְרָ֗ה עֵֽדֹתֶֽיךָ:
and I shall keep: (The acronym of, עֵדְוֹתֶי is דמה בן פֶרֶץ; the “vav” is vowelized with a “holam,” but in the other instances, it is עֵדֹתֶי; the “daleth” is vowelized with a “holam.”)


154Plead my cause and redeem me; for Your word sustains me.קנדרִיבָ֣ה רִ֖יבִֽי וּגְאָלֵ֑נִי לְאִמְרָֽתְךָ֥ חַיֵּֽנִי:


162I rejoice over Your word as one who finds great spoil.קסבשָׂ֣שׂ אָֽ֖נֹכִי עַל־אִמְרָתֶ֑ךָ כְּ֜מוֹצֵ֗א שָׁלָ֥ל רָֽב:
I rejoice over Your word: Over Your promise that You promised me. Another explanation: Over one of Your enigmatic statements, when I understand it. Our Rabbis, however, interpreted it as referring to circumcision, for [when] David was in the bathhouse and saw himself without zizith, without tefillin, and without Torah, he said, “Woe is to me, for I am naked of all commandments.” As soon as he thought of the circumcision, he rejoiced and said when he emerged (from the bathhouse), “I rejoice over Your word.” [This refers to] circumcision, which was first given with a saying (אמירה), and not with speaking (דיבור) , as it is said (Gen. 17:9): “And God said (ויאמר) to Abraham, ‘And you shall keep My covenant.’”


170May my supplication come before You; according to Your word, save me.קעתָּב֣וֹא תְחִנָּתִ֣י לְפָנֶ֑יךָ כְּ֜אִמְרָֽתְךָ֗ הַצִּילֵֽנִי:

3Not only have they committed no injustice, they walked in His ways.גאַף לֹא־פָֽעֲל֣וּ עַוְלָ֑ה בִּדְרָכָ֥יו הָלָֽכוּ:
Not only have they committed no injustice: They are praiseworthy if all this is in them.
they walked in His ways: Although they committed no injustice, their reward is incomplete unless they walked in His ways. And so he says (above 43: 15): “Shun evil and do good.” Even though you shun evil, everything is not complete unless you do good. Midrash Aggadah.


11In my heart I hid Your word, in order that I should not sin against You.יאבְּלִבִּי צָפַ֣נְתִּי אִמְרָתֶ֑ךָ לְ֜מַ֗עַן לֹ֣א אֶֽחֱטָא־לָֽךְ:
In my heart I hid: I did not allow myself to forget it.


19I am a stranger in the land; do not hide Your commandments from me.יטגֵּ֣ר אָנֹכִ֣י בָאָ֑רֶץ אַל־תַּסְתֵּ֥ר מִ֜מֶּ֗נִּי מִצְו‍ֹתֶֽיךָ:
I am a stranger in the land: for a short time.
do not hide Your commandments from me: The hidden ones, so that I should be able to fulfill them, for if not now, when?


27Make me understand Your precepts, and I shall speak of Your wonders.כזדֶּֽרֶךְ־פִּקּוּדֶ֥יךָ הֲבִינֵ֑נִי וְ֜אָשִׂ֗יחָה בְּנִפְלְאוֹתֶֽיךָ:
36Extend my heart to Your testimonies and not to monetary gain.לוהַט־ לִ֖בִּי אֶל־עֵֽדְו‍ֹתֶ֗יךָ וְאַ֣ל אֶל־בָּֽצַע:


48And I shall lift up my palms to Your commandments, which I love, and I shall converse about Your statutes.מחוְאֶשָּׂ֚א כַפַּ֗י אֶל־מִ֖צְו‍ֹתֶיךָ אֲשֶׁ֥ר אָהָ֗בְתִּי וְאָשִׂ֥יחָה בְחֻקֶּֽיךָ:


51Willful sinners derided me greatly; I did not turn away from Your Torah.נאזֵדִים הֱלִיצֻ֣נִי עַד־מְאֹ֑ד מִ֜תּוֹרָֽתְךָ֗ לֹ֣א נָטִֽיתִי:
59I considered my ways, and I returned my feet to Your testimonies.נטחִשַּׁ֥בְתִּי דְרָכָ֑י וָֽאָשִׁ֥יבָה רַ֜גְלַ֗י אֶל־עֵֽדֹתֶֽיךָ:
I considered my ways: The loss of a commandment as compared to its gain, and the gain of a transgression as compared to its loss. Therefore, “I returned my feet to Your testimonies,” because I saw that it [Your way] is the best of all of them.


12Blessed are You, O Lord; teach me Your statutes. יבבָּר֖וּךְ אַתָּ֥ה יְהֹוָ֗ה לַמְּדֵ֥נִי חֻקֶּֽיךָ:
Through working hard in davening, we toil in the Torah that we learn and try to go beyond our nature in our learning and then the revelation of Torah by Hashem is beyond nature.  (Rabbi Aryeh Citron on Likutei Torah)

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