Portrait of Hacham Shimon Agassi

Portrait of Hacham Shimon Agassi
Portrait of Hacham Agassi painted by Mrs Ruth Gila, Beit Meir , Israel

Friday, January 30, 2015

The Sons of Aaron and the Daughters of Tzelophechad

 בני אהרן ובנות צלפחד

60. ’And to Aaron were born Nadav and Avihu Elazar and Ithamar-וַיִּוָּלֵד לְאַהֲרֹן אֶת נָדָב וְאֶת אֲבִיהוּא אֶת אֶלְעָזָר וְאֶת אִיתָמָר (2998=28=10=1).

 The joint gematria of the names of all four sons of Aaron is  1044

  • Nadav-             נָדָב=56
  • Avihu-        אֲבִיהוּא =25
  • Elazar-  אֶלְעָזָר            =308
  • Ithamar-      אִיתָמָר=651

1040+4 words=1044=1+8

1.’And approached the daughters of Tzlophchad, son of Hepher, son of Gilad, son of Machir, son of Manashe, of the families of Manashe son of Joseph; and these are the names of his daughters: Machlah, Noah, and Hoglah, and Milcah, and Tirzah-וַתִּקְרַבְנָה בְּנוֹת צְלָפְחָד בֶּן חֵפֶר בֶּן גִּלְעָד בֶּן מָכִיר בֶּן מְנַשֶּׁה לְמִשְׁפְּחֹת מְנַשֶּׁה בֶן יוֹסֵף וְאֵלֶּה שְׁמוֹת בְּנֹתָיו מַחְלָה נֹעָה וְחָגְלָה וּמִלְכָּה וְתִרְצָה (6480=18).

The joint gematria of the names of the five daughters of Tzlophchad is also 1044:

1.       Machlah-           מַחְלָה= 83
2.       Noah-                  נֹעָה=125
3.       Hoglah-              חָגְלָה=46
4.       Milchah-             מִלְכָּה=95
5.       Tirzah-              תִרְצָה =695

The number 1044 corresponds to the words "Truth"- אמת (441) and "Kedem"- קדם (144). They spoke the truth not for their own personal gain, but in order to further the mission of Tikkun Olam, to return to Kedem (Origin). Thus they were rewarded by saving the family of Tzlophchad from extinction as a family of Israel (see above).

This is the reason why all four sons of Aaron were mentioned in Parshat Pinchas despite the fact that the two eldest sons of Aaron had died and could not have been counted in the census.


Thursday, January 29, 2015

Divine Equality
Dividing the Land by Divine lottery
B'Midbar 26.54

 שוויון אלוקית

חלוקת הארץ על פי גורל

במדבר 26.54

54.’ To the numerous (large Tribe) you shall increase his inheritance and to the few (small Tribe) you shall decrease its inheritance, each according to those counted of it-לָרַב תַּרְבֶּה נַחֲלָתוֹ וְלַמְעַט תַּמְעִיט נַחֲלָתוֹ אִישׁ לְפִי פְקֻדָיו יֻתַּן נַחֲלָתוֹ(4096=19=10=1).

The verse can be divided so:

  • To the numerous (large Tribe) you shall increase his inheritance-לָרַב תַּרְבֶּה נַחֲלָתוֹ (1333=10=1);
  • And to the few (small Tribe) you shall decrease its inheritance-וְלַמְעַט תַּמְעִיט נַחֲלָתוֹ (1178=17=8);
  • Each according to those counted of it- אִישׁ לְפִי פְקֻדָיו (631=10=1);
  • Shall its inheritance be given- יֻתַּן נַחֲלָתוֹ (954=18).

Numerous you shall increase
רַב תַּרְבֶּה
809=17=8 or + 2 words=19=10=1

Few you shall decrease
מְעַט תַּמְעִיט

The joint gematria the two words is:

  • Numerous-   רַב  =202
·         Few-            מְעָט =139

321+2 words=8

Rashi explains here how the process of the division of the Land was executed through a “Divine” lottery (Bava Batra 122.a). Elazar the Priest would wear the “Urim Ve Tumim” (Shmot 28.30) and say by the Holy Spirit resting upon him that if Tribe “x” picks its lot then it will also pick “y” portion of the Land. Then 12 lots with the names of the 12 Tribes were written on them and placed in a box alongside 12 other lots with the names of the areas of the Land and their demarcated boundaries. The Prince of each Tribe would choose two lots from the box and in his hand would come up the name of his Tribe and his divinely allotted boundaries. The lot itself would then speak and detail the boundary for that Tribe as it is written (verse 56 below) “by the mouth of the lot”- עַל פִּי הַגּוֹרָל(Tanchuma 6). The Land was not divided “equally” but by an assessment of its value-its productive parts- בית סאה טוב as against its unproductive parts-בית כור רע. Thus the Land was assessed according to its agricultural value and not to its size (Sifrei 132).

Productive parts/ Beit Seah Tov
בית סאה טוב

Unproductive parts/ Beit Kor Ra’a
בית כור רע
From here we can learn a very important principle applicable in all areas of life, that “fair” is not necessarily “equal” and vice versa. This is the fundamental flaw of the democratic system of government which is hailed as the role model of government. Superficial “equality” breeds inherent unfairness. Essentially “man is still born free but everywhere he is in chains” (Rouseau-The Social Contract) and democracy has not led to true fairness and an equal division of wealth and resources.

Absolute fairness and equality (righteousness) will only return with the rule of King Mashiach who will rule through the Divine Spirit which Hashem divests upon him according the laws of the Torah, an inherent  system of Divine equality.

As it is written in the Book of Isaiah 11.1-5:

1.’ A staff will emerge from the stump of Yishai and a shoot will sprout from his roots- וְיָצָא חֹטֶר מִגֵּזַע יִשָׁי וְנֵצֶר מִשָּׁרָשָׁיו יִפְרֶה (2261+7 words=18).
2.’The Spirit of Hashem shall rest upon him; a spirit of wisdom and understanding, a spirit of counsel and strength, a spirit of knowledge and fear of Hashem- וְנָחָה עָלָיו רוּחַ יְהוָה רוּחַ חָכְמָה וּבִינָה רוּחַ עֵצָה וּגְבוּרָה רוּחַ דַּעַת וְיִרְאַת יְהוָה (2717=17=8).
3.’ He will be imbued with the spirit of fear for Hashem and will not need to judge by what his eyes see nor decide by what his ears hear-וַהֲרִיחוֹ בְּיִרְאַת יְהוָה וְלֹא לְמַרְאֵה עֵינָיו יִשְׁפּוֹט וְלֹא לְמִשְׁמַע אָזְנָיו יוֹכִיחַ (2383+11 words=2394=18).
4.’ He will judge the destitute with righteousness, and decide with fairness for the humble of the earth. He will strike down the world with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked-וְשָׁפַט בְּצֶדֶק דַּלִּים וְהוֹכִיחַ בְּמִישׁוֹר לְעַנְוֵי אָרֶץ וְהִכָּה אֶרֶץ בְּשֵׁבֶט פִּיו וּבְרוּחַ שְׂפָתָיו יָמִית רָשָׁע (4529+15 words=4544=17=8).

5.’Righteousness will be the girdle around his loins, and faith will be the girdle around his waist- וְהָיָה צֶדֶק אֵזוֹר מָתְנָיו וְהָאֱמוּנָה אֵזוֹר חֲלָצָיו(1411+7 words=14=8).

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The Prophecy of Bilaam and Mashiach

 נבואת בלעם ומשיח

B'Midbar 24.17

17. ’I see him, but not now, I behold him, but not near; there shall shoot forth a star from Jacob and shall rise a scepter out of Israel and he shall smite down the extremities of Moab and ground down all the children of Seth-אֶרְאֶנּוּ וְלֹא עַתָּה אֲשׁוּרֶנּוּ וְלֹא קָרוֹב דָּרַךְ כּוֹכָב מִיַּעֲקֹב וְקָם שֵׁבֶט מִיִּשְׂרָאֵל וּמָחַץ פַּאֲתֵי מוֹאָב וְקַרְקַר כָּל בְּנֵי שֵׁת (7162 + 19 words=7181=17=8 counting final Zaddik and Kaf as 900 and 500).

The verse can be divided so:
·         I see him but not now - אֶרְאֶנּוּ וְלֹא עַתָּה  (770+3 words=17=8);
·         I behold him but not near- אֲשׁוּרֶנּוּ וְלֹא קָרוֹב(908=17=8);
·         There shall shoot forth a star from Jacob- דָּרַךְ כּוֹכָב מִיַּעֲקֹב (494 =17=8);
·         And a scepter shall rise out of Israel- וְקָם שֵׁבֶט מִיִּשְׂרָאֵל(1598+3 words = 1601=8);
·         And he shall smite down the extremities of Moav -  וּמָחַץ פַּאֲתֵי מוֹאָב(1494 =18);
·         And ground down all the children of Seth- וְקַרְקַר כָּל בְּנֵי שֵׁת (1418 +3 words = 1421=8).
Rashi comments that he saw the glory of Jacob and his greatness that will occur at a later time. “A king will arise from Jacob and an anointed king will be appointed from Israel” translates Onkelos. Rashi calls it a good omen - a star shooting forth like an arrow from a bow. There will be a King who will reign .David is the King who will defeat Moab (Shmuel 2-8.2) according to Rashi. The children of Seth are all the nations of the world that descended from Seth son of   Adam.

The Sages teach us that this verse speaks of two saviors, King David and King Mashiach. Thus the verse must be read alternatively in two halves:

King David-I see him but not now
מלך דוד-אֶרְאֶנּוּ וְלֹא עַתָּה
874=19=10=1 or 1354+5 words=18 (Kaf 500)

Mashiach ben David- I behold him but not near
משיח בן דוד-אֲשׁוּרֶנּוּ וְלֹא קָרוֹב
1332=1+8 or 1992+6 words=26=8 (Nun 700)

King David- There shall shoot forth a star from Jacob
מלך דוד-דָּרַךְ כּוֹכָב מִיַּעֲקֹב
598+5 words=603=1+8 or 1558=19=10=1 (Kafs 500)

Mashiach ben David- And a scepter shall rise out of Israel
משיח בן דוד- וְקָם שֵׁבֶט מִיִּשְׂרָאֵל
1462+6 words=19=10=1 or 2672=17=8 (final letters)

King David- And he shall smite down the extremities of Moav
מלך דוד-וּמָחַץ פַּאֲתֵי מוֹאָב
788+5 words=793=19=10=1 or 2078=17=8 (final letters)

Mashiach ben David- And he shall ground down all the children of Seth
משיח בן דוד-וְקַרְקַר כָּל בְּנֵי שֵׁת

This tradition passed down by the Sages is further proved by dividing the six descriptions into “halves”-חצי three for King David and three for Mashaich ben David, and then adding their gematriot:

King DavidI see him but not now; a star shall shoot forth from Jacob; and he shall smite down the extremities of Moav
מלך דוד- אֶרְאֶנּוּ וְלֹא עַתָּה דָּרַךְ כּוֹכָב מִיַּעֲקֹב וּמָחַץ פַּאֲתֵי מוֹאָב
2052=1+8 or 3822+11 words=3833=17=8 (final letters)

Mashiach ben DavidI behold him but not near; and a scepter shall rise out of Israel; and he shall ground down all the children of Seth
משיח בן דוד- אֲשׁוּרֶנּוּ וְלֹא קָרוֹב וְקָם שֵׁבֶט מִיִּשְׂרָאֵל וְקַרְקַר כָּל בְּנֵי שֵׁת
3788=26=8 or 4998 +13 words=5012=8

The dividing of the verse into half is significant as the gematria of the word “half”-חצי is 108

Thus the two halves are 216 and the number 216 corresponds to the 216 letters in the Explicit Name of Hashem (72*3) and the volume in tefachim (6*6*6) of the Two Tablets of the Testimony.
The Daughters of Tzelophechad

 בנות צלפחד

B'Midbar 27.7

7.’Truthfully (correctly) speak the daughters of Tzelophehad; you shall surely give them an ancestral inheritance among their father's brothers; and you shall cause the inheritance of their father to pass to them-כֵּן בְּנוֹת צְלָפְחָד דֹּבְרֹת נָתֹן תִּתֵּן לָהֶם אֲחֻזַּת נַחֲלָה בְּתוֹךְ אֲחֵי אֲבִיהֶם וְהַעֲבַרְתָּ אֶת נַחֲלַת אֲבִיהֶן לָהֶן(10360=10=1 or + 17 words=10377=18 counting final Nuns, Mem and Kaf as 700, 600 and 500). 

The verse can be divided so:
·         Truthfully (correctly) speak the daughters of Tzelophehad- כֵּן בְּנוֹת צְלָפְחָד דֹּבְרֹת (1346 =14=8 or + 4 words=1350=1+8);
·         You shall surely give them an ancestral inheritance among their father's brothers- תִּתֵּן לָהֶם אֲחֻזַּת נַחֲלָה בְּתוֹךְ אֲחֵי אֲבִיהֶם (2439=18);
·         And you shall cause the inheritance of their father to pass to them- וְהַעֲבַרְתָּ אֶת נַחֲלַת אֲבִיהֶן לָהֶן(3025=10=1 counting final Nuns as 700).
The gematria of the words “you shall surely give them”- נָתֹן תִּתֵּן לָהֶם is 3285=18 counting final Nuns and Mem as 700 and 600.

Rashi comments here that their eye saw that which the eye of Moses did not see as Hashem said “So is this passage written before Me on High”. And moreover it is said (Sifrei 134):

Happy is the man whose words are confirmed by Hashem

אַשְׁרֵי אָדָם שֶׁהַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא מוֹדֶה לִדְבָרָיו

1818 =18

Abraham and Bilaam

אברהם ובלעם

Here we shall note a further fundamental correspondence between Avraham and Bilaam; the former for purity and the latter for impurity.

In verse 6 above it is written:

6.’And now please come and curse (for) me this People- וְעַתָּה לְכָה נָּא אָרָה לִּי אֶת הָעָם הַזֶּה(1926 =18 counting final Mem as 600) for they are too mighty for me; perhaps I shall prevail, we may smite it and I shall expel them out from the land-כִּי עָצוּם הוּא מִמֶּנִּי אוּלַי אוּכַל נַכֶּה בּוֹ וַאֲגָרְשֶׁנּוּ מִן הָאָרֶץ (1527+11 words=1538=17=8)for I know that whoever you bless is blessed and whoever you curse is cursed-כִּי יָדַעְתִּי אֵת אֲשֶׁר תְּבָרֵךְ מְבֹרָךְ וַאֲשֶׁר תָּאֹר יוּאָר(3635=18).
This is similar wording to the blessing that Hashem gave to Avraham (Genesis 12.3):

3.’And I will bless those that will bless you, and he who curses you I will curse-וַאֲבָרְכָה מְבָרְכֶיךָ וּמְקַלֶּלְךָ אָאֹר (954=18); and through you shall all the families of the earth be blessed- וְנִבְרְכוּ בְךָ כֹּל מִשְׁפְּחֹת הָאֲדָמָה (1719=18 counting final Kaf as 500).
The very fact that Bilaam wanted to curse Israel meant that in fact he was cursing himself. He ended up blessing Israel but at the same time cursing himself with the same words, as according to the blessing that Abraham received any blessing for Israel is a curse for him and those that hate Israel. This too Bilaam did not understand as he was “blind” in one eye-  שְׁתֻם הָעָיִן.

Indeed our Sages teach us that Bilaam is the opposite (nemesis) of Avraham in all of his manners. In Masechet Avot (5.19) it is written:

Whoever possesses the following three traits is of the disciples of our Father Abraham; and whoever possesses the opposite three traits is of the disciples of thewicked Bilaam. The disciples of our father Abraham have a good eye, a meek spirit and a humble soul. The disciples of the wicked Bilaam have an evil eye, a haughty spirit and a gross soul.
כָּל מִי שֶׁיֵּשׁ בְּיָדוֹ שְׁלשָׁה דְבָרִים הַלָּלוּ, מִתַּלְמִידָיו שֶׁל אַבְרָהָם אָבִינוּ. וּשְׁלשָׁה דְבָרִים אֲחֵרִים, מִתַּלְמִידָיו שֶׁל בִּלְעָם הָרָשָׁעעַיִן טוֹבָה, וְרוּחַ נְמוּכָה, וְנֶפֶשׁ שְׁפָלָה, מִתַּלְמִידָיו שֶׁל אַבְרָהָם אָבִינוּ.עַיִן רָעָה, וְרוּחַ גְּבוֹהָה, וְנֶפֶשׁ רְחָבָה, מִתַּלְמִידָיו שֶׁל בִּלְעָם הָרָשָׁע.
This conclusion is supported from the following gematriot: 

Abraham- a good eye, and a meek spirit and a humble soul

אַבְרָהָם - עַיִן טוֹבָה וְרוּחַ נְמוּכָה וְנֶפֶשׁ שְׁפָלָה

2872+ 7 words=2879=26=8 (final letters)

Bilaam- an evil eye, and a haughty spirit and a gross soul

בִּלְעָם - עַיִן רָעָה וְרוּחַ גְּבוֹהָה וְנֶפֶשׁ רְחָבָה

The joint gematria of the three traits of Avraham is:
·         A good eye-              עַיִן טוֹבָה= 802 (Nun 700)
·         A meek spirit-       רוּחַ נְמוּכָה = 335
·         A humble soul-    נֶפֶשׁ שְׁפָלָה = 845
1982+6 words=26=8

The joint gematria of these three traits of Bilaam is:
·         An evil eye           -  עַיִן רָעָה   =1055 (Nun 700)
·         A haughty spirit-   רוּחַ גְּבוֹהָה  =235
·         A gross soul-          נֶפֶשׁ רְחָבָה  =645
The Mishna continues:

What is the difference between the disciples of our father Abraham and the disciples of the wicked Bilaam? The disciples of our father Abraham benefit in this world and inherit the World to Come, and as is stated, "To bequeath to those who love Me there is, and their treasures I shall fill" (Proverbs 8:21). The disciples of the wicked Bilaam inherit purgatory and descent into the pit of destruction, as is stated, "And You, G-d, shall cast them into the pit of destruction; bloody and deceitful men, they shall not attain half their days. And I shall trust in you" (Pslams 55:24).
מַה בֵּין תַּלְמִידָיו שֶׁל אַבְרָהָם אָבִינוּ לְתַלְמִידָיו שֶׁל בִּלְעָם הָרָשָׁע. תַּלְמִידָיו שֶׁל אַבְרָהָם אָבִינוּ, אוֹכְלִין בָּעוֹלָם הַזֶּה וְנוֹחֲלִין בָּעוֹלָם הַבָּא, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (משלי ח), לְהַנְחִיל אֹהֲבַי יֵשׁ, וְאֹצְרֹתֵיהֶם אֲמַלֵּא.אֲבָל תַּלְמִידָיו שֶׁל בִּלְעָם הָרָשָׁע יוֹרְשִׁין גֵּיהִנָּם וְיוֹרְדִין לִבְאֵר שַׁחַת, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (תהלים נה), וְאַתָּה אֱלֹהִים תּוֹרִידֵם לִבְאֵר שַׁחַת, אַנְשֵׁי דָמִים וּמִרְמָה לֹא יֶחֱצוּ יְמֵיהֶם, וַאֲנִי אֶבְטַח בָּךְ:
This conclusion is further proved from the following gematriot:

Abraham- benefits in this world and inherit the World to Come

אַבְרָהָםאוֹכְלִין בָּעוֹלָם הַזֶּה וְנוֹחֲלִין בָּעוֹלָם הַבָּא 

846=18 or 3826=18 (final letters)

Bilaam- inherits purgatory and descent into the pit of destruction

בִּלְעָם- גֵּיהִנָּם וְיוֹרְדִין לִבְאֵר שַׁחַת

2053=10=1 or 4473=18 (final letters)

Every person is faced with obstacles and choices in life. Only choosing a life of Torah ensures life in this world and the World to Come. This is what Avraham chose and he received the Blessing of the Land.