|Week of September 14, 2008 Shabbat Ki Tavo Elul 20, 5768|
The name of this weeks Portion is Ki Tavo. It is a unique portion for a number of reasons.
In this portion are phrases from the Hagadah. The Mitzvah of the First Fruits, The Tochacah - the admonition by Moshe, and the first word is one of two Portions that start with the word that spells the Tetragramaton - although in a different order of letters.
The internal essence of this Parasha is graditude although it is difficult to see the connection between the curses and graditude.
The first word being the Tetragramaton although in a different order - the order associated with the Month of Tishrei, means that the portion is being injected with the energy of Chesed - that of mercy.
The Kabbalist teach that when someone is in lack - they need to call to HaShem for help. They also teach that when things are going well the tool to use for continuing that situation is also to call to God - in the aspect of appreciation and gratitude. Therefore it is easy to understand the connection between the First Fruit Mitzvah and appreciation. It is more difficult to understand the curses and their relation to gratitude.
Towards that end i would like to review a few facts. There are two portions where curses are spoken. ONe is our portion this week and the other is the portion of Bechuchotai. In Bechuchotai preceeding the curses are blessings and after the curses are also blessings. In our portion there are blessings preceeding the curses but there is no blessings after the curses. The Zohar and the ARI explains that there are 98 curses in this portion. The Zohar and the ARI explain that the the number 98 is the word Tzadi Chet which is a word that means cleansing. Motzei Shabbat is the beginning of the saying of Slichot for the Ashkenazi portion of our people. Slichot also relates to cleansing which is also related to the month of Elul and the action of Tshuvah. The Zohar and the ARI spend many words explaining how each of these curses are really blessings. Yes curses in our world can be blessings.
To explain this concept i will use a personal story. Approximately 5 years ago i had lost my job and was in a situation of being estranged from my family. I was being evicted and sent an email out to many people asking for someplace to stay or i would be homeless. In fact i was homeless except for 1 friend who gave me some floor space to stay on. As i am sure you can all understand this was not an easy time for me fand required an extensive amount of soul searching and questioning my relationship to HaShem. After all, i was studying Kabbalah and here i was homeless. How could i understand this process? While i went through this process i frequently thought of these curses. When, after a few months, and with HaShem's help i found other employment and found a place to live with a roommate who was someone who i could both study with and learn from, i think of this process of curses as truly a blessing. It brought me to a greater understanding of myself and my relatio]nship to/with HaShem. It is truly a blessing but when we go through the process it is sometimes hard to see it.
the Kabbalist teach us that HaShem is not the cause of our pain and many times he gives us opportunities to cleanse ourselves in order to grow spiritually. We are going into the month of Tishrai which is the month of scales - the month of balance. In order to find balance we need to be cleansed either by our own process of Tshuvah or the process of Judgment on Rosh HaShana. It is easier to cleanse ourselves than to receive judgement. If you are having problems doing Tshuvah call me or send me an email and allow me to help you with that process. You still have plenty of time. You just have to start! As in says in our writings "Open me an opening the size of a needle and i will show you the supernal wonders."
There are some unusual itmes in this weeks portion as well. In the 4th Aliya - chapter 27 verse 9 has 4 words - the first letter of which are Hay Vav Yood Hay which is the Tetragramaton with the sequence connected to the energy of the month of Leo.
In the sixth Aliya the ARI explains a unique name of HASHEM that is a vacine against pestilance. The name is Nun Gimmel Pay Sofit. It is in the 25th verse of the 28th Chapter. According to the ARI the correct vowels for this aspect of a vaccine against pestilence is Nu Gee Fay. When this word is reached it is reccomended that the reader stop and allow the congregation to connect with this information and meditate for a minute or two on Nu Gee Fay.
Also in the 6th Aliya is one of two places in the Chumash where the word we read aloud is not the word that is written. In this portion it is the 30th verse of the 28th Chapter. This section is part of the 98 curses and also acts as a vaccine against and transformation of the curses into blessings.
Their are 122 verses in this portion. The code word given by the Sages is translated as "his slaves". This portion including the curses helps us overcome our own slavery to the desire to receive for one self alone. This portion helps us do our own character transrformations. What aspect of your character do you want to change? You have a few more weeks in which the cosmos is going to make it easier for you to accomplish this.
The Sephardim continue the process while the Ashkenazi start Slichot this week. Why is it called Shichot? Samech Lamed Chet has the numberical value of 98 which is Tzadi Chet. This word means cleansing. It is not saying i am sorry. It is using the order (energy) of the Hebrew Aleph Bet along with the 13 Midot (attributes) of Mercy to cleanse ourselves. To judge our selves, in order to improve ourselves. Do not compare yourself to another person. Only compare yourself to the person you were yesterday. Are you higher than you were last Rosh HaShana? if not, what will you do to change your actions? One day, one hour, one minute at a time.
Enjoy the Reading!
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One of the main purposes of the Mitzvah of Hearing the Torah on Shabbat Morning is to receive the Metaphysical Energy we will need during the next week. Please strive to hear the Torah Reading each week for this benefit.
Chanoch Ben Yaacov
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