|Week of February 7, 2010 Shabbat Shekalim Mishpatim 29 Shevat, 5770|
The Name of the Parasha is Mishpatim. It is also the Shabbat called Shekalim. Mishpatim is one of 3 Hebrew words that are translated as Laws. This word is explained as relating to laws that apply to human societies. Remember the purpose of a law is to dispense Justice within a Human Society. The ARI teaches that these Mishpatim also provide the basic framework of JUstice for the Soul which we call Reincarnation or Gilgulim (wheels of the soul) in Hebrew.
On this Shabbat we have a unique and special reading called Shekalim. This reading relates to us - it is about the donation of the half shekel for the upkeep of the Temple. This is explained, on the physical level, as the announcement that was made on the Shabbat before the Rosh Chodesh Adar to remind the people to make their donations of the Half Shekel to the Temple. Today 1/2 Shekel is about $7. What is its spiritual meaning?
No matter how much material wealth one is given responsibility for, NO ONE can not give more than 1/2 Shekel for the upkeep of the Temple. This teaches us that no one person is more important than any other person. In fact, we can not go back to the Ain Sof (Endless World) without each and every person. Therefore other people are more important than we are since we can not control the return to the endless without All of the other 6.5 billion human beings.
The reading of the 1/2 Shekel and calling the Shabbat by the special name Shabbat Shekalim is connecting us to this spiritual law - Others are as important as ourselves.
There is a deeper spiritual reason inherent in the 1/2 Shekel contribution. When one goes through a Jewish wedding ceremony one of the necessary actions is for the Man to give to the Women something of value. This is acting out the idea of sharing and receiving prior to the actual Zvug (sexual intercourse manifesting the marriage). The Talmud brings a very unusual comment on this subject. The Talmud says that if the Man is Righteous than the women can give him something of value and it satisfies the requirement for a marriage. The Talmud actually says that the Righteous Man by accepting the thing of value is actually sharing with the Women. This is very difficult to understand, yet, please try to understand the concept of giving pleasure to the giver by receiving something. Therefore your receiving is actually sharing pleasure to the giver. The giving of the 1/2 Shekel is actually a marriage of sorts between you and HaShem. By you giving the 1/2 Shekel to the Righteous Man (HaShem) you are receiving from HaShem. Actually there is a marriage between the Nation of Israel and HaShem. The giving of the 1/2 Shekel is one of the actions necessary to consumate this marriage. The marriage must be renewed each year and the giving of the 1/2 Shekel is part of that spiritual action.
The Temple is not built so where should we send our 1/2 Shekel. It is recommended that we contribute each year to a charity that builds the Land of Israel, because this will eventually build the Temple. Of course if you are one of the people who relates to the Land of Israel as a spiritual essence than a contribution to an organization that teaches Truth is appropriate.
There are 32 spaces in the scroll this week. 32 connects to the Hebrew word Heart and also to the 32 paths of wisdom in the Tree of Life. The heart of any Human society is its pursuit of justice. Ultimately these are the Mishpatim (laws) that each society follows.
Most Rabbi's and people find this Parasha "boring" (Has V'Shalom). After all who owns Oxes and Donkeys today? Who has a Hebrew or Caananite Slave today? The answer to these questions is YOU!
Each of these terms are referring to levels of our souls and apply to the Laws of Reincarnation as well as the Laws applied to the Judgement of our souls after death. For information about reincanation please review our series of 3 or more classes about reincarnation on our website. The recordings can be downloaded and are free of charge.
Briefly, After passing from this world and leaving the body to rot in the ground a soul is judged on its actions through out this lifetime. One of the possible judgments is that the soul is sentenced to Gehinom (hell). Another possibility is the sentence of the soul is to be reincarnated to complete its life lessons through learning to control the new body it is given. This is reincarnation - part of the judgment placed on the soul.
At the end of the verse (Chapter 22 Verse 26), it is recommended that the reader stop and allow the congregation to connect with the Central Column because the Verse is the middle of the Book of Shmot in Verses.
Rather than teach one lesson from one verse this week, i suggest one realize what is involved with each of the following verses.
Chapter 21 Verse 8 is a Keri Uktiv
Chapter 22 Verse 8 is a Keri Uktiv
There are 3 verses that have a word that is spelled one way and pronounced another. This happens many times in the Tanach and each time it comes to teach a different spiritual lesson. Why don't you try to understand these lessons yourself. If you want to write me at firstname.lastname@example.org to receive an explanation i will be happy to send you one. There are just too many items in this Parasha for the length of this email.
Chapter 21 Verse 14
Chapter 21 Verse 15
Chapterr 21 Verse 16
Chapter 21 Verse 17
Chapter 22 Verse 4 (also has a Keri Uktiv)
Chapter 23 Verse 4
Chapter 23 Verse 5
There are 7 Verses that appear to be set off by the spaces in the Torah. This means that they have a space before and after an individual verse and appear as if they are bracketed by spaces.
This comes to teach that there is a need to connect to HaShem in relating to these verses. Another way to understand this is to understand that the Frame of Reference or Sephirah for these Verses changes and that is the need for the bracketed appearance of the spaces.
Finally, there is a famous set of verses Chapter 21 Verses 23,24, and 25. These verses teach about a Life for a Life (Verse 23); am eye for an eye; a tooth for a tooth; a hand for a hand; a foot for a foot (Verse 24); a burn for a burn; a wound for a wound; a bruise for a bruise (Verse 25).
Why are there 3 Verses dealing with 1 item; 4 items; and 3 items? Of course, these are the perfect verses for teaching what the Zohar says about the Tanach. If one understands the Torah (Tanach) literally then one is a fool. These verses are not to be understood literally and it is important that one understand which Sephirah and to which subset of Sephirot each Verse connects.
While the order of descent appears to be consistent in these items (starting with a whole life and progressing down to parts of the body and less important types of wounds), the verses teach us that they are really different Sephirot that they connect. The 3 Verses connect to a Kabbalistic concept called Head, Body, and End. Within each of these there are these same 3 components and also 10 sephirot as well. So a life for a life is considered the Head. The Eye for an Eye is considered Chochma of the Head of the Body; tooth for a tooth is considered the Malchut of the Head of the Body; a hand for a hand is considered a Malchut of the Body of the Body; a foot for a foot is considered a Malchut of the end of the body; a burn for a burn is a Gevurah of the end of the end; a wound for a wound is the Hod of the end of the end; and a bruise for a bruise is a Malchut for the end of the end.
The question needs to be asked, Why does this information matter in your life today?
We can understand (as many people try to do) these verses literally. So when someone hurts me, i need to get even (Has V'Shalom). Or we can understand these verses as the Talmud teaches to make a monetary exchange for the body part and pain that is suffered from the injury. Or we can learn a life lesson that HaShem is in control. All of these exchanges (ie: eye for an eye) will be experienced by people in order to balance the universe. Leave the ultimate justice to HaShem. His judgment is Perfect. When we try to get even, our judgment continues the process because it is a human judgment not HaShems. His judgment if Perfect.
To give a specific example: A Doctor operates on an accident victim. He saves his life. Is it a life for a life or is it getting even because the Doctor's wife is having an affair with the driver that caused the accident. We do not have all knowledge and information so our perception and judgment is not perfect. HaShem's judgment is Perfect. Let him bring people to the situations that through their free choice balance the universes.
There is one unifying concept through out the stories and laws taught in the portion of Mishpatim. It is too realize the Avairah (Sin or mistake) of Complacency. While all of these laws and stories deal with physical manifestation they also deal with Spiritual manifestation. Our job as human beings is to live in all levels of consciousness. We can always think that we are doing what God wants when we are bringing Justice into our physical world but we always must remember that God wants us to be active and live in all levels of his creation. The levels of Atzilut, Briah, Yetzirah and Assiya. The levels of Emanation, Creation, Formation, and Action. When we become complacent we loose sight of the spiritual law about complacency. When we stop working on ourselves (called being complacent) we create a lack of balance in all of the spiritual worlds as well as the physical worlds. DON"T BECOME COMPLACENT, PLEASE!
Enjoy the Reading!
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Announcement 3: This is a weekly e-letter about the Parasha. Sometimes there will be all of the links - sometimes due to time limitations there will not be be all of the links.
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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