|Week of January 11 2009 Shabbat Shmot Tevet 21, 5769|
As we wrote last week, this week we start the Book of Exodus which is really called Shmot (Names) in Hebrew. This portion is the Keter of Chocmah or The Crown of Wisdom! There are 11 Parashiot in Shmot. There are 11 components to the Ketoret. There is a connection. B'ezrat Hashem We will discuss it below.
Why is the name of the parasha Shmot (Names)? Especially when by listing the names of the Sons of Yaacov (The tribes of Israel) the Torah uses a number of letters that perhaps are not necessary Has V'Shalom. The Torah could say "There are 12 Tribes in Israel without listing the Names and save letters.
Our sages teach there is NO extra letter in the Torah. So what do we learn from the Name of the Parasha and what spiritual tools are given to us by the Names of the Tribes? We learn that while the listing of the Names of the Sons of Jacob in Beraishit is about the energy of these names; the listing in Shmot is teaching about the energy of the nation. It also gives us control over the Mazelot that are opportunity for Tshuvah during the year.
Actually the Name Shmot is not referring to the tribes --- it is referring to Chaper 14 Verses 19 20 and 21 of the book of Shmot. These 3 verses conceal the 72 Names of God. We will discuss that at length in the Parasha of Beshallach.
The essence of this Parasha on the surface level is Redemption - the "going out" of Egypt (the narrow place) - the limitations of our own making.
Let us return to the Question "What is the Crown of Widsom? - Keter of Chockma?". Almost the first spiritual action Adam did prior to the seperation of Chava from Adam is to Name the Animals. A deep understanding of this action is also related here. The Keter of Chochma for you is your name. There is no coincidence as to why you are named "your name". This wisdom takes a long time to fully understand. I direct you to the web site www.yeshshem.com (which is being automated so that your name information will be available to you. Presently it is under construction and it is seeking donation to speed the process to completion).
There is a Kabbalistic Minhag to deal with the first six Parashiot in Shmot as a period of time called Sovvavim. This word which means a mischief maker or Mischievous child. It is also an acronym for the First Letter of each of the names of the first six Parashiot. Shin from Shmot; Vav from Vayera; Bet from Beshallach; Bet from Bo; Yood from Yitro; and Mem from Mishpatim. The Torah teaches us that this is a good period to do Tshuvah especially (from the ARI) with respect to sexual misconduct. There are many different Minhagim associated with this Minhag:
1. Fasting twice a week to Correct sexual misconduct
2. giving Tzedaka in lieu of fasting - per the teaching of the Baal Shem Tov.
3. Spending all day each Shabbat in the synagogue reading Tehillim (all 150 ) three times. This takes about 10 hours.
4. taking a vow that the only words you will speak during a particular day are words of Torah and what is necessary for your work. There will be no other words that will pass your lips.
5. Utilizing the 72 Names of God to help us with the process of Tshuvah.
To learn more about these customs i direct you to the website www.koshertorah.com.
This leaves 5 Parashiot in the book of Shmot. These 5 are somewhat unique. They appear to be duplicates of each other seperated by the Sin of the Golden Calf. The pattern is building the Mishkan; Describing the Kohen Gadol clothes; The Golden Calf incident; building the Mishkan; Describing the Kohen Gadol incident. This comes on one level to provide the cure before the disease. On another level it follows the concept in the Ketoret that one of the ingredients smells bad but teaches us that even difficult people are welcome into the Jewish Nation.
There are 124 verses in the Parasha. This can be Caf Dalet Koof. this means thin or fine palm. The code words we are given are Vayekach spelled Vav Yood Koof Chet and Ma'Adi spelled Mem Ayin Dalet Yood. MaAdi means my stumble. I prefer to think of it as translated as From my own witnessing. The word Vayekach means "and he took".
Please note that the Gematria of the phrase Tetragramaton Hu Elokim - God of Mercy is also the God of Judgment is 124. This statment is said seven times during Yom Kippur during Neilah. It is a truly amazing spiritual law that people should contemplate in depth.
The essence of the energy of Shmot is Mind Over Matter. Kabbalah teaches, as science is beginning to discover, that our consciousness manifests our physical world. This is a subject that takes a significant amount of understanding and is not an intellectual exercise. It needs to be experienced - just as the first of the 13 principles of faith declared by Maimonides is to "Know HaShem"! Don't believe in HaShem because belief implies doubt. One is saying i am not sure about HaShem - Chas V'Shalom. The word and essence of knowledge as used in the Torah - "Adam knew his wife Chava" teaches us the spiritual law - Experience HaShem. We are taught to "Taste and know that HaShem is good!" This teaches Taste can not be understood intellectually and neither can knowledge. One must experience God and one of the ways of acheiving that experience is learning to use the 72 Names of God.
Enjoy the Reading!
P. S. I really suggest you read last years email to help you understand this years. The link is on the left near the top. It will help you to understand what is written here.
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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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