|Week of June 12, 2011 Shabbat Shlach Lecha, Sivan 16, 5771|
This week the Parasha is named Shlach Lecha.
The translation is "Send for yourself". Many times commentators name the Parasha Shlach because they have difficulty explaining Lecha as part of the name. The story is about the Heads of the Tribes who were sent into the Land of Israel before the nation was sent into the Land. Why was this necessary? The answers are not satisfactory to me. They are all physical answers that justify the reason based around the idea that we want to know how strong our enemy is before we attack the Land. An Army needs information about its enemy prior to engaging in warfare. Yet this is a Holy War commanded by God so why is it necessary to know the strength of the enemy. God knows their strength. God created them just as he did the Children of Israel. God is telling the people to go into the Land, so why do the people need to know the strength of the enemies. Are we not supposed to Trust in God and have faith that God knows what is best for us? There is an amazing spiritual principle taught by these questions and the answer which we will discuss below.
Here is a link for a cartoon summary of the Parasha. We hope you enjoy it.
The reading of the Parasha is Numbers Chapter 13 Verse 1 to Chapter 15 Verse 41. The total number of Verses is 119. This is ???. This word translates as "to go on vacation". This fits well with the discussion from previous emails on this Parasha explaining the idea of the Tourists (as Moshe told them to be) rather than spies (as they thought of themselves). Remember the same root word in Hebrew translates as both tourist and spy.
The code word from the Sages is ???. This word has many meanings. Here are a few of them that apply in my opinion: A soldiers separation center; refugee; survivor; to throw up; to spew; to deliver; to save; to give birth. I will let you decide what the Sages meant by these potential meanings and why they set this Parasha to this number of Verses (119).
To explain the above a little more, we must realize that the vowels that we use in the Chumash, the Prophets, and The Writings as well as the Number of Verses in the Readings, the code words, and many other aspects that we take for granted all come from the Sages. Yes when they determined these things for us they were doing so by receiving Ruach Hakodesh. What they gave us is what Hashem wanted us to Receive. The information, about all of vowels and No of verses and code words, comes from what is referred to as the Masoretic Text by the Academics. We must remember that the Torah has 70 explanations. When we set the vowels for a verse we are concealing 69 other aspects of this Verse. The Torah teaches all 70 aspects, sometimes we do not learn all of them. This is why Rabbi Shimon wrote the Tikunei Zohar as 70 explanations of the word Beraishit (The first word in the Torah). Rabbi Shimon was reminding us to always look at the Torah on the Micro level (word by word and letter by letter).
The number of words in the Parasha is 1540 spelled ???? or ???. The second spelling translates as your mother. This relates to the Sechina which is the mataphor for the female aspect of God who accompanied the tourists into the Land of Israel and returned with them to the encampment.
Maftir: The Maftir is Chapter 15 Verses 37 to 41. This is 5 Verses and 1 space. 5 represents all of the worlds. The 1 space is about unity. The subject of the Maftir is the Tzitzeit.The Tzeitzeit is considered equivalent to the whole Torah because there are 13 knots in the strings - when this is added to the Gematria of the word Tzitzeit we have a total of 613 - one for each Mitzvah.
Spaces: There are 9 spaces in the Parasha. This connects to both the Sphera of Chochma and Yesod. This does apply well. Chochma because the Heads of the Tribe did not show wisdom in their approach to slander the Land and the people becuase they did not demonstrate wisdom by having certainty that God would protect them. The Yesod connection is also true because this was the lead up to the manifestation of spending 40 years in the desert while the generation changed.
By the way do you know how many years make up a generation? Yes you are right it is 40. There were 26 generations from Adam to Moshe at the giving of the Torah which took place in 2448 (Hebrew Calendar). Moshe was 80 that year so His generation ended in 2408. It is 5771 this y ear. What generation is being born this year? The 111th generation. 111 is the gematria of the word Aleph in Hebrew. The Tikune of the 111th generation is to bring unity which is the essence of the letter Aleph. This is just another indication that we are close to the end times and consistant with Rabbi Ashlag's discussion that 5778 is the year for Mashiach.
Were you born in the 109th or 110th generation? Do you want to know what the Tikune of that generation is? The 109th generation is to remove hatred for no reason. The 110th is active manifestation of wisdom. Try looking at world history from the Kabbalistic Perspective and you will be amazed and it will increase your Awe of Hashem.
The Haftara is read from Joshua Chapter 2. This chapter has 24 Verses and 1 space. I will leave you to answer what is the connection to these 2 numbers, while i remind you the story is also about sending spies (tourists) again. Why would Joshua send spies (tourists) again? Did he not learn from our mistake in the Parasha of Slach Lecha which he participated in? We will discuss this below.
Written and Spoken Verses:
The Parasha has 1 word written and spoken differently. It is a word that gets translated as murmured or grumble against. It is in Chapter 14 Verse 36. The difference in the spelling is a yood in the written form becomes a Vav in the spoken form. The meaning of this is to show us the individual and also the collective mistake made by the people in believeing the report from the Spies as well as the inidivual and collective mistake made by the spies themselves.
The Haftara also has 1 word written and spoken differently. It is Chapter 2 Verse 13. It is the word that means "My Sisters". It includes a Yood in the written form and does not have it in the spoken form. This yood represents the children of the sisters as well. This is because Rechov asked that her family be saved in exchange for saving the Tourists that had come to her notice. This Yood also includes the Sisters of Rechov in Prostitution. Rechov was a madam in a brothel and she (Rechov) worked with other women who served as prostitutes. This Yood indicates even these people that we consider lowly in our world, are loved by God. People that we constantly speak bad about are also loved by God. This is the request that Rechov made to the tourists in exchange for saving their lives. Please consider that God allows the first letter of his name (Yood) to be used to teach us how precious all people (both high and low) are to Hashem.
Large or Small Letters: There are no large or small letters in the Haftara. There is a large Yood in the Parasha at Chapter 14 Verse 17. The word with the large Yood is Yigdal which means to grow or to increase or to develop. This word is said by Caleb to the People essentailly implying if you are with God then nothing will limit you or your accomplishments. This is the message of the Large Yood.
Columns: All columns start with a Vav.
There are 3 full columns and 2 partial columns in the Parasha.
The essence of the Parasha is a combination of attributes which we will discuss at length. The combination of attributes is Judgment and Certainty. I would like for you to think about where in the Tree of Life does Certainty originate and also Judgement. Judgement does not originate in Gevurah even if the name is translated as judgment. (In Earlier Kabbalistic thought Gevurah was called Din which means judgment).
As promised, this year i will give some insights into the Haftarot.
The Haftara is the story of 2 tourists sent by Joshua to spy out a particular area of the Land not all of the Land. It is the story of how a Prostitute by the name of Rechov became their saviour. Also the Midrash explains that Rechov did Tshuvah, became a convert, and married the Leader of the Jewish People Joshua. So inherent in the story is the potential for Tshuvah. I wonder how many of our Frum from birth (Born into orthodox homes) brothers and sisters would be willing to accept this type of honorable women into their families through marriage today. I wonder how many of us would be willing to do so?
This story relates to the Parasha as the same idea of spies. It also relates to the spiritual essence by telling us how the Prostitute Rechov arrived at her decision to help the tourists and for the tourists to accept her help. There is both judgment and certainty involved in both decision processes. Please listen to the reading carefully to get the full appreciation of this issue because i will not be able to go into it in depth due to length of the email.
Here is the message from last weeks email about certainty. This is the third week in a row where certainty is discussed and i am again giving you the opportunity to look at certainty and how does it apply in our life. It is always beneficial to review certainty because there is truly no limit to the growth of someone's certainty. We can always connect to greater and greater certainty.
I am going to discuss certainty today. Hebrew has 3 words that are a step ladder to the higher levels of certainty. the words are emunah; Bitachon; and the highest is Vadai. These 3 words are spelled in Hebrew ?????; ????; ????. The first emunah is usuually translated as failth or belief. It comes from the Shoresh ???? which is translated as "trust". There is another possible shoresh ??? which translates as "to bring up", to educate, or "to foster". This shoresh is also the word Amen which has no real meaning in Hebrew but is the Gematria of 91 which connects to the unity of Adonai and the Tetragramaton. When one says Amen to a blessing one is unifying the spiritual and physical worlds as 91 = 65 (Gematria of Adonai) + 26 (Gematria of the Tetragramaton). Adonai is the name of God used in the physical world while the Tetragramaton is the name of God used in the spiritual world.
Bitachon ???? is usually translated as Trust. Its shoresh is ??? which is also translated as "to rely on", "to depend on", "to insure" and "to be at ease".
Vaday is spelled ???? in Aramaic and Hebrew. It is translated as certainty in both languages. It has two potential shoreshim. They are ??? which is translated as "to verify" or "to ascertain". The other Shoresh is ??? which is means "to fly", "to soar", or "to glide".
If one says "I believe", they are saying I have some element of doubt. I do not have 100% certainty. One is actually saying i do not have personal experience of this description. An example is "I believe in God". Why do we not say i Know God? The Prophet has a personal experience of the creator. This personal experience can not be transferred to another person as thier personal experience because each human being must strive to have a personal experience of the creator based on their own personal desires. How close to you want God to come?
This is the level of Emunah, it is the lowest level of Certainty.
When one says i trust in God. One is saying i have reached a level of personal experience of God that usually proves to be true but i still have some level of doubt but less doubt when i say I believe.
When one says i have certainty that this is what God wants me to do, one is espressing absolute certainty without any aspect of doubt.
Why is this discussion needed for an understanding of man's relationship to God?
According to the Prophets, man is expected to reach a level of certainty about God in order to achieve Mind Over Matter. Unless one is absolutely certain the door one is seeing with physical senses (our eyesight) is an illusion and is actually not there. One can never walk through the door without opening it.
If the Armageddon war becomes necessary, it will be necessary for people to have the ability to acheive Mind Over Matter in order to save themselves. Any thing less than certainty will not allow someone to acheive Mind Over Matter and they will experience the meaning of death when they do not have to.
God has shown the Prophets the Armageddon War so that we can change our ways and not allow it to manifest in our world. It does not have to happen. Yet, it will not happen, only if we develop the ability to manifest Mind Over Matter.
How can we become "Like God" if we can not create matter and modify its form? To do this, we must manifest Mind Over Matter. To manifest Mind Over Matter we must know with certainty that this world is an illusion. We must know with certainty what God wants us to do in each and every situation in our lives. How else can we grow to the level of Righteousness?
The story of the Parasha of Shlach Lecha implies judgment. On a lesser level judgment is sometimes called discernment. A close reading of the words of directions that Moshe gave to the Spies teaches us that Moshe knew that the Spies might fail. So his directions teach us that he asked them to look for the Tree not Trees in the land. He knew the land was beautiful with much wealth coming from the ground. What he was not certain about was if the Land held the Tree of Life yet. So he asked the Spies to discern if the Tree of Life was in the Land?
The midrash teaches that the 10 spies discussed among themselves (as they traveled) what they would report and what would happen to them after they made the report. The midrash teaches that they were concerned with thier own status as leaders of the Tribes. This is why they reported that the Land was too strong for the Children of Israel.
Let us look at one message in the Midrash. Where ever they would travel in the Land the people of that area would be mourning someone important to them who died. Since the people were in mourning their normal vigilance about what was happening around them was lessened and they did not notice the 12 men traveling through their land.
The spies agreed that this must mean that the land was a cause of great death since so many people died at the same time. This is one judgment but a false judgment. What actually happened was God was causing these people to die so that the Spies would have an easier time. What is the proper judgment that the spies should have made? What caused them to make the wrong judgment? The answer to these questions is what is the spiritual lesson of Shlach Lecha.
If one is focused on themselves as were the spies then there is no room for Hashem within them. Therefore they could not have the certainty that Hashem was with them and causing these deaths for their benefit. They could only see the physical aspect of death in the Land and not the cause of these deaths being for their benefit.
Learning to judge is an important attribute of spiritual growth. When we judge ourselves, we cause God to not judge us. No matter what mistake (sin) we make the chaos that is supposed to come to us will not do so, as long as we do not judge another person. Of course the minute we forget this law and judge others all of that chaos is waiting to manifest in our lives Chas V'Shalom.
Certainty in knowing that God wants us to succeed is an essential tool in evaluating and judging cause and effect in our lives. Just look at the spies and the mistake they made. They were concerned that they would loose their position when the Land was entered. So they saw the Land as not beneficial. Knowing God wanted them to succeed would have allowed them to overcome this potential fall.
There is another lesson about judging ourselves built into this Parasha. The list of Spies that were sent does not follow any of the other lists of the Heads of the Tribes. It does not follow the birth order of the Sons of Jacob or the order of march in the desert or any other listing order that makes any kind of sense. The Sages teach that this listing was following the individuals personal spiritual level. With this in mind, we learn that Caleb, as the Tribe of Judah,was not first but third in spiritual level, even though he did not fall to the mistake the others made. We learn also that Joshua, Future Leader of the Nation, was not first but fifth and he also did not fall to the mistake of the Spies.
What we learn from this, Spiritual Heights do not prevent us from making grave spiritual mistakes. Therefore it is important to constantly evaluate where we are relative to those around us as well as evaluating where are we relative to where we have come from and where we are going to. Judging oursleves is not about judging others. Judging others (mentally) is only a tool to help us evaluate where we are. Just because we may be higher than someone else today does not mean we will remain there. WE MUST STRIVE TO GROW IN THE PATH OF GOD, not in the path that appeals to our egos.
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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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