|Week of November 21, 2010 Shabbat Vayeshev וישב,5771|
Hag Chanuka is rapidly approaching! Are you looking for Spiritual Gifts? Check out the Spiritual Gifts link on the Yeshshem website, please!
One can find many hints in his birth Parasha about His or Her Tikune. Do you know how to find your Birth Parasha and what day of the week you were born? This will lead you to your Aliya connection which adds additional meaning to your hints. Donations during the Holiday of Chanuka will give you this information and some suggestions as to what some of the hints are about. (This is a vow from Yeshshem).
This week the Parasha of Vayishev וישב is read. Vayishev is always read during the month of Kislev. The translation of Vayishev is "he settled".The essence of this Parasha is related to our comfort zone! So what does being in our comfort zone have to do with Miracles? Read my essay on Miracles!
The spiritual essence of this Parasha is Certainty which is the Hebrew word Vaday spelled ודאי. We need to define certainty. The opposite of certainty is coincidence. Coincidence implies that things do not happen for a reason. There is no ultimate Cause (Has V'Shalom). Certainty is the exact opposite. Certainty means knowledge of an ultimate cause (Hashem).
Genesis Chapter 37 Verse 1 to Chapter 40 Verse 23. There are 112 Verses and the code word is יבק Yabok. This word is used in Torah as the name of a river that Jacob crossed with his family and then he crossed back and ended with his battle with the man that is the way the Torah refers to the Angel of Esav. The root of this word Yabok is בקק, and this root has the meaning of empty, ruin or annul. The Zohar explains the meaning of this Name through its Gematria of 112. 112 is equal to 86 + 26 which is also Elohim + Tetragramaton. 112 is also equal to 65+ 26+21. This is the same as Adonai (Gematria 65) + Tetragramaton (Gematria 26) + Ehyeh (Gematria 21). This is also explained as the Unifying of the Names of God representing the levels of consciousness called Binah, Zeir Anpin, and Malchut. In essence 112 represents the unifying of all of physical worlds and 2 of the 3 spiritual worlds. Ultimately it teaches us that what happens in all of these worlds is empty because the only aspect of our lives that counts is that related to the world of Emanation. (The explanation about why the 3 lower worlds are empty is rather long. Essentially the lower 3 worlds of Beriah (Creation), Yetzirah (Formation), and Assiyah (Action - our physical world) all have changes that need to be made in order to transform the Transcendent light of the creator into the immanent light that we can have in our physical world. This means that these worlds have aspects of correction. There is never correction in the Creator. Thus these worlds will eventually be nullified and are actually empty. As i said, the explanation is very long and the above is just a hint of the explanation.
Vaday (Certainty) it the ultimate path to reach the world of emanation. There are 4 spaces in this Parasha. The spaces represent the 4 worlds.
Maftir: Chapter 40 Verse 20 to 23. This is 4 Verses with 1 space. On some years Shabbat Vayeshev occurs during Chanuka. When this occurs the Maftir is Bamidbar (Numbers) Chapter 7 Verse 1 to 17. There are 17 verses and 2 spaces. Some Congregations take the opportunity to add the Priestly Blessing reading which starts at Chapter 6 Verse 22. This adds 6 verses and 5 spaces. These congregations read 23 verses and have 7 spaces. This is recommended by the Mekubalim.
Sephardim and Ashkenazim read the same Haftara:
In most years: Amos Chapter 2 Verse 6 to Chapter 3 Verse 8. This is 19 Verses with 1 Space.
In some yeas we read the Parasha on Shabbat Chanuka. When that happens we read Zechariah Chapter 2 Verse 14 to Chapter 4 Verse 7. This is 17 Verses and 3 Spaces.
Written and Spoken Verses:
Chapter 39 Verse 20 has a word Asirai which is written אסורי while it is read as אסירי. Both words mean the same thing - prisoner. Yet there is a difference. One means a prisoner that has already been declared guilty (like Joseph) and the other one is a prisoner who is awaiting trial and verdict. In America this type of prison is called a detention center and is usually thought of as "easy time" by inmates of prisons. This is a physical explanation. The spiritual explanation is the Torah is reminding all of us that we are spiritual prisoners (our soul) in a physical body (our body) awaiting judgment and sentencing (The Final Day of Judgment). Actually some of us have been sentenced and reincarnated to this physical world for another lifetime and others are here for the first time (not many of us), and are waiting to be sentenced at the end of this first lifetime.
Dots: In Chapter 37 Verse 12 there are 2 dots over both letters of the word Et spelled את. The word Et has no translation. It is used as a grammatical tool to tell us which nouns are direct objects. The Zohar teaches that wherever the word Et is used in Torah it means that the Shecinah is there to participate. In this verse the word Tzon which means flock is the direct object of the verse.
Actually, the dots come to teach us that the flock being referred to is the Children of Jacob - the Heads of the Tribes. The phrase is Et Tzon. The dots over the word Et tell us that Tzon is the direct object. When read on the physical level the sentence is clear, so to hint to us that there is another understanding of the word Flock that represents the Crerators Flock. These are the Children of Israel.
Another explanation for these dots is that it is reminding us that HaShem (Sechinah) is with us (always) both in good times and not so good times.
Large or Small Letters: There are no large or small letters in either reading.
As promised, this year i will give some insights into the Haftarot.
Lets look at the Haftara for the regular reading. Amos was a wealthy cattle owner and a cultivator of sycamore trees. He came from the area of the Tribe of Asher. He was an older contemporary of Isaiah and Micah having been taught Torah by the Prophet Hosea. While Amos prophesized about the gentile neighbor nations most of his attention was about the moral decline of the Jewish Nations. This moral decline was exemplified by the exploitation of the poor and weak by the wealthy and powerful. In our own day this is referring to the Gentrification of our cities. (For those who have not heard the term, Gentrification means the raising of the rents in a city so that the poor can not afford the rents and must move further away from their jobs. The result is a further decline in relative wealth since it costs more to travel further to reach work, while the wealthy can afford this much more easily.)
It is easy to understand the relationship of this Haftara reading to the essence of the Parasha being Vaday (Certainty). I will paste some English translation of Chapter 3 Verse 3 to Verse 7. Just read these verses on a simple Pshat level and you will be able to see how it relates to certainty and moves away from the concept of coincidence which is the opposite of certainty. I am also including some commentary from various sources to help you understand this relation to Certainty.
English translations of Verse 3 to 7:
3. Will two walk together, except they have agreed? Coincicence or Certainty?
4. Will a lion roar in the forest, when he hath no prey? Will a young lion give forth his voice out of his den, if he have taken nothing? The first part, The holy spirit in the mouth of the prophet is the "roar of the lion". Just as the lion only roars when he has his prey, so the prophets only prophesy doom when the decree has been made. The lion also alludes to Nebuchadnezzar (Rashi). The second part, The lion does not roar before he has his prey in order not to give it a warning in time for it to escape (RaDaK)
5. Will a bird fall in a snare upon the earth, where there is no lure for it? Will a snare spring up from the ground, and have taken nothing at all? The first part, The enemy will not leave you alone and go away empty-handed (RaDaK). the Second Part, How can it be that you sin yet your sins will not be a snare for you? (Rashi).
6. Shall the horn be blown in a city, and the people not tremble? Shall evil befall a city, and the LORD hath not done it?
7. For the Lord GOD will do nothing, but He revealeth His counsel unto His servants the prophets.
Since Hashem is a merciful God, he warns his prophets to tell the people to do Tshuva. This is the only cure for removing chaos and choosing the path that leads to a peaceful world. Will you listen to the Haftara? Will you apply the Haftara to your life today. That is why it is being read to you this week. I hope you pay attention.
What about the Haftara for Chanukah. It is easy to see the connection to certainty. Chanukah is called the Holiday of miracles. Miracles take place only with Certainty. We all have read the detractors of spirituality to teach that the Plagues in Egypt are explainable by science and coincidence. It is only throught the connection to Certainty that we are able to refute their arguments. One of the spiritual laws is that Miracles only take place in the physical world when there is Certainty that they will happen.
The ultimate spirirtual law is that consciousness controls everything. If one sees (his consciousness) coincidence than the same event that some call miracle will not be called a miracle, it will be called coincedence or Good Luck!
This is the reason why the Holiday of Chanuka is concealed in the Torah and is not explicitly mentioned. It is concealed in the story of Noach and the Dove. There are gematria relationships in that story that mentions oil (the type of branch the Dove brought back) and 25 (which is why the Sages chose the month of Kislev and put in on the 25th day to start the Holiday.
If Chanuka had been explicitly said in the Torah then it would be much more difficult for people to say things happen by coincidence. This concealment is part of the system that gives us Free Will. You have free will to decide to see (conscousness) coincidence or miracle. Where do you choose to use your free will? Do you see Miracles or do you see coincidence? How much certainty (Vaday) do you have with your answer to the above question?
Lets turn out attention to the Parasha. Please read above, again, the definition of Certainty. I have discussed in my classes on Kabbalah which are available for easy and free download on the Yeshshem web site the idea of the difference between belief and knowledge and how knowledge actually means experience. How does all of this relate to certainty? The only path to certainty is through your experience of the ultimate cause which we call Hashem.
How do we see certainty in this Parasha?
The Parasha has Prophetic Dreams! Both from Joseph, and the two courtiers of Pharoh. Dreams are messages from your higher self which has a better (less veiled ) connection to Hashem.
Of course if you allow an interpretation of a dream to be said by someone who does not have a strong connection to the Creator (the Ultimate Cause) their interpretation still comes to pass. Here we see both certainty and free will.
Let me explain. In the Talmud a story is told of 1 sage who had a dream and went to all 25 professional dream interpreters that lived in Jerusalem at that time. They each gave a different interpretation. All 25 interpretations came true! This teaches us many spiritual lessons. 1) Our words have the power to manifest physically - so be careful what you ask for and what you say! 2) Only ask someone who loves you to interpret your dream - others will possibly bring a bad interpretation and that will manifest. 3) Dreams are not quite like prophecy. Dreams will come true the way they are interpreted. Prophecies will come true the way the creator intends them. There are many other lessons taught in the Zohar about dreams and their interpretations.
The Parasha has sibling rivalry. Even amidst sibling rivalry the Jewish search for truth (which is a search for certainty) appears. Even in their upset with Joseph they still interpreted the dream in a way that ultimately came true. They knew about dreams, after all these are the Childen of Jacob. Why would they declare that they would bow down to Joseph when they knew that by changing the interpretation another path would ensue. It must be that they loved Joseph or they loved Truth. According to the sages they loved Truth as this connects them to both the Creator and to Certainty.
Joseph is thrown into the pit filled with snakes and scorpions. It is only through his certainty that the dreams will come through that the miracles of his escape from death by his brothers and escape from the pit through the sale into slavery, which gave him another chance to connect to certainty.
In the Parasha there is another (the first is the story of the Daughters of Lot) seed level for the birth of King David and eventually the Mashiach. Tamar is being taken to be burned as a harlot. (She is the descendant of Shem - Noach's son who was a high priest prior to giving the High Priesthood to Abraham as the Midrash teaches. (It is only because she is a daughter of a Cohen that she is sentencted to be burned for being a harlot). How can one say anything but certainty allows her to say to Judah, "The man who gave me these (signet ring, wrap, and staff) is the father of my child". In the same circumstances would you not throw modesty to the wind and say "You are the father Yehudah!". How else do you call this courage but a connection to certainty!
In the Parasha is the story of Joseph in the house of Potiphar. What else but certainty do you call the story of being thrown in jail for rape when you actually did not commit the crime. How do you handle this kind of fate unless you have certainty. Without it, depression and other illness are your lot as we see in modern jails when people are convicted for crimes that we later find out through DNA that they did not commit.
And finally we have the story of Joseph asking the Cup Bearer to remember him to Pharoh, which he (cup bearer) did not do. This is a test of Joseph's certainty and he failed. The sages tell us that it meant he spent two more years in prison for his lack of certainty.
This is the spiritual law(s) that i want to discuss this year. We are taught that we need to do actions to help ourselves and not to depend on HaShem to make things happen in our lives in the physical world. This is true even though we know that everything that happens is part of HaShems plan of creation.
The midrash says that as the Baker and Cup Bearer were leaving prison, Joseph called out to them to "remember me". So why, when Joseph does what he can (reminding the cupbearer to remember him) he is given 2 more years in jail? Joseph was to have 10 years in jail as the effect of his tale bearing against his 10 brothers. Because he did not have Certainty that his prayers would be heard by HaShem, he asked the Cup bearer to remember him to Pharoh. Because of these 2 words (Remember Me!) he received a total of 12 years in jail - 2 more than necessary.
This is where the tools of Kabbalah come to help us understand this incident. The last verse in the Parasha tells us that the Cup Bearer did not remember Joseph and in addition he forgot him.
To answer this question above, we need to undestand that Joseph is a chariot ( a human who is also a direct channel to one of the Sephirot - in this case the Sephirot of Yesod). As a chariot the Torah uses stories about them (the chariots - Avraham, Itzac, Yaacov, Moshe, Aaron, Joseph, and King David) to teach spiritual lessons. Joseph did not loose his certainty. He knew that he would be released. He only acted with those words "remember me" to teach us the following spiritual rule: It is important to know that Hashem is always with us especially when we are at the bottom (having a difficult time).
Yes we are to do what we can to help ourselves but when we reach the bottom, then we must wait and depend upon our certainty in HaShem to manifest the physical change in our life that we pray for.
It is difficult to know when one has reached bottom. The only true way to know is to Know INTUITIVELY that you have reached bottom. This comes from using the tools of Kabbalah (The Zohar, The Ana Bekoach, The 72 Names, Tzedakah, Tshuvah, Mezuzot and many others) to enhance your intuition and ultimately it is only through exercise of these tools that your intuition starts to be heard regularly. Know that the voice of intuition is never loud but it can strong! Are you listening?
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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