|Week of January 31, 2010 Shabbat Yitro 22 Shevat, 5770|
The Name of the Parasha is Yitro. There is lots of commentary on why is the name of the Parasha that includes the revelation of God's Light in our world (the Esser Debrot - 10 Statements usually referred to as the The Ten Commandments) called after an Idol Worshipper who is the Father in Law of Moshe Rabeinu? The usual reasons usually do not satisfy me. This year i looked at the meaning of the name itself as well as using the energy verses from the Tanach. These are Verses that start with the first letter of a name and end with the last letter of a name. These verses have the same internal essence as the name under discussion. There were 110 verses that start with a Yood and end with a Vav.
There are 3 possible roots or Shoreshim for the Name Yitro. One is Yood Taf Resh. The dictionary says the Shoresh Yood Taf Resh means to add,to leave something for someone, to make superfluous. the Vav at the end of a word makes the verb possessive so that this name can be translated as His addition, His leaving something for someone, or His making superfluous.
There are 2 other possible roots for this name. One is Taf Resh Hay which can be to warned, or to be forewarned. Another Shoresh, is Nun, Taf, Resh which can be to jump or to hop, to be permitted, to be untied, to be loosened, to be released, to be absolved, and to be solved. I will leave it to you to decide for yourself the meaning behind this understanding and the Name Yitro. Remember Yitro has 9 other names in the Torah. So it is a very specific reason why This parasha is called Yitro.
There are 15 spaces in this Parasha. 15 is the Gematria of the Name of HaShem "Ya" spelled Yood Hay and represents the upper worlds. This is understandable and somewhat expected as the Esser Debrot represent all of the Mitzvoth - all 620.
We are taught throughout the commentaries on the Torah that there are 613 Mitzvot which relate to the 613 parts of the body and soul. We are also taught a metaphor that the Mitzvot form a crown for the creator. The word crown in Hebrew is Keter which has a Gematria of 620. Understand this metaphor well. A crown is something outside the body which adds something to that person. When we do a Mitzvah we add something to HaShem. Of course we can not add something to Hashem but just as a grandchild adds something to a grandparent when the grandparent feels Nachus from the grandchild, so we add something to HaShem when we do a Mitzvah.
The explanation is that there are an additional 7 Mitzvot not normally listed in the list. There are a number of explanations, for these 7.
One is that they are the 7 Mitzvot for the Children of Noach. These are mentioned in the Torah. There is also an explanation that the 7 Mitzvot are taught by the Rabbi's in the Talmud. These 7 Mitzvot are:
1. Netilas Yadayim (Hand Washing Ritual) for bread.
2. Laws of Eruv - taught by King Solomon.
3. Reciting a bracha before partaking of food or any other pleasure.
4. Lighting Shabbos Candles.
5. To read the Megilla on Purim
6. To light the Menorah on Chanuka.
7. Saying Hallel on certain occasions.
The Mitzvot of the Benai (Children) Noach are:
1. Avodah Zara - Prohibition of Idolatry: You shall not have any idols before Hashem.
2. Shefichas Damin - Prohibition of Murder: You shall not murder. (Bereishis 9:6)
3. Giluy Arayos - Prohibition of Sexual Promiscuity: You shall not commit any of a series of sexual prohibitions, which include adultery, incest, bestiality and male homosexuality.
4. Gezeila - Prohibition of Theft: You shall not steal.
5. Birchas HaShem - Prohibition of Blasphemy: You shall not blaspheme God's name.
6. Aiver Min HaChai - Dietary Law: Do not eat flesh taken from an animal while it is still alive. (Bereishis 9:4)
7. Dinim - Requirement to have just Laws: You shall set up an effective judiciary to enforce the preceding six laws fairly
There is a third categorization of Mitzvot done by the Sefer Chareidim which lists the 613 Mitzvot by the parts of the body. In this list there are 7 that are assigned to the eyes. They are 3 positive and 4 negative (do not) Mitzvot:
Mitzvos Aseh (positive - do these)
1. To Look at your Tzitzis - U'Ri'isem Oisam (Shlach 15:39) - Counted by the Smak and Tashbatz - There are many Sages who have listed the Mitzvot by different categories. Smak and Tashbatz are 2 of those Sages.
2. To read Torah SheBichsav from a Sefer and not say it by heart - Ksav Licha Es HaDvarim (Ki Sisa 34:27) - This is a branch of a mitzva (Anaf) and not from Taryag
3. To cry for the death of an Adam Kasher - VaAcheichem Kol Bais Yisroel Yivku Es HaSreifa (Shmini 10:6) - Anaf Mitzva
Lo Sa'aseh (Negative - do not do these)
1. Not to look at a forbidden women for the purpose of relations - V'Lo Sasuru Acharei Lvavchem V'Acharei Eineichem (Shlach 15:39) - Counted by Rabbeinu Yonah
2. Not to be Haughty - V'al Tiferes Rum Einav (Yeshaya 10:12) - Anaf Mitzva
3. Not to look at Avodah Zara - Al Tifnu El HaElilim (Kedoshim 19:4) - Anaf Mitzva
4. Not to look at forbidden women even only for sightly pleasure - V'Lo Sasuru Acharei Lvavchem V'Acharei Eineichem (Shlach 15:39) - Anaf Mitzva
When one reads these lists one is struck by the truth that some of these are actually part of the list that is included in the 613 Mitzvot. So what is the correct number of Mitzvot?
There are 620 Letters in the Esser Debrot. EAch Letter that we hear during the reading connects us to a Mitzvah which is a connection to our own higher selves (similar to the Metaphor of Keter - the Crown) and allows us to receive the Fulfillment from this reading.
The answer comes from your Frame of Reference. Are you doing a Mitzva to connect to the Body, Soul, or Higher Soul. When saying the Shma there are 248 words connecting to the parts of the body. When choosing to not do a negative action like "Do not murder" than one is connecting to the 365 days of the year. Know that there are always 7 concealed mitzvot that relate to the upper soul or Keter of Yourself. When one acts righteously (doing the right thing) one is activating one of these and drawing the Light of the Creator to the other 613 Mitzvot.
Learning How to be Righteous is one of the goals of learning Kabbalah and that starts with 3 daily actions and 1 weekly action. These actions are saying the AnaBekoach daily with the intention of connecting to Hashem. Saying the Shma with the intention of drawing healing to the body and soul of all of humanity, and activating the 72 Names of God and the Tzadikim during the saying of Shma. And afterward by scanning the Names of God with your Name interspersed within the Names of God, all with the consciousness of drawing the Light of the Creator to our physical World.
The weekly action is to hear the Torah and Haftara readings on Shabbat with the intention of illuminating the world by our actions during the next week.
There is an amazing secret in this Parasha. It is the secret of UNITY. Please look at Chapter 20 Verse 1. The translation is "God spoke all these statements (Debrot) saying:". When one looks at the scroll, this Verse is one of the few Verses that is set off by the spaces in the Scroll. This means that there is a space before the Verse and also after the Verse. This makes the Verse appear as being set apart when one looks at the column in the Scroll.
The Talmud teaches that this verse indicates that all 10 Esser Debrot including all 620 Letters were spoken at once in 1 Voice. This voice is something that a human being can hear, as a sound, and never understand. In Kabbalah and especially in the Zohar the word Voice (Kol) is a higher level than speech. Kol can only be received on the level of intuition while speech can be understood word for word and ultimately letter by letter.
This verse comes to teach us the spiritual law that we express each day when we say "Shma Israel HaShem Elokeinu HaShem Echad" - Listen Israel, HaShem is our God, HaShem is One!
When you hear the Esser Debrot, you have the choice of seeing 10 statements or knowing there is 1 statement consisting of 620 Letters which is 1 of the Names of HaShem. Remember, our sages teach that All of the Torah is a Name of HaShem. Can you relate to this attribute/Name of HaShem? The path of spiritual growth means to reach a level - step by step - that each attribute/Name of HaShem grows into the others and become ONE!
There is one other lesson to learn from the Esser Debrot. It comes from the metaphorical truth expressed by a Midrash. The Midrash teaches that after all of us heard this SOUND HaShem started to express each one individually. We heard the First one (Know HaShem), died and were resurrected by the Angels. Then we heard the second (No Idol Worship), died again, and were again resurrected by the Angels. We then asked Moshe to speak to HaShem and ask him to allow Moshe to be our intermediator. This meant that HaShem said each of the other 8 Debrot to Moshe and Moshe repeated it to us. When this happened we did not die. Moshe asked HaShem and Hashem concurred with this request. What is the spiritual lesson to be learned from this Midrash?
What does unity mean? Our sages teach us that HaShem is only Good. Therefore there is only Good in our world. Anything that seems to us to be bad is actually a form of cleansing and spiritual growth which is Good. Our Sages teach us that "We had only to die another 8 times and allow ourselves to be resurrected. Then we would not have sinned with the Golden Calf or the other trials in the desert and the Third Temple would have been built first. The whole process of History would have manifested with Moshe being Mashiach and entering the Land and building the Temple. Our current process of cleansing (approximately 3300 years of history) could have been shortened if we had only thought of others instead of our own fears.
No, these 3300 years have not been a waste (Has V'Shalom) just a longer period of cleansing than if we had chosen to listen to the other 8 "Esser Debrot" directly from HaShem. This information is a tool that can be utilized to help overcome our fears about the future and our uncertainty about HaShem (Has V'Shalom) today.
We can utilize this information about trusting HaShem to reach a true unity with HaShem. This level of consciousness is called Bitachon - Trust in HaShem.
Of course, there is much more that can be said and taught about this Parasha but this is the essence of it all. Everything is HaShem, Everything is Torah, Everything is ONE. Our lives are about learning to know ONE when we see many!
A good exercise to help in this aspect is looking/ staring at the Letter Pey when written in the scroll. A Kosher Pey has a Bet concealed within. Try to see both the Pey which is the word for Mouth, and the Bet which is the concealed Blessing, at the same time. Practice this and then grow to see the 4 Letters of HaShem's Name as 1 Name consisting of 4 Letters at the same time. It is doable but it takes practice in meditation. Saying the Ana Bekoach and the Shma helps our minds to acheive this level of unity. To see the exterior and the interior as ONE.
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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