Friday, November 13, 2015

Chayei Sarah - Dew is 39

When the first man, Adam, made a mistake of eating a fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Bad, he caused that there should be 39 curses, ten were for himself, ten for Eve, ten for the snake, and nine for the earth.

The number 39 in Hebrew is represented by the word "Tal", which means dew. To correct the curses, light that comes from the highest of spiritual levels, called "Arich Anpin," and which shines down like dew, is needed.

The forefathers tried to draw down this light. Abraham did not completely succeed, as evidenced but his imperfect son, Ishmael. Isaac, too, had a son Esau. Jacob was the first pure one who could begin the rectification (Tikkun). The word "dew" is mentioned in the blessing that Isaac gave him, "God should give you from the dew of the heavens...", and that is why he needed this blessing so much.

However, even that blessing he got from Isaac through deception, by pretending to be Esau. Rebecca took the risk on herself, by saying that if it is discovered, "the curses should be on me". Rebecca was the reincarnation of Eve. Her words can be understood as if Eve was talking: "It's because of me that there are curses. Now I am taking the risk and fixing what I did wrong." Previously, Adam was punished "because he listened to the voice of his wife." Now Rebecca is saying, "Listen to my voice, but this time for good."

Also note that the first time Adam's mistake came through food. Now Jacob, Adam's reincarnation, is fixing his mistake, again through food - by bringing Isaac a meal.

If one continues, one can find many more parallels between what Adam did then and what Jacob did this time.

With gratitude to Rabbi Menachem Sholom Krantz, who provided the initial content.

Art: Esau and Jacob by Michel I Corneille

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Zois chukas ha Toirah

My good friend Rabbi Naphtali Buchwald of the Houston Kollel shares a one-minute dvar Torah every Friday afternoon. Last week, he started like this: "Zois chukas ha Toirah," (quoted in his pronunciation). The Torah seems to promise us an earth-shattering lesson, but continues with the specific laws of purifying oneself from the impurity of the dead.

So it seems we don't get the promised earth-shattering lesson. But actually we do. Look in the Zohar, the beginning of the same Torah portion Chukat.

Rabbi Yose starts by praising the words of the Torah, which are sweeter than honey to those who study it. Then he asks, why here it says "Zot chukat ha Torah" but elsewhere it starts with a vav, "V'zot ha Torah asher sam Moshe..."

Vav is the hint to Zeir Anpin, and of it being connected inseparably to the Malchut (zot), or Knesset Israel. What is needed to make this happen? - Go and learn the Sulam or Metok Midvash commentary.

Subscribe to the one-minute Torah every Friday here.

Art: Woman Milking a Red Cow by Karel Dujardin