Name Gematria and Analysis in Hebrew and Torah
Ever Wondered What Your Name Means In Jewish Sources?
Monday, December 9, 2013
Rabbi David Katz
Society of today, due to our unique location in spiritual time, which many believe is the much anticipated time of the Coming of the Messiah, in many ways glorifies the hidden revelations of a redemption picture that is buried deep inside the Parasha. Just as the Parasha can be read either as semi-boring stories with light dramatic fantasia or depicted as the seeds of redemption still in its infancy of micro proportions, so too our society [Western at least, i.e. a World dominated by the Edomite Exile] can be seen as "nothing going on here" vs. "Moshiach just around the corner" consciousness. Vayigash in-depth will allow the student scholar to be able to recognize what was seemingly mundane happenstance [of life] and become able to elevate life into the exciting times that these truly are. We just need to learn how to look at what Hashem is doing to us in front of our eyes every day in this Messianic Life that we most probably are living. Should it be that we are not living in these times, then what joy it will be to have the Light of Moshiach shining with even more clarity, for even now the prophecies of the End are quite clear, and allow for the Parasha to shine bright in today's times.
In Torah law the House of Israel is composed of four parts: Priest, Levite, Israelite, and Righteous Gerim; the "Gerim" brings an exclusion of traditional "Bnei Noach" [non absolute believers in the 7 laws] and Akum/Goyim [idolaters by definition]. Thus effectively society is made of these components in our daily lives. These six people are the fabric of society, and once we understand them in the context of a Torah tapestry, as viewed in the World of Emanation [of which we strive to make reality here on Earth] we can begin to see how the light of redemption [i.e. the Light to the Nations] can become a reality. These relationships happen even without our knowledge; one can then imagine how powerful life can become when we sanctify God's light and help usher in Messianic rays of sunshine into a rather mundane existence devoid of the Divine. By simply knowing our Biblical place and root, and having the audacity to manifest this into modern society, we can the live the life that Torah demands, and ultimately begin to know the Torah on an incredibly more profound level of understanding. The goal is to return the Torah to the Prophetic from that of the wise; as the Zohar claims, we then become the agency that ushers in the redemption through Divine Mazal – Hashem's providence achieved within the efforts of Man.
The Enlightened Jew
For the enlightened Jew who is a Ger among the Nations [Ger – a person dwelling in a Land not his own. Thus the definition falls upon all who identify as such.]:
The Jew amongst the goyim will function as the Vilna Gaon describes as an aspect of the Messiah son of Joseph. He is a regular Jew in the normative sense, nor is he the Messiah. However in certain aspects he will illuminate in parts of his life as Joseph did before him, and to the keen eye, he will live a prophetic life [that of Mazal] recognizable by the apparent Torah that radiates from his intimate moments where the soul shines. He will prophetically die [as Moshiach ben Joseph is prophesied to die] in his shortcomings, if not literal, but certainly in the aspects [of the mundane].
The picture might look like this: a learned fellow, someone that is out of the box and choosing the Prophet [Tanach and Torah of Faith over repetitious wisdoms]; he most certainly is familiar with Midrash, Kabbalah, prophecy, meditation, Shem and Ever, the various types of non-Jews in the World, etc. Once one is familiar with the fringe domains of Torah, Hashem will inevitably collide worlds of Jews, goyim, Gerim, Amalek, Erev Rav, etc. and as much as this is the fabric of his existence many questions will invariably come up for him. "Why do I like this type of non-Jew vs. this other one?" "Why do I get on with some Jews and others not?" "Why am I seemingly being exploited for being Jewish, yet this isn't anti-Semitic?" In a sense, he is living the Joseph program every day, and has no clue until the day he connects his Torah to his private life – i.e. his understanding voice that echoes from God.
The story need not remain mundane and unidentified – for he is living Mazal! Think about the Joseph saga, and consider how basically the whole thing died. A new Pharaoh came who knew not of Joseph, slavery commenced, etc. etc. Yet we know in the End of days and the real Messiah program, Joseph will LIVE! The end of the line won't end with a Pharaoh and mundane existence. For the Light at the end of the tunnel is the Ger for the Jew! The bad Jews – Erev Rav, bad boss – Amalek, non-Jews not of Torah – goyim, and the strange friendship / bond between "Jew" and "non-Jew" is the enlightened Ger. Their strange bond to help each other is God's way of crying out with "Joseph still lives!"
Once this can be sanctified into a hall of light, the enlightened can censor out the Amalekite, goyim, Erev Rav, etc. from the daily living program – that which seeks to terminate Joseph. Now they can live, give vitality, talk about Torah of Life [i.e. Torah of Shem], bestow charities as righteousness, liberate those in bondage together, work for a cause – replacing money, witness the fantastic authenticity of God's World, indoctrinate others into Truth over trance, unpack the Tanach's mysteries through Ger – Chasidut, and ultimately end the Ger-keit of the Jew by sending closer to the Land and Temple – Light Service, while elevating the World into the Ger Tzedek program!
The irony is, this is Jewish reality 101, either in the mundane or in the holy; they are the same thing, we just lack Torah light to see the difference. Every Jew is one perspective paradigm shift away from turning his life into a Joseph lives sage, reversing the patterns of death / failure that Mankind has come to embrace for the exchange of currency.
The father of this type of thinking, i.e. positioning of Jews and Gerim goes back to the program of Messiah that only knows how to live – King David himself. For in Psalms, King David states the nature of all types of peoples – Jews and non-Jews, for he was the Torah's master of society, and namely life, the advantage of being King in Israel. Yet perhaps the most profound statements of King David are in his reports of how Redemption will come about and defeat the infamous Gog and Magog. He credits the whole redemption, in the clarification of the Noahide Laws, and the prophetic partnerships of destiny to what he calls the Men of Nobility [Truth – in the words of the Vilna Gaon] will turn to Jerusalem in the End of Days. Thus according to King David the Nations are loaded with Noahide Gerim who will partner with Light in the End of Days, bringing down institutions of religion at that time, and ending all evil – such that perpetually ended every Joseph in history. Now would be the time to Live!
The Enlightened Man of Nobility/Truth; The Ger
The Ger is he who lives in the World according to his Biblical self. He left idolatry, and like Naaman he seeks the Prophet of Israel; from there onwards, the Tanach is his existence, and for all of those around him.
The Enlightened Ger [Man of Nobility] is not that different from the Jew above, only now God has positioned these two bookends to meet through the agency of evil, while at the same time transcending every evil known to Mankind. Should they "work" together, we still have the Erev Rav, goyim, Amalekite [boss], etc. Only now, God has engineered that these two meet, embrace, and ultimately Love each other. Once they at least acknowledge this upper reality in their Divine Voice, Joseph will immediately "find life between them."
All of the World's vanities fly away – "Jews and goyim", money, competition, bad old beliefs, lack of authenticity, trance automaton behavior to life, lack of Torah [reality], false sense of life, mundane everydays, Darkness from God, "religion/believe in's", etc.
The bond between the Noble Ger and the Jew replaces the Jew and Pharaoh [even though all players here were Gerim, and even here Joseph played the part of Ger to the rest of the Brothers, we can very easily see how in the future this paradigm becomes the End of Days / Moshiach ben Joseph / David program] program. Life begins to if not inch up to the Messianic, then at least shed light on what that glorious time will ultimately look like. For just to perceive the Torah in motion, with its players, sagas, God's Hand, Mazal, etc. is to behold what will be in the End of Days. Our World of six thousand years will be the DNA in Gan Eden, the same life we live every day; the opportunity to live redemption is always an option, and add the fact that we are literally crawling into that time space, all the more so the green remains lit for those who seek to live the Divine.
Parashas Vayigash is the essence of Moshiach ben Joseph who dies – by the trickery of Pharaoh [even though by the will of God], such that this defines Torah history up until the Redemption that we are promised will see "Joseph" [all Joseph's – Jews and Gerim] Live. As the Haftorah prophetically alludes to King David [and all that he represents in prophecy] and the Parasha stresses that even from amid the evil Joseph will live, in the End of Days, the Gerim and Jews will unite in the way that the Brothers met with Joseph, the Lost tribes will meet their Brothers, etc. The Gerim are a part of Israel, and God will be glorified in the eyes of the Nations, when the Light will be revealed in these hind quarters – the essence of Good in life.
To Love the Ger is not for personal gain, but simply because God decreed it as such, and He makes it His business to become involved with these affairs. God is good, and that should be enough, yet with God's good comes Love and Mazal intertwined; the Love affair between Ger and Jew becomes a gift from God's Love of these two peoples, to which the beauty of Song of Songs expresses all types of Love, not to the exclusion of all Messianic Love. The Faith element will become a little bit easier once we all experience that "I am Joseph" moment that Hashem is destined to pour out onto Mankind, in the universal language of "I am God" – finally, but until then it is our job between Jews and Gerim to have our own "I am Joseph" moment together in life [overturning death], spreading the Torah's hidden light into our immediate local domain.
It is amazing to think that all it takes is a small trek out from the backyard, open your eyes, and suddenly realize you were standing next to your Brother the whole time. Joseph was there living the whole time, you know…and as we saw, he was dying to say it with conviction.
In-Depth Audio [Covering Parasha] Mon 11 P.M. Tzfat Time
Friday, December 6, 2013
by Joe Indomenico.
In Parashat Vayigash, Yehudah and Yosef confront each other. As the Midrash explains, Yehudah, "the lion,"king of the beasts, faces Yosef, "the ox," king of domestic animals. The other brothers stand aside, leaving it to the two leaders to fight their verbal battle. But as Yosef reveals himself , all animosity melts away and there is total unity among the brothers.
The parashat portends the future. The two kingdoms remained bitter rivals until the very end. But just as Yosef and Yehudah were reconciled with each other, the Prophet Yechezkel foretells that in the future, perfect unity will reign among the whole house of Yisrael. Both houses will contribute to Klal Yisrael's future redemption: Mashiach ben Yosef will pave the way and Mashiach ben David will complete the redemption.
We all know the imagery that is employed in conveying the message of Yechezkel. However, it is interesting to note that the prophet actually holds two tree branches together whilst making the prophecy. Why was this necessary when a verbal message would have sufficed ?
There are two reasons why a prophet sometimes accompanies his message with a symbolic action...... A physical demonstration makes a deeper impression on the people, the better to help them understand his message and generally, a prophecy from HaShem is conditional. Teshuva can reverse an evil prediction for the sinner involved. Vice versa, a good prophecy can be nullified if the person concerned, sins. The only time a prophecy becomes irreversible is if the prophet reinforces his words with a symbolic action.
Thus, the prophecy of the future union of the two kingdoms became irreversible by Yechezkel's action of holding the two tree branches together as one. It is interesting to note that the original prophecy concerning the split of the two kingdoms was also accompanied by a symbolic action in 1 Kings 11 where Achiyah the prophet seized his garment and tore it into twelve pieces, giving Yeravam 10 pieces. But for the sake of King David two tribes were given to Shlomo's son, Rechavam. Further along we read in verse 39 that this will not last forever. With these words, Achiyah hinted that in Mashiach's time both kingdoms will reunite and once again become "one tree," under the rulership of the Davidic Dynasty.
The Hebrew wood utilized is "etz - tree" or "etzim - trees." Chida in "Tzavrai Shalal," explains that tree or wood was used for this symbol in order to hint that in Mashiach's time the sin of the "Tree of Knowledge" will be atoned. All jealousy and baseless hatred will then vanish.
From the cool crisp mountain air of Tzfat and the balmy sub-tropical breezes of the South Pacific, Rav Katz and I wish you a Shabbat Shalom.
Wednesday, December 4, 2013
by Joe Indomenico.
Mazal is the power of man to activate HaShem's Hashgachah Pratit - Divine Providence.
"Every man of Israel has a root above with his name according to the root of his soul and the merit of his forefathers. As is known, the name given a child at his birth is not given by chance; rather, the name is placed in the mouth of his father by Heaven according to the root of his soul." Soul Mazal Mission Statement.
לבנימין, לבנימין, לבנימין אמר
ידיד ה' ישכון לבטח לבטח עליו
Of Benjamin he said: The beloved of the LORD shall dwell in safety by Him
(Dvarim 33:12 / Deuteronomy 33:12)
Of Benjamin he said: The beloved of the LORD shall dwell in safety by Him
(Dvarim 33:12 / Deuteronomy 33:12)
The Son of my Sorrow has become the Son of my Right Hand.
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
Monday, December 2, 2013
Echoes of Prophecy
Rabbi David Katz
When we recall the theme in last week's Parasha, quite simply one could stand on one foot and with ease tell over a tale of wisdom vs. prophecy; Joseph was the wise man and his Brothers were the school of prophecy. This week is an entirely new saga, with massive swings in momentum, as Joseph finds his lost tools of prophecy, while the Brothers are reduced a poor man's version of Greek Wisdom. Not for naught does this Parasha fall onto Hanuka, the essence of Torah "Thought" [prophecy] over Greek [finite] wisdom. In a truly Hanuka – like scenario, where Joseph goes up against all odds it seems, we are to lay witness to the rise of the prophet in Joseph, and finally learn the painful lessons of the Torah in matters of Prophecy over wisdom, as evidenced from the Brothers.
The flow of the article will take place from the standing of the end of the Parasha, and then backtrack to the beginning of last week, in an almost review of the incidents, and culminate into a dramatic climax of Prophecy over Wisdom display within this story, sending us on our way to next week's massive revelation of "I am Joseph" that profoundly shakes the World to this day.
Joseph is Viceroy over Egypt, he interpreted Pharaoh's dream by employing his deep reservoir of prophecy, he learned to embrace the Torah of Shem – in that he becomes the master [Man] of Torah Mazal – working with the hand of God, and sees his own dreams come true, as the Brothers are bowing at his feet. While in an ironic twist of irony and fate, Joseph's dreams come true, the Brothers revert to the wise man in face of Joseph the master prophet [a true sign of the School of Shem and Ever], and Joseph reveals a new twist in the story, by revealing a new element to the dreams he dreamed; the Brothers were to be seen as spying on the land. [Do we need to think hard about the ramifications to the Spies and Joseph's Tribe that will commence in the Desert with Moses?!]
The Talmud understands that dreams are 1/60 of Prophecy [while in reality they are totally prophetic, and the 1/60 is a Kabbalistic ingredient] and that dreams contain a bit of foolishness, such that we can all relate to our wild experiences in even our most serious dreams. The foolishness comes into view from our active ego – evil inclination – animal soul level present in the body during sleep – that causes an impure feel to our dreams. The secret matter of this fact is that the dream to become the most powerful, it must be attempted to be interpreted in a pure fashion, despite the challenges of the insanity within sleep. We see this in two very clear examples in the Parasha, with Joseph making it known that the hurdle with his brothers would be in trying to convey that they were spying a land ruled by Joseph?! [Which in real time it becomes quite clear by the end of the Parasha]
And Pharaoh with his attempt to fool Joseph on the fact that he stood on the river [as opposed to the bank; Kabbalistically Joseph IS a river, for in Kabbalah his level is synonymous with "river", thus making absurd Pharaoh's claims] was seen by Joseph to be clearly an insane ego rant, to which Joseph challenged and received the proper answer that he stood on the bank of the river. Thus what may have seemed illogical and foolish to Pharaoh, made sense to Joseph, as he was willing to interpret with God's help by a pure path, and turn the foolishness into the prophetic impetus that allowed him to predict the future. It should be noted that King David brings down in Psalms, that this episode of Joseph brought merit to his name, by God adding the sacred letter "Heh" to his name. The Prophet was born, and now able to live out prophecy.
From there the story between two Parashas is quite simple: we see overtures of prophecy and wisdom, the episodes of Joseph and the Brothers, slavery to majesty, Israel to Egypt, and all in the name of everything as we knew it practically being flipped from last week to this week. He who was a prophet, was now wise, the slave became king, etc.
This story until now is quite interesting, yet all that is missing is the crux of the story itself! An analogy is in the dichotomy of Light and Mitzvah; for we can study the Light within the Mitzvot, but without the actual action itself, of what use if the Light?! Thus just as last week was thin around the bone [half pun intended] within the context of the entire episode revolving an obscure definition of events by the Midrash, that the Brothers quarreled over "Eating the limb of a live animal" – our Parasha this week certainly needs a rally point! We have the scenery, but the stage needs a bit of Broadway.
Look no further than Reuven being the First Born that he is [as the Zohar points out that Reuven, although he "lost" his right, he retained a very great Blessing as the realistic First Born for he has a special role throughout history in aiding Moshiach ben Yosef through the generations until the climatic End of Days. It should be noted that the Zohar hints of this nature by the mere fact that our Parasha's name resonates with redemption by the usage of "the END" in Miketz], for he reveals the entire umbilical cord between both this week and last week's Parshiot, as he says, "And his [Joseph – as he is talking in the presence of Joseph!] Blood, as well – behold! Is being avenged!" [42:22]
The Final Analysis
· The debate between the Brothers and Joseph was over "Eating the Limb of a live animal" according to Midrash.
· The quarrel was a contest of Prophecy vs. Wisdom
· Pre Sinai vs. Post Sinai
· Assumption of "If the Brothers were in sin or not by the view of Joseph and even themselves – based on the Law and/or relevance to Sinai positioning, i.e. as Jews or Noahides.
· Joseph was condemned and thrown gravely into the pit as having desecrated the sanctity of prophetic prowess, and having been seen as something inept.
· This was a final result of dreams in poor taste/interpretation, such that led to God's active Hand in the story…
"Do not eat the limb of a live animal" – [Genesis 9:4] "But flesh; with its soul its blood you shall not eat. However, your blood which belongs to your souls I will demand…" The simple rationale of the verse follows simple logic: Adam was prohibited meat, and this led to mass murderous temptations before the Flood. After the Flood, Noah was given meat, yet with stipulation; should you break protocol, you will find your ways to be savage, seek to kill, and rest assured, your blood that you spilled will be avenged – measure for measure. Thus to eat "kosher" is to become refined and dissolve animalistic temptations that comes with foul methods of meat consumption. It is for this reason that the Torah develops a massive overhaul in the meat department as the Torah progresses, and even comes to typify the Ger Toshav and his journey into Mitzvot, for the connection between the Jew and the Ger is in the charity of meat that only the Ger and Nochri [gentile] can eat. Love the Ger and all treks into Judaism, revolve around this point.
Reuven reminds the Brothers that perhaps "Joseph's blood is being avenged!" Now if we plug that statement into real time, look at what we have – replacement theology at its best. The Brothers would acknowledge by this position that Joseph's blood was being avenged, for they thought that they murdered him. Since they murdered him, it must be as the verse said [and the same word for avenged is used by Noah's commandments] that they ate meat improperly. The penalty is that "you will spill blood and it will be avenged!" The outcome of such a scenario is that perhaps Joseph was right through wisdom [as opposed to prophecy] all along, the Brothers were wrong [which includes the pre/post Sinai scenario – Noahides vs. Jews at the same token] and that their view of Torah was in fact wrong.
At this rate they killed the Truth in Joseph and by proximity Jacob their father! This would be the Torah's account of Chaos Theory at its best. Only the Brothers forgot the most important principle of Joseph – Joseph [always] still lives by the Hand/Mazal of God, and that’s what this journey was/is about, with Joseph playing the tune to perfection that God is practically shouting in their ears.
The greatest irony of all is as they were tearing apart the universe with Torah chaos theory, Joseph was indeed standing there the whole time, which doubles as the only possible outcome that would make the story make sense. Joseph represents the Moshiach ben Joseph figure of the future, by whose hand is responsible for success in redemption by the time of the revealed end, to which we say, "Joseph still lives." We clearly lay witness in these Parshiot that the Torah is consistent and telling a valuable lesson of Life and Mazal that Joseph does indeed live! [The prophecies of Moshiach ben Joseph are that he is to die, much like we thought of his father Joseph, yet God always has a different avenue to take, and revelation of Mazal at its best.]
Interestingly, we see that this story doubles with the life of Jacob, as he also is battling the prophecy vs. wisdom debate in his own soul, as Hashem was quiet with him for these past twelve years that he was separated from Joseph. Jacob begins to come back to life, as he prophetically "sees" that there are provisions/hope in Egypt, that he somehow recognizes as Holiness and a strange Mazal that he is familiar with [i.e. Joseph; interesting to note the word used for "seeing" by Jacob adds up to 217 – "I am Joseph"]
The undertones of these Parshiot are nearly identical from week to week in these past two weeks; yet what is simply amazing is the outcome when prophecy is applied, and provided that we interpret with a side of purity. The Midrash about the eating meat is pretty standard in Torah circles, and the scenic spiritual conditions are quite evident all the way through the stories, even paralleled into the Haftorah each week. Yet when we take the simple meaning seriously - holy and pure, such that the story line only drives home if we use the seemingly benign scenario of the prohibition of improper eating of meat to its absolute destination and conclusion, we can see an entire Torah point of view fall into focus by simple diligence, much like Joseph employed with his dreams.
This is a classic example of a prophetic exegesis [follow through], as opposed to a more shallow attempt from wisdom by product of a weekly bailout. To say that the Brothers never blinked, provides tremendous context to a plotline that began like a snowflake last week, and suddenly this week we find ourselves bowled over by an avalanche that is terribly easy to lose of where it came from. Thus from one little act of persistence, we find relevancy in the Parsha, one that contains epic proportions for today's pre-redemption World – should they be true in our day. [Prophecy, Wisdom, Noahide Laws, Sinai, etc.]
The good news is, is that the Torah is eternal and doesn't change, and with a simple adherence to the prophetic discipline, we have gained insight to the true Tree of Life – by witnessing real life echoed through ancient sacred ink. While we have made perfectly clear the wisdom vs. prophecy points of view, and proven them to a practical conclusion, it’s the hidden aspect that remains in the shadows that perhaps sheds the most light – the act of diligence to sanctify God, such that defines Joseph. Joseph didn't let go of anything, not his dreams, their interpretations, and the purity of slavery. By that token, the Brothers never severed cord with the incident of that fateful day that led Joseph to his plight, one that was borne of those dreams.
And yet the most important application is not in Joseph and the Brothers but in the Messiah son of Joseph and ALL of the Brothers that will exist in the End of days, a team of Jews and Gerim, who will together fight for the Redemption of the Gerim [Ramchal commentary on Ruth], a struggle that personifies not only Joseph, Miketz, etc., but sanctifies the Name of God to the highest order, and is an expression of the entire Torah, from that one foot position - 1/70 Faces thing again. But to Gerim and Jews of Light, it's simply called Prophetic Truth.
Audio Class [Parasha in - depth based on article] Monday 11 P.M. Tzfat Time