Sunday, December 21, 2008

Ramazei DiOraysa: Hints in the Torah Volume 1 Issue 9

רמזי דאורייתא
Ramazei DiOraysa: Hints in the Torah
Volume 1 Issue 9

It is said (Bereishis 32:4) vayeishev Yaakov bieretz migurei avail bieretz Canaan, Yaakov settled in the land of his father’s sojourning, in the land of Canaan. Rabbeinu Bachye writes that it is permitted for one to change the vowels of a word to employ a homiletical interpretation to a verse in the Torah. Thus, we can suggest that the word vayeishev, written with a tzerei under the letter shin, can be read as vayasheiv, with a patach under the letter yud and with a segol under the letter shin. The word vayeishev means and he blew away (see Bereishis 15:11). This alludes to the idea that Rashi writes that Yaakov saw all of the chiefs of Esav mentioned at the end of Parashas Vayishlach and the solution to eliminating them was eileh toldos Yaakov Yosef, these are the chronicles of Yaakov: Yosef, as Yosef was the flame that would extend the fire of Yaakov and destroy Esav, who is symbolized by straw.

The Baal HaTurim writes that the word migurei can also mean fear. It is noteworthy that Yitzchak (208) is equal in gematria to the word gur (209), which means fear, and Yitzchak is described as (Bereishis 31:42) pachad Yitzchak, the dread of Yitzchak.

It is said (Bereishis 37:2) vihu naar es binei Vilhah vies binei Zilpah nishei aviv, but he was a youth with the sons of Bilhah and the sons of Zilpah, his father’s wives. This passage can be interpreted homiletically as follows: Yosef was naar, i.e. engaged in, Vilhah, which equals in gematria 42, and one of the Names of HaShem is the Name of 42. The word Zilpah can be arranged as follows: the zayin and the hey equal 12, which alludes to the idea that the Gemara (Sota 36b) states that Yosef was worthy of having 12 tribes born to him, if not for the incident that occurred with the wife of Potiphar. The letters lamed and pay equal in gematria 110, and this alludes to the years that Yosef lived.

It is said (Bereishis 37:3) viYisroel ahav es Yosef mikol banav ki ven zekunim hu lo viasah lo kisones pasim, now Yisroel loved Yosef more than all his sons since he was a child of his old age, and he made him a fine woolen tunic. The word zekunim (207) is equal in gematria to the name Yitzchak (208), and this alludes to the idea that Yaakov loved Yitzchak because he was similar to his father Yitzchak, and Yosef was the continuation of the tradition from Avraham and Yitzchak.

It is said (Bereishis 37:5) vayachalom Yosef chalom, Yosef dreamt a dream. The word chalom contains the same letters as lechem, bread, alluding to the fact that the first dream of Yosef was regarding bread and sustenance that Yosef would ultimately provide to his family in Egypt.

It is said (Bereishis 37:7) vihinei anachnu mialmim alumim bisoch hasadeh, behold! we were binding sheaves in the middle of the field. The Medrash (Bereishis Rabbah 84:10) states that Rabbi Acha said that Yosef was intimating to the brothers that in the future you will conceal (the word alumim, written with an aleph, can also be read with an ayin, meaning concealed) matters regarding me from our father and he will say (Ibid verse 33) chaya raah achalashu, a savage beast devoured him. It will be the silence of my mother Rachel that will ultimately save me (see commentators to Medrash regarding how Rachel’s silence ultimately saved Yosef). It is noteworthy that the stone on the Choshen that symbolized Binyomin was referred to as yashfeh (Shemos 28:20) and the Medrash (Esther Rabbah 6:12) interprets the word yashfeh to mean yesh peh vishoseik, there is a mouth and he remains silent. This alludes to Binyomin who knew about the brother’s sale of Yosef but did not reveal it. The word mialmim (161) is equal in gematria to the name Binyomin (162).

It is said (Bereishis 37:20) vinashlicheihu biachad haboros, and throw him into one of the pits. The Medrash (Bereishis Rabbah 84:16) states that when Yosef was cast into the pit, Yaakov’s pit, so to speak, became empty of Torah. The word haboros is equal in gematria to 613, which alludes to the 613 mitzvos contained in the Torah.

It is said (Bereishis 37:26) vayomer Yehudah el echav mah betza ki naharog es achinu vichisnu es damo, Yehudah said to his brothers, “what gain will there be if we kill our brother and cover up his blood?” It is noteworthy that the words mah betza (207) equal in gematria the word raz, secret, and the word ohr, light. This alludes to the idea that by Yehudah uttering these words and saving Yosef from death, he merited to retain his kingship and have Dovid and Moshiach descend from him (see Rashi Bereishis 49:9). Thus, contained in Yehduah’s words were the secret and light of Moshiach.

It is said (Devarim 33:11) bareich HaShem cheilo ufoal yadav tirtzeh michatz masnayim kamav umisanav min yikumun, bless, O HaShem, his resources, and favor the work of his hands; smash the loins of his foes and his enemies, that they may not rise. Rashi writes that this verse alludes to the battle that the Chashmonaim waged against the Greeks. It is noteworthy that the word cheilo forms an acrostic for the words Chashmonaim, Yevanim, and the letters lamed and vav equal in gematria 36, which is the amount of candles we light on Chanukah. Furthermore, the word yadav equals in gematria 30, which alludes to the idea that the Chashmonaim donned the mantel of kingship which belongs to the tribe of Yehudah, and the name Yehudah is equal in gematria 30, and the Mishna (Avos 6:6) states that kingship is acquired with thirty privileges.

The word Chashmonaim contains an allusion to the decrees that the Greeks instituted against the Jewish People. The first three letters ches, shin, and mem allude to Chashmonaim, Shabbos and milah.

The Maharal (Ner Mitzvah) writes that the word heichal, sanctuary, equals in gematria 65, and the word Yavan, Greece, equals in gematria 66. This teaches us, writes the Maharal, that the Greeks was able to be above the Heichal. It is noteworthy that in the song Maoz Tzur that is sung on Chanukah, we recite the words binei vinah yimei shemonah kavu shir urinanim, men of insight- eight days established for song and jubilation. The word binah equals 67, intimating that by battling the Greeks mentally and spiritually, the Chashmonaim were able to defeat the Greeks and their false philosophies. This idea finds further support in the Medrash (Bereishis Rabbah 91:9) that states that when someone would say a correct idea before Rabbi Tarfon, he would respond with the words “kaftor vaferach,” a knob and a blossom. When someone would say something that did not have substance, Rabbi Tarfon would say, “lo yereid bini imachem, my son shall not go down with you (Bereishis 42:38). The Netziv (Haamek Davar Ibid) explains that the word bini also means intellect. Thus, Rabbi Tarfon was declaring that his intellect did not agree with the person. We can suggest that when Rabbi Tarfon did agree with the reasoning, he would say “kaftor vaferach,” a knob and a blossom, which were ornaments of the Menorah, indicating that this thought had its source in the Menorah, the symbol of wisdom. It is noteworthy that Reuven was the one who offered to have his two sons killed if he would not bring back Binyomin to Yaakov, and Yaakov responded that my son shall not go down with you. There is a Medrash (Medrash Peliah) that states: it is said (Shir HaShirim 7:14) hadudaim nasnu reiach vial pisacheinu kol megadim chadashim gam yeshanim dodi tzafanti loch, all my baskets, good and bad, emit a fragrance; all at our doors have the precious fruits of comely deeds, both the Scribes’ new ordinances and the Torah’s timeless wisdom; for You, Beloved, has my heart stored them. The words hadudaim nasnu reiach refer to Reuven saving Yosef from death, and the words vial pisacheinu kol megadim refer to the Chanukah lights. What is the association between Reuven saving Yosef and the Chanukah lights? Perhaps the idea is that the word Reuven is an acrostic of the words reu bein, see and understand (see Rashi from Gemara Brachos 7b for a different interpretation of the word bein). Thus, Reuven saw the danger that Yosef was in and understood that it was up to him to save Yosef from certain death. Similarly, on Chanukah one must understand and act on the awareness that the Greek philosophy contains an inherent danger that could lead one away from HaShem, Heaven forbid. It is noteworthy that the word pesach, entranceway, in at bash is vav, aleph, samach, which equals in gematria binah (67). The word megadim equals in gematria 97, and the word Chanukah equals in gematria 89. When one adds the 8 days of Chanukah to the word Chanukah, together they equal 97.

Ramazei DiOraysa: Hints in the Torah
Volume 1 Issue 9

is sponsored in Michigan by the Godfrey family in memory of their father, grandfather, and great-grandfather Shlomo Ben Dovid ob”m Mr. Samuel Schey, Niftar 25 Kisleiv 5734, December 20, 1973.

Prepared by Rabbi Binyomin Adler.
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