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On Rosh Hashanah, ambulance the Jewish New Year, we traditionally eat foods whose names carry a positive symbolic connotation. Just as we taste foods as positive symbols at the festive table on Rosh Hashanah, so we can find good signs in the year’s number too. As Rosh Hashanah 5773 (?’ ???”?) approaches, let’s take a look at the good signs that this year’s number reveals to us.

Firstly, 773 (???”?) is the numerical value of the phrase, “Open my eyes and I will see wonders [of Your Torah]” (???? ?????? ??????????? ?????????? [????????????]). Moreover, the initial letters of just the first two words in this phrase, “Open my eyes,” (???? ??????) equal 73, thus the sign of the initial letters of the new year 5773 can be interpreted as “May it be a year of Gal Einai” (?????? ?????? ???? ??????). We join in King David’s prayer that God will open our eyes to see wonders, both the wonders of the Torah by revealing its most profound secrets, and miraculous wonders with every step that we take by power of the Torah.

The plural “wonders” refers to two types of wonder within God’s wisdom imbued in the Torah. The first is that the Almighty’s own supernal pleasure manifests as the Torah’s wisdom. Pleasure is the most ethereal super-conscious sense of the soul, yet it hiddenly motivates all the soul’s conscious powers. The Creator’s pleasure, as it were, is the motivating force behind creation and God’s guidance of reality. The wonder is that this pleasure itself becomes the Torah’s wisdom and can actually be comprehended in our human minds allowing us in turn to take delight in God.

The second type of wonder is that the Torah’s wisdom descends further and serves to unite between different extremes. We hope and pray that this year we will see true untiy unity amongst Jews, of all hues and opinions.

Another phrase that equals 773 (???”?) is, “My heart tingles with something good” (?????? ?????? ?????? ????). While the verse, “Open my eyes” focuses on eyes and wisdom, this phrase focuses on the heart, tingling with  something good that is about to issue forth from the heart. This phrase calls upon us to initiate a movement in the innermost depths of our heart, bringing with it a profound demand to seek God’s revelation as in the verse, “For Your sake [God] my heart says: ‘Seek My countenance’; Your countenance, God, I shall seek.”

What is the good thing stirring in our heart? The verse continues, “I say: ‘My deeds are for the king, my tongue is a quick writer’s pen.’” All that I do is for the sake of the king, for the sake of Malchut Yisrael (thekingdom ofIsrael), which reveals God’s sovereignty over the world.

This verse is particularly connected with Rosh Hashanah, the day on which we coronate God as King over us, the day on which good thoughts, good words begin to stir, to move, and to flourish within us. Every Rosh Hashanah, a new light descends into the world that has never been experienced before; it is like the birth of a new soul. This is why Rosh Hashanah is a opportune time for the barren to conceive, as the sages teach us that “On Rosh Hashanah, Sarah , Rachel and Chanah conceived.” Indeed, the initials of these three names (????? ?????? ??????) spell the word “tingles”  (??????).

The most important birth that we anticipate is the birth of Mashiach. He is the subject of “My deeds are for the king,” he is the one to whom this entire psalm is dedicated. Mashiach is the “something good” that will happen to the Jewish people and to the entire world. Furthermore, the word “something” (??????) in the sages’ terminology, also alludes to a leader, as in the idiom, “A generation has [but] one leader” (??????? ????? ??????).

The gematria of ”something good” (?????? ????) is equal to that of the phrase, “this is the thing” (??? ????????) the introductory words to Moshe Rabbeinu’s prophecy, indicating a clarity and precision in hearing God’s words not merited by any other prophet. The coming of Mashiach unveils the very same level of Divine certitude that can erase all the doubts and delusions plaguing our faith.

Together with our prayers for the revelation of the Torah’s wonders and the miracles in reality they will bring, let us decide to act diligently and conscientiously on behalf of Malchut Yisra’el (the kingdom of Israel) and for true unity amongst Jews that will, God willing, bring about the revelation of Mashiach, speedily and in our days.

With blessings for a good and sweet year and for a ketivah vechatimah tovah (a good inscription and seal) for the entire Jewish people,

Harav Yitzchak Ginsburgh

This week’s parashah, seek Vayelech, clinic contains the Torah’s 613th and final mitzvah (commandment), cialis to write a Sefer Torah (Torah scroll), just as Moshe Rabbeinu did. Parashat Vayelech also contains the Torah’s 612th mitzvah, to gather the entire Jewish people, men, women, and children once every seven years, to hear the king read from the Torah, in what is known as Hakhel. The 611th mitzvah that we read about in Parashat Ki Tavo, is to walk in God’s ways.

The ordinal numbers of the three final mitzvot stand out in their significance. 613 is the gematria of “Moshe Rabbeinu” (??? ?????), 612 is the gematria of “covenant” (????), and 611 is the gematria of “Torah” (????), Obviously, these three concepts, Moshe Rabbeinu, covenant, and Torah are some of the most central in Judaism and therefore warrant focusing on how each concept relates to its corresponding mitzvah (commandment).

From the individual to the entire nation

The 611th mitzvah demands that we refine our character traits as individuals by walking in God’s ways. As the sages explain, “Just as the Almighty is called compassionate, so you shall be compassionate.” This is the most significant principle in serving God, one that a Jew should constantly be aware of every day of his or her life. It is truly fitting that 611 is equal to the word “Torah” (????) reflecting this commandment’s all-inclusive nature.

Whereas the 611th mitzvah addresses us as individuals, the 612th, Hakhel obligates us as a people. Once every seven years, the entire Jewish people gather in the Temple courtyard in the most comprehensive assembly, “men, women and children and the convert in your gates,” and the king reads from the Torah before them. In effect, this mass congregation acts as a renewal of the covenant formed between the entire nation and God through the giving of the Torah at Mt. Sinai, reflected by the fact that 612 is the gematria of the word “covenant” (????).

The progression from the 611th mitzvah to the 612th, from addressing individual refinement to renewing our covenant with God as a community, as a people, is a necessary one. It teaches us that in order to stand together, we must first adopt God’s compassionate character when dealing with one another. If as individuals we still suffer from a self-centered attitude, we will not be able to stand together in unity during Hakhel. The foundation of the congregation of Israel is mutual responsibility, genuine care and interest in our fellow Jews, which serves as the glue bonding us in our covenant with one another, with our king, and finally with the Almighty.

Every Jew is like Moshe Rabbeinu

The verse in which the 613th mitzvah appears actually describes how Moshe Rabbeinu wrote a Torah scroll before passing on. From it, the sages learn that every Jewish individual is obligated to write his own Torah scroll, revealing that every Jew is like Moshe Rabbeinu. The sages go so far as to say that anyone who writes a Torah scroll, “it is as if he received it atMt.Sinai.”

Since the first Torah scroll was written entirely by Moshe Rabbeinu it is most appropriate that the commandment to write a Torah scroll should be the 613th commandment—the seal of all the Torah’s 613 commandments—and that 613 is the gematria of Moshe Rabbeinu (??? ?????). By performing this mitzvah individually, we reveal the Moshe Rabbeinu in each of us.

In summary, the individual mitzvah of walking in God’s ways is an introduction to the mitzvah of Hakhel, assembling “as one man with one heart” in a reenaction of receiving the Torah at Mt. Sinai. Similarly, the mitzvah of writing a Torah scroll is like each one of us receiving the entire Torah at Mt. Sinai, like Moshe Rabbeinu.

based on Harav Ginsburgh’s class of 18thTevet 5769

One Response to “The Torah’s final three commandments”

  1. This teaching gave much insight. Thank you Rabbi Ginsburgh. It brings joy to my heart.