Friday, July 12, 2013

The Final Chapter

                                                                        Parashas Devarim
                                                           The Torah of Shem – In Full Bloom
                                                                        Rabbi David Katz

The Book of Devarim is often referred to as the Mishna Torah or the Torah in review in other words. When hear these words, one might often recall the famous codification of the Rambam who identifies his classic work in the same name and concept. To understand the Rambam in better detail, a teaching from the Zohar paints a most beautiful picture that explains the difference between the two titles the Rambam gives his work, which is not only the “Review of Torah” but the “Strong hand of Torah” as well. This picture suggests that should one be short in his learning, and in position to render Torah law, he will see the text as a strong hand, filled with rigid decrees and contradictions. On the other hand, one who understands the deeper dimensions of Torah, will see a review of his learning, and will realize that the stern nature was only upon first glance, and in truth one should seek to draw from his review, hence a merciful “Mishna Torah.” This is the message of the Zohar, Rambam, Noahide Law, etc. and per force it is the nature of the Book of Devarim as well; task being, to find the utter depths of the Torah, following the blueprint of the Torah code, and turning a rigid text into poetry of mercy. Let this be called the Torah of Shem in full bloom.

We ended the Book of Bamidbar in dramatic fashion, with seeds of redemption and a resolution that sails into the sunset, and they lived happily ever after.  Ironically, this IS the blueprint of the Torah, when one follows the map of Job, who suffered, but in the end acknowledges the greater good of God; the macro book of Devarim along with her micro/fractal portions follows the same path to exquisite detail. Here, in Parashas Devarim, in a much more concise account of Torah, we actually find the Torah in even greater detail; for the first time we see the Torah of Shem shining through, now that the tools of pilpul [spice of Torah] in detail have been properly highlighted. The revelation factor of this Torah angle comes from “Joy” [Hedva] of Torah, i.e. from full application of the Torah’s first four Books, we can see through Shem [a reincarnation of Moses] the Torah fractal with precision, and thus as always, to the highlighted pixel of the Ger, now in HD.

When one opens Devarim and follows its passages, soon it should become apparent that this is clear review of the Torah of Bereishit through the end of Bamidbar. Once this view is laid down, we can begin to micro analyze the text; the most fitting investigation naturally is to think as big as possible for maximum revelation. Thus the path that begins with Shem in Moses’ essential Torah through the mouth of the Divine Presence, should ultimately reach its destination of the Ger and Redemption, inseparable as always. For all intents and purposes this would become a new light of Moses – Moshiach within context of Pinchas and the giant Og, Head of Abraham’s estate, i.e. the Ger who reached the end of the maze of life by the teaching of Abraham, who learned from the mouth of Shem himself. As stated, nothing really changes in Devarim by essence, however what becomes new is the Torah that truly is “lefi pshuto” – the Torah that remains Oral, as it is written only within the halls of reality; preserved within the lens of Shem, he who brought out Torat Hashem [as written in the Prophets; contrasted with the intent of Torah Moshe and Torat Emet, all being faces of the same Godly Torah].

In Devarim 3:11 we come to learn the measures of the giant Og, whose mythological proportions are told over to be off the charts, and proven true by the otherworldly dimensions listed in our verse. [9 “amot” by 4 “amot” was Og’s iron bed; an “amah” is a unit of measure, and the surface area would then measure the always auspicious “36”.] This would essentially bring the content and context of the text into [their] real time, highlighting the path of the Torah’s essential qualities here, being the Torah of Shem, the Ger, and Redemption. This theme fits perfectly with the keys of redemption brought down in Talmud Sukkah [52b] of the Four Craftsmen: Righteous Priest [(Torah of) Shem], Elijah [Pinchas and the redemption of the Ger and truth], Messiah son of Joseph [the place taken by Moses in the future], and ultimately Messiah son of David [all ingredients into one vessel, simply the King Messiah].

As many are quick to accept the tally of Og, and in a proportion that creates an existential threat against Israel, we soon learn that Moses defeats Og [Hashem had to urge him to not fear Og], and in the process it is revealed in the Midrash/Talmud that Moses was also quite large, and by our standard in the Parsha in relation to Og’s bed, Moses is even larger, as he “stands” at 10 Amot tall. This poses one of the Torah’s biggest questions in faith, in the ability to properly understand Midrash, the portion of Torah that contains the essence of the Torah’s secrets. To properly absorb the intent of the passage, one must appreciate every nuance of the incredible passage, thus creating the vessels to allow Hashem to deliver the always looming bigger picture [of reality]; fantastically nudging the student into a clearer reality that is based on Torah.

This is where the Torah suddenly becomes Technicolor, and better able to understand the spiritual greatness of Moses, Og, Pinchas, Messiah, the Ger, Abraham, Sinai, God, Shem, Noah, and thus the entire Torah from there. It is this place of perception where the Torah becomes the utmost please and joy [in Hebrew it is called Hedva], otherwise known as the Torah of Shem, the Torah that elevates in its own aroma, as an offering of the Priest in all of us.  Hedva in Torah is the union of all and every union, truly embarking on the One-ness of the Torah, and echoes with Shema Yisrael Hashem is our God Hashem is One. One can quickly see how Pinchas and Moshe are one under the canopy of redemption, this can be iterated with Shem – Abraham, Moses – Shem, Og – Moshe, etc. i.e. every fractal in Torah is a composite water-drop of two that are really one. Suddenly, a Torah that fit nicely between two covers, is bursting with infinite light, all the while the victory of Torah never faltered, as the Torah is was and will always be the Torah of Moses as given on Sinai by the Mouth of the Powerful [Hashem].

To make matters illuminated in more recognized terms, consider that Moses was 10 Amot tall and Og was “huge” by the Midrash’s account. When we weigh the whole story of the Midrash, suddenly everything comes into focus, making a sub-book in the Torah: Og was huge by Torah standards, as he contained Torah knowledge of the pre-flood days, for Og is none other than Eliezer, who came to the world by clenching onto the Ark of Noah. Og/Eliezer with all of his Torah might, was able to replace Lot to Abraham as a possible inheritor, and he was the head of Abraham’s estate, i.e. his Torah legacy. Clearly this would be a challenge for Moses, upon which, Hashem told him – You are 10 Amot tall! [and Moses did not understand this about himself] Moses had all possessions equaling 10 Amot tall, his tool, his airspace, etc., essentially it was “the Torah of Moses” [in every detail that even encompasses Moses himself, for he was synonymous with Torah], keeping pace with the fashion that Hashem fashions even His own revelation [i.e. the 10 sefirot, 10 sayings, 10 Commandments, etc.] Hashem is telling Moses, “Yes Og is a giant in Torah [having gone from “Tohu” through the times of Torah, thus having “seen it all”] whose “numbers” are immeasurable [i.e. the wisdom contained in Books 1-4] and you stand only as tall as 10 Amot; realize that YOU are standing in the Image/Presence of God! Og never had a chance, and Moses sanctified the Name of God, with his display of Absolute Truth by powers of 10. 

Moses the victor, would then parallel the location in Torah, which is depicted by Pinchas and his revelation of Messiah in Torah, thus making visible Moshe Messiah, where Moses and Pinchas are one, as explained in the Zohar and other commentaries. The parallels are now endless, with comparing the 10 Amot of Moses to the construction to the Mishkan, of which Pinchas and the angel Metat [Enoch] are compared to; this essentially Redemption coming into full detail, turning the Torah into sublime Hedva. The Parsha would then continue, and it would follow through with the original fractal of Torah, the Bereishit program, one that fittingly ends with [Messiah son of] Joseph, as Joseph steps into the redeemer role, and the Torah fades into the future with Moses – redeemer – son of Joseph mode, until on-spot location. Yet again, we see the Job program in expansive light, as the Torah ends with the Redemption theme, this time in the form of Moses’ command of Joshua’s entering the Land; a mission that always positions Moses at the helm of “always being one step ahead” – perpetually leading us into redemption, for Moses’ Messianic name is Yinon [“to perpetuate matters of redemption”].

Now with the Torah of Shem opened with Hedva, one can see how great Og was and what he represents for the Ger – a power of Torah that spans all 6000 years of Creation; when placed within Torat Moses, it becomes elevated into the elusive Ger Tzedek, which Og so eloquently portrays through Torah exegesis and parable in expression. Along these lines and way of thinking, we better know, Pinchas, Moses, Redemption, Gerim, etc.; the entire Torah that we always knew suddenly comes into pristine focus and detail, drawing from the reality off of the page, while suddenly shown to be encapsulated in the “small” book that expresses the true giant, called the revelation of God! [Otherwise known as the Torah of Atzilus, the Torah of God Above where Shem serves as its High Priest].

There is however the rule that we must always understand the Torah also on the simple level [pshat], and the issue of the “amah” [measure; Moses was 10 Amot] must be understood clearly, and only through Midrash. Conformation to Torah discipline is thus conferred through the very Torah itself, for the basis of the passage before us is Og. Thus Moses by engaging Og was a tremendous coup when he happened up on Og’s iron bed and considered its dimensions. Og was a master of Torah, and thus he learned by the mouth of Abraham and Shem. By Moshe’s mazal from God, he was led to find the exact definition of Torah’s definitions of measurements, and would become essential to understand Torah in context of [Temple, Oral] Law. God showed Moses the path to the divine measure, and dimensions of the universe, for Abraham’s knowledge was itself a walking Mishkan in the relic now known as Og! Eliezer/Og finally finished his task as the master of mazal – faithful servant of Abraham!

[Eliezer showed his greatness of mazal/divine providence [secrets of "Tov Meod" - where evil reverts to good] when he realized the love of Isaac in Rebecca; Eliezer would prove to be a true student of Shem in carrying out his mission in understanding “Tzaddik v’ rah lo” (the righteous who experiences evil). As the essence of the Torah of Shem, this was displayed by Shem himself with Jacob, revealing the secrets of Job, and allowing Eliezer/Og to function according to his soul that was one of the few to enter Gan Eden alive. This would explain the astrological dimensions of Og, as he was to Moses as Shem was to Jacob, in the ascension towards true Yisrael through struggling with God.]

Parashas/Sefer Devarim is now upon us, and it is our job to turn the stringencies into divine favor, and bring out the Torah of Mercy through repetition in the eyes of Shem, tasting the “pilpul” [spice] and enjoying the “Hedva” [“fun”] in what is the Torah of God. In the end, Moses united with the Shechina, and spirals into the sublime essence of God’s Torah, finding the Hedva of youth, enjoying the close company of God. He tells us every week, until the Torah is concluded, and all of the Congregation of Israel is ready to enter the Land of Israel. And as we are finding out, this end is a product of a much bigger thought than we may have imagined, at least from the Genesis perspective. For now, we know more about the Messiah, Truth, Torah, Redemption, and what may be perhaps the most important of all, the Redemption of the Ger. For all that we know, whether here, or by following the fractal backwards and forwards in time, it always did and does come to one conclusion: God is the Guardian of the Ger Tzedek, and it is wise to begin to Love the Ger, and why not – it’s certainly Hedva to do so. As it is said in the yeshiva, “Rashi” [who is often perceived as difficult] is called “your friend”, and the Zohar speaks similarly of Shem, in the secrets of the Shema, which came from Shem into the Avot as tradition: Brother Shem is the Witness [taken from the words שמע – אחד], a true friend indeed, making Torah a true Hedva experience.

Don't Forget In-Depth Parasha Class Motzie Shabbos [Tzfat Time] 11 P.M.


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